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Posts By Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr.


The Man Inside Me

We spend, it seems to me, an awful lot of talk and ink discussing the proper and biblical way to disagree with one another. We have debates on whether sarcasm is ever a legitimate tool in the believer’s arsenal. We have disputes about what situations call for the Matthew 18 protocol and which ones do not. We have the nice police regularly tooting their whistles and waving their batons about over a hard word or two, following by sundry citations of our Lord zinging His enemies with the wit of Shakespeare and the venom of Don Rickles. For all the. . .
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What’s your favorite part of the advent season?

I confess that I am a profoundly nostalgic man. My daydreams typically focus less on an imagined future and more on a remembered past. I grew up in the mountains of western Pennsylvania. White Christmases, sled riding, hot chocolate, wood fires weren’t affectations but normalcy for me. I was blessed to be raised in a loving family. Our feasts were genuine celebrations, not relational train wrecks. Just as I grew out of childhood my sister’s children were added to the mix, retaining the zeal and wonder of Christmas morning. These are all blessings, blessings I hope my children will get. . .
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Still Learning, On the 3rd Anniversary of My Beloved’s Passing

Learning Patience in Grief I suspect there was a time in my life when I was more impatient. If I had known a friend who had lost a spouse my sympathy would have been deep, but the opposite shore not so far distant. That is, I would feel deeply, but briefly. I would want my friend to pick up the pieces and move on, to look more forward than backward. That, however, exposes the relative weakness of sympathy, in contrast to its stronger, more robust cousin, empathy. Now such a loss isn’t abstract for me, but is my own experience.. . .
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The End of the World As We Know It

Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.— Yeats Living in the Context of Battle I have long argued that Genesis 3 sets the stage for our lives, the Bible and all of history. We live in a context of battle, between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. I have. . .
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Is my sense of “peace” a good arbiter on right and wrong?

Acting Against Your Conscience Yes and no. It is all too common, even outside charismatic circles, for people to use their own internal sense of peace, or a lack thereof, as their own personal moral guide when faced with moral choices. The sole reason this might be appropriate, however, has nothing whatever to do with whatever moral dilemma we might be facing and everything to do with a clear biblical principle — whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). The principle here is simple enough — if we do something we believe to be wrong, even if it. . .
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What should we be on our guard for as our children grow older?

Teenage Sin Sin is the true and obvious answer. That said, there are peculiar sins that teenagers, at least in our day, are somewhat prone to. Just as with adults, however, I’m afraid we mass our defenses in all the wrong places. The sins of our youth are just like the sins of our dotage, though they may present themselves in somewhat different ways. The key sin I am on the lookout for with my teenagers is the one I’m on the lookout for in me — pride. Pride How is pride manifest in our youth? It begins, I would. . .
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Taking On Ferguson

Internet Arguments Over Ferguson There is, on the internet, a pale and lifeless shadow of circumstances in Ferguson. In the troubled suburb of Saint Louis there is marching on the street, looting on the street, and if either side is correct, corruption on the street. The internet is a more peaceful place, barely. With the release of the decision of the Grand Jury to not prosecute Officer Darrin Wilson for the shooting and death of Michael Brown we have seen everyone and their brother taking a side, making an argument, and more often than not, treating those who disagree as. . .
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How can we tell the difference between the accusations of the devil, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit?

Jesus’ Betrayal Jesus, we ought to remember, was betrayed twice by His disciples. While the betrayal of Judas carried Jesus inexorably toward His passion, the betrayal of Peter was of the same dark hue. Both pushed Jesus away as the other, both left Him to the accusations of others. And, it should not be forgotten, both responded to their betrayal of our Lord with sorrow. Two duplicitous, disloyal cowards. Two grievous sins. Two hearts weighed down with despair. But there the paths diverge. Godly Sorrow Judas, in his anguish, took his own life. Peter, in his anguish, turned to the. . .
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Do Calvinists have too low a view of themselves?

Made in the Image of God Perhaps. It is virtually impossible to have too low a view of ourselves by ourselves. We, all of us who are human, do indeed bear the image of God. Even that, however, is ultimately extrinsic to us. The imago, we need to understand isn’t essential to us in a sense, but is added to us. By ourselves, apart from His grace, we are but dust and rebellion. In His grace, however, He has imposed upon us, stamped upon us, His image. We humans thus have worth, dignity and value, though these are ultimately from. . .
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I Mourned My Lack of Shoes Until…

Nearness of Suffering It is a dangerous folly to compare, much less compete in hardship. Each of us has our own, and the closeness of our suffering is a deeper barometer of the challenge than the hardness of it. I learned this the first time I ventured out to the movies without my wife. That was what we did on date night, as vanilla as it might seem — dinner and a movie. We both loved the movies, she more than me. Whatever our choices I always let Denise choose. If Attack of the Killer Killing Things was released the. . .
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Could Jesus have sinned?

