The Down Grade Controversy

Introduction

In 1887 Charles Spurgeon began to publish a series of articles through his journal, The Sword and the Trowel, denouncing the rise of liberal theology and the compromise of Christian Orthodoxy, which had began to emerge in the church. Little did Spurgeon know that his words would set off a controversy that would later lead to his separation from the Baptist Union. The conditions leading to the church’s “Down-Grade,” as Spurgeon called it, began with the emergence of the Enlightenment period and the introduction of new scientific discoveries and the advent of Biblical Criticism. Preaching had become more speculative in its discourse as Natural theology began to take the place of the central truths of the Gospel and the focus of the message was taken off Christ and placed more on the needs and interests of people. Spurgeon became the most prominent defender of Christian Orthodoxy during this period, which culminated with his withdrawal from the Baptist Union in 1887. At the time, a majority of Baptist Union ministers were willing to stand with Spurgeon in support of the defense of orthodoxy; however, by the end of the century there were few Christians who were not willing to accept some aspects of Enlightenment thinking and scientific naturalism. Therefore, Spurgeon’s Down-Grade Controversy signaled the passing of the era of Christian Orthodoxy and the emergence of a new and enlightened Christian worldview, which was according to Spurgeon a down-grade. This paper will examine the substance of Spurgeon’s Down-Grade controversy and seek to discover its implications for the church today. 

Prelude to the Controversy

The Age of Enlightenment and Scientific Naturalism

Seeds planted by the Renaissance and Reformation periods grew into full-fledged thoughts of secular humanism that culminated during the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. Enlightenment thinkers such as Voltaire (1694-1778), David Hume (1711-1776), Denis Diderot (1713-1784), and Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), inspired many toward skepticism of religion and the rejection of Biblical authority and paved the way for the acceptance of humanism.1 It was at this time the world experienced a turning away from Christian orthodoxy; the fruit of which would come to bear generations later. Progressing into the early 1800’s scientific naturalism and humanist ideas continued to develop and rival Christian worldviews. One development that many have identified as a true prelude to Spurgeon’s Down-Grade Controversy was the development of Darwinism. Lewis Drummond in his work on Spurgeon identifies Darwinianism as “one significant factor in setting the stage for the Down Grade Controversy.” Drummond goes on to write, “A whole developmental, evolutionary theory began to take such a hold on the mindset of many Victorians that it resulted in a humanistic approach to all reality.”3 It was not long before this humanistic worldview had worked its way into the theology of many and led to theological decline. Darwin himself was quite orthodox in his beliefs in his earlier years. Norman Geisler in his Systematic Theology quotes stories from Darwin’s autobiography revealing how Darwin was laughed to scorn by sailors aboard a ship because of quoting from the Bible “as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality.”4 However, Darwin did not believe the Bible was authoritative in its application to science. Darwin’s view concerning the authority of the Bible began to decline after reading Harvard Professor Andrew Norton’s The Evidence of the Genuiness of the Gospels as well asother works by Benedict Spinoza and David Hume, which shaped his views on the supernatural to the point that he no longer believed in divine revelation.5 All this to point out how Darwinianism was not birthed in a bubble and was really a product comprised of the culmination of the thoughts and beliefs of many thinkers of its time. 

The impact to the religious and philosophical beliefs that Darwinian evolution had on mankind cannot be understated. As Mark Noll writes, “Prior to Darwin’s The Origin of Species (1859), science was considered among theologians as a handmaid rather than an enemy of Christianity. However, after Darwin, all that changed. The theory of evolution offered an appealing and rational alternate explanation for the origin of life and the cosmos—including man.”6 In the later part of the nineteenth-century evangelicals had to decide whether they would follow their orthodox traditions or synthesize scientific naturalism into their theology by modifying their previously held conclusions to accommodate evolutionary ideals. While conservative opponents rejected evolution outright because they could not reconcile it with their theological views, “others tried to affirm evolution within the boundaries of their historic Christian doctrines.”7 As such, the worldview of many in the Western world and specifically England in the last decades of the Victorian era experienced a rise in rationalism in religious circles. This rationalism served as the beginning of “higher criticism” toward biblical theology. It was on the heels of these events that Spurgeon sounds the alarm at the theological decline and humanistic tendencies that had risen in the church. 

