So, recently I had the privilege of reviewing Sproul's "Justification by Faith Alone" via ChristianAudio
and for such a short book/listen, I'm impressed with Sproul. I don't have much experience with Sproul, other than his classic "The Holiness of God" (which you should read, if you haven't already), but let me give you a brief and honest review of the book. Sproul starts our with a phenomenal critique of evangelicalism and their common misconception of what justification by faith alone is meant by our reformation fathers; the first two chapters dedicated to delving the general understanding of what justification is, and justification according to the Roman Catholic faith. If there is anything I can stress about this book, the third chapter is the most pivotal towards your understanding of justification by faith alone. We evangelicals are renown for blurring the line between justification and sanctification (the process of regeneration) and teaching our congregations that the terms are synonymous (which is a theological tragedy). Sproul does an incredible job with this subject, highly recommend this book if you desire knowledge in this area.
As a seminary guy, I find this book an incredible tool for the layperson and scholar alike. Scholars may use this as a crash course of the theology & history of justification by faith alone; laymen of the church will find that this book is directly to the point, no nonsense, and enjoyable.
Packed with info
Justified by Faith Alone by R.C. Sproul is a short little book, but packed with great insight and tight logic. It is written on a pretty high level of vocabulary, so I wouldn't recommend it to the person who is only casually interested in the subject. It is more like a college professor lecture than a devotional book written about faith. If you are looking for an academic look at the subject, you will not be disappointed.
The book is written as a recap of the struggle the reformers faced with the Roman Catholic Church. Although much of the book is rooted in historical arguments, Dr. Sproul mentions many contemporary issues that stem from the distinction evangelicals have in sola fide. It is not concerned with additional arguments, such as monergism vs synergism, so both Arminians and Calvinists would find it to represent their views.
Just over an hour in length, the audio is crisp and the narrator does a great job, even with the Latin phrases.
The christianaudio Reviewers Program (http://christianaudio.com) provided me with a copy of R.C. Sproul’s Justified By Faith Alone. My thoughts and opinions are my own.
Careful and Challenging Teaching on An Essential Doctrine
Martin Luther famously said that justification by faith alone “the article by which the church stands or falls.” So certain of its importance to the Christian faith was Luther that it became the crucial dividing issue between the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches.
Today, however, many evangelicals “know” that we are justified by faith alone but are not entirely sure what it means. And because of this uncertainty, we begin to ask—does it really make sense? And is it really that important?
In his (very) short book Justified by Faith Alone, R.C. Sproul answers that question with a resounding yes as he lays out the Roman Catholic and Protestant doctrines of justification.
One of Dr. Sproul’s greatest gifts as a teacher is his ability to clearly and charitably examine positions with which he disagrees. In doing so, he manages to clear up a great number of misconceptions that Protestants have regarding Romanism.
A key example is whether or not Roman Catholicism offers a works-based salvation. Sproul argues that it is, in fact, not accurate to make this claim. As he examines Roman Catholic teaching, he reveals that faith in Christ is essential to salvation… it’s just not all you need. The congregant’s works of penitence, his acts of contrition, are also required. In essence, the Roman Catholic position is that of faith in Christ plus works equal justification (Justification = Faith + Works).
The Protestant position, however, is that faith in Christ alone brings justification, and our works are our response to and the evidence of our right standing before God (Faith=Justification + Works).
Sproul is also quick to address the common complaint against the Protestant position, which is that it is Antinomianism. In this error, we are saved by faith in Christ alone (justification), and there need be no evidence of saving faith (Faith=Justification – Works). However, the Scriptures are clear that one who says that he has faith, but there is no evidence of it in his life is a liar (cf. James 2:14-26).
Moving from the content to the audio production, this is one place where I find that the book falls a bit flat. Sean Runnette is a wonderfully clear narrator and I’ve enjoyed his work on other productions, but in this instance, I found his reading to be a bit bland. His reading seemed to lack the passion that tends to come out in Sproul’s text (as well as in his speaking). This is only a minor criticism, but it was bothersome enough that I felt it warranted mentioning.
Justified By Faith Alone is an important book, one that I believe readers of all ages and stages would benefit greatly from. Read (or listen to) the book, and gain a greater understanding and appreciation for this crucial doctrine—and praise God that it is by faith in Christ alone that we are saved.
