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Communion With God (Puritan Paperbacks: Treasures of John Owen for Today's Readers) Paperback – November 1, 1991
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I first read John Owen's 'Of Communion with God' while a theological student (in the middle 1960s). It made beautifully clear and confirmed the theological underpinnings of the atmosphere I had lived in within the family and local congregation from earliest days: that God is love, that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, to know Christ is to be near the heart of the Father; that to dwell in God is to dwell in love: God's love to us and our love back to God and to others. Owen, with skillful scriptural exegesis and warmest pastoral insight takes us to the very heart of Christianity in this treatise, and shows us that this, and this alone is worth living for; this alone makes sense of everything else, and irradiates every step of earthly life with strength, hope and joy. That is why, forty years later, I still delight to pick up this grand treatise and read from it as a sort of 'vade mecum'. We owe a debt of gratitude of Philip Ross for beautifully editing this long discourse, and making it far more accessible to another generation. He has skillfully and accurately divided up long 'Pauline sentences' into manageable portions; he has clarified some rather obscure vocabulary, and - perhaps best of all - he has inserted very lucid and helpful subheadings and other divisions, which make the otherwise demanding text much easier to follow. All through, he has remained eminently faithful to the original meaning. The beauty of John Owen's theology, and most of all, the beauty of the love of God in Christ to us needy souls shines through. I shall be enthusiastically recommending this new volume to my classes (Douglas F. Kelly ~ Professor of Theology Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina)
"I owe an incalculable debt to these pages. For forty years now this has been a favourite volume to which I continue to return for more 'angel food'" (Sinclair B. Ferguson ~ Associate Preacher, St. Peter's Free Church, Dundee)
"Owen was by common consent the weightiest Puritan theologian, and many would bracket him with Jonathan Edwards as one of the greatest Reformed theologians of all time." (J. I. Packer ~ Well known author & Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, Canada) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
John Owen was born in 1616 in Stadhampton, Oxfordshire and died in Ealing, West London, in 1683. During his sixty-seven years he lived out a life full of spiritual experience, literary accomplishment, and national influence so beyond most of his peers that he continues to merit the accolade of 'the greatest British theologian of all time.'
More information available at banneroftruth.org.
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Author: John Owen
Publisher: The Banner of Truth Trust
First Copyright: 1850
Type of Book: Hardback
General Subject Matter: Theology
Special Features: None
The purpose of the author in writing this book is to explain the nature of the believers communion with God, including all the benefits which are included. Owen believed that our communion with God is the very foundation of the Christian life. It was Owen's purpose to demonstrate from the Scriptures the ways and means by which the believer can enjoy communion with each person of the Trinity. Owen wrote an well organized and documented work in which he used three (3) main divisions to describe the believer's relationship to each member of the Godhead.
The theme of this book is the believer's fellowship with God. Owen's thesis states, "That the saints of God have communion with him."
Owen uses the method of exposition to develop his theme and thesis. He puts forth his main proposition and supporting propositions and then uses explanation an analysis to present is subject. Owen presents the truths and the scripture clearly and impartially. Owen's primary purpose ti to persuade the reader to believe the revelation of our fellowship with God and to act accordingly. Owen is a master at explaining theological doctrine.
I found this book to be very interesting and at the same time to be difficult to read. Most readers of Owens know him to be verbose with long paragraphs, and difficult to read. The effort is well worth it. I find Owen to be a very able exegete of Scripture. He is objective and extremely thorough.
This book is a scholarly doctrinal treatise. There are a number of footnotes which include passages from the Greek language, Latin, and both the Old and New Testament. Greek and Hebrew words are transliterated and the Latin phrases are translated for the reader. Difficult words an phrases have been footnoted. Numerous headings and subheadings are added to help the reader follow the thoughts of the author. Communion With God is a thrilling piece of writing of great importance.
Owen raises the issue of the value and benefit of the saints full fellowship with each member of the Godhead. Even though there are some distinct disadvantages that this fellowship or communion thrusts upon them from a humanistic standpoint, communion with God Owens states is, "very honorable, glorious, and desirable."
Owen was educated at Queen's College in Oxford. He studied theology and was the ordained. His first church was at Fordham in Essex. From 1649-1651 he was the chaplain to Oliver Cromwell. Owen was appointed the dean of Christ Church in Oxford and then in 1652 became the vice-chancellor. Owen was a prolific writer having written numerous books.
The format of this book is very well done. The type is easy to read and it is full of headings and subheadings making navigation through Owen's points easy to follow. There are no maps, illustrations, or special features. This is a hardback book.
This book contains no index. There are no end-notes. However, there is a short appendix at the back of the book. There is no bibliography.
As with the other Works of John Owen this is a difficult book to summarize. As stated Owen does a masterful exposition and explanation of the believers prized communion or fellowship with each member of the Trinity. His summary includes the fact that if one worships one member of the Trinity then the entire Trinity is being worshipped. In approaching God we are able to approach the entire Trinity.
Communion with God is a very rich and difficult book to read. If one sticks with it, it is well worth the effort. It is a very moving and thrilling book that addresses the soul like no other writing other than the Scriptures. I highly recommend this book for any believer at any level who will commit to working through each paragraph and each page.
communion: A mutual communication of such good things grounded upon some union (Owen, II:8). The person of Christ, as head of the Church, communicates grace to us via his Holy Spirit, to the members of his body. Our communion with God is his communication of himself to us, flowing from our union which we have in Christ. Our union with Christ is mystical and spiritual, not hypostatic (313). He is the Head, we the members and he freely communicates “grace, righteousness, and salvation, in the several and distinct ways whereby we are capable to receive them from him.”
Sealing the Union
Any act of sealing always imparts the character of the seal to the thing (242). Owen is clear: The Spirit really communicates the image of God unto us. “To have the stamp of the Holy Ghost...is to be sealed in the Spirit.”
This isn’t the most concise treatment of the issues, but Owen is quite fine in his own way. His writing is only difficult when he gets off topic. Packer and Piper make it seem like Owen is borderline incomprehensible. He isn’t.
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