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

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 6.06.01 AM

[Publisher $7.50 | Kindle $4.99]

When I first opened up the mail package and took this book out I was surprised how small it was (6.9 x 4.4 x 0.5 inches), just a little bigger than my hand. However, when I first opened up the pages of this book and began to look at its contents I found it was much more substantial than its appearance.

This book is part of the Profiles in Reformed Spirituality” series, edited by Joel Beeke and Michael Haykin, which aims to, “introduce the spirituality and piety of the  Reformed  tradition by  presenting descriptions of the lives of notable Christians with select passages from their works.”

Example of one of the full page pictures

Example of one of the full page pictures

Ryan M. McGraw (ed.) achieves his aims by beginning with a short biographical sketch (21 pages including several pages of full size pictures) of John Owen, specifically highlighting major events in his life that shaped his writing. Then the bulk of the book moves onto giving you 41 chapters (yes 41, but don’t be dismayed; the book only chimes in at 136 pages), each about two to three pages long, of “collected portions from primary sources.”

I think we’ve all heard things like, “Owen is a tough read!” or, “You have to read and re-read him to get anything out of him,… oh, but it is worth it!”

That makes this a perfect book for anyone who has always been afraid to dive into John Owen. The primary source chapters have even “updated his language and punctuation and added paragraph breaks” to make dipping into Owen even more accessible. If that isn’t enough, it is full of helpful footnotes and it even has an appendix on where to go from here in your reading of Owen.

All that to say, I really love the format of this book. It is an easy and accessible way to introduce oneself to the spiritual giants of our church history. If one is already familiar with Owen, one might consider using it as a 41-day devotional. Read one chapter a day (two to three small pages) and meditate on the great truths that Owen is writing on and I can’t see how you couldn’t be stirred up!

I think anyone who reads this book will see the benefits of reading the works of Owen and will no doubt want to take up and read more and more of his works.

John Owen Coat of Arms

[Note: You may view my highlights from the biography portion here.]

CCF Episodes 13-14, 25-28: Covenant Theology by Nehemiah Coxe

Grab Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ by Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen and read along with the CredoCovenant Fellowship as we engage its major themes from a Reformed Baptist perspective:



Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ

by Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen

Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ by Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen (hardcover)

coxeowen2Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ by Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen; ed. Ronald D. Miller, James M. Renihan, and Francisco Orozco

388 pages

Publisher: Reformed Baptist Academic Press; (October 1, 2005)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0976003937

ISBN-13: 978-0976003939




“Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ is a reprint of two seventeenth century theologians, Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen. It amply displays the fact that seventeenth century Particular Baptists fit within the broader Covenant Theology of that day.”



Book Reviews:

Founders Journal – Eddie Goodwin

“Hercules had his labors. Alexander the Great faced the Gordian knot. And for a growing number of Baptists today, there is the great challenge of explaining precisely how one can be committed to both Reformed covenant theology and credo Baptistic convictions. Thankfully, a ready reply is available in a new compilation work from Reformed Baptist Academic Press entitled, Covenant Theology from Adam to Christ.Read more…


The Dogmatic Reformer – William Sandell

Listen to Our Discussions of This Book

Listen to Our Discussions of This Book

“Covenant Theology is the core doctrine of the Reformed faith, whether Presbyterians or (traditional) Baptists.  The understandings of the covenants is the primary distinction between the two groups.  Both sides agree in the Covenant of Works, which is that God made a Covenant with Adam in the Garden.  If Adam obeyed than he (and his posterity) would have gained eternal life.  Adam failed, so we needed a new representative.  We need one who could fulfill that covenant for us, since the curse of sin prevented any of us from perfect obedience ourselves.  That is what both sides call the Covenant of Grace.  Jesus fulfills that role as our federal head and representative.  It was not just his death on the cross, but his active obedience that allow us to gain eternal life.  His righteous life is imputed (credited) to us and is looked upon as if we had done it.” Read more…


Amazon Review – Douglas VanderMeulen

“For many thoughtful Christians, to seriously embrace Covenantal theology means that ipso facto you should also embrace infant baptism. For many the two are inseparably linked. Or to put it another way, many believe that Baptist theology and Covenantal theology are mutually exclusive when the latter is held in a biblically consistent manner. But the book ‘Covenant Theology from Adam to Christ’ by the 17th century Baptist, Nehemiah Coxe’s challenges this assumption via sound exegetical analysis of the key passages on covenants and their signs in both Old and New Testaments. Please don’t misunderstand, this is not another book trying to prove believer’s baptism. It is an exegetical work developing and explaining the covenantal structure of the Bible and God’s promise of salvation.” Read more…

Upcoming Fellowship, 04/15/14

Next Tuesday evening, we will once again be gathering for fellowship and to record the next month’s worth of podcasts. Please contact us if you’d like to join the conversation (figuratively speaking). We will discuss chapters six through eight of How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler and start working through Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ by Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen, so hit us upwith your questions, comments, or observations. Also, we would like to hear feedback from you on our previous episodes. Thanks for listening!

Contact us..