Posts by Joel Beeke

Posts by

When we build on the foundation of the Gospel in our worhsip, what rule should govern our building? By “rule” I mean what controls, regulates, and fills what we say and do in worship. Again, to appreciate the Puritan stance on the rule of worship, we must begin not with the Puritans but with the...
The Foundation of Puritan Worship The foundation of Puritan worship is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jeremiah Burroughs (c. 1600–1646), a Puritan minister known for his peaceable spirit, wrote a book aptly titled Gospel Worship . He said that in worship we draw near to God (Ps. 95:2, 6; 100:2).[1]...
Editors Note: This is the first post in a short-run series on Puritan Worship. I'd like to take you on a journey back through time to a Christian worship service in the Middle Ages. The year is 1413; we enter a large cathedral where the bishop is about to celebrate the Roman mass. Before us is a...
Editor's Note: This post has been adapted with permission from Meet the Puritans , available at ReformedResources.org . While there, be sure to also check out William Perkins: Architect of Puritansim . William Perkins was born in 1558 to Thomas and Hannah Perkins in the village of Marston Jabbett,...
How can we be salt and light in our world, so that instead of being “trodden under foot” or “hidden under a bushel” (vv. 13, 15), we can resist evil and do good, and moving unbelievers to glorify God as our Father in heaven? To answer that question, let’s listen to the wisdom of the English...
How can we be salt and light in our world, so that instead of being “trodden under foot” or “hidden under a bushel” (vv. 13, 15), we can resist evil and do good, and moving unbelievers to glorify God as our Father in heaven? To answer that question, let’s listen to the wisdom of the English...
How can we be salt and light in our world, so that instead of being “trodden under foot” or “hidden under a bushel” (vv. 13, 15), we can resist evil and do good, and moving unbelievers to glorify God as our Father in heaven? To answer that question, let’s listen to the wisdom of the English...
How can we be salt and light in our world, so that—instead of being “trodden under foot” or “hidden under a bushel” (vv. 13, 15)—we can resist evil, do good, and move unbelievers to glorify God as our Father in heaven? To answer that question, let’s listen to the wisdom of the English Puritans. T...
How can we be salt and light in our world, so that instead of being “trodden under foot” or “hidden under a bushel” (vv. 13, 15), we can resist evil and do good, and moving unbelievers to glorify God as our Father in heaven? To answer that question, let’s listen to the wisdom of the English...
This in the first in a multi-part series. Stay tuned over the next few months to read more on how the Puritans teach us to live in the world! Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and...
Reformed, experiential Christianity birthed the pioneer missionary efforts of men such as John Elio t (160 4 –1690), David Brainerd (171 8 –1747), William Carey (1761–1834), Adoniram Judson (178 8 –1850), and John G. Paton (182 4 –1907). This mission effort was small and struggling until it...
Reformed, experiential Christianity birthed the pioneer missionary efforts of men such as John Elio t (160 4 –1690), David Brainerd (171 8 –1747), William Carey (1761–1834), Adoniram Judson (178 8 –1850), and John G. Paton (182 4 –1907). This mission effort was small and struggling until it...
R eformed, experiential Christianity birthed the pioneer missionary efforts of men such as John Eliot (1604–1690), David Brainerd (1718–1747),William Carey (1761–1834),Adoniram Judson(1788–1850), and John G. Paton (1824–1907). This mission effort was small and struggling until it exploded into the...
R eformed, experiential Christianity birthed the pioneer missionary efforts of men such as John Eliot (1604–1690), David Brainerd (1718–1747),William Carey (1761–1834),Adoniram Judson(1788–1850), and John G. Paton (1824–1907). This mission effort was small and struggling until it exploded into the...
Right Reception of the Lord’s Supper T he Lord’s Supper was to be taken seriously, after much preparation, careful self-examination, and Christ-centered participation. Edwards wrote, “’Tis the most solemn confirmation that can be conceived of.... It is more solemn than a mere oath.” [1] He later...
