The Crucial Questions Series, published by Reformation Trust, is a compact, five-volume series that introduces some of R.C. Sproul's writing in a new format. The first volume, Who is Jesus?, is solidly grounded in Scripture from the start in its presentation of Christ, yet it weaves other historical data throughout. It gives helpful insight into familiar titles for Jesus, such as Son of Man and Logos. The book tackles the Virgin Birth, the law of causality, and the whole realm of the miraculous. The concluding section on the significance of Christ's ascension was excellent, the implications of which are not often taught at any depth.
Volume 2 of the series, Can I Trust the Bible?, is Dr. Sproul's commentary on the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy. In the volume on prayer, Does Prayer Change Things?, there is a helpful discussion of human freedom vs. human autonomy and divine sovereignty. There is also a brief exegesis of the Lord's Prayer, some encouragements to prayer, as well as some reasons for frustration in prayer, and a reminder of the conditions for answered prayer.
The question of whether a Christian can know God's will is addressed in the fourth volume titled, Can I Know God's Will? Dr. Spoul begins by explaining what is meant by the decretive will of God, the preceptive will of God, and God's will of disposition. He then illustrates how these three work themselves out in biblical interpretation, and gives an analogy from the judicial system. Under the heading “Knowing the Will of God for Our Lives,” I found it interesting that Sproul states, “. . . I find the practical question of the will of God pressing on my mind quite frequently. I doubt a fortnight passes that I am not seriously engaged by the question of whether I am doing what God wants me to do at this point in my life.” This is followed by a detailed look at man's will: is it free? If so, in what sense? How is it related to God's sovereignty?
In the last book of the series, How Should I Live in This World?, the following premise is put forth: ethical decisions affect every area of life. It then goes on to answer the question of how these decisions are made. Chapter One opens with an explanation of the historical distinction between ethics and morals, and contrasts the humanistic model of ethics with the Christian ethic: “God calls us out of the indicative by His imperative. Ours is a call to nonconformity – to a transforming ethic that shatters the status quo” (p. 5). Dr. Sproul illustrates the inconsistency of relativism, using the example of the moral and Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. He explains what is meant by an “ethical continuum,” or degrees of sin and righteousness, giving examples from church history and scripture. Other topics include the authority behind ethics and the sovereignty of God; the difference between freedom and autonomy, and between legalism and antinomianism; and the pros and cons of situation ethics. The specific ethical questions of war, abortion, capital punishment and materialism are also covered. The book concludes with a chapter on ethics and conscience.
R.C. Sproul has a unique gift for making intimidating topics accessible to a wide audience, and this series is an excellent example. – Pam Glass, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
No person in history has provoked such widely divergent assessments as Jesus of Nazareth. Some say He was a cunning fraud, while others say He must have been out of His mind. In many cases His story is altered to suit the fancies of those seeking to make Him an ally for a host of militant causes.
However, as Dr. R. C. Sproul points out in this Crucial Questions booklet, there is compelling evidence that Jesus was something more-that He was, in fact, God in the flesh. By wrestling with the biblical titles for Jesus and the accounts of His life and ministry, Dr. Sproul unfolds the scriptural portrait of Jesus, the Son of God.