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SeamusDelion

Puritan Board Freshman
Hello brothers and sister, I am new here ] and am excited to finally find a forum with like minded servants of Christ. I've been to other Christian boards and they are very toxic, lots of hatred towards Calvinistic denominations/reformed believers. I recently started reading this book by John Owen anyone got some advice? Its a revised version but still really hard to understand..
 

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Jonathan95

Puritan Board Sophomore
Excellent book. Its actually composed of 3 books of Owen. Mortification of Sin, Indwelling sin in believers, and of Temptations.

It was my first book written by a puritan writer so I understand what you mean. Owen is notoriously difficult to read. Best I can say is, be prepared to start looking up words you aren't familiar with. I took it slow with a pen in hand and tried to summarize each section/paragraph in my own words to make sure I understood Owen's flow of thought. If I remember correctly, there is an outline included either in the front or back of that book that might be helpful with understanding what you are reading.

I remember reading only a couple of pages at a time and having to stop and really meditate on what I just read because it is very "meaty". Just go slow, and enjoy the read.
 

jw

Administrator
My advice -as it is with any of the older writers, as well as the Authorized Version of the Scriptures- is to keep on reading it. Practice makes perfect. If you need to look up a word, go ahead, but if you’ll just keep reading, context and repetition will make things clearer. Resist the temptation always to find something “modernized,” though it’s not unlawful. And -of course, especially with the Scriptures- cry out in humble acknowledgement of dependence on the LORD’s clarifying hand in understanding anything that passes through your mind.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I recently started reading this book by John Owen anyone got some advice? Its a revised version but still really hard to understand..

The most sensible thing to do with any form of study is to start with the easier stuff and work your way up to the more difficult material. From what I can gather, you seem to be fairly new to Reformed things. It will be a while before you are able to read John Owen in the originals with profit. Owen gets much easier to read with time, but you generally need a good grounding in confessional theology before you can understand most of his works (the sermons being an exception). Hence, the above volume seems like a good starting point.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Owen is hard to read. But not all the Puritans are like that, so don't give up on books from that era. And despite his awkward writing style, Owen was a theological genius, so don't completely give up on him either.
 

Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

Puritan Board Sophomore
Welcome to the board!

As others have already said, Owen can be very hard to read. Don’t let that stop you though, The Mortification of Sin is one of my top 3 Puritan works and is in that volume you have.
 

SeamusDelion

Puritan Board Freshman
The most sensible thing to do with any form of study is to start with the easier stuff and work your way up to the more difficult material. From what I can gather, you seem to be fairly new to Reformed things. It will be a while before you are able to read John Owen in the originals with profit. Owen gets much easier to read with time, but you generally need a good grounding in confessional theology before you can understand most of his works (the sermons being an exception). Hence, the above volume seems like a good starting point.

I guess I am faulty new to reformed things, I went through a cult and then a legalistic ministry and then charismatic churches before finding John MacArthur. I am a reformed Baptist, and attend the same church where Tim Challies is a pastor. I am truly blessed and had many prayers answered in finding this church.

If you don't mind, where could I learn more about covenant theology? My issue is I only know the big name reformed preachers like Paul washer, John MacArthur, Charles Spurgeon, etc etc. I am really strict as to who I learn from due to my past in christiondom. Any advice will be much appreciated. I am glad I got accepted into this forum now I can find reliable materials. :)

As for everyone who gave advice, thank you all so much I really do appreciate it.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
Welcome! To help out, MacArthur is not reformed per say. He is just calvinistic. He is dispensational and does not hold to covenant theology. That said, his preaching can still be very good. Just keep those things above in mind. Spurgeon as far as I can tell, does hold to covenant theology. A good book on covenant theology is the following:


You may also be able to search Spurgeon covenant theology on YouTube and get a sermon from him.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
If you don't mind, where could I learn more about covenant theology?

I have numerous quotations from Reformed (and some Lutheran and Early Church) authors in Doctrine of the Covenants. In relation to books, those by Thomas Boston and John Colquhoun on the covenant of grace are the best two that I know of, though you may be looking for something shorter and simpler. Geerhardus Vos has quite a useful essay on the subject, which is available in various formats from Monergism.
 

SeamusDelion

Puritan Board Freshman
Welcome! To help out, MacArthur is not reformed per say. He is just calvinistic. He is dispensational and does not hold to covenant theology. That said, his preaching can still be very good. Just keep those things above in mind. Spurgeon as far as I can tell, does hold to covenant theology. A good book on covenant theology is the following:


You may also be able to search Spurgeon covenant theology on YouTube and get a sermon from him.
Hey, thank you. However, isn't John Calvin one of the great reformers ? Jmac claims to be reformed. And he also claims that he's a dispensationalism with holes.. I'm new to all this stuff, however my church is a reformed Baptist Church and most of my pastors have gone to masters seminary, and we hold to the 1689 Baptist confession.

There is so much to learn coming out of charismania.

Thanks again.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hey, thank you. However, isn't John Calvin one of the great reformers ? Jmac claims to be reformed. And he also claims that he's a dispensationalism with holes.. I'm new to all this stuff, however my church is a reformed Baptist Church and most of my pastors have gone to masters seminary, and we hold to the 1689 Baptist confession.

There is so much to learn coming out of charismania.

Thanks again.
So JMac is reformed in his doctrine of salvation, monergism. However, to be reformed, technically you need to hold to covenant theology. There are other particulars as well as they are related to a reformed confession (like the WCF) as others on this forum can fill you in. Also, some would argue that any type of baptist cannot be reformed as another particular is baptizing babies. People that hold to the 1689 London Baptist are often referred to as "particular baptists" by some. However, me personally, I have no issue calling people holding to this confession reformed baptists.

