(For a full list of publications, see my CV.)
Retrieving Augustine’s Doctrine of Creation: Ancient Wisdom for Current Controversy. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2020.
“Like almost all the church fathers, Augustine was fixated on Genesis 1–3, which he rightly saw as the key to the Christian worldview. Dr. Ortlund takes us back to the man and his beliefs, at once so distant from and yet so near to our own concerns. Modern readers will be challenged by Augustine’s insights, and by entering into dialogue with him, they may find answers to the dilemmas they confront. An exciting book on a key topic for our times.”
―Gerald Bray, Research Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School at Samford University
“Gavin Ortlund’s careful interpretive and critical reading of Augustine concerning Genesis and in particular human origins is a remarkably relevant contribution to the current, heated debate concerning the historical Adam. Contemporary investigators will find illuminating and thought-provoking insights in this important study.”
―William Lane Craig, research professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and Houston Baptist University
“What do we who live in the post–industrial revolution twenty-first century have to learn about creation from a fifth-century North African bishop? As it turns out, quite a lot. First and foremost, Augustine helps us learn how to think, not only what to think. In Retrieving Augustine’s Doctrine of Creation, Gavin Ortlund invites us into a conversation with one of the greatest minds of late antiquity to explore together the fundamental distinction between ‘nature’ and ‘creation’; the former being the idolatrous attempt to perceive our reality as independent, while the latter restoring what Ortlund terms ‘a holistic framework for how to live as God’s creatures in God’s world.’ This is a book that needs to be read slowly, for neither the topic nor the transformative effect can be rushed. And there is no better interlocutor than Augustine to help us move from our autonomous, self-referential idolatry to the Creator of all, whose image we bear. Ortlund has done us a great favor. Tolle, lege!”
―George Kalantzis, professor of theology and director of the Wheaton Center for Early Christian Studies
“People from all sides of the church’s discussion on origins have cherry-picked quotations from Augustine to bolster their views, without digging in to his actual doctrine of creation. In so doing, we attempt to cast Augustine in our own image. Ortlund has done us all a service by presenting a much more comprehensive understanding of Augustine’s thought on creation and retrieving his voice from across the centuries. I predict that Ortlund’s treatment of Augustine will also be disappointing to different kinds of people―those looking to him merely to prop up their own theories. He gives us a more complex, sophisticated, and surprising Augustine―one that makes me want to read more Augustine . . . and more from Ortlund.”
―J. B. Stump, vice president of BioLogos
“We need pastors like Gavin Ortlund, and we need books written by pastors like Gavin Ortlund! His opening chapter on humility sets the stage for a book that is contextually responsible, academically sound, and pastorally motivated. I highly recommend this book as a rewarding and promising retrieval of Augustine’s doctrine of creation for the good of the church.”
―Craig D. Allert, professor of religious studies, Trinity Western University
“This remarkable book offers a finely textured yet accessible interpretation of Augustine’s views on creation, at the same time relating his thought to contemporary issues in a way that is creative, responsible, and compelling. I commend this book with enthusiasm to any Christian in search of insight into debates about creation and science, to both scholars and students interested in Augustine’s thinking on creation, and to all those who seek a first-rate model of humble, rigorous, and faithful theological scholarship for the sake of the church.”
―Han-luen Kantzer Komline, Assistant Professor of Church History and Theology, Western Theological Seminary
“What can the ancient bishop Augustine of Hippo contribute to contemporary debates regarding creation, the age of the earth, and evolution? A lot, as it turns out. Readers will find Gavin Ortlund’s masterful study of Augustine’s doctrine of creation to be a smart, humble, and immensely helpful exercise of theological reflection on a most vexing question.”
―Scott Manetsch, editor of the Reformation and the Irrepressible Word of God, professor of church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“As debates about creation, evolution, and the historical Adam come to a crucial new juncture among evangelicals today, I can hardly imagine a better discussion partner from the church’s tradition than Augustine, with his unwavering commitment to the truth of Scripture, his fearless willingness to pursue difficult questions, and his humble refusal to give rash and hasty answers. Gavin Ortlund gives us a well-rounded account of what Augustine’s exegesis of Genesis brings to the table.”
―Phillip Cary, professor of philosophy at Eastern University
Anselm’s Pursuit of Joy: A Commentary on the Proslogion. Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2020.
“Integrating and going beyond the all-too few studies that read Anselm’s Proslogion holistically, Ortlund presents a fresh, insightful, fine-grained, gracefully written, and persuasive analysis of this text, showing how Anselm moves seamlessly from God understood as that than which nothing greater can be conceived to God as the source of a spiritual joy greater than can be imagined. An important contribution to Anselm studies.”
