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A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life af…
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A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (original 2012; udgave 2012)

af Joel R. Beeke (Forfatter)

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A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life offers a groundbreaking treatment of the Puritans' teaching on most major Reformed doctrines, particularly those doctrines in which the Puritans made significant contributions. Since the late 1950s, nearly 150 Puritan authors and 700 Puritan titles have been reprinted and catalogued by Joel Beeke and Randall Pederson in their 2006 collection of mini-biographies and book reviews, titled, Meet the Puritans. However, no work until now has gathered together the threads of their teaching into a unified tapestry of systematic theology. A Puritan Theology, by Joel Beeke and Mark Jones, attempts to do that. The book addresses Puritan teachings on all six loci of theology, covering fifty areas of doctrine. The book explores Puritan teachings on biblical interpretation, God, predestination, providence, angels, sin, the covenants, the gospel, Christ, preparation for conversion, regeneration, coming to Christ, justification, adoption, church government, the Sabbath, preaching, baptism, heaven, hell, and many other topics. It ends with eight chapters that explore Puritan "theology in practice." Some chapters highlight the work of a specific theologian such as William Perkins, William Ames, John Owen, Stephen Charnock, or Thomas Goodwin on a specific topic. Other chapters survey various authors on a particular subject. The goal of A Puritan Theology is to increase knowledge in the mind and godliness in the soul. It was written for theologians, historians, pastors, and educated laymen who seek to learn more about Puritan theology. - Publisher.… (mere)
Medlem:JDavidLindell
Titel:A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life
Forfattere:Joel R. Beeke (Forfatter)
Info:Reformation Heritage Books (2012), Edition: 1St Edition, 1060 pages
Samlinger:Office Collection - West, Dit bibliotek
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Nøgleord:Ingen

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A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life af Joel R. Beeke (2012)

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Putting All the Scriptures Together (Systematic Theology),
Being Taught by the Great Historical Teachers (movements) (Historical Theology),
Studying Scriptures Progressively, Literally, and Devotionally (“Biblical Theology”),
Applying Them to All of Life (Practical Theology),
As Controlled by the Spirit of God, Mediated by the Son of God, to the Glory of God the Father
As Highlighted for the CBC People of God, December 30, 2018 (and 1/6/19)

LibraryThing A Puritan Theology, Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones, Reformation Heritage Books, 2012 dates I read/studied book (12/8/18-12/22/18) Recommended by Alton Stephens; I hope that this does not scare you away, we need to wrestle with these things as a church from time to time, I Tim 3:15

The Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to “purify” the Church of England from its RCC practices, maintaining that the Church of England was only partially reformed (after Martin Luther, who died 1546). Puritanism played a significant role in English history, especially during The Protectorate (1653-9, Oliver Cromwell). The Congregationalist churches, widely considered to be a part of the Reformed tradition, are descended from the Puritans. Congregational churches are Protestant churches in the Reformed tradition practicing congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs. The Reformed tradition (also called Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, the Reformed faith, or even sometimes Calvinism) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians. Adapted from Wikipedia

Be self-conscious, self-critical, self-correcting!
We want to be rich in theology and piety.
William Perkins (1558-1602) is considered the father of Puritanism (117, 130).
William Ames (1576-1633) is considered the father of covenant theology; he was the first to build a system (p. 41); he identified the three covenants of Covenant Theology.

Theme: see title (a Puritan theology)
Type: systematic theology
Value: 1-
Age: college
Interest: 1-
Objectionable: see below
Synopsis/Noteworthy: see following

Critique overall: good review throughout (without unnecessary redundancy); devotional intermixed (548ff); helps both in today’s debates and in answering questions of the ages (most developed thinking, eg 308, 324)—pastor needs to know these things/how can one pastor without?! No new positions (for me) but answered long-standing questions; “A sense in which “ (so helpful): “taken largely/taken strictly” (so helpful concept, eg 330); “covenant”—different senses; nothing is more important than God and things of the soul; nothing is more foundational than theology; larger-than-life: Martin Luther, George Washington, Napoleon, Michael Jordan, LeBron, Messi, Rush, Trump; Romans 12:1-2 still crucial!

RESTUDY assurance, worship, preaching
Look up (find, fm/defined/taught): surety; simplicity (eg, Christ has love and is love); God only is love (toward His children); 2 or 3 or 4 covenants (confusing)

K 552-hindrances to relishing the Father’s adopting grace (11) “A kind of delight in complaining against thyself, and taking Satan’s part many times in bearing false witness against thy own soul.”

592-grounds of assurance. Perkins proposed three grounds of assurance: the promises of the Gospel, which are ratified by God’s covenant; the testimony of the Holy Spirit witnessing with our spirit that we are the children of God; and the fruits of sanctification. … The believer ought always strive to grow in assurance by seeking as large a degree of assurance as possible from all three of these grounds or means. (587ff)

593-assurance within the soul resulting through a “practical syllogism”:

Major premise [statement from which another follows as a conclusion]: Only those who repent and believe in Christ alone for salvation are children of God. Minor premise: By the gracious work of the Spirit, I repent and believe in Christ alone for salvation. Conclusion: Therefore I am a child of God.

