The Pastoral Disposition in the Thought of John Owen
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John Owen is presented in scholarship as a statesman, an academic, and a theologian. Though it is widely acknowledged that he was a pastor throughout his lifetime, little attention has been paid to his pastoral theology or the broader pastoral context of his life’s work. In this project, I argue that Owen’s mature pastoral theology depends significantly on his work on the Holy Spirit, building particularly upon the doctrines of regeneration and sanctification. These twin emphases form the background to his focus on the nature of pastoral work, a focus that prioritises the being of the pastor before the actions of the pastor. This emphasis in Owen’s work not only addresses issues that were of concern to him in the 17th century, but it also answers pressing questions in contemporary pastoral theology as well. The first chapter will provide a brief evaluation of contemporary practical theology and set the framework for why an exploration of Owen’s pastoral theology is important from the perspectives of both historical and practical theology. The second and third chapters will examine the historical basis for the concept of habitus and Owen’s adaptation of the scholastic ontological framework for his own theological purposes. The fourth and fifth chapters will look at how Owen uses habitus in his development of the doctrines of regeneration and sanctification. The sixth and seventh chapters focus on the nature and action of the pastor in Owen’s mature pastoral theology as dependent upon the previously explored theological emphases.
Dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - VID Specialized University, Centre of Mission and Global Studies, Stavanger 2021