Ligonier Ministries Defrauds Soli Deo Gloria Ministries In “Acquisition”

“Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.” Luke 12:1-2

I’ve been hearing for weeks from former Ligonier Ministries employees that Ligonier President Tim Dick is a shark. “Shark” is actually one of the less colorful descriptors among his nicknames but it’s nevertheless very revealing of his character. For any who might have any lingering doubts that Tim Dick is a shark let this article now serve to dispel those doubts.

As a result of information that I received from more than one source, on August 18 I sent an email to Ligonier Ministries President Tim Dick, which in part stated:


I’ve gotten an earful from your former employees. I’m shocked by what they’ve told me. Absolutely shocked.

You need to go Tim. You’re a big liability to Ligonier Ministries. If you cared at all about RC’s ministry you’d turn in your resignation. But you don’t care about anyone but yourself. You’ll never leave of your own accord. You’d only leave with some very strong incentive and even then I have my doubts. I think you’re just the kind of man that would rather see Ligonier destroyed before you’d resign. For you it’s not at all about Christian ministry, it’s about lining your pockets and gratifying your ego.

Ligonier may not be able to be saved from your clutches, but there’s another ministry in your clutches that I’ve just gotten wind of that probably can be saved, and it definitely should be. You know exactly what I’m talking about Tim. If you have any common sense at all (and I’m very doubtful of that) and you’re the least bit interested in not being publicly exposed as a con artist you’ll relinquish control of that ministry and restore control AND OWNERSHIP to the rightful owner that you stole it from.

I don’t know that man personally that you stole his ministry from and we’ve not spoken, but I do know of his work, his expertise and his reputation. I hope to talk with him some day and get the story directly from him. But I know his story as it’s been told to me by others (it’s not a particularly closely guarded secret Tim) and it makes me very angry to hear how you’ve gotten away with ripping off a man who’s a hundred times the man of God that you’ll ever be.

You’ve totally screwed an honorable godly man. Restore to him what’s rightfully his Tim and then no one like me will be in a position to publicly expose you as a thief. Take care of it however you like. Say it was all a big misunderstanding how those contracts got switched. “Oops, the secretary goofed! We didn’t mean any harm.” Say whatever you want to save face. It doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that you cannot be permitted to get away with defrauding Christian ministers.

I’ll give you ten days Tim to take care of it and to FULLY and COMPLETELY restore the man and make him whole. Otherwise I’m going public and I’m quite confident that there are others who’ll quickly pick up on the story as well. Your name will forever be mud.

I’m giving you the opportunity to save face, but I’m not giving you long. If you take care of things properly it’s very likely that this is the last time you’ll ever hear from me or my blog. If you don’t I’ll be around for a long time yet to come.

Though we exchanged several subsequent emails Tim Dick has evaded my allegations and stalled for time. At no time did Tim deny my allegations or even plead ignorance. He just evaded talking about it. In order to send a message to Tim that he’d better take me seriously I began to publicly drop some hints as to my intentions in the comments section of my blog. I also emailed Tim with a link to that section so that he couldn’t later plead ignorance and claim that I hadn’t given him fair warning.

I know that Tim is paying attention because I’ve been receiving many hits a day from the Ligonier office from at least five different computers there. But even though I’ve got Tim’s attention he’s also done nothing to communicate with me his intentions, which is to say that his intentions are to do nothing. Perhaps Tim thought I was bluffing? If that’s the case then Tim is a bigger fool than even I thought.

I gave Tim Dick a ten day deadline in which time he’s only further evaded and stalled. Tim Dick leaves me now with no other option but to go public with one of the most morally offensive incidents that I’ve ever heard of being perpetrated by a parachurch ministry.

On 22 September 2004 Ligonier Ministries, the ministry of Reformed theologian Dr. RC Sproul acquired Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, the ministry of Dr. Donald Kistler. Soli Deo Gloria was a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, as was and is Ligonier Ministries. As such Soli Deo Gloria was “acquired,” not purchased. *

Of the acquisition Dr. Kistler originally stated, “I cut my teeth on the Puritans studying under Dr. R.C. Sproul, and to work under him is a dream come true. I look forward to many years of fruitful ministry together, exposing people to the holy God the Puritans knew and served.” However Dr. Kistler’s “dream come true” soon proved to be a nightmare.

What few if any people knew at the time, and what Don Kistler certainly didn’t realize at the time, is that Ligonier President Tim Dick had perpetrated a grand fraud. The fraud against Dr. Kistler is of such an ugly and shameful nature that of the small number of people that have since discovered it no one has been willing in the two ensuing years to confront it, let alone expose it. Allowing two years to lapse hasn’t improved upon Dr. Kistler’s prospects for recovering what was stolen from him, quite the opposite.

