A few years ago, I was contacted by Ligonier Ministries. I have supported the ministry since 1997 and they informed me that R.C.'s 75th Birthday was coming up soon and asked if I would like to write a note to him on that occasion. I wrote a heartfelt note of how much Dr. Sproul had meant to me and to my utter delight heard my note read to him on the air. He reacted with deep appreciation for my thoughts.
It was the least I could do for a man whose ministry has meant so much to me.
I grew up Roman Catholic. I still remember the fear of hellfire and then going to confession, being absolved by the priest, and thnking shortly after that it was a good time to die because I would end up in heaven.
In 1980 my family moved to Fort Worth and the priest at our Church was in the charismatic movement. He taught that I was saved by faith and that Roman Catholics were Christians too. I learned how to speak in tongues and began to assume that the Reformation was about Luther making people zealous for Jesus again and not be so stodgy and traditional.
After college I rarely attended Church anymore but knew I needed to get back to Church. Because I now thought that Christianity was wherever zeal was found I ended up in a charismatic, non-denominational Church. When I moved to VA in 1996, my new wife and I found another charismatic non-denominational Church.
I was wracked by guilt over my sin and spiritual depression over not being able to yield sufficiently to the Spirit to find joy and overcome my sin. I assumed I was the only one who was failing to find all the answers that Promise Keepers and Family Life Marriage conferences promised. I tried it all but I could not find enough zeal for God to overcome my sin.
One day, while driving on Quantico, I heard a teacher on the radio teaching about the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass. In just 5 minutes time I wanted to learn more so I called Ligonier Ministries and ordered the tape series on Roman Catholicism and Faith Alone.
I read the book, Faith Alone, during a long plane ride to Okinawa. It was as though the scales fell off my eyes. I had heard the Scriptures all my life but I had never seen it all fall into place. R.C. was used so mightily of God in my life.
All my seeking for religious experience paled in comparison to the Gospel that R.C. so clearly explained. Nothing since has compared to the surpassing riches of Christ that I first learned through the reading of this book. Theology was transformed from the realm of a boring subject to something that enflamed my soul. I wanted to learn more about the Scriptures. I wanted to learn more about God and man and I desired others to know of the surpassing riches of the Gospel.
I've had the opportunity to meet R.C. in person three times. Each time I've awkwardly tried to express how much his ministry means to me.
I give all glory to God but I also recongizes that He uses means. I don't know how else God might have reached me but I know that it was through R.C. that the Gospel first came sweetly to me.
How beautiful were the feet of R.C. who brought me such good news.
Rest in peace, Dr. Sproul. Thank you, Lord, for calling this man to ministry and giving him the vision to reach men like me. This poor sinner is grateful.