The bottom line: The solid answers to what the Reformists believe and why they believe it.
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.