Friday, November 21, 2014

Spurgeon's Letter On Ordination

The following is a letter written by Charles Spurgeon to James Low, one of the deacons of Metropolitan Tabernacle:
"I have a decided objection to any public ordination or recognition. I have, scores of times, most warmly expressed from the pulpit my abhorrence of such things, and have been not a little notorious as the opponent of a custom which has become a kind of iron law in the country. I am willing to retrace my steps if in error, but if I have been right, it will be no honorable thing to belie my former loud outcries by submitting myself to it. 
I object to ordinances and recognitions, as such, (1) because I am a minister, and will never receive authority and commission from man; nor do I like that which has the shadow of such a thing about it. I detest the dogma of apostolic succession, and dislike the revival of the doctrine by delegating power from minister to minister. 
(2) I believe in the glorious principle of Independency. Every church has a right to choose its own minister; and if so, certainly it needs no assistance from others in appointing him to the office. You, yourselves, have chosen me; and what matters it if the whole world dislikes the choice? . . . 
(3) If there be no authority inferred, what is the meaning of ceremony? . . . Furthermore, I have seldom heard of an ordination service in which there was not something objectionable. There are dinners, and toasts, and things in that line. There is a foolish and needless advice, or, if wise advice, unfit for public mention. I am ready to be advised by anyone, on any subject, in private; but I do not know how I could sit in public to be told. 
I trust, my dear sir, that you will not imagine that I write warmly, for I am willing to submit; but it will be submission. I shall endure it as a self-mortification, in order that you may all be pleased, I had rather please you than myself; but, still, I would have it understood by all the church that I endure it as a penance for their sake. . . ." (205-206)
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Drummond, Lewis. Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1992.

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