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John Owen’s Perspective on the Effects of Habits:
Habits Promote Sanctity of the Church
We had a light in this candlestick; which did not only enlighten the room, but gave light to others far and near.
—David Clarkson, Spoken of John Owen at Owen’s Funeral
In the wake of the English civil war, groups of clergy were ousted because of their seemingly anti-government teachings, ministry, and perspective. These men did not seek to overthrow the government, but rather to purify the church that had become so closely married to the government. Thus, in 1662 an edict was issued to provide standardization across the Church of England and that edict was the Act of Uniformity. It was declared that there would be uniformity in the sacraments, public prayer, and all of these changes were based on the Book of Common Prayer. However, these clergy members, given the pejorative title Puritan, refused to adhere to this new mandate and were ejected from every formal ministry or governmental position in England. This was the Great Ejection of 1662 in which some 2,000 plus clergy members forfeited their formal positions of ministry and government leadership because of a refusal to submit to the Act of Uniformity. One of these clergy members was John Owen—a faculty of Oxford, regular chaplain of Oliver Cromwell, and English clergymen. (more…)
In the history of the church and particularly counseling within the church, there has been a house, of sorts, that is developing. Faithful, competent men and women are slowly building the house of biblical counseling on a solid foundation. One of these men—Jay Adams—spoke into the some of the load-bearing walls within this house. Jay Adams said one load-bearing wall is that,
Few, if any, recent theologians have discussed the relationship of habit to behavior. Their efforts have been expended on important questions having to do with Adam’s sin, the effects of sin upon the nature of his descendants, and the process by which sin has been transmitted to his posterity. These are all vital questions, as I have noted in the earlier chapter. But so is the matter of habit—especially for counseling.