John Owen has a word for the church.

In loving jesus, quotes, recommendations, theology on February 23, 2009 at 8:14 pm

I mean it when I say that every Christian should read anything they can get their hands on by John Owen.  I’m reading through Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers for the second time, this time in the anthology Overcoming Sin & Temptation, and it still carries the same conviction and force.  This stuff is good for your soul.  This quote provides a good corrective against becoming legalistic or licentious and shows how relevant this Puritan’s writings are for the modern church.

“Let me add this to those who are preachers of the word, or intend, through the good hand of God, that employment: It is their duty to plead with men about their sins, to lay load on particular sins, but always remember that it be done with that which is the proper end of law and gospel – that is, that they make use of the sin they speak against to the discovery of the state and condition wherein the sinner is; otherwise, [by chance], they may work men to formality and hypocrisy, but little of the true end of preaching the gospel will be brought about.  It will not avail to beat a man off from his drunkenness into a sober formality.  A skillful master of the assemblies lays his axe at the root, drives still at the heart.  To [denounce] against particular sins of ignorant, unregenerate persons, such as the land is full of, is a good work; but yet, though it may be done with great efficacy, vigor, and success, if this be all the effect of it, that they are set upon the most [persistent] endeavors of mortifying their sins preached down, all that is done is but like the beating of an enemy in an open field, and driving him into an impregnable castle, not to be prevailed against” (Owen 84-84).


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