The Down-Grade

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Reformer, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Reformer

    Reformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am about to begin a short study on the Down-Grade controversy, that partook in C.H. Surgeon's life. At this point I know nothing about it, I did find MacArthur's article on the subject http://www.spurgeon.org/downgrd.htm but I have not read it as of now. I was just wondering if anyone has studied it, and if there is anything I need to know before going into this study. I also wonder if the issues he dealt with are still controversial today, I guess that question should be more like, How relevant are the issues today?, that will determine how much time I invest into researching it. As I already stated at this point I know basically nothing, so forgive my ignorance.

    Reformer
     
  2. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,410
    Likes Received:
    328
    It's a fascinating subject.Spurgeon had to take a stand.Core doctrines were at stake such as the Diety of Christ,the authority and inspiration of Scripture,the resurrection etc.Just because other men believed the same as he on believer's baptism was not enough for him to be yoked with them.The cotroversy is detailed in his Sword and Trowel magazines.

    The controversy started around 1887 I think.He passed away in 1892.His wife said the pressure of it all took a toll on him which lwed to his death.

    His own brother,James,went against him on this issue.So did his friend and fellow preacher Alexander Maclaren.

    The whole subject has relevance to matters of moment today.Happy reading about a sad state of affairs.
     
  3. DrRandyGrace

    DrRandyGrace
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am not trying to be confrontational, but other than the historical knowledge and the intellectual aspect, of what importance is this study?
     
  4. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    4,894
    Likes Received:
    27
    I highly recommend the Downgrad Controversy. The subjects and issues Spurgeon was facing in his day are very, very relevant to our own. Pilgrim Publicans prints a hard copy, and it can be read online. http://www.spurgeon.org/misc/dwngrd.htm
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,219
    Likes Received:
    194
    I call Spurgeon the proto-fundamentalist because of his stand against the Downgrade Movement. From him we can learn to "earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints."
     
  6. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    We went through much the same thing in Canada in the 1920's. The leading Baptist University, McMaster had turned to liberal theology as had much of the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec. Dr. T.T. Shields was the leader in this stand against modernism and was expelled from that Baptist Convention, formed his own group called Regular Baptists and his own seminary, Toronto Baptist Seminary, with degree connections to the University of Toronto. McMaster moved from Toronto to Hamilton and continued with modernistic teaching from 1927 and into this time.

    Shields stand against modernism led to a lot of independent Baptist Churches in Ontario and in the 50's, many of these came together to form the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada.

    Spurgeon's group withdrew from the Baptist Union of England and formed Spurgeon's Pastor's College to train men for ministry.

    I don't think this strain played as much in his death as did the great fire where he was holding meetings whilst the Tabernacle was being built. He never recovered from that fire and went through many bouts of depression and was absent from the pulpit for as much as 5 consecutive Sundays.

    Spurgeon was quite bitter with the Baptist Union to his dying day, but did lead a handful of independent Baptist churches throughout England.

    Don't quote me, but I believe the Tabernacle returned to the Baptist Union in later years,,after Spurgeon's death, of course, but remains faithful to the word.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  7. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,410
    Likes Received:
    328
    T.T.Shields is regarded as a Fundamentalist despite his Calvinism.

    In Murray's bio of Dr.Lloyd-Jones he says that the Dr.met with T.T.S.The latter was trying to persuade the former to be more polemical in his preaching.But the Doctor said that that seemed to be the constant theme of Shield's ministry.

    Shield's had his place,but I prefer the ministry of M-L-J.
     
  8. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,410
    Likes Received:
    328
    I'm sure you must have heard the adage that goes something like "If we don't learn from history -- we are bound to repeat it."

    I think it's instructive to familiarize ourselves with the Down-Grade Movement.
     
  9. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    When I started out in 1948, we were all called Fundamentalists by the liberals. The name has a rather nebulous meaning to-day.

    One had to sit under Shields to truly appreciate his ministry, but he could be crude, and that is what caused the split at Toronto Baptist Seminary and led to the formation of the Fellowship,,,,,and Central Baptist Seminary. I lived through this era and with these men.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  10. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,410
    Likes Received:
    328
    You are a valuable link in the proverbial chain Jim.Wow! You sat under his ministry.Some,in their enthusiasm called Shields the Spurgeon of Canada.Did he refer to Spurgeon and other old-time preachers in his lectures?
     
  11. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    You did know I attended the Toronto Baptist Seminary under Shields!

    He often referred to Mr. Spurgeon...you did know that Spurgeon was never ordained. He refused it and reportedly said, "Why place empty hands on empty heads?"

    TBS was modelled after Spurgeon's College. It was meant for pastors. There was no tuition and many other things were provided by members of the Jarvis St. Church. We all held pastorates and hence there were no classes on Mondays..giving us time to get back from wherever we were preaching. Our teachers were not professors, per se, they were fellow pastors. Too bad we didn't follow the same principles to-day. We might be producing better pastors and missionaries.

    Dr. TT was a master of the English language and insisted that we as pastors also mastered English. The head of the ENglish department at UofT instructed his pupils to go hear Dr. Shields preach. Ignore his message, but pay mind to how he says it.

    The seminary attracted students from England and other British holdings such as Jamaica.

    If you have ever received the church newsletter from Bryan Station Baptist CHurch in Kentucky, you will read messages by Dr. C.D. Cole...he was my teacher in Biblical Theology and they print an article of his each month.

    These were interesting years...why, we were still getting arrested in Quebec for preaching the gospel in public as Baptist preachers.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  12. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,410
    Likes Received:
    328
    Your last post was exciting to read Jim.

