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R.C. SPROUL, REFORMED THEOLOGIAN, DIES AT 78

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R.C. SPROUL, REFORMED THEOLOGIAN, DIES AT 78

Post  Admin on Sat 16 Dec 2017, 10:59 pm

WND EXCLUSIVE
http://www.wnd.com/2017/12/r-c-sproul-reformed-theologian-dies-at-78/

R.C. SPROUL, REFORMED THEOLOGIAN, DIES AT 78
His creed: 'We can die in faith or we can die in our sins'
Published: 3 hours ago
R.C. Sproul
 
Reformed theologian and popular teacher R.C. Sproul has died due to complications from a 2015 stroke and complications from chronic pulmonary disease at age 78.
 
“There are only two ways of dying,” the founder of Ligonier Ministries said earlier this year. “We can die in faith or we can die in our sins.”
 
His life of faith will be marked by his family and friends at a public visitation Tuesday, Dec. 19, and at a service at Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida, via live stream from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
 
Ordained in the United Presbyterian Church before transferring to the Presbyterian Church in America, Sproul brought theological education to the masses through his radio show “Renewing Your Mind,” his ministry’s Tabletalk magazine, over 300 lecture series, 90 books and dozens of articles. He founded Ligonier Ministries in 1971 to fill the gap “between Sunday school and seminary.”
 
“Through his teaching ministry, many of us learned that God is bigger than we knew, our sin is more deeply rooted than we imagined and the grace of God in Jesus Christ is overwhelming,” said a statement released by Ligonier.
 
The international organization shares some 2 million “biblical and theological resources” annually, with hundreds of thousands of students, readers and subscribers in 105 countries.
 
Reformed Christian faith emphasizes that God has sovereign control over everything, and Sproul was largely responsible for leading a resurgence in the theology throughout his ministry.
 
Sproul, co-pastor at St. Andrews Chapel, taught apologetics and philosophy to millions through his outreach as well as Knox Theological Seminary, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary.
 
In “Biblical Economics: A Commonsense Guide to Our Daily Bread,” R.C. Sproul Jr. reveals why, where ethics touches economics, the Bible is relevant. With a foreward by R.C. Sproul Sr.
 
A native of Pittsburgh, he attended Westminster College for its football program. But he ended up coming to faith early in his college career through the team’s captain, he shared with Christianity Today in a 2002 interview.
 
“[The football captain] quoted Ecclesiastes 11:3: ‘Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there will it lie,'” he recalled. “Just feel certain I’m the only person in church history that was converted by that verse. God just took that verse and struck my soul with it. I saw myself as a log that was rotting in the woods. And I was going nowhere. When I left that guy’s table I went up to my room. And into my room by myself, in the dark, and got on my knees and cried out to God to forgive me.”
 
He later attended Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, the Free University of Amsterdam and Whitefield Theological Seminary.
 
He founded Ligonier as a study center outside Pittsburgh, moving its headquarters to Orlando, Florida, in the mid-1980s. Sproul also served as chancellor of Reformation Bible College, which was founded in 2011 as an extension of Ligonier Ministries.
 
Among his books are “Willing to Believe: The Controversy Over Free Will,” “Chosen By God” and “The Holiness of God.” He also served as editor of “The Reformation Study Bible.”
 
“When we close our eyes in death, we do not cease to be alive; rather, we experience a continuation of personal consciousness,” he wrote in 2011 in Tabletalk magazine. “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.”
 
Jerry Johnson, president of the National Religious Broadcasters, an organization that inducted Sproul into its Hall of Fame last year, remembered him this way: “For more than five decades, the Lord has used Dr. Sproul to spread the life-changing truths of biblical Christianity and to expose people to the grace and the knowledge of the Lord. From the inquiring skeptic to the growing Christian, Dr. Sproul has impacted countless lives.”
 
“His preaching was similar to his radio show,” said religion writer Mark Pinsky. “He had a kind of growly, garrulous delivery, which was particularly engaging because he had a good sense of humor to go along with it.”
 
In what appears to be his last tweet, Dec. 1, he wrote: “When God writes our names in the ‘Lamb’s Book of Life,’ He doesn’t do it with an eraser handy. He does it for eternity.”
 
During decades of ministry, Sproul led a resurgence of what is called the Conferences featuring Sproul and other less-well-known teachers. It attracted thousands of people and prompted a movement within evangelical Christian faith, chronicled by author Collin Hansen in his book “Young, Restless and Reformed.” As an admirer of French theologian John Calvin, or a Calvinist, Sproul believed that we are more sinful than we usually think we are. As Sproul and others made Calvinism more popular and understandable, some churches, including the large Southern Baptist Convention, have been divided over his strain of theology.
 
Sproul was known for making complex theological concepts understandable to lay people. Keeping up with new waves of technology, he took seminary education into homes, cars, churches and later on podcasts for walking and jogging. He believed the Bible was true, and he was an influential figure in a movement to defend the Bible as having no errors. Yet he believed the Bible should also be read as a literary text. A Calvinist, he asserted that God calls people to salvation.
 
“Whatever else we do with this Gospel, we must never, ever, ever, ever, ever mess with it,” Sproul once said.
 
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Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson, who joined Sproul and some 200 other evangelical leaders in 1978 to help craft the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, told Baptist Press, “Any time the Christian community loses a faithful leader who has impacted untold numbers for Christ, Christians are poorer. Yet we can rejoice because we know where he is and the separation is only temporary. I rejoice today in the memory of Dr. R.C. Sproul — a great man of God.”
 
“Every single moment of life that we experience on this planet is tied to eternity,” Sproul 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 Dick, his son Robert Craig Sproul, and their families.
 
When asked what message wanted inscribed on his tombstone, Sproul responded winsomely, “I told you I was sick.”
 
“His tombstone wouldn’t be able to hold the words of what he’s meant to so many,” tweeted Kansas pastor Gabriel Hughes. “Well done, good and faithful servant. Now great is your reward.”
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