In this webcam interview with Christianity.com Editor, Alex Crain, Dr. Steven J. Lawson discusses the latest volume in his book series called "A Long Line of Godly Men," (published by Reformation Trust).
In volume one of the series ("Foundations of Grace"), Dr. Lawson showed that the doctrine of God's sovereignty in salvation is a belief that is rooted in all of Scripture. Now, in "Pillars of Grace," Dr. Lawson demonstrates how the belief in God's electing grace been upheld in every generation of church history.
Dr. Lawson is the senior pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Ala., and serves on the ministerial board for Reformed Theological Seminary and the board of directors for the Master's College and Seminary.
[Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt of Pillars of Grace, by Dr. Steven J. Lawson (2011, Reformation Trust)].
At the height of the Roman Empire, a series of magnificent temples punctuated the landscape of the Mediterranean region. Built prominently atop high hills, these architectural masterpieces were among the wonders of the ancient world. The most prominent feature of these splendid buildings was their pillars, a series of columns carved from beautiful marble, studded with costly jewels, and inlaid with pure gold. Such a colonnade would arrest the attention of Roman citizens and foreign travelers entering one of the temples.
However, the primary purpose of the pillars was not cosmetic but functional. Resting securely on a firm foundation, these sturdy posts supported the whole temple structure. From the overhead beams and stone arches to the high-rising walls, vaulted ceiling, and pitched roof, every part of the temple, in one way or another, was upheld by these cylindrical blocks of marble. The entire edifice was bolstered by their strength. If the columns stood firm, the temple held fast. As a result, these ornate pillars came to be a symbol of stability and strength.
This is precisely the imagery used by the biblical authors to portray the strongest leaders in the early church—these men were pillars. The apostle Paul described Peter, James, and John as "pillars" in the church at Jerusalem (Gal. 2:9). These strong men, empowered by God's might, helped stabilize the first-century church by upholding God's Word, thereby strengthening the household of faith. In fact, Paul wrote that the entire church was to be the "pillar and buttress of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). This is to say, the mission of the church, like a sturdy colonnade, is to stand for the truth of the Christian faith. Jesus Christ also used this image, saying that all believers are "pillars" in the heavenly temple (Rev. 3:12)—permanent, immoveable, and secure.