Dr. Kistler’s ministry was stolen from him by, quite literally, nothing more than a cheesy sleight of hand trick. After weeks of contract negotiations a final version of the contract was agreed upon by all parties. However, when it came time for the signing of the final contract, unbeknownst to Don Kislter, Tim Dick secretly switched contracts. The textual difference in that switched contract was small enough to have easily escaped the notice of everyone, yet the implications for Don Kisler were immense.

Contained in the mutually approved contract was a reversionary clause, meaning that at any time Don Kistler could exercise his right to reclaim full control of his ministry, with or without cause, and with no penalty or cost to himself. In the contract that Tim Dick surreptitiously switched at the signing ceremony that clause had been removed. The practical effect of Tim Dick’s fraud meant that Dr. Kistler had his ministry stolen from him.

Soli Deo Gloria’s primary presence on the internet is currently through the Ligonier web site. However, SDG has maintained its former web site, yet more evidence of Dr. Kistler’s intention of potentially exercising the reversionary clause that he believed was still in the contract that he signed.

Dr. Kistler was Founder and President of Soli Deo Gloria Ministries. He had devoted some twenty years of his life to this Christ-honoring ministry. Yet by Tim Dick’s treachery he had it all stolen from him in exchange for the privilege of becoming nothing more than the “managing editor” of Soli Deo Gloria and an employee of Ligonier, with no ability to reclaim his ministry should things not go as planned with Ligonier. Don Kislter is no fool and he would have never done such a thing of his own volition. It happened only because of Tim Dick’s betrayal.

Given the esteem with which Dr. Sproul is held in the Reformed community it’s understandable why no one in the know has been willing to personally expose such wickedness. Shedding light on this fraud, even if the only guilty party were Tim Dick, cannot but reflect very badly on Ligonier Ministries and, therefore, on Dr. Sproul himself.

It’s doubtful that Dr. Sproul in two years hadn’t become apprised of the fraud. In point of fact RC Sproul was apprised not long after the fraud was perpetrated. Furthermore Dr. Sproul has made no effort to correct the fraud that was perpetrated by his son-in-law against Dr. Kistler. RC Sproul was probably not complicit in Tim Dick’s fraud, and probably had no prior knowledge of it. However his silence in the matter since he’s discovered it has deeply troubled the hearts and minds of those who have also learned of the fraud.

The Ligonier “acquisition” of SDG looked like it should have been a win/win for everyone. However, Dr. Kistler’s desire to “pursue his vision to expose contemporary Christians to the literature of Puritan writers” hasn’t been aided by the Ligonier “acquisition.” In fact his vision has been undermined.

From all accounts Don Kistler is a man of impeccable integrity who’ll not compromise his convictions. Dr. Kistler is an ordained Teaching Elder in the RPCGA, the Reformed Presbyterian denomination that defrocked RC Sproul Jr. Even though Dr. Kistler anticipated that there might be serious repercussions, he voted, along with every other Elder in RC Sproul Jr’s Presbytery, to defrock RC Jr. That vote was a unanimous one, so that should leave little doubt in the minds of the public as to how overwhelming the evidence must have been.

No doubt that was a very difficult decision for Don Kistler to make. Just imagine how hard that must have been to vote to defrock the son of one of your best friends and the son of your own boss. But Dr. Kistler is a man of conviction and he didn’t shy away from doing the right thing. RC Sproul and Don Kistler were friends for many years. But from all accounts Dr. Kistler is now disdained by Dr. Sproul and persona non grata at Ligonier. I’m told that Dr. Sproul has barely spoken a word to Dr. Kistler since he voted to defrock his son. Tim Dick has now pulled out all the stops in retaliation against Dr. Kistler.

As President and Founder of Soli Deo Gloria, Dr. Kistler had complete freedom to pursue his Puritan vision, speaking in an average of forty different venues per year, including preaching in many churches all across America. Dr. Kistler is considered by many to be the leading expert in the world on the Puritans. As a public speaker and preacher he was highly sought after. Now he’s just a Ligioner lackey with his entire life being dictated by the very man that defrauded him. Don Kistler must now seek authorization from Tim Dick for everything he does, including even where he preaches on Sundays. Ligonier treats Dr. Kistler as an indentured servant, requiring that he hand over the honorariums that he earns for speaking, including honorariums he receives for preaching on Sunday.

It would be naive to suppose that Dr. Kistler’s days at Ligionier aren’t numbered. The only reason he hasn’t already been fired is because it would only be too obvious to everyone that his firing was purely retaliatory. Ligonier needs a good reason to fire Don Kistler and Don Kistler isn’t the kind of man to give them a good reason.