Though assurance by syllogism [reasoning involving a major and a minor premise and a conclusion] provides secondary grounds of assurance dependent on the primary grounds (the sovereign work of the Father, the redeeming work of the Son, and the applying work of the Spirit), such assurance is nonetheless real. J. I. Packer says, “In my opinion, Perkins was right, first to analyze conscience as operating by practical syllogism. And second to affirm that scriptural self-examination will ordinarily yield the Christian solid grounds for confidence as to his or her regeneration and standing with God.

594-assurance is available. If a believer has, even to a small degree, experienced some of these marks of grace, he can be assured that he is being sanctified by the Spirit of God,

647-duties of the pastor. Continued fervent prayer for the flock. A sign of a pastor’s sincerity in his office can be summed up by his prayer life or lack thereof toward his people. Moreover, prayer has an important connection to the preaching of the Word… Caring for the needs of believers. From spiritual problems to physical ones, the pastor is to care for his flocks’ needs…

687-preaching. You begin at the wrong end if you dispute about your election. Prove your conversion and then never doubt your election. … Do not stand still disputing about your election, but set to repenting and believing. Cry to God for converting grace. Revealed things belong to you; in these busy yourself.

692-preaching The Puritans also stressed sanctification. Believers must walk the King’s highway of holiness in gratitude, service, obedience, love, and self-denial. They must experientially exercise the twin graces of faith and repentance. They must learn the arts of meditation, fearing God, and childlike prayers. And they must press on by God’s grace, seeking to make their calling and election sure.

PEOPLE
Jason Armstrong 348
Justin 521-2
Lauren 210
MJH 406-7, 412
Whit 401, 412, 413, 534, 577

CBC Flock

281-debate as to the difference between old and new covenants. John Owen agreed with Ball that most Reformed divines understood the difference between the old and new covenants to be varying administrations of the one covenant of grace, contrasting this “Reformed” position with the “Lutheran” view that argues “not a twofold administration of the same covenant, but that two covenants substantially distinct” are intended in this discourse of the apostle…

327ff-works are necessary (but not for initial justification). For Rutherford, the gospel contains the whole doctrine of grace and, as preached by the prophets and apostles, requires believers to do good works for these reasons: (1) God commanded good works throughout the entire NT; (2) good works are necessary for without them faith is dead and therefore cannot justify; (3) good works are the end for which Christ died; (4) without good works no one can be saved; (5) good works are commanded of those who are new creatures and are therefore expressions of thankfulness for Christ’s redemptive work. Nonetheless, while making such strong statements about the necessity of good works, Rutherford again makes clear that these works cannot merit salvation, nor can they purchase eternal life; only Christ’s blood has such value and power. Moreover, they are not causes or conditions of justification.

345 The Christology developed by Owen, Goodwin, and their contemporaries, and appropriated in the following centuries by other Reformed theologians, remains the best Christology because Reformed Christology not only provides the most coherent exegesis of Scripture, but also affords the best pastoral comfort for God’s people.

348 Christ had two wills. The charge of “Nestorianism [maintaining that Christ having two distinct natures, existed as two distinct persons-previous paragraph],” whatever that may be, is aimed at those who insist on a radial distinction between the two natures. Thus, the Reformed have had to deal with frequent assaults launched against their “Nestorian” Christology, and the Lutherans have had to deal with charges of Eutychianism Eutychianism [denying the consubstantiality (of the same essence) of Christ with us as a man, in order to affirm His consubstantiality with God]. But Owen and his Puritan contemporaries were keen to emphasize the distinction of the two natures in Christ which meant that Christ had two wills, not one. Likewise, in connection with the two wills, Owen posited two kinds of knowledge. The eternal Son is omniscient, but the incarnate Christ, at least in His human nature, is not. The well-known maxim “the finite cannot contain the infinite” (finitum non capax infiniti) was a fundamental principle in Reformed orthodoxy and was designed, among other things, to protect the integrity of the two natures of Christ. Thus the eternal Son, who is autotheos (“God of Himself”), is omniscient, but in His human nature, He was ignorant of certain facts. The hypostatic union [the union of Christ’s humanity and divinity in one hypostasis, or individual existence] does not mean that the Son has a single psychological center. For those who make the personal and the psychological synonymous, Owen’s Christology will not be well understood and may not be received. What the hypostatic union does mean, however, is that while there are two natures there is only one person (hypostasis). See also 248-9 “God’s Promises to Christ” and 350-1 “Christ as Prophet.”

