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September 13, 2021 12:01 am
It was as a college freshman that R.C. Sproul was converted. Decades later, he founded Reformation Bible College to give students a foundation in God's Word during those formative years. Today, Stephen Nichols and Mrs. Vesta Sproul talk about the vision behind RBC 10 years after its founding.
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RC said it's not enough to simply believe the gospel that we must be prepared to defend it to contend for because it's God's truth and interview with Vesta scroll next on Renewing Your Mind, though it is not often we hear from the cofounder of your ministries.
We are pleased to feature her today to help me set this up is the president of Reformation Bible College, Dr. Steven Nichols. Steve is our listeners know this is the 50th year of wood in your ministries, but there is another special anniversary of its being marked this year as well. That's right leave while Gartner celebrates 50 over it Reformation Bible college, we turn tent and you know it's very apparent to those of us here, looking near that the story of RC scroll is, in fact, the story of RC investor and while that is true of looking near it's also true of the college that RC found it Reformation Bible college and from the beginning and righted his side has been Vesta so it was a real treat for me on the occasion of our 10th anniversary to sit down with Vesta and talk to her about her perspective on RBC.
I've been looking forward to this. Dr. Nichols and without further do what your that interview. It's great to spend some time with you. Vesta will enqueue and I'm really looking forward to this conversation about the college.
Let's start though with Dr. Sproles college experience. He spoken of it so many times it was very pivotal lucky moments happened just your own reflections on the college years of RC and how important they were to him while they certainly were meaningful to him and the first week. His freshman year of college. He was converted south of course, that last huge to him and in high school he slept through lots of classes since I want my psych all the sudden this spot and off for him when he got to college, but I think it was because of his conversion at believe he thought he was going to's that a history when he went to college and he got into a philosophy course.
It was something he had to take and it opened up so many vistas for him things he had never thought about things he didn't realize the beauty The grace of God. All those kinds of things and I think particularly maybe it was standing S-10 he sat through that class.
When he left he went straight to the registrar's office and changed his nature and in fact I don't believe they had a philosophy major that her eye is a pioneer yes it is the first went to graduate with a degree in loss of pay and he pecan so that he love learning and it just was a most wonderful experience that opening up his eyes to the beauty of truth in all its aspects and all that. So it was very exciting for him and then after graduate school and so on. He got to go back and teach for a year and that's every college student's dream is to come back to your alma mater teach and so he had that opportunity to do which was just terrific know before we get to his college writing. Yes, go back to his cause because you mentioned one significant milestone was his conversion, but there was another significant moment in his college career. I think it happened between his junior and senior year over the summer. Oh yes, well RC and I went together.
From the time we were in seventh and eighth grade and we had always planned that we would get married when he graduated from college.
However, I was a year ahead of him and is that my graduation was approaching and he would still have another year. RC's mother and my parents said we think he should get married after Vesta graduate Steve waited long enough and so that's what we get. I love Dave married and being on campus and I got to work at the college for a little while and it was a small town college and just was wonderful to be with the students that RC had been with for three years and I got to be involved in that and it was just a time that was particularly special to us.
He has spoken and written so many times of the Augustine class that you reference T he talks about his bachelor's thesis in reading Moby Dick. He talked about his professor Dr. Gregory Desi influence that Dr. Gregory really is probably one of his first mentors in the Christian phone five academics and so it really was a formative just crucial moment for him as a college student.
That's right. And RC's advisor. It was sort of a random kind of thing. He didn't choose the advisor that or the advisor him that God had chosen a lie because he was fine Christian man and he teach philosophy but he happened to be teaching one section of Old Testament or New Testament. I'm not sure which one I send and he not only let RC in his ideas about philosophy and is he also was the start of RC's Bible learning and so on and in fact, Dr. Gregory married basketball.
So after college she went on to his seminary that he went to graduate school in Amsterdam and then as you of already referenced. He was invited to return back to teach for one year at his alma mater and then after that he went up and taught college at Gordon College. So could you reflect a little bit on really, that was his beginning of his academic career, but of his career after his studies and he started as a college professor that's exactly right. And at Westminster where we left was on the campus and so we had lots of students there and mostly they would come after dinner because they were enough of them.
I didn't want them there that I did make cookies at all that you think they come in. We had prayer meetings and we had a question and answer sessions and place so much fun but often the students would stay till Monday night or after and RC would have to get up first, 8 o'clock class. That is, students could sleep through that class if they didn't want to come. Have they been up to lately.the professor know you have there had to be there so just was again I think that if you were to ask me what did RC most like about teaching with the students and the teaching he liked imparting knowledge to them that would allow them to be able to defend the faith and understand it at a Diemer level than they had before. You know I found something Vesta actually you sent it to be was an old syllabus from his contemporary theology course taught full-term 1967 by Prof. Robert Spruill and he's going through all the material on the course is all typical syllabus elements to it.
