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A Joyfully Sad Day

By now, you likely have heard that R. C. Sproul passed away yesterday. You can read the official announcement from Ligonier Ministries here.

Count me as one of the vast multitude whose thought, faith, and life have been profoundly influenced by the ministry of this great man of God. When I had wandered far off the biblical trail, influenced by men unworthy to be named on the same page as Dr. Sproul, he was one of the voices that turned my thinking around. He helped me learn to think logically and biblically, and to quit imposing my preconceived notions on Scripture.

Dr. Sproul had a style that was irresistible. Good-humored but never silly, sober and dignified but never dull, he made the lecture a delight. I remember the only time I saw him in person, at the 2008 Together for the Gospel conference. He had recently suffered a stroke, and had to be wheeled onto the stage. From the wheelchair, he rose only to take a chair behind the podium. I was sad to see him so diminished. There would be no pacing the stage, scrawling notes on the chalkboard, stepping forward and leaning into the audience and, with lowered voice, driving his point home. I prepared to be disappointed. How wrong I was. I soon learned that all he needed was his mind and his mouth, animated by his passion for the gospel. He clearly loved what he was doing, and made me love it, too. It was the gospel that moved him, and no physical impairment could hold that back.

In that conference message, Dr. Sproul anticipated his death:

R. C. Sproul

It has now been over fifty years, over a half of a century, that I have contemplated, studied, and read a host of tomes written about the meaning of the cross of Christ. And yet I still believe that I have not been able to do anything more than to touch the surface of the depths and the riches that are contained in that moment of redemptive history. I suspect that when my eyes open in heaven, in the first five minutes of my beginning of my eternity there, I will be absolutely staggered by the sudden increase of understanding that will come to me when I behold the lamb who was slain . . .

We all have notions about what heaven will be like. Most are entirely wrong. I suspect Sproul's is not. The mountains of knowledge and the vast understand of God and his Word that he acquired in his first seventy-eight years have already been rendered miniscule compared to that which he now knows and understands. And that knowledge and understanding will continue to grow for all eternity.

“R.I.P.” is most often a fatuous sentiment, trite, meaningless, and tragically wrong. Yesterday, for R. C. Sproul, it became a blessed reality.

He was—no, is—a giant, not only of his generation, but of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He is one of the great ones, the likes of whom I doubt we shall see again very soon. I am eternally grateful for his life, profoundly saddened by his departure, but overjoyed in the knowledge that he is at home in the presence of his savior.

imagePrecious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His godly ones.
—Psalm 116:15

Posted 2017·12·15 by David Kjos
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Posted in: R C Sproul

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