Thoughts on the Way Home

Thursday, April 03, 2008

In Christ Alone - A Book Recommendation


In the beginning of the movie A River Runs Through It, the main character, Norman Maclean, is portrayed as a young boy in the process of being home-schooled by his father ("I attended the school of the Reverend Maclean.") who is a Presbyterian minister. According to Norman, "He taught nothing but reading and writing. And being a Scot, he believed that the art of writing lay in thrift."

Norman is shown bringing his father a paper he had written. His father looks it over and replies, "Half as long." Norman runs off and comes back again a short time later with his rewritten paper in hand. His father once more reads it and replies, "Again, half as long." Finally, on the third attempt, the Reverend Maclean approves: "Good. Now throw it away."

Now, I don't know if Norman's experience is at all illustrative of the kind of education that Sinclair Ferguson received, but if it is true that "the art of writing lay in thrift," then Ferguson is a master of the art. Much like another of my favorite authors, John Murray, Ferguson is a native Scot with the ability to say much with few words. I've recently been reading through his newest book called In Christ Alone, and have been profiting immensely from it.

In Christ Alone is a compilation of shorter articles that Ferguson has written for various publications over the years, and is full of his characteristic warmth and ability to talk about profound Spiritual truths using simple language. (For another Ferguson book sharing these same characteristics, I would recommend The Christian Life.) It is very much Christ-centered (as the title would suggest) and saturated with Scripture. Now, if only Ferguson would renounce his covenant theology and his cessationism! But alas...

The first three chapters of the book (along with the table of contents) can be read here. The Westminster Bookstore has a very good price on it, along with excellent shipping rates. Few books printed in this day and age are even worth the paper they are printed on. On the other hand, some are worth their weight in gold. This is definitely of the latter variety, and I commend it to you.