A Personal Conversation with RC Sproul, Pt. 3 of 3

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In this final installment with RC Sproul, one of the world’s leading theologians and a hero of mine, you will get a very personal, real, and honest look into the life and heart of one of the world’s leading theologians, and a spiritual hero of mine.  My hopes for these interviews is for you to be able to not only learn directly from what he says, but also by the manner and humility with which he shares his life with us.  Glean and grow! I think you’ll be surprised.  Enjoy! – Arthur

Arthur:  I have one or two more questions. In giving my audience a glimpse into the life of RC Sproul, I wanted them to get a whiff and a peek into the passion and purpose of RC Sproul … Can you just preach it to me right now and charge me with what you desperately and passionately want my audience to know? What is the thing that you want to say, “Make sure you don’t forget to communicate this to them, Arthur.”

RC: What has been intimately connected with the holiness of God has been my lifelong preoccupation with justification and with Christology, because as I’ve said in teaching systematic theology, our doctrine of God informs every other doctrine that we have; and you can’t really understand salvation unless you understand who God is; and you can’t understand who Christ is unless you understand the nature and character of God. We’re living in a time in evangelical circles where people are attacking the doctrine of imputation and the righteousness of Christ. They’re attacking the active obedience of Christ, and when they do that, I feel like they’re trying to steal the gospel away from me. And so I say, whatever else you do, don’t forget the gospel. And understand the gospel in theological terms. Gospel is doctrine before it’s ever life. You have to get the doctrine right.

Arthur: You don’t have to answer this … but what would you prefer people not know about you?

RC: What would I prefer people not know about me? That I smoked for 40 years.

Arthur: You know, that’s one thing I was going to ask you since you are RC Sproul, the Christian hero, and in your mind you didn’t really want to smoke but … Can you talk about what was going on in your soul and what you were thinking during those days?

RC: It almost destroyed my soul. I mean I never prayed about anything so much about what I did as much as I did about that. I’m the one who proved the adage that it’s easier to quit smoking because I did it a thousand times. I hated it … but it was an addiction, a physiological addiction and I just couldn’t kick it.

Arthur: You didn’t do it in public, during conferences, or anything like that …

RC: With conferences, that was later, but earlier on when I was teaching, when I was in the church, and with certain colleges, it wasn’t all that big of a deal. If you would go to conferences at Westminster Seminary, and everyone would have a smoking break – Van Til and Murray, and everybody … ‘cuz everybody smoked, especially those Dutch guys. It wasn’t a big deal then as it is now … but then there came a time where I was careful not to blatantly smoke in public because people just couldn’t handle that. I remember once, the last cigarette that (he names a prominent Christian leader) ever smoked, he borrowed from me. One time, he was smoking and somebody came and he didn’t want him to see him, so he handed the cigarette to his associate … his associate put it in his pocket and it started to burn up his pants! (laughing) I could tell you some funny stories …

Arthur: Lastly, could you quickly talk about your changing relationship with Vesta (his wife) through the years … Fifty-some years now, right?

RC: 53 years. And I tell you what. She’s been my greatest help and really a biblical helpmate in the highest degree. It’s just like … umm … we just fit together; and I’ve had to take care of her these last couple of weeks like I’ve never had to do in my whole life, because she’s the healthiest person I’ve ever known. She has this serious back problem and it’s been awful to see her in all this pain. But, we know what each other’s thinking before we say it.

Arthur: And you guys started liking each other at the age of six, before you became Christians.

RC: Yeah, we were engaged before we became Christians Arthur: How did that change your relationship … when you became Christians? How did that change things? RC: It changed the focus of our relationship. We were now both in love with Jesus. It made all the difference in the world.

Arthur: Thanks A LOT, RC!

RC: Well, I hope it helped. How’s your family doing these days? (After some dialog about each of the kids, we finished up) Well, blessings on ALL of you guys!

Arthur: Thanks for the time, the discussion, and really, thanks for your life. I want to steward this time well.

RC: Oh, thank you, Arthur. You are too kind. Ok, buddy, we’ll see you. Bye now.

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