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Ruined Sinners to Reclaim (Gibson)

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Examining the Doctrine of Human Depravity in Scripture and throughout Church History

For centuries, theologians have debated the doctrine of total depravity—the belief that people are wholly and naturally corrupt due to original sin. Reformed theology upholds this truth, acknowledging it to be essential for understanding the gospel and humanity’s need for a Savior.

Ruined Sinners to Reclaim persuasively reaffirms the doctrine of total depravity from biblical, historical, theological, and pastoral perspectives, drawing on the debates of theologians throughout church history. Edited by David and Jonathan Gibson, this book features contributions from respected theologians—including Michael A. G. Haykin, Gray Sutanto, Garry Williams, Mark Jones, Daniel Strange, and R. Albert Mohler Jr.—to help readers understand the reality of our sinful nature, its debilitating effects, and the Holy Spirit’s role in salvation. This is the second book in the Doctrines of Grace series, which explores the central points of the Canons of Dort, providing a framework for understanding each doctrine in all its historical, biblical, theological, and pastoral richness. 

  • Defends the Doctrine of Total Depravity: Including sin’s origin, spread, nature, and scope, as well as its effects on free will
  • Comprehensive: Explores theological ideas throughout church history, including from the patristic, medieval, Reformation, and post-Reformation periods
  • Part of the Doctrines of Grace Series: Along with From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, this volume explores a central tenet of Reformed theology


David Gibson (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is minister of Trinity Church in Aberdeen, Scotland. He is a coeditor of From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, and his publications include Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End; Radically Whole: Gospel Healing for the Divided Heart; and The Lord of Psalm 23: Jesus Our Shepherd, Companion, and Host. He is married to Angela, and they have four children.

Jonathan Gibson (PhD, University of Cambridge) is an ordained minister in the International Presbyterian Church, United Kingdom, and associate professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He is a coeditor of and contributor to From Heaven He Came and Sought Her and author of Be Thou My Vision: A Liturgy for Daily Worship. Jonny and his wife, Jackie, have four children.


“In Ruined Sinners to Reclaim, twenty-six gifted pastors and theologians have joined forces to bequeath the church a rich, fruitful, and comprehensive survey of the doctrine of total depravity from the perspectives of historical theology, biblical exegesis, systematic theology, and polemics. With sensitivity to the contours of our increasingly secular world, the authors demonstrate how our understanding of total depravity should impact our evangelism, counseling, and preaching in modern contexts. Above all, the authors lead us to the spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This magisterial work is one of the most definitive treatments of total depravity available in the Reformed tradition.” -Joel R. Beeke, Chancellor and Professor of Homiletics and Systematic Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

“As I read through the rich and deep chapters of Ruined Sinners to Reclaim, I not only found myself instructed; I also found myself moved again and again by the goodness and grace of God in Christ toward ruined sinners such as I. This book helps us to look squarely at our pervasive depravity and inability to save ourselves from sin’s ruinous grip while also helping us to gaze in wonder and worship at God’s pervasive purity and his power to save.” -Nancy Guthrie, author; Bible teacher

“Reading a book on total depravity might betray a morbid preoccupation with the subject—or worse, confirmation of its existence in the reader! Yet this outstanding collection of essays is a treasure trove for scholars and students alike. Canvassing the historical, biblical, theological, and pastoral dimensions of this much-neglected and much-misunderstood doctrine of Holy Scripture, the Gibson brothers have provided a perspicacious window into the importance of understanding the depth of our ruin, in order to appreciate the glory of our being reclaimed by Christ. From the opening comprehensive introduction by the editors to the closing pastoral chapters, this book is a richly woven tapestry of insights into the extent of our fallenness and the wonder of God’s redeeming grace.” -Glenn N. Davies, former Archbishop of Sydney

“It was Seneca who said that if we desire to judge all things justly, we must first persuade ourselves that none of us is without sin. This excellent book—Ruined Sinners to Reclaim—does a superb job of persuading us about the complex nature of sin and the comprehensive salvation we find in Christ, and thus enables us to make thoughtful theological judgments for Christian ministry today. All sections, and many of the essays within, will supply good guidance for weary pilgrims through the Slough of Despond and onward toward the Celestial City.” -Mark Earngey, Head of Church History and Lecturer in Doctrine, Moore Theological College; author, Bishop John Ponet (1516–1556): Scholar, Bishop, Insurgent; coeditor, Reformation Worship

“As with the first volume in the Doctrines of Grace series, Ruined Sinners to Reclaim provides depth, breadth, and clarity to its chosen topic. Since, as Calvin rightly put it, nearly all the wisdom we possess consists in the knowledge of God and of ourselves, this volume on sin, its nature, and its effects provides rich and practical wisdom so that we might better know ourselves, and thus know God better, as it plumbs the depths of Scripture and the Reformed theology that naturally wells up from Scripture. There is no other volume available that so adeptly gives us a microscope into the human heart.” -K. Scott Oliphint, Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary