BOOK REVIEWS

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls – Matthew Barrett , Ed.

docMatthew Barrett, Ed. The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls (Wheaton: Crossway, 2019), 912 pp.

Martin Luther boldly declared, “Justification is the article upon which the church stands or falls.” John Calvin argued that justification is the “hinge on which religion turns.” In the sixteenth century, scores of people found these arguments both biblical and compelling. The Roman Catholic Church deemed Luther and Calvin as heretics.

Fast forward to the current generation. While much has changed over the past five hundred years, the biblical wisdom of Luther and Calvin still stands. Many in the church trumpet the grand reality of justification by faith alone. But some continue to deny or discount this critical doctrine. Tragically, some of the dissenters are preaching in Protestant churches. At stake is more than a mere doctrine, important as that is – what is at stake is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls is edited by Matthew Barrett. Dr. Barrett comes with impeccable academic credentials and is supported by a cast of world-class scholars and theologians. This book both a theological tome and a treasure chest. It is not for the faint-hearted. And it is certainly not designed for the armchair theologian.

The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls is arranged in four parts:

  1. Justification in Biblical Perspective
  2. Justification in Theological Perspective
  3. Justification in Church History
  4. Justification in Pastoral Practice

This book leaves no stone unturned. The team that Barrett has assembled has examined every theological, biblical, and historical angle that pertains to the doctrine of justification. The fundamental standing of position before a holy God is addressed with depth, breadth, integrity, and God-centered wisdom. The combined efforts have yielded a work that should be used for generations to come and will be of great service to pastors, professors, and followers of Christ.

Those who discounted Luther and Calvin in the sixteenth-century did so at their own peril. Of greater importance is the repudiation of the doctrine of justification by faith alone. To discount this cardinal doctrine is not only dangerous; it is tantamount to theological treason.

I commend The Doctrine on Which the Church Stands or Falls and trust that it will receive a wide readership.

Highly recommended

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

BOOK REVIEWS

None Greater: The Undomesticated Attributes of God – Matthew Barrett

noneMatthew Barrett, None Greater: The Undomesticated Attributes of God (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2019), 283 pp.

None Greater: The Undomesticated Attributes of God by Matthew Barrett is a book for our times. Better put, it is a book that is desperately needed in this generation. Many books that explore the subject of theology proper are fraught with errors. Barrett’s book is quite the opposite.

None Greater takes readers on a journey which is undergirded by the theological wisdom of Anselm, Augustine, and Aquinas. Barrett stands on Anselm’s shoulders in particular and argues, “God is someone whom none greater can be conceived.” This theme strikes a welcome chord in a culture that is drowning in views of God which are weak, fragile, and unbiblical. At the outset, the vision of God is one of grandeur and glory; a vision that is a vivid portrayal of the God of the Bible.

Barrett invites readers to explore God in all his glory by exploring a series of attributes including infinity, aseity, simplicity, immutability, impassibility, timeless eternity, omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, ommisapience, righteousness, goodness, love, jealousy, and glory.

The chapter on impassibility is especially helpful as the author presents a very difficult doctrine in terms that are easily understood and digested. Each attribute is discussed in light of Anselm’s helpful view that God is someone than whom none greater can be conceived.

The net result leads readers not only to a better understanding of God, but one that leads to a worshipful response. Barrett shows the practical benefits of following and worshiping this great and glorious God: “The same infinite power of the Almighty that raised Jesus from the tomb is at work in us who believe.”

This work stands in a solidly Reformed tradition, but is designed for pastors and laymen. It is my pleasure to highly commend this book. I trust that it will receive a wide reading and impact the next generation for God’s glory!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.