I wish I could heartily recommend this book, for there is much that is good in it. Dr Peckham takes us through five ‘great gospel words’ –– salvation, repentance, justification, regeneration and assurance. Each section begins with a plethora of different definitions, of which most are helpful though one or two are not.
At its best, Dr Peckham’s writing is reminiscent of Thomas Watson –– pithy and memorable. The section on repentance contains an excellent treatment on the discernment of true and false repentance. On justification, he is clear on this being by Christ’s imputed righteousness, and that it is founded on penal substitution. He engages at some length with Rome and demonstrates that its teaching is false.
However, his treatment of regeneration seems to confuse the order of salvation. We cannot believe without the impartation of new life (Ephesians 2:1), yet four times the new birth is called a command (pp. 79, 83, 94, 95). We are told, ‘Trust, believe, be born again’ (p. 95) and ‘when we trust [Christ] to come into our lives and save us, at that moment we are born again. The moment that faith is exercised the miracle takes place’ (p.96).
Also, he says ‘when we open [our hearts to Christ] … we are born of the Spirit’ (p.92); and, ‘Justifying faith is the initial act of the Christian life and it is accompanied by an inward spiritual change known as regeneration. Faith unites the believer to the living Christ and this entails a change of heart, when our sins are forgiven’ (p.68).
That said, most of this book is very helpful and can be read with profit by the discerning reader. I can envisage turning to it on occasions now I have it. Should you buy it? You must judge for yourself.