This New Life has just learned of the passing of Dr. R. C. Sproul, 78, the popular and influential Reformed theologian who served as founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries.
Sproul was hospitalized on December 3 due to severe respiratory difficulties exacerbated by the flu and complicated by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He died peacefully on December 14 in Altamonte Springs, FL, surrounded by his family.
Copious tributes will flow in the Christian blogosphere over the next several weeks, as Dr. Sproul’s impact was both deep and wide. He could be heard daily on the “Renewing Your Mind” radio broadcast in the United States and throughout 60 countries.
Sproul held degrees from Westminster College, PA, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, the Free University of Amsterdam, and Whitefield Theological Seminary. He taught at numerous colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and Knox Theological Seminary in Ft. Lauderdale.
He also served as Senior Minister of Preaching and Teaching at Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, FL, where he began preaching in 1997.
Sproul was an ardent advocate of evangelical Calvinism in his many books, broadcasts, and audio and video publications. He was also known for his advocacy of the classic (or Thomistic) approach to Christian apologetics, having rejected both evidentialism and presuppositionalism as primary.
Themes that dominated Sproul’s ministry include the holiness of God, the grace of God, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, the supremacy of the gospel, and salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
“Loving a holy God is beyond our moral power. The only kind of God we can love by our sinful nature is an unholy god, an idol made by our own hands. Unless we are born of the Spirit of God, unless God sheds His holy love in our hearts, unless He stoops in His grace to change our hearts, we will not love Him. . . . To love a holy God requires grace—grace strong enough to pierce our hardened hearts and awaken our moribund souls.” – Dr. R. C. Sproul
In November 2014, Kevin Halloran posted a list of Dr. Sproul’s top books and favorite quotes, which can be found here.
Sproul enjoyed reading, golfing, painting, music (piano and violin), and hunting. He was married to Vesta Ann of Pittsburgh, PA. He is survived by two grown children, a daughter, Sherrie Sproul Dick, and a son, R. C. Sproul, Jr.
The lyrics of Sproul’s own “Highland Hymn: Glory to the Holy One,” are a fitting reminder today of the hope that believers have in seeing God face to face—the beatific vision now fully realized by Sproul himself.
Above the mists of Highland hills
E’en far above the clear blue skies
The end of pain and earthly ills
When we shall see His eyes
Lutes will sing
When we see Him face to face
On that day
His face now hidden from our sight
Concealed from ev’ry hidden gaze
In hearts made pure from sinful flight
Is the bliss that will amaze
We know not yet what we will be
In heaven’s final blessed state
But know we now that we shall see
Our Lord at heaven’s gate
The beatific glory view
That now our souls still long to see
Will make us all at once anew
And like Him forever be
While I may not have shared all his theological views, I can say, without hesitation, thank you, Lord, for the life and ministry of Dr. R. C. Sproul, now fully Coram Deo, Soli Deo Gloria.