A century ago Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a leading light in the evangelical world. His sermons were published each week. His influence was enormous. His battle for the preservation of orthodoxy among evangelicals soon found him standing pretty much alone. He took on the establishment and was pummeled for his stand. This has been true down through the annals of Christian History. The war is always raging in the struggle to maintain orthodoxy.
In March 1887, Charles Spurgeon published the first of two articles entitled "The Down Grade" in his monthly magazine, The Sword and the Trowel. The articles were published anonymously, but the author was Robert Shindler, Spurgeon's close friend and fellow Baptist pastor. Shindler wrote the articles with input from Spurgeon, who footnoted the first article with a personal endorsement: "Earnest attention is requested for this paper. . . . We are going down hill at breakneck speed." Tracing the state of evangelicalism from the Puritan age to his own era, Shindler noted that every revival of true evangelical faith had been followed within a generation or two by a drift away from sound doctrine, ultimately leading to wholesale apostasy. He likened this drifting from truth to a downhill slope, and thus labeled it "the down-grade."
A cursory examination of the state of evangelicalism in the United States reflects vivid parallels with this 'down-grade'. Only a blind man or a heretic will disavow this trend.
Doctrine is a seamless garment. Heresy in one area pollutes and corrupts the whole. To pretend that some aspects of foundational Truth are subject to varying interpretations and application is at best naieve and at worst consigning the church to a trajectory that leads to apostasy. History confirms this premise over and over and over.
Spurgeon sounded the alarm. He was largely ignored. History has confirmed the accuracy of his concern. The question before us is this - -"Will we engage in aimless dithering or will we take a gracious, irenic and compassionate stand for Truth? Joshua and Caleb understood the wretched end of following the 'majority rules' approach to doctrine and Truth.
Where do you stand?