Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand for me against the workers of iniquity? (Psalm 94:16)
C.H. Spurgeon writes:
Faithful ministers are few, and fewer still are bold enough to stand and defy the enemies of truth. Where are our Luthers and our Calvins? A false charity weakened Israel’s valiant men. One John Knox would be worth a mint at this hour, but where is he? Our great consolation is that the God of Knox and Luther is still with us, and in due time He will call His chosen champions.
From Spurgeon’s The Treasury of David.
I love this quote for two reasons. The first is that Spurgeon languished with the reality that there was so much weakness found in the ministers of his day, just as there is a weakness in the ministers of our day. There are far too many men who enter the pulpits across the country who refuse to do the work to preach God’s word faithfully. They are committed more to being the congregation’s general counselor instead of a true shepherd that is committed to feeding the sheep from God’s holy word. They may use the Bible, but it’s not there for exposition or rebuke, correction, etc. It’s there as life’s road map.
This kind of preaching is quite popular in our day. It does serve the purposes of the masses, but those who truly hunger for the word of God, preached with unction, go hungry. We do want to know that we are loved by God, as only the elect can truly experience His love, but we also want to hear the hard things as well. We want to know of our own sinfulness so that we also see magnificence of His grace. We want to know of His righteous judgment to come so that we understand His mercy toward us. We even want to know of our election so that we are reminded how special we truly are, not special because of anything in us, but because of His rich love toward us.
Yet, the purveyors of the pablum prattle on with their silly alterations and sermons more adapted to Oprah and counseling sessions than messages intended to address the people of God. Paul told us in Romans 10 that when the word is preached, we actually hear from Christ. But Christ is not to be found in many pulpits in our day because the men who stand in those hallowed places are too busy appeasing those who hunger for sweet messages. All the while, those who are truly His hunger all the more for the word.
Fortunately for us, there are those who would gladly stand with Spurgeon and preach faithfully. They do proclaim God’s word, men like Alistair Begg, Albert Mohler, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur and a host of others scattered across the fruited plains. They are the preachers the elect turn to when they cannot find sound doctrine in their own towns. They turn to those men because they have no other choice: they hunger for true preaching. Thankfully God has given us such men, as He does in every generation.
This leads to the other point I wanted to make about Spurgeon’s quote, which is one that many of you already thought of when reading his words. Spurgeon was asking where the Knox was of his day? The irony is that Spurgeon only needed to look in the mirror to find the Knox of his day. Spurgeon was the man.
I suspect that he never felt like Knox, Calvin, or Luther. But Spurgeon was the man God raised up to faithfully preach in his generation, so much so, that we are still feeling his influence today. He probably never felt like that was the case. The true men of God never feel like they accomplish great deeds. No matter how much fruit they bear, true shepherds of Christ feel the need to press on so that they may bear more and more fruit. Not in the sense that they are working for a righteousness that can only be found through faith in Christ, but because of the love they know personally of the Savior. They press on for him. The men called by God respond to that calling out of deep gratitude for what He has done for them. It is their joy and passion.
The truth must be known that many of these men respond faithfully, preach faithfully and press on faithfully, even when the people do not listen. They can do nothing else. God’s hand is on them so they continue preaching, teaching, writing and pointing others back to Christ. They are the ones who are standing against iniquity and evildoers. The world may take no notice of them and their task. Yet, they are still their because of God’s faithfulness to those who do listen. There may not seem like many, but the elect will be called until Christ comes again, no matter how few there may be.