I can't even begin to count the number of people I've met, many in the blogosphere, who have something in common with me. We were all once stuck in some form of humanistic understanding of God, our theology peppered with nice phrases about God's sovereignty and authority, but in practical reality, we all acted as though we, and not God, were really sovereign.
Then something changed.
The thing that happened to all of us was an introduction to reformed theology. Not the dry academic kind, but the gospel-focused, mission-oriented, God-glorifying kind. We were introduced, often accidentally (of course, we now know it was providential, not accidental!), by faithful men proclaiming God's word in its fullness. There are many names that come up in these discussions and some appear much more commonly than others. Names like Boice, Kennedy, Piper, Mahaney, Dever, Horton, Ferguson, and Mohler are usually mentioned. Lately I'm hearing more and more Chandlers and Chans, and even a few Driscolls. But there are two names heard more often than any other: MacArthur and Sproul. And Sproul is usually universally mentioned.
Sproul gets the slight edge most likely due to his ability to take complex doctrinal issues and make them understandable, all the while engaging us with edge-of-the-seat stories that are filled with gospel truth have made him the key figure in almost everyone's story that is like mine.
I know there's been a bit of a backlash against 'celebrity pastors' recently, and rightfully so. But I've never heard Dr. Sproul's name mentioned as one of these, because he isn't a celebrity, he's a leader and a teacher. He may be well-known, but he's well-known for reasons primarily focused around respect, not glamor. And he's appreciated not because he has a famous face or a national radio program (he has both), but because he's a father-figure to so many of us who have come into the light of the reformed faith late (or lately) in our lives. I don't know how much longer Dr. Sproul will continue in active ministry, though I hope it is many years. What I do know is, there are a great many of us 'Sproul-mates' out here who hold a tremendous appreciation and respect for Dr. Sproul for his faithful ministry over the last four-plus decades. It's really funny; who would have imagined a baseball player from Pittsburgh amounting to anything!
Thank you for your service, Dr. Sproul!