A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
Editor’s Note: Most of our readers will already be at least somewhat acquainted with John Owen (1616-1683), “the prince of Puritans,” but it is not likely that many have read him extensively. His works are not only voluminous – they are tightly packed and deeply considered. Owen is neither quick nor light reading!
Today we continue our year-long series of summaries of Owen’s famous works. We trust these will be of help in introducing and/or increasing your acquaintance with this giant Puritan theologian.
Summary, Part 1
Animadversions on “Fiat Lux”
[In this work, Owen is responding to a book published by John Vincent Cane entitled Fiat Lux. Cane attempted to vindicate Roman Catholicism and repudiate Protestantism.]
Cane asserts that Protestant ministers oppose the Christian doctrine of good works. This charge is entirely inaccurate, and in fact, the opposite is true. Protestants preach that we need to obey the whole law of God and that we ought to be abounding in good works. We deny that our works have intrinsic merit that makes us acceptable to God, but in grace in Christ, our works are received and rewarded. Fourteen hundred years ago Celsus the philosopher attacked Christianity, and he did so on much the same general ground on which Cane attacks Protestantism. Celsus—and therefore Cane—was definitively answered by Origen. Both accuse Christians/Protestants of being responsible for troubles in society; for being schismatics and causing divisions; for sub-dividing in disputes about worship and religion, and; for fighting with each other. They argue that the revelation of Christ and the word of God are not sufficiently clear to be authoritative. Both plead for a return to earlier times of religious experience so that peace can reign again. They insist that love and unity flourished before the rise of Christians/Protestants, and now holy things are profaned and the reformers are busy corrupting the world. That these parallels are real is readily proved by quotations from Cane’s writing, and they are the principal points he argues for and the main substance that he presents. We will examine these heads in turn, beginning at each point with a relevant quotation from Cane. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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THE WORKS OF JOHN OWEN, VOLUME 14: TRUE AND FALSE RELIGION