John Owen

1616-1683

 

 

 
John Owen, born in Stadhampton in Oxfordshire, was an English Nonconformist church leader and theologian.

He was educated at Queen's College, Oxford.  While there he studied classics and theology and was ordained.  A Puritan by upbringing, in 1637 Owen became chaplain and tutor in the family of Sir Robert Dormer and then in that of Lord Lovelace.  While he lived in Charterhouse Yard he was troubled by religious questions.  His doubts were removed by a sermon preached by a stranger in Aldermanbury Chapel where he had gone intending to hear Edmund Calamy the Elder.  His first parish was at Fordham in Essex, to which he went while the nation was involved in civil war.

In 1644, Owen married Mary Rooke. The couple had 11 children, ten of whom died in infancy. One daughter survived to adulthood, married unhappily, returned home, and shortly thereafter died of consumption.

Oliver Cromwell liked Owen and took him as his chaplain on his expeditions both to Ireland and Scotland (1649-1651). Owen's fame was at its height from 1651 to 1660 when he played a prominent part in the religious, political, and academic life of the nation. Appointed dean of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1651, he became also vice-chancellor of the university in 1652, a post he held for five years with great distinction and with a marked impartiality not often found in Puritan divines. This led him also to disagreement, even with Cromwell, over the latter's assumption of the protectorship.

Owen retained his deanery until 1659. Shortly after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, he moved to London, where he was active in preaching and writing until his death. He declined invitations to the ministry in Boston (1663) and the presidency of Harvard (1670) and chided New England Congregationalists for intolerance. He turned aside also from high preferment when his influence was acknowledged by governmental attempts to persuade him to relinquish Nonconformity in favor of the established church.

John Owen died on September 4, 1683 and is buried in the same cemetery as John Bunyan, Bunhill Fields in London.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Web Hosting Companies