April 4, 2015

PURITAN NATION:

8 REASONS WE NEED THE PURITANS (Jeff Robinson, MAR 31, 2015, TGC)

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. [...]

4. Because they viewed the family as a little church.

Puritan fathers were deeply committed to catechizing their children and serving as shepherds in their homes. One of the great needs of our day is for God to raise up an army of lion-hearted and lamb-like husbands/fathers who will love their families by teaching them the Word of God, by modeling biblical headship and churchmanship. I have written more extensively on the Puritans and family discipleship here.

5. Because they saw all of life as being lived coram deo--before the face of God.

For the Puritans in both old England and new, there was no sacred/secular divide. If they worked as blacksmiths, the calling was to blacksmith to the glory of God. If they farmed, they sowed and reaped in dependence upon God. The Puritans knew vividly that God is omnipresent, that there is not one square inch in all creation where he is not present or where he is not interested in radiating forth his glory. Hard work was for the Puritans a central part of Christian living, and what we call the Protestant work ethic is a gift passed down from them.

Posted by at April 4, 2015 8:41 AM
  

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