A review copy of this audio book was provided through ChristianAudio's reviewer program.
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A Short, Challenging Read
Justified By Faith Alone is a more academic look at the concept of Justification and how Evangelicals and Roman Catholics differ in how they believe it takes place. The whole book takes just over an hour to listen to, although it’s full of material and you might catch yourself stopping it to jot down notes or listen to a few lines again.
The audio was good, I liked the reader and the file was very clear, but I feel like I would have better grasped the substance of it all with a physical copy of the book.
Sproul takes a hard look at both the view of Evangelicals and that of Roman Catholics on Justification. Evangelicals believes that our faith comes through faith alone – that works are not required. The Roman Catholic believes that we are justified through our faith along with actions. The Sproul divides this book up into historical looks at both beliefs and shares why the way we view the righteousness we receive is so important. Either our righteousness comes from outside of us through Christ alone, or we have to do something to earn it.
Overall it was a good, short read. Academically it wasn’t as accessible as some of Sproul’s other books (including much longer ones), but the conciseness of it makes it possible to get into without being overwhelmed.
The christianaudio Reviewers Program (http://christianaudio.com) provided me with a copy of R.C. Sproul’s “Justified By Faith Alone.” My thoughts and opinions are my own.
Original review at http://erowell.blogspot.com
Short but full
While this book is fairly short (the audiobook is just over an hour long) it offers a solid introduction to the variety of understandings of the Christian doctrine of Justification from within both the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions. The book explores the doctrine historically and compares the positions held by those traditions.
The narration feels a little rigid at times. The enunciation is clear, but it sounds like it comes at the cost of some of the natural flow of the text. That said much of the book is devoted to discussion around the technical aspects of the doctrine in the comparisons, as such the vocabulary may make listening cumbersome to casual listeners.
Overall it is a helpful book to understanding justification but serves no more than an introduction that may be just right to spark an interest to dig deeper.
Review for christianaudio Reviewers Program www.christianaudio.com
Good In-depth Synopsis of Justification
The narrator is good. I would rate him with about 3.8 stars. His main area of improvement could be in his annunciation. It is almost too good. He would be better if he didn't focus quite so obviously on diction and bring a little more life into his reading.
R. C. Spoul has always been a favorite theologian of mine. Here he does a great job of giving the Catholic theology a fair treatment an contrasting it with what He believes is the biblical approach.
This is a short book (the audio is just over one hour) but it accomplishes it's purpose—it gives a broader foundation to someone with a limited Christian understanding of the topic but isn't an in-depth study.
Hopefully this book with whet the appetites of Christians with just a basic understanding of justification to delve into it further study the Scriptures and other lengthier books on the topic.
Review has been done for the Christian Audio Reviewer's program.
An Excellent Treatise
In this well organized audiobook, R.C. Sproul does a fine job of presenting the Reformed Protestant view of Justification by Faith Alone. In his examination of this topic, he compares the Roman Catholic view of justification and highlights the differences between the two. The audiobook wastes little time getting to the debate and ample scriptural evidence is given to support Sproul’s view.
Since the Protestant Reformation, the view of justification has been hotly debated and I doubt we will see a resolution in our lifetime. Both sides have a long history and hundreds of years honing their apologetic on this crucial topic. As Christians, it’s imperative that we understand the views on this issue and the basis for each one. Sproul’s presentation here is outstanding and I appreciated the author’s ability to put a lot of information in my hands in a shorter amount of time. It would have been easy to fill the audiobook with reams of stories from the past and then add the meat of the discussion. Instead, Sproul highlights his points, gives his scriptural basis for it, and invites you to analyze.
A book like this can easily get dry and boring but narrator Sean Runnette does a superb job of voice inflection where it’s needed without a lot of overkill. His warm, clear-spoken delivery made this an easy listen.
I would like to thank the “Reviewers Program” from Christian Audio for allowing me to listen and review this work.
Short but jammed packed with doctirinal truth
This is a short book, but jammed packed with doctirinal truth. Sproul throughly explains the irreconsible difference in the views on justification between Roman Catholics and Evangelical Christians.
