Category Archives: Puritan

Harvard College; the rewrite

This posting stems from a podcast episode of The Briefing by Dr. Albert Mohler that I listened to recently. The part of the episode was about the Harvard College student organization Harvard College Faith and Action, the largest Christian fellowship on the Harvard campus, being put on a one year probation. In addition to the probation it and must server ties with Christian Union, it’s parent organization. Christian Union serves all the Ivy League schools, and develops Christian leaders at some of America’s most influential, and deeply secular, universities.. The reason for the probation is because the Christian Union dared to dismiss one of the students in leadership for engaging in a  same-sex relationship. You can read the story here.

Dr. Mohler begins the episode with a brief history of Harvard College to draw a contrasting line between the origins of Harvard College and the Harvard College of today. Some of the origins of Harvard College he pointed out that really stuck with me is the fact that Harvard was founded and named by Puritans. The college was founded in 1636, making it the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It was built in order to educate men who were called to the clergy for the new commonwealth, a “church in the wilderness”. The college was named for John Harvard, an English minister, graduate of the University of Cambridge, and English Puritan.

The other origin of Harvard College named in the podcast was the symbolism that still exists around the college to this day. An example of the symbolism can be seen in the photo accompanying this blog posting. In the photo you will see a shield with three books centered in it. The top two books represent the opened Old and New Testaments of what Christianity knows as the Bible. The book on bottom is a closed book and represents the witness of Jesus Christ’s return in the future, which has not been written yet. Inscribed on the books of the shield is the word “VERITAS”, which is the Latin word for truth. In addition to “truth”, you will notice above the shield a ribbon with the words “CHRISTO ET ECCLESIAE” which is also Latin for “Christ and Church”. For the Puritan founders the separation of God and academia would have been unfathomable.

So, now we have a scenario where the oldest school of higher learning, created to educate folks for the ministry of church leadership, forcing the student campus organizations to totally contradict the very principles set up by the designers and builders of the institution. I believe this will have some major ramifications for Christians in all institutions for higher learning in the future.

Please be in diligent prayer for our schools.

Soli Deo Gloria!!


A Devotion of Praise and Thanksgiving

O MY GOD, prayer on rock silhouette

Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,

my heart admires, adores, loves thee,

for my little vessel is as full as it can be,

and I would pour out all that fullness before thee

in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee

ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,

ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,

ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,

crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,

for adorning it, sanctifying it,

though it is fixed in barren soil;

for the body thou hast given me,

for preserving its strength and vigour,

for providing senses to enjoy delights,

for the ease and freedom of my limbs,

for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;

for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,

for a full table and overflowing cup,

for appetite, taste, sweetness,

for social joys of relatives and friends,

for ability to serve others,

for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,

for a mind to care for my fellow-men,

for opportunities of spreading happiness around,

for loved ones in the joys of heaven,

for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language

to express,

for what thou art to thy creatures.


Increase my love, O my God, through time

and eternity.


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Puritan Quote – John Owen

No heart can conceive that treasury of mercies which lies in this one privilege, in having john-owen-bigliberty and ability to approach unto God at all times, according to his mind and will.

This quote from the Puritan John Owen was mentioned in his work  The Discourse of the Work of the Holy Spirit in Prayer. In the context of this work Owen follows with:

It is a matter of praise and glory to God, in an especial manner, that He hath granted an amplification of this privilege under the gospel. The spirit is now poured forth from above, and enlarged in His dispensation both intensively and extensively.

Which is to say that we, as believers, should not take lightly this treasure and resource from the Lord. To even imagine the wealth of wisdom and grace would be a fruitless effort on our part. In preaching to myself I would have to ask, what prevents me from participating in this freedom and going to the throne of grace? It is only sin that prevents me.  My old nature. By God’s grace alone I shed this old man and seek after His mind and His will.

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Posted by on February 27, 2009 in Holy Spirit, John Owen, Prayer, Puritan, quotes


Puritans and preaching – Part 3

This morning as I read through chapter 4, “The Demands of Preaching”, from the book “Light and Heat : the Puritan light-and-heatView of Preaching” by R. Bruce Bickel, I came across some great tidbits. The Puritan preacher viewed his vocation as a demanding and convicting vocation. The demands being a natural result of their calling, their knowledge of who God is, and the office He had sovereignly given them. The Puritan view of God and His church gave them the awesome judgment that an unfaithful servant did more harm than good to the church.

