April 18, 2014

Review: Everyone's a Theologian by R. C. Sproul

Sproul, R. C. Everyone's a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology (Reformation Trust, 2014), 357 pp.


Everyone's a Theologian is R. C. Sproul's popular-level introduction to the discipline of systematic theology. In it, he covers all the major topics of systematics (Prolegomena, Theology Proper, Anthropology, Christology, Pneumatology, Soteriology, Ecclesiology, Eschatology), and he does so in a way that is consistently clear and concise. The book also includes two indices (subject and Scripture) as well as an appendix containing the ecumenical creeds (Apostles', Nicene, and Chalcedon).
Coming in at less than 350 pages, the book's brevity is one of it's best features. Despite its length, however, Everyone's a Theologian manages to cover each topic adequately. Very few authors could deliver as much solid content in as few pages, but Sproul, as usual, pulls it off admirably. His ability to simplify complex, theological concepts and communicate them in a way that is clear and compelling is matched by very few. Sproul is like a more theologically orthodox version of C. S. Lewis in this regard. The illustrations are always helpful, and the chapters are quite brief, making this book ideal for the layman looking for an entry into the (sometimes intimidating) field of systematic theology.

Systematic theology, when done well, must take a lot of things into consideration. It must be biblically based, philosophically sound, and historically informed. Very few texts strike the right balance. If Everyone's a Theologian has a weakness, it is that it doesn't contain much substantive interaction with Scripture. Sproul is responsible in his use of prooftexts and prefers relevance over quantity when citing Scripture (both improvements over many other systematics texts), however, there isn't much in the way of biblical exegesis. A few more footnotes would have been appreciated as well (though, I'm probably in the minority with this complaint).

Overall, one could hardly ask for a better short introduction to systematic theology. Highly recommended.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

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