Tuesday, July 25, 2006
"Reading and Hearing the Word in a Puritan Way"
The Resurgence site has added another informative article on the Puritans and their continuing relevance today: "Reading and Hearing the Word in a Puritan Way." This should wet your appetite to read more:
It is well-known that Puritans were lovers of the Word of God. They were not content with the bare affirmation of the infallibility, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture. They read, searched, sang, and heard the Word with delight, always seeking for and relishing the applying power of the Holy Spirit accompanying the Word. They regarded the sixty six books of Holy Scripture as the library of the Holy Spirit graciously given to them. For the Puritan, Scripture is God speaking to us, as a father speaks to his children. In Scripture God gives us His Word as both a word of truth and a word of power. As a word of truth, we can trust in and rest our all upon Scripture for time and eternity. As a word of power, we can look to Scripture as the source of transformation used by the Spirit of God to renew our minds.
As late twentieth-century Protestants and evangelicals, we too must complement the defense of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy with a positive demonstration of the transforming power of God's Word. That power must be manifested in our lives, our homes, our churches, and our communities. We need to show without pretense that though other books may inform or even reform us, only one Book can and does transform us, making us conformable to the image of Christ. Only as "living epistles of Christ" (2 Cor. 3:3) can we hope to win "the battle for the Bible" in our day. If half the strength spent in attacking or defending the Bible would be devoted to knowing and living the Scriptures, how many more would fall sway under their transforming power!
No movement in church history can teach us more than Puritanism about cultivating the transforming power of the Word. Puritan preachers excelled in expounding how the Word must be used as a means of personal transformation. Their focus centered upon practical directions on how to read the Scriptures and how to hear the Word of God preached.