The Minimum Christian!:
(C.H. Spurgeon, “Sword and the Trowel” 1876)
The minimum Christian! And who is he? The Christian who is going to heaven at the cheapest rate possible. The Christian who intends to get all of the world he can and not meet the worldling’s doom. The Christian who aims to have as little religion as he may without lacking it altogether.
The minimum Christian goes to worship in the morning; and in the evening also unless it rains, or is too warm, or too cold, or he is sleepy, or has the headache from eating too much at dinner. He listens most respectfully to the preacher, and joins in prayer and praise. He applies the truth very judiciously sometimes to himself, oftener to his neighbors.
The minimum Christian is very friendly to all good works. He wishes them well, but it is not in his power to do much for them. The Sunday-school he looks upon as an admirable institution especially for the neglected and ignorant. It is not convenient, however, for him to take a class his business engagements are so pressing during the week that he needs the Sabbath as a day of rest; nor does he think himself qualified to act as a teacher. There are so many persons better prepared for this important duty that he must beg to be excused. He is very friendly to home and foreign missions, and colportage, and gives his mite, but he is quite unable to aid in the management, for his own concerns are so excessively important. He thinks there are “too many appeals;” but he gives, if not enough to save his reputation, pretty near it at all events he aims at it, and never overshoots the mark.
The minimum Christian is not clear on a number of points. The opera and dancing, the theater and card-playing, and large fashionable parties give him much trouble. He cannot see the harm in this, or that, or the other popular amusement. There is nothing in the Bible against it. He does not see why a Christian may not dance or go to the opera. He knows several excellent persons who do so at least, so he says. Why should not he? He stands so close to the dividing-line between the people of God and the people of the world that it is hard to say on which side of it he is actually to be found.
Ah, my brother, are you making this attempt? Beware, lest you find at last that in trying to get to Heaven with a little religion you miss it altogether; lest without gaining the whole world you lose your own soul. True godliness demands self-denial and cross-bearing and if you have none of these, you are making a false profession!