Monday 6 February 2017

"Reading the Puritans" rather than "Reading about the Puritans"

The more I think of the English Puritans, the more I think that this was an exceptional time in church history. The number of theological pastors of such high quality emerging seemingly simultaneousy is a providence to be studied.

The Puritan time-frame is basically 1560-1660. There were a number of Scottish worthies and some in Ireland, such as Archbishop James Ussher as well. A number of decades ago, it would have been timely to have urged for the republishing of Puritan books. After World War 2, very few Puritan books were in print. It is mainly to the credit of the emergence of the Banner of Truth publishing house, that the printing landscape began to change. Today, there are Puritan books available in many places. However, many people today are writing about the Puritans and many are reading about the Puritans. This is not wrong, but going to the original Puritan sources is invaluable.

A preacher and friend of mine made the almost 'throw away' comment to me me last year which has resonated. It was this: "We need to spend more time reading the Puritans, than reading about them". I concur. However, where should you begin? Let me suggest a number of places for you.

Thomas Watson, The Doctrine of Repentance, a Puritan paperback by the Banner of Truth

John Flavel, Volume 1 of his Works and this volume contains many superb sermons.

George Swinnock, Volume 1 of his Works which teaches on "godliness".

John Owen, Communion with God, either the abridged paperback or the copy in John Owen's Works.

Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity

William Ames, The Marrow of Theology

This is just a start. May we return to the source of this reformed stream of theology to be built up in our faith in our day. If people know of other great works to recommend to blog readers, then do make a comment on this blog post.

Hebrews 13:7 "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith".


Joshua Rieger said...

Great list of suggestions, Kevin. I might add The Saints Happiness, by Burroughs.

Kevin Bidwell said...

Josh, thanks for that. Could add a comment in a few sentences why it is so helpful also? Kevin B

Gary said...

I was astonished last year by the richness of 'All things for Good' - another Thomas Watson classic.

Kevin Bidwell said...

The below link is of a YouTube channel that has a great playlist on Puritan devotional audio readings and books by men such as Thomas Watson, Jonathan Edwards, John Owen etc. I have particularly been blessed by James Smith devotions and Thomas Watson's 'A godly man weeps'

Ibrahim Adeyemi

C Schroeder said...

In the same vein, this looks/sounds good:

Joel Beeke on The Value of Reading The Puritans: