A review of RC Sproul: Defender of the Reformed Faith by Chuck Ivey.
Q&A with Nate Pickowicz
Evan: Tell us about yourself, your family, and the church you pastor.
Nate: I’m the teaching pastor at Harvest Bible Church in the rural town of Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire. Our family, along with three other families, planted HBC in 2013, and we’ve seen the Lord do amazing things over the last decade. I’m married to my wife of 16 years, Jessica, and we have three children (ages 11, 8, and 19 months!). As for the ministry, we’ve got a heavy heart to reach New England with the gospel, as this region has been on the bottom of the list of professing Christianity for many years.
Evan: When did you start writing?
Nate: I wrote my first book, Reviving New England, in 2016. It was a manifesto of sorts about how believers in the northeast would be able to exercise faithfulness to God in a tough region. Shortly after that, I wrote Why We’re Protestant (2017), which is due to be released in a revised edition in November of 2022 through Christian Focus. Following that, I wrote The American Puritans with Dustin Benge (RHB, 2020) and How to Eat Your Bible (Moody, 2021). R.C. Sproul (H&E, 2022) is my fifth book that I’ve written, not including a half a dozen reprints I’ve edited.
Evan: What have you enjoyed in the process of writing this book RC Sproul: Defender of the Reformed Faith?
Nate: I had been reading and following the ministry of R.C. Sproul for about twelve years before tackling this project. However, it wasn’t until after he passed that I really considered how much he had taught me through the years. I was blown away! It seems that, every time I had a big question, I instinctively turned to Ligonier to find the answer. So, I had already been blessed by the ministry of R.C. Sproul.
However, when I was approached by H&E Publishing in Summer 2020 to write a short biography on R.C. I immediately jumped at the chance. For the next year, I combed through all of his books and many of his lectures, looking for stories and quotes, all in an effort to better understand him. What took place over than next year was soul-stirring.
Every day, I immersed myself in theology and doxology, to the point where researching for the book became almost devotional. I was constantly struck by R.C.’s absolute obsession for the things of God, as well as his childlike curiosity. I grew to love R.C., not just as a teacher, but as a person. I loved hearing his growling voice and seeing his bright smile. I laughed when he made self-deprecating jokes. I cried when I read about his various heartbreaks of losing his father and losing friendships.
Any time I sat down at the keyboard to write I became excited to share what I was learning. I wanted everyone to see the R.C. that I was seeing. I enjoyed crafting sentences and retelling key stories. I enjoyed trying to write with R.C.’s voice in mind. From start to finish, the whole project was an absolute joy.
Evan: What do you hope readers take away from this book?
Nate: In studying R.C. two things stood out to me; two things that I hope the reader would take away:
1. R.C. was an indefatigable defender of Christian doctrine. He cared about truth, and he cared about the words that were used to convey that truth. He impressed on me the importance of articulating the truth clearly and accurately. That’s a virtue I hope the reader understands and embraces.
2. R.C. also cared about how he treated people. While he was fierce with the truth, he worked hard to be kind and gracious to people, especially to those with whom he disagreed. At a time when disagreement is often treated as hatred and warfare, we need a recovery of grace and kindness. We need to remember how to fight fair and love others even when we disagree with them. R.C. modeled this well.
In the end, I hope this book draws people to R.C. the man, as well as to Ligonier Ministries. But more than this, I hope it draws readers to a deeper love for God who graciously and sovereignly saves sinners.
Thank you so much Nate for doing the Q&A! If you want to purchase a copy of RC Sproul: Defender of the Reformed Faith, click here.