The Poor Doubting Christian Drawn to Christ

thomas-hooker1I just finished Thomas Hooker’s (1586-1647) The Poor Doubting Christian Drawn to Christ. The book was published in 1629 while Hooker was still in England, where he remained until 1633 when he came to the Bay area of Boston. Hooker’s known not only for his preaching and theology, but also for being the founder of Hartford, CT and has been called “the father of democracy” by many. Hooker was one of the eminent first-generation Puritan American theologians and this book reflects typical Puritan pastoral counseling. The book is in many ways very similar to The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes, published only a year later in 1630. Whereas The Bruised Reed focuses more on the issue of assurance The Poor Doubting Christian deals a little more with what keeps us from coming to Christ in faith, both before and after conversion. Hooker spends the entire book dismantling the doubts and fears a person might have that would keep them from running whole-heartedly into the free grace held out to us by Christ. It was an excellent read and one very helpful in the struggles of conscience that keep the unbeliever and the believer from coming to Christ without holding back. Hooker again and again holds out the preciousness of God’s promises, and how these promises scattered all throughout the Bible are as the ships that take us to the shore (Jesus). All of our fears, our remaining sin, our failures in duties, our laziness in spiritual disciplines, and even our doubts should not keep us from grasping the promises of God nor should we think we have to improve in these areas in order to receive those promises. Instead, we go to the promises, meaning we go to Christ, which are the means by which God then helps our faith, helps us fight sin, and helps brings peace.

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