An Introduction to John Owen – Crawford Gribben

Crawford Gribben, An Introduction to John Owen: A Christian Vision for Every Stage of Life (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2020), 190 pp.

John Owen is arguably one of the most influential Puritan writers and should likewise be considered one of the most formidable Christian thinkers in the history of the church. Crawford Gribben sets out to explore the life and ministry of this important man in his book, An Introduction to John Owen: A Christian Vision for Every Stage of Life.

A few short words in the preface nicely captures the core of the book:

For Owen, spiritual life was about increasing in grace and goodness, in fellowship with each person of the Trinity, in the local and visible, catholic and invisible fellowship of the church, in the context of an often hostile world … The good life would be enabled by divine grace and would extend that grace to others.

The author sets the tone in a stirring introduction that alerts readers to the high points of Owen’s life. Owen is presented as one who was reared in a politically charged environment. A serious man by nature, Owen is prepared for a life of scholarship and ministry. He possessed a stunning intellect but also may have battled depression – along with a host of other Puritan pastors of his generation.

A fascinating feature of Owen’s life includes living through the Great Plague (1665-1666) and the Great Fire (1666). The author presents Owen as one who continues to work, write, serve, and minister – even in the midst of the fiery storm.

The remainder of the book builds upon this grand theme of living the Christian life to the glory of God. Four basic headings guide readers through Owen’s life including his childhood, youth, middle age, and death, and the afterlife. Key works of Owen are mentioned briefly and highlights of his ministry are spelled out.

Overall, Gribben’s work is solid and informative. Students who are not familiar with John Owen will benefit greatly from reading this book. But longtime admirers of Owen will also be encouraged.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

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