―Marcia L. Colish, Visiting Fellow, Visiting Professor, and Lecturer, Yale University
“Ortlund draws deeply upon Anselm’s entire corpus and upon an extraordinary range of scholarship, including neglected European sources. He shows that the entirety of Anselm’s Proslogion, including his famous proof, has for its purpose recalling us to the profound attraction of God and beatific communion with God. In this masterful interpretation, Anselm is the model of the theologian as lover of God, who discovers in the Trinity all for which our hearts yearn. In this book we find a theology freed from all trivializations of its task.”
―Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
“Down through the centuries, the vast majority of readers of Anselm’s Proslogion have shown an overwhelming interest in the “ontological argument” of chapters 2-4, often extracting it from its literary and historical contexts and simply adjudging the validity of its proof for God’s existence. Anselm’s Pursuit of Joy provides a necessary and refreshing corrective to this dominant interpretive tradition. By way of a holistic and contextual reading of the Proslogion, Ortlund insightfully and convincingly argues that the most basic and ultimate goal at which Anselm’s work aims is―far from a rational demonstration of the bare existence of God―the soul’s beatific vision of this same God.”
―Franklin T. Harkins, Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Professor Ordinarius, Boston College
“Anselm is one of the greatest Christian theologians, and the Proslogion is one of the greatest historic statements of Christian theology. Yet it is also one of the most enigmatic. What is Anselm aiming at in this work? How should we categorize this prayerful theology that appears to be so much like apologetics? Theological and philosophical minds have puzzled over these questions for centuries. In this study, Gavin Ortlund proposes a fresh way of thinking about the Proslogion that is properly theological, and that pays particular attention to the shape and content of Anselm’s work, and to its intended goal. It is a monograph of the highest theological quality, from which I have learned a great deal.”
―Oliver D. Crisp, Professor of Analytic Theology, University of St. Andrews
“An original and compelling thesis. Ortlund demonstrates, through a close textual analysis grounded in the history of the medieval monastic tradition, that Anselm’s more ‘philosophical’ treatises are actually part of a large repertoire of theological and spiritual writings with a unified theme.”
―John Bequette, Associate Professor of Theology, University of St. Francis Indiana
Finding the Right Hills to Die On: The Case for Theological Triage. Wheaton: Crossway, 2020.
“A timely and well-written book on a vitally important subject. Ortlund reminds us that Christian theologians must see themselves first and foremost as servants of the Great Commission. He shows us how much of the Christian academy has been divorced from the gospel mission. The Bible is a theological, pastoral, and evangelistic book―and those must never be separated, lest one become malformed. I am immediately using this book with our elder and pastoral team!”
―J. D. Greear, President, Southern Baptist Convention; Pastor, The Summit Church
“Gavin Ortlund is a scholar and leader who both wields the sword of the Spirit and exhibits the fruit of the Spirit. He not only stands up for Jesus but also stands with him in love, holiness, and mission. In a sadly contentious time, this book shows us how to love each other and stay on mission together even when we see some nonessential doctrines in different ways. This is a wise and needed book.”
―Russell Moore, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
“To put it simply: this is an important book. With a historian’s insight, a theologian’s precision, and a pastor’s wisdom, Gavin Ortlund has given the church an invaluable handbook for navigating our ongoing doctrinal challenges and for healing our ongoing doctrinal divisions.”
―Jared C. Wilson, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry, Spurgeon College; Author in Residence, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Some seem to think that faithfulness to God is measured in how much we argue about things. I am so grateful for Gavin Ortlund’s book, which reminds us that faithfulness can be defined in far more biblical ways. Ortlund does not pretend that he has the answers to end all church arguments, but he helps us understand that failure to distinguish critical matters from secondary and tertiary concerns is an abandonment of the pastoral prudence that is essential to Christ’s mission. Even Jesus said, ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.’ For pastors operating with the care and courage of Jesus, patience is not compromise, kindness is not weakness, and Christ’s mission supersedes our personal victories. Ortlund honors Christ’s manner as well as his message in this fascinating and challenging book.”
―Bryan Chapell, Senior Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Peoria, Illinois
“There are few needs today as urgent as the one Gavin Ortlund so ably addresses in this wonderful book. Healthy theological perspective and poise are all too absent in an age of immediate escalation and rage. This book could transform our thinking, our capacity for fellowship, and our witness to the world. I pray it is read widely and heeded deeply.”
