Thursday, July 13, 2006

Packer on the the Influence of Owen

"I still think after thirty-five years* that Owen did more than anyone else to make me as much of a moral, spiritual, and theological realist as I have so far become. He showed me that there is far more than I had known both to indwelling sin in believers and to God's gracious work of sanctification. He searched me to the root of my being, bringing God awesomely close in the way that speakers and writers with unction are able to do. He taught me what it means to mortifiy sin and how to go about it. He made clear to me the real nature of the Holy Spirit's ministry in and to the believer, and of spiritual growth and progress, and of faith's victory. He told me how to understand myself as a Christian and live before God in a morally and spiritually honest way, without pretending either to be what I am not or not to be what I am. It is not too much at all to say that God used him to save my sanity. And he made every point by direct biblical exegesis, handling Scripture with a profundity that I had not met before, nor I think since save in Luther, Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards."

J. I. Packer, "Introduction," Sin and Temptation, ed. James M. Houston (Minneapolis: Bethany, 1983, 1996), xxix.

* This was written in 1983.

Readers interested in Owen's work on this subject may want to check out the forthcoming, unabridged volume, Overcoming Sin and Temptation, ed. Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor, with a foreword by John Piper. It's due out this fall.