Tim Dick’s theft of Soli Deo Gloria, as well as his daily despicable treatment of Dr. Kistler has placed Dr. Kistler under extraordinary stress. That stress no doubt proved a significant factor in Dr. Kistler’s recent stroke, which he suffered on 8-15 (first reported on The Puritan Board, a site where Dr. Kistler has regularly participated). Dr. Kistler is now at home recovering. His physician has no doubt ordered him to avoid all stressful situations. Stroke victims know all too well how important it is for them to avoid stressful environments. Provided that Dr. Kistler doesn’t further subject himself to the outrageous abuses that he’s suffered for months under the tyrannies of Tim Dick, his recovery prospects are probably quite good.

Nothing would suit Tim Dick better then to force Dr. Kistler to resign, thereby abandoning his ministry of twenty years to the complete and unfettered control of Tim Dick. With Dr. Kistler’s stroke Tim is no doubt licking his chops. He’s already defrauded Dr. Kistler. Now he’s just waiting for the ideal moment to move in for the final kill. One might suppose that given that RC Sproul has had his own problems with strokes (two serious stokes so far) that Tim Dick would now become sympathetic to Don Kistler. But remember that we’re talking about Tim “the shark” Dick, and we all know what sharks do when they smell blood in the water.

There’s a remedy for all of this. The remedy includes making Don Kistler whole and restoring full control of Soli Deo Gloria to him. Soli Deo Gloria should also be placed back under its original Board Of Directors. The remedy also includes Dr. Sproul firing his charlatan son-in-law. Hucksters and con artists can’t be permitted to preside over Christian ministries. Nothing short of these things can right this terrible wrong.

Tim Dick is responsible for the original fraud, so there’s no realistic chance that Tim will be the one to correct it. RC Sproul has known about it a long time and he hasn’t corrected it either. It therefore falls to the Ligonier Board Of Directors. Big problem there though. Vesta Sproul sits on the Ligonier Board of Directors and exercises tremendous influence. In all likelihood the only thing that’s likely to bring justice is a public outcry against Ligonier Ministries.

Dr. RC Sproul has been a gift from God to the Reformed community. However, the manner in which he’s governed his family and his ministry has been far from commendable. Dr. Sproul’s credibility in recent months has suffered greatly, especially over his public statements about the defrocking of his son. In alleging that the charges against his defrocked son were “fraudulent” he slandered the good name of a Reformed Presbyterian denomination. Dr. Sproul via Shaun Nolan asserted that: “the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals (CRE) is conducting a detailed examination of the charges. What this means is that the trial they did not receive is being conducted by a third party. The results, soon to be released, will then be examined by other groups for the purpose of validating conclusions and clearing the name of the men involved.” Those who have followed the RC Sproul Jr scandal know that the CREC didn’t conduct a trial and they didn’t clear RC Jr’s name at all. In fact the CREC Report only confirmed the RPCGA’s Judgment by saying, “It is our finding that there were significant pastoral mistakes, errors and sins by the former Session.”

The esteem with which I formerly held RC Sproul has eroded and continues to erode. I doubt I’m alone, and this latest revelation about Tim Dick’s fraud, and Dr. Sproul’s failure to correct it, won’t improve Dr. Sproul’s image; unless that is Dr. Sproul acts swiftly and decisively. Christians are a very forgiving people. Should Dr. Sproul make full restitution to Dr. Kistler, and should he issue a public apology to the RPCGA, as well as to those that he effectively accused of being false witnesses, I’m sure that he’ll receive a very favorable response.

RC Sproul and the Ligonier Board of Directors now bear full responsibility for exercising their authority to right this horrible wrong and to restore to Dr. Kistler what is rightfully his.

Dr. Kistler please know that you’re in my prayers and, no doubt, in the prayers of many. May your health recover quickly. May God fully and completely restore to you what was stolen from you. May justice prevail.

Comments are welcome, particularly from insiders who wish to furnish additional details about this tragic story. Posting under an alias is permissible, however anonymous comments are not permitted.

* Can a 501(c)(3) Organization Be Sold?

As a CPA friend explained it to me a 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organizations cannot be “sold” per se because the tax code prohibits the employees and officers of 501(c)(3) organizations from receiving a “private benefit” or “personal inurement.” See Can a 501(c)(3) organization be sold?

“No part of the net earnings of a section 501(c)(3) organization may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.” Inurement/Private Benefit – Charitable Organizations

RC Sproul Jr to Speak at Ligonier Ministries Conference. AGAIN!

RC Sproul Jr at churchI’ve been an admirer of Dr. RC Sproul for years. God has obviously gifted and equipped the man, and he’s been faithful to “preach the Word in season and out of season.” However given the way that he’s responded to the defrocking of his son, RC Sproul Jr, I’ve grown increasingly disillusioned with Dr. Sproul and must now question the man’s wisdom (I’d much rather question his common sense than his integrity).If you’ve followed some of my other articles here you know that I’ve been amazed by the family nincompoops that Dr. Sproul has entrusted his ministry to, such as Ligionier Ministries President Tim Dick, who also happens to be Dr. Sproul’s son-in-law and RC Jr’s brother-in-law. But Tim Dick is hardly the only evidence of nepotistic buffoonery at Ligonier Ministries. Incompetent and unqualified family members are to be found running around (or sleeping on the desk) everywhere in Ligonier, often in key positions, and generally with little or no understanding or appreciation for the Reformed theology championed by Dr. Sproul.

