Spurgeon on Creeds

To say that “a creed comes between a man and his God,” is to suppose that it is not true; for truth, however definitely stated, does not divide the believer from his Lord. So far as I am concerned, that which I believe I am not ashamed to state in the plainest possible language; and the truth I hold I embrace because I believe it to be the mind of God revealed in his infallible Word. How can it divide me from God who revealed it? It is one means of communion with my Lord, that I receive his words as well as himself, and submit my understanding to what I see to be taught by him. Say what he may, I accept it because he says it, and therein pay him the humble worship of my inmost soul. The objection to a creed is a very pleasant way of concealing objection to discipline, and a desire for latitudinarianism. What is wished for is a Union which will, like Noah’s Ark, afford shelter both for the clean and for the unclean, for creeping things and winged fowls.

C.H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 34 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1888), iii.

Thomas Brooks on Truth

“Ah souls, have you not found truth sweetening your spirits, and cheering your spirits, and warming your spirits, and raising your spirits, and corroborating your spirits?  Have not you found truth a guide to lead you, a staff to uphold you, a cordial to strengthen you, and a plaster to heal you?  And will you not hold fast the truth?  Has not truth been your best friend in your worst days?  Has not truth stood by you when friends have forsaken you?  Has not truth done more for you than all the world could do against you, and will you not hold fast the truth?  Is not truth your right eye, without which you cannot see for Christ?  And your right hand, without which you cannot do for Christ?  And your right foot, without which you cannot walk with Christ?  And will you not hold fast the truth?  Oh!  Hold fast the truth in your judgments and understandings, in your wills and affections, in your profession and conversation…You were better let go anything than truth; you were better let go your honors and riches, your friends and pleasures, and the world’s favors; yea, your nearest and dearest relations, yes, your very lives, than to let go truth.  Oh, keep the truth, and truth will make you safe and happy forever.  Blessed are those souls that are kept by truth.”  (Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, 1:59,60)

The Centrality of Preaching

The LBCF of 1689 highlights the ministry of the word in connection with saving faith:  “The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the word…”  It should come as no surprise to reformed Christians that God places a great emphasis upon preaching in the church of Jesus Christ.

The Bible is clear concerning the fact that sinners must hear and believe the gospel in order to be saved.  There is objective truth revealed in the Bible concerning the life, death, and resurrection of Christ that sinners must hear in order to be saved.  There are several passages that demonstrate the necessity of the gospel with reference to the salvation of sinners; see for instance Rom 1:16; 10:17; 1 Cor 15:1-4; Eph 1:13-14; 2 Tim 3:15-16; Jas 1:18; 1 Pet 1:23.  This means that no matter how dramatic or powerful our personal testimony may be, if we do not set forth biblical truth, the sinner we witness to will not have the saving data used by the Spirit to affect life-saving change.

The Bible not only emphasizes the objective truth that must be communicated, it highlights the primary vehicle for that communication:  preaching.  In Rom. 10:14-17, the Apostle Paul sets forth the necessity for God-sent men to communicate the truth of the gospel for the salvation of sinners.  John Murray comments, “The main point is that the saving relation to Christ involved in calling upon His name is not something that can occur in a vacuum; it occurs only in a context created by proclamation of the gospel on the part of those commissioned to proclaim it” (Romans, p.58).  Note specifically verse 14 where Paul says, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?”  We could accurately translate the second question this way:  “And how shall they believe Him whom they have not heard?”  When a biblically qualified man accurately expounds the Scripture, Christ is speaking in the churches.  Paul illustrates this in Eph. 2:17 when he says “And He [Christ] came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.”  Jesus never physically traveled to Ephesus, but from His place of authority at the right hand of God, He preached peace by His Spirit through His earthly representatives.

The Second Helvetic Confession states concerning preaching:  “The preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God. Wherefore when this Word of God is now preached in the church by preachers lawfully called, we believe that the very Word of God is proclaimed, and received by the faithful; and that neither any other Word of God is to be invented nor is to be expected from heaven: and that now the Word itself which is preached is to be regarded, not the minister that preaches; for even if he be evil and a sinner, nevertheless the Word of God remains still true and good” (1:4).  May God indeed revive in each of us an appreciation for a sound pulpit ministry.