BOOK HIGHLIGHT — Fools Rush In Where Monkeys Fear to Tread by Carl R. Trueman

Fools Rush In Where Monkeys Fear to Tread: Taking Aim at Everyone by Carl R. Trueman

240 pages | Direct Price: $14.99 $11.50 | Paperback | SAMPLE CHAPTER

About

A pithy collection of the best of Carl Trueman’s articles on culture and the church. A compelling, challenging, and sometimes uproarious look at how the world and the church intersect.

Like Luther before him, Trueman understands the power of humor because he understands the absurdity of human self-regard in the context of the fallen world. And like Luther, Trueman shows no mercy, either to his enemies or to himself. His writings are an oasis of welcome wit in what can so often seem like a desert of Protestant pomposity.

Endorsements

“Carl Trueman is at his brilliant, provocative, hysterical best. Reading Trueman is always enlightening and always an event. . . . These chapters will edify, entertain, and occasionally infuriate. What more could one ask for in a book?”

—Kevin DeYoung, Senior Pastor, University Reformed Church, East Lansing, Michigan

“Though he might not take himself too seriously, Carl Trueman takes the gospel very seriously in this wonderful little book. Trueman offers laugh-out-loud, insightful commentary on theology, culture, the church, and the Christian life. His rapier wit cuts through absurdity and bad theology like a hot knife through butter.”

—J. V. Fesko, Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology, Westminster Seminary California

About the Author

Carl R. Trueman (MA, Cambridge University; PhD, Aberdeen University) is professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and pastor of Cornerstone OPC in Ambler, Pennsylvania.

 

Reformed Expository Commentary Series


All the books in the Reformed Expository Commentary series are accessible to both pastors and lay readers. Each volume in the series provides exposition that gives careful attention to the biblical text, is doctrinally Reformed, focuses on Christ through the lens of redemptive history, and applies the Bible to our contemporary setting.



What do respected pastors and theologians say about the Reformed Expository Commentary series?

“Well researched and well reasoned, practical and pastoral, shrewd, solid, and searching.”

—J. I. Packer

“A rare combination of biblical insight, theological substance, and pastoral application.”

—R. Albert Mohler Jr.

“This series promises to be both exegetically sensitive and theologically faithful.”

—Mark Dever

“Here, rigorous expository methodology, nuanced biblical theology, and pastoral passion combine.”

—R. Kent Hughes


Upcoming Titles in the series

COMING AUGUST 2017

REVELATION by Richard D. Phillips | Pages: (estimated) 768 | List Price: $39.99

About: The book of Revelation is a riveting read—but a persistent question Christians have is, “What does it mean?” Pastor-theologian Richard Phillips provides a clear, penetrating study of each chapter, highlighting the theme of the sovereign rule of Christ over history for the salvation of his church. Readers will see the glory of Christ as the exalted Priest and King for his people and discover the powerful pattern of faith by which we may join Christians of all ages in victory.

COMING MARCH 2018

ZEPHANIAH, HAGGAI, MALACHI by Iain M. DuguidMatthew P. Harmon | Pages: (estimated) 224

Old Testament

1 SAMUEL by Richard D. Phillips | Pages: 576 | List Price: $34.99 | Kindle | iTunes/ePub

About: David is more than a great hero, a man of faith, and a model for Christians to follow. He is one of the most important Old Testament types of Jesus Christ. It is as an anointed one—called and provided by God to lead Israel—that David plays his chief role in redemptive history and makes his distinctive contribution in preparing God’s people for the Anointed One, the Messiah who comes to rule and to save.

Two other significant figures—Samuel and Saul—appear in 1 Samuel. Samuel, an epochal figure whose significance equals that of Joshua, guides Israel out of the chaotic period of the judges and serves the coming of the Davidic kingdom. Saul, an alter ego first to Samuel and then to David, personifies the idolatry and unbelief that plague Israel throughout the Old Testament. The ways in which he contrasts with Samuel and David provide valuable spiritual lessons.

The lesser characters in 1 Samuel are hardly incidental—Eli the corrupted priest, Hannah the tearful believer, and Jonathan the faithful friend, to name just three.


