C.H. Spurgeon on Total Depravity

CH Spurgeon on Total Depravity
3 min read

C.H. Spurgeon boldly proclaimed the Doctrines of Grace. These are some of Spurgeon’s thoughts regarding Total Depravity.

In the series “C.H. Spurgeon on the Doctrines of Grace” we are considering the five doctrinal positions commonly given in the form of the acrostic TULIP. We will begin with the T in TULIP and review some of Spurgeon’s teaching on this truth.

First, let’s begin with a simple definition. According to the doctrine of Total Depravity, every part of fallen man is corrupted by sin. In this sin, he is a creature that is totally depraved and incapable of obeying the law of God. Spurgeon was not shy in preaching this truth:

The fact is, that man is a reeking mass of corruption. His whole soul is by nature so debased and so depraved, that no description which can be given of him even by inspired tongues can fully tell how base and vile a thing he is. [1]

But Spurgeon did not preach on total depravity for the sake of dramatics or because he was a hellfire and brimstone preacher. Instead, he saw this Calvinistic doctrine as the means by which we see our complete inability to earn salvation:

Until I know how much all my powers are debased and depraved, how thoroughly my will is perverted and my judgment turned from its right channel, how really and essentially vicious my nature has become, it cannot be possible for me to know the whole extent of my guilt. [2]

CH Spurgeon Preaching

“I am bound to the doctrine of the depravity of the human heart, because I find myself depraved in heart, and have daily proofs that in my flesh there dwelleth no good thing.”

It is by understanding the whole extent of our guilt that we can be shown our need of a sinless Savior. Spurgeon held to the truth of Total Depravity and from it he communicated the glorious doctrine of the atonement:

We are so vile that our vileness is beyond our own comprehension, but nevertheless, the blood of Christ hath infinite efficacy, and he that believeth in the Lord Jesus is saved, be his sins ever so many, but he that believeth not must be lost, be his sins never so few. [3]

As with all of his preaching, Spurgeon faithfully taught the truths written in Scripture. He also consistently pointed people to the free gift of God’s grace through Christ. While it is true that in sin we are all totally depraved, it is also true that in Christ we are fully forgiven. (Tweet That)


Other Articles in the Series C.H. Spurgeon on the Doctrines of Grace:

Article by Clay Kraby

[For a more detailed look at Total Depravity, please see The Five Points of Calvinism – Defining the Doctrines of Grace]

[1] C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons. Vol. 7, (Baker Book House, 1989), 251.
[2] Ibid.,250-251.
[3] Ibid., 265.

Clayton Kraby
Written by Clayton Kraby
I'm a Pastor in North Dakota and created ReasonableTheology.org to help make theology accessible for the everyday Christian. You can find me on Twitter @ClayKraby.