In short, the Puritans taught that regeneration and adoption are to be distinguished in several ways. Here is a summary of points made by Thomas Manton and Stephen Charnock on the differences between the doctrines of adoption and regeneration:
- Regeneration brings us to close with Jesus Christ – adoption causes the Spirit to abide in our hearts.
- Regeneration is the Spirit’s renewing. Adoption, the Spirit’s inhabiting. In regeneration, the Holy Spirit builds a house for Himself, in adoption, He dwells in the house—much like bees that “first make their cells, and then dwell in them.”
- Regeneration is not conditioned by faith, adoption is.
- Regeneration enables us to believe unto justification and adoption.
- Regeneration engraves upon us the lineaments of a father; adoption relates us to God as our Father.
- Regeneration makes us God’s sons by conveying the principle of new life (1 Pet. 1:23); adoption keeps us God’s sons by conferring the power of new life (John 1:12).
- Regeneration makes us partakers of the divine nature; adoption makes us partakers of the divine affections.
- Regeneration affects our nature, adoption, our relationships.
Here recently the church that I have been attending is doing a Sunday-school series on Creation and the first eleven chapters of Genesis. After church I came home to read a bit more on the subject and found this helpful, written by Thomas Brooks.
This was God’s purpose in the creation of the world. The divine perfections are admirably glorified here, not only in regard of the greatness of the effect, which comprehends the heavens and the earth, and all things in them; but in regard of the marvellous way of its production. For he made the vast universe without the concurrence of any material cause; he brought it forth from the womb of nothing by an act of his efficacious will. And as he began the creation by proceeding from nothing to real existence, so in forming the other parts he drew them from infirm and inert matter, as from a second nothing, that all his creatures might bear the signatures of infinite power. Thus he commanded light to arise out of darkness, and sensible creatures from an insensible element. The lustre of the divine glory appears eminently here. Hence David says, Psalm 19:1. “The heavens declare the glory of God.” They declare and manifest to the world the attributes and perfections of their great Creator, even in his infinite wisdom, goodness, and power. All the creatures have some prints of God stamped upon them, whereby they loudly proclaim and show to the world his wisdom and goodness in framing them. Hence says Paul, Rom. 1:20, “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.”
Here is how – Just read every book that Dr. Joel R. Beeke put together for you to learn the Puritans… Meet the Puritans-bib.
My seminarian brother Danny Hyde has posted a selected audio resources on the puritans.
Joel Heflin writes,
“Meditation is the first step toward conversion. The depraved heart, says Fenner, does not reflect on original sin or evaluate the true nature of God’s grace. This is the only difference: everyone complains of their guilt and depression but not all go to God for forgiveness. Fenner’s solution for removing guilt and its spiritual paralysis is to aggravate sin by reflecting on its circumstances. It is possible, says Fenner, to realize the full extent and character of sin in ourselves when we examine the circumstances of any given sin. Fenner takes his biblical example from a notoriously sticky passage.”
Read the rest here.
Wanted to make known that one of my seminary brothers Danny Hyde has joined up with Mark Jones and Rowland Ward on a new blog called, “Meet the Puritans.”
“The purpose of this website is to promote the seventeenth century English Puritans. We intend to do this by means of original research, theological and devotional commentary upon the writings of the Puritans, reviews of books about the Puritans, recommendations of books about the Puritans, and by providing Recommended Reading of helpful materials in your study of the Puritans.”
From their welcome,
“Welcome to Meet the Puritans! This website is a collaborative effort. You can read about the contributors in the Author Profiles page at the top left of the home page.
The purpose of this website is to promote the seventeenth century English Puritans. We intend to do this by means of original research, theological and devotional commentary upon the writings of the Puritans, reviews of books about the Puritans, recommendations of books about the Puritans, and by providing Recommended Reading of helpful materials in your study of the Puritans.
You’ll notice just below the header image on the home page several categories. These are intended to give you a quick reference to posts we’ve made concerning book reviews, the Puritan’s doctrine as well use of that doctrine, and our favorite Puritans most of all, John Owen, Thomas Goodwin, andThomas Manton.”
