- File Size: 5162 KB
- Print Length: 274 pages
- Publisher: Baker Books; Reissue edition (September 13, 2016)
- Publication Date: September 13, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007KOROM6
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,110 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
What is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics Kindle Edition
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From the Back Cover
There are a lot of misconceptions in popular culture and the church regarding Reformed theology. Some references to it are positive, some negative. It's time for a full, understandable explanation of what it really is and why it matters.
What Is Reformed Theology? is an accessible introduction to a set of beliefs and concepts that have been immensely influential in the evangelical church. In this insightful book, R. C. Sproul walks you through the foundations of the Reformed doctrine and explains how the Reformed belief is centered on God, based on God's Word, and committed to faith in Jesus Christ. Sproul explains the five points of Reformed theology and makes plain the reality of God's amazing grace.
R. C. Sproul has served the church as a seminary professor, pastor, and author of more than ninety books. He is the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries, and his teaching can be heard on the radio program Renewing Your Mind, which broadcasts daily on more than three hundred radio outlets in the United States and in more than fifty countries. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Consequently, this book is an intellectually engaging and doctrinally sound introduction to the foundational doctrines of Reformed Theology and the five main points of Calvinism.
As the author writes on page 163, “The primary axiom of all Reformed theology is this: ‘Salvation is of the Lord.’” What is Reformed Theology? solidifies this core idea in two parts. The first discusses the foundation of theology which is principally theocentric (God-centered). Hence, the resultant foundational stones (based on the Bible alone, committed to faith alone, devoted to Christ, and structured by three covenants) all result from this theocentric posture. The second part of the book clarifies the five main points of Calvinism or the specific doctrines unique to Reformed theology: total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints.
Throughout What is Reformed Theology?, Sproul does what he always does: provide clear, concise and Biblically sound arguments to support his claims. He engages heavily with the Westminster Confession of Faith and cites numerous renowned theologians (Calvin and Luther) to clarify central ideas. What I appreciate most about this book is that Sproul does not simply write, “This is how it is.” Rather, and particularly for claims that are more controversial (e.g. limited atonement), he raises the loudest objections from other schools of theological thought, and masterfully responds with coherent counter-arguments. In fact, Sproul’s treatment of Christ’s purposeful atonement (Chapter 8) is a theological masterpiece that makes an airtight case and defense for limited atonement, or the idea that Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross made certain the salvation of the elect only.
Ultimately, one would have to search very hard to find a subpar book from R.C. Sproul (and you would end up empty handed). What is Reformed Theology? is no exception and an excellent introduction to the Reformist perspective and undoubtedly will lay the foundation from the Church Fathers who “got it right.” For Bible students, pastors, church leaders or the generally curious, this is a fantastic place to start.
Dr. Sproul is able to take these recovered truths and explain them in a simple, but not "simplistic" manner! Work your way slowly through the text. Stop and think about what you've read. Enjoy the short Latin phases sprinkled throughout the book--they'll help you remember key concepts.
The book draws heavily on the Westminster Confession (a statement of faith) to point the student to Scriptural ideas. Some language may seem a bit dated, but Sproul does a great job "deciphering" any confusing phrases, etc.
Finally and most importantly, be a Berean. Look at the Word of God and let His truth penetrate your heart.
Finding myself in much the same boat, I appreciate Dr. Sproul's attempt in this book to function as an introduction to what Reformed Theology truly is, and not what it is perceived to be. Few things in our church are poorly understood or misrepresented as the ideas generically filed under "Calvinism". In this relatively short (240 p.) but informative volume, R.C. Sproul works to explain the core tenets of the larger body of Reformed Theology in straightforward terms.
Those who have read some of Sproul's other works will know his witty, warm style is usually excellent for teaching, and it serves him well here. In the first part of this book, Sproul examines the foundations of Reformed Theology, and explains why it is indeed centered on God and God's Word.
Part two, which I think will be of supreme importance and interest to those who have only heard of Calvinism secondhand, goes through the familiar "TULIP" acrostic (Total Deprivation, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints). Sproul explains and works through what each of these mean, clearing up some misconceptions along the way.
Sproul also frequent points out through the work the differences between Reform Theology and Arminians, Pelagians, and other varying views. He does this without much in the way of vitriol or harshness. Some of these opposing views probably could have been explored and compared/contrasted a bit more fully in a longer book, but given the length of the book, I can't fault this too much. After all, it's an introduction to Reformed thought, not an all-out debate among major positions.
If you have a friend who thinks because you're a Calvinist, you see everyone as a robot, human responsibility as a joke, or denying the need for a holy life, this would be an excellent starter book to have them read. Sproul explains why Reform Theology is powerfully rooted in the Bible. If you're starting to attend or considering attending a church that adheres to Reform Theology, this would be a very helpful read. There are only a few illustrations and charts, but they are very helpful for relaying some of the content in a memorable way.
Don't expect this to be a full-on, in-depth of Calvinism; there are some elements of that here, but it functions much better as an introductory or overview text. In this, I think Sproul exceeds admirably.