R.C. Sproul Biography, Quotes, Beliefs and Facts

R.C. Sproul Biography, Quotes, Beliefs and Facts

Robert Charles Sproul, (born February 13, 1939, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American Calvinist "theologian", author, and "pastor" of the Reformed Protestant tradition. He is the founder and chairman of "Ligonier Ministries" and can be heard daily on the Renewing Your Mind radio broadcast in the United States and internationally. R. C. Sproul is married to Vesta Ann of Pittsburgh, PA. They have two grown children – a daughter, Sherrie Sproul Dick, and a son, R. C. Sproul, Jr.

R.C. Sproul Heresies

Faith Alone

R.C. Sproul endorses the Protestant heresy of Faith Alone on his website:

"Justification By Faith Alone In this series, Dr. R.C. Sproul examines justification — the way in which we are declared righteous by God — as he explains the biblical teaching regarding justification. Demonstrating that Christ's righteousness is reckoned to us by faith alone, Dr. Sproul joins with Martin Luther in calling the church to proclaim boldly that this doctrine is integral to the gospel of God." (http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/justification_by_faith_alone/)

"Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification by Dr. R.C. Sproul This book by R.C. Sproul asks evangelicals to recognize that while many Roman Catholics may share our moral goals, the Catholic doctrine of justification has not changed. Protestant concession on this point will bring disaster, says Dr. Sproul. Faith Alone is a powerful response to those who would say that the Reformation doctrine on justification is not necessary to a true understanding of the Christian faith." (http://www.ligonier.org/store/faith-alone-paperback/)

Catholics believe in Faith, Grace and Works. Faith is not separated from works (per James). We're not saved by faith alone (that's where Protestantism errs). Grace is primary in the whole process, so in that very real sense we can say "saved by grace alone" (i.e., without separating works of course) -- whereas we can never say "saved by faith alone" (i.e., with works playing no part at all) -- which is classic Protestant heresy, or "saved by works alone" (i.e., without grace) -- which is the Pelagian heresy. The true Catholic position will always include the works alongside grace and faith.

The majority of Protestants not only believe in faith alone, but also in eternal security, which means that according to them, a true believer cannot lose his salvation. These doctrines contradict both the natural law and reason which says that every man shall be rewarded or punished for his deeds. It also contradicts, word for word, the teaching of James 2 in scripture, which teach that faith without works is dead, and that man is not saved by faith alone. A person who believes in faith alone or eternal security is a heretic, because he rejects a truth he knows to be true from the natural law, that God is a rewarder and a punisher of our actions, and that faith alone does not justify a man only, but our deeds also.

Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God."

How clear does it have to get? You can lose your salvation if you do certain things.

For a more in depth refutation of faith alone and eternal security, please consult the following file: Justification by faith alone and eternal security refuted by the Bible.

Scripture Alone

R.C. Sproul endorses the Protestant heresy of Scripture Alone on his website:

"Lecture 3, Scripture Alone : Christians ought to submit to the authority given them by Christ. But what happens when those in authority teach things contrary to the Word of God? Is there a higher court we can appeal to? The answer is yes. The appeal was made in the sixteenth century and the motion still carries. Reformers call this Sola Scriptura. That’s the Latin slogan for Scripture alone. Dr. Sproul teaches us about this in the message entitled 'Scripture Alone.'" (http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/what_is_reformed_theology/scripture-alone/)

"Lecture 8, Scripture Alone (Part 2): As Christians, we have the right to read the Bible, and to interpret it. Does that mean there are as many interpretations of the Bible as there are people who read the Bible? The real question in all this is how many valid interpretations does the Bible have? In this second part of the message "Scripture Alone," Dr. Sproul explains what authority Scripture has in the life of the church, and how we are to understand the teaching of private interpretation taught by the Reformers." (http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/god_alone/scripture-alone-part-2/)

According to Protestants, the Bible teaches that Scripture (the written word of God) is the only rule of faith for a Christian. Along with justification by faith alone (sola fide), Scripture alone (sola scriptura) was one of the central tenets of the Protestant reformation.

