July 17, 1944, Unmanned weapon propelled into the sky toward Britain. 6000 Londoners lost lives to these kinds of attacks. This one killed none. An empty non-conformist chapel exploded and damaged the remains of Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
1887, Spurgeon lamented the spiritual health of Britain. Germany was made unbelieving by her preachers and Britain was following in her path. Spurgeon witnessed the implosion of the mid-Victorian church in a crisis of doubt.
In 20th Century, we’ve seen modernist controversies and the CR.
3 diagnoses and 3 correctives for the church.
1. Amnesia. Forgetfulness of who we are and where we came from.
Baptists had formed a union. Baptists gradually failed to affirm a more robust confession of their doctrine and belief. “Downgrade controversy.” Spurgeon withdrew from the Union, and they censured him and condemned him. Fearing that unitarianism and universalism would grow, Spurgeon wrote a counter declaration. He was villified and and many former friends turned on him.
How do we avoid forgetfulness? We must intentionally remember through the study of theological history. Catechism in families.
2. Anemia. a faith without with blood. Without life.
Spurgeon’s messages were alive, rugged.
The corrective is the proclamation of Christ, the lifting up of the atoning work of Christ.
The health of the church is not the same as the size of the church.
3. Atrophy. Caused by immobility.
Jan 6, 1850. Saved when he wandered into a Methodist church on a snowy night.
Sunday night, he went to a Baptist church, and the text was Ephesians 1:6.
The AM was an active tense message – what he must do. The PM ws passive tense – what Christ hd done for him. We need to live our lives between those two – the active and the passive.
Spurgeon preached to 10 million people.
When the Downgrade happened and the Baptists rejected him. the evangelical world embraced him.
As we face the future, we will face challenges. Sometimes, we may even stand closer to those outside our traditions than in it.
We must stay on guard against the amnesia, anemia, and atrophy that often affects churches and denominations.
Spurgeon said, “I am willing to be eaten by dogs, but the future will vindicate me.”