Friday, September 8, 2006

Dr Alan Spence on John Owen

Alan Spence, whom I got to know at King’s College London, is a minister based at Ealing, London. In my early days of planning for a PhD proposal, one dissertation which helped steer me in the direction I’m now heading, and which I felt needed to be published and brought to public awareness is his 1989 dissertation, “Incarnation and Inspiration: John Owen and the Coherence of Christology”. It was pursued under the supervision of the late Prof. of Christian doctrine at Kings College London, Colin E. Gunton.

I’ve just received news from Alan that T&T Clark / Continuum will be publishing his dissertation, hopefully somewhere in the first quarter of 2007. This is marvelous news! It certainly is a great service to the public and especially to those who are fascinated by Owen’s theology. If, like me, you have a hunch that Owen makes significant contributions to the history of doctrine but isn’t quite sure what those contributions are, “Incarnation and Inspiration” is one work that clarifies much of these hunches in the area of Christology. Here’s the abstract:
Incarnation and Inspiration are concepts which can be used to characterise two quite different ways of thinking about Christ. Although the history of doctrine suggests that these are mutually exclusive it is argued here that John Owen successfully integrated them into one coherent christology. The underlying structure of his exposition was that of the incarnation understood as the Son's act of humility whereby he willingly assumed humanity into personal union with himself. But Owen argued that this humanity of Christ maintained its integrity in all its actions experiencing God always as man totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. By his doctrine of the Holy Spirit he found a way of holding together the two essential christological types outlined at Chalcedon but not successfully embraced in a coherent theological system.
You can browse through the entire dissertation at Alan’s personal blog. While you're there, do not miss his articles, "A unified theory of the atonement" and "John Owen and Trinitarian agency".

1 comment:

H.C. Ross said...

Thanks, Edwin, for helping bring the "Owen" cookies down to a lower shelf where the rest of us can reach them! Sounds like very helpful stuff ...

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