Archive for the ‘carnal methods in ministry’ Category

Spurgeon’s rejection of pragmatism and carnal methods

June 28, 2009

I often hear Christian men blessing God for that which I cannot but reckon as a curse. They will say, if there is war with China, “The bars of iron will be cut in sunder, and the gates of brass shall be opened to the gospel.” Whenever England goes to war, many shout, “It will open a way for the gospel.” I cannot understand how the devil is to make a way for Christ; and what is war but an incarnate fiend, the impersonation of all that is hellish in fallen humanity’ How, then, shall we rouse the devilry of man’s nature– Cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war–

and then declare it is to make straight in the desert a highway for our God–a highway knee-deep in gore? Do you believe it? You cannot. God does overrule evil for good, but I have never seen yet–though I look with the cautious eye of one who has no party to serve-I have never seen the rare fruit which is said to grow upon this vine of Gomorrah. Let any other nation go to war, and it is all well and good for the English to send missionaries to the poor inhabitants of the ravaged countries. In such a case, our people did not make the war, they did not create the devastation, so they may go there to preach, but for English cannon to make a way in Canton for an English missionary, is a lie too glaring for me to believe for a moment. I cannot comprehend the Christianity which talks thus of murder and robbery. If other nations thus choose to fight, and if God lets them open the door for the gospel, I will bless Him, but I must still weep for the slain, and exclaim against the murderers. I blush for my country when I see it committing such terrible crimes in China, for what is the opium traffic but an enormous crime? War arises out of it, and then men say that the gospel is furthered by it: can you see how that result is produced? Then your eye must be singularly fashioned. For my part, I am in the habit of looking straight at a thing–I endeavour to judge it by the Word of God-and in this case it requires but little deliberation in order to arrive at a verdict. It seems to me that, if I were a Chinaman, and I saw an Englishman preaching in the street in China, I should say to him, “What have you got there?” “I am sent to preach the gospel to you.” “The gospel! What is that? Is it anything like opium? Does it intoxicate, and blast, and curse, and kill?” “Oh, no!” he would say–but I do not know how he would continue his discourse; he would be staggered and confounded, he could say nothing. There is a very good story told of the Chinese that is quite to the point. A missionary lately went to them with some tracts containing the ten commandments; a Mandarin read them, and then sent back a very polite message to the effect that those tracts were very good indeed, he had never read any laws so good as those, but there was not so much need of them in China as among the English and the French; would the missionary have the goodness to distribute them where they were most wanted?’

CH Spurgeon, The Full Harvest, Banner of Truth,1973, p124-5