1 KINGS by Philip Graham Ryken | Pages: 636 | List Price: $34.99 | Kindle | iTunes/ePub

About: Dynasties, fractured kingdoms, prophecies of coming hardships—the book of 1 Kings is a grand, sweeping narrative of the beginning of the downfall of God’s people. Its size and scope may seem intimidating, but Phil Ryken shows us in this biblical, doctrinal, practical, and Christological commentary how this imposing book can be divided into three key sections.

First, the stories of Solomon focus on the themes of money, sex, and power, inviting us to learn from Solomon’s example. Will we use these things wisely for kingdom purposes, or foolishly abuse them for selfish gain? Then the middle of the story, on the divided kingdom, shows the destructive consequences of sin among the people of God—especially the sin of idolatry. The final section demonstrates the power of prayer to the true and living God, as exemplified in the life and ministry of God’s prophet Elijah.

Phil Ryken both brings out the key themes of these three sections and illustrates how they come together in their focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ, especially his kingly and prophetic offices. This is an excellent resource for those who want a devotional aid and will help Bible expositors reliably teach a redemptive-historical view of this important Old Testament book.


ESTHER & RUTH by Iain M. Duguid | Pages: 224 | List Price: $17.99

About: Does God help those who help themselves? That may seem to be the message of the Books of Esther and Ruth. Some think that Ruth’s attractiveness won over Naomi and Boaz, or that Esther’s bold faithfulness saved her people. But a closer reading shows an embittered Naomi to have abandoned the Promised Land and God’s people, and Esther to have become thoroughly assimilated to the culture and values of Persian society.

In Esther, God works in invisible ways to save his people. In Ruth, God’s grace comes to Naomi unexpectedly, and with it, a depiction of redemption for her people. In both books, a gracious and sovereign God works through flawed individuals—unable even to help themselves—to rescue his people and prepare for the coming of Christ.


EZRA & NEHEMIAH by Derek W.H. Thomas | Pages: 464 | List Price: $34.99

About: The books of Ezra and Nehemiah tell a vital story of a community revived and restored by God’s grace through gifted individuals—preparing the way for the coming Messiah. In his practical and devotional expository commentary, pastor-theologian Derek W. H. Thomas shows what this gripping narrative can teach us about kingdom life in our own time. In their different ways, Ezra and Nehemiah both prioritized the Word of God and the practice of prayer. If the church of our day is to recover and be renewed, Thomas argues, these commitments are just as vital for us as well.


ECCLESIASTES by Douglas Sean O’Donnell | Pages: 272 | List Price: $22.99 | Kindle | iTunes/ePub

About: Ecclesiastes raises questions that haunt everyone to some degree. We live in a busy world, but does our busyness have a purpose? Or will the tyranny of time render all our labor pointless? If our efforts are doomed by death, how are we supposed to live in the meantime?

Douglas O’Donnell turns to Ecclesiastes to show us that lives of seeming futility “under the sun” become filled with joy and meaning if we live “under the rule of the Son.” O’Donnell argues that wisdom literature is best seen through the teachings of Jesus, who said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Here learn from Ecclesiastes to find meaning in life by abandoning illusions of self-importance, putting aside all pride, and embracing divine wisdom.


SONG OF SONGS by Iain M. Duguid | Pages: 216 | List Price: $22.99 | Kindle | iTunes/ePub

About: To many of us, Song of Songs is a puzzling book. Often we’re not sure whether we should read it as romantic poetry or as allegory, and an answer either way raises new questions. Why is a love poem a whole book of the Bible? If it’s allegorical, what are we to make of the imagery used? And if we’re not married or dating, should we be reading this book at all?

As a part of Scripture, Song of Songs is God-breathed and useful to instruct allChristians, single or married, divorced or widowed, straight or struggling with same-sex desires. Pastor-scholar Iain Duguid steers a middle way between allegorical and literal approaches, showing that this book’s celebration of the love between a man and woman can not only shape our thinking about human relationships but also give us profound insight into the love that Christ has for his bride, the church.


DANIEL by Iain M. Duguid | Pages: 256 | List Price: $22.99

About: The book of Daniel is both familiar and unfamiliar to many Christians. The stories of the fiery furnace and Daniel in the lion’s den are the staples of children’s Bible story books and Sunday school classes. Yet the latter chapters of Daniel’s vision are more unfamiliar and daunting to most believers, who may have been exposed to a variety of end-times speculations constructed from an amalgam of these texts and others drawn from elsewhere in the Bible.

