With the overt cultural animosity that the church faces today in increasing measure, those who are Christians in name only are falling away. The syncretistic mainline churches are evaporating. The future of the church belongs to Christians of conviction. All the problems we face are ultimately theological; to repair the ruins, the solutions must be theological.
Thankfully, over the years, God has brought many students of Dr. Sproul’s vision who are committed to spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and seeing theology rooted in the Scriptures grow in churches everywhere. Labor intensive, yes, yet the promise is sure: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14). We are enlisted in that effort. It is a wonder of the gospel that sinful men and women are used to advance God’s mission in this fallen world, working in and through our battles with the world, our own flesh, and the devil.
In his classic book The Holiness of God, Dr. Sproul comments on Romans 12:2:
The key method Paul underscores as the means to the transformed life is by the “renewal of the mind.” This means nothing more and nothing less than education. Serious education. In-depth education. Disciplined education in the things of God. It calls for a mastery of the Word of God. We need to be people whose lives have changed because our minds have changed.
By God’s grace, Dr. Sproul’s tight focus on teaching theology has changed many lives. He believed everyone is a theologian and that it matters now and forever whether you are a good theologian or a poor one. Merely imparting information to a human mind is insufficient. Through the light of Scripture and the work of the Holy Spirit, we begin to understand God’s holy character and realize our sinfulness. The church must rediscover an unwavering commitment to proclaim, teach, and defend the holiness of God in all its fullness. That is not just a Ligonier Ministries mission statement; it is the calling for every believer. Dilute the character of God and we blunt our ability to reach the unbeliever with the gospel. Well-intentioned mission strategies focused on growth for growth’s sake may deliver temporal benefits, but such strategies will neither grow healthy disciples nor plant healthy churches. Short-sighted ministry busyness is not sustainable. Theological compromise for the sake of mere numbers is fatal.
Although God’s people have often found themselves dismayed at circumstances beyond their control, the progress of God’s mission in this world is certain. We, like Elisha’s servant in another harrowing moment when the Israelites were threatened, are tempted to fret at gathering storm clouds of opposition. Yet we must remember that “those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16).
As Ligonier marks its fiftieth year of ministry, we give thanks for God’s blessing on our past. However, it is evident we have an opportunity to serve God’s people like never before. There is much work to be done among the nations. Would you pray that God would awaken more people to who He really is? May we see a recovery of true theology where men and women, boys and girls have a restored relationship with God the Father through God the Son and through the powerful grace of God the Holy Spirit and live fruitful lives right now and forever.