Reflections on R.C. Sproul
Dr. R.C. Sproul’s ministry touched the lives of so many people around the world. Reflections on his life and legacy continue to be shared online—whether in short tweets or longer obituaries. Below is a collection of some of them. We will update this blog post over the coming days.
God called R.C. to proclaim the gospel to as many people as possible. R.C. did this knowing the Lord did not need him. In fact, he wanted people to know the enduring, faithful witness of God’s servants throughout church history. God powerfully used R.C.’s ministry in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to awaken people around the world to the truths of classical Christianity.
W. Robert Godfrey
R.C. was a servant of Christ who was given remarkable gifts that he used for God’s glory with extraordinary dedication. His many books and articles, his hymns, and his lectures and sermons displayed his profound learning, his vital faith, and his marvelous ability as a communicator.
R.C. often recalled his first encounter with the God of the Bible. As a new Christian and a freshman in college, he devoured the Bible. One thing stood out from his reading: God is a God who plays for keeps. The Psalms, the story of Uzzah, Genesis 15:17, Mary’s Magnificat, Luke 16:16–17, and, of course, Isaiah 6—the drama of these texts captivated R.C. from the moment he first read them.
R.C. Sproul was an evangelist. “Evangelism is our duty. God commanded it,” he taught: “But there is more. Evangelism is not only a duty; it is also a privilege. God allows us to participate in the greatest work in human history, the work of redemption.” There will be many saints in heaven who came to hear the gospel through R.C.’s talks, sermons, videos, conferences, books, and personal witnessing.
Today, R.C. Sproul—a sinner saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ based on Scripture alone for the glory of God alone—is seeing his Savior face to face, and hearing the words we all long to hear: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.”
I love R.C. Sproul. I am sure I owe him more than I can even recall. My reverence for the holiness of God and the truth of his word would not be the same without his influence. I will miss him (for a short while).
No nationally known Christian leader has been a better friend to me than R. C. Sproul. He stood by my side for decades in every major theological controversy I was engaged in. More than I could ever express, I appreciated his willingness to confront important controversies without flinching.
I owe a lot to R.C. Sproul. God, in his providence, used him in my life in profound ways. To my recollection, the first Christian book I owned was his—my parents gave me Following Christ while I was still a teen. One of the first books I read as an adult was his as well—The Holiness of God, and I still rate it as the book that has formed me more than any other.
The Washington Post
The young R.C. Sproul thought the Christian movement was too shallow theologically. People were not thinking deeply enough about the Bible, he felt, so somehow they needed to go to seminary…Sproul worried about the man or the woman in the pew, the layperson as opposed to the clergy who had the seminary training. Those people needed what the seminaries were teaching. He could make big words and complicated concepts understandable to them.
R.C. was never afraid of or shrank from the fray. He fought well, and his faith conquered. Now he beholds the Lord in His glory and is fully like Him. We do not begrudge our friend the fulfilment of his heart’s desire to behold the Holy One. Long ago, by faith, he “saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up” (Isa. 6:1) and pursued “the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). Now that faith has become sight and he sees the Holy One in all His infinite majesty. Those who loved him best will miss him most; we will all miss him. But we would not keep him back from that vision of God for which he lived and in which he has died. Soli Deo gloria!
Joni Eareckson Tada
Our ministry at Joni and Friends is all about conveying the kindness of God in a horribly broken world of deep suffering. Dr. R.C. Sproul helped lay a foundation for our work, not only in my personal life, but in our outreach. For when crib deaths occur, when spina bifida or autism or Alzheimer’s encroaches, when people groan under the weight of significant disabilities and wonder if they’ve been forsaken, we can tell them that God has not taken His hands off the wheel for a nanosecond.
The death of a saint always fills fellow pilgrims with inner conflict: joy in their being in the presence of the Lord, without the pains and struggles of this fallen existence, and sorrow at losing a dear brother or sister. These mixed emotions overwhelmed me as I sat next to R.C. Sproul as we shared in the memorial service for our friend, James Montgomery Boice. “A mighty general has fallen on the field, in valiant service to his Lord,” I recall R.C. repeating in his message. And now, with so many others around the world today, I feel the sharp sting of that realization.
No figure in our generation has done more than R. C. to defend, proclaim, and expound Luther’s insights into the Bible’s teaching on justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. I have met young people on every continent who readily confess their indebtedness to R. C. Sproul (though they have never met him or heard him in person), through the various media of Ligonier Ministries, books, articles, magazines, audio, video, app, and conferences. He is responsible for introducing a generation to the authority of Scripture, the sovereignty of God, and the glory of the Gospel of justification by faith, salvation by grace, in Christ alone.
In our day, there have been many Christian leaders who have been a flashing meteor in the sky. They have appeared for a brief moment on the scene, and then disappeared. But few men have been a fixed north star, who year after year and decade after decade, have provided gospel light from their many sermons, lectures, and books. R.C. Sproul has done just this. This gifted man has given the Christian world a lifetime of treasured resources that have shaped our knowledge of God.
W. Robert Godfrey
Of all the adjectives that can and should be used to describe his life and ministry, the one that most comes to my mind is faithful. He began his ministry committed to Christ and the Bible as well as to the value of a thorough knowledge of theology and a vigorous intellectual defense of the faith. He believed passionately that Christianity deserved and was capable of a strong, persuasive intellectual presentation. He saw that Christians need that encouragement and depth to their faith and that unbelievers need to be attracted (or at least confronted) with the insistent claims of Christ. He exemplified loving God with all his mind.
Without ever using notes, he could wax eloquent on everything from Greek morphology to Modernist philosophy, from art, music, literature, and architecture to ecclesiology, epistemology, and ontology, from the wonders of the Magisterial Reformers to the feats of the Pittsburgh Steelers. And yet, he always somehow managed to communicate even the most complex ideas with utmost clarity and simplicity. He was, by any measure, a marvel.
Scott R. Swain
We mourn the passing of Dr. Sproul as grateful debtors, committed to honoring his legacy by promoting the grandeur and glory of the Holy Trinity and by preparing the next generation of gospel ministers to lead God’s people in glad, grateful, and reverent worship.
We—I—will miss him sorely. But he has left a legacy that is sure to endure for generations to come. Though dead, he still speaks. We will continue to hear his unmistakable voice and profit from his many, many books, writings, and messages. And those of us who knew him personally will thank God and say with affection that we are better for having known him as a friend and mentor.
Augustus Nicodemus Lopes
R.C. Sproul was an instrument of God in my life as a Christian, pastor, and teacher of theology. His books, podcasts, sermons, and videos have also blessed hundreds and hundreds of pastors and churches in Brazil. May our God raise up more pastors and teachers like Dr. Sproul for the good of His church.
[R.C. Sproul] has stood consistently for the truth of the gospel… I miss his warm smile, his infectious laughter, and the stories he liked to tell about his golf game.