It is arguable that the Protestant heresy par excellence is Unitarianism, an error on the doctrine of God which can co-exist with a very high view of scripture. Many of the early Unitarians, the Socinians exhibit this. Thus, when John Owen engages with the Socinians, he really doesn’t have much to say about their doctrine of Scripture. He and his opponents are in fundamental agreement on the idea that Scripture is true and authoritative, and that it norms their doctrinal formulations. The big area that Owen focuses on is the doctrine of God.
Let me begin with a couple of anecdotes on how I became involved in this broad topic. The first takes place after I finished my PhD on the impact of Luther on the early English Reformation. I was looking for another project on which to engage, and I read a book with which I profoundly disagreed, on the understanding of the atonement in John Owen. So I decided my next project would be Owen on atonement. Yet what started as an attempt to address what I thought was a misreading of Owen’s doctrine of the atonement became in the end a study of Owen’s doctrine of the atonement in the context of his doctrine of the Trinity. This brought home to me the importance of the doctrine of the Trinity for basic soteriological doctrine. That was an intellectual side of what made me interested in this topic.
Anecdote - Years - Westminster - Seminary - Philadelphia
The second personal anecdote involved my early years at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia. I was asked to teach the medieval course when a colleague was away, and I did a section of that course on Eastern Orthodoxy. I became aware that a number of students in the class were contemplating converting to Eastern Orthodoxy. I wondered about how to approach this. I...
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Does it ever seem that life has become one long rerun?