Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Puritans on the pilgrimage

I thought it so refreshing Sunday when asking questions of our pastor that he said, paraphrasing Tim style, although his name is Tim: "I like the Puritans because they connected heart and head...although I like their seriousness I don't have that all down in my life." It was a sincere, honest answer which I think anyone who studies the Puritans can gain from. We will never, most probably, be able to live their lives but can we be imitators in some aspects?

How much the church does need this, a seriousness of Communion with God that would pervade our talk and life. This quote, is a long one, but one who, I think, more than any living peson has studied the Puritan's way of life, JI Packer, said:

" . . whereas to the Puritans communion with God was a great thing, to evangelicals today it is a comparatively small thing. The Puritans were concerned about communion with God in a way that we are not. The measure of our unconcern is the little that we say about it. When Christians meet, they talk to each other about their Christian work and Christian interests, their Christian acquaintances, the state of the churches, and the problems of theology—but rarely of their daily experience of God. Modern Christian books and magazines contain much about Christian doctrine, Christian standards, problems of Christian conduct, techniques of Christian service—but little about the inner realities of fellowship with God. Our sermons contain much sound doctrine—but little relating to the converse between the soul and the Saviour. We do not spend much time, alone or together, in dwelling on the wonder of the fact that God and sinners have communion at all; no, we just take that for granted, and give our minds to other matters. Thus we make it plain that communion with God is a small thing to us. But how different were the Puritans! The whole aim of their ‘practical and experimental’ preaching and writing was to explore the reaches of the doctrine and practice of man’s communion with God."

Oh that my aim and the gospel might be with me everyday to feast on and when I see others along this journey to feast. After reading William Gurnall's, The Christian in Complete Armor, Vol 1, I'm convinced that the Puritan's had rich hearts and were ready to discuss deep things because of what they read. May it be so with me and this generation.

Your boasting friend,

(HT: Between Two Worlds, for JI Packer comment)

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