Puritan Theology

A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for LifeA Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life by Joel R. Beeke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this 1,000 page work, authors Joel Beeke and Mark Jones survey a Puritan take on each area of classic systematic theology. They do an excellent job of conveying the Puritan piety, Christ-centered-ness, and concern for the conscience and eternal destiny of sinners.

Sometimes an even survey of theology was sacrificed for examining the particular views of a certain person. Perhaps this isn't bad. It must have been a challenge to select what to feature, out of the vast literature the Puritans produced.

Puritans suffered a bit from theological myopia and introspection. Although they could list 60 uses (applications) of a biblical text in a sermon, the emphasis was usually the same. (1) Your guilt and danger of hell, (2) the atonement of Christ for you, and (3) your obligation to repent, put to death the sin remaining in you, and use the means of grace (Word, sacrament, prayer, worship) to help clear your guilty conscience. Perhaps they tended to focus more on 1 and 3. The authors don't give much criticism to this. Instead of pointing out that they were more focused on the subjective sinner's experience in his conscience than on the objective work of Christ, they would say the Puritans struck a good balance between the objective and subjective. I'm not so sure. Raising the question for the reader's consideration would have been good, instead of just defending and commending the Puritans.

I'd recommend this to anyone with a basic knowledge of theology looking to go a little deeper, and at the same time be challenged in your piety and sanctification.

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