Book Review of “The Foundation of Communion with God: The Trinitarian Piety of John Owen

November 8, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Book Reviews, Doctrine | 1 Comment
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The Foundation of Communion with God

McGraw, Ryan M. The Foundation of Communion with God: The Trinitarian Piety of John Owen. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2014, 149 pp.

With my schedule it has been quite a while since I have reviewed a book or even wanted to review any books. The title and summary of this book was very intriguing to me so I signed up with just a little hesitation. You see, I’ve tried to read some of John Owen’s works before and could not get through them.

This short book by Ryan McGraw gives us some information on John Owen and the outworking of his faith. It is not a stretch to consider John Owen a hero of the Christian faith. We need books like this one to help introduce this pastor/teachers from the past to new generations.

McGraw’s work covers some subjects that all Christians could stand to learn a little more about; the Trinity and public worship. We get to see through forty-one short chapters a glimpse into Owen’s theology and its practical outworking.

The book starts with acknowledgments and a brief introduction into Owen. Then there are three sections; 1) Knowing God as Triune; 2) Heavenly-Mindednesss and Apostasy and 3) Covenant and Church. The book closes with some suggestions to help the reader learn more about Owen.

If you have ever tried to read some of Owen’s works before you will find this book enjoyable and profitable. As I read I learned some truth and shared it with some people close to me. Now that I have finished the book my wife is going to read it based upon my recommendation to her. I hope that is taken as a high complement for McGraw’s work.

The forty-one short chapters could be added to a person’s devotional reading. As you read through each one you will find gems here that will make you stop and think and pray. There is much we modern readers could learn from the life and theology of John Owen.

I heartily endorse and recommend this book for any Christian. It will help the mature Christian as well as the young Christian grow in their understanding of theology and the outworking of it in their daily life. Many blessings came my way as I read through this work.

I received this book for free as a review copy from www.crossfocusedreviews.com and was not required to give a positive endorsement.

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The Mark of Maturity

January 4, 2011 at 10:24 am | Posted in Devotional | Leave a comment
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The last couple of weeks I have not blogged regularly. We were doing some travelling and visiting of family and I just wanted a break from blogging. I do want to say thank you to everyone who reads this blog, especially those who read it on a regular basis. I started the blog a year ago and have grown and developed in different ways as a blogger. I think I will try a new pattern starting this week and through next week. There will be some consistency through days, weeks and the coming year.

Tuesday’s will either be an excerpt from a devotional that I am reading through with my wife or an excerpt from a book that I am reading. Most excerpts will come from books I will be posting reviews of. I will keep doing coffee reviews or coffee shop or product reviews on a regular basis. I will also do a weekly study that will take us completely through a book of the Bible. I am hoping to blog on a daily basis, but can’t guarantee that.

Thanks again for helping me and the blog to grow. Give God your whole heart and all of your obedience and you won’t go wrong. Let’s help each other grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To God be the glory! Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

(Romans 15:13; 2 Peter 3:18)

The Mark of Maturity

Day 3

(6)And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (7)It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. (8)For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. (9)And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, (10)so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, (11)filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. – Philippians 1:6-11 ESV

Paul found joy in his memories of the friends at Philippi and in his growing love for them. He also found joy in remembering them before the throne of grace in prayer.

This is a prayer for maturity, and Paul began it with love. He prayed that they might experience abounding love and discerning love. Christian love in not blind! The heart and mind work together so that we have discerning love and loving discernment.

The ability to distinguish is a mark of maturity. When a baby learns to speak, he or she may call every four-legged animal a “bow-wow.” But then the child discovers that there are cats, mice, cows, and other four-legged creatures.

One of the sure marks of maturity is discerning love and loving discernment.

SOMETHING TO PONDER

With daily decisions, do you tend to seek what is good, or do you try to discern what is truly best? – taken from Pause for Power by Warren W. Wiersbe. Published by David C. Cook, 2010; page 6.

Knowledge of the Word of Christ

December 14, 2010 at 10:03 am | Posted in William Gurnall | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall

Do not be led away with the error of the wicked but “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

Light is the chariot which carries the influence of the sun. So the knowledge of Christ brings with it the influences of His grace into the heart. And how did Peter expect people to grow in the knowledge of Christ unless they read Scripture, the only book where it can be found? How wrong for teachers to want the people to learn this knowledge solely from their preaching, and not from the Bible! How can a congregation be sure they are hearing truth unless they have Scripture, the only touchstone to try the purity of the doctrine? God Himself directs His Word not to any one honored group – not to a select few – but to every man (Romans 1:7; 2 Corinthians 1:1). Why are laws made if they cannot be declared? And why was Scripture ever written if not to be read and known of all men? By the same authority with which the apostle wrote his epistles, he commanded them to be read in the church. Did ministers of the early church hide God Word from the people instead of encouraging them to hide it in their own heart?

