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 many earlier puritans, he devoted virtually 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 thesis is entitled “William Perkins (1558-1602) and the Moderate Puritan Vision for a Reformed English Church & Nation.” The ultimate goal of my research is to produce an intellectual biography of William Perkins. My aim is to lay out his ideas and priorities in their historical context, and with attention to thinkers and traditions that Perkins engaged with, or was influenced by. 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, and Perkins’ influential teaching on assurance. I also wrote a profile of Perkins at historicaltheology.org, and for AP (Australian Presbyterian).