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Faith. Hope. Love.: The Christ-Centered Way to Grow in Grace Paperback – October 31, 2017
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“Pastor Mark Jones has written an admirable treatise on the heart of biblical ethics: the virtues of faith, hope, and love. His book is based firmly on Scripture, and he has arranged it as a catechism: questions, answers, and commentary. He also digs deep into classic theological expositions, especially among the Puritans. This arrangement, clearly and vividly written, enables readers not only to understand these teachings, but to internalize them, and thus to grow in grace. This book will be a great help to individual and family devotions and to adult Bible study groups. I hope that many will have the opportunity to read it to the glory of God in Christ.”
―John M. Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy Emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary
“Much writing on Christian spirituality is hollow, bereft of theological heft and awash in baptized therapeuticism. By contrast, Faith. Hope. Love. is weightily Puritanesque in the best sense―offering clear, Christ-centered, scriptural ballast for the Christian life. Rooted richly in the Reformed tradition, Jones walks us through the theological virtues and the shape they give to our life in Christ. More importantly, in each chapter he points us to the Christ in whom we place our faith―the one we imitate in love and for whom we wait in hope. I highly commend this work.”
―Derek Rishmawy, blogger, Reformedish; cohost, Mere Fidelity podcast
“The old paths are the way into the future. Mark Jones knows this is true for the life and witness of the church of Jesus Christ. He takes us back to the medieval theological virtues, organizes them in a reformational catechism, and uses post-Reformation, orthodox theological distinctions, all to instruct our minds, enflame our hearts, and move us to service. This is as clear as it gets when it comes to the doctrine of justification by faith alone and all that it means for living out a life of faith, hope, and love.”
―Daniel R. Hyde, Pastor, Oceanside United Reformed Church, Carlsbad/Oceanside, California; Adjunct Instructor of Ministerial Studies, Mid-America Reformed Seminary; author, Welcome to a Reformed Church
“The questions we ask can be just as important as the answers. Well-meaning Christians often harmfully express the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love in sentimental tropes devoid of substance. I will be recommending Mark’s excellent book for many to use devotionally. Its catechismal format has provided a superb corrective, moving us to delight in Christ-centered faith, hope, and love, and what they require of us in response.”
―Aimee Byrd, author, Theological Fitness and No Little Women
“In this useful work, Jones clearly and practically guides the reader into the virtues of the body of Christ. The book is laid out in catechetical format, which Jones employs with great dexterity. The questions are those that the fides quaerens intellectum (‘faith seeking understanding’) of any believer naturally poses to itself, and the definitions that follow by way of response are elegant and comprehensive. The expositions of the answers are doctrinally profound but expressed very simply and memorably. Steeped in the wisdom of the doctors and the great Puritan guides of the heart, Faith. Hope. Love. is a much-needed map of the path of the Christian’s walk with God.”
―Peter Escalante, Fellow of Rhetoric, New St. Andrew’s College
“Mark Jones puts to rest the lie that scholasticism is arid and boring. In a rich display of biblical text, respect for the past, and pastoral sensitivity, Faith. Hope. Love. gives to the church a summary of biblical virtue to help us live our theology in honor of a Savior who loves us so faithfully. This is a worthy addition to Jones’s other works that have made the best of the Great Tradition accessible and enjoyable for a wide Christian audience.”
―Ian Hugh Clary, Assistant Professor of Historical Theology, Colorado Christian University; coeditor, Pentecostal Outpourings: Revival and the Reformed Tradition; Senior Fellow, Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies
About the Author
Mark Jones serves as the pastor of Faith Vancouver Presbyterian Church (PCA) in British Columbia, Canada, and research associate at the University of the Free State in South Africa. He has authored several books and speaks all over the world on Christology and the Christian life.
Teaching Elder, Faith Vancouver Presbyterian Church, Vancouver, British Columbia
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Some of the answers Jones gives are heavy, and really that starts pretty early in the book. He draws heavily from writers in church history - especially Puritan writers - and I think his constant exposure to their work leads to a writing style that has that weightiness. This is both good and bad ... there is a lot of substance here. There is a great depth of truth on these topics. But the depth of the material in places probably makes this a hard book for a young Christian. Jones is definitely aiming for the mature believer.
The organization of the book is confusing at times. For example, perhaps the most amazing chapter of the book was when he walked through how Jesus perfectly kept the 10 Commandments. It was a really great chapter ... I showed some family members and all they could say was "Wow!" If you wanted to go back to the book and find that, what would you look under? It's hidden in question 35, "How do we show our love for God?" (The previous chapter, "How do we fail to show love for God" was also outstanding, showing how Adam had violated all 10 commandments in the fall.)
Overall, I was very blessed by this book and bought a second copy to give as a gift. It's not a perfect book, and it's not for most children or most new believers, but if your desire is to grow in your knowledge of the great Biblical concepts of faith, hope, and love, you will find this to be faithful and meaty.
Jones has crafted a superbly useful and beautiful chatechesis around the terms of faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Each subject is treated in the form of question and answer, but not only is each studied in its own right but in relation to the other two subjects. The commentary grounds understanding in the Bible and explains these essential doctrines lucidly and convincingly. The questions that guide the study of each term – faith, hope, and love – are questions that commonly occur in any investigation of the Christian gospel.
This book should be used as a teaching tool for new and mature Christians to clarify and encourage understanding and progress in daily living.Highly recommended for personal and group study and meditation.
Thank you to Crossway for providing a complimentary copy of this book through the Blog Review Program.
First, the format of Q&A is increasingly helpful in an age of shallow thinking and distraction. While never catering to fragmented, shallow thinking, Jones' format makes it easy to take the exegetical and historical insights of the book into small groups, the pulpit, private devotion, prayer, and family worship. It is not intimidating (humorously, Jones hates footnotes, and you'll find none here) and is, instead, inviting. Even if you have only a 1/2 hour lunch break from work, you could easily get through a single chapter a day with plenty of time for reflection and still walk away having feasted on each chapter's emphasis rather than snacked from junk-food like, say, Jesus Calling.
Second, as Jones often does, he roots his work and exegesis in the broader Christian (historical) tradition. Why not? The Holy Spirit didn't start speaking recently, and we benefit greatly knowing what pastors and thinkers have said since the earliest centuries after Christ. Knowing that the "ongoing discussion" is old, and the answers have been consistent for centuries, increases our common identity in Christ, assisting unity across denominational lines. The broad range of quotations in this short book also "outs" more recent works on these subjects as a bit aberrant at worst, and others as merely shallow at best. I'd prefer depth, historical consistency (rather than ignorance or novelty), and beauty for me and my children. Wouldn't you? The historical quotes included have survived because they are true and beautiful. What a joy to read so many in one place.
Thirdly, these are, historically, the three great virtues of the Christian life. As such, they are powerful antidotes in, as Christopher Lash, put it, a Culture of Narcissism in which ever Twitter feed, Instagram or Snapchat "story", is usually an echo chamber for personal egos or tribal devotees. These three virtues are not only most powerfully seen in Christ (which Jones explains throughout the book, but also includes a final chapter specifically on Christ's exemplary and redemptive faith, hope, and love), but also permanently commanded by God of his adopted children.
Get a highlighter and pen, and buckle up. The book won't disappoint.