My wife and I have been subscribed to Ligonier’s Tabletalk Magazine for around two years now, and it has been a tremendous blessing to our home. My wife loves the daily Bible study readings, and we often read the articles aloud together. But since we subscribed after R. C. Sproul went to be with the Lord at the end of 2017, I knew nothing about his monthly column, Right Now Counts Forever, which, according to Sproul’s first article, published in May 1977, was “designed to focus attention on the relevancy of our present lives to the eternal destinies we all face.”
Last year, Ligonier published a four-volume set of these articles, spanning from 1977 to 2018 (the last two being published after Sproul’s death). Although I had no prior knowledge that these writings even existed, the prospect of reading Sproul’s biblical and theological comments on current events throughout the years practically forced me to buy them (what else could I do!). And as I expected, these books have not left me disappointed.
Like all of Ligonier’s publications, the design and printing are both excellent. I rejoice that publishers such as Ligonier, Crossway, and Banner of Truth have devoted themselves to producing a quality presentation to go alongside the quality of the content!
Of course, as beautiful as the books themselves are, Sproul’s writings are the real appeal here. If you have ever read one of Sproul’s books or listened to any of his teachings, you know that he excelled in making difficult ideas easier to understand for his readers or listeners. And that is no less the case whenever Sproul set his sights upon thinking through current events and trends. He wrote with a lucid clarity about many topics that have evolved exactly as he predicted.
Indeed, since I have been reading straight through, beginning with the first volume, I have noticed that the applicability of what Sproul wrote back in the late-70s and early-80s is astounding. The Sexual Revolution, terrorism, disasters, media narratives, Marxism, inflation, the sufficiency of Scripture, etc. are all topics that are just as relevant today. But I shouldn’t have been surprised, the Preacher already warned that “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
Whether you make your way through each volume as I am attempting to do or frequent the index of topics at the end of the fourth volume using this collection as a valuable resource to have on hand, I cannot recommend highly enough the benefit of grabbing this set of books.
I’ll leave with a few of my favorite highlights from Volume I.
But the church has largely abdicated its responsibility of social and political criticism. At times the church speaks merely as an echo of secular critics after the criticism has achieved the level of a popular cause. At other times the church refuses to speak on the grounds that involvement on such matters is none of the church’s business. Such a view reflects a serious misunderstanding of the principle of the separation of church and state… Perhaps it is time for the church to be the church and to be a healthy conscience to the secular culture including the press.pp. 16-17
Marx went straight to the labor world with his gospel. Christians are careful to stay clear of this arena. Unless the Christian Church takes the marketplace seriously, revolution is inevitable. Christ came to reconcile all things to Himself. Where there is alienation, Christ is desperately needed.p. 22
Christianity has simplicity but it is not simplistic.p. 24
The West has lost its will-power. The roots of its decay are found in the Enlightenment with its view of rationalistic humanism. This period of Western development spawned the human cry of the autonomy of man, an exercise at once arrogant as well as deluded.p. 36
Finally, it is the Christian’s job to prove in every generation that in addition to the Church’s unique values of religious conviction, belief, worship, and the like, the Church in fact is an institution and an agency of mercy that brings healing of a general nature promoting the general welfare of all people. When the Church is first a priest, then and only then can she be a prophet.p. 63