Charles Spurgeon’s Defense of Calvinism

REFUTED With Scripture and Logic


Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) was a famous Baptist minister who, among other things, pastored the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London smoked cigars* and wrote a so-called Defense Of Calvinism which has been used over the years


for support of that theology. [*This fact about his cigar smoking has been concealed in our day, but the older pre-1940 Charles Spurgeon biographies include a chapter on his smoking. See quote regarding this at the end of this article.] One hundred years after his death, Charles Spurgeon is still favorably quoted and much respected by the uninformed, present-day church crowd. As you will learn, Charles Spurgeon was not biblically sound or logical.


Because Charles Spurgeon wrote an article entitled, A Defense Of Calvinism and that same article is sometimes submitted as proof for that theological system, it must, therefore, be tested (1 Thess. 5:21) with the Scriptures, which is final authority for the Christian (2 Tim. 3:16,17). Below are my findings.


Charles Spurgeon’s Quote About Calvinism and Arminianism


[All quotes from Charles Spurgeon are from The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, Curts & Jennings, Cincinnati — Chicago — St. Louis, 1898, Vol. I. All quotes from John Calvin are from Institutes of the Christian Religion, Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989, translated by Henry Beveridge.]


  1. Charles Spurgeon shockingly declared Calvinism is the gospel and Arminianism is heresy:


And what is the heresy of Arminianism but the addition of something to the work of the Redeemer? Every heresy, if brought to the touchstone, will discover itself here. I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else (p. 172)


COMMENT: Everyone who knows that the Bible does not teach Calvinism needs to be informed that Charles Spurgeon believed this way, BEFORE they are tempted to favorably quote Charles Spurgeon as an authority in a sermon, article, private conversation, etc! For Charles Spurgeon to declare Calvinism as the gospel and Arminianism as heresy immediately reflects his overall darkened understanding of the entire Scriptures! Proof for this statement will soon be shown.


  1. Charles Spurgeon denied a basic Scriptural truth about falling away taught by the Lord Jesus and further added that he abhor[s] such a message:


… nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor (p. 172).


What Does The Bible Teach About Falling Away?


Mark 14:27-31


27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.


28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.


29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.


30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.


31 But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all. 





These Scriptures prove that the Lord’s apostles (or saints) did fall away after they were called, with Peter disowning Jesus three times. Though those eleven apostles all came back to the Lord, others like Solomon and Saul, turned away and never returned. Charles Spurgeon, by his own admittance, abhors this Scriptural truth! Remember this the next time you hear the name, Charles Spurgeon.


Getting back to Luke 8:13, also remember that Jesus taught people fall away after they believe. In other words, it is impossible to fall away unless one first believes. This is Jesus’ interpretation and is not open to another’s, including from Charles Spurgeon.


Charles Spurgeon can’t comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called. But the real gospel, as outlined in the Scriptures and which Paul preached, states that a Christian can even believe in vain:


1 Corinthians 15:1-4


1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;


2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.


3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;


4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:





Clearly then, unlike what Reformed Charles Spurgeon taught, there are conditions attached to the real gospel of grace. Furthermore, it is definitely possible for a real Christian to believe in vain, according to the word of God. This also makes the following Charles Spurgeon quote wrong since the Apostle Paul did NOT preach, as he represents him:


“The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach today, or else be false to my conscience and my God” (p. 167).


III. Charles Spurgeon was so convinced about the Calvinistic view of falling away that he strangely concluded that the Bible is a lie and he himself will become an infidel, if he ever came to believe that even one saint of God has ever fall[en] finally:


If one dear saint of God had perished, so might all; if one of the covenant ones be lost, so may all be; and then there is no gospel promise true, but the Bible is a lie, and there is nothing in it worth my acceptance. I will be an infidel at once when I can believe that a saint of God can ever fall finally (p. 172).


COMMENT: Of course, the Bible is not a lie, but instead the proven word of the living God. All Calvinist Charles Spurgeon needed to do was accept the clear teaching of Scripture on the believer’s security, as upsetting as it might be to him. Charles Spurgeon and other once saved always saved teachers are actually placing a snare before all who listen to their message of an unconditional security for the believer. Please note what the Scriptures teach about an extreme, over sense of security, as Charles Spurgeon was declaring:


1 Cor. 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.


Do Not Be Haughty, But Fear


Moreover, true grace teaching declares the following:


Romans 11:19-23


19Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.


20Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:


21For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.


22Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.


23And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.


  1. By his own admittance, Charles Spurgeon’s personal belief in the Calvinistic doctrine of the “perseverance of the saints” prevented him from becoming of all men most miserable:


I do not know how some people, who believe that a Christian can fall from grace, manage to be happy. It must be a very commendable thing in them to be able to get through a day without despair. If I did not believe the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints, I think I should be of all men the most miserable, because I should lack any ground of comfort (p. 173).


COMMENT: Dear friend, please know that truth as recorded in the Bible, and not what makes us happy should be our quest. In contrast, Charles Spurgeon exalted happiness over Bible truth! Some doctrines in the Bible are disturbing, like eternal, conscious torment awaiting the lost beyond the grave, but it is still true. Truth is what will set us free (John 8:32).


Also, Charles Spurgeon’s doctrine took part of a Scripture from the KJV out of context and connected it to the Calvinistic perseverance of the saints, a teaching which is not found in Scripture. Below is what the Apostle Paul actually wrote and which Charles Spurgeon used out of context:


If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable (1 Cor. 15:19, KJV).


Paul was teaching there that a Christian’s hope in Christ, extends beyond the grave and is in no way even slightly connected to the perseverance of the saints, as Charles Spurgeon misused Scripture to suggest. Furthermore, as already cited, Charles Spurgeon wrote:


It must be a very commendable thing in them [Christians who believe they can fall from grace] to be able to get through a day without despair.


But Paul and the other early Christians were not overcome with despair, as Charles Spurgeon suggests should come to rejecters of the perseverance of the saints doctrine as they were. Instead, they walked in the fear of God themselves, as they also worked out their salvation with fear and trembling:


Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12, KJV).


Regarding falling from grace, the apostle Paul clearly believed such did occur to some of the Galatians, who were at that same point, alienated from Christ:


Galatians 5:2-4


2Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.


3For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.


4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.


Calvinism’s Evanescent Grace


How could Charles Spurgeon, or any Calvinist, truly be sure of Heaven himself? Though Charles Spurgeon and others might speak or write of salvation assurance, such really isn’t consistent with Calvinism! According to that theology, Charles Spurgeon and other Calvinists might have been merely reprobates all along and have only been given by God an evanescent grace, as Calvin termed it:


… Experience shows that the reprobate are sometimes affected in a way so similar to the elect that even in their own judgment there is no difference between them. Hence, it is not strange, that by the Apostle a taste of heavenly gifts, and by Christ himself a temporary faith is ascribed to them. Not that they truly perceive the power of spiritual grace and the sure light of faith; but the Lord, the better to convict them, and leave them without excuse, instills into their minds such a sense of goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption …. there is a great resemblance and affinity between the elect of God and those who are impressed for a time with a fading faith …. Still it is correctly said, that the reprobate believe God to be propitious to them, inasmuch as they accept the gift of reconciliation, though confusedly and without due discernment; not that they are partakers of the same faith or regeneration with the children of God; but because, under a covering of hypocrisy they seem to have a principle of faith in common with them. Nor do I even deny that God illumines their mind to this extent …. there is nothing inconsistent in this with the fact of his enlightening some with a present sense of grace, which afterwards proves evanescent (3.2.11, Institutes).


In light of John Calvin’s teaching (which Charles Spurgeon agreed with), the salvation assurance that all Calvinists speak of is merely empty words, since they won’t really know until the very end of their lives if they were elect or not! Perhaps God just granted them an evanescent grace in which they feel saved but really aren’t. [By this teaching, Calvinists shockingly portray the God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2) as forcing untrue feelings on some people, in order to deceive them!]




  1. Charles Spurgeon clearly contradicts the message of Scripture again! This time Charles Spurgeon taught there will be more people in Heaven than in hell:


I believe there will be more in Heaven than in hell. If anyone asks me why I think so, I answer, because Christ, in everything, is to ‘have the pre-eminence,’ and I cannot conceive how He could have the pre-eminence if there are to be more in the dominions of Satan than in Paradise (p. 174).