―Sam Allberry, Speaker, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
“Gavin Ortlund helps us think well as brothers and sisters in Christ on where we must staunchly defend the truth and draw immovable lines. He also helps us know where to extend grace and lovingly disagree while working together for the fulfillment of the Great Commission and the building up of the Lord’s church. This book is much needed in our day. May our Savior use it for our good and his glory.”
―Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“In this age of theological infighting and compromise, Gavin Ortlund issues a clarion call for wisdom. You don’t have to agree with him on everything to appreciate his sane and clarifying advice. This is an important book for our time, helping the church as we struggle for both faithfulness to God’s word and a proper Christian unity.”
―Michael Reeves, President and Professor of Theology, Union School of Theology
“As best I can tell, this is the first book of its kind and is long overdue. Gavin Ortlund has done the church a tremendous service by providing a clear, irenic, and well-reasoned (not to mention biblical) perspective on the comparative importance of our many Christian doctrines. Some in the church today have waged vigorous war and ‘died’ needlessly on virtually every hill, while others, in the name of unity, don’t find any hill worth ‘dying’ on. To both, and to everyone in between the two extremes, I say, ‘Read this book!’”
―Sam Storms, Senior Pastor, Bridgeway Church
Theological Retrieval for Evangelicals: Why We Need Our Past to Have a Future. Wheaton: Crossway, 2019.
“Gavin Ortlund, a committed evangelical, calls for a robust engagement with the first fifteen hundred years of the Christian tradition, patristic and medieval, East and West. Retrieval, not repristination, is the goal, and Ortlund shows here how this can be done―to the glory of God and the upbuilding of the church. An exciting and important book!”
―Timothy George, Research Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
“Anyone convinced that evangelical and ancient are opposites should read this book. Gavin Ortlund provides a compelling case for retrieving patristic and medieval theology. Mining the premodern tradition, Ortlund reminds us of neglected and forgotten insights on the creator-creature distinction, divine simplicity, and atonement theology. An excellent contribution to Protestant retrieval theology!”
―Hans Boersma, Chair, Order of St. Benedict Servants of Christ Endowed Professorship in Ascetical Theology, Nashotah House Theological Seminary
“In an age of head-spinning change, Gavin Ortlund rightly calls evangelicals to stand their ground and recover the theological ground already plowed by earlier generations. When the very foundations are being shaken, it is vital that churches recover their center of gravity by retrieving the past―what Bernard Ramm once called ‘the evangelical heritage.’ Evangelicals are not the first generation to have received the gospel. Accordingly, Ortlund here issues a manifesto about the importance of retrieving theological tradition. He then practices what he preaches in a series of astute case studies that mine the past to fund the present.”
―Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“Ortlund argues compellingly that evangelicals can and should claim the classic theological heritage as their own. And then he actually does it, opening up the treasury of the great Christian tradition and dispensing theological wisdom with both hands. To look into this book is to look through a doorway into a world where there is such a thing as evangelical theology that is richly resourced, deeply informed, and ready for action.”
―Fred Sanders, Professor of Theology, Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University
“For those who struggle with whether, how, and why to appropriate the church fathers and medieval doctors within their own theology, piety, and ministry, this book is a welcome resource. Leading us by the hand through a wide range of instructive examples, Gavin Ortlund demonstrates a principled Protestant approach to drawing upon the pastors and theologians of the past for the sake of the church’s renewal in the present.”
―Scott R. Swain, President and James Woodrow Hassell Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary
I and II Kings: A 12-Week Study. Knowing the Bible. Wheaton: Crossway, 2017.
“This Knowing the Bible series is a tremendous resource for those wanting to study and teach the Bible with an understanding of how the gospel is woven throughout Scripture.”
―Bryan Chapell, Senior Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church
Knowing the Bible brings together a gifted team of Bible teachers to produce a high quality series of study guides. The coordinated focus of these materials is unique: biblical content, provocative questions, systematic theology, practical application, and the gospel story of God’s grace presented all the way through Scripture.”
―Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College
Articles and Essays:
- “Why Not Grandchildren? An Argument Against Reformed Paedobaptism.” Themelios. Forthcoming.
- “Augustine on Animal Death,” in Evil and the Doctrine of Creation, ed. David Luy, George Kalantzis, and Matthew Levering. Bellinham, WA: Lexham, forthcoming.
- “Beyond ‘The Problem of Anselm:’ A Fresh Look at Anselm of Canterbury’s Theological Epistemology,” in Anselm of Canterbury: New Readings of His Intellectual Methods, ed. Eileen Sweeney, John Slotemaker, and Thomas J. Ball. Leiden: Brill, forthcoming.
- “‘A Losing Battle Against Reality:’ C.S. Lewis on the Nature and Necessity of Hell.” Bibliotheca Sacra 176 (July-September 2019): 327-342.