But Iain M. Duguid reminds Christians that Daniel gives us more than moral lessons or a prophetic timetable. The whole of the book points us to Christ, whether as the one greater than Daniel who has perfectly lived an exilic life of service and separation for us or as the exalted heavenly Son of Man who took flesh amongst us.


JONAH & MICAH by Richard D. Phillips | Pages: 400 | List Price: $29.99

About: Jonah is a figure of such contemporary features that he could be a member of one of our churches. Moreover, Jonah reminds us that the chief characteristic of redeemed people is not that they never sin, for sadly we still do, but that they are ready to repent of their sin when reminded of God’s grace.

The prophet Micah lived several generations later than Jonah. Whereas God called Jonah to cry out to the wicked idolaters in Nineveh, he called Micah to cry out against the wicked sinners of Jerusalem. Unlike the earlier prophet, who wrestled against God’s gospel message for pagan unbelievers, Micah was brokenhearted in his fervent desire for Jerusalem to repent and believe.

What this means is that a study of Jonah will connect us with our mission to the world. A study of Micah will inform us to face our challenges within today’s church.


ZECHARIAH by Richard D. Phillips | Pages: 368 | List Price: $29.99

About: The book of Zechariah records the prophetic message of Zechariah to the community that had returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile and was charged with rebuilding the temple and city. But the physical return was meant to prompt a spiritual and theological return to faith in the Lord.

Zechariah called the people to such a true return and reassured them of the Lord’s willingness to receive them and restore to them the promised blessings. It is a book with an eschatological perspective of special value to Christians today who labor for reformation and long for revival.



Topical

THE INCARNATION IN THE GOSPELS by Richard D. Phillips, Philip Graham Ryken, Daniel M. Doriani | Pages: 240 | List Price: $22.99

About: This seasonal addition to the Reformed Expository Commentary series presents twelve biblically and theologically grounded Christmas messages, as the authors explore the canonical teaching on the birth of Jesus Christ in the gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John.

As a sample of the exposition found in the series, this volume is accessible to both pastors and lay readers. Each commentary gives careful attention to the biblical text, is doctrinally Reformed, focuses on Christ through the lens of redemptive history, and applies the Bible to our contemporary setting.

In addition, this volume includes four special appendices of Advent material and worship aids useful in the planning of a Christ-centered Christmas service. With five new carols, essays and reflections on the Advent season, and a program of lessons and carols, this material is valuable to any pastor or worship leader seeking meaningful ways to celebrate the coming of Christ during the season commemorating his birth.

All Christians seeking a deep, worshipful, and gospel-centered Advent season will benefit from the insight and worship material in this helpful commentary.



New Testament

MATTHEW (2 VOLUME SET) by Daniel M. Doriani | Pages: 1,200 | List Price: $59.99

About: With its rich teaching on discipleship, the gospel of Matthew is a wellspring of instruction on Christian living. Its use of the Old Testament also shows how old covenant promises are fulfilled in the new and how the law of Moses exercises its authority today.

Daniel Doriani, a pastor and scholar recognized for his works on biblical interpretation, pays careful attention to the structure, backgrounds, and grammar of Matthew in order to furnish pastors and students of the Word with the Christ-centered commentary and the personal and corporate applications they need. Each chapter of this two-volume work seeks to express Matthew’s original intent in ways that evoke his distinct voice and thereby fulfill the goal of Matthew’s gospel—making disciples by forming the mind, heart, and hands of believers.


LUKE (2 VOLUME SET) by Philip Graham Ryken | Pages: 1,488 | List Price: $59.99

About: Written after Jesus’ earthly ministry had come to an end, when word of his teachings and actions had spread to those who had never seen him firsthand, Luke is “the Gospel of Knowing for Sure.” Luke tells us that he wanted to provide an orderly account of the life of Jesus that would help people be more certain of the good news of his death and resurrection.

The purpose of this commentary is to make Luke’s message clear for a contemporary audience by explaining, illustrating, and applying its truth to everyday life, with the hope that readers will understand the gospel and come to full assurance of salvation, as Luke intended. If an account of Jesus’ life was needed in Luke’s time, how much more acutely is it needed in ours—and Luke’s gospel stands as ready as ever to fill this need.


