R. C. Sproul. Everyone’s A Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust, 2014. 357 pp. $16.24.
R. C. Sproul is a name that is synonymous with rich doctrinal teaching that believers of all education levels can understand. For years, his teachings have tackled some of the most difficult doctrinal issues with grace, clarity, and often a fair bit of Latin. In his latest work, Sproul dives into a simple introduction to systematic theology.
From the outset, I have to say that I have always been fond of Sproul and his teachings. So, as you might expect, I am very pleased with this book. I will also say that I come from a different denominational and theological background than Sproul in a couple of areas, and I obviously find chapters where our beliefs differ to be the chapters that I like least. However, in all this work, Sproul is clear, simple, and gracious.
Everyone’s a Theologian is an outstanding work simply because of its breadth and brevity. The book includes 60 chapters, spanning the full range of important theological discussions. Sproul addresses the doctrine of God, of salvation, of last things, and a host of other teachings with a solid level of scholarship. Happily, none of these chapters is overly robust. Sproul’s book is only 357 pages, and thus the chapters are appropriately short and to-the-point.
As someone who embraces a reformed view of soteriology, I found Sproul’s discussion of God’s saving work from election to applied redemption to be well worth the read. In a short and clear way, Sproul addresses important topics that many believers may disagree on. It is certainly a good thing, in my opinion, for us to have access to these more brief treatments of difficult topics.
At the same time, I did not find myself agreeing with Sproul’s handling of the topic of baptism. Sproul comes from a Presbyterian position, while mine is Baptist. The fact that he believes that baptism is a sign of God’s covenant of grace that can be applied to children who have not yet believed while I believe that baptism is only for those who have already been converted by Christ is no surprise. Neither do I consider this to be a reason not to recommend this book. Rather, I find this chapter to be a very helpful way for me to again hear a position that is not my own, but which is still clearly and fairly presented.
I would highly recommend Everyone’s a Theologian to believers of all backgrounds and walks of life. Pastors or Bible study leaders might find this to be a worthwhile tool for studies or for discussions of individual doctrines. It is also a very helpful resources for reference that is not nearly as dense as a larger systematic theology book.
I received a free audio version of this book for review as part of the reviewers program for ChristianAudio.com. The book is extremely well-read by Grover Gardner. Since the chapters are each only around 10 to 12 minutes long, the audio version of this book is very digestible.