473-preached Word greater than read Word. Like most Reformers and Puritans, he [William Whateley] believed that the Lord more often uses (“more often, more usually, more ordinarily”) the Word preached than the Word read. Because that is the case, we should greatly value the preaching of God’s Word and labor to sit under it. “Oh therefore how careful should people be both to get and to live under the preaching of God’s Word! This is the wind that must make dry bones live: This is the voice of a trump, that must make the dead come out of the grave. How mean [insignificant], impotent, contemptible, men may esteem it, yet God hath appointed no other means to convey supernatural life, but after this manner.” That means the Spirit must be present with the Word. Without Him, the preaching of the Word would be ineffectual.

557 The third use of the law is directive or normative: it serves as a didactic “rule of life” to guide believers in ways that are pleasing to their God and Savior. Luther never explicitly developed this concept in his theology, leaving scholars to debate over just what he believed. But he did implicitly endorse the third use of the law by including the Ten Commandments in the Smaller Catechism (1529), explaining how each commandment teaches us to “fear and love God.” Luther said that prior to conversion the law is the beating stick in God’s hand against our sins, but after our conversion the law is the walking stick in our hands to help us walk with God. The law thus drives sinners to Christ through whom they “become doers of the law.”…The theological history of the term third use of the law began with Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560), Luther’s coworker and right-hand support. In 1521, Melanchthon planted the seed in affirming that “believers have use of the Decalogue” to assist them in mortifying the flesh. In a formal sense, he first increased the number of functions or uses of the law from two to three in the third edition of his work on Colossians, published in 1534, two years before Calvin produced the first edition of his Institutes. Melanchthon argued that the law coerces (first use), terrifies (second use), and requires obedience (third use). He wrote, “The third reason for retaining the Decalogue is that obedience is required.”... Calvin fleshed out the doctrine that the primary use of the law for the believer is a rule of life. “What is the rule of life which [God] has given us?” he asked in the Genevan Catechism, then answered, “His law.”

(562 We are safe under Christ’s justifying righteousness, so the imperfections of our good works no longer call forth the severity of God’s law. Bolton said, “In the gospel God accepteth of affections for actions, of endeavors for performances, of desire for ability.” God is pleased with the baby steps of His children who stumble down the narrow way. So instead of bondage under threats and terror, the Christian is obediently drawn forth by God’s “sweetness and love,” in which “all terror is gone.” Watson wrote, “The gospel sweetens the law, it makes us serve God with delight.”

567 Someone may object that being tied to a duty is inconsistent with Christian freedom. Bolton’s answer would be that Christ has not redeemed us from serving God, but has redeemed us from serving God in a spirit of bondage and slavery so that we can serve him in a spirit of liberty and sonship. Christ’s yoke is light (Matt. 11:30). . . . This objection suggests a higher spiritual ground for doing good: because we want to do it, not because we have to do it. . . . Bolton’s response to this objection was to say that that turning from God’s authority to inward inclinations leads to unhealthy subjectivism. It puts us at the mercy of impulses that might come from the devil. It makes us whimsical and flighty instead of settled, orderly, and disciplined in our calling. We cannot wait until we feel the Spirit moving us, since the Spirit may work secretly, Bolton said. We must obey God even when our heart is not yet in it—often to discover our hearts come alive to our duty even while we do it.

571 When God’s law limits our freedom, it is for our greater good; and when God’s law imposes no such limits, the Christian may enjoy freedom of conscience from the doctrines and commandments of men. In matters of daily life, true Christian freedom consists of the willing, thankful, and joyful obedience that the believer renders to God and to Christ.

576-All the communion that Christ as man had with God was by the Holy Ghost; and all the communion that God hath with us, and we with God is by the Holy Ghost. For the Spirit is the bond of union between Christ and us, and between God and us.
670-As Owen said, no matter what conception people had of God, they knew naturally that God was to be “worshipped with some outward solemn worship,” and not merely as individuals but as societies.

NOTES
Gospel summarized 389 “Thomas Goodwin on Christ’s Beautiful Heart” Goodwin loved to preach the good news of reconciliation between God and man. He stressed that God created all mankind in friendship with Him. But man rebelled against God, greatly offending God’s justice. But God the Father, being infinite in love and rich in mercy, made an eternal covenant of peace with His Son before time began. The Father determined to send His Son to serve as a mediator between sinful man and holy God. Christ took on the task of satisfying the Father for all the wrong done against God; He took on Himself the guilt and sin of His chosen people, dying under the curse of God’s law against sinners. The Father was so satisfied with Christ’s work that He not only forgives everyone who trusts in Christ alone for salvation but counts believers righteous through Jesus’ very righteousness. On the basis of Christ’s work, preachers may call the world to be reconciled to God. Goodwin thus says to us, “Rest on Christ alone, especially as crucified.”

