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Reformed theologian, pastor R.C. Sproul dies

by Laura Hendrickson
Posted 12/14/17, 04:01 pm

Robert Charles “R.C.” Sproul, the Reformed theologian, pastor, teacher, and lecturer who founded and chaired Ligonier Ministries and authored close to 100 books, including The Holiness of God, died Thursday. He was 78. Sproul was known for delivering uncompromising messages on the holiness and sovereignty of God, in his writing, video teaching series, and as a regular speaker at Ligonier’s national conferences in Orlando, Fla. Ligonier’s mission is “helping Christians know what they believe, why they believe it, how to live it, and how to share it,” he once said. Born in Pittsburgh in 1939, Sproul graduated from Westminster College, which he attended on a football scholarship. A fellow student at Westminster nudged him on his path to discipleship. Sproul told Christianity Today in 2002 that one evening during his freshman year, just as he had finished buying some cigarettes from a dormitory vending machine, he turned around to see the captain of the football team, who invited him to chat: “He was the first person I ever met in my life that talked about Christ as a reality.”

Sproul earned degrees from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the Free University of Amsterdam. In 1971 he helped establish the Ligonier Valley Study Center in western Pennsylvania, which eventually became Ligonier Ministries and moved to Orlando in 1984. He was one of the signers of the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. “Whatever else we do with this gospel, we must never, ever, ever, ever, ever mess with it,” he once said. Sproul, ordained as a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), also served as co-pastor at St. Andrew’s Chapel and chancellor of Reformation Bible College, both in Sanford, Fla. His daily radio program, Renewing Your Mind, and his Tabletalk magazine column, “Right Now Counts Forever,” helped spread his message. “Every single moment of life that we experience on this planet is tied to eternity,” Sproul once said. “I find it not just comforting but a delight to be involved in this enterprise in which we are saying to the world, ‘You are not meaningless. God has printed upon you His worth.’”

Sproul’s wife Vesta, whom he had known since childhood, survives him, as do his daughter Sherrie Sproul Dorotiak, his son Robert Craig Sproul, and their families.

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Laura Hendrickson

Laura Hendrickson is a graduate of the WJI Mid-Career Course.

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  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Thu, 12/14/2017 09:26 pm

    Wow, one of the great pastors of our time! So sad and I wonder who will come along to fill his shoes.  He is in heaven free from the pain of this life enjoying the fellowship with God.

  • Hawkdriver
    Posted: Fri, 12/15/2017 10:45 am

    Wow, what a true Man after God's own heart.  His teaching has awoken my intellect to truly study God, not just passively but for my lifetime.  R.C. Sproul in my book, ranks as one of the great defenders of our faith.  I pray that his work continues in and through those of us still on the pilgrimage.  R.C. is one man who will hear our Savior say "well done, thou good and faithful servant."  May we all learn from a life well lived.

  • WS
    Posted: Fri, 12/15/2017 09:03 am

    Read a number of his books which were key to helping me grow in my theological knowledge on the sovereignty of God.  Attended one of his conferences years back, R.C. did a great Columbo inpersonation! 

  • D Wallace
    Posted: Fri, 12/15/2017 03:57 pm

    Dr. Sproul made doctrine, theology, and the truths of the Bible, philosophy, and the Christian faith so very clear and readily accessible to all in whom God planted an unquenchable hunger and thirst for Himself.

    Like ripples in a pond in their power and influence in various circles of influence, his books and teachings greatly impacted my life, thinking, and growing insight into God and His marvelous salvation for all who are joined to Christ through the divine gift of faith in Him.

    What a rich, welcome he must have received into Christ's eternal kingdom!

    Thank you, Dr. Spoul for your decades of faithful, loving, humble, joyfully effective service to Christ.

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Fri, 12/15/2017 04:53 pm

    Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

    Psa 116:25 KJV