With Apologies To Don Kistler (But He Doesn’t Want One)

In the last few weeks I’ve received a number of emails, some of them quite hostile, demanding that I issue a public apology to Tim Dick, and to Ligonier Ministries, and in particular to Don Kistler, for having alleged that Tim Dick defrauded Don Kistler in the Ligonier Ministries acquisition of Soli Deo Gloria Ministries.

It’s been alleged by several witnesses that, at best, a key reversionary clause was deliberately omitted from the contract which Dr. Kistler had been assured would be included, and at worst Tim Dick was responsible for at the last moment switching out the contract for one which didn’t include the agreed upon reversionary clause. This “discrepancy” was promptly pointed out to Tim Dick immediately after it was discovered.

There’s no dispute over the fact that the reversionary clause had been agreed to by all parties prior to the contract signing. The only point of contention is over whether there was an administrative error or a deliberate bait and switch fraud. At least one person present at the contract signing ceremony claims to have overheard Tim Dick whisper to another Ligonier employee, “He thinks the clause is in there.” Regardless, all subsequent efforts to amend the contract to include the reversionary clause have been evaded by Ligonier “senior management.”

With Don Kistler’s recent public statement disavowing the allegation that Tim Dick perpetrated a fraud, demands continue to mount for an apology from me. There’s just one problem — Don Kistler himself doesn’t want an apology, nor does he believe that he’s owed one, and he’s told me so. The fact that Don Kistler himself has told me that he doesn’t believe that I owe him an apology is significant. If Don Kistler himself doesn’t believe that I owe him an apology then why would anyone else?

I care a great deal about what Don Kistler thinks. If Don had told me, “Yes, I believe you owe me an apology” then I’d issue a public apology. I don’t care as much about what others think, and I especially don’t care what Tim Dick’s defenders think. Nevertheless, it would seem that their demands have escalated, and will continue to escalate, and so a public response at this time appears to be necessary. So here it is:

Don Kistler has stated that I don’t owe him an apology, and on that I take him at his word. Therefore I won’t be apologizing to Don Kistler.

Tim Dick and his defenders believe that I owe Tim Dick an apology. However, everything that’s transpired is entirely Tim Dick’s own fault. I won’t issue an apology to the man that caused the scandal in the first place. Furthermore I won’t apologize for standing up to a bully who picked a fight with me.

Anyone who’s taken the time to review the events knows that Tim Dick and Ligonier’s “senior management” (John Duncan) are bullies and liars. They’ve lied regularly and repeatedly, including and especially to their own financial supporters. They even lied to the judge. I will not issue apologies to bullies, liars and perjurers.

Don has expressed concerns to me that it might become problematic for him if it were known by Tim Dick that he was even talking to me. This too is very significant. Why should the founder of Soli Deo Gloria Ministries have to be fearful of Tim Dick for talking to me? Don has a vested interest in attempting to bring some closure to the discrepancy between his recently issued public statement and what several witnesses claim that he’s told them in the past, regarding the SDG acquisition by Ligonier.

But it’s not just Don who wants to bring this matter to closure. I’d like to do the same. We should both be free to work toward that end, and we shouldn’t have to go about it in secret. But with the witch-hunt climate at Ligonier overshadowing everything else it’s a little hard to accomplish that. Don’s fears are justified, and they’re confirmed by the numerous emails I’ve received from even former Ligonier employees who tell me that there’s been an active Ligonier witch hunt, headed up by Ligonier General Manager John Duncan, threatening anyone who’s even remotely suspected of speaking with me. At this point just about everyone is a suspect.

Should Don Kistler have to be fearful of Ligonier “senior management” for speaking with me? No, but he is, and the fact that he is says a great deal about the fearful working climate at Ligonier. John Duncan bears responsibility for creating fear and even some hysteria. His stories are nothing short of bizarre, including even telling callers that there are death threats against the Sprouls and Dicks. John Duncan is so caught up in his own paranoia that he’s having trouble with being able to think through rationally just how far he can reasonably push the envelope of his silly fear-mongering.

The fearful working climate at Ligonier should also tell you something about the likelihood that Don was coerced into issuing his public statement. Those who’ve been carefully following this story recognized that for themselves weeks ago. For example Hank Barnes posted this insightful comment in response to comments by “Mike” and “FVS”:

FVS, “the evidence is pretty conclusive” of nothing. What we have is “A Statement From Don Kistler” that was posted on Tim Challie’s blog and nowhere else. The only people who received it was Challies and Vance and World Mag Blog. Obviously World wasn’t impressed because they just ignored it, even though they had posted a notice on their blog about the lawsuit. Frank must have not been impressed either because he very wisely didn’t post it because of the problem of determining, 1). Was it in fact written by Don Kistler? 2). If Kistler wrote it was it written free of any duress? 3). Why did it come from Ligonier’s office when it was well known that Kistler was at home on sick leave from Ligonier because of his stroke? 4). It was also obvious that even the email that Frank received with the Kistler statement enclosed wasn’t authored by Kistler, though it came from Kistler’s email address at Ligonier (Frank pointed out his suspicions in a comment he left at Challies).Nothing about this FVS is “conclusive” other than the fact that there’s a great deal of conclusiveness about this whole Kistler public statement thing being very fishy.

It’s very peculiar and suspicious that the only place that Kistler statement could be found was on Challies. We all now know what a total fool Challies made of himself by immediately posting the public statements from Tim Dick and Ligonier’s senior management. He just couldn’t wait until Monday morning to call the court, like Frank did, to find out if Ligonier had in fact withdrawn their lawsuit. No, being the good little Dick-shill that Tim Challies is he posted their statements within minutes of receiving them. He did the same with the Kistler statement too, not making any attempts at all to determine if the statement was in fact valid and not bothering to ask any of the obvious questions about it.

Why didn’t Ligonier post it on their own web site immediately? Why did it take almost a month after they posted Tim Dick’s statement and the Ligonier Senior Management statement before they posted the Kistler statement? And when they finally did why did they back-date it to the same date as the other two were posted (September 20)? I’d post a link to it here but I honestly have no idea how to even find it now. If you do a search on the Ligonier web site for “Kistler” you won’t be able to find his statement, and there’s no link to it, nor are there links to the other two statements either. Why the concealment? Why are they acting like they’ve got something to hide?

We all now know that Tim Dick and John Duncan are liars and that they’ve threated their own employees and even former employees. We all know that they won’t hesitate to sue other Christians for the most petty things imaginable (”You’re not going to get away with calling me a ‘nincompoop’!”). So it’s more than plausible that they might have extracted that lame statement from Kistler under some threat of a lawsuit. Or maybe he even just caved in over some threat of being fired. Don Kistler has never before made anywhere near $90K until he was hired by Ligonier. Maybe he’s scared about losing that. If it’s true that Tim Dick did screw him out of Soli Deo Gloria and then he winds up also getting fired by Ligonier he’ll be out on the street with nothing.

I’d like to see this “evidence” that’s so “conclusive” that you’re talking about FVS, because I haven’t seen it myself. Maybe you know about something that the rest of us haven’t been told?

Hank

As I communicated to Don Kistler very recently not one of the original witnesses who came to me and told me that Tim Dick had defrauded Don Kistler in the Ligonier Ministries acquisition of Soli Deo Gloria Ministries has changed their story. According to them it was Don Kistler who came to them in the first place and complained that key language that Don was promised was in the final contract (the reversionary clause) in point of fact wasn’t in the contract at all.

Don was not himself present for the signing. He delegated that responsibility to his brother Rev. Dan Kistler, who was also an SDG board member. It was also Dan’s understanding that the reversionary clause was in the contract. It wasn’t. Granted, it was Dan’s (and Don’s) own fault for not carefully reviewing the actual physical contract before signing it. Bad things can happen in contract signings, some accidental and some deliberate. It’s never wise to make assumptions, especially with such significant decisions, and especially when dealing with a guy like Tim Dick. Too bad no one warned them.

I’m quite aware that Don Kistler didn’t appreciate my intervention, but as Don knows I didn’t start this fight. Tim Dick provoked the whole thing, and once Tim decided to start swinging I wasn’t about to just walk away. Tim Dick is a bully and the worst thing you can do with a bully is to back down. But especially once I started receiving such incredibly damning emails from Ligonier insiders about Tim Dick there was no way that I could just walk away. As I told Don recently,

“My intention was never to put you in a bad light, and I trust that you’d be in agreement that nothing that I’ve done to date has in any way reflected negatively on you. I want that to continue. As far as I was concerned, and as far as I’m still concerned, you were always the victim and Tim Dick was the perpetrator. But you’re far from being the only victim. Tim Dick has caused considerable damage in the lives of many people, all for the sake of pursuing his selfish ambitions. The testimonies of multiple witnesses all confirm that Tim Dick is a self-serving duplicitous man who is completely unfit to be heading up a Christian ministry of any kind.

“Yes, I recognize that you never wanted me stepping in as a whistle blower. But what you fail to acknowledge is that others did, and those others were people (witnesses) that all claim that you repeatedly came to them and complained about Tim Dick screwing you over. If you didn’t want something to be done about it you should have kept it to yourself. The same goes for your private statements that Tim Dick compelled you to issue that sham public statement — that he was standing over your shoulder watching you the whole time that you wrote it. The message that you communicated was obvious — you wrote it under duress.”

If anyone is due an apology it’s me. I’m due an apology from Tim Dick for:

  • His repeated evasions of my question, “Did you or did you not defraud Don Kistler in the Soli Deo Gloria acquisition?” Tim Dick did reasonably and timely answer all my other questions. However, he repeatedly evaded the SDG question.
  • After multiple evasions on August 18 I issued him a ten-day ultimatum to make things right with Don Kistler or I’d publicly expose his fraud. At no time prior or subsequent to August 18 did Tim Dick deny the allegations. Had he at any time simply said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about Frank. Your sources have got the story wrong. I didn’t do it,” then I never would have published the story.
  • In an email on August 22 Tim stated, “I want to address all these issues with you Frank, but think it may be wise to wait until next week because of time constraints. I want to be thorough in my response yet have a full schedule this week so, I’ll try again next week. Unless of course, you can free yourself up to make a visit this week?”
  • The only reply I received from Tim the following week (which also happened to be the last email I ever received from him) was on August 26, and it too was completely evasive of the fraud question. There was only one “issue” to be resolved, and that was the issue that Tim repeatedly evaded answering. He could have easily answered with a simple “No.”
  • I declined Tim’s offer to go to Orlando, noting that nothing that I was looking for couldn’t be handled by email. The fact that Tim was so eager for me to come to Orlando, when it could have all been easily addressed via email, only increased my suspicions of him.
  • I was informed on August 24 that Don Kistler had suffered a stroke on August 15. The fact that I’d been in contact with Tim Dick subsequent to August 15 regarding issues that pertained directly to Don, and the fact that Tim never mentioned anything about Don’s stroke, only elevated my suspicions. It appeared to me that Tim was acting opportunistically in Don’s absence.
  • It later became only too obvious that Tim’s invitation for me to “make a visit” to Orlando was nothing but a ploy to stall for time while he was getting his lawsuit prepared.
  • Tim signed the lawsuit on August 24 and it was filed with the court August 25. No doubt Tim would have been thrilled for me to make a personal appearance in Orlando so that he could have the lawsuit served on me.
  • Tim failed to notify me that he’d sued me. I only found out about it later by the Orlando Sentinel.
  • Tim lied to the judge by saying that there was no way to contact me, thus trying to get the judge to issue an injunction to shut down my blog through secret ex parte hearings.
  • When the Orlando Sentinel exposed the lawsuit and angry calls started coming into Ligonier from their own supporters Ligonier lied and said, “There is no lawsuit. We don’t know how that story got started.”
  • When I was able to get my hands on a copy of the lawsuit and publicly post it so that Ligonier could no longer get away with lying about it, they changed their story, but they only lied again by claiming that “It’s not a lawsuit, it’s an injunction” failing to acknowledge that an injunction is a form of lawsuit, and also the fact that they’d sued me for $15,000 for defamation.
  • Tim Dick and John Duncan lied again when on September 20 they posted a public statement claiming that the lawsuit had been “withdrawn.” Yet on September 21 they were back in court, not to drop the case, but for another secret ex parte hearing to figure out how to move the case forward. It wasn’t until September 27 that they finally withdrew the case.
  • Tim Dick lied in his September 20 public statement when he claimed that he had “refuted the accusations,” not to mention all the other lies in his statement.
  • On September 29 the Orlando Sentinel ran a story in which an interview with Ligonier attorney Dan Brodersen it was acknowledged that Ligonier would likely sue me again if they could track me down.

