Reformation Trust Publishing recently released two new books in R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series. Here is the complete listing of all 30 books in the series.
Below are reviews of the two new books in the series – How Does God’s Law Apply to Me? and Does God Exist?
How Does God’s Law Apply to Me? (Crucial Questions) by R.C. Sproul. Reformation Trust Publishing. 112 pages. 2019
In this Crucial Questions book, R.C. Sproul looks at God’s law, and in particular the Ten Commandments. He writes that the notion of celebrating God’s law may seem completely archaic in our day because we are familiar with the teachings of the New Testament. Even some popular church leaders consider the Old Testament law completely irrelevant to our Christian lives today. Some reason that the law was for Old Testament believers, not for us today. For some of us, the Christian life is Christ, not Moses; it’s gospel, not law. But the author tells us that for a Christian to say, “I once loved the law, but now I love Christ and ignore the law,” is simply not to love Christ, because Christ loved the law. Jesus viewed His entire life as a mission to fulfill every single point of the law and to achieve perfect obedience to the commandments of God.
In this book, the author explores the nature of the law in the Bible, and particularly in the Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue. He addresses how the law functioned in the life of Israel in the Old Testament, and what the relevance of the old covenant law is now that we are in the new covenant. He asks if there is any application of the Old Testament law to our day. Historically, the church has sought to answer the question of whether Old Testaments laws are still binding today by drawing a distinction between the different types of Old Testament law. The author tells us that in his classic work Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin looked at what he called the threefold use of the law. Calvin wrote that first, the law functions as a mirror; second, it functions as a restraint; and third, which Calvin saw as the most important, the law functions as a revealer. The author then looks at each of these uses of the law.
After establishing that Old Testament law is still relevant to New Testament Christians, the author then looks at each of the Ten Commandments in detail, studying their meaning, and considering how they apply to our daily lives.
I highlighted a number of passages as I read this book. Below are 10 of my favorite quotes:
- When we are called to obey the law of God, that means that we are called to obey Him.
- What is right and what is wrong is not a matter of relativity. Instead, the ultimate standard is the character of God, and this character is manifested in His law.
- If a Christian today says, “I don’t care about the Old Testament law,” that is tantamount to saying, “I don’t care about pleasing God.”
- There is no better place to learn what is pleasing to God and what He wants His people to do than by looking in His law.
- Idolatry takes place when any attribute of God is stripped from His glory, and we replace the biblical God with a god that we create in our own image.
- The ultimate end for which we were created is to glorify God.
- Because human beings are made in God’s image, regard for the sanctity of human life must be chief in our minds.
- If there is any area in which we see the modern culture on a collision course with the teaching of Scripture, it is in the area of sexual behavior.
- Jealousy reflects a heart that does not trust in God and is not satisfied with the hand of God’s providence.
- The law also reveals to us our sinfulness, and perhaps that’s why we tend to minimize it or avoid it altogether.
Does God Exist? (Crucial Questions) by R.C. Sproul. Reformation Trust Publishing. 91 pages. 2019
In this Crucial Questions book, R.C. Sproul looks at the philosophical arguments for and against the existence of God. He writes that the approach that has become the overwhelming majority view within Reformed theology is known as presuppositional apologetics. He tells us that the presuppositional view says that in order to arrive at the conclusion that God exists and to prove His existence, one must start with the primary premise of the existence of God.
The author writes that the reality of the existence of God is the single most important premise in the building of one’s life and worldview. However, if we can prove without a doubt that the eternal God of the universe exists, that means that all people will be held accountable for how they live. Therefore, one reason that people want to get rid of the idea of God is to be free from guilt and accountability.
The author looks at four basic possibilities for explaining reality as we encounter it:
- Our experience of reality is itself an illusion.
- Reality as we encounter it is self-created.
- The reality we encounter is self-existent.
- Reality is created ultimately by something that is self-existent.
The author writes that in the history of philosophy and theoretical thought, the systems related to the arguments for and against the existence of God tend to range between two polar extremes. On one side is theism, and on the other side is nihilism.
The author takes us through each of the four possibilities for explaining reality. As he does this, he shares the ideas of philosophers such as Descartes, Kant, Sartre, Nietzsche, Marx, Feuerbach, Mill, and Camus. Then he asks what the relationship is between the god of the philosophers and the God of the Bible.
He writes that the doctrine of creation teaches that there is a self-existent, eternal being who possesses the power of motion and has the ability to move that which is not moving. He goes on to write that the reality of God cannot be determined on the basis of what people want to be true, but instead, that God has manifested Himself clearly to every human being.
I admit that I am not well-versed in philosophy, finding it difficult to understand. Fortunately, the author, as he was known for, takes these difficult arguments and makes them understandable for the layperson.