Today's Man Crush Monday is dedicated to the Prince of Preachers himself, Charles Spurgeon. Now, it is no secret that Spurgeon has informed many of my affections towards reformed theology. And let's face it. The man was, in fact, the hipster par excellence, as he would often preach to the masses while wearing a bowtie, vest, and quite possibly the most full, symmetrically kept beard the world has witnessed since the days of Jesus. Oh, and marvel at that hipster haircut!
Spurgeon was a giant among those who heralded the Gospel in his day. And no less could be said of today. His writings widely remain the most quoted in sermons the world over. From Arminians to Calvinists, Spurgeon's clarion call of the Gospel transcends doctrinal deadlocks of the pulpit, penetrating the hearts of hearers desperately in need of this good news -- you are absolutely insane if you believe you have the ability to save yourself apart from the grace of the finished work of Jesus. Consider this excerpt from Spurgeon's All of Grace:
Spurgeon's gospel proclamation is not merely a band aid for my works righteousness-oriented heart. No, his Gospel mastery is of the likes of a most skillful surgeon, and his understanding of the good news of Jesus is not only the diagnostic of my heart condition: It is the anesthetic forcing me to lose all sense of consciousness in my ability to maintain control and save myself ; It is the scalpel separating flesh and bone; It is the retractor by which my chest is held open and my dead heart laid bare; It is the hands removing death and placing a regenerate heart inside of me; It is the best news that I am dead and I cannot bring myself back to life by no means of my own good works; It is the truth that only Jesus can save me from myself and He will not be needing the help of this helpless soul laying bare before him on the operating table of his own merit. Jesus simply needs nothing of my own understanding of my symptoms, my diagnostic, or my prescription for my best life now. I simply need Jesus. And He is all the justification I need.
This alone should be enough to warm my affections towards this Jesus that Spurgeon understood all too well. And it does. Infinitely. In a land of checks and balances, do goodery, and the proverbial "attaboy!" from those I want to admire me, Spurgeon's love for preaching a whole Gospel for the whole person reorients my life. Yet, this not what solely causes me to dedicate today's #MCM to him. What draws me most to the life and works of Spurgeon is this:
Like me, Spurgeon suffered deeply from bouts of depression and it drove him to love the Gospel of Jesus even more. This is why Spurgeon's life and work are so incredibly meaningful to me as with many pastors. The man simply forces those of us who suffer from depression to allow the Gospel to be the only thing that will ever move us from darkness to light. Spurgeon tasted all of the weariness, brokenness, and sadness this busted world threw at him, and he still believed that the only thing that could save the depressed and the emotionally healthy was singular: the finished work of Jesus on behalf of the sinner.
I wish I had time to unpack all of the wrestlings of Spurgeon as he fought with depression. However, they are well documented and, quite frankly, I would never do a just job of assessing his life as well as others have. So, with that in mind, if you would like to read a little further, I suggest these three reads:
Spurgeon's Sorrows -- Zack Eswine