Grace Alone---Salvation as a Gift of God
Historians and theologians alike have long recognized that at the heart of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation were the five solas: sola scriptura, solus Christus, sola gratia, sola fide, and soli Deo gloria. These five solas do not merely summarize what the Reformation was all about but have served to distinguish Protestantism ever since. They set Protestants apart in a unique way as those who place ultimate and final authority in the Scriptures, acknowledge the work of Christ alone as sufficient for redemption, recognize that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, and seek to not only give God all of the glory but to do all things vocationally for his glory.
2017 will mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. And yet, even in the twenty-first century we need the Reformation more than ever. As James Montgomery Boice said not long ago, while the Puritans sought to carry on the Reformation, today “we barely have one to carry on, and many have even forgotten what that great spiritual revolution was all about.” Therefore, we “need to go back and start again at the very beginning. We need another Reformation.” In short, it is crucial not only to remember what the solas of the Reformation were all about, but also to apply these solas in a fresh way in light of many contemporary challenges.
James Montgomery Boice, “Preface,” in Here We Stand: A Call from Confessing Evangelicals (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996), 12.
About the Author
Carl Trueman is professor of historical theology and church history at Westminster Theological Seminary. He is the author of numerous books, including The Creedal imperative: Histories and Fallacies; Goods Rush in Where Monkeys Fear to Tread; Republocat: Confessions of a Liberal Conservative; Reformation Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow; John Owen: Reformed, Catholic, Renaissance Man, Minority Report;and The Wages of Spin. Trueman is also a contributor to Reformation21 where he writes from a Reformed vantage point.
Trueman takes complex biblical and theological ideas and makes them easy to understand. The key message is that God's grace, healing our sinful neediness, is at the heart of true biblical piety. Trueman develops this theme with relation to the Church, preaching, sacraments, and prayer. As a Catholic, I resonated deeply with Trueman's portrait of biblical piety, and I found much else to treasure--including his emphasis on the priority of God's action and his stirring account of the ministry of preaching. This is a book that will instruct everyone who loves the gracious Lord Jesus Christ. -- Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
Grace is a word so common in our day and age as to border on the cliché. Yet prizing the gospel means treasuring grace. Carl Trueman does us all the service, then, of helping to make connections that are crucial: between grace and the active presence of the triune God, between the promises of the Old Testament and the intervention recounted in the New, between the ancient faith of the early fathers and later Protestant reforms, and between a rich theology of grace and its necessary implications for piety and worship. This book brings remarkable biblical, historical, and pastoral perspective to an oftentimes ambiguous but genuinely amazing reality. -- Michael Allen, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL
This is an outstanding book on an extraordinary subject. It clearly explains the biblical foundations of grace, and navigates the historical debates in a way that is both highly engaging and deeply informed. Perhaps even more importantly, the practical applications of grace – both for individuals and for churches – are sharply driven home. I am grateful this book was written, and I highly commend it to any and all who are interested in learning more about the matchless grace of the Triune God. -- Jonathan L. Master, Professor of Theology and Dean of the School of Divinity, Cairn University
Trueman, a master of the art of making historical texts of the Christian tradition relevant and applicable for use in our time, effectively presents the ways in which Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin put the foundational biblical concept of grace to work in their day. This serves him well as a basis for a lively exploration of how God’s grace functions in the church today through the proclaimed Word of God, the sacraments, and believers’ prayer. This volume demonstrates how grace, as the lively disposition of God in Christ, frames God’s dealing with a sinful world as Trueman confesses its significance for the twenty-first century. -- Robert Kolb, Professor of Systematic Theology emeritus, Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis
Where is grace? What is grace? Who is grace? And how is it conferred to us? I resonate with Trueman’s lament that grace has become an empty sentiment in much of contemporary Christian literature. What does the Reformation cry “grace alone” really mean? And why is it so important today? To answer these questions, Trueman gives us both a history and a theology of grace. He shows the reader that grace is confrontational, that one can’t have a proper understanding of grace without a proper understanding of sin. Read this book to learn what a grace alone church takes seriously. -- Aimee Byrd, Director of Women’s Initiatives at The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
Carl Trueman is always worth reading. I am especially eager to recommend this excellent volume on the Protestant battle cry “Grace Alone.” It is obvious that it comes from one who is both a scholar and a churchman. It at once challenges the mind and warms the heart with the grand theme of God’s gracious salvation. This is a book to be savored. -- Todd Pruitt, Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Harrisonburg, VA