- “Why Should Protestants Retrieve Patristic and Medieval Theology?”, in The Task of Dogmatics: Explorations in Theological Method. Los Angeles Theology Conference Series; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017.
- “Explorations in a Theological Metaphor: Boethius, Calvin, and Torrance on the Creator/creation Distinction,” Modern Theology 33.2 (2017): 167-186
- Sola Scriptura Then and Now: Biblical Authority in Late Medieval and Reformation Context. Credo 6.4 (December 2016)
- “Conversion in C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength,” Themelios 41.1 (2016): 8-19
- “On the Fall of Angels and the Fallenness of Nature: An Evangelical Hypothesis Regarding Natural Evil,” Evangelical Quarterly 87.2 (2015): 114-136
- “Image of Adam, Son of God: Genesis 5:3 and Luke 3:38 in Inter-canonical Dialogue,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 57.4 (2014): 673-88
- “Divine Simplicity in Historical Perspective: Resourcing A Contemporary Discussion,” International Journal of Systematic Theology 16.4 (2014): 436–453
- “The Voice of His Blood’: Christ’s Intercession in the Thought of Stephen Charnock,” Themelios 38.3 (2013): 375-389
- “On the Throwing of Rocks: An Objection to Hasty and Un-careful Criticisms of Anselm’s Doctrine of the Atonement,” The Saint Anselm Journal 8.2 (Spring 2013): 1-17
- “Resurrected as Messiah: The Risen Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 54.4 (2011): 749-766
- “Wholly Other or Wholly Given Over? What Van Til Missed in his Criticism of Barth” Presbyterion 35.1 (2009): 35-52
- 3 Ways to Keep Social Media From Stealing Your Joy (The Gospel Coalition)
- An Open Letter to Those Who Divide over Doctrine (Crossway)
- 5 Myths About the Reformation (Crossway)
- Humility is Not Hating Yourself: The Joy of Self-Forgetfulness (Desiring God, ForEveryMom)
- Why Study 1 and 2 Kings? (Crossway)
- 8 Ways to Find Sermon Illustrations (The Gospel Coalition)
- There is One Baptism, But Not One Baptist View of Baptism (Mere Orthdoxoy)
- Can we Reject Paedobaptism and Still Receive Paedobaptists? (Mere Orthodoxy)
- Life without God is Weird (The Gospel Coalition)
- Pastors Should Like People (Not Just Love Them) (The Gospel Coalition, Crosswalk)
- Why It’s Wrong to Say the Bible is Pro-slavery (The Gospel Coalition)
- Make Sundays the Sweetest (Desiring God)
- The Real Reason You Love Music (The Gospel Coalition)
- 7 Ways to Work Hard at Rest (The Gospel Coalition)
- 4 Problems with Downplaying God’s Wrath (The Gospel Coalition)
- He Lay in the Manger Without Leaving Heaven (The Gospel Coalition)
- Did Augustine Read Genesis 1 Literally? (Sapientia)
- The Missing Virtue in the Creation Debates: Augustine on Why Humility Matters (Sapientia)
- What We Forget About Creation: How Augustine Expands our Vision (Sapientia)
- Can Creation Debates Find Their Rest in Augustine? (Sapientia)
- When Should Doctrine Divide? (The Gospel Coalition)
- The Eternal Shore: Five Things We Forget About Heaven (Desiring God)
- When the Darkness Doesn’t Yield (The Gospel Coalition)
- “Is Genesis History?” Revisiting an Age-Old Debate (The Gospel Coalition)
- One Painful and Beautiful Burial: Obeying God in the Dark (Desiring God)
- How C.S. Lewis Put the Ontological Argument For God in Narnia (The Gospel Coalition)
- Suffering is a Doorway, Not a Dead End (For the Church)
- Keep Learning to Lead (Desiring God)
- How Not to Help a Sufferer (The Gospel Coalition)
- The Problem of Evil is a Problem for Everyone (The Gospel Coalition)
- 3 Ways to Respond When Slandered (The Gospel Coalition)
- 10 Ways to Grow Your Marriage While Having Young Kids (The Gospel Coalition, Churchleaders, ForEveryMom)
- 4 Steps to Kill Nagging Sins (Desiring God)
- 5 Ways to Make it Through a Difficult Season (The Gospel Coalition)
- Repentance vs. Defensiveness (The Gospel Coalition)
- 3 Ways our Culture is Different From Every Other Culture in History (The Gospel Coalition)
- 20 Qualities of Good Listeners (For the Church)
- 7 Ways to Fight Distraction During Prayer (The Gospel Coalition, Crosswalk)
- 7 Principles of Sabbath Rest (For the Church)
