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    1. 4 Stars Out Of 5
      Pillars of Grace
      June 5, 2015
      Quality: 5
      Value: 4
      Meets Expectations: 5
      first lawson book and it will not be my last. well written and a good read.
    2. Michigan
      Age: 35-44
      Gender: male
      3 Stars Out Of 5
      Helpful Historical Survey of TULIP
      October 13, 2012
      Mathaytes blogspot
      Age: 35-44
      Gender: male
      In this second volume of the series, "A Long Line of Godly Men" Steven J. Lawson walks the reader through almost 1500 years of history calling attention to the development and defense of what later became known as the doctrines of grace. If the reader is looking for sophisticated historical and theological analysis, they will not find it here. What they will find, however, is something that is greatly needed in the evangelical world today, namely a framework for understanding their theology in the broader context of Church history. In addition to his introductory and concluding material, Lawson examines the doctrines of grace in the works of 23 influential Christian teachers between the years of 100 and 1564, including:

      Clement of Rome

      Ignatius of Antioch

      Justin Martyr

      Irenaeus of Lyon

      Tertullian of Carthage

      Cyprian of Carthage

      Athanasius of Alexandria

      Basil of Caesarea

      Gregory of Nazianzus

      Ambrose of Milan

      Augustine of Hippo

      Isidore of Seville

      Gottschalk of Orbais

      Anselm of Canterbury

      Bernard of Clairvaux

      Thomas Bradwardine

      John Wycliffe

      John Hus

      Martin Luther

      Ulrich Zwingli

      William Tyndale

      Heinrich Bullinger

      John Calvin

      Lawson is able to demonstrate that although the emphasis and systemization of the doctrines of grace during the Reformation was dramatic it did not simply appear out of nowhere. He capably shows, with brief biological and historical sketches, that the trajectories of Reformed thought were familiar to Christian teachers in every age. The Reformers saw themselves as defenders of classic Christian teaching but sadly, many who identify as Reformed today have little or no familiarity with any pre-Reformation writers other than Augustine. Lawson does this generation a service in providing an accessible account of this history.

      The historical and theological segmentation of the book make the book a bit redundant but the advantage is that each of the segments can stand on their own making it useful as a quick reference or to those who are only interested in particular eras or teachers. The repetition gives it an almost devotional quality as the same themes are introduced and reinforced in segment after segment. The biggest drawback is that at times, Lawson seems to stretch a bit in his analysis. Often quotations are given and applied to themes that were unlikely to have been intended given the context of the original quote. In places, Lawson admits this and does a fair job of pointing out that although the original writer may not have always fully appreciated the consequences of their own ideas and observations that the seeds of those conclusions were nevertheless present.

      I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in early Church history and especially the doctrines of grace. It should be required reading for anyone who considers themselves "Reformed" and is unfamiliar with the development of these doctrines prior to the Reformation outside of Augustine. While being an apology for Reformed history it avoids the polemics of earlier works on the topic (Toplady, Gill, etc.). I believe that many will find it interesting and informative.

      *A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher at no cost in exchange for a review. The review is not required to be positive and all opinions expressed are my own.
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