The past five or so years has seen the rise of Reformed theology. Some people are excited about this resurgence but many aren’t excited because they believe that Reformed theology breeds arrogance. R.C. Sproul is right when he states that Reformed theology rightly understood leads to humility. After all Reformed theology places an emphasis where the Bible does on man’s need for a Savior in Jesus who saves men from their sin, who redeems them, and gives them a new identity with new desires and new affections for the person and work for Jesus. Reformed theology echoes the Bible’s own teaching that salvation is all of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). How could a theology like this following the Bible lead to arrogance and haughtiness? There are several ways of course but mostly it is because one doesn’t understand what the Bible following Reformed theology teaches. Since the resurgence of Reformed theology appears to not be waning but only growing, what is needed is clarity on what exactly it teaches and how this teaching impacts the everyday lives of Christians. While many books exist that give a basic introduction to Reformed theology that will help readers, a new book PROOF Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones has recently come out that aims to help readers understand that the grace of God releases us from trying to earn God’s favor, liberates us from the tyranny of trying to please others and empowers us to pursue authentic holiness.
Chapters 2-6 look at PROOF that is Planned Grace, Resurrecting Grace, Outrageous Grace, Overcoming Grace and Forever Grace. Chapter seven looks at how we can apply the teaching of PROOF to our lies. The book has five appendixes that look at the Scriptural teaching for Reformed theology and fleshes out more of what that teaching means, along with looking at definite or particular atonement, predestination and free will.
What makes this book so helpful is that it is written not only for those who are new to Reformed theology but also those who have walked the paths of Reformed theology for a long time. I grew up in churches that were mostly Reformed my entire life. One day I looked around at what the books I was reading and realized, “I hold to Reformed theology.” When people ask what I believe, I tell them in a Reformed Baptist. I then go on to state what John Piper has said that that we are to be biblical in our Calvinism. This is what PROOF exhibits at its finest, not an adherence to a system of theology above the Word of God but in submission to the Word of God. This is what men like Calvin, Owen, Spurgeon and Edwards exemplified, a theology in subjection to the Word of God. This is the type of theology that we need today as well.
Whether you are new to Reformed theology or a seasoned adherent of Reformed theology, PROOF has something for you. This book will help you not only understand what Reformed theology teaches but understand why believing that leads to being humble. As R.C. Sproul has rightly stated, a true understanding of Reformed theology leads to humility. Understanding Reformed theology leads to humility because of it’s emphasize on the sinfulness of man and the glory and majesty of Christ in His finished work in His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus calls His followers to deny themselves and take up His Cross. This is call away from self and to Himself. As several of the Puritans have stated the more we see ourselves as sinners in need of His grace, the more we will understand His grace. This is what PROOF does, it helps us see ourselves alright, as beggars in need of God’s grace who saves sinners through His finished work, so we can put to death their sin, grow in His grace, participate in community with His people until at last, Jesus returns and glorifies His people.
The more I grow in the grace of God, the more I desire to drink from the well of living water in Jesus. This is what this book will help you to do, to drink from the well of living water in Jesus who now through the Holy Spirit pours out the love of God to His people. This book is dangerous in a good way. It will mess you up by pointing out where you lack clear sight by helping you to see yourself as you ought, in need of His grace. Understanding how God’s grace works will help God’s people to deal with legalism, self-righteousness and thinking we can live however we want to live. In other words, PROOF will help you recover not only from a shallow gospel but help you to understand the gospel as you ought from the Word of God and how it has been proclaimed throughout the history of the church.
PROOF is an excellent book that will help a generation of fresh adherents to Reformed theology understand what they believe from the Word of God. Drinking deeply from the well of God’s grace is immensely satisfying and life changing. This book invites readers to drink from the well of God’s grace. As you do, you’ll awaken once again to the wonder of the cross and discover afresh how Jesus rescues sinners from their sin to Himself. I highly recommend this book and pray the Lord will use it to awaken a new generation from a shallow evangelicalism to the majesty truths taught throughout the history of the church. PROOF is rooted in the history of the Church’s theology, faithful to the Word and accessible to the lay person on up to the scholar. As the authors open up the Word, they invite readers to drink from the well of life in Jesus. This book will not only lead readers to the living well in Jesus Christ but cause you to jump in headlong in wonder at the God who by His grace has saved His people, and who is even now saving sinners, sanctifying His people and will one day glory His own.
Author: Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones
Publisher: Zondervan (2014)
I received this book for free from Zondervan for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”