As always I look forward to Phil Johnson's weekly quotes from Spurgeon on the Pyromaniacs blog page. As Spurgeon fought with the "Down Grade" in the Baptist churches near the end of his life, he was able to write very clearly on the common trends that besiege the Church in decline from Orthodoxy, particularly with Liberalism. Here's what Spurgeon had to say in his day:
"What marvel if, under some men's shifty talk, people grow into love of both truth and falsehood! People will say, "We like this form of doctrine, and we like the other also." The fact is, they would like anything if only a clever deceiver would put it plausibly before them. They admire Moses and Aaron, but they would not say a word against Jannes and Jambres. We shall not join in the confederacy which seems to aim at such a comprehension.
We must preach the gospel so distinctly that our people know what we are preaching. "If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle?" Don't puzzle your people with doubtful speeches."Well", said one, "I had a new idea the other day. I did not enlarge upon it; but I just threw it out."That is a very good thing to do with most of your new ideas. Throw them out, by all means; but mind where you are when you do it; for if you throw them out from the pulpit they may strike somebody, and inflict a wound upon faith.
Throw out your fancies, but first go alone in a boat a mile out to sea. When you have once thrown out your unconsidered trifles, leave them to the fishes.We have nowadays around us a class of men who preach Christ, and even preach the gospel; but then they preach a great deal else which is not true, and thus they destroy the good of all that they deliver, and lure men to error. They would be styled "evangelical" and yet be of the school which is really anti-evangelical."
(End Spurgeon Excerpt)
This is good meat for modern Christians (or rather, post-modern)! In our time there are all sorts of "fancies" or calls to "rethink" doctrines. Now I in a Berean spirit am all for analyzing doctrines holding them up to the truth of God's word to see whether they are true or no. Yet there is a type of whimsical questioning (or fancy) which really is anti-evangelical. These are the fancies which must be thrown aside. I have in mind notions of "rethinking" (which is a soft way of saying rejecting) cardinal doctrines of Christian faith, such as biblical inerrancy, salvation by faith in Christ alone etc. These doctrines in the name of "rethinking" are being challenged by many who think they do evangelicalism a favor in our "post-modern age" in which we need to adapt to.
For example, the other day I heard of Brian McLaren calling for a 5 year evangelical summit to "rethink" the issue of homosexuality. This I think will only end in an acceptance of homosexuality in the mind of McLaren. The connection to Spurgeon's words is that in his day men were calling for similar notions of "rethinking" doctrines (which resulted in their denial) we now look back at the rise of theological liberalism and can see strong parallels between that movement and modern immitations. Just like Theological Liberalism, its postmodern counterpart is making pleas to be culturally relevant, and adapt to the culture. This usually includes dark ominous prophetic utterances saying that "Unless the Church adapts it will fade into oblivion!"
In short, we are not to adapt the gospel to the spirit of the age and fancies of men and conform to the world, rather, it is the culture (which is made up of sinners) which need to conform to the truth of Christ's word. We are so prone to have it backwards, Christianity (I speak in the scope of doctrinal matter) is not to be shaped by fallen man's likes and dislikes as though there were some defect in the Christian message. Rather, it is fallen man's likes and dislikes which must be brought into subjection to Him who is Lord of all, Christ.