Thursday, March 27, 2008

Daily Thought

Puritans Are Good

Don't believe the hatchet jobs being done by historians and modern theologians. If someone calls you a Puritan, take it as a compliment. Study the Puritans. Read the Puritans. Believe the Puritans.


will said...

Funny how effective this hatchet job has been. There is almost no relationship between the 'puritans' of popular imagination and the legitimate article.

That is not to suggest that Puritans didn't make many mistakes - some of them serious - just that they've been maligned in a way far out of keeping with the reality.

Ironically, these have more to say to Christians today than most current 'movements' in 'Christendom'.

Droll Flood said...

The problem is that most 'current movements' have too much to say, i.e. they're more in the order of prating fools. If one has something to say it needs to be born of and subjugated to Scripture the whole way. Puritans have more beneficial to say than many 'Christians'. Though I am not going to lock myself up in a peculiar historical manifestation of Christianity and ride that morbidly until the day I die.

Just because we have a printing press doesn't mean we have to only be printing contemporary stuff and constantly doing so.

Anonymous said...

But just remember that Richard Baxter's atonement theory and justification doctrines are all wrong.

Other than that, he--and the rest of the Puritans--rock!

Tim said...

Benjamin, one of the profs at Erskine (Dale Johnson, good guy) stated one day in class (the course was on Puritanism, btw) that the secular publishers of textbooks seem to be perpetuating the anti-Puritan bias. For instance, the literature textbooks always manage to include Edwards' "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" (ignoring wonderful sermons like "Pardon for the Greatest Sinners" -- not that "Sinners" isn't wonderful!) and include notorious anti-Puritan works like those of Hawthorne (e.g., "Young Goodman Brown").

Dave Van said...

Tim: I can't remember where I read it or heard it but.. "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" could have just as easily, and perhaps more appropriately, been entitled "Sinners in the Hands of a Gracious God"....without changing a word of the sermon.

Tim said...


Agreed! I can't help but be thankful to our merciful Lord when I read these lines:

"The use of this awful subject may be for awakening unconverted persons to a conviction of their danger, this that you have heard is the case of every one out if Christ. That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone, is extended abroad under you. There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; there is hell’s wide gaping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, nor anything between you and hell but the air; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up.

You are probably not sensible of this; you find you are kept out of hell, but do not see the hand of God in it, but look at other things, as the good state of your bodily constitution, your care of your own life, and the means you use for your own preservation. But indeed these things are nothing; if God should withdraw His hand, they would avail no more to keep you from falling, than the thin air to hold up a person who is suspended in it.

Your wickedness makes you, as it were, heavy as lead, and to rend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell, and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink, and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf; and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you, and keep you out of hell, than a spider’s web would have to stop a falling rock. Were it not for the sovereign pleasure of God, the earth would not bear you one moment...

It is only the gracious hand of God that holds back His wrath from guilty sinners. And it is only because Christ took the punishment for us that we are able to stand before Him. Thanks be to God!

Timothy said...

Sad to say, but I had a professor at DTS that was always saying, "I love the Puritans, but they have nothing to offer the 20th Century mind."

My later thought: "You've never read the Puritans."

Don't worry, the prof that has the most influence on that campus loves John Owen. That would be John Hannah.

TBT said...

Funny how effective this hatchet job has been.

I would have to agree. I recall, not too long ago now, that a fellow ruling elder made the comment, "We don't want to give the impression that we (Presbyterians) are like the Puritans . . . you know . . . legalists. (:o