Why You Should Read the Puritans.

I guess a theme for this Holy Week for my blog is resources to help with our spiritual growth. Today I turn to Jeff Robinson on The Gospel Coalition for some reasons why we need to begin to or to persist in reading the great works of the Puritans.  Click here to read the article.

Here are his reasons and one or two explanations.
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.

3. Because they knew their best life was later.
The Puritans suffered long, but they suffered well. Death was a constant companion for the Puritans of the 17th and 18th centuries. In England, they faced deadly persecution at the hands of the Church of England, the church they sought to purify. In the New World, they faced an especially harsh physical climate. Packer writes:
Ease and luxury, such as our affluence brings us today, do not make for maturity; hardship and struggle, however, do, and the Puritans’ battles against the spiritual and climatic wilderness in which God set them produced a virility of character, undaunted and unsinkable, rising above discouragement and fears, for which the true precedents and models are men like Moses, and Nehemiah, and Peter after Pentecost, and the apostle Paul.
 4. Because they viewed the family as a little church.
 5. Because they saw all of life as being lived coram deo—before the face of God.
 6. Because they were highly decorated soldiers on the spiritual battlefield.
 7. Because they were skilled physicians of souls.
 8. Because they understood contentment in Christ as the key to genuine happiness.
Read the whole thing here.

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