Evidence of the “new theology” as Spurgeon called it, that serves as a precursor to the Down-Grade, was a book written by J. B. Brown, The Divine Life in Man, in which “Spurgeon detected a weak view of the atonement of Christ.” Drummond quoting Spurgeon’s response to Browns book writes, “It sours your temper, and makes you feel angry, to see the previous things of God trodden under foot. Some of us must stand out against these attacks on truth, although we love not controversy.”9

Another significant evidence of the declining theology at that time came in 1871 at the general convention of the Baptist Union when T. Vincent Tymns suggested revisions to the Baptist Constitution.10 After meeting for nearly two-years, the committee’s final recommendation for revisions came. The committee suggested the phrase “evangelical sentiments” be deleted and replaced with  “a declaration of principles.” Drummond quotes the declaration as, “In this Union it is fully recognized that every separate church has liberty to interpret and administer the laws of Christ, and that the immersion of believers is the only Christian baptism.”11  While revisions to the Union’s Constitution was seen by some more liberal minded members as a fair compromise toward the expression of their enlightened views, the deletion of “evangelical sentiments” for others was seen as an indication of troubled times ahead for the Baptist Union and evangelicalism. To be sure, just a few years later in 1877 Samuel Cox published his work, Salvator Mundi in which he openly rejected the orthodox doctrine of eternal punishment and replaced it with what he called “a larger hope.”12 The concept of universal salvation was something that appealed to many Baptists for some time prior to Cox writing his book. Within the concept of universal salvation the doctrine declares, “all souls will be redeemed.”13  Although Spurgeon never named whom the heretical offenders were during the Down-Grade Controversy, he later referred to universalism as “post-mortem salvation” writes McBeth.14 Unfortunately, many Baptists viewed Cox’s work favorably. In fact, Drummond states, “By 1889 (two years into the Down Grade Controversy), a number of Baptists, who had largely rejected the book when Cox first published it in 1877, considered it a ‘remarkable book.’”15

Baptists in the early nineteenth-century were fascinated with universalism. In 1883, John Page-Hopps, a Unitarian minister, addressed the members at the annual Baptist Union meeting in Leicester. Although Spurgeon did not attend the event, he received a letter from Archibald Brown, a Baptist Union Council member, describing the heresies contained in Hopps message. Spurgeon was outraged and contacted Samuel Harris Booth, the secretary of the Union and told him that he was thinking of withdrawing from the Union. Lewis Drummond quotes from Spurgeon’s letter to his brother-in-law dated 1883 as saying, “I have fired the first shot, and the battle is beginning…we shall see who loves truth and who is a traitor…I think I must personally withdraw from the Baptist Union.”16  Even at this time it was as if Spurgeon knew where this road would lead and what he would need to do in his stand for Biblical truth. 

The Spark that Set the Controversy to Flame

Accusations and General Complaints

Although few were willing to raise questions concerning the spread of heresy in the Baptist Union, Spurgeon was not the only one who was alarmed and felt the sting of declining theology in the Union. Samuel Harris Booth, who pastored Elm Road Church in Beckenham experienced an incident with a younger associate pastor at his church when he dismissed the young pastor because of the unsound doctrine contained in his messages. However, church members sided with the younger pastor and reinstated him against the advisement of Booth who later resigned from the church in 1885.17 Spurgeon and Booth corresponded concerning the incident a number of times prior to the Down-Grade Controversy, and in his correspondence he tells Spurgeon, not only of the incident at his church, but of others involving heresy within the Baptist Union.18 According to Drummond, Booth encouraged Spurgeon “to raise a voice against the tide of the ‘new theology’ invading the Baptist Union.”19  Drummond goes on to writes, “Booth gave Spurgeon facts and names concerning what he considered as heretical doctrine preached by those who were deviating from orthodox Christianity. However, Booth apparently got a pledge from Spurgeon that he would not reveal the source of his information, or, above all, the names and places that were the core of the developing heresy.”20 As the events concerning the Down Grade unfolded this information became more crucial as Spurgeon’s critics would later call him into question because he would not reveal the names and details concerning his allegations. Although Booth encouraged Spurgeon to sound the alarm, he certainly tied his hands and put him in a weak position in the fight for Biblical truth. 

