Ligonier Ministries Fires Don Kistler

Dr. Don Kistler founder Soli Deo Gloria MinistriesDon Kistler Terminated Under Very Questionable Circumstances; Ligonier Keeps Soli Deo Gloria Ministries

Some of the more devout Ligonier Ministries supporters have been hoping that they would’ve heard the last of my reporting on Ligonier Ministries. Ignorance is bliss.

In a way I’d very much like to be able to stop reporting on Ligonier. It brings me no pleasure (in fact it’s downright disillusioning) to have to keep exposing the never-ending internal corruptions of a Reformed Christian ministry that had, for several years, been such a blessing to my spiritual growth.

Just when we started thinking that maybe the end of the Ligonier Ministries scandals was in sight, now there’s a new scandal. Even I didn’t believe that Ligonier Ministries would ever be foolish enough to do something this lowdown. Never underestimate the total depravity of man.

Yesterday Ligonier Ministries fired Dr. Don Kistler. On November 28 Don Kistler was informed of his immediate termination. No severance package of any kind was offered, and his health insurance has been cancelled.

The decision was made by the Ligonier Board Of Directors. RC Sproul is the Chairman of the Board. Don Kistler has for years been under the impression that he and RC Sproul are friends. Yet his friend has now kicked him to the curb. This is all that Ligonier has to say about it:

In November 2006, the Board of Directors for Ligonier Ministries voted unanimously to dissolve our employment relationship with Don Kistler, Managing Editor of Soli Deo Gloria Publications.

Ligonier Ministries continues to be committed to publishing and distributing classic Christian literature, including Puritan works.

The “official” reason, given in writing to Don for his firing, is that he was deemed to be “in competition” with his employer by having recently set up a web site promoting his teaching ministry. Don was never given any warning that his web site was a violation of Ligonier policy, or that there even was such a policy. Don was never told that he had to take the web site down, even though donkistler.org had been online for three months. He was just fired with no warning and no opportunity to correct this terrible offense.

For years Don has had a very full teaching and preaching schedule, both before and after coming to work for Ligonier two years ago. Don has averaged over forty events per year. None of it has been in conflict or “in competition” with Ligonier. When he speaks for a church or conference he leaves and returns on weekends, which in no way interferes with his Monday through Friday 9 to 5 Ligonier work schedule. Don does sell some books and tapes, but again these aren’t “in competition” with Ligonier, as Ligonier doesn’t offer those materials.

It’s clear that the “official” reason that the Ligonier Board Of Directors has given for Don’s firing is a sham. What’s the real reason? I’ve been informed that at least one actual reason for Don’s firing is that he was accused of being the source of insider leaks to Frank Vance.

Of course, I find this all very unjust because the fact of the matter is that Don Kistler hasn’t been what any reasonably minded person could consider to be a Frank Vance insider. Yes, I have contacted Don via email on several occassions, and yes Don has replied to my emails. But that hardly qualifies Don as a source. I would have appreciated it had Don ever become a source, but he was anything but cooperative.

Once it became apparent to me that Don would never be a source for me, my objective then in contacting Don was to have him confirm or deny the information provided to me by my actual insider sources. The fact of the matter is that Don has very adroitly avoided providing confirmations, but he has issued some denials. Not only has Don carefully avoided becoming one of my information sources, he’s still doing so even today after he’s already been fired! In fact just this morning he responded to one of my emails with:

“I think that if I give you the reasons, it will show that I’m the source, and I don’t want to do that. Can’t your ‘inside source’ give you that?”

Don has never been one of my sources. If anything Don Kistler has only defended Ligonier in his email replies to me, albeit in my estimation rather naively so (now that he’s been fired perhaps such undeserved loyalties will change). For his defenses Ligonier has rewarded Don by firing him. But there’s nothing new about that. Firing faithful employees is the Ligonier way.

I’m quite confident that significant additional details will be surfacing in coming days, but here’s something else that I was informed of by one of my sources yesterday. Immediately after Don Kistler’s stroke in August, Tim Dick ordered his Information Technology Manager to pull the hard drive from Don Kistler’s office computer and scan it for any incriminating information. In other words Ligonier’s “senior management” was already as of at least last August looking for an excuse to get rid of Don.

In reality Ligonier has been looking for quite some time for an excuse to give Don the ax (more details on that will be forthcoming). However Don has never done anything that Ligonier could have used as a valid justification to fire him. Then came his stroke. Don was given three weeks sick leave and told he must return to work after that or there would be no more pay. Don was ordered to remain at home by his doctor to convalesce. This was the perfect opportunity for Tim Dick to yank Don’s hard drive and probe for incriminating evidence. Don himself was unaware that this had happened, until last night when I informed him.

So what exactly did they find on Don’s computer? Porn? No. Emails to Frank Vance? No, that’s unlikely. In order to prevent that very potentiality I never emailed Don at the Ligonier office but used an alternate email address.

For some weeks it had been reported to me by a number of insider sources that there had been an intense “witch hunt” by Ligonier’s “senior management” (Tim Dick and John Duncan) to identify anyone who was leaking information to me. Don Kistler was also subjected to the witch hunt. As such I took special pains to ensure that the content of our emails could not be readily recovered by Ligonier.

However, the fact of the matter is that even if Ligonier did recover the content of our emails there was nothing in them that would have implicated Don as one of my sources. In fact our emails would have only confirmed to Ligonier that Don was not one of my sources. They would have also confirmed that the first time that I ever communicated with Don Kistler wasn’t until October 3!

It’s been reported to me by multiple people that they were threatened by Tim Dick and John Duncan that if they were ever caught communicating with me there would be serious repercussions. Don himself has also told me that he too was threatened.

Were Don Kistler’s communiques with me (instigated entirely by me, by the way), the reason that Ligonier Ministries fired Don Kistler? No, but they could have been a contributing factor. There are much more significant factors behind why Don Kistler was fired, factors which I’m not at this time at liberty to discuss, but that I’m confident will sometime soon be coming to light.

The documents on Don’s hard drive at work so drew the ire of RC Sproul and the Ligonier Board Of Directors that they wanted to find some excuse, any excuse other than the documents themselves, to get rid of Don, and those documents had likely been there for some months.

What they found were things that related directly to Ligonier’s “acquisition” of Soli Deo Gloria. Not surprisingly Ligonier won’t disclose the specifics of those documents, and they’re not about to state that what they found on the hard drive is the real reason they fired Don.

There are several men (and one in particular) who have first-hand knowledge, men who know the real story behind the “acquisition” of Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, and I’ve got something to say to those men: I’m aware that you’ve been threatened with “legal action” should you come forward to tell the truth. I can hardly blame you for your fears. One need look no further than the case of Ligonier Ministries vs. Frank Vance to see what Ligonier can and probably will do to any who expose their corruptions. But your bigger concern should be how will you stand before God and answer to the charge that you remained silent in the face of wickedness? Does not your silence make you complicit?

Don leaves Ligonier Ministries in exactly the same way that so many other faithful and devoted employees have left — tossed out like trash. However in Don’s case he sacrificed far more than just having faithfully and loyally served Ligonier for two years. Don also leaves Ligonier with Ligonier in ownership and control of his ministry, a ministry that he devoted some twenty years of his life to, Soli Deo Gloria Ministries.

In an email response to me in October, Dr. Kistler stated, “I need to be focusing on my recovery and getting back soon to my life’s work and passion, SDG.” However, as several witnesses have testified, Don’s passion was swindled away from him two years ago. With Don’s firing from Ligonier that puts the nail in the coffin for Don’s “work and passion.” I doubt that Don Kistler will ever be so naive and trusting again.

Please support Don Kistler in prayer, and support Don’s ministry. After all he’s supposedly in competition with Ligonier! In all seriousness, Don is now in dire straights financially and he really does need your support. You can send your gifts in care of:

Christ Presbyterian Church
P. O. Box 6321
Lakeland, Florida 33807

On the memo line of your check write “DKMIN” and it will be directed to Don.

(Ministry Watchman is in no way affiliated with Christ Presbyterian Church)

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105 Comments on “Ligonier Ministries Fires Don Kistler”

  1. Hopeful says:

    I’m excited about this new job opening at Ligonier; I think it’s just what I have been looking for. I’m fully qualified, having traced my family tree far enough back to discover that I am in fact related not only to RC Sproul and Tim Dick but also John Duncan!

    If forced, I’ll admit that the family tie is a bit tenuous, but I’m sure it’s closer than Noah. Besides, the Sproul/Dicks and Duncans are very loyal to their kin, so a little distance shouldn’t matter that much. I mean, look at the track record so far: RC Sproul and his relatives by blood or marriage are taking home about $1 million a year in proceeds from donors around the world, and John Duncan, who makes at least $180,000 in donor money by himself, was recently joined on staff by brother Mel, and brother Ligon is the heir apparent to RC.

    Given the close ties to both sides, I must be a shoo-in for the position. I’ve been expecting it, in fact. It wouldn’t be the first time that staff like Don who were foolishly more loyal to the organization or the mission than the family were moved on, conveniently making room for those of us with the right kind of qualifications.

    You know, the more I think about this opportunity the more excited I get; I can almost taste it!

    What? What’s that? You heard there’s another Duncan brother? Surely not? Nooooo!!!!!

  2. Lynn says:

    Wow. I will be in prayer for Dr. Kistler. It sounds as though Ligonier is running scared.

    But about the SDG. I am not good at prognosticating, but I am guessing Kistler will return to SDG, and there will be no problem.

    What do you think?

  3. jimmy olsen says:

    There are several men who have first-hand knowledge, men who know the real story behind the “acquisition” of Soli Deo Gloria Ministries…

    How about these “several men” being real men and coming forward? Quit rationalizing your silence and do what you know is the right thing to do. Do you think Jesus is pleased with your silence? Do you think if you came forward He would cease to provide for you and your families? Somehow I would expect more trust in the providence of God from men of the Reformed faith. Or perhaps your faith is as shallow as the men who have done these despicable deeds to Don and others before him.

  4. So Very Sad says:

    It will be interesting to see if anybody is able to put some good spin on this. Seems to me that even if you have been wrong about Tim Dick and the original agreement, and even if Don Kistler did something worthy of being cut off and thrown out like this, you still are left with a multi-million dollar organization taking a man’s life’s work and tossing him aside without even a provision for health care after a stroke. I can’t help but thinking of Nathan and a story about a rich man with many flocks and herds.

  5. Depending on God says:

    To Tim Challies, You going to cover this on your blog? Enabling sin is a tricky business especially when you were so quick to paint Frank as the liar.

