Monday, July 11

Book Review: What Is Reformed Theology?

Understanding The Basics by R.C. Sproul, reviewed as part of a program at The Diet of Bookworms.

I read this book several years ago under it's original name--Grace Unknown. This new title, I think, is a better one, as it is more specific to what the book is - an explanation of the basics of Reformed Theology. One of Sproul's gifts is making things that could be complicated easy enough for the ordinary person to understand, and that's what he accomplishes in this book.

The basics of reformed theology are laid out for us in two sections, five chapters each. The first section has four chapters that correspond to four of the five solas of Reformation Theology, plus a chapter that explains the Reformed view of the covenants. The second section's five chapters each explain one of what we commonly call "the five points of Calvinism."

I'd forgotten, over the years, anything about the first section of this book except for the chapter on the covenants. Perhaps this is because this part of the book was more unfocused than the last part, with bits and pieces that seemed just a little haphazard, and it wasn't always clear exactly how everything fit into the whole. If you want a short explanation of the covenants of Covenant Theology, however, the chapter Nicknamed Covenant Theology will serve you well.

The second section of What Is Reformed Theology? explains the five points of TULIP, but Sproul renames them with names that more accurately reflect the ideas behind the points. Total Depravity becomes Humanity's Radical Corruption, for instance. Sproul doesn't exhaustively defend each of these points, but that's not his purpose. His purpose is more to explain exactly what each point is, although he does explain some of the reasons for believing each of the points to be right and also gives defenses to some of the more common arguments made against the five points.

If you don't know much about Reformed Theology, What is Reformed Theology? would be a good primer for you. You may not agree with Reformed Theology after reading it, but you will have a better understanding of it. If you like to argue against Reformed Theology, and people on the other side keep telling you you're misrepresenting their viewpoint, you might want to read this book so you can focus your arguments on what those who hold to Reformed Theology really believe. And if you're Reformed, this book is a good review of the basics of your theology.

You'll find more reviews of this book at the Diet of Bookworms.
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