The Metropolitan Tabernacle, also known as Spurgeon’s Tabernacle was opened on March 18, 1861. A few weeks later, on this day, there was a fellowship meeting of Baptist pastors from London and across Britain. In greeting those preachers, Spurgeon made the following statement:
“We believe that the Baptists are the original Christians. We did not commence our existence at the reformation, we were reformers before Luther and Calvin were born; we never came from the Church of Rome, for we were never in it, but we have an unbroken line up to the apostles themselves. We have always existed from the very days of Christ, and our principles, sometimes veiled and forgotten, like a river which may travel under ground for a little season, have always had honest and holy adherents. Persecuted alike by Romanists and Protestants of almost every sect, yet there has never existed a Government holding Baptist principles which persecuted others; nor, I believe, any body of Baptists ever held it to be right to put the consciences of others under the control of man. We have ever been ready to suffer, as our martyrologies will prove, but we are not ready to accept any help from the State, to prostitute the purity of the Bride of Christ to any alliance with Government, and we will never make the Church, although the Queen, the despot over the consciences of men.”
There have been scholars who have questioned Spurgeon’s ecclesiology, but that quote is accurate. It is what he told the brethren on this day in 1861.