The bottom line: A powerful analysis of the major ideas shaping Western philosophical thought with a theological slant.
Ideas have consequences and by having a thorough understanding of ideas, you will have the power to control and shape consequences. The Consequences of Ideas not only empowers you to do this, but gives you the intellectual capital to enlighten others and build bridges to other schools of thought.
In my opinion, one of the greatest values of this book stems from an objective stated on the back cover: “[I]t is critical for Christians to understand the ideas that are shaping them. The greater their familiarity with the streams of thought that have saturated Western culture through the ages, the greater their ability to influence this culture for Christ.” The author subsequently maps the boundaries of Western philosophy starting from Plato and Aristotle, and leading the way through Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Darwin, to name a few examples.
Essentially the book proceeds through the ages and highlights the main philosophers that have shaped Western thought through time. Sproul first highlights all the individual’s main ideas and then extrapolates such theories on how it has changed thought about God. As the book proceeds forward Sproul adds his own commentary on those who have advocated for theistic or atheistic philosophies. It becomes quite clear that most new “ideas” in the Western world aren’t novel at all but built upon and synthesized from the ideas of those who lived long, long ago.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and although it deals with some very intellectually challenging topics, Sproul manages to convey his message in plain, easy-to-understand language, making The Consequences of Ideas a relatively quick read. I expect that anyone who has both a theological or philosophical mind will enjoy this text, and those who fall in the latter group will certainly enjoy the sweeping analysis of major themes, saving the reader time, money and effort.
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal