Re-Reading a Couple of Favorites

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bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I've decided to re-read these two:

The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors: Addresses Delivered to the Puritan and Westminster Conferences, 1959-1978 by D. M. Lloyd-Jones (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1987)

A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life by J. I. Packer (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1990)

Both books, coincidentally, consist of 19 articles, almost all of which had been previously published in various places, and now collected in more permanent form in each volume.

Both books are wonderfully interesting. I remember reading them shortly after they were originally published.

Highly recommended.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
I thought that J. I. Packer's was the better of the two books, though I have not read either of them in 18 years.
Yes and no. On areas like John Owen on atonement etc, Packer is wonderful. He does have some outstanding lectures. But on worship he does not understand Puritan worship. I think there are aspects of Packer's Anglicanism that blind him to weighty issues in Puritan theology. In these weighty issues Dr Lloyd-Jones is better.

Lloyd-Jones book on the Puritans were lectures given at the Westminster and Puritan Conference. The original Puritan conference was stopped because Packer was promoting views that were anti Puritan (his later involvement in "Evangelicals and Catholics together" was an example of this). Part of Packers book "A Quest for Godliness" were these original lectures from the Puritan Conference. The rest of Packers work was based on lectures he gave at other places.

Thus in the best sense, Packer's book and Dr Lloyd-Jones book nicely compliment each other.

In 1962, Dr Lloyd-Jones gave a lecture at the Evangelical Library in London "1662-1962: From Puritanism to Non-conformity". This lecture nicely compliments his Puritan book. I have asked Banner of Truth to include this lecture next time they do a print one of the Lloyd-Jones Puritan book. They agreed to do this.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I am going to :stirpot: further by arguing that J. I. Packer understood the "Puritans" better than MLJ because 1) he had done significant scholarly work on Richard Baxter, and, 2) he had a better understanding of their ecclesiology than MLJ who was more of a Separatist and someone opposed to the idea of a national church.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Yes and no. On areas like John Owen on atonement etc, Packer is wonderful. He does have some outstanding lectures. But on worship he does not understand Puritan worship. I think there are aspects of Packer's Anglicanism that blind him to weighty issues in Puritan theology. In these weighty issues Dr Lloyd-Jones is better.

Lloyd-Jones book on the Puritans were lectures given at the Westminster and Puritan Conference. The original Puritan conference was stopped because Packer was promoting views that were anti Puritan (his later involvement in "Evangelicals and Catholics together" was an example of this). Part of Packers book "A Quest for Godliness" were these original lectures from the Puritan Conference. The rest of Packers work was based on lectures he gave at other places.

Thus in the best sense, Packer's book and Dr Lloyd-Jones book nicely compliment each other.

In 1962, Dr Lloyd-Jones gave a lecture at the Evangelical Library in London "1662-1962: From Puritanism to Non-conformity". This lecture nicely compliments his Puritan book. I have asked Banner of Truth to include this lecture next time they do a print one of the Lloyd-Jones Puritan book. They agreed to do this.

Lloyd-Jones's other book of fugitive essays, Knowing the Times, is also excellent.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
I am going to :stirpot: further
I am also Irish :p

You said:
J. I. Packer understood the "Puritans" better than MLJ because 1) he had done significant scholarly work on Richard Baxter
In another place you said:
Which is why mono-covenantalism or anything that denies a prelapsarian covenant of works must be avoided like the plague. We have to get this issue right or else we will lose the gospel.
In the fullest sense I cannot reconcile these statements. Ie, how does Baxterism 'solve' the problem of mono-coventalism?
2) he had a better understanding of their ecclesiology than MLJ who was more of a Separatist and someone opposed to the idea of a national church.
Ecclesiology was not the biggest issue with MLJ. It was more the issue of a doctrinally solid church. He thought the WCF and the theology of the Covenanters gave a solid basis for the church. To the extent a church moved away from the WCF, to that extent they had moved away from Puritanism.

