RC Sproul Makes Saint Andrews Chapel Pay For Tim Dick’s Folly?

Frank Vance received some emails recently from several Saint Andrews Chapel members asking for some assistance with their concerns over church financial issues. Since I’ve got some expertise in church and ministry finances Frank turned it over to me to investigate. My investigation is probably far from over. However, I thought it worthwhile to post what I’ve uncovered so far while waiting for insiders to contact me with additional information.

Many people know that R.C. Sproul is the founder of Ligonier Ministries. However, what a lot of people are unaware of is that R.C. Sproul is also the Pastor of Saint Andrews Chapel. His official title is “Minister of Preaching and Teaching.”

The Session of Elders of Saint Andrews Chapel recently decided, much at R.C. Sproul’s insistence, with little or no congregational input, that they would purchase some land from Ligonier Ministries.

R.C. Sproul is joined in the leadership of Saint Andrews Chapel by a Session of Elders. However, from all appearances the role of the Elders is largely symbolic rather than to exercise genuine authority. They have little say in (other than to agree with), and no real veto over, the actions and decisions of R.C. Sproul. They owe their positions entirely to Sproul and are his yes-men.

R.C. reportedly hand picks and then ordains the St. Andrews elders himself. The elders are not ordained in the PCA in which Sproul “parks his ordination,” or into any other denomination. Sproul’s elders are in no way accountable to other elders outside the congregation. They are only accountable to Sproul and from all appearances Sproul is in no practical way accountable to them. The lack of genuine authority of the office of Elder at Saint Andrews Chapel, in the way of accountability, is evident by the fact that nowhere on Saint Andrews Chapel web site are the Elders (or the Deacons) even mentioned. However, the office staff is listed.

It is this Session, dependent entirely on R.C. Sproul for its existence, that recently announced its intentions to purchase an expensive parcel of land from Ligonier Ministries. Sproul’s plan is to build a new church building on the land to replace the existing church. The land purchase will mean that the church will be co-located at the new Ligonier Ministries / Sproul Bible College campus (that’s another financial quagmire story that I’ll have to save for another time).

Sources tell me that there are many in the church who are deeply troubled over the ramifications of this, not to mention the serious conflicts of interest. Some are concerned that this gives the appearance that Saint Andrews Chapel might soon be a subsidiary of Ligonier Ministries. Then there are those who have said that this will only make obvious what many have known for years — that it goes well beyond mere appearances — that Saint Andrews Chapel already is a de facto subsidiary of Ligonier Ministries.

Just one of many examples to substantiate that is the fact that church members cannot obtain sermon tapes from the church. They have to order them, and pay for them, from Ligonier Ministries. Always looking for a new revenue stream the opportunistic Ligonier CEO Tim Dick (son-in-law to R.C. Sproul) controls the entire process. Tim Dick has stated that all of Sproul’s talks and sermons are the property of Ligonier Ministries, including the ones he gives at Saint Andrews Chapel, and this in spite of the fact that Sproul receives a very generous salary (sources indicate well over $100,000) from Saint Andrews Chapel for doing little more than preaching a sermon on Sundays. Rather than conducting himself as a minister of the Gospel, Sproul demands to be treated as a celebrity who “owns the rights” to everything he utters, even if he’s already receiving a very generous salary to utter it.

The land which Sproul intends to sell Saint Andrews Chapel is located on the 32 acre “mansion” property that Ligonier president Tim Dick purchased in 2005 for $8 million. Some have referred to the mansion purchase as “Tim’s Folly.” Almost immediately after the purchase of Tim’s Folly a dozen Ligonier employees were let go due to “cash flow problems.” Squandering that kind of money will do that. Most of those employees had been long-term with Ligonier, some for as long as thirty years. Tim Dick served as the stonyhearted hatchet man while R.C. Sproul remained in his gated-community manor, not even making an appearance to wish his faithful employees goodbye.

The exact purchase price of the “mansion” is unknown. Some of the details are still sketchy. This remains one of the more troubling aspects about how Ligonier is run — sketchy financial details, and it appears to be a problem with Saint Andrews Chapel as well. R.C. Sproul is apparently quite adverse to all forms of accountability, and so no one should expect to find financial transparency within the offices of any organization that he rules. However, even without transparency, what we can readily ascertain about Sproul’s methods and agenda is more than troubling enough.

R.C. Sproul is beating the drum with Saint Andrews Chapel members to pony up some $2 million to hand over to Ligonier Ministries in exchange for an eight acre parcel of land on the Ligoner Ministries/Sproul Bible College campus. This would be a very good deal for Ligonier which has been experiencing cash flow problems and desperately needs the $2 million, but not everyone agrees that this is such a good deal for Saint Andrews Chapel. Considering Saint Andrews Chapel will only receive a small portion of the $8 million property, and just the use of Ligonier’s parking lot on Sundays, and no use of the mansion, it doesn’t appear to be a very equitable arrangement.

However, that financial burden doesn’t just end with a $2 million land purchase from Ligonier. The total building project budget is estimated to run $12 million. Many at Saint Andrews Chapel are questioning the fiscal prudence of such a lavish building project when something more modest could easily suit the needs of the church. Many view it as little more than the attempts of one man to gratify his image of being the successful pastor, and what Sproul himself has communicated regarding the building project only confirms those beliefs.

One of the greatest concerns of the Saint Andrews congregation is for how R.C.’s health is likely to affect the long-term viability of the church. Many are aware that the biggest reason that people attend Saint Andrews and tithe there is because Sproul is the head pastor. Sproul is a celebrity draw and the proof of that is what happens when Sproul isn’t in his own pulpit — attendance at Saint Andrews is always down — way down. When Sproul passes on it’s a foregone conclusion that church membership and attendance will decline, perhaps dramatically. Then the church would be saddled with a huge financial debt burden that, with an ever decreasing membership, they may not be able to pay off.

Sproul himself is concerned for his own health, which in a very odd way is actually a significant contributing factor in why he’s pushing for a new church facility, as well as why he’s very intent on Saint Andrews Chapel being co-located on the new Ligonier campus. What Sproul has conveyed is that he wants to keep Saint Andrews Chapel “in the family.” Moreover, Sproul has also expressed that one of his highest priorities is to “leave a legacy.” Apparently his idea of a legacy is an impressive campus with his name all over it. He knows he may not be around much longer so he’s in a big hurry to get it done.

It’s been pointed out that R.C. Sproul has already left a great legacy, in the form of his books and teachings. However, a legacy that satisfies the demands of Sproul must include the expenditure of many millions of dollars on impressive edifices built to glorify his memory (the $12 million for the new church facility comprises just a small fraction of the overall costs of the new campus).

Some have alleged that Ligonier Ministries isn’t a ministry at all, but a business, and since businesses aren’t expressly prohibited in Scripture from suing Christians, it was perfectly fine for Ligonier Incorporated to sue Frank Vance. Maybe they’re right. Maybe Ligonier is indeed nothing but a business, and apparently Saint Andrews Chapel is just a part of Sproul’s business plan, and his legacy. But if Ligonier really is just a business, and a multimillion dollar one at that, on what basis do they have a right to come to Christians asking for donations?

R.C. Sproul professes to be a Presbyterian. Yet many are unaware that R.C. is a Presbyterian in name only. Sproul “parks his ordination” in the PCA, yet the church that he pastors is an independent nondenominational church, and from all accounts Sproul has dissuaded his church from entering the PCA or any other Presbyterian denomination. Sproul’s Ligonier Ministries is an independent non-affiliated parachurch ministry, not accountable to any Presbyterian denomination. In PCA vernacular, “Sproul is ministering out of bounds.”

Reports about Sproul’s method of governing his church don’t portray him as a good accountable Presbyterian at all, but rather an autocrat. Sproul is used to getting what he wants, and what he really wants right now is a lavish new church facility co-located with his planned Sproul Bible College legacy. The decision to purchase the land was initiated entirely by Sproul and then foisted off on his Session, who in turn are foisting it off on the congregation. Not very Presbyterian. Ordinarily a Presbyterian minister operates under a process of advise and consent, particularly where the decision involves a significant financial burden that will be borne entirely by the congregation. But in this case the Saint Andrews congregation is being given no real say in the matter. All that matters is that R.C. Sproul wants it, and what Sproul wants Sproul usually gets.

I mentioned earlier the problem with a lack of financial transparency at Saint Andrews Chapel. I’ve personally experienced a taste of that myself. At the request of a Saint Andrews Chapel member I contacted the Saint Andrews office and asked for a copy of their financial statement. The member informed me that they didn’t want to have to ask for it themselves because, “There’s a witch hunt going on here already. If I start asking for financial records I’m sure it’ll get back to R.C., and then I’ll get confronted by him over it. He suspects everybody now because of all the problems over the Ligonier lawsuit scandal.”

I find it completely contrary to what I’d consider to be healthy church life to hear of church members who are afraid of their own pastor, but apparently R.C. Sproul is used to getting what he wants through intimidation. We’ve been hearing about witch hunts at Ligonier Ministries, but maybe our impressions that they’re being instigated and carried out by Tim Dick and John Duncan aren’t the full story. It’s not unlikely that the Ligonier witch hunts have been entirely instigated by R.C. Sproul, and Dick and Duncan are merely Sproul’s henchmen. Sproul has been accused by several of personally instigating witch hunts right within his church so it’s not implausible that he’s also responsible for the Ligonier witch hunts. At the very least Dick and Duncan may just be following the example Sproul appears to have set for them.

I don’t know R.C. Sproul, and besides which I’m not one to be easily intimidated anyway, so I sent an email to the Saint Andrews office to see what would happen:

Sent: Wednesday, November 08, 2006 12:53 PM
To: Saint Andrew’s Chapel
Subject: Contact Us Form
Name: Henry Barnes
E-mail: hank.barnes@gmail.com
Phone: unlisted

I was recently asked a financial question about Saint Andrews Chapel. I’m not a member of your church. However, I’d like to be able to review your church’s financial report. Would you be able to email that to me?

In Christ,



from: Saint Andrew’s Chapel “chapel_a@bellsouth.net”
to: Henry Barnes
date: Nov 8, 2006 2:53 PM
subject: RE: Saint Andrews Financial Statement


We’re glad to provide this information to our members who would like to stop in to our office and review the financial information. If you were asked this question by one of our members, we’d be happy to review this with them.

In Christ,

Lisa Rowley
Saint Andrew’s Chapel Staff



Thanks for your prompt reply. However, the person who inquired isn’t capable of interpreting financial statements, any more so than would most people be. That’s why they asked me to obtain a copy and review it for them and give them a critique of their church’s stewardship. They’re especially concerned now that Dr. Sproul has announced his intentions to have Saint Andrews purchase land from Ligonier Ministries to build a new church building. It would seem that there are some members who have concerns over various conflicts of interest and that it might not be such a good deal for Saint Andrews. I can understand why you might not want to release the church’s financial report to me, especially if there’s something to hide. If the member himself came to the church office and asked for a copy of the financial report would you give it to them, or are they only permitted to review it in the office?

In Christ,



Saint Andrew’s Chapel Administrator, Randy Johnson, asked me to pass along that members can review a summary income statement and balance sheet by coming to the church office. If you have further questions, please give him a call at (407) 328-1139.

In Christ,


I’ve had to deal with church and ministry financial hanky panky before, so I know when something doesn’t smell right. This one smells real bad.

One way a church or ministry demonstrates that they’re operating legitimately is with transparency. While I can appreciate why a church wouldn’t be eager to provide detailed financial records to a non-member, I find it troubling that they won’t even do so with a member. Lisa is attempting to portray a spirit of cooperation, but in reality she’s being used by her church management to obstruct and conceal.

Lisa’s response is making the alarms go off in my head (this isn’t to blame Lisa, she’s just following orders). What she’s saying is that while I can’t have access to the records, a member can “review” them, meaning they have to go to the church office and look at them there. Furthermore, the office staff would “be happy to review this with them.” In other words, “When you get here we’ll tell you what the numbers mean.”

Saint Andrews members can’t take copies and review them at their leisure in the comfort of their own home. They especially can’t take them and show them to their accountant to get a professional opinion on whether the information is thorough and meaningful, or perhaps just a sham printout that conceals disturbing fiscal practices. What they’ll be shown isn’t detailed information. It’s a “summary.” This is standard practice in churches and ministries that are attempting to cover up financial abuse.

This smells very bad to me, but it’s entirely consistent with the smell of Ligonier Ministries selling a portion of it’s property to Saint Andrews Chapel. It smells bad because it is bad. It’s a major conflict of interest that’s being done for one reason — to personally benefit the “legacy,” and thus the ego, of R.C. Sproul.

Reference Documents:

93 Comments on “RC Sproul Makes Saint Andrews Chapel Pay For Tim Dick’s Folly?”

  1. Hank,

    Good, thorough article. I have been sitting on most of the above information in regard to the bible campus and surrounding properties for some time now, but my wife was having some troubles at the end of her pregnancy, so I didn’t do anything with it. The Saint Andrews connection is new however.

    I think for 5481 Wayside Drive, they got a $3.2 million loan( 20% down on $4 million is $800,000, thus 3.2 +.8 = 4 million) This is supported by public records. The public records though don’t really show anything other big purchases for 2005. This bible college also includes single family residences to be built around it. According to the documents for the proposal, this college is only to hold a maximum of 70 students, seems like a huge chunk of money for a small group of people.

    Microsoft Live has much better imagery for this property.
    Bible College Land

  2. Henry Barnes says:

    The $4 million figure doesn’t reflect the adjacent land tract purchases from James Campisi that bring the total acreage up to approximately 32 acres.

    Tim Dick has been quoted by any number of people, including former employees, who have heard him say that Ligonier has or will pay around $8 million for the land and dwellings. Then there are others who say they’ve heard Tim speak of $8 million plus another $7 million on top of that. As I’ve already said some of the details are yet a bit sketchy and public records obviously don’t reflect any back room deals.

    I agree with your assessment of the Bible College and the “huge chunk of money” that will be spent for a tiny 70 student college. To make this Bible college happen will require raising tens of millions of dollars from Ligonier donors. This isn’t being called “Tim’s Folly” for nothing.

    It makes me wonder if they’re only planning on having a maximum of 70 students why they didn’t just lease some office space. That would have been far more economical and a much smarter way to start off a small Bible college. When or if Tim could prove that the Bible college was financially self-sustaining that would be the time to talk about fund raising and building an impressive facility that could accommodate even far more than just a mere 70 students.

    Oh, wait a minute! Did I say “It makes me wonder”? I take that back. I don’t wonder at all. I already said that it was all about R.C.’s legacy.

  3. Jen says:

    Henry, for a new writer, you seem to know a lot! I am already so disappointed with RC Sproul and Ligonier from what Frank’s written, and the little bit I’ve written, that I guess I’m not surprised that there’s even more.

    Our family visits Orlando often, though, and we always attend St. Andrews Chapel. It is by far the most worshipful church experience I’ve ever encountered. This further news about RC Sproul and his apparent attitude toward his own flock will cause me to reconsider where we attend church when in the area from now on.

    If my memory serves me right, St. Andrews Chapel is only ten years old, not very old to be building a new church. I guess it has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, though, as the last time I was there (July), every pew was filled. St. Andrews Chapel is one of the most beautiful church buildings I’ve ever seen – not modern like most – but reverent and full of art that glorifies God. RC used to say that this was his dream church. It just goes to show that we are never satisfied when we get what we think we want, though. Material satisfaction lasts for such a short time, and then we want more and more and more!

    I am really upset by this report and will continue to pray for God to open their collective spiritual eyes to the “god” of mammon in their hearts.

  4. Henry Barnes says:

    Thanks Jen, but I can’t take all the credit. I had some help from Frank and John Thompson, not to mention some of Frank’s contacts.

  5. Confirm It says:

    I can confirm a lot of what you’re saying.

    There’s been a very disturbing trend in R.C.’s life, a trend for being preoccupied with money. It really does appear that R.C. is obsessed with money. The more of it he gets the more of it he wants. He calls Ligonier five and six times a day for one reason only, to ask “How are the donations? What about orders? How much money’s come in?”

    This started out some time ago but it didn’t use to be this bad. Over time it’s only gotten worse. You can imagine how with the Ligonier lawsuit scandal that it’s only gotten a whole lot worse. All he cares about is that nothing else happens that makes the donations go down any more than they have.

    Now on top of everything else there’s the Saint Andrews Chapel building project. It’s just completely taken over his life. It’s all he thinks about and talks about, that and the bible college building project.

  6. Henry Barnes says:

    Watchman suggested that I post a copy of my emails to Saint Andrews Chapel here. This is only to demonstrate that I gave them an opportunity to offer a rebuttal or provide clarification. However, I never received any reply.

    from: Henry Barnes “hank.barnes@gmail.com”
    to: Saint Andrew’s Chapel “chapel_a@bellsouth.net”
    date: Nov 12, 2006 3:30 PM
    subject: Saint Andrews Financial Statement

    Below is enclosed a draft of an article that I’m very close to completion on. I plan to publish it in the next day or two. Kindly pass it along to whoever would have the authority to respond on behalf of Saint Andrews Chapel, so that they be given an opportunity to comment if they so choose. Should Dr. Sproul be available to comment he’s more than welcome to.

    Please convey to them that they are welcome to correct any factual errors in the article. By “correct” I of course mean to offer a specific and detailed rebuttal. “You don’t know what you’re talking about” or “You don’t have the facts right” would of course not be specific or detailed, nor would it address “factual errors.”

    Also, please don’t ask me to call someone to speak with them. What I’m looking for is either a detailed written response, or no response at all.

    Given Frank Vance’s prior experience with Tim Dick I’ve been warned to anticipate a reply that seeks to stall for time. However, all that Dick was doing was buying time to finalize arrangements to sue Mr. Vance. As such I’m unlikely to believe any excuses that would seek to delay the publication of my article.

    Thank you for your assistance.

    Yours In Christ Jesus,

    Hank Barnes


    from: Henry Barnes “hank.barnes@gmail.com”
    to: Saint Andrew’s Chapel “chapel_a@bellsouth.net”
    date: Nov 13, 2006 12:26 PM
    subject: Saint Andrews Financial Statement

    In addition to receiving a response to the story that I emailed to your offices yesterday I’d like to confirm R.C. Sproul’s salary from Saint Andrews Chapel. My sources tell me that he’s paid approximately $100,000 per year. Is this true? Some have alleged that he is paid well in excess of $100,000. Is this true? Could you please provide an exact figure?

    Thank you for your assistance.

    Hank Barnes

  7. Practicing Attorney says:

    A commenter on Frank’s recent post about Don Kistler appears to have anticipated RC Sproul’s reported effort to tap into St. Andrews funds to help Ligonier’s cash flow (emphasis added):

    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.

    I agree that even if RC Sproul succeeds in his apparently desperate efforts to improve Ligonier’s financial position it will only buy a little time because it treats the symptoms rather than the the cause of the current crisis.

  8. All it takes says:

    All [RC Sproul] cares about is that nothing else happens that makes the donations go down any more than they have.

    That would be simple enough to accomplish: Specific public confession, repentance, and restitution by the immediate resignations of Tim Dick, John Duncan, and Ryan Dick and the rehiring of some who were fired to make room for more family and friends on the payroll.

  9. No more mansions says:

    A $1.1 Million home is nice, but it has to be chump change to a guy pulling down almost half a million each year (about $300,000 as Chairman and Minister of Ligonier; $100,000 as St. Andrews Minister of Preaching and Teaching; and who knows how much from other sources).

    Besides, didn’t RC grandson, member of his household, and Lig employee Ryan Dick boast on online forums about having three houses? What about the other two?

  10. […] Wow. RC Sproul is pushing for donations from his congregation so that they can build their first multi-million dollar commercial building on the forthcoming Ligonier Ministries / Sproul Bible College campus (go here for site plans)–need something for the originating marketing literature for the new campus I suppose. This new campus building (chapel) will be nicely situated on the same grounds as the Tim Dick/Ligonier Mansion purchase. You can read about the details in Ministry Watchman’s new post. […]

  11. Frank Vance says:

    Hank I’ve now received reports from two Saint Andrews Chapel members who tell me that the story about members having to go through Ligonier in order to obtain copies of Sproul’s sermons isn’t entirely accurate. Apparently they are able to obtain sermon tapes and CDs from the church for a limited period of time — up to three weeks after the sermon is given. After that they have to go through Ligonier. These members thought it significant that this be noted here, although they themselves are apparently uncomfortable with posting a comment here to that effect.

    Of course this doesn’t change anyone’s perception that Tim Dick treats every word that comes out of Sproul’s mouth as the property of Ligonier, including the words he utters at Saint Andrews Chapel.

    A bigger point of concern expressed by one of the members is that someone might get the impression that you’re being critical of Lisa. You might want to address that Hank.

  12. Henry Barnes says:

    Thanks Frank. If the sermon tapes are the most significant thing that I get corrected for then I’m much relieved. The fact remains however that there are Saint Andrews members who are offended by having to order tapes of their own pastor’s sermons through a separate ministry if for whatever reason they don’t happen to be there within that three week deadline. That may not bother the Saint Andrews members who just contacted you Frank, but you and I both know that there are others that it does bother.

    It’s not just the inconvenience that bothers them. What they seem to be especially bothered by is the issue of who owns the rights to those sermons. Since Sproul is already being paid over $100,000 a year by the church what gives Tim Dick the authority to insist that the copyright is owned by Ligonier?

    I can’t say as I’ve ever heard of a church doing that before. Lot’s of pastors have separate ministries. Is that how John MacArthur does things in his church?

    Now about Lisa. I apologize if it wasn’t already made clear enough in my article, but I bear no ill will toward Lisa and I don’t think anything negative of her at all. When I originally emailed the Saint Andrews office Lisa was the one to respond, and she did so promptly and politely. I appreciate her for that. I don’t blame her for what she was told to do in responding to me. Lisa was obviously just following orders.

  13. It's True says:

    The entire 32 acres is not yet fully owned by Ligonier. The 8 acres being sold to St Andrews is presently owned by Ligonier; the acreage not currently owned is under contract and should be closed around February 2007.

    Ligonier is not only going to have a Bible College on its acreage. Long-range plans call for the entire operation of Ligonier being moved to Sanford from Lake Mary. According to RC the buildings will be converted into class rooms and offices to accomodate the Bible College, a small seminary, and Ligonier operations.

    As to finances the annual budget is presented to the congregation in very summary form. No breakdown within the categories is given. I would imagine that if a person inquired about the current income statement, that the same would hold true.

    I think a lot of Ligonier problems began when they purchased the mansion. Some one was not watching finances; they found themselves strapped; when they woke up, the mass firings of many wonderful staff members began.

    It was very comical when RC announced from the pulpit that he was changing Randall’s title from “Director of Music and Worship” to “Chief Musician.” RC said that he alone was the Director of Worship. This happened a few months ago.

  14. IdeasConsequences says:

    Ligonier Ministries – Evidence That Demands a Verdict

    There just seems to be such an overwhelming list of deliberate actions by Ligonier management over the last several years that have brought shame to that organization that it would seem clearly evident to even the most ardent and loyal supporters that corruption is pervasive, not limited to just Tim Dick or John Duncan (a relative newcomer in the now long-running scheme of corruption). The now public issues, decisions and abuses present a clear pattern of sinister behavior that has but one obvious goal – the collective self-benefit of the Sproul clan and its hired cronies.

    Taken alone, the now several year process of pushing loyal (to the Lord, not Ligonier I guess), honest, hard-working employees out, firing (or allowed to resign in many cases before they would be fired) with little more than a “have your things out by the close of business today” should be enough for even the blindly-following donor to stop supporting such a cold hearted management style.

    Taken alone, the blatant practice of nepotism, hiring wife, son, daughter, son-in-law and all, of-age, grandchildren – and their spouses or latest girlfriend – most of which have no formal education to qualify them to do anything productive yet paid well above scale for their titles, should be enough for even the most conscientious donor to stop supporting such a self-centered ministry where the goal is self-gratification & self-interest rather than the stated purpose of teaching God’s Word.

    Taken alone, the collective salary and benefits taken by RC Sproul and his clan that seem to exceed $1M dollars annually compared to approximately $10M in annual donations should be enough for even the most conscientious donor to stop supporting the Sproul clan.

    Taken alone, the continued public support by RC Sproul of a de-frocked son from the ministry due to documented and serious errors in theology and (possibly illegal) actions contrary to his position of trust should be enough for even the most conscientious donor to stop supporting such an organization.

    Taken alone, the un-professional (at best) handling of the (possibly fraudulent) acquisition of SDG and the subsequent abuse of Don Kistler should be enough for even the most conscientious donor to stop supporting Ligonier, an organization that dishonors the very Word which Ligonier represents to hold as inerrant and infallible.

    Taken alone, the public knowledge of how RC Sproul abuses his position at St. Andrews Chapel to his personal benefit should be enough for even the most conscientious donor to stop supporting Ligonier Ministries.

    But taken cumulatively, continuing donors and supporters – public and private, those who continue to align themselves with Ligonier at conferences and other public functions also begin to take on some of the filth and negative character (through ignorance, arrogance or purpose) that has come to characterize RC Sproul, his family and the Ligonier Ministries.

    Taken cumulatively, donors, supporters and associates have no choice that honors God but to directly call for the resignation of Ligonier’s management collectively including the entire Sproul clan, separate themselves from Ligonier Ministries if they wish to be good stewards until such time as there is sincere public repentance by RC Sproul and his management – and there is put in place an arms-length BOD empowered to operate Ligonier Ministries in a manner that would honor God and bring glory to Him – and to which Ligonier’s management would be completely accountable.

    To donors, supporters and associates (those who align themselves with Ligonier & RC Sproul as speakers or attendees at conferences), you are either part of the problem or part of the solution – choose who you will serve.

  15. Jen says:

    Doesn’t the 4th commandment have something to say about working on the Sabbath? To my mind, if you get paid for what you do, that would be “work,” would it not? So, if you get paid EXTRA for selling a sermon you gave on Sunday at church through your business during the week, is the work on Sunday, even though the money changes hands on the other six days?

    I don’t know about most ministry-related churches, but I do know of one particular one in which the President of the Ministry/Business, who is also the pastor of the same church where most of his employees and their families attend, sells many of his Sunday sermons through his business as well, at the same time that he is VERY strict about the children not “playing” after the Sunday services, because it might violate the Sabbath.

  16. Hawkeye says:

    I am told that R C Sproul recently did a series of lectures on the book of Romans at Saint Andrews Chapel. Tim Dick gave orders that these tapes were not going to be sold or given to any members of Saint Andrews Chapel. Instead, Tim Dick decreed that these lectures be placed in the archives of Ligonier Ministries to be used at a later date for sale and profit by Ligonier Ministries only. How amazing it is that Tim Dick even runs the affairs of Saint Andrews Chapel without any protest from the church elders or congregation. I smell more greed and corruption.

  17. Larswife says:

    “It was very comical when RC announced from the pulpit that he was changing Randall’s title from “Director of Music and Worship” to “Chief Musician.” RC said that he alone was the Director of Worship. This happened a few months ago.”

    Not according to the Saint Andrews Chapel website. It still shows Randall’s title as “Director of Music and Worship.” And, it shows RC’s title as “Minister of Preaching and Teaching”.

    (Now watch; I bet the SAC website gets updated real quick.)

  18. formlessandvoid says:

    The idea of charging extra for sermons is an abomination. I can understand the need to cover the cost of media, etc., but if anyone wants to hear a sermon, he should be able to get it for free, and the church should pick up the tab. (Likewise, if anyone wants a Bible, he should be able to get it for free from a church, which pays the publisher for the cost of production and distribution.) With web technology, sermons can be distributed even more cost-effectively. If Dr. Sproul’s sermons are really that great and edifying to the church, wouldn’t he want to have it disseminated as widely as possible, for the benefit of (say) those churches which are lacking in resources? Many churches already make their sermons available online for free. Why can’t Dr. Sproul and St. Andrews do that?

  19. Tyrant Slayer says:

    I am new to your website, and I find these allegations against RC Sproul outrageous. I suppose I have had my head buried in the sand these past few months (at least since August), but the information posted on various blogs is astounding. What in the world is going on? Although not a particular fan of RC Sproul, this thread and the others here at MinistryWatchMan, Frank Vance, Pooh’s Think, Little Geneva, and other personal blogs is way too damning of the Sproul-Dick-Duncan “gang of donor thieves” (I couldn’t think of any other appropriate term). Shame, shame, shame on all of these men if only half of these allegations are true. Does anyone even know if these men are Christians?

