424: Course Outline

I. Introduction

A. Puritanism defined
B. Major Puritan characteristics
C. “Why do we need the Puritans?”
D. The ideal Puritan

II. The Theological Heritage of the Puritans

A. Theology shaped by pilgrim mentality

1. Biblicist outlook
2. Pietist outlook
3. Churchly outlook
4. Two-worldly outlook
5. Warfaring outlook
6. Methodical outlook

B. Puritan theological literature

1. Owen’s Holy Spirit and Baxter’s Christian Directory
2. Homiletical literature
3. Ramist, educational method
4. Exegetical, affectionate, and practical

III. The Puritan View of Scripture

A. The authority and inspiration of Scripture
B. The extent of Scripture’s authority
D. Case study: John Owen’s view of Scripture
E. Concluding applications

1. Richard Greenham on reading the Word
2. Thomas Watson on hearing the Word

IV. The Puritan Practice of Meditation

A. Introduction
B. Definition, nature, and kinds of meditation

1. Occasional meditation
2. Daily, deliberate meditation

C. Duty and necessity of meditation
D. Manner of meditation

1. Frequency and time
2. Preparation
3. Guidelines

E. Subjects of meditation
F. Benefits of meditation
G. Obstacles of meditation
H. Conclusion: meditation as self-examination

1. Trial
2. Reproof or exhortation

V . The Puritans on Experiencing God

A. John Owen’s Communion with God

1. Theological balance

a. Oneness in Being and threeness in Person
b. Attention to each Person

i. Communion with the Father: love
ii. Communion with the Son: grace

aa. The grace of Christ’s person
bb. The grace of Christ’s purchase

iii. Communion with the Spirit: comfort

c. Sovereignty of God

2. Pastoral sensitivity

a. The Father
b. The Son
c. The Spirit

3. Practical, experiential emphasis

a. The Father
b. The Son
c. The Spirit

B. Sibbes on “entertaining the Spirit”

1. The indwelling Spirit
2. The sealing of the Spirit
3. The comfort of the Spirit
4. The grieving of the Spirit

VI. The Puritans on the Sinfulness of Sin

A. Introduction
B. Created upright
C. Original sin imputed
D. Actual sin as fruit of original sin
E. Sin in the unregenerate

1. “All concupiscence”
2. The noetic effects of sin

F. Sin in the regenerate

1. Remnants of indwelling sin
2. Freedom from sin’s dominion
3. Mortifying sin

G. Conclusion

VII. The Puritans on the Covenant of Works

A. Introduction
B. Defining covenant
C. God’s image and the moral law
D. Created in or for a covenant?
E. The probationary command
F. Creation dues

1. Adam’s faith
2. Adam’s reward

G. Grace and merit
H. The fall
I. Adam’s federal headship
J. Conclusion

VIII. Thomas Goodwin on Christ’s Compassionate, Beautiful Heart

A. Introduction
B. Preacher of the compassionate heart
C. The problem of the compassionate heart
D. The promises of the compassionate heart

1. Promises before His death
2. Assurances after His resurrection
3. Pledges with His ascension

E. The proofs of the compassionate Christ

1. Christ’s mission from the Father
2. Christ’s divine nature as the Son
3. Christ’s humanity from the Holy Spirit

F. The wonder of Christ’s compassionate heart

IX. The Puritans on Understanding and Using God’s Promises

A. Introduction
B. The right understanding of God’s promises

1. The nature of God’s promises
2. The various kinds of divine promises
3. The excellence and worth of divine promises

C. The right use of God’s promises

1. We must believe the promises
2. We must apply the promises
3. We must pray the promises

X. Puritans on Spiritual Adoption

A. Introduction: wrongness of secondary literature
B. Greatness and comprehensiveness of adoption, and its relation to soteriology
C. Adoption compared in the two testaments
D. What adoption is not
E. Adoption is not sanctification
F. The Westminster Assembly’s definitions of adoption
G. The transforming power of adoption
H. Pastoral advice in promoting adoption
I. The marks of adoption
J. Transformed relationships in adoption

1. Our relationship to God
2. Our relationship to the world
3. Our relationship to the future
4. Our relationship to ourselves
5. Our relationship to the church

K. Privileges and benefits of adoption

1. The overarching privilege: heirship with God and joint-heirship with Christ
2. Specific blessings

L. Responsibilities or duties of adoption
M. Concluding applications

XI. Sanctification in Puritan Theology

A. The idea of sanctification

1. Sanctification is rooted in the essence of God
2. Sanctification involves both status and condition
3. Sanctification is work of renewal that is comprehensive and moral
4. Sanctification must be expressed in repentance and righteousness

