16 March 2011

Ripping up Consciences and Lifting up Christ

Three sentences from J. I. Packer describing the Puritan constituency. The last one is especially strengthening.
[I]n seeking to honour and please God by the methodical holiness of mortifying sin, vivifying habits of grace, keeping the Sabbath, governing one's family, mastering the Bible, working hard in one's calling, practising purity, justice, and philanthropy in all relationships, and keeping up communion with God by regular, constant prayer, the Puritans were all at one, and all the more so because these were the things that their preachers most stressed.

The sense of being called by God to practise and establish holiness wherever they went, and to crusade together for the moral and spiritual transformation of England, was strong in their hearts, and they valued the endless instruction on personal religion that the preachers gave as restoring their vision of God, renewing their grasp of his grace, and recharging their batteries for the tasks that lay ahead of them.

They liked the loud, dramatic, uninhibited, down-to-earth, heart-to-heart, 'plain' expository preaching, ripping up consciences and lifting up Christ, that was a hallmark of the Puritan pulpit throughout; this seemed to them the only proper way for a man to speak when the issues of eternity were his subject.
--J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Crossway, 2010; repr), 330

I think this book is changing me.

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