These are tender days for Ligonier Ministries as we step forward without our beloved founder, Dr. R.C. Sproul. He has prepared us well, wisely and generously planning for the day when he would no longer be at the helm, and he worked with the board and ministry team toward this transition for almost fifteen years. That said, we depend on your prayers and the Lord’s blessing for us to walk faithfully and fruitfully in the years to come.
Many of us have difficulty telling of our walk with the Lord without the entrance of Dr. Sproul into some point of our journey. For me, it was as a college student some twenty-six years ago, late on a Sunday night, in a church parking lot on the east coast of Florida. I was asking questions about God’s will for my life, and a friend was using R.C.’s teaching to help me understand God’s sovereignty and His covenant-keeping gracious character. Where were you when R.C.’s Bible teaching ministry touched your life? What story would you tell? As the many testimonies and tributes attest, God used R.C.
God continues to use R.C. through the work of Ligonier Ministries in the lives of countless individuals, families, and churches around the world. Proclaiming, teaching, and defending God’s holiness in all its fullness is a task that transcends all of our lives. Just as the work of the Protestant Reformation continued in the days after Martin Luther’s death, so your work and my work to spread the biblical gospel in our generation continues.
No one can replace R.C. But his vision was not to find one person to succeed him. He founded Ligonier Ministries to be a teaching fellowship designed to flood the culture with knowledgeable and articulate Christians to the glory of God alone. Through the work of many pastors, theologians, and teachers, Ligonier has for more than forty-seven years steadfastly served Christian disciples by bridging the gap between Sunday school and seminary through broadcasting, publishing, conferences, and other unique educational outreaches around the world.
Several years ago, as part of careful succession planning, we announced that Dr. Sproul had identified specific teachers to help Ligonier Ministries remain committed to its founding purpose well into the future. Today, Drs. Sinclair Ferguson, W. Robert Godfrey, Steven Lawson, Albert Mohler, Stephen Nichols, Burk Parsons, and Derek Thomas form a band of faithful brothers who are gifted preachers and teachers. In the years to come, Ligonier’s board will add to their number.
The wisdom and discernment of our teaching fellows strengthen everything we do. We prayerfully submit to the wisdom of Scripture when it comes to the task of finding faithful teachers to ensure Ligonier’s biblical and theological fidelity for years to come (2 Tim. 2:2). Truth may resound in a creed, but truth’s abode must be in a person’s soul for it to be handed down from generation to generation. Our greatest encouragement is when we meet people whom our Lord has reached with His truth and hear how it is being put into practice in their lives.
We shun pragmatism and seek to have a principled ministry. We emphasize a long-term perspective, and we are willing to battle for truth’s sake because of our love for our neighbor’s soul. We work in partnership with churches and sister organizations around the world, emphasizing the need for a Spirit-blessed expository ministry in order to bring awakening and renewal of minds. We ask the Lord to use Ligonier’s Bible teaching and discipleship resources to provide Christians with courage and conviction even as they might witness retreat and compromise in many parts of the visible church. Challenges to the Christian faith will continue to come from without and within. False religions, cults, pundits, celebrities, and philosophers are lining up to deceive and destroy. The world, the flesh, and the devil form a powerfully enticing triumvirate of sinfulness that must be opposed in every form.
Many in the world today believe judgment is not coming, the moment is all there is, and small stakes are worth their very lives. Few in the world today know their sins are forgiven, right now counts forever, and heavenly treasures are worth their very lives.
We are redeemed by the Lord to spend our lives for the sake of God and His purposes in this world. Once we bow the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ, repent, and flee to Him as our only righteousness, we are propelled back into the world, back to proclaim His holiness to as many people as possible. This was how R.C. taught about Isaiah’s encounter with the holiness of God. It was the story of R.C.’s life, and it’s the story of every child of God.
"Through the Word of God, the Holy Spirit brings life where there was death and light where there was darkness.”
This is why the mission of Ligonier endures: just as the fundamental problem of the sinfulness of humanity endures, God’s Word endures, ever relevant, ever piercing to the root of our deepest need. Through the Word of God, the Holy Spirit brings life where there was death and light where there was darkness. Our prayer is that Ligonier, through our many outreaches, would be used by the Holy Spirit to equip you and generations to come to know the God of the Bible and, by His grace, change the world for His glory alone.
Through our many and varied outreaches of broadcasting, publishing, and educational gatherings, there is a powerful idea that fuels our work. When we think of our growing outreach around the world, we think of it in these terms: we want to be the “first to serve” ministry in every place where Christians need greater clarity and a better understanding of the character of God. When they are searching for answers in the face of trials or joys, when they are longing for a more comprehensive understanding of the grace of God in Jesus Christ, we want to be the ones who are providing the resources they find and read or watch or listen to. We don’t want these seeking souls being sucked into false theology and destructive church practices. When they start looking, we want to be there with trustworthy teaching and truthful answers.
This means we need a vast expansion of our translation and publishing efforts in other languages, an increasing number of visionary and generous donors, and an army of church partners around the globe who can fund our work and put Ligonier’s discipleship resources into the hands of their congregations and communities.
No longer do we think of Ligonier as an English-only ministry. New people are discovering the historic Christian faith through what they read, watch, and listen to from Ligonier’s teaching fellowship. And this outreach happens in their own language every day around the world. Our ministry team seeks to meet people at these pivotal moments when they’re asking the big questions. This is the flashpoint of our helpful engagement with so many. What’s more is that many souls are hearing biblical answers to life’s ultimate questions for the first time.
Imagine the growth that might happen for Ligonier Ministries as we steward this vision. This is precisely the vision that Dr. Sproul cast for us, and it is happening more and more every year, by God’s grace. This is done in partnership with thousands of faithful supporters who not only benefit from our teaching resources, but give to support the ministry’s incredible expansion. Our ministry’s impact has doubled in size in just the last few years.
The grace of God in R.C.’s life and ministry is not only measured by his biblical and theological insight, his logical precision, and his courageous defense of the gospel, but also in the way that he thought about the future of Ligonier. On more than one occasion, he told me he didn’t want Ligonier merely to continue, but to flourish and expand. So we have prayed and worked to that end in dependence on God’s blessing.
To have been entrusted with the opportunity to serve Dr. Sproul and Ligonier Ministries is a kindness from the Lord that I will never be able to explain. We have a vital mission to get trustworthy Christian teaching to as many people as possible. And the ministry is backed by a committed board, an amazingly gifted team of employees, and thousands of partners who pray and give. Soli Deo gloria—to God alone be the glory (Rom. 11:36).