R. C. Sproul
R. C. Sproul
Robert Charles Sproul
February 13, 1939
|Died||December 14, 2017 (aged 78)|
Altamonte Springs, Florida, U.S.
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Whitefield Theological Seminary
Vesta Ann Voorhis
|Children||2, including R. C. Sproul Jr.|
|Tradition or movement||Reformed|
|Main interests||Classical apologetics|
Robert Charles Sproul (// SPROHL; February 13, 1939 – December 14, 2017) was an American Reformed theologian and ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America. He was the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries (named for the Ligonier Valley just outside Pittsburgh, where the ministry started as a study center for college and seminary students) and could be heard daily on the Renewing Your Mind radio broadcast in the United States and internationally. Under Sproul's direction, Ligonier Ministries produced the Ligonier Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, which would eventually grow into the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, of which Sproul, alongside Norman Geisler, was one of the chief architects. Sproul has been described as "the greatest and most influential proponent of the recovery of Reformed theology in the last century."
Education and personal life
Sproul was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the second child of Robert Cecil Sproul, an accountant and a veteran of World War II and his wife, Mayre Ann Sproul (née Yardis). Sproul was an avid supporter of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates as a youth, and at the age of 15, he had to drop out from high school athletics in order to support his family. He obtained degrees from Westminster College, Pennsylvania (BA, 1961), Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1964), the Free University of Amsterdam (Drs., 1969), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (PhD, 2001). He taught at numerous colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and in Jackson, Mississippi, and Knox Theological Seminary in Ft. Lauderdale.
One of Sproul's mentors was John Gerstner, a professor of his at Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary. The two of them, along with another of Gerstner's students, Arthur Lindsley, co-authored the book Classical Apologetics in 1984. Sproul's ministry, Ligonier Ministries, made recordings of Gerstner teaching various courses on theology and the Bible.
He married Vesta Voorhis in 1960 and had two children, Sherrie Dorotiak and Robert Craig Sproul.
Ligonier Ministries hosts several theological conferences each year, including the main conference in Orlando, FL, at which Sproul was one of the primary speakers. Sproul served as co-pastor at Saint Andrew's Chapel, a congregation in Sanford, Florida. He was ordained as an elder in the United Presbyterian Church in the USA in 1965, but left that denomination around 1975 and joined the Presbyterian Church in America. He was also a Council member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.
Sproul was an advocate of Calvinism in his many print, audio, and video publications, and advocated the Thomistic (classical) approaches to Christian apologetics, less common among Reformed apologists, most of whom prefer presuppositionalism. A dominant theme in his Renewing Your Mind lessons is the holiness and sovereignty of God. Sproul taught that headcovering should be practiced in churches as the ordinance is "rooted and grounded in creation".
In 2003, a Festschrift was published in his honor. After Darkness, Light: Essays in Honor of R. C. Sproul (ISBN 0875527043) included contributions from Robert Godfrey, Sinclair Ferguson, O. Palmer Robertson, Michael Horton, Douglas Wilson, John F. MacArthur, and Jay E. Adams.
Health and death
On April 18, 2015, Sproul suffered a stroke, and was admitted to a hospital. Five days later, on April 23, Sproul went home from the hospital, suffering no ill effects. He was, however, diagnosed with a diabetic condition "that [would] be addressed through diet and regular medical attention."
A longtime heavy cigarette smoker, Sproul had long suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and was hospitalized on December 2, 2017 because of difficulty breathing, the result of an apparent infection, an “exacerbation of his emphysema due to the flu” (“not pneumonia”).[better source needed] After a twelve day period of intermittent fever, and sedation and breathing assisted by ventilator, with effort given to restore his respiratory function, Sproul died on December 14, 2017 (at age 78).
Some of Sproul's best-known books are The Holiness of God, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, and What Is Reformed Theology? He is also well known for Chosen by God, a book about predestination and the sovereignty of God. His book Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology was highly praised by those who reject the materialism advocated by some in the scientific community.