  20. Disgusted says:

    John Duncan may be “a relative newcomer in the now long-running scheme of corruption,” but his actions in the Ligonier lawsuit scandal suggest he has made up for lost time. If and when head’s roll [this is a metaphor, John, not a “death threat”], his should be among them.

  21. Watchman says:

    “Although not a particular fan of RC Sproul, this thread and the others here at MinistryWatchMan, Frank Vance, Pooh’s Think, Little Geneva, and other personal blogs…”

    We here at Ministry Watchman have actually all been fans, or rather admirers, of RC Sproul. We’ve all been blessed by the teaching ministry of RC Sproul. God has used the man to bring about positive change in our lives. God has used Sproul in the process of daily “renewing our minds.” Renewing our minds has meant walking more as Christ would have us to walk in living out the Christian faith.

    That’s why this is all so disillusioning. It’s always a huge disappointment to see a Christian leader preaching the right things but not living them out himself.

    Because of exposure of the sins of RC Sproul we’ve all gone through a process of grieving, not to mention all the doubts and confusion. You can’t help but ask yourself, “If Sproul’s theology is so good then why hasn’t his own mind been renewed by it? How can he be so greedy and opportunistic? How can he just use people the way he does? How can he be so cold and heartless toward his own employees, yet so blind to the sins of his own family?”

    That’s a painful process. Humans are naturally prone to avoiding pain, which is why there are some bloggers who have done everything in their power to conceal and rationalize Ligonier’s sins. Tim Challies comes to mind. But by doing so such men are sharing in Ligonier’s sins and blessing Ligonier’s sins. Challies is an enabler and he’s actively encouraging Ligonier to only sin the more.

    It’s not an easy thing to have to acknowledge that a man that you’ve admired and that’s been a role model is really just a hypocrite. Just imagine what the members of New Life Church in Colorado Springs have gone through with the fall of their pastor Ted Haggard. There’s a bright spot for them though. Their pastor repented, and he repented fast. He proved the sincerity of his contrition by stepping down as pastor and submitting himself to the oversight of godly men who will hold him accountable.

    It’s not for me to say whether Sproul’s sins are as bad as Haggard’s sins. But I will say that I have considerably more respect for Haggard for having the integrity to repent. That’s a lot more than I can say for Sproul and his henchmen who have demonstrated nothing but stubborn pride.

    I won’t profess to know very much about the people behind any other blogs who have also recently written about Ligonier in a less than favorable light. But of what little I do know it appears to me that most of them have done so out of a similar motive. They too are admirers (or at least they used to be admirers) of RC Sproul and his ministry. They write about it because they genuinely care. They want to see Sproul and his ministry glorify Christ. That can’t happen without humble repentance.

  22. George Stevens says:

    I totally agree with what you say about Tim Challies. Every time I hear his name I think “blind devotion” and “hero worship.” But an even better example of blind devotion and hero worship is Craig Schwarze. His blog doesn’t have but a tiny fraction of the readers that Challies gets, but Craig makes up for it in the height of the altar that he’s erected for the Sprouls to perch upon. If you’re looking for an example of a Ligonier sycophant Craig takes top billing. Ligonier should really send Craig a blue ribbon or something. On 10/25 I posted this comment on Craig’s blog:

    “You made a mistake not publishing my comment on your blog – sites like yours run on conflict.”

    Do sites like Wikipedia also run on conflict Craig? You’ve definitely been causing a lot of conflict there too. Everywhere you go you’re spinning “Creative” tales to achieve your predetermined outcome of exonerating corrupt ecclesiastics.

    Craig, you desperately need help. You’re a pathological liar. Of course you don’t know you’re a pathological liar and you can’t see it. No pathological liar ever does. But Christ sees and He knows and He can deliver you. Liars go to the lake of fire Craig (Rev. 21:8). You need to repent before it’s too late.

    Craig hasn’t repented and so my opinion of Craig hasn’t changed. It saddens me to see that a ministry like Ligonier would attract such dishonest men as Challies and Schwarze. Ironically enough Craig later made a reference to Wikipedia’s definition for “bait and switch.” Someone, I can’t remember their name, then responded how ironic it was that Craig referred to Wikipedia since Craig himself has spent so much time on Wikipedia vandalizing the article on R. C. Sproul, Jr. You won’t find that comment on Craig’s blog today. He deleted it. I tried to post a comment to ask Craig why he deleted that person’s comment but Craig has now disabled commenting in that article. It’s understandable why Craig is now avoiding exposure because his vandalizing of Wikipedia only proves what a Sproul family apple-polisher and pathological liar he really is.

    In the Wikipedia Discussion page Craig spends a huge amount of effort trying to justify repeatedly deleting significant portions of the article, like the fact that R. C. Sproul, Jr. was defrocked for “abuse of authority in an inexcusable manner against several families and illegal use of the ARP’s tax identification number.” Among his many excuses he tries to chalk up his vandalism to “fixing grammatical errors.” Sure Craig. Anyone who’s spent any time on your blog knows that you’re the least qualified person to be correcting anyone else’s grammar! Craig claims to be “unbiased” but later admits that he’s “angry” and even “furious.”

    There’s nothing that Craig Schwarze won’t do to cover up the truth about the men that he worships. Tim Challies needs to thank Craig Schwarze for helping to make him, by comparison, not appear to be as much of a man-worshipper. Proud lying unrepentant ministries produce proud lying unrepentant followers.

  23. It's True says:

    The 2006 St. Andrews Directory and Weekly Bulletin lists Randall Van Meggelen as the “Chief Musician”.

    I guess Randy Johnson will have to take speedy action to change the SAC website.

  24. Sharon says:

    When the Haggard scandal came out, there were many reformed type blogs talking about how wrong doctrine (not reformed) leads to wrong behavior. This type of thinking makes me very nervous. It is very prideful.

    Leonard Ravenhill “One can have the correct doctrine and still not have the presence of God”.

    What I am seeing is quite a bit of legalism and pharisetical behavior. Do as I say, not as I do. Just like the Pharisees.

    One commenter here has it right. Those sharing stages with Sproul at this point, are enabling sin.

  25. praying and thinking says:

    Sharon is right. All the true doctrine without reality, “truth in the inward parts” (Psalm 51:6), is a false religion. What has been done with Dr. Kistler is tragic, yet those who did this — and leaders who should know well and only watch silently or join the deeds — are even sadder to observe. As at least one other commenter has written, we should be concerned about the souls of not only Tim Dick and Ryan Dick but also Dr. Sproul and others involved in this. If they are truly children of God, they will repent. Where is the fear of God? David did such profound sins, but he did not continue on for years or decades; he repented before the baby was born, true repentance which the Lord worked in his heart. Who maketh any of us to differ? These are fearful things to observe done. Matthew 7:15-20 Reformed leaders who pretend none of these things exist and who close with Dr. Sproul and Ligonier are more disturbing than the original sins now so plainly shown. The appearance is a money-making machine by people who gut the truth they profess: not Ligonier people, but other Reformed leaders who should know well the situation and should do the truth, yet who close with them and embrace these sins. Judgement begins at the house of God. How greatly we need the Lord’s mercy, grace, and truth.

  26. TSL says:

    I’ve followed these Ligonier-related issues since it first appeared on World’s blog a few months ago. Like many, I’ve been astonished and increasingly saddened by what I’ve heard, much of it well documented and not just gossip. I’ve listened to Dr Sproul on the radio for a few years, read a number of his books and this past March attended the Orlando Conference. I’ve truly been blessed by his ministry, had my understanding of God and His Word deepened and grown to love the Reformed faith more and more.
    I have come to realise through all of this, that I was tending to put too much time into listening to human teachers rather than spending time reading God’s word myself, and this debacle has been a wake-up call for me to remember that there are no perfect human preachers and no amount of reading books or listening to sermons can replace the reading of God’s inspired Word !
    An observation I’d like to make is that I noticed a change in the Renewing Your Mind broadcast in early 2005. I was out of the US for all of 2004, so did not hear the program from Dec 2003 to Jan 2005. The change I noticed was a much stronger commerical bias, the teaching seemed to have got shorter, with longer “commericals” at the end of each program. I kept meaning to write to Ligonier and ask them whatever happened to “Coram Deo” ? Every program used to have the main teaching segment, a short advertising slot highlighting Lignonier’s contact details and the materials on offer, followed by some closing words from RC. Now that is rarely present. From reading these blogs over recent months I think I know why now. What prompted me to share this observation, was the comment some-one made on this topic a while ago noting a “disturbing trend in RC’s life of being pre-occupied with money”.
    It’s also interesting to note that other quite a number of other ministries pod-cast their broadcasts freely, while Ligonier only gives Friday’s broadcast in that format, albeit you can listen to streaming audio for the last 30 days. The pre-occupation with money is troubling indeed. I’ve supported the “ministry” financially in the past, but now that it looks more and more like a business – and a corrupt one at that – my support will be with-held for the time being; but not my prayers. Like others have said, I pray they will be restored, Satan must be getting great mileage out of this distraction from proclaiming the glorious truths of our Sovereign Lord.

  27. Hawkeye says:

    The reason the radio program changed is because Tim Dick fired everyone in the radio department to make room for John Duncan and his gang. John Duncan’s salary alone ($180,000) is 3 times the salary of the last radio engineer, who was a hard worker and loved by all who worked with him. According to those still working at Ligonier, they can’t figure out what John Duncan does all day since R C Sproul has not recorded a new radio series in a couple of years. Now all you hear on the radio is repeats, and constant request for donations to help pay for the huge salaries of John Duncan, Tim Dick and his entire family, and of course, R C Sproul.

  28. John Steinhausen says:

    Frank, you’ve previously mentioned the ECFA and that you were sceptical about them and that they didn’t really have any true accountability over their members. I didn’t know much of anything about the ECFA so on Nov 15 I sent them an email.

    Subject: ECFA Standards
    I’m troubled by what is coming out regarding the financial practices of Ligonier Ministries, particularly at ministrywatchman.com According to their research the Sproul family is taking combined salaries of over $1 million per year! Tim Dick, RC Sproul’s son in law and Ligonier’s President/CEO/CFO purchased a huge mansion last year for at least $4 million (some sources say as high as $8 million) and then immediately thereafter laid off a dozen staff members. Some of them had been with Ligonier for over 30 years! Two weeks later Tim went out and bought himself a brand new Lexis. Tim Dick as President/CEO/CFO has given himself huge raises averaging 50% per year. His 2004 salary was $230,000. No one knows what kind of a raise he gave himself in 2005 because he hasn’t filed Ligonier’s 2005 990. Does ECFA consider these kinds of abuses (and there are many more documented by Ministry Watchman) to be consistent with its standards?

    I’m also extremely troubled by the ramifications of Ligonier’s recent lawsuit against a Christian blogger. You can find a press release about that at http://ministrywatchman.com/wp-content/uploads/news_release10-20-06.pdf What is ECFA’s policy about its members suing other Christians? Thank you in advance for your concern about these matters.

    Blessings in Christ,

    John Steinhausen

    Here’s what they responded with on Nov 17.

    From: “Dan Busby” dan@ecfa.org

    Mr. Stenhausen,

    Thanks for your email.

    Yes, ECFA is aware of the information you referenced. Ligonier Ministries is a member in good standing with ECFA. They are fully transparent with ECFA concerning all matters of board governance, fund-raising and financial accountability.

    Ligonier Ministries is subject to ECFA’s annual renewal procedures and periodic site visits in which issues of the nature you raised are thoroughly reviewed.

    ECFA’s Standards do not relate to whether or not a member should file law suits.

    Thank you for calling these matters to our attention.


    Dan Busby
    Vice President
    ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability)
    A higher standard. A higher purpose.
    Fax: 540-535-0533

    I responded the same day with:

    Dear Mr. Busby,

    Thanks for your courteous response.

    I’d like to suggest that your organization review its policy regarding members suing Christians. It seems to me that ECFA should have some sort of policy statement about its members and litigation. Should donor funded ministries be taking contributor’s funds to be filing lawsuits against other Christians, particularly in light of 1 Cor. 6?

    Ligonier’s 2004 990 shows that they spent over $64,000 in legal fees (the first year that Tim Dick became President). Nothing is shown in legal fees for prior years, and who really knows what they’ve spent in 2005 and 2006? It will be interesting to see the figures when they finally do come out.

    You say that Ligonier is “fully transparent with ECFA concerning all matters of board governance, fund-raising and financial accountability.” Does that transparency also include the Sproul and Dick family salaries? Does that transparency include the fact that Tim Dick fired many long standing Ligonier employees to make room for his own family members, none of whom have any ministerial or professional qualifications? Have you investigated the fact that those Sproul/Dick family combined salaries are probably in excess of $1 million? Doesn’t that seem a bit excessive, especially when you consider that those salaries comprise roughly 10% of Ligonier’s entire annual income?

    Does “member in good standing” and “financial accountability” for ECFA merely mean that all Ligonier need do is send you an annual financial report and that’s the end of it?

    Lastly, I’d like some insight on what sort of conduct the ECFA would deem egregious enough to warrant terminating a member’s membership status . Do you have a written policy on causes for membership termination? If so kindly forward that to me.

    Thanks Dan for your assistance.

    Yours in Christ,

    John Steinhausen

    Not hearing anything at all in response, I sent a reminder email on Nov 22:

    Dear Dan,

    Last Friday I sent you the message below. I appreciated your prompt response the first time that I emailed you. I realize that you may be a busy man (aren’t we all?). But I would appreciate some kind of reply, at least acknowledging that you received my email. In this way I’ll know that you’re not just evading me and the important issues that I have raised.

    Yours in Christ Jesus,

    John Steinhausen

    I’ll let you know Frank if I hear anything further from ECFA, but right now it’s just looking like they’ve blown me off. Maybe Ministry Watchman needs to do an exposé of ECFA? With all the corruption going on at Ligonier it says a lot about ECFA that, from all appearances, they still want to have Ligonier as a member.

