A Review Of R. C. Sproul’s Grace Unknown: The Heart Of Reformed Theology -- By: Robert N. Wilkin

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 14:2 (Autumn 2001)
Article: A Review Of R. C. Sproul’s Grace Unknown: The Heart Of Reformed Theology
Author: Robert N. Wilkin

A Review Of R. C. Sproul’s
Grace Unknown:
The Heart Of Reformed Theology

Robert N. Wilkin

Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Irving, Texas

R. C. Sproul is the author of forty books, founder of Ligonier Ministries, and the daily radio teacher for the nationally broadcast “Renewing Your Mind.” He is also known as one of the easiest to follow communicators from the Reformed perspective.

Last year I had the opportunity to attend the Orlando Ligonier Conference at which Sproul spoke. There were approximately 5,000 in attendance—evidencing Sproul’s strong following.

I. The Aim of This Book

The dust jacket of the book gives its aim:

You’ve heard of Reformed theology, but you’re not certain what it is…

Who better to teach you about Reformed theology than R. C. Sproul? He has made theology understandable and exciting to ordinary people for decades, and he knows Reformed theology inside and out.

When R. C. speaks and writes, he often refers to Reformed theology. For years people have asked him what it is. Grace Unknown is his first book-length answer to this question.

Sproul does a fine job of explaining Reformed theology. He covers the five points of Calvinism (TULIP) in five fairly concise and readable chapters. However, he doesn’t start the book there. Rather, he begins with five chapters dealing with what he calls “Foundations of Reformed Theology.” The titles are instructive: Centered on God, Based on God’s Word Alone, Committed to Faith Alone, Devoted to Prophet, Priest, and King, and Nicknamed Covenant Theology.

It doesn’t appear from the book that Sproul was significantly concerned with proving that Reformed theology is derived from the

Scriptures. We do not find, for example, much in the way of exegesis in the book. Rather, Sproul is preaching to the choir here. His intended audience already believes in Reformed theology and is simply looking for a coherent and reasonably comprehensive explanation. This is not to say that Sproul ignores the Scriptures. He does cite Scripture often. However, due to the nature of the book, he cites men (especially Calvin, Luther, and Edwards on 33, 36, and 8 pages, respectively) and the councils of men (especially the Westminster Confession of Faith, with citations on 24 pages, by my count) much more frequently than he does Scripture.

I found that he cites Scripture on 59 of the 216 pages of the body of the book.1 In a secular book that would be a high ...

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