If there was one voice that I could recognize playing through the radio in our home growing up, it was the voice of theologian R.C. Sproul.
Whether it was his radio program - “Renewing Your Mind,” or the “Tape of the Month” – a subscription cassette containing his preaching, or the latest Ligonier Conference tape set, his down-to-earth, relatable voice, with just a hint of what must have been a Pennsylvania accent peaking through on occasion, was ever-present.
Later, in my high school years, I sat through Sproul’s, “Foundations: An Overview of Systematic Theology” videos and then his, “The Consequences of Ideas: An Overview of Philosophy.”
In middle school and high school, our family attended the Ligonier Ministries annual conference on at least three occasions, and heard from some wonderful pastors – but Sproul’s message was always the highlight.
Sproul knew how to communicate weighty concepts through personal anecdotes and stories. He knew how to dig the deep truths out of obscure Old Testament passages, and how to make you feel the weight of the grace of God in the Gospel.
Here’s an example from his book, “The Holiness of God:”
“The slightest sin is an act of defiance against cosmic authority. It is a revolutionary act, a rebellious act in which we are setting ourselves in opposition to the One to whom we owe everything. It is an insult to His holiness. We become false witnesses to God. When we sin as the image bearers of God, we are saying to the whole creation, to all of nature under our dominion, to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field: ‘This is how God is. This is how you Creator behaves. Look in this mirror; look at us, and you will see the character of the Almighty.’ We say to the world, God is covetous; God is ruthless; God is bitter; God is a murderer, a thief, a slanderer, an adulterer. God is all of these things that we are doing.”
Of course, the better we understand the dastardliness of our own sin, as R.C. helps us with in this excerpt, the more magnanimous the grace of God appears to us!
That is the Good News that I know Dr. Sproul would like to be remembered for. Yesterday, on December 14, 2017, R.C. Sproul went to be the One he loved and lived for. He had had ongoing health problems, and succumbed to a chronic lung disease.
One of the first lessons that R.C. teaches in the “Foundations” course is the meaning of the word theology, derived from the Greek words, “Theos” – meaning “God” – and “logos” –meaning “knowledge.”
Theo logos. Theology. The knowledge, or study, of God.
R.C. excelled in that pursuit, he devoted His life to knowing and understanding the God that He loved.
Although we will miss Him and his teachings here on earth, it is a comfort to know that He understands God now as much as any person ever has or will. His study is complete.
To learn more about the life and ministry of R.C. Sproul, you can visit their website at Ligonier.org.
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