William Perkins (1558-1602) earned a bachelor’s degree in 1581 and a master’s degree in 1584 from Christ’s College in Cambridge. During those student years he joined up with Laurence Chaderton, who became his personal tutor and lifelong friend. Perkins and Chaderton met with Ricahrd Greenham, Richard Rogers, and others in a spiritual brotherhood at Cambridge that espoused Puritan convictions.
From 1584 until his death, William Perkins (1558-1602), served as lecturer, or preacher, at Great St. Andrews Church, Cambridge, a most influential pulpit across the street from Christ's College. He also served as a teaching fellow at Christ's College, catechized students at Corpus Christi College on Thursday afternoons, and worked as a spiritual counselor on Sunday afternoons. In these roles Perkins influenced a generation of young students, including Richard Sibbes, John Cotton, John Preston, and William Ames. Thomas Goodwin wrote that when he entered Cambridge, six of his instructors who had sat under Perkins were still passing on his teaching. "Ten years after Perkins's death, Cambridge was still filled with the discourse of the power of Mr. William Perkins ministry," Goodwin said. Perkins's influence as a theologian continued unabated after his death. This was due in large part to the widespread popularity of his writings. His writings were translated into several European languages and greatly influenced British and American Reformed theology, the Dutch Further Reformation, and European Pietism.
About the Authors
Dr. Joel R. Beeke serves as President and Professor of Systematic Theology, Church History, and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. He has been in the ministry since 1978 and has served as a pastor of his current church since 1986. He is also editor of the Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, president of Inheritance Publishers, and vice-president of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society. He has written, co-authored, or edited fifty books and contributed over fifteen hundred articles to Reformed books, journals, periodicals, and encyclopedias. His Ph.D. (1988) from Westminster Theological Seminary is in Reformation and Post-Reformation Theology. He is frequently called upon to lecture at Reformed seminaries and to speak at conferences around the world. He and his wife, Mary, have three children: Calvin, Esther, and Lydia.
J. Stephen Yuille is preaching-teaching pastor of Grace Community Church in Glen Rose, Texas. He is also the director of Baptist studies at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and the author of Living Blessedly Forever: The Sermon on the Mount and the Puritan Piety of William Perkins.