Saturday, February 21, 2009

Meet My Friend, Cotton Mather

I finished Richard Lovelace's book on Cotton Mather. I found Cotton Mather very intriguing and very inviting. In the end I found much to relate to and admire even though he lived in a very different time and culture.

Lovelace has many helpful thoughts in the interpretation of Mather in the Epilogue. Here are a few quotes:

"Mather's work 'unknowingly was fanning the spark in New England that eight yearrs later would burst into flames in Jonathan Edwards' Northampton church.' "

"The vitality of the Evangelical movement ebbed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as its center declined into Fundamentalism, relinquishing the ecumenical and social initiatives cherished by Mather and Franck, and magnifying their tendencies toward confessionalism and legalism."

"Most of his reputed inconsistencies are the result of either the uncritical attempts by later critics to fuse together the testimonies of his friends and his enemies, or of the attempt to judge him without a thorough acquaintance with Puritan spirituality in the context of the history of the Christian experience."
Here are a few lessons I learned from my friend, Cotton Mather:

1. Cotton Mather was way better than portrayed in popular thought.
2. Cotton Mather was a vibrant example of a wholistic life lived in light of the gospel or grace and glory.
3. Cotton Mather was a charismatic.
4. Cotton Mather was an excellent pastor.
5. Cotton Mather thought too much about himself and his own spirituality and not enough about the sufficiency of Christ.
6. Cotton Mather learned from others and was very ecumenical for a 18th century Puritan.

Hope you can read this great book and learn from this Godly man!

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