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Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in The Christian Life
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Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in The Christian Life

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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  149 ratings  ·  21 reviews
The problem of suffering is often raised by those who question the goodness or the power of God. In this book, newly revised and expanded, R.C. Sproul provides biblical answers to the questions all of us ask about suffering and addresses some of the many unbiblical conclusions that are put forth today. In the end, he shows that suffering is not outside the realm of God's p ...more
Hardcover, 145 pages
Published December 31st 2009 by Reformation Trust Publishing (first published April 1st 1989)
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Keiki Hendrix
Is suffering a vocation, a calling from God? Is death a vocation? What is the purpose of our suffering?

First published in 1988, Surprised by Suffering is a resource every Christian should read sometime in their lives. In this revised and expanded release, a new chapter on Sovereignty adds much to the original version.

Having some friends experiencing a great deal of suffering, I read this book in attempt to find some wisdom to share with them. R. C. Sproul does not disappoint. His teaching in thi
...more
Sarah
I keep hearing about, and seeing, books that imply(or directly state) that suffering in the life of a Christian is abnormal. Actually, suffering is one of the most normal things in the life of a Christian. That suffering may be physical(persecution, disease, handicap, etc...) or mental(caused by self-denial, struggles to keep focused, slaying of lusts..etc.), but it certainly isn't strange. Peter writes to the Churches, "Dear friends, do not be surprised by the fiery ordeal that is taking place ...more
Micah
My first R.C Sproul book and I forgot to mention that this won't be the first and last of his book that I will read. He opened my heart to dig deeper throught the corners of my faith. He planted in my eyes the very vision and future glory that every child of God is waiting for.

This book is very particular about suffering and every questions you can have about it, heaven and hell, pain and death, life after death even the real score about where the animals will go, if a communication with a dead
...more
Jeff McCormack
Overall, a very pleasant book. Read it in hope of relieving some of my grief over the past 10 months. It helped a little. Had some good practical information.

I kind of got bummed at chapter nine when he got off track, as is common in conservative and especially Reformed circles, from the proper Jewish view of death, and the intermediate state. He totally dropped the ball in calling the intermediate state (also called Paradise in the NT) as the presence of our souls in heaven awaiting the resurre
...more
Joseph
It was okay.

Good, not great. Nothing particularly problematic. A few times the exegesis was questionable, but generally it wasn't in regards to anything core. It felt like it had less to do with dealing with suffering and how a Christian should handle it, and more just about how Jesus is Lord and we are going to Heaven. The bulk of it is spent on discussing the resurrection (in detail), Heaven, eternal life, and stuff like that which is relevant to the topic of suffering, but largely secondary i
...more
Patricia C Robbins
Our God is Faithful

God is great and awesome, worthy of our praise. Our present sufferings will never compare to the future glories that God will share with us. We need the Lord's discernment to see the world as it truly is. He is more than able to keep that which we have committed to Him. Go ahead, He will never forsake His own.
Luis Branco
It is a great book, short, but with enough information to convey what it purposed to. Sproul has been always a fabulous theologian to understand. I would highlight the discussion on euthanasia as a very important subject that required more substantial material on this topic addressing it in a theological, philosophical and ethical perspective.
Tania Moraga
i was very curious for trying to understand the point of view of the author. then he made thefirst mistake, wich was trying to mark differences between christian religions when he compare catholic and other denomination religion. after he comitted this mistake i lose interest.
John Carroll
Very readable. Very biblical. Addresses with clarity the perennial question of why believers in God suffer. This has become a resource for my Sunday School class on the subject of Suffering and Contentment.
Logan
A very good treatment of suffering in general and the hope that believers have. Ultimately it rests in God's sovereignty and the trust that we have that all things ultimately work to our good and his glory.
K
I loved R.C. Sprouls' sermons of the same title but the book left me disappointed. Only a portion of the book dealt with suffering here on earth. The rest of the book dealt with what happens after we die and the promise of heaven. I have never found "the promise of heaven" to be much comfort in my times of great trial. It is so far off and heaven is such a mystery, it is hard to take comfort. The best part of the book, and his sermons, were dealing with the "vocation of suffering." We all suffer ...more
Joshua
Got this for free so I can't complain... much. I don't happen to agree with everything but not enough to make it a show stopper. This was a good and timely read.
Mark A Powell
Although Sproul addresses the issue of suffering, the focus of the book drifts more toward a consideration of death and the afterlife (a worthy topic, to be sure, but potentially misleading from the title). While his theology is sound, the moments where he relates his personal interactions with those who are suffering—as well as his own difficult times—jolt the reader from thinking this a merely academic exercise. A respectable, entry-level look at these themes.
Ryan Summers
Clear, straightforward insight to why suffering enters our lives. It shakes away the notion that we should be exempt from such pain and reassures us that it is to be both expected and respected. Glad I read it. Pages are dog-eared for later reference when I need that reminder that this is normal and shall pass.
Deanna
My favorite chapter in this book was the one on Heaven; it's the last chapter. I appreciate RC Sproul's willingness to articulate his opinion on a given issue and then substantially support that opinion. I admire people who do that, even if I don't agree with their views. This book was a tad dry and long, but overall, a fair read.
Regina Ripamonti
A careful, biblical approach which deals with the role that suffering plays in the life of the Christian. Strong counter to the health-wealth-prosperity teaching that is so prevalent today. The second half of the book is about heaven and why we need to have our hearts set on eternity. I found this book very helpful.
Richard
I found this to be an enlightening look at suffering from a carefully biblical view. I appreciated Sproul's ability to take a difficult subject and make it accessible to every reader. It's an excellent resource to have to help others and yourself.
Abbí
I am continually impressed with Sproul's knack for examining every detail of each subject that he writes on. No area pertaining to each subject is ever left out, and Surprised by Suffering was no exception. Excellent book.
Sandra
This is a really helpful book. Incredibly informative and well written. However, it's very textbookish and not an easy read in sections.

Definitely worth your time as long as you don't expect a quick read.
Stacy Moss
Would you like to understand why we suffer? RC Sproul does a great job of explaining suffering in light of the Cross.
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Dr. R.C. Sproul was born in 1939 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He is president of Ligonier Academy of Biblical and Theological Studies and the founder and chairman of the ministry that began in 1971 as the Ligonier Valley Study Center in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. In an effort to respond more effectively to the growing demand for Dr. Sproul’s teachings and the ministry’s other educational resources, th ...more
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“There are times when we suffer innocently at other people’s hands. When that occurs, we are victims of injustice. But that injustice happens on a horizontal plane. No one ever suffers injustice on the vertical plane. That is, no one ever suffers unjustly in terms of his or her relationship with God. As long as we bear the guilt of sin, we cannot protest that God is unjust in allowing us to suffer.” 14 likes
“When God issues a call to us, it is always a holy call. The vocation of dying is a sacred vocation. To understand that is one of the most important lessons a Christian can ever learn. When the summons comes, we can respond in many ways. We can become angry, bitter or terrified. But if we see it as a call from God and not a threat from Satan, we are far more prepared to cope with its difficulties.” 12 likes
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