With the establishment of our sweet and newly-stocked resource center at our new building, the options overflow these first few months for choosing a book to feature for our reading and study enjoyment.
When I thought about this month’s offering, I didn’t have to linger long over the choice. I went with Richard Philllips’ terrific little read (110 pages) entitled What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? Here’s why.
Scott Devor begins teaching a new equipping hour on this subject tomorrow morning during the 9:30 hour. This would make an excellent introductory volume for anyone desiring to do additional study. Don’t worry Greg and Joe, I have you covered in the October resource of the month – God’s Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts. Your turn is coming!
But another reason compelled me to start with Phillips’ book. With the opening of our facility we have a number of new folks in the mix. Some may very well be knew to reformed theology and not acquainted with TULIP as a way of summarizing these biblical truths as our spiritual forefathers have done. My hope is a resource like this will help answer a number of questions our newcomers may have about this important aspect of our teaching at OGC.
Indeed Phillips organizes his book largely around the TULIP acronym. After an opening chapter treating the greatness of God’s sovereignty in Scripture overall, he then proceeds to unpack, all with the same heading, What’s So Great About . . .
- Total Depravity
- Unconditional Election
- Limited Atonement
- Irresistible Grace
- Perseverance of the Saints
The author states his aim in writing this way:
This book has two purposes. The first is to explain the doctrines of grace, also known as the “Five Points of Calvinism,” through the exposition of Scripture. In this, my aim is not to exhaust the biblical data or to engage in heavy biblical polemics with differing theological views. Instead, I seek to exposit definitive passages as they pertain to the respective doctrines. My approach is to present and explain the doctrines as plainly as possible by drawing out both the clear teaching of the Bible’s text and the necessary implications thereof. The second purpose is one that I find often neglected in treatments of distinctive Reformed doctrines, though to my mind is equally important. This purpose is to help believers feel the power of these precious truths in their lives. In other words, I aim not merely to teach the doctrines of grace, but to show what is so great about them. And how great they are! If we really believe the Bible’s teaching on the sovereign, mighty, and effectual grace of God, these doctrines not only will be dearly beloved, they will exercise a radical influence on our entire attitude toward God, ourselves, the present life, and the life to come (pp. xi-xii).
The book may lack for its omission of the historical background behind the formulation of these doctrines, but given the author’s agenda and desire to stay concise, we may forgive that. Especially helpful in each chapter is the answering of key objections to the teachings and a fleshing out of the implications of these truths in our lives.
I am happy to be able to offer copies of this work at only a donation of $8 thanks to our good friends at Reformation Trust. Pick up your copy tomorrow or some Sunday soon!