However, the truth is that the Bible does not teach that Scripture is the only rule of faith for a Christian. The Bible teaches that both Scripture and apostolic tradition are sources of Christ's revelation, and that one must accept both of them along with the Church. That's why the Catholic Church has always taught that there are two sources of divine revelation (Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition); and that the Church instituted by Jesus Christ was given authority to determine the authentic meaning of Scripture and Tradition.

If the Bible is the only rule of faith for a Christian, then logically the Church or tradition would not be a rule of faith for a Christian. However, the Bible clearly teaches that one must hear the Church and follow tradition.

Matthew 18:17 "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."

2 Thessalonians 2:15 "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."

Luke 10:16 "He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me."

This teaching of Jesus, that one must hear the Church under pain of being considered a heathen, refutes the entire idea of Scripture alone.

Jesus' condemnation of the "tradition of men" (Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:8, etc.) had nothing to do with the true apostolic tradition, which the Bible says we must accept. Jesus was condemning the man-made practices of the Pharisees.

2 Thessalonians 3:6 "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."

Further, the bible teaches that the church, not the bible, is the pillar and foundation of the truth.

1 Timothy 3:15 "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."

As one former Protestant minister (who eventually saw the falsity of Protestantism) put it: "If I were writing that verse [1 Tim. 3:15] as a Protestant, I would have said that the Bible, not the Church, is the pillar and ground of the truth. But St. Paul says it's the Church. This means that the Church must be every bit as infallible as the Bible, and that it must present something unique by way of presenting the truth of Jesus Christ."

The unique role of the Church is that it sets forth the true meaning of Scripture and Tradition in precise terms and dogmas, something the Bible was not intended to do in all of its passages, which should be obvious to any honest person considering the issue. All the thousands of sects that has been created throughout the ages, and especially after the Protestant reformation, simply because they didn't knew how to interpret scripture correctly, undeniably proves this fact. Moreover, if the Church is infallible and the pillar of truth, there must obviously be a way of recognizing its infallible teaching by means of a continued succession of authority which would safeguard the truth and exercise its authority (see The Papacy in Scripture).

For a more in depth refutation of Scripture alone (sola scriptura), please consult the following file: The Bible does not teach Sola Scriptura (scripture alone).

R.C. Sproul Outside the Church of Christ

Ephesians 4:4-5 "One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism."

The Catholic Church and Faith is the only Christianity that begun at the year of 33 A.D. and is the only original and visible Church from the time of Christ. The Catholic Church compiled the Bible and spread Christianity all over the world, and according to protestants, Christ used a false church to spread his words all over the world for 1500 years? This, obviously, is ridiculous to any good willed person.

Jesus promised, "I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18). This means that his Church will never be destroyed and will never fall away from him. His Church will survive until his return, it means that the Church will, until the end of time, remain essentially what she is. One must belong to the one true universal Church Jesus Christ established to be Saved, for he who refuses to hear the Church is like the heathen and publican (Matthew 18:17).

Only the Catholic Church existed in the tenth century, in the fifth century, and in the first century, faithfully teaching the doctrines given by Christ to the apostles, omitting nothing. The line of popes can be traced back, in unbroken succession, to Peter himself. This is unequaled by any institution in history.

It is a fact of history, scripture and tradition that Our Lord Jesus Christ founded His universal Church (the Catholic Church) upon St. Peter.

Matthew 16:18-19 "And I say to thee: That thou art Peter: and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."

Our Lord made St. Peter the first Pope, entrusted to him His entire flock, and gave him supreme authority in the universal Church of Christ.

John 21:15-17- "Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He saith to him a third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep."

And with the supreme authority that Our Lord Jesus Christ conferred upon St. Peter (and his successors, the popes) comes what is called Papal Infallibility. Papal Infallibility is inseparable from Papal Supremacy – there was no point for Christ to make St. Peter the head of His Church (as Christ clearly did) if St. Peter or his successors, the popes, could err when exercising that supreme authority to teach on a point of Faith. The supreme authority must be unfailing on binding matters of Faith and morals or else it is no true authority from Christ at all.

Papal Infallibility does not mean that a pope cannot err at all and it does not mean that a pope cannot lose his soul and be damned in Hell for grave sin. It means that the successors of St. Peter (the popes of the Catholic Church) cannot err when authoritatively teaching on a point of Faith or morals to be held by the entire Church of Christ. We find the promise of the unfailing faith for St. Peter and his successors referred to by Christ in Luke 22.

