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Wise words from the English pastor Charles Simeon (1759–1836):

Of this he is [= I am] sure, that there is not a decided Calvinist or Arminian in the world who equally approves of the whole of Scripture . . . who, if he had been in the company of St. Paul whilst he was writing his Epistles, would not have recommended him to alter one or other of his expressions.

But the author would not wish one of them altered; he finds as much satisfaction in one class of passages as another; and employs the one, he believes, as freely as the other. Where the inspired Writers speak in unqualified terms, he thinks himself at liberty to do the same; judging that they needed no instruction from him how to propagate the truth. He is content to sit as a learner at the feet of the holy Apostles and has no ambition to teach them how they ought to have spoken.

Cited in H.C.G. Moule, Charles Simeon (London: InterVarsity, 1948), 79.

HT: JP

Update: Wesley Parker below shares a helpful related quote from Charles Spurgeon, from this sermon:

My love of consistency with my own doctrinal views is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture.

I have great respect for orthodoxy, but my reverence for inspiration is far greater.

I would sooner a hundred times over appear to be inconsistent with myself than be inconsistent with the word of God.


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8 thoughts on “Preaching the Whole Counsel of God”

  1. Allen says:

    You’ve got to love some Charles Simeon! Thanks for sharing and getting his name out there a little bit more. If you ever can get hold of a set or just one volume of his expository sermon notes on the Bible don’t let them go.

  2. Steve says:

    Here’s an open question for all the preachers out there.

    What do you think preaching the whole counsel means?

    Is it to preach honestly whatever God brings to you through the Scriptures?

    Is it to teach clearly the Gospel so the soul (blood) of any listening is not on your head? (Acts 20:26)

    Is it to make sure you preach through every book of the canon?

    When I was in seminary most profs and peers seemed to think it was the latter. I split pulpit ministry 50/50 with another man. That means I get about 25 chances to preach the word every year. I don’t necessarily feel the need to preach through every book; I don’t know if I could. With that little chance I just don’t know if I’ll ever get to Esther, for instance.

    -Steve, Winnipeg, Canada

    1. henrybish says:

      Steve,

      some interesting comments from Ian Murray on some of his cautions with expository preaching:

      http://unashamedworkman.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/discuss-do-you-agree-with-dr-murray-why-why-not/

  3. I believe preaching the whole counsel of God means putting forth all of God’s truth and not avoiding an issue because you do not like it or are uncomfortable with it. Systematic preaching, going through whole books, is helpful here because it makes it more difficult to just avoid subjects you do not like then pure topical preaching. Preaching or teaching through the whole Bible is a good goal but is not always feasable.

  4. Wesley says:

    I thought SPurgeon said something instructive on this: he said,
    “My love of consistency with my own doctrinal views is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture. I have great respect for orthodoxy, but my reverence for inspiration is far greater. I would sooner a hundred times over appear to be inconsistent with myself than be inconsistent with the word of God.”
    Spurgeon, from a sermon on ‘God will have all men to be saved’ (1 Tim 2:3-4)

  5. AStev says:

    Yeah, Spurgeon has quite a few good sermons on how the Bible affirms both human responsibility and divine sovereignty, and even though it stretches our minds as to how the two are compatible, our responsibility is to acknowledge that the Bible affirms both, accept it, and rejoice in it.

  6. Charlie says:

    In today’s world, in today’s church, balance can mark one as extreme.

  7. Greg Teegarden says:

    AMEN!

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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