Tag Archive for 'R.C. Sproul'

R.C. Sproul

R.C. Sproul

We learned that R.C. Sproul died today. I’m not good with eulogies, or even anniversaries or writing about major events, so I’ll just write a little bit about what I’ve learned from him.

The first book I read of his is The Truth of the Cross. I just looked up a review of this book I did on the blog and see that it’s the first book I ever reviewed. I will always remember his exposition of portions of the Old Testament leading to the cross, which was especially helpful for me.

Next I read The Prayer of the Lord, which I also reviewed here. I also read his very well-known The Holiness of God.

I have also learned a lot from Reformed questions and answers that are on Youtube. This is where you can see what the man was really like. His humor was often evident.

Two things that especially impressed me about him are his precision regarding the understanding and teaching of Biblical doctrine, and the fact that even though his knowledge was so deep, he made it his life’s work to teach regular people about mere Christianity.

For the miserly, you can find some of his books for free in audio or Kindle format on Amazon.

If you’re not on Ligonier’s mailing list you can receive The Holiness of God

If you’re not on the mailing list of Ligonier Ministries, you can sign their Guestbook Form and receive a free pocket size book of R.C. Sproul’s The Holiness of God.

Get a free copy of Chosen By God by R.C. Sproul

First-time ministry contacts can receive a free pocket-size copy of Dr. Sproul’s book, Chosen by God. This book is an introduction to the doctrine of predestination.

God’s Sovereignty and Human Freedom

I have noticed that when people oppose the view of God’s sovereignty that Calvinists hold, the majority of the time they misrepresent the Calvinists’ views on it. Here are some quotes by Calvinists.

I’m not looking for a debate which is why I don’t try to characterize those who disagree, just posting some quotes.

R.C. Sproul:

The Sabeans and Chaldeans were free to choose [to steal Job’s animals and kill his servants – Job 1:13-15], but for them, as for us, freedom always means freedom within limits. We must not, however, confuse human freedom and human autonomy. There will always be a conflict between divine sovereignty and human autonomy. There is never a conflict between divine sovereignty and human freedom. The Bible says that man is free, but he is not an autonomous law unto himself.

Suppose the Sabeans and Chaldeans had prayed, ‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ I’m absolutely certain that Job’s animals would still have been stolen. But I’m equally certain that the Sabeans and Chaldeans would not have been responsible because their prayer would have altered the entire situation. There is freedom within limits, and within those limits, our prayers can change things. The Scriptures tell us that Elijah, through prayer, was given power to command the rain. He was not dissuaded from praying by his understanding of divine sovereignty.

No human being has ever had a more profound understanding of divine sovereignty than Jesus. No man ever prayed more fiercely or more effectively. Even in Gethsemane he requested an option, a different way. When the request was denied, he bowed to the Father’s will. The very reason we pray is because of God’s sovereignty, because we believe that God has it within his power to order things according to his purpose. That is what sovereignty is all about—ordering things according to God’s purpose. So then, does prayer change God’s mind? No! Does prayer change things? Yes, of course!

A.W. Pink, Gleanings In Joshua:

…theologians have so often gone wrong, by attributing either too much or too little unto the creature. Only by cleaving very closely to Holy Writ as a whole — and not by singling out detached fragments — are we preserved from serious error.

On the one hand, we must see to it that we return right answers to the questions, ‘For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?’ (1 Corinthians 4:7); on the other, we must give due place to such exhortations as ‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate’ (Luke 13:24) and ‘Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest’ (Hebrews 4:11); and not ignore such statements as ‘knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance’ (Colossians 3:24).

Only thus will the balance of truth be preserved.

It is indeed true that the child of God has nothing good or spiritual but what the Lord has freely bestowed upon him. But does that mean he is as passive a ‘receiver’ as the earth is when fructified by heaven’s refreshing showers and genial sunshine?

Great care needs to be taken in answering that question lest we contradict the Word of Truth.

