1st Edition

John Owen and the Civil War Apocalypse Preaching, Prophecy and Politics

By Martyn Calvin Cowan Copyright 2018
    236 Pages
    by Routledge

    236 Pages
    by Routledge

    John Owen was one of the most significant figures in Reformed Orthodox theology during the Seventeenth Century, exerting considerable religious and political influence in the context of the British Civil War and Interregnum. Using Owen’s sermons from this period as a window into the mind of a self-proclaimed prophet, this book studies how his apocalyptic interpretation of contemporary events led to him making public calls for radical political and cultural change.

    Owen believed he was ministering at a unique moment in history, and so the historical context in which he writes must be equally considered alongside the theological lineage that he draws upon. Combining these elements, this book allows for a more nuanced interpretation of Owen’s ministry that encompasses his lofty spiritual thought as well as his passionate concerns with more corporeal events.

    This book represents part of a new historical turn in Owen Studies and will be of significant interest to scholars of theological history as well as Early Modern historians.

    Introduction; 1 Owen’s prophetic worldview; 2 The identification and interpretation of providentially significant events; 3 The obligation to ‘improve’ these providential mercies; 4 The magistrate’s response to providentially significant events; 5 The obligations of the magistrate and the search for a church settlement; 6 Warnings of judgment to a negligent nation; Conclusion


    Martyn Cowan is a Lecturer in Historical Theology at Union Theological College, Northern Ireland.

    'Martyn Cowan’s study of John Owen and the Civil War Apocalypse ... must be recognised as one of the most important contributions to Owen studies, and a fine addition to the excellent Routledge series in "Religious Cultures in the Early Modern World."'

    – Crawford Gribben, Queen’s University Belfast, Journal of the Northern Renaissance

    "This volume makes an excellent contribution to the ongoing renaissance in Owen studies and helpfully illuminates the degree to which apocalyptic fervour shaped the development of Cromwellian England."

    - Matthew C. Bingham, Oak Hill College, London, Journal of Ecclesiastical History

    'Cowan helps us better appreciate how Owen’s theological convictions interact with his political vision. Eschatology profoundly shaped how he viewed the world, including England’s place within it … Cowan’s work should be warmly received by historians and theologians alike.'

    - Kelly Kapic, Covenant College, Church History

    'A valuable study for those interested in seventeenth-century eschatology, preaching, and English Puritanism … Cowan’s work contributes significantly to understanding the issues at stake in seventeenth-century England.'

    - Ryan McGraw, Greenville Presbyterian Seminary, Westminster Theological Journal