Schindler’s Non-Conformist Denominations

Up to this time, Spurgeon had enjoyed great popularity with his peers in the Baptist Union and would speak often at their meetings. Therefore, Spurgeon had no personal issue at stake with the Union except for his love of God and high view of the Scriptures and orthodoxy. Therefore, when the March 1887 edition of The Sword and the Trowel was published with an article entitled The Down-Grade, there was no ill will or underlying motive behind its release. The author of the article, Robert Schindler, traces the pattern of non-conformist denomination tendency to drift from sound doctrine into declining theological patters and heresy after the Puritan era.21 Nearly every historian and biographer writing on Spurgeon draws attention to the footnote Spurgeon attached to the article calling readers of the article to “earnest attention” to the warning contained in the article. The footnote reads, “We are going down hill at break-neck speed.”22 Calling attention to the sense of urgency and dire gravity of the situation felt by Spurgeon because of the theological decline of the Baptist Union and the evangelical world. 

Challenge to the Authority of the Scriptures

In his second article published in April the same year, Schindler continues his study of declining theology within evangelicalism. In his article Schindler writes, “Let a man question or entertain low views of the inspiration and authority of the Bible, and he is without anchor to hold him…we live in dangerous times, and there is great peril very near all those, whoever they may be, who call in question the inspiration—the divine inspiration—of the Word of God.”23  In his article Schindler clearly identifies the problem as a “low view of the inspiration and authority of the Bible.” Although some tried to link Spurgeon’s motivation for resigning from the Union and his involvement in the controversy to theological differences between Calvinist and Arminian perspectives, Schindler makes it clear that the issue is not mere theological perspectives but views that have deep roots going right to the core of orthodox Christian doctrine.24 Spurgeon writes, “Our warfare is with men who are giving up the atoning sacrifice, denying the inspiration of Holy Scripture, and casting slurs upon justification by faith. The present struggle is not a debate upon the question of Calvinism or Arminianism, but of the truth of God versus the inventions of men.”25 Additionally Spurgeon writes, “We care far more for the central evangelical truths than we do for Calvinism as a system; but we believe that Calvinism has in it a conservative force which helps to hold men to the vital truth.”26 In this Spurgeon identifies his “core” charge against “modern theology.” Spurgeon’s concerns in the controversy were purely pastoral as his foremost concern was for the church. Thus, his appreciation for Calvinism was not simply for it as a theological perspective or system, but rather his appreciation was due to its impact on the church leading to sound theology and orthodoxy. Spurgeon sought to protect the church and warn against those who would lead its members away from the faith. Spurgeon writes, “The case is mournful. Certain ministers are making infidels. Avowed atheists are not a tenth as dangerous as those preachers who scatter doubt and stab at faith.”27

Schindler further delineated the preceding charges in the June 1887 edition of The Sword and the Trowel where he uses the trial of five professors from the Andover Theological Seminary in Andover, MA to illustrate how a departure from belief in the inspiration of Scriptures was the first step toward a departure from orthodox belief.28  Nettles writes, “The trial showed that they held the Bible to be fallible ‘not only in matters of science and chronology, but in some of its religious teachings also. Scripture…did not arise from revelation but rather from the inner consciousness of the religious writers and must be interpreted by the present-day reader’s inner consciousness.”29  Among the other offenses of the professors challenging Christian orthodoxy was their teaching that “the humanity of Christ limited his faculties to the point that he was fallible; the atonement consisted merely of his assumption of human nature; adopting all humanity into himself rendering them salvable and giving them power to repent, and had nothing to do with a vicarious death fulfilling the just demands of the law.”30  To these offenses Nettles quoting Schindler writes, “Only firm conviction in the full inspiration of Scripture will save the church from such a plight.”31  The trial of the seminary professors was perfect for illustrating the key offenses of the new theology. The issues went far deeper than mere liberalism or differences between Calvinism and Arminianism, but struck to the very core of orthodox Christianity and Spurgeon was forced to act. 