Qualifications for Admission to the Lord’s Supper G iven the awesome potential of communion with Christ within the Supper, the Puritans took the matter of right participation seriously. The awakened conscience cannot consider partaking of such a sacred meal without asking, “What does God require of...
Biblical Simplicity in the Lord’s Supper I f the material principle of the Reformation was justification by faith alone, the formal principle was that Scripture alone is the rule of faith and obedience. The Puritans viewed this truth as nothing less than the enthronement of Christ as King among His...
Christ’s Presence in the Lord’s Supper “O ne reason why we so little value the ordinance [of the Lord’s Supper], and profit so little by it, may be because we understand so little of the nature of that special communion with Christ which we have therein,” wrote John Owen. [1] It's the nature of...
Papal Errors in the Lord’s Supper T he Puritans viewed transubstantiation as “repugnant, not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense and reason.” [1] John Owen (1616–1683) wrote, “This is one of the greatest mysteries of the Roman magic and juggling, that corporeal elements should have a power...
Introduction T he Lord’s Supper is an earthly encounter with the heavenly Christ, said the Puritans. In this they agreed with the teaching of John Calvin (1509–1564). [1] John Knox (c. 1505–1572), the link between Calvin and British Puritanism, [2] wrote that just as Christ said “he himself was the...
10. Thomas Vincent (1634–1678): Only a handful of Vincent’s writings were ever published. Nevertheless, w hen we find ourselves cold and listless, Vincent can help kindle the fire of Christian love. Just try reading The True Christian’s Love to the Unseen Christ (1677) without yearning to love...
M y life has been profoundly shaped and enriched by men who died long ago, but whose ministries live on through their books. As a theologian, I have read a lot of books about the teachings of the Bible, but none affect me more than the writings of the Puritans (and its parallel movement in the...
A s far back as the late medieval period, men such as John Wycliffe (c. 1329–1384) and Jan Hus (1373–1415) called the church of their day to return to Scripture. When challenged by hostile church officials, Hus answered his opponents, “Show me... better out of the Scriptures, and I will forthwith...
G od sent forth the power of his Word in the Reformation of the sixteenth century. The Reformation served as a dynamic motivation and catalyst for change and progress wherever its influence reached. Many would credit Martin Luther as the driving engine that propelled the Reformation, but Luther...
W e conclude our series on Puritan preachers (see #1 , #2 , #3 ) with John Preston (1587–1628), whose preaching can be described as preaching great gospel themes. He was more topical and organized by theological categories and questions than the verse-by-verse biblical expositions of John Calvin...
Continuing in our series on Puritan preachers (parts #1 , #2 ), we come to Richard Sibbes (1577–1635). One source in which he reveals his view of preaching is The Fountain Opened , a collection of his sermons on 1 Timothy 3:16 ( Works, vol. 5 ), where he addresses the office of the preacher...
R ichard Rogers (1551–1618) is best known today for his massive Commentary on the Book of Judges , which is a collection of 103 sermons. In it we see that his preaching was very practical and experiential. For example, in Sermon 74, he describes the Holy Spirit’s inward work of conversion upon the...
N o Puritan was more concerned about preaching than William Perkins (1558–1602). Detesting the substitution of eloquence for the “lost art” of preaching, Perkins led a reformation of preaching. He did this in his instruction to theological students at Cambridge; in his manual on preaching, The Arte...
I certainly do not wish to leave the impression from my previous post that the Puritans were bad examples as preachers. There are many ways in which we can and should imitate their preaching. Here are a few of the lessons we can learn from them. 1. Preach Well-Rounded Sermons There are four...
T he Puritans set high standards for preaching. They believed they should preach the Bible from their own experience of it and apply what they preached to the particular needs of their hearers. But as much as we admire the Puritans, we should not slavishly imitate them, but critically examine their...
Y oung John Bunyan (1628–1688) hardly seemed fit for preaching. He was a coarse person with little education and a mouth full of foul language. He had lost his mother and sister to death and was exposed to the evils of military service before his seventeenth birthday. As a young man, he worked with...
