Monday, October 27, 2014

The Foundation of Communion with God

The Foundation of Communion with God is a John Owen reader designed especially for those of us who see the fruit of John Owen’s work but are either uninitiated(not likely) or overwhelmed (quite likely) by the style and content of Owen’s work.  McGraw provides a good selection of Owen’s writings and shows the Trinitarian-focus that defined much of his work.

McGraw presents a series of selections from the works of John Owen.  He has updated some language, punctuation, and spelling to minimize the difficulty of reading.  Owen’s concepts are deep enough to drown in for most of us, it is nice having some of the encumbrances of archaic grammar removed.  McGraw does not just haphazardly choose selections but has an “intentional progression of thought” that takes the reader “through Owen’s teaching on knowing God as triune, Scripture and worship, heavenly-mindedness, and covenant and church.”

McGraw argues that Owen’s
devotional emphasis on communion with the three persons of the Trinity is rare among Puritan authors in particular, and in the history of the Christian church in general. His beloved and intertwined themes of Trinity and worship bring the fundamental principles of Reformed theology to their devotional height in promoting personal piety. Owen’s brand of piety was inherently Trinitarian. This practical Trinitarianism is the primary gift that his works can bestow on modern readers.

Appendix A covers why Owen is difficult to read and gives some tips for reading Owen’s works.  I think this will be incredibly helpful to many and think it would have served the reader well to have read this even before diving into the selections the McGraw presents.
This book will not make you an expert on Owen.  And it is not a sort-of “Owen for Dummies” that distills all of his thought for the reader.  If you truly are uninitiated this work will not benefit you much.  If you, however, fall into the “overwhelmed by Owen” camp, McGraw’s volume will be a welcome introduction to the thought and works of one of the giants of theology.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Crossfocused Reviews.