During his Oxford years he wrote Justitia Divina, an exposition of the dogma that God cannot forgive sin without an atonement; Communion with God, Doctrine of the Saints' Perseverance, his final attack on Arminianism; Vindiciae Evangelicae, a treatise written by order of the Council of State against Socinianism as expounded by John Biddle; On the Mortification of Sin in Believers, an introspective and analytic work; Schism, one of the most readable of all his writings; Of Temptation, an attempt to recall Puritanism to its cardinal spiritual attitude from the jarring anarchy of sectarianism and the pharisaism which had followed on popularity and threatened to destroy the early simplicity.
Kindle Edition File Size: Amazon Australia Services, Inc. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Get to Know Us. Amazon Web Services Goodreads Shopbop. Not Enabled Word Wise: No reference to a mind or rational will was required to explain any human endeavor. Darwin himself once had believed in God and the immortality of the soul.
But later he found that these could not count as evidence for the existence of God. He ended up an agnostic. On the one hand he felt compelled to affirm a First Cause of such an immense and wonderful universe and to reject blind chance or necessity, but on the other hand he remained skeptical of the capacities of humans "developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals. Not all nineteenth century scientific thinking, however, yielded skeptical conclusions.
He concluded that the cultic practices of religion have the non-illusory quality of producing measurable good consequences in their adherents. Moreover, he theorized that the fundamental categories of thought, and even of science, have religious origins. Almost all the great social institutions were born of religion. He was lead to claim that "the idea of society is the soul of religion": In the context of these various scientific developments, philosophical arguments about faith and reason developed in several remarkable directions in the nineteenth century.
Friedrich Schleiermacher was a liberal theologian who was quite interested in problems of biblical interpretation. He claimed that religion constituted its own sphere of experience, unrelated to scientific knowledge. Thus religious meaning is independent of scientific fact.
His Romantic fideism would have a profound influence on Kierkegaard. Karl Marx is well known as an atheist who had strong criticisms of all religious practice. Much of his critique of religion had been derived from Ludwig Feuerbach, who claimed that God is merely a psychological projection meant to compensate for the suffering people feel. Rejecting wholesale the validity of such wishful thinking, Marx claimed not only that all sufferings are the result of economic class struggle but that they could be alleviated by means of a Communist revolution that would eliminate economic classes altogether.
Moreover, Marx claimed that religion was a fundamental obstacle to such a revolution, since it was an "opiate" that kept the masses quiescent. Religious beliefs thus arise from a cognitive malfunction: He came up with an unequivocal view of faith and reason much like Tertullian's strong incompatibilism.
If Kant argued for religion within the limits of reason alone, Kierkegaard called for reason with the limits of religion alone. Faith requires a leap. All arguments that reason derives for a proof of God are in fact viciously circular: Hegel tried to claim that faith could be elevated to the status of objective certainty. Seeking such certainly, moreover, Kierkegaard considered a trap: The radical trust of faith is the highest virtue one can reach.
Kierkegaard claimed that all essential knowledge intrinsically relates to an existing individual. The aesthetic is the life that seeks pleasure. The ethical is that which stresses the fulfillment of duties. Neither of these attains to the true individuality of human existence. But in the ethico-religious sphere, truth emerges in the authenticity of the relationship between a person and the object of his attention. With authenticity, the importance is on the "how," not the "what," of knowledge.
It attains to a subjective truth, in which the sincerity and intensity of the commitment is key. This authenticity is equivalent to faith understood as "an objective uncertainty held fast in an appropriation-process of the most passionate inwardness. Kierkegaard makes a similarly paradoxical claim in holding that "nothing historical can become infinitely certain for me except the fact of my own existence which again cannot become infinitely certain for any other individual, who has infinite certainty only of his own existence and this is not something historical.
Faith involves a submission of the intellect.
It is not only hostile to but also completely beyond the grasp of reason. Though he never read Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche came up with remarkable parallels to his thought. Both stressed the centrality of the individual, a certain disdain for public life, and a hatred of personal weakness and anonymity. They also both attacked certain hypocrisies in Christendom and the overstated praise for reason in Kant and Hegel. But Nietzsche had no part of Kierkegaard's new Christian individual, and instead defended the aesthetic life disdained by Kierkegaard against both morality and Christianity.