It shows a remarkable degree of willful ignorance for anyone to think that I owe the liar Tim Dick an apology, or that I even owe Ligonier Ministries or RC Sproul an apology. RC Sproul is the one who appointed his lying son-in-law to be President/CEO/CFO. He bears full responsibility for the disastrous consequences to Ligonier.

However, I can appreciate why there are still some who legitimately feel that I owe Don Kistler an apology. It seems to me that Don Kistler himself is the best authority on that subject. Given that he’s told me that he doesn’t believe that I owe him an apology I think it best to follow that advice.

Rather than issuing a public apology I will issue, once again, a public call for the repentance of Tim Dick and John Duncan, and I call on them to prove the sincerity of their repentance by resigning their Ligonier “senior management” positions immediately. I also call on RC Sproul to repent, for by his own silence he’s demonstrated his complicity in their sins.

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83 Comments on “With Apologies To Don Kistler (But He Doesn’t Want One)”

  1. Ex Lig Donor says:

    Wow! No wonder you were so suspicious about the statement attributed to Don Kistler. It appears that you have been going the extra mile in not divulging some of the information you have had all along to protect him from retaliation by Ligonier senior management. That’s very kind, but you’ve obviously paid a big price for such consideration. So I hope this post will exonerate you in the minds of everyone who is not a reflexive Ligonier shill. I think your comment to Mr. Kistler supplies the best context:

    “Yes, I recognize that you never wanted me stepping in as a whistle blower. But what you fail to acknowledge is that others did, and those others were people (witnesses) that all claim that you repeatedly came to them and complained about Tim Dick screwing you over. If you didn’t want something to be done about it you should have kept it to yourself. The same goes for your private statements that Tim Dick compelled you to issue that sham public statement — that he was standing over your shoulder watching you the whole time that you wrote it. The message that you communicated was obvious — you wrote it under duress.”

  2. Truth Seeker says:

    Poor Kistler. He had no idea what he was getting himself into when he signed on with these guys.

    I am starting to get the feeling that Sproul isolates himself and NO ONE dares approach to approach the grand poohbah about anything negative. (I know how this works because I had a former minister like this. It protected him from ever having to be the bad guy or having to deal with anything. So many around him lied, cheated, etc. and NO one could ever do anything about it because he refused to hear any hard truths)

    He can even ignore the hard truths about his own grandson who lives with him! Teach your own family the truth of salvation first, Dr. Sproul.

    So Sproul can speak at conferences and never have to answer for any of this. He can be the real nice guy and act like anyone rebuking him is a heathen. Nice work if you can get donors to pay for it.

    Now Frank, you can get a ton of e-mails calling you a bully for posting this and ‘hurting’ Kistler. Go figure.

  3. Always Batya says:

    Frank Wrote: In the last few weeks I’ve received a number of emails, some of them quite hostile, demanding that I issue a public apology to Tim Dick, and to Ligonier Ministries, and in particular to Don Kistler, for having alleged that Tim Dick defrauded Don Kistler in the Ligonier Ministries acquisition of Soli Deo Gloria Ministries.>>

    This is right out of the Democratic Party playbook. Demand an apology. It is called “offense”.

  4. Frank Vance says:

    “It appears that you have been going the extra mile in not divulging some of the information you have had all along to protect him from retaliation by Ligonier senior management.”

    Ligonier retaliation against Don has in fact been my chief concern, which is why I didn’t react hastily and impulsively in issuing a response to Don’s public statement. It’s taken some time to sort through the obvious discrepancy between Don’s public statement, and the circumstances that surround it, and reconciling that with the testimony of the witnesses. Those witnesses have stood firm in their allegations against Tim Dick.

    “That’s very kind, but you’ve obviously paid a big price for such consideration.”

    Lawsuit aside (and the likelihood that Ligonier will try and sue me again) the only price that I’ve paid is the ridicule of Ligonier loyalists like Tim Challies. That’s an insignificant price to pay for being a whistle blower.

  5. Maggie says:

    Good job Frank!

  6. In The Know says:

    Ligonier would have to be out of their minds to retaliate against Don Kistler now. If they fired him word would get out about it fast. Ligonier has got their hands full as it is trying to manage this public relations disaster that Tim Dick has created. The last thing they need is another scandal.

    What you’ve done here Frank is a great service and personal sacrifice for Don. He may not appreciate it but he really should. You’ve shined the light on some of Ligonier’s dark deeds, but your work has just begun. There’s a bunch more to be exposed and I hope a lot more people will contact you and help you expose it. If Tim Dick had a brain in his head he’d repent now while there’s still time. But not only is Tim incredibly stupid he’s also got a massive ego, so don’t count on any repentance.

    You may not be aware of it but Don Kistler isn’t receiving a paycheck from Ligonier. He hasn’t been fired, but he’s not being paid either. Tim Dick gave Don 3 weeks sick leave and told him he had to return to work or he wouldn’t be paid. His doctor says it’ll be 6 to 12 months before he’s able to come back to work. Right now he’s surviving on some gifts and donations from a few churches in the Orlando area. It’s good he’s got a few friends who want to help him out because he doesn’t have any at Ligonier.

    It wouldn’t be smart for him to go back to Ligonier–ever. His doctor warned him months ago that if he didn’t get away from the heavy stress that he was under (as in under 400 lbs. of Tim Dick’s daily harassment) that he’d probably have a stroke. Now wasn’t that prophetic of his doctor? Tim has his spies at Ligonier and they watch everyone like a hawk. Working for Ligonier is more like working for the KGB than a Christian ministry. Tim’s not even ashamed to tip his hand about it, even of the fact that he records employee conversations. I heard about one incident where Tim called Don into his office and hanging on the wall right over Tim’s shoulder was a written transcript of one of Don’s phone conversations. It’s obvious he was sending Don a message.
    By making life so miserable for Don I think what Tim is trying to do is force him into a position where he just resigns and walks away from Ligonier. In the process he’ll lose everything. There’s more than just Don’s editor job at Ligonier at stake. But the fact is he’s already lost everything–twenty years of his life’s work–Soli Deo Gloria.

    It’s gone forever and regardless of whatever public exposure you can bring to bear Frank that won’t change. Ligonier isn’t about to give it back. It’s about the only thing Ligonier has got going on right now that’s actually bringing in some serious revenue. Don was sitting on a goldmine and didn’t know it. R.C. knew it though and he used Tim to steal it away from him.

    You’d think that a guy in Tim’s position would know how to be compassionate toward a sick man. Tim’s got MS and he’s got it bad. He sleeps most of the time. When he’s not at home sleeping he makes an appearance at the Ligonier office, which averages three hours a day. Fifteen hours a week for $230,000 a year. Do the math. For the most part John Duncan is now the boss man and John is every bit as corrupt as Tim.

  7. praying and thinking says:

    Assuming what is an obvious assumption, that “senior management” at Ligonier are closely watching this blog-site, this posting will almost surely cause fierce wrath against Don Kistler from Tim Dick, John Duncan, and others. Fierce wrath. I had never noticed until today the proximity of these events and Don’s stroke August 15. I don’t think many people in Reformed circles realize such fierceness, like the intense fury that Bob Jone University practiced against calvinists before and when they expelled them from the school. I could not be more serious. We need to pray for Dr. Kistler.

    More important than the wrath of man, and far more dangerous, is the pressure to fear man and not to fear God. Don has been placed in a position to fear God and to say and do the truth in this, or to fear man and to support (actively or passively, clearly or silently) support the lies and false deeds of Tim Dick and the others in this. I met Don in 2002, and ate a meal alone with him. Let us pray for Don, who is being strongly tempted and pressed to fear man and not to fear God in this. The Lord help him, strengthen him, do His true work in him.

    True children of God have His seed in them. They love in truth. True children of God are not mean, cruel, fierce. They are kind, gentle, compassionate. The attitudes and practices of R. C. Sproul, Sr., Tim Dick, and others in this situation, are strong reasons for concern whether they truly have a saving knowledge of Christ. King David so profoundly sinned, but he genuinely repented (before the baby was born); he did not continue in that sin for years or decades. I have been very concerned about Frank Vance, knowing what such men could do to him if they could ever find him. Like fundamentalists of whom I have extensive knowledge, the Sproul family and Ligonier remind me of the Roman Catholic church: a pursuit of their own empire, desire for money, power, prominence, and a demand for blind trust (the opposite of the Bereans). There is also a similarity to Rome in the fierce wrath. After I read about this weeks ago, R. C. Sproul reminded me of Eli and his sons Hophni and Phinehas. I was so saddened, with profound sadness.

    Where are all the other Reformed leaders in this situation? Their silence effectively protects and endorses this profound sin. Their silence seems a greater cause for concern than the original sins by Ligonier people.

    Frank, I appreciate what you have done.

    To fear God. To love and follow Him alone. Nothing else matters at all. The Lord chastens His own children. He destroys utterly and eternally His enemies. This situation is a fearful thing to observe, and only the Lord’s grace alone makes any of us any different. The Lord does His work His way, to His glory and to the good of His people.

  8. Quintessentially Curious says:

    In The Know wrote:

    “What you’ve done here Frank is a great service and personal sacrifice for Don. He may not appreciate it but he really should. You’ve shined the light on some of Ligonier’s dark deeds, but your work has just begun. There’s a bunch more to be exposed and I hope a lot more people will contact you and help you expose it.”

    “In the Know” said a mouthful. There are so many scoundrels claiming the moniker of “Reformed leader” that your website, if it is earnestly dedicated to truth, could spend weeks to months outlining the scandalous “Reformed” behavior of a number of these so-called men of God. Men like Doug Phillips, his “ministry” (business) Vision Forum, and the near cultish practices of his Boerne Christian Assembly, of whom Mr. Phillips (the un-ordained “shepherd”) is the sole “teaching elder” needs someone to hold them accountable. In fact, the entire Phillips clan could stand a little scrutiny.

    How about it Watchman, can we get an honest appraisal of Doug?

  9. John Steinhausen says:

    Frank, you’re not the only one that Tim has tried to pick a fight with. He did something similar to me. Out of the blue I got an email from him on September 15. We exchanged several emails through the 17th. However, after that Tim stopped responding, and it’s all too obvious why.

    Tim emailed me because he didn’t like some comments that I’d left on several blogs that had named him and his lawsuit against you. The mere fact that I’d posted my concerns about a Christian ministry violating 1 Cor. 6 by suing a Christian brother seemed to outrage Tim. The last thing he wants is anyone talking about the scandal that he’s caused.

    I’ll post our email exchange here. As you can see I responded very politely to Tim’s email, but things just escalated from there. Notice that I specifically asked him about his fraud in the SDG acquisition. Just like with you Frank, he kept evading that question.

    Hello John,

    You should probably give me a call to at least validate the claims you make.

    Timothy A. Dick
    President and CEO

    Ligonier Ministries
    400 Technology Park
    Lake Mary, Florida 32746
    Phone 407-333-4244
    Fax 407-333-4377
    tdick@Ligonier.org
    ____________________

    Mr. Dick,

    Thanks for contacting me. I welcome the chance to converse on these vital issues.

    As far as I know I haven’t misstated any facts, but if you disagree with something I’ve posted on a blog somewhere I’d welcome your setting me straight about it.

    Take care,

    John Steinhausen
    ____________________

    John,

    You take care. If you believe everything you say, you are the fool.

    Timothy A. Dick
    ____________________

    Tim,

    You leave me with little choice but to believe what’s being told about you. You haven’t denied any of it, have you? An innocent man wouldn’t keep silent. He’d deny the allegations against him, especially something as serious as fraud. So unless you’re now prepared to deny what Vance has alleged then you leave me with no other option. That’s not foolish it’s just common sense.

    Take care,

    John
    ____________________

    John,

    I know that you will believe what you choose to believe. What is the problem, do you deny that you are a fool? If so, you leave me with little choice but to believe what’s being said about you. You haven’t denied any of it, have you?

    Timothy A. Dick
    ____________________

    Tim,

    As a matter of fact yes I do deny that I’m a fool. Furthermore no one who knows me has ever accused me of being a fool. Can you say the same?

    It doesn’t matter anyway Tim because that’s not the issue. You know what the issue is that I was referring to, the allegation that you defrauded Don Kistler by contract trickery. Do you deny it?

    John
    ____________________

    John,

    I’m sorry, you neglected to identify “anyone who has ever known you personally” that can verify allegations that you do not act foolishly”. I continue to suspect your questionable decisions as to what information you freely disseminate on all your blogs.

    Timothy A. Dick
    ____________________

    Tim,

    I already told you on what basis that I deny being a fool. To repeat, anyone who has ever known me personally has never alleged that I’m a fool. Since you don’t know me you have no reason to call me a fool. Why don’t you tell me on what basis you believe that I’m a fool? Who specifically is saying that I’m a fool (besides yourself)? Since you’re concerned about proof why don’t you now produce it?

    There’s a big difference here between how we’re operating. You called me a fool. I denied it. You’ve been accused of defrauding Don Kistler, but you won’t deny it. Why is that? You’re being evasive with me, which is exactly what Frank Vance accused you of doing with him too. If you’re innocent why don’t you just deny the allegations? Better yet why haven’t you denied the allegations publicly?

    John
    ____________________

    Tim,

    I’m not the issue here, and my blog comments aren’t the issue. You’re the issue Tim. You’re the one who’s violating Scripture by suing a Christian brother (1 Cor. 6) and ruining Ligonier Ministries in the process. You’re the one who continues being evasive about answering THE question. Please stop evading the question Tim.

    Did you or did you not defraud Don Kistler? All it requires is a simple yes or no answer. But just remember that you’ll be asked the same question under oath in court. Of course in court you can just take the 5th amendment, but that’d look really bad, wouldn’t it? If you’re innocent then why do you keep evading an answer? An innocent man wouldn’t do that Tim. An innocent man wouldn’t be acting like he’s guilty, like he’s got something terrible to hide.

    John

    ____________________

    Tim,

    I contacted your customer service department and asked them which of Ligonier’s materials address the subject of Christians suing Christians 1 Corinthians 6:1-7. The rep told me “We’ve never published anything on that passage.” I told the rep that I doubted that in all the years that Ligonier has been around expounding “the whole counsel of God” that Ligonier could’ve failed to address such an important biblical topic. Surely there’s got to be an edition of Tabletalk or one of Dr. Sproul’s sermons in which it’s been discussed. The rep suggested sending an email to customer service, so that’s what I’m doing now by cc’ing this to them too. But since you’re the big cheese Tim I figured you might have an quick answer for that. Any suggestions Tim?

    Speaking of getting some answers it’s been a few days since I’ve heard from you. Did you get my last email? Just in case you didn’t I’ve included it below. It’s real obvious Tim that you’re evading answering THE question that I’ve repeatedly asked: Did you or did you not defraud Don Kistler in Ligonier’s acquisition of Soli Deo Gloria?

    John Steinhausen

    For any doubters who might think that these emails might have come from someone impersonating Tim Dick, I checked the IP addresses and all of these emails originated from the Ligonier office.

  10. Truth seeker says:

    John,

    Tim’s unique but incoherent writing style provides all the proof I need. It is like conversing with a 10 year old bully in the school yard. Every comment I have seen from him reads just like the ones above. I really believe the man has no basic reasoning or critical thinking skills.

    But, I would never call you a ‘fool’ for not recognizing that because the Bible tells us not to call people fools. :o)

  11. Jen says:

    Frank, I just don’t understand this. I’ve written about what Ligonier’s done as well, but I just cannot believe that “Christians” would actually do this to one another. The Bible tells us that we would know one another by our love for each other. Is this how Christians “love” one another? It is bad enough when there is an internal feud in a local church, and unsaved neighbors and friends hear about it, disgracing the name of the Christ. But full-time ministers of the gospel, behaving not even like the world necessarily, but conducting themselves like common criminals! In between the lines here, and the rest of this story, I read of not only lies and deceit (Revelation tells us that all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death), but I also see that bribery and/or blackmail must be taking place, and threats to fellow Christian employees, not to mention the very obvious sin of suing a fellow believer. And now we have maltreatment of a sick believer/employee. First, it appears that Ligonier (Tim and John, at least) pushed Don over the edge to the point of a stroke, and now they punish him for it!

    The Bible also says that we will know one another by our fruits. A good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Pretty simple. I see bad fruit, so what does that tell me about their souls? And, as much as I hate to say it, RC approves and condones this fruit, and may even be propagating it himself.

    Surely this story cannot get any worse, can it?

    I think at this point the kind of repentance we need to be praying for at Ligonier is the repentance that leads to salvation.

  12. Hawkeye says:

    I called Ligonier Ministries the other day and found out my favorite customer service representative Meaghan May was fired by Tim Dick and John Duncan. Meaghan followed company policy and gave her two week notice like any good employee would do. Instead of accepting her resignation, Tim Dick and John Duncan told Meaghan she was fired, and to clean out her desk and go home. Meaghan was devastated with their behavior. She left the ministry that day crying and wondering how something like that could happen to her. All the other employees watched this happen in disbelief, knowing if they said anything their heads would also roll. This recent happening is not uncommon at Ligonier. Dick and Duncan rule with an iron fist, and those who work there work in fear. I am told that all Ligonier employees have been interrogated by John Duncan as he has been trying to find out who is passing information on to Frank Vance. It is so sad that those who claim to represent Christ act nothing like him.

  13. jimmy olsen says:

    Wow, Frank, reading your post with the long awaited details behind the Kistler debacle has my head shaking so violently I definitely will need several rolls of duct tape to keep it on my neck.

    This reads like a bad novel, the agony is that it is all very believable when read in the context of the dysfunctional (to put it mildly) Ligonier management.

    For anyone who does not believe that former Lig employees are being harassed, I have knowledge of at least one who has been, and was accused of being Frank Vance.

    Jen, I completely agree with your last sentence…

    I think at this point the kind of repentance we need to be praying for at Ligonier is the repentance that leads to salvation.

    Sad, but true.

  14. barlow says:

    Frank, are you Mark I. Godfrey? Just taking a stab.

  15. formlessandvoid says:

    Hawkeye, I read your comment with astonishment. If you have been reading Jen’s blog, you’d know that Meaghan had defended Ligonier during the controversy, and apparently even accepted Ligonier’s not-so-public public statements as credible “repentance” (for she posted links to them in one of her comments on Jen’s blog).

    Well, I am glad to see that Meaghan has found another job, and I hope she’s now disabused of whatever ideals she had of Sproul and Ligonier.

  16. Mark Epstein says:

    Frank,

    I have been so engaged with the necessities of life as of late, the Ligonier issue has dropped off my radar screen save a couple of links to other’s postings on my own blog. However, this is a watershed article and the comments justify your taking the step you did. As more of this unseemly and sordid affair becomes public, all God-fearing Christians need to ask one question: Is any member of Ligonier’s senior management team enjoying the imputed righteousness of the Messiah’s completed work? Although I am not necessarily concerned with the salvation of those attending Saint Andrews, as I sincerely believe the vast majority of these men and women place their trust in the Lord, I am now concerned for their leader – a man whom I have respected for years.

    Moreover, we must pray for Meaghan May, as she is a victim of Ligonier’s management team as well (I’m sure you can relate). It is truly unfortunate that Meaghan has become a sacrificial lamb in this matter. Despite her personal correspondence with my wife and me, I understood her heart, and the accusations made against Ligonier concerning Meaghan, if true, represent the basest of human behavior. In fact, this is more reminiscent of Ollie North’s compromising compartmentalized security information than it does a Christian ministry.

    Again, may we all pray for repentance in this very unfortunate defaming of Christ’s visible church. May God protect you and bless you, and may He abundantly bless Meaghan and her family. To God be the glory, great things HE has done.

    Respectfully,

    Mark

  17. FVS says:

    So Frank, did you confirm that the Challies statement was actually written by Kistler? If you were speaking to him, you must have asked him.

  18. Practicing Attorney says:

    Barlow, you may not realize it, but about the only people who care whether “Frank Vance” is Frank Vance, Mark I. Godfrey, Jonathan Barlow, Publius, Brutus, or someone else are Tim Dick, John Duncan, RC Sproul, the detectives hired to try and find out, and blogosphere cheerleaders for Christian celebrities.

    Most other observers are focused where they should be: on whether Frank’s allegations are true. So far the independent documentary evidence — such as the legal complaint for the lawsuit and other court documents — shows that Frank has been speaking the truth and the Ligonier leadership has been lying. As an attorney who took the time to examine the documents, I find they fully support Frank’s allegations and completely contradict Ligonier’s public statements.

    In that context, today’s post is just the final nail in the coffin of Ligonier credibility to those who have obeyed the Bible by acting as Bereans along the way instead of being respecters of persons. That’s why so many are willingly standing with Frank Vance sight unseen and against Tim Dick, John Duncan, and their ilk no matter how many baptismal certificates they may publicly produce.

  19. Frank Vance says:

    FVS, is that a rhetorical question? I’m sorry if this article wasn’t clear enough for you.

    Yes, I verified that Don Kistler acknowledged that he was the author of “A Public Statement From Don Kistler.” However, as I also stated, it’s more than obvious that Don wrote it under duress, and therefore Don’s public statement is a sham:

    “The same goes for your private statements that Tim Dick compelled you to issue that sham public statement — that he was standing over your shoulder watching you the whole time that you wrote it. The message that you communicated was obvious — you wrote it under duress.”

    I’d post a link to Don Kistler’s public statement but I’ve got the same problem that John Steinhausen has — I can’t find it on Ligonier’s web site. I know it’s there. I’ve seen it there before. It’s just that Ligonier seems to be hiding it, as they are the two public statements from Tim Dick and Ligonier Senior Management (Tim Challies however is eager for people to see those so you won’t have any trouble finding them on his blog).

