A Personal Reflection on RC Sproul’s Impact

The first time I ever really heard of RC Sproul was back in the mid-nineties. I had grown up in the church, the son of a Conservative Baptist pastor; but in and around my early twenties the Lord really started to grab hold of my life in renewed and fresh ways. A significant part of that grabbing was to bring circumstances into my life that made me ask questions about the faith of Christ that I’d never had to grapple with before; some people would call these questions the intellectual sort, but I’d just call them real life deep questions that God would like all Christians to grapple with in regard to his reality as the living God. It was in this process that I made new friends who were in a similar place, and one of them started getting heavily into classical Reformed theology (out of a semi-charismatic background i.e. Calvary Chapel). Because of this friend my exposure to classical Protestant Reformed theology spiked, and in and through this exposure RC Sproul was one of the figures I came to know a bit. Unlike my friend, I didn’t continue down the Reformed theological path, at that point, but the exposure to Sproul was there, and so I continued to listen to his radio broadcast Renewing Your Mind. As a result of this I also picked up Sproul’s book Knowing Scripture (at Hank Hanegraaff’s recommendation).

Some years later (probably just three or so) I entered Bible College at Multnomah in Portland, OR. One of my housemates had Sproul’s Holiness of God video series, he would watch it quite frequently; sometimes I would watch it with him. As a result of this further exposure to Sproul I would have mini-debates with my housemate in regard to Sproul’s theology (my housemate was a proponent of Sproul’s theology, I was not). But, once again, Sproul’s influence seemed ubiquitous. During this time, mostly because of convenience of time (it was the time I would drive into work in the morning), I would listen, again to Sproul’s Renewing Your Mind. I listened to Sproul because even though I thoroughly disagreed with his theology, he still presented a theology in a kind of popular way that challenged me to come up with diatribe like responses to his arguments and assertions about who God is and how God operates relative to his creation.

Clearly, at this point, my theological paradigm has concretized in a peculiar Reformed way such that it should be self-evident how and why I might disagree with Sproul’s style of classical theism and Reformed theology. Nevertheless, one thing remains true: RC Sproul made an impact on the evangelical and quasi-Reformed sub-culture that is undeniable; he was a faithful servant unto God in Christ up until the very end of his time here on earth (during this season of time between the first and second advents of Jesus Christ). I simply wanted to register something of a reflection in this time that folks across the spectrum reflect on Sproul’s life and legacy; and say requiscet in pace, RC Sproul. Pax vobiscum.

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