By Charles Spurgeon

The tree can do without some of its branches, though the loss of them might be an injury; but it cannot live at all without its roots: the roots are essential; take those away, and the plant must wither. And thus my dear friends, there are things essential in the Christian religion. . . .

With regard to essential doctrines, it is very desirable for us to be established in the faith. A very happy thing it is to have been taught from one’s youth up the sound and solid doctrines which comforted the Puritans, which made blessed the heart of Luther and of Calvin, fired the zeal of Chrysostom and Augustine, and flashed like lightning from the lips of Paul… But we always believe, and are ever ready to confess, that there are many doctrines which, though exceedingly precious, are not so essential but that a person may be in a state of grace and yet not receive them. . . .

Though Calvinistic doctrine is so dear to us, we feel ready to die in its defense, yet we would by no means set it up as being a test of a man’s spiritual state. We wish all our brethren saw with us, but a man may be almost blind, and yet he may live. A man with weak eye-sight and imperfect vision may be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven; indeed, it is better to enter there having but one eye, than, having two eyes and being orthodox in doctrine, to be cast into hell fire.

But there are some distinct truths of revelation that are essential in such a sense that those who have not accepted them cannot be called Christians, and those who wilfully reject them are exposed to the fearful anathemas which are hurled against apostasy.

Charles Spurgeon, the renowned Baptist “prince of preachers,” ministered at the London Tabernacle for most of his ministry.

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  1. Steven Mock 4 December, 2007 at 5:25 pm


    From what source did you obtain this quote? I like it a lot. Did Spurgeon really say that “Calvinistic doctrine is SO dear to us”? I bet that comes as a big surprise to many!

  2. Jason 5 December, 2007 at 1:21 am


    It’s taken from a sermon posted at Pyromaniacs recently. Yes, I was reading Dallimore’s biography of Spurgeon this week and the author actually pointed out how some publications have edited Spurgeon’s Calvinism out of his sermons. (!)

  3. Christopher 17 February, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    We must remember God used Spurgeon in spite of his Calvinism, not because he was a Calvinist. He was also a cigar smoker and very over weight. It seems that when Calvinist wants to promote Calvinism they quickly turn to Spurgeon (and I believe God used him greatly). God used Spurgeon, he was a Calvinist so Calvinism must be God’s way. This of course is faulty logic. God used Spurgeon, he smoked cigars so cigars must be God’s way. Just a thought Cheers!

  4. Jason 17 February, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for your comment.

    You make a valid point that simply because Spurgeon was effective doesn’t mean that every position he held (like Calvinism for instance) must be right. On the other hand, if Spurgeon was effective in preaching the gospel, you have to take into account what Spurgeon believed the gospel to be. According to Spurgeon, “Calvinism is the gospel.”

    Everything comes back to theology. Spurgeon’s Calvinism wasn’t incidental to his ministry. Spurgeon’s Calvinism was the heart of his ministry. That is the historical fact that has to be dealt with.

  5. Christopher 17 February, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    G’day Jason,
    “On the other hand, if Spurgeon was effective in preaching the gospel, you have to take into account what Spurgeon believed the gospel to be.”
    Yes and the many others who were just as effective and were not Calvinist. Ironside, Moody, Rice, Billy Sunday, Bob Jones SR. and others

  6. Jason 18 February, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Actually, I think several of these men were more Calvinist than you might think. But of course we can give the other list:


    William Carey, Father of modern missions
    Charles Spurgeon, Prince of preachers
    George Whitefield, great revival preacher
    Jonathan Edwards, preached perhaps the most well known gospel sermon ever preached
    Ian Paisley, Firebrand soul-winner
    Jim Elliot, Missionary martyr

    And while we’re talking about Rice, it was the “Sword of the Lord” that published Spurgeon for years while editing out his Calvinism. It’s a form of intellectual dishonesty, but I think it’s backfired because now a whole generation of fundamentalists know and respect Spurgeon and have to face the reality that this passionate, soul-winning preacher was also an unabashed five-point Calvinist.

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