October 23, 2013

Deserted Island Top 5: R.C. Sproul

Stephen Nichols & R.C. Sproul
Deserted Island Top 5: R.C. Sproul


Stephen Nichols (SN): Welcome back to another episode of 5 Minutes in Church History. We have a very special episode for you today. Today I am joined by none other than Dr. R.C. Sproul. So first let me just say welcome, Dr. Sproul.

R.C. Sproul (RC): Thank you, Steve. It's great to be with you as always.

SN: I'm glad to have you on our show. Well, I thought for our show together we would like to have you share with our listeners, since it's 5 Minutes in Church History, what would be your top 5 books in church history? Now let me sort of paint the picture for you. We'll have you on a deserted island, and this is not your average island. This island already comes equipped with the Bible, and it comes equipped with Calvin's Institutes, so apparently the exiles who had been here before you were rather theologically literate. So we've got the Bible, we've got Calvin's Institutes, we've got the works of Edwards, and we'll even throw in the works of Augustine. So beyond that, what five books would you want to take with you to this deserted island?

RC: Well, the first one I'd like to have Steve is "How to Survive on a Deserted Island." No, you cheated. You already took my favorite books, so now I have to think about other ones! Well, I would certainly take Luther's Bondage of the Will because that made a tremendous impact on me, and I've read it probably four times and I really like that book. I would also include one that most laymen probably wouldn't be interested in and that's the Elenctic Theology by Turretin, the whole three volumes of that. It's had a great impact on my life. I think he was the highpoint of Protestant scholasticism. I know there's a lot of negativity towards that, but I appreciate it.

SN: And Turretin had an impact on generations—on Edwards!

RC: Well, on Edwards?—He was the primary teacher for Hodge and Warfield at old Princeton.

SN: This was the standard text for centuries.

RC: Yes, it was.

SN: Alright, so we've got Luther, Bondage of the Will, we've got Turretin—all three volumes.

RC: Yes. Another one that may be surprising to you is The Coming of the Kingdom by Herman Ridderbos. Which I think is a brilliant treatment of the issues that emerged in nineteenth-century liberalism and carried over into the twentieth century within the framework of the biblical concept of the kingdom of God. I refer to that book frequently. Now there's another little book that I love dearly called, The Principles of Conduct by John Murray. Which I think is one of the finest works on Christian ethics that I've read. Another one close to that is A Christian View of Men and Things by Gordon Clark. That's also been one of those things that I've enjoyed. This is hard for me to do off the top of my head. People have asked me that before and I usually list on there Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by Ben Hogan.

SN: I don't know how big your island is. Maybe one hole; I don't know if you'd get in any more than that. You know, I've heard you in the past too, and have read were you have talked about Jeremiah Burroughs.

RC: O, I love Jeremiah Burroughs. Gospel Fear, Gospel Worship. Those two are my favorites of his.

SN: That's great. Well, thank you Dr. Sproul. We've got at least five books there. Now, any visitor to this island—there's another catch here I should have told you this—but any visitor to this island, especially if they're an author, they need to leave one of their books behind. Now you've got about eighty to choose from and growing. So, pick one that you need to leave behind.

RC: I'd have to pick The Holiness of God. That's the one that's had the greatest impact that I know of. And it's the one that best expresses my heartbeat and my concern that we have a revival of understanding of the transcendent majesty of God.

SN: And it's a book itself that pulls from some wonderful church history books, from Luther even, and the holiness of God.

RC: Yes, and from Edwards.

SN: Well, thank you Dr. Sproul for being with us.