  29. jimmy olsen says:

    I was browsing the web and found this quote of the day on vancehavner.com It struck me as so relevent to the recent comments here I felt compelled to post it:

    Jesus used His most severe language on the religious leaders of His time, the scribes and Pharisees. They read the Scriptures, attended worship, gave a tithe, were separated from the world, led moral lives, and sought to win others to their faith. So may one do all these things today and still not know the Lord. Our Lord dealt gently with the woman taken in adultery, though He did not condone her sin. He called one tax collector to be a disciple and ate in the home of Zacchaeus. These people were outcasts in the eyes of the religious leaders, yet Jesus said to those leaders, “the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” (Matthew 21:31). Nothing is more despicable in His sight than hypocrisy, play-acting, presenting an image of righteousness without reality. This is form without force…everything in the show window but nothing in the shelves.

    I can’t really add anything to that quote, it says it all.

  30. […] without reality. … Posted by Michael Metzler on Friday, November 17, 2006, at 9:15 pm. Print This Post | EMail This Post « previous post Pooh’s Think is powered byWordPress.       […]

  31. […] without reality. … Posted by Michael Metzler on Friday, November 17, 2006, at 9:15 pm. Print This Post | EMail This Post « previous post Pooh’s Think is powered byWordPress.       […]

  32. Trial Lawyer says:

    According to those still working at Ligonier, they can’t figure out what John Duncan does all day since R C Sproul has not recorded a new radio series in a couple of years.

    I think it’s pretty obvious that John spends a good portion of his time reading this blog. Right, John? Say hi to Tim for me, would ya?

  33. Trial Lawyer says:

    John is also there working hard to set the stage for the man intended to replace RC when he retires. That man is John’s brother Ligon Duncan. One of the benefits, to the Duncans, of Tim Dick’s continual follies is that it makes it much easier for Ligonier insiders to convince themselves that even a brother of John could be a better alternative.

  34. Frank Vance says:

    Jimmy thanks for that quote. Here’s some more great quotes from Vance Havner:

    “Lenin said: ‘We will find our most fertile ground for infiltration of Marxism within the field of religion, because religious people are the most gullible and will accept almost anything if it is couched in religious terminology’.”

    “Our Lord sent His disciples out as sheep among wolves; now the wolves are being invited into the sheepfold.”

  35. Concerned says:

    While the hypocrisy and business-like practices at the ministry are devastating…let me say as an insider that the main reason that the radio program changed was that R.C. had a stroke (I say this to clarify why so that we do not speculate about that). Dr. Sproul stepped aside for awhile to recover, and Tim took over. Now Dr. Sproul is back to work (though not as frequent a visitor), and knows what is going on as far as the decisions that are being made–though I don’t know how much he was informed right after his stroke. He isn’t recording as regularly (except at St. Andrews). I understand that well enough…he is getting older. My problem is that he does need to hold Tim accountable instead of enabling him to make bad decisions by backing him up (For example, I was floored by Sproul’s response regarding the firings and lawsuit at a recent staff meeting).

    I would say that Ligonier began to falter after Dr. Sproul’s stroke (and not the mansion or the other decisions that are listed above), and all of the decisions are made from Tim’s leadership during the interim after that recovery. I don’t know if power went to his head, or his vision was misplaced, but he strayd from the ministry’s original goal to “proclaim, defend, teach the holiness of God” and tried to figure out how to sustain Ligonier after Dr. Sproul was gone (which is alright to consider, but I don’t thnk he understood the original purpose as well as he should have to man the sail). I think that is where he strayed…and after that it was too late. There were consequences that followed in sequence, and he wan’t prepared to make the decisions. At that point Dr. Sproul got involved. The grievances listed above are the result of no (or too little) accountablity too late. I honestly don’t think Tim meant to commit such heinous errors from the beginning, but once he lost control,the mistakes have been atrocious, and that is where he must apologize. I don’t think he understand how profoundly his decisions affected his staff and Ligonier supporters in personal ways. He is reviewing his choices from the ivory tower, and not on the same level as those whose lives were so fully invested in the work of the Lord being done at Ligonier. What for Tim may have been a small mistake to gloss over changed the course (literally) of many people’s lives and broke their hearts.

    The completely disgusting choices in the last few years testify to the fact that the “company” trumps human relationship, and until people in leadership are willing to acknowledge that nothing will change. The problem is that those mistakes are not seen to be as grave as they were by those in leadership. The distraction from the original goal of the ministry is the problem. You can’t side-step that. Please address it. I want to focus on the sin and state the case against the decision that have been made, and pray that the sinner will repent more than I desire to dragging people’s names and family’s through the mud,. The Holy Spirit is far more powerful than I am (or any of us are) and the men in leadership will not be moved by insults (they will only use that as an excuse to disregard all that is said). John Duncan inherited a large bundle of bad decisions…I don’t think that he knew that when he came on. He is a kind man too, so I am saddened that this circumstance is how so many people know him. Still I think he has been put there by God to guide Ligonier’s leadership, and not those who are so deeply saddened by what is taking place. Please pray for John and his family…he is not an awful person, but he is in an awful predicament. He works very hard overseeing radio contacts and production of the various music cds that come out…he is working (and more than that will not be said now). He comes from a long line of godly leaders in the church, and it is my greatest prayer that he would have the courage to take Ligonier to the next level and bravely begin an honest search. I don’t call for his resignation, but his leadership. I ask that you would too. It is a hard place to be, and I am sure many of you reading this can relate. I am not condoning all behavior, but none of us is perfect. I am just asking you to be the first to be kind. I know John can recognize the folly taking place there, and so let us pray the Holy Spirit uses him to bring the leadership together to straighten this out (and for us to be patient if we don’t see immediate results–you can’t expect mistakes this big to be gone over night–I know the Lord is still working on huge mistakes in my life too).

    It is for that reason that I would rather just have people pull away from the ministry (quit calling, quit supporting, quit writing about it) and let our silence be a louder declaration of our devastation. God will judge Ligonier much more than I can, and far more justly. We as Chrisitans have stated our case, we have asked for repentance, and now all that we should do is behave as responsibly as we can before God. There is no reason that this should have escalated to the name-calling and personal attacks that it has (and some of you may disregard what I am writing because of my saying that–but it is true, and you need to be just a quick to repent). I know many of you will read this and say “yes but people need to know,” but I think at this point, those who are reading the blogs know as much as we can (and also that this has reached about as wide of an audience as it will). We should not condemn ourselves before God by speculation. You can only call them to repentance. Little more needs to be said to the Christians reading this except please pray and stop supporting the ministry until they make a statement of repentance (I don’t care how long it takes). The people in leadership will notice if they lose support. But those involved in writing so many of the posts will be best supported when people don’t dismiss what has been said as gossip. I too deeply respect the work of the ministry because it is God’s work, but I know that certain sins must be addressed (for me it is not an either or, but both sides make valid claims at this point, and both are culpable for their sins).

    Vance, as someone who understands why you were/are outraged, I thank you for caring enough to share. I can’t say that agree with your tactics and name-calling, but I agree with your intent. I ask you, the Epsteins, and others now to take this to the next level and to just silently remove ourselves from the ministry and hope that others will do the same. Really there is hardly anything else that can be said (even if there is some new scandal–we have said plenty). The greatest lesson that I have learned is that all of us are culpable, and even small events can lead to large consequences. We should be quick to repent because the more you try to ignore a situation, the larger it becomes, but also that there is a time to stop talking about someone else’s sin. I won’t let it consume my life (except in prayer). Jesus is our example. He sacrificed for sinners in the midst of their sin. There came a point when he quit explaining it to them, but instead demonstrated what he wanted them to do…to love by sacrifice, to live righteous lives. Well, the loudest judgement for Israel in the OT was when God removed His presence from among them after he called for their repentance…and I think we should do that now.

  36. Frank Vance says:

    Concerned thanks for what you’ve shared here. It’s very helpful. You’ve given us all some important things to consider. I agree with some of what you’ve said.

    Unfortunately I can’t agree about John Duncan though, especially the part where you say that John “is a kind man too …he is not an awful person.” John Duncan has been both extremely unkind and downright awful in his dealings with me and the Epsteins, and probably a lot of other people too. John Duncan is a bully and in Jen’s case he showed himself to be a misogynist.

    John Duncan is a liar and he’s told some huge lies. By his lies John Duncan took a bad situation, created by Tim Dick, and turned it into full blown disaster. Christians are very forgiving people, but one thing we don’t forgive very readily is a liar who will lie over and over again, and then when he’s caught in his lie he just changes the story and comes up with a new lie. John also believes his own lies (is John a pathological liar?).

    By his repeated lies John Duncan has broken faith with Ligonier’s stakeholders. How can they ever trust Ligonier again as long as John Duncan is the General Manager? Even more scary yet is the thought that with Tim Dick’s failing health that one day John Duncan will take his place! That would be the worst possible outcome for Ligonier.

    Concerned your exposure to John Duncan prior to now was probably limited to situations which were relatively easy for John to make himself look good in. But put John into crisis management mode and look what happens! You don’t find out what a man is made of when everything is going well. Even a corrupt man is capable of smiling and being kind and even being reasonably honest when life is coming up roses. If you want to really find out what a man is made of then turn up the heat and observe how he reacts. We’re all now seeing the real John Duncan, and it’s not a pretty sight.

  37. In The Know says:

    A lot of us are aware that John Duncan “comes from a long line of godly leaders in the church.” So did RC Sproul Jr and look at the great sins that he’s committed and was defrocked for and still hasn’t repented of!

    It could be that John’s brother Ligon is a godly man. I don’t know about that, but I do know that he’s a gifted preacher. We know that the Duncan brothers were “born and reared in the home of an eighth generation Southern Presbyterian Ruling Elder.” That’s a fine heritage to have, but unless it results in personal holiness it means very little.

    Having good fathers doesn’t always result in good sons. Ligon may have turned out to be a good son, but I’ve got serious doubts about John, especially after the way he’s handled Ligonier’s lawsuit against Mr. Vance.

    One of the biggest mistakes that RC Sproul Jr has made in his life is to ride the coattails of his father. It looks a lot to me like John Duncan is riding the coattails of his brother.

  38. Lig Donor No More says:

    Before Tim Dick sinks the ship of Ligonier completely, RC Sproul should ask his son-in-law, Tim Dick, to resign; if for no other reason Tim can blame his MS medical condition. RC has spent many years building up Ligonier; it would be a shame if Tim brings about its demise.

    Perhaps Tim can go back to his personnel placement business; he may even be able to place himself.

    When and if Tim leaves he should take his entire family with him — his wife, his daughter, his daughter’s husband, and his son. This should result in a savings of over 1/2 million dollars in salaries and benefits. They can all be easily replaced with people far better qualified for their positions for a fraction of their outrageous salaries, not to mention with people who actually have credible Christian testimonies.

    Let’s hope that RC sees the light before its too late!

  39. Martin says:


    All of that sounds real nice and sweet but your defense does not hold water. These people did not just make little mistakes and then let them build into big ones. And, this sort of thing does not happen overnight. We have quite a bit of proof of family corruption…RC Jr, Ryan Dick, outrageous family salaries, etc.

    The fact that Sproul backed up Tims ‘bad decisions’ tells me a lot. What is seen by the public is more important to Sproul than God’s truth. That is what it tells me. Let us not forget they live in the same house. does one really want us to think they do not talk? The daughter does not talk with the mother who is a board member? Come on! Sproul knew all of this all along. But he can deflect bullets from the ivory tower and NO one dares confront him.

    There has been a degree of dishonesty and worldiness all along. I do not care if the teaching is considered correct. That means nothing to me. If your SS teacher was telling you suing was wrong while filing a lawsuit, you would be outraged. But since it is the almighty Sproul, we are to be silent and look the other way?

    Trust me, people are still finding out about this. those little old ladies not on the internet are now starting to find out. The only reason you ask those here to be silent is so donations will stop dropping off.

    BTW: John had best work hard. he makes 180,000 per year paid for in donation dollars.

    Everyone associated with this, even indirectly, has enabled sin to continue.

    Concerned, you are nicer than the other Lig defenders, that is true. but you are still trying to cover over sin. Perhaps your salary is at stake, too. If I were you, I would start looking.

    Just because you believe the teaching is true does not negate you work in an evil place. Whether you want to admit it or not. It may even be worse than teaching incorrect doctine (gasp). why? Because at least one can point to scripture for truth. What does one do with one who teaches correct doctine but who is evil in action and deed?

    Yep, it is all evil. It is called SINS. Not mistakes.

  40. APinkFan says:

    Martin….Wow!!!! I wish I’d said that.
    You have identified the main problem. RC Sproul can teach, that’s true… but “knowledge puffs up” and Wisdom is the application of knowledge.
    The Scriptures say that “The beginning of WISDOM is the FEAR of GOD”. It may be that RC has NO fear of God, therefore has no WISDOM.
    RC’s track record is that he has leaned on non-believers in the past because he believes that they have more ‘business sense’ than believers, even in his ministry. He has hired non-believing ‘consultants’ and contracted to pay them huge sums of money to market the teachings that Ligonier was producing. It then failed to bring about the desired result so Ligonier reniged on the deal and the consultant sued for the balance of the $200,000. he was owed and the consultant won.

    The consultant wrote a book that RC thought made sense, even the part that said it was OK to ‘LIE’ to get the sale. He sold thousands of copies to the ‘world’ and that was all RC needed to know. That, to him, was success. This is not telling tales out of school but is common knowledge to all that are part of the inner circle at Ligonier. Success is spelled $MONEY$ and anything that can bring about success, is fair game to Mr. Sproul.

    Somehow, Tim Dick has conned RC into thinking that he is qualified to head a Christian teaching ministry and will apply some of the tactics he picked up from all of his unsuccessful dealings in the world while trying to make a living, minus [rent].

    He thinks you can steamroller over people and get the rest of the staff to fall in line with the ‘my way or the highway’ mentality. We are seeing the ‘chickens coming home to roost’ and there is no one to pick up the pieces.

    Pride and arrogance has taken over a wondrful body of work and these so-called senior managers can’t see what’s coming around the corner. “…a haughty spirit before the fall.”

  41. Concerned,

    RC Sproul bought his gated community, golf course-in-the-backyard home in 1989, not 2006. It would seem RC Sproul has lived a privledged lifestyle for some time now. One does need a bit of money to afford a house like that.

