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Whatever Happened To The Gospel Of Grace? [Paperback]

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Item Number 345753  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2009
Publisher   Crossway Books/Good News
ISBN  1433511290  
EAN  9781433511295  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Believing that ignorance of God and neglect of the gospel of grace are at the root of evangelicalism's problems, Boice's explanation of the five “solas” of the Reformation offer the solution for the church today.

Publishers Description

Combines a serious examination of the state of today's church and a powerful solution: reclaiming the gospel of grace found in the confessional truths of the Reformation.

Though the Christian church has achieved a worldly sort of success-big numbers, big budgets, big outreaches-these are not good days for evangelicalism. Attendance is down, and it is increasingly difficult to distinguish so-called "believers" from their non-Christian neighbors-all because the gospel of grace has been neglected.

In this work, now in paperback, the late James Montgomery Boice identifies what's happened within evangelicalism and suggests how the confessional statements of the Reformation-Scripture alone, Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone, and glory to God alone-can ignite full-scale revival. "A church without these convictions has ceased to be a true church, whatever else it may be," he wrote, but "if we hold to these doctrines, our churches and those we influence will grow strong."

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More About James Montgomery Boice

James Montgomery Boice James Montgomery Boice, Th.D. (July 7, 1938 – June 15, 2000) was a Reformed theologian, Bible teacher, and pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia from 1968 until his death. He is heard on The Bible Study Hour radio broadcast and was a well-known author and speaker in evangelical and Reformed circles. He also served as Chairman of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy for over ten years and was a founding member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

Boice received a diploma from The Stony Brook School (1956), an A.B. from Harvard University (1960), a B.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary (1963), a Th.D from the University of Basel in Switzerland (1966), and a D.D., (honorary) from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church (1982). He died on June 15, 2000.

James Montgomery Boice lived in Philadelphia, in the state of Pennsylvania. James Montgomery Boice was born in 1938 and died in 2000.

James Montgomery Boice has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Expositional Commentary
  2. Master Reference Collection

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2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Soteriology   [0  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The Final Book From James Montgomery Boice--A Jewel!  Nov 3, 2009
This was the last book Pastor Boice wrote before his death in June 2000 and I must say he really left us with a true jewel. His book, "Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace?", is divided into three parts and it's almost like getting three books in one volume. Part One (Our Dying Culture) is a straight forward, no nonsense critical analysis of our modern evangelical church. Boice describes a church that spends more time developing programs designed toward success (does it work?) and messages that are focused on the congregation's felt need and a dedication to growing a mega-church instead of fulfilling God's calling by protecting and feeding the flock of God through the Word of God. He contends the focus of the church has been turned inward, becoming a man-centered business rather than God-centered worshipers, rightly giving God alone the glory (soli Deo gloria). Boice's criticism becomes stern at times in this section. But anyone familiar with Pastor Boice, personally or through his writings, knows this is just a reflection of his great pastor's heart.

Just like an epistle, after carefully pointing out the problems in the modern church, he moves into Parts Two and Three describing the practical remedy to a lost and wandering church. Part Two (Doctrines that Shook the World) covers the five "solas" of the Reformation (Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone and Glory to God Alone). Boice was at his best in this section section, providing one of the clearest, most concise and biblically supported study of this area of theology I have read. He dedicates a chapter to each of the solas. I especially appreciate his use of the relevant texts, focused explanations, and very effective applications of each principle.

After completing an excellent doctrinal section, Boice moves into Part Three (The Shape of Renewal)which is his application of the first two sections. I enjoyed parts of this last section, but not as much as the first two. Boice allows his personal preferences to really come to the forefront and this section will probably draw most of the criticism of the book. This section has a number of worthwhile parts and takes on more of an outline format, especially Chapter Nine, which I found to be the most helpful area of Part Three. For whatever reason, I felt Boice lost his focus in Chapter Eight and wandered around a little in his presentation of different aspects of true worship, which will be what I think is the most controversial part of the book. I have already noticed one reviewer really took exception to the information in this chapter.

Overall, this was an excellent book and a worthwhile read and addition to any library. It's not written beyond the younger Christian, nor too shallow for the more mature Christian, either. I recommend this book. Part Two alone is worth the price of admission.
A must read for true Christians (especially leaders)  Jun 10, 2009
On June 15, 2000, God took James Montgomery Boice home to glory. He left behind some great books. His final book, however, which was actually published after his promotion, could not have been more appropriate or a more fitting legacy. Titled Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace? with the added subtitle Rediscovering the Doctrines That Shook the World, this book well addresses the contemporary church and how it has drifted far from its biblical and historical foundations.