    FVS do you know how to find Don Kistler’s public statement on Ligonier’s web site? If called upon to do so could you post a link to it without first having to email Tim Dick or John Duncan and ask them to furnish you a link to it? Any ideas FVS why Ligonier is so carefully controlling and limiting access to “public statements”? If they’re all “public” why is Ligonier acting like they’re trying to hide them?

  20. Truth seeker says:

    Does anyone know if Ligonier has any written HR policies? Non profits are supposed to have written policies for everything including sick leave, etc. They should also be paying into disability insurance for employees, etc. Is Ligonier a 501c3?

    I have served on several non profit boards and no matter how small they were, HR policies covering such things were a must.

    They are not exempt from certain labor laws as churches are.

  21. IdeasConsequences says:

    For those interested in how Ligonier gained control over SDG, that organization did have a functioning BOD prior to the sale. Some minor investigation could provide identification of the SDG BOD members. Contact with some of those members of the prior SDG BOD would likely confirm what is being alleged here based upon direct discussions between Mr. Kistler & those members or provide a further means of clarification.

    Not discussed here previously but other events of recent Ligonier history that should receive independent investigation are how John Duncan became an employee & why. What Mr. Duncan’s prior qualifications were which merited hiring, who he displaced (i.e., were fired) and who made those decisions. Also, events involved in the publishing of the Reformation Study Bible in ESV as related to a competing publishing – the legal tactics involved. The mysterious leave of absence of the CFO prior to Tim Dick assuming that position is another. I have personally inquired of Ligonier management regarding these and other questionable events but received no credible explanations.

  22. Frank Vance says:

    Soli Deo Gloria Ministries Board Of Directors

    This archive is from September 21, 2004. Ligonier “acquired” SDG on September 22, 2004. Interestingly enough though the SDG web site was still online and fully functional up until I publicly pointed that out on August 28, 2006:

    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.

    Within two days it suddenly disappeared.

  23. In The Know says:

    “Contact with some of those members of the prior SDG BOD would likely confirm what is being alleged here”

    If only it were that simple. Tragically, the SDG Board was made up of men who, with the one possible exception of Dan Kistler, are men who are far more loyal to R.C. Sproul than they are to Don Kistler.

    For those who don’t know it Ligon Duncan is the designated successor to R.C. Sproul. Plans were finalized for Ligon’s succession some time ago. Ligon knows all about this scandal and I can say with absolute certainty that he won’t be coming to Don’s aid, and Don knows it too. All Ligon cares about is his own smooth ascension to the Ligonier throne. For obvious reasons John Duncan’s Ligonier position is secure. Don’t look for him to resign anymore than anyone should expect Tim Dick to resign.

    Jack Rowley is an Elder at Saint Andrews Chapel, which would put him in a great position to hold R.C. accountable, but don’t count on that ever happening. He’s good friends with Don, but don’t count on Jack to stand up for Don. Jack doesn’t stand up for anything. He’s allowed his entire family to be treated like garbage by R.C. and Tim, so why would he stand up for anyone else? Jack and his wife worked for Ligonier for thirty years. They were indispensable and two of the most loyal employees Ligonier ever had. But they got fired anyway, right after Tim bought the mansion. You’d think if anybody would want to step forward and expose Ligonier’s sins it’d be Jack Rowley. But that’s just the problem. R.C. knows that Jack would be the prime candidate for exposing him, which is why he and his family are especially scrutinized and spied on under the Ligonier witch hunt regime.

    The rest of the former SDG Board are every bit as compromised and won’t do anything to jeopardize their relations with the Sprouls, and the influence that buys them. They also know that if they sided with Don and came forward to expose Ligonier’s sins they’d get sued in a heartbeat. This is high octane politics and no one knows it better than Don Kistler. He’s been sold out by men that he trusted that he thought were his friends.

  24. […] Ministry Watchman has an important new post up about Kistler’s denial of Frank Vance’s allegation; I would recommend reading this post and the comments that follow it. I’ll reproduce here what is apparently a recent dialog between Tim Dick and John Steinhausen (if Time Dick or anyone would like to deny this is Tim Dick writing, please feel free to correct this by emailing me or calling me on my cell phone). Hello John, […]

  25. […] Ministry Watchman has an important new post up about Kistler’s denial of Frank Vance’s allegation; I would recommend reading this post and the comments that follow it. I’ll reproduce here what is apparently a recent dialog between Tim Dick and John Steinhausen (if Time Dick or anyone would like to deny this is Tim Dick writing, please feel free to correct this by emailing me or calling me on my cell phone). Hello John, […]

  26. Jen says:

    Good grief, Frank, it looks like you’ve got your work cut out for you with all these allegations against Ligonier! I pray that God gives you great wisdom on handling all these stories in a way that ultimately brings Him glory.

    I guess it’s a good thing the Ministry Watchman has new authors to start covering other ministries as well. Let’s hope and pray that none of those ministries are as corrupt as what we are seeing here.

  27. Watchman says:

    Speaking of Saint Andrews Chapel I’ve just reviewed an article by Hank Barnes entitled, “RC Sproul Makes Saint Andrews Chapel Pay For Tim Dick’s Folly?” Hank will probably post it here Monday. No one will want to miss it, especially members of Saint Andrews Chapel.

  28. Another ex-donor says:

    I clicked through to the link Frank supplied to the SDG board. Very interesting. Ligon Duncan is dressed like some Protestant Pope and Derek Thomas, Duncan’s subordinate at First Presbyterian of Jackson, is also on the board. Ligon appears to be much like RC in keeping his hands clean while close associates do the dirty work. It’s quite convenient for him that brother John has already taken over the day-to-day management of Ligonier, while they have recently orchestrated the hiring of another brother, Mel Duncan.

    Ryan Dick may still be fantasizing that he will one day take over the “family business,” but that now seems less likely than ever. I wonder if he has any friends who love him enough to show him this blog and tell him the truth. The sooner he leaves the warped world of Ligonier the sooner he’ll be able to grow up and make something of himself.

  29. Mark Epstein says:

    Watchman, Frank, John Steinhausen, et. al.,

    More and more this is beginning to read like a fictional work by Cussler or Ludlum (and I do not have the “time luxury” to read fiction anymore). If it weren’t for the serious nature of your efforts, I would say, “Gee, gimme a break!” Unfortunately, it just isn’t that simple. This issue has eternal consequences and the time is long since past for the Ligonier apologists to admit they are/were wrong. Ligonier “shills” need to/must repent from their automatic defense of Ligonier’s abominable and egregious behavior. This is rapidly transitioning beyond the pale, and Tom Baxter’s article (“Honor As A Defining Principle Of Life: What Should Ligonier Leaders Do?”) is becoming more apropos by the moment. May the Messiah continue to pour forth His blessings on those whose hearts are deceived and wicked. May He extend His grace to those who intellectually understand His ways but have failed to inculcate them in their hearts.

    Mark Epstein

  30. Trust but verify says:

    Quintessentially Curious: Men like Doug Phillips, his “ministry” (business) Vision Forum, and the near cultish practices of his Boerne Christian Assembly, of whom Mr. Phillips (the un-ordained “shepherd”) is the sole “teaching elder” need someone to hold them accountable. In fact, the entire Phillips clan could stand a little scrutiny. How about it Watchman, can we get an honest appraisal of Doug?

    Mr. Curious, you seem to have some strong negative opinions about Mr. Phillips, his church, and Vision Forum. You also claim some inside information. If so, don’t you think it is better to supply that information in detail rather than just make sweeping and broad negative comments? What you say may be true, but it’s not very helpful, and possibly unfair, to say it without also supplying evidence. I realize you may have kept your comment brief because is is off topic for an article by Frank Vance on Don Kistler, but instead of such abbreviated comments in any forum, isn’t it better for you and others like you in the know to email details directly to Ministry Watchman — if your goal is for him to devote whole articles to reporting on Doug Phillips?

    Otherwise, given so many other public figures to investigate, why should he focus on Doug Phillips?

  31. Watchman says:

    Trust But Verify, I appreciate your comments and suggestions to Quintessentially Curious. What you recommend is in fact the best procedure to follow. Any further comments regarding Mr. Phillips in this thread won’t be approved.

    However, Mr. Phillips is presently being investigated for conduct which is extremely troubling and is likely to make Ligonier’s sins pale by comparison. It came as no surprise to any of us to discover that Doug Phillips was recently very actively engaged behind the scenes with Ligonier providing them with his legal advice.

    Mr. Phillips will be the subject of a series of upcoming articles here. For any who have been the victims of Doug Phillips’ ecclesiastical tyrannies or business duplicities they’re encouraged to email Tom Baxter with their stories. As with all our writers Mr. Baxter guarantees confidentiality.

  32. Jen says:

    Frank, while I can’t find the link to Don Kistler’s statement on Ligonier’s website either, this link still seems to work, if people want to read his statement: Don Kistler’s Statement

  33. Watchman says:

    Ingrid Schlueter of Slice of Laodicea has very graciously posted an article about Don Kistler giving him a plug.

    A Slice Salute: The Ministry of Dr. Don Kistler

    I also just noticed that Ingrid has added donkistler.org to her blogroll. Very nice touch. Ingrid gets a large amount of volume at Slice. Hopefully good things will come of it for Don Kistler.

    Dr. Kistler, please know that you’re in our prayers. We wish you all the best.

  34. FVS says:

    So Frank, did Don Kestler actually say to you that he wrote the public statement under duress, or is that simply your own conclusion?

  35. Frank Vance says:

    Once again FVS, I must apologize that this all isn’t nearly clear enough for you. I do my level best to write as clearly and concisely as possible, but for some odd reason it just doesn’t seem to be registering for you.

    Don Kistler wrote his statement under duress based upon the testimony of more than one credible witness.

    That testimony is entirely consistent with the testimony of numerous former and current Ligonier employees, as well as the testimony of various Saint Andrews Chapel members, who all testify to the fact that there is a climate of fear, intimidation, threats, and a veritable witch hunt, headed up by Tim Dick and John Duncan. Don Kistler has not been exempt from the threats and witch hunt.

  36. Larswife says:

    Injecting a bit of levity into an otherwise distressing situation all around, I would like to suggest that we give the current unpleasantness with Ligonier one of those nifty monikers so popular in secular society when the mighty fall. Perhaps, something like “Ligosprickgate” or, my personal favorite “Ligonrcimgate” (pronounced “Lig-on-are-see-um” gate).

    All fun aside, Frank, you and those at Ministry Watchman are providing a service, source, and safe harbor for many. Thank you. Keep up the good work.

  37. Frank Vance says:

    Another Reformed theologian who for years has been embroiled in organizational corruption is Christian Research Institute president Hank Hanegraaff. Ever since Hanegraaff “took over” CRI after Walter Martin’s passing (many have called it a hostile takeover) Hanegraaff has been accused of numerous corruptions. His autocratic governance of CRI and abuse of employees is legendary.

    I respect D. James Kennedy for having the integrity to sever his once close relationship with Hanegraaff. Much like RC Sproul, Hanegraaff is well known and appreciated for his ministry. However his personal life and testimony apparently leaves a great deal to be desired.

    I don’t think we need to cover Hanegraaff here at Ministry Watchman, at least in any detail. Several other sites have done a more than adequate job already of that (just Google “Hank Hanegraaff” and you’ll have no trouble finding them).

