While I find the rampant fanboyism in the church, especially the historical figure fanboyism among the Reformed, to be revolting I still love me some Charles Spurgeon. Oh how I long for the days of old when we didn't tip toe around the truth and make common cause with heretics for the sake of false unity. I was fishing around some of Spurgeon's writings and they are mostly so delightfully and refreshingly blunt and honest that they are like a breath of fresh air.
Exhibit A from the Sword and the Trowel addressing the conflicts between "priests" and monks back in the day:
Reader, do you believe that men like yourself have priestly power? Do you think that they can regenerate infants by sprinkling them, and turn bread and wine into the very body and blood of Jesus Christ? Do you think that a bishop can bestow the Holy Ghost, and that a parish clergyman can forgive sins ? If so, your head can be seen in the picture peeping out from the cowl of the fox. You are the victim of crafty deceivers. Your soul will be their prey in life and in death. They cajole you with soft words, fine vestments, loud pretensions, and cunning smiles, but they will conduct you down to the chambers of death, and lead you to the gates of hell. Silly goose, may grace make thee wise!
Jesus Christ is the true Priest who can forgive all your sins; go to him at once, without the intervention of these pretenders. Make confession to him! Seek absolution from him! The Holy Ghost alone can cause you to be born again, and the grace of God alone can bring you to glory. Avoid Puseyite and Romish foxes, for they seek to make a gain of you, and lead you not to Jesus, but to their Church and all its mummeries. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and not in these deceivers.
Contrast that with guys like Rick Warren glowingly referring to Jorge Bergoglio as "the Holy Father" (more on that fiasco later).
Exhibit B On the Preacher's Appearance, wherein I disagree in part but agree as well, especially this part:
What is a good appearance? Well, it's not being pompous and starchy, and making one's self high and mighty among the people, for proud looks lose hearts, and gentle words win them. It's not wearing fine clothes either, for foppish dress usually means a foul house within and the doorstep without fresh white wash. Such dressing tells the world that the outside is the best part of the puppet. When a man is proud as a peacock, all strut and show, he needs converting himself before he sets up to preach to others. The preacher who measures himself by his mirror may please a few silly girls, but neither God nor man will long put up with him. The man who owes his greatness to his tailor will find that needle and thread cannot long hold a fool in a pulpit. A gentleman should have more in his pocket than on his back, and a minister should have more in his inner man than on his outer man. I would say, if I might, to young ministers, do not preach in gloves, for cats in mittens catch no mice; don't curl and oil your hair like dandies, for nobody cares to hear a peacock's voice; don't have your own pretty self in your mind at all, or nobody else will mind you. Away with gold rings, and chains, and jewelry; why should the pulpit become a goldsmith's shop? Forever away with surplices and gowns and all those nursery doll dresses men should put away childish things. A cross on the back is the sign of a devil in the heart; those who do as Rome does should go to Rome and show heir colors. If priests suppose that they get the respect of honest men by their fine ornamental dresses, they are much mistaken, for it is commonly said, "Fine feathers make fine birds," and "An ape is never so like an ape as when he wears a Popish cape."
I find vestments, collars and other clerical accouterments revolting and effete.
Exhibit C, Ordination and Religious Titles, another aspect of professional clericalism I despise.
Whence comes the whole paraphernalia of ordination as observed among some Dissenters? Since there is no special gift to bestow, why in any case the laying on of empty hands? Since we cannot pretend that mystic succession so vaunted by Ritualists, why are men styled "regularly ordained ministers"? A man who has preached for years is Mr. Brown, but after his ordination or recognition he develops into the Reverend Mr. Brown; what important change has he undergone? This comes before us in the form of addresses upon letters "Reverend Titus Smith, Mr. Spurgeon's College," or sometimes, "Reverend Timothy Jones, Spurgeon's Tabernacle." Rather odd, this! Here are reverend students of an unreverend preacher, the title being given to the one out of courtesy, and withheld from the other for the same reason. The Reverend Titus has met with a church which will insist upon an ordination, and he is ordained; but the President of his College, having never undergone such a process, nor even that imitation of it called a recognition, remains an unordained, unrecognized person to this day, and has not yet discovered the peculiar loss which he has sustained. We do not object to a recognition of the choice of the church by its neighbors and their ministers, on the contrary, we believe it to be a fraternal act, sanctioned by the very spirit of Christianity; but where it is supposed to be essential, is regarded as a ceremony, and is thought to be the crowning feature of the settlement, we demur.
"The Reverend Theophilus Robinson offered up the ordination prayer" has a Babylonish sound in our ears, and it is not much improved when it takes the form of "the recognition prayer." Is there, then, a ritual? Are we as much bound by an unwritten extempore liturgy as others by the Common Prayer.? Must there always be "usual questions"? And why "usual"? Is there some legendary rule for the address to the church and the address to the pastor? Mark well, that we do not object to any one of these things, but we do question the propriety of stereotyping them, and speaking of the whole affair as if it were a matter to be gone about according to a certain pattern seen in the holy mount, or an order given forth in trust to the saints. We see germs of evil in the usual parlance, and therefore meet it with a Quo Warranto? Is not the divine call the real ordination to preach, and the call of the church the only ordination to the pastorate?` The church is competent under the guidance or the Holy Spirit her own work, and if she calls in her sister churches, let her tell them what she has done, in such terms that they will never infer that they are called upon to complete the work. The ordination prayer should be prayed in the church meeting, and there and then the work should be done; for other churches to recognize the act is well and fitting, but not if it be viewed as needful to the completion of the act itself. We have noticed many signs of an error in this direction.
Like I said, they don't make guys like Spurgeon very often anymore but man could we use some.