A couple of months or so ago, I read a pre-release review of the upcoming book The Whole Christ, by Sinclair Ferguson. My interest was immediately piqued, so when Crossway Publishers offered a free copy in exchange for a review, I decided to delve into it.
I had never heard of the Marrow controversy before. And, after reading Ferguson’s book, I am honestly not entirely sure that I understand it yet completely. It is a very nuanced event in church history, it seems. But I found the debate and the logic presented by both those who were caught up in the historical controversy 250 years ago, and how it has played out through today, absolutely fascinating.
But, more than the debate and logic aspect (which I admittedly love) of the entire thing, I found myself drawn to the more personal intonations–law vs. Gospel, law and gospel, law or gospel. While it seems that it would be (and is, by reading various books and blogs and articles) easy to fall into one category or the other in our personal theological framework, it is so much more complicated than that. Or, maybe we make it more complicated, by divvying up our opinions on the subject and adding labels such as legalist and antinomianist, and somehow completely miss the beauty–and necessity–and scriptural truth–of both.
Ferguson does an excellent job here of continually pointing us back to Christ, and Christ only. I am both an habitual rule-follower and a rebellious rule-breaker. I fluctuate back and forth, sinfully finding comfort both in law and in grace–depending on the day and whatever I might happen to be justifying in that moment–rather than adoring and worshipping the whole Christ. I want to fit Him into what fits me, in any given moment. This book was a kick.
What was most fascinating was the relationship between the legalism/antinomianism topic, and assurance of salvation. That’s something I’d never quite made a connection on before, but Ferguson’s explanation makes sense (although I am far from understanding it well).
This turned out to be more than a nerdy theological read. At times it was frustrating, and created far more questions than answers, but overall I found it to be excellent, though-provoking and challenging.