Introducing friends to each other can be great fun. Today, friend, meet mentor and friend, R.C. Sproul. Born in 1939, he died last month. I’m grateful to honor him.

First, a quote from, Dr. Al Mohler. Time called Mohler the reigning intellectual among evangelicals in the U.S. Mohler designated Sproul as “the greatest and most influential proponent of Reformed theology in the last century.” Chief architect of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, Sproul’s leadership through the Ligonier Study Center, his popular radio program, his dynamic conferences and his service as general editor for the Reformed Study Bible have engaged both new followers of Jesus as well as those eager to grow in faith. A quick search listed over 100 books and articles Sproul authored.

Truth be told, I’ve only read a few of his books. But in a multitude of eulogies, Christian leaders cite listening to him -- in person or by his tapes (remember cassette tapes?) -- as “strangely infectious, compelling” (ibid). We admired Sproul for tackling big questions. For many, his answers resonated - deeply. His humor and the twinkle in his eye befriended. “The power of his teaching was the vitality and virility of Christianity, presented logically, forcefully, biblically, and passionately. He was all in, all the time” (ibid.).

To “get” that sense of R.C., go to YouTube. What I have available here are some quotes. As he has enriched my life, may he enrich yours. Dive in, friend!

Also, loving God with our mind

“Mindless Christianity is no Christianity at all. You can't love what you don't know."

"No one can avoid theology. Everyone is a theologian, and has a theology. The issue, then, is not, do we want to have a theology? That's a given. The real issue is, do we have a sound theology? Are we a good or a bad theologian?”

"The grand difference between a human being and a Supreme being is precisely this: Apart from God I cannot exist; apart from me God does exist. God does not need me in order for Him to be. I do need God in order for me to be. We are contingent dependent creatures. We are fragile. This is how we differ from God."

"There is not one piece of cosmic dust, one 'maverick molecule' that is outside the scope of God's sovereign providence.”

The extent of our problem

“Sin is not simply making bad choices or mistakes. Sin is having the desire in our hearts to do the will of the enemy of God."

"Every sin is an act of ‘cosmic treason,' a futile attempt to dethrone God in His sovereign authority; thus, no sin is a 'small sin.'”

"The gospel is good news for us only when we understand the bad news about us."

Loving a holy God is beyond our moral power. The only kind of God we can love by our sinful nature is an unholy god, an idol we made. Unless we are born of the Spirit of God, unless God sheds His holy love in our hearts, unless He stoops in His grace to change our hearts, we will not love Him. To love a holy God requires grace, grace strong enough to pierce our hardened hearts and awaken our moribund souls."

"God just doesn't throw a life preserver to a drowning person. He goes to the bottom of the sea, pulls up a corpse, takes him up on the bank, breathes into him the breath of life and makes him alive."

Redemption accomplished and applied

"Why do bad things happen to good people? That only happened once and He volunteered."

"The grounds of your being right with God are the perfect works of Jesus Christ. We're saved by works, but they're not our own."

"There is nothing in this universe you need more desperately than Christ."

"We are secure, not because we hold tightly to Jesus, but because He holds tightly to us."

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"When God writes our names in the 'Lamb's Book of Life' He doesn't do it with an eraser handy. He does it for eternity."

"God not only initiated my salvation, He not only sowed the seed, but He made sure that that seed germinated in my heart by regenerating me by the power of the Holy Ghost."

Responding to the grace of God in Christ

"Perhaps the most difficult task for us is to rely on God’s grace and God’s grace alone. It is difficult for our pride to rest on grace. Grace is for other people—for beggars. We don’t want to live by a heavenly welfare system. We want to earn our own way - atoning for our own sins. We like to think that we go to heaven because we deserve to be there."

"Prayer is to the Christian what breath is to life, yet no duty of the Christian is so neglected. So, breathe! “

"We need the church as urgently as a starving baby needs his mother’s milk."

"I think the church’s greatest weakness is that everyone is looking for power in a program, in a methodology, in anything and everything but that in which God has placed it — His Word. He alone has the power to change lives for eternity, and that power is focused on the Scriptures."

"To live Coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of/before the face of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God. It is to perform for an audience of One, the three in One."

Graduation

"Pursuing God is relentless, passionate, hungering and thirsting, panting as the deer after the mountain brook. It takes the kingdom by storm. Indifference will not do. To abide in the Word is to hang on tenaciously. Discipleship requires staying power. We sign up for duration; we do not graduate until heaven."

Thank you, R.C. – graduate.

Steve Bostrom, a descendant of Swedish homesteaders, husband of Via, father of eight, and grandfather of nine, loves Helena and serves here as a pastor at large. The Presbyterian Church in America oversees his work. To contact him, email: stevebostrom@gmail.com. If you would like access to previous columns, please go to www.stevebostrom.com.

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