Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Ligoner Ministries’ Category

This year is the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation when Martin Luther on October 31st 1517 nailed the 95 theses.

I found out that Amazon Videos has a video series by RC Sproul for free for those who have Amazon Prime titled “Luther and the Reformation.”

Here’s the video description from Amazon:

(more…)

Read Full Post »

what_did_jesus_do_rc-sproul-amazon-prime

 

I’m excited by what I found this evening!  For those of you who have Amazon Prime Ligoner Ministries have made a teaching series by RC Sproul available titled “What Did Jesus Do?: Understanding the Work of Christ.”  It is a series of Twelve 23-Minute Messages. with over 4 Hours of Teaching.  On their website they sell the DVD series for over 40 dollars so if you have Amazon Prime this is something edifying and worthwhile.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

What is The Church By RC Sproul

R.C. Sproul. What is the Church?  Sanford, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, October 7th, 2013. 82 pp.

            I picked this book out to go over for a study for a small group since I wanted to review the basics of ecclesiology that was concise and Reformed.  I was also hoping to glean from this book anything helpful as I was also preparing to preach for a retreat on the topic of the church.  The author R.C Sproul is someone I esteem very highly and he is more than capable in writing on this topic.  However I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed with this particular book even though I found his other works in his Crucial Question Series to be quite helpful.  This short book has nine chapter in which some of them could have been made into one.  For instance I felt the first two chapters could have been combined together.  Some of the chapters were so short that I was surprised to find I was done with them even though I was just getting started!  There were some chapters that didn’t have a single Bible verse in support of the discussion.  Sproul has a chapter on the servants of the Lord and I wished he could have addressed the topic of serving in the church more practically.  Upon further reflection after completing the book I think the book as a whole could have been more practical.  Sproul did have a helpful discussion in his final chapter about the marks of a true church.  I agree with Sproul that a true church must preach the Gospel but I had a harder time with Sproul’s position that an essential element of a true church include the fact that it must practice church discipline.  Now don’t get me wrong I believe in the importance of the local church carrying out discipline but I do think it is possible that a church struggle to implement church disciple and still remain a church.  In the end I would still say this book is still worth getting despite the drawbacks I’ve mentioned although I would also encourage people to read other works on the church alongside this book.  Given how Sproul has made this book and others like it in the Crucial Question series free on Kindle, what’s holding you back?

Purchase: Amazon

Read Full Post »

This is a good interview of RC Sproul by his son RC Sproul Jr. on the issue of abortion and also about Sproul’s book on abortion.

It is a 23 minutes interview.

Read Full Post »

 

Sproul Theology

Introduction

I was unable to attend RC Sproul’s session at the Inerrancy Summit.  After Sproul’s message there were several guys at the Conference that asked me what I thought about Sproul’s swipe against Presuppositional apologetics.

I finally got to see the video and if you want to see it yourself the video is below:

I thought it was ironic that Sproul spoke out against Presuppositional apologetics at the Inerrancy Summit in which many of the other speakers and audience subscribe to Presuppositionalism.

In what follows I can only give a quick response to Sproul’s objection found within the first eight minutes.  However, I think the brief summary written here does pose serious challenges to Sproul’s objections to Presuppositionalism.

 

Issue #1: Did Sproul accurately represent Presuppositional apologetics’ argument?

Sproul’s discussion of Presuppositionalism first identified two proponents of Presuppositionalism: Gordon Clark and Cornelius Van Til.  Keep this in mind as we want to see his description and criticism of Presuppositional apologetics being relevant to these two men rather than some random Internet keyboard warrior.

Sproul goes on to level his first charge against Presuppositional apologetics by giving what he claimed was the Presuppositionalist’s argument:

 

P1: The Bible is the Word of God

P2: The Bible claims to be the Word of God.

Conclusion: The Bible is the Word of God.

 

Then Sproul charged Presuppositionalists for being circular on the basis that the above is the Presuppositionalists argument.  However, did Gordon Clark and Van Til argue in this way?

Clark definitely wouldn’t have presented the above argument.  That’s because Clark’s apologetics is more axiomatic in his approach.  Note Clark stated “Our axiom shall be, God has spoken. More completely, God has spoken in the Bible. More precisely, what the Bible says, God has spoken.”[1]  In the same essay Clark also clarified how “axioms” cannot be proven: “But the axioms are never deduced. They are assumed without proof.”[2]  If something cannot be proven than by definition it can’t be “argued” for (moving from one premise to another), since it is merely assumed.  And assuming something is different than arguing for something.

