Showing posts with label Puritans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Puritans. Show all posts

Friday, October 26, 2012

Joel Beeke Responds to Propaganda and "Precious Puritans"

Perhaps it was only a matter of time before a contemporary expert on the Puritans and president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary weighed in on the controversial rap song, Precious Puritans by Christian rapper, Propaganda.  Dr. Joel Beeke has done so with kindhearted response that is full of humility.  He neither plays the victim nor does he roll over and concede that Propaganda is 100% accurate.

Beeke makes three basic points about the song: 1) Emotional Component (Is the point of the song to engender sympathy for slaves or promote anger against the Puritans?); 2) Historical Accuracy (about the Puritans as it relates to slavery.  Propaganda paints with a very broad brush.); 3) Theological Accuracy    (it is right to acknowledge total depravity but that needs to be balanced with the Christian's new identity - Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:21).

I won't belabor Beeke's points any further.  Hopefully I've whet your appetite to read more for yourself.  Click here to read his entire post. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ministerial Pride, Part IV, Richard Baxter

This is the final post from the essay, Ministerial Pride, by Puritan pastor, Richard Baxter. As I reflected on this essay I couldn't help but imagine that Baxter would include blogging in his criticisms. How often do bloggers and those who comment use it as an occasion to display their pride (I'm including myself here)?

"O that the Lord would lay us at his feet in the tears of sincere sorrow for this sin of pride! Brethen, may I expostulate this case a little with my own heart and yours, that we may see the evil of our sin, and be reformed! Is not pride the sin of devils, the first-born of hell? Is not pride, that wherein Satan's image does much consist? And is pride to be tolerated in men who are so engaged against him and his kingdom as we are? The very design of the gospel is to abase us, and the work of grace is begun and carried on in humiliation. Humility is not a mere ornament of a Christian, but an essential part of the new creature. It is a contradiction in terms -- to be a Christian, and not humble. All who will be Christians must be Christ's disciples, and 'come to him to learn': and the lesson which he teaches them, is, to 'be meek and lowly.' Oh, how many precepts and admirable examples has our Lord and Master given us to this end. Can we behold him washing and wiping his servants feet -- and yet be proud and self-important? Shall he converse with the poorest of the people, and shall we avoid them as below our notice, and think none but people of wealth and honor fit for our society? How many of us are oftener found in the houses of gentlemen than in the cottages of the poor -- who most need our help? There are many of us who would think it below us, to be daily with the most needy and beggarly people, instructing them in the way of life and salvation, as if we had taken charge of the soul of rich people only!"

This essay is published in the Puritan Reformed Journal, Volume I, Number I, 2009 and can be purchased here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ministerial Pride, Part III, Richard Baxter

Following the previous posts are these comments from the essay, Ministerial Pride, by Puritan pastor, Richard Baxter. It is published in the Puritan Reformed Journal, Volume I, Number I, 2009 and can be purchased here.

"Hence also it is, that men do so magnify their own opinions, and are as censorious of any who differ from them in lesser things, as if it were all one to differ from them, and from God. they expect that all should conform to their judgment, as if they were the rulers of the church's faith; and while we cry down papal infallibility, too many of us would be popes ourselves, and have all stand to our determinations, as if we were infallible!"

"I confess I have often wondered that this most heinous sin should be made so light of, and thought so consistent with a holy frame of heart and life, when far less sins are by ourselves, proclaimed to be so damnable in our people! And I have wondered more, to see the difference between godly preachers and ungodly sinners, in this respect. When we speak to drunkards, worldlings, or ignorant unconverted persons, we disgrace them to the utmost, and lay it on as plainly as we can speak, and tell them of their sin, and shame, and misery. And we expect that they should not only bear all patiently, but take all thankfully...But if we speak to ministers against their errors or their sins, if we do not honor them and reverence them, and speak as smoothly as we are able to speak, yes, if we mix not commendations with our reproofs, and if the applause is not predominant, so as to drown all the force of the reproof, they take it as almost an insufferable injury!"

"Brethren, I know this is a sad confession, but that all this should exist among us, should be more grievous to us -- than to be told of it. Could the evil be hidden, I would not have disclosed it, at least so openly in the view of all. But, alas, it has been so long open to the eyes of the world. We have dishonored ourselves by idolizing our honor; we print our shame, and preach our shame, thus proclaiming it to the whole world. Some will think that I speak over-charitably when I call such persons godly men, in whom so great a sin as pride, does so much prevail. I know, indeed, that where it is predominant, not hated, and bewailed, and mortified in the main -- there can be no true godliness; and I beseech every man to exercise a strict jealousy and search his own heart...(may) the Lord be merciful to the ministers of this land, and give us quickly another spirit, for grace is then a rarer thing than most of us have supposed it to be."