It would seem that Dr. Sproul’s priorities for his ministry have been seriously compromised by his willingness to use Ligonier as a form of job security for family members. Salaries and “perks” for family members at Ligonier are lavish and multiple times above and beyond what people of such meager job skills and work ethics could hope to secure outside of Ligonier. Ligonier’s credibility has suffered as a result, but it hasn’t caused Dr. Sproul to change course.

Doubly compromising Ligonier’s credibility is the question of RC Sproul Jr’s defrocking. As a father of several sons myself I’ve really tried to be sypathetic to Dr. Sproul over the shame and humiliation that “Precious” has brought on his family, especially on his father. But I’ll have to admit I can’t be empathetic because none of my children have ever done a thing to cause me anything that even remotely approaches that kind of public scandal. It’s a tough situation that I wouldn’t wish on any father.

I’ve tried to put myself in Dr. Sproul’s shoes and I’ve wondered, “What would I do?” One thing I’m confident that I wouldn’t do is to jeopardize my internationally respected ministry by parading out on the stage and putting behind a minister’s pulpit my defrocked son. That should be especially the case given that RC Sproul Jr continues to show no signs of repentance or remorse. What’s called for in RC Jr’s case is some “tough love.” Dr. Sproul may love his son very deeply, but what “Precious” really needs is a good paddling, not just more coddling.

If you’ve followed my brief blogging career you know that my very first blog article came about as a direct result of RC Jr’s appearance at the 2006 Ligonier Ministries National Conference. I’d posted some comments on Tim Challies’ forum about that. It became a hot topic of discussion. In just a matter of days Challies logged over 4000 visitors to just that one thread that I started, far more than he’d ever experienced before in such a brief period of time. Shortly after that Challies jettisoned his forum altogether, offering at the time some very suspicious (and very lame) excuses.

It’s unlikely that I would have ever started this blog at all had it not been for Tim Challies. Thanks Tim! Ligonier has you to thank!

Apparently Dr. Sproul learned nothing from the last time that he invited his defrocked son to speak. Ligonier Ministries has announced their 2007 National Conference. As always the lineup of speakers is impressive, that is until we come to “Our Special Guest, R.C. Sproul, Jr.”

A lot of folks were upset before that Dr. Sproul put his son behind a pulpit so soon after he’d been defrocked. Ligonier lost credibility over that and many questioned Dr. Sproul’s wisdom. Dr. Sproul and Ligonier’s credibility can’t help but be damaged again by RC Jr speaking at the 2007 conference.

Has anything, anything at all, changed since March 2006 and the last Ligonier Conference? Has RC Sproul Jr repented publicly, or even privately, to all those Saint Peter Presbyterian Church members that he tyrannized? Not as far as anyone can tell. Has RC Sproul Jr even been reordained? No, he hasn’t, and it doesn’t look like he ever will be.

In fact RC Jr’s ministerial status is one of the strangest things about this entire debacle. RC Sproul Jr is defrocked, but according to the CREC and their goofy Report “he shall not be required to fulfill the process for ordination and shall be considered ordained within the CREC accordingly.” If anyone is capable of explaining that in terms that the average human being from planet earth could comprehend I’d really like to hear it. It’s not just incomprehensible it’s crazy and bizarre.

To paraphrase a comment I saw recently on another blog, everywhere else in the world RC Sproul Jr is defrocked. But in the loony world of Doug Wilson’s CREC he’s ‘considered ordained’. It’s like saying that everywhere in the world Idi Amin is a murderous dictatorial thug and rapist. But in Libya he’s a dignitary with a clean record.

Now, on top of everything else, it looks like Ligonier has gone and plagiarized the name of my blog, “Contending for the Truth.” Could this be a mere coincidence that they picked that name for their 2007 National Conference? Unlikely. I’d sure like to know who the genius is who came up with that cute idea. Tim Dick? Or maybe the Ligonier “Director of Conferences,” Tim Dick’s 22 year old son Ryan (aka “partyboy”)?

Rules For Posting Comments: Your comments are welcome. All comments are moderated. There are very few comments that I reject, unless they’re off-topic to the subject of the article, or if it’s an issue or a question that I’ve already answered elsewhere. However I especially don’t appreciate Anonymous posts because of the confusion they cause. Use your real name or use an alias, but use a name and continue using the same name if you post here again later.

