Here is an account and testimony given by a fellow, from the 17th century, who had been living under the legalistic constraints that Federal-Westminster Calvinism had burdened him with (his account represents the type of sentiment felt by many in Puritan England who actually internalized and understood the implications of the ‘Calvinism’ they were living under). It wasn’t until this ‘brother’ was exposed to the ‘Free Grace of Christ’ through the preaching and teaching of Richard Sibbes that he finally understood what it meant to be a ‘slave set free’:

I was for three years together wounded for sins, and under a sense of my corruptions, which were many; and I followed sermons, pursuing the means, and was constant in duties and doing: looking for Heaven that way. And then I was so precise for outward formalities, that I censured all to be reprobates, that wore their hair anything long, and not short above the ears; or that wore great ruffs, and gorgets, or fashions, and follies. But yet I was distracted in my mind, wounded in conscience, and wept often and bitterly, and prayed earnestly, but yet had no comfort, till I heard that sweet saint . . . Doctor Sibbs, by whose means and ministry I was brought to peace and joy in my spirit. His sweet soul-melting Gospel-sermons won my heart and refreshed me much, for by him I saw and had much of God and was confident in Christ, and could overlook the world . . . My heart held firm and resolved and my desires all heaven-ward. (Ron Frost. Kelly Kapic and Randall Gleason, eds., “The Devoted Life: An Invitation to the Puritan Classics,” Frost is quoting from: John Rogers, Ohel or Bethshemesh, A Tabernacle for the Sun (London, n.p., 1653)

I just wanted to share this to illustrate what the “weight” of following through on the implications of “Classic Calvinism” actually looks like. And then see what it looks like for that burden to be lifted off through an Evangelical Calvinist Gospel.

Advertisements