As I mentioned in last month’s newsletter, I want to introduce to you the Puritans and different ones that have influenced my life. This month’s Puritan is William Perkins. He is actually known as the father of the Puritan Movement. William Perkins, an outstanding preacher, made great contributions to the Puritan Movement despite the shortness of his life. He was born in Marton, Warwickshire, in 1558. Around 1585 Perkins was chosen as rector of St. Andrews, Cambridge, and continued there until his death in 1602. His individual writings consisted mainly of treatises of the Apostle’s Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, and expositions of Galatians 1-5, Matthew 5-7, and Hebrews 11. He wrote the practical Cases of Conscience. His writings were popularly received and were later translated into Latin, French, Dutch, and Spanish. They were collected into three volumes The Works of William Perkins.
One of the many works of Perkins is called A Golden Chain. A Golden Chain is a book about what we call in theology the Ordo Salutis meaning The Order of Salvation. In Scripture this topic is scattered all throughout but Perkins pulls them all together and focuses on Romans 8 where this “Golden Chain” is found more explicitly. Every denomination holds to a particular type of order of salvation. You are probably familiar with at least three “links” of the chain and the order they belong. That is: Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification. Perkins went in depth and wrote a book with 58 chapters on the subject. It is from his work from what he understood from Scripture is the order we get laid out in the Baptist Faith & Message: God’s Purpose of Grace, Regeneration, Conversion, Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification. Obviously the Baptist Faith & Message does not go into detail of those subjects let alone the other “links” of the “Golden Chain”. The Ordo Salutis is usually broken down into ten links. The purpose of the Ordo Salutis or order of salvation and the book A Golden Chain is to trace the causes of all the various aspects of redemption back to their fountain in the person of Christ and in the eternal purposes of God.
Perkins has also written a book on preaching called, “The Art of Prophesying” meaning the art of proclaiming God’s word. Between The Art of Prophesying and A Golden Chain I have been encouraged greatly in my preaching ministry and mission work. A Golden Chain changed a lot about how I think about God’s grace and how He applies it to our hearts through the preaching and teaching of God’s word. Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the word of Christ! Romans 10:17. I encourage you to find a sermon or book by William Perkins or even the diagram made by Puritan John Bunyan titled, “A Map Showing The Order and Causes of Salvation and Damnation”. Read them and study them and see if they do not encourage you about God’s grace and sharing the gospel.
In Christ, Pastor Daniel