Monday, 7 March 2011

A third of Overcoming Sin and Temptation

Overcoming Sin and TemptationOvercoming Sin and Temptation is a collection of three books by John Owen which has been very lightly edited. You can tell it is going to be a hard task when the first 50 pages of the book contains a warning from the editors that John Owen is hard to understand. The editors wanted to keep the spirit of John Owen in his works, so this is not a paraphrase of his ideas, all the editors have done is change the spelling of the old English words to contemporary American spelling, changed the bible references from Roman numerals into our numbers and they have put in some sub headings along the way. They also lessened the significance of the chapter breaks as it seems John Owen didn't put them in logical spots when related to his whole argument. In this volume the three John Owen books are, Of the Mortification of Sin in BelieversOf Temptation: The Nature and Power of It and Indwelling Sin. They all seem to have a common theme....

Anyway I tried to read this whole volume, but only managed to get through the first book and then call it a day. This wasn't the first time that I have tried to read John Owen. When I was getting into the Limited Atonement debate I heard that Owen's Death of Death in the Death of Christ book was the definitive work on the issue, and maybe it is, but for the life I me I don't think I really understood what he was saying.

In the Mortification of Sin in Believers Owen argues that believers should war against their sinful nature and to be ever on their guard. They should reflect and take note when they are most likely to be tempted and they should repent and also feel free from the guilt as Jesus has forgiven them. One thing that I did notice about this book when compared to modern day books on fleeing from sin and striving for holiness, is that Owen didn't (at least what I could understand) stress anything about living in a community or about confessing your sins to people who are around to help you out in life. Maybe it was a given back then, but today it seems that community and confession are the big things that gets written about. You Can Change comes to mind as a good modern book that I think says what Owen wants to say as well as including a community support idea.

Because the original books were written a long time ago they are out of copy write and so should be free online in their original English, but after a Google search it seems that this exact volume is free online (pdf). So maybe download that and see if you could read Owen. If anything maybe the introductions to each book and the outlines at the end might be a good quick summary of what Owen has said.

Another book that I couldn't get to the end of:
The Gagging of God by Don Carson


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