In Part 1, Boice outlines the problem in two chapters: "The New Pragmatism" and "The Pattern of this Age." He masterfully demonstrates how secularism, humanism, relativism, materialism, and pragmatism have not only infiltrated the church but have now inundated it (my words). It is his contention, and I think it impossible to refute him, is that the church as a whole is, in virtually every area, embracing the world's wisdom, theology, agenda, and methods (his words). That sets the stage for what follows.

Part 2, "The Doctrines That Shook the World," is the heart of the book. In five chapters, Boice lays out in wonderful detail the five solas of the Reformation. Concerning "Scripture Alone" (sola scriptura), he writes:

"The most serious issue [facing the church today], I believe, is the Bible's sufficiency. Do we believe that God has given us what we need in this book? Or do we suppose that we have to supplement the Bible with human things? Do we need sociological techniques to do evangelism, pop psychology and pop psychiatry for Christian growth, extra-biblical signs or miracles for guidance, or political tools for achieving social progress and reform?" (p. 72)

Concerning "Christ Alone" (Solus Christus), after discussing three essential words for understanding what the Cross was about--satisfaction, sacrifice, and substitution--Boice then concludes:

"It has been a popular idea in some theological circles that the Incarnation is the important truth of Christianity . . . and that the Atonement is something like an afterthought. . . . To focus on the birth of Jesus apart from the Cross leads to false sentimentality and neglect of the horror and magnitude of sin. . . . Any "gospel" that talks merely about the Christ-event, meaning the Incarnation without the Atonement, is a false gospel. Any gospel that talks about the love of God without showing that love led him to pay the ultimate price for sin in the person of his Son on the Cross, is a false gospel. The only true gospel is the gospel of the "one mediator" who gave himself for us (1 Tim. 2: 5, 6). If our churches are not preaching this gospel, they are not preaching the gospel at all, and if they are not preaching the gospel, they are not true churches. Evangelicalism desperately needs to rediscover its roots and recover its essential biblical bearing . . ." (p. 105)

I was very glad for what I read in "Grace Alone (sola gratia) concerning Jonathan Edwards' contribution to the "free will" debate in his book The Freedom of the Will, in which he actually proved it is not free. As Boice recounts, while most people think the will is its own entity and therefore free to make a choice, Edwards viewed the will as part of the mind, which means that we choose what the mind thinks is most desirable. Boice goes on to further report that Edwards discussed not only the mind but also motives, which drive the mind to choose the things that are best. The crux again, however, is that man's mind does not want God or His sovereign rule because he doesn't think that is better. He wants his sin and invariably chooses it because he thinks that is better.

Of "Faith Alone" (sola fide) Boice addresses today's abandonment of the very essence of true, biblical faith:

"For many evangelicals faith is only mental assent to certain doctrines. It is something we exercise once at the start of our Christian lives, after which we can live more or less in any way we please. It does not matter in terms of our salvation whether or not this "faith" makes a difference. Some evangelicals even teach that a person could be saved and secure if he or she possessed a dead or dying faith or, incredible as this seems, if he or she apostatizes, denying Christ. In contrast to such an eviscerated faith, throughout church history most Bible teachers have insisted that saving, biblical faith has three elements: "knowledge, belief, and trust," as Spurgeon put it; "awareness, assent, and commitment," as D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said" (pp. 137-138).

Concerning "Glory to God Alone" (Soli Deo Gloria), Boice writes:

"No people ever rise higher than their idea of God. Conversely, the loss of the sense of God's high and awesome character always leads to the loss of a people's highest ideals, moral values, and even what we commonly call humanity, not to mention the loss of understanding and appreciation for the most essential Bible doctrines. . . . We deplore the breakdown of moral standards in the church, even among its most visible leaders. But what do we think should happen when we have focused on ourselves and our own, often trivial needs rather than on God, ignoring his holiness and excusing our most blatant sins? To listen to many contemporary sermons one would think man's chief end is to glorify himself and cruise the malls" (pp. 151-152).