    However, someone just brought something very interesting to my attention that relates directly to CRI and Hanegraaff. One of the employee names that appears on a letter to Hanegraaff in 1994 is Dan Kistler. It would seem that at least at one time in his life Dan Kistler (Don’s brother) was willing to stand up to organizational corruption. I wonder what he’s waiting for now?

  38. mosaic says:

    If you do a google search for “kistler” or “sdg” or “dick” in the directory the other statements reside (statement_9_20_2006) you get only the Tim Dick and Sr. Managment statements. A broader search also yielded nothing, which leads me to believe Kistler’s statement was pulled from ligonier.org. Interesting.

    Sorry, but not sorry to hear of Meaghan’s firing. Sorry she had to go through that ordeal, but she is much better off out of that abusive environment. SDG indeed, Meaghan.

    ITK is right on the Rowleys, board members, etc. Anyone who thinks this is just about R.C., Tim Dick and John Duncan is naive. These men have surrounded themselves with blind followers who have never held them or anyone in Ligonier management accountable. That is the problem – there is no one near these guys that will call them to repentance, and if they did, they would be booted out of the “sacred circle” in a heartbeat. Many have been there and done that.

    I recall around 1996 Ligonier converted their chapel into an office for their unbelieving manager of fulfillment. Shortly thereafter termites swarmed through the carpeting of that room and it had to be fumigated. I’m not a big believer in signs, but coincidence? I’m thinking…NOT.

  39. Jen says:

    Frank, I noticed a “Jerry Kistler” on that letter to Hank Hanegraaff as well. Any relation to Don?

    I wonder what would happen if RC was presented with a letter like that one? Surely someone should be willing to take the first step toward a Matthew 18 confrontation.

  40. Matt 18 Watchman says:

    Vance and all,

    Though Jen hasn’t observed Matthew 18 (nor anyone at Ministry Watchman) her question is correct.

    Why hasn’t there been any Matthew 18 obedience by the people contributing to this blog ?

    These are extremely serious allegations. Following Scripture, many months ago, would have allowed the Truth to come out and the guilty to be punished.

    Perhaps the guilty are not who you suggest ?

    Matt 18 : 15 says that if your brother sins against you you are tell him privately, if he refuses you then you are to take 2 or 3 witnesses privately.

    This website is a daily testimony to the rejection of Christ’s counsel about solving disputes.

    Do the contributors at Ministry Watchman think you can achieve justice or righteousness by operating contrary to Scriptural commands ?

    Matt 18

  41. Lig Donor No More says:

    “Did you or did you not defraud Don Kistler? All it requires is a simple yes or no answer. But just remember that you’ll be asked the same question under oath in court. Of course in court you can just take the 5th amendment, but that’d look really bad, wouldn’t it? If you’re innocent then why do you keep evading an answer?”

    These emails between Dick and Mr. Stenhausen provide the very kind of confirmation that I’ve needed to see about what Mr. Vance has been accusing Tim Dick of. He evaded ever answering a simple question, “Did you defraud Don Kistler?” Such a simple question, and if Dick were innocent there would be a simple answer. “No.” An innocent man would just answer the question. A guilty man just ignores the question. That’s exactly how sleezy politicians do it.

    That’s a really good thing that you pointed out John to Tim Dick. If Ligonier hadn’t dropped their lawsuit then Dick would have been put on the stand and asked that question about defrauding Don Kistler. He could have pled the fifth amendment. That’s “legal.” But being legal doesn’t make it right, and it definitely wouldn’t look right. Everyone would have assumed the only thing you could rightly assume, that Tim Dick must have defrauded Don Kistler.

    It would have come out in the papers too, “Ligonier President Takes Fifth Amendment On Question Of If He Defrauded Kistler.” Frank, that might be the real reason that Ligonier dropped their lawsuit. It probably goes beyond just all the angry phone calls they got from people like me threatening to cut off our financial support. They knew that if they went forward with it they’d just be forced to answer a whole lot of questions that they’d have to plead the fifth amendment to.

  42. Watchman says:

    “Do the contributors at Ministry Watchman think you can achieve justice or righteousness by operating contrary to Scriptural commands?” Just what makes you think that? Surely it is ignorance, either ignorance of the Scriptures, or ignorance of, in the case of Ligonier, the many brethren who have already attempted to exercise Matthew 18 with them, but all in vain.

    Maybe you should take a look at Jen’s blog, that is if you can stomach being taught by a woman (we already know that the misogynist John Duncan can’t), because she’s already reasonably answered that Matthew 18 question.

    There are biblical examples where Matthew 18 wasn’t followed at all, including Paul’s very public confrontation of Peter. Even more amazing Paul wrote about his confrontation of Peter to the Galatians (2:11-12). Yet Peter’s sins weren’t committed in Galatia nor were the Galatians witnesses to Peter’s “hypocrisy.” See also Jen’s article Loving Ligonier.

    Public sins call for public exposure, and at least in Peter’s case his sins were published even long after he’d already repented. No doubt Paul did so as a warning and an example to others, and in doing so he was completely consistent with his other teachings:

    Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also may be fearful of sinning. 1Tim. 5:19-20

  43. Trust but verify says:

    “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also may be fearful of sinning.”

    Watchman, Thanks for quoting verse 20 along with verse 19. I’ve heard the first verse quoted often as an excuse to ignore documented claims against Christian celebrity elders, but this is the first time I have seen the second verse quoted as what to do with those elders who continue to sin. You are doing the right thing; please keep it up.

    By the way, I’ve noticed that most of those who used to defend Ligonier so ardently have become silent, not only on this site but also on their own blogs. Hopefully that means the growing evidence against Ligonier has finally gotten to them, even if they have yet to admit it publicly.

  44. Watchman says:

    “By the way, I’ve noticed that most of those who used to defend Ligonier so ardently have become silent, not only on this site but also on their own blogs.”

    I’ve noticed that too. They seem to have run out of excuses and defenses (not that they ever had a credible defense for Ligonier in the first place).

    However, there are two or three diehards out there who keep attempting to sagotage things here, often barraging this blog with their assinine and unnecessary comments and questions. Take for example FVS who enjoys asking questions that have already been answered. FVS also likes attempting to post under other assumed names like “Martin Luther” and “Supreme Court Justice.” FVS, please pick a name and stick with it.

    Matthew 18 Watchman has done the same thing, also attempting to post as “Walter L” and “Symptoms”.

    At this point the knee-jerk Ligonier defenders who are willfully turning a blind eye to Ligonier’s many sins can only resort to shooting the messenger tactics. That’s all that FVS and Matthew 18 Watchman have left. But they shouldn’t expect (or demand) that the numerous foolish comments they’ve been trying to post this morning will be approved. If you’re unable to state your position concisely and intelligently in one or two posts then why should you expect me to approve an additional four or five more posts that don’t make your case any better than what you’ve already stated? Take it somewhere else guys. As long as I’m moderating you won’t have any success in sabotaging this site.

    On the other hand we welcome all well-reasoned and civil discourse, including from the opposition. The sad part is that so little of the opposition has been able to offer anything that’s been well-reasoned. In fact they’ve consistently embarrassed themselves. Craig Schwarze comes to mind. Most all of it has just been shoot the messenger. It’s caused me to wonder that if these are examples of Ligonier’s staunchest defenders, and this is the best defense they can hope to offer up, then of what value has the teaching of RC Sproul been to them all these years?

  45. Lig Donor No More says:

    Watchman, I’ve noticed that virtually all of Ligonier’s defenders have relied heavily on the “shoot the messenger” defense. That’s not a defense at all but still they keep trying.

    Even if it could be successfully argued that Frank Vance hadn’t personally and methodically gone through the Matthew 18:15-17 steps what does that have to do with Ligonier’s sins? I don’t see that the kinds of sins that Frank has proven that Ligonier is guilty of required him to comply with Matthew 18 before publicly exposing them. But even if Matthew 18 did apply in this situation, and Frank failed to follow it, does that mean that Frank is in “sin” or was that just an honest oversight? I don’t think either is the case. But for the sake of argument let’s just say that Frank sinned, and he did it deliberately because he knew that he was required to follow Matthew 18, but he didn’t do it. Even if all that were true would that give anyone biblical support to just ignore Ligonier’s sins? From what I’ve seen of the actions of guys like Tim Challies and other Ligonier truckles that’s exactly what they’re trying to do.

    “It’s caused me to wonder that if these are examples of Ligonier’s staunchest defenders, and this is the best defense they can hope to offer up, then of what value has the teaching of RC Sproul been to them all these years?” I think an even more important question is of what value has R.C. Sproul’s teaching been to R.C. Sproul? It’s obvious he doesn’t practice what he teaches and he doesn’t govern Ligonier by what he’s taught either. There’s a word that’s coming to mind that describes that. Oh, yes, the word is “hypocrite.”

  46. Mike says:

    Frank, in a previous post I exhorted you to publicly confess that your allegation regarding the defrauding of SDG by Ligonier was false. This exhortation was based upon testimony from a very close friend of mine (who is a man of integrity) who personally asked Don Kistler at the recent Alpha Omega conference in Orlando if your allegation was true. Don Kistler unequivocally refuted your allegation and made it clear that he was not defrauded.

    If I understand your posts correctly, there are people that you have personally corresponded with who have offered testimony that Don Kistler has stated to them privately that he was, in fact, defrauded by Ligonier.

    I think we can both agree that it is possible for Don Kistler to be saying one thing in private, and another thing in public (in fact, Burk Parsons overheard my friend ask his question and made the comment that he would like to hear Don’s response as well. So Don’s answer was heard by more than one person. [As you probably know Burk teaches the Adult Sunday School class at St. Andrews])

    I think we can also agree that duress is not sufficient justification for making contradictory statements (if this has, in fact, occurred). When Don Kistler is asked whether or not he was defrauded by Ligonier, his statements, both public and private, should be consistent.

    I believe it is now critical for Don Kistler to go on record concerning the two contradictory accounts being reported concerning his testimony about whether or not he was defrauded by Ligonier?

    Do you agree?

    It is vital that the truth of this matter be made public and it is time for truth to prevail.

    As a side note, in case there are some who are reading my words as though I were a Ligonier sympathizer, let me say that I am not willing to financially support Ligonier for a number of reasons, nor would I encourage others to support Ligonier. In fact, if someone were to approach me at church, for example, and ask my opinion about financially supporting Ligonier, I would discourage it. The salaries of R.C., Tim Dick, and John Duncan serve as ample justification for not financially supporting Ligonier, in my opinion. And there are other issues at Ligonier that trouble me as well. I well remember having lunch with a person who, at the time, worked for Ligonier (holding an “above average” position) and the descriptions he gave of the incompetence that he witnessed was startling.

    There is no question in my mind that there are serious issues to be addressed at Ligonier. And if fraud is one of them, let justice and repentance prevail. But if the allegation of fraud proves to be false, let repentance prevail as well.

  47. Mark Burns says:

    They need to step down. Big time.

    Great job exposing these frauds for what they are. Their silence has incriminated them.

  48. Frank Vance says:

    “I believe it is now critical for Don Kistler to go on record concerning the two contradictory accounts being reported concerning his testimony about whether or not he was defrauded by Ligonier? Do you agree?”

    No, I don’t agree that it’s “critical.” Furthermore Don has already gone on the record. He’s also told me that he didn’t write his statement under duress. However his public statement, as well as his insistence that he didn’t write it under duress, contradict the testimony of witnesses. Will this disparity ever be resolved? I wish I knew, but right now it’s not looking like it will.

