John Owen between Orthodoxy and Modernity


This volume offers fresh reflections on John Owen, a leading Reformed theologian who sat on the brink of a new age. His seventeenth- century theology and spirituality reflect the growing tensions, and pre-modern and modern tendencies. Exploring Owen in this context helps readers better understand the seventeenth-century dynamics of individualization and rationalization, the views of God and self, community and the world. The authors of this volume investigate Owen’s approach to various key themes, including his Trinitarian piety, catholicity, doctrine of scripture, and public prayer. Owen’s international reception and current historiographical challenges are also highlighted.

Contributors are: Joel R. Beeke, Henk van den Belt, Gert A. van den Brink, Hans Burger, Daniel R. Hyde, Kelly M. Kapic, Reinier W. de Koeijer, Ryan M. McGraw, David P. Murray, Carl R. Trueman, Willem van Vlastuin.
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Biographical Note

Willem van Vlastuin, Ph.D. (2002), Theological University of Apeldoorn, is Professor of the Theology and Spirituality of Reformed Protestantism at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He published articles and monographs, including Be Renewed. A Theology of Personal Renewal (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014). Kelly M. Kapic is professor of theological studies at Covenant College (USA). He is an award-wining author and editor of numerous books, including The Ashgate Research Companion to John Owen’s Theology, Communion with God, Embodied Hope, and Mapping Modern Theology.

Table of contents

Notes on Contributors

Part 1: Setting the Scene

1 Introduction, Overview and Epilogue
Willem van Vlastuin and Kelly M. Kapic

2 John Owen and Modernity: Reflections on Historiography, Modernity, and the Self
Carl R. Trueman

3 John Owen’s Theological Spirituality: Navigating Perceived Threats in a Changing World
Kelly M. Kapic

4 The Reception of John Owen in Early Modernity
Joel R. Beeke

Part 2: Theological Issues

5 Is the Right to Punish a Private or a Public Right? John Owen’s Debate with the Socinians on the ius puniendi in the Context of Early-Modern Developments
Gert A. van den Brink

6 Why Do You Believe That Scripture Is the Word of God? Owen’s Doctrine of Scripture Reconsidered
Hans Burger

7 Vocatio as Regeneration: John Owen’s Concept of Effectual Calling
Henk van den Belt

8 John Owen as a Modern Theologian: a Comparison of Catholicity in Cyprian and Owen
Willem van Vlastuin

Part 3: Spirituality and Christian Practices

9 Seeing Things Owen’s Way: John Owen’s Trinitarian Theology and Piety in Its Early-Modern Context
Ryan M. McGraw

10 Puritan Spirituality with a Dual Focus: John Owen and Meditation on Christ
Reinier W. de Koeijer

11 John Owen’s View of Human Happiness Compared with Orthodoxy and Modernity
David P. Murray

12 John Owen on Public Prayer: a Critical Reading
Daniel R. Hyde

Index of Names and Subjects


All interested in Puritanism and its influence, John Owen, spirituality, ecclesiology and anyone concerned with the interpretation and application of orthodox theology in a (post)modern context.