    To John Piper: Still going to speak at Ligonier in March? Still defending these cruel tyrants? Still see no problem with Ligonier filing a lawsuit?

    And these preachers wonder why people are flocking to the emergent movement! They are searching (wrongly) for authenticity in pastors. People whose actions line up with their teaching.

    I am not real sympathetic to Kistler. Now, if he tries to tell the real truth, who is going to believe him? He had his chance and saying he did not come forward in order to protect his salary does not get it. He ends up losing that, too! See how this works trying to placate a tyrant?

    I know because I was in a similar situation with a young child to support and lost it all by coming forward on a scandel. I did not want to do it. I wrestled with it. I prayed. I cried. But I had to. There are very few Christians who care and most who also knew what was going on were more interested in their mortgage payments than the Church being pure and getting rid of evil actions and false teaching. My child’s future is going to suffer because of it. I have sold everything. At least one elder had enough integrity to leave over it and stand for truth. The others were too busy basking in the glory of the media for the huge mega ‘they’ built.

    That is why I was so offended by Piper’s response to this. They preach one thing and do another. They do not have to live in the real world.

    Follow Christ, folks, not men. Never men. And be Bereans. If their actions do not line up with their teaching…run away.

  6. […] our posts about the matter. Posted by Michael Metzler on Thursday, November 30, 2006, at 4:11 pm. Print This Post | EMail This Post « previous post Pooh’s Think is powered byWordPress.       […]

  7. […] our posts about the matter. Posted by Michael Metzler on Thursday, November 30, 2006, at 4:11 pm. Print This Post | EMail This Post « previous post Pooh’s Think is powered byWordPress.       […]

  8. Mark Burns says:

    How sad.

    A major reason why Reformed theology, Reformed ministries, and Reformed Churches are growing in size and popularity is primarily because so many evangelicals are disgusted with the state of contemporary evangelicalism and its obsession with cheesy postmodern art, literature, prophecy, and pop-psychology. They’re seeking to return to the ‘old paths’, and the many branches of Calvinism are very appealing to those who’ve been told Rick Warren and Billy Graham are the central figures of the evangelical faith in America. It’s biblical Christianity, and it’s the faith of our fathers, whether in America, Scotland, or England.

    While it’s easy to get excited about the growing trend, it’s also depressing to see how corrupt the very leaders of the modern Reformed Church are. It’s so easy to get excited about Reformed Christianity, yet also easy to get depressed. There’s a net of corruption stretching from Moscow to Orlando, which becomes more apparent every day, and it’s sad to watch the very people who can so clearly see through the sham of American evangelicalism run right into the arms of wolves in sheep’s clothing. Men who we wanted badly to lend our support to, to call ‘our leaders’ in a ‘new Reformation’….these men let us down in the most despicable way, time and time again.

    It’s truly very sad. The people that follow them are good people at heart, but they only left one state of corruption and folly for another. It’s enough to get your blood boiling.

    Definitely praying for Don Kistler and Soli Deo Gloria Ministries.

  9. James Dolittle says:

    Frank,
    Way to strap a pair on Greg Withrow! I bet that lit a FIRE under his tail. Can’t wait to hear him start squealing like a pig.

  10. […] For more details on this, see here. This entry is filed under Miscellaneous. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. One Response to “Ligonier Terminates Kistler” 1 Richard Winslow says: November 30th, 2006 at 11:14 pm Oh no! Have they lost their minds? After the lawsuit scandal and everything else, and the allegations that they’d defrauded Don Kistler out of Soli Deo Gloria now they’ve gone and pulled a stunt like this? Unbelievable! Is there no end to this scandal? How did such a corrupt organization ever become so popular? Yes I know R.C. Sproul’s teachings are good. I have some of his materials. But after all of this I just don’t see how I can ever support them again. Leave a Reply […]

  11. […] For more details on this, see here. This entry is filed under Miscellaneous. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. One Response to “Ligonier Terminates Kistler” 1 Richard Winslow says: November 30th, 2006 at 11:14 pm Oh no! Have they lost their minds? After the lawsuit scandal and everything else, and the allegations that they’d defrauded Don Kistler out of Soli Deo Gloria now they’ve gone and pulled a stunt like this? Unbelievable! Is there no end to this scandal? How did such a corrupt organization ever become so popular? Yes I know R.C. Sproul’s teachings are good. I have some of his materials. But after all of this I just don’t see how I can ever support them again. Leave a Reply […]

  12. […] For months I have held off on writing about what is going on at Ligonier. I posted a few months ago about Ryan Dick who disgraced himself and his grandfather, R.C., who employs him with donor funds, by having an internet Myspace site that showed him with scantaily clad women, using utterly filthy language, and so forth. He called himself, “Party Boy”. He was employed at Ligonier the entire time this was going on and continues on staff after the website was taken down. I was told by Ryan that the photos on the Myspace site were old, but the latest photo of Ryan chugging booze on the site was posted this summer. Now that Ligonier has fired Dr. Don Kistler, founder and publisher of Soli Deo Gloria books which Sproul recently acquired, something clearly needs to be said. Donor money is going to Ligonier by godly people who believe that they are supporting something that is honorable. Like so many other ministries that began in a strong manner, Ligonier seems to be rotting from within. Ministry Watch is covering this. […]

  13. […] For months I have held off on writing about what is going on at Ligonier. I posted a few months ago about Ryan Dick who disgraced himself and his grandfather, R.C., who employs him with donor funds, by having an internet Myspace site that showed him with scantaily clad women, using utterly filthy language, and so forth. He called himself, “Party Boy”. He was employed at Ligonier the entire time this was going on and continues on staff after the website was taken down. I was told by Ryan that the photos on the Myspace site were old, but the latest photo of Ryan chugging booze on the site was posted this summer. Now that Ligonier has fired Dr. Don Kistler, founder and publisher of Soli Deo Gloria books which Sproul recently acquired, something clearly needs to be said. Donor money is going to Ligonier by godly people who believe that they are supporting something that is honorable. Like so many other ministries that began in a strong manner, Ligonier seems to be rotting from within. Ministry Watch is covering this. […]

  14. JoeReformed says:

    Btw, you forgot one important fact about this whole thing.

    The proceeds from Don’s weekend conference bookstores go straight to Ligonier Ministries as well. At the last conference I went to of his this past year, I had to write my check out to ‘Ligonier Ministries’ for the books I purchased at the book table.

    The only compensation he received was in the form of a love-offering from the church he spoke at.

    This man has a true heart for ministry. No wonder he didn’t fit in to the Ligonier threads.

    If you are a pastor of a church (or elder, deacon, etc), have your church bring Don out for one of his fantastic conferences. He truly is a God-send to what’s left of the reformed world out there.

  15. praying and thinking says:

    What a tragedy.

    Frank, thank you for making this known, not standing at a distance and staring in silence.

    If any of us are different from the Sproul family and others guilty in this, that is solely the Lord’s doing. “Who maketh thee to differ?”

    Frank, do you know whether serious efforts have been made to penetrate past the strong barriers of staff protection and to present adequately and clearly to prominent Reformed leaders the truth of this situation? MacArthur, Piper, Mohler, Dever, Mahaney. D. James Kennedy, Ravi Zecharias. Others. Has anyone made an adequate and clear summation of the mountains of postings and comments on all of this, a more managable summary that can be used to present this to ones who have not read all of this from the start? Do you know whether people are trying to reach through the barriers and make sure these leaders are aware of the truth of this? I know that these men have much to do and many who want their time and attention. If this is not worthy for them to probe and realize, and to address truthfully, what can be worthy of their time and attention? This seems similar to Achan, only in this now others can know well the false deeds and the ones who did them. Though no literal blood has been shed, this is in a real way a slaughter of Dr. Kistler. To tolerate or accept this, and not to address this Biblically, is as false as the original deeds done by Ligonier. Possibly a number realize well and only want “plausible deniability” (such an evil mentality), but possibly a number of the prominent leaders don’t really know.

  16. wendi says:

    It hurts when idols are toppled. They don’t even have to be idols for it to hurt, just people we’ve trusted, admired, and perhaps put a bit too much trust in.

    The Board of Directors at Ligonier in doing this has issued a strong testimony that the account given by Frank Vance of their dealings with Don Kistler are probably true.

    why would they think he was the source unless the information Frank was sharing was so reliable they thought it could only have come from Mr. Kistler?

    Like Jen, I really tried to avoid any discussion of the Kistler issue, because for me the largest issue was Ligonier’s subsequent actions in suing a blogger and then lying to their donors about it. Ligonier is making it kind of hard to ignore this camel.

    I don’t know what’s going on there, but it doesn’t look good from here.

    My husband and I were once in a bad place under some elders who ought not to have been elders. It was unsettling, disturbing, and a grievious thing to endure. I have since come to believe that one of them was probably always a wolf in sheep’s clothing, while the other was a once strong man of faith who suffered under adulation and did not grow more humble the longer he was adulated. Few men do (that’s the traditional generic use of the word man, by the way, meaning of mankind). I expect his increasing age and poor health did not help, either. He had a dream for a legacy and a project he wanted to leave behind, and that legacy grew in importance in his mind until it was more important than the gospel- indeed, it seemed he could no longer separate the two. He grew harsh, demanding, and accusatory towards the churchmembers he was supposed to shepherd. It was hard to deal with. We had loved him as a father, yet he insisted we had always tried to undermine him. It’s a confusing place to be. You see things from a warped perspective and think things are normal that aren’t. For a while, especially if you truly loved that person, you make excuses, defend them, pretend things aren’t happening the way they are.

    What strikes me as just about uncanny in all these tales of spiritual abuse and failings in organizations such as Ligonier is how familiar it all begins to sound. Michael Metzler’s experiences mirror ours, and ours was not a reformed congregation. It’s important to stay informed about Ligonier and places like it even though, and because, the issues are bigger and broader than Ligonier.

    It is an issue of submitting ourselves to be fleeced and deceived because we allow something we desire very much to take charge of our common sense and wisdom. It is an issue of being complicit in sin by ignoring it. It is an issue of actually creating a environment where certain sins can flourish and grow in the hothouse of our over the top admiration. Don’t do that to your fellow man.

    In the homeschooling world we long for community, for likemindedness. We are nonconformists in search of conformity to our nonconformity. It’s tiring to go against the flow, and sometimes we just want to find ourselves comfortably in a school of fish going the same way we are. We can’t find it close to home, so we seek what we hunger for in online communities, in ministries that supply books, tapes, and shiny catalogs that make us feel we are part of something larger (and better populated than our local neighborhood). This hunger can cloud our judgment- and perhaps cloud the judgment of others.

    maybe we’ve been looking too far and away from home.
    The community we should be engaged in building, nurturing, and supporting is the one around us. Maybe it’s time we tried blooming where we are planted.