B. The agent of sanctification

1. The Triune, covenant God
2. The special domain of the Holy Spirit

C. The object of sanctification
D. The activity of sanctification

1. Mortification
2. Vivification

E. The measure of sanctification

1. The third use of the law
2. The Christian’s relationships

F. The method of sanctification

1. From God’s side

a. The Word and the Spirit
b. The intercession of Christ

2. From man’s side

a. Faith and repentance
b. Using the means of grace

i. Private disciplines

aa. Read, search, and sing the Scriptures
bb. Meditate on the Scriptures
cc. Pray and work
dd. Reading sound literature
ee. Listening to sermons
ff. Journaling (diary-keeping)

ii. Family disciplines

aa. Family worship
bb. Family fellowship
cc. Family hospitality/evangelism

iii. Corporate disciplines

aa. Diligently use the preached Word
bb. Diligently use the sacraments
cc. Seek fellowship in the church
dd. Sanctify the Lord’s Day

iv. Neighborly disciplines

aa. Evangelize and serve others
bb. Flee worldliness
cc. Exercise stewardship

v. Conclusion: Develop formula for godly living

G. The benefits of and motives for sanctification
H. The joys of sanctification
I. Concluding advice

XII. Puritans on Assurance of Faith

A. Contemporary need for considering assurance

1. Fruits of genuine assurance are largely lacking
2. Assurance is inseparable from revival and conviction of sin
3. Assurance is necessary to be God-honoring Christians
4. Assurance is needed to promote a love for sound doctrine
5. Assurance is needed to counteract emphasis on “feeling”

B. Case Study: Anthony Burgess in the Context of the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 18

1. Burgess’s life and writings
2. Burgess and WCF 18.1: The possibility of assurance

a. False assurance
b. True assurance
c. Lacking the consciousness of assurance

3. Burgess and WCF 18,2: The foundation of assurance

a. Divine promises in Christ
b. Inward evidences verified by syllogisms
c. The witnessing testimony of the Holy Spirit

4. Burgess and WCF 18.3: The cultivation of assurance

a. The time involved in reaching assurance
b. The means of attaining assurance
c. The duty of pursuing assurance
d. The fruits of assurance

5. Burgess and WCF 18.4: The losing and renewal of assurance

a. The causes of a lack of assurance

i. The believer’s backsliding
ii. The sovereign withdrawal of God
iii. Vehement temptations

b. The way to revive assurance

C. Conclusion

XIII. The Church and Worship in Puritan Theology

A. The church’s spiritual reality
B. The church’s worship

1. Biblical authority in worship

a. Regulative principle of worship
b. Prayer book vs. directory

2. The mechanics of worship
3. Preparation for worship
4. Westminster Directory case study: the sacraments
5. The inner reality of worship

C. The church’s “market day” of the soul: keeping Sabbath
D. The church’s fellowship
E. The church’s ideals

1. Purity of doctrine
2. Purity of worship
3. Purity of government and discipline
4. Purity of life

XIV. Puritan Preaching

A. Introduction
B. Primacy of preaching
C. Program for preaching

1. Reforming preaching
2. Promoting lectureships
3. Establishing prophesyings
4. Publishing sermons
5. Promoting ministerial training

D. Passion for preaching
E. Power in preaching

1. Addressing the mind with clarity
2. Confronting the conscience pointedly
3. Wooing the heart affectionately

F. Plainness in preaching

1. Expounding the text
2. Developing the doctrine(s)
3. Making the applications (“uses”)

a. Experiential and practical applications
b. Discriminating applications

4. Aiming for transformation

G. Depending on the Holy Spirit
H. Pursuing holiness
I. Giving one’s self to prayer

XV. Christopher Love on the Glories of Heaven and Terrors of Hell

A. Introduction
B. The glories of heaven

1. Christ the author of the glorified life
2. Christ the finisher of the glorifed life
3. The glorified life in body and soul
4. Heaven the place of the glorified life
5. Death the beginning of the glorified life
6. Resurrection the consummation of the glorified life
7. Marks of the glorified life

C. The terrors of hell

1. Is there a hell?
2. Why must there be a hell?
3. What is hell?
4. Where is hell?
5. Is God just in damning men eternally?
6. What are the torments of hell?
7. How should a minister preach on hell?

D. What is Christ’s descent into hell?

XVI. The Puritans on Marriage and Child-rearing

A. Introduction: Healthy view
B. Purposes of marriage
C. Procedures for getting married
D. Principles for marriage

1. The Christ-church principle
2. The covenantal principle

E. Practices or duties of marriage

1. Mutual duties
2. Husband’s duties
3. Wife’s duties

F. Most joyous relationship, under Christ
G. Children are gifts of God
H. Authority in the family
I. Principles of child-rearing
J.Thorough parental involvement

XVII. John Owen on the Christian Ministry

A. Introduction
B. Owen the pastor
C. Christ in the Christian ministry

1. The ministry a gift of Christ
2. The ministry the fruit of Christ’s mediation

D. The Holy Spirit in the Christian ministry

1. The Spirit as foundational to the church
2. The Spirit’s necessary work upon the ministry

E. The pastor in the Christian ministry

1. The minister as prophet
2. The minister as priest
3. The minister as defender of the faith
4. The minister as evangelist

F. Conclusion: Challenge to pastors today

XVIII. Final Practical Lessons from Puritan Theology Today

A. Shape your life by Scripture
B. Pray without ceasing
C. Handle trial Christianly
D. Rebuke pride
E. Rely on the Spirit
F. Focus on Christ
G. Maintain biblical balance
H. Perseve in catechizing
I. Promote spiritual brotherhood
J. Emulate Puritan spirituality

A Final Word [PT, 60]