Luke 22:31-32- "And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have all of you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren."

Satan desired to sift all the Apostles (plural) like wheat, but Jesus prayed for Simon Peter (singular), that his faith fail not. Jesus is saying that St. Peter and his successors (the popes of the Catholic Church) have an unfailing faith when authoritatively teaching a point of faith or morals to be held by the entire Church of Christ.


Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, 1870, ex cathedra: " … the See of St. Peter always remains unimpaired by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord the Savior made to the chief of His disciples: 'I have prayed for thee [Peter], that thy faith fail not...'"

And this truth has been held since the earliest times in the Catholic Church.

Pope St. Gelasius I, epistle 42, or Decretal de recipiendis et non recipiendis libris, 495: "Accordingly, the see of Peter the Apostle of the Church of Rome is first, having neither spot, nor wrinkle, nor anything of this kind (Eph. 5:27)."

The word "infallible" actually means "cannot fail" or "unfailing." Therefore, the very term Papal Infallibility comes directly from Christ's promise to St. Peter (and his successors) in Luke 22, that Peter has an unfailing Faith. Though this truth was believed since the beginning of the Church, it was specifically defined as a dogma at the First Vatican Council in 1870.

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, 1870, Session 4, Chap. 4: the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra [from the Chair of Peter], that is, when carrying out the duty of the pastor and teacher of all Christians in accord with his supreme apostolic authority he explains a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the universal Church... operates with that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished that His Church be instructed in defining doctrine on faith and morals; and so such definitions of the Roman Pontiff from himself, but not from the consensus of the Church, are unalterable."

But how does one know when a pope is exercising his unfailing Faith to infallibly teach from the Chair of St. Peter? The answer is that we know from the language that the pope uses or the manner in which the pope teaches. Vatican I defined two requirements which must be fulfilled: 1) when the pope is carrying out his duty as pastor and teacher of all Christians in accord with his supreme apostolic authority; 2) when he explains a doctrine on faith or morals to be held by the entire Church of Christ. A pope can fulfill both of these requirements in just one line, by anathematizing a false opinion (such as many dogmatic councils) or by saying "By our apostolic authority we declare…" or by saying "We believe, profess, and teach" or by using words of similar importance and meaning, which indicate that the pope is teaching the whole Church on Faith in a definitive and binding fashion.

So, when a pope teaches from the Chair of Peter in the manner stipulated above he cannot be wrong. If he could be wrong, then the Church of Christ could be officially led into error, and Christ's promise to St. Peter and His Church would fail (which is impossible). That which is taught from the Chair of Peter by the popes of the Catholic Church is the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself. To reject that which is taught by the popes from the Chair of Peter is simply to despise Jesus Christ Himself.

Luke 10:16- "He that heareth you, heareth me: and he that despiseth you despiseth me…"

Matthew 18:17 -"And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican."

Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, 1896: "…Christ instituted a living, authoritative and permanent Magisterium… If it could in any way be false, an evident contradiction follows; for then God Himself would be the author of error in man."

The unchanging dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation and the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism for Salvation, was defined as a truth by our first pope St. Peter himself:

"… the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ… Nor is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name, under heaven, given to men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12).

There is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ, and the Catholic Church is His Mystical Body. Since there is no entering into the Catholic Church of Christ without the Sacrament of Baptism, this means that only baptized Catholics who die in the state of grace (and those who become baptized Catholics and die in the state of grace) can hope to be saved.

"If anyone abideth not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth." (John 15:6)

Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (# 22), June 29, 1943: "Actually only those are to be numbered among the members of the Church who have received the laver of regeneration [water baptism] and profess the true faith."

Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (# 27), June 29, 1943: "He (Christ) also determined that through Baptism (cf. Jn. 3:5) those who should believe would be incorporated in the Body of the Church."

In this sad instance of human history, there are now approximately 25,000 Protestant sects which all contradict each other on crucial doctrinal points. This proves to any good willed person that at least 24,999 sects must be wrong if we follow simple logic. Protestantism was unheard of even to the founders of it since they all started as Catholics which then apostatized. True Christianity started at 33 A.D., not in the 16th Century or later.