  17. Massimo Lorenzini says:

    Frank, according to Kevin Swanson you are a yellow-bellied blogger (http://generations.iwebc.net/Blog/Index.html).

    Why should I not believe him?

  18. James O'Dell says:

    Massimo,

    “Why should I not believe him?”

    The answer is because Dr. Don Kistler really was fired.

    jim

  19. formlessandvoid says:

    Recall that the clause that was allegedly removed from the contract of SDG acquisition was a reversionary clause that I suppose would have protected Dr. Kistler from losing his life’s work in this way (Frank, please correct me if I’m wrong). By terminating Dr. Kistler Ligonier has completed its theft of SDG from him. I dare say, you really saw this coming, right Frank?

    Shame on RC Sproul. Shame on Ligonier. I hate to say this, but I fear that on Judgment Day, they would at best be burned up like hay and straw (1 Cor. 3:15). The worst is unthinkable.

    My heart aches and cries …

  20. Disband says:

    Watchman,

    It would appear that your readers are about to be confronted with some hard realities.

    You and your writers are propagating falsehood about numerous innocent organizations, behind a veil of anonymity. This veil hides your agenda. You have carefully controlled the circumstances to give the appearance of honesty but you have been deceptive.

    God grant you wisdom to depart in silence and repentance. You have harmed so many Christians.

  21. […] What am I talking about, you may be asking. Well, I’ll tell you what I’m talking about. When I pulled up my Google Reader which keeps up with all the blogs that I want to track, I came across a post from Slice of Laodicea that is apparently no longer appearing on their web site (the link is still there, which you can see by clicking on the word ‘post’ above…but there is nothing there). The date of the post was 11/30 at 12:56AM. The title of the post was ‘Ligonier Ministries Continues Downward Path’, and I believe was posted by Ingrid. Here is what the post contained according to my cached Reader file (keep in mind again that I cannot find this text on the Slice website): “For months I have held off on writing about what is going on at Ligonier. I posted a few months ago about Ryan Dick who disgraced himself and his grandfather, R.C., who employs him with donor funds, by having an internet Myspace site that showed him with scantaily clad women, using utterly filthy language, and so forth. He called himself, “Party Boy”. He was employed at Ligonier the entire time this was going on and continues on staff after the website was taken down. I was told by Ryan that the photos on the Myspace site were old, but the latest photo of Ryan chugging booze on the site was posted this summer. Now that Ligonier has fired Dr. Don Kistler, founder and publisher of Soli Deo Gloria books which Sproul recently acquired, something clearly needs to be said. Donor money is going to Ligonier by godly people who believe that they are supporting something that is honorable. Like so many other ministries that began in a strong manner, Ligonier seems to be rotting from within. Ministry Watch is covering this.” […]

  22. […] What am I talking about, you may be asking. Well, I’ll tell you what I’m talking about. When I pulled up my Google Reader which keeps up with all the blogs that I want to track, I came across a post from Slice of Laodicea that is apparently no longer appearing on their web site (the link is still there, which you can see by clicking on the word ‘post’ above…but there is nothing there). The date of the post was 11/30 at 12:56AM. The title of the post was ‘Ligonier Ministries Continues Downward Path’, and I believe was posted by Ingrid. Here is what the post contained according to my cached Reader file (keep in mind again that I cannot find this text on the Slice website): “For months I have held off on writing about what is going on at Ligonier. I posted a few months ago about Ryan Dick who disgraced himself and his grandfather, R.C., who employs him with donor funds, by having an internet Myspace site that showed him with scantaily clad women, using utterly filthy language, and so forth. He called himself, “Party Boy”. He was employed at Ligonier the entire time this was going on and continues on staff after the website was taken down. I was told by Ryan that the photos on the Myspace site were old, but the latest photo of Ryan chugging booze on the site was posted this summer. Now that Ligonier has fired Dr. Don Kistler, founder and publisher of Soli Deo Gloria books which Sproul recently acquired, something clearly needs to be said. Donor money is going to Ligonier by godly people who believe that they are supporting something that is honorable. Like so many other ministries that began in a strong manner, Ligonier seems to be rotting from within. Ministry Watch is covering this.” […]

  23. Professor Truth says:

    Disband wrote: “You and your writers are propagating falsehood about numerous innocent organizations, behind a veil of anonymity. This veil hides your agenda.”

    So it has all been an illusion. The lawsuit, the salaries, the defrocking, the wayward grandson who works there, the Kistler firing, etc., etc. We are just imagining all this..it never really happened.

    OR

    You are trying to tell us there IS a Biblically viable explanation for everything? Sproul coming out with a new translation or something? The problem with your comment is that many of us did not believe Vance at all. However, Ligoneir kept proving him right by their actions and words. So you are saying in effect that if Frank is NOT really Frank, this excuses Ligoneirs actions?

    Ligonier has harmed Christendom. They are the teachers of the Word. And, they do not practice what they teach.

  24. APinkFan says:

    Mr. Disband;
    Why don’t you help us out and list the ‘falsehoods’, one by one, and then name the ‘innocent’ organizations.
    If you can’t provide that information, you need to go back to your cubicle at Ligonier and prepare to ‘clean out your desk’ like the others who have tried to defend Tim Dick, John Duncan and RC.
    All that sucking up won’t help when they start looking for more cash to back the bonus checks they will be receiving.
    So, pick up the Sunday paper and check out the help wanted ads. Your loyalty will get you nowhere at Ligonier.

  25. Disband says:

    PT and PinkFan,

    I am referring to the important information that is being published, elsewhere online, about the identities of the “reporters” at Ministry Watchman and the personal agenda that drives their accusations. If this blog is all you’re reading, no wonder you are uninformed and gullible. I provided a link (containing additional links) in my initial post that was deleted. It would have answered many of your questions. See how the MW filters information to suit their agenda?

    Yes, there are very real, very Christian explanations for every single accusation that has been made and every event that has transpired, not just about Ligonier and it’s leaders but numerous others. Many of those explanations have already been provided to Ministry Watchman and “Frank Vance” but they deemed them unfit for posting.

    Indeed they even reject statements from those they are supposedly trying to help!

    Those close to the story know that the “Watchmen” have been told repeatedly they are not due further direct responses until their names are known and they are in the presence of witnesses. The “ball has been in their court” for months, not in the hands of the accused.

  26. Watchman says:

    If I were “filtering” I wouldn’t have posted your last comment at all Disband.

    I apologize if I misunderstood your intentions. However, the reason I deleted your link to Pooh’s Think had nothing to do with my being the least bit concerned about anyone going to that site. In fact Pooh has been an excellent source for all things Doug Wilson and other ecclesiastical tyrants. Why would I want to filter that?

    The reason I deleted the link is because you placed it at the very end of your comment, with no explanation, which made it appear as a signature. We’ve had a recurring problem with malicious commenters attempting to impersonate others, including Pooh. In the future if you’ve got a link to include in your comment offer a brief explanation about it. You’re also advised, as is everyone, to read and comply with the Comment Rules.

    I completely disagree that perusing Pooh’s Think would address any of APinkFan’s questions that he put to you. Quite the contrary. Pooh’s Think only confirms much of the content of Ministry Watchman. Pooh has posted many links to Ministry Watchman, and we have likewise linked to Pooh. Has that even one single time been done because we’re in disagreement with one another? If that’s what you think I’d like for you to post a link to that article. Frank Vance would know this better than me but as far as I’m aware we’ve never had a disagreement or dispute with Pooh over our respective articles… not yet anyway.
    Let me suggest that prior to posting any further comments that you make some attempt to inform yourself of the issues, and if you’re going to post links to sites that allegedly refute any articles here you might want to actually first check the content of that site. Then post links to specific articles, not just a general link to the site’s home page. That’s of no value to anyone.

  27. Disband says:

    Watchman,

    You prove my point again.

    There are additional links at Poohsthink which will take the reader to Phillips’ and VF’s rebuttals of your charges. They are thorough, documented and offer correctives to many things at your site.

    Why not simply let your readers think for themselves?

    By the way, Metzler’s confidence in MW is crumbling too. Read it for yourself!

    Meet those you accuse in the presence of witnesses. Put your money where your mouths are.

    What are you afraid of ? What lies behind your veil ?

  28. Watchman says:

    “Why not simply let your readers think for themselves?”

    What a wonderful idea! Why not do so yourself? Feel free to post a comment with the links that you keep alluding to but that you keep evading providing? Feel free to link to the specific article that references Metzler’s crumbling confidence. I’d really love to read it for myself.
    Enough with the heckling Disband. Put up or shut up.

    Lastly, from here on out you get no more breaks. You will comply with the posting rules or your comments will be rejected. If you’ve got something substantive and specific to say about Don Kistler’s firing, Ligonier’s theft of Soli Deo Gloria, etc., make those comments here. If you’ve got something substantive to say specific to Doug Phillips then post it under that article. You will not be permitted to sabotage this site with your juvenile blather.

  29. Professor Truth says:

    The biggest problem ‘Disband’ has is that he/she is trying to make us think by ‘vague implications’ that there is a Biblical explanation for all the tyranny we have witnessed.

    That is a problem because actions speak louder than words. We heard the same thing from Ligoneir supporters for months but we saw their ‘actions’. Those actions only gave Frank credibility.

    You seem to be the same old tired lurkers we have seen many times before. ….vague references to something ‘we do not know yet’…a great big secret that we are not worthy to know…but ‘you’ know and for some vague but lofty reason cannot tell us. But, it never comes.

    I really think these people have been so blindly following these celebrity egocentric ‘ministers’ so long they cannot think for themselves.

    So, where’s the beef?

