Vasile Oprea şi Rugul Aprins la BĂLENI 19 Septembrie 2011

Faceti click pe poza pentru Pagina Vasile Oprea. Aici se poate viziona interviul fratelui Oprea realizat de Tudor Petan de la Alfa Omega TV.

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Spurgeon and the Love of God

The most serious difference of all between evangelical Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism arises on the subject of the Love of God. In the fourth and final point in Iain H Murray’s  book ‘Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism, Murray lays out Spurgeon’s case (P 88).

Spurgeon saw that behind the distortion of predestination, and the unwillingness to believe that gospel invitations are to be addressed freely to all men, lay a failure to understand what Scripture reveals about the character of God himself. If God has chosen an elect people, then Hyper-Calvinism argued, he can have no desire for the salvation of any others and to speak as though he had, is to deny the particularity of grace. Of course, Hyper-Calvinists accepted that the gospel be preached to all, but they denied that such preaching was intended to demonstrate any love on the part of God for all, or any invitation to all to receive mercy.

A sermon of 1858 which Spurgeon preached on „Sovereign Grace and Man’s Responsibility” identified this crucial difference with Hyper-Calvinism. He took for his text the words of God quoted by Paul in Romans 10:20-21, „I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, all day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.’ In such words Spurgeon saw proof that God can be said to desire the salvation even of those who persist in rejecting him:

‘Lost sinners who sit under the sound of the gospel are not lost for the want of the most affectionate invitation. God says he stretches out his hands…What did he wish them to come for? Why, to be saved. „No,” says one, „it was for temporal mercies”. Not so my friend, the verse before is concerning spiritual mercies, and so is this one, for they refer to the same thing. Now, was God sincere in his offer? God forgive the man dares say he was not. God is undoubtedly sincere in every act he did. He sent his prophets, he entreated the people of Israel to lay hold on spiritual things, but they would not, and though he stretched out his hands all the day long, yet they were „a disobedient and gainsaying people’, and would not have his love.

Spurgeon regarded the denial of God’s desire for the salvation of all men as no mere theoretical mistake. For it converged with one of the greatest obstacles to faith on the part of the unconverted, that is to say, a wrong view of the character of God. Men „imagine that God is a severe being, angry and fierce, very easily moved to wrath, but not so easily to be induced to love’. The truth of divine love is the last to enter men’s heads.

Spurgeon comments, „We think that ultra-calvinism, which goes vastly beyond the teaching of Christ…gets its support from a wrong view of God. To the ultra-calvinist his absolute sovereignty is delightfully conspicuous. He is awe-stricken with the great and glorious attributes of the Most High. His omnipotence appals him, and his sovereignty astonishes him, and he at once submits as by a stern necessity to the will of God. He, however, too much forgets that God is love…To see the holiness, the love, the justice, the faithfulness, the immutability, the omnipotence, and the sovereignty of God, all shining like a bright corona of eternal and ineffable light, this has never been given perfectly to any human being, and inasmuch as we have not seen all these, as we hope yet to see them, our faulty vision has been the ground of diver’s mistakes.’

If it were not that ‘God is love’ his presence could never have been desirable to sinners. The gospel presents love as the attraction. „God so loved”. It is love that draws, as the record of the four Gospels make abundantly plain. What was it that moved him as he saw the multitude but a compassion for all? (Matt. 9:36) What but love brought him to weep over lost Jerusalem? (Luke 19:41) and to say, „How often would I have gathered thy children…and ye would not!” (Matt.23:37)The preaching of Christ contained a promise of welcome for all and his whole life revealed him longing for the salvation of men and women. ‘None of us,’ says Spurgeon, ‘loves men as Christ loves them. We say,”Sinner, only trust in Christ.” Ah, ye do not know what a great „only” that is. It is a work so great that no man can do it unaided by God…But if anything can call faith into excercise,”he goes on, it is the knowledge ‘that Christ is willing to receive thee'”. Preaching Christ for Spurgeon, had to include the urging of this knowledge upon all:

„If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” He invites men to come, he pleads with them to come; and when they will not come he gently upbraids them wih such words as these, „Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life”… All our Lord’s sermons were so many loving calls to poor aching hearts to come and find what they need in him. „Beloved, there is nothing that so delights Jesus Christ as to save sinners…

But it is more than knowledge of the love of God as taught in SCripture which preachers need. They must themselves be possessed by the love of which they speak. Invitations to trust in Christ preached without love are no invitations at all.

It was Spurgeon’s own persuasion of the love of Christ for the souls of the men that lies at the heart of his weekly evangelistic preaching in London for thirty-seven years. He had no hesitation in concluding sermons with such words as, „Cast yourself upon the Saviour’s love and you shall go down to your house justified”. Sometimes Spurgeon made reference to his own experience, then entreating:

„Do you turn away and say you will not be commanded? Then again will I change my note…I exhort you to flee to Christ. Oh my brother, doest thou know what a loving Christ he is? Let me tell thee from my own soul what I know of him…I thought that Christ was cruel and unkind. Oh I can never forgive myself that I would have thought so ill of him. But what a loving reception did I have when I went to him. I thought he would smite me, but his hand was not clenched in anger but opened wide in mercy…his eyes were full of tears. He fell on my neck and kissed me…I entreat you to stop and consider. Do you know what it is you are rejecting this morning? You are rejecting Christ, your only Saviour…I should be worse than a fiend if I did not now, with all love and kindness and earnestness, beseech you to „lay hold on eternal life, to labour not for the meat that perishes, but for the meat that endureth unto everlasting life”.

Iain Murray here ends with a quote from another Calvinist preacher who similarly entreats sinners with, „The Gospel does not say: ‘There is a Savior, if you wish to be saved;’ but, „Sir, you have no right to go to hell. You can’t go there without trampling the Son of God.”

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