There are very few authors today who really present anything new or noteworthy to read that hasn’t already been explored before or written in a better way. In fact, I believe it was Mark Dever who once remarked that you don’t need to read many contemporary theology books today because either John Piper or J.I. Packer has written on the subject in a better way!
However, there are some writers that you should read every word they print because the way they go about subjects is like no one else. Sinclair Ferguson fits this criteria, as his new book, The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters, is a book that has really never been done before. Below is the chapter titles from the Table of Contents:
- How a Marrow Grew
- Grace in the Gospel
- Preparation, Distortion, Poison
- Danger! Legalism
- The Order of Grace
- Suspicious Symptoms
- Faces of Antinomianism
- Causes and Cures
- The Marrow of Assurance
- How Assurance of Christ becomes Assurance of Salvation
- “Hindrances Strew All the Way”
What is unique about this book is it style. This book is not a straight retelling of an historical drama that happened in a galaxy far away or an exploration of a particular doctrine as you would find in a systematic textbook. Rather, this book is a conglomeration of historical background storytelling, doctrinal observations and pastoral practicality. As a history teacher, I love reading stories of history, especially by gifted writers, because, in the words of Author David McCullough, they make history more fun to read than fiction. Ferguson does this with his retelling of the marrow controversy, bringing you into that time period and impressing upon the reader to ask themselves the question, of what would you do if you were in that situation.
The best part of this book has to be Ferguson’s way of describing and explaining the definitions, distractions and dangers of following down the wrong paths of Legalism or Antinomianism. He cuts with a surgeon’s knife and makes you examine yourself whether or not maybe you are on one of these paths and may not even know it. Ferguson however, gives us the best way forward and that is The Whole Christ, The Whole Gospel and that is the true path and life to take.
I highly recommend this book!