Today's post is the introduction to John Owen's The Mortification of Sin, which is the June selection in The Puritan Reading Challenge. Please note that even though you might only now be learning of this challenge that it is not too late to dive in. June is an especially good month, since this abridged version of Owen's classic is less than 130 pages, and even if you were to order the book today you should have it in plenty of time to complete it this month.
John Owen (1616-1683), is one of the best known of the English Puritan divines, and one of the most prolific. No stranger to suffering, he knew both the challenge of losing position and fortune during the religious upheavals of 17th century England as well as the death of all 11 of his children, 10 of them in infancy. Privileged to preach in high places, including Parliament, as well as low; he also served as Oliver Cromwell's chaplain in Ireland.
John Piper describes Owen's conversion as follows:
When Owen was 26 years old he went with his cousin to hear the famous Presbyterian, Edmund Calamy at St. Mary's Church Aldermanbury. But it turned out Calamy could not preach and a country preacher took his place. Owen's cousin wanted to leave. But something held Owen to his seat. The simple preacher took as his text Matthew 8:26, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" It was God's appointed word and appointed time for Owen's awakening. His doubts and fears and worries as to whether he was truly born anew by the Holy Spirit were gone. He felt himself liberated and adopted as a Son of God. When you read the penetrating practical works of Owen on the work of the Spirit and the nature of true communion with God it is hard to doubt the reality of what God did on this Sunday in 1642.
No stranger to controversy, Owen appears to defend truth against all challenges, whether coming from friend or foe. As the premier pastor/theologian of Puritanism, the movement was almost at an end at the time of his death.
A good source for all things Owen is http://www.johnowen.org/
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