Isbell, Sherman


Master’s Thesis

The Origin of the Concept of the Covenant of Works  Ref  Westminster Theological Seminary (1976), 192 pp.

“…a study by Isbell Sherman. He traces the development of federal theology through Wolfgang Musculus, Peter Martyr, Peter Vermigli, Stephen Szegedi, Zacharius Ursinus, Kasper Olevian, Johannes Piscator, Dudley Fenner, Thomas Cartwright, William Perkins, Robert Howie, Robert Rollock, and Francis Gomarus. It is only then that he turns to Lausanne, to consider the English translation of the works of William Bucanus.” – Berends, Bill – ‘Christ’s Active Obedience in Federal Theology’  Vox Reformata (2004), p. 46

See also p. 145 of Andrew Woolsey, Unity and Continuity in Covenantal Thought (RHB, 2012) for a paragraph giving further details about Isbell’s thesis.




The Administration of the Lord’s Supper, 2006, 20 pages

This historical essay describes the Biblically principled practice of the reformation Scottish Church’s administration of the Lord’s Supper.  Special attention is given to their communion seasons which were often held outdoors in fields, ministering to thousands, and included preparatory preaching, sitting at tables, and using common cups. 

The Church in Relation to its Constitution2006, 12 pages

Isbell describes the European understanding of a constitution and argues that a church’s constitution is inviolable and cannot be changed

A Course of Readings in Reformed Systematic Theology  n.d.  31 subsections

This top-notch reading list covers the first third of the topics in systematic theology up through General Revelation, Scripture, Apologetics, the Attributes of God, the Trinity, Predestination, and Creation. 

The Divine Law of Political Israel Expired: General Equity, no date, 44 paragraphs

Isbell’s article clearly articulates the issues at hand, historically defines “General Equity”, demonstrates how Theonomy collapses the Judicial Laws into the Moral Law so that only two categories of law remain (Moral and Ceremonial) instead of three, and analyzes the theology of numerous reformers and Scots on the issue.

Headship and Worship: Notes on 1 Corinthians 11:2-16no date, 33 paragraphs

Isbell expounds God’s teaching from 1 Corinthians 11 that women, being under the authority of their husbands and fathers are to wear a head covering in the public worship of God 

Hear Ye Him, no date, 30 paragrahs

Isbell examines the New Testament evidence for the Regulative Principle of Worship

The Only Songs Worthy of God Are Received From Himno date, 16 paragraphs, scroll down the page most of the way as this is the last section of Isbell’s larger article The Singing of Psalms, right before the appendix.

This is an analysis of Calvin’s conviction and practice that inspiration is a requirement for praise songs.  The article surveys the history and evidence of the question while bringing together the conclusions of numerous Calvin scholars on the subject.

Recovering Experimental Religionno date, 13 pages, 2009

The Singing of Psalmsno date, 167 paragraphs

This excellent article responds to all objections to exclusive psalmody current up to its day since the publication of Bushell’s work, including those of Vern Poythress, Greg Bahnsen, Leonard Coppes, Stephen Pribble and others.  It does this through quotes and arguments of puritan writers such as Samuel Rutherford, George Gillespie, John Owen, Thomas Gataker and others.  Isbell also gives a detailed historical analysis of John Calvin’s Biblical belief and practice that inspiration was a requirement for praise songs.

Temporary Faith, 2005, p. 32, five pages

Isbell Biblically describes and distinguishes Temporary Faith from Saving Faith

The Temperate Life, 2001, 23 paragraphs 

“The fruit of the Spirit is . . . temperance.” Gal. 5:22-23  Isbell mines gems from past worthies for insights on how to live a spirit-filled, temperate life.  Highly commended.



Introductions to Books

Introduction to Thomas M’Crie’s Lectures on the Book of Esther, four paragraphs

Introduction to John Kennedy’s Hyper-Evangelism: Another Gospel, though a Mighty Power, HTML, 6 paragraphs



Book Reviews 

How to Use a Split-Leaf Psalter: a Book Review, no date,  15 paragraphs

Isbell enumerates the practical advantages of using a split-leaf psalter and gives helps in how to use one

Order in the Offices, a Book Review, 1995, 13 paragraphs

Isbell reviews Mark Brown’s book Order in the Offices

A Review of The Savior by John Kennedy

This review will wet your desire for this excellent book by John Kennedy



Historical Tour

Archibald Alexander Travelogueby the Rev. Sherman Isbell, a retired minister of the Free Church of Scotland (continuing), who lived near the area.

Take a vacation to Lexington, VA and see these special sites connected to such a godly legacy.