  30. […] "You’re fired!" "On November 28 Don Kistler was informed of his immediate termination. No severance package of any kind was offered, and his health insurance has been cancelled." If you’ve kept up with the story, you know that Frank Vance was sued by RC Sproul for making it known that witnesses had alleged fraud on the part of Lie-gonier Ministries. Sproul had hired Kistler in order to take over his successful ministry, and this was the subject of the alleged fraud. Witnesses told Vance that a crucial clause in the contract allowing Kistler to resume his ministry if he chose to do so was removed at the last minute. Kistler then suffered a stroke and, possibly for fear of his future, denounced the allegations. All of this was done very mysteriously, as Frank Vance has documented. Recent events have transpired as predicted, and we’re quite sure that Don Kistler must be in agony now for not speaking the truth when he had much to lose. The trouble with telling the truth now is that it will show that he loved money more than honor, but it’s still better than the alternative. The excuse offered for his firing is that he set up his own website, but it’s a very convenient excuse. Now Sproul controls the lucrative Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, and Don Kistler will have to look for another way to pay his medical bills. Judgment is nigh, RC Sproul, and may it come swiftly. Your lawyers won’t be able to save you. […]

  31. […] "You’re fired!" "On November 28 Don Kistler was informed of his immediate termination. No severance package of any kind was offered, and his health insurance has been cancelled." If you’ve kept up with the story, you know that Frank Vance was sued by RC Sproul for making it known that witnesses had alleged fraud on the part of Lie-gonier Ministries. Sproul had hired Kistler in order to take over his successful ministry, and this was the subject of the alleged fraud. Witnesses told Vance that a crucial clause in the contract allowing Kistler to resume his ministry if he chose to do so was removed at the last minute. Kistler then suffered a stroke and, possibly for fear of his future, denounced the allegations. All of this was done very mysteriously, as Frank Vance has documented. Recent events have transpired as predicted, and we’re quite sure that Don Kistler must be in agony now for not speaking the truth when he had much to lose. The trouble with telling the truth now is that it will show that he loved money more than honor, but it’s still better than the alternative. The excuse offered for his firing is that he set up his own website, but it’s a very convenient excuse. Now Sproul controls the lucrative Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, and Don Kistler will have to look for another way to pay his medical bills. Judgment is nigh, RC Sproul, and may it come swiftly. Your lawyers won’t be able to save you. […]

  32. I was wondering says:

    Why has LR, the human resource manager not been brought up because she acts as Tim’s spine? She is the non-Christian iron fist who has control of the firing. He has hidden behind her numerous times.

  33. Frank Vance says:

    As I’m sure that most of our readers now know Ministry Watchman is now actively exposing another ecclesiastical tyrant, Doug Phillips. I’m not doing any of the writing on that story, just assisting where I can. Charlie Fisher is handling that story, and there promises to be a lot more significant things to come.

    But I want my readers to know that if and when anything significant arises regarding Ligonier I won’t neglect to report on it.

    It could very well be that I might write a story about how little anyone seems to care about Don Kistler getting fired. Who besides Ministry Watchman has reported on it? I’ll answer that in a moment.

    It was BIG news when Ligonier sued me, and what did most of the commentators claim Ligonier sued me for? They claim it was because I alleged that Ligonier defrauded Don Kistler out of Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, which isn’t true at all. Ligonier sued me before I went public with that allegation, and they sued to prevent me from making it. By the time that I found out that I’d been sued (Ligonier never notified me of the lawsuit, even though they had a legal obligation to do so), I’d already gone public. But if that’s what Ligonier’s defenders want to believe, then why is it that now that Ligonier has fired Don Kistler, and quite conveniently retained ownership of SDG, am I the only one saying anything about it?

    The answer to that is self-evident. No one who defended Ligonier and called me a kook ever really cared about Don Kistler in the first place. They were just using Don, just as Ligonier itself used Don:

    Just like with Ligonier we should all anticipate a hostile response, with many below-the-belt punches being thrown, such as this uncharitable attack on Natasha Epstein. None of the BCA clique care one wit for Natasha. They’ll use Natasha and cause even more hurt and family division than they already have through their sham excommunication. They’ll use Natasha just as Ligonier’s knee-jerk defenders used Don Kistler in Ligonier’s defense. Even Ligonier had no trouble determining that their faithful devotees could really care less about Don Kistler. Don was expendable. They could fire him and they could get away with it. No one would care. Now that Ligonier has fired Don Kistler those Sproul worshippers have only proven how much they were just using Kistler all along. Don has been thrown out like so much trash and they could care less.

    There’s presently only one noteworthy exception of a blogger who ridiculed me and defended Ligonier who now has gone public about Don Kistler. His name is Brian Thornton and his blog is Voice Of The Sheep. Brian was courteous enough to send me an email and let me know about his article. More impressive though is the fact that Brian sent that email to several prominent Christian leaders. I’m very impressed and my opinion of Brian has improved considerably.

    To date Brian is my only detractor who has proven that he wasn’t just using Don Kistler. Kudos Brian!

    Brian is still not particularly eager to listen to me, but at least he’s finally willing to face up to the likelihood that Ligonier has just done something terribly wrong. Per my suggestion Brian is also in contact with Don Kistler. See Brian’s Don Kistler and Ligonier… An Update.

  34. Frank,

    I want to thank you for what I perceive to be an accurate summary of what I have done so far through all of this. As I just commented on my site, I am just someone trying to get to the truth, and I will reserve my own judgment and opinion until I believe the truth is clearly known.

    Having said that, I am truly shocked at what appears to be an attitude of total apathy on the part of the Christian blogdom for the events surrounding Don Kistler and Ligonier. I am not looking for people to publish their opinions about what has taken place (as I don’t believe there is enough evidence yet to make an opinion), but I am expecting respectable bloggers to at least publicly acknowledge that Don Kistler has been fired from Ligonier…an event which should register on the radar as being of some significance worthy of comment on their blogs.

    FYI, I have also posted an update to my original post on all of this. It includes an email from Dr. Kistler.

    Thanks,
    Brian

  35. Frank Vance says:

    An noteworthy comment was just brought to my attention that was posted by Praying and Thinking on D.R. Brooker’s blog: Ligonier Terminates Kistler

  36. FYI correction,

    It is nothing really major, but still, we want to truthful, don’t we? Frank, I want to correct what you said about me contacting Don Kistler…I had already done that before receiving your email suggesting I do so.

    Thanks.

  37. Diane says:

    I had never read a blog until a friend (?) sent a link to Frank’s “Vancetribe” site in July because of our interest in and appreciation for Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. At that time it was about the lawsuit and I took a “wait and see” attitude, not wanting to be guilty of a rush to judgement. Meanwhile, I started going to the various links and reading more about Jr.’s defrocking, inflated salaries, lavish lifestyles, Ryan’s folly – and all else with documentation. I still was not inclined to spread the word until now with the firing of Don Kistler. I now believe that donors should know what’s going on – even at the risk of suffering grief and disappointment, as I have.
    Now I’m hoping that someone at Watchman – or another who seems to have access to a lot of information or a lot of time to go back through the posts and comments pertaining to Ligonier – would post a calendar of events starting no later than Jr.’s defrocking and proceeding until the present. A brief summary of each and link(s) to documentation would go a long way toward informing those new to the issues without having to sift through all the posts and multitudes of comments where some of the information resides. Additions or corrections could come via comments and still be a fairly precise and concise documentary. Will you think about it?

  38. praying and thinking says:

    Diane has made a valuable suggestion. This would be very helpful for those not extensively informed on this, and for those wanting to present this to others. If I could do well what Diane has suggested, I think I would try to, but I don’t think I can do that well at all. Please do consider this.

  39. Depending on God says:

    Diane, your suggestion makes sense but if you look at it from another view it would hardly change minds. All the info that is needed is right here. Those who care, you can link here and they can spend some time reading this. That is what is really at stake, time. Unfortuantly, most of us do not take the time to look at those we are sending our money to or buying from who are representing our Savior.

    This whole story brought light on several ministries providing very large salaries for family members. I do not begrudge these ministries hiring family if they are qualified… but paying six figures…in ministry? It has all become a business selling our precious Savior. We have a whole new crop of ‘pastorpreneurs’. (Hey, I am going to trademark that!) The reformed community seems to be shocked that they have sinning celebrity pastors, too. I have been amazed at how many have not covered this on their blogs. Or those who have defended Ligoneir but are now silent as the tomb. Some have mentioned this begrudgingly but still make sure they communicate their dislike for Frank. Slice is one blog that I found very inconsistent in their coverage. They seem to think Warren is worse but I have to disagree. We can prove Warren wrong with scripture. What do we do with a pastor that has correct doctrine but is evil in action? Isn’t that even worse? Explain that one to me, please.

    We need men in ministry who are willing to lose it all for the cause of Christ. Unfortuantly, you will never hear of them because they rarely become radio personalites, big time speakers or tv evangelists.

    So, in the meantime, Kistler suffers. I went through something similar to Kistler and I can tell you that very few Christians care. They are anxious to stay close to the influential and worldly thrones of their celebrity. And besides, it is really none of our business, right? Wrong. But, the Kistlers of the world keep their mouths shut because this is all happening in their circle of influence and they do not need anymore grief. It is strange but if Kistler speaks truth he will be labeled a sinner and a gossip.

  40. Frank Vance says:

    Don’t Confuse Brian With The Facts

    Well I obviously spoke too soon about Brian Thornton. Brian has just done a complete 180. He’s now “willing to accept the words and actions of Ligonier Ministries and its leadership.” Brian’s reason for his reversal? He doesn’t know me: “I know Ligonier. I don’t know ‘Frank Vance’ or his informers.” Yes folks, truth is determined based upon who you know.

    Truth according to Brian is also based upon Ligonier’s “words.” But has Ligonier spoken any “words” about Don Kistler’s firing? Any “words” at all in the form of an explanation? The reason that we fired Don Kistler is ________. So Brian has accepted the “words” of Ligonier even though none have been uttered at all! I’m amazed by how many irrational people the ministry of RC Sproul has produced.

    Brian also pulled a Tim Challies, deleting all of the comments from Don Kistler and Ligonier… Can Anyone Tell Me The Truth? and locking that thread so no one else could comment there again. I saw some of those comments before Brian deleted and I guess it was all just getting way to embarrassing for Brian.

    Silly me, there I went believing that Brian was being honest and sincere when he said he wanted the truth. But the truth hurt too bad. What really counts in life is who you know.

  41. Ministry Watchman is more astute. He only allows comments in moderation. He may let a few regretful comments slip through but once they’re there, they stay.

  42. But Frank, he claims he talked to people inside Ligonier too, so does it not just come down to either trusting you or Brian? I find it hard to believe that Ligonier is allowing any of the little people to communicate with bloggers but “senior managment”. Does he completely ignore the bold face lying on the behalf of Ligonier in regard to the dropping of the lawsuit?

    As you can see from his recent post, he is still supporting Ligonier, which is very unfortunate.

  43. Professor truth says:

    It would not surprise me to learn that Ligoneir has a back door PR campaign going on. People like to be close to those they think are influential and powerful whether it be Ligoneir, Challies or whomever.

    Many do not think for themselves and are more than willing to look the other way when dispicable things are done like the firing of Kistler, lawsuits, high salaries, employee turnover, etc., etc.

    Frank, has Ligoneir told the court they would never try to sue you again? I guess they are reserving that option, still.

    I guess facts don’t count when it comes to some truth.