So he critique religion not from Kierkegaard's epistemological perspective, but from a highly original moral perspective. Nietzsche claimed that religion breeds hostility to life, understood broadly as will to power. Religion produces two types of character: In The Joyful Wisdom Nietzsche proclaims that God as a protector of the weak, though once alive, is now dead, and that we have rightly killed him.
Now, instead, he claims that we instead need to grasp the will to power that is part of all things and guides them to their full development completely within the natural world. For humans Nietzsche casts the will to power as a force of artistic and creative energy. Roman Catholics traditionally claimed that the task of reason was to make faith intelligible. In the later part of the nineteenth century, John Cardinal Newman worked to defend the power of reason against those intellectuals of his day who challenged its efficacy in matters of faith.
Though maintaining the importance of reason in matters of faith, he reduces its ability to arrive at absolute certainties. In his Grammar of Assent, Newman argued that one assents to God on the basis of one's experience and principles. And one can do this by means of a kind of rational demonstration. And yet this demonstration is not actually reproducible by others; each of us has a unique domain of experience and expertise. Some are just given the capacity and opportunities to make this assent to what is demonstrated others are not.
Drawing for Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics , Newman argues that "a special preparation of mind is required for each separate department of inquiry and discussion. He claims that Locke, for example, overlooked how human nature actually works, imposing instead his own idea of how the mind is to act on the basis of deduction from evidence. If Locke would have looked more closely at experience, he would have noticed that much of our reasoning is tacit and informal. It cannot usually be reconstructed for a set of premises.
Rather it is the accumulation of probabilities, independent of each other, arising out of the circumstances of the particular case. No specific consideration usually suffices to generate the required conclusion, but taken together, they may converge upon it. This is usually what is called a moral proof for belief in a proposition.
In fact, we are justified in holding the beliefs even after we have forgotten what the warrant was. This probabilistic approach to religious assent continued in the later thinking of Basil Mitchell. William James followed in the pragmatist tradition inaugurated by Charles Sanders Peirce. Pragmatists held that all beliefs must be tested, and those that failed to garner sufficient practical value ought to be discarded.
In his Will to Believe , James was a strong critic of W. Clifford, like Hume, had argued that acting on beliefs or convictions alone, unsupported by evidence, was pure folly. He likened such acting to that of an irresponsible shipowner who allows an untrustworthy ship to be ready to set sail, merely thinking it safe, and then gives "benevolent wishes" for those who would set sail in it. Clifford concluded that we have a duty to act only on well founded beliefs.
If we have no grounds for belief, we must suspend judgment. This provided the basis for an ethics of belief quite different than Newman's. Clifford's evidentialism inspired subsequent philosophers such as Bertrand Russell and Michael Scriven. James argued, pace Clifford, that life would be severely impoverished if we acted only on completely well founded beliefs.
Like Newman, James held that belief admits of a wide spectrum of commitment: The feelings that attach to a belief are significant. He defended the need we have, at times, to allow our "passional tendencies" to influence our judgments. Thus, like Pascal, he took up a voluntarist argument for religious belief, though one not dependent solely upon a wager. There are times, admittedly few, when we must act on our beliefs passionately held but without sufficient supporting evidence.
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These rare situations must be both momentous, once in a lifetime opportunities, and forced, such that the situation offers the agent only two options: Religious beliefs often take on both of these characteristics. Pascal had realized the forced aspect of Christian belief, regarding salvation: God would not save the disbeliever.
As a result, religion James claimed that a religious belief could be a genuine hypothesis for a person to adopt. James does, however, also give some evidential support for this choice to believe. We have faith in many things in life -- in molecules, conversation of energy, democracy, and so forth -- that are based on evidence of their usefulness for us. But even in these cases "Our faith is faith in some one else's faith.
Nonetheless, James believed that while philosophers like Descartes and Clifford, not wanting to ever be dupes, focused primarily on the need to avoid error, even to the point of letting truth take its chance, he as an empiricist must hold that the pursuit of truth is paramount and the avoidance of error is secondary. His position entailed that that dupery in the face of hope is better than dupery in the face of fear. In "The Sentiment of Rationality" James concludes that faith is "belief in something concerning which doubt is still theoretically possible; and as the test of belief is willingness to act, one may say that faith is the readiness to act in a cause the prosperous issue of which is not certified to us in advance.
