Biblical History, Creation, and The Existence of God

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, "Does God exist?" What you’ll hear in this episode The Bible’s teaching about the character of God. Miracles Are Not Always Reliable for Producing Faith. Miracles Are Not a Cure for Unbelief. God has revealed...

Christian: You Are a Priest

Christian: You Are a Priest from Crossway on Vimeo. The Reality of Our Identity The mind reels as soon as we say the word priest. We have all kinds of connotations. One is if we run back into the Old Testament, we see old men with long beards and fancy garments. If we...

Honoring Christ’s Servants

Philippians 2:29–30, "29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me." Epaphroditus, whose work we read about in Philippians 2:25–30, was...

The Dangers of Pride and Pursuing Genuine Humility

Ministry service is a noble task for one to be called to. The Apostle Paul tells young Timothy, “if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do” (1 Timothy 3:1). What better way to live one’s life than in service to the Lord? For it...

Why Wisdom Is More than an Intellectual Pursuit

Why Wisdom Is More Than an Intellectual Pursuit from Crossway on Vimeo. Reverence for God Wisdom is a really important element in doing theology because the alternative is to do theology in a foolish way. I don’t think any of us wants to do that. But what does wisdom...

The Severity of Epaphroditus’ Illness

Philippians 2:27–28, "27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be...
Jeff Robinson – 8 Reasons We Need the Puritans

Posted On April 28, 2015

For many years before entering vocational ministry, I worked as a journalist in the dog-eat-dog world of secular media. While working as a reporter for a metropolitan daily newspaper in Georgia, one of my more progressive colleagues teased me good-naturedly about being a “conservative boy” from a small town in the sticks of North Georgia. She said, “You know what you are? You’re a Puritan!” At the time, I didn’t really know what to make of this remark. Today, I would see it as a high compliment.

In the minds of many, Puritanism equals scrupulous rules-keeping, dour Christianity, or, as the inimitable American journalist H. L. Mencken famously quipped, “Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

Over the past few decades, thanks in large part to the publishing efforts of Banner of Truth and the advocacy of Martyn-Lloyd Jones, the English and American Puritans have made a strong comeback among Reformed evangelicals. During my years in seminary, I fell in love with the Puritans. Now, I delight in teaching about the Puritans, and during my time as pastor, men like John Bunyan, Thomas Watson, and John Owen were among my shepherds through their deeply devotional theological writing. Though dead, they certainly still speak. And we need to hear them.

Granted, they could be maddenly eccentric and sometimes ran to extremes. The Puritans never met a rule the didn’t seem to relish. They had a decidedly underdeveloped view of recreation and leisure. Their writing tended toward wordiness, often stating and then restating the same point several times. And their moralizing of life experiences and spiritual introspection often knew no bounds. For example, Cotton Mather once saw his sinful heart as the cause of a toothache, as he told his diary: “Have I not sinned against my teeth? How? By sinful, graceless, excessive eating, and by sinful speeched? (Quoted in Leland Ryken, Worldly Saints)” They were, after all, sinners saved by grace.

Still, for all their humanness, they represent a high point of (to borrow a favorite phrase from John Piper) Christ-centered, Scripture-saturated, God-entranced living.

Eight Reasons

In our snap-judgment, 140-character age, we need the Puritans perhaps more than ever. Here are eight reasons why.

1. Because they were mature in ways we are not.

J. I. Packer hits the mark:

Maturity is a compound of wisdom, goodwill, resilience, and creativity. The Puritans exemplified maturity; we don’t. We are spiritual dwarfs. A much-travelled leader, a native American (be it said), has declared that he finds North American Protestantism, man-centered, manipulative, success-oriented, self-indulgent and sentimental, as it blatantly is, to be 3,000 miles wide and half and inch deep. The Puritans, by contrast, as a body were giants. They were great souls serving a great God.

Would anyone deny the truthfulness of his assessment in much of modern evangelicalism today?

2. Because they understood the deep sinfulness of the human heart.

John Owen (1616-1683) called the human heart a hornet’s nest of evil. He wrote The Mortification of Sin, the most famous treatment of sin among the Puritans. Because they understood the depravity of the human heart, the Puritans realized that only a unilateral work of sovereign grace can rescue fallen man. Thus, their keen understanding of the deadness of the human heart led them to plant their feet firmly upon a theology of grace as the sole catalyst that will draw dead hearts out of the grave.

Continue Reading

Related Posts

, Jeff Robinson – 8 Reasons We Need the Puritans, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

Pastor, Are You Prepared to Shepherd Your Flock through Dementia?

A Common Challenge The tragedy of dementia is common and will become more so in the future. It is estimated that over 30% of the average church congregation will die with some form of dementia. That represents an enormous challenge in pastoral ministry. I would...

, Jeff Robinson – 8 Reasons We Need the Puritans, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

Pride Goes Before a Fall

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18) The word “pride” has been bantered around quite a bit of late, specifically in relation to the recent SCOTUS decision on gay marriage. Social media has been awash with “support pride”...

, Jeff Robinson – 8 Reasons We Need the Puritans, Servants of Grace, Servants of Grace

The Sovereignty of God in the Midst of the Chaos of Our World

Whether it’s on social media, the radio, or on TV, events like police officers being shot, Black Lives Matter, and terrorist attacks seemingly dominate our daily news. Every person is created by God in His image and likeness and worthy of dignity and respect. As...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share1
Tweet
Share
Pin
Buffer