  42. Diane says:

    I appreciated your input but must disagree about now keeping silent. I am still praying for Ligonier Ministries to be restored to it’s first love (and stated purpose), bringing the laity to an understanding of the Holiness of God. God works in ways we can’t fathom and I don’t presume to give Him advice, but I think more than silence may be required of us. I would love to resume supporting Ligonier but I don’t see anything short of a complete overhaul at Ligonier convincing me it’s safe to do that. Repentance will be shown in action.
    I would like to see everyone named Dick (now or prior to marriage) or Duncan resign immediately from employment and/or the board. If Tim Dick cared anything for his father-in-law, the ministry, or even God, he would have resigned already. I think he’s made it clear he thinks only of himself, to the eternal detriment of his own family and his own soul.
    Perhaps some properties need to be sold and the proceeds put back into actual ministry – not salaries and administrative costs.
    While I weary of reading the continual attacks by many of the commenters – some even against each other – I don’t know where else to go for current information. I rely on Frank Vance/Ministry Watchman to update me on what’s happening – verifiably, not speculation – and I expect this will be where I will first learn of signs of repentance and change within Ligonier, or lack thereof.
    If you are indeed an “insider” at Ligonier, what are you doing to confront those who are sinning? If you are doing nothing then you are complicit in the sin. If no sign of repentance is forthcoming how long will you stay on? “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”

  43. Not Surpised says:

    I just read an article in Christianity Today by Sally Morgenthaler and it immediately reminded me of R.C. Sproul. It’s called Does Ministry Fuel Addictive Behavior? The husband of the lady who wrote it was a pastor who was caught in very perverse sexual sin, or what she calls “sex addiction.” She sees all kinds of sin “addictions” in ministry, including the lure of celebrity status and big money.

    It really looks to me like Sproul’s “addiction” is money and fame. The author of the article sees those as common problems with a lot of ministers. That’s how a lot of them gauge their “success,” the size of their church building, the size of their staff, the size of their salary and book royalty deals, the size of their homes. It’s no different from what the average high-achiever pagan does.

    Sally recommends to those money and fame addicted ministers, “You may not be able to prevent some church members from putting you on a pedestal, but you can begin to hold yourself to a new standard of honesty: whatever expectations others may have of you, you will refuse to be something you are not.”

    I’m just sickened to hear that Sproul wants to build a big fancy “legacy” to himself and ask Ligonier donors to foot the bill for it, not to mention even St. Andrews Chapel members. What an ego this man must have! That’s no different from what the average high-achiever materialistic pagan does. Men who do that kind of thing are worried that people will forget about them when they’re dead and gone. That’s the last thing a Christian should be worried about. Sproul is obviously more concerned about what people will think about him in ten or twenty or thirty years after he’s dead than he is about just honoring Christ.

    My husband is an architect and he’s looked over the Sproul Bible College development plans. He estimates it’ll cost at least $30,000,000. That’s quite some “legacy,” and it’s obvious that if all they’ll ever have is 70 students that it’s not being done for any other reason than Sproul’s “legacy.” $30 million for 70 Bible students has to be one of the most foolish ministry expenditures I’ve ever heard of! That’s why they’ll probably try and do it real quietly and roll it out slowly over time. If they told everyone how much the entire project will cost there’s no way they’d be able to pull it off.

    But even if they do roll it out slowly I really don’t see how they’ll ever pull it off anyway. Once people start to figure out what a huge waste of money this is I seriously doubt they’ll ever get the money to come in. Ligonier’s “donor relations” people are good, but they’re not that good. Even the people who are head over heals in love with Sproul probably don’t love him enough to fork over $30 million just to build him a brick and mortar “legacy”.

    I’ve got a better idea. I checked into bronze statues. They’re a lot more affordable. We could get Sproul his very own life-sized bronze statue of himself for about $7,800. That’s just $100 from 78 people. Ligonier’s fund raisers could raise that in a matter of minutes! Maybe we could get Sproul to call off the Sproul Bible College if we all chipped in to get him his own statue. That would be a huge savings to the donors. In fact we’d probably want to splurge on the 8 foot tall statue. It’s not that much more. Sproul is kind of a short guy and a life-size statue might be a little disappointing.

  44. Jen says:

    Here is what James has to say about the abusive rich:

    Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.

    And then James has something to say to those who are used and abused by the rich:

    Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! The Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

    And then he has something to say to the writers of Ministry Watchman:

    Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

  45. formlessandvoid says:

    Not Surprised, a statue may not be a bad idea. I wonder how much it would cost the donors to put a statue of Dr. Sproul alongside those of the Reformers at the International Monument to the Reformation.

    Man’s capacity for idol-making is just stunning. I wonder what Calvin, who said that man’s heart is a factory of idols, would have thought of the people who erected statues of him.

  46. Frank Vance says:

    For those who haven’t already read Hank Barnes’ About page they really should. It’s very well written and explains Hank’s philosophy on church and ministry accountability very well.

  47. Wayne says:

    Heroes Of The Faith pillows are a lot less expensive than bronze statues. They’re available in John Calvin, Martin Luther and RC Sproul Jr. But I’m sure that RC Jr could easily arrange for his St. Peter Presbyterian Church (CREC) to have one done up of his dad.

  48. IdeasConsequences says:

    Opportunity for the Truth

    RC Sproul is fiercely loyal to his family. He grew up in a tough working-class neighborhood in PA where several generations lived in the same house (sound familiar?)or close by. To RC, nepotism comes naturally because from his background it was likely thought only family members could really be trusted. This background and family bias has only been perpetuated in the organization of Ligonier Minsitries. While RC is the COB, only his inner circle of family has direct and private access. Again this is due somewhat by RC’s design but also because of Vesta Sproul, RC’s wife, who is very aggressive in screening access to RC. For years it has been virtually impossible to have a private conversation with RC. Any planned access requires going through Vesta. With the positioning of Tim as VP (now president) of Ligonier several years ago, another layer of screening was put in place. Even the justification of bringing Tim on board was apparently due to distrust of others who were in managment at the time – a distrust exacerbated by family members selfishly wanting more out of the ministry personally and materially. Among the family there is the clear attitude of why shouldn’t they enjoy a first-class lifestlye, afterall the Bible is clear that a minister should be paid fairly, right? But as the flesh would have it, “fair” has a differnt meaning to those who feel entitled. With RC’s illness, he was further isolated from the public and even prior personal associates. Impromptu conversations that one might have with RC at conferences or around the office (which RC rarely ever visits anymore except for short periods) are always attended by either Vesta, Tim or occasionally Sherrie (RC’s daughter). As hard as it might be to understand, Ligonier BOD members likely have little or no private discussions with RC. With this atmosphere & practice of guarded inner circle exclusivity, it would not be surprising if RC knew little or nothing about the now public information being discussed regarding the abuses of the management of Ligonier Ministries among the attendant public. The now revolving door of employees is further proof of this attitude that only family can be trusted. Other people, even with gifts and skills well suited for the ministry – even those loyal for many years, have come to be viewed as resources to be used, used up and discarded at the pleasure of the inner circle of family.

    This background is not to excuse RC, on the contrary, RC has been the primary architect of the Ligonier management structure and partaker of the lavish lifestyle enabled by Ligonier abuse along with his family. But because of his background and family loyalty, his skepticism of outsiders – RC has forgotten the proper application of God’s Word to him personally and the manner in which Ligonier Ministry should be managed – and neglectful of his role as founder and COB.

    Even the addition of John Duncan is an attempt to perpetuate the gravy train by family members. Afterall, what family member is personally capable or qualified to continue Ligonier Ministries after RC is completely disabled or gone? Even the family clan is not likely sure how it will all play out but their collective goal is clear – stay on board the gravy train. So what if they have to share a little of the gravy with someone else as long as their personal benefit is maintained. And maybe John can bring along his brother, Ligon, to add a little legitimacy of shared theology to placate the donor/followers. There is more than enough personal selfishness among the inner circle to make it happen if donors will just go along with it. And maybe the biggest problem for RC, how can he dismiss his family from management and still be loyal to them and still enjoy the gravy train?

    On the other hand, if my portrayal (and the portrayal of others) is inaccurate, Ligonier could disarm a concerned public by holding a series of public and open meetings with RC, the BOD and an invited (not selective but total) donor public in attendance. Ligonier management could provide a presentation of Ligonier Ministries, provide full disclosure of its financial records and its goals and let a concerned public ask frank questions – and receive honest and detailed answers. This could and should be the proper forum to clear the air – and honor God.

  49. always batya says:

    Ideas wrote: “RC Sproul is fiercely loyal to his family. He grew up in a tough working-class neighborhood in PA where several generations lived in the same house (sound familiar?)or close by. To RC, nepotism comes naturally because from his background it was likely thought only family members could really be trusted.”

    Gee Whiz, sounds like the Corleone family.

  50. Truth seeker says:

    Quote fromBusby letter: Ligonier Ministries is a member in good standing with ECFA. They are fully transparent with ECFA concerning all matters of board governance, fund-raising and financial accountability.>>

    Folks these are simple forms that Lig fills out and probably has a board member sign off on. Much like joining the chamber. All the ‘systems’ are in place but they cannot know if the systems are working as they should as in board governance, hiring families, salaries, etc.

    These type of organizations start out with ‘good intentions’ but eventually turn into bureaucracies that must perpetuate themselves, add jobs, etc. It becomes a ‘membership’ retention and selling organization much like your local chamber.

    Being a member of the ECFA is NOT some sort of proof of honesty in ministry. It is pretty much meaningless. Filing an unBiblical lawsuit is not part of ‘their standards’ and ergo does not bother Mr. Busby a bit. That is why his letter was so vague. Which only tells us that ECFA membership of itself is meaningless. Like the chamber, all businesses join because it is the ‘thing to do’.

    Busby writes: Ligonier Ministries is subject to ECFA’s annual renewal procedures and periodic site visits in which issues of the nature you raised are thoroughly reviewed>>

    Renewal procedures? Like more paperwork? And ‘periodic visits’ as in how often? And what would a visit entail? You could read about the lawsuit in the papers, sir.

  51. Ex Property Resident says:

    It’s funny. R C Sproul bought that home from my father. I loved that house, but it is definitely not the type of place I would ever want to see my minister living in. He never really seemed interested in making it into anything for the church. He spoke to us as if he wanted the property for his own personal usage. I feel bad for the devoted church goers that belong to his congregation. It’s sad to see them be dooped by a fake. Religion is not about wealth, its about believing in a higher being and helping the needy. Those proceeds should go to a charity instead of a greedy minister. Looking at his previous home, he doesn’t seem so needy to me!

  52. […] Read the President’s letter from Ligonier, then dwell on my Ligonier finances graphic. I am having formatting problems with trying to quote the text in question, so just read pages 4 and 5. Also, combine this letter with the excellent information provided by Hank Barnes, which I was going to make my Ligonier finances, part 2 post but my daughter was born and Hank did such a thorough job I figured there was no need to repeat it. Once I can copy the text properly I will add some more commentary. Hank Barnes Ligonier article […]

  53. […] Read the President’s letter from Ligonier, then dwell on my Ligonier finances graphic. I am having formatting problems with trying to quote the text in question, so just read pages 4 and 5. Also, combine this letter with the excellent information provided by Hank Barnes, which I was going to make my Ligonier finances, part 2 post but my daughter was born and Hank did such a thorough job I figured there was no need to repeat it. Once I can copy the text properly I will add some more commentary. Hank Barnes Ligonier article […]

  54. […] Could those “significant expenses” that had to be cut been the result of the purchase of a $4 million mansion? Could the cut expenses been the reported long-time Ligonier employees who were let go? Remember, the fasted way to effect the bottom line is through payroll. Did the Ligonier leadership minimize or reduce their salaries in order to limit the effects of the financial shortfall? This also ties into Hank Barnes’ article about Ligonier and Sproul’s church. […]

  55. […] Could those “significant expenses” that had to be cut been the result of the purchase of a $4 million mansion? Could the cut expenses been the reported long-time Ligonier employees who were let go? Remember, the fasted way to effect the bottom line is through payroll. Did the Ligonier leadership minimize or reduce their salaries in order to limit the effects of the financial shortfall? This also ties into Hank Barnes’ article about Ligonier and Sproul’s church. […]

  56. jimmy olsen says:

    Kudos to Tim Dick, R.C. Sproul and the Ligonier BOD. They have made the FreeGoodNews 2006 Hall of Shame, with the likes of TBN, CBN, and CRI.

  57. […] What Godfather Sproul wants Godfather Sproul gets. The latest news is that he made his church an offer they couldn’t refuse. It also turns out that if you dare to inquire about Church of Sproul finances, you will be told that you can only review a summary income statement and balance sheet in the church office – and only if you’re a member. […]

  58. […] What Godfather Sproul wants Godfather Sproul gets. The latest news is that he made his church an offer they couldn’t refuse. It also turns out that if you dare to inquire about Church of Sproul finances, you will be told that you can only review a summary income statement and balance sheet in the church office – and only if you’re a member. […]

  59. Maybe all would like to know what the property was purchased for. I remember saying once, “silence speaks wells of wisdom”. Good thing RC. stayed out of the arguments and remained silent. I know I said I would stop viewing this site, but I wanted to check in now that it has been announced the property will be used as a education facility. The property will be for both on site and distance education.

  60. Who announced this, and where?

    We could even ask, Why?

  61. Tim Dick announced this in the 30th anniversary edition of Tabletalk magazine.
    (Tabletalk, 30th Anniversary, May 2007, p.83, Ligonier Ministries Inc., Orlando Florida).

  62. Mark Epstein says:


    Glad to see the pressure MW brought was worth it. I’m also glad to see that Ryan Dick won’t be “fleecing the sheep” as much as he envisioned (hey, Doug Phillips, this must be BAD NEWS for you, eh?).

    As we can see by this example, God IS in control, and even though he hasn’t spoken a word, it appears MW’s articles were able to make Sproul take some decisive action.


    Good job, MW. Continue to hang in there!

  63. Mark,
    You might try to play this off as fruits of M
    W labor. You will not get by that easy with me. I prefer the truth. Ligonier had this in mind long before you, MW or Frank decided to make long hard attempts to destroy a great ministry. Some people do a good job putting together a few facts and leave out the important things that explain things, “such as a plan for an education building”. Please save me and others the laughter. Again I ask, “What is MW original reason for such dislike for RC Sproul and Ligonier. The last time I asked all I got was, “I’m not falling for that”. Somewhere in the dark lies the truth. You can be sure nothing is hidden.

  64. Watchman says:

    Continue searching for your “truth in the dark” Brett. Your choice of words is very revealing of your own motives.

