15 Quotes from Foundations of the Christian Faith



James Montgomery Boice was the pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia until his death in 2000. He also wrote a book called “The Doctrines of Grace” which was heavily influential in my life.

To purchase a copy of Foundations of the Christian Faith, click here.



1. Knowledge of God takes place in the context of Christian piety, worship, and devotion (pg. 9).

2. A weak god produces no strong followers, nor does he deserve to be worshiped. A strong God, the God of the Bible, is a source of strength to those who know Him (pg. 12).

3. To know God would require change (pg. 19).

4. The church did not create the canon; if it had, it would place itself over Scripture. Rather the church submitted to Scripture as a higher authority (pg. 34).

5. The power of the living Christ operating by means of the Holy Spirit through the written Word changes lives (pg. 56).

6. A God who needs to be defended is no God. Rather, the God of the Bible is the self-existent one who is the true defender of His people (pg. 95).

7. Because God knows, believers can rest (pg. 134).

8. The blessings of salvation come, not by fighting against God’s ways or by hating Him for what we consider to be an injustice, but rather by accepting His verdict on our true nature as fallen beings and turning to Christ in faith for salvation (pg. 204).

9. The initiating cause in salvation is God’s free grace, but the formal cause is, and has always been, the death of the mediator (pg. 259).

10. In the act of propitiation, we have the great good news that the one who is our Creator, but from whom we have turned in sin, is nevertheless at the same time our Redeemer (pg. 322).

11. Only after we have come to appreciate the meaning of the Cross can we appreciate the love behind it. Seeing this, Augustine once called the Cross “a pulpit” from which Christ preached God’s love to the world (pg. 337).

12. To confess that Jesus is the Christ is to confess the Christ of the Scriptures. To deny that Christ, by whatever means, is heresy – a heresy with terrible consequences (pg. 445).

13. If we are secure in Christ, although we may stumble and fall, we know that nothing will ever pluck us out of Christ’s hand (pg. 464).

14. Living by grace actually leads to holiness, for our desire is to please the one who has saved us by that grace (pg. 492).

15. Perseverance means that once one is in the family of God, he or she is always in that family (pg. 534).

For more information on Foundations of the Christian Faith, visit Intervarsity Press here.

Evan Knies is from West Monroe, LA. He is married to Lauren and father to Maesyn. He serves as Minister of Students at Bullitt Lick Baptist Church in Shepherdsville, KY. He also serves as the Executive Assistant of the Nelson Baptist Association. He is a graduate of Boyce College and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies


Book Briefs: The Doctrine of Justification by James Buchanan

buchanan_justification_front-650x1024-203x320By Evan Knies

James Buchanan was born in Paisley in the west of Scotland, and later studied at the University of Glasgow. In 1840 he was appointed to be minister of the High Church (St. Giles) in Edinburgh, where he became colleague to Dr. Robert Gordon, another evangelical preacher. After Thomas Chalmers’ death in 1847, Buchanan took up the Chair of Systematic Theology, which he held until 1868. In 1866, Buchanan was invited to deliver the Cunningham Lectures, and it was these addresses that became, in printed form, The Doctrine of Justification. 

In this classic work, Buchanan addresses a variety of different issues under the umbrella of the important Doctrine of Justification. In the introductory essay, JI Packer uses an analogy of Atlas with the weight of the world on his shoulders and compares this to the Doctrine of Justification. The Doctrine of Justification is vital for the Christian faith. Packer also writes about authority/submission to the Bible, understanding of God’s wrath against sin, and the substitutionary satisfaction of Christ. img_2244

In the Introduction, Buchanan addresses the basic overviews of Justification and lays out what will come up in the rest of the work. In Chapters 1-5, they discuss the history of justification in the Old Testament, in the Apostolic Age, during the Early Church Fathers, during the Era of the Reformation, and in the Romish Church after the Reformation.

