Lectures in Systematic Theology, Vol. 4: The Doctrine of the Church
“On this rock I will build” (Matt.16:18)
Christ builds the church on a solid foundation: “this rock.” Peter’s confession of faith identifies it: “you are the Christ.” Thus, the sure foundation is Jesus Christ. Thus we sing: “the church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord” (Trinity Hymnal, 270). God builds his church on Christ when he applies redemption. He converts sinners to saints through the apostolic gospel, in fulfillment of his historical pledge to save, in the execution of his eternal plan to save.
“I will build my church”; “I Jesus…testify unto you those things for the churches” (Matt. 16:18; Rev. 22:16)
The church in its distilled essence is Christ’s redeemed assembly: founded on Christ in God’s plan and pledge of salvation; formed by Christ in his accomplishment of salvation; preserved in Christ throughout history by the application of salvation and glorified with Christ in eternity by the completion of salvation (Excerpts from book).
Greg Nichols has provided the most thorough Baptist ecclesiology I have ever seen. First, Nichols puts the STEM in Systematic. I have never before read “Let me illustrate this mathematically” in a Systematic Theology! Nichols deals with issues which are of particular interest to Reformed Baptists, such as association, crisis resolution, membership, the ordinances, and an often-overlooked topic, training men for the ministry. Second, Nichols’ theology is exegetically driven. Each section includes the exegesis of multiple passages. This is no mere proof texting systematic theology; this is systematics in the rich tradition of Vos and Murray. Nichols’ appendices are full of lexical and exegetical detail. Third, Nichols is experientially rich. This is not just ivory tower theology; this is theology applied. Finally, there is a freshness in his approach, for example, his section on the spiritual gifts of the church is as refreshing as it is detailed. It is hard to imagine sitting down and just reading through this work. It is not only exhaustive, but exhausting! However, for me it will serve as a standard resource for all things ecclesiology. What an achievement!
--Dr. Brian Borgman, Pastor of Grace Community Church, Minden, Nevada
I believe The Doctrine of the Church is Greg Nichols’ magnum opus. Drawing from the best of the Reformed and Baptist traditions and leaving no stone unturned, he has produced what is probably the most exegetically detailed and theologically comprehensive ecclesiology ever written. In this work, Nichols follows in the steps of Korah’s Sons and honors the Messianic King by extolling the glories and privileges of the King’s Bride.
--Dr. Robert Gonzales, Dean of Reformed Baptist Seminary, Coconut Creek, Florida
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