Illustration of seeing Christ for the first time 398 In his book Heaven Help Us, Steve Lawson tells of a young aristocrat, William Montague, who was stricken with blindness at the age of ten. In graduate school, he met the beautiful daughter of a British admiral. The courtship flamed into romance leading to engagement. Shortly before the wedding, William agreed to submit to a new eye surgery. With no assurance that it would restore sight, the doctors operated. William wanted his first sight to be his bride on their wedding day. So, hoping against hope, he asked that the bandages be removed from his eyes just as the bride came up the aisle. As she approached, William’s father began removing the gauze from his son’s eyes. With the last bandage was unwrapped, William’s eyes opened, light flooded in, and he saw his bride’s radiant face. Tears flowed from his eyes as he looked into a beautiful face and whispered, “You are more beautiful than I ever imagined.” Goodwin teaches us that something like that will happen to us when glorification takes the veil from our eyes and we see Jesus no longer in part but in full as our Savior, Interceder, and Friend. We will behold His great love and beautiful heart.

Preaching Christ 527 Ralph Robinson (1614-1655) published a series of meditations on how Christ is our life, food, robe of righteousness, protector, physician, light, shepherd, vine, horn of salvation, dew, cornerstone, sun of righteousness, precious ointment, consolation, fountain, lamb, bundle of myrrh, way, truth, glory, gift, author and finisher of our faith, rock, sword, desire, covenant, hope, river, power, wisdom, Holy One, altar, and Passover.

Faith 527 Faith has been called the captain of all spiritual graces. Thomas Watson (c. 1620-1686) wrote, “Love is the crowning grace in heaven, but faith is the conquering grace upon earth… Faith is the master-wheel; it sets all the other graces running.” Watson said, “Other graces make us like Christ, faith makes us members of Christ.” Swinnock added, “Call forth verse that commander-in-chief, for then the private soldiers, the other graces, will follow.” Faith is enamored with the person of Christ. Living in Christ is to live in such a way that Christ becomes everything.

The Puritan’s on the Lord’s Supper Chapter 46, 743-759
Communion with God 743 Stephen Charnock (1628-1680) said of the Supper, “There is in this action more communion with God…than in any other religious act… We have not so near a communion with a person either by petitioning for something we want, or returning him thanks for a favor received, as we have by sitting with him at his table, partaking of the same bread and the same cup.”

Puritans opposed RCC and Lutheran position 745 The Puritans opposed both the Roman Catholic and the Lutheran positions that Christ was physically present in the elements of the Lord’s Supper.

Lord’s Table not merely a teaching but also an experiential moment 749 “Calvin had been wary of overemphasizing the merely didactic possibilities of sacramental worship, but in Puritan circles the Lord’s Supper was unreservedly a vivid spectacle calling to mind the saving truths of the gospel.” For the Puritans, doctrinal information was not the antithesis of emotional engagement and Spirit-led worship. As Edwards wrote about his own preaching, “I should think…my duty to raise the affections of my hearers as high as possibly I can, provided that they are affected with nothing but truth, and with affections that are not disagreeable to the nature of what they are affected with.”

Communion is the sweetest experience of creation 754 Jon Payne describes Owen’s view of the Lord’s Supper as “a sanctified dramatization of the love of God for His people,” in which “those who exercise faith in Christ experience and partake of Him in the Supper.” Owen called the elements of the Supper “the cream of the creation: which is an endless storehouse, if pursued, of representing the mysteries of Christ.”

Hindrances to the Lord’s Supper 754-5 The first hindrance is the devil. Doolittle said the devil “will be with you at the sacrament to rob you of the comfort and hinder you from that joy that there you might be filled with.” …

The second hindrance is forgetfulness. God’s children must battle spiritual amnesia in observing the Lord’s Supper (Ps. 103:2; 106:12-13).

The third hindrance is neglect. The Puritans stated several reasons for the neglect of the sacrament, ranging from a sense of personal unworthiness to a sense of personal pride. Either way, neglect is hypocrisy, the Puritans warned. Doolittle wrote of the dangers of neglect while suggesting the remedy. He said, “It is hypocrisy to complain of the hardness of your heart and yet not use the means to have it softened, to complain of the power of your sin and not use the means to have it weakened.”

Eating together 757 Reynolds also noted that the Supper increases the unity of the church, partly because eating together naturally knits men’s affections together.

“More union” (mentioned earlier) means sweeter experience of Him

757 Thomas Watson wrote, “Let not Christians rest in lower measures of grace, but aspire after higher degrees. The stronger our faith, the firmer is our union with Christ, and the more sweet influence we draw from him.”

Mystical 757 Tethered to the Scriptures is the mystical element of the Supper: fellowship with Christ beyond words.

Deeper assurance available through communion 757-8 Thomas Doolittle said every believer seeks deeper assurance when going to the Lord’s Table. He said God’s children come to the Table for the following reasons: “To have communion with God. To increase our faith in Christ and love for God. To further our joy in the Holy Ghost. Our peace of conscience and hope of eternal life. . . . To make us thankful to God for His mercy bestowed upon us in Christ. To get power against our sins. And especially to remember and show forth the death of Christ.”
Doolittle said strong believers pursue these benefits even more earnestly than weak ones. They come to the Table seeking to have their hearts inflamed with love for God and desires after Christ; they come to have their Savior more endeared to their souls, their hearts softened, their sin subdued, their faith strengthened, their evidences cleared, and their souls assured of eternal life.

