In 1854, Spurgeon went to the New Park Street Baptist Church in London as a supply preacher for six months and never left. He pastored the church for the next 38 years - the rest of his life. It was renamed Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1861 when the church moved to a new location.
The "Down Grade", as Spurgeon called it, was a controversy that developed over several years and erupted in 1887 in Spurgeon's paper, The Sword and The Trowel. He said he feared that the Baptist Union (same as an association or a fellowship in this country) was on a down grade of liberal theology. He said the Parliament had expelled Puritanism from the Church of England in the Act of Uniformity in 1662 and replaced its Calvinistic doctrine with Arminianism giving rise to Baptists. His first article (March 1887) said that every single Baptist church was established on Calvinistic doctrine but this changed as several books were written to counter the Antinomianism of Tobias Crisp, an eminent preacher. The books frightened a large number of Baptists and put them on the "down grade," Spurgeon contended. We would call it an over-correction.