It is true that some men do wrest Scripture to their own destruction, just as occasionally somebody chokes on a piece of bread if he is not careful when he eats. But must everyone starve for fear of getting choked? Some hurt themselves with sharp weapons; must the whole army then be disarmed, and only a few officers be allowed to wear the sword? If this argument were enough to seal up the Bible, we must deny it to intellectuals as well as to common men; for it is a known fact that the grossest heresies have bred in the finest minds. Whenever proud men insist on being wiser than God, their foolish minds get darker and darker until they become so accustomed to the blackness that they can no longer see His sovereignty. – Taken from The Christian in Complete Armour, December 13. Edited by James S. Bell, Jr. Moody Publishers Edition, 1994.

Himself

October 24, 2010 at 7:26 am | Posted in hymns | Leave a comment
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I was away for a week on somewhat of a vacation with limited internet access. I’ve enjoyed some time with family and friends, some beautiful fall weather and scenery and local attractions. I will write more about this during the week. I’ll give you a heads up; if you are ever near Cleveland, Ohio take the time to visit the West Side Market. You won’t be dissapointed. Plus if you get the chance to sit by a fire on a cool fall evening with some family and friends take advantage of it. I almost forgot how fun that can be. Toasting marshmallows and/or making smores can be fun too.

This old hymn  by Simpson is a favorite of mine. Simpson was a man that was radically changed by the power of God. He was not afraid to live by his convictions and faith. He trusted God to lead and provide for ministry. He went against the status quo in the church. He reached out to the forgotten or overlooked people. He was not afraid of difficulty or hardship and trusted a miracle working God. I hope you enjoy this hymn and take the time to learn a little about A. B. Simpson.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow laborer)

Romans 15:13; 2 Peter 3:18

Himself, Sunday’s Hymn

By A. B. Simpson (1843-1919), sung in 6/8 time

1.      Once, it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord; Once it was the feeling, Now it is His Word; Once His gift I wanted, Now the Giver own; Once I sought for healing, Now Himself alone.

(Refrain) All in all forever, Jesus will I sing; Everything in Jesus, And Jesus everything.

2.      Once ‘twas painful trying, Now ‘tis perfect trust; Once a half salvation, Now the uttermost! Once ‘twas ceaseless holding, Now He holds me fast; Once ‘twas constant drifting, Now my anchor’s cast.

(Refrain)

3.      Once ‘twas busy planning, Now ‘tis trustful prayer; Once ‘twas anxious caring, Now He has the care; Once ‘twas what I wanted, Now what Jesus says; Once ‘twas constant asking, Now ‘tis ceaseless praise.

(Refrain)

4.      Once it was my working, His it hence shall be; Once I tried to use Him, Now He uses me; Once the power I wanted, Now the Mighty One; Once for self I labored, Now for Him alone.

(Refrain)

5.      Once I hoped in Jesus, Now I know He’s mine; Once my lamps were dying, Now they brightly shine; Once for death I waited, Now His coming hail; And my hopes are anchored Safe within the vail.

(Refrain)

Let Nothing Get Between You and Christ

June 21, 2010 at 5:10 am | Posted in Quotes | Leave a comment
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This quote is pretty good and will make you think about your relationship with the Lord. Is your walk with the Lord growing? Are you disciplining your time and doing what is necessary to grow in your knowledge of Him. You might want to read 2 Peter 3:18 also.

Be growing in GRACE and knowledge,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; Psalm 21:6

This quote is from www.jcrylequotes.com and you can find more good quotes there.

“A true Christian will strive to do his duty in whatever station or position he finds himself, and to do it well. Whether statesman, or merchant, or banker, or lawyer, or doctor, or tradesman, or farmer, he will try to do his work so that no one can find occasion for fault in him. But he will not allow it to get between him and Christ. If he finds his business beginning to eat up his Sundays, his Bible-reading, his private prayer time, and to bring clouds between him and heaven, he will say, “Stand back! There is a limit. This is as far as you can go, and no further. I cannot sell my soul for position, fame, or gold.” Like Daniel, he will make time for communion with God, whatever the cost may be. He will deny himself anything rather than lose his Bible-reading and his prayers. In all this he will find he stands almost alone. Many will laugh at him, and tell him they get along just fine without being so strict and particular. He will not listen. He will resolutely hold the world at arms length, whatever present loss or sacrifice it may seem to entail. He will choose rather to be less rich and prosperous in this world, than not to prosper about his soul. To stand alone in this way, to run counter to the ways of others, requires immense self-denial. But this is genuine Scriptural separation.”
~ J.C. Ryle
Practical Religion, “The World”, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1998], 297, 298.

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