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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Thursday, December 04, 2008
Spurgeon and the "Yellow Stripe On the Back" Quote...
Dan Phillips had been trying to source an often repeated quote attributed to Charles Spurgeon, he offered up on his own blog, and again on TeamPyro, an opportunity for anyone to source the following:

if God had painted a yellow stripe up the backs of the elect, he'd go around London lifting up coats and preaching only to them"

Several attempts were made to identify the source, and apparently several flavors of the same idea exist (white stripe, yellow stripe, or stamped E? coat tails, shirt tails, or backs? Painted or marked? etc.). While many secondary sources were found (a secondary source is a place where someone shares the quote, attributes it to Spurgeon, but does not cite where or when Spurgeon said it. A primary source, which is what was being looked for, cites where Spurgeon said it, and exactly how he said it.

The oldest citation I could find was actually to a 1983 J. Vernon McGee text, wherein we read:

Because Spurgeon preached a "whosoever will" gospel, someone said to him, "If I believed like you do about election, I wouldn't preach like you do." Spurgeon's answer was something like this, "If the Lord had put a yellow stripe down the backs of the elect, I'd go up and down the street lifting up shirt tails, finding out who had the yellow stripe, and then I'd give them the gospel. But God didn't do it that way. He told me to preach the gospel to every creature that 'whosoever will may come.'" Jesus says, "and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." So, my friend, you can argue about election all you want to, but you can come. And if you come, He'll not cast you out. - J. Vernon McGee loosely paraphrasing Spurgeon

J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. 4 (Pasadena, CA: Thru the Bible Radio, 1983), 405. Commenting on John 6:36-37:

I mentioned my find on the TeamPyro blog, and Nathan Busenitz walked over to the TMS library and found the book. It is his handiwork that I use in the previous citation. But Nathan didn't stop there. I would like to meet the guy, because his sleuthing kung fu is up to chop, if you don't mind the weak pun. Nathan dug deeper, and having found a variation on the quote attributed to Rowland Hill, an evangelical preacher who pre-dated Spurgeon, and even influenced Spurgeon, Nathan then found some references to Roland Hill in Spurgeon's sermons - one of which I copied out, including the reference, from Nathan's comment over at TeamPyro.

Knowing how difficult it is to source quotes sometimes, I decided to copy the efforts here, so that if someone else is looking for the source for said quotation, it can be found more readily.

Hat's off to Nathan, and here is an example of where this quote (or similar quotes) attributed to Spurgeon's actual quote came from:

I remember Rowland Hill’s reply, when somebody said that he ought to preach only to the elect. “Very well,” he said, “next Sunday morning, chalk them all on the back and when you have done that, I will preach to them.” But the chalking of them on the back is the difficulty—we cannot do that and, as we cannot do that, the best way is for us to leave our God to carry out the purposes of His distinguishing Grace in His own effectual way and not attempt to do what we certainly can never accomplish! There, scatter a handful of Seed “by the wayside.” Even if the birds of the air devour it, there is plenty more where that came from and it would be a pity for us to leave any portion unsown because we were miserly and stingy with our Master’s Seed! - Charles Spurgeon

Sermon# 2843, The Seed by the Wayside, Luke 8:5
posted by Daniel @ 12:22 PM  
  • At 2:22 PM, December 04, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    I had some formatting issues, so I had to publish that one about seven times.

  • At 4:22 PM, April 18, 2019, Blogger Andrew said…

    I first came across the Spurgeon quote in "Election - Love before Time" by Kenneth D Johns published by Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company in 1976. An excellent statement of the doctrine and how to preach it.

  • At 9:55 AM, April 19, 2019, Blogger Andrew said…

    I don't know if Johns' book is still in print.

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