Spurgeon: “Calvinism” = Nickname for Gospel

The far too common, yet fallacious, accusation is that Calvinism is anti-evangelism.

Is it? Spurgeon would not only disagree, he’d say it’s essentially the Gospel, that which is proclaimed in evangelism.

“I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.”  ~ Charles Spurgeon, “Defense of Calvinism”


About Eric "Gunny" Hartman

Gunny is pastor of Providence Church in Plano, TX, and has taught at Dallas Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has completed coursework for a PhD in Rhetoric at University of Texas at Arlington and tries to be a good father to his 4 kiddos, exhibited by coaching a girls soccer team.


2 thoughts on “Spurgeon: “Calvinism” = Nickname for Gospel

  1. There’s a couple of problems with that quote:

    1. We don’t have any record of Jesus preaching justification by faith apart from works, so then Jesus didn’t preach the Gospel.

    2. The theology of justification by faith isn’t found in any of the biblical records we call “the Gospels.”

    3. Paul doesn’t mention justification by faith when he describes the Gospel he preached in 1 Cor 15.

    Justification by grace through faith is good theology, but it is not the Gospel.

    Posted by medwards76 | September 8, 2011, 4:33 pm
  2. Sure, but the exuberance in naming “Calvinism” as “the gospel” a) suffers from Calvinism being different things than Spurgeon enumerates above, to different people; b) suffers from Spurgeon’s own Calvinism including other things that Spurgeon glosses over, such as his view that for some people, we don’t know who, Christ did nothing, and the gospel is empty of good news; c) runs against Jesus’ indictment of systems-as-such: we are not allowed to systems as the Word of God. (Mk 7:7). The gospel is part of the Word of God. Calvinism is a system attempting to be based on the Word of God.

    That’s all a priori. When we look at actual systems, we see that they often have extremities that push them out beyond Scripture. One author’s so-called Calvinism makes him say that the combination of good and evil in the world is a “mosaic” in which God takes delight. Another system, such as Arminianism, offers a gospel to all but puts the outcome under the control of the very same objects whose control can ruin its purpose.

    What is true of systems is doubly true of individuals. I have thinking which is contrary to the gospel, which is proven every time my thinking leads me to sin.

    Posted by larnewman | September 8, 2011, 1:11 am

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