Church Worldwide: Theologian R.C. Sproul Dies at 78

Theologian and religious broadcaster R.C. Sproul, who founded Florida-based Ligonier Ministries and authored dozens of books, has died at age 78.

Sproul died Dec. 14 at an Altamonte Springs, Fla., hospital, his ministry announced. He was hospitalized with severe respiratory problems that were complicated by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the flu.

Sproul was known for his worldwide radio broadcast, “Renewing Your Mind,” as well as books such as Everyone’s a Theologian, Defending Your Faith and Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue.

“For more than five decades, the Lord has used Dr. Sproul to spread the life-changing truths of biblical Christianity and to expose people to the grace and the knowledge of the Lord,” said Jerry Johnson, president of National Religious Broadcasters, which inducted Sproul into its Hall of Fame in 2016.

“From the inquiring skeptic to the growing Christian, Dr. Sproul has impacted countless lives,” Johnson said.

An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, Sproul was a co-pastor of St. Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla. From the pulpit and through his broadcasts, he attempted to draw Christians into serious study and interpretation of the Bible, said Mark Pinsky, a longtime Central Florida religion writer.

“His preaching was similar to his radio show,” said Pinsky. “He had a kind of growly, garrulous delivery, which was particularly engaging because he had a good sense of humor to go along with it.”

Though not a household name like evangelists Billy Graham or Rick Warren, Sproul was heralded for his reach—from everyday radio listeners to seminary presidents to Christian hip-hop artists.

“I am grieved to hear of the death of R.C. Sproul,” tweeted Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “It is hard to overestimate his influence on gospel-resurgent evangelicalism.”

Sproul’s ministry, in a statement announcing its leader’s death, noted his efforts to teach classical Christianity to as many people as he could. Sproul served as chancellor of Reformation Bible College, which was founded in 2011 as an extension of Ligonier Ministries.

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