Martyn Calvin Cowan Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Martyn Calvin Cowan

Lecturer in Historical Theology
Union Theological College

Martyn Cowan read Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast and Theological and Pastoral Studies at Oak Hill Theological College, London. He subsequently completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge. In 2016 he was appointed Lecturer in Historical Theology at the Union Theological College, Belfast. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

Subjects: History, Religion


Martyn Cowan completed a doctorate in historical theology at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of the Rev’d Dr Stephen Hampton with a dissertation entitled ’The prophetic preaching of John Owen from 1646 to 1659 in its historical context'. He gave the 2016 St Antholin Charity Lecture which was subsequently published as Portrait of a Prophet: Lessons from the Preaching of John Owen (1616-1683) (Latimer Trust, 2016).

He has taught at the Cornhill Training Course in Belfast and contributed the ‘Introduction to the Old Testament Historical Books’ in NIV Proclamation Bible: Correctly Handling the Word of Truth (Hodder & Stoughton, 2013).

He has a postgraduate qualification in teaching and learning in higher education (PGCHET) from Queen’s University Belfast and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


    PhD, The University of Cambridge, 2012
    MTh (Distinction), Oak Hill College, London, 2004
    MA, Queen's University, Belfast, 1999
    BA (Hons), Queen's University, Belfast, 1997



Featured Title
 Featured Title - John Owen and the Civil War Apocalypse: Cowan - 1st Edition book cover


Book Reviews of John Owen and the Civil War Apocalypse

By: Martyn Calvin Cowan

John Owen and the Civil War Apoclypse has been reviewed in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History by  Matthew Bingham, from Oak Hill Theological College in London, author of Orthodox Radicals: Baptist Identity in the English Revolution (Oxford, 2019). 

Bingham notes that whilst Owen has 'proved intensely fascinating to historical theologians', often he has been neglected by scholars of social, cultural and political history. He goes on to say that 'with the publication of Martyn Cowan's John Owen and the Civil War Apocalypse, those sceptical of Owen's wider relevance have been given good reason to reconsider'.  He continues, 'Cowan has produced a work that takes Owen's theological ideas very seriously indeed, and yet does not interpret them apart from an equally serious inquiry into the broader historical context out of which they arose and in which they were intended to be received'. Bingham explains that the second half of the book will be of particular interest to historians of the Commonwealth and Protectorate. His concluding summary is that the book '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'. 

Cowan's book has also been reviewed by Michael Allen from the Reformed Theological Seminary in the Renaissance Quarterly . Allen concludes his review by writing, '[t]he book repays reading' because it 'adds much to the common portrait of Owen'. 



Journal Reviews from Church History and Westminster Theological Journal

By: Martyn Calvin Cowan

Cowan's work on Owen has recently been reviewed by two other Owen scholars - Kelly Kapic (Covenant College) and Ryan McGraw (Greenville Theological Seminary). 

Kapic's review is published in Church History 87.3 (2018): 904-907. 

McGraw's review may be found in Westminster Theological Journal 80.1 (2018): 176-177.


Themelios Review of Crawford Gribben's 'John Owen and English Puritanism'

By: Martyn Calvin Cowan

My Themelios review of Prof Crawford's Gribben's excellent monography on Owen has just been published online. This book really does consolidate the new turn in Owen studies and is available in paperback for £22.99.


Discussing the Reformation on RTE's Leap of Faith

By: Martyn Calvin Cowan

On Friday 27 October 2017 I took part in RTE Radio 1's Leap of Faith alongside Dr Alison Forrestal (NUI Galway) and Professor Daire Keogh (Deputy President of DCU). In the programme we explored the impact of Luther and the Reformation. 

Luther talk at Lisburn Museum

By: Martyn Calvin Cowan

Reformation 500 article in the Irish Times

By: Martyn Calvin Cowan

This article from the Irish Times (17 Oct 2017) explores whether the Reformation was a watershed moment that was predetermined by what had gone before. It is available to read online.

Crawford Gribben reviews John Owen and the Civil War Apocalypse

By: Martyn Calvin Cowan

Owen scholar, Prof Crawford Gribben has reviewed Cowan's John Owen and the Civil War Apocalypse and McGraw's John Owen: Trajectories in Reformed Orthodox theology (Palgrave, 2017) in the Journal of the Northern Renaissance. He describes Cowan's work as 'one of the most important contributions to Owen studies'. Gribben's conclusion is that these two books will push Owen studies in important new directions in historical theology and in the social history of ideas. The review of this seasoned Owen scholar makes for stimulating reading and is available online.