But then he had something in its final note, classroom procedures, and he says I enjoy a casual and informal atmosphere in the classroom. Well, that's no surprise THAT right releases freewheeling debate and questioning is welcomed.
It is hoped that no student will ever hesitate to ask questions in class questions from the students is the only barometer outside of exams by which the professor can measure the degree of understanding the class has attained to like the Q&A sessions he had back at Westminster Bithynia is this my only request is that students retain their dignity at all times in exhibit a high degree of courtesy within the classroom, so he must've just love not only of course, it is materially wanted to teach but he must've just so enjoyed interacting with students about that material to make sure they were really gal exactly. So much so he has one more thing here. He says also I would like to personally invite any student who so wishes to make arrangements to visit me my home and then he gives his home telephone number in the syllabus and then he gives his address so I'm assuming these Gordon students came over for cookies and that not as much.
We look much further away campus also that college campus and Gordon seminary were on the same campus and because people had cars and so on.
So we have a lot of interaction with college students centering prayer meetings question and answers cookies all that kind of thing recurring themes. Yes, you know, as I'm listening to talk, it sounds like this is actually the beginnings of the legionnaire Valley study center. It's funny you say that because I was just thinking about the people that came to our house at Gordon and at Westminster were students who were serious students and all that and so we thought when we started this study center. We loved it so much. This would be no problem to have people coming into our homes and all that. Today, the study center. Well, let's go back to this idea of RC college he started opened the doors of RBC in 2011 and I've heard him say and he's said this often that a big part of this was a trip that you all had made one of the look in your tours to Calvin's Geneva and Dr. scroll would say I don't even have to close my eyes I can just see it.
Eddie was talking about the stones that made up the Academy of Geneva that Calvin had founded why did RC start RBC in 2011.
While there were several reasons. Among them is what you just spoke about Calvin's Geneva was a small school that the ripples that went out from there what that meant in church history that people that graduated from there the books that were written by people who went there.
That kind of thing for such a small place was an enormous impact on society and he wanted the gospel in God's sovereignty and the holiness of God. While further always. That was his desire so he wanted to train college-age students to be able to defend their faith and to understand and so he thought that that was a great thing to do and it was Calvin's Geneva. Luther's teaching and impact was so great that he thought, why wouldn't we do that here. Why wouldn't we train up these students and even for a while hate RC had taught in seminary for several years. And yes, and then when he was doing full-time. All of a sudden he said you know this is kind of boring people already think they know what they believe and so he said freely like to get teaching back undergrads yesterday. Undergrads like sponges they are.
Yes, let's get them before they're too well-informed in the broader idea yet and I think not only is it the ideas they also respond to one who wants to help them truly understand and I think that goes back to that that first year of teaching at Westminster College of recognizing that it's in those question-and-answer sessions. It's in this pretense while eating cookies together. He asks that you can begin to see the application of this truth exactly, and I think that excited him. You would mention a couple things that I think are just worth picking up on one was. It doesn't have to be big, he would say this isn't an end in a certain demographic understands this reference, but not all demographics do I say it doesn't have to be a Cecil B DeMille cost thousands, but it really can have an impact on out if it's a small group, but a committed group and that's what he saw. Here it was before I came down here full-time. I was invited down to speak at one of the complications. I think it was the second convocation and Dr. scroll and I were sitting in the vestibule we had her academic regalia on and the students came out to line up in the narthex for the processional and honestly he just leaned I just saw his face light up.
You know, and RBC for soup. And of course it was one building and everything was in there go the professor's offices.
The student lounge was the kitchen and the classrooms that we were all in one building, but here we are 10 years later, God has blessed us with this beautiful stunning campus here in Sanford, Florida weave a quad we have the new Founders Hall third library in a rare book room and café and course more classrooms and were watching it go up before. Very eyes. The student housing 76 beds and, hopefully, Lord willing, fall 2022 will welcome students on our campus.
But as you as you look at it RBC.
Of course we look at the buildings. We also need to think about students, but as you look at RBC. Here it is 10 years later.
What are your reflections on it does what does it mean to you as you look at RBC in this college that was founded back in 2011 while I one thing I think, which is what Arsene would think a falsetto is that we are sending more laborers have to fit in your and I just am so pleased with the caliber of the students their seriousness, not that they're not found their very very fun like to have fun. They do very much so that I love that again the interrelationship of the faculty and the students there is a mentoring that goes on not just the teaching in the classroom, but there's mentoring that goes on there and it means very much to I think almost every student.
