Meet the Puritans

Pardon me for a Thursday afternoon interruption. I just wanted to steal a moment of your time and give a shameless promotion. Fortunately, it’s not a shameless self-promotion, so hopefully you aren’t too deterred. There’s a new blog in the neighborhood and I want to commend it to our readership. But before I do let me qualify this recommendation by saying I rarely do much to advertise blogs. King Solomon was right when he said: “Of making many books there is no end, and much study is weariness to the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Be warned then, there is no end to the writing of blogs! I know some people have myriads of blogs they like to frequent and suggest to others. A bit tangentially, I even knew a chap at a seminary who admitted most of his theological “education” came from blogs. That’s a truly frightening prospect! Anyway, for what it’s worth, I’m not one of those people frequently suggesting this or that blog. I know that probably sounds strange since I’m a regular contributor to Gentle Reformation which is, in fact, a blog. But my consistency (or lack thereof) is not the subject of this post. I only say this so that you know–for what it might be worth–I really do mean this recommendation. So I’m quite happy to introduce you to a blog that I think will prove to be very valuable.

So without further ado, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals has recently rebooted a blog dedicated to the Puritans. Fittingly, it’s called Meet the Puritans. It’s a collaborative effort by men who are well qualified to write on Puritanism. In the last sixty years there has been a resurgence of interest in the Puritans–a large part being owed to the publishing efforts of Banner of Truth, Reformation Heritage Books, and Soli Deo Gloria. Now, I’m not an expert but it seems to me that much of what has been republished–at least in single volumes–has been primarily focused on the devotional aspects of Puritanism. That is welcomed since their warmth and piety is very needed in the church today. Thankfully, however, recent years have seen this broadened to include some of their more scholarly works. This has served as a helpful reminder of the giants on whose shoulders we, in the Reformed tradition, stand. The Puritans were not lightweights and their exegetical prowess and theological acumen are a force to be reckoned with. And, in my humble opinion, that’s the strength of Meet the Puritans. These authors seek to “introduce the theology and piety of the seventeenth century English Puritans in particular and of sixteenth-eighteenth century Reformed orthodoxy in general by means of sharing original research, [and] writing theological and devotional commentary” on their writings. Theology and piety–that’s the best of both worlds!

On a personal note, I find myself very grateful for the Puritans. I was first introduced to them in 2002 when I picked up a small paperback All Things for Good by Thomas Watson. You can imagine that having later attended Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary they were kind of required reading. I could give many reasons why I value them, but let me just give you one. I have never read a tract, sermon, treatise, or volume by a Puritan that hasn’t filled me with a profound sense of who Jesus is. They have done more for me than any other in demonstrating the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. What we desperately need in the twenty-first century is a renewed vision of Jesus. The great problem of our day is that we are content with a small Jesus–a Jesus who isn’t big enough to fill our sermons, much less our hearts and lives. That’s why I’m recommending this blog with the hope that the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8), of which the Puritans were well acquainted, would be a defining mark of our theology and piety. As George Whitefield said of them: “Though dead, by their writings they yet speak: a peculiar unction attends them to this very hour.”

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