Lawson extols magnificence of high view of God
Foundations of Grace: 1400 BC – AD 100 by Steven Lawson (Reformation Trust, 2006), $28.
Steven Lawson is the senior pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Ala., and is widely known for his vibrant expository preaching.
This is the first volume in a planned series of five that will chronologically survey 3,500 years of men who believed in and upheld the doctrines of grace. This volume moves through the pages of Scripture and displays more than 40 biblical authors who delighted in the doctrines of grace and God’s sovereignty in salvation. Volumes two through five will take their biographical studies from the pages of church history in the following manner:
Volume 3: Forces of Grace (16th – 17th centuries)
Volume 4: Progress of Grace (17th – 19th centuries)
Volume 5: Triumph of Grace (19th century – present)
An excellent 13-page foreword by John MacArthur opened the book with “Divine Immutability and the Doctrines of Grace.” He answers the question of “Why did God determine to elect the redeemed?” by showing the inter-Trinitarian relationship of love and promise and glory. I am glad to see this teaching in print because my audio tapes of MacArthur’s sermons on these texts (Titus 1:1-2, 2 Timothy 1:9) wore thin from listening to them so much. I think that this Trinity-in-eternity understanding of the “promise of redemption” did more to help establish the beauty of sovereign grace in my mind than any other dimension of the doctrine.
Right from the beginning, Lawson establishes his belief that true revival comes to the church when biblical theology and doxology ignite the church in a flame of passion for the glory of God. He says, “Over the centuries, seasons of reformation and revival in the church have come when the sovereign grace of God has been openly proclaimed and clearly taught. When a high view of God has been infused into the hearts and minds of God’s people, the church has sat on the elevated plateaus of transcendent truth.”
You have to love an author that really believes in the power of God’s truth to change lives, and who writes with the passion coming out of such a conviction. Lawson says,
“Never has the need been greater for the truths of sovereign grace to be firmly established in the church. … Let us now embark on this God-exalting, Christ-honoring pursuit. Ultimately, our view of God is at stake. It will affect everything. May we elevate Him in our hearts to the highest place, which belongs exclusively to Him. To God alone be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
An additional strength of the book is his ability to provide a succinct historical context for the life and book of each author. Job, Hosea, Moses, John, Peter, Jesus, etc. – they each are set in their historical context. This has the effect of drilling home the truth that the “doctrines of grace” are not a product of Calvin or Augustine or Spurgeon, but instead are divine truth as known and taught throughout all of God’s dealings with mankind. To know God in truth is to have a high view of God’s sovereignty.
Lawson writes, “This survey from cover to cover in the Bible will lay an immovable foundation for the sovereign grace of God.”
Indeed, that is exactly what this book accomplishes. I look forward with great anticipation to the publication of each of the volumes in this series. (Scott Lamb is one of the founding pastors of Providence Baptist Church, St. Louis, and is a regular book reviewer for The Pathway. To respond to this review or to read about other books, visit www.AChristianManifesto.com.)