Another Word Concerning the Down Grade

Christian Fidelity

Spurgeon himself entered into the controversy in 1887 when he published five articles in The Sword and the Trowel under his own name. This paper will discuss the first three of these articles. The first article appeared in the August publication under the title “Another Word Concerning the Down-Grade;” followed by another in September titled “A Reply to Sundry Critics and Inquirers;” then the “The Case Proved” in October; and in November “A Fragment upon the Down-Grade Controversy;” and finally “Restoration of Truth and Revival” in December. 

Spurgeon portrait at Earls Colne Baptist Church, with the inscription, ‘from your grateful friend’

Photo taken from Clive Anderson, Travel with C. H. Spurgeon
Spurgeon portrait at Earls Colne Baptist Church, with the inscription, ‘from your grateful friend’
 
Photo taken from Clive Anderson, Travel with C. H. Spurgeon

In his first article, Another Word Concerning the Down-Grade, Spurgeon left little doubt where he stood in the article as his tone in the article was much more forceful than Schindlers had been in the previous articles. Spurgeon questioned how evangelicals could continue fellowship with those who held teaching viewpoints contrary to their own core Christian beliefs. Spurgeon writes, “The Atonement is scouted, the inspiration of Scripture is derided, the Holy Spirit is degraded into an influence, the punishment of sin is turned into fiction, and the resurrection into a myth, and yet these enemies of our faith expect us to call them brethren, and maintain a confederacy with them!”32 Spurgeon derided the church for its contentment with such heresy and asserted there could be no fellowship with those who denied the essential doctrines of the faith. Swanson quoting Gregory Wills writes, “Spurgeon firmly declared that the ‘New Theology’ was not Christianity and that there could be no union or cooperation with those who denied doctrines essential for salvation.”33 So Spurgeon clearly at this juncture drew the line in the sand establishing clear boundaries of which his opponents were guilty of crossing. 

Our Reply to Sundry Critics and Enquirers

In his second article, Our Reply to Sundry Critics and Enquirers, Spurgeon responded to his critics as well as his supporters as he sought to identify four critical issues he considered to be “vital to religion.” Spurgeon’s four vital issues that he identified as he argued against his opponents were: 1) “that prayer-meetings were not valued, and were poorly attended, 2) ministers frequent theaters, 3) that “Broad School” newspapers have respected a single truth of revelation, and 4) no one has borne witness to the sound doctrine of our entire ministry.”34 Spurgeon bemoaned the fact that his allegations were not being taken seriously or addressed. Spurgeon writes, “no one has set himself to disprove our allegations,”35 as his charges were dismissed as vague and divisive. Some attributed Spurgeon’s allegations to his failing health and summarily dismissed them. Spurgeon was fearful of the impact the “new theology” would have on the character of Christians. Spurgeon writes, “this breach of Christian courtesy goes to show that the new theology is introducing, not only a new code of morals, but a new tone and spirit…if men are such fools as to adhere to an old-fashioned faith, of course they must be idiots, and they deserve to be treated with that contemptuous pity which is the quintessence of hate.”36 There was a rise in divisiveness in the church, but it was not due to Spurgeon’s allegations, rather it was due to the fact that the church was being divided by their varying degrees of belief in Biblical truth.37

A Case Proved

In his third article, published October 1887, The Case Proved, Spurgeon provided several examples of how the “new theology” had manifested itself within the church. Many writers and others within the denomination were saying they saw nothing of a “departure from the faith among Baptist and Congregational ministers” writes Drummond.38 Spurgeon disregarded their comments and showing denominational bias. In his article, Spurgeon made it clear he would resign from the Baptist Union. Spurgeon writes, “To us it appears that there are many things upon which compromise is possible, but there are others in which it would be an act of treason to pretend to fellowship. With deep regret we abstain from assembling with those whom we dearly love and heartily respect, since it would involve us in a confederacy with those with whom we can have no communion in the Lord.”39  Spurgeon did not mince words and made it clear it was time to separate from those whom embraced the new theology. 

Spurgeon’s Request for a Doctrinal Statement

Spurgeon once again reached out to S. H. Booth, Secretary of the Baptist Union, concerning the new theology and declining theology of the Baptist Union. Booth was well aware of the evidence Spurgeon had to support his allegations, and had many examples of his own to share. Although Spurgeon received criticism for not providing names and events to support his allegations, he assured Booth that he had sufficient facts to support his allegations and that his allegations were not supported by only “a few isolated facts.”40 Spurgeon’s theological convictions began to be frustrated by Booth’s inaction as Spurgeon’s tone began to escalate in his writing. Spurgeon requested the Union council adopt “a declarative statement of faith based on the Evangelical Alliance.”41 The council refused and pressed Spurgeon for more evidence in the way of specific names and examples, but Spurgeon declined to provide the requested information and withdrew from the discussion. At this point the council was able to dismiss the matter since no one had been identified as an offender and there were no damages. 

The Baptist Union council rejected Spurgeon’s request for a declarative statement of faith or “creed” on the basis of what they would consider as an “unnecessary abandonment of what was viewed as the traditional Baptist policy against creedal statements.”42 Up to this point the Union had chosen to not establish firm doctrinal statements that would narrowly define their beliefs in an effort to avoid dogmatism and maintain “theological elasticity.”43 In a letter dated November 6, 1887 to James Culross of Bristol College and President of the Baptist Union, Spurgeon implied that he considered the absence of a doctrinal creed as one of the central issues in the Down Grade Controversy.44 In his letter Spurgeon writes, “Your very clear declaration, that the Union could not have a creed, or, as I read it, could not declare its doctrinal views otherwise than by practicing baptism and the Lord’s supper, closes the door finally against me.”45  In Spurgeon’s own words, it was as if another door had closed on his efforts to establish a biblical foundation for the Union. Swanson quoting Patrick Leland writes, “the entire controversy likely would have been avoided had the Union adopted an ‘explicitly authoritative creed’ or even the ‘evangelical declaration’ favored by Spurgeon.”46 As such, the significance of this central issue in the controversy cannot be neglected since the implementation of a creed or evangelical declaration would have helped to establish the necessary biblical foundation Spurgeon was seeking. 

On October 28, 1887 Spurgeon finally withdrew from the Baptist Union on the basis of “fellowship with known and vital error is participation in sin.”47 It grieved Spurgeon that “members of his won Baptist Union were ‘making light of the atonement, denying the plenary inspiration of Scripture, calling the fall a fable, and denying the personality of the Holy Spirit.”48 Therefore, Spurgeon broke fellowship and resigned from the Baptist Union. Initially, there were only a small number of other pastors who withdrew from the Union with Spurgeon including his son Thomas, but there would be more to follow.49

S. H. Booth and the Baptist Union

Spurgeon’s Evidence

Booth was complicit in Spurgeon’s resignation and could have taken action to prevent the occurrence; therefore, historians have called his actions and involvement concerning the Down Grade controversy into question.50  According to Swanson, “At one point during a meeting of the council Booth was asked directly by other council members whether or not Spurgeon had ever communicated to him charges against other ministers or churches. Booth denied that any such communication had ever happened.”51 There were extended negotiations that took place as the council tried to mend relations with Spurgeon. It was upon this opportunity that Spurgeon again requested the council adopt a declarative statement of faith. The council pressed Spurgeon for further evidence for his charges against Union members, but Spurgeon again denied their request. The reason for Spurgeon’s denial is stated in the February 1888 edition of The Sword and the Trowel:

I brought no charges before the members of the council, because they could only judge by their constitution, and that document lays down no doctrinal basis except that belief in “immersion of believers is the only Christian Baptist.” Even the mention of evangelical sentiments has been cut out from their printed program. No one can be heterodox under this constitution, unless he should forswear his baptism.52

Charles H. Spurgeon, The Baptist Union Censure

Spurgeon continued to press the Union all the way to the time of his death by questioning them whether their current constitution “allowed for the removal of heretics, and he continued to urge for the adoption of an “evangelical statement of doctrine.”53

