We remember the experiment of Daventry, under that eminently godly man, Dr. Doddridge, and we are not inclined to try the like under any circumstances. That worthy man did not dogmatize to "the dear young men" who came to his College, but adopted the plan of letting them hear the argument upon each side, that they might select for themselves. The result was as disastrous as if error had been taught, for nothing is worse than lukewarmness as to truth. Dissent became enervated with a faint-hearted liberalism, and we had a generation of Socinians, under whom Nonconformity almost expired. Both General and Particular Baptists have had enough of this evil leaven, and we are not inclined to put it again into the people's bread.
When I hear supposedly evangelical teachers quoting our theological opponents with approval and respect—men like Rowan Williams or NT Wright—I fear for their hearers and their congregations. It is a guaranteed formula for sowing confusion and for removing men's backbones in defence of the truth, and is not the way the Bible encourages us to produce fruit for the gospel.
Speaking of Spurgeon, I went to hear Mark Driscoll at the Ministry Training and Development conference at St Andrew's Cathedral yesterday. His exegesis of Acts 17 was seriously Spurgeonesque in its technique at a number of crucial points
for a somewhat contrasting view, I've posted on Acts 17 here, and here
by which I mean that the relationship between passage and conclusion seemed almost magical at times, and would take years of unlearning of Moore College exegesis lessons to be able to duplicate. Yet the conclusions at many key instances were irritatingly on the money, and stirred all of us up to de-institutionalize our thinking and get out there and speak the gospel to the non-Christian community with courage and conviction.
On balance, it was a great shot in the arm for hearers, and when I've had a bit more time to reflect, I'll post some more thoughts. There were other and good ways in which Mark Driscoll reminded me of Spurgeon, and I thank God for the way his gospel ministry has been used. It was good to hear Mark speak alongside Don Carson and Kent Hughes, and I'm looking forward to more today.