Reformed Christians are often accused of being cold and callous, virtual Stoics or fatalists. We’ve all heard the epithet “the frozen chosen” applied to Reformed believers. We usually protest that such a nickname does not truly describe us, and of course, we all know many brothers and sisters to whom such a name would never stick. But the fact that this nickname, this description of us, is so common should give us pause. Do we sometimes speak and act in ways that give rise to such an idea? Sadly, I believe we do.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the great Victorian pastor, not only was a masterful pulpiteer, a brilliant administrator, a gifted writer, and a selfless evangelist, he was a determined champion of the deprived and the rejected. He spent more than half of his incredibly busy schedule on one or another of the sixty organizations or institutions he founded for their care and comfort. Once, a skeptic accosted Spurgeon on the street outside a market in London, scornfully challenging both the practicality and the genuineness of the preacher’s faith. Spurgeon gracefully answered the man by pointing out the failure of contemporary “free thinkers” …