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Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification [Paperback]

By R. C. Sproul (Author) & Michael Horton (Foreword by)
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Item description for Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification by R. C. Sproul & Michael Horton...

1996 GOLD MEDALLION WINNER Saving faith justifies sinful humans before God, say the New Testament historic Protestant teaching. And justifying faith, a work of God's grace and individual merit, gives saving faith, adds the Roman Catholic Church. "No," shouted Martin Luther and his theological descendants. "Christians are justified by faith through God's mercy alone. To add our merit to God's grace destroys the gospel." R. C. Sproul solemnly warns Evangelists to again hear that cry. Some Evangelical and Catholic leaders ignored the central issue of justification by faith in the document "Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium." That document is only one indicator, says Sproul, that unconcerned about this vital distinctive.Faith Alone returns to the founts of the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Here are the biblical evidence and the theological reasons why Protestantism and Roman Catholicism divided in the first place, and why that division remains an uncrossed chasm.

Publishers Description
A leading theologian explains the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone and urges fellow evangelicals to embrace this classic Protestant teaching.

Awards and Recognitions
Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification by R. C. Sproul & Michael Horton has received the following awards and recognitions -
  • Gold Medallion Book Awards - 1996 Winner - Theology/Doctrine category

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Books
Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.08" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.56"
Weight:   0.81 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2001
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
Age  18
Edition  Reprinted  
ISBN  080105849X  
ISBN13  9780801058493  

Availability  0 units.

More About R. C. Sproul & Michael Horton

R. C. Sproul Dr. R.C. Sproul is the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries, an international Christian education ministry located near Orlando, Florida. His teaching can be heard on the program Renewing Your Mind, which is broadcast on hundreds of radio outlets in the United States and in 40 countries worldwide. He is the executive editor of Tabletalk magazine, general editor of The Reformation Study Bible, and the author of more than seventy books and scores of articles for national evangelical publications. Dr. Sproul also serves as president of Ligonier Academy of Biblical and Theological Studies, and Reformation Bible College in Sanford, Florida. He currently serves as senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew's in Sanford, FL.

R. C. Sproul currently resides in Orlando, in the state of Florida. R. C. Sproul was born in 1939.

R. C. Sproul has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Crucial Questions
  2. R. C. Sproul Library
  3. St. Andrew's Expositional Commentary

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( S ) > Sproul, R.C.
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Soteriology
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Reviews - What do customers think about Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification?

Same old problem...still no answer.  Jan 26, 2006
I love these guys! I love the people that argue for faith alone and scripture alone. I also love that there is nowhere in the Bible where it says that one is saved by faith alone. Also, it does not say that scripture is the final authority. Woops. Sorry Luther.

Good Book, but Misses the Mark  Jul 6, 2004
R.C. Sproul is an excellent writer and I have come to expect no less from him, but I think he misses the mark on what the "Gospel" is. First to the positives: Sproul has a good overview of the debates which raged on during the Reformation. He has a good assesment of quotes from the two central figures of the Reformation, and an excellent summary of the Protestant position on Sola Fide. He also is right in critisizing people for not giving the historic Protestant doctrine its rightful place.

Now to the negatives: As noted above, Sproul has a very narrow definition of what the "Gospel" is. He seems to hold to justification by faith by believing in justification by faith (contra his assertions concerning Packer), because he asserts that Sola Fide is an essential truth of the Gospel, and if you deny this, you deny the Gospel. The Gospel is that Jesus is risen, and by means of the resurrection, Christ is Lord (see Richard Gaffin, Resurrection and Redemption). I am including a quote from the great German Theologian Zacharius Ursinus from the Heidelberg Catechism of 1553 to prove that this is not historic Reformed teaching:

Question 22. What is then necessary for a christian to believe?

Answer: All things promised us in the gospel, which the articles of our catholic undoubted christian faith briefly teach us.

Question 23. What are these articles?

Answer: 1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: 2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord: 3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary: 4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell: 5. The third day he rose again from the dead: 6. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty: 7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead: 8. I believe in the Holy Ghost: 9. I believe a holy catholic church: the communion of saints: 10. The forgiveness of sins: 11. The resurrection of the body: 12. And the life everlasting.

As is obvious, 1/3's of the great Three Forms of Unity does not see fit to include Sola Fide as what must be believed by Christians.

Another problem is that Sproul is content to only quote the Council of Trent, and has nothing to say of Vatican II whatsoever. This is disturbing, because Vatican II "modernized" Trent's medieval Catholicism.

