Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor have once again done a huge service for the church by making John Owen accessible to those who desire to read him. Certainly Owen is still a towering theological giant that is challenging to read, but many barriers that could have been used as excuses have been removed in Communion with the Triune God. Kapic and Taylor have chosen a tremendous work to edit as this volume deals with rigorous exegesis, Trinitarian theology, and the practical idea of how it is we relate to God and He relates to us.
Within this book we find Owen dealing with not just how we relate to God, but how we relate to each person of the Triune Godhead. All the while Owen keeps before us that the oneness of God as well, which is not easy task, but embodies the mystery of the Trinity. For the Father Owen stresses the love that emanates toward His people, and towards Him, realizing that there are similarities and distinctions between these types of love. This love that the Father bestows on His people should be something we treasure everyday, and we should allow it to cause us to delight in Him.
In relation to the Son (where Owen spends the majority of his time), the idea of grace is lauded and seen as where our fellowship with him consists. In this section we get an unbelievable display of who Christ and all that he has accomplished on our behalf, particularly in his death and resurrection. It was at the cross that grace was purchased on our behalf, and something we should see as infinitely valuable through this eminent description. It is through the acceptance of the gospel that we are able to relate to Christ and enjoy the benefits in all things pertaining to life and godliness. Owen cites many different blessings we experience in Christ, all of which should drive us to have the obvious commitment he had in relating to the Son of God in an intimate way.
Finally, Owen gets into relating to the Holy Spirit, and what his actual ministry is in our lives as we commune with him. Owen is thoroughly scriptural in his assessment, and it should give rise to praise in our hearts for all that the Spirit does on our behalf. In this and the other sections it is helpful that Owen raises and answers objections to his positions, as we still face many of the same questions today, though perhaps in a different form.
Though it can be difficult to follow Owen's logic, as has been previously stated, this volume does an amazing job at making a challenging work accessible. Kapic and Taylor have given us immense help in understanding Owen's work by giving us a lengthy introduction (which is basically a detailed commentary), and a rigorous outline to give continuity to the work. They have also helped us immensely by footnoting translations to difficult words and phrases, updated the language, modernized punctuation, helped with Owen's citation of Scripture, as well as added Scripture where Owen alluded to it, but did not cite it, transliterated Greek and Hebrew, and many other helpful details.
Even with all of these updates this work is not for the fainthearted, and perhaps that is the only weakness of this volume. None of the works of Owen would be considered light reading in contemporary society. However, the effort put forth will reap benefits beyond what one can imagine. And this topic is certainly one that speaks to our culture just as much as it did back in Owen's day; we need to learn how to better commune with our God.
John Piper has exhorted us to find a dead hero, delve deeply into his works, and live with him there. I for one have decided to go with John Owen, who though challenging to read, has been pushing me spiritually for a while now. Thank you Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor for your work on this, it is greatly appreciated.