The Christian LIfe: A Doctrinal Introduction
Rating – Must Read
Level – Quick, easy read
The subtitle of this book is really illustrative of what this book is about. It is an introduction to doctrine for Christians, more specifically reformed theology. This is probably the best intro book I’ve ever read. You won’t get the full intro that you’d need to tackle Systematic Theology, there is no doctrine of church, sacrament, eschatology, etc., but his chapters on man, sin, grace, election/adoption, justification, and christian living are possibly unmatched in their accessibility to the average Christian.
I’d highly recommend this book for anyone looking to understand more about doctrine, to go above a Sunday School level, and it may even work as a gateway book into deeper study of theology. Ferguson was a theologian and professor, but this book is written by a pastor first and foremost and can easily be read by any Christian at any level of education and knowledge.
If I’ve somehow been unclear, I’m really high on this book. Clocking in under 200 pages but with 18 chapters, anyone can hope in and out of the different doctrinal chapters with ease. As I mentioned above, this is a great intro for anyone looking to expand their knowledge. It is also a great reminder to pastor and theologians of the basics of doctrine. A way to bring those who greater knowledge back down to a simpler level, a more concise study of what others need to know.
This is written almost as a series of sermons and could be a great book for a Bible study or community group looking for something to read. For pastors and elders in the church, this should be the go to suggested reading for anyone inquiring about doctrine. Overall, it is a must read for every Christian.
The Trinitarian Devotion of John Owen -Sinclair B. Ferguson
My Rating –If You are Looking for Something
Level – Short, east
Like other books in the series, you get a short two for one kind of deal here. The first chapter is a brief biography of John Owen. I don’t he is very well known in the Christian community here in America. He was a British puritan living in the 17th century and quite a prolific author. The second major part of the book focuses on the Trinity, with chapters on each, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Much of the book is drawn from the works of Owen.
I’ve heard of a number of his books, especially Mortification of Sin, but I don’t think I’ve ever read anything from him. It is a timely reminder now, as the controversy of the eternal subordination of the Son so going on, of the importance of the study of the Trinity. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a sermon and participated in a study of the Trinity. This likely has much to do with how difficult the concept is for us to understand. It becomes confusing to discuss and can easily lead to error. I know growing up, I never really understood the three persons to be three independent beings. As in, there was God, whom became flesh as a guy called Jesus, and now speaks through the Holy Spirit. That is, the three persons are just the way that God reveals himself, almost something like taking different forms.
Obviously, misunderstanding the doctrine of the Trinity isn’t as severe as deny the resurrection, but it is an important part of theology. Anyone who takes theology seriously, especially those that are pretend theologians, should really make an effort to gain a better understanding. So, if you are looking for something, this is a good intro to the Trinity as well as good info about John Owen.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review (see more in my about page).