Foundations: A Long Line of Godly Men Book Review

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“Beginning with the ancient prophet Moses and spanning the past thirty-five hundred years to this present hour, there has marched onto the stage of human history a long line of godly men, men who have faithfully upheld the royal banner of the doctrines of grace in their generations. These standard-bearers of the sovereignty of God’s grace form a noble procession that has remained unbroken and uninterrupted for millennia. They stand as one man— one in truth, one in the faith, one in the doctrines of grace. While differing in secondary areas of biblical understanding, they nevertheless have spoken with one voice in chief matters of doctrinal concern, namely, the supreme sovereignty by which God has appointed saving grace to undeserving, yet chosen, sinners. What is more, each man has appeared in history precisely at his God-appointed time and faithfully testified to God’s sovereignty in man’s salvation.”

Hardcover: 577 pages

Publisher: Reformation Trust

Published Date: September, 2006

  

So begins Steven J. Lawson’s magnificent work Foundations of Grace. This book is the first in a 3-part series entitled A Long Line of Godly Men. I personally believe that this volume is one of the most influential books of the past century. I recognize that this is a bold statement, however; it is a fitting one considering the nature, scope, and depth of Lawson’s work.

Premise

This volume can be considered a biblical theology on divine sovereign soteriology (doctrine of salvation). In this book, Lawson systematically goes through the entire Bible, beginning with Moses and ending with John’s Revelation. In Foundations of Grace, the author demonstrates how every author of Scripture has held to the Doctrines of Grace or what has more commonly been called the Five Points of Calvinism. In Lawson’s mind, church history can be seen as a sturdy house. The biblical authors have laid the foundations, the church fathers up through the Reformation have been the pillars, and all those who succeed them can be considered the roof of the house. The other two volumes in Lawson’s series A Long Line of Godly Men will cover the “pillar” era and the “roof” era of church history.

Author’s Writing Style

From the very first pages of this book, it will become clear to the reader that the author is not only a theologian but a poet. If I could say it another way, I would say that all of his writings are written with a theologian’s mind, a pastor’s heart, and a poet’s hand. His writing style is not only informative, but it is also beautiful and entertaining. Since Lawson is a pastor, his writing, though in depth, can be understood by the average layperson. You do not have to be any bit the scholar to read and benefit from any of his works. His beautiful writing style allows for anyone who loves to read to be able to grasp his material and benefit from it greatly.

The Theological Implications of this Book

Typically, when one encounters the ongoing debate between Arminians, namely those who believe man cooperates with God in his salvation and Calvinists, those who hold that salvation is entirely God’s work, it is common to hear various proof-texts from each side. The Arminians present their texts and the Calvinists come armed with theirs. However, a robust biblical theology is often absent from these discussions. I would argue that the greatest argument for Reformed soteriology is not found in specific verses but rather in the whole biblical meta-narrative. As one surveys the entire scope of the biblical narrative correctly, a person cannot come away without recognizing that God’s sovereignty and man’s inability are threads that are weaved through every story. I have not found a more thorough and helpful book that deals with Reformed theology through a biblical theological perspective. Typically, books have been written dealing with the issue from a philosophical perspective.

The Biblical Implications of this Book

There are many helpful aids to studying theology, such as Philosophy, reason and logic. However, helpful as these gifts are, they are not as helpful as Scripture itself. Lawson demonstrates the sufficiency and the necessity of Scripture in grasping theological constructs. The Christian who has invested his time in studying the material in this book will find himself much more theologically astute in theological discussions as he is not only able to appeal to others through reason, but he will also be more suited to present others with a robust and in depth biblical case for God’s sovereignty in salvation.

Spiritual Benefit of this Book

This book will provide great spiritual benefit to its readers. The reader cannot but come away with a greater understanding of the nature and character of God. Like Moses, it is when the Christian beholds the glory of God that they are made to be more like him. This book will provide the reader with a study of God’s sovereignty throughout all of Scripture. The reader will also be led to rejoice in the glory of his salvation in a deeper way.

Conclusion

As a book enthusiast, one of my greatest joys is to go mining in the cave of published works for diamonds. Typically, many hours and dollars are spent searching the dark caverns of writings for works that will be valued like diamonds in my life as they leave me forever changed. One of the great tragedies, however, is when you find a diamond, and it is too big and glorious to keep for yourself, and so you seek to share it with others and they appear indifferent. Unfortunately, I believe this book is one of those diamonds. It has been neglected or ignored by many seminarians and pastors, and because of that, it has also remained out of the reach of many laypeople. This is a diamond that belongs on the shelf of every Christian reader, especially Christian leaders. It deserves to have its pages highlighted, underlined, bent, and creased as it is studied, prayed over, and shared with others. It is also a work that deserves to be bought for a second time and placed on a shelf for your sons with the prayers that they, too, will study its pages and one day join the ranks of a long line of godly men.

 

 

Click Here To Visit Lawson's Website (New Reformation Ministries).

Click Here To Visit Lawson’s Website (New Reformation Ministries).

 

About Kyle James Howard

My name is Kyle, I am married to my “high-school sweetheart” and we have 3 children. I have a 7 year-old daughter (Hadassah), a 2 year-old son (Jonah), and 1 year old (Kesed). I am 32 years old and I am currently a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I have an Associates degree in Biblical & Theological Studies, A B.S. in Biblical Counseling, and I am finishing up an Advanced M. Div in Historical Theology. Click on the "About Me" link at the top of my home page to read my full testimony.

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