R.C. Sproul (1939 – 2017)

When i learnt that R.C. Sproul had passed on into glory, my initial reaction was one of shock and sadness. But then i was reminded of Philippians 1:18-24, particularly verses 21 and 23

“21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell…23My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” Phillipians 1:21,23

To depart this life and be with Christ, is far, far better. Therefore he is not a man to pitied. Even though we weep, it is not for him – indeed, I envy him for he is now with our Lord – but we weep for ourselves. We mourn, because we shall miss him for who he was as an individual (for those who knew him personally), and we shall miss his faithful, unapologetic, gospel-centered teaching of the scriptures.

His works span 5 decades, over which he authored more than 150 books, among which are The Holiness of God, Chosen by God, Essential truths of the Christian Faith and What is Reformed Theology?. He founded Ligionier Ministries in 1971, with the express purpose of “equipping Christians to articulate what they believe, why they believe it, how to live it and how to share it”.

Ligionier itself has spawned various teaching series, a radio broadcast called Renewing Your Mind, a twenty-four hour internet radio streaming service, a study bible and a magazine, among a host of other ministries aimed at proclaiming the holiness of God.

R.C. Sproul was an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church of America, but his ministry went well beyond denominational borders. John Piper, in his tribute to Sproul, wrote about this precious minister of the gospel, saying

“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).”

I end with a quote from an article which he wrote 6 years before his death entitled “Death Does Not Have the Last Word”

“When we close our eyes in death, we do not cease to be alive; rather, we experience a continuation of personal consciousness. No person is more conscious, more aware, and more alert than when he passes through the veil from this world into the next. Far from falling asleep, we are awakened to glory in all of its significance. For the believer, death does not have the last word. Death has surrendered to the conquering power of the One who was resurrected as the firstborn of many brethren.”

Indeed, death does not have the last word. R.C. Sproul has joined the multitudes of God’s chosen faithful and his voice shall forever be heard singing praises to Christ, his Lord, his Saviour and his very great reward.