If Sproul is talking about Van Til’s approach here it seems that Van Til is actually more complex than presented.  The closest I can see Van Til saying something approximating with what Sproul claim of how Presuppositionalist argues is with the following quote below:

To admit one’s own presuppositions and to point out the presuppositions of others is therefore to maintain that all reasoning is, in the nature of the case, circular reasoning. The starting-point, the method, and the conclusion are always involved in one another.”[3]

While admitting the role of presuppositions and worldviews makes things “circular” in one’s reasoning as in the sense of it being in one’ system of beliefs, Van Til elsewhere has also shared the kind of argumentation needed to get around this potential impasse:

The Christian apologist must place himself upon the position of his opponent, assuming the correctness of his method merely for argument’s sake, in order to show him that on such a position the “facts” are not facts and the “laws” are not laws. He must also ask the non-Christian to place himself upon the Christian position for argument’s sake in order that he may be shown that only upon such a basis do “facts” and “laws” appear intelligible.[4]

Note here that Van Til’s argument is not merely providing “The Bible claims to be the Word of God” as a second premise.  There is a lot more going on here.

 

Issue #2: Circular reasoning

We have noted above that Sproul did not do the best job representing the argument of the Presuppositionalist.  With this straw man argument Sproul also fault the Presuppositional apologist for committing circular reasoning.  Sproul notes that the Presuppositionalists are not bothered with this since they say all reasoning are circular.  He counters this by asserting “Circular reasoning invalidate any argument.” But if circular reasoning invalidate any argument, can Sproul give further argumentation proving that this is true?  And after he provides this argument can Sproul also provide additional supporting arguments which in turn be supported with additional round of arguments, etc?  If one truly believes circular reasoning invalidates every argument then Sproul would need to ground every premise with an argument to be rational and here Sproul would be caught in an infinite regress.  I would also encourage the readers to read this article that further address the issue: Is Circular Reasoning Always Fallacious?

 

Issue #3: Presuppositionalists commit a fallacy of equivocation?

Sproul also fault Presuppositionalists who argues “All arguments are circular” as commiting the fallacy of equivocation in that they change the definition of circularity within the discussion.  Sproul’s assertion raises several questions: Where did the Presuppositionalists changed the definition of circularity during the discussion?  If there is equivocation going on, what are the multiple different meanings of circularity being used by the Presuppositionalists?  Sproul is obligated to demonstrate that there really is the fallacy of equivocation being committed and not merely assert it.

Those who are more familiar with Presuppositional apologetics will note that Van Til does talk about vicious circularity and broader circularity but the Presuppositionalists are not using those two terms equivocally since they are not switch-referencing the term “circularity.”  Note also as well that just because Presuppositionalists sees different kinds of circularity that does not mean that the meaning of circuliarity itself is being changed.  Rather the distinction between vicious and non-vicious circularity are seen by presuppositionalists as two different subset of circularity BUT NOT as two different meanings of circularity.  I must note the obviously: Presuppositionalists wouldn’t want to equivocate the two kinds of circularity anyways lest they want to make all circularity equally fallacious (Sproul’s view, and a view which he acknoweldge is not that of the Presuppositionalists) or equally virtuous (which would make the endeavor of apologetics pointless if every circular argument is right).  Sproul’s charge of an equivocation fallacy is unfounded.

 

Issue #4: What about other religious Scriptures?

According to Sproul anyone could make such claim that their book is the book of God such as the Book of Mormon and the Quran.  He seems to be bringing this objection as a defeater to the Presuppositionalist’s commitment to the Bible as the Word of God in their apologetics.  This is where Sproul’s misrepresentation of the way Presuppositionalists argues brings obstacles to the discussion rather than help it.  If Presuppositionalists merely claim that the Bible claim to be the Word of God and therefore it is, then the defeaters with the example of other religious scripture might work.  However, the Presuppositionalists view of Clark and Van Til include the element of examining the other worldview and demonstrating how they are internally problematic.  In fact, one can adequately counter both Mormonism and Islam within a Presuppositionalists’ framework.  For an example on Mormonism see my review of Presuppositional Apologetics Examines Mormonism: How Van Til’s Apologetic Refutes Mormon Theology by Mike Robinson.  Concerning Islam see my outline WITNESSING TO MUSLIMS: THE QURANIC VIEW OF THE BIBLE.

 

Issue #5: What does Sproul believe is self-evidencing?

I want to turn the tables around.  As a presuppositionalist I am aware that everybody presupposes something in their belief system that is so foundational it is taken as self-evidencing.  Of course people disagree with what truths are self-evidencing.  Sproul hinted at what he thinks is self-evidencing:

“Obviously if it were God speaking and we heard his voice directly from his lips we won’t have to construct to have an argument to defend his infallibility or his inerrancy because we know that God is incapable of deceit and lying.”