    I have read articles by this C.D.Cole before.His style and substance remind me of AWP.Did Mr.Cole know Rolfe Barnard and Henry Mahan?
     
  13. John of Japan

    John of Japan
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Messages:
    12,219
    Likes Received:
    194
    Thanks for your fascinating glimpses into history, Jim! T. T. Shields is certainly an important name from the past for us fundamentalists. :wavey:
     
  14. 4His_glory

    4His_glory
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Messages:
    2,884
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would like to read more about the down grade. I have studied it in the past, and I believe it is a classic example of the necessity of biblical separation.

    I don´t understand what you are saying here Rip. There have been, and are currently, many self-identified fundamentalists who are calvinistic.


    And brother Jim, thank you for the info in regards to Sheilds. What a privilege it must have been to attend TBS in those days!

    If you have more accounts of your time there I would love to here them. The theological landscape was different back then, but many of the battles have not changed much but in name.
     
  15. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you for the nice comments. It is wonderful for me to look back and recall those days.

    There wasn't much money to spare and we had to make do with what we had. There was an undertaker who was a member of Jarvis St. Baptist Church. He collected unwanted shoes, suits, shirts and ties and brought them to the seminary. It was like shopping at the best shops in Toronto and everything was cleaned and free. Sometimes the suits didn't quite fit, but that was ok.

    Another member bought tickets for students to attend the annual presentation of Handel's Messiah. We could also take a friend with us.

    Meals were provided in the church kitchen and all we had to do was wash dishes after the meals. No meals on Sundays, for obvious reasons. Some students, without preaching engagements, waited after church for an invite to lunch and later dinner. We seldom went without; God did provide for us, literally.

    The standard dress for morning services back then was striped trousers and tails. I rode a motorbike to my church, provided by another church member. I would tuck the tails in my trousers and off I would go. One Sunday I was late arriving, parked my bike and rushed indoors for the service. It was a fine service and everyone seemed extra jolly.

    After the service I went out to my bike and then realized I had forgotten to pull my tails out of my trousers! Not one member said dickaboo, but I never did that again.

    Student life was not all Bible, theology and church history. There were a lot of personal trials and funny incidents, and I thought I would share some with you.

    Cheers, and bless,

    Jim
     
  16. Rippon

    Rippon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Messages:
    17,410
    Likes Received:
    328
    I think that a Calvinist/Fundamentalist is kind of rare.I say that knowing that Ian Paisley and the Free Presbyterian Churches are Fundamentalistic.

    Carl McIntire was also an exception.He was a strong Fundamentalist.Perhaps his Fundamentalism was stronger than his Calvinism.

    McIntire's friend Machen distained the label when others tried to foist it upon him.

    Historical Fundamentalisim is basically Arminian in its theology.That's what makes a Fundamentalist/Calvinist an awkward fit.
     
  17. 4His_glory

    4His_glory
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Messages:
    2,884
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would disagree that historical fundamentalism is basically theologically arminian. You are cutting out all of the early Presbyterian fundamentalists. It seems to me that that in the early years there was a wide diversity in the theological landscape of fundamentalism.

    Also calvinistic fundamentalists are not as rare as you think they are.
     
  18. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    I really don't think Arminian theology or Calvinist theology enters the picture on the original label of "fundamentalist". The label was applied by the liberal school, and we just accepted it. By 1963 we were using the term "evangelical" in place of fundamentalist, except in the USA, where fundamentlist remained for a number of years.

    Calvinism is essentially the tulip, and variations of that came about by changing the order of the decrees. Sublapsarianism became the norm for most fundamentalist and they included eternal security of the believer.

    In the early days, fundamentalist meant that we relied on the scriptures as the word of God, and we preached, "Ye must be born again." We gladly bore that label at the time.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  19. Bob Farnaby

    Bob Farnaby
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Messages:
    1,052
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jim, thanks for sharing something of the times you spent in Toronto, I found it very interesting and encouraging.

    Regards
    Bob
     
  20. Jim1999

    Jim1999
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Jim1999.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2002
    Messages:
    15,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Bob. I am always glad to share my personal pastoral experiences having lived and participating in many of the controversies of the time.

    I sat under Ian Paisley for a series of lectures in Toronto, and Carl McIntyre was a personal friend. Both received more press for their personal political connections than for the truth they taught and their personal endeavors for Christ. Paisley for his battle against the IRA and McIntyre for his battles against modernism and the World Council of Churches. They were both valiant for the Lord.

    We saw far too much compromise in those days and the plain gospel was lost in the battles for truth.

    Theology was important to each of us, but we gave in to such views as dispensationalism and variations in Calvinistic theology for the sake of unity in our battle for truth.

    The majority of early Baptist views were always a variation of Calvinism, but never so far as to be labelled Arminian. There was a free will group of Baptists and they were Arminian, but they were always outside the general fold.

    Baptists always embraced the eternal security of the believer. They differed on the role of free will in the acceptance of the gospel.

    The best demonstration of that free will is by drawing two circles, one inside the other. The larger circle being the absolute sovereignty of God. An area no man may enter. The inner circle being the permissive will of God. It is in this sphere where man has a choice and relative free exercise of his will. You must, however, note, that this circle is within the sovereign will of God. So, it is always God's prerogative to intervene as His sovereign right.

    They were interesting times, I must confess, and I don't find the church activities of to-day anywhere close to those days of the fifties and sixties.

    Cheers, and bless,

    Jim
     
    #20 Jim1999, Sep 23, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2008

Share This Page

Loading...