- 3 Ways Movies Are Searching for the Gospel (The Gospel Coalition, Crosswalk)
- 5 Strategies for Daily Bible Reading (For the Church, Crosswalk)
- 4 Steps Toward Joy in Repentance (Desiring God)
- What Does it Mean to Find Your Identity in Christ? (For The Church)
- 5 Ways to Encourage Your Pastor Without Exalting Him (Desiring God)
- Why I’m Complementarian (For The Church)
- 5 Ways to Deepen Your Preaching (The Gospel Coalition)
- 3 Reflections on Cultivating Theological Poise (The Gospel Coalition)
- How to Fight Unhealthy Snacking (Desiring God)
- 4 Appeals to Christians Embracing Gay Marriage (Canon & Culture)
- 5 Prayers for When Conflict Strikes (The Gospel Coalition)
- When a Leader Lets You Down (The Gospel Coalition)
- Why Do Pastors Feel Discouraged Amid Success? (The Gospel Coalition)
- Did C.S. Lewis Have a Crisis of Faith in 1948? (Explore God)
- 3 Leadership Lessons from Winston Churchill (The Gospel Coalition)
- 4 Dangers for Complementarians (The Gospel Coalition)
- Jesus Did More to Save Us Than Die (The Gospel Coalition)
- Is There Life After Life? (Explore God)
- When You’re Waiting in the Wilderness (The Gospel Coalition)
- A Christian View of Science and Faith (Explore God)
- Fighting By F.A.I.T.H. (The Gospel Coalition)
- The Bible’s View of Pain and Suffering (Explore God)
- What Do I Have To Do To Get Into Heaven? (Explore God)
- Naked and Unashamed (The Gospel Coalition)
- Gospel-Centeredness is as Old as the Gospel (The Gospel Coalition)
- Why I Changed My Mind About Baptism (The Gospel Coalition)
- An Annotated Bibliography on Hell (9 Marks)
- Review of Craig Allert, Early Christian Readings of Genesis One: Patristic Exegesis and Literal Interpretation (BioLogos Books on Science and Christianity; IVP Academic, 2018).
- Review of Matthew Levering, Engaging the Doctrine of Creation: Cosmos, Creatures, and the Wise and Good Creator (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2017), in Nova et Vetera 17.2 (2019), 596-99.
- Review of Kenneth Stewart, In Search of Ancient Roots: The Christian Past and the Evangelical Identity Crisis (IVP Academic, 2017).
- Review of William Paul Young, Lies We Believe About God (Attria Books, 2017).
- Review of Chris R. Armstrong, Medieval Wisdom for Modern Christians: Findng Authentic Faith in a Forgotten Age with C. S. Lewis (Brazos Press, 2016).
- Review of David Buschart and Kent Eilers, Theology as Retrieval: Receiving the Past, Renewing the Church (IVP Academic, 2015).
- Review of Scott R. Swain and Michael Allen, Reformed Catholicity: The Promise of Retrieval for Theology and Biblical Interpretation (Baker Academic, 2015).
- Review of Kelly Bean, How to be a Christian Without Going to Church (Baker, 2014).
- Review of Iain D. Campbell and William M. Schweitzer, ed., Engaging with Keller: Thinking Through the Theology of an Influential Evangelical (Evangelical Press, 2013).
- Review of Jerram Barrs, Delighting in the Law of the Lord: God’s Alternative to Legalism and Moralism (Crossway, 2013).
- Review of Tim and Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God (Dutton, 2011)
- Review of Mark Batterson, All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life (Zondervan, 2013)
- Review of Derwin Gray, Limitless Life: You Are More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future (Thomas Nelson, 2013)
- Review of Andrew Wilson, If God, Then What? Wondering Aloud about Truth, Origins, and Redemption (Inter-Varsity, 2012)
- Review of Judah Smith, Jesus Is: Find a New Way to be Human (Thomas Nelson, 2013)
- Review of Stephen J. Lawson, The Heroic Boldness of Martin Luther (Long Line of Godly Men Profiles; Reformation Trust, 2013)
- Review of D.A. Carson and Tim Keller, eds., The Gospel as Center: Renewing our Faith and Reforming our Ministry Practices (Crossway, 2012)
- Review of Kevin DeYoung’s The Hole in our Holiness (Crossway, 2012)
- Review of John Piper’s Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian (Crossway, 2011)
- Review of Jerry Bridges’ The Transforming Power of the Gospel (NavPress, 2012)
- Review of J.D. Greear’s Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (B&H, 2011)