  44. Hawkeye says:

    Will someone who knows how please check on the 2005 financials for Ligonier Ministries and see if they are in yet? I can’t wait to see the huge salary increases for RC, Tim Dick, and John Duncan.

  45. Frank Vance says:


    “Can Anyone Tell Me The Truth?”
    — Brian Thornton

    Brian Thornton should really know me well enough to know that it’s not smart to pull a Tim Challies. Deliberately concealing the truth usually just draws more attention to it. If you’re not interested in getting to the bottom of it Brian then it would’ve been smarter for you to have never asked the question in the first place.

    No one is forcing you to listen, so when you go and pull a stunt like this it only proves our suspicions of you. Deleting comments just makes people suspicious, and when you make people suspicious you just draw more attention to it. What’s only too apparent now is that you approached the firing of Don Kistler with a predetermined objective in mind of exonerating Ligonier. Then when it became apparent to you that you couldn’t you shut down your alleged search for “truth.” You were never looking for the truth in the first place Brian.

    I’ve had requests to repost the comments that Brian Thornton deleted. Never one to turn down a legitimate request from my readers, here they are:

    9 Comments

    1. Thank you for posting this. I just discovered the same thing. Folks, please flood Ingrid with emails and ask her to comment on this. The usual suspects commenting on this are all wingnuts, but it would seem they have blown the lid off something huge. I still hold out hope that somehow Ligonier is on the up and up, but I will never simply take their word for it, not after this. Will any credible journalist cover this story and set the record straight once and for all? In the mean time, a “ministry” that rakes in 12 million + that does not think the public deserves a thorough explaination and soon DOES NOT DESERVE YOUR MONEY. PLEASE DO NOT SEND LIGONIER ONE MORE DIME UNTIL THEY GIVE US ALL A CREDIBLE REASON TO LISTEN TO THEM “JUST BECAUSE THEY SAY SO”!!! This is breaking our hearts RC, please set the record straight.

    Comment by Brian | December 2, 2006

    2. Keep digging Brian. The truth about this needs to come out and some of us still want to know. I care about what’s happened to Don Kistler too. He’s a good man and he deserves a whole lot better than this. The response to his firing has so far been just pathetic.

    I guess though I must be one of those Frank Vance “minions” you were talking about. Not true, but given how I’ve thought you were a Ligonier shill I’ve probably got that coming.

    Obviously Brian you’ve now proven that you’re not a Ligonier shill. When Frank Vance messes up and gets it wrong I’ll be the first to challenge him for it. I just haven’t seen it happen yet. I’ve been willing to be patient and give him the time necessary to make his case. With Don Kistler’s firing, and especially with no explanation at all from Ligonier about it, it’s now obvious (at least to me) that Frank was right all along about Ligonier defrauding him out of SDG. The only way that Ligonier is now going to be able to disprove those kinds of suspicions is if they issue a public statement that clearly shows that Don deserved to be fired.

    It sounds like Frank himself has now also acknowledged that Brian Thornton is not a Ligonier shill. He even gave you kudos, and I do too Brian. Thanks for demonstrating that you’re a man of some integrity.

    Comment by John Steinhausen | December 4, 2006

    3. John,

    Thank you for your kind words, but let it be known that I have not made any judgments or declarations on this matter. I am just someone trying to get to the truth. I still have no opinion regarding the accusations that Dr. Kistler was defrauded out of SDG by Ligonier, and for now I will reserve my own judgment and opinion until the truth is clearly known.

    God bless.

    Comment by Brian Thornton | December 4, 2006

    4. Did you happen to notice how LM buried their notice three pages deep from the main page under the ubiquitous title of “Recent Updates” on the SDG link, which is located under “Publishing”? I guess since they were “publishing” the fact that they fired Dr. Kistler, that’s where the notice correctly belonged. Rather reminiscent of some other items that got buried on the website.

    Comment by Larswife | December 4, 2006

    5. Brian, I appreciate what you have written here. There are people who don’t want to know the truth, don’t care about the truth, refuse the truth, and other people who genuinely want to know the truth. God loves the truth, and the one who loves God loves the truth. We should all be VERY careful to know the truth, not just to take anyone’s assurance (Frank Vance’s, Ligonier’s, or anyone else’s assurance) but to probe and know the real truth. I have read more extensively on this situation for months than on any similar matter for years. Like others, at first I did not know whether Frank Vance was right or wrong, and no one should blindly trust Mr. Vance nor anyone else. If Frank Vance were falsely accusing, he would be doing as badly as the things he accused. Anyone who wants or requires blind trust is so false. Frank has over a long period, with mountains of articles and comments, shown many things with strong proof, and I agree with John Steinhausen’s Comment before mine. Brian, please keep searching and probing until you know the truth of this situation. The truth. What has been done to Don Kistler, this situation, is profoundly important in the body of believers. As much as I am greatly concerned about Don Kistler himself (a dear man), I am more concerned about what has been proven to be a great evil in the middle of Reformed evangelicals. Not in the middle of Emergent people, Anglicans, others who have obviously abandoned the truth of Scripture, but in the middle of Reformed people who seriously profess the truth of Christ. Where are the Reformed leaders and organizations? If this is allowed to stand, if this is not very widely addressed truthfully, not reproved, exposed, the false ones not called to repentance, if this is tolerated to stand, with silence or support from many in our group, that will prove what I do not want to be proven, that Dr. Sproul, Sr., and Ligonier are not exceptional nor unusual in our group, but very common among Reformed believers who profess what we profess. I wrote a Comment after Darrin Brooker’s November 30 posting on Ligonier’s treatment of Don Kistler. http://drbrooker.net/?p=773#comments That is an exceptionally long Comment, but please read that. Brian, please stay with this until you know the truth in this situation, and then please address this to many others, both leaders and obscure readers.

    Comment by praying and thinking | December 4, 2006

    6. FYI, I am not interested in any more comments containing speculation and conjecture. There are other sites for that.

    Thanks.

    Comment by Brian Thornton | December 4, 2006

    7. Brian, I don’t mean to write many Comments on your blog-site. This is an honest inquiry, and I want to have a kind manner. I am not pugnacious, and I want no part of baseball-bat attacks. I infer that your comment saying “comments containing speculation and conjecture” referred to my preceding comment. We — myself included — really should avoid speculation and conjecture, and if solid facts are not known, to declare things without knowing them is a false witness. Please know that I am not being sarcastic at all. I mean this sincerely, and not at all as strife or difficulty toward you. I am not a debater, and I’m not trying to attack you at all. What do you need or want for hard facts, proof, “truth”? Have you read the voluminous articles and postings on Frank Vance’s blog-site? I assume that you have, but if you were appalled and stopped reading there, please reconsider: there are stark facts and details, and very strong proof, in all those articles and comments. So far as I know, there is not yet before the world absolute proof that Don Kistler was defrauded in the contract acquiring his publishing work, but there is powerful evidence pointing that way. There is absolute proof of appalling behavior in the lawsuit, denial of the existence of the lawsuit, fierce behavior of Ligonier people, and other things. If you have read these things and still think that these details are speculation and conjecture, please write what you need for strong proof. You wrote at the end of your initial article, “Someone please help me with the truth . . . please!” Brian, very sincerely I ask you, what do you need for hard evidence? Could you write what you want to see that would be acceptable as facts in this? I am not a Frank Vance minion. I was grieved by several things on his blog-site, one of them being things Frank said to and about Tim Dick, very harshly I thought. Over time I have come to think that Frank is sincere and really wants to do the truth. He is not a “journalist,” but isn’t the jounalism community and profession becoming like the legal profession, a complete denial of what the profession claims to be and do (nearly all lawyers and most journalists have their own priorities, and the truth and knowing and presenting the truth is not a priority — sooner an aversion — unless the truth helps their agenda). I didn’t mean to write so much. Please, I ask you sincerely, write what you need or require for facts and proof.

    Comment by praying and thinking | December 4, 2006

    8. praying and thinking,

    Actually, I wasn’t thinking of your post when I made the comment about speculation and conjecture.

    Comment by Brian Thornton | December 4, 2006

    9. Thank you for replying. Brian, please do pursue this matter until you know the facts, and please post for others what you learn. I know much, but I don’t know all of this. Probe, and probe more. Help us to know more. I want to learn from you. This is a profoundly important matter, greatly needing to be addressed throughout the Reformed community. I am glad that you want to know the truth about this. Me too.

    Now I want to be quiet a while. Thank you for your patience with my Comments.

    Comment by praying and thinking | December 4, 2006

  46. Frank Vance says:

    “Frank, has Ligoneir told the court they would never try to sue you again? I guess they are reserving that option, still.”

    Ligonier had three options when they withdrew their lawsuit:

    Withdraw
    Withdraw With Prejudice
    Withdraw Without Prejudice

    If Ligonier had genuinely repented of their unbiblical and unethical lawsuit they would have withdrawn it with prejudice. This means that they lock the door on suing me again, and hand the key to the court. That would’ve sent a very positive message.

    Ligonier could’ve also just withdrawn the case, which would have left in doubt their future intentions. Then no one would’ve been able to say one way or the other what they might do in the future. But they didn’t even do that.

    By withdrawing the lawsuit “without prejudice” it means (I’m told by legal counsel) that they have put the court on notice that they reserve the right to sue me again. Ligonier also put the whole world on notice with a September 29 article that appeared in the Orlando Sentinel that it’s far more than just a remote possibility that they will sue me again:

    “Ministry attorney Daniel Brodersen said Thursday that if the group does find Vance, it may file a new suit.”

