By Faith Alone: The Doctrine that Divides

Written by R.C. Sproul Reviewed By Stephen N. Williams

A lot of concern is being expressed by evangelicals these days over the nature of contemporary evangelicalism. Michael Horton’s foreword to this volume cites commentators who show that ‘Evangelicalism is redefining itself doctrinally. From its views of the self (77% of Evangelicals say that man is basically good by nature) to its views on salvation (87% insist that, in salvation, God helps those who help themselves). Evangelicalism has every reason to adopt a more sympathetic attitude toward Rome.’ Although this statistic applies, it would seem, to the North American scene, these words contextualize R.C. Sproul’s historical and theological exposition of the doctrine of justification. Sproul has been a well-known author for a number of years; many who have encountered his work will think especially of his engagement in issues of inerrancy and apologetics. In this volume, he is concerned to recover both the status of the doctrine of justification according to the Reformers (it is, we may say, literally crucial) and the content of that doctrine, which continues to divide authentic Protestantism from established Catholicism as firmly as ever. In addition to indices and bibliography, the glossary of Latin terms at the end of the book is very welcome.

Stephen N. Williams

Stephen Williams is professor of systematic theology at Union Theological College in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and served as general editor of Themelios from 1995 to 1999.