JOHN (2 VOLUME SET) by Richard D. Phillips | Pages: 1,488 | List Price: $59.99 | Kindle | iTunes/ePub

About: John’s Gospel distinguishes itself among the four Gospels by its thorough discussions of single topics and by embedding its teaching material in conversations. Its approach allows for detailed exposition of doctrines and concepts, and also for practical application to the reader’s life.

Richard Phillips highlights the apostle’s chief focus on the deity of Christ, the gospel witness of the church, and salvation through faith in Jesus. He shows the person and work of Christ with biblical clarity and pastoral insight and demonstrates how evangelistic appeals should be modeled. His scholarly, sequential study of each passage is ideal help for preparing sermons, while the nontechnical language makes the book suitable for Bible teachers and devotional reading.


ACTS by Derek W.H. Thomas | Pages: 800 | List Price: $39.99 | Kindle | iTunes/ePub

About: The church in our time easily loses sight of her mission to witness to the resurrected Christ. Studying Acts identifies us with the early church and the way the gospel shaped her as she began witnessing in Judea and continuing, in concentric circles, “to the end of the earth.” Acts reminds us that the story of the church remains incomplete—that there continues to this day an “Acts 29.”

We face relentless opposition as our postmodern world mirrors the world of the apostles. Planting and growing churches in such an environment poses particular challenges. Nevertheless, Acts clearly demonstrates that no obstacle can withstand the power of the Holy Spirit. As he did in the early church, the Holy Spirit teaches us in Acts to “expect great things.”


GALATIANS by Philip Graham Ryken | Pages: 312 | List Price: $24.99

About: The book of Galatians was written for recovering Pharisees. By trying to base their standing with God on their spiritual performance, the Galatians were in danger of denying the gospel. They needed to hear again the liberating message that we are justified not by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.

The church today needs to embrace that same gospel message. “We are legalists by nature,” Philip Ryken writes, and Galatians “challenges many of our preconceptions about what it means to have a right relationship with God.”


EPHESIANS by Bryan Chapell | Pages: 400 | List Price: $29.99

About: The apostle Paul wrote to the house churches of the ancient metropolis of Ephesus with this amazing truth: through such as you the purposes of Christ will fill the world; he is transforming all things for you and through you. For this collection of churches in a culture antagonistic to the gospel, the apostle Paul pens themes so grand they can still take our breath away, and they often move the apostle to doxology and prayer.

Bryan Chapell, noted preacher and teacher of preaching, unfolds Paul’s glorious description of how the triumph of the church will occur and what our roles are in Christ’s ultimate victory. When we lift our eyes beyond personal borders to share even a glimpse of Paul’s expansive vision, then we, too, will join his doxology for God’s amazing grace that saves individuals, empowers the church, and through both, transforms the world.


PHILIPPIANS by Dennis E. Johnson | Pages: 384 | List Price: $29.99

AboutPhilippians is a magisterial treatment of various topics—suffering’s relationship to gospel advance, self-centeredness versus sacrificial service, the basis of a believer’s assurance before God, interpersonal conflict, and finding true contentment—that Paul relates to the touchstone of Christ, his cross, and his resurrection.

Johnson shows how Paul, writing from imprisonment to a church close to his heart, uses his own experience and attitude as exemplars to show the Philippians the difference a Christ-formed mind makes to the way believers respond to adversity, rivalry, conflict, vanity, achievement, the ongoing pursuit of holiness, and the strategic deployment of our resources for the gospel.


1 & 2 THESSALONIANS by Richard D. Phillips | Pages: 456 | List Price: $34.99 | Kindle | iTunes/ePub

About: Years before writing Romans or Ephesians, Paul sent a pair of letters to a new church in Thessalonica. Three concerns governed Paul’s teaching in these letters: What makes a healthy church? How should we view God’s Word? What does a Christian life look like? Richard D. Phillips’s commentary considers these foundational issues in a scholarly, pastoral, and practical manner and also explores Paul’s end-times teaching—the clearest found in the New Testament. Through these studies, readers will find a refreshingly clear biblical summary of what will happen before, during, and after the Second Coming. Just as importantly, by touring Paul’s singular teaching in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, readers will recover a joyful anticipation of Christ’s return and receive hope for life in a challenging world.


