I remember sitting on the floor in the back corner, “theology” section in my local LifeWay. I stumbled across a book called “The Holiness of God” by RC Sproul.
My view of God was never the same again.
That book changed my life. Full stop.
RC Sproul passed away earlier this afternoon. Pastor, preacher, theologian, philosopher, visionary leader; Sproul was all of these things. In creating Ligonier Ministries, Sproul created a ministry that has blessed countless people with sound theology all over the world. But I believe his greatest gift was his unique ability to make rich, deep, weighty, complex theological truths easy to understand. Reading “The Holiness of God” was a profound experience, but an intensely readable one. A helpful one. I was confronted with a view of God that was as powerful as it was biblical. His writing was straightforward and concise. His excellent exegetical commentaries (like his hero Calvin’s I would add) demonstrate his pastoral heart for his church in a powerful way. RC Sproul was a churchman. I think he’d like being remembered as such.
RC Sproul was also joyful. I loved hearing him talk about the joy of worshipping a God who was “altogether lovely”. His lofty, intellectually grounded theology was never disconnected from his heart. He laughed a lot. In interviews and sermons, his jovial nature emerged and it was endearing. In his own way, RC Sproul showed that it was possible to believe in the sovereignty of God in salvation and not be a cold, miserable human being. Or to put it differently, he showed how the holiness and sovereignty of God were not attributes to hit people over the head with. They were pillows to rest your head on. Sweet truths to savor.
7 years ago, I met up with a gifted young pastor named Josh Hildebrandt to chat. We had met briefly a few weeks before and had scheduled time over a burger and fries to talk life and theology. After some small talk, I asked him if he had ever read a certain RC Sproul book. He had. A friendship was born. A couple of years later, this pastor and I would plant a church together. A church that was born from a conviction that the God that Sproul wrote about, a holy, sovereign God, really was the God revealed in the Bible. “Lets plant a church committed to proclaiming a high view of God”. So we did. By God’s grace, that church today is thriving.
We named the church HighView.
I think RC would like that name.
So thank you, RC.
Enjoy your reward.