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John Owen on the Lord's Supper

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The approach of the Puritans to the Lord’s Supper is a comparatively neglected aspect of their heritage. In particular, John Owen’s twenty-five sacramental discourses are little known and little read, even among those who value his massive contribution to the understanding and defence of the doctrines of the gospel.

In John Owen on the Lord’s Supper, Jon D. Payne has set out to rescue Owen’s teaching on the Supper from this neglect. He sets the scene by outlining Owen’s life and teaching. He then goes on to examine the development of Reformed teaching on the Supper- especially the part played by Calvin and Peter Martyr Vermigli- before focusing on Owen’s Twenty-five Discourses Suitable to the Lord’s Supper, delivered between 1669 and 1682, and taken down by hearers.

But the latter part of this volume is occupied by the Discourses themselves. Here the reader will encounter an Owen less concerned to define and defend truth than to comfort and help even the weakest of believers as they come to the Lord’s Supper. The great and lasting value of this work comes from Owen’s obvious desire to promote ‘delight in Christ, thankfulness unto him, and the keeping of his word’, in all who partake.

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In the continuing debates over the various sacramental views in the Reformed tradition it is good to get these discourses by John Owen in one Volume. Jon Payne has written an invaluable summary of the various positions and has (in case of the Supper) placed Owen firmly in the tradition of Calvin and Vermigli without necessarily employing Calvin’s (sometimes) tortuous language. The church is indebted to him for this contribution. This is a timely publication. I warmly commend it.’ — Derek Thomas