Puritan Theology

Course Syllabus

DL324 | Puritan Theology
Three Credits
Course begins 1/29/13; ends 5/3/13
Meeting times: Tuesdays and Thursdays (8:30am – 9:45am)


Dr. Joel Beeke is president and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, president of Inheritance Publishers, and vice-president of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society. He has written, co-authored, or edited seventy books and contributed 2,000 articles to Reformed books, journals, periodicals, and encyclopedias. His Ph.D. is in Reformation and Post-Reformation theology from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia). He is frequently called upon to lecture at seminaries and to speak at Reformed conferences around the world. He and his wife Mary have been blessed with three children: Calvin, Esther, and Lydia. You can follow Dr. Beeke at Doctrine for Life.

Course Description:

An in-depth examination of some major themes of Puritan theology, including the Puritan view of Scripture, meditation, election, adoption, assurance of faith, sanctification, conscience and casuistry, church and worship, preaching, the promises of God, experiencing God, and marriage and child-rearing. The course will give special emphasis to the nature of experiential religion, a singular characteristic of Puritan writings.

Course Objectives:

  1. Be able to define Puritanism and its major characteristics.
  2. Be able to articulate why we need the Puritans today.
  3. Be able to give a general overview of basic Puritan history, Puritan theology, and Puritan literature.
  4. Be able to explain the pilgrim mentality of Puritan thought in terms of its biblicist, pietist, churchly, two-worldly, warfaring, and methodical outlook.
  5. Be able to expound the Puritan view of Scripture through the insights of John Owen, the prince of the Puritans.
  6. Be able to distinguish the different kinds of Puritan meditation, as well as the manner, subjects, benefits, and obstacles of such meditation.
  7. Be able to show how the Puritans understood what it means to become experientially acquainted with each of the three persons in the Trinity.
  8. Be able to expound the Puritan doctrine of providence, as well as how to answer the most vexing and practical problems of this doctrine.
  9. Be able to explain how and why the Puritans stressed the exceeding sinfulness of sin.
  10. Be able to explain the basics of Puritan covenant theology.
  11. Be able to elucidate the basics of Puritan Christology, including how and why they so highly valued the shedding of Christ’s blood and His compassionate, intercessory work in heaven.
  12. Be able to explain the amazing comfort contained in the Puritan view of the promises of God.
  13. Be able to articulate the Puritan doctrine of preparatory grace, and how this doctrine helped the Puritans pastorally in explaining how God ordinarily draws sinners to Christ.
  14. Be able to appreciate the comprehensive Puritan view of spiritual adoption and its privileges and responsibilities.
  15. Be able to explicate the Puritan doctrine of sanctification in terms of its definition, agent, subject, activity, measure, method, and motive.
  16. Be able to develop the Puritan teaching on assurance of faith as expounded in the Westminster Confession of Faith and in the theology of Anthony Burgess.
  17. Be able to describe the Puritan view of church and worship.
  18. Be able to articulate the Puritan passion and program for preaching.
  19. Be able to explain the Puritan view of the sacraments.
  20. Be able to articulate the Puritan view of heaven and hell.
  21. Be able to understand the Puritan lifestyle that flows from Puritan theology in terms of marriage and child-rearing, conscience and casuistry, and zealous spirituality.
  22. Be able to explain how the Puritans viewed the ministry as a prophetic and priestly office.
  23. Be able to utilize the strengths of Puritan theology in contemporary situations, especially its major contributions in areas of experiential theology that remain deeply significant for the church today.

Required Texts:

Joel Beeke, Mark Jones. A Puritan Theology.
John Bunyan. Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ
William Greenhill. Stop Loving the World
John Owen. The Forgiveness of Sin.

Distance Learning Policies and Tuition Costs:

Please read this.

Summary of Requirements:

– Final Research paper 40%
– Final Exam  30%
– Book Review 10%
– Completion of readings, assignments, discussions 20%

*You may substitute other Puritan titles for the primary source reading (i.e., for Bunyan
and Owen) with the professor’s permission.  Late assignments will receive the standard PRTS deduction of 5% per day, unless special exemption (ie. for medical/family emergencies) is granted by the professor.

How to enroll:

If you a current student of PRTS, and wish to enroll in this course, please contact the registrar. If you are not a current student, please fill out this form to request enrollment.