51 “Have you understood all these things?” They *said to Him, “Yes.” 52 And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” Matthew 13:51-52 (NASB)
Charles Spurgeon spent the last several years of his ministry contending with “liberalizing” efforts within the Evangelical churches in England in what came to be known as the “Great Downgrade Controversy.” That “downgrade” gained momentum not only in England, but here in the United States and around the world. It began in the 19th Century when Seminaries began embracing “higher criticism” of the Bible….
This caused many promising Biblical scholars to eventually cast loose that which moored them to orthodoxy, the belief that the Bible is God’s Word, inerrant, and complete. Even though movements came forth to contend with this liberalization, this downgrade, instead of dying, has only changed form many times while still poisoning the Church like a parasite, sucking the spiritual life from it.
It is quite eye-opening to read what some of these in the “New Evangelism” write in reference to historic Christianity. I read one who said that the Protestant Reformation was just a church split. Others, such as Tony Jones, while being very well educated, acts as if the Gospel is something to be ashamed of. I remember thinking as I read some examples of this, which were sent to me by a close friend, how thankful I am that I am not that “well educated.” These well-educated folks may be strong on Univsersity degrees, but they are way short on true Bible knowledge and that leads to an unclear understanding of the History of the Church. This fuzzy understanding leads them to discount mighty works by God in the Protestant Reformation, for example. In their economy, the reformers could not possibly have the level of Bible knowledge that we have in our day. That is fallacious thinking my brethren. Those who came before us, especially those who paid for their faithfulness with their lives, knew their Bibles and our Lord very well. After all, we serve the same God they did and He never changes.