The Doom and Death Wish of the Reformed Preacher
Charles Spurgeon, the Reformed Baptist preacher of the late 19th century, in London, once called Calvinism, “the true Gospel.” Spurgeon suffered depression, in part, caused by the Downgrade Controversy, an Arminian heresy movement in his generation.
The more Reformed the man of God becomes, the fewer the opportunities he has to preach within the walls of churches. A very small number of truly Reformed congregations exist among the 386,000 local churches in the United States.
Far more popular are the Dispensational Arminian congregations, filled with those who have heard and believed the man-centered gospel of…”God loves everyone, Christ died for everyone, and everyone has the possibility to save themselves, by deciding to accept Jesus’ atonement, through self-generated faith.”
When a man of God comes along with a Gospel message, focused on God’s sovereign election, Christ’s particular redemption, and the Holy Spirit’s definite apprehension of salvation, through His indwelling the elect redeemed, there is an instant scoffing and active resistance to the man of God, committed to the Gospel of sovereign grace unto salvation.
The Reformed pastor is despised and rejected by men in the church because he steals glory from these men, who believe they alone have the power to choose who they will make to be their savior. The Reformed pastor is like a voice crying in the wilderness of self-will. He is critical of the religious men, who enslave people with a meritorious message, “God desires to save all men, including you, whoever you are, and He is obligated to save anyone and everyone of you, if you will work out your salvation with self-generated faith.”
A God-honoring Gospel makes the Reformed preacher like Elijah on Mount Carmel, who was zealous for the name and glory of the true God in Israel. His opponents were the hard-working, self-flagellating priests of Baal, who demanded allegiance and sacrifices that promised blessings in return. The Reformed pastor exposes the lies of, “Do this free will decision, as a work of your personal faith, and you will earn the blessing of Christ’s salvation by your excellent choice…just do it!”
The Reformed preacher is a lonely figure, as seen by the faithful men of God in Scripture and church history, who will stand alone, sometimes with a little flock of God’s remnant people, who insist on: the glory of God’s sovereign election, Gospel call, Spirit-regeneration, effectual call, gift of repentance and faith, justification by grace, adoption, monergistic sanctification, preservation of the saints, victory over death, and glorification of the saints.
The Reformed preacher is called to deny his own self-love, popular appeal, and worldly benefits afforded to Arminian pastors, committed to ever-popular human empowerment, loved by unregenerate goats, posing as Christ’s sheep.
The Reformed pastor is doomed to a life of unpopular conflict, false accusation of cruel and cold-hearted preaching. His singular zeal for the glory of Christ alone will isolate him from the false Arminian preacher and big congregations, made up of those who have chosen of their own free will to become co-pilots with Christ, in a supposed joint venture of salvation by God’s grace, Christ’s death, and man’s work of choice.
Save for the redeemed remnant, a little flock, who love and suffer for the sake of the reputation of their hated Good Shepherd, the Reformed pastor would have nothing but his core family as his ministry. Still, his death wish is a suicide of success for himself, in suffering for the sake of the elect, who by grace, hear the voice of Christ, when the Reformed preacher proclaims the excellencies of Him who calls His own sheep from the dark sheepfold of this world, and into the marvelous light of the Kingdom of God.
Press on Reformed pastor, with your high, albeit lonely, calling. He who has called you is faithful, and the fruit of His Spirit is your faithfulness. Your present sufferings are not to be compared to the glory to be revealed to you and your flock.
Spokane Valley, Washington
August 5, 2021