As I conclude this I see another heading of yours "An orthodox church should not have heretics in her communion" (James MacGregor)
Dr Lloyd-Jones would say "Precisely"

I submit to you MLJ understood this point better than Packer. He was Puritan. Packer was Anglican :p



 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
In the fullest sense I cannot reconcile these statements. Ie, how does Baxterism 'solve' the problem of mono-coventalism?

The two statements are entirely unrelated. I was merely pointing out that J. I. Packer had done serious scholarly research into someone identified as a Puritan, which required him not only to understand the subject but also the subject in its wider context.

As I conclude this I see another heading of yours "An orthodox church should not have heretics in her communion" (James MacGregor)
Dr Lloyd-Jones would say "Precisely"

Yes and no. MLJ would have seen it as a reason for separation, whereas the so-called Puritans would have seen it as a reason for reformation, not separation.

I submit to you MLJ understood this point better than Packer. He was Puritan. Packer was Anglican :p

The so-called Puritans were sons of the Church of England. MLJ disagreed with the whole notion of an established church.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
Come on, @Stephen L Smith, respond to me. :stirpot:
Daniel, I am very sorry I will bow out. A family dispute has occurred re some members of the family not obeying COVID self isolation laws in my country. People are taking sides and tempers are arising. I have to deal with it. Please pray for me.

A relevant discussion would be MLJ definition of Puritanism, and also MLJ assessment of the events of 1662 as highly relevant to the discussion. That is where I would have taken the discussion, but others more capable can take over.

Please pray for me.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Daniel, I am very sorry I will bow out. A family dispute has occurred re some members of the family not obeying COVID self isolation laws in my country. People are taking sides and tempers are arising. I have to deal with it. Please pray for me.

A relevant discussion would be MLJ definition of Puritanism, and also MLJ assessment of the events of 1662 as highly relevant to the discussion. That is where I would have taken the discussion, but others more capable can take over.

Please pray for me.

Sorry to hear of your troubles, brother; I will add you to my prayer list. I was only jesting, of course, but you have much bigger things on your plate at the minute.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I am going to :stirpot: further by arguing that J. I. Packer understood the "Puritans" better than MLJ because 1) he had done significant scholarly work on Richard Baxter, and, 2) he had a better understanding of their ecclesiology than MLJ who was more of a Separatist and someone opposed to the idea of a national church.

There is also MLJ's statement about "Calvinism without Methodism" which many Reformed people would reject, I'm sure.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
There is also MLJ's statement about "Calvinism without Methodism" which many Reformed people would reject, I'm sure.

I think that I have a vague idea what you are referring to, Chris, but could you elaborate further? Was it something along the lines that Calvinism needs Methodism to save it from dead orthodoxy?
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I think that I have a vague idea what you are referring to, Chris, but could you elaborate further? Was it something along the lines that Calvinism needs Methodism to save it from dead orthodoxy?

Basically. And if memory serves, he believed that the WTS of his day tended to exemplify this problem. Iain Murray goes into this briefly in Vol 2 of his biography of MLJ.

MLJ goes into more detail, and the message isn't long, so it can be read in its entirety in a few minutes. But here is the part that I was thinking of:

Secondly, I argue that Calvinistic Methodism is also true Calvinism. I want to show that a Calvinism that is not Methodist as well is one which we need to examine carefully. Calvinism without Methodism has certain dangerous tendencies, which we must recognize. If we do not we are in a very dangerous position.


Calvinism without Methodism tends to lead to intellectualism and scholasticism - that is its peculiar temptation. The result is that men talk more about 'the Truth we hold', rather than about 'the Truth that holds us'.


Another danger which Calvinism without Methodism is prone to is that Confessions of Faith, instead of being subordinate standards, tend to be the primary and supreme standard, replacing the Bible in that position. I am only talking about tendencies, and not saying that this happens to all Calvinists. Officially we say that these Confessions are the 'subordinate standard'; the Bible comes first, then these. But there is always a danger that the Calvinist may reverse the order.


