Book Review: In Christ Alone

10 January 2011 by Wes Bredenhof

In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel-Centered Life, Sinclair B. Ferguson, Orlando: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2007.  Hardcover, 243 pages, $19.00.

I don’t set out to review every single book I read.  Some books are review copies and there is an expectation that I will write a review (though I don’t always).  Some are popular books that need a critical look.  Other books I pick up for my own benefit.  I start reading and then become convinced that this book needs to be read by as many people as possible.  In Christ Alone is one of those books.

Dr. Sinclair Ferguson is the author of many worthwhile books.  He serves as the senior minister of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina, a congregation affiliated with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.  Ferguson is also a professor of systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

This book is a collection of 50 small chapters originally written for a couple of magazines.  The chapters cover a wide range of topics and subjects relating to the gospel and the Christian life.  They are all well-grounded in expositions of the Word of God.  They’re also very much directed towards personal application.  Most importantly, the book lives up to its title, directing its readers to the all-sufficient Saviour.  It also instructs readers on how to live as Christians united to this great Redeemer.

In Christ Alone could be profitably used in a few different ways.  I used it as Sunday devotional reading.  The chapters are short enough (most are 2-3 pages) that they could be used for devotions by couples who no longer have young kids at home.  Or you could use it for your personal benefit on a daily basis.  However you use it, this is not a book to rush through.  You need to slow down and savour each chapter as it directs you to the Word of God and to our great Saviour.

As a pastor, I would be pleased if all my congregation members were to buy this little book and read it carefully.  I’m confident that it would pay rich dividends in terms of spiritual growth.  I’m always on the look out for faithful and helpful devotional literature.  The Puritans are among my favourites.  There are many contemporary authors who carry on in the line of the Puritans, authors like Jerry Bridges and R. C. Sproul.  Sinclair Ferguson is also in their growing number.  Theologically sound and pastorally written, In Christ Alone has been a great blessing to me and I think it will be for you too.