    Let’s just say for the moment though that the witnesses suddenly come back and say, “We were wrong. We misunderstood.” Or maybe they even step forward and say, “The whole thing was a fabrication that we cooked up because in various ways Tim Dick had personally screwed us over so we got together and hatched this elaborate story as a way of paying him back.” The fact is that Tim Dick has screwed over a lot of good people (Tim Dick isn’t called “The Pagan” for nothing), so I’ve had to consider people’s motives as they’ve shared with me their horror stories. Who then would be responsible for repenting? Me?

    Even if the witnesses were to change their story (and given the character and credibility of the witnesses I’m quite confident that won’t be happening) it wouldn’t be me that would be doing the repenting. This isn’t to say that I’d claim that I’ve handled each and everything flawlessly and that there might not be room for an apology. But as I’ve already noted Don Kistler himself doesn’t believe that I owe him one. Futhermore I don’t believe that I owe Tim Dick an apology and there isn’t a single person who has yet to logically and biblically demonstrate why I would.

    Don has made it clear to me that he’d just like the whole thing to go away. He’d like to just get on with his life. That’s his wish and to the best of my ability I’m trying to honor Don’s wish. Here’s the problem: there are people that are desperately trying to keep it alive. They’re the ones who keep demanding a public apology from me. They keep rehashing it over and over again. They even do it with Don himself. He’s now having to face it everywhere he goes. How is that supposed to be helpful to Don? Clearly it’s not, but often the people doing this are only pretending that they care about Don. In reality they’re just using him to defend Ligonier.

    It’s only because of such demands that I felt compelled to write this article in response to those demands. Such people in their ignorance think that they’re helping Ligonier. They’re not, and they’re definitely not helping Don either. But then the Ligonier defenders for the most part could really care less about Don Kistler. Many of them don’t care about Don Kistler anymore than Tim Dick cares about Don Kistler. If Don winds up getting ripped apart because he’s caught in the middle of this thing there are very few Ligonier defenders who’ll really care. Don is expendable if it means salvaging Ligonier’s tarnished image, which is no different than the opinion that Tim Dick holds of Don Kistler and every other Ligonier employee.

    I’m not interested in rehashing Kistler’s public statement ad infinitum Mike. I realize that it might be “critical” to folks like yourself, but it’s not critical to me, especially when it means that by continuing to rehash it the only person that it hurts is Don Kistler. At some point we’ve all got to be willing to just move on.

    In the overall scheme of things it’s not nearly as significant as some are trying to make it out to be, and it’s only too obvious what their objective is in blowing it out of proportion — find the one and only debatable evidence of Ligonier’s corruption and keep hammering on that one issue to distract as many people as possible from examining all the other evidence.

    So for the sake of argument let’s just say for the moment that Tim Dick didn’t defraud Don Kistler. Let’s just pretend like the witnesses never made those accusations. Even if you completely remove the Tim Dick fraud allegations from the equation Ligonier Ministries under the leadership of Tim Dick has more than adequately demonstrated that it’s a corrupt business organization masquerading as a Christian ministry that the Sprouls are being personally enriched by at the expense of donors to the tune of over one million dollars in combined Sproul/Dick family salaries per year.

    The evidence that I’ve put forward to support Ligonier’s climate of corruption is strong, which is exactly why Ligonier defenders just completely ignore it, refuse to discuss it, pretend it’s not there, and instead spend all their time and effort talking instead about the SDG fraud issue, which is the one and only area of evidence of Ligonier corruption which they’re capable of arguing against.

    Lig Donor No More put it well: “That’s exactly how sleezy politicians do it.”

    In summation:

    Don Kistler isn’t likely to change his story.
    The witnesses aren’t likely to change their story.
    We have arrived at an impasse.
    By definition an impasse is generally impossible to resolve. Therefore the wisest course of action is to just move on.

    A Personal Note To Don Kistler:

    Sir, I respect you and I respect your ministry. I’m troubled by the disparity between your public statements and the testimony of credible witnesses. I pray that at some point the truth will come out, but I’m not going to rehash this issue ad infinitum to try and force that happen when it’s already apparent what a fruitless effort that would be.

    When people come up to you at conferences and other venues and wish to engage you in dialogue about the Tim Dick fraud allegations, if you respond at all, it’s not unlikely that they’ll post a comment about it on a blog somewhere, and perhaps on this blog. If those comments keep getting posted then it will necessitate, at some point, another response from me. Is that really what you want? I doubt it.

    Please allow me to make a recommendation that will benefit you and your ministry. When you’re asked about it, this is all you need to say, “I’ve issued a public statement and everything that’s been needful to say I’ve already said. It’s not useful to say anything more. Thanks for your concern about it, but the best thing that you can do for me is to pray.”

    If you do that Don then I think you’ll find that very soon you’ll be in a much better position to, as you’ve communicated to me, just move on with your life. I’ll do what I can to cooperate in that process, but what you communicate both publicly and even privately plays a vital part in whether or not that happens. If you keep permitting people to pressure you into talking about it, and those people in turn keep posting blog comments and sending me emails about your conversations with them, then you’ll leave me with no other choice but to continue posting articles about it.

  49. Mark Epstein says:

    Watchman,

    This is one of the most agonizing threads I have read, and I am beginning to wonder about the delusion surrounding those who still refuse to fully understand the issues, and I do not use the word “refuse” lightly. This very “public” stubbornness is appalling and, because there is such blindness (deliberate at this point?), I think it worthwhile to recap my wife’s and my involvement with this issue.

    In early September 2006, I accessed a link from a news organization that took me to the Ligonier lawsuit article on the Orlando newspaper’s website. I forwarded this information to my wife and provided her with my biblically based understanding (1 Corinthians chapters 4 and 6) that we should discontinue our financial support of Ligonier. Being the generous woman she is, Jen responded with a question: May I contact Ligonier first? I approved her request and she contacted Ligonier. If anyone has followed her blog, you know the rest of the story, which is why I raise the issue of deliberate blindness.

    Here is the simplified “bottom line”: The actions of Ligonier’s management team are an absolute outrage. Though I cannot publicly recount the details of our interaction with Dick and Duncan, suffice it to say these interactions did NOT produce any resolution concerning our decision matrix, with respect to discontinuing our support of Ligonier. Rather, the written correspondence (via numerous emails) from Tim Dick supplied the rationale for discontinuing our support. However, before we could even make this decision, Ligonier sent us a letter advising us that our financial support was ended.

    In addition to this reality, it is time for the “Lig Shills” to acknowledge Jennifer’s gracious handling (on her blog) of the phone conversation with “Senior Management.” Those who have attacked her privately and publicly are contemptible. Ligonier is in the position it finds itself because of its own irresponsible actions, NOT because someone or a number of “someones” chose to obey the biblical admonitions of publicly exposing Ligonier when its managers and employees refused to repent in a private forum. This ongoing Matthew 18 controversy is disingenuous and those responsible for these fallacious accusations need to privately repent (by contacting Jennifer, Frank, et. al.); however, if they do not take this opportunity to privately repent, then public repentance is the next step. The “Lig Shills” are accountable for their very public postings.

    Watchman, I firmly suggest you respond to “Lig Shills” posts with a call to repentance. Whether it is the “I was only following orders” example of one blogger’s blindly posting Ligonier’s statements (that have proved to be less than honest) or the ongoing “anonymous” posts on your website by those continuing their perpetration of deception, it is high time you sternly counter these men (or women) who use this site for the purpose of misleading believers.

    Mark

  50. Symptoms says:

    “If you’re unable to state your position concisely and intelligently in one or two posts then why should you expect me to approve … more posts that don’t make your case any better than what you’ve already stated?”

    This is particularly humorous coming from a blithering idiot. You have droned on endlessly for months without one coherent post. Often you reply to your own posts as someone else and your wife does the same thing.

    Symptoms of previous church trouble

  51. Watchman says:

    Mark,

    I have little concern for this site being coopted by the likes of Symptoms/Matthew 18 Watchman/Walter L or FVS/Supreme Court Justice/Martin Luther or Barlow to mislead anyone, other than perhaps themselves.

    I approved Sypmtoms’ comment above for one purpose only — to illustrate the mentality of a typical Ligonier shill. Pathetic, isn’t it?

    Symptoms and FVS are, if nothing else, persistent. They’ve been barraging this blog with their mindless harangues all morning, and now into the afternoon as well.

    If I were RC Sproul I’d be terribly embarrassed to see that such people were representative of my most devout followers.

  52. Jean Cauvin says:

    “By the way, I’ve noticed that most of those who used to defend Ligonier so ardently have become silent, not only on this site but also on their own blogs.”

    Well, a couple of reasons for that.

    Frank hasn’t produced any new “evidence” – all he has done is repeat the same old stuff over and over again. There is no point engaging with that repeatedly.

    Furthermore, Frank is clearly not willing to change his mind on this. This post is a classic example. It doesn’t matter what Don Kistler says or does, Frank is not going to change his story.

    Kistler has insisted, both publically and privately, that Vance’s allegations are untrue. But that has made no difference to Vance. Considering Kistler is in the best position to know whether he has been defrauded or not, we can safely assume that no amount of contrary evidence will be sufficient. There is no point talking with someone like that.

    But the final reason is strategic – sites like this live and die on the amount of publicity they get. By refusing to give Vance any attention, it ensures he will disappear eventually.

    Is he going to still be producing a weekly post re-hashing his allegations for the next couple of months? Probably. Will he still be doing it in six months time? Maybe. In a years time? I doubt it.

    I have no doubt his true identity will come to light eventually. That will be a *very* interesting day…

  53. Mark Epstein says:

    Watchman,

    So now, you (and the rest of those who understand the issue) are a “blithering idiot” (or maybe I am – see my interrogative below). My, my, Symptom’s words are edifying indeed. In fact, these words provide more than a prima facie basis for Jennifer’s and my discontinuance of our financial support of Ligonier Ministries. I really don’t think we need to say much more because res ipsa loquitur….the “thing” itself speaks.

    I will ask this one question, however: Is “Symptoms” speaking to you or me? Has your wife ever posted a comment? Are you even married? Inquiring minds want to know. ;~}

    Frankly, the entire “Lig Shill” issue reminds me of an old Vietnam movie – Apocalypse Now. However, instead of Brando’s line “the horror,” the “Lig Shill’s” comments beg a different line: “The madness.”

    Mark

  54. Watchman says:

    Mark, yes I am married. No, my wife has never posted a comment on this blog or any other. Hopefully that will satisfy inquiring minds, although I doubt it will satisfy the madness.

  55. For What It's Worth says:

    Some profundity from Don Kistler:

    “The Puritans understood that spiritual problems needed spiritual solutions. Today’s counselors don’t think in terms of sin or problems of the soul, even though that is what psychology means–the study of the soul. The problem is that today everyone is a victim of someone else’s behavior; but that is not new to today–the blame game started in the Garden of Eden. Adam blamed Eve; Eve blamed the serpent. And none of them could blame their dysfunctional family!”

    Why Read the Puritans Today? Rev. Don Kistler

    It sounds like Don Kistler could have written that specifically for the dysfunctional Sproul family.

  56. Frank Vance says:

    Mark,

    Same here. Yes I’m married and no my wife doesn’t post on blogs, including this one, although if she ever was inclined to I wouldn’t be ashamed for her input.

    I know that your wife Jen has a blog and I for one really appreciate what she’s had to say. She’s demonstrated a great deal of wisdom in her articles and I’m impressed that she hasn’t caved into the unfounded criticisms and the lies of John Duncan and bullies of his ilk.

  57. Watchman says:

    “By refusing to give Vance any attention, it ensures he will disappear eventually.”