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ministerial Pride, Part II - Richard Baxter

Following yesterday's post are these comments from the same essay, Ministerial Pride, by Puritan pastor, Richard Baxter. It is published in the Puritan Reformed Journal, Volume I, Number I, 2009 and can be purchased here.

After noting how pride can be the minister's companion in the study, in the pulpit, and at home, Baxter makes this observation:

"But even this is not all, nor the worst, if the worse may be...they envy the talents and names of their brethren who are preferred before them...Yet, alas, how common is this heinous scrime of envy and pride -- among ministers of Christ! They can secretly blot out the reputation of those that stand in the way of their own; and what they cannot for shame do in plain and open terms, lest they be proved liars and slanderers, they will do in generals, and by malicious intimations, raising suspicions where they cannot fasten accusations. And some go so far, that they are unwilling that anyone who is abler than themselves, should come into their pulpits, lest they should be more applauded then themselves! A fearful thing it is, that any man, who has the least of the fear of God, should so envy God's gifts, and had rather that his carnal hearers should remain uncoverted, and the drowsy unawakened, than that it should be done by another who may be preferred before him!"

"Yes, so far does this cursed vice prevail, that in large congregations, which have need of the help of many preachers, we can scarcely, in many places, get two of equality to live together in love and quietness, and unanimously to carry on the work of God. But unless one of them be quite below the other in abilities, and content to be so estemed, or unless he is willing to be ruled by him, they are contending for precedency, and evying each other's interest, and walking with coldness and jealousy towards one another, to the shame of their profession, and the great wrong of their people!"

"I am ashamed to think of it, that when I have been laboring to convince people of the great necessity of more ministers than one in large congregations, they tell me, 'they will never agree together!' I hope the objection is unfounded as to the most, but it is a sad case that it should be true of any. Nay, some men are so far gone in pride, that when they might have an equal assistant to further the work of God, they had rather take all the burden upon themselves, though more than they can bear, than that anyone should share with them in the honor, or that their interest in the esteem of the people should be diminished!"

More tomorrow.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ministerial Pride, Part I, Richard Baxter

Over the weekend I read a short but moving essay by the Puritan pastor, Richard Baxter, entitled Ministerial Pride. I would like to post a few excerpts from it to spur further thought and reflection among those who in ministry or aspire to be in pastoral ministry. You can find the entire essay published in the Puritan Reformed Journal, 1(2009): 184-191.

"One of our most heinous and palpable sins is pride. This is a sin which has too much sway in most ministers, but which is more hateful and inexcusable in us than in other men. Yet it is so prevalent in some of us, that it fills our discourses, it chooses our company, it forms our countenances, it puts the accent and emphasis upon our words. It fills some men's minds with aspiring desirings and designs. It possesses them with envious and bitter thoughts against those who stand in their light, or who by any means eclipse their glory, or hinder the progress of their repution. Oh what a constant companion, what a tyrannical commander, what a sly and subtle insinuating enemy, is this sin of pride!..."

"I wish that this were all, or the worst. But, alas, how frequently does pride go with us to our study, and there sit with us and do our work! How oft does it choose our subject, and, more frequently still, our words and ornaments! God commands us to be as plain as we can -- that we may inform the ignorant; and as concvincing and serious as we are able -- that we may melt and change their hardened hearts. But pride stands by and contradicts all, and produces its toys and trifles. It pollutes, rather than polishes..."

"And when pride has made the sermon in the study -- it goes with us into the pulpit -- and forms our tone, animates us in the delivery, takes us off from that which may be displeasing, howsoever necessary, and sets us in pusuit of vain applause! In short, the sum of all is this -- pride makes men, both in studying and preaching -- to seek themselves, and deny God -- when they should be seeking God's glory and denying themselves! When they should inquire, 'What shall I say, and how shall I say it -- to please God best, and do most good?' Pride makes them ask, 'What shall I say, and how shall I deliver it, to be thought a learned and able preacher, and to be applauded by all that hear me?'"

"When the sermon is done, pride goes home with them, and makes them more eager to know whether they were applauded than whether they did prevail for the saving of souls."

More to follow.