The Enemy Within by Kris Lundgaard

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Out of his own struggle with sin Lundgaard turned to the great Puritan John Owen for help.  He devoured Owen’s books Indwelling Sin and The Mortification of Sin with apparently great personal benefit.   But realizing that few would wade through these tomes Lundgaard decided to “kidnap” Owen (p. 14) and simplify his teaching through use of modern language and examples.  I think he went a little overboard in this regard but overall he succeeds in his purpose.

The Enemy Within describes well the struggle that every believer has with sin.  Suitable warnings of sin’s deception are given and many means of dealing with sin are identified.  I don’t believe this little volume offered anything new but it serves as a good overview of biblical teaching, even though  I was a bit disturbed by several Old Testament references taken out of context.  Most of these texts were addressed to Israel concerning its unique situation but applied by Lundgaard to the Christian life.  This is an unfortunate use of Scripture at best (pp. 88, 136-138). 

More troublesome, however, is Lundgaard’s insistence (apparently via Owen) that the flesh can be put to death (pp. 34, 142, 143, 148) or weakened by some means (p. 71).  Given all of Lundgaard’s warnings about the dangers and power of the flesh, it seemed extremely contradictory to be told by the same author that we can kill the flesh.  And while Lundgaard and Owen mean well they make a serious error by teaching that flesh can actually be mortified in this life.  The Word gives no indication that the flesh ever dies, grows weak or takes a vacation.  It is ever our great enemy ready to pounce when the conditions are right.  By the Spirit’s power believers can win battles over the flesh (Gal 5:16ff) but it is important to understand the war is not over until we are in the presence of Christ.

For someone wanting a more accessible reading of Owen The Enemy Within would be helpful.  But I did not find enough unique in the volume to recommend it highly and Lundgaard’s teaching on mortification of the flesh is not consistent with New Testament teaching.

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