Arminian Today

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Book Review: The Secret Key to Heaven by Thomas Brooks

I have always enjoyed reading the Puritans.  Their passion for theology shows in their writings as what you will not find is a bunch of subjective stories trying to illustrate Christian living but rather you’ll find theology worked out in the pages of their writings.  From Puritans that I disagreed with often (such as John Owen) to Puritans I have much in common with (such as John Goodwin), I have enjoyed how Puritan theology sought to glorify God through careful exegesis of the Scriptures.

The same holds true in this book, The Secret Key to Heaven by Puritan minister Thomas Brooks (1608-1680).  Brooks singular focus is prayer.  He wants us to see the confidence we can have in prayer and he wants us to see that heaven itself is waiting for the saints of God to come before the Lord in holy prayer.  In the book, Brooks leaves no stone unturned as you go from the basics of prayer to hindrances to prayer.  As typical with Puritans, the focus is the Scriptures and the glory of God.  Brooks is not writing a “purpose-driven” book on prayer but he is looking intently into the Scriptures to see just what God has said in His Word about praying.  Brooks shows the reader that prayer is not a vain ritual as Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:5-8.  He shows us that faith in God is the key to praying and answers in prayer (Mark 11:22-24) but the focus of our praying is not on our selfishness but upon the holiness and goodness of God (Ephesians 3:20-21).

As I read the book, I found nothing in it that an Arminian would reject.  Brooks does not teach on prayer from a Calvinist position (though I believe he is a Calvinist).  He hints at Calvinism only when referring to the sovereignty of God (deterministic views of God).  He believes, however, that a sovereign God is the only One who can truly be God in praying.  Why pray to a weak god?  Did not Jesus say that all things can be done in prayer (John 14:13-14)?  As I read this book, I noticed nothing that an Arminian would read (such as with John Owen) and completely disagree with.  I believe Arminians would be richly blessed reading this book.

Overall, you can’t go wrong reading Thomas Brooks’ work on prayer.  Many of the Puritans were prayer warriors.  The Puritan book, The Valley of Vision, shows this.  I believe that Thomas Brooks sought God.  From his writings he seemed to drip with a passion to seek the face of God and not His hand.  He wanted God to be exalted and he rightly saw that through prayer, God can and does glorify His name.  How much the Father wants us to seek Him!  Oh how much time we waste not praying and seeking God!  While I agree with Leonard Ravenhill that the secret to more prayer is praying in secret more, you can spark your passion for prayer by reading books such as this one.  I do highly recommend it.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/17/2011 at 4:30 PM

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