With this high view and mindset of preaching to one’s own heart, the Puritan Richard Baxter proceeded to write his celebrated work, “The Reformed Pastor”. Concerning the pastor himself he wrote:

Take heed to yourselves, lest you should be void of that saving grace of God, which you offer to others, and be stranger to the effectual workings of that gospel which you preach . . .  Many a preacher is now in hell, that hath a hundred times called upon his hearers to use the utmost care and diligence to escape it. . . . Believe it, brethren, God never saved any man for being a preacher; but because he was a justified, santified man, and consequently faithful in his master’s work. Take heed therefore, to yourselves first, that you be that which you persuade your hearers to be.

Charles Spurgeon, one of the last of the pure Puritan preachers, charged the members of the Pastor’s College, he founded or the purpose of equipping preachers, with this following exhortion:

If we are to pursue our holy calling with success, we need to be better men. Brethren, I do not depreciate you, far from it. But, personally, I feel that, as the times grow sterner, I must cry to God for more grace, that I may be more able to cope with them. Brethren, let it be a main business with us to ourselves more holy, more gracious, and therefore better fitted for our work. Let us not judge ourselves by others, and say, with deadening self-complacency, “We are getting on well as compared with our brethren.” Let us measure ourselves by our Master, and not by our fellow-servants: then pride will be impossible, but hopefulness will be natural.

I’d like to conclude with something I have only learned myself over the past few years. I learned this from my pastor and it was also the character mark of the Puritans as well.

One who did not preach to his own heart could not preach effectively to others.

and as Richard Baxter also has stated:

If the work of the Lord be not soundly done upon your own hearts, how can you expect that he bless you labours for the effecting of ot in others?

Soli Deo Gloria!


Puritans and preaching – Part 2

I am continuing through my reading / study of “Light and Heat : the Puritans View of Preaching” by R. Bruce Bickel. While reading through the chapter titled “The Direction of Preaching” I found some more gems that I wanted to share.

In order to understand the direction the Puritan view had for preaching Bickel brings to light the view the Puritan preachers had of themselves. Taken from the Horton Davies book “The Worship of the English Puritans“,

They viewed themselves as men sovereignly appointed by God to declare a message that was not their own, but a message that had already been given by God Himself in the pages of sacred writ.

Under such conviction, no wonder a Puritan preacher mounted the steps of his pulpit as if he were Moses ascending the mountain of Sinai.

Now that is what I call a high view of preaching. Not that they highly viewed themselves but their calling.

Read the rest of this entry »


Puritans and preaching

I am currently reading through a couple of books. One of them is titled “Light and Heat: The Puritan View of the Pulpit” by Dr. R. Bruce Bickel. If you have visited this blog site before you might observe that I love to quote the Puritans. Today I found a wonderful quote by the Puritan Thomas Watson about the importance of hearing God’s word. Here it is:

it was by the ear, by our first parents listening to the serpent, that we lost paradise; and it is by the ear, by hearing of the Word, that we get to heaven. ‘Hear, and your souls shall live.’ (Isaiah 55:3)

This book has everything to do with the importance given by the Puitans to the preaching of God’s word and it’s centrality for worship. I’m sure this is only the beginning of a series of posts related to this book. You may want to check back and see more nuggets from the Puritans.

Soli Deo Gloria


Posted by on October 8, 2008 in God's word, Preaching, Puritan, Thomas Watson


God in the dock?

This weekend we continued our study of Romans. Going verse by verse, we are looking at Romans 1:18-32, mainly the wrath of God toward man’s sin. This week we looked at point two of the “Universals of God’s Wrath” regarding man’s sin to help us see just how good the “good news” of Christ is. The second universal is “God’s wrath is universally deserved.” Romans 1:18-23 tell us that God naturally gave all men the knowledge of His existence, but we have chosen to suppress it and have exchanged that knowledge for foolishness. Man has chosen to worship the creature rather than worship the Creator.

As the puritan Thomas Watson has said; “The chief end of man is to glorify God.” But man did not honor or glorify Him. This is the basic and natural function of man. Yet man did not get it right. We have no excuse. Man deserves God’s wrath. Man continues to search for the meaning of life, but his search will be futile. As Romans 1:21 (NASB) says:

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Man’s search, his speculations have become futile. And this my friends is the basis of idolatry, and deserving of God’s wrath. Pastor Pat gave as a nice quote from C.S. Lewis that fits this topic nicely and is the basis for my posting today.

Ancient man, he explains, approached God (or even the gods) as an accused person approaches his or her judge. But for modern man these roles are reversed. Man is the judge, and God is in the dock.

Modern man has God on trial. We want to see how He measures up for us. We sit in judgement of Him. Oh, how foolish we have become. We most assuredly are deserving of God’s wrath. This reality should cause us to shout and praise God for the grace of Christ and His substitutionary death. He took the wrath for us. But I am jumping ahead in Romans. That good news is described in chapter 3. More to come.

I will be posting the Romans series on my Sermon Audio page, but until then you can hear the entire sermon here.