In Chapters 6-7, Buchanan discusses the History of Doctrine as a Subject of Controversy Among Protestants and Doctrine in the Church of England. In these chapters, Buchanan reflects upon the different views of Justification among protestants, they implications in their day, but the reader can also learn how they are still impacting views in the current day. In Chapters 8-15, Buchanan simply breaks down the doctrine of Justification, meaning in scripture, nature of blessing, relation to the Law and Justice of God, relation to the Work of Christ as Mediator, Imputed Righteousness of Christ, relation to Grace and Works, relation with Faith, and the relation to the work of the Holy Spirit.

img_2242The Doctrine of Justification like many other Banner books is beneficial for the Christian to own, read, and read again. This work helps readers understand a primary doctrine of the Christian faith, has a rich scriptural foundation, and shows how Justification provides assurance for the Christian. Those who believe in Christ, are assured in Christ, and are able to rest in Christ. The Doctrine of Justification is not only a dense theological work for a professor or pastor, it is available for the church member who struggles in his faith week to week.


You can purchase The Doctrine of Justification here

Check out their website at banneroftruth.org.




The Shock of Sin and Grace in the Life of a Leader

By Mathew Gilbert

It’s always difficult to see someone you really respect fall deep into sin. Even the slightest accusation of moral failure in someone you respect changes the way you look at them forever. When we see crucial authority figures in our lives fall into sin, we struggle to trust not only that person, but that position in the future. If you catch one of your parents having an affair, you will struggle to ever trust them again. And you will also have a negative view of marriage, which likely means it will affect your own marriage if unchecked. If you hear about your pastor, teacher, or coach indulging in sin, your trust in them and their position will be shaken. It is so hard to think about people you respect sinning so deeply. It’s one thing to know we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), but it’s quite another to see sin creep out of the hearts of those we most respect.

I think about popular pastors who have recently been relieved of pastoral duties due to moral or leadership failures. There was a literal shockwave that ran through my social media feeds when Darrin Patrick and Perry Noble were outed for deep, latent sin in their lives and ministries. In our celebrity pastor culture, it is easy to forget that even the most charismatic leader is not immune to sin. I have lamented the number of times I’ve seen “This doesn’t surprise me” or, “I told you so” in response to the meteoric fall of evangelical leaders like Driscoll, Tchividjian, Patrick, Noble, and others. There is no place in the church for this kind of proud posturing. The shock of sin has drastic immediate and long-term effects on a church when one of her leaders falls.

I believe the life of David is a testament to the shock of sin and grace in the life of a leader. There are many lessons to be learned from David’s fall into sin, but two that help us when leaders in our lives sin revolve around the shock and awe of sin and grace.

David was a man after God’s heart and handpicked by the Lord to lead Israel as king. God even promised that David’s kingly line would culminate in a kingdom that would never end. One day, a Davidic King would sit on his throne and never give it up. David was righteous and desired to obey the Lord. But, David surprised his own people and even us by falling into a deep spiral of sin. He fell for a woman who was not his wife, and was in fact someone else’s wife! Then, in an attempt to cover his sin, David had the woman’s (Bathsheba) husband (Uriah) killed. David gave in to temptation and brought everyone around him down with him. Failing to kill his sin led him to continue in his sin. Instead of confessing his sin and trusting God to cover it with his grace, David tried to cover his sin by killing another man.
Despite David’s shocking downward spiral into dark sin, God’s shows him tremendous mercy. When David was confronted with his sin by Nathan the prophet, he confessed his sin to God and received his compassion. David shares what this experience was like in Psalm 51. There are a couple things that do surprise us about David’s sin and God’s grace that really shouldn’t.

First, we are surprised that a man like David can sin the way he did. While we should expect to grow in Christlikeness throughout our Christian life, sin remains in our hearts until we die or Christ returns. Anyone is capable of dreadful sinful actions, because the dreaded enemy of sin has invaded the heart of every person. So, don’t be surprised when you or people you respect sin. Sin should always be unwanted, but it should never been unexpected.
It is a sign of either a healthy or deceived church when the people are shocked when a pastor falls into sin. It is healthy, in one sense, to be shocked at deep sin in the life of a pastor. Christians are on a path of righteousness. They are being conformed into the image of Christ. Day by day, sin is being rooted out of their hearts. However, sanctification isn’t an overnight process. It is a lifelong process. There are many battles–some won, others lost. But, we fight knowing the war has been won by Christ on the cross as he defeated the dominions of darkness and death. While we should expect sin to still be in the heart and life of ourselves and our leaders, our hearts should be broken and in one sense shocked by unrepentant sin in the life of leaders.

