COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
Leonard Harris loves the writings of the Puritans, but has little time these days to "hack through" the tough, theological language in which they are written.
"I really would love to read more of the writings of the Puritans, but I just hate having to hack through all of that complicated theological language." Says Harris. "Those guys were so deep and profound when they wrote, but sometimes sentences just go on and on, and there are sub-points to sub-points to sub-points. I just don't have time for all of that."
Harris' sentiment is not unique either. Many faithful believers avoid the Puritans simply because they find them too difficult to grasp and read.
"I know that [the Puritans] are saying things that are good and helpful spiritually." Said Erin Carnes, who attends a weekly devotional book study at her church in Colorado Springs. "But I just want something I can read, something in my language that communicates to me."
So what to do in this situation? Who can help? None other than Eugene Peterson. Peterson, who is best known for his popular contemporary paraphrase of the Bible, The Message, heard the cry for help and immediately set out to bring the Puritans into the modern age.
"Where else could I begin but with the writings of that Puritan giant, John Owen?" Commented Peterson. "So many people would benefit from his works, but many just can't understand them. He has sentences sometimes that go on for whole pages! Owen needs to be brought into the 21st century and put in the language of today. So I went about this by asking the question, 'How would John Owen have talked if he lived today?'"
Peterson's first edition of The Puritan Message: The Writings of John Owen is due to hit the shelves by mid-April. Samples are already available for viewing online where one can compare the original writings of John Owen with the new Puritan Message paraphrase.
"The effect, also, and actual product of the work itself, or what is accomplished and fulfilled by the death, blood-shedding, or oblation of Jesus Christ, is no less clearly manifested, but is as fully, and very often more distinctly, expressed; -- as, first, Reconciliation with God, by removing and slaying the enmity that was between him and us;"
The Puritan Message:
"Here's what's happening people. When Jesus died it really worked things out. Everything is totally cool between us and God now."
"I'm pumped!" Said Harris. "I've been waiting for something like this for a long time. I've already got my copy pre-ordered."
The Puritan Message: The Writings of John Owen is 250 pages long, condensing Owen's traditionally multi-volumed work into a single read. In addition to the "contemporary language" of the work, all point and sub-point numbers have been removed giving Owen's writings are more "personal feel." The cost will be $19.95 for hardback, $35.99 for bonded leather, or $59.99 for genuine leather.