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Archive for the ‘R.C. Sproul’ Category

Stack of books at the bookshop

Open Book is a podcast sponsored by Ligonier Ministries. Stephen Nichols interviewed R.C. Sproul in its first season and John MacArthur this season in their respective libraries about authors and books that have had great influence on them.

The podcast got me thinking: what authors have influenced me? The first standard I used  was simply the number of books written by particulars author in my library, excluding commentaries. Here are five of the authors who appear most in my personal library.

  1. John MacArthur. I have more books written by MacArthur in my library than any other author. I’ve learned much from him and admire his faithfulness to Scripture.
  2. R.C. Sproul. Sproul’s influence on me has been immeasurable. From the holiness and sovereignty of God to an unwavering commitment to the gospel, I owe a debt of gratitude to him. I miss him.
  3. Jerry Bridges. The Pursuit of Holiness was my introduction to Bridges, which began  commitment to read everything he writes. I’ve almost achieved it. Bridges is faithful to the Word, simple yet profound, and encouraging.
  4. Francis Schaeffer. I’m glad I read Schaeffer as a new Christian because he helped shape my worldview. Some of his concepts were a bit beyond me, but as I re-read him, they became clearer. Schaeffer’s thinking and warnings stand up well today.
  5. C.S. Lewis. Mere Christianity was the first of many Lewis books. He has an engaging style and gives you a lot to think about. He was a professor of classics, and many of his  works are just that.

I need to point out that by mentioning these books and authors, I’m not endorsing everything they wrote.

So, what’s in your library?

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“The words of a wise man are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd” (Ecclesiastes 12:11).

It’s been awhile, but here are some articles and ideas that were of interest of me and hope they will be to you, too.

If you’re of a certain age, you remember the iconic photo of the “Napalm Girl.” A young naked Vietnamese girl running down a road after being sprayed with napalm. Her name is Kim Phuc Phan Thi and she writes an article for Christianity Today about how those bombs led her to Christ. It’s a great story!

Jordan Standridge has written a response to a question a boy named Emanuele asked Pope Francis. He wanted to know if his father–an atheist–will be in heaven. From The Cripplegate, Standridge wrote “What Pope Francis Should Have Said to Emanuele.” It’s very good and has a clear presentation of the gospel.

What is joy and can we regularly experience it as Christians? Ligonier Ministries has posted an article by R.C. Sproul that answers that question.

Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia, thinks Christians should “unhinge” themselves from the Old Testament. Is he right? Gary Demar  doesn’t think so (I don’t either). Here’s Demar’s response. Stanley has been on the trajectory toward apostasy for some time now, and it’s sad to see.

Please remember to pray for Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who has been imprisoned by the Turkish government for nearly two years. Read about it here.

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Reading from Deuteronomy chapters 27 through 32, the words of R.C. Sproul were prominent in my thinking: “God plays for keeps.”

God takes His law and word very seriously. It reveals His character, nature, and will – indeed, it is a reflection of Him. In those chapters, those who obey God’s law are blessed, while those who disobey are cursed. The detail of this larger passage shows us that not only does God take His law and word seriously, He also takes our response to it seriously.

In other words, God plays for keeps. He’s serious about His children obeying (or, conversely, disobeying) His law and word. In fact, in 32:45-46, it says, When Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, he said to them, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.” (Emphasis added)

God’s Word and Law are not idle for us – they’re not meaningless or inconsequential; they are our life. Through His Word and Spirit, God saves us, sustains us, transforms us, and conforms us to the image of Christ. It really is our life, and there’s nothing idle about that!

God plays for keeps. Shouldn’t we be serious, too?

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Robert Charles Sproul, better known to us as R.C., went to be with the Lord yesterday afternoon. Well done, good and faithful servant!

R.C. had, and will continue to have, a tremendous impact on me. In fact, I can’t really even quantify how influential he’s been. I’m saddened by his death, but rejoice that he’s in the presence of God and basking in His glory. I pray for his family and friends, as well as all of those who knew him through his teaching, his books, his ministry, and Bible college. May God give us all peace and comfort.

R.C. has influenced my thinking and theology through his books. The Holiness of God, Chosen by God, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, Now That’s A Good Question, Loved by God, Everyone’s A Theologian, The Last Days According to Jesus, The Truth of the Cross, Knowing Scripture, Getting the Gospel Right, Saved from What? What is Reformed Theology? Justification by Faith Alone, The Invisible Hand, to name only a few (and I mean that).

My understanding of the holiness of God was radically changed, for example, by R.C. I know intellectually that God is holy, but after reading and watching the video series The Holiness of God, I knew it emotionally and to the core of my being. If God is that holy, and if holiness means what R.C. says it does, then He is immeasurably larger than I’ve ever imagined and He is worthy of all praise, honor, glory, love, and devotion. Not only that, but everything is about Him, not me.

R.C.’s audio and video teachings, conferences, and the Renewing Your Mind radio program (and podcast) have been mainstays in my life. They’ll continue to be.

What influenced me most, though, was R.C. himself. His manner, his style, his faithfulness, his fearlessness, and His commitment to God and His Word all made him charming, challenging, and endearing to me. I can remember the first time I saw him. I thought, “Who is this guy who looks and sounds like Peter Falk as Columbo?” Well, he proved to be a lot more than that in the decades to come. In reality, he became indispensable. He was a lion in defense of the faith, which is something to imitate, and someone I want to be like.

We’ll miss him. We grieve, but not as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Those who belong to Jesus will see R.C. again – we can count on that. We praise God for using R.C. Sproul to deepen our knowledge and devotion to Him. He was a gift from God to the church.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15).

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This is an excellent video from Ligonier Ministries briefly explaining the Reformation. October 31st is the 500th anniversary of the official beginning of the Reformation, and we would do well to remember our family history. By the way, a transcript is provided.

 

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I was reminded of an important truth today as I listened to a sermon on Luke 1:5-25 delivered by R.C. Sproul: there’s a big difference between believing in God and believing God.

I believe in God as a result of His sovereign grace. He opened my eyes to see Him, my ears to hear Him, and my heart to believe. But what’s more significant and important is to believe God. In other words, to trust Him, to take Him at His Word, and to act on what He says.

You can believe in God without believing Him, but you can’t believe God without believing in Him. It’s the difference between being convinced that God really does exist and trusting that He’s good and knows what He’s doing when you’re going through a difficult time. It’s the difference between believing God has spoken and knowing that what God says about you is true (that you’re dead in sin and deserving of God’s wrath) and, as a result, you repent of your sin and trust Christ alone for your salvation.

Our walk with the Lord consists of believing God one day at a time for as long as He gives us on this earth. Believe in God – yes. Believe God – far better.

A little two-letter word – “in” – makes a gigantic difference.

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R.C. Sproul’s latest book written for children – The Knight’s Map – explains the importance of the Bible to Christians today. It’s not just a book of fables and contradictions as some claim; it’s God’s gift to us. The Bible gives us a map for life – what to believe and how to behave. It’s instructions can only be understood, though, by the illumination of the Holy Spirit. The Knight’s Map will remind some readers of another allegory – Pilgrim’s Progress.

This may be the best of Sprout’s children’s books. It’s a good story without an abundance of moving parts which is well told. The study guide is excellent, as well. Tolle lege!

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