Joel Beeke On The Weakness Of The Puritans

Dr. Beeke loves the Puritans so much he named the Seminary he founded “Puritan Reformed Seminary.” He clearly is a man who believes he is a champion of all things Puritan. Yet, in this question and answer below we see how far Beeke is away from the core of the Puritan ethos and mindset. Beeke like so much of our “Conservative” churchmen today is infected with the modernist, “Enlightenment” post WW II Liberal consensus. This infection then shapes everything that a man believes even if all else he believes is perfectly orthodox. It is like running perfectly good sausage through a filter made of Carolina reaper peppers. No matter how good the sausage is, in and of itself, that Carolina reaper pepper is going to make the meat inedible.

“Q: Where do the Puritans speak least helpfully to the contemporary church?

A: Political Liberty and Equality. (1) The concepts of liberty and equality now dear to us in the Western world hadn’t yet matured during the Puritan era. (2) Civil powers had established the church for more than a thousand years. (3) Full liberty of conscience was untested, and the disestablishment of religion seemed foolhardy in the context of multiplying heresies and sects. (4) Sensitivity to racism and sexism simply didn’t exist in any developed form in the British and European mindset as it does today. (5) We’d argue, however, that the seeds of truth that would blossom and bear fruit in contemporary freedoms are found in Puritan theology.(6)

We need to read the Puritans realizing that, while the Reformation had transformed much of their thinking by the Scriptures, in some ways they were more like medieval Christians in their cultural viewpoint than modern Christians. (7) Yet even here they are helpful, since they enable us to step outside our modern cultural box.” (8)

(1a) Keep in mind that “Liberty and Equality” were two of the watchwords of the anti-Christ French Revolution. There may have been a reason why the Puritans were not interested in “Liberty and Equality” the way those have come to us in from the hand of modernism.

(1b) Political Liberty and Equality can never work in a multicultural reality. The only reason Political Liberty and Equality worked where it worked in the West is because where it worked you found people sharing a Christian world and life view. Where a Christian world and life view does not obtain Political Liberty and Equality only yields chaos as seen in the French Revolution where Political Liberty and Equality sought to guillotine all the Christians (Royalists) who did not believe in Liberty and Equality.

(2a) Political Liberty and Equality are dear to us in the Western World because we have reinterpreted our Christianity though the lens of the Liberal Enlightenment project. There is more of Robespierre than there is of Jesus Christ in Dr. Beeke’s post. All men are not created ontologically equal. Political Liberty for the Christ hater who works diligently to overthrow Christian expression in the public square is a violation of the 1st commandment.

(2b) A nation is destroyed when Political Equality is given to a third world illegal immigrant who knows nothing of culture, history, and religion of the Christian West. The pursuit of political equality has been the destruction of this once Christian nation as seen in giving the vote to women. Political Equality has made slaves of us all to the Federal Government.

(2c) Political Liberty has given the voice of the Muslim and other assorted Christ haters the same volume as the Christian who owns Christ as King over the nation. Thank God the Puritans avoided this claptrap.

(3) Civil Powers continue to establish the Church here in the US. The only difference is that the church the civil powers are establishing is the church of Humanism found in both public schools and all Churches who join Beeke praising Political Equality and Liberty. Political Equality and Liberty mean that King Jesus is not free to be the alone King.

(4a) Note here that Beeke praises the disestablishment of the Christian religion. The reason that this is noteworthy is that as it is impossible for a Government not to be beholden to some form of an established religion, what Beeke is telling us is that it was good when Christianity was disestablished in favor of some other non-Christian religion. Would Beeke really surrender the Established religion of Christianity during the Puritan era for the disestablishment of religion that is now characteristic of the West where Christianity is being overthrown root, twig, and branch?

(4b) So, we finally disestablish Christianity and what has eventually followed? What has eventually followed is multiplying heresies, sects and competing religion. Does Beeke really think that His avowed King Jesus is pleased with his support of that which undermines the authority of Christ?

(5a) Here Beeke, by appealing to the faults of the Puritans for not being sensitive to “racism” and “sexism,” is demonstrating that he is not a Puritan man but is a true blue modernist. “Racism” is a category popularized by the communist Trotsky in order to overthrow Christian culture that was resistant to Communist inroads. Sexism is a category that was inflated by the likes of Alexandra Kollontai, Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan, and other Feminists of their ilk. It is hard not to see Beeke preening for the despisers of Christianity, seeking to demonstrate how Modernist the nouveau riche Puritans like Beeke can be.

(6) No Puritan, should he be able to come back from the dead, would not absolutely excoriate Beeke’s “Christian” support for Political Liberty and Equality. The Puritans are absolutely opposed to Beeke’s position and so Beeke claims that “the seeds of Political Liberty and Equality” are in the Puritans. That is utter fantasy talk.

(7) Praise God the Puritans were more like medieval Christendom than they were like Christ hating Enlightenment modernist post-War consensus. At least by reading the medieval Puritans I can escape the current insanity in which I am now living both in the broader culture and the broader “conservative” “Evangelical” “Church.”

(8) This last sentence if hilarious. There is Beeke living fondly in our “superior” modernist Enlightenment culture and yet he says we can get outside our cultural box by reading the Puritans but obviously only so as to critique the Puritans for not embracing the Political Liberty and Equality doctrines that have destroyed Christendom.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

3 thoughts on “Joel Beeke On The Weakness Of The Puritans”

  1. A fantastic review! Sadly, most modern Christian have no knowledge of the so called “Enlightenment” nor its teachings. They have never read nor studied it and just see these false principles as interpreted by the traitors in the pulpit. Thank you for writing this!

  2. The French Revolution was mostly just IMPLICITLY anti-Christian (although the implications were so heavy that only stupid people could fail to see them). That is, only relatively few revolutionaries or revolution-supporters were EXPLICIT Christ-haters. Many even tried to pretend that Christ had been some sort of proto-Jacobin (as Thomas Jefferson also pretended):

    “When asked his name and age, Desmoulins responded with: “Benoît Camille Desmoulins, age of thirty-three – the age of Jesus, a critical age for patriots.”[28] ”

    But some nasty cases, like Marquis de Sade or proto-Communist Gracchus Babeuf, were more intellectually honest on what they were about:

    “Buonarroti believed that “the teaching of Jesus, if depicted as flowing out of the natural religion from which it does not differ, could become a support of a reform based on reason.” (55: I: p. 168) But Babeuf held a more narrow view: “I attack relentlessly the main idol, until now venerated and feared by our philosophers, who dared to attack only his retinue and surroundings. … Christ was neither a sans-culotte nor an honest Jacobin nor a wise man nor a moralist nor a philosopher nor a legislator.” (55: II: p. 398)”

    The conservative Christians of that time period were in any case not fooled, and they were passionately against the revolution, in a downright ecumenical manner – conservative RCs fought the revolution in Spain, conservative EOs fought the revolution in Russia and conservative Protestants fought the revolution in Germany:

    “Tsar Alexander of Russia, protested violently against the liberation of the Jews and encouraged the Orthodox Church in Moscow to protest aggressively. He called Napoleon the “Anti Christ and the enemy of God” because he liberated the Jews. Austria also protested. In Prussia, the Lutheran Church was extremely hostile towards Napoleon’s decision and reaction in Italy was also not favourable but not as aggressive.”

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