Charity In Reverse

“Charity respects the meanest peasant, who loves the truth, as a prince in the kingdom of heaven, while it scruples not to call the most eminently devout perverters of the truth, dogs, evil and deceitful workers, ministers of Satan transformed as ministers of righteousness, &c. It were easy to show at large, and illustrate by facts, how a perverted gospel serves to promote, in its votaries, a temper of mind the reverse of charity, or such as charity is all along opposed to, in Paul’s description of it; as that it leads them to grudge others the benefit of the Divine long-suffering and kindness, and cherishes the root of envy, vaunting, and all the other fruits of pride” (Sandeman).

For some excellent articles on true (as opposed to false) charity, see the following:

1) Mean, Surly, Unduly Harsh?

2) True and false love (1)

3) True and false love (2)

4) True and false humility

“The spirit of the Christian world has now, for some time, been working upon a new plan, by promoting, among people of very different religious persuasions, a friendly intercommunity of charity at least, if not of worship also. As this friendly intercommunity is but forming as yet, different parties are not fully agreed on what common foundation it ought to rest; though good advances are already made toward this agreement. Hence it is, that we have as yet no fixed name or title for this common foundation. It is called by many, soundness in the fundamentals of religion. In Scotland it is commonly called, the being right in the main. It is true, the more nice sort of people are apt to start questions about what are the fundamentals, or wherein does the main of religion consist. But those who would gain the greatest reputation for charity, choose to hold by the general expressions, and to avoid particular explications as much as possible. Hence the pleasure some fawning teachers take, in speaking of our common Christianity” (Sandeman).

The God-hating tolerant Calvinist Augustus Toplady appeared to have zero tolerance for universal atonement heretic John Wesley; but evidently had enough tolerance for a universal atonement heretic of a different stripe — one Richard Baxter:

We read of Baxter (who, though heterodox in many things, was a partaker of the one thing needful), that when asked by a friend when he lay on his death-bed how he was, he replied, ‘almost well,’ which a person in the view of opening eternity could never say, unless he found God very precious and found him faithful. Whatever dross this holy man carried about him in this life, it was consumed in his death, and he received into glory. The testimony of glorified spirits above, as it bears weight in it, so it corroborates this truth. Their song is, ‘Faithful and true,’ Rev. xix. 11″ (Toplady, Complete Works, p. 770; underlining emphasis mine–CD).

In Toplady’s blinded estimate, despite Baxter being “heterodox in many things” and weighted down with doctrinal “dross,” he nonetheless “was a partaker of the one thing needful.” Evidently the “one thing needful” was an ignorant zeal that is not according to knowledge (cf. Romans 10:2-3). Clearly Augustus Toplady and the apostle Paul make their spiritual judgments based on an entirely different standard.

Toplady judges the heretic Baxter as his spiritual brother, as a fellow believer in the gospel. But exactly WHAT gospel? Answer: The “gospel” that Paul anathematized in Galatians 1:8-9. For Toplady (and those like-minded), despite any strong doctrinal disagreements between them, Baxter had a “soundness in the fundamentals of religion” and a “being right in the main.” Toplady and Baxter would emptily affirm something called a “cross,” but in reality their “common Christianity” is a cross-less Christianity. Baxter counts the efficacious cross-work of Jesus Christ as utter foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18), and Toplady is vainly desirous to obviate said Biblical cross, lest he suffer persecution for boasting in it and judging by it (Galatians 6:12-16; cf. 2 John 9-11). Next Page (16)

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