Faith is oriented towards action: Darwins's scientific thesis of natural selection and Freud's projective views of God continued to have a profound impact on many aspects of the philosophy of religion in the twentieth century. In fact the interplay between faith and reason began to be cast, in many cases, simply as the conflict between science and religion. Not all scientific discoveries were used to invoke greater skepticism about the validity of religious claims, however.
For example, in the late twentieth century some physicists endorsed what came to be called the anthropic principle. The principle derives from the claim of some physicists that a number of factors in the early universe had to coordinate in a highly statistically improbable way to produce a universe capable of sustaining advanced life forms. Among the factors are the mass of the universe and the strengths of the four basic forces electromagnetism, gravitation, and the strong and weak nuclear forces.
It is difficult to explain this fine tuning. Many who adhere to the anthropic principle, such as Holmes Rolston, John Leslie, and Stephen Hawking, argue that it demands some kind of extra-natural explanation. Some think it suggests possibilities for a new design argument for God's existence.
However, one can hold the anthropic principle and still deny that it has religious implications. It is possible to argue that it indicates not a single creator creating a single universe, but indeed many universes, either contemporaneous with our own or in succession to it. The twentieth century witnessed numerous attempts to reconcile religious belief with new strands of philosophical thinking and with new theories in science. Many philosophers of religion in the twentieth century took up a new appreciation for the scope and power of religious language.
This was prompted to a large extent by the emphasis on conceptual clarity that dominated much Western philosophy, particularly early in the century. This emphasis on conceptual clarity was evidenced especially in logical positivism. Ayer and Antony Flew, for example, argued that all metaphysical language fails to meet a standard of logical coherence and is thus meaningless. Metaphysical claims are not in principle falsifiable. As such, their claims are neither true nor false. They make no verifiable reference to the world. Religious language shares these characteristics with metaphysical language.
Flew emphasized that religious believers generally cannot even state the conditions under which they would give up their faith claims. Since their claims then are unfalsifiable, they are not objects for rational determination. One response by compatibilists to these arguments of logical positivists was to claim that religious beliefs, though meaningless in the verificational sense, are nonetheless important in providing the believer with moral motivations and self-understanding.
This is an anti-realist understanding of faith. An example of this approach is found in R. Responding to Flew, he admitted that religious faith consists of a set of unfalsifiable assumptions, which he termed "bliks.
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Basil Mitchell responded to Flew's claim that religious beliefs cannot be falsified. Mitchell argued that although rational and scientific considerations can and ought at times to prompt revisions of one's religious belief, no one can give a general determination of exactly at what point a set of evidence ought to count decisively against a faith claim. It is up to each believer to decide when this occurs. To underscore this claim, Mitchell claimed that the rationality of religious beliefs ought to be determined not foundationally, as deductions from rational first principles, but collectively from the gathering of various types of evidence into a pattern.
Nonetheless, he realized that this accumulation of evidence, as the basis for a new kind of natural theology, might not be strong enough to counter the skeptic. In the spirit of Newman, Mitchell concluded by defending a highly refined cumulative probabilism in religious belief. Another reaction against logical positivism stemmed from Ludwig Wittgenstein. In his "Lectures on Religious Belief," he argued that there is something unique about the linguistic framework of religious believers. Their language makes little sense to outsiders.
Thus one has to share in their form of life in order to understand the way the various concepts function in their language games. The various language games form a kind of "family resemblance. From Wittgenstein's perspective, science and religion are just two different types of language games. This demand to take on an internal perspective in order to assess religious beliefs commits Wittgenstein to a form of incompatibilism between faith and reason.
Interpreters of Wittgenstein, like Norman Malcolm, claimed that although this entails that religious beliefs are essentially groundless, so are countless other everyday beliefs, such as in the permanence of our objects of perception, in the uniformity of nature, and even in our knowledge of our own intentions.
Wittgenstein, like Kierkegaard, claimed that proofs for God's existence have little to do with actual belief in God. He did think that life itself could "educate" us about God's existence. In Culture and Value he claims that sufferings can have a great impact on one's beliefs. Experiences, thoughts--life can force this concept on us. Phillips also holds the view that religion has its own unique criteria for acceptable belief.
John Hick , in Faith and Knowledge , modifies the Wittgensteinian idea of forms of life to analyze faith claims in a novel manner. Hick claimed that this could shed light upon the epistemological fides analysis of faith. From such an analysis follows the non-epistemological thinking fiducia that guides actual practice. Taking up the epistemological analysis, Hick first criticizes the voluntarisms of Pascal and James as "remote from the state of mind of such men as the great prophets.
Hick argues instead for the importance of rational certainty in faith. He posits that there are as many types of grounds for rational certainty as there are kinds of objects of knowledge. He claims that religious beliefs share several crucial features with any empirical claim: Nonetheless, Hick realizes that there are important ways in which sense beliefs and religious beliefs are distinct: In fact, it may in fact be rational for a person who has not had experiences that compel belief to withhold belief in God.
From these similarities and differences between faith claims and claims of reason, Hick concludes that religious faith is the noninferential and unprovable basic interpretation either of a moral or religious "situational significance" in human experience. Faith is not the result of logical reasoning, but rather a profession that God "as a living being" has entered into the believer's experience.
This act of faith situates itself in the person's material and social environment. Religious faith interprets reality in terms of the divine presence within the believer's human experience. Although the person of faith may be unable to prove or explain this divine presence, his or her religious belief still acquire the status of knowledge similar to that of scientific and moral claims.
Thus even if one could prove God's existence, this fact alone would be a form of knowledge neither necessary nor sufficient for one's faith. It would at best only force a notional assent. Believers live by not by confirmed hypotheses, but by an intense, coercive, indubitable experience of the divine. Sallie McFague , in Models of God , argues that religious thinking requires a rethinking of the ways in which religious language employs metaphor.
Religious language is for the most part neither propositional nor assertoric. Rather, it functions not to render strict definitions, but to give accounts. To say, for example, "God is mother," is neither to define God as a mother nor to assert an identity between them, but rather to suggest that we consider what we do not know how to talk about--relating to God - through the metaphor of a mother. Moreover, no single metaphor can function as the sole way of expressing any aspect of a religious belief. Many Protestant and Roman Catholic theologians in the twentieth century responded to the criticisms of religious belief, leveled by atheistic existentialists, naturalists , and linguistic positivists, by forging a new understanding of Christian revelation.
Karl Barth, a Reformed Protestant, provided a startlingly new model of the relation between faith and reason. He rejected Schleiermacher's view that the actualization of one's religious motivation leads to some sort of established union between man and God. Barth argued instead that revelation is aimed at a believer who must receive it before it is a revelation.
This means that one cannot understand a revelation without already, in a sense, believing it. God's revelation of Himself, His very communication of that self, is not distinct from Himself. Moreover, Barth claimed that God's revelation has its reality and truth wholly and in every respect, both ontically and noetically, within itself. Revelation cannot be made true by anything else. The fullness of the "original self-existent being of God's Word" reposes and lives in revelation.
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This renders the belief in an important way immune from both critical rational scrutiny and the reach of arguments from analogy. Barth held, however, that relative to the believer, God remains "totally other" totaliter aliter. Our selfhood stands in contradiction to the divine nature. Religion is, in fact, "unbelief": This was a consistent conclusion of his dialectical method: Barth was thus an incompatibilist who held that the ground of faith lies beyond reason.
Yet he urged that a believer is nonetheless always to seek knowledge and that religious beliefs have marked consequences for daily life. Karl Rahner, arguably the most influential Catholic theologian of the twentieth century, was profoundly influenced by Barth's dialectical method.
But Rahner argued that God's mystical self-revelation of Himself to us through an act of grace is not predestined for a few but extends to all persons: It lies beyond proof or demonstration. Thus all persons, living in this prior and often unthematized state of God's gift, are "anonymous Christians. Rahner held thus that previous religions embodied a various forms of knowledge of God and thus were lawful religions.
But now God has revealed his fullness to humans through the Christian Incarnation and word. This explicit self-realization is the culmination of the history of the previously anonymous Christianity. Christianity now understands itself as an absolute religion intended for all. This claim itself is basic for its understanding of itself. Rahner's claim about the gratuitous gifts of grace in all humans reaches beyond a natural theology.