    The truth isn’t found in the dark, Brett.

    The truth about Ligonier Ministries and RC Sproul’s financial chicanery to build his personal empire and leave to himself a “legacy,” is apparent for any who will read Henry Barnes’ story with an open mind. But it’s even far more critical to first read Frank Vance’s stories in order to properly appreciate the degree of internal corruption at Ligonier Ministries. You’ve been repeatedly encouraged to do that. Apparently you still haven’t been able to bring yourself to do so, and you’re still portraying this as Frank’s “long hard attempts to destroy a great ministry.”

    Keep looking for “the truth in the dark” Brett. Or, to put it another way, “Don’t confuse me with the facts.”

  65. The truth that I refer to as hidden in the dark is on your part. It is obvious the motives of Sproul and Ligonier are to teach sound doctrine. Your motives are obvious to me, but others cannot see because you have hidden truth under dark portrayels of truth. You still have not answered the question. Why the strong dislike for RC. Sproul? If you were truly a ministry watchman you would extend your focus. For whatever reason though you have chosen a few particular people. Again I remind you this is where the truth is hidden in the dark. Also your facts are portrayed as facts, but I again remind you too many Items are left out. The truth I say will be revealed is the story of why you are out to get Ligonier.
    I do understand for whatever reason your mind is made up. Regardless of any information that discredits your half stories you will never admit you are wrong, nor will your faithfull followers. You can take any comment and turn it around and translate for your own purpose. Let me be clear. Mark was wrong. MW does not get the credit for Ligonier building a new facility. Don’t “confuse” the point of the above comment made to Mark. I am not confused. I am very sure of what I say and you sir can not say the same for yourself. Until you stop looking through the dim glass of vengeance you will not see the truth.

  66. Watchman says:

    Brett, all I can say is that I’m glad that I don’t have you for a pastor, and I’m glad that my pastor doesn’t presume to know the motives of my heart, even though he does know a lot about me. You on the other hand don’t know me, and yet you are so arrogant as to presume that you can weigh the motives of my heart.

    “Also your facts are portrayed as facts, but I again remind you too many Items are left out.” You’ve said this kind of thing before. You’ve been asked to tell everyone what specifically has been left out of this story, as well as the other Ligonier stories here that you claim are being unfairly represented. Yet you won’t respond with any specifics. If you actually do know something more of the story why won’t you tell us about it? I can think of only three possible reasons:

    You have no idea what you’re talking about.
    You spoke with Tim Dick and in predictable Tim Dick fashion he said, “It’s not true. There’s a lot more to this story that Ministry Watchman isn’t saying.” So you take Tim at his word, even though he doesn’t give you any specifics, and even though Tim has been caught red handed in his lies multiple times.
    You do know something significant, but providing the details will only make the story just that much more embarrassing for Ligonier, so you’re not saying anything.

    Brett, if you’re able to actually offer something substantive then I’ll be happy to approve more comments from you. But don’t count on me to approve anything else from you if it’s like your last comment, or for that matter if it’s like any of your other vacuous statements that you’ve posted on this site.

  67. Watchman,
    First of all, you said you knew my motives by choice of words. Second, you are wrong. Wrong about a lot of things. The problem is you can’t accept the truth. I know you will not allow this to post, but you need to read it.
    The FACTS;
    1. You said the purchase was for ego
    Now a new project is in progress = the original purpose
    you were wrong

    If anyone has a problem with assuming intent or motive sir it is you. You assume Ligoniers staff’s motives, my motives and the motives of anyone who disagrees with you. You then turn around and gleefully accept any comments that help “your motive”.
    I do not assume to know your motives, I merely look at the evidence. You have focused on Ligonier in smear tactics long enough without honest debate. It is always revealing when someone refuses honest debate. One sided stories are always eaten up by people who let others tell them the “news”. News is often entertaining and captivating, but it is rarely full lenth stories of truth. As I said in the past, I again will leave after I read your response. This is your site so you get the final word. Please consider open honest debate in the future, and oh, don’t assume the motives of my heart by a “choice of words”. The only motive I have is to proclaim the simple truth, in it’s full length.

  68. From what I’ve learned of ECFA their focus is kind of like the OSHA consultants that come in and make sure a factory is following the latest saftey regulations. They want to make sure the ministry is jumping through all the proper hoops with documentation, independent audits, not too many family members on board, etc. Like hiring an OSHA consultant, it costs more but is perceived to be worth it in the long run.

    If leaders of a ministry are illegally siphoning off money on the sligh without admitting it to their supporters, that’s cause for concern as ECFA sees it. If supporters know the truth about how a ministry is spending their money and still choose to support it, that’s another matter entirely.

  69. Watchman says:

    Brett, as for any motives behind the purchase of the Ligonier property I’ll leave that for Hank to address, if he wants to. It’s his story, not mine.

    “You then turn around and gleefully accept any comments that help “your motive”.”

    True. I also gleefully accept comments from people like you who claim to know the truth and drone on about the truth “hidden in the darkness,” but who never bother to seriously attempt rebutting anything here.

    “The only motive I have is to proclaim the simple truth, in it’s full length.”

    Okay, Brett. We’re waiting (and waiting) for you “to proclaim the simple truth, in it’s full length.” The floor is yours. Make the most of it.

  70. Watchman,
    Thank you for the floor. Again I urge you to refer to the announcement I cited from the Tabletalk magazine. That is the simple truth. As for the entirety of the truth; let me explain. The original story was a good one, but it was not full length. If Ligonier had not planned to use the property for the intended purpose I too would agree that it was bad stewardship. If you have ever been part of a large project you know it is not something you just pull out of thin air to cover yourself after a watchdog nips at your heels. I truly respect your desire to hold ministries accountable in how they use charitable funds. Where my concern comes in is to hold all of us to the same standard of accountability. I can also see where some people look at the salaries of the Ligonier staff as above what would be considered normal for us working folks. That truly is not the issue here. The issue here is straight from the story, and is concerning a land deal and it’s use. In the beginning I understand the writer had a hard time getting answers from Ligonier staff. Some take that as trying to hide something. The truth is as a pastor I also do not have the time to deal with every Joe who thinks he should see our churc records. If you go to any public organization you will be against policy set forth by the board of directors. If you are not willing to follow such procedures you will not get the information you seek. I’ll be willing to bet if you had called Ligonier, set up and appointment with someone, appeared in person and politely asked for such records you would have been treated with the same respect and recieved honest answers. A simple phone call usually doesn’t produce this type of information because any staff can only assume what your motive is for asking for such information. Now as a site administrator you could consider a policy for handling issues of a story proven wrong. Again I am not trying to be inconsiderate of you as the administrator and I am only suggesting here. Often times our news organizations and watchdogs publish things with the best of intentions. Sometimes facts continue to unfold after the story is circulated. It is always in the best inerest of the publisher to correct the story or statements. This is where true credibility is gained among multitudes.
    Now may I adress Mark.
    I remind Mark though he may have a personal issue with the Sprouls he should not be allowed to ruin an entire ministry over the issue. I said earlier I qould not let him pass off the announcement of Ligoniers project as fruit of MW labor. As I said in the middle of this piece this type project can not be pulled out of thin air.
    Now for Reformed Calvinist.
    You are correct; if someone finds Ligonier to be misusing funds they can choose to stop supporting them. Where I have an issue is when someone thinks they should decide for all of us on the issue. When some people think they can decide for all of us they will go to extreme length’s to cause us to agree with them.
    My time is limited so I will have to revisit later. Let me say again, Thank you for the opportunity to speak on this matter once again. In closing I refer to one simple fact as the simple truth. Ligonier had a purpose for the land deal. Ligonier has reasons for many decisions that they will never willingly give out over the phone or in emails. They will however speak with you by appointment and in person. If we are not willing to that then we probably are not as interested in truth as we say we are. Sometimes the smallest piece of information is the most important piece of the puzzle which makes the truth THE TRUTH IN FULL LENGTH.
    Thank you again
    Pastor Brett Clements

  71. Mark Epstein says:


    First question: Why does a “pastor” (Clements) provide a bogus URL?

    Second question: What is Pastor Clements afraid of?

    Third question: Wasn’t it Frank Vance that Ligonier sued? Just wondering, because it sure seems strange when I see folks provide a phony URL to write posts on a Christian blog, especially when URLs are not mandatory.

    Frankly, “Pastor” Clements fits in well with Ligonier. His position seems to be that we can “dismiss” Ryan Dick’s statements because this plan (that Clements insists was created long ago) is now open to the public. Kind of reminds me of the other fictional work that begins “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….”

    Speaking of far away galaxies, even if I take into account Tim Dick’s physical problems, I cannot give him a pass for much of his conduct. Even the Phillips thugs made some outlandish statements, which were obviously based on what Tim told them. Unfortunately, Tim must have forgotten about the email he sent me after speaking with someone in the world of Phillips. Again, can we say “violation of pastoral confidences”? We sure can!

    “Pastor” Clements, I suggest you go the “extra mile” to find the truth, because it is obvious you don’t know it.

  72. Mark, you better get your facts in order. I don’t know what you are talkin about concerning a bogus url. The reference I gave was a magazine.You go spouting off about a ministry you really know nothing about. If you were at least a little familiar with Ligonier , sir, you would have known what Tabletalk is. You finally gave me the evidence I needed to be sure you are just a mad man who really needs some good counsel. As far as the information being public I never said it was in an open domain. Again I gave the magazine name, date and page number. If you can’t do a little bit for yourself Mark I don’t have time to argue with you. If you desire to order the magazine here is a URL, (http://www.ligonier.org/tt.php). If you would like you can get a free 3 months if the policy is the same as it once was. If you would like I will have it sent to you. Just give a mailing adress. I suggest you take your anger out somewhere else Mark.I do not partake in angry battles, I prefer open and honest debates.
    I am afraid of nothing. If I were I would let you spread half truth and said a final goodbye long ago. As far as emails and pastoral confidence goes I don’t know what you are speaking about. Let me say here now, I have not spoken with tim Dick after this issue of Tabletalk “magazine” was published. In an earier post sometime back I refered to speaking with a Ligonier person on a Saturday, and that person was Mr. Duncan not Tim Dick. You make far too many assumptions. I am merely a working man with two full time jobs who is careful who and where he spends his money with. For the record any support I give to Ligonier I give through purchases. You see when I do that they sell me a book, tape, DVD or some other piece of work for an agreed price. They then become owner of the funds I provide. They, just like any other business will not let a person off the street tell them how to use funds. What they do with it is none of my business. They provide me with good material and I provide them with revenue. I am firm believer in free open market and profit. I think I should make that known here. You can probably use that against me, but thats ok have fun with it. In the end though you wouldn’t go to work every day if you didn’t get an agreed amount each week. If you want to get down to brass tax you will never leave your house again Mark and others. If you do not want to support anything or anyone who you do not agree with you better stop buying gas, bread, milk eggs, ect.. I have been “the extra mile” and then some.
    In closing I would like to ask this;
    Where are all the people who we waited to hear from? Apparently no one from Ligonier, St. Andrews Chapel or any where else came through with the silver bullet kind of information some expected. Again this is another SIMPLE TRUTH for today.
    MW, Thank you again for the floor

  73. Mark Epstein says:


    You obviously missed my point. YOUR address is a bogus URL. I could care less about Ligonier’s Tabletalk. I used to read it because I directly supported Ligonier’s ministry. However, Ligonier chose to end my support when I called them to repent for their lawsuit that violated 1 Cor 6.

    You can get on your bandwagon about a host of other issues, but none of them are germane to the issue that begot my involvement — an unbiblical lawsuit.

    Ligonier has yet to repent for its unbiblical, unethical, and immoral behavior. Until they do, they will not see another penny from me.

    Again, I think you are inadvertently mixing apples and oranges. The issue on this website and my website and my wife’s website (with regard to Ligonier) was and has been their vicious lawsuit against Frank Vance.

    Tim Dick’s communication (that I was referencing) occurred between Tim and a San Antonian, and I used it as an example only of Tim’s forgetfulness.

    On a side note, my wife had a lengthy phone conversation with Duncan. She wasn’t impressed.

  74. Mark,
    I have never offered a URL. If you need one it is http://ponderingtruth.wordpress.com.
    Now for the purpose of this site. You better check with MW. The stated purpose of this site is for financial accountability. You say it is a lawsuit. You and your wife can entertain any issue you like, but don’t expect your freedom of speech to override mine or anyone else’s. When you say things that hold no real truth I will speak up. As for your apples and oranges statement. I am using your own statements to show you where you are wrong. For Tim Dick and you I have no clue what that is about, and it is irrelavent to me “at this point”.
    I wouldn’t expect you or anyone in your family to be impressed with John Duncan. You have a problem with the Sprouls and anyone they are directly involved with. I am only giving an opinion in this statement; Your original deal with RC. Jr. will constantly keep you in attack mode against all Sproul’s and Ligonier affiliates.
    Getting back to the accountability thing. You have chosen to stop suporting Ligonier. That is your parogative.
    I hope you have made attempts to reconcile with the mentioned parties. If not I hope you will. I understand you have spoken of this in the past. Even if “they” will not be reconciled you have a Christian obligation to move on. I am concerned about any person who is part of the Body of Christ who holds long standing grudge. Even David respected Saul as the King of Israel and would not lay a hand on him. I wish you would consider all the people who Ligonie has helped and will help in the faith. Please consider the whole Body when you begin to say anything about any one who is a member of the Body of Christ.
    With respect to you as a Christian

  75. Brett,
    Lest you be accused again of giving out a bogus URL, I finally translated your link as:

  76. I don’t know why some of you have such a problem. Why the link goes to a wordpress page is for computer experts to figure out. Some of you might have to “do a little work own your own” such as type the url in your search box. Again, you are trying to overlook the issue at hand. I remind you I never offered a bogus url because I simply “never” offered one until I was accused of giving a false one. Read carefully – I have nothing to hide. Type the url, don’t click it. If you need any further assistance I will be glad to give it.
    I have no clue what your reference to http://ponderingtruth.wordpres….r-opinion is. But I am not trying to complicate a simple task nor I’m I trying to prove something that doesn’t exist.

