Published on February 9, 2022 by Steve West

Banner of Truth, 1966 | 464 pages

A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance

by Steve West


Editor’s Note:  Most of our readers will already be at least somewhat acquainted with John Owen (1616-1683), “the prince of Puritans,” but it is not likely that many have read him extensively. His works are not only voluminous – they are tightly packed and deeply considered. Owen is neither quick nor light reading!

Today we continue our year-long series of summaries of Owen’s famous works. We trust these will be of help in introducing and/or increasing your acquaintance with this giant Puritan theologian.


Table of Contents of Volume Two

On Communion with God
Vindication of the Preceding Discourse
Vindication of the Doctrine of the Trinity


Summary, Part 3


A Vindication of the Preceding Discourse

Note: Seventeen years after Owen published Communion with God, William Sherlock wrote a critical response. This is Owen’s reply to his objections.

The objections raised to my book by Sherlock are drawn from the principles of Socinianism and are not in accord with the doctrine of the church catholic throughout history. Although there are personal calumnies, I only respond to defend the doctrine. It is by grace that we participate in Christ, united with him and receiving life from his deity and his body (which is the pattern of our resurrection bodies). Christ sanctifies us body and soul. Believers are incorporated into his body. We receive some benefits of Christ by imputation, and others by the infusion of grace. Divine grace sanctifies believers all the way until they experience consummation in glory. All of these things are pointed out by Mr. Hooker, that noblest and most authoritative divine of the Church of England. To disagree with me, Sherlock disagrees with his church. Interestingly enough he doesn’t attack Hooker but me, yet nothing more needs to be said about that.

His first attack is against the idea that we must be acquainted with Christ. What I was asserting was nothing more than that Christians needed to know Christ as their mediator, the Word made flesh, which is a doctrine all but Socinians agree with. I am charged with asserting that there is an acquaintance with Christ outside of gospel revelation, but this is entirely false. There are no mysteries of Christ outside of the gospel for us to know, but we are not Christians if we do not know Christ incarnate as our Lord, Savior, and Mediator. Apart from Christ it is impossible to understand any sacred, saving truth. There is a knowledge of God in light of general revelation, but it is not of saving power. God’s love and pardoning mercy is only revealed in Christ. . . .

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Banner of Truth, 1966 | 464 pages

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