Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Prince of Soul Care?

When I first started becoming interested in theology, one of my favorite preachers to read was Charles Spurgeon. I loved his wit. For example a story is told where a woman comes into his office and worries about her salvation. After a long explanation from her, Spurgeon says something to the effect of "Ma'am, you're right. If I were you, I'd stay away from the church for ever." She replied "I could never stay away from the church." He then showed her how that tended to show she was saved.

I loved him because he spoke the truth so plainly. He was not afraid to call out problems. When talking about the preaching of the day, he said "Would the early Christians have risked their lives to enter in to wilderness and catacombs to come hear such watered down preaching?"

I also loved him because he helped me tremendously when I went through Ephesians 1 and determining if I was reformed or not. "God must have chosen me before I was born, for he certainly wouldn't have chosen me after."

He's earned the title of Prince of Preachers. Well now I think he's deserving of another title, Prince of Soul Care (obviously, Christ would be the King of Soul Care.)

In a book of his tilted God Loves You he talks about "Our Lord's Preaching" (chapter 3.) Two quotes stand out "The more diseased you are, the surer you may be that the Savior came to heal you" (p71). The second one is a bit more extended, "Carefully focus on the meaning of the text, so that you may see whter or not this message applies to you. Are you brokenhearted because of sin, because you have sinned often, fouly, grievously? Are you brokenhearted because your heart will not break as you deisre it to break - brokenhearted because you are sorry that you cannot repent as you want to and grieved because you cannot grieve enough? Are you brokenhearted because you do not have such a sense of sin as you ought to have and such a deep loating of it as you perceive others to have? ... It does not matter for what particular reason you are brokenhearted. Jesus Christ came into the world, sent by God with this purpose: 'to bind up the brokenhearted'"

Now, as I thought about this, I thought how he was really getting to the core of people. The elipses above covers about 1 to 2 pages of more examples of being brokenhearted, but all of them are deeper than our typical explanations of this passage. I mean you usually hear about the brokenhearted as being those who have lost loved ones, or those who are suffering. Not Spurgeon. He goes much deeper, he quickly gets to something many Christians feel, that they are not experiencing deep enough conviction.

In fact, when I read that passage, I usually think "I'm not meek. I'm not poor. I'm not brokenhearted." But in understanding it this way, I see that I am brokenhearted in the very definition that he explains. It is comforting to know that even when I feel like I'm not convicted enough, Christ still came for me. When I'm sick, I'm even more sure of Christ's purpose on this earth.

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