Inward apathy toward the Lord masked by outward obedience is a real and constant threat in any church. Keenly aware of this danger, the Puritans zealously proclaimed the importance of heart-felt affection for the Lord. They sought to nourish genuine faith and piety especially through passionate preaching, Bible studies, and conscientious Sabbath observance. Though frequently portrayed as joyless legalists, we will see in this lesson that in reality, Puritans were more frequently characterized by their pursuit of joyful, sincere devotion to the Lord.
During the mid-seventeenth century, England was embroiled in a civil war between the king’s forces and those of parliament. The aftermath of this conflict saw political change and much theological reflection. It was during this time period that the Westminster Assembly met to reform doctrine, church government, and worship. In this lecture, you will study this tumultuous time period, focusing on the connection between the Puritans and politics. You will also come to a better understanding of the climate within which the Westminster Assembly took place.
Puritan Views of Assurance and Conversion
Assurance of one’s salvation is an important part of Protestant faith, and one of the many marks that sharply distinguishes it from Roman Catholicism. In the seventeenth century, however, many within Puritan circles struggled with this issue. In this lecture, Dr. Godfrey will explain this struggle. He will also spend considerable time discussing the Puritan understanding of conversion, and will show that the very idea of conversion has changed dramatically over the past few centuries.
Puritan Worship and Eschatology
Many Reformed churches today trace their roots back to the Puritans, and have even adopted as their standards the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. However, there are two areas where most of those churches differ from their Puritan predecessors: worship and eschatology. In this lecture, Dr. Godfrey explains why the Puritans worshipped the way did, and how they understood the book of Revelation.
The Puritans in New England
When the Puritans came to the New World, they had no intention of establishing a new religion. What they did want to do, however, was bring their old world religious ideal into reality. Despite the inherent difficulties in their new environment, the Puritans found some measure of early success. But as time passed, internal challenges added to the external. In this lecture, Dr. Godfrey will summarize the religious foundations of the American colonies, looking especially at the Puritans’ desire to maintain a pure church.