  77. I would also like to add this one thing; apparently someone figured it out. I have had 6 links from this page in one day. It’s not that hard to do. Since you are now trying to make this about me and go completely away from the original discussion I am ready to move on. If you would like to talk with or about me I recommend you do it on my blog. Leave this time and space to discuss the articles written here, not the people who comment. I am not the issue. I have provided you with my blog site, I have told you where I stand concerning Ligonier, I have given you factual evidence of the intended use of the concerned property (atleast as factual as in a statement issued by Tim Dick in Tabletalk magazine) and I have offered you a copy of the magazine if you need it. For now I have nothing further to say. I do not wish to continue in a word battle to see who can cast a negative shadow over one another. To Mark – I hope you will consider my last comment adressed to you. To Reformed Calvinist – Please don’t try so hard to find something that does not exist. Ministry Watchman – Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my information with the forum. To give you your site back and keep it open to your original stated purpose I am going to stop commenting. I never wanted to engage in a word battle, so to keep that from happening I am going to say good-bye. If someone has any evidence to disprove the information i have given I will entertain the discussion. Unless you do I am not going to argue over your inability to find my blog. The adress I was given by the provider is the one I gave to you. If it doesn’t work you will have to ask someone with more computer knowledge than me.
    Thank you again MW
    Pastor Brett

  78. Mark Epstein says:

    Pastor Clements,

    Are you taking your instructions from the same play book as Kate?

  79. Justice Prima says:

    Mr. Clements, you don’t seem to be very good at basic analysis of information.

    Everybody here, when they post, has a form to fill out- name, email, and website. Name and email are required. You can tell this, or at least most of us can, because they are highlighted. Website isn’t. Those of us who leave the website blank have our names in plain type. Those of you who type something into the website have your name hyperlinked to the website you type into the website box.

    It seems that you were not able to understand what it meant that the website box was not highlighted in yellow while the name and email boxes were, so you did type something in there. That is why Mark (erroneously and too hastily) assumed you were giving a bogus URL- because what YOU typed into the website box was not a legitimate link to a website.

    What you typed in was ‘n/A,’ meaning, I assume, “Not applicable,” or “not available.” Mark should have noticed your mistake and interpreted it better, or at least asked you about it first. He certainly was too hasty in accusing you of presenting a bogus URL.

    But you must get the log out of your own eye before you complain of Mark’s haste here. Anybody with any common sense or ability to process basic information properly could have figured out what Mark was talking about when he said you were using a bogus URL. If you were able to deal accurately with facts and draw accurate conclusions, you would have realized he was talking about your hyperlinked name accompanying all your posts. However I have little expectation that you will be able to understand the explanation I just gave.

    Let’s try this. Move your curser over your name next to your posts. When you see your name change color, look around on your toolbar (on my computer this is on the bottom left). You will see that it says “Http:n/A” That’s the URL Mark refers to, and you did indeed supply it. Still, as I say, Mark should have slowed down before accusing you of intentionally supplying a false URL. He was underestimating your ability to be confused by a simple form.

    However, you cannot justly complain about Mark’s too hasty accusation, because you have treated Mark and Reformed Calvinist equally hastily. You responded to Mark by blustering about not supplying any URL until now, and then you typed in what you claim was your URL. I’ve explained Mark’s error, and if you were interested in truth instead of arguing with him, you might have been able to figure it out. One hopes so, anyway.
    As for Reformed Calvinist- well, shame on you, and more shame again. He was making a small joke and *trying to help you out*, because YOU did NOT type in the address to your blog properly. Copying what you typed out into our own browsers would not have made any difference because of your own silly typo. Your blog is at a wordpRess account, sir, not a ‘wordpess’ account. ‘Wordpess’ doesn’t take anybody anywhere.

    This is all very silly, really. It was just a typo. But it was your typo, and instead of insulting RC over trying to fix it for you and instead of blustering about how stupid everybody else is, you might have noticed that you are not a very accurate typist at any time. Surely you do know this about yourself? And knowing this about yourself (it’s really not anything to be ashamed of, many people type poorly) you ought to have known enough to have checked your own typing before accusing everybody else of being idiots.

    In light of your error, consider how silly this statement of yours looks now:
    “If someone has any evidence to disprove the information i have given I will entertain the discussion. Unless you do I am not going to argue over your inability to find my blog. The adress I was given by the provider is the one I gave to you. If it doesn’t work you will have to ask someone with more computer knowledge than me.”

    This ‘inability’ to find your blog was because:
    1. you typed n/A in the website box instead of leaving it blank as normally intelligent people do. It was an accident rather than an attempt to deceive, but it was your mistake.

    2. When you did try to share your blog address, the ‘adress’ you were given by the provider is NOT the one you gave here. You made a silly mistake and you were rude about RC’s correcting it for you.

    3. My cat apparently has more computer knowledge than you.

    As for disproving your ‘evidence,’ it’s obvious you really are not interested in evidence or facts.

    Facts You Have Not Explained:

    Tim Dick first contacted Frank Vance, who had never mentioned Mr. Dick and had never said a critical word about Ligonier Ministries.

    T.D. did this in his capacity as a representative of Ligonier.

    T.D. behaved like a boor and a bully in his emails.

    Frank Vance responded to that thuggish tone by taking umbrage and being a bit rough himself. I don’t defend this, but I do point out that Frank wrote as a private person. Dick wrote as a Ligonier representative whose salary comes from donor funds from people like me.

    Tim Dick sued Frank Vance, a professing believer, in a secular court, lying to the judge and to Frank during this sequence of events. He did this during the same week that he was pleading with Frank to give him one more week to discuss things with him because the pressures and time constraints of his Ligonier duties were preventing him from giving Vance’s questions the attention they deserved. And now we know (those of us who can read and process the data in the court documents and emails) that the Ligonier ‘duties’ here were Dick’s attempts to shut Frank’s mouth in court and get several thousand dollars for the trauma of being called a nincompoop.

    Tim Dick and Ligonier lied to donors about the lawsuit, lied about filing it, lied about dropping it.

    I know this because I called Ligonier and asked, and they lied, and I read Ligonier’s documents, where they also lied. LIED, Mr. Clements, and any professing pastor who defends or ignores this is actually no pastor at all. I also called and talked to the court where I learned that contrary to the story Ligonier was telling gullible people like you, instead of dropping the suit when they said they had, they were petitioning the judge to step up the case and rule in their favor.

    I also know that contrary to what Ligonier told gullible people like you, Ligonier’s own attorney told newpaper reporters that Ligonier had used donor funds to hire a private detective to track down Frank and if they found him they would sue him again.

    Ligonier sued a professing Christian and lied about it, Mr. Clemens. You haven’t made that go away. I believe you will answer to God for defending this action and for willfully abusing your stewardship of what He has given you by continuing to give the Lord’s money to an organization that has practiced such deceit.

  80. Justice Prima,
    You are correct in assuming I have little computer knowledge and skill. I have already admitted that. If Mark’s issue was a link surely he could have pointed that out himself. Even someone with little skill as myself can read Marks comment, then read my comment and figure out where he had a problem. The problem was in the citation I gave concerning the announcement of a education facility. You are very loyal to your friends. I’m sure they thank you. But sir I do look at “all” the facts before I make a decision or a statement.
    Now let me adress the lawsuit with some reservation;
    You say Ligonier sued Frank in a secular court. That is true. Frank was also granted his freedom of speech by that same secular government. If you think the secular government is of no importance to Christians you are wrong. If someone comes into your home and harms your family will you call for the police? I sure would.
    If you will read Romans 13 along with 1 Corinthians 6 it will do you good. Romans 13 reminds us we have authorities over us. Let me try to explain my position;
    1. The original lawsuit
    A “professing Christian” wrote a story that was not complete. It did not tell the truth in full length. That “professing Christian” never attempted to find the truth or tell the whole truth. Thus the reason for the lawsuit.
    2. Damage done
    Many people love the train wreck. People join in in watching this unfold, but never really get all the information. Many people believe the story which does not give all the facts, and they withdraw support and spread the word.
    And you and your friends continue to talk about this as if you are the final authority.
    Well, you are not.
    3. In an effort to stop you from spreading lies and rumors Ligonier goes to the courts.
    You see you are not part of St. Andrews or a Ligonier employee. Your friends were using the freedom of speech, given them by the secular government, to harm a good ministry. Not only were you and your friends harming a good ministry you never consider the damage done to St, Andrews Chapel, a house of worship. As far as I can see Ligonier was simply asking the same government that gave you freedom of speech to consider the speech you were using, and if it was not being correctly used to have you stop.
    People like you choose to say Corinthians 6, Corinthians 6, but as soon as you are harmed you go straight to the authorities for your protection.

    Now I said I adress this with reservation because I understand you don’t really care to know the truth. You have joined the army of MW and that is your final word. You don’t care to hear things such as
    1. Ligonier is an organization operating under federal rules and regulations.
    2. MW is some type of organization, in the blog world, who is not a single individual who must be kept in check, because your freedom of speech should never be allowed to harm another with false information.
    3. Neither of these organizations are individuals who can come before the church for correction. That is obvious. No matter what information you get to disprove your position you continue to beat the drum against Ligonier. In your own little way you also throw stones at St. Andrews for participating in the deal.

    I have been in the church long enough to know if the majority of people at St. Andrews were against the deal R.C. Sproul would no longer be there. I also know enough about business to know if Ligonier board members did not agree with the deal it would not happen. You can call them yes men if you want, but I have watched enough churches and business organizations fall because of split ideas. Even the yes men eventually get enough.
    Sure, going to law is not good. It is always a bad testimony for the church.
    Remember though, you are in a country where your freedom of speech is protected by the government. If you use it in a wrong way that government should tell you to stop. You may only consider the few hundred who will see this battle now. Im sure Ligonier is considering the millions who will continue to hear the gospel as long as someone like you cannot tear down the ministry.
    One final question here
    Being somewhat new to the forum I was wondering why some St. Andrews members contacted Mr. Barnes. What is his ties to St. Andrews?

  81. Justice Prima says:

    I am not being ‘loyal to my friends.’ I don’t personally know any of these people (as I have said before.) I am loyal to God and to the truth.

    You are dishonest and you are a slanderer. It’s a false accusation to say that I didn’t want to know the truth. I went to greater lengths than you have to learn the truth. You also imply that I am part of MW. I am no more a part of it than you are. I comment here from time to time, that’s all. And I have never said anything I can think of about St. Andrews.

    Odd that you didn’t address a single thing I said, especially the proven facts that Ligonier lied. You claim:
    “In an effort to stop you from spreading lies and rumors Ligonier goes to the courts.”

    I have spread no lies or rumors and Ligonier has not gone to court to stop me from doing anything (unless they have done so without my knowledge). If you took the time to read here before you slandered others, you would know that I have limited my points to specific, provable, verifiable information. I never took a position on the Don K. issue until after Ligonier fired him, and even then I believe I was restrained in my conclusions. I never defended everything Vance did or said.

    No, I am not an employee of Ligonier. I was a former donor and in that capacity Ligonier is answerable to me for what they do with my funds and how they deal with me. Ligonier lied to me, and I don’t like the way they used donor funds to pursue an unbiblical lawsuit, subsequent cover up, and to pay the salary of a young man taught to view this ministry as his family business which he can inherit. Ligonier deliberately deceived you and everybody else when they lied in their statement on their website where they first stated they had withdrawn the lawsuit. I called the court and was told that they had not withdrawn the suit but had filed a motion to have a quicker ruling in their favor.

    That’s not a rumor nor is it a lie. Anybody else could have called the court to find out the same thing, and from what I understood when I talked to the person who answered the phone, others had also been calling to check Ligonier’s word and finding out it wasn’t worthless. You obviously were not one of them making that phone call.

    You apparently prefer not to know the truth and have never compared Ligonier’s statement about their lawsuit with the court documents. It’s become increasingly clear that you might not be able to understand them if you did read them.

    “Going to law” is not good. Lying about it is even worse. And Ligonier’s actions were first reported in a secular paper- not on MW. As for bad publicity for the ministry, before Ligonier brought the lawsuit perhaps dozens of people knew anything about Frank Vance and probably fewer than that took it seriously. I am one of a handful that had seen Tim Dick’s emails to him early on, and frankly, those emails were so buffoonish and idiotic that I doubted they were for real. I thought Vance was being hoaxed. I couldn’t believe that a CEO at Ligonier would really write in that immature, inarticulate, junior high bully fashion. Tim Dick’s emails really are that bad. He should be embarrassed and seek tutoring as well as anger management.

    Assuming they were a hoax, I didn’t pass the links on to anybody or say anything about it to anybody. When Ligonier actually sued Vance, that provided the proof that Tim Dick really was that feeble minded. I saw that Tim Dick not only did not refute that those horrible emails were his, he claimed ownership by including Vance’s responses as part of the reason for his lawsuit.

    Ligonier’s lawsuit is the point where I began to worry about Ligonier. If Ligonier had never sued Vance, almost nobody would have known anything about his claims and half the people who did wouldn’t have believed them (including me). If Ligonier had not tried to cover up their actions by lying about them more than once (first by falsely denying there was a lawsuit, then falsely claiming they’d dropped it) they might still have stemmed the leaking donations. Now they never will. Their reprensible actions are their own, and your attempts to ignore them aren’t very convincing.

    Your own loyalty is blinding you, and I think that blinding loyalty is what RC was pointing out when he pointed out a specific post of yours.

    You want to defend Ligonier’s lies (and you cannot deny Ligonier lied, they did it to too many of people), that’s between you and God. I’m just not impressed with somebody who calls himself a pastor and doesn’t have a problem with Ligonier *lying* to donors about their actions.

  82. talk about anger management……
    Sir, you can easily read my last comment and see it is talking to you and all the ministry watchman friends. If you want to overlook that it is your parogative. You and some of your friends sure like to question the calling God has placed on me. That one sir I will leave between you and an all mighty God. As i said earlier the lawsuit is not wrong. This was never a matter of a Christian against a Christian with defined lines inside a body of believers. This was clearly an issue between an “anonymous” writer and an organization.
    As for you and your affiliation with your friends at Ministry Watchman;
    you say you are not their friend any more than me. Sir, never were you adressed in any comment made but yet you rush to the aid of your friends who did not ask for help. That is real loyalty where I come from. Just as Ligonier has never asked me for help I consider myself a friend and therefore I rush to thier defense. There is nothing wrong with defining yourself as a fried with people you trust are right.
    I respect you as a person so I will not continue to argue with you. We will never see eye to eye on this issue and will therefore never find peace concerning this. The best thing for me to do is move on once again. I provided the information I returned to this site to provide. I have answered any questions “valid questions and concerns” anyone has asked or expressed. I remind you this is not about me nor is it about you. For the sake of the brethren we will just have to leave things here. As I said earlier I will possibly review your comments ,but regardless of what you say I will not post here again. I have made my points and I stand by them today as strongly as in the beginning. I hope this will bring piece between us, ( my parting).
    “Pastor” Brett Clements

  83. RefCal says:

    Allow me to point out the wording of the Declaration of Independence,
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”

    The government does not grant freedom of speech as a right. Nor can it take it away. All it can do in regard to unalienable rights is either protect them, or supress them.