A s we've seen, the Puritans had a rich understanding of Christian marriage ( part 1 , part 2 , part 3 ). In this final post, I'd like to show that they also believed marital love must be sexual . Both marital partners should give themselves fully to each other with joy and exuberance in a healthy...
C ontrary to characatures, the Puritans had a lot to say about love, and marital love in particular. In our continuing series ( post #1 , post #2 ) we take up their teaching that marital love must be superlative. A husband and wife are to love each other so dearly that both are persuaded that the...
C ontinuing with our series on the Puritans' views of marital love (see introduction ) we come to the theme of the spirituality of marital love, that is, that is must be in Christ and in accord with God’s commandments. Love must be rooted in the experience of being equally yoked together...
E dward Taylor (c. 1642–1729), a pastor, physician, and poet of Puritan New England, wrote, “A curious knot God made in Paradise…. It was the true-love knot, more sweet than spice” (“Upon Wedlock, and Death of Children,” in The Poems of Edward Taylor , ed. Donald E. Stanford, abridged ed. [New...
I f I could have $5 for every time someone has asked me the question, “Who is your favourite Puritan to read?,” I suppose I’d be a wealthy man by now. Though I would probably answer that question today by saying, “Anthony Burgess—and he’s also one of the most neglected!,” for nearly two decades I...
A condemned prisoner was climbing the gallows when William Perkins said to him, “What man! What is the matter with thee? Art thou afraid of death?” The prisoner confessed that he was less afraid of death than of what would follow it. “Sayest thou so,” said Perkins. “Come down again man and thou...
L et me close this series on assurance (parts 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ) with some cautions about using the "signs of grace" to gain assurance. First , be careful how you define the marks of grace . On the one hand, do not require such signs of yourself as no Christian has in this life. A true Christian...
Every born again child of God who places true faith in Jesus Christ will struggle with assurance in various degrees over the course of their lives. It's in this context that what we call "the signs of grace" are so helpful to the soul. These sign are means by which we may know whether we are in a...
In discussing the practical doctrine of assuance (see parts 1 , 2 , and 3 in this series), one careful distinction we must make is between assurance and presumption . The reason is that a false assurance is the worst delusion and spiritual insanity, but too many people bless themselves even while...
As we continue our series ( part 1 , part 2 ) on assurance, we come to four basic details about it that are so important to consider. It is possible for a Christian to have an assurance of his salvation. We see in Scripture that God’s people have enjoyed it. David called God his God and his portion...
We continue our series on the blessed but difficult subject of assurance of salvation (see part 1 ). Assurance or certainty about a truth in general may come in various ways, such as seeing or hearing something with your eyes and ears, knowing a first principle and making logical deductions from it...
Paul commands us, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Cor. 13:5). It is a responsibility of great importance for the people of God to be assured that there is a true and...
In concluding our series on the Puritan vision for Christian zeal ( part 1 , part 2 , part 3 , part 4 ), we now take up come practical ways in which we can put it into practice. We must pray for grace to put Christian zeal into action, whatever our calling in life may be. Let us look briefly at...
In our continuing series on the Puritan vision for Christian zeal ( part 1 , part 2 , part 3 ), we now take up its means. When you look around and see few people who are zealous for the Lord, you may be tempted to dismiss the call to be zealous. Such a response would be grievous because the church...
In our continuing series on the Puritan vision for Christian zeal ( part 1 , part 2 ), we now take up how they described its characteristics. False Zeal First, they described authentic zeal over against false zeal. Oliver Bowles (d. 1674) exhorted to be diligent that zeal has the right stamp since...
We all have some idea of what zeal is, for to a certain degree we are all zealots. The question is not whether we are zealous but what we are zealous for. Zeal runs in our veins for what we love and against what we hate. We so passionately love some things, such as family, careers, and houses, that...
Christian zeal [is] indeed a flame, but a sweet one; or rather it is the heat and fervor of a sweet flame. For the flame of which it is the heat, is no other than that of divine love. — The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 2: Religious Affections , ed. John E. Smith (New Haven: Yale University...
vi. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ; nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God. The biblical doctrine of the...