Nonetheless one form of evidence to which he appeals for its rational justification is the stipulation that humans, social by nature, cannot achieve a relationship to God "in an absolutely private interior reality. Rahner thus emphasized the importance of culture as a medium in which religious faith becomes understood.
He thus forged a new kind of compatibilism between faith and rationality. Paul Tillich , a German Protestant theologian, developed a highly original form of Christian apologetics. In his Systematic Theology , he laid out a original method, called correlation, that explains the contents of the Christian faith through existential questions and theological answers in mutual interdependence. Existential questions arise from our experiences of transitoriness, finitude, and the threat of nonbeing.
In this context, faith is what emerges as our thinking about our "ultimate concern. Secular culture provides numerous media, such as poetry, drama, and novels, in which these questions are engendered. In turn, the Christian message provides unique answers to these questions that emerge from our human existence.
Tillich realized that such an existentialist method - with its high degree of correlation between faith and everyday experience and thus between the human and the divine -- would evoke protest from thinkers like Barth. Steven Cahn approaches a Christian existentialism from less sociological and a more psychological angle than Tillich. Cahn agrees with Kierkegaard's claim that most believers in fact care little about proofs for the existence of God. Neither naturalist nor supernaturalist religion depend upon philosophical proofs for God's existence.
It is impossible to prove definitely the testimony of another's supposedly self-validating experience. One is always justified in entertaining either philosophical doubts concerning the logical possibility of such an experience or practical doubts as to whether the person has undergone it. Moreover, these proofs, even if true, would furnish the believer with no moral code. Cahn concludes that one must undergo a self-validating experience personal experience in which one senses the presence of God. All moral imperatives derive from learning the will of God.
One may, however, join others in a communal effort to forge a moral code. The Darwinistic thinking of the nineteenth century continued to have a strong impact of philosophy of religion. Richard Dawkins in his Blind Watchmaker, uses the same theory of natural selection to construct an argument against the cogency of religious faith.
He argues that the theory of evolution by gradual but cumulative natural selection is the only theory that is in principle capable of explaining the existence of organized complexity in the world. He admits that this organized complexity is highly improbable, yet the best explanation for it is still a Darwinian worldview. Dawkins even claims that Darwin effectively solved the mystery of our own existence.
Since religions remain firm in their conviction that God guides all biological and human development, Dawkins concludes that religion and science are in fact doomed rivals. They make incompatible claims. He resolves the conflict in favor of science.
The Sum of Saving Knowledge | The Westminster Standard
Contemporary philosophers of religion respond to the criticisms of naturalists, like Dawkins, from several angles. Alvin Plantinga thinks that natural selection demonstrates only the function of species survival, not the production of true beliefs in individuals. Yet he rejects traditional Lockean evidentialism, the view that a belief needs adequate evidence as a criterion for its justification. But he refuses to furnish a fideist or existentialist condition for the truth of religious beliefs. Rather he claims that religious beliefs are justified without reasons and are, as such, "properly basic.
P Alston and Nicholas Wolterstorff. Plantinga builds his Reformed epistemology by means of several criticisms of evidentialism. First, the standards of evidence in evidentialism are usually set too high. Most of our reliable everyday beliefs are not subject to such strict standards. Second, the set of arguments that evidentialists attack is traditionally very narrow. Plantinga suggest that they tend to overlook much of what is internally available to the believer: Third, those who employ these epistemological criticisms often fail to realize that the criticisms themselves rest upon auxiliary assumptions that are not themselves epistemological, but rather theological, metaphysical, or ontological.
Finally, and more importantly, not all beliefs are subject to such evidence. Beliefs in memories or other minds, for example, generally appeal to something properly basic beyond the reach of evidence. What is basic for a religious belief can be, for example, a profound personal religious experience.
In short, being self-evident, incorrigible, or evident to the senses is not a necessary condition of proper basicality. We argue to what is basic from below rather than from above. These claims are tested by a relevant set of "internal markers. He concludes, though, that religious believers cannot be accused of shirking some fundamental epistemic duty by relying upon this basic form of evidence.
Epistemological views such as Plantinga develops entail that there is an important distinction between determining whether or not a religious belief is true de facto and whether or not one ought to hold or accept it de jure. On de jure grounds, for example, one can suggest that beliefs are irrational because they are produced either by a errant process or by an proper process aimed at the wrong aim or end. Theism has been criticized on both of these grounds.