Needful for relief of doubts 759 Richard Vines (1600-c. 1655) said the sacrament “is needful for relief of our doubts, fears, and waverings; for this is the great question of anxiety which troubles the soul: Are my sins pardoned? Are my sins blotted out? God has. . .instituted this sacrament to resolve this question for the weak in faith.”

DISAGREE OR QUESTIONS OR TYPOS
89 the idea that what the Westminster Confession calls “good and necessary consequences” deduced from Scripture…are part of the whole counsel of God revealed in Scripture {This elevates man’s reasoning to the same level as revelation.]
209-10 …the soul acts in different ways because of the different types of bodies men and women are endowed with. Thus, Goodwin claims that every person is “radically still inclined to all these [i.e., kinds of sin], be the constitution of his body what it will, suppose never so indisposed to any of these sins; so as put that soul into another body, it would be as notoriously inclined to them as any other man is. [Why not say souls differ; it seems like Goodwin is saying souls all are the same and just the bodies differ.]
374 [example of “good and necessary consequence”] Christ’s intercession bridges the gap between obtaining the right to all spiritual blessings by His blood and His application of those blessings by His Spirit. Christ did not merely purchase salvation and the leave the application of that salvation to man’s free will. For then Christ might have suffered and died for nothing, which was unthinkable to Burgess, in lift of the dishonor it would cast upon God.

A Puritan Theology, on Holy Spirit
A Puritan Theology, Joel Beeke and Mark Jones, 2012
The Puritans on the Holy Spirit Chapter 27, 419-441, et al
Richard Sibbes on Entertaining the Holy Spirit, Chapter 36, 573-585
Also, 119-142

419 In his introductory note to Abraham Kuyper’s The Work of the Holy Spirit, B.B. Warfield makes the following claim: “The developed doctrine of the work of the Holy Spirit is an exclusively Reformation doctrine, and more particularly a Reformed doctrine, and more particularly still a Puritan doctrine…. Puritan thought was almost entirely occupied with loving study of the work of the Holy Ghost, and found its highest expressions in dogmatico-practical expositions of the several aspects of it.” Warfield certainly speaks the truth. While Martin Luther and Martin Bucer have been described as theologians of the Holy Spirit, that title most eminently belongs to John Calvin. The Holy Spirit is everywhere in Calvin’s thought, and the third book of his magisterial Institutes of the Christian Religion is one of the finest treatments on the Holy Spirit ever written.

420 After the apostolic era, it took considerable time and thought to unpack all the insights of the New Testament regarding the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, the main pneumatological achievement from the period of the New Testament to the fourth century was focused on the clear recognition and defense of the full deity and personality of the Spirit.

421 He is the Third Person of the Godhead, who is also Jehovah. As Cheynell notes, Christ refers to the Spirit as “He” in order to “point out the peculiar subsistence or person of the Spirit” (John 16:13). Thus, given that the Holy Spirit is not, as the Socinians believed, merely the power of God, but omnipotent Jehovah Himself, He necessarily shares in all the divine attributes (e.g., omniscience and omnipresence).

Accordingly, “that great power of changing the heart, and sanctifying a polluted nature, a work greater than creation, is frequently acknowledged in Scripture to be the peculiar act of the Holy Ghost.”

422 In addition, Owen presents the following arguments to prove the divinity and distinct personality of the Holy Spirit:
• The Spirit shares the same rank and order as Father and Son (Matt. 28:19; I Cor. 12:3-6).
• He has “names proper to a divine person only” (Acts 5: 3-4,9).
• “He has personal properties”: a will and understanding (I Cor. 12:11; 2:10).
• “He is the voluntary author of divine operations,” including creation (Gen. 1:2), speaking through the prophets (2 Peter 1:21), and brings to life, sanctifies, comforts, and instructs.
• “The same regard is had to him in faith, worship, and obedience, as unto the other persons of the Father and Son” (Matt 12:31-32; Acts 5:3-4, 9; 13:2,4).
A principal argument of the Puritans that worship is to be given to the Holy Spirit comes from Christ’s institution of baptism in Matthew 28:19…
What is true ontologically of the Holy Spirit—that He is a distinct, divine person in the Godhead—has an important correlation to His work in the lives of believers in relation to the other two persons. The internal acts of the Godhead (opera Dei ad intra) are common to the three persons, and what is true ad intra (inwardly) has certain parallels with God’s ad extra (outward) works. So, in the realm of soteriology, the three persons share in equal works. Of course, the Puritans affirmed that the outward works of the Trinity are undivided (opera Trinitatis ad extra sunt indivisa) because of the essential unity of the three persons. But the Puritans also held to the view that these “undivided works” often manifested one person in particular as author or agent of the work (terminus operationis).
Frequently these works were divided into immanent (e.g., the Father electing), transient (e.g., the Son purchasing), and applicatory (e.g., the Spirit applying) works…. Why? Because “all that Christ did would have profited us nothing, if the Holy Ghost did not come into our hearts and bring all home to us.” Goodwin adds, “Christ leads us to the Father (as it were) with one hand, the Holy Ghost the other.” Christ showed His love for the elect by dying for them; the Spirit shows His love for the same people by indwelling them. For this reason, Goodwin asserts, provocatively, that believers must “set this grace of the Holy Ghost’s indwelling in us by it, and it riseth up to an equality; and though it fall lower in some respects, yet exceeding that of Christ in others, the scales will be acknowledged even.”

