Book Review: In Christ Alone by Dr. Sinclair Ferguson

In this refresher of biblical truths Dr. Sinclair Ferguson does a very good job of pulling all of scripture together to point to the working of Christ in all things. This book could easily be used as a devotional since the chapters are very short and to the point. Dr. Ferguson does well to keep the depth of insight and yet provide very practical applications of truth. As I pushed my way through this book I came upon many biblical truths that, sadly to admit, I had forgotten. I came upon chapters expounding the message of Romans and Hebrews, two of my favorite books in the entirety of scripture, and was eager and excited to delve into them with pen and paper in hand. Many of the chapters were on faith as our way of salvation, as Dr. Ferguson says, “The genius of the divine way of salvation by faith is that in it we are personally, actively united to Jesus Christ, but in a way that contributes nothing to His work. Faith is by definition noncontributory; it is the reception of Christ, not an addition to His finished work”.

While I do agree with the very biblical nature of this book, I highly disagree with the view that the gifts of the Holy Spirit ended when the last disciple of the Apostles had passed away. Knowing that the Reformed view of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is such that it states the gifts were a way to celebrate the resurrection of Christ and to build up the early church. I do not believe this to be a salvation issue but I do find it to be close to denying that those who have experienced the outpouring of the Spirit have had authentic encounters with the Holy Spirit that proceeds from the Father. I myself have had several encounters when humbled at the throne of God. I come from a background of mixed theology and in my own theology I find that I mix and mingle what I think to be true biblical doctrine. I find that I cannot deny the working of the Spirit among the people of God today, not only because I find the working of the Spirit to be biblical, but I also see that the Holy Spirit is alive in my family and the working of revealing the truth of scripture to me as I read. While the reformed view does not say that the Spirit works today, they deny that many of the gifts the early church had, are in use today. I respect their view and can see how scripture can be used to defend both sides of the argument. I believe it’s not a big deal when you know biblical truths for yourself and are firm in your own convictions.

I hope that you will pick this book up and examine the truths of scripture it contains. A very helpful book that I will no doubt continue to dive into for practical application of the entire word of God. If you hunger for the unadulterated gospel of Christ, you will no doubt be encouraged by this book. If you want a basic layout of doctrine and if you like to study theology then I would ask you to have this book on your bookshelf alongside your study of scripture. Dr. Ferguson has done very well to weave his way through the bible in a systematic approach and I have learned a great deal from this book.

In compensation for writing this review I will receive a free copy of this book from Reformation Trust Publishing.

Sample Chapter:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/ligonier-static media/uploads/attachments/store_product/1140/InChristAlone_sample.pdf

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