1888 C. H. SPURGEON. A Weary Spurgeon Laments the Down-Grade Controversy to Andrew Bonar!
1888 C. H. SPURGEON. A Weary Spurgeon Laments the Down-Grade Controversy to Andrew Bonar!
1888 C. H. SPURGEON. A Weary Spurgeon Laments the Down-Grade Controversy to Andrew Bonar!

1888 C. H. SPURGEON. A Weary Spurgeon Laments the Down-Grade Controversy to Andrew Bonar!

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This is a very historically important letter from C. H. Spurgeon to his friend, Scottish divine, Andrew A. Bonar. 

This letter was written by Spurgeon shortly after submitting his letter of withdrawal from the Baptist Union over the Downgrade Controversy. Spurgeon took his stand against modernism, liberalism, and compromise of Scripture and the Atonement. But it cost him emotionally and in health. His discouragement is evident here in the present letter.

It is also contains a rare eschatological comment, Spurgeon looking forward to the coming of Christ in light of all the personal and ecclesial challenges of the time. 

The Downgrade Controversy among the Baptists flared in 1887 with Spurgeon's first "Down-grade" article, published in The Sword & the Trowel. In the ensuing "Downgrade Controversy," the Metropolitan Tabernacle disaffiliated from the Baptist Union, making Spurgeon's congregation as the world's largest independent church. Spurgeon framed the controversy in this way:

Believers in Christ's atonement are now in declared union with those who make light of it; believers in Holy Scripture are in confederacy with those who deny plenary inspiration; those who hold evangelical doctrine are in open alliance with those who call the fall a fable, who deny the personality of the Holy Ghost, who call justification by faith immoral, and hold that there is another probation after death... It is our solemn conviction that there should be no presence of fellowship. Fellowship with known and vital error is participation in sin.

The Controversy took its name from Spurgeon's use of the term "Downgrade" to describe certain other Baptists' outlook toward the Bible (i.e., they had "downgraded" the Bible and the principle of sola scriptura). Spurgeon alleged that an incremental creeping of the Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis, Darwin's theory of evolution, and other concepts were weakening the Baptist Union. Spurgeon emphatically decried the doctrine that resulted:

Assuredly the New Theology can do no good towards God or man; it, has no adaptation for it. If it were preached for a thousand years by all the most earnest men of the school, it would never renew a soul, nor overcome pride in a single human heart.

Beaulah Hill
Upper Norwood
1888, May 22

Dear Friend,

Your letter cheers me greatly. It has been lying at the publisher; but it comes when I need it.

I have had no personal pique or grievance to move me; but for my Lord's sake I forfeited friendships, reputation, & I have brought on my work pecuniary loss, & on myself reproach & ridicule; but this is nothing if I could but see the brethren return to their integrity, & the truth vindicated. Instead of this, a hollow truce was made, about which I was not consulted, & thus all I had done was thrown away.

This brought me very low, but I am at ease in my mind now that I have resolved never again to join with men so "wise & prudent." It is sad to see true brethren shielding the false. Ah, me!

Your sweet letter comes to me not only from the servant, but from the Master himself. Greatly do I value your precious sympathy, but somehow I see another behind you, writing by your hand. HE could not have chosen a scribe for whom I have greater affinity & esteem. The Lord reward you!

My dear wife is very, very ill; although I am much better, I get depressed & nervous. Yet the Lord liveth, & I believe I shall live to see better days, & perhaps those best of days when HE cometh. 

I often consult your Leviticus, & never in vain. May all blessings abound towards you evermore!

Yours in Christ Jesus
C. H. Spurgeon

I greatly prize your prayers, & do at this moment mention your name in the King's ear."

Good, crisp letter with a small tear at fold. 

Very clean and bright. Light folds. Complete.