  84. I must agree. I will withdraw that statement. The government only protects that right. Thank you for reminding me. I know I said good-bye, but I had to give you credit where it was due.

  85. DeadProphet says:

    MW, is this Brett Clements really a pastor?? Genuinely? He actually has people who listen to him–seriously, and consider his analysis and insight to be of redeeming value?

  86. I suppose this just had to happen, eventually. No, not this second “Sproul revelation”, but the fall of my last ‘reformed’ hero. My oldest ‘reformed’ teacher, who attracted me with his erudition and wit since before I joined the Calvinian camp over ten years ago.

    I’ve watched the implosion of these ‘reformed’ ministries now more dispassionately (but no less sadly) than I’d have done had I still been in Calvin’s camp. Just as I looked back on my Pentecostal days with chagrin and a bit of surprise at myself — and then at my Baptist days with the same mix of emotions — from beyond the tail of the denominational beast, I can look at its horned head, and into its little eyes, and wonder how I ever trusted it.

    The followers of Calvin and Luther KILLED Christians because their mission was “greater than any one of us”; their holy calling, “the peace and purity of the Church”!
    To even THINK that in our ‘enlightened’ day, we can look back on a period of history where “magisterial reformers” plied their wares (internecine terror, torture, imprisonment, banishment, murder) and called themselves ‘Reformed’!

    But far worse than venerating the ground trod by Luther and Calvin (exactly what goes on today, not only in the ‘Reformed Faith’ but with all manner of Christian “greats”) is to continue today in their silly denominational, man-made books of rules, Paedopapist rites, and other extrabiblical ejecta…and call oneself by the present perfect indicative term “Reformed”!

    It’s no longer a fashionable term, but there used to be a mental condition known as an “Idiot Savant”, and this comes to mind…

    As for this issue with Dr. Sproul the Elder (My hero! My hero has fallen!) there’s nothing new about greed in the human heart; a desire for nice things (Pat Robertson makes RC Sr look like a pauper, for instance). WE – his “following”, made him what he is today, for good and ill. WE share the blame, by revering a man so far above other men, because he helped us build our own library, our own pretensions to erudition.

    As for the regional conferences: anyone knows it’s far better stewardship to just buy the CD’s afterwards. But actually GOING there…I might be able to touch the hem of his garment…or sit at the table next to him in the restaurant!

    (Admit it…you thought it.)

    The tendency for ANY of us would be to believe our own press, when countless acolytes and ‘students’ of all ages, hang on every word, and wait an hour in the queue for four words, or an autograph! The fellow IS great, because his followers make him so…and then his own mind makes him so, just a little at a time.

    But the most pernicious aspect of it all (it seems to me, anyway) is this hubris…this “we have the most accurate form of the faith ever delivered to man!” that the followers of “magisterial reformers”, these ‘Reformed Faith’ adherents truly believe about themselves. It’s as potent a poison as the Arminian’s bad soteriology, the Baptist’s superficiality, or the Pentecostal’s gyrating lunacy.

    I fashioned my “Reformed to the Nth Degree” blog as a funeral paean to my ‘Reformed Faith’; it is cast in humour so that I could mask my own deep disappointment, depression…even rage — at those who I considered next to faultless just a few years (and in some cases, months) ago.

    I have no idea where my family will go from here, except to the foot of the cross, and to Christ, who alone is to be followed through all of this. I will keep much of my voluminous library of “the Reformation”, for some of it is as rich and honest and Biblical as anything I’ve ever read. But other volumes evoke faces of their authors…men I love, and did trust. Men whose teaching now, if I were not weeping for the disasters on every hand, I would actually just smile at…as I do the teachings of Pentecostalism, or the “services” at the local Southern Baptist church.

    If there is a word that encapsulates the very ANTITHESIS of these ministries — from Luther and Calvin onward — it is “reformed”! It’s clear enough with those long-dead fellows, whose followers literally murdered Christian brethren. But what was not so clear, until recently, was how the same antithesis hangs like a stinking albatross from the neck of the ‘reformed scholar’ who still breathes, whom I revered so much!

    Repentance, I think, must precede any reform. And the most we can hope for in our lifetimes, would be to say that we are honestly “reforming”…and until glory, never “reformed”.

    God bless your houses. You fellows who run this site, thank you for bringing hard things; necessary, hard things.

  87. pastor richard omariba says:

    I am a pastor of asmall church by the name CHURCH ON THE ROCK OF kISII.I am looking for friends who can help me spiritually and materially on who to go about this church of God. Let God bless you as you think about my request.
    Thanks in advance.
    Pastor Omariba

  88. rachypeachy says:

    You mentioned accountability in the PCA. They talk a good line in their church order about this but NO ONE in the PCA practices or follows it. The leaders in the PCA do what they want and do not hold anyone accountable.

  89. Bob Frank says:

    You would think that an article like this is 11 years old and last comment 9 years ago. Why add a comment now? Yet the internet becomes a permanent record and even well beyond the time the topic is trending, can be found. My son found this article and sent it to me. I’ve been attending SA Chapel for years on and off, not a member but an attendee along with my family and have been very blessed by the teaching of not only RC Sproul but Burk Parsons as well. So finding these allegations have been surprising to me. Organizations of all types, sizes and purposes become political. Public entities are always going to be targets of some with an axe to grind. There are always going to be personality conflicts and people who flat out don’t like Sproul as well as enemies of reformed doctrine.

    I am appalled at the tone of this article and the lack of supporting evidence. The truth of this situation is what it is, by this is not a Christian way of dealing with it. You take the case to the court of public opinion with no opportunity for the other side? Talk about a witch hunt, that is exactly what this is and I’m not even trying to defend St. Andrews of Ligonier, Sproul, Dick or any of them. I won’t vouch for their character but this article reads extremely biased.

    To me it boils down to a few grievances:
    1. Ligonier made an ill advised purchase (but now seems to be beyond that and doing fine)
    2. Employees were laid off due to #1 and Sproul was not loving in that process (heresay and organizations go through these things, no way to prove this and it sounds like some sour grapes, and who knows who was rehired later)
    3. Sproul pushed the congregation to purchase land and whether it was the intention or not, it did likely help get Ligonier get past the tough spot. If Sproul made a command decision to keep an important ministry afloat, I have no problem with that. Making it public could be taken as calling out or criticism and likely to be voted down just for that reason. But if you are of the opinion that Ligonier is not a worthy ministry, then you’d feel differently. I am pleased as a reformed believer in what they are doing.
    4. Sproul is a dictator. This sure sounds like sour grapes and born of personal conflict. Witch hunts? These are unprovable heresay. Its the obvious accusation to make of a church leader, just like a woman can accuse a boss of sexual harassment. The court of public opinion is quick to take these accusations as indictment. So this reeks of cheap political character assassination. 5. The second email to the church office begins with deception by the article’s author. He says in the article the member did not want to become a target of Dr. Sproul and that’s why they don’t go to the office themselves. But in the email its said it was because the member was not skilled to make sense out of financial statements. I have no problem with the email being sent but its closed with “In Christ” and in Christ there is no reason to play word games. You state clearly what the issue is (with the permission of the member of course).
    6. The conclusions drawn by the response by the church office are a reach. There are plenty of political reasons to handle this that way. Nothing nontransparent about it.
    7. If the member is not strong enough to confront the church with this grievance than they should pray to the Lord for help working through that or to raise up someone to do so. The Lord is faithful to such prayers if something is really wrong. Of course that assumes you believe the Lord is part of this group. If you don’t then no common ground here.
    8. If there is no transparency then how is this purchase even known? A leak, then you are getting information from a source with an axe to grind. What efforts were made to substantiate these accusations. Was this article/blog post given to the church office in a fair manner to get their side? I imagine no. Slinging such arrows does not seem like something the Lord would be behind.
    9. Finally to the ultimate underlying grievance of all of this. Dr. Sproul has gotten wealthy from ministry and is greedy and egotistical. Of course this is the ultimate accusation held against everyone in ministry someone doesn’t like. But do they hold the same standards to someone they do like? I am a fan of Dr. Sproul, Dr. MacArthur and others who are wealthy and if I allow it, I do feel some pause because we’d all like church leaders to be in it for ministry and not wealth. But honestly that is between the man and his Lord. I have been blessed by their expository teaching. Does that mean I turn a blind eye to greed? Its not my place unless I have first hand knowledge of corruption. Am I judge and arbitrator over what income someone should earn? What a slippery slope that is to approach and I wonder are the same standards applied to others?

    It disturbs me to read of grieving for a great man of God who has fallen and the “loving” tone of writing things like “in Christ”. This article and attached comments is not the Biblical way to handle such a thing in my opinion. I enjoy Saint Andrews Chapel and do not agree Dr. Sproul or the Ligonier ministry has fallen.

  90. Ex- St. Peter Presbyterian Church member says:

    Bob Frank, you’re off the mark to presume the authors of this blog are “enemies of reformed doctrine.” It’s likely everyone here would give you a hearty “Amen!” for saying, “I have been blessed by their expository teaching.” The authors of this blog have repeatedly said they’ve been blessed by Dr. Sproul’s teachings.

    “Does that mean I turn a blind eye to greed?” In your case it certainly appears so. Ligonier Ministries has paid out $millions every year for many years to Sprouls. Ligonier Ministries is the Sproul Family Gravy Train, all funded (unwittingly) by gullible Ligonier donors. In your case you’re also a gullible St. Andrews Chapel donor. You’re entitled to your willful ignorance. The rest of us prefer to be fully informed.

    Dr. RC Sproul worked very hard for his wealth. He earned it. So I doubt anyone here has an issue with his being a wealthy man. But what about the rest of the Sproul’s and the $millions paid to them every year by Ligonier? Let’s start with Vesta Sproul, wife of the late RC Sproul, has zero theological training, professional credentials, or practical work experience of any kind. She sits on Lig’s board of directors and gets paid six-figures for doing pretty much nothing. Then there’s Sherrie Sproul, daughter of RC and Vesta. Again, prior to coming to work for Ligonier and getting a fat six figure salary, Sherrie had never held another job, nor did she have the education that could qualify her for her Ligonier position. Sherrie Sproul then married Tim Dick. Prior to coming to work for Ligonier Tim Dick’s only work experience was a head hunter (job recruiter). From his own claims he never made more than $30k/yr. Marrying into the Sproul family however meant he was quickly promoted to President/CEO making over $250k/yr. Again, zero professional qualifications. Tim Dick went on to create a massive public scandal for Ligonier in his now infamous SLAPP lawsuit against Christian blogger Frank Vance. Shortly after Ligonier withdrew their lawsuit Sherrie divorced Tim. Less than a month later Tim married his mistress. All of the Dick children are employed at Ligonier, paid lavish salaries they could never hope to get in the real world. Sherrie Sproul also remarried and her new husband, Dennis Dorotiak, was immediately given a job at Ligonier. Dennis too had no prior qualifications to justify an impressive title or his six figure salary. The Dorotiak’s children too have lavishly-paid Ligonier jobs.

    I could go on for several more paragraphs naming all the Sprouls who “work” for Ligonier. So many of them. Sons, daughters, their spouses, their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins. If you’re a Sproul you’re guaranteed a huge paycheck absent the usual requirement for professional qualifications.

    I’ve saved the best for last of all of Ligonier Ministries’ nepotism, RC Sproul Jr. Defrocked in 2006 for tax fraud, identity theft, stealing $hundreds of thousand from the St. Peter Presbyterian Church coffers, defrauding other churches and ministries in a travel expense reimbursement scam (including Ligonier), drunkenness, throwing church keggers, plying minor children with hard liquor, spiritual abuse, and duplicity. How did RC Sr respond? He claimed the charges against his son were “fraudulent,” charges which RC Jr had pled guilty to. Prior to his defrocking RC Jr had always worked part-time for Ligonier. RC Sr rewarded his son’s defrocking by giving him a full time six-figure Ligonier job.

    From Spinderella Sproul: RC Sproul Jr has been on Ligonier Ministries’ payroll since 1989, including throughout much of the time he pastored St. Peter Presbyterian Church in Virginia. From Ligonier’s available tax returns (2002-2018) we’ve calculated that Ligonier Ministries paid RC Jr $1,489,966.00 in salary, pension benefits, severance package, and independent contractor payments. However, the actual figure is higher. Furthermore, as best as we can determine RC Sproul Jr continues drawing a six-figure “independent contractor” paycheck from Ligonier. Those moneys all came to RC Jr courtesy of Ligonier Ministries’ unwitting donors.

    Will Ligonier ever kick RC Jr off the Ligonier Ministries Gravy Train? They didn’t over his Ashley Madison adultery account scandal. They suspended him with full pay, thereby rewarding him with a six-figure paid vacation. A year later they “restored” him. Five months after that came his felony DUI (booze and opioids) arrest and conviction. After arranging a six-figure golden parachute “severance package” he resigned. But he stayed right on the gravy train, being paid six-figures and an “independent contractor.” Recently it was exposed that RC Jr sexted penis pics to a 3 times divorced woman to lure her into marrying him. Even still Ligonier continues paying the reprobate Junior a six-figure independent contractor salary.

    This is much worse than bare nepotism. It’s blatant malfeasance, if not outright fraud, against Ligonier Ministries’ donors. It’s basically the Christian version of Joe Biden using Hunter to enrich the Biden family. You live in denial that RC Sproul was the type of man who’d be capable of pulling a fast one on St. Andrews chapel members, simply because he was a expositor of God’s holy Word. But considering how successful Dr. Sproul was at enriching his own family for so many years, why wouldn’t he pull a fast one on his own church members too? For those of us who’ve closely followed the Sproul Family Gravy Train we find it all completely consistent.

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