Why Do You Have to Be So Precise?

J.I. Packer:

Richard Rogers, the Puritan pastor of Wethersfield, Essex, at the turn of the sixteenth century, was riding one day with the local lord of the manor, who, after twitting him for some time about his “precisian” ways, asked him what it was that made him so precise. “O sir,” replied Rogers, “I serve a precise God.”

If there were such a thing as a Puritan crest, this would be its proper motto. A precise God–a God, that is, who has made precise disclosure of His mind and will in Scripture, and who expects from His servants a corresponding preciseness of belief and behavior–it was this view of God that created and controlled the historic Puritan outlook. The Bible itself led them to it. And we who share the Puritan estimate of Holy Scripture cannot excuse ourselves if we fail to show a diligence and conscientiousness equal to theirs in ordering our going according to God’s written Word. (Puritan Papers Volume 2, 246-47)

If ever there were a Christianity that cut against the grain, this is it. Those who embrace “precisian” ways will always be in a different spiritual universe from those who find the Bible to be unclear, theological exactness to be a distraction, and the norms of Scripture to be far from normative.

May the spirit of the Puritans never die; for it is, in large part, the Spirit of God.

(HT: Kevin DeYoung)

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

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