The Liberty & Ability to Sin Yes, and no. How we answer depends totally on how we are using the word “could.” Augustine explored the issue well, and both Luther and Edwards followed after him in distinguishing two different kinds of abilities. We could say that Jesus had the liberty to sin, but did not have the ability, or alternately, that He had the ability but not the liberty. External Restraint The freedom, or the “yes” of the answer comes down to this — there was no outside force restraining Jesus from sinning. It’s not as though if He had. . .
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Sing for Jesus Sister

Blessings & Hardships of Dying There are, as I have long argued, blessings and hardships that come with every form of home-going. The surprise jolts us, but we remember that the deceased didn’t suffer. The long expected allows for fitting goodbyes, and getting our affairs in order. In between you usually get a bit of the blessings of both. There is, for those left behind, a peculiar hardship that comes with an expected death. For me, the pain of the last few months of my wife’s life comes back to haunt me this time of year. It was during the. . .
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What Realities May Come — Dreaming of Heaven

Dreaming of Heaven I suspect, if we had eyes to see, that we would know the Bible tells us more about heaven than we think. I suspect, however, given heaven’s glory and beauty, that the Bible’s descriptions would never satisfy us. I know that I don’t know exactly what happens, and so when I wonder about it, I try to do so cautiously, non-dogmatically. But what I usually end up doing is daydreaming. A Boy’s Heaven When I was a boy I had a pretty good vision of what awaited me. My parents determined that I should not have what. . .
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Is Ebola a judgment sent from God?

Ebola Virus—Hardship or Judgment It is natural, when confronted with hardship, whether it be personal, national, even global, to wonder where the hand of God is in the hardship. When that hardship hits us or those whom we love, we often fall into fear that somehow this means God is angry or unhappy with us. When it hits those whom we hate, we often fall into an ungodly joy that somehow this means God is angry or unhappy with our enemies. Sovereignty Over Ebola This much we know — God is sovereign over all things. If it happens, He ordained. . .
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Scary Witches

The Evil of Witchcraft Witches are real, and witches are evil. To be sure, while warts, brooms and cauldrons are also real the caricature that brings them all together is rather far from the truth. God, in His infinite wisdom, told His people Israel not to suffer a witch to live (Exodus 22:18). Our fathers the Puritans followed the same perspective. They rightly saw witchcraft as a great evil. They, in accordance with their times, saw it also as a capital offense. Neither of these, however, is the source of the great horror of the Salem Witch Trials. The Folly. . .
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How should I prepare my son to provide for his family?

Don’t Follow the Folly of the World An excellent question. Too often we in the church follow the folly of the world in taking a passive approach to the future. We tend to believe all we have to do is show up, and if things don’t work out well for us, it must be the system’s fault. Another key error we have embraced from the world is this notion — that if we acquire specialized skills we will be able to provide for our families. Such thinking often leads to violating the first principle of sound stewardship — never spend. . .
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Our Lord is at Work Near & Far

Trip to Brazil It is a dangerous habit, but a habit nonetheless. When I find myself on my way home from a trip overseas, I take fingers to keyboard and write a piece. I am tired. I miss my family, and I am emotional. I do it, even though it’s scary, because it makes sense. When I see the hand of God at work, I want to write about it. Tonight I write from Sao Paulo, Brazil. A little less than a week ago I landed here eager and ready to preach the Word. I had hopes in me that. . .
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What have we lost in the lost art of letter writing?

My Dearest Gaulips, You asked about some of the newest features our media consultants are working on, and how you might put them to good use in your treatment of your patient. I will explain a few of them, but do not lose sight of the simple principle — the more we can take these cursed humans away from their bodies, the better off we can be. Entice them with ease, with reach, with speed, with convenience, but take away from them the things that matter the most — actual communication. When we move them from aural communication to written. . .
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A Man Has a Right to Own Her Body

Root Causes of Abortion You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain James 4:2. Seeking to stop the slaughter of the unborn by merely declaiming abortion is like building a bridge by starting in the middle. James reminds us that we murder because we lust. Statistics tells us that nearly 9 of ten women who get an abortion in America are unmarried. That is telling. Abortion & Related Sins Too often we in the evangelical church have taken a binary approach to the problem. Either we separate the sin of abortion from all its related. . .
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How can I tell if someone has truly repented of grievous sin?

The Fruit of True Repentance There is one tell-tale fruit, but it may take a long time for it to happen. And even then you likely won’t see it. But here’s the fruit nonetheless — if the sinner ends up in heaven, you will know they had truly repented. If not, they likely had not. I understand the desire to know the sincerity of another’s repentance. I’ve been in countless pastoral situations wherein it seemed like the answer to that one question — is this person truly repentant — determined the answer to every other question about what should be. . .
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Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr.

Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr..

Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. is the Rector and Chair of Philosophy and Theology at Reformation Bible College and a teaching fellow at Ligonier Ministries. He is a co-founder of Highlands Ministries and served as principal teacher from 1996 to 2014. You can follow him at www.rcsprouljr.com.
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