Book Review: It is Well

It is Well: expositions on Substitutionary Atonement by Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence is a collection of 14 sermon preached at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington by it’s Senior Pastor Dever and Assistant Pastor Lawrence. The sermons all look at passages throughout the Bible that anticipate, describe or explain the central meaning of the cross: Jesus dying in our place to take our punishment (Substitutionary Atonement).



These boys are very clear and simple, yet profoundly deep. They look at the text closely but apply it very relevantly. They often apply the doctrines to both Christians and non-Christians, as well as various situations and different ages (including children). They have a good understanding of arguments against the gospel and are able to disarm and refute each one clearly. Because these stared out as sermons they are very warm and grabbing.


There doesn’t seem to have been a good editing process and so there is a lot of repetition – even of quotes. There is no progression within the book, rather they all cover much of the same ground. However, I think this could be a strength. One of the things this book does is continually bring you back to the heart of the gospel and the glory of the Cross.

This is no cosmic child abuse of a heavenly father gone terribly wrong, abusing a trembling child who shrinks back from his fathers strokes. This is the eternal, triune God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit – determining from eternity past that he would deal with our sins.’

‘Friends, either we understand and embrace this idea of substitution, or we begin to slip into a religion of self-salvation. If you don’t believe this, you don’t believe Christianity.’


Any Christian or non Christian who wants to understand what the cross is all about. This is an easy book to read that will encourage you and help you grasp more deeply what Jesus achieved on the cross. I would advice you to read it over a few weeks, to spread the chapters out. They were originally intended as weekly sermons – I think the book works best like that.

Good. Well worth reading.


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