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Showing 1-10 of 19 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 29 reviews
on July 10, 2015
I have long had concerns regarding the predestination debate, but Sinclair Ferguson has deftly and wisely and beautifully described the Sovereignty of God and our full and blessed assurance of salvation without rendering the character of God wrongfully or inaccurately, especially when discussing "Who is the elect?" Ferguson doesn't try to explain away the mystery that is ours when mortals look upon the eternal plan of an eternal God, and that is the greatest blessing of his book. He helps us wend our way toward God while accepting and embracing that beautiful mystery, but with solid feet on solid promises God has given us. If you have had a hard time with reformed theology explanations you will be immensely gratified with this doctrinal explanation. Of course, the book discusses all essential doctrine, not just the debatable parts, however for me this has been its greatest value and it has indeed set my feet on solid ground where predestination is concerned. It has closed the gap for me that has long been a serious personal puzzlement when counseling others.

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.
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on May 16, 2013
Sinclair Ferguson writes with a pastor's heart and a passion for explaining how doctrines apply to daily living. One part that was especially good was his discussion of the meaning of the witness of the Spirit in Romans 8:16, which reads "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God."

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.
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on April 13, 2012
This Spring, I took a distance education course through CCEF. There was quite a lot of reading required for the course including various articles and books written by David Powlison, the lecturing professor. The one reading, however, that was not authored by Powlison was The Christian Life: A Doctrinal Introduction, by Sinclair Ferguson (1981).

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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on October 19, 2015
The Christian Life by Sinclair Ferguson is both a beautifully written and challenging book for Christians as well as those who want to learn more about the Christian Faith. The Christian Life is first a meaningful and informative overview of the Christian faith, second a loving challenge to the believer and to the church to know a faith that is genuinely rooted in doctrine, and lastly provides a powerful resource to be used for counseling purposes as well as for personal growth in the Christian faith.
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on July 5, 2007
Most believers (including myself early in my walk with Christ) somehow believe that doctrine divides, that it is unimportant, or that it is only necessary for the "professionals" of the faith! As Sinclair Ferguson writes in his excellent, understandable, and practical book, The Christian Life: A Doctrinal Introduction, "The conviction that Christian doctrine matters for Christian living is one of the most important growth points of the Christian life." (pp.2). Ferguson breaks down some key doctrines in relatively short, easy to follow chapters that are filled with straightforward explanations of Scripture. If you think that doctrine and theology are too hard, give this book a try! You don't even have to read it straight through. You can simply read a chapter as a reference (for instance on Justification).

Ferguson writes, "We may have to rethink our personal response to doctrine in order to integrate it into the very warp and woof of our spiritual experience. For too many Christians for too long, `doctrine' has been thought of as impractical, stodgy and relatively useless. But we cannot obediently hear our Lord (surely the most practical man who ever lived), if we turn away from his doctrine. For he teaches doctrine in order to fill our lives with stability and grace." (pp. 4).

I've actually "field tested" this book at my last church. A small group was having some battles on predestination. I photocopied the chapter on Election from this book and gave it to one man who was struggling to both grasp and explain the issue. He found it very clear, helpful and faith-confirming. I hope that you will find it the same and your walk with the Lord will be richer and more joyous as a result.
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on March 31, 2014
I am a Pastor of Collegiate ministries and I am currently reading through this book with 5 different guys and discussing it with them one on one. It is very accessible reading and presents the great doctrines of salvation in a way that is informative and life changing. Great book to help Christians understand and appreciate the depth of the work that God has done to save them from their sin!
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on February 11, 2017
Excellent book by an excellent and articulate theologian in the reformed tradition
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on June 7, 2016
Excellent treatment of the basic doctrines of Christianity from a reformed perspective. Ferguson's writing is lucid.
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on September 11, 2013
This author knows both what and Whom he is writing about and communicates simply and powerfully the essentials of the Christian life. His use of Scripture is wide-ranging and not at all of the "proof-text" variety; rather he demonstrates/explains how the foundational truths can be seen throughout salvation history.
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on November 4, 2015
Even though I needed this for school, it was Super Great to read, very interesting. You'd love it
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