Last night I shared on the value of John Owen’s “The Mortification of Sin.” I acknowledged that Owen can difficult to read, but recommended “The enemy within; Straight talk about the power and defeat of sin” by Kris Lundgaard. What the author has set out to do is to distil the wisdom of John Owen in the issue of the Christian’s battle with sin, and present it in a contemporary way. Lundgaard is completely up-front about this. He says:
“I kidnapped Owen. By force I took him as my co-author, and together we’ve written a new book. He brought to the table his precious exposition, outlines, arguments and illustrations, and I returned to him stories of bone marrow transplants and torx sockets, and tried to bring his profound understanding of the Bible into our world. I haven’t simply abridged his as others have done. Yet anyone familiar with him would see his ghost haunting my work.” (p14)
So has he succeeded? Well generally yes. Having read the book through, I thought it was a very helpful re-expression of some of John Owen’s ideas in a very accessible way. The thirteen short chapters are crisp and to the point, and some of Owen’s pointed comments carry over very well indeed. The one niggle, experienced a couple of times was the American illustrations, but then the Author, and the book are American.
I called this post ‘Some thoughts on using “The Enemy within” by Kris Lundgaard.’ It struck me while I was reading the book, that if anyone out there is looking for some material to read with an accountability partner or partners then this book would be absolutely ideal. Here are some reasons why:
1) It’s got thirteen short chapters. That’s enough material to keep an accountability group going for a couple of months at least. The chapters are brief and to the point, meaning that it is realistic for all members of a group, both to read the relevant chapter and have a good grasp of its contents. (For example the fourth chapter, chosen at random is just seven pages long.)
2) It cuts to the heart of the issue which is…. the heart. It’s easy to get together with an accountability group and just have a nice chat. These chapters, with God’s help will guide a group in examining the heart. (Which is the point of meeting with an accountability group.)
3) Questions for further reflection are provided with each chapter. These will be a helpful guide to shape the meeting of the accountability group and give some shape to discussing the application of the material.
4) It’s the kind of book which you shouldn’t just skate over. Discussing the book and prayerfully applying its message together with other will help you wring the most out of this book.
5) Its cheap! If it wasn’t good this wouldn’t be an issue, but it is good and Amazon have it for under £5 (You will have to wait a few weeks as I write)
So if you are not in an accountability group, why not agree to meet for no more than an hour, once a week with a few friends that you can trust. Agree to read one chapter a week, Agree to be honest with each other. Agree to observe the confidentially of the group. Agree together that you want to grow in grace. When you meet, discuss the contents of the chapter. Discuss how you intend to apply what you are learning. Pray for one another, asking for God’s help as you apply the material. Begin the next session by seeing how you have all done and giving thanks to God for answered prayer.