What is Reformed Theology

What Is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics (Baker Publishing Group, 2016)

This repackaged version of Sproul’s 1997 classic What is Reformed Theology? is, in Sproul’s own words, “a shorthand introduction to the crystallized essence of Reformation Theology.”

Much of what Sproul refers to as foundations of reformed theology might better be understood as the theology of the reformers—namely that it is centered on God, based on God’s Word alone, committed to faith alone, etc. After all, these tenets are also true of other theological systems outside of Reformed Theology.

The five points of Reformed Theology also reflect what is commonly called Calvinism. The weakness of the one point called “limited atonement” is found in the interpretation of first 1 John 2:1–2:

We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Sproul says that the “our” refers to Jewish Christians and not all Christians—a view the context does not necessarily support. It would have been great to see more explanation of this essential view.

Although What is Reformed Theology? gives an excellent summary of the basic tenets of Covenant Theology, it doesn’t offer a significant defense of Covenant Theology’s distinctives, as opposed to Dispensationalism. That’s fine, since a defense isn’t a purpose of the book. Still, I had hoped to read Sproul’s defense of passages that significantly contradict Reformed Theology’s view of eschatology and atonement.

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