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In Loving Memory of R.C. Sproul: A Tribute

If you have never heard of R.C. Sproul, let me introduce him to you. He was a man who loved the Gospel, always expounding on the fact that we are not saved by our own righteousness but by the imputed righteousness of Another. He spent his life writing, teaching, and defending the wonder of God’s plan of redemption and its implications for living. He died on December 14, 2017 at the age of 78.

I first heard about R.C. when he became a mentor to Chuck Colson after Colson’s conversion. More importantly, I had read his book The Holiness of God, and was impressed by its clarity and application for believers. He also founded Ligonier Ministries, which teaches the doctrines of Reformed theology in order to help people grow in their faith and understanding of God’s Word. Even from a distance, long before I knew him, I held R.C. in high esteem.

We were brought together by something which we both regarded as a theological crisis. In 1994, a document titled “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” was signed. In response to this document, a committee of five or six was formed to set forth a clear presentation of the Gospel. We desired to present the Gospel in such a way that any reader could clearly see the radical difference between what the Bible says about salvation and the additions made by Roman Catholicism. Our document, The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration, received wide coverage and was eventually signed by Billy Graham. You can read it at Ligonier Ministries.

After that project, R.C. and I crossed paths at various events, and he graciously wrote the introduction to my book on Satan, The Serpent of Paradise (now titled God’s Devil). Throughout the years, he always encouraged me in the ministry.

The last time I heard him speak was at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention this past February. From a wheelchair, he spoke on one of his favorite subjects: the Protestant Reformation. He described Martin Luther’s discovery of the Gospel, highlighting that we are saved entirely by God’s sovereign grace based wholly on the righteousness of Christ. Even the faith by which we receive the Gospel is a gift of God (see Ephesians 2:8–9).

So, thank you R.C. for your contribution in my life, and thank you for your faithful devotion to the Gospel. I cannot think of you without bringing the righteousness of Jesus Christ to mind. And that is high praise!

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