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Foundations of Grace (A Long Line of Godly Men, Volume One) Hardcover – September 1, 2006
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Dr. Steve Lawson is one of the most committed and capable biblical expositors of this generation. The intensity and clarity of his commitment to biblical preaching to true expository preaching is the hallmark of his ministry. Beyond this, Steve Lawson understands that the text of the Bible presents a consistent witness to God's sovereignty and the panoramic display of God's glory. All this is evident in his preaching ministry and in his writing ministry as well. Dr. Lawson is a remarkable man driven by a remarkable passion.--R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, President, The Southern Baptist Theological Semminary, Louisville, Kentucky
About the Author
Dr. Steven J. Lawson is president and founder of OnePassion Ministries, a ministry designed to equip biblical expositors to bring about a new reformation in the church. He is a board member and teaching fellow for Ligonier Ministries, a board member and professor of preaching at The Master's Seminary, professor in residence for Truth Remains, and a visiting professor in the Doctor of Ministry program at Ligonier Academy. A popular conference speaker and author, Dr. Lawson's books include, The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield, The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon, and Pillars of Grace.
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At first I found the book a bit tedious to get through, but as I warmed to the subject and the writing style I found myself absorbed by the content and the concepts that Lawson kept bringing forth. This is not a quick read or an easy read, but it is a valuable tool for the development of our Christian Worldview. There is so much to find here that is encouraging about God's relationship with individual men and how they responded, both good and bad.
The book starts with Genesis and works its way through the entire Bible. As you read through you not only learn about the Godly men that Lawson describes but you also get a great overview of the Bible and the story line of God. This book does look at men's lives from the standpoint of Grace so there is an over abundance of discussion of Grace. But still the concepts and details are helpful for the growth of all.
I was left wondering why Lawson could not have included a few women in his discussion. There are many great women of the Bible that also show the grace of God. Maybe he could put out an addendum that would include stories of the women of Grace from the Bible.
That is the theme of Dr. Steve Lawson's Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust). I recently recommended this book to a friend and colleague who had not yet heard of it. The next time we talked his first comment was that next to the Bible this was his favorite book. There is good reason for that, and I think this will be true of many readers. This book is nothing less than a modern classic.
"The teaching of sovereign grace," Lawson writes, "literally stretches from cover to cover in the Bible" (p. 36). Beginning with Moses, moving on to the historical writers and prophets, and then marching on to the Apostles, early Church Fathers and their descendents throughout Church History, and finally up to modern defenders of the faith, the doctrines of sovereign grace are shown to be biblical and historical beyond the slightest shadow of a doubt.
Of Erasmus, Luther declared: "Your God is too man-like" (cited in Sinclair Ferguson, "The Fear of the Lord: Seeing God As He Is," Discipleship Journal 52 : 42). One of the saddest developments that has again overtaken Christianity is the rejection of the historical Doctrines of Grace in favor of a man-centered "theology." But there are no doctrines that are more life-changing, character-transforming, evangelism-driving, and Christ-exalting than are these. I would dare predict that anyone who currently rejects these doctrines (either in total or just "certain points"), if they would just quietly and prayerfully read Lawson's book, they would reconsider and very possibly be transformed forever. The Doctrines of Grace are not part of a system imposed upon the Bible, rather truth that is infused within it, and Lawson's masterpiece repeatedly demonstrates this with clarity, comprehensiveness, and conviction.
A few chapter titles well illustrate this wondrous subject. Old Testament chapters include: "Where the Long Line Begins" (Gen.); "Sovereign Grace in the Wilderness" (Exod.); "Spokesman of Sovereign Grace" (Isa.); and "Heralds of Divine Regeneration" (Jer., Ezek., Dan.).
The New Testament chapters begin with one that might offend some: "Christ, the Calvinist" (Matt., Mk, Lk.), which graphically and accurately presents how "our Lord boldly proclaimed the sovereignty of God in the salvation of men wherever He went" (p. 242). As Lawson reminds us for history's sake, quoting James Montgomery Boice, "The doctrines known as Calvinism are not something that emerged late in church history, but rather are that which takes its origins in the teaching of Jesus." Other chapters then include: "The Mount Everest of Theology" (Jn.); "By His Grace and for His Glory" (Rom.); "Preacher of the Doctrines of Grace (1 & 2 Cor. and Gal.); "Before the Foundation of the World" (Eph.--2 Thess.); "Evangelism and Divine Sovereignty" (Acts and Heb.); and "Sovereign Regeneration" (the epistles of James John, and Jude).
As a book reviewer, the publisher (Reformation Trust) sent me a PDF copy for this review, a very unique approach. Upon final approval of my review, they will send me a hardcopy as "compensation." My review doesn't have to be "positive," only "serious, substantive, and fair." My comments, therefore, are not motivated by "compensation," rather by true excellence. Believe me, if I didn't like it, I would tell you so.
This volume is actually the first of five in Lawson's series, "A Long Line of Godly Men." This first one (Foundations of Grace) covers 1400 BC through AD 100, tracing the doctrines of grace throughout every book of the Bible. Volume 2 (Pillars of Grace) will cover the 2nd- through 16th-centuries (Irenaeus, Jerome, Augustine, Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin). Volume 3 (Forces of Grace) will cover the 16th- and 17th-centuries (Knox and the Puritans). Volume 4 (Progress of Grace) will cover the 17th- through 19th-centuries (Edwards, Warfield, Hodge, Princeton Seminary, and Shedd). Volume 5 (Triumph of Grace) will cover the 19th-century through the present (Spurgeon, Ryle, M'Cheyne, Kuyper, Pink, Lloyd-Jones, and MacArthur). We eagerly await each one.
In a day when doctrine is not only on the decline, but on the defensive, having to prove itself to be "relevant," it is books like this one that underscore the need for truth and the necessity of its proclamation. There are few books that I can recommend as highly as this one. Read it, my dear Christian Friend, and be blessed.
Dr. J. D. Watson
Pastor-Teacher, Grace Bible Church
Author/General Editor, Truth on Tough Texts
Most recent customer reviews
This is a very good book, and it's an extremely useful tool. This is not really a theological study, but it is more so a book of evidence that direct our attention to...Read more