Books

Book Review: The Invisible Hand by R. C. Sproul

This afternoon, I finished Sproul's The Invisible Hand (which I started last month). I'm not going to spend the usual two hours it takes to write a thorough review, but here is a brief synopsis.

The Invisible Hand: Do All Things Really Work For Good?
R. C. Sproul

(Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1996, 2003) 220 pages

R. C. Sproul has a real knack for writing deep books on a popular level and he does well with The Invisible Hand, which focuses on the doctrine of God's providence. Sproul's book is part philosophy, part exposition, and part historical theology. Difficult concepts such as theodicy and concurrence are handled as well as questions about the intersection of God's providence in human history, government, and our personal lives. God's provision for his people, the role of prayer, and the question of miracles are all covered as well. A great benefit of the book is its expositional nature. Sproul frequently develops his theology from familiar biblical stories (Abraham and Isaac, David and Bathsheba, Joseph in Egypt, Daniel and Belshazzar, etc.) - which is a great boon for young believers who may not be overly familiar with Scripture. A lot of territory is covered in this book. Sproul also defines his terms well, giving simple (although occasionally simplistic) and easy to grasp definitions to words like providence, theodicy, et cetera. Sprinkled throughout are personal stories and interesting anecdotes that keep the book interesting and even humorous. One possible demerit is Sproul's propensity to throw out Latin phrases. He does define them all, but they seem unnecessary. I also thought his chapters on miracles were overly reductionistic (he is a strong cessationist). But overall, this is a good book on providence and worth reading.

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