Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Review: The Foundation of Communion with God

In his book The Foundation of Communion with God: The Trinitarian Piety of John Owen, Ryan McGraw shows the significance of John Owen's Trinitarian piety by providing highlights of Owen's personal life and introducing themes from his selected works.  The author concludes this book with a guide on what and how to read Owen, and his goal is to "help readers develop a deep-seated and explicitly Trinitarian piety," (Kindle location 337).

The author's history of John Owen's life is brief, but it includes the important details that provide a good biographical sketch of Owen and why he was known as the "Prince of the English Divines."  Mr. McGraw also discusses the theology of the time period and gives a very succinct definition of the covenant of redemption, which is crucial to the understanding of Owen's writings.  I found the following statement very helpful as I read through the selected writings later in the book: "Owen believed one of the primary benefits of new covenant worship was explicitly communion with God as triune," (Kindle location 322).

Mr. McGraw acknowledges that John Owen can be difficult to read, but he also points out that it is well worth the effort.  The author provides biographical and theological information on Owen to help the reader, but I found it challenging to just sit down and read straight through this book.   Even though I regularly read the Puritans, I still consider Owen's writing style to be demanding.  His works are deep, rich, and thought-provoking.  To really understand and apply Owen's works, I think it would be better to read each selection as a daily devotion, or even as part of a small group or family study.

I highly recommend this book for all Christians.  The background information is helpful and Owen's writings are relevant to rightly worshiping the Triune God.  The selections, when read and digested slowly, can be extremely beneficial to the sanctifying work in a Christian's life.

Full Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.