Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2019
With the death of R. C. Sproul in 2017, the Reformed world lost one of its most articulate apologists and evangelists. His gifts come to the fore in this short treatment of the eight ‘I am’ sayings of John’s Gospel (Sproul includes John 8:58). Short, this may be, but it is quite comprehensive. RC, as he was known, was, like all fine teachers, both simple and learned. In dealing with Jesus as the light of the world, RC illustrates his point most cogently by referring to Plato’s parable of the slaves in a cave, where the light is behind them, and they can only see reality in the form of shadows on the cave wall. Plato saw humanity as groping for the light; Jesus is that light.
RC connects the ‘I am’ sayings, so, for example, the Good Shepherd of John 10 arises from the ‘unsynagoguing’ of the man born blind in John 9, and is his true protector. The Shepherd and the vine are connected through both images being used in Psalm 80. The loss of access to Paradise in Genesis 3:24 is restored through Christ who is the door (John 10:9; Rom.5:2). Plato saw life after death alluded to in nature (e.g. the death of winter gives way to life in spring, and the burial of the seed leads to life). Jesus is more than that – He is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). In dealing with John 14:6 (‘I am the way, the truth and the life’), RC does not deal with where Jesus is going to prepare a place for His people (to heaven or to the cross?) or the nature of the Father’s house (in heaven or as the new temple beginning here on earth?). This would probably be the main criticism that could be levelled at a book that will help Christians and challenge seekers.