Friday 27 May 2016


The early church fish symbol forms the title of this book - its meaning spelled out in the subtitle: Jesus Christ, God's Son, the Saviour. In their own words, Sinclair Ferguson and Derek Thomas have in this book "brought to the church a series of expositions on the high points in Christ's life and ministry." They both served at First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina, where these expositions were first preached. It is theologically deep and rich fare that the congregation evidently received - how different from what are served up as sermons in many churches! It is also savoury, because here in 9 key events, from the Manger to the Throne, we gaze upon the Lord Jesus Christ. We view his majesty in his servanthood and sufferings. We learn more of him in straight forward and engaging teaching: who he really is, and what he really has done.
There is a certain enchantment I find in the literary style of this book. Curiously stilted - something reflected by the typography - perhaps it has to do with the translation of the material from sermons to a book. But I must sound a note of caution: I have a concern about the interpretation of the divine/human nature of Christ, when it comes to his personal consciousness. eg. the reference on p.72 to "Jesus' knowledge of his own identity", and the paragraphs there about the extent of his knowledge, and his need to learn. Is it valid to think of his two natures as if they were separate and watertight compartments? I worry that some of these speculations try to too closely analyse the earthly experience of Christ. The Bible simply says, "great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." (1 Timothy 3:16).
Of course, I would be only too willing to stand corrected on this matter, recognising the impressive credentials of the authors. But I would encourage anyone to read this book with care, and, where necessary, to draw forth 'the precious from the vile.'

'Ichthus' by Sinclair Ferguson and Derek Thomas is published by the Banner of Truth in paperback (2015) for £6.50.

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