One thing that Sproul did in the book that differs from many who make and display these arguments is that when stating the opposing argument, that of Roman Catholics, he didn't cast it in a negative light. In most cases, he quoted directly from Cathecism or from past Councils. I believe he made every effort to display a fair argument of the Roman Catholic view of justification, then showed how this is in direct contrast to the view of the reformers and modern evangelical Christians.
Sproul showed how in the evangelical case justification is synthetic. While Roman Catholics believe in a Analytic justification. While taking the time to explain what each of these mean and how stark the contrast really is.
One part of the book that I specifically enjoyed was the history of the reformed view and how the Catholic church attacked their view as being antinomian. He then supplied Luther and Calvin's rebuttles. Those rebuttles went something like this, if there aren't any good works then true saving faith was never present to begin with.
An equational breakdown he gave in the book on the different views on justification:
Faith + Works = Justification
Faith = Justification + Works
Faith = Justification – Works
One thing I wish he had addressed in this book, (but understand why he didn't) was the fact that many of our current so-called Evangelical churches have slipped into the Catholic view(i.e loss of salvation) or into Antinomianism(i.e Easy Believism).
Overall this was an excellent book with great narration that I would recommend highly.
Justified by Faith Alone - A clear and Biblical presentation, with valuable background context and comparison
<a href='http://christianaudio.com/justified-by-faith-alone-rc-sproul'>Justification by Faith Alone</a> is the perfect remedy for that modern complaint of blurred pictures and slippery positions. In this work, R. C. Sproul goes back to basics to sharply define and pin down exactly what it means to be “justified by faith alone”. To achieve this, having set out the background material, he ably reviews in turn the actual doctrine held by Roman Catholics, and by protestants. By taking pains on both accounts to avoid establishing straw man arguments or misrepresenting the case he is able to draw this most fundamental of reformation issues into sharp focus.
This short work is an invaluable summary and introductory text which I firmly recommend most particularly for those who have difficulty understanding and articulating this doctrine, or making sense of the way in which it is denied by Roman Catholic teaching. Both the contextual background and the clearly presented easy-to-follow explanations of Biblical doctrine make this a five-star booklet.
Sean Runnette ably and clearly narrates this audio version of the booklet which runs for just over an hour. The clarity of delivery coupled with R. C. Sproul's outstanding use of language makes this a very effective and listenable audio book.
Excellent, but not easy
In Justified by Faith Alone, R. C. Sproul describes the differences between the Roman Catholic church’s doctrine of justification and that of the evangelical church. This debate was central to the Reformation and yet the author says that it is commonly misunderstood.
After introducing the reader to the meaning of justification and explaining the importance of the debate, he proceeds to explain each of the two viewpoints and then provides further explanation of the Reformation arguments. I found this book – barely more than a pamphlet, really – to be quite interesting. I learned a great deal from it and my understanding of the topic was helped by it. I was pleased by the care with which Sproul explained both sides, avoiding a one-sided debate.
I should point out that this book is neither a light overview nor a Biblical study of the topic. It is much more focused on the historical than the practical and therefore uses numerous Latin phrases that had significance to the Reformers as well as upper-level English that many might find confusing.
Regardless, I am glad that I listened to the audiobook. The book was aided by the exceptional narration and recording quality. The narrator’s voice was warm and his enunciation was excellent.
If Latin and college-level English don’t bother you, I encourage you to listen to this audiobook. You won’t regret it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this audiobook free from the christianaudio Reviewers Program (http://christianaudio.com/). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing these things in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Good tough content!
The battle between Roman Catholics and Protestants on their view of Justification is still as hot and controversial as ever. While many who are both inside and outside the church see the two as part of the same family, those who are more in the know are aware of the fact that each sees the other as the confused brother who misunderstood the Father.
Historically, the two sides strongly disagree on whether justification is imputed by faith alone or infused by faith plus works; additionally, there is quarreling on whether one must be baptized, pay indulgences, make penance and if one may lose his or her salvation.
R. C. Sproul wrote this short book almost like an essay which he then expanded and sectioned out into a book. Chapter one just does a cursory overview of the issue between Roman Catholics and Protestants, but devotes one chapter to each in an effort to thoroughly explore the two views separately.