The Lord Jesus Taught

The MAJORITY Will Perish!


Matthew 7


13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:




Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.


COMMENT: According to the Lord Jesus (and in contrast to Charles Spurgeon), there are only two groups of people with many of them going to destruction, and only few being saved in the end. Furthermore, the wide gate and broad way leading to destruction also implies that more people are on that road and will enter through that gate into that eternal destiny than will enter the narrow gate into life. Dear reader, if YOU are like most people, you too are on your way to eternal damnation. If so, you need to turn from your sins and put your faith in Jesus for your salvation, Acts 20:21. Also, it is ONLY a trusting, submitting and ENDURING faith in the Lord Jesus that will bring us into God’s Kingdom:


Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.


Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;


Rev. 2:10-11





10Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.





11He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.


Please note: the second death is another name for the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8). So being faithful until death is necessary for salvation’s sake, according to the Lord Jesus. The teaching of once saved always saved, eternal security or the perseverance of the saints can NOT be true, according to the Bible. So don’t be deceived by Charles Spurgeon teaching it.


Furthermore, Charles Spurgeon again used a Scriptural clause about Christ having the pre-eminence for his defense of Calvinism. Notice how it is actually cited in the Scriptures (and different from how Charles Spurgeon used it):


“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18, KJV).


The context of that verse reveals that Charles Spurgeon has again misused Scripture for his own purpose and faulty defense of a false theology.



  1. Charles Spurgeon contradicts John Calvin’s teaching about the non-elect infants being damned to Hell, even though he considers himself a Calvinist and Calvinism as the gospel:


I rejoice to know that the souls of all infants, as soon as they die, speed their way to Paradise (p. 175).


But John Calvin did NOT teach that all infants go to Paradise upon death! In contrast to Charles Spurgeon, John Calvin taught that non-elect infants would be condemned:


Hence, even infants bringing their condemnation with them from their mother’s womb, suffer not for another’s, but for their own defect. For although they have not yet produced the fruits of their own unrighteousness, they have the seed implanted in them. Nay, their whole nature is, as it were, a seed-bed of sin, and therefore cannot but be odious and abominable to God. Hence, it follows, that it is properly deemed sinful in the sight of God; for there could be no condemnation without guilt (2.1.8. Institutes).


I again ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infants children in eternal death without remedy, unless that it so seemed meet to God? (3.23.7. Institutes).


At this point, Charles Spurgeon’s Defense of Calvinism seems to be more like a refutation to Calvinism. Moreover, Charles Spurgeon opposed infant baptism or they say in Reformed circles, covenant theology infant baptism, which John Calvin believed in:


In 1864, he preached a sermon against infant baptism and offended a large group of evangelicals who had been his supporters.


Regarding infant baptism, Calvin taught the following:


Everyone must now see that paedobaptism, which receives such strong support from Scripture, is by no means of human invention. (John Calvin’s Argument for Infant Baptism, chapter 8)



VII. Charles Spurgeon considers Scriptural truth that Jesus died for ALL people who ever lived to be the most monstrous iniquity that could be imputed to a pagan deity!


That Christ should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of all men, and that afterwards some of those very men should be punished for the sins of which Christ had already atoned, appears to me to be the most monstrous iniquity that could ever have been imputed to Saturn, to Janus, to the goddess of the Thugs, or to the most diabolical heathen deities. God forbid that we should ever think thus of Jehovah, the just and wise and good! (pp. 175,176).


COMMENT: Charles Spurgeon, and other Calvinists, deny the truth of the infinite work of Christ as extending to all people, even those who will be lost in the end. Below are a few Scriptures which reveal Charles Spurgeon’s definite error:


Isaiah 53:6 KJV All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.


2 Peter 2:1 KJV But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.


1 John 2:2 KJV And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.


Romans 5:6 KJV For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.


COMMENT: Regarding Rom. 5:6, for Charles Spurgeon or any Calvinist to embrace a view of grace and the atonement that will only benefit those that go to Heaven is to say indirectly that those that go to Hell must not be ungodly, since Christ died for all of the ungodly. But of course, those that are thrown into the lake of fire are ungodly (Rev. 21:8; 1 Cor. 6:9,10; etc.). Therefore, Charles Spurgeon’s Calvinism is also clearly wrong about the infinite work of Christ.