A question arises here - it has already been suggested in one of our discussions. It is the whole question of the rightness of preaching from and through the Catechism rather than preaching through and from the Bible itself. I am simply putting it up as a question which we need to examine. The Calvinistic Methodists did not preach through the Catechism. Their whole tendency was to say - as was the tendency of Charles Haddon Spurgeon - that you should not even preach a series of sermons, but that each sermon should be 'given' to you, that you look to God for your sermons. I mean by that, that you look to God for your text and the message you are to deliver. That was the emphasis of Calvinistic Methodism. So I put it in this general way by saying that there is at any rate a danger that we may change the position of the Confession, and it ceases to be the 'subordinate' standard.


A third danger always, as a tendency in Calvinism unless it is corrected by Methodism, is to discourage prayer. This is a very serious matter. The Calvinistic Methodists were great men of prayer, and their churches were characterized by prayer-meetings - warm, moving prayer-meetings, which would sometimes last for hours and where great experiences would come to people. I am suggesting and I could produce facts- that Calvinism without Methodism tends to discourage prayer. I have known Calvinistic churches in which they have no prayer-meeting at all, and in which prayer is really discouraged.


Lastly, Calvinism without Methodism tends to produce a joyless, hard, not to say a harsh and cold type of religion. I am saying that this is a tendency. All this results from intellectualism of course; and the more the intellect dominates the less joy there will be, and a hardness, and a coldness, and a harshness, and a bigotry tend to come in. I had almost said that Calvinism without Methodism tends to produce 'dead Calvinism'. But I am not saying that. Why not? Because I regard the term 'dead Calvinism' as a contradiction in terms. I say that a dead Calvinism is impossible, and that if your Calvinism appears to be dead it is not Calvinism, it is a philosophy. It is a philosophy using Calvinistic terms, it is an intellectualism, and it is not real Calvinism.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
Just a point of clarification ... I'm guessing there may be some in the USA, and perhaps the world, having not read MLJ's biography who may confuse the Calvinistic Methodist Church with the Wesleyan Methodists, or with the current Methodist church. Quite a different animal.

MLJ is talking about the church he was raised in, and if I'm not badly mistaken referred to himself as a Calvinistic Methodist throughout his life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvinistic_Methodists

Having read in the biography that MLJ's 'favorite' book was The Calvinistic Father's of Wales, I bought the set from BOT, and it is an amazing read. Howell Harris and Daniel Rowlands were beaten, pelted with stones, and even shot at in their itinerant preaching ministry. Highly recommended. https://banneroftruth.org/us/store/history-biography/the-calvinistic-methodist-fathers-of-wales-3/
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Yes, by Methodist MLJ did not mean Arminian, Wesleyan Methodism. In the above quote that Chris shared, it appears that MLJ was concerned about forms of Calvinism that placed little emphasis on vital religion. He was not calling for Calvinism to be joined with Arminianism.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Just a point of clarification ... I'm guessing there may be some in the USA, and perhaps the world, having not read MLJ's biography who may confuse the Calvinistic Methodist Church with the Wesleyan Methodists, or with the current Methodist church. Quite a different animal.

MLJ is talking about the church he was raised in, and if I'm not badly mistaken referred to himself as a Calvinistic Methodist throughout his life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvinistic_Methodists

Having read in the biography that MLJ's 'favorite' book was The Calvinistic Father's of Wales, I bought the set from BOT, and it is an amazing read. Howell Harris and Daniel Rowlands were beaten, pelted with stones, and even shot at in their itinerant preaching ministry. Highly recommended. https://banneroftruth.org/us/store/history-biography/the-calvinistic-methodist-fathers-of-wales-3/

I have that set. I need to dig into it one of these days.
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
Yes, by Methodist MLJ did not mean Arminian, Wesleyan Methodism. In the above quote that Chris shared, it appears that MLJ was concerned about forms of Calvinism that placed little emphasis on vital religion. He was not calling for Calvinism to be joined with Arminianism.

