The short answer is ‘no.’
Recently, Alf Cengia, a pretrib blogger wrote concerning Charles Spurgeon, who is claimed to have purportedly believed in imminence, “what’s good for Charles Spurgeon should be good for me and just about everyone else.”
The fallacy of “the appeal to authority” is not a biblical principle of interpretation.
As you read Cengia’s article, you get the impression that because Spurgeon believed in imminence, you should as well.
While Spurgeon was a great pastor, our theological heroes are not infallible and do not possess perfect theology.
Further, Spurgeon never believed in the pretrib notion of imminence, the notion that there were no prophesied events that had to occur before Jesus’s return. He was a historicist posttribulationist who believed that discernible prophecies must happen before Jesus returns for the church. He only believed that most of them had already transpired during the church age—but there was still at least one more sign that had to occur before the rapture.
Let me explain.
The outstanding Baptist preacher Spurgeon expressed the following sentiment: “Act as if Jesus would come during the act in which you are engaged; and if you would not wish to be caught in that act by the Coming of the Lord, let it not be your act” (Twelve Sermons, 140). While he expressed this sentiment, he did in fact believe that the church must first experience the sign of the celestial disturbances that would follow after days of tribulation before the rapture:
“I must leave this first point, concerning the terrible time when this precept is to be carried out, by just reminding you that, when the Lord Jesus Christ shall come, the heavens shall tell us: ‘There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars.’ The earth shall tell us, for upon the earth there shall be “distress of nations, with perplexity.” The sea shall tell us, for the sea and the waves thereof shall roar. Men shall tell us, for men’s hearts shall fail them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth. . . . Now I come to the remarkable precept itself: ‘Then look up, and lift up your heads.” . . . Let there be no looking down because the earth is quaking and shaking, but let there be a looking up because you are going to rise from it; no looking down because the graves are opening; why should you look down? You will quit the grave, never more to die. ‘Lift up your heads.’ The time for you to hang your heads, like bulrushes, is over already, and will certainly be over when the Lord is coming, and your redemption draws nigh. Wherefore, ‘look up, and lift up your heads'” [cf. Luke 21:20–28] (Spurgeon, “Joyful Anticipation,” 130).
In short, it is strained historical practice for pretribs to point to Spurgeon and exclaim, “See, see, even Spurgeon believed in imminence, and therefore you should as well!” Spurgeon did not believe in imminence, nor should we believe a biblical truth merely because a non-inspired person believes it.
Addendum: This mindset of appealing to authorities or suggesting a “consensus” is prevalent in pretrib circles: “what’s good for Charles Spurgeon should be good for me and just about everyone else.” Renald Showers, for example, was notorious for this type of practice. It does nothing for me. Appealing to authorities only kicks the can down the street and begs the question for biblical evidence. Another form of this I hear is, “Look, this scholar believes in imminence and he is not even pretrib!” I see these lame, non-scholarly tactics all the time in pretrib literature and I just skim right over it. It is mere filler. I could care less if so and so believed this or that. It may convince non-thinking people, but not thinking people who are only interested in actual biblical evidence. I could play that rhetorical game as well and count noses for my position, “so and so believed what I believe, therefore you should believe it as well.” But I obviously choose not to, because it is shallow and fallacious reasoning, revealing the insufficiency of biblical evidence for one’s position.