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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, Not Quite a Classic,
This review is from: The Holiness of God (Paperback)Many have commented that this book by RC Sproul represents the pinnacle work of Sproul's illustrious publishing career. Some have heralded this book as being a contemporary classic. I must respectfully dissent from both views. While I certainly hold Sproul in high regard and consider this particular book to be very good, it could have been a little better.
It is important to emphasize that this book has many more strengths than weaknesses. Sproul's discourse on the immensity, from a finite perspective, of contemplating the holiness and 'otherness' of God is outstanding and should be required reading in churches all over America. American evangelicalism has gotten increasingly soft in the opinion of many (me included), with great emphasis being paid to human abilities and worshipping a God of love that is devoid of justice. Sproul squarely and correctly provides much needed balance in this book on these questions. God is sovereign, He is infinite, He is eternal, and He is holy - we are none of these things. It would serve the body of Christ well to sincerely take some time to contemplate these things so that the American church can hopefully return to a very clear theology about who God is, who we are, and who needs who in this scenario.
Sproul's analysis of the trials and tribulations of Martin Luther is also outstanding. It's amazing to me that many everyday Protestants know almost nothing about the most prominent figure of the Reformation, what he believed, what he espoused, and what his theological and personal struggles were. Luther is not God, but He 'wrestled' with God in many ways over the deepest questions of life. Woe to the American church that we don't have many more people willing and wanting to be like Luther in this respect - choosing instead a surface level faith that is blissfully indifferent to the gravity of these issues. I thought Sproul did a wonderful job in contrasting Luther's insatiable hunger for better knowing the things of God with the current yawning condition of the modern church.
Sproul also provides good material on God's justice, His wrath, and how such things cannot be divorced from His love and mercy. His treatment of the interesting similarities of God's dealings with Jacob, Moses, Job, and Paul is very insightful.
Despite these many strengths, I am compelled to give the book 4 stars for two main reasons. First, Sproul's chapter on the 'difficult' passages of the Old Testament struck me as a bit inadequate. More verses could have been analyzed, and the analysis itself could have been significantly more exhaustive. Sproul is correct that the difficult commandments of God in the Old Testament represent a formidable stumbling block for many. But I didn't think that Sproul's analysis did much to address them. Secondly, I felt that Sproul took way too much liberty in his interpretations of Biblical texts and events. Some no doubt disagree, but I don't think it's a good interpretational technique to take a passage of Scripture and recast it in different language in our efforts to prove a point. This type of practice really lends itself to strawman arguments and fundamental misinterpretation. Sproul did this throughout the book, and I often found myself asking, "How does he know the inner thoughts of the writers, or the unwritten aspects of the event in question, etc". I have always thought that it is much better to interpret Scripture in light of what Scripture says, rather than relying on our own ability to theorize about what Scripture does not say and then using those theories to advance some point. Going beyond what Scripture says is every bit as dangerous as ignoring what Scripture does say. Does Sproul do this here? Maybe, maybe not. The point is that he leaves himself open to this charge when he didn't have to.
Overall, I would certainly recommend the book due to its many strengths. But readers should be careful to test Sproul's slangish translations of Scripture and event theorization in light of the Word of God, because this is a real disappointment of the book. Slangish translations of Scripture are common among those theologians who don't hold to the plenary (word for word) inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture and instead hold to an inspiration of concepts and big ideas. This view gives them wiggle room to play around with the actual words of Scripture. I would argue that a theologian who holds to plenary level inspiration should not be taking liberty with the text the way that Sproul does here. As a result, his translations should be meticulously scrutinized by the reader for faithfulness to the text. A very good book, but not perfect.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful, Yet Not Perfect, Discourse on God's Holiness.,
This review is from: The Holiness of God (Paperback)Sproul's "The Holiness of God", although occasionally disagreeable, is a recommended reading for all Christians. Sproul emphasizes the tremendous gulf between the human and the divine, all the while offering a sobering analysis of God's holiness and righteousness.
My only major criticism is that Sproul occasionally wanders back and forth without concluding his point. Sometimes it feels like his book has little direction. Also, due to Sproul's catholic and Calvinist leanings, there are a few things I disagree with. For example, Sproul seems to believe in preordination, which I think is quite unbiblical. However, despite a few areas of contention, I found Sproul's work to be very rewarding. Reflecting on God's holiness, power, and righteousness is very important yet often overlooked. I would recommend this book to all Christians wishing to advance in their spiritual journey.
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Timing,
This review is from: The Holiness of God (Paperback)I was surprised how fast the book came and the quality that it arrived in. It is a great book, worthy to read twice if not more.
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book on a neglected subject,
This review is from: The Holiness of God (Paperback)This book has two basic features. The first is the subject matter. Holiness is a neglected concept today and this book will make you think. The second feature is the 12th grade reading level. You will not have your intelligence insulted by this book. It is intended for the general public and not theologians. Therefore, there are no obscure technical terms. There are numerous illustrations from history.
5.0 out of 5 stars Sproul's best book!,
This review is from: The Holiness of God (Paperback)Sproul is one of the best expositors when it comes to scripture. Here he shows how important it is to know the holiness of God. He shows the great distinction between the Creator and the created. You'll find yourself more thankful toward God who deserves it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight in God's nature,
This review is from: The Holiness of God (Paperback)R.C. Sproul may be the best Christian writer going today. Although he doesn't get the kind of press that others like Lucado and Wilkinson do, his writing is vastly superior and far more Biblical.
The Holiness of God is full of eye-opening insights into the inconceivable holy nature of God and consequently our sinful state. In a very practical way, Sproul provides mere glimpses (that's all we can really get anyway) of just how holy God is. At the same time, he refuses to avoid the difficult topics (like suffering and evil) that many feel-good, politically-correct religionists do. When we consider the awesomeness of God it will force us to look at ourselves and see exactly how far we are from Him.
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy, Holy, Holy,
This review is from: The Holiness of God (Paperback)You many never sing the song "Holy, Holy, Holy" in the same way again. This book gives us a glimpse of the holiness of God. If you can get the audio tape series, listen to that as well. I have enjoyed many of RC Sproul's books and tapes. This book does not disappoint. With the angels, let us say "holy, holy, holy".
5.0 out of 5 stars God is always greater!,
This review is from: The Holiness of God (Paperback)The Church Fathers had a motto, "God is always greater!" Sproul writes about an awesome holy God who is bigger and greater than anything humans can ever contain. Reading this book started a life long quest of studying and honoring the awesomeness, the terror, and the absolute Holiness of God.
5.0 out of 5 stars The missing link in modern Christianity,
This review is from: The Holiness of God (Paperback)Not just within Christianity, but within religion as a whole. This book is probably the finest theology book I have ever read on one of the most critical subjects that has simply gone by the wayside in the past several decades. Sproul is on par with, and sometimes surpasses C.S. Lewis. This book is like a kick in the head as far as restoring a biblical sense to the relationship between God and man. Everyone talks about God's love, but no one wants to talk about his holiness ... no one except R.C. Sproul who does it so eloquently.
5.0 out of 5 stars The missing link in modern Christianity,
This review is from: The Holiness of God (Paperback)Not just within Christianity, but within religion as a whole. This book is probably the finest theology book I have ever read on one of the most critical subjects that has simply gone by the wayside in the past several decades. Sproul is on par with, ans sometimes surpasses C.S. Lewis. This book Is like a kick in the head as far as restoring a biblical sense to the relationship between God and man. Everyone talks about God's love, but no one wants to talk about his holiness .. no one except R.C. Sproul who does it so elequently.
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The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul (Paperback - June 22 2000)
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