Peter Leithart drew my attention to a critique of Sproul’s Faith Alone. The complete critique is available here (pdf). Another example of why I am grateful that the TR battles are no longer mine, and so sorry and ashamed that they once were.
In an article evaluating RC Sproul’s teaching on justification in a 2004 issue of JETS, Matthew Heckel concludes that Sproul’s work is misleading and misses the opportunity of the moment:
“Sproul’s assertion that the Reformers considered sola fide the essence of the gospel is not fundamentally wrong. Yet it is unqualified and dangerously misleading. Why? Sproul’s thesis fails to interact with the doctrine of justification in its pre-Reformation forms and in its post-Reformation developments. Without input from Augustine, the pre-Reformation church and a whole host of saints become the victims of Sproul’s polemic, because he does not distinguish between justification by faith alone as an experience and justification by faith alone as an article of faith. Sproul does not seem to allow for faith alone to save apart from believing it as a formula. The Reformers themselves provide an antidote to this narrowly confined approach, since they applied their doctrine throughout church history and did not make explicit knowledge of sola fide a necessary condition for the experience of sola fide. Sproul also fails to appreciate that our own context today is not polemical but largely ecumenical. The Catholic Church has officially moved beyond its rejection of Luther, accepting many if not the most important aspects of his theological reforms of the doctrine of justification. The closest the Reformation ever came to this kind of experience was at Regensburg, where the uncompromising Calvin believed convergence had been achieved on the doctrine of justification. Based on this Reformation model, could evangelicals not strike a similar pose toward Roman Catholics today? Sproul’s vision is limited to a sixteenth-century polemical context. Does Sproul’s treatment of the Reformation doctrine lead to the wrong approach today? Could evangelicals come to regard Roman Catholicism as genuinely Christian and at least achieve unofficial unity and mutual recognition as ECT proposed? If so, then Regensburg might not only be revisited but reclaimed.”