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Puritan Storm Rising!

By Jeff Ziegler
Published March 31, 2008

While evil is being codified at the highest levels of American government and carnal chaos erupts in our urban centers, the Church in America is undergoing a massive and historic paradigm shift, which despite her failings is positioning her as an agent for the inauguration of yet another great spiritual awakening along with the accompanying fruit of societal reformation.

This shift, which emphasizes a victorious ecclesiology and a biblically optimistic worldview, is nothing less than a renaissance of Puritanism, and is a common trend historically, especially in the embryonic stages of spiritual awakenings. Not only is the rise of Puritan thought a common “pre-awakening” occurrence, the great body of Puritan truths are essential to any biblical revival and reformation and thus should be welcomed and nurtured.

This sweeping Puritan resurgence is cutting a broad swath across the evangelical spectrum as a whole and its promotion is rapidly preparing the Church corporate in America as an agent for the most comprehensive societal reformation in this nation’s history. Indeed “neo-Puritanism” is having its greatest effect among those evangelicals who are involved in the revival prayer movement which has acted as something of a spiritual womb in incubating the first fruits in a “Golden Age” of strapping Christianity.

Of special note is the mounting momentum which Puritan thought is having among charismatic churches who have, in general, been intuitively covenantal in relationships and church polity and have had a subjective appreciation for the “Dominion Mandate.” This is a common thread in historic Puritan thought. Charismatics, who have had this unconscious and subjective appreciation for Puritanism, are now overcoming an inbred prejudice of American anti-intellectualism and are building in the objective theological moorings of Puritan thought. This will inevitably bring and unflagging and comprehensive worldview to their ranks an with it an historic Protestant orthodoxy which will shake the very foundations of the United States.

However, I must caution, this encouraging movement among evangelicals at large should not be viewed with a “Pollyanna” optimism. There exists, unfortunately, many entrenched strongholds of sin within the Church which must be vanquished in order to see genuine awakening. These fixed fortifications of iniquity will not fall easily, for sin has been theologically rationalized, codified and institutionalized by widespread antinomianism (or contempt for the moral law of God), pietistic monasticism (or fatalistic and private religion) and sentimental mysticism; with its inherently relativistic morality and emphasis on emotionalism as being superior to immutable biblical principle.

It is equally important to note that the existence of such evil should not cause us to have a “give up the ship” mentality. Our Sovereign Lord has ignited the engines of the Puritan juggernaut throughout history, often (from a human perspective) just in the nick of time. Thus we, the Lord’s elect knighted ones, cannot cower in hopelessness nor retreat to the bunkers of fatalism.

While each Puritan renaissance has its particular emphasis, there are elements which are common to each. The most common element is a distinctly reformed soteriology or theology of redemption. Historically, reformed soteriology is sometimes accepted wholly and at other times in degree depending on the depth and force of the particular Puritan resurgence in question.

A general explanation of such would entail an Augustinian-Calvinistic approach to the issues of salvation and sanctification. This could be defined in very simplistic terms by placing the majesty and supremacy of God over against man’s absolute total depravity. This “goodness and severity” principle is brought to the fore primarily through preaching, not only in an evangelistic sense, but also in the provoking of the saints to “run the race unto perfection.” Reformed soteriology and its application in revival preaching is the surest antidote to the antinomian, pietistic, sentimental, defeatist theology which has surrendered American society to hellish machinations.

Another elemental key to any resurgence of Puritanism is a victorious ecclesiology or a triumphant view of the purpose, function and doctrine of the Church. Such an optimistic view of the Church would see her as victorious in time and history and would emphasize a covenantal approach to Scripture as well as a covenantal model as a basis for relationships between individuals, churches and the state. This covenantal model could be thus summarized: “The God who created the universe reveals himself in history, lays down immutable fixed Biblical laws, brings predictable results, both blessings and sanctions in terms of these laws, and raises the elect to a place of victory in history.”

Some of the practical benefits of such a covenantal and conquering worldview will include actions by the Church which have not been evidenced since the days of the Scottish Covenanters and John Knox. There will be an increase of cooperative ecclesiastical actions such as functioning presbyteries, which will legislate God’s moral law over cities and regions through covenantal imprecatory prayer and public proclamations. Practical cooperation between ministers in covenantal relationships will be evidenced in such areas as church discipline, reformation think-tanks, ecclesiastical courts and the sharing of resources to accomplish goals.

Generally, an increase of Christian activism at the grass-roots level will be in evidence. Operation Rescue and the covenantal-prayer-proclamation movement are the first-fruits of this new Puritanism. Socially, one can expect great reaction and upheaval from both Church and society as the pluralistic moral relativists within the Church and the secularistic social Darwinists within the power structures of society rise in raucous denunciation of any movement which dares to proclaim and enforce the absolutes of God’s Law-Word. But such is the stuff of such “Puritan storms,” for revival, reformation and revolution are very close cousins indeed.


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Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up! (Book)

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A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism

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The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.

Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.

Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.

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