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The Christian Life: A Doctrinal Introduction Paperback – February 1, 1981
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The other value of this book is that it is a personal and intimate sharing of these great and wonderful truths of God in conversational tone. In other words, Ferguson makes basic essential doctrine easily accessible. If you want to sample Sinclair Ferguson before purchasing this book, you can check out his teachings on YouTube, especially his panel discussions with other reformed pastors such as Alistair Begg (Baptist) and R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur. But in this book, Ferguson is far more personal. The title sounds very scholarly, and it is, but the tone is far from being spiritually elitist or preachy. It is a missive from one who truly and personally wants to share the beauty of God's plan with the reader (any reader). It was required reading in a counseling course I took, but it has been a delight and a treasure is one I shall keep and re-read often as it inspires fresh worship upon every reading.
From what little I've heard or read of the verse over the years, I've thought of the witness of the Spirit in terms of a subjective feeling of assurance, or a lack of this feeling. In the following discussion of the passage, Ferguson though indicates that the verse is best interpreted in terms of observing the Spirit's active witness in our lives as we respond to His leading:
"Often it [the witness of the Spirit] has been interpreted as a mystical inner voice which speaks comfort and assurance to the believer. By others it is understood as referring to the testimony of Scripture in which alone the Spirit of God speaks to man. It seems best to understand Paul to mean that this co-witness of the Spirit appears in our experience of the other evidences of sonship, namely mortification of the sin which would displease our Father, and application to his Fatherly care in times of need. In these very experiences, Paul is saying, the Spirit is actively confirming us in our sense of sonship." (pp. 100-101)
In short, this is a tremendously helpful book.
I was initially puzzled why a book on doctrine would be required for a course on Biblical Counseling, though Ferguson makes clear that "Christian doctrine matters for Christian living." Too often, it seems to me that we miss the link between right living and right beliefs, between orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Even in the contemporary blogosphere, writers seem to fall to one side or another. It seems on the one side, people are able to defend the minutiae of theology with surgical precision, yet lack any real connection with life. On the other side, there are those who run out the door to tell people about Jesus, but don't really know the Jesus they are telling about.
In this book, written 30 years ago, Ferguson outlines the importance of sound beliefs in informing sound practice. He sees God's word and even theology as practical for our worship of the one true God. It is certainly a worthwhile read, though I tend to prefer Dug Down Deep (Josh Harris) or Death by Love (Mark Driscoll) for books that deal with the practicalities of doctrine.
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Level - Quick, easy read
The subtitle of this book is really illustrative of what this book is about.Read more