Friday, August 22, 2008

Doctrine and Charisma: Grimshaw and Owen

Posted by David Reimer

It seems wrong somehow that the week should go by while Justin Taylor is at the John Owen Today conference in Cambridge without an "Owen" themed post. I ran across an article by Faith Cook in the current issue of Evangelicals Now which made a nice connection.

William Grimshaw of Haworth lived from 1708-1763, and September this year will mark the tercentenary of his birth. Grimshaw, himself a Cambridge graduate, was one of the "unsaved clergy" that had been the target of George Whitefield's preaching. "Unsaved", until a momentous turn of events. This is how Michael Haykin described it:
Visiting a friend in 1741, Grimshaw happened to see the book lying on a table. Seeing from the title on the spine that it was a theological work, he picked it up and turned to the title page. Then, a strange event happened: as he opened the book he felt “an uncommmon heat” flush his face. Thinking that the flash of heat must have come from a fire in the fireplace of the room, he turned towards it but realized that it was too far away to have caused the flash of heat. He opened the book again and experienced a second flash of heat. He took these flashes of heat to be signs that this book would be of special help to him. And so it proved.
The book he picked up was John Owen's The Doctrine of Justification by Faith.

For more about Grimshaw, you can read not only Faith Cook's article (linked above), but also her biography of Grimshaw. Paul Cook's article on Grimshaw appeared in the Banner of Truth magazine. And the article by Haykin that the quote was taken from can be found on this page (or you can download the PDF; the quote is on p. 5).

There are some interesting comparisons and contrasts in those accounts to current events in terms of doctrine and manifestation. Caveat lector!