When you hear the word, “Puritan”, what comes to mind? Is it an image of self-righteous, obnoxious, narrow-minded, humorless, witch-hunting, killjoy kind of person? I used to think that way, until I became a believer!
In sixteenth-century England, the Puritans were concerned about bringing Christian values to bear an increasingly secular nation. The Christians today have the same problem. What was the Puritan’s solution back then? Go to America and create a purely Christian society for the world to see and follow.
English Puritanism began to emerge around the 1560s. It first appeared as a liturgical reform movement but quickly expanded into a distinct attitude toward the Christian life. The profile of a Puritan was best described by an author named J.I. Packer, who wrote the book, entitled, “A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life.”
“The Puritans were great souls serving a great God. In them clear-headed passion and warm-hearted compassion combined. Visionary and practical, idealistic and realistic too, goal-oriented and methodical, they were great believers, great hopers, great doers, and great sufferers. But their sufferings, both sides of the ocean (in old England from the authorities and in New England from the elements), seasoned and ripened them till they gained a stature that was nothing short of heroic.…The Puritans’ battles against the spiritual and climatic wildernesses in which God set them produced a virility of character, undaunted and unsinkable, rising above discouragement and fears.”
For the Puritans, the Bible was their number one resource for everything, including the practice of counseling. Puritan preaching constituted a form of preventative counseling, as the truths of Scripture were applied to the conscience. To accomplish this purpose, every sermon was divided into two major parts: doctrine and use. The result was preaching that was both deeply theological and intensely practical.
One of the contributions the Puritans gave us was a world-regenerative creed, a vision that America is “a city set upon a hill.” That vision infused American literature, foreign policy—our entire sense of identity.
Regardless of the severe hardships the Puritan colonists endured on the shores of New England and beyond, they remained great souls serving a magnificent God. They were idealistic, goal-oriented, compassionate people. They were great believers, great doers and great sufferers.
The Puritans left a profound legacy here in this nation and it is quickly eroding.
The more I grow closer with the Lord, the more I appreciate the Puritans, their efforts, sufferings, struggles, and sacrifices.
As difficult as it is to live in this world today, I believe if we don’t take a firm stand now and live in accordance to the will of God and be the salt and light in this dark and dying world, what kind of world will our grandchildren be living – or our children for that matter?
1 Peter 2:11-12 – “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
Your sister in Yeshua