R. C. Sproul is gone.
A more false word could hardly be spoken of the man.
R.C. lives today, more alive than ever in his 78 years here and still vibrantly powerful through his books, recordings, messages, and the indelible imprint he made on all who knew him. He was a mountain, an Everest, a man impossible to ignore or to not be impressed by.
His legacy through Ligonier Ministries and the people he has influenced continue to shape men and women around the globe and by God’s grace, will continue to extend into eternity. The ministry website posted a simple and short obituary today. (below)
Teacher, professor, pastor, author, husband, father, grandfather, friend, servant of God and His people—Dr. Robert Charles Sproul, better known to many simply as R.C., was all of these things and more. Having finished his race on earth, Dr. Sproul has gone on to his reward, and we now celebrate his legacy of faithful service to Christ and His church.
After his conversion during his freshman year in college, R.C. served Christ for more than sixty years. Never one to stand down when the gospel itself was at stake, R.C. tirelessly labored to defend the sufficiency of God’s grace alone for our salvation as well as the trustworthiness of the Word of God. Yet in all this, he remained the consummate happy warrior, his infectious humor and generous spirit on full display. His bold stand for the truth evidenced the confidence he had in the sovereignty of the Lord.
R.C. was a uniquely gifted communicator, and his ability to make complex topics easy to understand was evident throughout his teaching. God in His grace used him to awaken men and women around the world to the holiness of God, and his legacy is evident not only in the vast body of work he leaves behind but in the countless people whose understanding of God’s majestic character was deepened because they sat under his teaching.
As we reflect on R.C.’s life and legacy, we give glory to God for using R.C. to advance His kingdom on earth. We honor R.C. best by carrying on his mission to help as many people as possible understand the character of God and rest by faith alone in Jesus Christ.
I loved R.C..
I loved his Pennsylvania roots, the timber of his voice, and I loved his humor. The latter two reminded me so much of my Dad. I loved the brilliance of his mind and the masterful way he made important things easy to understand and attractive to value. He was brilliant of course and his passion for the holiness of God and ability to infect his audience with that passion was “irresistible”, (a word he loved).
In or around 1985, R.C. came to the little seminary I worked and studied at. He taught a class, he preached in chapel (on the holiness of God, of course), and he took questions from us at a brown-bag luncheon. He had written two books in the previous couple of years that we don’t normally see theologians of his stature and ability write.
One was a biography, Stronger than Steel: The Wayne Anderson Story, which recounted “the life and work of a coal miner’s son who became a corporate executive and an advocate of positive labor-management relations by developing Christian trust and responsiveness among workers and executives” (amazon description) and Johnny, Come Home. (a novel).
During the Q and A time, I waited my turn and then asked Dr. Sproul, “Dr. Sproul, thank you for being here today. I wanted to make an observation and ask a follow-up. In the last few years we have seen you publish two books that are not the normal fare for theologians. A biography of a steel worker and a novel. Could you tell us why you choose these two genres and can we expect more like these in the future.”
His eyes lit up and his smile got even bigger than normal. “They are going to think I planted you in the audience. I would love to write more like those two. . . . ”
Unfortunately, I don’t remember what he said after that, I was just so happy to have made him smile and given him opportunity to talk to us about the power of story. R. C. was a theologian but he loved to tell a story. And he knew the power of story and delighted to tell The Story, the gospel story.
He would never remember me. But that didn’t change my thrill in being there that day. Over the years I have benefitted from at least 15 of his 60+ books. If I were smarter, I would have read more. He will be missed but it is a delight to know that all of us who have loved Jesus, will see him again.
“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 fulfillment of his heart’s desire to behold the Holy One.”
SINCLAIR B. FERGUSON