Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Enemy Within

One of my favorite puritan works has been On the Mortification of Sin in the Believer by John Owen. Originally written in 1656, this 144 page abridgment of the much longer work (700+?) is surprisingly accessible and relevant for a contemporary audience. But be warned - the content is hard hitting. It comes at you with the subtlety of a charging bull on the streets of Pamplona; taking no notice of sacred territory, plowing through any obstruction with disregard for feelings and sacred cows. The book is voilent and bloody, but for all the right reasons. Owen unpacks Romans 8:13 at a level few dare to dive down as deeply (Rom 8:13 is "For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live"). Owen calls for the reader to put sin to death and describes all the different ways this can be accomplished and what it means.

The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of SinOf course, many find Owen's works daunting. Mortification is actually a rather accessible volume, but still, some would rather cough at the doctors office than bend the cover back on this one. A friend recently introduced me to a re-working of this volume in a modern, popular form by Kris Lundgaard, called The Enemy Within. Being such a fan of Owen's volume, I picked it up hesitantly, skeptical about its comparative slaying power. My was I surprised. This has been the best book for personal spiritual growth that I've read in a long time. Lundgaard doesn't merely recycle Owen, he adds his own thoughts and great illustrations, combined with compelling writing. I felt as if I were reading a mash up of The War of Art and a Jonathan Edwards work - attacking the very essence of what causes sin to linger in our souls. The chapters are very short and have highly practical questions at the end. Take the time to pick it up - you won't be disappointed - though your sin may be.

1 comment:

Tim Casteel said...

Good Recommendation John! I'm putting it on my wish list of books I want to read. Good to see you blogging more!