But since Christianity purports to be true, the de jure considerations must reduce ultimately to de facto considerations. Haldane criticizes the scientific critiques of religion on the grounds that they themselves make two unacknowledged assumptions about reality: These assumptions themselves cannot be proven by scientific inquiry. Thus it seems odd to oppose as rivals scientific and religious ways of thinking about reality. Science itself is faith-like in resting upon these assumptions; theology carries forward a scientific impulse in asking how the order of the world is possible.
But what do we make of the fact that scientific models often explain the world better than religious claims? What troubles Haldane is the explanatory reductionism physical sciences employ is often thought to be entailed by the ontological reduction it assumes. For example, the fact that one can give a complete description of human action and development on a biological level alone is often thought to mean that all action and development can be explained according to biological laws.
Haldane rejects this thesis, arguing that certain mental events might be ontologically reducible to physical events, but talk of physical events cannot be equally substituted for mental events in the order of explanation. Such argumentation reflects the general direction of the anomological monism proposed by Donald Davidson.
Haldane concludes that language can be a unique source of explanatory potential for all human activity. Like Haldane, Nancey Murphy also holds for a new form of compatibilism between religion and science. In Science and Theology she argues that the differences between scientific and theological methodologies are only of degree, not kind. She admits that scientific methodology has fundamentally changed the way we think about the world.
Consequently, theology in the modern period has been preoccupied with the question of theological method. But she thinks that theological method can develop to meet the same standard of criteria as scientific method has. Scientific thinking in the twentieth century in particular has been developing away from foundationalism: Willard van Orman Quine and others urged that scientific methodologists give up on foundationalism.
He claimed that knowledge is like a web or net of beliefs: Murphy sees that theology, too, is developing away from the foundationalism that literal interpretations of Scripture used to provide. Now it tends to emphasize the importance of religious experience and the individual interpretation of beliefs. But two problems await the move from theology away from foundationalism: The subjectivism emerges from the believer's inability to make the leap from his or her private inner experience to the real world. The circularity emerges from the lack of any kind of external check on interpretation.
Alasdair MacIntyre is concerned with the latter problem. He claims that evidence for belief requires a veridical experience for each subsequent belief that arises from it. But Murphy finds this approach still close to foundationalism. Instead she develops two non-foundational criteria for the interpretation of a religious belief: To illustrate this approach to interpretation of beliefs, Murphy considers Catherine of Siena's claim that a true "verification" of a revelation from God requires that the believer subsequently engage in publicly observable acts of humility and charity.
The verification also requires what Murphy calls discernment. Discernment reveals analogous experiences and interpretations in other believers and a certain reliability in the actions done. The text is accurate and does not appear to have been OCR'd. When you consider that this is a hundred times cheaper than the print editions, you realize what a great collection it is. It has been about a week since I purchased this ebook, and the strange colored Table of Contents which I complained about in my earliest version of the review has changed back to the traditional black font.
I really don't know what caused it, but it was likely something on my end of things. All that to say, the Table of Contents is just fine, and I apologize for any confusion. John Owen was a professor of divinity at Oxford during the 17th century when England was in upheaval between Anglicans and Puritans. Owen represented the best of Puritan theory and his works have survived the test of time, and are still read today.
His treatise on the Death of Death is still an Easter masterpiece of what the resurrection means for every Christian. More people should read Owen, but up till now his books were either hard to get or expensive. Here is the opportunity to study one of the great Christian theologians since the Reformation in an inexpensive form.
If you want to grow in your faith in the grace of God that is yours in Christ Jesus, read old dead guys! Owen has the very best work these days, as few really preach on sin , let alone how to handle sin the way God intends After all, He is the One offended!
The Sum of Saving Knowledge
A must-read for any serious student and follower of Jesus Christ! Missing important work on Apostasy I purchased this item so I could use the text -to- speech option which was promised in the description. I had worked with Amazon techs on this and they promised a refund which I have never received.
Otherwise it's a great way to purchase the Works of Owen, though his work on Apostasy is missing. I would recommend the other complete Works of Owen which I have purchased and am happy with. I am presently reviewing the Kindle e-book by John Owen titled Pneumatologia which I previously purchased.