Kevin Swanson and RC Sproul Jr Team Up to Offend Home Schoolers

Kevin SwansonAs a home school father I’ve attended with my family various book fairs and home school conferences, so it’s inevitable that somewhere along the line we would have heard RC Sproul Jr speak. I’ll have to admit that I liked what I heard. In fact I was really impressed by what Mr. Sproul shared. He seemed sincere. But my life experience has also taught me that talk is cheap and that there are many preachers that don’t practice what they preach. That’s certainly proven to be the case with RC Sproul Jr. If Sproul were a man that practiced what he preached he never would have managed to get himself defrocked.

In the time since Sproul’s defrocking he’s come up regularly as a topic of discussion in our local home school group as well as our church. We’ve had some lively discussions. Some families initially were very supportive of him and critical of the RPCGA for having defrocked him. Some believed that the CREC would “clear RC Sproul Jr’s name.” But it didn’t work out that way. If Doug Wilson and the CREC weren’t capable of clearing Sproul’s name then no one ever will.

At this point everybody in our home school group has come to realize that RC Sproul Jr deserved being defrocked. Now our only remaining concern is when will Sproul get the hint and take up another line of work?

There remain a few Sproul diehards, men who are fiercely loyal, largely because they’re close personal friends of Sproul. They’re the kind of men who’ll put personal friendship above principle. They’re so loyal to Sproul that they’ll even jeopardize the credibility of the Christian home school movement to defend their pal. Among them are Doug Wilson, Doug Phillips and Kevin Swanson.

It’s taken a number of years and a lot of hard work for home schoolers to establish credibility. That credibility was earned long before lads like Sproul and Phillips and Swanson arrived on the scene to mass market their wares. The old-timer home school leaders didn’t home school to make a buck. Some of today’s home school leaders smell a buck and are cashing in. With that kind of leadership there’s just bound to be compromising.

The last thing the home schooling community needs is compromised men lousing things up for us. It’s not just RC Sproul Jr who’s lousing up the credibility of home schoolers everywhere. By stubbornly and obstinately (and blindly) supporting the defrocked Sproul, Doug Wilson, Doug Phillips and Kevin Swanson are also lousing up our credibility as home schoolers.

On February 23 I emailed Kevin Swanson, who’s the director of the Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC), over my concerns that CHEC had a defrocked minister listed as their keynote speaker for their big summer conference. Given that almost a month had passed since RC Sproul Jr’s defrocking on January 26 it seemed to me that they’d had plenty of time to get the news and decide whether or not they were going to keep him on the roster. I wanted to know what their plans were, and I wasn’t the only one. Everyone in our home school group wanted to know too:

Pastor Swanson,

I write to you because of our common interest and support of home schooling, and for maintaining the purity and peace of the church. Our rather large family is grateful to you and CHEC for the what you represent and the work you do. We’re starting to have some successes in our own little church with convincing other families of the importance of home education, but it hasn’t been easy to break through the ingrained statist traditions.

Now we’ve run into a snag, and I’m sad to say that the public impression you and your organization are making is part of our problem. It’s been brought to our attention that you are hosting a home school conference, as well as a family conference, that RC Sproul, Jr. is also a speaker at. Since you’re probably acquainted with Mr. Sproul, Jr. I need not point out to you that he was recently deposed from office by his Presbyterian denomination, the RPCGA.

We are Reformed and would probably be in a Presbyterian church, if there were any good ones around us. We have high regard for Presbyterian government, and so do most Presbyterians. It’s not a minor thing for a Presbyterian denomination to defrock one of their own Elders, and as I understand it the charges against him were grievous in nature.

Just as troubling is the fact that Mr. Sproul, Jr. appears to be functioning in open rebellion to the denomination that stripped him of his ordination by continuing to serve as “Elder,” merely by the majority vote of his own congregation. Even though we’re not Presbyterians ourselves, we know better than that, and certainly Mr. Sproul Jr knows better too. As a Presbyterian minister yourself I’m sure you’re well aware that Mr. Sproul Jr has no authority to call himself a “pastor.” Why then are you advertising him as “a pastor of Saint Peter Presbyterian Church in Southwest Virginia” for your Renewing the Family Conference?

What we can’t comprehend is why are you having a defrocked man speak at your conferences at all? How can you do such a thing? We don’t know if you’re asking Mr. Sproul Jr to speak at your conferences merely because you’re friends, but if that’s the case you should know better than to allow your personal friendships to trump your own principles.

It’s impossible for me to explain what you’re doing to our friends at church, including to those who have expressed an interest in home schooling and are now checking it out, to our homeschool group, and the incredible confusion you’re causing us. None of us can figure it out. It looks bad because it is bad, and it’s made worse by the fact that you haven’t made any public statements on your blog, or anywhere else that we’ve seen.

Perhaps you haven’t bothered to read the public documents on the defrocking of RC Sproul, Jr. Perhaps you believe by neglecting to do so you can avoid having to make a determination about what your moral obligations are. If that’s so then I’m even more disillusioned and disappointed, because that would be a matter of willful ignorance.