VIII. Charles Spurgeon presumptuously states that he holds more firmly to Calvinism, which is also known by some as the doctrines of grace, than anyone else:





There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do …. (p. 176).


COMMENT: It is sheer presumption for Charles Spurgeon to make such a comment, for there might have been someone somewhere, that Charles Spurgeon didn’t know about, who did hold more firmly to Calvinism than he did.


Moreover, since Calvinism is equated with grace, but is incorrect according to the Scriptures, then Charles Spurgeon and Calvinism must be a false grace message. This is especially evident as the Calvinists, and other OSAS proponents, would say David, while in adultery and murder, remained saved all along. Jude warned of those that would turn grace into a license for immorality. Christians are commanded to contend against this perversion of grace:


Jude 1:3-4 KJV 


3Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.





4For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.




  1. Charles Spurgeon believed a heresy preacher, like the Arminian John Wesley, could have been an apostle, if more were needed!


Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines that he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitfield and John Wesley (p. 176).


COMMENT: How could a heresy preacher be the Lord’s apostle? In other words, according to Charles Spurgeon, since Arminianism is a heresy and John Wesley was the modern prince of Arminians, how then could Wesley qualify for the office of apostle? Remember, among other things, apostles teach doctrine and doctrine must be sound:


Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:


Again, Charles Spurgeon reveals that he was an irrational thinker as he describes Wesley, as a prime candidate for “apostle”!



Charles Spurgeon’s Defense of Calvinism

Has Been Tested and It FAILED MISERABLY


After comparing Charles Spurgeon’s Defense Of Calvinism to the Scriptures, I’ve found his personal beliefs and arguments for such not only weak, but much worse than that. Charles Spurgeon’s teachings are clear contradictions to the Holy Scriptures. Moreover, he flatly contradicted John Calvin, yet all the while claimed to be a strong Calvinist. Charles Spurgeon also showed himself to be presumptuous and at another time totally illogical by what he wrote about Wesley. With all of this in mind, Charles Spurgeon had an overall darkened and confused view of the Scriptures, as do others that embrace Calvinism. Charles Spurgeon, therefore, can NOT be justly branded the prince of preachers like some unwittingly call him, even though he had a large following in his day and is often favorably quoted in our day.


Finally, and most importantly, Charles Spurgeon’s gospel of Calvinism and doctrines of grace are NOT the message of the Scriptures. If Charles Spurgeon truly knew the Scriptures, he could NOT have written such a Defense of Calvinism, as he did. It would have been IMPOSSIBLE. In fact, if Charles Spurgeon really understood the Scriptures he would have been forced to openly renounce and refute Calvinism, as other Christians have. In light of all of this information, no informed Christian should ever quote this staunch Calvinist in a way as to give the impression that he was profoundly informed about the Scriptures. To do so is to actually act in a counterproductive way to the spreading of basic, sound, Christian doctrine, which Charles Spurgeon clearly opposed by believing in and trying to defend Calvinism.



Charles Spurgeon’s Example As A Cigar Smoker


While Mr. Spurgeon was living at Nightingale Lane, Clapham, an excursion was one day organised by one of the young men’s classes at the Tabernacle. The brake with the excursionists was to call for the President on their way to mid-Surrey.


It was a beautiful early morning, and the men arrived in high spirits, pipes and cigars alight, and looking forward to a day of unrestrained enjoyment. Mr. Spurgeon was ready waiting at the gate. He jumped up to the box-seat reserved for him, and looking round with an expression of astonishment, exclaimed: “What, gentlemen! Are you not ashamed to be smoking so early?”


Here was a damper! Dismay was on every face. Pipes and cigars one by one failed and dropped out of sight.


When all had disappeared, out came the President’s cigar-case. He lit up and smoked away serenely.


The men looked at him astonished. “I thought you said you objected to smoking, Mr. Spurgeon?” one ventured.


“Oh no, I did not say I objected. I asked if they were not ashamed, and it appears they were, for they have all put their pipes away.”


Amid laughter the pipes reappeared, and with puffs of smoke the party went on merrily*.