We are in the twentieth century visiting with James Montgomery Boice. Dr. Boice was born on July 7, 1938. He lived in a bedroom community of Pittsburgh and was quite a high school athlete. His dad was a doctor and positioned Boice for a fine education. As a high school student, Boice was sent to the Stony Brook School in New York, where he was mentored by Frank E. Gaebelein, a biblical scholar and theologian in his own right. After Stony Brook, Boice went to Harvard for his undergraduate and then to Princeton for his MDiv. After that, he was on his way to Basel, Switzerland, for a PhD in theology. While he was in Basel, a group of people pressured him to start a Bible study. That Bible study became a church, and to this day, there is an evangelical church that was founded by Dr. Boice in that great Reformation city of Basel.
Boice graduated from Basel in 1966, and two years later, in 1968, he was installed as the minister of Philadelphia’s Tenth Presbyterian Church near Rittenhouse Square on Spruce Street in Philadelphia. A historic church, its spire went way into the sky and its pipe organ could be heard throughout the city on a Sunday morning.
In 1974, Boice started the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology. In those early years, people would gather at Tenth Church to hear John Gerstner, a young R.C. Sproul, J.I. Packer, and others, a constellation of Reformed theologians. In 1978, a number of them joined together and formed the International Council for Biblical Inerrancy. Boice served as the chairman. Dr. Sproul served as the president, and the ICBI put out the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Boice also helped establish the Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals in 1994. That group stood strong against the Evangelicals and Catholics Together document and took a stand for justification by faith alone.
In addition to those organizations, Dr. Boice wrote many books. One of them, Foundations of the Christian Faith, is his systematic theology. It’s billed as a comprehensive and readable theology. He also wrote Renewing Your Mind in a Mindless World and Two Cities, Two Loves: Christian Responsibility in a Crumbling Culture.
In addition to those books, Boice was known for his expositional commentaries. These grew out of the many sermons he preached from 1968 to the year 2000 from the pulpit of Tenth Presbyterian Church. He wrote a five-volume series on John, a four-volume series on Romans, two volumes on the Minor Prophets, three volumes on Genesis, and three volumes on the Psalms. He also wrote commentaries on Acts, Philippians, Nehemiah, Joshua, Ephesians, Philippians, and a few more books.
Dr. Boice was married to Linda. They had three daughters. In 1982, Linda and Dr. Boice founded the City Center Academy, a school in Philadelphia. On the morning of Good Friday, April 21, 2000, Dr. Boice was diagnosed with cancer. He died eight weeks later on June 15, 2000. During those eight weeks, he had one more thing to write, and those were hymns. He wrote thirteen in all. One of them is titled “Hallelujah.” Another, “Come to the Waters,” which is an invitation for all who have no money but are thirsty, and those who have no funds but are hungry to come to the waters, to the fountain to drink freely of Christ.