This isn’t a minor issue. It’s a matter of being consistent with what you publicly state about the values you claim to hold dear. I’d really like to know what you’re thinking about all this. Please do respond at your earliest convenience.

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Frank Vance

To his credit Mr. Swanson did respond:

Dear Frank,

We too are concerned about RC Jr, and the situation relating to the RPCGA…

Here are several notes to be made, and lessons we have learned thus far from this sad situation.

1. We solicited RC’s participation and advertised his participation in our events prior to knowing anything whatsoever about any “trouble in River City.”

2. We do not require a man to be a pastor to be a speaker for our events.

3. I trust you have called R.C. Jr., and you have been in contact with the Presbytery of the RPCGA handling this over the last week or two, and you know that he has been “deposed without sanctions.” Our OPC Book of Church Order indicates this as a legitimate way to remove a man from office. This is done for “reasons other than delinquency in faith or life.” Please reference F.O.G. XXVI.2, 3

4. We have learned to never trust the ever-present bloggers with agendas. The “Flesh” is horrifically present on the web and pours out like a sewer into the minds and hearts of thousands (especially within the reformed world).

5. Presently, we are in a bit of holding pattern, as we are concerned about the way conflicts are handled in the reformed world, and the presence of flesh everywhere we look. We are studying the case, and whereas we cannot try the case in a formal judicial setting, we hope to gain some wisdom as to how we can arrange a future relationship with RC Jr.

In short, our session of elders are grieved.

I do thank you for taking the time to communicate with us and I wish God’s blessing on your family.

Kevin Swanson

Dear Pastor Swanson,

Thank you sir for your prompt and gracious reply. This is indeed a very sad situation.

I quite agree with your analysis of various blog commentary. Yes, there’s a lot of derogatory things I’ve seen as well. But I’m equally concerned about the propensity of some to want to just sweep it all under the carpet.

I’m equally concerned about the issue of homeschool groups and others hosting a newly defrocked minister for speaking engagements. I think it sends the wrong message, a stamp of approval if you will. It’s also causing a lot of people a lot of confusion. We can’t help but look to pastors as moral leaders, and when our moral leaders fail to act decisively and consistently with the judgment of a Presbyterian denomination that, for the most part, appears to be widely respected, it can’t helped but cause a lot of disillusionment.

Being deposed as an Elder is no minor thing, irrespective of whether or not it was done “without sanctions,” as you say. Before you draw conclusions about that though I’d recommend you study the RPCGA’s BCO, as have I. I don’t think you’ll find similar language in there. They seem to treat deposing itself as a very serious “sanction,” about as serious a sanction as it gets for a minister.

In trying to sort this all out (which is one reason I went to all the trouble of reading the BCO) I’ve tried to stay away from the blogs and rely instead on the RPCGA’s own official documents. The only place I’ve found them thus far is at

If you haven’t reviewed them I would urge you to do so.

Thank you Pastor Swanson for demonstrating that you are indeed concerned over this matter, as are we. You and your church will be in our prayers, as we know that you have some very difficult decisions to make.

Thank you for having taken the time out of your busy schedule to speak with me.


It turns out that I was completely wrong to have thanked Kevin Swanson for “demonstrating that you are indeed concerned over this matter, as are we.”

In the end my concerns, and the concerns he heard from others as well, didn’t in any way serve to dissuade Kevin Swanson. He and his CHEC board of directors went forward with their decision to have RC Sproul Jr speak at their Denver home schooling convention. Swanson’s friendship with RC Sproul Jr is more important to Kevin Swanson than maintaining the integrity and reputation of Christian home schooling.

I’ve heard several reports that numerous CHEC members are very displeased with their board of directors, and in particular with Kevin Swanson. Swanson should think seriously about stepping down as director for CHEC.

There’s another chapter to this story, but I’ll save that for another day.

Has Ligonier Ministries President Tim Dick Lost It?

Ligonier Ministries President Tim Dick recently posted another peculiar blog comment. For being such an important guy who gets paid a lavish salary ($230,098.00), Mr. Dick seems to have an awful lot of spare time on his hands.This time Mr. Dick’s blog comment appeared on Post Tenebras Lux. There he claims that the “mention” of various web sites on Post Tenebras Lux “astonishes me.” Yet the alleged web sites which so offend Tim Dick had never been “mentioned” on Post Tenebras Lux, either by me or by anyone else.

Tim Dick keeps popping up in various places on the internet to defend himself where no one has even been talking about him! This hasn’t been the first time that Tim Dick has done this, and it probably won’t be the last. It would seem that Tim Dick must be hearing voices:


Wow, you are a breath of fresh air. What a novel approach you present to evaluate how the Church situation with Saint Peter should be handled. That is a difficult, and delicate situation to work through and the last place to look for accurate information is the web, especially the blog world.

