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Clay5 Stars Out Of 5Fight of the Century?February 3, 2018ClayQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5A review of Willing to Believe: Understanding the Role of the Human Will in Salvation
by R. C. Sproul
The greatest pugilistic event of the last century was the Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali fight on March 8th, 1971. In the theological world, one of the greatest standoffs between two theologians was between Saint Augustine and Pelagius in the 5th century CE. The controversy created by the teaching of Pelagius, and the denunciation of that teaching by Augustine, would have far-reaching consequences.
Sproul details the controversy in the specific area of man's will and salvation. He then goes on to show how the division between the two men had long-lasting repercussions for the following centuries.
Not only Augustine and Pelagius got into the "ring" to duke it out over the theology of sin and man's will, but later Luther would debate Erasmus, and Calvin would debate critics of the Augustinian position in his day. Jonathan Edwards would pick up the fight on this side of the Atlantic at a later date.
Much of the controversy was not over a "pure" form of Pelagianism, but over what has become known as semi-Pelagianism. That debate continues today, according to Sproul, in the works of Finney and Chafer, who he says represent a semi-Pelagian position.
The book concludes with a detailed timeline for the life of each individual mentioned, and a list of works by and about each.
Reading the arguments is much like watching a quick-handed boxer. You need to pay close attention to what is happening in the text. Sproul is apt to use Latin phrases and dense theological language requiring thorough concentration. This book is not for novice theologians who want a quick, easy read. However, it will benefit those who take the time to read and carefully digest the contents.
Baker was kind enough to provide me a copy of the e-version of the book for my unbiased review.
mjohn11Huntsville, ALAge: 25-34Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5July 20, 2012mjohn11Huntsville, ALAge: 25-34Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Excellent book! A bit more technical in its theology, but yet an edifying book. For an easier to read book by the same author on the same subject, try Chosen by God by RC Sproul
pamela cowles5 Stars Out Of 5December 16, 2007pamela cowlesR. C. sets all the propositions of evangelical thought on the will 4th-21st century. This book answers the question what is man able to do in salvation, whether salvation is all of God alone or a cooperative effort between God and man. This is a much bigger issue than many think because it has to do with whether man is justified by Christ alone or if man has a part in his own justification. What man is and is not capable of doing has great bearing on all the doctrines of grace.
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