  47. praying and thinking says:

    Frank, I want to apologize to you for a sentence I wrote, or a specific word in that sentence. In the 7th of the 9 Comments you have copied before Brian Thornton removed them, I wrote this:
    “I am not a Frank Vance minion. I was grieved by several things on his blog-site, one of them being things Frank said to and about Tim Dick, very harshly I thought. Over time I have come to think that Frank is sincere and really wants to do the truth.”
    A few (FEW, not many) things on your site disturbed me, but when I wrote “several things on his blog-site” grieved me, that is inaccurate. More important than inaccuracy, that states that you have posted several things on your site that are bad, wrong, cause for grieving, and in that I was very wrong. Even before Brian removed the Comments and closed that thread, I noticed that I had written that, and I thought, “No, that’s not right.” May I please say now, that I think that you when you had your previous blog-site, and now both you and Ministry Watchman in this new site, are doing a very needful work, and my perception is that you are noticeably sincere and upright in your intentions and practices.
    Please let me say more about harshness. Our Lord — the Perfect One, God in flesh, our true example — called certain men he addressed whited sepulchres and a generation of vipers, and he overturned the tables and drove the money-changers out of the temple with a whip. In I Kings 18:27, Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal, saying to them, “Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awakened.” Have I been mistaken about a few comments you said to or about Tim Dick? “Really smart, Tim. Keep it up. etc.” I have come from a fundamentalist background and known many whom I later thought were “baseball bat fundamentalists,” and I myself have been so sinfully anger, bitter, effectively violent in my words and manner. This was a great sin by me, against many others. If I say a word to you, I need to remember the telephone pole of sin in this way that I have had in my own life. Now, I want no part of condemning even your strongest statement to or about Tim. Very notably, you have taken on a hornet’s nest, a true need and service to the body of believers. Thank you for doing this. Let me say that gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and II Timothy 2:24-26 says, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” Tim has an eternal soul, and he very much appears to be lost in his sins, never born again. As others have also commented, Tim is not the only one in this great sin who should be concerned about their eternal souls. A good tree produces good fruit, and there is an abundance of corrupt fruit in these things that have been done by the Sproul family and others inside Ligonier or outside working on their behalf.
    We should all be like the Bereans. We should all be independent thinkers with an utter and ultimate interest in the truth. God loves the truth, and the one who loves God loves the truth.
    Brian Thornton saddened me. I cannot see his heart, and I want to think there is a possibility that he is sincere, though that is hard to perceive. He — and so many others watching this, notably Dr. Mohler, Dr. Piper, Dr. Dever, many others — cannot say that he missed things because he is mentally retarded or has a weak or marginal intellectual capacity. After all the facts, all the proof, and all the remarkably strong evidence in this that have been presented for all to see, I find that people who keep closing with Ligonier seem similar to a “Christian democrat” (what an oxymoron, to profess to be a Christian and to support a group with the democratic paryt’s unmistakable positions and efforts in abortion, homosexual agenda, etc.). After Brian Thornton’s later article saying that he believes Ligonier because he knows them, “Thirsty David” wrote a Comment to Brian, saying that these things you have presented “have proven to be false.” I wanted to write a replying Comment to “Thirsty David” on Brian’s site, asking him to name any part of what Frank Vance has presented that has “proven to be false,” but I did not, thinking that these men are not serious about truth. After all the proof and strong evidence, to say such things or to continue to support Ligonier — to fail to respond and address these matters truthfull — reminds me of trying to persuade a man that it is raining when both of you are outside in a strong storm and drenching downpour.
    Where are they who love mercy and truth?
    Where are they who truly love R. C. Sproul, Sr., members of his family, others involved in this? Dr. Sproul and the others who have done these things have eternal souls.
    Where are they who truly love the body of believers, who want to warn and protect God’s children from such false men and profoundly sinful practices?
    We need the Lord to do this. We need Him to do what none of us can do. He does His work His way.
    Frank, thank you for being an obedient means of God in this profoundly important situation, at such great cost to yourself.

  48. Frank Vance says:

    Praying, your apology is accepted, but I can assure you that it’s completely unnecessary. I saw your comment after you posted it and I’m grateful you did post it. I’m in no way offended to have anyone disagree with me, particularly when what they’re saying is true.

    Your perception that I was “harsh” with Tim Dick may be valid. But as you’ve so well noted there are many biblical examples where wicked men were verbally dealt with quite harshly. My tact with Tim Dick is tame by comparison.

    Others who went to Tim before me took the saccharine approach that is so typical of today’s evangellyfish Christianity. Two years of the sweet approach produced nothing, and why should it? Tim Dick is a wicked corrupt evil man and a bully. When a bully is trying to steal your lunch money you don’t hold onto it (or get it back, in Tim’s case), by saying, “Could we please pray about this?”

    I’ve already addressed this topic, so if anyone has anything further to say about it don’t post those comments in this thread. But feel free to do so in The Tim Dick Name-Calling Side Show.

  49. always batya says:

    Brian Thornton wrote: The usual suspects commenting on this are all wingnuts, but it would seem they have blown the lid off something huge.”

    Well, at least we are ‘consistent’ wingnuts, Brian. :o)

    You have been all over the board on this one….as if you are bi-polar or something. I am sorry you do not know what to think. It seems it changes depending on who you are talking to or what you are reading. Seems someone at Ligoneir told you what to think..for now.

    Again, facts don’t count. And what, Brian, is their Biblical reasoning for all the scandels? Would you at least illuminate us on that as a learned student of Sprouls teaching?

    Follow Christ…not men.

  50. “Brian Thornton wrote: The usual suspects commenting on this are all wingnuts, but it would seem they have blown the lid off something huge.”

    These are not my words…please make that clear to your readers.

    Thanks.

  51. formlessandvoid says:

    Always Batya, those words apparently were from a commenter who called himself Brian, not Mr. Thornton himself.

    Mr. Thornton, I have a question for you. How do you justify Ligonier’s filing the lawsuit, then lying about it to donors, then falsely claiming it had been withdrawn when it had not. It was then finally dropped, and they said on their statements that they dropped the lawsuit based on godly counsel and were grieved about the entire matter. I was willing to see this as repentance, until I read the press account quoting their lawyer saying that if they could find Mr. Vance they may sue him again.

    These are hard facts and not speculation on my part. I do not see how the preeminent Reformed ministry could behave like this; do you? Were these sinful actions? If so, they require public repentance. Where is the repentance? Are we to believe Dr. Sproul is silent because he does not know these events? Honestly, my respect for Dr. Sproul would be restored if he would humbly come out and repent of these sins. God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. He should know that; he’s a Reformed theologian.

  52. Carl Edwards says:

    Brian,

    Sometimes I think the way that you do on this matter but then I think “What about Don Kistler”?

    He was just as trusted and respected as Sproul. Kistler made the conference rounds speaking at conferences like Boice’s ‘Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology,’ or the Toledo Reformed Conferences,’ Kistler owned a highly respected Christian publishing enterprise. Kistler wrote Christian books and articles. So why prioritize Sproul over Kistler in terms of trust?

    Sproul fired Kistler. Obviously something is in conflict between these two men. Whatever that conflict is, one of the other of them is wrong or they are both wrong.

    What I know is that this started with Kistler voting along with other good men to deposed Sproul Jr. Very shortly thereafter we see that Sproul Sr., in what looks like to be childish retribution, pulls his support from Whitefield college by insisting that his picture be removed from this website. Then we find Mr. Dick, in one of the most bizarre actions that I’ve ever witnessed, all over the net trying to put out brush fires associated with R. C. Sproul’s character problems, seemingly, at least, trying to do damage control. This is when matters escalate between Mr. Dick and Mr. Vance whereupon we learn that learn that Ligonier is turning up the heat on Don Kistler, who was another one, along with the organizers of Whitfield College (Talbots), who voted to depose Sproul Jr.

    Is all this coincidence Brian? Now, I not only have to take R. C. Sproul’s word over Don Kistler but now I must also take it over Ken Talbot and others. How many good men must we throw under the bus in order to only believe the best about R. C. Sproul and Ligonier?

    No, Ligonier lost the automatic fallback position of ‘believe the best about Ligonier’ when they fired (canned, terminated) Don Kistler. This action overwhelmingly proved that the smoke that Frank Vance has been pointing to for months was generated by a HUGE fire.

    There does come a point where people realize that even if a confession isn’t forthcoming that doesn’t mean somebody isn’t guilty.

    Brian, will you send a check supporting Don Kistler during this Christmas season?

    Carl

  53. Diane says:

    I don’t know Brian Thornton or anything about him but I can sympathize with him. I’ve been sorely disappointed in many Christian leaders over the years, many in the reformed camp since that’s where I am. Men in whom I’d placed my trust and had learned much from. The latest was the pastor of our previous church who was forced to admit to a 10 year “inappropriate relationship” (translation: adulterous) with a woman in the church. Now with the disappointment in R.C. Sproul (and I do hold him most responsible) I’m trying to really learn to “Trust in the Lord with all my heart…” It’s sometimes a process of coming to terms with the reality of a situation and being forced to accept the truth, no matter how painful. I think Brian will eventually have to come to that place and I feel sorry for him and his wife. The problem I’m having now is how not to leave a wet baby out in the mud of it’s bath water. R.C.’s teaching has been sound and valuable. We own most of his books and have listened to “Renewing Your Mind” for over 9 years – and we still do. I’m struggling to get to the place where I can separate the teaching from the teacher while continuing to pray for his repentance. Truth is truth, even if spoken by a donkey. Be patient with Brian, he’ll need all the support he can get – as do we all.

  54. HumblePunk says:

    I’m new to this blog, but I appreciate your work in keeping an eye on Ligonier. It is important that ministries be held accountable for their actions. And there are some strange things going on with the organization–no question. The organization’s continued support of RC Jr after he was defrocked; nepotism; big salaries; suing Frank Vance–those things do not look good.

    But I have some serious questions for and about Don Kistler, too. Such as — (1) Why did Kistler agree to give up SDG to Ligonier? No one forced Kistler to sign that contract. Was SDG in dire straits financially, about to go belly-up and needed to be rescued? I don’t know. But that seems to be the only legitimate reason I can think of for giving away one’s life’s work/ministry.

    As for the allegation that Tim Dick secretly pulled a clause out of the contract which would have allowed Kistler the option to regain control of SDG–this allegation is completely bogus and you don’t have to know any facts at all about this case to make that determination. One, contract law fundamentals require courts to look to the terms of the contract to determine what the parties agreed to. Courts must also assume that the parties have read what they have signed. These are big boys who can read, and this was not a cell phone contract — this was a contract allowing Ligonier to take control over Kistler’s life ministry. And Kistler allegedly did not read the contract? Are you kidding?

    Two, even if there had been a deceptive switcheroo that was undetected by Kistler at the signing — Kistler could have required Ligonier to nullify the contract and form a new one upon learning of the deception. If Ligonier refused, then Kistler would have had the right to file suit over it and force the court to recognize the clause. He would have been successful because (under this theory) there was a meeting of the minds regarding the clause. Kistler didn’t sue. Why? Because he’s a great guy? Maybe. Unfortunately, a contractual dispute is not decided by looking to see which party is the most sanctified. Maybe Kistler didn’t sue because he wants the Lord to fight his battles? Maybe. But then why spend time negotiating a written contract at all? Why not do this over a handshake and let the Lord take care of it? If the terms of this agreement were important enough to put into writing, then they were important enough to sue over if Ligonier had been deceptive.

