The Pastor’s Life: Practical Wisdom from the Puritans

The Pastor’s Life: Practical Wisdom from the Puritans
John Ling John was born and initially schooled in Cambridge, but most of his secondary education was at Reading School. From 1966 to 1976, he studied at Leeds, Pennsylvania State and Nottingham Universities.
22 July, 2020 1 min read

This book highlights ‘some of the many lessons that today’s pastors can learn from the Puritans’ (p.151). As such it is aimed at pastors, but the lessons are really for anyone who is a Christian leader. The opening chapter provides a historical and theological introduction to the Puritan movement ‘that stretched across the Atlantic and spanned over two centuries’ (p.151).

Each subsequent chapter focuses on one, or sometimes two, of the Puritans. A one-page summary mentions the person, his major works, and his mentor. I found this quite helpful. A brief biography introduces the person in focus and then follows their theology or lessons that may be learnt from their writings or lives.

Each chapter emphasises a particular aspect of a pastor’s life, as the title of the book would suggest. So the pastor can learn something about doctrine from John Owen and prayer from Matthew Henry, for example; William Perkins on preaching has been most helpful.

The book is a very simple introduction into the life of some well-known Puritans, although I also encountered some names that I have not heard before, like Lewis Bayly and his life of piety. This was indeed a pleasant discovery.

The benefit of the book however, is in what these men, though dead, still say to us. It is an easy book to read. The chapters are well organised and the lessons that are to be learnt should be sought after and applied.

For anyone struggling to find a way into the Puritans, this book may just be the place to start. Not only that, it might be used as a guide as to which books to go to first.

John R. Ling

Aberystwyth

John was born and initially schooled in Cambridge, but most of his secondary education was at Reading School. From 1966 to 1976, he studied at Leeds, Pennsylvania State and Nottingham Universities.
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