I Will Build My Church: Selected Writings on Church Polity, Baptism, and the Sabbath

Witherow, Thomas; Gibson, Jonathan (Edited By); Ferguson, Sinclair B. (Foreword By)

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Few pastors leave as indelible a legacy as Thomas Witherow did in the north of Ireland during the second half of the nineteenth century. A faithful minister, husband, father, author, and professor, Witherow’s defense of Presbyterianism remains one of the most influential of its kind.

Collecting Witherow’s most important works on the topic—The Apostolic Church, Scriptural Baptism, and The Sabbath—this volume presents a cohesive, trenchant, and imitable apology for the Presbyterian tradition. Preceding the three works is A Prince of Irish Presbyterianism, a new and illuminating biography of Witherow by volume editor Jonathan Gibson.


“Thomas Witherow was a nineteenth-century Irish Presbyterian minister and professor whose contribution to Reformed theology has benefitted the church far beyond the shores of Ireland and continues to be relevant for the contemporary church. In an age when many people have been abused and hurt by bad or dysfunctional church government, Witherow’s work on ecclesiology is an important reminder of how good church government is a critical part of Christian discipleship. When properly implemented, it enables the church’s members to pursue a fruitful Christian life, to pray better for others, and to serve the church most effectively. Above all, Witherow’s work gives Christians a deep appreciation for the wisdom and glory of the church’s Head and King, Jesus Christ. As the recently retired principal of the same theological college that Witherow served with such eminence, I am delighted to commend the work of my godly predecessor.”

Stafford Carson Principal (Retired), Union Theological College

“In a day where there is so much confusion about the structures within which God has ordained believers to live out their Christian lives, we need wise guides. Enter Thomas Witherow! Witherow was deeply concerned that God’s people know that God has provided sound wisdom for life in this world. After a brilliant, brief biography, Witherow himself shares his biblical wisdom about polity, baptism, and Sabbath in ways that encourage us to walk in these tested paths. I am so grateful to Jonny Gibson for bringing these wise words of Witherow to the attention of Christians around the world!”

Sean Michael Lucas Chancellor’s Professor of Church History, Reformed Theological Seminary

“It is a great pleasure for me warmly to commend this new work by Jonny Gibson. Thomas Witherow’s name ought to be better known than it is. His brief works on church polity, baptism and Sabbath, are written with admirable clarity and a generous gospel spirit. In an age when Christianity is being seduced by the shallow mantras of modernity, reading Witherow will help to recalibrate your thinking on truths that belong to the heart of the Christian faith and the health of the Christian church. The engaging introductory biography introduces us to a man who used the gifts and passions the Lord entrusted to him to serve the cause of the gospel in his homeland and beyond.”

Ian Hamilton Professor of Historical Theology, Westminster Presbyterian Theological Seminary