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Sanctified by the Spirit: John Owen, Habits of Grace, and Biblical Counseling (McCulloch)

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Biblical counselor Colin R. McCulloch retrieves John Owen’s theology of Trinitarian sanctification to address modern concerns in counseling methodology. McCulloch examines two divergent approaches to sanctification within the biblical counseling movement, suggesting that Owen’s emphasis on Spirit-infused habitual grace provides a more holistic vision for soul care. Far from a mere historical study, McCulloch’s incisive analysis will help pastors and laymen alike minister to sinners and sufferers in Christ’s church.





  1. The Habituational Model of Sanctification
  2. The Heart-Motivational Model of Sanctification
  3. Trinitarian Agency and the Spirit’s Work
  4. The Spirit’s Work in Christ’s Human Nature
  5. Habitual Grace in the Souls of Believers
  6. Anthropological Considerations for Soul Care
  7. Soteriological Considerations for Soul Care





“Much of the recent retrieval of Reformed scholasticism has identified its importance for complex questions in theology. But, as this fine new book demonstrates, the greatest Protestant theologians can also help us better understand everyday questions of Christian living. Colin McCulloch shows how John Owen’s explanation of sanctification helps believers, with their counselors and pastors, appreciate the gracious work of the Spirit who makes us holy.” 

—Crawford Gribben, author of John Owen and English Puritanism: Experiences of Defeat; professor of history, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland 

“Enjoyable and thought-provoking! In a way that is clear and easy to follow, Colin McCulloch admirably synthesizes the approaches of two branches of the biblical counseling movement using John Owen’s concept of infused grace and habits. I believe many in the biblical counseling movement will benefit from this thorough presentation of Owen’s theology.” 

—Jim Newheiser, professor of Christian counseling and pastoral theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina 

“The Puritans have long and deservedly enjoyed the reputation of physicians of the soul. This thoughtful study lets us listen over John Owen’s shoulder as he lays a scriptural foundation for ministering to troubled and struggling saints. Colin McCulloch here provokes grave thought and true hope, taking us back to the underlying convictions about sin and grace that inform our counsel and care.” 

—Jeremy Walker, pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church, Crawley, England 

About the Author

Colin R. McCulloch is assistant professor of biblical counseling and practical theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. He is also an elder at Farmdale Baptist Church.