For it is by grace you have been saved...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

PROOF: A Book Review

What do Zombies, a Merle Haggard song, and an eighteenth-century slave trader have in common?  Oddly enough, they all serve as illustrations in book on theology.  A very good book I might add.

“PROOF” by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones is an ode to Grace.  The authors state that the purpose of their book is to “be an alarm clock that awakens you from the delusion that life depends on you and frees you to discover the intoxicating joy of God’s wild and free grace.

And it does just that.  Using the word PROOF as an acrostic, they address the topics of Planned Grace, Resurrecting Grace, Outrageous Grace, Overcoming Grace, and Forever Grace.  For any theologically astute readers who see some similarities with the TULIP acrostic associated with Reformed Theology, you’d be right.

However, while trying to recapture the beauty of the Biblical Doctrine of Grace, including the issues of particular atonement, unconditional election, adoption, and others; Montgomery and Jones also want to warn of the dangers of focusing too much on a “system” like Calvinism.  Not that what Calvin taught wasn’t true and accurate.  But “Calvinism” is not an end to itself, and can often lead to arrogance and hardheartedness.  Call this book a desire for a “kinder and gentler” Calvinism. 

This re-focusing of our attention on grace flies in the face of the popular ideas of God as a “gentleman” who won’t impose His will on others, on the Bell hop and Therapist views of God, of the “God helps those who help themselves” ideas, and other views which belittle God’s Sovereignty.   Given to us in a fresh and easy to read manner, this is a much needed reminder for the church.

In addition to chapters on each of the five issues mentioned, the authors also include several appendices which address many of the common questions and misunderstandings of God’s sovereignty and His free grace.  This makes the book not only a good read, but a useful resource tool to hang on to.

In the end, the basic theme is that “As long as we live under the delusion that God doles out favor according to our deeds, fear of punishment will always crowd out the freedom and joy of God’s grace.  And PROOF wants us to know the freedom and joy of grace, reminding us that “Grace is worth fighting for.”

I absolutely loved this book.  Rich in theology, yet easy to read, and both challenging and comforting at the same time.  I will definitely recommend this book again and again.

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Eddie Eddings said...

Sounds like the kind of book I can't wait to get my hands (and eyes) on! The release date is May 27th for Kindle so I have placed it on my wish list for now. Thanks for the review!

Persis said...

Thanks for the review. Dr. Jones spoke at our church a few months ago and mentioned his book.