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Devoted to God’s Church – Core values for Christian fellowship

By Sinclair B. Ferguson
August 2021 | Review by John Tredgett

    Book Review

    Do you know anyone who struggles to see the purpose and value of the local church? This excellent little book is for them. The Covid-19 pandemic has eroded church attendance far and wide, so a book highlighting the worth, joys, and benefits of communal worship is timely.

    Scottish theologian Sinclair Ferguson is a staple figure in Reformed publishing and the conference circuit. His wealth of pastoral experience shines through here, and the book is seasoned with many helpful anecdotes and illustrations.

    Although just a bitesize treatment of a profound subject, it does have expository substance, each chapter using a key passage of Scripture as a springboard for its topic.

    Early chapters hold up the concepts of church, conversion, discipleship, and membership to the light of New Testament teaching, showing them to be both biblical and critical features of a believer’s life.

    Indeed, the book is about our attitudes to church as individual believers. It is not about strategies for church planting or initiatives for numerical growth. Rather it explains the importance of the essential nuts and bolts of a healthy church: Bible reading, preaching, prayer, baptism, and communion.

    The author outlines a paedobaptist position but provides several general insights into baptism which readers will find profitable irrespective of their viewpoint. He writes, for example, that baptism ‘is not the event of a moment, but the sign under which my whole life is lived in Christ’.

    A stand-out chapter treats the nature of true worship. Using Isaiah 6, Ferguson distinguishes formal church attendance from that precious, self-abasing awe which the believer can and should experience when worshipping the living God.

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