This is a decent work, but has its flaws on the definition of the "Gospel" is.
Dr. Sproul is an apt teacher  Dec 29, 2002
this is one of the finest introductory books on the historical doctrine that split rome with the reformers... the book is concise and easy to read coming from an apt teacher who always seems to make difficult concepts easy to understand which is the true art of a teacher...this book should be read by all christians, especially evangelicals who have departed from their reformation heritage...this doctrine is, as luther said, that which the church stands or falls on.
In many ways very strong, in some ways weak  Nov 17, 2002
RC Sproul's effort here is a solid contribution to the ongoing debate over justification. It's not perfect, as I'll discuss below, but the strengths of the book are sufficient enough to warrant serious consideration.

Sproul wrote this book in 1995 in large measure as a response to a specific event that occurred in 1994 - the publicizing of the ECT document. Sproul writes with great concern that this ecumenical document signed by a number of prominent evangelicals and Roman Catholics inappropriately dodges the central point of disagreement between the two camps (justification). I think Sproul is absolutely right in expressing this concern and believing that the document's effort to minimize and even not acknowledge such a fundamental disagreement is deceptive because the document ends up claiming a level of unity that does not exist. While some have criticized the book for dwelling too much on the ECT document, I thought Sproul's treatment was quite appropriate and necessary. It once again moves to central stage the issue of justification by faith, and what evangelicals and Roman Catholics believe about the doctrine and why it's important.

Sproul's brief summary of the history of justification in the church is very educational for the beginner. I also felt that Sproul nuanced the discussion very well by showing how important this issue was to Luther, Calvin, and the other reformers. By doing this, Sproul draws a clear distinction between the weight the original reformers gave to this issue versus the modern day tendency to downplay its importance within evangelicalism (and Roman Catholicism) in order to achieve a superficial unity. It is very insightful to see very clearly that the issue itself hasn't changed, the disagreements which led to the reformation haven't been resolved. All that's changed is the church's unwillingness to thoughtfully engage in the debate because many Christians believe that in the whole scheme of things, the doctrine of justification is no longer an issue worth debating and simply isn't a big priority anymore. I thought Sproul handled this attitudinal change well and effectively demonstrated that the doctrine of justification is not merely a dusty theological issue of no current importance, but remains a central part of the gospel that we dare not water down.

Sproul also does a good job here of contrasting the imputation of righteousness that undergirds the Reformed view, versus the infusion view that undergirds Roman Catholicism. I think a reader who is willing to seriously interact with this issue will get a great deal out of Sproul's discussion here and will see very clearly that Rome's view has been and continues to be antithetical in many ways to the Protestant view of justification.

The biggest negative of this book is the lack of Scriptural exegesis. I found this book to be an examination of justification not from a Biblical perspective, but from a church history and denominational perspective. This book is about what Reformed Protestants and Rome think about justification. It is not really a book that attempts to ground either side's views in the Bible. This is a disappointment. Sproul goes to great lengths in arguing that justification by faith alone is at the heart of the gospel message every bit as much as the deity of Christ is at the heart of the gospel message. Yet it was surprising to me that having argued for the centrality of justification to the gospel, Sproul doesn't spend much time actually interacting with the text of the gospel to solidify his point. Sproul unnecessarily leaves open the possibility that the reader may walk away from his book believing that the importance of justification is a matter of man's opinion rather than Scriptural reality.

So overall, this is a solid book that effectively contrasts the Protestant and Roman Catholic views on justification and why these views are important and should be central in any meaningful dialogue between Protestants and Roman Catholics (which the ECT did not do). But the lack of Scriptural grounding is a weakness that unnecessarily limits the scope of this book to human opinions, creeds, bulls, and councils - none of which are inerrant. The importance of the doctrine of justification should have first been established in the pages of inerrant Scripture, and it is here that Sproul's work comes up short.

Luther, et. al. would be very pleased!  Jul 31, 2001
Rev. Sproul's work compels the reader to "earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints." He logically, scripturally, and systematically destroys the eccumenical position on salvation as its proponents have arrogated to themselves the responsibility to decide what is "essential" for man to be saved, even though Jesus Himself said that "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Papists and their apologists will hate this book, for Rev. Sproul leaves no doubt that there cannot be "two Gospels." He masterfully shows how the signers of the ECT have been duped into thinking they have achieved some great milestone for "unity," when what they really have done is compromised on a key doctrine (justification)the loss of which threw Christendom into 1000 years of the Dark Ages.

A classic work to be read by all Christians in order to gain a foundational understanding of our faith. Far too many who profess Christ no so little about what His Word teaches. This book is an exhortation to all to "endure sound doctrine."


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