Assurance- Then and Now

Just finished Joel Beeke’s The Quest for Full Assurance. It’s a great study in Puritan theology and it is an excellent place to begin looking at the Puritans. Beeke has a great feel for what the Puritans were all about. Also there is an excellent bibliography for anyone interested in Puritanism of Puritan studies. The book at once shows the great strengths of Puritan theology- their serious-minded theological enquiry- and their weakness- an attention to detail that at times leads them into exegetical problems.

The book ends with a section on the contemporary relevance of the Puritan debate on assurance. Beeke suggests that our lack of interest in assurance today is not a sign of spiritual health but of spiritual lethargy. The Puritans are often accused of keeping people in a state of permanent suspense over assurance. But Beeke points out that what has replaced it today has been something glib and presumptuous. That where people are concerned about assurance is a very good thing, as it shows a concern for spiritual well-being and the spiritual vitality that flows from and assured faith.

It seems to me that Beeke has raised important issues about the current spiritual climate.

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