• Is God disappointed in our mistakes or disobedience? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: My skin crawls when I hear sin described as “a mistake.” That language we’ve been taught to use is the politically-correct language of our day: “I made a mistake.” You make a mistake when you add two and two and come up with five. There are moral implications of that because of the noetic effects of sin, but a mistake does not carry the full, moral weight of a willful act of disobedience against a holy, perfect, and righteous God. We grieve the Holy Spirit, even in our redeemed state, by our sins. I don’t think the Lord is … View Resource

  • Are you hopeful for another spiritual awakening in our day? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: I’m a Calvinist—how can I not be hopeful? I see all kinds of encouraging signs of the revitalization of the church in our own day. At the same time, on the other side of the spectrum, we see dreadful decay in the life of the church. There are so many things being eclipsed that are vital to the truth of Christianity, but you have to have a scope beyond the United States. Worldwide, I see all kinds of resurgence of powerful Christianity, and I’m encouraged by it. THOMAS: I have just read a brand new biography of Luther, and … View Resource

  • May Christians vote for a presidential candidate who denies the Trinity? Question and Answer

    Proverbs 14:34

    SPROUL: If I required real belief in the triune God for the president of a secular state, I really would be disenfranchised. I wouldn’t be able to vote, period. It’s very rare to have an authentic Christian up for election in this secular state. There have been times in the past where I’ve seen believing Christians run against pagans for the highest office in the land, but the pagan’s policies have been more in keeping with biblical policies of government than the Christian’s. So, I look at whether the policies of the candidate are essentially compatible with the fundamental precepts … View Resource

  • How has your book Surprised by Suffering helped you to face your own health challenges? Question and Answer

    Psalms 23

    There are lots of people who’ve suffered a whole lot more than I have in the last year, but I have had some serious health issues in the last year. I have been reminded frequently of my own work in that book Surprised by Suffering, and I go back to my own advice that I gave to others and give it to myself. On a practical level, one of my favorite daily experiences is to pray the 23rd Psalm because I have to remember who I am, who God is, that He is my Shepherd, and therefore there’s no reason … View Resource

  • Does the doctrine of total depravity teach that we have lost the image of God? Question and Answer

    Total depravity teaches that the fallenness of our condition affects the radix, the core of our being. It’s a radical thing. There is no part of our humanity that has not been profoundly affected by the fall and by sin. The mind, the heart, the will, the body—the whole person, in totality, has been radically affected by sin. But that affectation does not destroy or annihilate the image of God. In Noah’s time, God instituted capital punishment for first-degree murder because the person who murders another human being does so to a human being who is made in the image … View Resource

  • Are we living in the end times described in the book of Revelation? Question and Answer

    Matthew 24:34

    Yes and no. Lest you think I’ve fallen into neo-orthodoxy and paradoxical theology, let me explain. In one sense, everything that takes place after the ascension of Christ takes place in the end times. The end times started in the New Testament. We’re still in the end times. Now, I presume you’re asking whether we are at the end of the end times so that we are coming close to the return of Jesus as it was set forth in the book of Revelation. One of the big questions in understanding and interpreting the book of Revelation is tied to … View Resource

  • How can we defend the doctrine of sola Scriptura using Scripture? Question and Answer

    John 7:16

    So often it’s been said that if you argue from the Bible to the infallibility of Scripture, or the inerrancy of the Bible, or the inspiration of Scripture, then you’re caught in the bonds of a vicious circle. We know that circular reasoning is an informal fallacy, which invalidates an argument. If you reason from Scripture this way and say, “The Bible claims to be the Word of God since it is the Word of God,” then the claim that it is the Word of God must be an unassailable truth. That would be traveling in the worst of all … View Resource

  • What does it mean that “by His wounds we are healed”? Question and Answer

    Isaiah 53

    Whether healing is in the atonement is clear in terms of Isaiah 53: it is. But when that healing takes place is a matter of great debate. There are many people who claim this passage to mean that because the atonement has already been rendered by Christ and He’s offered that healing, then we should not, as Christians, ever suffer any kind of affliction or sickness. That is on a collision course with everything the New Testament teaches about the suffering of the saints in this life, concerning both disease and affliction, prior to glory. When we get to glory, … View Resource