Certainly he is no cooperator with Christ in the work of his redemption. There is not the least warrant for us to say, ‘God will do His part if we do ours.’ There is no dividing of the honors: the glory is God’s alone, and we have no ground for boasting. Most assuredly the elect have nothing to do with their election, for God chose them in Christ before the foundation of the world, and there is not a line in His Word to show that His choice was determined by anything praiseworthy which He foresaw in them. Those ordained to be vessels of honor were ‘clay of the same lump’ as the vessels appointed to dishonor. Nor had they a thing to do with their redemption, for all that was required to make atonement for their sins and reconcile them to God was accomplished by Christ centuries before they existed. Nor had they anything whatever to do with their regeneration, for they were dead in trespasses and sins when the Spirit quickened them into newness of life.

But it is quite wrong to infer from the above that the regenerated soul remains a passive agent. Equally wrong is it to suppose that he is how possessed of any self-sufficiency, that his new nature empowers him to perform his duty. Though he has become a living branch of the Vine, yet he is entirely dependent upon the Vine’s nourishing and fructifying. But we must not confine ourselves to that particular figure and relationship. The Christian is a moral agent, and grace has been given him to improve.

Eternal life is a Divine gift (Romans 6:23), but we are to ‘lay hold on’ it (1 Timothy 6:12). The celestial inheritance is ‘the purchased possession’ of Christ for His people (Ephesians 1:14), yet it is also ‘the reward’ of service unto the Lord (Colossians 3:24). Grace is freely given, but we are to use it, and must improve the same if we would receive more (Luke 8:18; Matthew 25:16). ‘Seek the Lord, and His strength: seek His face evermore’ (Psalm 105:4) — there is the meeting-place of the two sides! We have no sufficiency of our own, but if grace be duly sought (Hebrews 4:16) then ‘our sufficiency is of God’ (2 Corinthians 3:5).

John MacArthur:

How these two sides of God’s truth—His sovereignty in choosing us (Romans 9) and our responsibility to confess and believe (Romans 10)—reconcile is impossible for us to understand fully. But Scripture declares both perspectives of salvation to be true (John 1:12-13). It’s our duty to acknowledge both and joyfully accept them by faith.

Book Review: The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul

The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul

In my first book review on this blog I’d like to start out with a passage of Scripture and a quote from the book.

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1-2 NKJV).

he [Paul] told the Corinthians he had determined to know nothing except Christ crucified. Clearly Paul was determined to know all kinds of things besides the person and work of Jesus. He wanted to teach the Corinthians about the deep things of the character and nature of God the Father. He planned to instruct them about the person and work of the Holy Spirit, about Christian ethics, and about many other things that go beyond the immediate scope of Christ’s work on the cross. So why, then, did he say this? The answer is obvious. Paul was saying that in all of his teaching, in all of his preaching, in all of his missionary activity, the central point of importance was the cross.

Those are mentioned on pages 3 and 4 and serve as a good basis for the book.

Generous use of Scripture is utilized including exposition of longer passages like Genesis 18 and rules about slaves and marriage in Exodus, which to me is a bonus. We even get some lessons in history like learning a bit about Anselm of Canturbury and how limited atonement was first widely articulated by Augustine. Useful but short personal anecdotes are used sparingly with Scripture taking center stage.

The book serves a wide audience. He uses theological terms but always defines them for those who may not have a wide vocabulary in that area.

Some other interesting topics he goes into:

  • three distinct ways in which sin is described: debt, enmity, crime
  • expiation and propitiation
  • what blessed and cursed means in the OT (Gal 3:13)
  • the sacrificial lamb and the scapegoat and how Christ fulfilled both parts of the sacrifice
  • misunderstandings of limited atonement (a hot issue for some)

just to name a few of those that especially interested me.

I would like to have seen him go more into original sin. Maybe it wasn’t in the scope of this book.

This was the first book of R.C. Sproul’s that I’ve read. I thoroughly enjoyed his writing and teaching style and look forward to reading more of his books.


Other reviews:

“What Would Jesus Do?”

So often when a Christian is faced with a problematic situation, he is told to ask himself, ‘What would Jesus do in this situation?’ That is not always a wise question to ask. A better question would be, ‘What would Jesus have me do in this situation?’

(This book was written before the What Would Jesus Do? fad.)

Titus 3:1-2
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.