    That being the case then we thank you for the continued attention that you’ve shown.

    Your comments are wishful thinking, though given your devotion to Ligonier I can appreciate why you’d have such wishes.

    Even if your assertions that all Frank has done is “repeat the same old stuff over and over again” were true that doesn’t seem to have in any way dissuaded visitors from coming back, and many of them come back every day. Obviously they’re coming back to read something new, even if it just means to read new comments in articles that they’ve already read. Hundreds of repeat visitors do so here every day.

    Many hundreds more first-time visitors also come here every day. If you think that’s a formula for failure then you don’t seem to appreciate the significance that a webmaster like myself places on paying attention to his visitor logs.

    Yes, it could well be in six to twelve months that the volume of traffic will start to taper off, at least as far as our Ligonier stories go. That’s to be expected, but we’re happy for the traffic while it lasts, and we’re counting on it having an effect while it lasts. A lot can be accomplished and many thousands of visitors will read these articles, even in a brief six to twelve month span.

    We also know from inside sources that Ligonier is very concerned about the effect that it’s having. Not that it will necessarily result in Ligonier’s repentance, although that is the goal.

  58. Fact Finders says:

    Frank,

    This question was posed to you on another site and you didn’t answer it. Could you answer it, here, please ?

    In regards to Tim Dick’s initial contact with you, you
    wrote :

    “I received an email from a gentleman who heads a prominent ministry … he then asked me to keep his identity anonymous. I’ll honor the request, but needless to say it gave me quite a chuckle.”

    Several days later you said this to Tim Dick on your
    blog :

    “Oh, and the thing about your asking me to keep our emails confidential, well, I never gave you an answer about that — until now. The answer is “no.””

    Why did you break your promise ?

    Wasn’t there Biblical admonition still left to accomplish ?

    Was that the right decision ?

    thank you,

    FF Inc

  59. Watchman says:

    Speaking of John Duncan-orchestrated witch hunts it was already too obvious to me that most if not all of the malicious comment postings today were being orchestrated by none other than Ligonier’s General Manager John Duncan. Inside sources have now confirmed that.

    That hardly comes as a surprise. We’ve known for a long time that John Duncan spends a considerable amount of his time reading and commenting on blogs. He’s a daily visitor here, as well as on many other blogs. In fact John Duncan is literally obsessed with blogs. Now that I’ve blown his cover he’ll only be all the more obsessed.

    It was confirmed some weeks ago that “Passerby” is John Duncan. We also know that John has posted under many other aliases as well.

    Most of John’s blog comments and blog reading has been done during Ligonier office hours.

    John, Ligonier donors should know what your $180,000 salary (2004 figure, probably much higher now) actually goes for. A large portion of it goes for John to read and comment on blogs. Really, John, you should be ashamed. You make a salary that’s three times greater than what the average Ligonier donor family’s total income is. Yet you spend hours everyday surfing the internet to satisfy your obsession for blogs. Is that what you think that Ligonier donors are paying you for?

  60. Jean Cauvin says:

    Speaking of John Duncan-orchestrated witch hunts it was already too obvious to me that most if not all of the malicious comment postings today were being orchestrated by none other than Ligonier’s General Manager John Duncan. Inside sources have now confirmed that.

    I know that is a lie.

    I did most of the “malicious” (by which you mean contrary) comments, using 4 different alias’s, and I have never met John Duncan or anyone from Ligonier.

    You are caught out big time…

  61. steve says:

    Frank,

    You say the Sproul/Dick family makes $1million per year from Ligonier?

    I think RCsr makes ~$270,000, Timdick makes ~$240,000, RC’s wife makes $40,000…

    What am I missing that brings us to $1million???

    Thanks.

  62. Watchman says:

    Jean, given that you’ve been posting from Australia it wasn’t lost on me that you couldn’t possibly be John Duncan. As such I obviously wasn’t referring to you.

    Your four posts yesterday don’t even come close to approaching the number of posts that John Duncan has attempted to post here, including even the number that he attempted to post here just yesterday.

    With a measly four posts I wouldn’t put you in the “malicious” category, not yet anyway. Right now you’re just in the “nuisance” category. But don’t let that discourage you. Do as John Duncan has done and you’ll find yourself in the “malicious” category soon enough.

  63. Frank Vance says:

    Steve not all of it comes directly from Ligonier, but most of it does.

    What you’re missing are the salaries and “bonuses” of:
    Sherrie Dick (Tim’s wife)
    Ryan Dick (Tim’s son)
    Kaki Dick-Cobb (Tim’s daughter)
    John Cobb (Kaki’s husband)
    RC Sproul Jr, former Tabletalk editor, current paid contributor
    RC Sproul’s $65,000 something in excess of $100,000 Saint Andrews Chapel salary, and his speaking honorariums, and his book and tape royalties.

    I haven’t had my morning coffee yet so I’m probably leaving out some details (others are free to comment and fill in what’s missing).

    We have yet to disclose the numerous and mysterious Ligonier “bonuses” to family members and close friends (like the one that Tim Dick gave John Duncan to buy a house with) which from all accounts are sizeable and in all likelihood illegal, so illegal in fact that several Ligonier accountants have quit over the “bonuses” and other financial abuses. Stay tuned for more.

  64. Hawkeye says:

    According to a good source of mine, R C Sproul’s salary at Saint Andrews Chapel is now over $100,000 a year. Any member of his church has a right to call the office and ask exactly how much Sproul is being paid.

  65. Frank Vance says:

    Thanks Hawkeye. I’m the first to admit that some of our information is a bit stale. For example some of our figures have come from Ligonier’s tax returns. But Tim Dick as Ligonier’s CFO seems to be having a lot of trouble with getting Ligonier’s tax returns done (must be hard trying to “account” all those “bonuses,” especially all that Ligonier money that Tim Dick gave to John Duncan so that he could buy a house). So the last time Tim filed a return was for 2004. That’s why when we mention Ligonier salaries we often qualify it with “2004 figures, probably much higher now.” The reason it’s reasonable to assume that their salaries are probably much higher now is because a review of prior years’ tax returns has shown that they’ve always given themselves raises — big raises — every single year.

    Saint Andrews Chapel is an even more difficult situation to sort out because as a church they don’t have to file tax returns. Saint Andrews Chapel isn’t very disclosing with their members about much of anything, especially finances. Hank Barnes will be posting an article about this soon, maybe even later today.

  66. IdeasConsequences says:

    Frank Vance said, “…..We have yet to disclose the numerous and mysterious Ligonier “bonuses” to family members and close friends (like John Duncan) which from all accounts are sizeable and in all likelihood illegal, so illegal in fact that several Ligonier accountants have quit over the “bonuses” and other financial abuses. Stay tuned for more. ”

    Not just accountants but their former CFO (just prior to Tim Dick taking over as CFO) left in an unannounced manner with no word to anyone working for her at Ligonier. Tim Dick announced to inquirers it was a “leave of absence due to health reasons.” Attempts to talk with her directly about it were unsuccessful – she just confirmed she had left & had no intention to return but would not discuss it further with me. She seemed very uneasy about the discussion but relieved to not be working for Tim Dick (my observation, not her statement). Her dismissal/leaving took place during a period when several other long time employees were dismissed & all Sproul family members assumed employment at Ligonier – ironically with no related education or work experience that would qualify them for employment.

    When I last saw the previous CFO, she seemed in good health………

  67. IdeasConsequences says:

    I should have added, as background information, that at that time (of previous CFO’s dismissal) Tim Dick was VP and RC Sproul was still President, directly responsible for the ministry’s operations (although he was deferring to Tim most routine work). The previous CFO had reported to RC, not Tim, but that was changed just prior to her dismissal – probably just coincidental…….

    Any normal corporation is set-up to ensure checks and balances in control of the mission critical “product” on one hand and financial decisions, on the other. In other words you don’t want the same employees making decisions about how to spend the money as those actually writing the checks – this is common accounting control. If a CFO is enabled to both make financial decisions & also be the responsible party to authorize expenditures, there are no financial controls or accountability. In a business this is a poor practice, enables abuse, cover-up and usually leads to bankruptcy. In a ministry where donors are trusting the ministry to invest in the Lord’s work, it is a fatal practice and will destroy the ministry – even the most trusting donors will eventually tire of such unethical and abusive practices.

    But to summarize, this goes back directly to RC, as President & CEO, he made the decision to place the duties of the CFO under Tim Dick, VP at that time. This rest is history, now being revealed. It’s the depravity of man at work – power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  68. Remember Frank, that according to my numbers, Tim Dick gave himself a 67% raise in just 1 year, from 2003 to 2004. If he kept his average increase of 45% for salary, he would be making roughly $483,781 in 2006. Must be nice to able to authorize his salary increase and write the check too.

    Do we have any documentation for the bonuses?

  69. Frank Vance says:

    Brandon thanks for providing the figures.

    I realize that yours is a rhetorical question, but I’m happy to address it for the benefit of others who probably don’t get the point you’re driving at.

    No, of course there isn’t any “documentation” that I personally have in hand to substantiate that some very unethical and perhaps criminal financial and accounting practices have been going on at Ligonier, at least since the time that Tim Dick took over as President/CEO/CFO. What we have to substantiate it is the fact that three Ligonier accountants have quit or been fired in a brief period of time, all because they wouldn’t go along with Tim Dick’s demands that they employ Enron-style accounting methods. Not only did they have a conscience they also have common sense. They weren’t interested in taking a fall for Tim Dick.

    John Duncan as “Passerby” has tried to post here in the past arguing that Ligonier as a 501(c)(3) organization could never get away with shady accounting practices. Only the most ignorant of people would actually believe that. Even if the IRS were to audit Ligonier, and I don’t know whether or not that’s actually ever happened, it wouldn’t be difficult for even a dimwit like Dick to pull the wool over the IRS’ eyes. All it takes is the cooperation of a competent accountant to prepare the books just so.

    You’ll recall that in the Enron case they had for years gotten away with billions of dollars of fraud, and their industry is supposedly much more carefully scrutinized by the government, and by a multitude of government agencies, including the SEC, than is a relatively small 501(c)(3) like Ligonier. In the end the downfall of Enron was due largely to “insiders” like VP of Corporate Development Sherron Watkins. Ms. Watkins was very smart to, as she started discovering the fraud, document her concerns to her boss, Ken Lay, in the form of what she later acknowledged were “CYA letters.” She didn’t just quit because she knew that she later might be implicated in Enron’s crimes. Instead she questioned her boss in writing, and she kept copies of those letters.

    Ligonier employees in key positions could learn a thing or two from Sherron Watkins. As Watkins stated to Lay, “We are under too much scrutiny,” she wrote, “and there are probably one or two disgruntled ‘redeployed’ employees who know enough about the ‘funny’ accounting to get us in trouble.”

    It’s not just the current Ligonier emplyees that might need to consider writing Dick a CYA letter. Even some former Ligonier employees would be wise to write Tim Dick a CYA letter. It’s not too late, and since Tim Dick will just ignore you it’d be smart to cc it to RC Sproul. If you’re ever contacted by the IRS or anyone else, and you know that Ligonier is involved in questionable financial activities or accounting practices, you want to have something in writing that you can show them that demonstrates your intentions before you were ever contacted by the government. If you don’t have a CYA letter that you can produce then once you’re contacted it might be too late and you yourself could come under investigation.

    It took years for Enron’s “funny accounting” to catch up to them. In the end it wasn’t a government agency, like the IRS, that caught them. It was a few disgruntled employees whose consciences got the better of them that turned them in.

