The Downgrade Controversy

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was the most popular and influential preacher of his time.  He was a great expositor of the Bible, a gifted preacher, and spoke out against false teaching and hypocrisy.  If you know anything about Spurgeon, you may have heard of the famous “Downgrade Controversy”, in which he stood against modernist theology, and eventually even withdrew from the Baptist Union over this issue.  He believed that early modernism was introducing worldliness and false doctrine into the church, and that Christianity was on the downgrade, moving away from Biblical truth.

“Biblical truth is like the pinnacle of a steep, slippery mountain.  One step away, and you find yourself on the downgrade.  Once a church or individual Christian gets on the downgrade, momentum takes over and the down slide gets worse.”  -Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

This excellent 11 minute video explains more about the Downgrade controversy both then and today:


In the same way that Spurgeon was persecuted during his time for standing against worldliness and false doctrine, so are many in the church today.  This is a great article that addresses the issue of professing “christians” persecuting christians who stand for truth and sound Biblical doctrine.

“If you’re a Christian who has ever dared to vocally take a stand on the truth of God’s word against the false teaching so prevalent in today’s pop Christianity, you’ve almost certainly experienced this type of persecution at the hands of people who call themselves ‘Christians.'”, writes the author.

Like Spurgeon, may we all take courage and remain faithful in the face of persecution as we continue to stand against worldliness and false doctrine.  May we ‘seek the approval of God, and not man’ (Galatians 1:10).  And may we ‘rejoice and be glad when others persecute us, and utter all kinds of evil against us falsely on His account, for our reward is great in Heaven’ (Matthew 5:10-12)

But, as we do this, may we also live out 1 Peter 3:14-16, so that ‘we would honor Christ as Holy’.  We must ‘speak with gentleness and respect and have a clear conscience so that when we are slandered, those who revile our good behavior will be put to shame’.  We must always speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and check our motives.  May everything we do be for His glory and His Namesake.

“The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Savior from hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of Fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.”   –A.W. Pink


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