Saturday, January 3, 2015

Book Review- Steven Lawson, Foundations of Grace: A Long Line of Godly Men

690770: Foundations of Grace: A Long Line of Godly Men
By Steven J. Lawson / Reformation Trust Publishing

While discussing God’s sovereignty in salvation, students have often been asked me if I could provide to them the Bible verses on both sides of the issue. I usually receive a skeptical look when I reply that there are no Bible verses on both sides of the issue, that God does not contradict Himself, and that all of the Scripture supports the teaching of the Doctrines of Grace (I am happy, however, to work through the passages that appear contradictory). There are difficult to understand passages, but sovereign grace is so pervasive in the Bible that those looking for it will begin to see it everywhere.

In his book, Foundations of Grace, Dr. Steven J. Lawson traces elements of the Doctrines of Grace through every book of the Bible. The book begins with a foreword by Dr. John MacArthur, which is an excellent theological essay that would itself be worth the price of the book. Lawson then argues that how one understands God’s sovereign grace in salvation is foundational to their understanding of the biblical message and theology. He argues for God’s sovereign plan to save fallen humanity through a gracious act of election as a unifying theme of the Bible. Lawson then works through each section of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation examining God’s sovereign Grace and related truths. The book then concludes with a call to believers to stand firm in these truths in afterword by Dr. R.C. Sproul.

The book provides an accessible defense of the Reformed view of the unity and consistency of the Bible on these points. The treatment is not overly technical or complex and as expected, presupposes a Reformed understanding of various biblical and systematic theological positions. Since he explores similar themes in each chapter, reading the book from cover to cover becomes tedious at times. The upside of this style, however, is that the book will likely serve as a good reference resource to those who may want to examine these themes in relation to a particular book of Scripture.

Advanced readers looking for a comprehensive biblical theology, extensive exegetical detail, or a critical evaluation of theological issues attending the interpretations will not find that here. What readers can find here is a good introduction to why Reformed Christians are so passionate about God’s sovereignty and the Doctrines of Grace.  

* I received a free copy of this book from Reformation Trust Publishing as part of their book review program. Reviews are not required to be positive and the opinions I have expressed are my own.