Category Archives: mark jones

Mark Jones on Tullian

Mark Jones freaks me out. No, not because he’s scary looking, however that may be the case, but because the guy is proving himself to be a prolific writer. Not a hack, mind you, his works are serious. Take for instance his doctoral dissertation on Thomas Goodwin from the University of Leiden (I love the look of terror in his eyes in the above picture of his thesis defense), or the work he co-edited on Reformed controversies with Michael Haykin published by the venerable Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. This is not to mention the beast of a book co-authored with Joel Beeke: A Puritan Theology. Generally when Dr. Jones writes something, I try and pay attention–even if he’s writing on paedobaptism or some other such Pelagianism…I mean Presbyterianism.

Recently Mark wrote a review of Tullian Tchividjian’s Jesus + Nothing = Everything at the Meet the Puritans blog that he contributes to. In it he draws a comparison between the book and seventeenth-century antinomianism–not that Mark would call Tullian an outright antinomian, but that there are some dangers in Tullian’s approach that would fit in that general category. One of the key problems with the book, according to Jones, is Tullian’s version of the law/gospel distinction. He says: “The section on the law and the gospel in the book evinces a problem with certain versions of the law-gospel antithesis, especially when this antithesis is read into the Christian life and not just simply justification…In essence, my concern has to do with the fact that a number of biblical passages are read in a manner where people automatically assume that the text is driving us to Christ for justification when in fact the text is saying nothing of the sort.” The whole review, though long, is well-worth digesting.

The substance of the review is picked up in an interview that Mark did with the guys at Reformed Forum. I like the interview primarily for the opening bit where one of Mark’s kids is acting out in the background, and Mark is doing his darndest to get him to pipe down–even Presbyterians have to deal with kids disobeying it seems, we Baptists aren’t alone! Aside from that, however, Mark helps with the historical problems of antinomianism, and again points to related problems in Tullian’s book. Sadly, Christians today are imbibing the tendencies evident in the book under review, and so Mark brings us back to a healthy model of gospel-grounded obedience. We are free, yes indeed; but we are free to obey Christ. Hopefully the Reformed and Puritan vision of justification and sanctification can be grasped and grappled with for the sake of the holiness of Christ’s people. I think ole Jonesy does a good job at bringing us back to that grounding.

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Filed under antinomianism, justification, mark jones, reformed forum, sanctification, tullian tchividjian

Goodwin’s Christocentric Piety

My buddy Mark Jones has co-edited a book with Joel Beeke on Thomas Goodwin’s spirituality called: A Habitual Sight of Him. Judging both from what I’ve read on Mark’s blog and Goodwin’s own theological genius, this should be an excellent book. I’ll definitely be getting a copy. {HT: Thomas Goodwin}

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Filed under books, mark jones, puritans, thomas goodwin

Goodwin on Weekly Communion

To cut the confusion: Mark Jones is doing his dissertation on the seventeenth century Puritan Thomas Goodwin. In light of this, Jones has a blog called Thomas Goodwin. So…at Thomas Goodwin he has a post on Thomas Goodwin on the Lord’s Supper. In it, he explains Goodwin’s view that the Supper should be administered every week, a position I adhere to. Here’s a block quote by Goodwin:

As good housekeepers have some constant provision of store, as corn, beef, and the like, beside all occasional dainties that, like fowl and fish, come in to their tables, so God hath laid up all spiritual provisions for us; and to be sure you have Christ himself for one standing dish continually served up to you … a dish that fills all, and serves all tastes … Many things in a sermon thou understandest not … but here to be sure (in the Lord’s Supper) thou mayest … Of sermons, some are for comfort, some to inform, and some to excite; but here in the sacrament is all thou canst expect.’

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Reading Thomas Goodwin

Thomas Goodwin (1600-1679) was an English Puritan who lived during one of the most tumultuous times in England’s history: the English Civil War. Goodwin was a theologian and a chaplain to Oliver Cromwell. A number of years ago I seriously toyed with the idea of studying Goodwin and began collecting his works. I’ve heard it said that he is a “readable” Puritan. I can agree with that, but then again, everyone is readable next to John Owen!

Joel Beeke, president of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, has a great article at the Reformation 21 online magazine recommending Goodwin’s works. He lists them in the order that he thinks they should be read. After listing each volume, he gives a brief summary and shares some of his own thoughts on the piece (this post is also here). I found reading this extremely helpful and it makes me want to pull Goodwin out of the boxes at my mom’s house where most of my library is stored.

My friend Mark Jones is coming to the final stages of his doctoral studies at the University of Leiden where he is studying Thomas Goodwin. Mark has a piece at I Will Build My Church…In Ireland on why he chose to study Goodwin. This is well worth reading also.

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Filed under friends, joel beeke, mark jones, puritans, thomas goodwin