In 1971, God used R.C. and Vesta Sproul to establish the Ligonier Valley Study Center. What began as a small study center in the countryside of western Pennsylvania fifty years ago has become, by God’s amazing grace, a discipleship teaching ministry reaching millions of people around the world. When I first encountered Ligonier Ministries more than twenty-five years ago, what amazed me most was that Ligonier was unlike any other ministry that I knew of. I immediately recognized that Dr. Sproul not only was concerned with reaching unbelievers with the gospel but that he was also passionate about reaching professing Christians with the gospel. But he didn’t stop there. His concern was to help believers be thoughtful and articulate Christians who know not only the gospel but also the whole counsel of God, the theology of God’s Word, the history of that theology, and how to defend the entirety of their faith. Dr. Sproul’s driving passion was to help the world know God and to help the church know God—not the God of our own making but the one and only sovereign, gracious, loving, and holy God of Scripture.
Early in his ministry, Dr. Sproul observed that many people in the world are living their entire lives focused merely on temporal matters, on the here and now, with little attention on eternal matters. His concern fed his passion to help people know God so that in knowing God they might know what really matters in life. Moreover, knowing God helps us understand that our lives matter, that what we do matters, and that knowing, loving, and glorifying God give meaning and purpose to our lives. This is one reason that Dr. Sproul taught with such passion. It is the reason many of us were drawn to him, because we believed that he cared about us enough that he was willing to teach us the difficult truths about God. Dr. Sproul didn’t want us to have a superficial view of God. He wanted us to grow up in our understanding of God so that we would know just how gracious and holy our God really is.
Because of Dr. Sproul’s passion and commitment to God’s Word, Ligonier Ministries has always been a home for Christians who aren’t afraid to think deeply about what matters most in life and in eternity. For R.C., saying that right now counts forever wasn’t just a tagline or a clever name for his Tabletalk column. He really believed it, and he lived his life to help us believe it. At Ligonier, we believe it too, and we exist simply to serve God by helping people know God and glorify Him forever.
Dr. Burk Parsons is senior pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., chief publishing officer for Ligonier Ministries, editor of Tabletalk magazine, and a Ligonier Ministries teaching fellow. He is on X at @BurkParsons.