Let s be clear suffering is not something we want for ourselves or for those we love. Yet it is a reality of living in a compromised creation. But what does this mean for our view of God and our relationship with him? In this brief book, Brian Cosby attempts to review the theological logic that informs John Flavel s view of God s providence amid these difficulties. Some of what Flavel argues may be hard for us to swallow, but here is someone creatively trying to uphold both God s sovereignty and love amid the painful realities that arise in our lives. This book, filled with provocative quotes from Flavel and ably arranged and explicated by Cosby, helps us understand Flavel s pastoral advice for how Christians might view these seasons of suffering. --Kelly M. Kapic, associate professor of theological studies at Covenant College, and co-editor of The Devoted Life: An Invitation to Puritan Classics
Among the Puritan giants some like John Owen and Thomas Goodwin scaled the theological heights and plumbed the doctrinal depths. Others were gifted in coming down the mountain to those who lived at its foot, or emerging from the depths with nourishing food for the ordinary men and women to whom they ministered day-in and day-out. John Flavel surely ranks high among these pastoral geniuses. To have heard him expound Scripture, apply its truth, and engage in the cure of souls must have been both a wonderful privilege and a life-transforming experience. His ministry happily married gospel grace to biblical wisdom and therefore excelled in pastoring those who were afflicted for whatever reason. Like Paul he was able to comfort others with the comfort he himself had received in his own times of affliction. Here, in Suffering and Sovereignty: John Flavel and the Puritans on Afflictive Providence Dr. Brian Cosby places us in his debt by distilling what we might call The rich essence of Flavel to help sweeten suffering and introduce the aroma of grace into the sufferings tasted by believers. Suffering and Sovereignty marries careful research with pastoral concerns. It is a welcome contribution to the growing literature on Puritan life and ministry and will be immensely helpful both to students of the period and pastors who share Flavel s passion to feed, protect, and nourish Christ s flock, and who serve congregations of ordinary people just like his. --Sinclair B. Ferguson, senior minister of First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, S.C.
About the Author
Brian H. Cosby is pastor of Wayside Presbyterian Church (PCA) on Signal Mountain, Tennessee and adjunct professor of church history at Metro Atlanta Seminary. He is the author of several books and regularly contributes to various journals and magazines.