John Clifford

The Union would not compromise on the matter because several key members of the Union were themselves in disagreement with Spurgeon on the issue of orthodoxy. In fact, Union Vice President, John Clifford’s own theological senses held that “integrity of mind involved new accommodations of both scientific understanding and critical method” writes John Briggs.54 Clifford’s book The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible published in 1892 revealed he denied the plenary inspiration of Scripture. Clifford writes, “We cannot suffer the Redeemer to be deposed from His throne in favor of the late and post-Reformation dogma which lifts the letter of Scripture into the position of inerrancy claimed for the Pope.” Although there was no ill will between Clifford and Spurgeon, both were clearly opposed to one another on the issues of theological conservatism and Christian orthodoxy and Clifford’s influence in the Union’s decisions impacted the outcome of the controversy. 

Conclusion

It has been the contention of this paper that the theological perspectives that Spurgeon challenged in the Down Grade Controversy were a product of enlightenment thinking and humanism. This paper has shown how growing trends in naturalism and humanist philosophies in the nineteenth century were widespread in the church and society to the extend of reaching many of those in leadership of the Baptist Union. Over the course of the controversy, Spurgeon warned the church of six theological issues of down-grade: 1) denial of the inerrancy of Scripture, 2) denial of eternal punishment, 3) rejection of the person of the Holy Spirit, 4) denial of the deity of Christ, 5) denial of Biblical Creationism, and 6) the influence of Higher Criticism on theological biblical views. Throughout the controversy, Spurgeon charged that ministers who held these views were “preachers who have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof…they take away the substance and power from all the doctrines of revelation, though they pretend to believe.”55 Although not many joined Spurgeon in his fight for orthodoxy, future generations continue to hold Spurgeon in high esteem, not only for his preaching and theological insight, but also for the position he held through this controversy. Bebbington writes, “Spurgeon’s protest against emerging liberal tendencies may not have carried many with him at the time, but the enduring esteem in which he was held in the whole Evangelical world ensured a wider hearing for conservative opinion in subsequent generations.”56 Spurgeon’s warnings to the Baptist Union are just as relevant for the church today as they were 130 years ago. Every theological perspective Spurgeon warned against has taken root and is prevalent in the church today. Therefore, may the historical account of the sacrifice of Charles Spurgeon as he stood against the Down Grade be told for the benefit and correction of future generations in the church.

Endnotes

  1. James C. Livingston, Modern Christian Thought From the Enlightenment to Vatican II (New York: Macmillan, 1971), 2.
  2. Lewis A. Drummond, Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, 1992), 661. 
  3. Ibid. 
  4. Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin (original omissions restored). Edited by Nora Darwin Barlow. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993 in Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology, Volume One: Introduction, Bible (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2002), 330.
  5. Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology, Volume One: Introduction, Bible (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2002), 330.
  6. Dan Story, Christianity on the Offense: Responding to the Beliefs and Assumptions of Spiritual Seekers (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1998), 142.
  7. Mark A. Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1994), 180–181.
  8. Drummond, 664. 
  9. Ray, The Life of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 248 quoted by Drummond, 664. 
  10. Drummond, 664. 
  11. Ibid., 664. 
  12. Ibid., 664. 
  13. H. Leon McBeth, A Sourcebook for Baptist Heritage (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1990), 194.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Drummond, 667. 
  16. Spurgeon’s Letter, October 16, 1883 quoted by Drummond, 667-668. 
  17. Drummond, 670. 
  18. Ibid., 671.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Dennis M. Swanson, “The Down Grade Controversy and Evangelical Boundaries: Some Lessons from Spurgeon’s Battle for Evangelical Orthodoxy,” A Paper Presented to the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Colorado Springs, The Master’s Seminary, November 2001, 9. 
  22. Robert Schindler, “The Down-Grade,” The Sword and the Trowel, (March 1887) in Documents from the Down-Grade Controversy, Nisyros Publishers, 2014, Kindle Locations 64-65. 
  23. Ibid., 291-292.
  24. Tom Nettles, Living By Revelaed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Fern Ross-shire: Scotland, Mentor, 2013), 543. 
  25. Schindler, 351-353.
  26. Charles Spurgeon, “Another Word Concerning the Down-Grade,” The Sword and the Trowel (August, 1887) in Documents from the Down-Grade Controversy, Nisyros Publishers, 2014, Kindle Locations 348-349. 
  27. Ibid., 405-406.
  28. Nettles, Living By Revealed Truth, 544. 
  29. Ibid.
  30. Ibid.
  31. Schindler, The Sword and the Trowel, June 1887, 275 quoted by Nettles, 544. 
  32. Spurgeon, “Another Word Concerning the Down-Grade,” The Sword and the Trowel 23 (August 1887), 397 in Documents from the Down-Grade Controversy, Nisyros Publishers, 2014, Kindle Locations 368.
  33. Wills, Gregory A. “The Ecclesiology of Charles H. Spurgeon: Unity, Orthodoxy and Denominational Identity,” Baptist History and Heritage  34:3 (Autumn 1999), p. 75 in Dennis M. Swanson, “The Down Grade Controversy and Evangelical Boundaries: Some Lessons from Spurgeon’s Battle for Evangelical Orthodoxy,” A Paper Presented to the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Colorado Springs, The Master’s Seminary, November 2001, 13. 
  34. Charles Spurgeon, “Our Reply to Sundry Critics and Enquirers,” Documents from the Down-Grade Controversy(Nisyros Publishers, 2014), Kindle Locations 452-455. 
  35. Ibid.
  36. Spurgeon, “Our Reply to Sundry Critics and Enquirers,” Kindle Locatioon 455.
  37. Drummond, 684.
  38. Ibid.
  39. Charles Spurgeon, “The Case Proved,” Documents from the Down-Grade Controversy (Nysyros Publishers, 2014), Kindle Locations 706-709. 
  40. Spurgeon, The Sword and the Trowel, September 1887, Kindle Location 488. 
  41. Dennis M. Swanson, “The Down Grade Controversy and Evangelical Boundaries: Some Lessons from Spurgeon’s Battle for Evangleical Orthodoxy,” Faith and Mission 20, no. 2 (2002): 26.
  42. Ibid.
  43. Ibid.
  44. W. Y. Fullerton, Charles Haddon Spurgeon: A Biography (www.delmarvaPublications.com, 2014), Kindle Location 4700. 
  45. C. H. Spurgeon, C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, 1878–1892, vol. 4 (Chicago; New York; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1900), 263.
  46. Patrick R. Leland, “Anti-Creedalism in the Down Grade Controversy,” Baptist History and Heritage 31 (April, 1996), 33-34 quoted by Dennis M. Swanson, “The Down Grade Controversy and Evangelical Boundaries,” 6-7. 
  47. Charles Spurgeon, “The Case Proved,” Documents from the Down-Grade Controversy (Nysyros Publishers, 2014), Kindle Locations 762. 
  48. Ibid., 736.
  49. Nigel Scotland, “Darwin and Doubt and the Response of the Victorian Churches,” The Churchman 100, no. 1–4 (1986): 304–305.
  50. Drummond, 685; Mark Hopkins, “The Down Grade Controversy: New Evidence, The Baptist Quarterly, 35:6,(April, 1994), 262-78. 
  51. Dennis M. Swanson, “The Down Grade Controversy and Evangelical Boundaries: Some Lessons from Spurgeon’s Battle for Evangelical Orthodoxy,” A Paper Presented to the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Colorado Springs, The Master’s Seminary (November 2001), 16. 
  52. Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Baptist Union Censure,” The Sword and the Trowel,” (February 1888), 81. Documents from the Down-Grade Controversy (Nysyros Publishers, 2014), Kindle Locations 958.
  53. Drummond, 698. 
  54. J. H. Y. Briggs, “Clifford, John,” ed. Timothy Larsen et al., Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 148.
  55. C. H. Spurgeon, “The Form of Godliness without the Power,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 35 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1889), 308.
  56. Bebbington, David. Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730’s to the 1980’s. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1989), p. 146.