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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Perfectionism and John Owen

I am currently teaching John Owen’s Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers in our Sunday school class. We’re working through a chapter a week, and both as preparation for my own teaching, and as a way of helping the church grasp Owen, I’m “translating” Owen from his English into something a bit more comprehensible.

We’re in chapter two, and I was puzzled by this section, in his discussion of perfectionism:

And, therefore, many in our days who have talked of perfection have been wiser, and have affirmed it to consist in knowing no difference between good and evil. Not that they are perfect in the things we call good, but that all is alike to them, and the height of wickedness is their perfection.

For what it’s worth, here’s my rendering:

Because of the obvious errors of this teaching, many in our days who talk of perfection have been more subtle, saying that perfection consists of knowing no difference between good and evil. So they are not perfect in the things we call good, but they say that all is alike to them, so that the height of their wickedness is their perfection.

Here’s my question: does anybody know anything about this teaching that Owen mentions here? While I’m familiar with the jist of perfectionism, I’ve not heard of this particular strain of the teaching.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in From my reading