les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book review : The Foundation of Communion with God - The Trinitarian Piety of John Owen, edited by Ryan McGraw

Before we came to France I looked round our straining bookshelves. Something had to give. We didn't know what kind of accommodation we'd have, how much space, whether I'd even have an office. Hard decisions had to be taken. Some books were sold on Amazon. Some books were sold at pastors' conferences and fraternals (fraternaux?)

One set of books stubbornly resisted all attempts to sell it: a beautiful 16-volume set of John Owen, purchased in the Mecca of second-hand books in Hay-on-Wye. A friend looked at it with such interest and kindness. "I tell you what, you promise to pray for us every time you open it and you can take the books." Like a true Augustinian, he took the books, he reads them and what's more he has prayed faithfully for us for almost ten years.

I can't find room for 16 volumes of John Owen on my shelves. Anyway, now I can get them in electronic format from various sources at various prices. And to be honest, John Owen's insight and wisdom comes wrapped in 16 volumes of John Owen's somewhat heavy, sometimes turgid prose.

Enter Ryan McGraw and Profiles in Reformed Spirituality. In this happy little volume he gives us a useful little biography of John Owen, a little sketch of historical theology so we can place John Owen in the grand flow of Christian thinking, he gives us super little illustrations of the people and places that were important in John Owen's life and ministry, and then he gives us little extracts from Owen's works. Just one or two pages on sublime subjects such as "A Spiritually Thriving Christian", "A Heavenly Directory for Worship" or "How to Obtain the Gifts of the Holy Spirit".

Honestly, if you ever thought John Owen would be wonderful but beyond you - too rich, too much, too dense, too hard - get this book. You'll be very glad you did. One section, a page or two will give you a super little boost in the morning and provide you with material for reflection for many happy moments.

I was given a copy of the book in electronic format free of charge in return for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.

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