Second, we are surprised that God would show David such compassion in the midst of his deep and dark sin. But, we know the character of God. He is slow to anger and abounds in steadfast love (Ex. 34:6). We should never be surprised at God’s grace, but we should always be amazed by it. Learn from David’s sin and God’s grace that covering your own sin with more sin will never satisfy. However, trusting God’s grace in the cross of Christ to cover your sin will always satisfy.

As deep as sin goes in the human heart, the grace of God in the gospel goes even deeper. Mark Driscoll, Tullian Tchividjian, Darrin Patrick, Perry Noble, and any other Christian leader who has fallen into deep sin has not exhausted the riches of God’s grace in Christ. The tank of God’s benevolence toward them isn’t on empty. It is as full as it has always been. And assuming these men are in Christ, there is a fountain of mercy and forgiveness for the mountain of sin they have allowed to grow.

The fall of leaders in our lives is devastating. It is detrimental to the influence of a local church and the Church as a whole. No one is helped when a pastor bullies his way to power, commits an affair, or launders money from the church fund. We should guard our hearts from the treacherous lure of sin, knowing that none of us are beyond a Davidic descent into a pit of sin. But we should always marvel at the grace of God, which he bestows on unworthy and fallen sinners like us. As devastating as the fall of broken leaders is, the restoration of repentant leaders by God’s grace is an incomparably sweet reality. Whenever you see a leader in your life fail morally and fall into sin, don’t point your fingers and shake your head in arrogant self-aggrandizement. Instead, bow your head in humble prayer that God would restore these men to himself and their people.

God pursues us in his grace like a relentless mother searching for her lost son at the mall. He will not rest until his children are found! And for those of us in Christ, he will bring to completion the work he began in us (Phil. 1:6).

Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

John Owen on the Glory of Christ in the Old Testament

By Colton Corter

Jesus never rebuked the Pharisees for reading their Bibles too much. His problem was with their interpretive method; how they were reading their Bibles. The self-righteousness of these men came about because they did not understand the nature of God’s revelation and redemption. They searched the Scriptures because they thought that in them they would have life (John 5:39). And yet, it was these very Scriptures that were supposed to point them to the One to come, the One who would be their ransom and righteousness, the One who was staring into their faces.

B.B. Warfield likened the Old Testament to a fully furnished room with all of the lights off. All of the pieces are there but we can’t see them yet. At the coming of Christ, the lights came on. Things that were there all along become visible. The Holy Spirit begins to show in our hearts the truth about the gospel of God that, though veiled, was the chosen portion of Old Testament saints as well. The apostle Paul viewed the Old Testament in the same way. In 2 Corinthians 3 he says that the Jews read the Hebrew Bible with veils over their faces, unable to see the glory of God in the face of Christ. In salvation, God removed the veil that we might see and believe, trusting in the glories of Christ for our highest good and only salvation from the wrath to come. With the same creative power that birthed the cosmos, He made us alive. The veil is removed and we see what God has planned before the foundation of the world.

How many of us read our Old Testaments like this? How often are we guilty of failing to see the glory of God in Christ throughout God’s revelation from Genesis to Malachi? 17th century Puritan, John Owen, shows us a better way. Here are seven ways that Owen gives in his book The Glory of Christ to see the King in His beauty, clothed in the gospel:

1. The Glory of Christ under the Old Testament was revealed in the beautiful worship of the law.

Owen is talking specifically about the tabernacle and the temple. These Old Testament structures might see foreign and even irrelevant to us today, but are nonetheless great pointers to the glory of Christ. Why did God give these things? Why were His prescriptions so precise, even perfect? Owen answers, “They were a shadow of the real person and glory of Christ.” He continues, saying “Everything Moses did in erecting the tabernacle and instituting all its services was intended to testify to the person and glory of Christ which would later be revealed (Heb. 3:5).” These things were the shadows of the substance that was to come.

