A Learned Servant

At last year’s Shepherds’ Conference, Mark Jones preached from Isaiah 50 on the third Servant Song. It’s a model of Christ-exalting exposition. It also throws several (appropriate) punches at pastors. Case in point: “Woe to that man who knows his theological books, but is ignorant of the word of God.”

The Spirit stirred my mind and convicted my heart through Jones’ preaching. May He do the same to yours.

Condemnation is Easier than Consolation

“A sustaining ministry, a gospel ministry, requires more thought more study, more insight than a condemning ministry. A finger-pointing ministry is easy. Moralism is the default setting of our minds. But it takes divine wisdom to understand God’s grace in a new way, so we can sustain weary people. Jesus gave himself fully to that ministry.”

— Ray Ortlund, Isaiah: God Saves Sinners, 355.

Publishing Update: A Legacy of Preaching

Hot off the press today is volume two of Zondervan’s A Legacy of Preaching, which is subtitled, “Enlightenment to the Present Day: The Life, Theology, and Method of History’s Great Preachers.”

I wrote the chapter on Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s preaching. My primary editor, Benjamin Forrest, was a joy to work with; I’m pleased with the chapter’s final form. I hope you’ll grab a copy! All the other chapters I’ve seen are edifying and informative.

Publisher’s Description

A Legacy of Preaching, Volume Two–Enlightenment to the Present Day explores the history and development of preaching through a biographical and theological examination of its most important preachers. Instead of teaching the history of preaching from the perspective of movements and eras, each contributor tells the story of a particular preacher in history, allowing these preachers from the past to come alive and instruct us through their lives, theologies, and methods of preaching.

Each chapter introduces readers to a key figure in the history of preaching, followed by an analysis of the theological views that shaped their preaching, their methodology of sermon preparation and delivery, and an appraisal of the significant contributions they have made to the history of preaching. This diverse collection of familiar and lesser-known individuals provides a detailed and fascinating look at what it has meant to communicate the gospel over the past two thousand years. By looking at how the gospel has been communicated over time and across different cultures, pastors, scholars, and homiletics students can enrich their own understanding and practice of preaching for application today.

Volume Two covers the period from the Enlightenment to the present day and profiles thirty-one preachers including Charles Haddon Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, Billy Sunday, Karl Barth, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Stott, Harry Emerson Fosdick, Martin Luther King Jr., Billy Graham, and more.

Volume One, available separately, covers the period from the apostles to the Puritans and profiles thirty preachers including Paul, Origen of Alexandria, Augustine of Hippo, Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, George Whitefield, and more.

Covering a broad range of preaching over the centuries, the two-volume A Legacy of Preaching reference set is the definitive reference for experienced preachers who wish to deeper their own preaching as well as aspiring students who want to learn from the masters of the past.

Ferguson Lectures on Preaching

Dr. Sinclair Ferguson recently gave the John Reed Miller Lectures on Preaching at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson. His theme was “Preaching Like Paul?”

I listened to every minute last week while I lay sick in bed. There’s a lifetime of homiletical wisdom for everyone who has ears to hear.

Lecture 1: How It All Came About

Lecture 2: Him We Proclaim

Lecture 3: We Preach Christ Crucified

Lecture 4: On Not Preaching Ourselves

Drs. Ferguson and Keller

Earlier this year, Westminster Theological Seminary awarded Sinclair Ferguson and Tim Keller honorary doctorates. As part of the ceremonies, Peter Lillback hosted a conversation with Ferguson and Keller. The panel is edifying in every way.

Book to Look For: Reformed Systematic Theology

Joel Beeke and Crossway appear to have a burgeoning relationship that will bless the church. Reformed Preaching is hot off the press, and coming in March is the first volume in the Reformed Experiential Systematic Theology Series.

I’m making two assumptions about the first volume Reformed Systematic Theology: Revelation and God. First, because it’s a co-write with Paul Smalley, the volume is undoubtedly the fruit of Dr. Beeke’s seminary lectures on systematic theology. Second, I reckon the experiential component will make it a modern-day systematic theology a la Wilhelmus a Brakel’s The Christian’s Reasonable Service.

