“It is, of course, always very tempting when writing about theologians to narrow the focus to specific theological influences at a very early stage. Indeed, one of the problems of the older literature on Reformed Orthodoxy was its tendency to search for the solution to doctrinal problems and issues raised in the texts exclusively in terms of doctrinal or, at best philosophical, issues. Literary productions such as theological texts are, of course, highly complex actions, with their content being shaped by historical context, synchronic and diachronic, by literary genre, by linguistic conventions, and by general cultural background of the author and the issues at hand. To adopt narrowly doctrinal methodological criteria in the study of historical theological texts is thus profoundly wrong-headed, ignoring the basic fact that theologians never think or act in a vaccum or approach issues simply in terms of one category of discourse. A simple example of the need for this will suffice. If we take John Calvin Institutio (1559) and Francis Turretin’s Instiutio (1679-85) and compare them, we see obvious differences. The ordering and division of topics is different; the form of argument is different; much of the language used is different. Does this allow us to see the two works as representing two entirely different theologies? Does such a blunt comparison allow us to judge the development of Reformed Theology tout court between 1559 and 1679? Of course not. For a start, why should we expect theologies written 120 years apart to be the same in form and content? In addition, we clearly have two different genres of work: Calvin is explicitly writing book of doctrinal common places to aid exegesis; Turretin is producing a book of theology which deals with particular controversial topics as a means to aiding students in combating theological opponents. The purpose and function of the two books are significantly different in terms of their authors’ original intentions. Two different genres; two different purposes; two different books – for the same reason, Wordsworth’s poetic reflections on daffodils and the entry on the same flower in the average gardening manual looking entirely different. Not that the gardening manual represents an ossification of the vitality of the daffodil under the rationalizing tendencies of contemporary scholastic or Aristotelian gardening theory. No. What we are face with in these two different writings on daffodils is not intellectual hardening but two different genres, two different intentions, two different, but in their own context valid, approaches to daffodils. Given this basic point, to unlock the mind of a man like Owen, or to read the texts he wrote with any degree of competence, we need to estalbish as a foundation the kind of intellectual culture from which he emerged; and this culture is, of course, highly diverse.”
-Carl Trueman John Owen: Reformed Catholic, Renaissance Man, pages 12-13.
Richard Muller quote here.