Part 3, "The Shape of Renewal," offers two chapters--"Reforming Our Worship" and "Reforming Our Lives"--that challenge us to renounce the "circus" atmosphere and the "what's in it for me" attitude that pervades today's churches and return to true Christian worship. While there are a couple of things in this section that bothered me--such as a praising of Brother Lawrence, for example--these do not diminish the pointed and powerful challenge for reformation. As for the individual Christian, Boice challenges in that last chapter that

"the five areas in which the lives of today's Christians most need renewal are: 1) a fresh awareness of God's presence, 2) repentance, 3) an ordering of our lives by that which is invisible, 4) Christian community, and 5) Christian service. Significantly, these things will be developed in us as we begin to recover and actually live by the essential doctrines that I have been exploring in this book: [the five solas]" (p. 192).

I cannot recommend this book highly enough and strongly encourage every Christian (especially leaders) to read it, heed its warning, and follow its counsel. As Boice writes, "I would like to see the beginning of a new Reformation in our day, and I hope you would like to see it too and are praying for it" (p. 65). Well, our dear brother did not live to see it. Perhaps we will. Are you praying for it?

Dr. J. D. Watson
Pastor-Teacher and author
Disappointing, although worth reading for contrast.  Jan 17, 2009
Wow, this book really disappointed me. The theology in it - largely reformed - was great. I'm pretty reformed in my own theology, and there was a nice treatment of the five solas in this book (sola gratia, sola fide, sola Christus, sola Scriptura, and sola Deo gloria).

But the real problems are in the false dichotomy (division) that Boice draws between churches that are sound theologically, and churches that aren't. He supposed (incorrectly) that if you believe in the sufficiency of Scripture, you will only sing hymns, avoid all contemporary worship, return to lengthy pastoral prayers during morning worship, and reject any contextualization of the gospel beyond running water and electricity.

He then goes on to suggest that anyone who takes up a 21st (or even 20th) century contextualization - using modern worship, or any sort of program at all - is saying Scripture is insufficient. It's a silly proposition, although one I'm seeing a lately. It weakened the book significantly.
A Foundational Work for Reforming Your Church  Feb 22, 2007
"Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace?" is one of James Montgomery Boice's final books. He wrote it in response to what he believed to be the ignorance of God and neglect of the gospel of grace as the root problem of the church today. Instead of a focus on God and His gospel, the church has become focused on worldly success-large memberships, large budgets, programs up the wazoo, a nosedive in worship. Boice's belief was that only a return to the Word of God can change the state of today's church.

Boice felt that the major emphasis of this change should be centered around the five foundational truths of the Protestant Reformation; that is, the modern church must have as its central confession the Five Solas of the Reformation. "Sola Scriptura, solus Christus, sola gratia, sola fide, and soli Deo gloria" must once again become the standard of theology and practice in our churches if we are ever to hope for a second Reformation. By the way, for those reading who don't know what these are, those Latin terms mean "Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone, and Glory to God Alone."

Boice presents a convincing argument that we as a church have abandoned these five foundational principles. We have abandoned the sufficiency of Scripture; abandoned the exclusivity of the Gospel; abandoned a salvation given, not earned; abandoned trust in God through Jesus alone as the way of salvation; and abandoned the exaltation of the Creator rather than the creature. Instead we have taken on worldly substitutes that are but pale imitations. We have replaced sufficiency with ambiguity; exclusivity with relativism; the free gift with a salvation of works; surrender at our inability with self-confidence; and humble deference and awe with arrogant self-esteem or self-importance. Boice examines each of these five "solas" individually, building a case for each as the standard for Christian practice.

He then moves toward application in the areas of worship and life. Boice does excellently in outlining the failures of modern worship techniques and concepts, showing them to be largely man-focused rather than God-focused. He points out very glaringly the Godward thrust of the old hymns, and challenges the reader to consider worship that has a Godward focus rather than personal enrichment.

The final chapter on reforming our lives I found to be somewhat disappointing. While Boice soundly hammered home what is necessary to achieve reformation in our lives-i.e. lives of repentance, lives of faith, and lives of community-but he does little to give the reader practical suggestions of how to achieve this. He is long on theory in this chapter but short on application. I find myself wondering if this chapter was actually published unfinished.

All in all, this book is a great precursor to his final book, "The Doctrines of Grace." Indeed, they seem to be meant to be read in tandem, this one first and "The Doctrines of Grace" second. I would recommend this book to all of us; particularly one who is looking to bring about change in his or her church or ministry.
A Good Book on the Doctrines of Grace  Apr 19, 2005
Anyone wanting a good introduction to the doctrines of grace from a Reformed and Calvinistic perspective must look here. It is reliable and easy to read. It is geared towards the laity so anyone can pick it up and read it. The section on the 5 solas of the Reformation is very well-written.

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