Today, a hero died.
It is unlikely that his name will be mentioned on any news broadcasts, and he may not be known even among many Christians, but Dr. R.C. Sproul has been a gift to the Church in our day. Others will be able to say much more about the far-reaching impact of his ministry and teaching, and it would be worth the reader’s time to learn more about these. Dr. Sproul seemed a tireless theologian, pastor, and evangelist.
I am writing this brief post to pen my own personal gratitude and sorrow. My gratitude for Dr. Sproul is beyond my ability to express it at the moment. He has shaped my Christian development more than any other person. Even those men I love dearly and know me well, those men who have personally rebuked me and patiently taught me, they often pointed me to Dr. Sproul’s teaching in various forms. In this way, Dr. Sproul was even impacting me through the time and effort of others.
His books were my introduction to reformed theology (especially The Holiness of God and Chosen by God). His radio program and podcast (Renewing Your Mind) were my steady diet of Christian teaching, and I gorged myself on these for years. His annual conference (Ligonier’s National Conference) in Orlando, FL was the first Bible conference I attended. My good friend (Scott Richards) and I were giddy to watch Dr. Sproul and other great Bible teachers deliver such powerful and faithful messages.
Dr. Sproul’s teaching is the reason I know of Augustine, both his Confessions and his arguments with Pelagius. He is the reason I see Aquinas through rose-colored lenses, even though I am not particularly a fan of scholasticism. He is the one who introduced me to Luther and Erasmus, Calvin and Zwingli. He taught me the importance of the Reformation and explained the Westminster Confession of Faith.
Dr. Sproul taught me about philosophy and helped me to understand the consequences of various ideas. He took me from dust to glory in an overview of the whole Bible, introducing me to biblical theology (though I did not know it as such at the time). His voice narrates the Christmas hymns of my favorite album for this time of year, and Dr. Sproul has helped me pass along the Gospel to my own sons with his children’s books (my favorite is The Prince’s Poison Cup).
My gratitude is bursting, and so my sorrow is weighty as well. My sadness stems from two sources: the loss of someone so integral to my own spiritual growth and the loss of such a gift to the Church more broadly. The first is easy to understand, but the second may prove to be more lastingly painful.
While I am fully convinced of God’s providence and power, I also know that God raises up titanic men and women over the course of time who serve His cause more valiantly than most. Dr. Sproul was no doubt a heroic servant of Christ in this world. His wit and his theological depth, his acumen and his humble fidelity to Scripture will be sorely missed.
May God bless the Sproul family, and may God equip and raise up others to carry the torch that Dr. R.C. Sproul carried so brilliantly.