Publisher’s Description

The aim of systematic theology is to engage not only the head, but also the heart and hands. Only recently has the church compartmentalized these aspects of life—separating the academic discipline of theology from the spiritual disciplines of faith and obedience. This new multi-volume work brings together rigorous historical and theological scholarship with spiritual disciplines and practicality—characterized by a simple, accessible, comprehensive, Reformed, and experiential approach. In this volume, Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley explore the first 2 central themes of theology: revelation and God.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Prolegomena: Introduction to Theology and the Doctrine of Revelation

Section A: Introduction to Theology

1. What Is Theology? Part 1: An Academic Discipline

2. What Is Theology? Part 2: A Spiritual Discipline

3. Who Does Theology? Where? When?

4. Which Theology Do We Do? Part 1: Christian, Catholic, Evangelical

5. Which Theology Do We Do? Part 2: Reformed

6. Which Theology Do We Do? Part 3: Polemical and Experiential

7. Why Do We Do Theology?

8. How Do We Do Theology? Part 1: Spiritual Dynamics

9. How Do We Do Theology? Part 2: Academic Methods

Section B: The Doctrine of Revelation

10. Theological Fundamentals of Divine Revelation

11. General Revelation, Part 1: Biblical Teaching

12. General Revelation, Part 2: Philosophy and Science

13. General Revelation, Part 3: Natural Theology and Theistic Arguments

Excursus: Some Historical Perspective on Natural Theology and Theistic Proofs

14. Special Revelation: Biblical Teaching

15. Errors Regarding Special Revelation, Part 1: Romanism and Liberalism

16. Errors Regarding Special Revelation, Part 2: Liberalism’s Offspring

17. The Bible as the Word of God

18. The Properties of the Written Word, Part 1: Authority and Clarity

19. The Properties of the Written Word, Part 2: Necessity, Unity, and Efficacy

20. The Properties of the Written Word, Part 3: Inerrant Veracity

21. The Properties of the Written Word, Part 4: Objections to Inerrancy

22. The Properties of the Written Word, Part 5: Sufficiency

23. The Cessation of Special Revelation, Part 1: Charismatic Continuationism

24. The Cessation of Special Revelation, Part 2: Prophecy Today

25. Applied Revelation for Practical Fruit

Part 2: Theology Proper: The Doctrine of God

Section A: The Doctrine of God’s Triune Glory

26. Introduction: The True Knowledge of God

27. Introduction to God’s Nature and Attributes, Part 1: Biblical Teaching

28. Introduction to God’s Nature and Attributes, Part 2: Theological Questions

29. The Name of “the Lord” (YHWH)

30. The Holiness of the Lord

31. Gods That Are Not God

32. God’s Spirituality

33. God’s Simplicity: “The Lord Our God Is One Lord”

34. God’s Infinity, Incomprehensibility, Aseity, and Immensity

35. God’s Eternity: Infinity with Respect to Time

Excursus: Problems of Time and Eternity

36. God’s Immutability, Part 1: Biblical Teaching

37. God’s Immutability, Part 2: Theological Questions

38. God’s Knowledge, Part 1: Omniscience and Wisdom

38. God’s Knowledge, Part 2: Foreknowledge

40. God’s Sovereignty: An Introduction to Omnipotence

41. God’s Moral Excellence, Part 1: Goodness and Love

42. God’s Moral Excellence, Part 2: Truth and Righteousness

43. God’s Moral Excellence, Part 3: Jealousy, Impassibility, and Joy

44. God’s Moral Excellence, Part 4: Wrath and Compassion

45. The Trinity, Part 1: Biblical Teaching

46. The Trinity, Part 2: Historical Development

47. The Trinity, Part 3: Theological and Practical Considerations

Section B: The Doctrine of God’s Sovereign Purpose

48. The Decree of God: General Considerations

49. Predestination, Part 1: Election and Reprobation

50. Predestination, Part 2: Historical Development through Reformed Orthodoxy

51. Predestination, Part 3: Questions and Uses

52. God’s Providence, Part 1: Biblical Teaching

53. God’s Providence, Part 2: Problems and Applications

Section C: The Doctrine of Angels and Demons

54. The Holy Angels of God

55. Satan and the Demons

Reasons for Thanksgiving

In 2015, I began my Ph.D. at what I affectionately call The Institution. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Model pastor-theologians fill the faculty, the student community is gracious and earnest, and the confessional unity is palpable.

All of those are, in human terms, consequences of Dr. Albert Mohler’s leadership. Southern recently produced a beautiful fifteen-minute video* documenting Dr. Mohler’s first twenty-five years of faithfulness. Watch it and give thanks.

*I make a brief appearance at 14:23.

The Most Disobeyed Verse in the Bible?

