Puritan Theology

The progress (or perhaps, regress) of my theological views from independent BaptistMatthew Henry fundamentalism to confessional Reformed theology results from my desire to get to the true roots of the Baptist tradition. Sort of a “back to the basics” quest. Essential in the post-Reformation development of Reformed theology, and even the development of the original Baptist movement, is Puritan theology. As Baptist historian, Leon McBeth, writes at the Baptist History and Heritage Society website, “Our best historical evidence says that Baptists came into existence in England in the early seventeenth century. They apparently emerged out of the Puritan-Separatist movement in the Church of England.” Several notable Puritans, like the great John Owen, renounced their paedobaptistic distinctives in favor of the emerging Baptistic alternatives, which I still contend are due to Anabaptistic, rather than Reformed, influence. But I digress (for more on the ongoing debate about an Anabaptist/Baptist connection, read this article from the Baptist Standard).

 One of the Reformed podcasts I follow weekly, “Christ the Center,” by the Reformed Forum, features an interview of Rev. James O’Brien, pastor of Reedy River PCA on the Christ-centered, and piety-enriching benefits of reading the Puritans (listen to the episode here). Puritan literature is available, not only from Banner of Truth Trust, and other Reformed publishers who reprint their works, but a world of Puritan literature is also available at Archive.org, and Google Books. But to get an easy start, you or some Christian you know probably has a copy of Matthew Henry’s commentary. Pull it off the shelf and peruse it. I bet you won’t regret it.

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