Archive for the ‘John Owen’ Category

We have met the enemy, and he is us

May 19, 2008

I’m not sure who Kris Lundgaard is but the book he has written, The Enemy Within, is one that deserves to be widely known. In this short book he distills the essence of two of John Owen’s tomes on temptation and sin and how to overcome these. In doing so he has created a very readable and practical book on what has sadly become a much neglected topic amongst Christians. In Lungaard’s book there is a good deal of what used to be called the cure of souls. With Owen in the background he wisely diagnoses the disease of sin, offering advice on how to recognise the symptoms and how to effect a cure. Here is a book that will profit every Christian and I cannot recommend it enough.

Exhaustive and Exhausting

February 18, 2008

I’ve just finished reading John Owen’s Communion with God for the second time. This time I read it in a new version edited by Justin Taylor and Kelly Kapic. I would have to say that it is a great version. The language is modified in places to enable the reader to understand more readily and there are useful footnotes to translate the archaic terms. However the greatest strength of this version is its layout. The book is very clearly set out and has an excellent outline at the beginning which makes the whole book much more easily read and the argument more easily followed. It is a well presented book and if the Puritans are going to be accessible to the presetn generation this is the way to go.

JI Packer writes somewhere of Owen that you have a sense that when he deals with a topic that he has exhausted it.  Certainly that is the sense that you have with Communion with God. Even in this more accessible edition this is not an easy read. But it is very profitable. As I said this is my second time through the book. I find reading it slow going and I can only manage usually a section at a time. But I always come away from it having profited from Owen’s insights and with my heart warmed as Owen deals with how our communion is with each person of the Trinity.

If you read this book you may find that progress is slow but it is really worth it. If you want to tackle just one book that will stretch you in terms of your understanding of the depths of the Christian faith this book deserves a look. It is exhaustive and may leave you feeling exhausted but it will also give you a sense of achievement and it will lead you to marvel at the wonder of your salvation.

True Conversion

June 8, 2007

I’ve just been reading John Owen’s Pneumatalogia, his treatise on the work of the Holy Spirit.  He notes in the course of the treatise that there is often a preparatory work of the Holy Spirit that some view as true conversion but which reality falls some way short of true conversion. He notes the following five marks of true conversion through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit-

  1. Our will is changed so that we are now inclined to obey God
  2.  There is a new sense of excellency in the truth revealed in the gospel
  3. Our conscience is now purged of dead works
  4. The Holy Spirit fills us in every part and fixes our affections upon Christ
  5. That the work of the Holy Spirit touches every faculty

In an age when there is little self examination of ourselves as Scripture exhorts us to do and the idea of being Christian sits lightly with many, Owen’s marks of true conversion are well worth our consideration.