2 Timothy 4:3–4 (ESV)
3For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Can a man who has been dead over 300 years have any relevance or significance to us now? Can anything in his life hold our interest? Although we know little of his life, we have many of his Biblical studies and theological works. These remain as some of the finest theology ever written. But one thing about his life, which stands out, we do know:
He was married 31 years. In that time, his wife bore 11 children, all but one of whom died as a child. The one who lived to adulthood herself died young and childless. In 31 years, John Owen saw the loss of 11 children and his wife. That is an average of one child’s death every three years through 31 years of his life.
His faithfulness as a Christian and as a minister of Christ, through a life of suffering makes him much more “relevant” to me than the “rock star” preachers making the circuit today. God still mightily uses his works today; will anyone a generation from now even know who Jakes, Meyers, Olsteen, Hagee, Crouch, Robertson, et al and ad nauseum were? Will they be found “relevant?”
I challenge anyone reading this to find John Owen’s works, abridged or unabridged, ebook or print, and dig in for some real soul-food. J. I. Packer (someone who will be remembered) credits Owen with saving his spiritual life. God might use Owen’s works for you, too.