Richard Greenham–”A Doing Preacher”

Why read the past? Well, one reason: it contains so many helpful models for living today. Take Richard Greenham (c.1540-1594), for example. An early Puritan, Greenham well typifies the best of Puritan ministry. In Eric Carlson's words: “Greenham’s ability to be compassionate, irenic and hospitable enabled his congregation to hear him speak plainly to them about sin and judgment, to (in the vivid words of Bishop Jewel) lay their filth open before their eyes Another Puritan, Leonard Wright, who had a very high view of preaching—“the office of a Preacher is a dignity of great Reverence,” he once said—argued that “saying Preachers good, but but doing Preachers are better; happy is that Parish, where both hitteth in one man."

Happy indeed! This little post helps show that from the Puritan standpoint, ministry is never just a matter of preaching. This also means that we must read widely in the past and be careful how we learn from it.

[1] “Good Pastors or Careless Shepherds? Parish Ministers and the English Reformation”, History, 88, no.291 (July 2003), 435. The whole article needs to be read.

[2] Cited Carlson, “Good Pastors or Careless Shepherds”, 434.