Winter Conference: Everyone’s a Theologian

Posted On January 21, 2021

On Monday, January 18, we hosted our 2021 Winter Conference, Everyone’s a Theologian, at Saint Andrew’s Chapel and on the RBC campus in Central Florida. Together, we commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of Ligonier Ministries, celebrated the ministry of our founder and first president, Dr. R.C. Sproul, and considered the calling of every Christian to be faithful theologians and students of Scripture.

Our president, Dr. Stephen Nichols, opened the conference by examining a theme that was central to Dr. Sproul’s teaching and ministry: the holiness of God. He spoke on how the truth of God’s majestic holiness should be central in the church’s worship and teaching and how the holy character of our Creator should shape our daily lives as Christians.

“God is the most perfect being, the ultimate of ultimates.” —Dr. Stephen Nichols

Next, Rev. Ken Jones, a longtime friend of Dr. Sproul’s and pastor of Glendale Baptist Church in Miami, addressed the sovereignty of God. Dr. Sproul famously encapsulated the truth of divine sovereignty in his statement that there is not one “maverick molecule” in the universe that operates outside the Lord’s sovereign providence, and Rev. Jones explored how this truth is foundational to Christian faith and life.

“As the Creator of all things, God is the supreme authority over all things that He has created.” —Rev. Ken Jones

Members of the RBC faculty then led four respective breakout sessions on key figures, ancient and modern, who have influenced the church and had an impact on Dr. Sproul.

Dr. Keith Mathison, our professor of systematic theology, considered the significance of Thomas Aquinas, especially his writings on the doctrine of God and his ability to make careful theological distinctions.

Our academic dean and professor of theology, Dr. John Tweeddale, focused on how John Calvin’s teaching on the inspiration and illumination of the Bible were vital to Dr. Sproul’s defense of Scripture.

Dr. Nichols examined the influence of Jonathan Edwards on Dr. Sproul, looking especially at Edwards’ understanding of the beauty of God, human free will, and spiritual awakening.

Our professor of Old Testament, Dr. Ben Shaw, spoke on the impact of Dr. John Gerstner, a lifelong mentor and friend of Dr. Sproul, particularly Dr. Gerstner’s contributions to the area of apologetics and the years of ministry collaboration he shared with Dr. Sproul.

In the next main session, Dr. James Dolezal, associate professor of theology in the School of Divinity at Cairn University in Longhorne, Pa., taught on the nature of sin as rebellion against God, a rebellion that Dr. Sproul famously described as “cosmic treason.” As he considered the effects of Adam’s sin and guilt on the human race, Dr. Dolezal also emphasized our need for redemption by the Second Adam, Jesus Christ.

“Light and superficial views of sin lead to light and superficial views of the Savior and His work.” —Dr. James Dolezal

Next, Dr. J.V. Fesko, professor of systematic and historical theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Miss., spoke on the doctrine of justification by faith alone, a biblical truth that Dr. Sproul fervently defended as an essential element of the gospel. Dr. Fesko displayed the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ as the only way for sinners to escape the holy wrath of God and be declared righteous in His sight.

“Christ takes your sin-stained robes and gives you the robe of His perfect righteousness and holiness.” —Dr. J.V. Fesko

In our final session, Drs. Dolezal, Fesko, and Nichols and Rev. Jones engaged in a discussion on the ministry of Dr. R.C. Sproul. Together, they considered how Dr. Sproul sought to help Christians everywhere become better theologians, discussed the ways in which he impacted their lives and ministries personally, and recommended several of Dr. Sproul’s books that they found especially helpful.

Many of the sessions from our Winter Conference were livestreamed, and you can watch the recording of each stream on our YouTube channel. Subscribe today to find messages from other RBC events. For more information about RBC, visit