I’m impressed with your one rule that anyone is free to attack [you], but not others.

The fact is that the sites mentioned to you for the best information astonishes me. The discussions of so called “facts” about me personally, and Ligonier Ministries, are as far from the truth as they could possibly be.

Again, let me emphasize, as to the posts that speak specifically to me and Ligonier. This is to not “alarm” anyone.

Personally, I will gladly sit down face to face with anyone who wants to discuss any of the allegations made against me and my proported gross mismanagement of the affairs of Ligonier Ministries.

For anyone who has had any concern because of the unabashed slander on the web, please contact me to clarify any concerns.

Thank you again for the calm, sound approach to these matters and this will now be my second, and only post to a blog and I assure you that I won’t respond electronically to this post.

I will also speak to you David if you want evidense of the facts that I have to refute the allegations that have been made prior to your posting this, if you choose to do so.

Also, on another post on your site, Ligonier Ministries introduced a new Publishing division called “Reformation Trust”. We will focus on new projects with authors other than just R.C., in fact we have one being released this fall by Dr. Steve Lawson, with many more in the works. I hope it takes a while for us to become “established” so that we maintain credebilty for many years to come.


Tim Dick

9:36 PM

I responded to Mr. Dick with the following:

Mr. Dick, I’m surprised to see you posting here. I’m especially surprised to see you say this, “The fact is that the sites mentioned to you for the best information astonishes me.” Was Ligonier Ministries even mentioned here? Was your name mentioned here? Did anyone mention any web sites or links to anything where you or Ligonier are discussed? No, they didn’t.

If you’re concerned about defending yourself as President of Ligonier why not make an appearance on those blogs where you actually are being discussed, say like Ligonier President Tim Dick Honors Me or Clearing the Air About Ligonier Ministries. There’s no value in trying to defend yourself on this blog, especially when you haven’t even been discussed. All you’re doing is drawing attention to yourself when no one was even talking about you in the first place. Are you really sure that’s what you want to do?

10:10 PM

The moderator promptly removed my response, while at the same time also confirming that Tim Dick hadn’t even been discussed on his site:


I deleted your post regarding Mr. Dick. As you noted in the post that I deleted, Mr. Dick was not even being discussed on this site.

My blog is largely intended to be constructive (which can include your raising questions about the CREC), but I do not intend to allow my blog to be a forum for negative personal comments.


11:03 PM

Is Tim Dick delusional? Is he suffering from symptoms of paranoia? Is he hearing voices? Why does he show up in places to defend himself when no one was even talking about him there? Very strange.

Had Tim Dick never emailed me to complain about blog articles that had nothing to do with me, or in the one case where it was an article that I wrote it had nothing to do with him, Tim would have stayed completely off my radar. I didn’t know who the President of Ligonier Ministries was, and I didn’t know he was RC Sproul’s son-in-law, or RC Sproul Jr’s brother-in-law, and I wouldn’t have cared. I wouldn’t have known about Hammerman’s blog (or at least it would have probably taken me a lot longer to stumble across it myself). I never would have said a thing about Tim Dick. Instead he emailed me for no other reason than to vent his spleen over foolish things like this:

“I would consider posts that do not have the courage to do so under a ‘real name’, i.e. Hammerman. Were is the courage, this cowardly approach leads to loose lips, per se, where the author says anything with out accountability to substantiating the underlying truth to support slanderous comments.

“There basically was no truth to the post about Jr.’s being deposed by his family. If the author wanted to be truthful about his content he simply could have called, I would give him the true answer, which is that I made the decision and I’m not on the board and the author has no clue what is required to produce a monthly 64 page devotional magazine.”

Such juvenile behavior is wholly unbecoming of a President of a respected multimillion dollar parachurch ministry. Doesn’t an important guy like Tim Dick who’s pulling down a fat six-figure salary and living in the Ligonier “mansion” (paid for courtesy of Ligonier Ministries donors) have better things to be doing with his time than blogging?

It’s never made any sense to me why Tim Dick has repeatedly complained to unrelated parties about the exposés about him, rather than going directly to the sources of the exposés. In the case of the Hammerman article I verified that Mr. Dick has never contacted Hammerman. Yet Mr. Dick feels perfectly justified in venting his spleen to me about a blog that I didn’t even know about at the time. The places that Tim Dick shows up to defend himself often haven’t ever mentioned a word about him or Ligonier Ministries at all. It’s as though he’s hearing voices coming from everywhere — people taking about him even when they’re not.

Dr. R.C. Sproul, you’re risking your life’s work by continuing to entrust it in the hands of a man who’s showing all the signs of being mentally unstable. It’s well known that your health isn’t good, and it’s well known that Tim is the “heir apparent” of Ligonier. Tim is a novice in Reformed theology and he doesn’t share your passion for Reformed theology. As one who’s admired your work for years I’d urge you to get rid of Tim, or at least put him in a position where he can’t cause you and your ministry any further harm. The world still very much needs the teachings of Ligonier Ministries, and Ligonier can’t survive your own passing if it’s left in the hands of a man of such poor character as Tim Dick.

