Few men have impacted my ministry more than Dr. Michael P. V. Barrett, now of Geneva Reformed Seminary. And few books have impacted my understanding of the gospel like his book Complete in Him. It has helped me get my head around the various facets of our great salvation (conversion, regeneration, justification, sanctification, glorification, etc.). In fact, it was this book that helped inspire my writing of His Robes for Mine (text, notes, pdf, octavo), a hymn which focuses on the glories of the doctrine of justification. The book has fed my soul and informed my preaching, and I’d love to be able to introduce it to my friends and those whom I pastor.
There’s the rub. Unfortunately, the book is out of print. The reality of publishing is that publishers need to be convinced that there’s a market for anything they put out. Ambassador-Emerald International does good work—just not charitable work. So I’d like to give Ambassador-Emerald a friendly nudge, convincing them that the book will be useful to the church and, well, sell. Thus, I’m asking those who would like to see the book back in print to say so in the comments section of this thread. Give your name. Tell if you’re a student, teacher, pastor, purchaser for a book store, etc. And if appropriate, explain your request: Why would you like to see the book available? I’m hoping word will spread (via blog links, FB links, etc.) and our friends at Ambassador-Emerald will be convinced to make this great resource available again. So, readers, please help. Link away. :)
Why am I confident that Complete in Him will be well received, perhaps more so now than when it was first released a decade ago? The current and welcome focus on the centrality of the gospel is one reason. Barrett was gospel-centered before it was cool. The renewed appreciation for a more Calvinistic understanding of the gospel is another. Further, Barrett’s book fills a unique niche:
- It manages to be more accessible than books like Anthony Hoekema’s fairly difficult Saved by Grace, but it’s much more thorough than lighter treatments of soteriology like Jerry Bridge’s The Gospel for Real Life.
- It’s relentlessly biblical, but besides unpacking Scripture, Barrett cites historic, orthodox confessions—specifically the Westminster Catechisms (Presbyterian, 1646-48) and the London Baptist Confession (Baptist, 1689)—reminding readers that what we believe about our salvation is no new thing.
- It’s warm-hearted, glorying in truths and highlighting hymns in which the church has meditated on them.
- It’s pastoral. Far from being a merely academic study, it drives the reader to worship and godliness. As Barrett says repeatedly, “Right thinking about the gospel results in right living in the gospel.”
I’d love to see Complete in Him back in print, and I hope many will kindly agree. SDG.