Through Ligonier Ministries and the Renewing Your Mind radio program and conferences, Sproul generated numerous audio and video lectures on the subjects of history of philosophy, theology, Bible study, apologetics, intelligent design, and Christian living. In addition, Sproul wrote more than 100 books and many articles for evangelical publications. He signed the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, which affirmed the traditional view of Biblical inerrancy, and he wrote a commentary on that document titled Explaining Inerrancy. He also served as the general editor of the Reformation Study Bible (ISBN 0-87552-643-8), which has appeared in several editions and was also known as the New Geneva Study Bible. In addition, Sproul was executive editor of Tabletalk magazine.
- Moses and the Burning Bush (2018) ISBN 978-1567698633
- The Legacy of Luther (2016) with Stephen J. Nichols and others ISBN 978-1567697100
- The Knight's Map (2016) ISBN 978-1642890587
- Everyone's a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology (2014) ISBN 978-1567693652
- The Promises of God (2013) ISBN 978-1434704238
- God's Love: How the Infinite God Cares for His Children (2012) ISBN 978-1434704221
- Are We Together: A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism (2012) ISBN 978-1567692822
- The Work of Christ: What the Events of Jesus Life Mean for You (2012) ISBN 978-0781407267
- The Donkey Who Carried a King (2012) ISBN 978-1567692693
- The Barber Who Wanted to Pray (2011) ISBN 978-1433527036
- Unseen Realities: Heaven, Hell, Angels, and Demons (2011) ISBN 978-1845506827
- The Prayer of the Lord (2009) ISBN 9781567691184
- The Prince's Poison Cup (2008) ISBN 9781567691047
- The Truth of the Cross (2007) ISBN 9781567690873
- Truths We Confess: A Layman's Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith Volume 3: The State, The Family, The Church, and Last Things (2007) ISBN 978-1596380417
- Truths We Confess: A Layman's Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith Volume 2: Salvation and the Christian Life (2007) ISBN 9781596380400
- Truths We Confess: A Layman's Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith Volume 1: The Triune God (2006) ISBN 9781596380394
- The Lightlings (2006) ISBN 9781567690781
- How Then Shall We Worship? (2006 as A Taste of Heaven; revised 2006) ISBN 978-1434704245
- Running the Race: A Graduate's Guide to Life (2003) ISBN 978-0801012563
- Defending Your Faith (2003) ISBN 9781433563782
- The Dark Side of Islam (2003) with Abdul Saleeb ISBN 978-1581344417
- Five Things Every Christian Needs to Grow (2002) ISBN 9781567691030
- Saved from What? (2002) ISBN 978-1433513428
- When Worlds Collide: Where is God? (2002) ISBN 978-1581344424
- What's in the Bible? (2001) ISBN 9781418545987
- Loved By God (2001) ISBN 978-0849916489
- The Consequence of Ideas (2000) ISBN 9781433563775
- In the Presence of God (1999) ISBN 9780849916243
- Getting the Gospel Right: The Tie That Binds Evangelicals Together (1999) ISBN 9780801011887
- A Walk with God: Luke (1999) ISBN 9781845507312
- The Last Days According to Jesus (1998) ISBN 9780801018589
- What is Reformed Theology (1997 as Grace Unknown; revised 2005) ISBN 9780801018466
- Willing to Believe: Understanding the Role of Human Will in Salvation (1997) ISBN 9780801075834
- The Priest with Dirty Clothes (1997; revised 2011) ISBN 9781567692105
- Now, That's a Good Question! (1996) ISBN 9780842347112
- The Invisible Hand (1996, revised 2003) ISBN 9780875527093
- Choosing My Religion (1996) ISBN 9780875526096
- Ultimate Issues (1996) ISBN 9780875526256
- Before the Face of God Volume 4: A Daily Guide for Living from Ephesians, Hebrews, and James (1996) ISBN 978-0801011023
- Reformation Study Bible (1995 as New Geneva Study Bible; revised 1998, 2005, 2015) served as General Editor ISBN 978-1567695014
- The Unexpected Jesus (1995 as The Mighty Christ; revised 2005) ISBN 9781845500375
- Faith Alone (1995; revised 2016) ISBN 9780801019494
- The Purpose of God: An Exposition of Ephesians (1994; revised 2006) ISBN 9781845506384
- Not a Chance: God, Science, and the Revolt against Reason (1994; revised 2014) with Keith Mathison ISBN 9780801016219
- Before the Face of God Volume 3: A Daily Guide for Living from the Old Testament (1994) ISBN 978-0801083785
- The Gospel of God: An Exposition of Romans (1994 revised 1999) ISBN 978-1845506377
- Before the Face of God Volume 2: A Daily Guide for Living from the Gospel of Luke (1993) ISBN 978-0801083587
- Doubt and Assurance (1993) ISBN 978-0801083525
- The Soul's Quest for God: Satisfying the Hunger for Spiritual Communion With God (1993; revised 2003) ISBN 978-0875527062
- Before the Face of God Volume 1: A Daily Guide for Living from the Book of Romans (1992) ISBN 978-0801083402
- Essential Truths of Christian Faith (1992) ISBN 978-0842320016
- Following Christ (1991) ISBN 978-0842359375 combination of previously published booklets titled: Who Is Jesus? (1983), Ethics and the Christian (1983), God's Will and the Christian (1984), and Effective Prayer (1984).