While I understand that, I'm not sure what a precise definition of Methodism would be, can anyone help with that? Clearly it is not synonymous with Wesleyanism, but what are the defining features?

All the dangers MLJ pointed out as quoted above are in fact dangers we should be very wary of. I'm just not sure that Methodism is the antidote to them, or that they are prone to arise in the absence of Methodism in particular.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
While I understand that, I'm not sure what a precise definition of Methodism would be, can anyone help with that? Clearly it is not synonymous with Wesleyanism, but what are the defining features?

All the dangers MLJ pointed out as quoted above are in fact dangers we should be very wary of. I'm just not sure that Methodism is the antidote to them, or that they are prone to arise in the absence of Methodism in particular.

I think, in context, MLJ was using Methodism was experimental and devotional Christianity accompanied with evangelistic zeal. Calling it "Methodism" was perhaps less than prudent, but I think that I see his general point.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Just a point of clarification ... I'm guessing there may be some in the USA, and perhaps the world, having not read MLJ's biography who may confuse the Calvinistic Methodist Church with the Wesleyan Methodists, or with the current Methodist church. Quite a different animal.

MLJ is talking about the church he was raised in, and if I'm not badly mistaken referred to himself as a Calvinistic Methodist throughout his life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvinistic_Methodists

Having read in the biography that MLJ's 'favorite' book was The Calvinistic Father's of Wales, I bought the set from BOT, and it is an amazing read. Howell Harris and Daniel Rowlands were beaten, pelted with stones, and even shot at in their itinerant preaching ministry. Highly recommended. https://banneroftruth.org/us/store/history-biography/the-calvinistic-methodist-fathers-of-wales-3/

As far as I know, Calvinistic Methodism as a church or denomination does not exist in the USA, where Methodism is synonymous with Wesleyanism. So you are quite right to make that clarification, as many would consider Calvinistic Methodist to be a contradiction in terms whereas MLJ was a minister in the Calvinistic Methodist Church in Wales.

A lot of Whitefield's American converts eventually became Baptists, or otherwise would have been Anglican, Congregationalist, or Presbyterian.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
While I understand that, I'm not sure what a precise definition of Methodism would be, can anyone help with that? Clearly it is not synonymous with Wesleyanism, but what are the defining features?

All the dangers MLJ pointed out as quoted above are in fact dangers we should be very wary of. I'm just not sure that Methodism is the antidote to them, or that they are prone to arise in the absence of Methodism in particular.

In MLJ's context and background of Welsh Calvinistic Methodism, it isn't confusing, but to most people today it is.

In addition to what Daniel noted, it is also in specific reference to the ministry of George Whitefield, who was a Calvinistic Methodist, as opposed to the Arminian Methodism of John Wesley. Whitefield did not found any church or denomination, but as I understand it, the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church was founded by followers of his.

At its most basic and in its historical context, I think it could be said that Methodism refers to the message "You must be born again" delivered to both baptized people and heathens, and also includes preaching at large outside of the churches. Evangelicalism in its modern form springs from this. Some professed Reformed people, such as Federal Visionists or D.G. Hart, (and admirers of John Williamson Nevin in general) would consider it to be a form of revivalism or pietism regardless of whether or not the soteriology is Calvinistic. It can degenerate into a denigration of the ordinary means of grace and an overemphasis on dramatic conversions. On the other hand, I think MLJ would say that Calvinism without Methodism often degenerates into "dead orthodoxy" and baptismal regeneration practically speaking, even if that is technically not what is taught. I remember reading that he said that it appeared that the mentality of the OPC that he encountered in the late 60s was that the people "just need to be taught" and that an emphasis on experiential preaching was lacking.

EDIT: I'm not saying that Federal Visionists are Reformed in a technical or confessional sense. But they and others claim to be Reformed (with some being in Reformed churches or emanating from there) and are reacting against "baptistic" elements in Reformed churches, which more accurately is "Methodism" or "pietism."
 
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