Thursday, January 17, 2008
2008 Soul Health Prescription: Take Twelve Puritans and Pray for Me in the Morning
Why not start out 2008 with a challenge more beneficial and spiritually uplifting than any resolution? Timmy Brister has issued a book-a-month plan for reading 12 Puritan classics during this year (http://timmybrister.com/2008/01/07/join-the-2008-puritan-reading-challenge/). Reformation Heritage Books, a well known seller of Reformation and Puritan classics has obliged by packaging the dozen Banner of Truth books for a substantial 36%discount. http://www.heritagebooks.org/bookstore/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=8016&osCsid=hk0ttecnf9ask3vs20pfce1oe0.
If you have never tried reading Sibbes, Flavel, Watson, Bunyan, Burroughs, or Baxter, what better time than now? Mr. Brister describes the reasons for this project quite simply:
First, the Puritans had a relentless pursuit of God. In their writings you will find believers who knew their God deeply through a rich God-centeredness that affected every area of their lives. We are living in a day where it is hard to find folks who know their God well.
Second, the Puritans were physicians of souls. These men studied themselves and had a real, experimental knowledge of Christianity. Nowhere will you find more “uses” and applications for your life than in their writings. Not only did they know God well, they knew the minds, hearts, and consciences of men well.
Third, the Puritans possessed genuine piety because they knew how to fight the fight of faith. These men took direct aim at indwelling sin and fought hard for their personal sanctification. Their writings are incredibly pastoral and at the same time intimately convicting.
Fourth, the Puritans were pacesetters in church history. They ran in such a way to win, and whether it is their study of Scripture, commitment to family worship, personal devotion to prayer, or caring for the souls in their community, these men ran and ran hard.
Fifthly, reading the Puritans will provide you a healthy perspective so as to prevent chronological snobbery. Let’s face it. It is tempting to read only what is novel, trendy, and popular. Yet it is worthwhile to read books 100 years or older to understand how Christians lived, face struggles, dealt with issues (doctrinal, ecclesiological, ethical, etc.), and experienced God. Frankly speaking, you will not find anything close to Owen, Watson, Brooks, and Baxter on the front shelves of your local bookstore.
Here is the schedule:
January- Sibbes, Bruised Reed
February- Flavel, Mystery of Providence
March -Watson, Godly Man's Picture
April -Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices
May -Bunyan, Come and Welcome
June -Owen, Mortification of Sin
July -Bridge, Lifting Up
August -Burroughs, Rare Jewel
September- Bolton, True Bounds
October -Guthrie, Christian's Great Interest
November -Baxter, Reformed Pastor
December -Alleine, Sure Guide
Both my wife, Jeanette, and I plan to augment our devotional reading this year with some of the most soul nourishing writing in the history of Christianity! Join us!