An admission is in order: this post’s title has a fair amount of tongue in its cheek. Countless texts compete for the title’s reward. I mean for the title’s cheekiness to provoke examination—particularly among pastors.

“What Verse,” You Say?

The text I have in mind is Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Its twin is Ephesians 5:19, where Paul commands being filled in the Spirit, which means—in part—”addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.”

For this post, I’m leaving aside historical arguments that “hymns and spiritual songs” are also references to biblical psalms. I’m not urging exclusive psalmody, but I am arguing for inclusive psalmody. I am simply stating, on the basis of Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19, that God expects His churches to sing the psalms from His word. What do you think? Is that a fair declaration? I believe so.

Yet, how many evangelical churches today sing the Psalms?

The Lay of the Land

I recently saw a pastor of a massive and influential church say, “Let the Psalter the be the soundtrack of your life.” However, ne’er is a psalm sung in his church’s gathered worship.

The pastor’s declaration and his church’s reality reveal two things I see in evangelical churches today.

First, we have seen a genuine resurgence of devotion to the Psalms. Praise the Lord! I first began to notice this when, in 2008, Union University (a Baptist institution, mind you) hosted a conference on psalm-singing. A few years later, B&H (a Baptist press, mind you) published the addresses as Forgotten Songs: Reclaiming the Psalms for Christian Worship. As is often the case, developments in the academy take a few years to seep into ordinary churches. The much-voiced call for restoring lament in the church’s life (e.g., Rejoicing in Lament) is a consequence of the revived focus on the psalms. So too is Donald Whitney’s work Praying the Bible, which exhorts Christians, “when you pray, pray a passage of Scripture, particularly a psalm.”

Second, precious few churches today sing the Psalms in corporate worship. I’m optimistic that more and more churches will start singing psalms. My experience and observation are that precious few churches are doing so at the moment.

I live in a bastion of the Bible-belt. “Evangelical” churches occupy many corners in my community. There are three mega-churches within five minutes of my home and another dozen smaller congregations. You’d never expect to sing a psalm at any of them on a Sunday.

Lest you think I’m only pointing the finger at other ecclesiastical traditions, let me turn it back on myself. The church I pastor is a member of the PCA. More than anything else, Redeemer’s identity in the presbytery and community is that of a traditional-liturgical church. Any person who knows anything about the history of Presbyterian worship knows that psalm-singing is among our most distinctive features. I attended Redeemer consistently for eight months before being called as senior minister. Although it had a history of sporadic psalm-singing in the past, we never sang a psalm over those eight months. I wonder many Presbyterian churches today likewise have forgotten our biblically-informed tradition.

One of the first adjustments I made to our worship at Redeemer was reintroducing the Psalms for singing. We now sing at least one psalm every week, and it is a delight to hear God’s people sing God’s word.

A Sad Irony

In our zeal against exclusive psalmody, perhaps we have inadvertently promoted exclusive hymnody—or as one brother I know put it, “exclusive chorusody.”

Too many of our churches today are ignoring God’s hymnbook, which has been at the heart of every major branch of Christianity’s worship tradition. Let us repent of loving to sing our words more than God’s words. Let us pray for the ample and regular singing of psalms—along with Scripturally-sound hymns—in our gathered worship services.

Resourcing Recovery and Reform

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Whenever the Psalter is abandoned, an incomparable treasure vanishes from the Christian church. With its recovery will come unsuspected power.” John Chrysostom, that golden-mouthed preacher, asked,

Do you wish to be happy? Do you want to know how to spend the day truly blessed? I offer you a drink that is spiritual. This is not a drink for drunkenness that would cut off even meaningful speech. This does not cause us to babble. It does not disturb our vision. Here it is: Learn to sing Psalms! Then you will see pleasure indeed. Those who have learned to sing with the psalms are easily filled with the Holy Spirit.

Every gospel pastor longs for Christ’s word to dwell deeply in his church. Every pastor prays for Christ’s spirit to fill the church. Singing psalms is one of God’s ordained means for both blessings to grow in your congregation.

Here are some resources pastors can use for further study:1

Some shorter pieces encouraging the singing of Psalms in corporate worship:

  • Terry Johnson’s essay in honor of James Montgomery Boice, “Restoring Psalm Singing to Our Worship” in Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship demonstrates that even the Presbyterians can have difficulty using the Psalter in worship. Johnson’s concern for Bible-saturated worship is commendable to the People of the Book.
  • Old Testament scholar Gordon Wenham answers the question of his chapter titled “What Are We Doing Singing the Psalms?” in his book The Psalter Reclaimed: Praying and Praising with the Psalms. In a few short pages, he ranges over the Bible, church history, speech-act theory, and finally back to the Psalms themselves as he attempts to coax the Christian reader into a psalm-singing frame of mind.