Books by Daniel Hyde:
While a Reformed understanding of God’s sovereignty is becoming more acceptable among evangelicals, many people still struggle to accept infant baptism as legitimate practice of the church. Much of this resistance is due to a misunderstanding of the Reformed position, as well as a different perspective on the biblical views of God’s covenantal relations with families. In this book, Daniel R. Hyde provides a helpful assessment of infant baptism, arguing cogently for its validity while remaining sympathetic to skeptical readers.
The Belgic Confession contains doctrine that is worth dying for, as its author and many adherents learned all too well. Opponents of the Belgic Confession have put its adherents to death because, through this powerful document, the church speaks its prophetic biblical message to the world in which it exists. Yet because this confession of faith has been neglected far too long in the Reformed churches, author Daniel Hyde offers a necessary, fresh exposition and application of its doctrine in the twenty-first century, with the hope of setting the Reformed churches on fire for their historic Christian, Protestant, and Reformed faith in the midst of a cold and lifeless world.
While man has universally and perpetually desired the visual in his relationship with God, God has given His people the Word and sacraments as manifestations of His presence until Christ comes again, visibly and corporeally—in living color. This is the classic Reformed exegesis of Scripture as expressed in its confessions. Forward by Joel R. Beeke.
JESUS. The name means so many things to so many people. This book has as its aim to know Jesus. In order to know Him experientially and personally we must know what the Bible says about Him. To come to this knowledge we must delve into the holy mysteries of the Word of God and the historic Christian faith. Whether you are a skeptic, an agnostic, an inquirer, or a convinced Christian, this book is meant to cause you to consider the mysteries that Jesus claimed of Himself that you too might join the cloud of witnesses that no man can number, confessing the name of Jesus—“God with us.”
Question: Can you detail five lessons that you have learn from the Puritans in promoting a more Biblical form of evangelicalism than the easy-believism that presently permeates the Christian world? If so, what areas are those and what was their importance?
1. Puritan Worship – seeing the importance of how scripture deals with how worship is done and the manner in which it is to be done instead of going along always with culture or what feels good.
2. Puritan Marriage – seeing the importance of the covenant of the puritans viewed marriage would then give easy believers and actual respect, and high view of the doctrine that is now today so easily broken by many evangelicals.
3. Puritan Sanctification – The importance of living out the gospel and practicing the truths in obedience to that of which God commands instead of “free ticket” going to heaven junk.
4. Puritan Adoption – Seeing that the doctrine is of extreme importance, being that easily believism tends to and is the most over looked doctrine and highest blessing of the gospel.
5. Puritan Meditations – The puritans view was great! In a world and culture that actually promotes reading the bible in church everyday for whatever and whenever, they need the puritans view. Having rime and reason to studying the Bible for the glory of God and doing it more then once a day, or finding whatever verse(s) best fit the believer at that time is a must need in today evangelicalism.
1. Kinds – was the way that mediations were done. The puritans had two, occasional and deliberate. One was to be done shortly, off the top of the head, and can be done with group. The daily was to be planned, taken time, deep study of the Bible.
2. Manner – was the time that once spent in the devotion and how many times a day of the devotion as well.
3. Subjects – was the way that study was categorized. Every thing fell under systematical theology and in those 7 areas.
4. Benefits – This was for the believer then after study to enjoy, love and cherish their Savior knowing him deeper then when they started.
5. Obstacles – these were areas in which at times could have been hard for the Puritans. For example is on does not know the Scripture, nor what it is speaking about, it can be hard, but still God remains the same, and remains right always. Getting this past man’s mind was always hard.
Biblicist – was a walk of Christian life that lived out a life being centered on the Scriptures and what they taught.
Pietist – was a walk that remained pure and stayed away from worldliness. They lives lived out a holiness in all things, church, society, living, family and the church.
Churchly – was a walk that saw the church as a group of people that was to walk along side of one another in this world. They saw this as an importance because of those who would try to live among this world alone, and fall into sin and away from the gospel.
Two-worldly – was a walk that would keep one eye on heaven and the other upon living in this world.
Warfaring – was the walk of the Christian life that the puritan looked, and must I say looked closely at his own life watching himself that he was living for the glory of God.
Methodical Outlook – was the walk that the church and state was to work in online. The Puritans loved the 3rd use of the law that it could bring about holy living and good to the culture of their time.
Earthly adoption is horizontal. It is one human being establishing a relationship with another human being. Heavenly adoption isvertical. It is the eternal God graciously establishing a relationship with fallen human beings, creatures who are by nature “children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2) or “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3).
God is an adoptive Father. Jesus, our Elder Brother, is God the Father’s eternal, only-begotten, natural Son. We believers are His children through adoption. This identity is central to who we are. As adopted children, we enjoy all the rights and privileges of the relationship that God the Father enjoys with His eternal Son. This is an amazing reality and eternal privilege.
Adoption is heavenly before it is earthly. One is what God does; the other is what we do. Adoption is something God has done and is doing before it is something we have done and are doing. Adoption was invented by God even before He created the world. Adoption is how God brings us into His family.
If adoption is first heavenly before it is earthly, why do we Christians so often think of earthly adoption before we think of heavenly adoption? Why do we think horizontally before we think vertically? I think one reason for this is the neglect of the doctrine of adoption in the history of the church. In his massive, 2,600-page work The Creeds of Christendom, the church historian Philip Schaff only includes six creeds that contain a section on adoption because they are the only ones he could find while scouring almost 1,900 years of church history.
The early church was primarily concerned, and rightly so, with the doctrines of the Trinity and of Christ because those doctrines were being attacked within the church. The Reformation and post-Reformation church necessarily focused on defending the doctrine of justification. These battles were all essential for the church to fight in the defense of Christian truth, but unintentionally they resulted in the church’s failure thoroughly to develop Scripture’s teaching on adoption.
Even though adoption has been relatively neglected in the history of the church, the Puritans have not contributed to that neglect. To my knowledge, no tradition in the history of the church has rejoiced in and proclaimed the truth of adoption as have the Puritans. Though the Puritans, as f late, have received bad press in their treatment of this great doctrine, their writings demonstrate that they esteemed nothing higher than the incomparable privilege of being God’s children through adoption.
Dr. Joel Beeke offers a great service to the contemporary church by examining the Puritans’ substantial and worship-filled treatment of the believer’s adoption by God. Beeke does a masterful job of setting the record straight on behalf of the Puritans. He has extensively studied the Puritans and is uniquely qualified to write on this most important subject.
The church today should richly benefit from this exposure to Puritan teaching on the biblical doctrine of adoption. If we as Christians even begin to approach the Puritans’ love of heavenly adoption, we will be spiritually richer for it. Therefore, I highly recommend Dr. Beeke’s book Heirs with Christ: The Puritans on Adoption.
By: Dan Cruver, Co-Founder of Together for Adoption.
Pre-Order: by calling 616-977-0599 or clicking here.
About the Author: JoeL R. Beeke is pastor of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and a prolific author.
Endorsements: Heirs with Christ: The Puritans on Adoption
“Dr. Beeke is well-known for his landmark work setting the record straight on the Puritan doctrine of assurance. Now he comes to our aid again with a superb treatment of the Puritans on adoption. I welcome his expert entry into this important field, and commend his keen insights and careful analysis to all who are interested in knowing ‘what the Puritans really said’ about adoption.” —Ligon Duncan
“In this short but spiritually substantive book, Dr. Beeke—a wise and careful ‘pastor theologian’ in the best sense of both words—introduces us to the Puritans’ comforting and transforming work on spiritual adoption. More than just historically informative, this volume should be warmly welcomed by all Christians who want to learn more about this crucial aspect of our identity as sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ.”
Pre-Order: @ Reformation Heritage Books
There is a new book being published by Reformation Heritage Books coming out June 3rd. Heirs with Christ: The Puritans on Adoption, by Dr. Joel R. Beeke will survey the beauty that lied in the Puritans firm foundation of the Spiritual Adoption. Below is some of the information that is on the book. Later this week will come more information about the book, samples from the book, and what you can expect to read in Heirs with Christ.
Description: The Puritans have gotten bad press for their supposed lack of teaching on the doctrine of spiritual adoption. In Heirs with Christ, Joel R. Beeke dispels this caricature and shows that the Puritan era did more to advance the idea that every true Christian is God’s adopted child than any other age of church history. This little book lets the Puritans speak for themselves, showing how they recognized adoption’s far-reaching, transforming power and comfort for the children of God.
I would like to talk the time of this post to direct you to Timmy Brister’s challenge in reading the Puritans. You can read all of the information at his blog, Provocations & Pantings. If you would pick up this challenge for 2008 my i add, that Reformation Heritage Books are selling Mr. Brister’s 12 picks of the Puritans for 36% off the retail price at an amazing price of only $65.oo.
If you are just starting to read the Puritans, begin with John Bunyan’s The Fear of God, John Flavel’s Keeping the Heart, and Thomas Watson’s The Art of Divine Contentment, then move on to the works of John Owen, Thomas Goodwin, and Jonathan Edwards.
For sources that introduce you to the Puritans and their literature, begin with Meet the Puritans. Then, to learn more about the lifestyle and theology of the Puritans, read Leland Ryken’s Worldly Saints: The Puritans As They Really Were (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), Peter Lewis’s The Genius of Puritanism (Morgan, Penn.: Soli Deo Gloria, 1997), and Erroll Hulse’s Who are the Puritans? and what do they teach? (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, 2000). Then move on to James I. Packer’s A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1990) and my Puritan Reformed Spirituality (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press, 2006).
Whitefield was right: the Puritans, though long dead, still speak through their writings. Their books still praise them in the gates. Reading the Puritans will place you and keep you on the right path theologically, experientially, and practically. As Packer writes, “The Puritans were strongest just where Protestants today are weakest, and their writings can give us more real help than those of any other body of Christian teachers, past or present, since the days of the apostles” (quoted in Hulse, Reformation & Revival, 44). I wholeheartedly agree. I have been reading Christian literature for more than forty years and can freely say that I know of no group of writers in church history that can so benefit your mind and soul as the Puritans. God used their books to convert me as a teenager, and He has been using their books ever since to help me grow in understanding John the Baptists’s summary of Christian sanctification: “Christ must increase and I must decrease.”
In his endorsement of Meet the Puritans, R.C. Sproul says, “The recent revival of interest in and commitment to the truths of Reformed theology is due in large measure to the rediscovery of Puritan literature. The Puritans of old have become the prophets for our time. This book is a treasure for the church.” So, our prayer is that God will use Meet the Puritans to inspire you to read Puritan writings. With the Spirit’s blessing, they will enrich your life in many ways as they open the Scriptures to you, probe your conscience, bare yours sins, lead you to repentance, and conform your life to Christ. Let the Puritans bring you into full assurance of salvation and a lifestyle of gratitude to the Triune God for His great salvation.
You might want to pass along Meet the Puritans and Puritan books to your friends as well. There is no better gift than a good book. I sometimes wonder what would happen if Christians spent only fifteen minutes a day reading Puritan writings. Over a year that would add up to reading about twenty average-size books a year and, over a lifetime, 1,500 books. Who knows how the Holy Spirit might use such a spiritual diet of reading! Would it usher in a worldwide revival? Would it fill the earth again with the knowledge of the Lord from sea to sea? That is my prayer, my vision, my dream. Tolle Lege—take up and read! You will be glad you did.
9. Puritan writings show how to live in two worlds.
The Puritans said we should have heaven “in our eye” throughout our earthly pilgrimage. They took seriously the New Testament passages that say we must keep the “hope of glory” before our minds to guide and shape our lives here on earth. They viewed this life as “the gymnasium and dressing room where we are prepared for heaven,” teaching us that preparation for death is the first step in learning to truly live (Packer, Quest, 13). If you would live in this world in light of the better world to come, read the Puritans. Read Richard Baxter’s The Saint’s Everlasting Life and Richard Alleine’s Heaven Opened.
8. Puritan writings teach the importance and primacy of preaching.
To the Puritans, preaching was the high point of public worship. Preaching must be expository and didactic, they said; evangelistic and convicting, experiential and applicatory, powerful and “plain” in its presentation, ever respecting the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit.
If you would help evangelicals recover the pulpit and a high view of the ministry in our day, read Puritan sermons. Read William Perkins’s The Art of Prophesying and Richard Baxter’s The Reformed Pastor.
The Puritans were excellent covenant theologians. They lived covenant theology, covenanting themselves, their families, their churches, and their nations to God. Yet they did not fall into the error of hyper-covenantalism, in which the covenant of grace becomes a substitute for personal conversion. They promoted a comprehensive worldview, a total Christian philosophy, a holistic approach of bringing the whole gospel to bear on all of life, striving to bring every action in conformity with Christ, so that believers would mature and grow in faith. The Puritans wrote on practical subjects such as how to pray, how to develop genuine piety, how to conduct family worship, and how to raise children for Christ. In short, they taught how to develop a “rational, resolute, passionate piety [that is] conscientious without becoming obsessive, law-oriented without lapsing into legalism, and expressive of Christian liberty without any shameful lurches into license” (ibid., xii).
If you would grow in practical Christianity and vital piety, read the compilation of The Puritans on Prayer, Richard Steele’s The Character of an Upright Man, George Hamond’s Case for Family Worship, Cotton Mather’s Help for Distressed Parents, and Arthur Hildersham’s Dealing with Sin in Our Children.
6. Puritan writings explain true spirituality.
The Puritans stress the spirituality of the law, spiritual warfare against indwelling sin, the childlike fear of God, the wonder of grace, the art of meditation, the dreadfulness of hell, and the glories of heaven. If you want to live deep as a Christian, read Oliver Heywood’s Heart Treasure. Read the Puritans devotionally, and then pray to be like them. Ask questions such as: Am I, like the Puritans, thirsting to glorify the Triune God? Am I motivated by biblical truth and biblical fire? Do I share their view of the vital necessity of conversion and of being clothed with the righteousness of Christ? Do I follow them as far as they followed Christ?
5. Puritan writings show you how to handle trials.
Puritanism grew out of a great struggle between the truth of God’s Word and its enemies. Reformed Christianity was under attack in Great Britain, much like Reformed Christianity is under attack today. The Puritans were good soldiers in the conflict, enduring great hardships and suffering much. Their lives and their writings stand ready to arm us for our battles, and to encourage us in our suffering. The Puritans teach us how we need affliction to humble us (Deut. 8:2), to teach us what sin is (Zeph. 1:12), and how that brings us to God (Hos. 5:15). As Robert Leighton wrote, “Affliction is the diamond dust that heaven polishes its jewels with.” The Puritans show us how God’s rod of affliction is His means to write Christ’s image more fully upon us, so that we may be partakers of His righteousness and holiness (Heb. 12:10–11).
If you would learn how to handle your trials in a truly Christ-exalting way, read Thomas Boston’s The Crook in the Lot: The Sovereignty and Wisdom of God Displayed in the Afflictions of Men.
The Puritans loved Christ and exalted in His beauty. Samuel Rutherford wrote: “Put the beauty of ten thousand worlds of paradises, like the Garden of Eden in one; put all trees, all flowers, all smells, all colors, all tastes, all joys, all loveliness, all sweetness in one. O what a fair and excellent thing would that be? And yet it would be less to that fair and dearest well-beloved Christ than one drop of rain to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and foundations of ten thousand earths.”
If you would know Christ better and love Him more fully, immerse yourself in Puritan literature. Read Robert Asty’s Rejoicing in the Lord Jesus.
