Wooing to Christ

Puritan Richard Sibbes on the end and aim of gospel preaching (Works, 2:232):

When the beauty of Christ is unfolded, it draws the wounded, hungry soul unto him. The preaching of the word doth that that shows the sweet love of God in Jesus Christ. This makes the ordinance of the ministry so sweet. The ordinance of the ministry is that that distributes the portion to every child of God. The ministers of God are stewards, as it were, to distribute comfort and reproof to whom it belongs. Now where there is a convenient distributing of the portion to every one, that makes the ordinance of God so beautiful, when the waters of life are derived from the spring of the Scripture to every particular man’s use.

The word, in the application of it, is a sweet thing. For good things, the nearer they are brought home, the more delightful they are. This ordinance of preaching, it lays open the ‘riches of Christ.’ There may be a great deal of riches wrapped up in a treasury, but this opens the treasury, as St Paul says, ‘ to lay open the unsearchable riches of Christ’ (Eph 3:8). The ministry of the word is ordained to lay open the treasure to God’s people, that they may know what riches they have by Christ; and the end of the ministry is to win the people’s love to Christ.

Therefore they come between the bride and bridegroom to procure the marriage; therefore they lay open that that procures the contract here, and the consummation in heaven; so to woo for Christ, and ‘beseech them to be reconciled to God’ (2 Cor 5:20). This is the end of the ministry. This makes the church of God so beautiful, that it hath this ordinance in it [preaching], to bring God, and Christ, and his people together: to contract them together. There be rich mines in the Scripture, but they must be digged up. The ministry serves to dig up those mines.

Make Use of Any Human Author

Puritan Richard Sibbes, in a short book titled A Christian’s Portion [Works, 4:2–38], fleshed out 1 Corinthians 3:21–23. At one place he makes the point that the Church possesses all truth, even that of non-Christian authors. In one passage Sibbes writes [page 18]:

Again, ‘all things are ours’ [1 Cor. 3:21]. Therefore truth, wheresoever we find it, is ours. We may read [a] heathen author. Truth comes from God, wheresoever we find it, and it is ours, it is the church’s. We may take it from them as a just possession. Those truths that they have, there may be good use of those truths; but we must not use them for ostentation. For that is to do as the Israelites; when they had gotten treasure out of Egypt, they made a calf, an idol of them. So we must not make an idol of these things. But truth, wheresoever we find it, is the church’s. Therefore with a good conscience we may make use of any human author. I thought good to touch this, because some make a scruple of it.

Yes, some do even to this day.

History and Theology of the Puritans

tsslogo.jpgReformed Theological Seminary has blessed the wider Church by offering many class lectures for online download. These are available trough the iTunes store and come through your computer (for free!). Recently RTS may have added their best resource yet – History and Theology of the Puritans, a 16-part series delivered by Dr. J.I. Packer. [Packer penned the popular, A Quest For Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Crossway: 1994).]

In over 11 hours of lectures, Packer covers …

1. The Puritan Identity – pt. 1 (45:14)
2. The Puritan Identity – pt. 2 (33:10)
3. Puritan Theological Concerns – pt. 1 (45:54)
4. Puritan Theological Concerns – pt. 2 (45:03)
5. The Bible in Puritan Theology – pt. 1 (46:53)
6. The Bible in Puritan Theology – pt. 2 (46:01)
7. Salvation by Grace – pt. 1 (46:41)
8. Salvation by Grace – pt. 2 (46:37)
9. Faith and Assurance – pt. 1 (46:32)
10. Faith and Assurance – pt. 2 (46:16)
11. The Good Fight – pt. 1 (46:22)
12. The Good Fight – pt. 2 (31:45)
13. Conscience (44:06)
14. Reformed Monasticism (43:01)
15. The Christian Minister (44:22)
16. Worship, Fellowship, and Discipline in the Church (27:40)

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I hear you asking, So how do I enjoy this yummy goodness?

1. First, install the program iTunes on your computer by clicking here and following directions. Check first because there is a chance iTunes is already installed on your computer.

2. Once you have iTunes loaded you need to go to this website and click on the button under “Click to launch RTS on iTunes.”

3. You should now be in the RTS page in the iTunes store. Under “RTS Virtual Courses” click on “Church History.”

4. Then click on “History and Theology of the Puritans.” This will take you to the page for downloads.

5. To download just click the button “Get tracks” on the top (to get them all at once) or the button “Get” on the right side of each track (for individual downloads). The audio files will be downloaded into iTunes on your computer and from here you can listen to the mp3s, burn them to audio CDs, etc.

6. And be sure to download a PDF copy of the course syllabus.

And that, my Puritan friends, is how you get the yummy goodness of Packer on the Puritans into your computer and into your head!

Happy listening. And thank you to the gracious folks at RTS!