Actually, probably more topical in terms of a Bible forum, although, wait, this is now a babble forum, so nevermind.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Do you really like Jonathan Edwards?
Or Spurgeon for that matter?
Arminians seem to enjoy quoting from both Spurgeon and Edwards. They toss their names around and quote without reserve from the works of both of these marvelous preachers. I can remember growing up in a Wesleyan church hearing of both Edwards and Spurgeon. What I didn’t know then, is that these men and in particular their theology is vastly different from the Arminian/Wesleyan theology that was being taught in my Methodist upbringing.
First, Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon were both unashamed Calvinists. Both believed in the sovereignty of God and both preached it to its logical conclusion. Edwards in particular would be problematic for most Arminians, if they knew his true convictions. For one thing, he was an Occasionalist; this is the rejection of causal effects between the corporeal body and the incorporeal mind. This philosophy, which was popularized by the French philosopher Malebranche, sees God as filling in the gap between the “body” and the “mind”.
Secondly, Edwards affirmed Divine Determinism. He argued brilliantly that “indeterminism is incompatible with our dependence on God and hence his Sovereignty”
Arminians on the other hand want to argue that they are somehow they are able to participate in their own salvation. Suffice it to say that Edward’s arguments are intellectual, grounded in scripture, and cogent.
Spurgeon was also brilliant and argued vehemently for the Sovereignty of God. I suppose Arminians completely miss most of Spurgeon’s points as they don’t approach him from his perspective but rather allow their presuppositions to color their interpretation. The issues at hand are really important our very understanding of who God is follows these basic questions.
A better question than the one above is, Do you serve the same Sovereign God that Edwards and Spurgeon did? (And still do!)
 Wainwright, William, "Jonathan Edwards", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2003 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL =