“I hope they will be full of spirit against evil spirits, stout against stout, and hale against ale.”
-Charles H. Spurgeon, letter to temperance society, March 19, 1884.
Occasionally you hear someone defending social drinking by using Charles Haddon Spurgeon (AD 1834-1892) as an example. Or as an excuse. If the great Baptist preacher of London did not believe in abstinence from beverage alcohol, then it must be alright for us to drink.
Contrary to this view, we should follow biblical teaching and the common sense God gave us. Some will be surprised, however, to see what Spurgeon came to believe about the recreational use of the drug alcohol.
In his early years, Charles Haddon Spurgeon disagreed with those who preached abstinence from alcohol. But as time went by, the temperance advocates (those who promoted total abstinence from beverage alcohol), convinced Spurgeon; or maybe the Holy Spirit convinced him. Spurgeon actually became a temperance advocate. Temperance meetings were held in Spurgeon’s church, the Metropolitan Tabernacle.
In 1882 Spurgeon would boldly declare, “Next to the preaching of the Gospel, the most necessary thing to be done in England is to induce our people to become abstainers.” I’m strongly against drinking, but I’m not even sure that I would go as far as Spurgeon, with his above statement.
Dr. Lewis Drummond stated of Spurgeon, “Obviously he had become a strong advocate for abstinence.”
The two above quotes are from Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers by Dr. Lewis A. Drummond, Foreword by Carl F. H. Henry, Kregel Publications; 1992. Dr. Drummond was a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. As a result of the SBC Conservative Resurgence, Drummond was the first conservative president of SEBTS.
Charles Spurgeon also spoke to the issue of Communion Wine stating that his church used only unfermented wine.
“We use Frank Wright’s unfermented wine at the Tabernacle, and have never used any other unfermented wine. I am given to understand that some of the so-called unfermented wine has in it a considerable amount of alcohol; but Mr. Wright’s is the pure juice of the grape. One person advertised his wine as used at the Tabernacle though we had never used it even on one occasion. So far as we are concerned, we use no wine but that produced by Messrs. Frank Wright, Mundy, and Co.
Yours truly, C. H. SPURGEON.” -Westwood, June 20, 1887.
(www.godrules.net/library/spurgeon/NEW8spurgeon_d12.htm; accessed 4-12-2010)
Notice that Spurgeon calls this pure juice of the grape “unfermented wine.” Some erroneously say there is no such thing, that all “wine” is fermented. Spurgeon, Aristotle, Nicander, Horace, Pliny, Polybius, Cato, Plutarch, and others would disagree.
Next time you hear someone say Spurgeon was for social drinking, tell them the rest of the story. Charles H. Spurgeon became a strong advocate of total abstinence from alcohol.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, April 12, AD 2010.
Note: You may also be interested in Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times, and other articles under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels) in the bottom right margin.
Deuteronomy 14:26 - Does it Commend Alcohol?
Ancient Wine and the Bible - the book