In the final chapter, Sproul sums everything up well and breaks up Justification, Faith and Works in an easy to understand manner that you can write out and take with you anywhere. They are:
Roman Catholicism: Faith + Works = Justification
Protestant: Faith = Justification + Works
Antinomian: Faith = Justification - Works
Overall, the book is good with a few fancy Latin terms thrown in which always make the experience enjoyable. However, along with the lack of scriptural references, the audio book format made it somewhat hard to follow as I often got the impression that the whole publication was bullet points that were being read out loud, which can get dreary at times. But seeing as the book is just barely over an hour long, it is similar to listening to an English accented Ben Stein lecture on History for one period in High School; which is not a stab at the reader, but the format of the book.
In conclusion, I give this book a good rating mainly because while the style of the book is somewhat dull, the content is worth a read; especially if you are engaged with people over the topic.
Sola fide et simul justus et peccator! (By faith alone and at the same time just and sinner)
See the original article on ProTheist.com: http://bit.ly/9qtH8I
Review done for christianaudio Reviewers Program www.christianaudio.com
The Justified by Faith Alone explains...
The Justified by Faith Alone explains the difference between Roman Catholics and Evangelical views on the concept of justification that exists back before the reformation era up til today.
The book clearly divides the differences in few main points so it’s easier to follow and also to grasp. Clearly, the book doesn’t explain the biblical concept of Justification in details, so I’d strongly suggest for you to totally understand the biblical truth of justification through Christ before you read this book.
If you are a Christian, Justified by Faith Alone is great to find out what the Catholic views are so you can teach your Catholic friends the true biblical concept about Justification. If you are a Catholic, the book can hopefully open your eyes as to why Martin Luther fought so hard to the death to protest the Roman Catholic views about salvation and justification back then.
The Justified by Faith Alone discusses the relationship between works and faith; to show why justification is by faith alone (Sola Fide) through Christ rather than by faith + good works, as hold by the Catholics. I was born and raised as a Catholic so I could totally relate to the arguments and comparisons made by R.C Sproul. I just hope that he explains in more depth with more biblical verses as an eye opener to the Catholics through this book. If you are looking for an in-depth study about justification (or salvation) though, you are recommended to look elsewhere because this book may not be able to quench your thirst, as the book is too short to cover such a deep topic (the audiobook is only about 1 hour length).
As for the audiobook itself, the narrator’s voice is really clear and not once that I had trouble understanding what he says. Tones may be a bit flat at times, but since there aren’t any conversational paragraphs in the book, this is forgivable.
Source: My blog at WriteForGod.com
R.C. Spoul goes back to the...
R.C. Spoul goes back to the time of the Reformation to explain the doctrine that justification is by faith in Christ alone. Although their were many doctrines debated during the time of the Reformation, one doctrine stood at the center of everything. How is a person saved? Are they justified by faith? Or are they justified by works? Sproul shows the reader in depth the arguments of the Reformers, led by Martin Luther, against Rome and the Papacy.
Sproul's goal is obviously not a in depth Biblical study of "justification by faith", but and in-depth portrayal of the arguments for it against Rome. This is a historical narrative more than a Biblical narrative. The text is layered with quotes from Martin Luther, John Calvin, Roman leaders, among others. After reading/listening to this book, you will have a full understanding of the stance the Reformers took and the stance of Rome. I was happy to hear the Roman views discussed in depth. This gives the reader a good contrast.
This book is not a light read. If you are studying the doctrine of "Justified by Faith Alone," this may not be a good starting point. Since Sproul does not do a direct Biblical Study of the doctrine in this book, you may consider coming back to this book after some Biblical foundation so you will not get lost in the historical narrative.
That being said, this is an excellent, well organized, concise book. It is a must read if you are studying the period of the Reformation.
One of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Having a personal relationship with Christ does not save us unless it is a saving relationship. Everyone has a personal relationship with Jesus. Even the Devil has a personal relationship with Christ. but, it is a relationship of estrangement, of hostility to Him. We are all related to Christ, but we are all not united to Christ, which union comes by faith and faith alone."
My one disappointment in the audio book is R.C. Sproul does not narrate. Having listened to Sproul on the radio and podcast, I would have liked to hear his voice.
Original review can be seen on my blog http://ow.ly/2OjNA
Review done for christianaudio Reviewers Program www.christianaudio.com