  1. The comments on each resource are adapted from Ray Van Neste’s Read, Pray, Sing.

A Summary of Reformed Piety

Every Christian tradition has unique facets to its spirituality. The one I belong to, Reformed Presbyterianism, has long emphasized the centrality of piety in the Christian life. Consider the subtitle to John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion: Containing the Whole Sum of Piety. It was said of John Owen, the Prince of the Puritans, that “his aim in life was to promote holiness.”

What is It?

How might we summarize the nature of Reformed Piety? Sinclair Ferguson says the Reformed view emphasizes two central features: “Jesus Christ himself is our sanctification or holiness (1 Cor. 1:30); and it is through union with Christ that sanctification is accomplished in us.” Ferguson further writes that Reformed spirituality concentrates on the Spirit because “union with Christ is the purpose and one of the foci of the ministry of the Spirit.”

Whole books have been written on Reformed spirituality. Joel Beeke’s Puritan Reformed Spirituality is one of the best. An entire series highlights the various contours of such piety as modeled in the writings of mighty saints of old. The most succinct definition of Presbyterian holiness comes from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which defines sanctification as “the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.”

If we wanted to point to a passage of Scripture that captures the essence of Reformed piety, I submit that few verses are more compact—yet gloriously complex—as 2 Corinthians 7:1. There Paul says, “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

Five Points for Spirituality

Reformed piety feasts on God’s covenant promises. In his commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith, B. B. Warfield said, “The architectonic principle of the Westminster Confession is supplied by the schematization of the Federal theology, which had obtained by this time in Britain, as on the Continent, a dominant position as the most commodious mode of presenting the corpus of Reformed doctrine.” Translation for 21st-century Christians: Reformed theology is covenant theology. Therefore, Reformed piety is a promise-driven and promise-dependent piety.

We confess that God’s relation to mankind is covenantal. We speak of the Covenants of Redemption, Works, and Grace. The whole system concentrates, as it must, on Jesus Christ. Sinclair Ferguson summarizes this point: “God’s covenant with his people is not only found in Jesus Christ; it is Jesus Christ. The new covenant, the final covenant, the covenant in which is experienced the fullness of God’s promise ‘I will be your God and you will be my people’ is made in him. In him all the (covenant) promises of God find their ‘yes!’ So when we rightly speak of ‘Christ and the covenant,’ this is ultimately the same as speaking of the ‘Christ who is the covenant.’”

When Paul says “Since we have these promises . . .” he has in mind the covenant promises of 2 Corinthians 6:16–18. There Paul writes,

We are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
Therefore go out from their midst,
    and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
    then I will welcome you,
and I will be a father to you,
    and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”

No feature of our spirituality is without the spiritual food of God’s covenant promises. Since God has given them to us, we have love, hope, comfort, assurance, and strength. Few things are as sweet as God’s promises toward His children. They are solid meat and sweet honey for the soul. They are “precious and very great promises” and through them we “become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4).

You need only survey Puritan manuals on sanctification to see the priority of God’s promises for growing in Christ. Consider Andrew Gray’s “Great and Precious Promises,” Edward Leigh’s A Treatise of the Divine Promises, or William Spurstowe’s The Wells of Salvation Opened: Or, A Treatise Discovering the nature, preciousness, usefulness of Gospel-Promises, and Rules for the right application of them.

Reformed piety revels in God’s electing love. Paul says, “Since we have these promises, beloved . . .” The language of love is Pauline shorthand for God’s electing grace (see Rom. 9:25, 11:28; Eph. 1:6, 5:1; Col. 1:13, 3:12). Paul’s love for the Corinthians comes from God’s gracious adoption of them into His family.

J. I. Packer, in his classic Knowing God, said, “Adoption has been little regarded in Christian history. Apart from two last-century books, now scarcely know, there has been no evangelical writing on it, nor has there been at any time since the Reformation.” Admittedly, much 19th-century theology downplayed the glory of adoption into God’s family. Yet, Joel Beeke has demonstrated how pervasive adoption was for Puritan piety in his work, Heirs with Christ: The Puritan on Adoption. The Westminster assembly defined adoption as “an act of the free grace of God, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ, whereby all those that are justified are received into the number of his children, have his name put upon them, the Spirit of his Son given to them, are under his fatherly care and dispensations, admitted to all the liberties and privileges of the sons of God, made heirs of all the promises, and fellow-heirs with Christ in glory” (LC, 74).

