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on February 5, 2016
Most Americans call themselves Christian, yet much confusion exists as to what “Christian” actually means. Some Christians call themselves “Reformists” or “Calvinists” but lack a comprehensive understanding of what these labels actually mean. R.C. Sproul clarifies the confusion in What is Reformed Theology? by helping the reader to answer two fundamental questions from the Reformed perspective: (1) What do you believe? and (2) Why do you believe it?

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.
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on March 2, 2016
I really don't know where you can find a better quick read systematic theology foundation than RC Sproul's renders here. It's not overly academic and straight up Sola Scriptura demonstrating how the Bible expresses itself clearly.
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on May 18, 2006
As a student of Scripture that disagrees slightly with Calvin, but is in ministry with some Reformed people, I picked up this book in hopes of understanding Reformed theology. Dr. Sproul's book does a superb job of this.

The book is designed to center around the central themes in Reformed theology. He begins with what Reformed theology is not, and gives a short description of how Reformed theology came to be. He does not use the standard terms in his descriptions, like the 5 Solas or the 5 points of Calvin, aka TULIP. Basically, Sproul uses the evidence he proposes to work into these terms instead. He discusses how Reformed theology relates to other Christian theologies, namely Catholicism and Lutheranism. In my ministry, I have been in contact with some from the Reformed theology that puts their beliefs in pretty harsh language when comparing it to others' theology. Sproul makes his case without this harsh language, which I thought refreshing.

His discussion is scholarly without being too much for lay-people to understand. He discusses the history and controversies throughout, and many early and current theologians. He does not ignore the arguments used against ideas such as perseverance of the saints, and gives the opposition a fair shake.

This is a superbly written and thorough introduction to Reformed theology. He does not go to tradition or teachings of others first and then go to Scripture as some do in their defense of Reformed theology. And, he follows the Christian precept given in 2 Tim 4:2 telling us to carefully instruct by speaking in less harsh tones. Overall, this is a perfect book to learn about Reformed theology's teachings.
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on March 21, 2017
Thank you so much for insights and teaching! I am looking forward to put what I have learned into practice in my life and my family's lives!
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on March 3, 2017
A brilliant and concise introduction to Reformed theology.
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on March 2, 2017
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on October 5, 2014
Great read if your starting to pursue theology. Great service
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on April 5, 2015
Whether you're a new Christian, or have been one for decades, this short book will help you understand the particulars of the faith. Martin Luther was used by God to usher in an age of recovery of Biblical truths that had been obscured, and he was followed by other men of God.

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.
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on April 19, 2015
This was a great and simple book on Reformed theology. I am very familiar with the messages of RC Sproul and this book came across as clear and precise and non-argumentative as Sproul himself.

Being a Reformed Christian myself I went into this book already agreeing with Sproul and my convictions remained unchanged. However a few of Sproul's arguments in the text came off confusing and unclear that I had to skip them. Of course he always rounded off his arguments with a final summary sentence that I always agreed with.

I also found great help and clarity in his discussion on the Perseverance/preservation of the saints. His distinction between radical falling and total falling away was very helpful especially in my own personal walk.

Finally, I recommend this book to all Christians alike. For the new Christian to be taught the basic doctrine of salvation and for the older Christian to be reminded of it. Those with opposing theology will most probably dismiss the book for its simplicity. However the simplest answer is usually the best.
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on July 23, 2008
What is Reformed Theology is one of R.C. Sproul's best books. It is not written for unbelievers, recent converts, or those who have not read much of the Bible. If you believe the gospel and have read most of the New Testament and some of the Old Testament, you are ready to read What is Reformed Theology. By that time, you will have read some of the many verses in Scripture that are the basis of reformed theology. It is helpful to first read Dr. Sproul's The Holiness of God, or listen to him on the radio, or his podcasts, to get an appreciation for his gentle and loving approach to Christianity.

Sadly, Reformed Theology is too often defined by the five points on which Arminius (or his followers) disagreed with the reformers. In this book, R.C. Sproul does not address these five points until the last five chapters of the book. First, he gives five chapters on topics where there is wider agreement among Christians. These first chapters point out some disagreements with the Roman Catholic Church and with dispensational theology.

We are all pelagians, or semi-pelagians by nature. We want to believe we are born with enough goodness in us that we are able to do the work of coming to faith in Jesus. We want to believe that we did something (coming to faith, at least) on our own, which deserves God's reward. We want to believe that we were born again because of some good thing we did, or some good thing that God foresaw in us. We do not want to believe that God chose us entirely out of his own purposes. Most of our Christian friends are semi-pelagians. The semi-pelagian theology is closer to the popular culture of America, which believes that all people are good at their core. However, many verses in Scripture lead us to the reformed theology of original sin, election, purposeful atonement, effective calling, and preservation of the saints. For example, Eph 1:4-5, "he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will." It is true that Dr. Sproul does not quote Scripture as frequently as he could. This is left to the reader, to understand reformed theology and then notice Scripture verses that teach reformed theology, especially "Calvinism."
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