Review of “Everyone’s a Theologian” by RC Sproul (Sanford: Reformation Trust, 2014)
I had the pleasure of reading Everyone’s a Theologian by celebrated teacher R. C. Sproul. This relatively short book provides a brief treatment of all of the traditional loci of Systematic Theology. In this review, I am intentionally avoiding discussion regarding specific theological points and will instead focus on style.
As anyone who has both listened to Sproul on Renewing Your Mind and read any of his books knows, Sproul is nothing if not consistent. Having read many of the Crucial Questions Series books, and having been a longtime podcaster of RYM, many of the examples and even specific phrases are repeated. This made the read somewhat tedious for me, but would not be an issue for someone who has not followed Sproul as extensively as I have.
An apt way to summarize this book is that Sproul basically took each of the CQS entries, compiled them into a single volume, and pressed print. Each chapter is a brief and digestible portion of Systematic theology, and would be approachable by a first time reader. However, the lack of footnotes or references makes this a less than favorable choice for the reader who wishes to use this as a launch pad for further studies.
Sproul’s characteristic wit and winsom style is present throughout the book, and it leaves the reader feeling as though he just got a lesson from grandpa about the nature of sin, the hypostatic union, or the role of the sacraments. I say this not as a slam… but to show my affection and gratitude for the paternal role that Sproul has played in my own spiritual and theological (as if those are not the same thing) development.
Because of that affection, it does pain me to write this last paragraph. The phrasing of certain aspects of his Triadology and Christology raise grave concerns for me, and because of this I cannot in good conscience recommend this book to its intended audience. The pastor recommending this book to a lay reader would be wise to closely attend to the conclusions regarding the nature of who God is, and the nature of the person of Christ that their congregation member comes to. The most favorable light I can paint it in is that Sproul chooses several unfortunate ways to phrase things, and this phrasing would likely lead a lay theologian to heavy Sebellian and Nestorian conclusions.