By Brian Nixon, Special to ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS – Jan 7, 2016) — On February 13, 2016 noted theologian, Bible teacher, and broadcaster, Dr. R.C Sproul will turn 77. Much can be said of the man and his influence on our generation; too much for a short article like this. But I, like so many other people, are indebted to his ministry and books.
I distinctly remember the two times I met R.C Sproul. Both were in California. At a Northern California conference Mr. Sproul spoke on God’s sovereignty. He was joined by Sinclair Ferguson. And though I disagree with some of the conclusions drawn at the conference, talking with Dr. Sproul was a pleasure. The other meeting occurred in Southern California. Dr. Sproul was speaking at yet another conference, this one held at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, California. Here I was able to purchase the Geneva Study Bible and a few books by Dr. Sproul (signed, of course). Again, Dr. Sproul was kind, attentive, and passionate in his presentation.
Since then, I’ve turned to Dr. Sproul many times over—gaining insight into a host of Biblical, educational, and cultural topics. I subscribed to Tabletalk magazine, ordered the yearly tapes (yes, we used tapes then), and I listened to his broadcast, Renewing Your Mind. I even took courses through Ligonier Ministries (the name of his teaching ministry), getting my continuing education units for the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). To say the least, I’m quite familiar with the work, wisdom, and ways of Dr. Sproul.
And though I don’t agree with all of his theology (I’m Anglican in disposition, not Calvinist as is Dr. Sproul), I can’t help but thank God for his impact and presence in the world. So in commemoration of his forthcoming birthday, here’s a few areas I have learned from Dr. Sproul and I think the church universal should continue to cultivate.
Christ is Central. In all the conferences, books, and teachings I’ve heard from Dr. Sproul, one point is prominent: Jesus is central. Jesus is the great prophet, priest, and king; He’s our redeemer, Lord, and savior. And because of the mighty acts of Christ—His life, death, and resurrection, our due response is awe and awareness—of His person, place, and plan in the world.
Recommended reads: Who is Jesus and the Majesty of Christ.
The Bible is ‘the Book.’ Like other academic mentors of mine—Dr. Norman Geisler and John Warwick Montgomery, Dr. Sproul has a high view of Scripture. As one of the primary contributors to the contemporary defense of Biblical truth (published as God’s Inerrant Word in 1974), Dr. Sproul has been a keen advocate for the reliability and trustworthiness of the Bible.
Recommended reads: In addition to several commentaries, I recommend Knowing Scripture, Scripture Alone, Can I Trust the Bible?, and What’s In the Bible.
Your Mind Matters. I first came to awareness of Dr. Sproul’s ministry through his apologetics and worldview teaching. I was struck with the integrity of mental thought and the input he provided on a host of topics. He helped clear up some of the questions I had regarding a variety of subjects—form differing worldviews to how science and the Bible relate.
Recommended reads: The Consequences of Ideas, Defending Your Faith, Not a Chance, Reason to Believe, and Classical Apologetics.
Essentials are Essential. In many people’s eyes, R.C Sproul is known for his theology, the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. From people as diverse as Charles Colson (who said concerning Sproul’s classic theological book, The Holiness of God, “the material drove me to my knees”) to James Montgomery Boice (who called the seminal book, the “classic theological work of our time”), there’s no doubt Sproul’s Calvinist interpretations of theology have influenced many. Even non-Calvinists such as myself have gleaned and garnered great insight into the importance of theology.
Recommended reads: Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, The Holiness of God, and Everyone’s a Theologian.
Culture Counts. Finally, I’ll touch on the area that I enjoy most about Dr. Sproul (and largely underappreciated)—his love, cultivation, and critique of culture. Many may not be familiar with the fact that Sproul loves music, literature, art, and education, as his many references to poems (Edgar Allen Poe), literature (Moby Dick), music (Thelonious Monk and Bach), and children’s books, will attest.
Recommended reads: Lifeviews: Make a Christian Impact on Culture and Society, The Donkey Who Carried a King, The Prince with Dirty Clothes, and The Barber Who Wanted to Pray.
Photo captions: 1) R.C. Sproul teaching. 2) The Holiness of God by R.C Sproul. 3) Knowing Scripture by R.C Sproul. 4) The Barber Who Wanted to Pray by R.C Sproul. 5) Brian Nixon.
About the writer: Brian Nixon is a writer, musician, and minister. He’s a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus (BA) and is a Fellow at Oxford Graduate School (D.Phil.). To learn more, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Nixon.
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