Author: J.I. Packer
Genre: Christian Living/History/Puritans
A Quest for Godliness is a compilation of forty years of Packer’s study of the Puritans. Packer lays out his aim early on when he states, “The essays are not just history and historical theology; they are themselves, in aim at least, spirituality, as much as anything else I have written; they focus on ways in which as I see it, the Puritans are giants compared with us, giants who help we need if ever we are to grow.”
The book is divided up into six main sections: The Puritans in Profile, The Puritans and the Bible, The Puritans and the Gospel, The Puritans and The Holy Spirit, The Puritan Christian Life, and The Puritans and Ministry. There are numerous Puritans outlined throughout this book but most attention is given to John Owen, Richard Baxter, and Jonathan Edwards.
What I Liked:
I love the Puritans. I typically love J.I. Packer’s writings. So of course this will be a great combination. Packer is an able historian that brings out helpful points in the life of the Puritans. Reading this book caused a passion for the Puritans to be rekindled in my heart. There are numerous quotable sections and mention is made of many of the lesser known giants of Puritanism.
What I Disliked:
Because of the format of the book (a compilation of essays) some of the chapters can be redundant. This book would be best served to be about 75 pages less. This is a helpful book but would perhaps be more helpful if written for a more popular audience and more tightly woven together.
Should You Buy It?
If you like Packer and the Puritans then you probably will. If you know very little about the Puritans this may be a decent place to start. Packer does accomplish his goal of proving that the Puritans were giants and we are ants, if you are not convinced of this and think the Puritans have little to offer then you should buy this book. You may want to wait until the end of July for the new edition.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars