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The Wholesome Doctrine of the Gospel: Faith and love in the writings of William Perkins

By William Perkins
June 2021 | Review by Graham Hilton
  • Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books
  • ISBN: 978-1-60178-681-4
  • Pages: 140
  • Price: 7.99
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Book Review

William Perkins is the most influential Puritan writer you’ve never heard of! This book serves as an introduction to his works by opening up his view of the doctrine of the gospel.

Perkins does this by pointing to things to be believed (i.e. faith) in 21 chapters, and things to be practised (i.e. love) in 11. The chapters are typically two to three pages long. Together they illustrate the relationship between faith and love, and could be viewed as a compact systematic theology with practical applications. The introduction is a 30-page profile of Perkins, covering his ministry, theology, piety, and legacy. Finally, there is a chapter on how to approach reading the ten volumes of his works.

As one expects, some of his application deals forcefully with the false teaching of Catholicism and how that differs from saving faith and Christian living. Anyone who embraces the doctrines of grace will say ‘amen’ to his writings, which are centred in biblical exposition.

This small book is perhaps most useful as a daily devotion – there’s plenty of meat on every page! A parallel read is the volume on Perkins from the accessible Bitesize Biography series, published by EP Books and written by Stephen Yuille and Joel Beeke. Together they serve the purpose of keeping William Perkins before us, and help us understand the great legacy we have in Puritan writing. Maybe the best approach is to buy both titles and then venture into his works. Let me know what you think!

Graham Hilton

Pewsey, Wiltshire

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