2. The glory of Christ under the Old Testament was represented in the mystical account which is given to us in his communion with his church in love and grace.

Owen has the Song of Solomon in mind. This book, regardless of if you read it literally or allegorically (or both), it so obviously points towards the great love that the true Bridegroom has for us, his unworthy, blood-bought bride. Owen argues that we will be that much more accountable for forsaking such a great communion with God because we have a clearer picture of who God is in Christ.

3. The glory of Christ was represented and made known under the Old Testament in his personal appearances to leaders of the church in their generations.

Owen gives an interesting argument for Christ being foreshadowed by the anthropomorphisms in the Old Testament. All that to mean that Christ did appear with and in the Old Testament saints by appearing in the form of a man, foreshadowing His actual, unique incarnation. Let me let Owen speak for himself: “It would have been absurd to represent God as grieving, repenting, being angry and well-pleased and exhibiting all other human emotions, were it not that the divine person intended to take on him human nature in which emotions dwell.”

4. The glory of Christ under the Old Testament was represented in prophetic visions.

Isaiah 6 is the main focus of this section for Owen. Sure enough, there is New Testament warrant for seeing that Isaiah in fact saw the glory of the pre-incarnate Christ (Jn. 12:41). When we read of God’s transcendent majesty we see the majesty of Christ. Christ is the full radiance of God! In the trauma of God’s utter otherness we see His great grace as He extends pardon by virtue of a coal brought from the altar. Here there are glimpses of the cross, where God’s justice and love met together in perfect harmony.

5. The doctrine of Christ’s incarnation was revealed under the Old Testament although not as clearly as it is revealed in the gospel.

The Bible is a progressive revelation. Owen would not say that there is not discontinuity between the New Testament and the OId. However, God has always dealt with His chosen people in the same general way in the gospel. The incarnation of Christ should have been discerned by the Jews after having read Isaiah 9:6-7. Owen writes, “This one testimony is sufficient to confound all Jews and other enemies of the glory of Christ. I admit that, notwithstanding this revelation, there remained much darkness in the minds of those to whom the revelation was made. Although they did accept the truth of the revelation, yet they could have no idea how it would be accomplished.” The Old Testament authors wrote better than they knew; not just for their sakes, but for our benefit and instruction (1 Pet. 1:12).

6. The glory of Christ under the Old Testament was revealed in promises, prophecies, and predictions about his person, his coming, his offices, his kingdom and his glory.

These are the very things that Jesus taught his disciples from all the Scriptures concerning Himself on that Emmaus road in Luke 24. Quoting Owen at length, “Christ appealed to the Scriptures against his opponents saying, ‘Search the scriptures, for they are they which testify of me.’ If we do not see the glory of Christ in the Scriptures it is because a veil of blindness is over our minds. Nor can we read, study, or become spiritually strong by meditating on the writings of the Old Testament unless we commit ourselves to considering the glory of Christ displayed in them. So to many the Bible is a sealed book.”

7. The glory of Christ under the Old Testament is revealed under many metaphorical expressions.

“So Christ is called the rose, for the sweet perfume of his love, grace and obedience,” writes Owen. In these great metaphors we see glimpses of the Son. He is meek like the Lamb. Conquering as the Lion. He is our pearl of great price!

Even if one does not agree fully with ever proposition of Owen, surely he read his Old Testament more like the apostles as we do. The work of the Spirit in inspiration is to take what is Christ’s and glorify it (Jn. 16:14). The whole point of the Bible is to lead us to infinite joy in the abundant glory of God in Christ. Owen leaves us this benediction: “From all of this let us learn to behold the glory of Christ when we read the Old Testament Scripture.”

Colton Corter is a student at SBTS and member at Third Avenue Baptist Church. You can follow him on Twitter @coltonMcorter.