Class of 69

I went to a school reunion last weekend. It was comprised of around 70 people who had left Larne Grammar School in 1969, called together again by Lynne McKee (nee Dunkley) and Roy Craig. I was expecting it to be a depressing experience, an almost unbearable reminder of my own mortality, and a competitive comparison of our achievements since those pre-Troubles days. It turned out to be strangely comforting and life-affirming. We greeted each other warmly and relaxed as friends who knew each other well and had nothing to prove to one another. It really was good. Continue reading “Class of 69”

John Owen

It is widely agreed that John Owen (1616-83) was the greatest theologian of the Puritan movement.owen_portrait Like many others, I find great benefit in his writings. There is no other writer whose thinking touches both the depth of sin and the heights of grace. And his concerns were always pastoral. He addressed the fundamental questions that Christians face in every age: How can I live the Christian life? How can I deal with the reality of sin and temptation? How can I honour Christ in my life?

In his “Communion with God” he writes:

“The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to him, is not to believe that he loves you.”

Owen was devastating with regard to sin. He is almost frightening in the way he exposes the nature, power and deceitfulness of sin in the human heart. But he was more concerned that we keep before us the truth of the gospel, namely, the love of God revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ. That’s why, as Jerry Bridges keeps telling us, we should not put the gospel “on the shelf” of our lives, but review it daily, and, in the joy that it brings, live for Christ. It is only the gospel that provides the motivation that we need to follow Christ.