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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:

Are you not surprised that there should be such an expression as that in the Bible, “That justifieth the ungodly?” I have heard that men that hate the doctrines of the cross bring it as a charge against God, that He saves wicked men and receives to Himself the vilest of the vile. See how this Scripture accepts the charge, and plainly states it! By the mouth of His servant Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, He takes to Himself the title of “Him that justifieth the ungodly.” He makes those just who are unjust, forgives those who deserve to be punished, and favors those who deserve no favor. You thought, did you not, that salvation was for the good? that God’s grace was for the pure and holy, who are free from sin? It has fallen into your mind that, if you were excellent, then God would reward you; and you have thought that because you are not worthy, therefore there could be no way of your enjoying His favor. You must be somewhat surprised to read a text like this: “Him that justifieth the ungodly. “ I do not wonder that you are surprised; for with all my familiarity with the great grace of God, I never cease to wonder at it. It does sound surprising, does it not, that it should be possible for a holy God to justify an unholy man? We, according to the natural legality of our hearts, are always talking about our own goodness and our own worthiness, and we stubbornly hold to it that there must be somewhat in us in order to win the notice of God. Now, God, who sees through all deceptions, knows that there is no goodness whatever in us. He says that “there is none righteous, no not one.” He knows that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,” and, therefore the Lord Jesus did not come into the world to look after goodness and righteousness with him, and to bestow them upon persons who have none of them. He comes, not because we are just, but to make us so: he justifieth the ungodly.
— All of Grace, CH Spurgeon

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:

John Piper on Spurgeon's Depression

CCEF and Charles Spurgeon on Depression

Spurgeon's Sorrows -- Zack Eswine
 

 

 

 

 

 

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