Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Overcoming Sin and Temptation, by John Owen, Kelly M. Kapic, & Justin Taylor


Editors Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor do their darnedest to make one of the most notoriously unreadable Puritans accessible to lay readers.  This is my first exposure to Owen, so I can't really compared their 'modernized' version to the original, but I can say that all though it was substantively dense and organizationally complex, it was also quite readable. 

In fact, Kapic and Taylor are so determined to simplify Owen that they footnote and define more than 250 words throughout the book--words ranging from the complex ('tergiversation') to the poetic ('ere') to the seemingly straightforward ('alacrity').  As a bit of a logophile, I got a bit distracted--I was curious to see which words were deemed 'obscure' enough to require footnoting.  However, it is still helpful, particularly for those unaccustomed to using context clues to bluff their way through weird words. 

And now for Owen himself.  As I said, this was my first exposure to the brilliant theologian, and I have to admit, his reputation is well deserved.  His analysis of sin and temptation is spot on and extremely convicting, and I was surprised to see how many of my own sinful thoughts and justifications were exceedingly common back in the 1600s (and likely before).  Nothing new under the sun, indeed. 

Owen is incredibly insightful, and his impressive intellect is founded on extremely solid, gospel-centered theology.  It is a pity that he's not more readable--he really should be a staple of every Christian's literary diet.  But then, I guess Kapic and Taylor are doing what they can to make that happen.

Bottom line:  Read it. 

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