This week the blog is sponsored by Reformation Heritage Books.
After much hard work, the PURITAN Documentary deluxe box set is in production with the anticipated release this summer. It includes:
- A two-hour documentary featuring MacArthur, Piper, Mohler, Lawson, Beeke, Packer, Ferguson, DeYoung and many more.
- Thirty-five video lessons and workbook featuring respected pastors and theologians.
- Following God Fully – An Introduction to the Puritans by Joel Beeke and Michael Reeves.
- Additional special features and gift items.
Watch the latest video trailer and pre-order now for yourself or your church at a substantial discount at www.puritandocumentary.com.
But, why all this effort? What can we possibly learn from the example of the Puritans today?
“The doctrine which I preach is that of the Puritans: it is the doctrine of Calvin, the doctrine of Augustine, the doctrine of Paul, the doctrine of the Holy Ghost.”
–C. H. Spurgeon
The Puritans are Scriptural
It is hard not to be struck by the Puritans’ knowledge and use of Scripture. Their sermons and writings are studded with biblical proof texts, exegesis, illustrations, and quotations. The Bible was their supreme authority and was always referenced as the yardstick against which their teaching could be tested. Charles Spurgeon said on this,
I would quote John Bunyan as an instance of what I mean. Read anything of his, and you will see that it is almost like reading the Bible itself…. Prick him anywhere, and you will find that his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his soul is full of the Word of God.
They were doctrinally rich as they were biblically anchored, and so tended to be wise, balanced, and sensible.
The Puritans are Christ-Focused
They also kept their doctrinal focus where Scripture does: on Christ. William Perkins put it succinctly, concluding his influential book on preaching with these words: “Preach one Christ by Christ to the praise of Christ.”
The Puritans found Christ everywhere in the Bible. According to Thomas Adams, “Christ is the sum of the whole Bible, prophesied, typified, prefigured, exhibited, demonstrated, to be found in every leaf, almost in every line, the Scriptures being but as it were the swaddling bands of the child Jesus.” Likewise, Isaac Ambrose wrote, “Think of Christ as the very substance, marrow, soul, and scope of the whole Scriptures.” Thomas Goodwin asserted that heaven would be like hell to him if Christ were not there.
This focus on Christ suffused their writings with worship. Would you know Christ better and love Him more fully? Immerse yourself in Puritan literature, asking the Spirit to sanctify it to you in a Christ-centered way.
The Puritans are Devotional
Tragically, the word “devotional” today is often a mild slur, meaning frothy and lightweight, something more “inspirational” than intellectual. None of these qualities apply well to the Puritans. The Puritans tended to be highly learned men, well-trained in linguistics, and well-educated in biblical, systematic, and historical theology. They had a depth and seriousness to their study and great erudition as a result. Theirs tended to be a theology that stretches the mind. Yet also, theirs tended to be a theology that inflames the heart. In Puritan hands, deep and thoughtful theology was never allowed to become a game for the intelligentsia—it fueled worship and it built up the church.
The Puritans are Practical
The Puritans were a people who longed to see the reformation of human hearts, minds, and lives by the Word of God. As such, they consciously sought to be pastoral and practical. It almost certainly helped that so many of them were also great sufferers, enduring levels of persecution, pain, and bereavement almost unheard of in our comfortable West today. They simply could not play at Christianity. In every part of life, they longed, preached, pastored, wrote, lived, and died to see God glorified and to prepare their souls to meet Christ on the Judgment Day clothed in His righteousness.
“The Puritans [were] burning and shining lights.”
You will find life-giving riches in the Puritans. So, be sure to pre-order PURITAN: All of Life to the Glory of God today.
A partnership with Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and Media Gratiae and written by Joel Beeke and Michael Reeves.