  • Should our worship services be designed for Christians or non-Christians? Question and Answer

    The church is designed as the body of Christ. The sanctuary on Sunday morning is specifically a place for the people of God to come together for corporate worship, for the study of the Apostolic Word, and to make use of the sacraments and the other means of grace. Of course, unbelievers are welcome to attend. But the minute you design worship for the unbeliever, you’ve missed the whole point of biblical worship. That’s a very dangerous tendency we’re seeing today. This transcript is from an Ask R.C. Live event with R.C. SproulView Resource

  • Can sound theology become an idol in my life? Question and Answer

    THOMAS: It’s possible to make an idol of anything, including your perceived knowledge of doctrine. The issue here is the way in which doctrine impacts the whole of our being, both head and heart. There are Christians who are all head. They’re cerebral. They know stuff and they like to argue stuff. They like to win apologetic battles and epistemological battles, but there’s no heart. There’s no life of prayer. There’s no repentance. There’s no confession of sin. There’s no pleading with God. B.B. Warfield, at the inception of Princeton Seminary, wrote about the importance of maintaining good and regular … View Resource

  • Which of the Bible’s teachings do you find most difficult to accept? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: Probably the hardest doctrine of the Bible to accept is hell, for the obvious reason that it is so difficult for any human being to think about the idea of everlasting punishment on anybody. There’s just a human struggle with it. I don’t have a difficult time accepting the doctrine of hell because I believe the Bible teaches it and our Lord taught it, so I believe it. It’s not difficult as far as whether the data is there to support it, but the emotional feeling attached to it is difficult. THOMAS: I believe in male headship. I believe … View Resource

  • Did believers in the Old Testament have a complete understanding of the Trinity? Question and Answer

    Deuteronomy 6:4

    SPROUL: I don’t think the average New Testament Christian is able to gain a complete understanding of the Trinity. I suppose that what you mean is, “Can you find the Trinity in the Old Testament?” I think you have to be careful about how you understand the Old Testament. The Old Testament, in a progressive fashion, points us to a fuller revelation that comes forth in the New Testament. I don’t think it’s foreign to the Old Testament. It’s the old statement that the New is in the Old concealed, and the Old is in the New revealed. THOMAS: This … View Resource

  • Since Jesus is God, who is a Spirit, how can Christ also be human? Question and Answer

    When we say that Jesus is God, we have to be very careful to qualify what we mean. We mean, when we say that Jesus is God, that Jesus has a divine nature—but He also has a human nature. Obviously, His human nature is not part of His deity; it’s a manifestation of His humanity. There are two problems that arise when we deal with the question of the Trinity and the incarnation. The classic formulation for the Trinity is this: God is one in essence, but three in person, that is, the three persons of the Godhead—the Father, the … View Resource

  • Do Christians go immediately to heaven when they die? Question and Answer

    Philippians 1:23-24

    Historically, classical Christian theology speaks of what we call the status intermedius, or the intermediate state. That has to do with where we go immediately upon death, as distinguished from our state after the final resurrection. This is what the New Testament indicates when Paul says that it was more needful for him to stay here for us, but to depart and be with Christ would be far better (Phil. 1:23–24). He indicates that, as soon as we die, our souls go immediately into the presence of Christ. In the intermediate state, however, we are disembodied souls. We won’t have … View Resource

  • Should Christians study philosophy? Question and Answer

    Colossians 2:8

    When I was a philosophy major myself as an undergraduate in college, I received all kinds of flak from my Christian friends who thought it was a leap into godlessness to busy my mind with “godless philosophy.” There was no end to the citations from the sacred Scripture saying, “Beware of godless philosophy” (Col. 2:8). But I came to the conclusion that you can’t beware of something if you’re not first aware of it.I talk about having been converted to Christ in my freshman year of college. That was the most significant event in my life. I was … View Resource