Owen began to gain a reputation as a theologian and preacher who supported the Puritans.  He had achieved such a significant renown that he was chosen to preach before Parliament on the day following the execution of Charles I in [January,] 1649.  This, of course, marked Owen as being in a very different camp from more moderate Puritans, such as Thomas Manton.  By this time, Cromwell had reached the height of his power and he found, in John Owen, a man on whom he could rely to advise him on ecclesiastical policy.  Cromwell appointed Owen as his chaplain during his campaign in Ireland.  Returning to England, he relied on Owen in his attempt to reorganize Oxford University, appointing him Dean of Christ Church in 1651 and then Vice-Chancellor of the university the following year.  For the next five years, he preached at St. Mary’s University Church, Oxford, every other week, alternating with Thomas Goodwin.  Owen, however, was hardly Cromwell’s “yes man.”  When Cromwell began to act too much like the king he had deposed, Owen opposed him and Cromwell let his displeasure be known.  But then, Cromwell’s days were numbered.  A year later, Owen was among the ministers who attended to him on his deathbed.  The Commonwealth soon came apart and Owen returned to his estate in Stadhampton, outside of Oxford, where he continued to write until his death in 1683, [aged 67].

During his twenty-five years of retirement, Owen was regarded as an elder statesman of the Puritan movement.  The repression of Puritan preaching relaxed from time to time, and he would preach in London where he helped organize an Independent congregation.  While never imprisoned himself, he was able to support several Puritans who had been.  Apparently, he was able to gather a Nonconformist congregation, from time to time, while living on his estate at Stadhampton, in Oxfordshire.  His works have been republished in [twenty-two] volumes.

From: Holy Communion in the Piety of the Reformed Church by Hughes Oliphant Old; edited, and with an introduction, by Jon D. Payne (Powder Springs: Tolle Lege Press, 2013), pp. 385-386.


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