It pains me unspeakably to see this eminent "winner of souls" rousing the energies of thousands of Christians to engage in personal wrangling and strife, instead of inspiring them, as he might, to sustained and heroic effort to carry the good news of God's Gospel to our fellow-countrymen.John Clifford, president of the English Baptist Union, spoke these words concerning Charles Haddon Spurgeon in 1888. Over the previous year, Spurgeon had exposed the infiltration of liberalism into the Baptist Union. When evangelicals failed to stand firm for orthodox, biblical doctrine, Spurgeon ultimately withdrew from the union in October of 1887. In January of 1888, the Union censured him.cited in Iain Murray's The Forgotten Spurgeon, p. 167.
What's the point?
On Friday, Christianity Today published an article on the atonement that was intended to defend the orthodox truth that Christ's substitutionary sacrifice was intended to satisfy God's righteous wrath towards sinners. What's so controversial about that?
Well, the author, Mark Dever, was so obnoxious as to outline his disagreement with folks who repudiate this view of the atonement (or at least muddy the waters by their unwillingness to articulate it). He even (horrors!) named names. At least one of those people thinks we need to avoid defending biblical truth on certain days of the year.
Phil Johnson exposes the hypocrisy of this nonsense. I suspect Spurgeon would be proud of both Dever and Johnson.
You can read a summary of Spurgeon and the Downgrade Controversy here.