Book Review: The Trinitarian Devotion of John Owen

The Trinitarian Devotion of John Owen -Sinclair B. Ferguson

My Rating –If You are Looking for Something

Level – Short, east

Like other books in the series, you get a short two for one kind of deal here. The first chapter is a brief biography of John Owen. I don’t he is very well known in the Christian community here in America. He was a British puritan living in the 17th century and quite a prolific author. The second major part of the book focuses on the Trinity, with chapters on each, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Much of the book is drawn from the works of Owen.

My Thoughts
I’ve heard of a number of his books, especially Mortification of Sin, but I don’t think I’ve ever read anything from him. It is a timely reminder now, as the controversy of the eternal subordination of the Son so going on, of the importance of the study of the Trinity. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a sermon and participated in a study of the Trinity. This likely has much to do with how difficult the concept is for us to understand. It becomes confusing to discuss and can easily lead to error. I know growing up, I never really understood the three persons to be three independent beings. As in, there was God, whom became flesh as a guy called Jesus, and now speaks through the Holy Spirit. That is, the three persons are just the way that God reveals himself, almost something like taking different forms.

Obviously, misunderstanding the doctrine of the Trinity isn’t as severe as deny the resurrection, but it is an important part of theology. Anyone who takes theology seriously, especially those that are pretend theologians, should really make an effort to gain a better understanding. So, if you are looking for something, this is a good intro to the Trinity as well as good info about John Owen.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review (see more in my about page).

Book Review: The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards

The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards (A Long Line of Godly Men Profile) – Steven Lawson

My Rating – Put it on the list

Level – Easy, Medium length

The first chapter is a short biographical stretch of the man many consider to be the greatest American Theologian of all time. The rest of the chapters are devoted to Edwards’ construction of his ‘Resolution.’ Unfortunately, as Edwards didn’t order or systematize his Resolutions, the book seems to jump around a bit as Lawson attempts to categorize the list. However, the book does an excellent job of spelling many of the resolutions and giving us the story or reasons behind them. Many of the most interesting parts of the chapters has to do with how the Resolutions affected Edwards’ life.

In the appendix of the book, you can read the entire Resolutions.

My Thoughts
The best use of this book is to view it not as a biography, but as a commentary on Edwards’ Resolutions. The strength of the book isn’t so much it’s info on the life of Edwards, but instead it’s interaction with the Resolutions and different points of his life, or how his resolutions affected his life.

I personally found some of his attempts overwhelming, bordering on unnecessary. Obviously, Edwards is much more pious and disciplined than me and most people. However, his limited the amount of food he’d eat so as not to waste time or enjoy food too much just seemed extreme and unhealthy.

This book is well written and will challenge you. Lawson does a good job of posing questions at the end of each chapter. Anyone interested in spiritual disciplines or Jonathan Edwards needs to put this book on their reading list.


*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review (see more in my about page).

Book Review: The Mighty Weakness of John Knox

I’m very excited to post my first review as part Reformation’s Trust Publishing (the publishing arm for Ligonier Ministries) blogger program. I received this book for free in exchange for posting a review. I look forward to reviewing more from RT, especially in the Long Line of Godly Men Profile series.

The Mighty Weakness of John Knox – Douglas Bond

My Rating – If You are Looking for Something

 Level – Short, easy

It’s difficult to write a summary of a biography. The book itself is a biography of the life of John Knox. To hit some high points: Knox was friends with John Calvin in Geneva, preached to an English speaking church in Frankfurt, help occupy a castle and endured a siege, was on a slave galley (rowing for a ship) for 18 months, preached before kings and queens, and helped write the Scots Confession.

Bond’s central theme for this short biography is contrasting Knox’s physical weakness with his spiritual might. Apparently, Knox was small and frail and suffered lasting injuries from his time in the galley. When first asked to preach/teach during the castle siege, he ran away crying. However, once he gave in to God’s call, he preached like a trumpet blast and produced many writings as well.

The end of the book also contains the Scots Confession, which is a short (25 articles) confession that is well worth reading.

My Thoughts
This is my first encounter with the ‘Long Line of Godly Men Profiles’ series and will likely not be my last. I knew basically nothing about Knox, other than he was Scottish and was responsible for the Presbyterian Church. His life was interesting enough, and the author wrote well with a clear passion for Knox.

However, one thing I did not like was how often it seemed that Bond was being defensive of Knox. Maybe it is because knew very little of him, but Bond was constantly raising criticisms and then almost too briefly dismissing them. Maybe the legacy of Knox is questioned or viewed negatively, I couldn’t say, but this aspect gave the book an apologetic tone.

Overall, if you are looking for a biography on someone from the Reformation, this is a good start. John Knox led a very interesting life; but if you already know a decent amount about him, there are probably better biographies. This book has piqued my interest in him enough to search out a more in-depth biography.