1 TIMOTHY by Philip Graham Ryken | Pages: 328 | List Price: $29.99

About: From worship and prayer to family and the use of money, the book of 1 Timothy is full of implications for life in the local church. But beyond these practical truths for all believers, Ryken writes, “Paul’s purpose in 1 Timothy is to help his spiritual son remain true.” Thus the book has special application to those in gospel ministry.

These truths that helped Timothy in his day are just as applicable to church leaders in ours—both for personal godliness and for the collective life of the church. Whether for personal study or sermon preparation, Ryken’s exposition is a sure guide to all who are interested in this pastoral epistle.


HEBREWS by Richard D. Phillips | Pages: 670 | List Price: $34.99

About: “Few studies can be more profitable to Christians today than that of the Epistle to the Hebrews,” says Richard Phillips. “Written . . . to a group of Jewish Christians facing persecution in the mid-first century A.D., the words of this book speak to Christians everywhere about standing firm in Jesus Christ.”

Hebrews captures the challenges and pitfalls of people throughout the ages and shows both why and how to press on in the faith. Its message of warning and hope centers on the surpassing supremacy of Jesus, seen often from the vantage point of the Old Testament.


JAMES by Daniel M. Doriani | Pages: 240 | List Price: $22.99

About: The book of James is both beloved for its practical wisdom and debated as to its relationship to Paul’s gospel. It offers concrete counsel on trials, poverty and riches, favoritism, social justice, the tongue, worldliness, boasting, planning, prayer, illness, and more. But in doing so, it exposes our inability to measure up to God’s standard.

Daniel Doriani, a pastor and scholar recognized for his works on biblical interpretation and application, resolves the tension between the wide-ranging practical commands of James and the centrality of faith in the Christian life. While James may not articulate the doctrine of atonement through the death and resurrection of Jesus, James does present Christ in his own way. Here Doriani shows us how. He thus helps us to apply the wisdom of James in a way that is rooted in grace.


1 PETER by Daniel M. Doriani | Pages: 288 | List Price: $24.99 | Kindle | iTunes/ePub

About: Many Christians around the world today face severe persecution, while others daily feel the weight of cultural pressure against them. The apostle Peter speaks to this as he reminds us that Christians are aliens and exiles in an often-hostile empire. Yet we are simultaneously the chosen of God, equipped by Jesus’ work for us and in us to live faithfully in our dual identity.

In this exposition of 1 Peter, Daniel Doriani explains how the work of Christ enables Christians to live with hope, joy, and faithfulness in a pagan world. He also explores Peter’s emphasis on the kind of life that pleases God—a life that includes respect for authorities, just or unjust; godly behavior as a wife, husband, or elder; and, by God’s grace, good deeds, courage, and a firm stand in the face of trials.


1–3 JOHN by Douglas Sean O’Donnell | Pages: 240 | List Price: $19.99 | Kindle | iTunes/ePub

About: How can we know that we possess eternal life? The apostle John answered that question in the three epistles that bear his name. He wrote that we must firstly believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that Christ came in the flesh. Secondly, we are to obey God’s commandments. Thirdly, we must love others.

In this illuminating and engaging commentary on John’s letters, pastor-scholar Douglas Sean O’Donnell illustrates and applies these three essential tests that judge whether we possess eternal life or not. Grow in your knowledge of Christ, our Savior. Learn how to live in the light. Grab hold of the gospel-transformed life!


 

BOOK HIGHLIGHT — Designed for Dignity by Richard L. Pratt Jr.

Designed for Dignity: What God Has Made it Possible for You to Be by Richard L. Pratt Jr.

212 pages | Direct Price: $14.99 $11.50 | Paperback

About

People are confused about who they are.

Even as Christians, we can puzzle over our self-image. What has God made us? What have we made of ourselves? And what can we become in Christ? Richard L. Pratt shows from Scripture how God’s amazing design for humanity can be realized in his people. Solid biblical insights, vivid illustrations, and helpful questions for review and discussion make this a valuable resource for group study or individual use.

Endorsements

“Here is a book—written with great humility, simplicity, and honesty—about people like you and me. . . . a return to the unbelievable refreshing and ever-new truths of the Bible.”