All that said, JMac would likely reject holding to the 2nd London Baptist confession. I don't believe his church holds to any type of confession and is non-denominational. I just want to stress again, this does not mean he is a bad bible teacher. He is one of my top 5 preachers. I am just giving you the info. I do highly disagree with his eschatology and his belief in a secret rapture though.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
I remember reading only a couple of pages at a time and having to stop and really meditate on what I just read because it is very "meaty". Just go slow, and enjoy the read.
Same here. I also found that reading it out loud seemed to make it easier to sink in for some reason.
 

SeamusDelion

Puritan Board Freshman
So JMac is reformed in his doctrine of salvation, monergism. However, to be reformed, technically you need to hold to covenant theology. There are other particulars as well as they are related to a reformed confession (like the WCF) as others on this forum can fill you in. Also, some would argue that any type of baptist cannot be reformed as another particular is baptizing babies. People that hold to the 1689 London Baptist are often referred to as "particular baptists" by some. However, me personally, I have no issue calling people holding to this confession reformed baptists.

All that said, JMac would likely reject holding to the 2nd London Baptist confession. I don't believe his church holds to any type of confession and is non-denominational. I just want to stress again, this does not mean he is a bad bible teacher. He is one of my top 5 preachers. I am just giving you the info. I do highly disagree with his eschatology and his belief in a secret rapture though.
ok, I see, yes I don't believe in baptising babies, Its not a requirement for salvation but an outwardly expression of faith, that I believe should be the believers decision to do so. I also believe in full emersion as I am dying to sin and being born again (symbolically) however that being said I do not believe these are fundamental things in faith. The bible clearly teaches you bust repent and be born again to enter the kingdom. Faith in Christ alone is all that is required, and I believe that you're born again before you believe.

What do you mean by a secret rapture? or is this just the rapture in general? I do not hold to any eschatology believes yet as I just haven't found any reason to study deep into it. God is Sovereign that's all I care about, I see people arguing pre/post tribulations and get all bent out of shape, who really cares? the goal is to plant seeds and water them so God can bring the growth. :D Amen!

With that being said however, these things are minuscule to what other denominations believe, like the charismatics unfortunately, like to divide with anyone who don't hold exactly to their systems. I'm just glad to have found this board.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
So JMac is reformed in his doctrine of salvation, monergism.

Strictly speaking, he is monergistic but not Reformed in his doctrine of salvation because we may not divorce the Reformed understanding of soteriology from the covenant of grace. JMac is best seen as a sympathiser with Reformed theology, but not one of its proponents.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
ok, I see, yes I don't believe in baptising babies, Its not a requirement for salvation but an outwardly expression of faith, that I believe should be the believers decision to do so. I also believe in full emersion as I am dying to sin and being born again (symbolically) however that being said I do not believe these are fundamental things in faith. The bible clearly teaches you bust repent and be born again to enter the kingdom. Faith in Christ alone is all that is required, and I believe that you're born again before you believe.

What do you mean by a secret rapture? or is this just the rapture in general? I do not hold to any eschatology believes yet as I just haven't found any reason to study deep into it. God is Sovereign that's all I care about, I see people arguing pre/post tribulations and get all bent out of shape, who really cares? the goal is to plant seeds and water them so God can bring the growth. :D Amen!

With that being said however, these things are minuscule to what other denominations believe, like the charismatics unfortunately, like to divide with anyone who don't hold exactly to their systems. I'm just glad to have found this board.
Yes, I don't believe that baptism grants salvation either. However, I believe in paedobaptism because I hold to covenant theology. In any case, you don't need to worry about having perfect theology. You have the rest of your life to figure it all out. As you say, there are the essentials of the gospel and then there are secondary issues.

To answer your specific question about the secret rapture, this is in reference to what some call pre-trib rapture. Most reformed folks hold to Amill with Post Mill and Chiliasm mixed in there. Dispensational is very rare from what I have seen. However, again, you don't need to worry about perfect eschatology either. But it will affect some of your core beliefs as you start to become more consistent in your theology. In any case, since you are new to the reformed tradition, I would say some other good entry level resources are pretty much anything by RC Sproul. JC Ryle and Charles Spurgeon are also very easy to read. And, if you want to focus on Puritans, I would say Thomas Watson is very good and also very easy to understand.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
While there's merit in starting with the easier stuff first and working your way in slowly, sometimes jumping in at the deep end of the pool isn't a bad thing either.

My introduction to Reformed theology was Vos's Biblical Theology, which I still can't recommend highly enough. I didn't get it at first, but just kept working at it until I did (to the degree that you ever fully 'get' Vos).

"Energy and persistence conquer [most] things."

Owen won't steer you wrong. But frankly, I found McGrath and Packer's abridgment a bit boring when I tried it. It seemed to strip it of some flavor and character. I'll take my Owen full and undiluted, thank you. :)
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Welcome!
I think there are distillations online. Also, the copy you have, I think contains outlines.
As people have said, Owen is very hard and lengthy even when modernized.
 

SeamusDelion

Puritan Board Freshman
Hey thank you all guys I appreciate the feedback! I'm excited to study all these new theologies, and see how I can form my belief system.
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
I'd concur with the above suggestions of Ryle and Spurgeon. John Bunyan is also an excellent read. Start with the Pilgrim's Progress, but if you can get your hands on the 3 volume set of his complete works, he is generally a very good read. Also on this board you will find a lot of good material.

For contemporary sermons, go to Sermon Audio, and look up Rev KD MacLeod (Presbyterian) and Rev Malcolm Watts (Reformed Baptist). Others here will have other suggestions, not everyone on sermon audio is worth listening to.

And welcome.
 
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