This past Monday I participated in Cyber-Monday by purchasing A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life by Joel Beeke and Mark Jones… for only $9.99. Yeah, huge savings there. I felt like a rock star. Anyway, I am excited to read through this because it’s allegedly the best survey of Puritan theology that has ever been written; so say the endorsers!
There are some people out there that almost always have something negative to say about Puritans. I find it kind of comical that so many intelligent people try to hold the Puritans to standards that simply were not even remotely close to being understood in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries! So when people say, “they weren’t aware of the epistemological issues raised by Post-Modernism” I generally chuckle to myself. Of course they weren’t! Back then, no one was!
So why do I enjoy reading the Puritans? Well, beyond the fact that I share similar theological convictions byway of the Reformed Tradition, I agree with Beeke and Jones who write,
“… the late sixteenth-century and seventeenth-century movement of Puritanism was a kind of vigorous Calvinism. Experientially, it was warm and contagious; evangelistically, it was aggressive, yet tender; ecclesiastically, it sought to practice the headship of Christ over the faith, worship, and order of His body, the church; politically, it was active, balanced, and bound by conscience before God, in the relations of king, Parliament, and subjects.”
Experiential, evangelistic, ecclesiological, and politically engaging. Yep, I can get down with that. I don’t have to agree with everything the Puritans wrote, believed, or preached while appreciating them on a whole. After all, as J. I. Packer is quoted as saying,
“Puritanism was an evangelical holiness movement seeking to implement its vision of spiritual renewal, national and personal, in the church, the state, and the home; in education, evangelism, and economics; in individual discipleship and devotion, and in pastoral care and competence.”
Yep, love me some Puritans. Too bad you can’t get A Puritan Theology for only $9.99 now. It’s back to $29.99.