Last week I linked to a blog remembering Shannon Macfarlane Sproul, granddaughter of theologian R. C. Sproul. Included in the Ligonier Ministries memoriam by Chris Larson was a link to a video from Joni Eareckson Tada’s award-winning tv show, “Joni and Friends.” The show explored the rich theology behind the care R. C. Sproul, Jr. (Shannon’s father) and his family gave to Shannon.
You may have seen this last week or previously, but if you haven’t, I cannot commend it strongly enough. I don’t know the Sprouls personally, but I became theologically mature in substantial part thanks to a dear friend who in God’s mysterious grace got hold of R. C. Sproul’s rich biblical teaching. I am therefore grateful for Dr. Sproul and his family, and though I do not know them, like many young evangelicals today I feel kinship with them because of how God used R. C. Sproul to shepherd thousands and thousands of the “young, restless and reformed” like myself through Ligonier Ministry. If you are not familiar with this ministry and their huge treasure-trove of free online resources, by all means avail yourself.
This video is remarkable on two counts: firstly because it shows how the gospel shapes a family, including one in a situation many people avoid today through abortion and other means. They see, in other words, children as a curse, and not an inestimable blessing from God as Scripture says. Children in the biblical mind are a “reward,” not a penalty! If we do not feel this from texts like Psalm 127, whether as an unbeliever or as a believer, then let us joyfully receive this good word from the Lord.
Secondly, this video is remarkable because it relates how important biblical theology truly is. So often–so very, very often–you hear evangelicals speak as if theology is somewhere way up there in the clouds. You only go up there if you like soaring in the the theostratosphere, as if you’re some sort of wacky doctrinal test pilot. But while we can bury our heads in books, I think that perspective is, well, wrong. (This video, by the way, of Ligon Duncan’s 2008 Together for the Gospel message is earth-moving. On the essential nature of “sound doctrine,” it is perhaps the most personally influential conference message I have heard. And no, I am not going Presbyterian!)
This “Joni and Friends” video shows that the sovereignty of God, one of the most ineffable realities there is, has empowered this family to live a doxological and sacrificial life together. This continues today, as both Shannon and her mother, Denise, have gone on to glory.
Watch this video. You will come away profoundly moved. You will see what God intends for the Bible and theology and truth to do: to transform us, and to make us agents of his grace to the needy for his glory. Even in the worst suffering, God deserves the fullest trust of our hearts. He is, after all, carrying out a plan that will soon come to completion. Through the descent of a conqueror, it will resolve every hurt, every tragedy, every pain.