What peace and comfort, experience of God’s love, liberty and readiness, as well as victory over Satan come from meditation on our adoption in Christ. William Perkins, the father of the Puritans, offered several marks that signify one’s welcome into God’s family:

  • “An earnest and hearty desire in all things to further the glory of God.”
  • “A care and readiness to resign ourselves in subjection to God, to be ruled by his word and spirit, in thought, word, and deed.”
  • “A sincere endeavor to do his will in all things with cheerfulness, making conscience of everything we know to be evil.”
  • “Upright walking in man’s lawful calling, and yet still faith to rely upon God’s providence, being well pleased with God’s sending whatsoever it is.”
  • “Every day to humble a man’s self before God for his offenses, seeking his favour in Christ unfainedly, and so daily renewing his faith and repentance.”
  • “A continual combat between the flesh and the spirit, corruption haling and drawing one way, and grace resisting the same and drawing another way.”

Reformed piety engages in mortification. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to put off sin by saying, “Let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit.” A spiritual slaying of sin is vital for growth in Christ. No individual has more renown in teaching on the necessity of mortification than John Owen. In his classic work On the Mortification of Sin in Believers, Owen says Christ has poured out His Spirit to “bring the cross of Christ into our hearts with its sin-killing power.” The Spirit’s centrality in mortification is a vital point. If a believer tries to kill sin in his own power, he will find himself in a losing battle. Owen says forcefully, “Mortification from a self-strength, carried on by ways of self-invention, to the end of a self-righteousness, is the soul and substance of all false religion in the world.”

Reformed piety, then, has always emphasized the necessity of dying to sin (e.g., WSC 35). Cooperating with the Spirit, we must kill sin or sin will be killing us. Mortification, Owen wrote, must happen “every day, and in every duty.” Holy violence must mark our piety. We cannot coddle our bosom sins, nor be lazy towards our lusts. Mortification of sin means three essential things:

  1. A habitual weakening of the sin.
  2. A constant fight and contention against the sin.
  3. An increasing degree of success in killing the sin.

Reformed piety emphasizes sanctification in head, heart, and hand. The Shorter Catechism defines sanctification as God’s work of grace in renewing “the whole man after the image of Christ.” Heidelberg Catechism 115 says we need God’s law “so that we may never stop striving, and never stop praying to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, to be renewed more and more after God’s image, until after this life we reach our goal: perfection.” In the language of 2 Corinthians 7:1, we are to bring holiness “to completion.”

By His Spirit, Christ forms and fashions His people into His very image—see Ephesians 4:24 and Colossians 3:10.

As such, Reformed piety is after the thorough godliness. Such spirituality emanates the holiness of Christ. We prioritize holiness precisely because our Lord does (see 1 Pet. 1:15–16).

When Robert Murray M’Cheyne lay in bed with a fever that would take his life, a letter was delivered and placed on his desk. It went unopened until after M’Cheyne’s death. The writer penned, “I hope you will pardon a stranger for addressing you a few lines. I heard you preach last Sabbath evening, and it pleased God to bless that sermon to my soul. It was not so much what you said, as your manner of speaking, that struck me. I saw in you a beauty in holiness that I never saw before.”

Reformed piety also places particular emphasis on ministerial holiness. The following passages offer proof:

  • Richard Baxter: “If it be not your daily business to study your own hearts and to subdue corruption and to walk with God, if you make not this a work to which you constantly attend, all will go wrong and you will starve your hearers. . . . We must study as hard how to live well as how to preach well.”
  • John Owen: “If a man teach uprightly and walk crookedly, more will fall down in the night of his life than he built in the day of his doctrine.”
  • Thomas Wilson: “Our ministry is as our heart is. No man rises much above the level of his own habitual godliness.”
  • Robert Murray M’Cheyne: “Oh! study universal holiness of life. Your whole usefulness depends on this. Your sermon on Sabbath lasts but an hour or two—your life preaches all the week.”
  • Horatius Bonar: “Nearness to Him, intimacy with Him, assimilation to His character—these are the elements of a ministry of power.”
  • Archibald Alexander: “Aim at high attainments in evangelical piety. Nothing so much as this will be a pledge of eminent usefulness.”
  • Samuel Miller: “The true reason, then, why we have so little good and profitable preaching, is that, among those who attempt to perform this service, there is so little deep, warm, heartfelt piety.”

