Wednesday 7 July 2010

Helpful Truth in Past Places

There has been a resurgence of interest in the Puritan writings in recent years.  Banner of Truth were at the forefront of reprinting Puritan writings when they began back in the 1950's, but it seems that even in the last 5 years or so there has been an even greater flood of publications that are edited versions of the Puritans.  One such book that I have recently been reading is called Helpful Truth in Past Places.  It is subtitled 'the Puritan Practice of Biblical Counseling' and whatever your bias for or against Biblical Counselling (a controversial issue in some quarters!) you cannot deny that many of the Puritan writers have much practical advice that is solidly biblical and whose principles can certainly be applied to contemporary issues.  The aim of Mark Deckard the author of this book is to take the reader through some of these Puritan writings, to draw out some of the principles and to make the applications relevant. 
'Why is this happening to me?' is answered through John Flavel's The Mystery of Providence, the anxious and dissatisfied Christian is encouraged through The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs and those who have lost all joy are comforted with A Lifting Up for the Downcast by William Bridge.  Writings by Thomas Brooks, Jonathan Edwards, John Bunyan and John Owen are also examined.  I haven't finished the book yet, but so far I have found it useful for an overview of some of these older writings and thought provoking in its applications.
Helpful Truth in Past Places by Mark Deckard, Christian Focus Publications, £11.99

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