Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones. Proof: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014. 221pp. $16.99.
We need rescue from gods of our making. They are called the divine butler and cosmic therapist gods: two gods that the world twists the one true God of grace into. What’s worse, we have a zombie problem: us. We are zombies. We’re functionally dead people needing new life. And only the God of grace can give it.
If this is confusing, then you just need to read PROOF. Daniel Montgomery, founding pastor of Sojourn Community Church, and Timothy Paul Jones, professor of leadership at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary offer a creative, culturally engaging, theologically stout study of the doctrines of grace that will leave your heart warmed, informed, and reformed.
So what is PROOF? The title is an acronym to help us grip God’s intoxicating grace. The authors say that rightly understanding this acronym will lead us to stand and stagger before God: “The message of grace frees every believer to stand before God without fear…It also points to proof that causes you to stagger at the sheer strength of God’s love.”
Each letter in the acronym illuminates an aspect of salvation.
- Planned Grace explains God’s plan from eternity past (Chapter 2).
- Resurrecting Grace explains humanity’s condition after the fall (Chapter 3).
- Outrageous Grace explains God’s choice and God’s work (Chapter 4).
- Overcoming Grace explains humanity’s transformation in response to God’s work (Chapter 5). And
- Forever Grace explains God’s guarantee for our future salvation (Chapter 6).
Benefit for Pastoral Ministry
PROOF is a great resource for guiding people through the doctrine of salvation. In studying the doctrines of grace readers will encounter a scripturally driven exposition of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Readers will be drawn into riveting narratives of church history: including sketches of historical figures, events, councils, and statements regarding the doctrine of salvation.
PROOF is intensely accessible for any Christian and, yet, the endnotes permit you to dive deep into academic reverie. The scholarship of this book deserves high praise. The authors sufficiently endnote, credit, and reference numerous works. It’s evident that PROOF is the product of careful study and research. And kudos to Montgomery and Jones for correcting some of Church history’s urban mythology popularized in pulpits today. You’ll have to read PROOF to find out which myths are debunked.
PROOF is designed not only to educate but also to retain and sustain your intoxication of grace. The end of every chapter includes a study guide with a catechetical instruction, a scripture to memorize, a song to sing, and a summary of that doctrine of grace. PROOF is filled with handy charts and callouts for quotes, clarifications on technical parlance, or brief chapter addendums.
PROOF will refresh pastors on their understanding of grace and salvation. It will be a resource to give those who are wrestling through this doctrine. Small groups and discipleship groups wanting to explore this aspect of theology will find PROOF to be a noteworthy curriculum.
Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By
Reading PROOF will free you to rejoice and trust in God’s intoxicating, irresistible, and planned work of Grace.