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A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life Paperback – July 8, 2010
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"In A Quest for Godliness, J. I. Packer paints a vivid portrait of Puritans--their piety, church life, and social impulse--providing a model of passionate, holy living for today's often-complacent church. Packer's characteristically lucid style and penetrating insights into Christians of old send a vibrant challenge to those of us who follow Christ in this last decade of the twentieth century. I heartily recommend this book."
—Charles Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship
"Dr. Packer has blended theology, biography, history, and practical exhortation in a book that is a delight to read. But even more, the book speaks to our contemporary church situation and causes us to search our hearts and examine our ministries. Whether you are just getting acquainted with the Puritans or are a long-time friend, A Quest for Godliness will instruct and inspire you. Here is solid spiritual food that contributes to maturity."
—Warren W. Wiersbe, Retired General Director, Back to the Bible
About the Author
J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.
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Top Customer Reviews
Packer's twenty chapters are arranged under six headings,
I. The Puritans in Profile - which serves as a rich introduction to the Puritans themselves, examining the Puritan movement in its historical context and exploring the practical relevance that the Puritans have to our own age.
II. The Puritans and the Bible - explores the Bibliology of the Puritans, including both their view of the Divine inspiration and authority of Scripture and their method of interpreting the Bible, and ending on their view of conscience.
III. The Puritans and the Gospel - containing a stunning introduction to John Owen's book "The Death of Death in the Death of Christ" which seeks to show how what is known as Calvinism is more than five subpoints of theology, but really defines the whole of the gospel; also including a look at the doctrine of justification and its development and decline among the Puritans; and ending on the Puritan view of preaching the gospel.
IV. The Puritans and the Holy Spirit - a rich and rewarding study of the way in which Puritans understood the ministry of the Holy Spirit - especially in relationship to assurance (with much from Thomas Goodwin, Richard Sibbes, and Thomas Brooks), sanctification and communion with God (with much from John Owen), and spiritual gifts. Invigorating.
V. The Puritan Christian Life - an exploration of the Puritan perception of worship (a rich spiritual feast with much from Stephen Charnock and George Swinnock), how they crafted the observance of the Christian Sabbath (the Lord's Day) into what it became, and the Puritan ideals for marriage and family relationships.
VI. The Puritans in Ministry - three rich chapters dealing with preaching, evangelism, and revival - introducing the reader to such rich gold mines as the works of Richard Baxter and Jonathan Edwards. A rewarding section of the book.
Such is an overview. The chapters are well organized and written with clarity, precision, and Packer's characterstic fervor and creativity. The book is immensely interesting. There are hundreds of quotations from the best of the Puritan literature, and the spiritually minded reader will find his appetite whetted so as to hunger for the Puritans themselves.
I commend this book to every Christian, and especially every pastor, who wants to grow deeper in humility, broader in Scripture, and higher in worship. This book will be a feast to your soul.
We are presented with both the strengths as well as the failings of the Puritans as Richard Baxter is described as the father of modern liberalism in the Church of England and Jonathan Edwards' revival is seen to be a short-lived flash which quickly cooled following his generation. It is John Owen who comes across as the hero of the book and the Calvin of the Puritan movement (Pg 191). Packer defends Owen's cumbersome and tortuous style of writing as being "a Latinized spoken style" after the tradition of Cicero. We are continually urged to ignore the burden of his writing style because it is worth the extra effort.
The practical emphasis of this book is a call for revivalism in the church today. Puritanism was exactly such a call and Packer suggests that the church is in need of this call again in this day and age. I found especially noteworthy the section dealing with assurance. The Puritan view of assurance is not merely a matter of believing the gospel and its promise of eternal life. Rather, they viewed assurance as being only for the one who has been walking faithfully with the Lord for a very long time and even then, it was pictured as a "crown that few wear."