    (2) Ligonier claims that it fired Kistler for cause — for a violation of the organization’s conflict of interest policy. Does Kistler deny this? I don’t know what the policy is and I don’t know if he violated it or not. But I do know that if Kistler agreed to abide by the terms of the policy when he sold SDG and became a Ligonier employee, then the organization was justified in firing him if he violated it. Again, I don’t know if Kistler violated the policy. Ligonier says that he violated it. Kistler, as far as I know, does not deny it and says nothing. Therefore, the uncontroverted evidence on this issue is that Kistler violated the policy. Therefore, the uncontroverted evidence is that Ligonier was justified in firing him.

    I feel bad for Kistler. He seems like a devout and humble follower of our Lord Jesus. But simply because he has refused to say anything on this issue does not mean that he has been wronged by Ligonier. And as I’ve shown above, the facts do not yet support any allegation that Ligonier cheated him in any way. Maybe those facts will surface in coming days. But right now, the Don Kistler situation is a non-issue.

    Again, I’ll stress that there are some fishy things going on with Ligonier. Maybe they will blow up and get worse–maybe they will get resolved. But I have seen nothing which makes me suspect wrongdoing in the Ligonier/SDG/Don Kistler soap opera. Move on, folks, there’s nothing to see here (at least for now).

  55. Professor truth says:

    It would be interesting to know who insisted on a contract or how that came about instead of a handshake as humblepunk mentions.

  56. Morgan Lewis says:

    Humblepunk,

    You feel bad for Kistler and that is why you lay everything at his feet.

    Remind me not to look for your sympathy.

    From what I’ve seen of Kistler’s MO in all this it is indeed his tack to let the Lord fight his battles. Personally, I think that Kistler should come out and set a few things straight but at this point if I have to choose between being sympathetic for Kistler’s silence or for Dick who has screamed at every pinprick about the grave injustices done unto him I will go with Kistler’s silence.

    You say there is nothing here but you conveniently forget that Dick tried to sue Vance in order to keep him from spilling the beans about Kistler. Then when it all comes out what finally happens is that Kistler indeed loses his ministry while getting axed in the process.

    Surely, though nothing is proven there is plenty to see and the smell of the stink of it all wafts its way to heaven.

    T. Morgan Lewis

  57. J. Smith says:

    It sounds like judgement day for Don-Ken-camp-colin-brandon-bob-jen-mark. What say ye ?

  58. praying and thinking says:

    Dr. Kistler has been extremely mistreated and hurt in this situation. What has been done to Dr. Kistler, while no blood was shed, has been a real slaughter. Branded a scoundrel, his life’s work robbed from him, and now left penniless far from his home in Pennsylvania after his stroke in August. My heart goes out to him. I have wanted and want Don Kistler to be well, to have his publishing work restored to him, to be blessed in this. Those who attack a child of God attack God Himself, Who loves His children far more than any of us can. I desire the best for this dear man.
    As great as the concern for Dr. Kistler’s well-being should be in this, an even greater matter is the profound, great sin done in the body of believers, openly known for all to see and realize. Even greater than the harm to Dr. Kistler and the need to help him, this great sin in the middle of Reformed Christians, now so strongly proven and widely known, is a greater concern and need. There is a greater need to do 3 things: 1. to rid this great sin from the body of believers (to allow or accept what has been done here is a great sin against the testimony that we profess and against the Lord’s people); 2. to warn and protect other believers from the harm – both spiritual and temporal harm – of the false men who have done this great sin; and 3. to call the ones who have done these things to repentance, in true concern for their eternal souls. (Dr. Sproul, Sr. – and others who have done this evil – may present sound doctrine, but a good tree produces good fruit, and there is an abundance of false fruit proven in this matter).
    To supporters of Ligonier and to silent bystanders or onlookers I say this: This is a profoundly important matter in the body of believers, and silence, toleration, or support of this great sin is a profoundly important matter to each one of us individually who know what has been done here. This is a profoundly important matter of obedience or disobedience for each believer who knows about this, obedience to address truthfully what has been done, or disobedience to tolerate or accept what has been done.
    I cannot see another person’s heart, but I should not ignore or dismiss clear facts that can be known. After Frank Vance made public the defrauding of Don Kistler from his publishing work in the deceitful acquisition contract, Don never spoke openly to say the truth of what had been done. I cannot know whether this public silence by Don was for fear of men (the Sproul family and other Ligonier people are fierce toward those who challenge or displease them), or for favor of men (a prospect of better treatment by Ligonier or Ligonier’s supporters if he remained silent about the truth of what was done here). If fear or favor were not his reasons for silence, what reason caused Don Kistler to be silent in this extremely important matter?
    To say that Dr. Kistler should be meek and silent after the things done to him, to say that he should say nothing and let the Lord fight his battles for him, seems to me to be a wrong interpretation and wrong application of Scripture. Certainly he should be meek and also compassionate toward those who did this, but where in Scripture is there a requirement to be silent and not say the truth after a false thing has been done against a person? Does not Scripture want the matter to be clearly known, for the one wronged – and also for others with good reason inquiring – to have the truth to be known? For Don to say plainly the truth is not a vengeful attack against the ones who have done this, but a very needful and obedient matter to remove this sin from the body of believers. Dr. Kistler, completely apart from his own personal interests and need in this situation, should heartfully want the 3 much greater needs I have previously mentioned that need to be done: to rid the body of believers of this strongly proven, openly known, great sin; to warn and protect other believers from the spiritual and temporal harm of these fasle men; and to love in truth and call to repentance these men who have done this great evil, truly loving their eternal souls.
    I think that one of Frank Vance’s initial reasons for making this public was a concern for Dr. Kistler, a desire for him to be helped and restored. That should be the desire of any true believer, but that desire is not nearly as important as the Lord’s glory, the testimony of His people, and the good of His people. Frank Vance really took on a hornet’s nest with very fierce consequences against himself for doing this, and Dr. Kistler’s being silent and not helping Frank (a needed help by only saying clearly and publicly the truth of what was done in this situation), left Frank alone in a fierce war, left Frank alone to fight without needed truth and needed confirmation of truth in this. Dr. Kistler, Frank has truly and very sacrificially tried to help you in the slaughter against you, and your public silence not to say clearly and publicly the truth you know that was done in this, has left Frank in a more difficult position. The truth is being demonstrated without your help, but your part – not to be vengeful nor defend yourself, but only to say the truth of what was done in this – was needed, and your silence left Frank in a harder place. What Frank Vance has done in this, so sacrificially against his own personal well-being and so importantly for the well-being of the body of believers, is a profoundly valuable work for the Lord’s glory and the good of His people. Again, even the temporal interest of Frank Vance – like the temporal interest of Don Kistler whom Frank has so nobly sought to help – is not so great a need as the 3 greater needs I mentioned.
    As severely as Dr. Kistler has been wronged and harmed in all of this, this situation is more important in the need of the body of believers and the testimony of the truth we profess. For the testimony of the truth of Christ, for the good of His people who can be harmed by an allowance or acceptance of this great sin, and for the true concern and love for the eternal souls of those who did this, Dr. Kistler should clearly and publicly say the truth that he knows about what has been done in this.
    If fear or favor prevents that, that is sin against the Lord. Fear Him alone, none other, and want only His favor alone. If there is a misunderstanding about meekness and silence, know that this is not a defence of yourself but a truly great need for the body of believers to know the truth in this and to remove this great sin from their midst.
    Am I mistaken? Is there any good reason for Dr. Kistler not to say clearly and publicly the truth of what has been done in this?

  59. Dan K says:

    Watchman,

    “Dr. Kistler has been extremely mistreated and hurt in this situation. What has been done to Dr. Kistler, while no blood was shed, has been a real slaughter. Branded a scoundrel…”

    This post violates your own written policies about the information you will publish. The writer of this post provides no evidence for the serious allegations of sin on the part of Ligonier. These statements are made in the face of Kistler’s own denial. The writer simply speculates that his denial was unintentional or done for expediency.

    Until you practice what you preach don’t expect any support from thinking readers.

    Dan K.

  60. Diane says:

    I don’t know why Dr. Kistler is not saying more – I trust he has his reasons and I doubt we’re actually “owed” the truth by him. I went back to his brief note to Brian at Voice of the Sheep and nothing I read in it persuaded me that a wrong was not done him … at least ethically, if not legally. I can also see why he wouldn’t want to say too much about it, and he certainly wouldn’t want to bring a lawsuit against Ligonier, even if it was legally warranted. But in reading his comments again it seemed to me that what he did not say spoke volumes. I’m open to another perspective, if there is another good case to be made. This is what Dr. Kistler had to say:

    (Brian:) I contacted Don Kistler to get his response concerning his being fired from Ligonier, and he gave me permission to post his remarks on my site. Here is what he said in its entirety:

    Hi, Brian. Thank you for your kind words.

    I don’t know how much help I can be. I appreciate Dr. Sproul for all that I have learned from him over the years about the character of God and His great plan of salvation.

    I also have a great sadness and sense of loss over now having nothing to do with SDG after nearly 20 years. But SDG was the Lord’s ministry 20years ago, it was the Lord’s ministry when we got flooded in Pennsylvania, and it is the Lord’s ministry now that I am no longer part of it.

    I trust He will give you wisdom in your decisions.

    All good wishes,

    Don Kistler

  61. Corey says:

    Dear Frank,

    I was recently told about the Ligonier scandal through a friend (who is now a former Ligonier supporter). I’ve just spent some time on your blog and must commend you. I hope to offer a few words of encouragement. But mostly, one of the stories has compelled me to write you.

    You see, I work as a consultant primarily in politics. We report on issues that no one else will and have exposed several insider “deals” by politicians affecting constituents within our given issue. My family and I have come under surveillance from private investigators (among others) as a result. Upon reading that Ligonier had openly admitted to hiring a PI to find you, I was more than upset (I, too, am a former supporter of Ligonier and RC Sproul). Based on my experience over the past three years, it’s hard for me to imagine something more sleazy than hiring a private investigator. I have A LOT of experience with this. People who find themselves under surveillance find themselves being physically “stalked.” Imagine trying to raise a daughter while strange men and women follow you and your family into shopping malls, the grocery store, on family trips, to your children’s events — even in your own yard, at home, where one is supposed to feel safe.

    Just a word of caution: If a PI does find you, expect the surveillance to continue (it’s often very overt and obvious and used as intimidation). Do not — I repeat, DO NOT — believe that once papers are served their use of the PI will stop. It will likely escalate. It did in our case.

    RC Sproul should be ashamed of himself.

    As you probably know, the puritans — John Owens comes to mind — found themselves often being “watched” by the king’s men, particularily after being dejected from pulpits (of course they preached anyways, often from their own homes).

