I transcribed these words from the great SermonAudio.com site (you can hear the entire "Q and A" session-- recorded at a Bible conference in 1995-- HERE)
In this excerpt, Wiersbe, a Baptist and long-time radio minister/communicator, answers a query as to which are his "favorite Puritan authors." His common sense answer is a classic... and a great antidote to much of the shameless "Puritan worship" one runs into occasionally even today:
"Well, I may make some enemies when I say this, but I'm not a great devotee of the Puritans! I'm not against them-- I have them in my library-- but I find some of them are very boring.
"I know there's a lot of 'groceries' in there, a lot of good food in there, but you've gotta plow, and you've gotta dig so much. That may be good for me.
"I was preaching through the Book Of James, and I was using Thomas Manton [1620-1677] on James, and I almost resigned from the ministry! [audience laughter]
"Man, if we preached today the style the Puritans had, we'd empty our churches! If anybody comes along and says 'the Puritans are the model'-- NOBODY is the 'model'-- Jesus is the model! [several audience "amens"]
"The Puritans had as many problems as we have-- they had just as much sin as we've got! And don't let anybody tell you he have to go back to 'the age of the Puritans'-- we don't! Or anybody else-- If you're gonna go back, go back farther than that, go back to Pentecost-- that'd be a good place to go back to!
"I don't have a favorite Puritan writer, unless Alexander Whyte [1836-1921] would be considered a Puritan. I that case I do, he is a favorite of mine.
"Do not become a 'system disciple'-- whether it's Arminianism, Calvinism, Dispensationalism, whatever-- Puritanism-- don't become a 'system disciple' because 'we know in part.' [quoting I Cor. 13:9]
"Nobody knows enough to be able to say 'here's God-- this is it!'
"See, I read Calvin. I read Finney, who disagreed with Calvin. I read Presbyterians, I read Assembly Of God. I think most of my reading is of people I disagree with, including secular folks! I do a lot of secular reading.
"Don't become a devotee of a system. We may get to heaven and discover the system wasn't God's system! See?"