424 In the state of humiliation, Christ was dependent on the Holy Spirit from His incarnation to the grave. The Holy Spirit formed Christ’s human nature in the Virgin Mary’s womb. It is true that it was the Son’s special act to assume a human nature, but the Holy Spirit formed Christ’s human nature from Mary’s substance. In His public ministry, Christ received the anointing with the Holy Spirit “above measure” (WCF, 8.3; John 3:34; Acts 10:38). Whether He was preaching (Luke 4:18), or performing miracles (Matt. 12:28; Acts 10:38), or offering up Himself on the cross (Heb. 9:14), Christ did all these things in the power of the Spirit. His human obedience, which included His prayer life, was by the power of the Spirit. When Christ read the Scriptures and learned of His messianic calling, it was the Spirit who confirmed and illuminated these truths in His heart and mind. As Owen remarked, “And hence is [the Spirit] the immediate operator of all divine acts of the Son himself, even on his own human nature. Whatever the Son of God wrought in, by, or upon the human nature, he did it by the Holy Ghost, who is his Spirit, as he is the Spirit of the Father.”
So the Puritan Christo-pneumatology man be summed up in this way: whatever is true of Christ’s people must first be true of Christ Himself.

425 Skilled navigators on the seas of Christian living, the Puritans rightly discerned, in the words of Richard Greenham (c. 1542-1594), that “we draw near to God by means.” Greenham meant that there are various means of godliness, or spiritual disciplines, by which God enables Christians to grow in Christ until they reach the haven of heaven. Similarly John Preston (1587-1628) argued that there are various means of godliness that the Christian must be diligent in using to maintain spiritual life and growth, such disciplines as “hearing the word, receiving the sacrament, prayer, meditation, conference, the communion of saints, particular resolutions to [do] good.” None of these means of grace or spiritual disciplines were sufficient in and of themselves to nourish the soul of the believer or to sustain the spiritual life of a congregation, Only the Holy Spirit was competent for that.

427 “Habitual grace is necessary to prayer: Zech. 12:10, ‘I will pour upon them a spirit of grace and supplication.’ Where there is grace there will be supplication. As soon as we are new born we fall a-crying; ‘Behold, he prayeth,’ Acts 9:11, is the first news we hear of Paul after his conversion.”
Brooks is convinced on the basis of this text [Zech 12:10] that “the more any man is now under the blessed pouring out of the Spirit of Christ, the more that man gives himself up to secret communion with Christ.”

431 The Quaker movement was a product of the turmoil of the English Civil War (1642-1651), when familiar social, political, and religious boundaries were swept away by the tides of conflict and when tried and true religious practices and beliefs no longer seemed to carry their former weight…. Some of these so-called Seekers longed for a restoration of the charismatic vitality and simplicity they believed to be characteristic of the apostolic church.

432 John 1:9, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” to which Fox alludes in the earlier part of this passage, was at the core of his distinctive message and that of his fellow Quakers.

435 But the Quakers, Owen is convinced, had forsaken the gospel’s emphasis on the objective, atoning work of Christ for a focus upon the “light within men,” and these two ordinances cannot “contribute any thing to the furtherance, increase, or establishment, of that light.”

440 Without the Spirit there is no spiritual life. To put it starkly, the prayers of God’s people apart from the Spirit would be no more efficacious than the prayers of pagans.

548 Our Father gifts us with the Spirit of adoption. Believers are, by grace, partakers of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit, Burroughs told us, enlightens our mind, sanctifies our heart, makes God’s wisdom and will known to us, guides us to eternal life, yes, works the entire work of salvation in us and seals it to us unto the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). Willard wrote that the Spirit “ratifies our Sonship to be immutable, and confirms our title to all the Promises irreversible. As such a Spirit, he gives his testimony in us, to ratify all our evidences and fully assure us of our Sonship and Heirship.”

576 … because all the communion we have with God is by the Holy Ghost. All the communion that Christ as man had with God was by the Holy Ghost; and all the communion that God hath with us, and we with God is by the Holy Ghost. For the Spirit is the bond of union between Christ and us, and between God and us.
Therefore we may say that while, in one sense, fellowship between ourselves and God is reestablished once for all, yet in another sense the Spirit maintains and increases the fellowship during our entire lives.

