Simply, Separately, Deliberately: An Interview with R.C. Sproul Jr. by R.C. Sproul Jr. | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.
For part of my Sunday reading yesterday before worship services I read the featured Tabletalk interview with R.C.Sproul’s son. R.C., Jr. He too is an interesting Reformed man – a thinker, reader, and theologian in his own right. But first of all he is a husband and father, and here is where his passions lie (You may remember that he lost his wife to cancer in the last few years.).
While the entire interview with R.C., Jr. is interesting and profitable (His take on what it means to live antithetically will be of special interest to our readers.), these sections on family life and reading grabbed my attention. You will find the full interview at the Ligonier link above.
TT: Do you have any encouraging words for those who may feel as if they are not doing enough for God’s kingdom because most of their current time and effort is spent caring for young children?
RS: Of all that our eyes see, the only thing we can be certain will last forever is our children. To labor for their souls, to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is to invest in eternity. What could be more important? And what could be more rewarding? There is, according to John, no greater joy than to know our children walk in the truth (3 John 1:4). No greater joy.
TT: At Reformation Bible College, you have been teaching some of the Great Works courses. What are two classics of Western Literature (besides the Bible) that have exerted a strong influence on your life and ministry and why?
RS: Augustine’s Confessions, because it marries so beautifully and powerfully sound theology with a changed heart. And Shakespeare’s Macbeth, because it reveals the darkness of our own hearts. The Bard potently communicates how sin, pride, and presumption creep up on us, and how destructive our sin can be.
TT: What advice would you give to parents who want their children to be culturally literate in the great works without harming their Christian worldview?
RS: We encourage our students not to see themselves, in reading the great works, as participating in “the great conversation” where we join our ancestors in dispassionately wrestling with the great questions. Instead, we see our studies as participating in “the great confrontation.” We are looking to see how the wisdom of the world has infected our minds that we might tear down strongholds and every lofty thing that exalts itself against our Lord. A proper approach sees reading these works both as preparation for battle and as battle itself.
Another profitable article I read was “Ordinary Means” by URC pastor Michael G. Brown. He treats the importance of the church’s “ordinary” means of grace as the way Christ has ordained for her to grow. Following our day using those means yesterday, and living in a age when these means of grace are often neglected for something more “exciting”, it is good to hear Brown confirm our need for these regular means. Below is a quote from the end of his article. I encourage you to read the rest at the link provided here.
Those means do not appear spectacular to the world. There is nothing particularly exciting or novel about a ministry of preaching, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. It is the same routine each week. We hear the Scriptures proclaimed, we come to the table, we sing, we pray, we enjoy fellowship, and then we go home. There are no halftime shows, no rock concerts, and no celebrity personalities. It is plain, ordinary, and even boring at times. Truth be told, it is about as exciting as watching a tree grow.
But then Jesus said that the coming of His kingdom is like the growing of a tree (Luke 13:18–19). A tree doesn’t grow by big and marvelous events but through the slow, steady diet of sun and rain year after year. The same is true with the kingdom of God. More often than not, it does not grow by what the world considers a mark of success: big buildings, big budgets, and big names. Instead, it grows in simple and often small services where the gospel is proclaimed. It grows where believers and their children are baptized into the covenant community. It grows where repentant sinners come to a holy meal that appears tiny and insignificant. It grows where ordinary members of a congregation love and serve one another. It grows in those late-night, unglamorous meetings of the elders as they seek to tend faithfully to Christ’s sheep.
We do not need more movements, more conferences, and more celebrities. We do not need the next big thing. What we need are more churches committed to the way disciples have been made since the Apostles planted a church in Jerusalem two thousand years ago: the slow-going, unspectacular, ordinary ministry of Word and sacrament, where God is raising dead sinners and creating a living communion of saints.