Apparently sensation of the supernatural physically taken place is self-evidencing enough in Sproul’s view to establish that God did speak and that God is incapable of deceit and lies.  “Obviously.”  That’s Sproul’s own words.  Sproul brings this up in juxtaposition to his objection to the Presuppositionalists view that the Bible’s claim for itself is sufficiently self-evidencing.  So we see here that on the one hand the supernatural hearing of God speaking audibly is obviously self-evidencingly while the Bible claims as God’s Word is not as obviously self-evidencing.  Does the Scripture support Sproul’s perspective?

Jesus in Luke 16:31 tells a story in which Abraham tells someone how to weigh the evidential value between the miraculous with the Scriptures: “‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

[1] See more at: http://trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=50#sthash.73rgGFRo.dpuf

[2] Ibid.

[3]  Cornelius Van Til, Apologetics, Chapter 4.

[4] Van Til, Defense of the Faith, Third Edition, 100-101.

 

Read Full Post »

THe Gospel Focus of Spurgeon

This book is part of a series by Ligonier Ministries called “A Long Line of Godly Men Profile.”  I’ve enjoyed other books in this series and this one also live up to my expectation.  The author Steve Lawson himself is an excellent Reformed preacher which makes the book insightful since this is a biography of a preacher by a preacher.  In the beginning of the book Lawson made an interesting point of the line of godly men in the Reformed tradition: “If John Calvin was the greatest theologian of the church, Jonathan Edwards the greatest philosopher, and George Whitefield the greatest evangelist, Spurgeon surely ranks as its greatest preacher” (1).  Spurgeon is often called today “the Prince of Preachers,” who faithfully preached the Gospel with much power of the Holy Spirit for nearly four decades.

This biography is not just about time and dates in Spurgeon’s life but a biography of his theology.  After the first chapter on Spurgeon’s life and legacy, the rest of the chapters was on how his theology drove Spurgeon’s ministry.  I especially appreciated the chapter on Sovereign grace in Spurgeon’s preaching and also the chapter on Spurgeon’s evangelistic fervor.

I learned several things from the book about Spurgeon’s life that I did not know previously.  For instance, I did not know Spurgeon did not have any formal theological training, having not attended any seminary or degrees yet he was quite theologically astute.  Before reading the book I knew Spurgeon was a ferocious reader and I now further appreciate Spurgeon’s tenacity in self-education!  I saw as application for preachers today is to continuously grow in one’s theology and not just resort to thinking one need not grow just because of one’s “success” in ministry or because of a theological degree one has attained in the past.

I’ve also learned that Spurgeon founded the Pastor’s College at the age of twenty two, which is all the more remarkable given his lack of formal theological education.  The book also mentioned how for the first fifteen years of the school Spurgeon himself covered the cost of the school by the sales of his weekly sermon.  There is something encouraging to see a man who is so committed to training up godly and biblical pastors that he puts his own money and time into it.

I was also much encouraged by Spurgeon’s example when I learned how often Spurgeon preached during the week.  Lawson stated in the book that Spurgeon preached as much as ten times during the week.  My favorite quote from Spurgeon in the book is the following: “We find ourselves able to preach ten or twelve times a week, and we find we are the stronger for it…‘Oh,’ said one of the members, ‘our minister will kill himself.’…That is the kind of work that will kill no man.  It is preaching to sleepy congregations that kill good ministers” (14).

I recommend this book for all Christians, given how Spurgeon is so widely read still today.  I especially recommend this book for Pastors to be rekindled as a preacher to have a Gospel focus like Spurgeon.  Sometimes historical theology can be quite edifying when we want examples of godly men and virtues of guys who are closer to us than those who are far removed from our time.  The author did a good job balancing honoring Spurgeon while not idolizing him, and Lawson is able to do this in the book by looking at Spurgeon’s theology, which points us towards Jesus, the Gospel and the Bible.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

Read Full Post »

free-ebook_620_08Aug2014-SurprisedBySufferingLigoner Ministry has made available for free R. C. Sproul’s book on Suffering for the month of August!  Here is the book’s description from their website:

In Surprised by Suffering, R.C. Sproul argues that we should expect pain and sorrow in this life. Some are actually called to a “vocation” of suffering, and all of us are called to undergo the ultimate suffering of death. God promises in His Word that difficult times will come upon us, but He also promises that He allows suffering for our good and His glory, and He will never give us more than we can bear with His help.

Surprised by Suffering offers biblical counsel and comfort for those undergoing suffering and for those who minister to the suffering, counsel that can help believers stand in times of trial with faith in a God who is both loving and good.

You can get download the book in the following three format:

Read Full Post »