Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Scraping the mud off the Puritans

Recently I ordered Leland Ryken's Worldly Saints via interlibrary loan from the public library. The adjectives in the introduction by J.I. Packer alone are worth the price of the book. (I have since ordered it.) Splattered as "wild men, fierce and freaky, religious fanatics and social extremists", "superserious, overscrupulous, majoring in minors, and unable or unwilling to relax", the Puritans have not been honored as they should be. In fact, Packer maintains that we desparately need the Puritans today. Calling them "sober, conscientious, and cultured citizens, persons of principle, determined and disciplined, excelling in domestic virtues," Packer says we could learn from their maturity. He goes on with specifics which I suggest you discover by reading the book. Or read the Puritans themselves. Dr. Joel Beeke has a fabulous book called Meet the Puritans which gives excerpts and an overview. Go feast.

Puritan gold nuggets

If you would like a Puritan gold nugget every day, sign up for Kelly Ling's Christian quote for the day at http://www.christianquote.com. Most of the quotes are from Puritans or men who were as thoughtful and biblical.

Monday, March 30, 2009

No excusing, denying, redefining or blameshifting

Lady Jane Grey was a Psalm 51 sort of confessor of her sin.
King Henry VIII's son Edward, upon his early death, ordered that reformed sympathizer and royal cousin, Lady Jane Grey, succeed him on the throne. But Edward's sister Mary was next in line to the throne, and she raised an army and took London six days after Lady Jane was crowned. Mary made herself queen and declared England to be Roman Catholic. Then she tried Lady Jane for treason.
Lady Jane was a godly woman. The following are some of her last words before being beheaded: After declaring her only hope of salvation to be in the mercy of God and the blood of Jesus Christ, she said,"I confess that when I did know the word of God I neglected the same, loved myself and the world; and therefore this plague and punishment is happily and worthily happened unto me for my sins; and yet I thank God of his goodness that he hath thus given me a time and respite to repent."
How strange such words fall on my twenty-first-century ears. I am so in the habit of excusing, denying and redefining my sin. Lord, make me more like King David in Psalm 51 and Lady Jane Grey at the scaffold.

Love that Spurgeon

The newsletter "Proclaiming the Gospel" (www.pro-gospel.org) includes this pithy quote from C.H. Spurgeon: "Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right."