Editors Note: This is a new series on spiritual growth designed to help our readers understand how to grow in Christ.
- Dave wrote the first post in this series on the blessing of the spiritual disciplines.
- Joey Cochran wrote the second post in this series on the four functions of prayer.
- Chris Poblete wrote the third post on the practice of private prayer.
- Chris wrote the fourth post on the practice of corporate prayer.
- Matthew Fretwell wrote the fifth post on finding the silence of God.
- Brian Hedges wrote the sixth post on how to lead family devotions.
- Chris in the seventh post in this series shares from Hudson Taylor about the importance of having a personal devotion time.
- Brian Hedges wrote the eighth post on how to nurture biblical love in the local church.
- Bob Hoekstra wrote the ninth post on answered prayer promised in Jesus’ name.
- Chris wrote the tenth post in this series on humility.
- Brian wrote the eleventh post in this series on how to receive criticism.
- Charles Spurgeon shared the twelfth post in this series on how to find joy in deep distress.
- Brian wrote the thirteenth post in this series about waiting on the Lord.
- Madison wrote the fourteenth post in this series on evangelism.
- Mathew Sims wrote the fifteenth post on journaling.
- Mike Boling wrote the sixteenth post on the importance of consistent and purposeful Bible study.
- Brian Hedges wrote the seventeenth post in this series on how to cultivate humility.
- Dan Darling wrote the eighteenth post on how to find joy in a fallen world.
- Mike Boling wrote the nineteenth post on how to delight yourself in the Lord through spending time in the Word and in prayer.
- Craig Hurst wrote the twentieth post on how to walk in obedience to the Word of God.
- Dan Darling wrote the twenty-first post on the rhythm of forgiveness and repentance.
- Jeff Medders wrote the twenty-second post on on our motivation in sanctification.
- Dan wrote the twenty-third post on how God uses relationships to grow us in His grace.
- Jeff Medders shared the twenty-fourth post from John Newton on how to handle controversy.
- Dave Jenkins wrote the twenty-five post on prayer and the grace of God.
- Dave wrote the twenty-sixth post on batting depression.
- Mathew Sims wrote the twenty-seventh post on how to disciple yourself in the gospel.
- Dave wrote the twenty-eight post about how to grow deep and wide in the grace of God.
- Today Dave writes on how the old paths are the best paths.
Recent days have seen a resurgence in conversation about Reformed theology. With the vast increase in reading the Reformers and Puritans has come an increasing interest in how they viewed the Christian life. This renewed interest in the Reformers and the Puritans is important since many people today are confused about what biblical spirituality is. From the seeming onslaught of self-help books, the growing interest in Reformers and Puritans has been needed for a long time. In this article, I want to show why the old paths are the best paths.
The Reformers and Puritans sought to live their Christian lives in a way that pleased the Lord. As Christians today we desperately need to understand that our faith is not something new but old and rooted in the Word of God. While many advocate that we need to redefine Christianity in order to be more palatable to postmodern people– the increase in interest of the Reformers and the Puritans demonstrate that we don’t need something new but rather something old. The Reformers and the Puritans emphasized what the Bible teaches and how to live a consistent life and holy life for Jesus.
The Puritans sought to take the teaching of the Reformers and advance a renewed Augustinianism. Augustine was a man who sought to take the teaching of the Word of God and teach the people of God. The Reformers were only concerned with being faithful to the truth of God’s Word. Today we must follow the example of the Reformers and the Puritans and place ourselves under the authority of God’s Word. Biblical spirituality springs from the fount of the Word of God.
The Puritans were considered masters of Christian spirituality. They not only preached the Word but modeled it in their daily lives and ministries. This is why today men like John Flavel, John Owen, and Thomas Goodwin, among many others, are still quoted years and years after they have died.
The Reformers and Puritans rightly emphasized the place of the Word of God in the Christian life. They also understood the importance of being under qualified spiritual leadership, participating in the sacraments, living in community with godly believers, building godly friendships, earnestly seeking to spur one another onto love and good deeds, reaching the lost and biblical discipleship. The well worn paths of church history remind God’s people today that there are no cheap substitutes for godliness, but that godly character comes over time. Spiritual growth isn’t about the latest self-help fad or going to see the latest spiritual guru who will almost always lead you away from the God of the Bible. Spiritual growth occurs over the long haul in community and with an open Bible hearing the Word preached in gathered worship and in private reading, studying and meditating on the Word.
The Bible provides a road map for how we are to grow in the grace of God and have godly character. Though dead, the saints of old speak today instructing God’s people in the biblical paths of growth in the grace of God. Young people today need the example of godly older saints to help show them how men are to love their wives, and wives are to respect their husbands. While this is but one example of many that we could consider, I encourage you to study the lives of godly older saints in your local church, in addition to saints who have gone on to be with the Lord. The Christian life is a life rooted in the Word of God. As you do this you’ll come to see that those who have gone before us or who are older than you have knowledge, experience and an example worth following as they follow the Lord Jesus.