In one of his sermons Charles Spurgeon gave the following charge to future preacher boys, “Brethren, do something; do something; DO SOMETHING. While Committees waste their time over resolutions, do something. While Societies and Unions are making constitutions, let us win souls. Too often we discuss, and discuss, and discuss, while Satan only laughs in his sleeve… Get to work.”
I absolutely love this quote! Spurgeon is a bit of an enigma to me in many ways. He had wonderful, inspiring, truth-filled sermons that packed a punch. Yet on the other hand he suffered severely from Calvinism’s incurable malady of cognitive dissonance–which is more or less the holding of conflicting beliefs such that an individual can only opt for one in any given moment. For example Spurgeon’s Calvinism dictates the belief that if certain Christians don’t “do something” that they ought to do, it is ultimately because God predetermined that they not do it! Their choosing “not to” is merely the effect in time of God’s prior choice of what they would or would not desire to do. In Calvinism, Luther’s famous “bondage of the will” is nothing less than man’s bondage to God’s decretive, determining will. On the other hand Spurgeon’s pastoral heart feels an urgency to “win souls” (a very Arminian term) as if God’s mission to reach the lost is either accelerated or delayed depending on the free-will obedience of those he calls his “co-laborers.”
Saying our “obedience” is merely the means by which God accomplishes his predetermined will doesn’t help the Calvinist gain an iota of credibility. For in Calvinism God determines whether Christians will obey or disobey him in every given situation of life! It is absurd to think that God genuinely longs for and calls out for obedience while at the same time determining who and who will not obey him behind the “sovereign curtain” of his decree.
I also admire the passionate oratory of certain statements by John Piper. However he is the epitome of Calvinistic cognitive dissonance. A supreme example is his missions book, “Let the nations be glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions.” The central thesis of Piper’s book is,
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exist because worship doesn’t.”
Bravo! Kudos! And yet it is at this point that I want to slap Piper upside the head (gently) and plead for common sense to break through the foggy incoherency of his Calvinism. “Yes John! The necessity of missions is due to a lack of worship in the earth. But who determined that? Your theology requires you to hold that God determines who will worship and who will not worship him!”
It is inescapable that in Calvinism’s divine panorama we find God unilaterally decreeing the very lack of worship Piper sees as a regress that must be addressed. Cognitive dissonance par excellence.