A Letter from Dr. W. Robert Godfrey, Chairman of Ligonier Ministries
Dear Friend of Ligonier,
Our founder, Dr. R.C. Sproul, was called home to glory on Thursday, December 14, 2017. He died peacefully with his family at his side. We are all grieving our loss, but we are comforted by the promises of Christ’s gospel—promises that R.C. believed and taught with clarity and power.
R.C. was a servant of Christ who was given remarkable gifts that he used for God’s glory with extraordinary dedication. His many books and articles, his hymns, and his lectures and sermons displayed his profound learning, his vital faith, and his marvelous ability as a communicator.
In many ways, R.C. cannot be replaced. His gifts are very seldom found in a single individual. Our sense of loss is deepened in knowing that.
Yet R.C. believed strongly that although his life would end, the work he engaged in for so many decades needed to continue. He was always a realist as a Calvinist, and he knew that he was mortal. In recent years, he knew his health was declining. Along with the board of Ligonier, his family, and others close to him, he thought carefully about how to continue the work of helping people know who God is. He wanted to find a way to continue the work of exalting Christ, teaching the Word, building up the people of God, and helping churches around the world carry out their ministries. Therefore, R.C. and the board of Ligonier made several key decisions to carry on the work.
First, Ligonier has been careful to archive, catalog, and make available the rich deposit of R.C.’s teaching. Modern technology has made it possible to publish R.C.’s wisdom and knowledge in a wide variety of print, audio, and video formats for years to come. But R.C. was adamant that he wanted Ligonier to remain a living and growing ministry after he passed and not just a monument to one man. He wanted Ligonier to continue to speak to contemporary problems. That led to the next key decision.
Second, R.C. and the board established the Teaching Fellowship of R.C. Sproul. R.C. invited a number of scholars and ministers to join him in teaching through writing, speaking, and recording to advance the work of Ligonier. He was confident that these carefully chosen fellows would faithfully carry out his convictions and teaching. In addition to me, the Ligonier Teaching Fellows include Drs. Sinclair B. Ferguson, Steven J. Lawson, R. Albert Mohler Jr., Stephen J. Nichols, Burk Parsons, and Derek W.H. Thomas, and we are looking to add more people to this group in the future.
Third, Ligonier founded Reformation Bible College (RBC) as a place to educate young Christians in the intellectual disciplines they will need to understand, preserve, and spread the faith. RBC is committed to the careful cultivation of knowledge of the Bible, theology, philosophy, and related disciplines so that whatever students do with their lives, they have a solid foundation of understanding from which to serve Christ.
Fourth, R.C. and the board ensured succession of leadership. R.C. led the development of Ligonier from its founding as a small study center to its current state as an extensive ministry spreading the truth of Christ worldwide through many means. For the past nine years, the day-to-day operation of the ministry has been directed with remarkable skill and success by Chris Larson. As a board, we are so very thankful for Chris’ faithfulness to R.C.’s vision and for his ability to gather a great team and lead them in making tremendous use of modern communication technologies. With Chris continuing as president and CEO, we are confident that the mission of Ligonier will flourish.
We are thankful to God that He preserved R.C.’s life so that he could supervise the development and commencement of these plans. R.C. lived to see that the archive, the fellowship, RBC, and the ministry were working well and accomplishing their purposes. He was as wise in planning for the future as he was in living his life.
Our hope and prayer now is that you will honor R.C. by continuing to support the work of Ligonier. The work is so far reaching now and affects so many lives in so many ways through the outreaches of Renewing Your Mind, Reformation Trust Publishing, RefNet, Ligonier Connect, Reformation Bible College, Ligonier conferences and events, Tabletalk magazine, Ask Ligonier, teaching series, and more.
Please pray for all of us in this difficult time, including and especially the Sproul family. Please also pray for the congregation that R.C. copastored, Saint Andrew’s Chapel, now pastored by Dr. Burk Parsons. Please pray for the board of Ligonier, the leadership and all the staff of Ligonier (especially those who worked closely with R.C. for many years), the Teaching Fellows, and the college. We need the comfort and strength of Christ.
Please pray also that we would have the wisdom we need to be faithful and to plan well for the future for the sake of Christ. Our loss is great, but we cannot focus exclusively on our loss. If we did, R.C. would say to us in his endearing manner, “What’s wrong with you people?” We must focus on our God, whose strength is made perfect in our weakness. We need to focus on the extraordinary opportunities that lie before us to spread the message of God’s holiness and sovereignty, of Christ’s gospel, and of the Bible’s inerrant authority. In a world where morality is unraveling and the very possibility of truth is attacked, we need to love God with all our minds. With the great teaching resources that we have, we need to continue to advance the cause of Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life.
Thank you for walking with us as we move into the future.
W. Robert Godfrey on behalf of Ligonier’s board of directors