First, they address your mind. In keeping with the Reformed tradition, the Puritans refused to set mind and heart against each other, but viewed the mind as the palace of faith. “In conversion, reason is elevated,” John Preston wrote.
The Puritans understood that a mindless Christianity fosters a spineless Christianity. An anti-intellectual gospel quickly becomes an empty, formless gospel that never gets beyond “felt needs,” which is something that is happening in many churches today. Puritan literature is a great help for understanding the vital connection between what we believe with our minds and how that affects the way we live. Jonathan Edwards’s Justification by Faith Alone and William Lyford’s The Instructed Christian are particularly helpful for this.
Second, Puritan writings confront your conscience. The Puritans are masters at convicting us about the heinous nature of our sin against an infinite God. They excel at exposing specific sins, then asking questions to press home conviction of those sins. As one Puritan wrote, “We must go with the stick of divine truth and beat every bush behind which a sinner hides, until like Adam who hid, he stands before God in his nakedness.”
Devotional reading should be confrontational as well as comforting. We grow little if our consciences are not pricked daily and directed to Christ. Since we are prone to run for the bushes when we feel threatened, we need daily help to be brought before the living God “naked and opened unto the eyes of with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:12). In this, the Puritans excel. If you truly want to learn what sin is and experience how sin is worse than suffering, read Jeremiah Burroughs’s The Evil of Evils and Thomas Shepard’s The Sincere Convert and the Sound Believer.
Third, the Puritan writers engage your heart. They excel in feeding the mind with solid biblical substance and they move the heart with affectionate warmth. They write out of love for God’s Word, love for the glory of God, and love for the soul of readers.
For books that beautifully balance objective truth and subjective experience in Christianity; books that combine, as J.I. Packer puts it, “clear-headed passion and warm-hearted compassion” (Ryken, Worldly Saints, x); books that inform your mind, confront your conscience, and engage your heart, read the Puritans. Read Vincent Alsop’s Practical Godliness.
Let me offer you nine reasons why it will help you spiritually to read Puritan literature still today:
1. Puritan writings help shape life by Scripture. The Puritans loved, lived, and breathed Holy Scripture. They relished the power of the Spirit that accompanied the Word. Their books are all Word-centered; more than 90 percent of their writings are repackaged sermons that are rich with scriptural exposition. The Puritan writers truly believed in the sufficiency of Scripture for life and godliness.
If you read the Puritans regularly, their Bible-centeredness will become contagious. These writings will show you how to yield wholehearted allegiance to the Bible’s message. Like the Puritans, you will become a believer of the living Book, echoing the truth of John Flavel, who said, “The Scriptures teach us the best way of living, the noblest way of suffering, and the most comfortable way of dying.” Do you want to read books that put you into the Scriptures and keep you there, shaping your life by sola Scriptura? Read the Puritans. Read the.Soli Deo Gloria Puritan Pulpit Series. As you read, enhance your understanding by looking up and studying all the referenced Scriptures.
Just who were the Puritan writers? They were not only the two thousand ministers who were ejected from the Church of England by the Act of Uniformity in 1662, but also those ministers in England and North America, from the sixteenth century through the early eighteenth century, who worked to reform and purify the church and to lead people toward godly living consistent with the Reformed doctrines of grace.
Puritanism grew out of three needs: (1) the need for biblical preaching and the teaching of sound Reformed doctrine; (2) the need for biblical, personal piety that stressed the work of the Holy Spirit in the faith and life of the believer; and (3) the need to restore biblical simplicity in liturgy, vestments, and church government, so that a well-ordered church life would promote the worship of the triune God as prescribed in His Word (The Genius of Puritanism, 11ff.).
Doctrinally, Puritanism was a kind of vigorous Calvinism; experientially, it was warm and contagious; evangelistically, it was aggressive, yet tender; ecclesiastically, it was theocentric and worshipful; politically, it aimed to be scriptural, balanced, and bound by conscience before God in the relationships of king, Parliament, and subjects; culturally, it had lasting impact throughout succeeding generations and centuries until today (Durston and Eales, eds., The Culture of English Puritanism, 1560-1700).