2 Peter 2:1 "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there shall be among you lying teachers, who shall bring in sects of perdition, and deny the Lord who bought them: bringing upon themselves swift destruction."

Following Martin Luther's excommunication from the Catholic Church in 1520, which marked the beginning of the Protestant movement, over 20,000 different denominations have been created in about 500 years. In 1980, David A. Barrett's World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford University Press) gave the number of different denominations as 20,780. He projected that there would be 22,190 denominations by 1985.

This would mean that there are approximately 25,000 (or possibly 30,000) different denominations today. Even if, for the sake of argument, one were to take a conservative estimate, and give the number as only 15,000 different denominations, this equates to more than one new sect having been created every two weeks.

When we consider the fact that the original founders of Protestantism didn't even agree with each other on major points of doctrine, such denominational chaos shouldn't be a surprise. Protestantism is man-made religion, in which each person ultimately determines for himself what he thinks the Bible teaches. Martin Luther (the initiator of Protestantism) condemned the doctrinal views of John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli, two other leading Protestant figures. They all claimed to follow the Bible.

Basically all of these thousands of non-Catholics sects purport to be Christian and claim to follow the Bible, even though they disagree with each other on crucial doctrinal matters, such as: the precise nature of justification; whether human works and sins are a part of salvation; whether men have free will; predestination; whether infants need baptism for salvation; what Communion is; whether it's necessary to confess to the Lord; which books of the New Testament apply to us today; the structure of the Church's hierarchy; the role of bishops and ministers; the Sabbath; the role of women in church; etc. ad nauseam. Most of these groups even claim that the individual "Christian" will be led by the Holy Spirit when privately reading the Bible. The disunity of these sects constitutes an irrefutable proof that their doctrine is not of the Spirit of Truth; and that their principle of operation (i.e., Scripture alone apart from the Church and Tradition) is not the doctrine of the Bible and the Apostles.

Pope Leo XII, Ubi Primum (# 14), May 5, 1824: "It is impossible for the most true God, who is Truth itself, the best, the wisest Provider, and the Rewarder of good men, to approve all sects who profess false teachings which are often inconsistent with one another and contradictory, and to confer eternal rewards on their members… by divine faith we hold one Lord, one faith, one baptismThis is why we profess that there is no salvation outside the Church."

How Old Is Your Man-Made Church?

If you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, in approximately 1520.

If you belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII (an ex-Catholic) in the year 1534. Henry VIII decided to create his own church when Pope Clement VII would not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry.

If you are a Mennonite, Menno Simons (an ex-Catholic) created your religion in 1536.

If you are a Presbyterian, John Knox (an ex-Catholic) founded your sect in Scotland in the year 1560.

If you are a Congregationalist, your religion began with Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.

If you are a Baptist, John Smyth created your sect in Amsterdam in 1605.

If you are of the Dutch Reformed church, your church began with Michaelis Jones in New York in 1628.

If you are a Quaker, your religion began with George Fox in 1652.

If you are a Protestant Episcopalian, Samuel Seabury created your sect in the American colonies in the 17th century, as an offshoot of the Church of England.

If you are Amish, Jacob Amman created your religion in 1693, as an offshoot of the Mennonites.

If you are a Methodist, your religion was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.

If you are a Unitarian, Theophilus Lindley founded your sect in London in 1774.

If you are a Mormon ("Latter Day Saints"), your religion comes from Joseph Smith, who revealed it in Palmyra, N.Y. in 1829.

If you are a Seventh Day Adventist, your religion was created by Ellen White in 1860.

If you worship with the Salvation Army, William Booth started your sect in London in 1865.

If you are of the "Jehovah's Witnesses," your beliefs came from Charles Taze Russell in 1872.

If you are a "Christian Scientist," Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy devised your religion in 1879.

If you belong to one of the religious organizations known as "Church of the Nazarene," "Pentecostal Gospel," "Holiness Church," "Pilgrim Holiness Church," "Assemblies of God," "United Church of Christ," etc., your religion is one of the thousands of new sects founded by men in the last century.

If you are Catholic, you know that your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, true God and true man; and that this one Church, to which people must belong to be saved, will exist until the end of time.

The Bible Proves the Teachings of the Catholic Church

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