Friday, August 27, 2010

Why We Need the Puritans

Why should those seeking to develop a truly biblical counseling approach give special consideration to the Puritans? Because they were the first Protestant school of Biblical Counseling.

J. I. Packer, who is most conversant with the writings of these men, puts it well:

". . . the Puritans . . . were strongest just where evangelical Christians today are weakest . . . Here were men of outstanding intellectual power, in whom the mental habits fostered by sober scholarship were linked with a flaming zeal for God and a minute acquaintance with the human heart."

Today’s biblical scholars don’t understand the human heart, Packer says, while our counselors don’t know the Scripture. But the Puritans were an entire generation of men who combined these two strengths. He goes on:

"The hollowness of our vaunted biblicism becomes apparent as again and again we put asunder things God has joined . . . we preach the gospel without the law, and faith without repentance . .. in dealing with the Christian experience we dwell constantly on joy, peace, happiness, satisfaction, and rest of soul with no balancing reference of the divine discontent of Romans 7, the fight of the faith of Psalm 73, or any of the burdens of responsibility and providential chastenings that fall to the lot of the child of God. . . they consult their pastor, and he perhaps has no better remedy than to refer them to a psychiatrist! Truly, we need help, and the Puritan tradition can give it."

(excerpt from an article by Tim Keller; read the rest here)

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