Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of His Servant?

Surprises From Church History I: On “Black Puritans”

Did you know that there was such a thing as “black puritans”? I did not. 

Yet this is the question that John Piper asks in the introduction of Thabiti M. Anyabwile’s book: The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors.

This is a book full of surprises.  The three preachers presented in this book wee puritants because they “committed themselves to sound theology in the pulpit, theologically informed practice in the church, and theologically reformed living in the world.” 

Did you know that, in the words of John Saillant, “From Calvinism, this generation of black authors (referring specifically to Lemuel Haynes) drew a vision of God at work providentially in the lives of black people, directing their sufferings yet promising the faithful among them a restoration to his favor and his presence”?

This book is about Lemuel Haynes (Pastoral Ministry in Light of Eternity), Bishop Daniel A. Payne (A Vision for an Educated Pastorate), and Francis J. Grimke (The Gospel and the Church in the World).

It seems like a book well worth reading for pastors.  The following quotations are from the back cover of the book:

“Do yourself a favor; read this book, and share it with others.” –  Mark Dever

“Stories of faithful men of God – puritans of the richest kind.  This book is a splendid achievement.”  – Derek W. H. Thomas

“With biblical and historical insight, Thabiti would have us admire and thank God for the labors and lives of three men – clear demonstrations of what the pastoral ministry should be, regardless of race, color, or nationality.”

– Anthony Carter (author of Being Black and Reformed)

I have not read the whole book, but from what I read I agree with the analysis of Joseph M. Stowell (former president of Moody Bible Institute):

“At last a great book that taps the fresh water that flows from the heart of three great African-American preachers of the past! We have so much to learn from them.”

Who knows what other surprises may wait for us in Church history and in heaven?

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