Yesterday, R.C. Sproul died at the age of 78. Few theologians have had as much influence on my thinking as him. His books, lectures, and sermons have been a gift to me throughout the last 10 years, and I know will continue to be for years to come. Today, I want to share five simple, but important, truths I learned from him:
The Bible doesn’t require a decoder ring. We are not part of an esoteric religion, one that limits knowledge and insight to a select few.[1. We aren’t gnostics, after all.] The basic message of the Bible can be understood by just about anyone because God wants us to know him.
Simplicity isn’t the enemy of depth. Sproul’s greatest strength was his ability to make complex theological concepts accessible. He didn’t talk down to his hearers, nor did he fall prey to oversimplification. Children can understand complex truths, just as easily as adults (maybe more). This is something I strive to emulate (though I don’t always succeed).
Theology is for everyone. Similarly, theology isn’t just for one sphere of people—it’s for everyone. Everyone is a theologian; we all make theological statements every single day. What we need to know is what kind of theologians we are: are we good ones, who tell the truth about God, or are we bad ones, who don’t?
You don’t need to explain mysteries. Specifically, you don’t need to do complex theological gymnastics to answer the paradoxes—the mysteries that aren’t contradictions—of the Christian faith. When dealing with God and his nature as one God in three persons, or the deity and humanity of Jesus, sometimes the best answer you can give is “yes.”
God’s truth is true, even if no one believes it. One of the most important things I remember Sproul saying was a challenge to the old cliché, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.” His challenge was to the central clause, because God’s truth is still true, even if no one believes it.
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