This is not long book. At 117 pages and a generous font size, Licensed to Kill is easily digested in one sitting. The author’s tone and wit also aid in rapidly digesting this wonderful work, allowing the reader to progress at a really good pace. Be careful however, as you fly through this book you will be consistently struck with Gospel-drenched, sin-hating truth that confronts, convicts, and encourages you to make a more concerted and genuine effort to fill your life with the “holy violence” of slaughtering your indwelling, God-hating sin.
A highlight of this text is the immensely practical nature of the whole book. Even when dealing with theological abstracts, it still has a feel of a “field manual”, only dealing with the “why-for’s” to better equip for the “how-to’s”. Normally, I would not like this. In all subjects, especially Scripture, I enjoy the abstract. I do not know if it is Hedges’ writing style or the subject manner or a combination of both, but this text spent a good amount of time in practical issues and I enjoyed it immensely.
I do not believe it would be an overstatement (or a slight) to call this John Owen-light. The author constantly goes back to Owen and concludes the text with an encouragement to engage oneself in the writings of Owen that so greatly influenced him. Owen is a difficult read, even when compared with other Puritan authors, but the treasures found in his writings are vast. This book does an excellent job of whetting the appetite for Owen while mining much of the Gospel truth found in Owen’s writings. In doing so, it makes Owen’s writings much more accessible to the modern reader.
This book does two things, and it does them quite well. First, it introduces the writings of John Owen on mortification in a manner that will entice many to make the leap into the mind and writings of this Puritan great. Secondly, and so much more importantly, this book will encourage many, myself included, to engage in the act of mortifying sin in a much more active and victorious manner. For 117 pages you cannot really ask for more!