My PhD

William Perkins (1558-1602)

I am presently working towards a PhD at the University of Sydney. My research focuses on William Perkins (1558-1602) who was the most prominent English theologian of his day (i.e. the 1590s). He was a best-selling author and was regarded as one of the best preachers in England. His writings are remembered for his teaching on predestination, covenant, preaching, Christian decision making, and more. 

Perkins was a ‘puritan’, meaning that he sought to continue the English Reformation by trying to bring English Christianity further in line with the Bible. However unlike earlier puritans he devoted almost no energy to promoting outward aspects of reform, such as church governance, clergy vestments, or what Christians should do in church on Sunday. His focus was almost entirely on helping English people be genuinely converted, and to come to know full assurance of their own salvation. Perkins sought to achieve this by helping people fill their hearts and minds with the doctrine of the Bible. 

My research is focused on Perkins’ doctrine of repentance. This theme was central to his theology and pastoral practice. Non-Christians need to turn from their sins and idols to follow Jesus instead. Similarly, Christians need to keep turning from sins that are ever with us in order to live lives of obedience to Jesus. I’m finding that the process of learning theology from a Christian from another era often gives surprising, fresh insights from the Bible and encouragement to serve Jesus today.

If you want to read more, read about my research trip to Cambridge in 2018. 

Many of the most significant Reformers gathered around the light of the Scriptures whilst the agents of “popery” try to blow it out.
Perkins appears in the top right.