Reformed piety lives in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1 says we are to pursue holiness “in the fear of God.” One commentator on 2 Corinthians writes, “Only believers fear God truly, since only those who have already begun to enjoy his presence can taste the horror of what it would be like to be without it. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, just as it is the beginning of the passion for holiness among God’s people.”

Fear of God is the meat and marrow of biblical piety. As John Murray declared, “The fear of God is the soul of godliness.” To fear God is to revere and adore His name, desire to please Him, and fear His chastisement. In his first catechism, Calvin writes, “True piety consists in a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death.”

The more we love God, the more we fear Him, and thus the more we become like Him.

William S. Plumber, a leading nineteenth-century Presbyterian preacher, wrote a wonderful chapter on “The Fear of God” in his work, Vital Godliness: A Treatise on Experimental and Practical Piety. For a good idea of the Nadere Reformatie‘s ideal for fearing God, meditate on Wilhelmus A’Brakel’s sermon on the subject. John Bunyan’s treatise on The Fear of God is a useful entry-point into the Puritan ideal.

Putting It Together

Here then are the five facets of Reformed piety that 2 Corinthians 7:1 captures so beautifully: Reformed piety 1) feasts on God’s covenant promises, 2) revels in God’s electing love, 3) engages in mortification, 4) emphasizes sanctification in head, heart, and hand, and 5) lives in the fear of God.

Book Notice: Puritan Piety

I’ve met Joel Beeke once. It was at T4G 2010 when he was behind the Reformation Heritage book table. We’ve corresponded on a few occasions in the years since, but I have no reason to think he’d remember me. Yet, few preachers and scholars have influenced me like Dr. Beeke. His sermons and books have indelibly shaped my views on experiential preaching, Reformed piety, and historical theology.

When I saw that Michael Haykin and Paul Smalley had edited a festschrift for Dr. Beeke entitled, Puritan Piety: Essay in Honors of Joel R. Beeke, I was thrilled. The book just came in the mail and looks to be a feast for the soul.


The puritan movement, its leading figures, and the resulting principles were not only pivotal in Church history, but remain greatly influential today. This work looks at the puritan doctrine of piety. Contributors such as Sinclair Ferguson, Michael Haykin, and Mark Jones explore the theology, history, and application of this doctrine, presenting concise biographies of individual Puritans alongside modern heirs who seek to mimic their example. Puritan Piety is written in honour of Joel R. Beeke, inspired by his writings and the passionate piety with which he has strived to live and rightly influence those around him.

Table of Contents

Preface: On Puritans and Piety—Past and Contemporary (Michael A. G. Haykin)

1. Introduction: The Puritan Piety of Joel Beeke (Paul M. Smalley)

Part 1: Reformed Theology and Puritan Piety

2. What is Theology? A Puritan and Reformed Vision of Living to God, through Christ, by the Spirit (Ryan M. McGraw)

3. Christology and Piety in Puritan Thought (Mark Jones)

4. The Kingdom of God in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Paul M. Smalley)

Part 2: Means of Grace and Puritan Piety

5. Calvin the Preacher and the Puritans (Joseph Pipa)

6. The Highway of Holiness: Puritan Moral Reform in the English Revolution (Chad Van Dixhoorn)

7. John Cotton and the Spiritual Value of Psalm-Singing (W. Robert Godfrey)

8. John Owen and the Lord’s Supper (Sinclair B. Ferguson)

9. Principles and Practice for the Household: Thomas Gouge’s Catechesis  ‘with Practical Applications’ (Richard A. Muller)

Part 3: Individual Snapshots of Puritan Piety

10. Daniel Dyke and The Mystery of Self-Deceiving (Randall J. Pederson)

11. Milton’s Sonnet on His Blindness and the Puritan Soul (Leland Ryken)

12. A String of Pearls (Psalm 119): The Biblical Piety of Thomas Manton (J. Stephen Yuille)

Part 4: Later Heirs of Puritan Piety

13. J. C. Philpot and Experimental Calvinism (Robert W. Oliver)

14. Eminent Spirituality and Eminent Usefulness: True Spirituality According to Andrew Fuller (Michael A. G. Haykin)