577 How may we know that we have this blessed, indwelling, governing Spirit? Sibbes said, “By living and moving, by actions vital, etc. even so may a man know he hath the Spirit of God by those actions that come only from the Spirit, which is to the soul, as the soul is to the body…. Every saving grace is a sign that the Spirit is in us.” Wherever the indwelling Spirit is, He gradually transforms the soul to be holy and gracious like Himself. The government of the Spirit is not realized immediately. The revolution and overthrow of our old nature comes upon conversion, while the government of the Spirit is established only in a process as we learn more of and abide more ot the constitution of our new life in Jesus Christ.
Our soul is the battlefield upon which the Spirit marches, and He will have the final victory, Sibbes said. For wherever the Spirit dwells, He also rules, for He will not be an underling to lusts. He repairs the breaches of the soul. In this battle we must submit to the Spirit in all things, however, for only then will we experience the victorious life that is the inheritance of believers in Jesus Christ. To be sure, the greatest battles were won on Calvary and in our hearts when we were brought to new birth, but we must also fight daily battles in our life of sanctification. Our ever present foes—our flesh, the world, and the devil—will unceasingly strive to tear up the foundation upon which we stand as children of the Most High.

578 Sibbes’s conclusion was inevitable: “Where there is no conflict, there is no Spirit of Christ at all.”
Sibbes distinguished between the office or function of the Spirit as a seal given in regeneration to a sinner and the work of the Spirit in applying that seal to the Believer’s consciousness.

579 Sibbes thought of the Spirit’s sealing in two ways: (1) a one-time sealing and (2) a sealing that came later as one matured in the Christian life.
So the second kind of sealing Sibbes wrote about was a process. It was the kind of assurance that could increase gradually throughout our lives by means of singular experiences and by daily, spiritual growth.

582 [Sibbes] wrote, “Is it not the greatest comfort to a Christian soul when God, in want of means, comes immediately Himself unto us and comforts us by His Spirit?” By “want of means” Sibbes meant those times when circumstances and earthly comforts fail us.
The Spirit is more than just a spiritual bandage. He is the Comforter, the healing balm for our hearts. We wholeheartedly agree with Sibbes that the Holy Spirit “is a comforter, bringing to mind useful things at such times when we most need them.”

583 Quieting the soul helps a believer recover some of the communion with God that was destroyed by the fall.
Would you be comforted and quieted in your soul? Labor to entertain the Spirit. Give room to His motions in your soul, remembering, as Sibbes concluded, “the soul without the Spirit is darkness and confusion, full of self-accusing and self-tormenting thoughts. If we let the Spirit come in, [He] will scatter all and settle the soul in a sweet quiet.”

19 The internal testimony of the Holy Spirit infallibly assures believers that Scripture is God’s Word.

23 When the Spirit and the Word accompany each other in the hearts and minds of believers, natural darkness is dispelled and sinful resistance is overcome, so that they are able to see the light and yield to the power of the Word of God. Owen forcefully concludes: “He that would utterly separate the Spirit from the word had as good burn his Bible.”

38 Owen affirmed that the Holy Spirit works on the minds of the elect so as to enable them to understand the Scriptures since He is the immediate author of all spiritual illumination. Christians cannot assume this will happen, as if to take for granted this spiritual privilege; rather, they must pray that God would enable them to understand His mind and will, which apart from the Spirit is impossible. In part, this was necessary because of the limitations of reason. As Knapp has shown reason “was consistently denied the status of being the standard; rather, it functioned in a supportive role, subservient to the Scripture, the principium cognoscendi theologiae.”

39 And the Arminians also gave a place to reason that made it the rule of faith, which explains many of their own theological errors. The Lutherans and the Papists also were criticized by Reformed theologians for leaving reason at the door, so to speak, in their understanding of the Lord’s Supper.
For the Puritans, then, reason was helpful, but it had its limits. The mystery of the gospel holds out a number of truths that, on the surface, appear to be contradictions, but the Holy Spirit enables Christians to receive all of these truths without letting reason dominate in a way that leads to various theological errors.

40 …”although every truth cannot be demonstrated by reason (the boundaries of truth being much more widely extended than those of reason), yet no lie against the truth can be sheltered under the protection of true reason, nor can one truth be destroyed by another.”

112 Thus Owen rejected both the rationalists who dismissed the experiential work of the Spirit and the fanatics whose “spirit” disregarded the Word and Christ.