    For the record I’m not endorsing that anyone get the government involved in Ligonier’s alleged financial misdeeds. What I advocate is that Ligonier repent and clean up its act and fire Tim Dick.

  70. Frank Vance says:

    FormerLigMan, it’s been awhile since you’ve posted. Hopefully we’ll hear from you again soon.

    I’d like to put a couple of questions to you, not to put you on the spot but because I value your opinions. You’ve posted some very useful information here in the past and I trust that you will again. I also appreciate the fact that you’ve taken some risks in posting here (yes, I’ve heard about the intensive witch hunt by Tim Dick and John Duncan to figure out who you are).

    In my article Ligonier Ministries Defrauds Soli Deo Gloria Ministries In “Acquisition” you left a comment which included,

    I don’t believe it was Tim’s intention to switch contracts. I wasn’t there, but I know those that were (board members of SDG). According to them, they had discussed the exception clause and Tim fully agreed this clause was necessary. However, for some reason it failed to make it in the final contract. I don’t think this was intentional. In case you didn’t know, Tim has a horrible memory (much to do with his heart attack many years ago in which he was dead for a matter of minutes causing brain damage). More than once at Ligonier did he forget entire conversations we had together concerning matters of importance. As a habit, I had to write everything down during the meeting so I had proof later in case he forgot (…and he did).

    In the case of the contract, I truly believe he forgot to put in this exception clause after the discussion. In the end, I think you will be surprised to find out Tim has compassion and grace within him. I hope he makes amends with this SDG situation.

    FormerLigMan, I appreciate your having confirmed here on August 29 that there had in fact been a clear understanding that a reversionary clause was to be in Don Kistler’s contract. That of course is entirely consistent with what others have testified as well. In your case however you’ve been willing to give some credit to Tim Dick that others have not. In your case you’ve attributed it to Tim’s brain damage, and therefore just a clerical omission. Others however assert that they have evidence that it was deliberate, including an incriminating statement that Tim whispered right at the contract signing. I responded to you,

    But irrespective of whether Tim Dick deliberately defrauded Don Kistler, or whether it happened because of Tim Dick’s brain damage, the question of the hour is what will Ligonier Ministries do about it now?

    “I hope he makes amends with this SDG situation.” I wish I could share your hope. You obviously know more about all this than I do, so maybe you have some cause for hope. Call me a cynic but if Tim and RC allowed two years to go by without doing anything about this then I don’t have any reason to be hopeful that they’ll do the right thing, at least not without a whole lot of public exposure and pressure.

    We had that exchange just prior to my finding out that Ligonier had sued me. Needless to say my cynicism seems to have been vindicated.

    Tim Dick hasn’t corrected the contract “omission” (at best) or fraud (at worst). Whether we believe it to be an honest omission or a blatant fraud the fact remains that all insiders have been consistent in testifying that assurances were given by Tim Dick that the reversionary clause was in the contract. Everybody is also in agreement that the executed contract didn’t contain the promised reversionary clause. As such there’s only one obvious solution — amend the contract.

    It seems all too obvious that if the contract issue had just been an honest mistake due to Tim’s bad memory that Tim would have fixed it as soon as it had been pointed out to him (everyone is in agreement that Tim was informed of the “omission” within a matter of days after the contract was signed). Instead, he evaded dealing with it for over two years. Then when I confronted him about it he repeatedly evaded answering my question, “Did you or did you not defraud Don Kistler?” Then when I blew the whistle all he did was sue me. Tim has yet to amend the contract.

    FormerLigMan, what does it say of Ligonier Ministries that they still haven’t amended the contract and from all appearances they never will? Do you still believe that with all the lies that Tim has told about his lawsuit against me, or even the fact that Tim sued me at all, that “Tim has compassion and grace within him”? Is there any reason to continue giving Tim the benefit of the doubt, especially now that all doubt is gone?

  71. Frank Vance says:

    Ligonier Lynches Loyal Laborers?:

    Consequently, employees must be wondering what their obligations are as Christians. I suspect that many would love to speak out and help expose the truth to donors, but fear that doing so would cost them their jobs and possibly also their friends and church. Given the potentially high price, so far most have chosen to remain silent, many while quietly seeking other employment. But I have to ask all such employees: Is your job worth the price of your integrity? Didn’t Jesus say that following him would be costly?

    As we see by Meaghan’s example, you should not expect Ligonier management to reward loyalty with loyalty, unless you’re part of the Sproul, Dick or Duncan families. You should not expect that helping management cover up and defending them from critics will protect you from management wrath in the end. If you are “laid off” for “financial” reasons, how will you be able to prove if it was actually for any other reason?

    Under the circumstances, it seems to me that, instead of trying to protect the Ligonier leadership, subordinates should help expose the internal scandals in the hopes of cleansing and restoring Ligonier. Fortunately, honorable Ligonier staff can do this discreetly and protect themselves by keeping a low profile at work while supplying information to those who have a genuine interest in seeing Ligonier restored – Ministry Watchman or myself or another trusted outsider – by setting up anonymous e-mail accounts accessed only at home and used only for this purpose. This would help put on public pressure for the replacement of senior management by those with track records that show more concern about glorifying God than gratifying their pocketbooks.

  72. In The Know says:

    That’s a great article by Jen.

    R.C. used to really care about glorifying God but I’m sad to report that about the only thing he and Tim and John and the Lig management really care about anymore is “gratifying their pocketbooks.”

    Frank, you’ve become the hot subject at Lig staff meetings. Everyone is blaming you and saying that you’re the reason that orders and donations have fallen off so much. Blaming you for their woes makes it easy for them to justify their rage. I agree that they owe you an apology but there isn’t a snowball’s chance in Hades of that ever happening.

  73. Frank Vance Ministries says:

    Frank,

    Is there anyway that you would ever be willing to take over the leadership of Ligonier ? That’s the only thing I think that can insure it’s future. If RC could just talk to you I think it would improve his understanding of so many different subjects. Now that I’ve seen your posts, I don’t think there’s anyone who could properly lead Ligonier except you. One by one you answer everyone’s questions, with agility and depth. It’s truly remarkable. You have proven that every other theological leader in the country is weaker than you. You have single-handedly silenced all the reformed pastors around the country with your intelligent and bold reporting. How has everyone overlooked these matters which you have so clearly revealed ?

    Why aren’t there more warriors like you ? I hope when this is over you’ll be the president of Ligonier.

    Citizens for Frank

  74. Watchman says:

    Could the timing of all this be any worse for Ligonier? The holiday season is almost upon us. Ligonier isn’t a “retail organization” per se, but they still probably every year get a lot of Christmas shoppers ordering Bibles and books for loved ones. They’re probably worried that this isn’t going to be a banner year.

    If they’re like a lot of other ministries they’d also be anticipating a big increase in donations here real soon. A lot of people donate at year’s end for tax planning purposes, giving it to Christian causes rather than the tax man. The Ligonier lawsuit debacle isn’t likely to help their donation situation. Donors won’t have any trouble finding reputable Christian ministries that won’t squander their donations on lawsuits, not to mention the outrageous salaries of Ligonier’s senior management.

    It’s vital when the money isn’t pouring in like you’re used to to have someone to blame, especially if you’re bound and determined to not repent or accept responsibility. Frank is the only logical choice for Ligonier whipping boy.

    I’d sure like to hear what they’re saying (or yelling and swearing) about you Frank in those Ligonier staff meetings.

  75. Ex Lig Donor says:

    The Bible says that “pride goes before a fall,” and so far Ligonier’s leadership have held so tightly to their pride that they won’t admit to any wrongdoing. The resulting fall may occur as early as this December — if RC Sproul can’t find some major funds fast. And even an emergency infusion may only delay the inevitable, given the leadership’s determined refusal to repent. If there is a major fall, and time will tell, the responsibility will lie with Tim Dick, John Duncan, and RC Sproul, not with Frank Vance.

    Meanwhile, I strongly recommend that current Ligonier employees with any integrity remaining find other jobs fast, before it’s too late. Much better for you to choose when to leave than to wait for senior management to tell you at a moment’s notice. Just be prepared to be fired as soon as you give your two-weeks notice, like Meaghan May. It won’t be fair, but you’ll be free at last.

  76. Astonished says:

    Frank, I just did a Google blogsearch for “Ligonier Ministries” and was astonished to find that nine of the 10 entries on the first page of results are about the unbiblical Ligonier/Tim Dick SLAPP lawsuit against you:

    http://tinyurl.com/w3jec

    No wonder donations and product sales are down!

  77. Greg Gibson says:

    In the Know said, “Frank, you’ve become the hot subject at Lig staff meetings. Everyone is blaming you and saying that you’re the reason that orders and donations have fallen off so much.”

    No, the reason that Lig. donations have fallen is because of the sin of R.C., Tim, and John. Can’t they see that God’s sovereign providence is against them?

    Whenever God sends us a trial, it’s a wise to ask, “Lord why did you send this trial to me? Is there something you want me to learn?”

    R.C., Tim, and John, the Lord is disciplining you for your sin. And, the frightening thing is that if you don’t publicly repent soon, He may have to resort to harsher discipline, whatever it takes to bring His elect to repentance. The Father loves His children too much to let them continue in sin.

    “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your harts as in the rebellion.” (Heb. 3:15)

  78. In The Know says:

    Greg, you’re being very kind to presume that those men are elect. Anyone who’s actually had to work with Tim Dick and John Duncan don’t presume they’re elect at all. In fact their management of Ligonier has caused a lot of people to question if even R.C. himself is elect. If he is then why would he appoint such corrupt men to manage his ministry? One of Tim Dick’s nicknames is “The Pagan.” John’s reputation isn’t much better.

    I don’t personally think that what’s happening right now has anything to do with God disciplining them because they’re elect. I do think the Lord loves R.C. though and that it’s probably okay to presume that he’s elect. But he is in sin though and he needs to repent. He’s left his first love. He loves the praise of men and the big money too much.

  79. Frank Vance says:

    “I hope when this is over you’ll be the president of Ligonier.” Thanks for the plug, sarcastic though it is.

    I don’t believe that I have the qualifications to be the President of Ligonier Ministries. That’s not to say that I couldn’t do an infinitely better job than Tim Dick. But that’s not really saying much, is it? Just about anyone could do a better job than Tim. In fact it’d be quite a challenge for anyone, regardless of how incompetent they were, to screw things up any more than Tim has.

    There are any number of Reformed men who are much better qualified than I am to be the President of Ligonier. That’s the difference between someone like me and someone like Tim Dick. I actually do care about Ligonier and want to see them succeed. Tim Dick doesn’t really care about Ligonier. All he cares about is himself and enriching his family at the expense of donors.

    If Tim were at all concerned for Ligonier he’d step down so that a competent, honest, godly man could run things as they should be run.

  80. Greg Gibson says:

    Greg, you’re being very kind to presume that those men are elect. Anyone who’s actually had to work with Tim Dick and John Duncan don’t presume they’re elect at all.

    In the Know, yes you’re right. “You will know them by their fruit” (not their doctrine alone.) Based on Tim’s fruit reported by those who know him, could he be an unregenerate Calvinist? What evidence is there that he loves God, fears Him, and is trusting in Him?

  81. always batya says:

    Frank,

    The post from ‘Frank Vance Ministries’ is a sign. A very sad sign if the person that wrote that comment is actually a grown up.

    I have been amazed at how ungodly and immature the Ligoneir employee/supporter comments have been throughout this whole epidsode.

    They keep helping you prove your point.


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