I am probably a tad biased regarding this book. First, I own all the previous volumes in this series. I just cannot get enough of these wonderful introductions to reformed and puritan writers of the past, and especially, to their writings. Second, I’ve contributed to a future volume in this series as well. That being said, I’m thrilled to wholeheartedly endorse this new volume on John Owen.
Owen is known to be difficult to follow (although McGraw notes that some of his most difficult works were first preached to teenagers!), and so it is helpful for resources like this to be made available. McGraw notes two good reasons to study Owen: “Owen potentially meets several contemporary needs at once. First, he provides us with a model of the inseparable connection between doctrine and piety in Reformed theology. Second, he places the doctrine of the Trinity, which is merely an intellectual exercise for many people, at the heart of Christian experience and godly living. Third, he recognizes that who we worship and how we worship Him is not a secondary question in the Christian life.” (p. 2) The design of the series is helpful already. First, McGraw introduces us to the life and thinking of Owen. It’s important to note the historical milieu that Owen was writing and his particular theological perspectives that influence his writing. Following an outline of his writing used in the book, McGraw points us to a number of selections that emphasize a spirituality that is found in being in communion with God.
Here’s a taste of what you’ll get when you begin to read:
“The manifestation of grace and pardoning mercy, which is the only door of entrance into any such communion, is not committed to any but to Him alone in whom it is, by whom that grace and mercy was purchased, through whom it is despised, who reveals it from the bosom of the Father.” (p. 28).
“Unless a man be a believer–that is, one that is truly engrafted into Christ–he can never mortify any one sin.” (p. 47)
“The sum of this direction is that if we would be preserved from the prevalence of the present apostasy, we must have a strict regard to our principles and practices with respect to the privileges of the church and ordinances of gospel worship.” (p. 82).
“This access in our worship to the person of the Father, as in heaven, the holy place above, as on a throne of grace, is the glory of the gospel.” (p. 106)
Overall, I find these volumes to be helpful guides to the works of the godly who have gone before us. It helps us to understand more of the piety that they derived from the Word of God, and place our own spirituality in the heritage of the church. Frankly, these volumes would be excellent resources for your devotional life, as I have used previous volumes in this way. This is a wonderful resource, recommended to everyone, who longs to understand Owen, how our communion with God shapes our spirituality, and how we can continue to grow in Christ with the help of able guides from the past. Highly recommended to all.
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