113 2 Corinthians 13:14: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all.” Whereas we have communion with the Father in His “love,” and with the Son in His “grace,” communion with the Spirit is simply called “communion,” for in the Spirit believers commune with the Father and the Son. Thus, as Ferguson says, the Spirit enables prayer to the Father through the Son, so that Christian prayer penetrates “into the very nature of the economic Trinity, and the character of the inter-Trinitarian relationship. Ontologically, the Spirit’s operation of bringing believers into fellowship with the Father and the Son derives from His eternal procession or being breathed forth (John 20:22), as it were, from both persons. The Holy Spirit comes to us as the Spirit of God the Father and the Spirit of God the Son.

114 Owen called believers to “ask [for the Spirit] daily of the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. This is the daily work of believers…to ask him of the Father as children do of their parents’ daily bread [cf. Luke 11:11-13].”

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  keithhamblen | Dec 26, 2018 |
Fantastic book! I read it as a devotional -- great insight into the Puritan view of all aspects of theology. ( )
  Rayhar | Dec 28, 2017 |
This is an excellent taste of Puritan theology. Written by a well respected scholar and theologian, it really is a systematic theology of seventeenth century British Reformed thought. A massive amount of research must have gone into this body of divinity gleaned from the works of the most voluminous class of pastor-preacher-theologians the world has ever known. Each loci covered gives you compacted and well selected comment from major and some lesser known Puritan divines. Some of the chapters are full blown discussions of doctrinal themes with comment from the authors who wrote major treatises on the subject. Dr. Beeke and Rev. Jones have put many a lover of the Puritans in their debt. This work is destined to be a classic and should be found on the desk of every minister who aspires to be a learned and godly divine. This work, to borrow from that greatest of American Calvinist theologians Dr. Benjamin B. Warfield shows "The Indispensableness of Systematic Theology to the Preacher". ( )
  Theoscholar | Jan 9, 2014 |
This is a masterwork by the authors. It is a labor of love and a gift to the church. In A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life Beeke and Jones have collated a wide range of Puritan writings into what is a essentially a Puritan systematic theology. Before reading this book I had what would be considered a stereotypical view of whom the Puritans were: Christians who were distinctive by being rigorous, dour and extreme, seeking to impose their particular understanding of theology on society at large. Oh, how wrong that view was, and how much better I am for reading this book and having it corrected.

Beeke and Jones provide a historical overview of the times that the Puritans lived in and the particular forces they were a part of and subject to. Then they go step-by-step through each of the focal points of systematic theology, drawing from the extensive writings of the many pastors of the Puritan tradition.

While no Puritan wrote a systematic theology in the sense of Calvin or Turretin, many of them did write both very widely and with great depth. In some chapters Beeke and Jones delve deeply into the perspective of a single Puritan while in others they draw from many people's writings. Examples of the former are Stephen Charnock on the Attributes of God, and John Owen on Justification by Faith Alone. Examples of the latter are chapters on the Holy Spirit and the Lord's Supper. I was stunned at the power of Charnock's writing and his love for his savior that lay beneath it. It makes me want to go back and read more directly from the source.

Beeke and Jones haven't just written a work of scholarly exposition, although this book is certainly that, but they have also made great effort to consistently show the warmth and pastoral concern the Puritan's had for the people they ministered to.

The book's last section are chapters that discuss various aspects of Puritan thought and practice and the relevance they have for the church today. For me these closing chapters tied it all together, showing practical ways in which the Puritans could give guidance to my own spiritual life and the life of the congregation I serve.

Puritan theology is a refined expression of Reformed theology, as the Puritans followed the magisterial Reformers and therefore they continued to build and shape what was done before them. Beeke and Jones have done a tremendous service to the church in showing us that Puritan theology speaks today to the 21st century as clearly as it did to the 17th century in which it was written. ( )
  BradKautz | Oct 3, 2013 |
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A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life offers a groundbreaking treatment of the Puritans' teaching on most major Reformed doctrines, particularly those doctrines in which the Puritans made significant contributions. Since the late 1950s, nearly 150 Puritan authors and 700 Puritan titles have been reprinted and catalogued by Joel Beeke and Randall Pederson in their 2006 collection of mini-biographies and book reviews, titled, Meet the Puritans. However, no work until now has gathered together the threads of their teaching into a unified tapestry of systematic theology. A Puritan Theology, by Joel Beeke and Mark Jones, attempts to do that. The book addresses Puritan teachings on all six loci of theology, covering fifty areas of doctrine. The book explores Puritan teachings on biblical interpretation, God, predestination, providence, angels, sin, the covenants, the gospel, Christ, preparation for conversion, regeneration, coming to Christ, justification, adoption, church government, the Sabbath, preaching, baptism, heaven, hell, and many other topics. It ends with eight chapters that explore Puritan "theology in practice." Some chapters highlight the work of a specific theologian such as William Perkins, William Ames, John Owen, Stephen Charnock, or Thomas Goodwin on a specific topic. Other chapters survey various authors on a particular subject. The goal of A Puritan Theology is to increase knowledge in the mind and godliness in the soul. It was written for theologians, historians, pastors, and educated laymen who seek to learn more about Puritan theology. - Publisher.

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