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A Study of Dispensationalism
by Arthur Pink

"But there is further reason, and a pressing one today, why we should write upon our present subject, and that is to expose the modern and pernicious error of Dispensationalism. This is a device of the Enemy, designed to rob the children of no small part of that bread which their heavenly Father has provided for their souls; a device wherein the wily serpent appears as an angel of light, feigning to "make the Bible a new book" by simplifying much in it which perplexes the spiritually unlearned. It is sad to see how widely successful the devil has been by means of this subtle innovation."

Philosophy

Responding to personal attacks

Larry J. Michael, PhD.

Every leader has experienced some type of personal attack. Whether it is an attack on character, conduct, motives, decisions or abilities, it all can be very hurtful.

A church leader must be able to rise above those attacks in order to survive and remain faithful to his calling. But, what should be your immediate response when you feel you’ve been wrongfully attacked? The immediate temptation may be to defend yourself and react in an emotional manner.

Following the example of strong leaders, however, shows us it may be wiser to take a higher road.

Spurgeon's Devotion

C. H. Spurgeon seldom responded to personal attacks. A good example of that is the time that his famous pastoral colleague, Joseph Parker, of the City Temple in London, wrote an open letter to Spurgeon that was published in the newspaper in 1890. The letter issued from a disagreement the two men had over Parker’s frequenting the theatres in London. Spurgeon was not amused by such worldly practice for a Christian leader. As well, Spurgeon frowned upon Parker welcoming the recognized liberal pastor, Henry Ward Beecher, into his pulpit.

As a result, Spurgeon ceased cooperating with Parker in evangelical endeavors. Parker felt rebuffed, and responded unwisely in a public manner. There was a lot of comment in the public press. But, Spurgeon never addressed the letter in a public fashion. For him, the matter ended there. He just let it go. Sometimes we need to do that. Just let it go, as difficult as that may be. An unmerited response might simply make matters worse.

Upholding the Calling

While Spurgeon did not generally respond to personal attacks on him as a person, he did, on occasion, respond to personal attacks on his position as pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle. He believed his calling to be a sacred one and if someone attacked his role as a minister, he did respond to those critics accordingly.

Such was the case in the early part of his London ministry when the newspapers derided his immediate popularity and castigated him with every vile description possible. He was lampooned as a country bumpkin from Essex, whom the media elite considered uncouth and vulgar. He was caricatured in cartoons as a charlatan seeking fame and fortune in the city.

Spurgeon took advantage of the situation and rallied his congregation to support him in the wake of the vilification he was receiving. It turned out to be a positive force for the gospel, as many people came to hear him out of curiosity, and in the process, came to faith in Christ.

Interestingly enough, Spurgeon became somewhat amused at the ridiculous nature of the criticisms in the press, and compiled a scrapbook of the news clippings entitled "Facts, Fiction, and Facetiae." He enjoyed showing them to visitors. At least he did not take himself so seriously and was able to see the humor in it all. But, the criticisms did hurt and he felt the sting at times. He wrote privately to his wife and lamented the false accusations. But, he charted safely through those stormy waters, and went on to become the first megachurch pastor in modern times.

Completing the Task

In a similar vein, we have the biblical example of Nehemiah, who returned to Jerusalem to lead the Israelites in rebuilding the city walls. There were enemies who opposed this noble effort and did everything they could -- from open mocking and ridicule, to false rumors and even entrapment -- to stop Nehemiah from finishing the project. But, Nehemiah refused their attempts to distract him from his goal.

On one particular occasion, after his critics repeatedly called for a meeting away from the city, Nehemiah replied: "I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?"(Nehemiah 6:3). He knew they were scheming to harm him, and refused to be drawn away from his main task. He stayed with it, hung in there, rallied the Israelites and the wall was miraculously completed in fifty-two days!

Prevailing Wisdom

A leader must demonstrate wisdom and exercise restraint in responding to personal attacks. But, if Spurgeon and Nehemiah are valid examples, it may be appropriate to respond to attacks upon one’s position in ministry at certain times.

The crux of the matter is determining whether you are simply out to protect and defend yourself or the integrity of the ministry to which you have been called. With much prayer and appropriate humility, divine guidance will be granted. Then you may make the best decision for the sake of the gospel.


 

Dr. Larry Michael is senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Clanton, Ala. He serves as an adjunct professor at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham. This article is an adaptation of writings from the upcoming book, Spurgeon on Leadership, Kregel Publications, scheduled for release October 2003.

 
 
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By Nat Carswell

When confronted by the type of inanity which so dominates the Modern Evangelical New Testament American Christian (MENTAC) landscape today, one is tempted to become cynical and angry-sins as grievous as the inanity itself.
 
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