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How Far We Fell - Primer Issue 2

How Far We Fell - Primer Issue 2

The doctrine of sin

Edited by David Shaw
from 3 reviews

A theological resource on the doctrine of sin for Christian thinkers and church leaders.

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Primer is written for gospel workers to help them put good theology into practice in the life of the church. In each issue of Primer we take one pressing topic and over the course of 80 pages or so we offer a kind of theological digest; summarising contemporary debate, drawing on at least one classic historical text, and always keeping the realities of ministry in view. What does that look like in Issue 2? Well,
• We gave Graham Beynon a pile of books recently published on the topic and asked him to go away and juice them for us, discussing the various ways in which they define the essence of sin.
• Then we asked Tim Ward to reflect upon the ways in which we customarily preach sin. He considers the dominant models we use to explain sin to unbelievers (idolatry and rebellion), and then asks how well our preaching to believers about their sin stacks up against the New Testament,
• Next we reprint a classic passage from Calvin’s Institutes on the extent of human sinfulness. It’s a fantastic passage that takes us into the depths of the human condition in a way that leads us back out to God’s grace as the only possible remedy. To help that medicine go down, we have Mark Troughton, a serving pastor, annotating the text for us.
Beyond that, three articles have a more practical focus:
• Kirsten Birkett explores addiction and its relationship to sin from both a medical and theological perspective (looking at it through the lens of Augustine’s account of sin).
• Next, John Frame gives some short sharp answers to some FAQ’s about sin in the Christian life (Why do we confess sin if we’re forgiven? How does God feel about us when we sin? etc.)
• And finally, David Shaw has written on how we can communicate sin in a culture of entitlement and victimhood.

Product details


  • Editorial: Facing the fall
  • 1. The Essence of Sin
  • 2. Bad news
  • 3. Something Old
  • 4. How can it be wrong if I can't help it?
  • 5. Sin Q & A
  • 6. "More sinned against than sinning"


Contributors David Shaw
ISBN 9781784981716
Format Paperback
First published May 2016
Dimensions 195mm x 255mm x 7mm
Language English
Pages 80
Publisher FIEC

Tim Chester

Pastor of Grace Church, Boroughbridge, and faculty member of Crosslands Training

Which pastor doesn’t want to be up to speed on the theological challenges and debates of our day? But the pressures of ministry mean there’s often a gap between that aspiration and reality. Primer bridges that gap. It distils rigorous, biblical theological reflection into an attractive magazine format that always has an eye to the day-to-day realities of church life.

Julian Hardyman

Senior Pastor, Eden Baptist Church, Cambridge

The great value of Primer lies in two things: its choice of important topics and its judicious selection of incisive articles by old and new writers. Primer is making a special contribution to continuing theological education for leaders

Independent reviews

Primer - How Far We Fell (Issue 2) - The Doctrine of Sin

Mark Rowcroft, Evangelical Times, October 1st 2016

The first two articles help us to see the great depth to the Bible’s teaching on sin. Graham Beynon gives an overview and evaluation of recent publications on the subject. Tim Ward examines sin as both rebellion and idolatry, giving suggestions on how to go about preaching on sin.... continue reading

Customer reviews



I have also read both of the first two issues of Primer. It certainly has stretched my thinking and understanding. I felt that both the exploring of what sin is and then, later in the book, the unravelling and exposure of the 'Victim' culture and mindset was most helpful. In preaching through Romans at the moment I have been quoting from the book and received some very positive feedback from the congregation. A must for every serious Bible student and teacher of God's Word.


“Superbly Pitched at just the right level”

Primer has been a real joy to read and engage with. In my context of leading a pastoral team in the local church, I found its stated aim to be right "on the nail", namely "written for gospel workers to help them put good theology into practice in the life of the church". It equips Christian leaders with a stretching yet eminently readable and, above all, INTERESTING summary in content, format and approach to the key doctrinal issue in focus, in this issue "Sin". The Bible's breadth of description of sin and how we can better proclaim it in a multifaceted way that is faithful to God's Word is well covered, through critique of contemporary authors and annotated commentary of a historical author (in this issue, John Calvin). It is pitched at levels that provide grist for the mill for pastors, elders and other church leaders, and works both for reading alone (I've found it brilliantly helpful) or as more of a group read and discussion. Grateful thanks to David Shaw and his team of co-contributors for this distinctive resource, and to FIEC for working with Good Book Company to publish. I'm very much looking forward to the November 2016 issue.



I have read both of the first two issues of Primer. At times I've been scratching my head but have absolutely loved the way it's stretched my thinking and tackled hard areas of theology. The book reviews are great and the historical theologian excerpts really give it an edge. I have literally recommended Primer to everyone I know and it has opened up great conversations between my husband and I and amongst our friends. It is equipping us as well as our pastors and we are so looking forward to the next edition! Thank you, genuinely!

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How Far We Fell - Primer Issue 2 | David Shaw | £6.99 £5.94