Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review: What is Reformed Theology?

R.C. Sproul, What is Reformed Theology? Understanding the Basics. Baker Books. 2016.

Calvinism is making a comeback across the Christian landscape. There has been a resurgence of Calvinistic publications, as well as the emergence of large conferences like Together for the Gospel comprised of flagship Calvinist speakers with thousands in attendance.

Calvinism belongs to larger system of theology known as Reformed Theology. R.C. Sproul, founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries, is especially qualified to write an introductory volume to reformed theology.

The book is made up of ten chapters and is arranged as following:

Part 1: Foundations of Reformed Theology
1. Centered on God
2. Based on God's Word Alone
3. Committed to Faith Alone
4. Devoted to the Prophet, Priest, and King
5. Nicknamed Covenant Theology

Part Two: Five Points of Reformed Theology
6. Humanity's Radical Corruption
7. God's Sovereign Choice
8. Christ's Purposeful Atonement
9. The Spirit's Effective Call
10. God's Preservation of the Saints

The book is arranged in two main sections. The first section deals with foundations of Reformed Theology, the second the five points of Reformed Theology. For theological novices, Sproul's introduction is especially helpful as he surveys the broad field of theology. Here, he moves past natural theology to the Scriptures, then to theology. In chapter one, Sproul narrows the discussion to Reformed Theology. The remaining chapters describe what Reformed Theology is centered on. These chapters are especially helpful in getting a broad understanding of what Reformed Theology is.  Sproul moves past the foundational elements before proceeding to the Five Points of Calvinism in section two.

While I found much material familiar, the reading itself did not drag.  Sproul's writing style is clear and compelling. He does well bringing theological concepts down to the layman's level. 

One question I've been contemplating lately, is what is my theological heritage? Being a Classical Arminian I disagree with the three middle points of Calvinism's TULIP: Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, and Irresistible grace.Those disagreements however do not, in my opinion disqualify me from being under the broad umbrella of Reformed Theology. I would consider Arminian Theology to be a subset of Reformed Theology, as Arminian Theology is essentially reformed, Reformed Theology. Sproul's book helped me reach this conclusion as I disagreed with very little of section one, the foundations of Reformed Theology.  R.C. Sproul's goal was to write a clear, simple introduction to Reformed Theology. He has succeed.What is Reformed Theology? is an excellent introductory volume to Reformed Theology!

Rating: Five Hatch Green Chiles out of Five 






Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers www.bakerbooks.com/bakerbooksbloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.