This is the conclusion of the Adventure of the Elected Man.
You can read the first installment here.
“Whether you like my doctrinal views or agree with my interpretations, I will not pursue consistency in such a way that it causes me to knowingly 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 explained as the conversation was winding to an end.
“Spurgeon, my friend, I much prefer to accept the most likely interpretation after examining the facts and eliminating the impossible. I find that consistency throughout a doctrinal view is an important measure of its being correct. On this point, I am afraid, we will have to differ.”, Holmes said gently.
“Fair enough.”, Spurgeon said. “Though I would beg each of you, continue to search the Bible for yourselves. Where I separate from the truth, cast my words away. But if what I say be God’s teaching, I charge you give these things your thoughts, and turn unto the Lord with all your hearts.”
“I would ask the same of you regarding all that I have said today. For we both know the importance of the revealed truth in the Scriptures when trying to understand God. Despite our doctrinal differences let us never forget that we agree on a great many things. While we may differ on how God’s sovereignty works itself out with human responsibility and freedom, we both recognize that mankind is hopelessly lost without coming to grips with the death and resurrection of Jesus and their need for grace. May we never tire of sharing the message of reconciliation boldly with the world.”, Holmes said with more warmth in his voice then I was accustomed to seeing.
The conversation drifted into other matters until our guest rose and prepared to leave. As he did Holmes leaped up to see him off. As they shook hands I saw Holmes slip something to Spurgeon.
As Spurgeon stared at what was handed to him with a surprised expression, Holmes put an arm around him and said, “When guests come to 221B Baker Street, it is usually I who eventually receive payment, but I want you to accept this gift. It is for the continued care of the houses you run for orphans. It has been said, and I heartily agree, that the greatest sermon you ever preached is your orphanage. And I must confide in you, I have been helped a great deal in many of my cases by the Baker Street Irregulars. These young children who roam the streets have shared many stories about the love and care that they have received from your orphanage and for that I cannot thank you enough. Please accept this gift.”
Spurgeon expressed his gratitude and then left. I watched from the window as he hailed a cab and reflected on the conversation. How does God exercise His sovereign control? If He determines and ordains then how does He escape being the author of sin? Do we have free will? How free? There must be some way to resolve these questions. But how? This is this long standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever. But I had learned a great deal about this highly debated doctrine and made it a point to continue to look into this matter.
[Spurgeon’s remarks are quoted and based on the sermons “Sovereign Grace and Man’s Responsibility“, and “Salvation by Knowing the Truth“. ]
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