What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert (Book Recommendation)

The “gospel” (or good news) is the message of what God has done to save sinners through Jesus. It is the message of salvation, the center of the Christian faith. What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert provides a concise and helpful overview of the gospel message. Whether you aren’t yet a believer and are looking to get introduced to what Christians believe, you’re a new believer seeking greater clarity, or you’re a more mature believer looking for a refresher, this book is a valuable resource.

In addition, you can download my study guide for the book.

Redemption Accomplished and Applied, John Murray (Goodreads Review)

Redemption Accomplished and AppliedRedemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lead a group of men in my church through this book. A lot of them found the initial chapters a bit more difficult to weigh through. I would agree that part 1 felt more polemical, and could feel a bit more technical or abstract for those less familiar with this sort of writing or subject matter. However, part 2 seems to take a shift in tone. In these latter chapters especially, one of the things I appreciated about this book was the doxological tone and orientation naturally woven throughout. As I read, I found myself experiencing gratitude to God and standing in awe of Christ. I believe this book originally came out of a series of lectures Murray delivered (?). And it certainly reads like that. It feels a bit different in that way from other systematic treatments of soteriology. Very insightful and well done.

View all my reviews.

Preservation & Perseverance: Views Charted

“We believe that election is the eternal purpose of God according to which he effectually regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners, not on the basis of anything foreseen in them, but solely based on his free and sovereign grace. We believe that this election comprehends all the means connected with its end such that the salvation of all who trust in Christ is guaranteed, that by God’s unfailing grace all genuine believers will persevere in faith unto full and complete salvation.” – SCC Statement of Faith

D.A. Carson Illustrating the Difference Between Arminian and Calvinist Conceptions of Grace

In Exegetical Fallacies, D.A. Carson dismantles an analogy by which Donald Lakes seeks to deny alleged differences between the Arminian and Calvinist understandings of grace. Carson then counters with an example of his own that helpfully exemplifies the difference that is truly at play.

Donald M. Lake, for example, in attempting to argue that grace is no weaker in an Arminian system than in a Reformed system, offers us the analogy of a judge who condemns a guilty criminal and then offers him a pardon. Although the man must accept it, such acceptance, argues Lake, cannot be thought of as a meritorious work, a work that in any sense makes the man deserving of salvation. “Calvin and later Calvinists,” he adds, “never seem to be able to see this fundamental distinction unfortunately!”

But to argue that the role of grace in the two systems is not different, Lake would have to change his analogy. He would need to picture a judge rightly condemning ten criminals, and offering each of them pardon. Five of them accept the pardon, the other five reject it (the relative numbers are not important). But in this model, even though those who accept the pardon do not earn it, and certainly enjoy their new freedom because of the judge’s “grace,” nevertheless they are distinguishable from those who reject the offer solely on the basis of their own decision to accept the pardon. The only thing that separates them from those who are carted off to prison is the wisdom of their own choice. That becomes a legitimate boast. By contrast, in the Calvinistic scheme, the sole determining factor is God’s elective grace. Thus, although both systems appeal to grace, the role and place of grace in the two systems are rather different. Lake fails to see this because he has drawn an inadequate analogy; or, more likely, the inadequacy of his chosen analogy demonstrates he has not understood the issue.


D. A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies, 2nd ed. (Carlisle, U.K.; Grand Rapids, MI: Paternoster; Baker Books, 1996), 121–122.