What C. H. Spurgeon Said of “Apostle” Suleiman Johnson
By: Deji Yesufu
“We shall, as we ripen in grace, have greater sweetness towards our fellow Christians. Bitter-spirited Christians may know a great deal, but they are immature. I know we who are young beginners in grace think ourselves qualified to reform the whole Christian church. We drag her before us, and condemn her straightway; but when our virtues become more mature, I trust we shall not be more tolerant of evil, but we shall be more tolerant of infirmity, more hopeful for the people of God, and certainly less arrogant in our criticisms.”
“Those who are quick to censure may be very acute in judgment, but they are as yet very immature in heart. He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more; he overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it.” – C. H. Spurgeon.
In this article I want to briefly examine the lives of two men: Johnson Suleiman and Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Suleiman and Spurgeon are professing Christians but there is a world of difference between them. It is in examining the difference between these two men’s lives and doctrine that you can better appreciate the statement attributed to Spurgeon above.
Spurgeon is dead and at the moment part of the cloud of witnesses in heaven. Suleiman, on the other hand, is alive but he is dead spiritually – and he is heading to an eternity without Christ and without God, “IF” he doesn’t repent of the false gospel he preaches; and then believe on the true Christ as his Lord and Savior. Why do I have the temerity to sound out these words of judgement? Follow me as I tell a few things that I know about these two men whose names, accidentally, starts with “s”.
Recently Johnson Suleiman has been in the news again. This time a Nigerian actress, who recently gave her life to Christ and who, as part of her restitution, came out to confess a sin which she felt was against the body of Christ. This lady had slept with Johnson Suleiman – twice. To appease her conscience, she made the allegations. To be fair to Suleiman, they remain allegations. The only problem that some of us have with these allegations is this: why is it that it is only Johnson Suleiman that all these people continue to allege?
In 2017, a lady residing in Canada, alleged that Suleiman and her had had sex. The matter became a national scandal. The lady was arrested and prosecuted. Suddenly after months of persecution, the young woman gave in and recanted her story. She has since moved back to Canada and her chapter was closed. Then a pastor working with Johnson Suleiman alleged that Suleiman had slept with his wife. After weeks of public trial of the case, this pastor rescinded on his own story too and Suleiman appeared to be vindicated. This is besides a catalogue of failed prophecies that has accompanied the ministry of Johnson Suleiman. Like when he said El Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, will die. Or, when, in 2015, he predicted that Goodluck Jonathan will win the presidential election. Just before this recent scandal, Suleiman got the Nigerian Police to detain a YouTuber for making a video criticizing Johnson Suleiman for claiming that angels were sending miracle money into people’s bank accounts.
On the other hand, here is a brief story of C. H. Spurgeon. Spurgeon lived in the 19th century. He was pastor of London Metropolitan Tabernacle. He began his ministry at an early age of 19, following the steps of his father and grandfather. He never claimed to be an apostle. He was a thorough bred Calvinist and a Cessationists. He revived the 1689 Baptist Confessions – becoming for those of us Reformed Baptist our recent ancestor.
Spurgeon led a truly remarkable ministry in London – leading thousands to Christ (in a day when preachers never made an altar call). Spurgeon was known as the Prince of Preachers. His sermons sold millions of copies in his days and people are still reading them today. Hundreds of biographies have been written on Spurgeon and none of them carry an iota of a scandal in them. Save for his love for smoking a pipe, an archile heel that likely ended his life early at 58, Spurgeon was a genuinely saintly man. And while I have not confirmed whether the quote above are his, they do sound like something Spurgeon will say or write.
Having given a context to the lives of these two men, it is important to underscore a certain point in Spurgeon’s statement above. It is true that some of us, immature folks, are quick to censure other Christians. Indeed as I mature in the faith, I see the need to speak less of the failures of the Church and to proclaim more of her virtues. HOWEVER, it is important we note Spurgeon’s audience and the persons he was speaking to. Spurgeon was talking about relationships between Christians and not about how Christians should relate with unbelievers. Here is where I am going.
The problem with Johnson Suleiman is not that he has sex (allegedly) with women who are not his wife. It is not that he arrests YouTubers. It is not that he has a litany of false prophecies. Johnson Suleiman’s central problem is that he is not a Christian. Who is a Christian? A Christian is a person who believes that Christ died and rose again to save him from his sin. A false Christian is one who believes that Christ died and rose again to give him or her a life of happiness, health and wealth. This latter message is unfortunately the message that Suleiman and many professing Christians believe today and for this reason they are not believers. It is important you get the message of the gospel right. Because it is in believing the gospel that you can be saved. And it is only the born again human being that can live holy. Until then a litany of allegations will continue to follow false believers and their churches, and such people will continue to resort to quotes like the above from Spurgeon to offer them immunity from the discernment that true Christians must have.
C. H. Spurgeon was ruthless with false believers and I will end this essay with a statement he made against supposed apostles like Johnson Suleiman. In the late 1880s, Spurgeon set the Christian community in Europe ablaze with a controversy. In his day the doctrine of evolution was raging. Charles Darwin had just published his “Origin of Species”, the book that posited the theory that human being came from monkeys. The natural implication of that doctrine was that the story of creation was false and the Bible was not true. True Christians rejected Darwinism. Atheists celebrated him. The problem was however that a large section of the Church took a middle line: they said that there was an evolutionary perspective to Genesis 1 which scripture didn’t elucidate on. Spurgeon and his friends then wrote series of articles accusing their fellow Christians of “downgrading” the Christian faith. This is how the Downgrade Controversy began. It led to Spurgeon being suspended from the Baptist Union of Churches in London and his eventual pull out from their fellowship. Friends abandoned him and the heart ache may have precipitated the illness that took his life in 1892. Notwithstanding, Spurgeon never reneged on the position he took. Liberal Christianity, he argued, was not true Christianity. So when Spurgeon made the statement above, he made it in the context of a true church and not an apostate one.
As for those claiming to be prophets and apostles today, here are some charitable words Spurgeon left for them before he died:
“Honor the Spirit of God as you would honor Jesus Christ if He were present. If Jesus Christ were dwelling in your house, you would not ignore Him. You would not go about your businesses as if He were not there. Do not ignore the presence of the Holy Spirit in your soul. To Him pay your constant adorations, reverence the august guest who has been pleased to make your body his sacred abode. Love Him, obey Him, worship Him. Take care never to impute the vain imaginings of your fancy to Him. I have seen the Spirit of God shamefully dishonored by persons—I hope they were insane—who have said they have had this and that revealed to them.
“There has not, for some years, passed over my head a single week in which I have not been pestered with the revelations of hypocrites or maniacs. Semi-lunatics are very fond of coming with messages from the Lord to me, and it may save them some trouble if I tell them once and for all that I will have none of their stupid messengers. Never dreamed that events are revealed to you by heaven, or you may come to be like those idiots who dare impute their blatant follies to the Holy Spirit. If you feel your tongue itch to talk nonsense, trace it to the devil, not to the Spirit of God. Whatever is to be revealed by the Spirit to any of us is in the Word of God already. He adds nothing to the Bible and never will. Let persons who have revelations of this, that and the other go to bed and wake up in their senses. I only wish they would follow the advice and no longer insult the Holy Spirit by laying their nonsense at His door.”