Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Legalism, Antinomianism and the Gospel

We are all much the better for having the classic literature of the past available to us today. If you have ever thought about the place of the law in relation to the gospel and its relationship to grace in the Christian life you may want to pick up a classic volume that is about to be republished by Christian Focus, namely The Marrow of Modern Divinity.

Perhaps there is no area of the Christian life today where there is such a pressing need to listen to the voices of the saints from past centuries who were steeped in Scripture and experimentally aquainted with the grace of God in the new covenant.

The title of the work may not strike the 21st Century ear as that attractive, but if ever a book should not be judged by its title it is probably this one. I have no doubt that all who read and digest its contents will be much the richer for it.

This reprint includes the explanatory notes of Thomas Boston (and if you are new to that name you are in for a treat), and an introduction by Phil Ryken. To get you orientated to the time of its writing and its influence and significance there is also an historical introduction by William Vandoodeward.

You can download some sample pages from the book here

If the names Sinclair Ferguson, Derek Thomas and Phil Ryken carry any weight with you then just read over what they have to say:

Both legalism and antinomianism are perennial dangers for the church and for individual Christians. When we begin to think of the Christian life primarily as a list of “dos” and “don’ts,” we are under the sway of legalism. When we begin to think that it is okay for us to go ahead and sin, because God will forgive us anyway, we are feeling the temptation of antinomianism.

The Marrow of Modern Divinity proclaims a gospel that can rescue us from both of these dangers. Filled with quotations from the great reformer Martin Luther and from the worthy Puritans, The Marrow emphasizes biblical, evangelical doctrines such as the sovereignty of God in the covenant of grace, the free offer of the gospel, assurance in Christ as the essence of faith, and sanctification by grace rather than by the law. Thomas Boston loved these grace-filled doctrines and discovered that they strengthened his hold on the precious gospel that he lived and preached.

Philip G. Ryken~ Senior Minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Anyone who comes to grips with the issues raised in The Marrow of Modern Divinity will almost certainly grow by leaps and bounds in understanding three things: the grace of God, the Christian life, and the very nature of the gospel itself. I personally owe it a huge debt. Despite their mild-mannered appearance, these pages contain a powerful piece of propaganda. Read them with great care

Sinclair B. Ferguson ~ Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina

The Marrow of Modern Divinity is one of the most important theological texts of all time

Derek Thomas ~ Professor of Systematic and Practical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi

1 comment:

M. Jay Bennett said...

I can't wait to dig into this book.