When Calvinism is Abandoned

“We care far more for the central evangelical truths than we do for Calvinism as a system; but we believe that Calvinism has in it a conservative force which helps to hold men to the vital truth, and therefore we are sorry to see any quitting it who have once accepted it” (“The Downgrade Controversy” by C. H. Spurgeon).

In his book entitled “The Downgrade Controversy”, C. H. Spurgeon detailed the downward progress of corruption and apostasy in the Baptist churches because of false doctrine.  Chapter two of the book, a chapter written by another author, Robert Schindler for the “Sword and Trowel” magazine, describes the progress of the downgrade.  He tells us the 19th century was a time of quiet from persecution and strife, and there began in the churches a spiritual lethargy.  He writes “True religion languished; and, but for a small remnant of earnest and faithful men, the decay and death would have been complete.  It was a fitting time for the propagation of the Pelagian and Socinian heresies.  Arminianism, which is only Pelagianism under another name, had, to a large extent, eaten out the life of the Church of England, and Arianism followed to further and complete the destruction……Arminianism among the dissenters (i.e. non–Church of England churches) has, in general been a cold, dry and lifeless system, and its effects upon the heart have been commonly weak and spiritless.  With the General Baptists, who have avowed it to be their creed, this was remarkably the effect, and their congregations did not increase.  Besides, from facts too stubborn to be bent, and too numerous to be contradicted, Arminianism has been among them the common road to Arianism and Socinianism.  Their ministers and congregations were the first who openly professed these opinions” (Kindle e-reader).

In other words, Calvinism, which is so confidently and ignorantly rejected and vilified by Calvin’s enemies today, had been the life, soul, and energy of the churches in England.  As lethargy set in, people began to accept Arminianism and this led to apostasy and corruption of the Church and the denial of the deity of Christ and efficacy of the gospel. 

In contrast to what the enemies so loudly profess, Spurgeon so eloquently put it, “The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach today, or else be false to my conscience and my God.  I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine.  John Knox’s gospel is my gospel.  That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again” (A Defence of Calvinism” by C. H. Spurgeon).