Book Review: John Owen, The Person of Christ: Declaring a Glorious Mystery – God and Man (1678; reprint, Christian Heritage, 2015).

person of christ - owen

John Owen is arguably the theological genius par excellence of English Puritanism. Whatever one thinks of this assessment, this is clearly the case with his work on Christology, entitled by him ‘Christologia.’ Here, the reader does not find a mere standard treatment of Reformed Christology; rather, what one finds is a treatment of the person of Christ that is doxologically rich, theological penetrating, and continually nuanced.

Beyond this, it is clear that there is an apologetic undertone to this volume. Owen does not make explicit which school or schools he is addressing, but, just as with most of treatments of Christology, he is concerned to demonstrate the importance of Christ’s divinity, humanity, and the hypostatic union. Yet, in doing so, he puts on display his genius and the warmth of his devotion to Christ by demonstrating the importance of these essential Christological truths to such areas as, e.g., God’s revelation of himself, the entire counsel of God, God’s working ad extra (in creation and redemption), and, God’s redemptive love.

It would be the recommendation of this reader that one take this book slowly (and indeed devotionally) with a willingness to work through parsing the oftentimes difficult theological prose, for, in doing so, the reader will be invited to enjoy with Owen the deep devotion to and love for Christ which so clearly exudes from his treatment of the person of Christ. Now, if one is looking for a basic understanding of Reformed Christology, this may not be the best starting place; but, after one is comfortable with those basics, this should be at the top of one’s list as it has the proper doxological aim and theological depth one would hope to find in a truly Christ exalting work on the person of Christ.

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