Thursday, January 31, 2008

Overcoming Sin & Temptation: John Owen Style

Some of you may or may not know this, but I hold John Owen in high esteem. It was from The Death of Death in the Death of Christ (it is free to sign up to read the pdf or word documents. The tex file is free without signing up) that I first understood the importance of theological undergirding. Until that point, application was king and theology was left for those who wanted to be stiff-necked. Through God using that book to convict my soul of the importance of having good, correct doctrine, I am now able to correctly apply scripture via my theological foundation rooted in the very words of God (this is the same way scripture is set up as well. Look at the epistles or letters in the NT. First comes the theological foundation and then the ethic/applicatoin). I owe a great deal to John Owen and the labors of his pen for he helped me to work out for whom did Christ die and to what extent did His death reach.

With that being said, Tim Challies started a reading challenge going through the classics. One of Owen's other works is on the list. It is called Overcoming Sin & Temptation. Challies breaks down chapter 11 in his most current post and it is well worth the read. Do stop by and take a look at it.

If any of you are thinking of picking up a work by Owen, let me quote for you the first thing I ever read by Owen. This is in the "letter to the reader" section of The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.

To the reader.

Reader, If thou intendest to go any farther, I would entreat thee to stay here a little. If thou art, as many in this pretending age, a sign or title gazer, and comest into books as Cato into the theatre, to go out again, รข€” thou hast had thy entertainment; farewell! With him that resolves a serious view of the following discourse, and really desireth satisfaction from the word and Christian reason, about the great things contained therein, I desire a few words in the portal. Divers things there are of no small consideration to the business we have in hand, which I am persuaded thou canst not be unacquainted with; and therefore I will not trouble thee with a needless repetition of them.

It is a difficult read, but well worth the time invested; again, it changed my whole Christian world view. It took me over 2 years to read through The Death of Death in the Death of Christ due to the english verbage and Owen's style of writing (Passive Voice) along with the fact that I wanted to learn from it and not just read through it.

You can read more on Challies here.

Some questions:
-What are some books that have shaped and formed your world view?
-Did you ever read a book, agree with it and years later come to the realization that it was wrong?
-What do you think of Owen's statement to the reader? Do you think it would be beneficial if we all approached reading with that high of a regard?
-Isn't it great that resources of this caliber are available for free to us? All we have to do is read them.

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