- The Mystery of the Holy Spirit (1990; revised 2009) ISBN 978-1845504816
- Abortion--A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue (1990; revised 2010) ISBN 978-1567692099
- The Glory of Christ (1990; revised 2003) ISBN 978-1857924749
- Surprised by Suffering (1989; revised 2009) ISBN 9781567691849
- Pleasing God (1988; revised 2012) ISBN 978-0781407281
- Discovering God Who Is (1987 as One Holy Passion; revised 1995 and 2003 as The Character of God and 2008 as Discovering God Who Is) ISBN 978-0801018299
- Lifeviews: Make a Christian Impact on Culture and Society (1986) ISBN 978-0800753573
- Chosen by God (1986) ISBN 978-0842313353
- The Holiness of God (1985; revised 1998) ISBN 978-0842339650
- Classical Apologetics (1984) with John Gerstner and Arthur Lindsley ISBN 9780310449515
- Johnny Come Home (1984) ISBN 978-0830709373
- The Hunger for Significance (1983 as In Search of Dignity; revised 1991 and 2001) ISBN 978-0875527017
- Stronger Than Steel: The Wayne Alderson Story (1980) ISBN 978-0060675028
- Reason to Believe (1978 and 1982 as Objections Answered; revised 2016) ISBN 978-0310449119
- Knowing Scripture (1978; revised 2016) ISBN 978-0830844685
- Soli Deo Gloria (1976) General Editor
- God's Inerrant Word: An International Symposium on the Trustworthiness of Scripture (1974) Contributor
- The Intimate Marriage (1975 as Discovering the Intimate Marriage; revised 1986 and 2003) ISBN 978-0875527086
- If There's a God, Why Are There Atheists? (1974 as The Psychology of Atheism; revised 1988, 1997, and 2018) ISBN 978-1527101050
- What We Believe: Understanding and Confessing the Apostle's Creed (1973 as The Symbol: An Exposition of the Apostle's Creed; revised 1982 as Basic Training, 1998 as Renewing Your Mind, and 2015 as What We Believe) ISBN 978-0801018473
Crucial Questions series
- How Can I Be Right with God? (2017) ISBN 978-1642890617
- What Can We Know About God? (2017) ISBN 978-1642890624
- What Do Jesus' Parables Mean? (2017) ISBN 978-1642890631
- Are People Basically Good? (2016) ISBN 978-1642890600
- How Can I Be Blessed? (2016) ISBN 978-1642890594
- How Should I Think About Money? (2016) ISBN 978-1642890587
- Can I Lose My Salvation? (2015) ISBN 978-1642890570
- What is the Great Commission (2015) ISBN 978-1642890563
- Are These the Last Days? (2014) ISBN 978-1642890556
- What Is Repentance? (2014) ISBN 978-1642890532
- What Is the Relationship Between Church and State (2014) ISBN 978-1642890549
- How Can I Develop a Christian Conscience? (2013) ISBN 978-1642890501
- What Is the Lord's Supper? (2013) ISBN 978-1642890518
- What Is the Church? (2013) ISBN 978-1642890525
- Does God Control Everything? (2012) ISBN 978-1642890495
- Who is the Holy Spirit? (2012) ISBN 978-1642890488
- Can I Have Joy in My Life? (2012) ISBN 978-1642890471
- What Can I Do with My Guilt? (2011) ISBN 978-1642890440
- What Is the Trinity? (2011) ISBN 978-1642890457
- What Is Baptism? (2011) ISBN 978-1642890464
- What Is Faith? (2010) ISBN 978-1642890433
- What Does it Mean to Be Born Again? (2010) ISBN 978-1642890419
- Can I Be Sure I'm Saved? (2010) ISBN 978-1642890426
- Does Prayer Change Things? (1984 as Effective Prayer; revised 2009) ISBN 978-1642890389
- Can I Know God's Will? (1984 as God's Will and the Christian; revised 2009) ISBN 978-1642890396
- How Should I Live in This World? (1983 as Ethics and the Christian; revised 2009) ISBN 978-1642890402
- Can I Trust the Bible? (1980 and 1996 as Explaining Inerrancy: A Commentary; revised 2009) ISBN 978-1642890372
- Who Is Jesus? (1983; revised 2009) ISBN 978-1642890365
St. Andrew's Expositional Commentary series
- Matthew (2013) ISBN 978-1433531750
- 1-2 Peter (2011) ISBN 978-1433522895
- Mark (2011) ISBN 978-1567692655
- Acts (2010) ISBN 978-1433522734