Rules For Posting Comments: Your comments are welcome. All comments are moderated. There are very few comments that I reject, unless they’re off-topic to the subject of the article, or if it’s an issue or a question that I’ve already answered elsewhere. However I especially don’t appreciate Anonymous posts because of the confusion they cause. Use your real name or use an alias, but use a name and continue using the same name if you post here again later.

R.C. Sproul Jr Defender Admits He Was Wrong

It’s not everyday that a defender of RC Sproul Jr can admit that he was wrong. In fact it hasn’t hardly ever happened yet, at least that I know about. When it does happen it’s worth publicly noting.

Blogger Carson Allen is truly to be commended. Hopefully others will soon start following Carson’s noble example. Really, it’s not all that difficult. Just take a deep breath, gulp, and say, “I was wrong.”

I’ve posted several comments to Carson’s blog in the last few months, including a few which he’s either not seen or perhaps even ignored. A few days ago I posted this comment to his article, Presupositions Apologetics Is Biblical”:

Thanks for the article Carson. Glad to hear that you’re a presuppositional apologist. Me too. However presuppositions that are devoid of scriptural or factual support can quickly just turn into Jean Dixon-like prognostications. Take for example this presupposition: “Bottom line: The C.R.E.C. will exhonarate the defroked R.C. J.R. they will bring there plight before the reformed world for all to see and make a decision for themsleves. You must be willing to at least hear the other side of the story.” Well, actually that was a prediction. The presupposition on which it was based was “The charges against RC Sproul Jr are fraudulent and therefore he’s innocent.” That presupposition led you to make the prediction that the CREC would “exonerate” Sproul. But the CREC didn’t exonerate Sproul did they? We’ve all now heard “the other side of the story” and it’s a story that doesn’t seem to differ in any significant way from the RPCGA’s Declaratory Judgment.

So what went wrong Carson? Was your presupposition wrong? Or could it be that the presupposition was correct and the CREC acted contrary to it? Are you now prepared to abandon your presupposition and admit that you were wrong, or will you continue to argue that your presupposition is correct and everyone else is wrong?

Then today I received the following email from Carson:

Dear Vance

My presupposition was never that the accusations by the R.P.G.A. where fraudulent. Please consider the following.

1. I have only met R.C. J.R. once in my life. He came and spoke at a local Church in my Town in 2002. I still attend that church. I would have never found this Church had it not been for R.C.J.R. coming and speaking there. By the Grace of God I have formed many life long relationships with those of my church body.

2. I have no clue of what relay hapens at the Highlands Study Center or S.P.P.C. Obviously you do.

3. I just couldn’t Bare the thought that J.R. Would be such a tyrant that you and others accuse him of being. I have read all of his books, and the book “Bound for Glory” completely changed my life.

So if he is the tyrant that you say he is, I believe he needs to repent. He has caused me to stumble. I looked up to him, and I don’t even know him. I would love to have a cup of coffee with him one day and ask him some questions. I just wish he would publicly come forth and repent. I also believe it is unfair to use the tithes of s.p.p.c. to fund the Highlands Study Center without them knowing. If they want to then great, but if not, there is some explaining to do.

Be that as it may; I will no longer come to the aid of his defense, because I don’t know enough about him to do such.

Thank you and God Bless

Carson Allen

I emailed Carson back and said, “You’re a brave young man. It takes a big man to be able to admit that he was wrong. I commend you for that.”

It’s a pity that there aren’t more young men with Carson’s integrity. Carson probably has a good pastor/shepherd who’s a humble man that sets a good example for his flock. You can tell a lot about a pastor by the behavior of his flock. If a shepherd is humble, compassionate and caring generally his flock will be as well.

But if a shepherd is proud, self-righteous, and defensive with a big plank in his eye generally his flock will be as well. From everything I’ve heard of the foolish self-righteous defenses that have been thrown up by the followers of RC Sproul Jr it’s obvious that he and his followers fall into the latter category.

I’m much encouraged by Carson’s reversal. Now if we could only get Doug Wilson to admit that he’s all wrong about RC Sproul Jr. Okay now Doug, try this. Really, it’s not all that difficult. Just take a deep breath, gulp, and say, “I was wrong.”

Rules For Posting Comments: Your comments are welcome. All comments are moderated. There are very few comments that I reject, unless they’re off-topic to the subject of the article, or if it’s an issue or a question that I’ve already answered elsewhere. However I especially don’t appreciate Anonymous posts because of the confusion they cause. Use your real name or use an alias, but use a name and continue using the same name if you post here again later.