—Steve Brown

“Should be required reading for those who wish to achieve their spiritual potential. Pratt’s presentation of profound biblical truth in simple, compelling language displays the deft touch of a master teacher.”

—Luder G. Whitlock Jr.

About the Author

Richard L. Pratt Jr. (ThD, Harvard University) is professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando campus. He is the author of Pray with your Eyes Open, He Gave Us Stories, and Every Thought Captive.

 

NEW RELEASE — Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage by Jim Newheiser


Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage: Critical Questions and Answers by Jim Newheiser

336 pages | List Price: $16.99 | Paperback | SAMPLE CHAPTER

Print

About

What constitutes a valid marriage? How should you go about finding a spouse? Is there a purpose to engagement? Why, and under what circumstances, does God permit divorce? Is abuse a ground for divorce? When is remarriage advisable?

When it comes to counseling related to marriage, remarriage, and divorce, the questions and issues can be especially complex. But we can turn confidently to the Word of God for answers, knowing that it will speak to every situation with profound wisdom. Drawing on decades of marriage counseling experience, Newheiser explores questions relating to marriage—unpacking the answers given in God’s Word. This useful reference work for pastors or counselors can also be read straight through for a scriptural overview of the topic or assigned in small sections to counselees.

Watch a video of Jim talking about his book: https://vimeo.com/213550932

Endorsements

“I am aware of no resource on marriage that is as comprehensive and yet as accessible as this book.”

—Heath Lambert

“An exceptional resource. . . . Carefully organized, thoroughly researched, and very well written. This book is going to be the gold standard for pastors, biblical counselors, and other Christians.”

—Martha Peace

“An excellent book for pastors and counselors—not simply for its thorough and relevant answers, but perhaps even more for its example of how to relate God’s Word to the tough issues of daily life.”

—Bob Kellemen

“Newheiser’s pastoral insight, lucid analysis, and biblical focus make this book a must-read for people with questions about marriage and a valuable resource for a pastor’s bookshelf.”

—Tedd Tripp

“The reader hungry to think carefully and practically about these matters will be richly rewarded with this concise yet comprehensive resource.”

—Robert D. Jones

“I wish I had had a copy before I started out in ministry in the local church. I would have been better equipped to help and better prepared for the kinds of issues I would encounter.”

—Ligon Duncan

About The Author

Jim NewheiserJim Newheiser (MA, DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary) is director of the Christian Counseling program and associate professor of practical theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. He a fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and a board member of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals.

 

Ligon Duncan’s Foreword to Divided We Fall by Luder G. Whitlock Jr.


Here is Ligon Duncan’s Foreword to Divided We Fall: Overcoming a History of Christian Disunity by Luder G. Whitlock Jr.

FOREDivided We Fall_smallWORD

AS I HAVE grown older and served longer as a minister in the church, I’ve come to believe that one of the blind spots in the recent history of my own denominational tradition has been a failure to devote as much attention and effort to promoting godly, biblical church unity as to preserving godly, biblical doctrinal fidelity. Few are good at both. Often those who are interested in doctrinal purity care little about church unity, and those concerned for church unity are prepared to sacrifice doctrinal fidelity for it. But this should not be the case.

For the last twenty years or so, I have been involved in a friendship that turned into a pastors’ conference (the aim of which is to foster pan-Reformed pastoral friendships) called “Together for the Gospel.” One of the things that we are trying to do is to foster both godly unity and doctrinal fidelity. The twentieth century has seen a number of failed strategies to promote unity among evangelical Christians. One is to unite around a mission and make theology a secondary matter. But the message and mission of the church are irreducibly theological, and so what eventually happens when this strategy is used is that the gospel itself gets thinned and diminished—or, worse, elastic.

Another failed strategy has been to try to unite around a few core theology affirmations and declare everything else secondary. For instance, “we all believe in the atonement, and so our differences on baptism shouldn’t matter.” But this view underplays the practical importance of much Bible truth in the everyday life of the church, and tends to promote an ambivalence about things on which we should be emphatic. It also fails to reckon with the fact that the Bible’s theology is systematic (whether people want to admit that or not!) and that truths are therefore interconnected with other truths. There are other reasons why Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Catholics believe what they believe about baptism, so you can’t just isolate their beliefs about baptism and declare them inconsequential when they entail other important theological assertions.

