Vocatio as Regeneration: John Owen’s Concept of Effectual Calling

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This chapter assesses the extant in which John Owen’s soteriology can be called ‘modern’ by relating it to the thesis of Ernst Troeltsch (1865-1923), that Protestantism’s most striking influence on modernity lies in the domain of religious thought and feeling. An analysis of Owens understanding of the divine calling, mainly from his Pneumatologia, reveals that for him the vocatio is basically the effectual calling or regeneration of the elect by the renewalof their will. He does not make clear how this calling relates to the preaching of the gospel, though he does not restrict that to the elect. Although Owen’s views and terminology connect him strongly to the catholic Reformed traditional theology of Troeltsch’s Old Protestantism, some aspects of his thought, such as his ecclesiology and the voluntarism of his soteriology show that Owen also can be seen as ‘modern theologian’ or a representative of Troeltsch’s ‘New Protestantism’. Owen’s soteriology seems to be typical for a broader shift within the Reformed tradition towards a focus on the internal work of the Spirit in individual believers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJohn Owen between Orthodoxy and Modernity
EditorsWillem van Vlastuin, Kelly M. Kapic
Place of PublicationLeiden / Boston
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9789004391345
ISBN (Print)9789004391338
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

Publication series

NameStudies in Reformed Theology


  • John Owen
  • Ernst Troeltsch
  • Calling (vocatio)
  • Pneumatology
  • Holy Spirit


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