- Romans (2009) ISBN 978-1433506857
- John (2009) ISBN 978-1567691856
- "Dr. R.C. Sproul – The Founder and President of Ligonier Ministries". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved July 30, 2008.
- "Ligonier", Tabletalk Magazine, May 2008
- Nichols, Stephen. "Remembering R.C. Sproul, 1939–2017". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
- Shellnutt, Kate (December 14, 2017), "Died: R. C. Sproul, Reformed Theologian Who Founded Ligonier Ministries", Christianity Today
- "Stations - Renewing Your Mind". Renewing Your Mind. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
- Comas, Martin E. "Prominent theologian R.C. Sproul of Sanford dies at 78". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
- "A Bright and Burning Light: Robert Charles Sproul, February 13, 1939-December 14, 2017". albertmohler.com. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
- "Obituary: Rev. R.C. Sproul, Presbyterian theologian, founded Ligonier Ministries". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
- "Robert "R.C." Sproul". Legecy.com. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
- Taylor, Justin (December 14, 2017). "R.C. Sproul (1939–2017)". The Gospel Coalition.
- "Train Wreck". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
- "Conferences". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved July 30, 2008.
- "Dr. R.C. Sproul". Saint Andrew's Chapel. Archived from the original on June 25, 2008. Retrieved July 30, 2008.
- Sproul, R.C. "Do Paul's instructions about head coverings apply today, since he appeals to creation, not culture?". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
- Barth, Paul J. (July 15, 2019). "Head Coverings in Worship?". Purely Presbyterian. Retrieved April 10, 2022.
R.C. Sproul writes, “The wearing of fabric head coverings in worship was universally the practice of Christian women until the twentieth century.” Incidentally, I remember talking with my mother some years back, and she told me that when she went to church as a little girl, she and her sister wore hats to church. And she was not Presbyterian – that was the case across all American Christianity. “What happened?” Sproul asks, “Did we suddenly find some biblical truth to which the saints for thousands of years were blind? Or were our biblical views of women gradually eroded by the modern feminist movement that has infiltrated the Church of Jesus Christ which is ‘the pillar and ground of the truth’ (1 Tim. 3:15)?”
- "Books: Betraying the Reformation?", Christianity today, October 7, 1996
- "Postponed: A Google Hangout with John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul" (Press release). Ligonier Ministries. April 21, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- "An Update on Dr. Sproul's Health" (Press release). Ligonier Ministries. December 12, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
- "Dr. R.C. Sproul, Called Home to the Lord". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
- "RC Sproul Dies at 78". The Christian Post. December 14, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
- "A Letter to the Church from R.C. Sproul (1939-2017), His Theology, and His Work in the Gospel". The Exchange | A Blog by Ed Stetzer. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
- Sproul, RC (February 1999). Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology. ISBN 0-8010-5852-X.
- "R.C. Sproul's Book Release Schedule". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
- "The Reformation Study Bible edited by R.C. Sproul". The Reformation Study Bible. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
- "R.C. Sproul, Founder | Ligonier Ministries". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved December 16, 2017.