Puritan Wisdom for Today’s Church: A Discussion with Don Kistler | Ep. 90

A conversation with Dr. Don Kistler about the lasting value of the Puritans

The Puritans are, at the same time, highly regarded and highly disdained—depending on who you ask. There are many caricatures about who the Puritans were, what they taught, and what they can still teach us today. On top of this, much of their writing can seem difficult for the modern reader. So why should we bother with the Puritans?

On this episode I have a conversation with Dr. Don Kistler about the importance of the Puritans and how the church today can benefit from their spiritual guidance. Dr. Kistler is a Bible teacher, author, founder of Northampton Press, and he has been republishing Puritan works for decades.

One of his latest reprints is Christ, the Perfect Pattern for a Christian by Ralph Robinson — which hasn’t been reprinted since 1658! We’ll talk about this particular book and the life and ministry of Robinson, as well as why we should read the lesser-known Puritans.

Whether you already enjoy the works of the Puritans or have been reluctant to give them a chance, you’re definitely going to get a lot out of our conversation. Dr. Kistler will also share a number of recommended titles both for the beginner as well as some little known works that even those who love the Puritans may not have heard of.

After you’ve watched our conversation, check out the show notes below for links to many of the resources we’ve talked about as well as recommended books to read.

Listen to the Conversation

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Meet Our Guest

Dr. Don Kistler is a Bible teacher, author, and founder of Northampton Press which focuses on republishing Puritan works. He has also edited over 150 books — including the newly republished Christ, the Perfect Pattern for a Christian, a work by Puritan Ralph Robinson that has not been reprinted since 1658. You can learn more at DonKistler.org.

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Additional Resources

Christ, The Perfect Pattern for a Christian

Too often we model ourselves after another person rather than after the Lord Jesus Christ. But no one other than Christ ought to be our model, our example, or, as Ralph Robinson points out, our pattern.

Here, in 13 sermons, this Puritan lays out Christ as a pattern for us to follow. He speaks of Christ as, among other things, a pattern of humility, of patience, of prayer, of forgiveness, of diligence, and of faithfulness.

Appendixed is Simeon Ashe’s funeral sermon for Robinson entitled “The Good Man’s Death Lamented.”

This is the first printing of this important work since 1658. May it stir up in God’s people a greater desire to be like Christ.

Read the Transcript

Clay Kraby: Well, thank you, Doctor Don Kistler, for joining me on the podcast.

Don Kistler: Glad to be here. Thank you for asking.

Clay Kraby: Now, just to start off, could you share a little bit about yourself and about your ministry and the work that you do?

Don Kistler: Well, for the last, going on 40 years, I have been reprinting the old English and American Puritans in slightly modernized editions. Now, that’s not a living bible translation or a Reader’s Digest, but I clean up the language a lot. So, the way we talk today is pretty different than the way they did. They use a lot of the same words, but unless it’s in the scripture text, I don’t leave “Hast thou not seen thy desires?” I’ll rephrase that. “Have you not seen how your desires…” Because people don’t read that much anymore, and I’m trying to eliminate every objection they have to the book, other than I don’t want to read the dang book. Leave me alone. That one I can’t fix. But I do remember a lady in San Francisco coming up to me and, holding up a book she’d bought and said, well, this wasn’t hard to read at all. I said it was when I got it.

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