When Must We Agree? Confessionalism and Theological Triage in the Ministry of Charles Spurgeon

In recent days there is a renewed focus in some circles about the role of creeds and confessions in Baptist life. In modern practice, a lack of defined parameters for confessional subscription results in confusion in determining boundary lines for partnership and cooperation. In an effort to determine these boundary lines, Albert Mohler introduced the concept of theological triage in 2005, giving a framework for ordering theological convictions. In the current discussion, understanding the border between second and third order beliefs is vital for ecclesiastical boundaries and needs further clarification for modern day practices.
Further, it is important to consider modern practices while remaining thoughtful about Baptist tradition. While finding balance between theological triage and confessionalism, the modern church is helped by looking to influential figures such as Charles Spurgeon. This paper will build upon previous explorations of Spurgeon’s practice of confessionalism and his relationship to the Second London Baptist Confession to explore his use of theological triage in determining his ministry relationships and partnerships.
Spurgeon remains an interesting case study due to his strong theological conviction alongside a willingness to work alongside other evangelicals. This paper will trace Spurgeon’s convictions and practices to demonstrate his approach was an intentional ordering of theological convictions for the sake of cooperation that is a valuable example for modern Baptist practice.

5 thoughts on “When Must We Agree? Confessionalism and Theological Triage in the Ministry of Charles Spurgeon”

  1. Not a clear thesis
    Paper fits with CHT1700.
    There’s a veiled thesis in the last line, yet not much of a plan articulated for how it will be argued, or why it matters for Spurgeon/Baptist studies.

  2. Interesting
    I don’t know if there is “Spurgeon exhaustion,” and we ought to explore other voices, but I find the issue of cooperation among 19th century evangelicals to be valuable line of inquiry. Though not the strongest proposal, I would be interested in hearing more.

  3. Agree with Mark and Rob
    I actually think there’s a large interest at ETS amongst the Baptists in Spurgeon and would probably draw an audience, but want to see a clearer argument. Seems very descriptive.

  4. Interest seems primarily theological rather than historical
    While I agree with others that the topic fits in our section in terms of period, this proposal strikes me as more interested in a current theological discussion than in historical theology or church history. Seems well conceived though not very specifically expressed.


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