What is your view of the Puritans? If you are like many people you may not think much of them.
Tim Keller maintains that the Puritans offer us great practical insights. In an article for CCEF, titled Puritan Resources for Biblical Counseling, Keller elaborates on these insights:
- The Puritans were committed to the functional authority of the Scripture. For them it was the comprehensive manual for dealing with all problems of the heart.
- The Puritans developed a sophisticated and sensitive system of diagnosis for personal problems, distinguishing a variety of physical, spiritual, tempermental and demonic causes.
- The Puritans developed a remarkable balance in their treatment because they were not invested in any one ‘personality theory’ other than biblical teaching about the heart.
- The Puritans were realistic about difficulties of the Christian life, especially conflicts with remaining, indwelling sin.
- The Puritans looked not just at behavior but at underlying root motives and desires. Man is a worshipper; all problems grow out of ‘sinful imagination’ or idol manufacturing.
- The Puritans considered the essential spiritual remedy to be belief in the gospel, used in both repentance and the development of proper self-understanding.
Reading the Puritans is not always easy. But thanks to Banner of Truth Trust there are number of Puritan materials offered in revised editions. Many of them are abridged. Most, if not all of them, are translated into more contemporary English. Check out Puritan Paperbacks. These are rich resources for spiritual formation.