Subscribe now

Spiritual-Mindedness

By John Owen
November 2009 | Review by Dennis Hill

Synopsis

This newest in the Puritan Paperback Series began as Owen's personal meditations on Romans 8:6, became a favourite book of William Wilberforce and now is encouraging others who feel overwhelmed by the power of worldliness.

  • Publisher: Banner of Truth
  • ISBN: 978-1848710368
  • Pages: 264
  • Price: £2.68
Buy this book »

Book Review

When people hear a sermon which is searching and convicting, they don’t usually tell the preacher! This book is like that.

John Owen, the great seventeenth-century Puritan theologian, wrote it during a period of ill health when he was unable to preach. As with other books in the Banner’s Puritan Paperbacks series, it has been abridged and helpfully put into more modern English by R. J. K. Law.

Owen sets out to describe what a saved spiritual state (spiritual-mindedness) and an unsaved spiritual state (carnal-mindedness) are like. In making the differences clear he helps us to see where we are (Romans 8:6). He tells us that we are all in one state or the other, but ‘few are able to judge whether they have true peace or not’.

Owen shows no partiality towards fellow ministers :  ’Christian ministers … are often the least spiritually-minded of all people.’ This spiritual-mindedness is something that bubbles up from the new life within, not something which is brought in from the outside by the stirring of the conscience or particular troubles.

Preaching and prayer are two main means of engendering the spiritual heavenly thoughts which mark spiritual-mindedness. In the unregenerate this kind of thinking is only temporary.

Owen challenges us to compare ourselves with David and other Old Testament saints. He argues, ‘If we do not have the same delight in God, then we can have no evidence that we please God as they did or shall go to the place where they have gone.’

Owen’s argument can be summarised simply. If our spiritual life is not at a pretty high level, we might be truly saved but can have no safe assurance that it is so. Therefore, he seeks to show us how to consecrate ourselves totally to Christ and to love him above everything.

The book searches out the weaknesses and inconsistencies in our spiritual lives. The poorer our spiritual life, the more powerfully this book will shock us. But, don’t let that put you off!

Some sincere Christians who need assurance, might be better off with Guthrie’s The Christian’s Great Interest. But for those of us who need a wake-up call, this may be the book.

Will I enjoy it? Perhaps not. Should I read it? Definitely!

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Jesus in Jerusalem: Prelude to the cross
Robert Bashford

This is a most helpful and informative book in which, from all four Gospels, Robert Bashford examines the last week of Jesus’s ministry in Jerusalem. In a useful introduction, he suggests a chronological timetable and deals convincingly with the alleged…

See all book reviews
The History and Theology of Calvinism
Curt Daniel

This must be the most comprehensive study of the subject available today. It is difficult to think of any aspect of Calvinism that is not covered. It is divided into two major sections. The first covers the history, and ranges…

Searching Our Hearts in Difficult Times
John Owen

It is difficult to do this book justice in a review – the only way to grasp how helpful it is will be to read it for yourself. John Owen has a reputation for writing in a style that is…

An Introduction to John Owen: A Christian vision for every stage of life
Crawford Gribben

This unusual yet valuable book is not a biography of the influential Puritan. Rather its purpose – which it achieves capably – is ‘to discover the kind of life he hoped his readers would experience’ (p.13). Drawing on Owen’s extensive…