My friends in “Together for the Gospel” have tried to go a different direction in promoting unity. We have candidly acknowledged our theological differences, and have not attempted to downplay the importance of those disagreements, while at the same time celebrating the significance of the very important things to which we share mutual theological commitments. We are agreed on the gospel, and not a scaled-down gospel, but a robust, biblical, full depiction of the saving work of God in Christ. We are also committed to historic, orthodox Christianity and to Protestant, confessional, Reformed doctrine. Yet there remain major differences—differences that have separated ecclesiastical traditions and denominations for centuries. We don’t try to paper over those or pretend that they don’t matter. We both celebrate what we share in common and celebrate that we still care about our differences, because those principled differences are the result of the fact that we all believe in truth and its importance for the life and mission of the church (my friend Al Mohler often jokes that we are among the last people on earth who can have an honest disagreement because we still believe that truth matters!). And we also deliberately pursue friendship and cooperation, consistent with our theological convictions, for the sake of the gospel and the glory of Christ in the unity of his people, his body.

I’m not claiming that we’ve arrived, or figured this out, but we are trying. That is one reason why I am so thankful for this book and its author. Much of what I know in this area I’ve learned from him. Not just from what he says, but from how he lives and what he does.

The important (and difficult) topic that Dr. Luder Whitlock tackles in this book is not simply one that he has researched. He speaks from conviction and experience. He has not merely thought about the unity of the church, or studied the unity of the church, but spent a lifetime promoting and cultivating the unity of the church in a fractured and fragmented world. I have had the privilege of watching him do so for over three decades.

If you are a Christian leader, this book will push you hard and make you think. I have been reflecting a good bit of late on the contributions of Sam Patterson (founding president of Reformed Theological Seminary) and Luder Whitlock (his successor and the longest-serving president in the history of RTS) to the pandenominational Reformed resurgence that has been slowly building over the last fifty years (both men played a major role, though often unappreciated). Two things about both men were key to their ability to foster a movement as well as to promote unity across denominational lines: (1) their unwavering commitment to truth and (2) their convictional kindness in dealing with others.

Dr. Whitlock has put this twofold principle into practice in serving in a number of influential positions in graduate theological education and international ecclesiastical cooperation. We could learn a thing or two about the pursuit of unity and community in the church from such a man. I was challenged and edified by reading Divided We Fall. I think you will be, too.

Ligon Duncan

Chancellor/CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary

John E. Richards Professor of Systematic Theology, RTS Jackson

Past Moderator, General Assembly, Presbyterian Church in America


Here is the full list of endorsers (listed in alphabetic order) for Luder G. Whitlock Jr.’s book.

  • Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals
  • John H. Armstrong, President, ACT3 Network
  • Jim Belcher, President, Providence Christian College
  • Steve Brown, Radio broadcaster; author, A Scandalous Freedom: The Radical Nature of the Gospel; founder, Key Life Network
  • Michael Cromartie, Vice President, Ethics and Public Policy Center
  • David S. Dockery, President, Trinity International University
  • William Edgar, John Boyer Chair of Evangelism and Culture, Professor of Apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia
  • John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary
  • Timothy George, Founding Dean, Professor of Divinity History and Doctrine, Beeson Divinity School
  • Jeffrey J. Jeremiah, Stated Clerk, Evangelical Presbyterian Church
  • Dennis E. Johnson, Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary California
  • Timothy Keller, Senior Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
  • Carmen Fowler LaBerge, President, Presbyterian Lay Committee; Host, The Reconnect radio show
  • Peter A. Lillback, President, Westminster Theological Seminary
  • Samuel T. Logan Jr., Professor of Church History, Biblical Theological Seminary; Former President, Westminster Theological Seminary
  • Wilfred M. McClay, G. T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty, University of Oklahoma
  • Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Richard J. Mouw, President Emeritus and Professor of Faith and Public Life, Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Mark A. Noll, Research Professor of History, Regent College
  • David D. Swanson, Senior Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Orlando
  • Don Sweeting, President, Colorado Christian University
  • L. Roy Taylor, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America
  • Michael Wear, Founder, Public Square Strategies LLC
  • Parker T. Williamson, Editor Emeritus, Presbyterian Layman
  • John D. Woodbridge, Research Professor of Church History and the History of Christian Thought, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School