This past weekend I had the privilege of flying down to Sanford, Florida to attend the wedding of my good friend and fellow blogger Dan and his new wife Karisa. The two met at the NEXT conference in Orlando and then the Ligonier Ministries National Conference. Karisa is a member of St. Andrew’s church in Sanford which is the home church of R.C. Sproul, who is undoubtedly one of the greatest theologians of our time, and Ligonier Ministries. The wedding was lovely and was held at St. Andrews with Dr. Sproul presiding over the ceremony. For me, this was the first time seeing Dr. Sproul in person and it was a great pleasure! Over the years I have benefited greatly from Dr. Sproul’s ministry and teaching, whether it be hearing sermons online, listening to his podcast “Renewing Your Mind”, or reading the monthly magazine “Tabletalk” his contribution to Christianity and my personal walk has been immeasurable. So it was undoubtedly a great privilege to sit under him at the wedding and at church the next morning.
St. Andrew’s is quite a large church, a modern version of an old cathedral. The exterior is a beautiful white with stained-glass windows and huge wooden doors and beautiful architecture. The interior is a huge sanctuary with beautiful vaulted ceilings and ornate columns. In standard Presbyterian style the pulpit is raised in the middle of the “altar” area where Dr. Sproul expounds on God’s Word with authority. With the combination of the architecture and the traditional worship style it’s really like a trip back in time to the Protestant Reformation when you attend the services there.
St. Andrew’s is a Presbyterian church that holds closely and dearly to the ideals and theology of the Reformation. The congregation proudly affirms the five solas of the Reformation; Sola Scripture; Scripture alone, Sola Fide; faith alone, Sola Gratia grace alone, Solus Christus; in Christ alone, and Sola Deo Gloria; glory to God alone. Dr. Sproul and the other ministers hold a profoundly high view of the holiness of God and promote a reverence and awe of God that has been largely forgotten in our day. It was quite a joy to see a congregation that follows a traditional worship style, including corporate prayer and confession, singing of hymns, and of course the organ, be so spiritually alive! In my past experiences with churches like this you can barely detect the Holy Spirit among the congregation because a vast majority of the congregation is spiritually dead and are not true followers of Jesus. This congregation was alive! They sung the hymns with fervor and joy, and the way Dr. Sproul preaches they hang on his every word. Of course Dr. Sproul has a great amount of gravitas when he address the congregation. His authority as a preacher is so much greater in person than when listened to on the computer! He has a passion for Scripture and his greatest desire is to see his congregation grow in holiness by the preaching of God’s Word.
Overall, I was very encouraged by my visit to St. Andrew’s and left feeling joyful in the Lord and the work He is doing through the ministry of Dr. Sproul and Ligonier Ministries. I can only hope that God would give me a chance to visit there again.
For more info on St. Andrew’s and Ligonier Ministries check out their website.