R. C. Sproul

ISBN (identifier) R. C. Sproul Jr. Presbyterian Church in America
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R. C. Sproul
R. C. Sproul (cropped).jpg
Robert Charles Sproul

(1939-02-13)February 13, 1939
DiedDecember 14, 2017(2017-12-14) (aged 78)
Altamonte Springs, Florida, U.S.
Vesta Ann Voorhis
(m. 1960)
Children2, including R. C. Sproul Jr.
Theological work
Tradition or movementReformed
Main interestsClassical apologetics
Systematic theology
Biblical Inerrancy

Robert Charles Sproul (/sprl/ SPROHL; February 13, 1939 – December 14, 2017) was an American theologian and ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America. He was the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries (named for the Ligonier Valley just outside Pittsburgh, where the ministry started as a study center for college and seminary students) and could be heard daily on the Renewing Your Mind radio broadcast in the United States and internationally. Under Sproul's direction, Ligonier Ministries produced the Ligonier Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, which would eventually grow into the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, of which Sproul, alongside Norman Geisler, was one of the chief architects.[4][5] Sproul has been described as "the greatest and most influential proponent of the recovery of Reformed theology in the last century."[6][7][8]

Education and personal life

Sproul was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the second child of Robert Cecil Sproul, an accountant and a veteran of World War II and his wife, Mayre Ann Sproul (née Yardis).[9][10] Sproul was an avid supporter of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates as a youth, and at the age of 15, he had to drop out from high school athletics in order to support his family.[10] He obtained degrees from Westminster College, Pennsylvania (BA, 1961), Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary (M.Div, 1964), the Free University of Amsterdam (Drs., 1969), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (PhD, 2001). He taught at numerous colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and in Jackson, Mississippi, and Knox Theological Seminary in Ft. Lauderdale.[1]

One of Sproul's mentors was John Gerstner, a professor of his at Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary. The two of them, along with another of Gerstner's students, Arthur Lindsley, co-authored the book Classical Apologetics in 1984. Sproul's ministry, Ligonier Ministries, made recordings of Gerstner teaching various courses on theology and the Bible.

He married Vesta Voorhis in 1960 and had two children, Sherrie Dorotiak and Robert Craig Sproul.[9]

Sproul was a passenger on the Amtrak train that derailed in the 1993 Big Bayou Canot train wreck, and sometimes gave firsthand accounts of the story.[11]


Ligonier Ministries hosts several theological conferences each year, including the main conference in Orlando, FL, at which Sproul was one of the primary speakers.[12] Sproul served as co-pastor at Saint Andrew's Chapel, a congregation in Sanford, Florida.[1][13] He was ordained as an elder in the United Presbyterian Church in the USA in 1965, but left that denomination around 1975 and joined the Presbyterian Church in America. He was also a Council member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.

Sproul was an advocate of Calvinism in his many print, audio, and video publications, and advocated the Thomistic (classical) approaches to Christian apologetics, less common among Reformed apologists, most of whom prefer presuppositionalism.[citation needed] A dominant theme in his Renewing Your Mind lessons is the holiness and sovereignty of God.

Sproul, a staunch critic of the Roman Catholic Church and Catholic theology, denounced the 1994 ecumenical document Evangelicals and Catholics Together.[14]

In 2003, a Festschrift was published in his honor. After Darkness, Light: Essays in Honor of R. C. Sproul (ISBN 0875527043) included contributions from Robert Godfrey, Sinclair Ferguson, O. Palmer Robertson, Michael Horton, Douglas Wilson, John F. MacArthur, and Jay E. Adams.

Health and death

April 18, 2015, Sproul suffered a stroke, and was admitted to a hospital.[15] Five days later, on April 23, Sproul went home from the hospital, suffering no ill effects. He was, however, diagnosed with a diabetic condition "that [would] be addressed through diet and regular medical attention."[15]

Sproul had long suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and on December 2, 2017, he was hospitalized when his respiratory difficulties were exacerbated by flu.[16] Despite medical efforts to restore respiratory function, he died on December 14, 2017, at the age of 78.[17][18]


Some of Sproul's best-known books are The Holiness of God, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, and What Is Reformed Theology? He is also well known for "Chosen by God," a book about predestination and the sovereignty of God.[19] His book Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology[20] was highly praised by those who reject the materialism advocated by some in the scientific community.[21]

Through Ligonier Ministries and the Renewing Your Mind radio program and conferences, Sproul generated numerous audio and video lectures on the subjects of history of philosophy, theology, Bible study, apologetics, intelligent design, and Christian living. In addition, Sproul wrote more than 100 books and many articles for evangelical publications.[22] He signed the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, which affirmed the traditional view of Biblical inerrancy, and he wrote a commentary on that document titled Explaining Inerrancy. He also served as the general editor[23] of the Reformation Study Bible (ISBN 0-87552-643-8), which has appeared in several editions and was also known as the New Geneva Study Bible. In addition, Sproul was executive editor of Tabletalk magazine.[24]

Published Books

Crucial Questions Series

St. Andrew's Expositional Commentary Series


  1. ^ a b c "Dr. R.C. Sproul – The Founder and President of Ligonier Ministries". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved July 30, 2008.
  2. ^ "Ligonier", Tabletalk Magazine, May 2008
  3. ^ Nichols, Stephen. "Remembering R.C. Sproul, 1939–2017". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  4. ^ Shellnutt, Kate (December 14, 2017), "Died: R. C. Sproul, Reformed Theologian Who Founded Ligonier Ministries", Christianity Today
  5. ^ "Stations - Renewing Your Mind". Renewing Your Mind. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  6. ^ Comas, Martin E. "Prominent theologian R.C. Sproul of Sanford dies at 78". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  7. ^ "A Bright and Burning Light: Robert Charles Sproul, February 13, 1939-December 14, 2017". albertmohler.com. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  8. ^ "Obituary: Rev. R.C. Sproul, Presbyterian theologian, founded Ligonier Ministries". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Robert "R.C." Sproul". Legecy.com. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Taylor, Justin (December 14, 2017). "R.C. Sproul (1939–2017)". The Gospel Coalition.
  11. ^ "Train Wreck". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  12. ^ "Conferences". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved July 30, 2008.
  13. ^ "Dr. R.C. Sproul". Saint Andrew's Chapel. Archived from the original on June 25, 2008. Retrieved July 30, 2008.
  14. ^ "Books: Betraying the Reformation?", Christianity today, October 7, 1996
  15. ^ a b "Postponed: A Google Hangout with John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul" (Press release). Ligonier Ministries. April 21, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  16. ^ "An Update on Dr. Sproul's Health" (Press release). Ligonier Ministries. December 12, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  17. ^ "Dr. R.C. Sproul, Called Home to the Lord". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  18. ^ "RC Sproul Dies at 78". The Christian Post. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  19. ^ "A Letter to the Church from R.C. Sproul (1939-2017), His Theology, and His Work in the Gospel". The Exchange | A Blog by Ed Stetzer. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  20. ^ Sproul, RC (February 1999). Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology. ISBN 0-8010-5852-X.
  21. ^ "Not A Chance!". Lambert Dolphin's Library. Retrieved July 30, 2008.
  22. ^ "R.C. Sproul's Book Release Schedule". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  23. ^ "The Reformation Study Bible edited by R.C. Sproul". The Reformation Study Bible. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  24. ^ "R.C. Sproul, Founder | Ligonier Ministries". Ligonier Ministries. Retrieved December 16, 2017.