I am NOT a Puritan? Huh.

JI Packer says in his first lecture on the Puritans (find the whole course free at Itunes U.!), that their initial protests against the established Church of England were against the use of:

1. the wedding ring  (too sacramental)
2. kneeling to receive the Lord's Supper (too much like worshiping the elements)
3. the white robe for the minister (too priestly)
4. marking a cross on the forehead of one baptized (too ritual)

I endorse the first; would allow, though not prefer, the second; would allow and do the third; and am ambivalent on the fourth.

The rationale was that the church shouldn't insist its congregations do what the Scripture doesn't require. Well, right, the church shouldn't require it, binding the conscience, but what if church teaching and practice actually does conform to Scriptural principles even if such things are not required explicitly in Scripture?

Of course, many other distinctives of Puritans I hold, so I don't give up the title completely... more on those another time, perhaps.

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