I keep thinking that is wonderful that God's allowing us this that the college is with buildings and so on is growing and also with students and make strides in some seminaries essay we will take your students before they finish their fourth year, because they'd seen the kind of students were producing so here we are 10 years we think of the students regret number.
Letters are a number of graduate from seminary and are ordained all right serving in pastoral ministry to our on the mission field, which is just really exciting. Just graduated one of our young ladies the spring and she said it to Liberia with Rafiki, which of course he has three. That means great deal you into Dr. scroll on a great deal to him. It's also very exciting to see.
We've got students graduating her teaching in classical Christian schools as we sort of wrap things appear. What are your hopes for the future of RBC what you think. Dr. scroll's hopes were for the future of RBC and for the students that God blesses us with well my biggest hope is that the school remained faithful to the foundational values and and truth that we started with and I think that I want our students to go out and that their dealings with other people will have been impacted by what they learned here knowing what it is, God requires having enough foundation themselves to not only know it, but to do it so I'm not a visionary by any means, but I like what were doing and I hope we can keep doing it.
But as we've done through these 10 years, there have been good additions like curriculum.
What were going to teach in that kind of thing so it's not like I want us to stand still. I want us to keep going. You know Dr. scroll often as you read Cindy, he would say here I stand does not mean we stand still and that means we stand firm.
Well I think that's true, and I think that Marcy would be and I certainly am pleased with the leadership. As I said that our students will give in whatever area of calling, but I think that NRDC paid been given the tools to win some late articulate and defend what they believe are say said it's not enough to simply believe the gospel, but we must be prepared to defend it to contend for because it's God's truth. While this is been a real pleasure to just reflect back on the beginnings actually go back to the college years yes to both you would Dr. scroll and I know he's your favorite subject is to talk yes he is so swollen.
Thank you for this time. Well thank you and I got the glory for this because it's only through his working that the college is where we appreciate the staff and faculty who were cast out. What a treat. This is been too sure this conversation with Dr. Stephen Nichols have busted scroll and Dr. Nichols joins me here in the studio. Janet Steve Vesta said it so well when she said it's important not only to know the faith but to defend the faith that really brings two of Marcy's favorite subjects together. Doesn't a theology of apologetics. Would you help your listeners understand why this is so important for us as believers especially today while Lee RBC certainly has Marcy's thumbprints all over it and it is important to know what we believe short-term up loving God ultimately was about worshiping God but starts with knowing got your RC was his old time leaf. It starts in your head, and then it goes to your heart then transforms your life so were trying to do that at RBC, but we also recognize we all see it this moment. We live in culturally of the need for urgency, not to just know what we believe will be willing to defend it and contend for it. I can't think of a more urgent task than to train the next generation in what we call apologetics being able to given answer for the hope in answer for the gospel and so by God's grace. This is what we are doing at RBC equipping students to know what they believe and why they believe in the truth is this is this is important for all of us as Christians in this moment that we live to be able to not just know the Christian faith, but be equipped to be students of God's word so we can defend.
I know you are so grateful for the prayerful supportive of people who've come alongside the college over these last 10 years. You couldn't have made it to this point without their prayerful support. What are the needs no Willie we have every generation campaign that RBC and I love that name because it shows the obligation that each generation has, to train the next generation, and to recognize that as we have benefited from great teaching and great teachers that we need to invest in the next generation so we set up the every generation campaign you know many ways we been talking about what we do at RBC, but we also need to talk about how we do it and we do it first and foremost, by God's grace by his goodness to us, but we also do it by partnership by partnership with those who pray for us and by those who come along and support us to recognize the strategic investment in the lives of our students. You know Leah I think about this, we train our students for year two or four years there is a lifetime of impact that comes from that and so if you're able to come alongside us and help us at RBC. That's how we do what we do here on the campus of Sanford and what God is doing in the lives of our students that if you are able to partner with us.
Let me give you a couple of ways you can rejoice with your generous gift one is by phone number is 800-435-4343 but you can also go online to Renewing Your Mind God word Dr. Nichols.
I know that you all are in the area of the hustle and bustle of this first semester of this academic here, but I know how much you appreciate the supportive of people have come alongside you and you speak for the students. Don't you one sure that gratitude is rightly one of my favorite things to do is say on behalf of a grateful student body and faculty and staff. Thank you, thank you for your prayers and thank you for your support at RBC you are standing with us in this work, and we are so grateful and again if you would like to come alongside Reformation Bible College with a generous financial gift card number again is 800-435-4343 and or web address is Renewing Your Mind God word Renewing Your Mind is the listener supported outreach of regular ministries. Thank you for joining us and we hope you'll join us again tomorrow