Puritanism, nonconformity, ‘justification by faith’ and the present day church (2009 Book Review)

Just stumbled upon the following review/blog post from 2009!

I haven't edited it, I've just reposted it as was written in 2009.

I have experienced an ever deepening and an ever increasing richness in my faith over the last week or so. I have been reading through John MacArthur’s daily bible, Calvin’s Institutes and a book by Martyn Lloyd Jones called From Puritanism to Nonconformity.

Martyn Lloyd jones covers the historical background leading up to the events in 1662 which led to almost 2,000 godly ministers being ejected from the church of England. As I read about the men of God of this era I am deeply challenged by their depth of faith and commitment to the Word of God.

Lloyd Jones lists five key reasons behind their motivation and willingness to suffer persecution for the stand which they took.

“1) They regarded Jesus Christ as the sole head of the church, and nobody else.

2) To them the word of God was supreme, and the sole judge in all matters in connection with the life of the church.

3) They put life and spirit and spirituality before institutions organizations and tradition.

4) They put conscience before comfort and all else; and freedom, and the right of private judgement, as being more important than any kind of suffering they might have to endure.

5) They lived consciously as under the eye of God, regarding life in this world as but a journey and a pilgrimage. Like Moses they kept their eyes fixed on “the recompense of the reward”.

I wonder how many churches and Christians could honestly say yes to all of these five principles today?

Justification by Faith

The protestant reformation was very much fuelled by Martin Luther’s rediscovery of justification by faith. Yet over the last week or so, many conversations I have had with several other Christians has revealed a shocking truth. Justification by faith is rarely preached, understood or believed in most evangelical/protestant churches. Most Ministers, it seems, are preaching a form of legalism similar to that which Paul was dealing with in the book of Galatians. How can I say this? Quite simply, three different believers have responded to the truth of justification by faith in the last week by saying more or less the same thing “why is this not being taught in our churches?”

I hope to blog some more about these issues drawing from resources which can teach these things far more effectively than I can. However, let me leave a quote by Martyn Lloyd Jones from the book previously mentioned. I think it is as true (if not more true) in 2009 as it was in 1962.

“There are many in all sections of the Christian church today who are saying loudly that the protestant reformation was a disaster. Do we join them and go back to Rome, or do we join the men of 1662 and at all costs go back to the New Testament and the pattern found there of a gospel church.”