    This “legalized stalking,” like the lawsuit Ligonier filed against you, is completely inappropriate and brings in another aspect of Ligonier’s lack of trustworthiness. Ligonier and RC Sproul seem to be behaving like a law unto themselves – purely tyrannical. Has anyone asked RC Sproul what his mentor John Gerstner would have said about his behavior?

    The Bible even talks about neighbors spying on neighbors in times of judgement (not commendable activity to say the least), in addition to Christians being prohibited from sueing Christians.

    But here’s the good news: The fact that Ligonier has admitted to paying a PI to spy on you, proves to me you’re hitting a raw nerve and touching on the truth. Mostly, it shows they are grasping for straws to shut you up because you are being effective.

    So stay the course.

    I pray your courage and bold reporting, by God’s grace, continues.

    Corey

  62. Frank Vance says:

    Thanks Corey for expressing your concerns. As you know the Sproul cabal was unsuccessful in finding me with their private detectives.

    However, now that Ministry Watchman has turned its attentions to Doug Phillips things are likely to get far more intense. Even though I’m not writing the Phillips’ stories I could very well get caught up in it as Phillips sends forth his own spooks.

    Please keep us all in your prayers.

  63. Lig Supporters are from Mars says:

    Dan writes: This post violates your own written policies about the information you will publish. The writer of this post provides no evidence for the serious allegations of sin on the part of Ligonier.>>

    Read the whole site. The sins of Ligoneir extend way beyond Kistler. The whole Kistler debacle just brought them to light.

    Dan also writes: “These statements are made in the face of Kistler’s own denial. The writer simply speculates that his denial was unintentional or done for expediency.>>

    What has Kistler denied?

    Dan: “Until you practice what you preach don’t expect any support from thinking readers.”

    You better get your thinking cap on, you forgot to wear it when writing this comment. :o)

    And if you so choose, then please by all means, support Ligoneir in their mansions and high salaries not to mention the filing of an unbiblical lawsuit. Maybe you can get a job there and learn more Sproulian principles…or do you already work there?

  64. praying and thinking says:

    To Dan K.: Have you read all the articles and Comments on the Ligonier situation posted from May until now? There is an abundance of proof, what you call “evidence for the serious allegations of sin on the part of Ligonier.” Briefly, if one mentions that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and if another argues, “I don’t believe that, you have not proven that, and no one has adequately demonstrated where the west is,” it is not right to try to prove to another that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Or similarly to try to prove (after an abundance of proof has been provided) that the British pound has gained in value against the U.S. dollar since 2002. Or that New Orleans was flooded by a hurricane in 2005. There is an abundance of proof. What a tragedy this is. God loves the truth, and the one who loves God loves the truth. Corey, thank you for what you wrote. “. . . for Thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” end of Psalm 4:8

  65. Frank Vance says:

    Today Dr. James White made a comment on his blog regarding Don Kistler:

    I have been noting the ministry of Don Kistler since our cruise because 1) he impressed us all so much with his presentation on buying the truth and not selling it, which was almost prophetic in light of the fact that 2) since the cruise he has been grossly mistreated by those who should know better, and I would like to see the people of God bless the man for his integrity and faithfulness in the face of undeserved adversity. So stop by and pick up some teaching CDs for yourself and others.

    I wish I could agree with Brian Thornton’s assessment of this “public defense” of Dr. White’s. While I respect James White I don’t believe his statement goes nearly far enough. He doesn’t even mention Ligonier by name. He also fails to mention that Don Kistler has lost his ministry to Ligonier, a ministry that he devoted some twenty years of his life to.

    This is the best that our Reformed leaders can do to come to the aid and defense of a fellow Reformed minister? I’m not impressed.

    Brian is still looking for answers. The answer is very simple Brian. It’s called total depravity. Some of the men that you’ve idolized for years are totally depraved, and that includes RC Sproul. Up until recently I thought the problem was Tim Dick, but now I know that the problem actually goes all the way to the top.

  66. Truth Seeker says:

    I doubt White will ever mention Ligonier. If pressed, he would probably say Kistler was mistreated by MW. That is how these things work when you live off donations. People tend to forget that…it’s all about money.

  67. IdeasConsequences says:

    Like others have expressed, I too wish that Dr. Kistler would speak frankly and at length about his relationship with Ligonier, his contract negotiations and his subsequent firing – a full disclosure from Dr. Kistler should provide needed first-hand information to confirm or silence speculation about how he lost SDG and his relationship with Ligonier. While I know Dr. Kistler, I know him in his professional capacity which provides little insight into how Dr. Kistler might deal with disagreement, controversy, misunderstanding, dishonesty or how failing health might affect his judgement in handling such obviously stressful and diappointing circumstances that have surrounded his SDG transfer, employment and relationship with RC Sproul and Ligonier. I have found out from a long time Kistler friend and previous SDG board member, however, that the Kistler he knows would likely never discuss his disagreement with another believer publically, especially disagreement with someone whom he so respected – R.C. Sproul. Additionally, with the now documented propensity of Ligonier to sue anyone who might blow the whistle on their misdeeds and threats to employees or former employees if they speak about Ligonier and how it is managed, Kistler may well be afraid to speak.

    In my conversation wiht this Kistler friend and former board member about Don Kistler, the person, I found the information provided very enlightening as to how Don Kistler may have lost SDG and his employment. I must point out, this Kister friend was speculating based upon his long time knowledge of and association with Don Kistler. If he had spoken directly with Kistler about this matter, he did not indicate it. My discussions clearly confirmed, however, Kistler’s joy and hard work with puritan literature and how he virtually single-handedly has restored many fine works long out of print and (almost) forgotten – information known widely by many who appreciate it even more than I. However, some insight was also gained into Kistler’s normal manner of doing business. Apparently, Kistler is not one who puts much faith in written contracts, having an attitude that it more important to trust those with whom you deal. Therefore, according to this former board member, Kistler could be accurately accused of being somewhat neglectful relative to business details and documenting agreements and commitments. He seemed all too comfortable relying upon verbal agreements with those that he trusted, I was told – which seemed to frustrate this former SDG board member. Further Kistler was described as meticulous in his research of the puritan authors and their writings but almost absent-minded about the business of SDG. I was told that Kistler had longed to have the burden of business associated with the SDG ministry assumed by someone else such that he could devote his time to the ministry of SDG. Further that he (Kistler) thought he had found a near ideal solution that would insure the long term survival of SDG’s work, remove the burden of SDG “business” that had been such a distraction for years, provide financial stablity and significantly – provide an official association with his friend, R.C Sproul & Ligonier. I was left with a comment by this long time friend of Kistler and board member of SDG that he could easily believe that Kistler might not have either fully read or understood what he was signing when he signed away SDG – and as such, that his opinion was that there was probably enough blame that both Ligonier and Kistler could be found at fault. Kistler’s faults being his inattention to “business” details, his naivete to just trust that Ligonier would do right by him and SDG – and with Ligonier’s faults, those of Sproul, Dick and Ligonier likely as chronicled here and elsewhwere.

    Taking what I heard of Kistler’s business practices and naivete and what I know of the eithics of Tim Dick, I could easily conclude that Dick saw a valuable asset in SDG that could easily be gained by Ligonier and that it would only require a small and disappearing carrot. Maybe, in the near future, we will have a first-hand account of just what was promised, what the verbal agreement was (& if it differed from the writtten contract) and if Kistler’s firing was just part of Dick’s plan all along.

  68. Frank Vance says:

    Brian Thornton has posted a new article about Ligonier’s firing of Don Kistler. I’m glad that Brian has decided to do a little independent investigation of the matter, which is more than I can say for the vast majority other Ligonier fans who are choosing to turn a blind eye to this great injustice. However Brian is still unwilling to call a spade a spade. The best that Brian can say is:

    These statements seem to indicate that the goals and purposes of Ligonier and those of Don Kistler are quite similar. If these are truly the interests of Ligonier and Don Kistler, then I would like to know how Don’s website and CD’s conflicted with the interests of Ligonier Ministries. I think it is a fair question. I also think it is reasonable to question the manner in which Don was treated thoughout his termination. My concern is that Dr. Kistler has been treated worse than an employee of a secular company. He is a servant of God; a co-laborer for Christ. Ligonier is a Christian ministry, and as such I would have expected better treatment for a fellow brother in Christ.

    Brian is also unwilling to go on the record over the matter of his financial support to Ligonier, leaving us to guess (not that that’s a hard guess to make).

    I find it ironic that a guy like Brian wouldn’t name his “variety of sources,” and this after he makes yet another one of his snide remarks about me, “Please take note that none of what I am about to say comes from anonymous sources.” My sources have names Brian, but apparently just like your sources they prefer that their names not be used. You’ve repeatedly demanded the names of my sources, even though it’s been explained to you that I gave my word to them of confidentiality. Yet you badgered me anyway, as though you expected me to violate my word.

    Brian has been one of my most outspoken critics, and one of the things he’s criticized me for, both publicly and in private emails, is over the fact that I’ve protected my sources by not naming them. But I’m not about to ridicule Brian for not wanting to name his sources. As I already know too well this is a very delicate situation. No one is willing to go on the record. If they were I’m sure that Brian would have named his sources. Rather than ridiculing Brian for maintaining confidences I’ll acknowledge that he acted prudently in this. But at the same time I must point out that Brian is now the hypocrite for having publicly mocked me for the very same thing which he is now doing.

    I also find it amusing that every time that Brian writes about Ligonier and Don Kistler he feels it necessary to backhand me with some snide remark about “anonymity.” Brian is perfectly aware of my situation, and the fact that Ligonier has threatened to sue me again. He has no idea whether I’m using an alias or not, anymore so than anyone else who’s made that unfounded accusation. Brian is quite aware that per my attorneys’ advice I can’t say who I am, where I am, what church I’m a member of, or whether I’m using an alias or not. So once again Brian makes accusations against me without proof. But given Brian’s lack of regard for justice I’m not surprised.

  69. Frank Vance says:

    About three hours ago I attempted to post a comment on Brian Thornton’s blog. Thankfully Brian recently started moderating his comments. In my view it’s much better etiquette to moderate comments and not approve the comments you don’t want than it is to have unmoderated comments and then come through ala Gen. Sherman slash and burn anything that stands in the way of your agenda (like the 9 comments referenced above that Brian deleted in one fell swoop).

    I didn’t really expect Brian to approve my comment, so I sent it to him in an email. It’s clear from the response I got that he’s not going to address my questions. So I’ll just post them here for everyone else’s consideration:

    Let me commend you Brian for taking some time to investigate Don Kistler’s firing. You’ve at least done more than a lot of the other pro-Ligonier bloggers, practically all of whom have turned a blind eye to this grave injustice. It’s certainly true when you say, “…Dr. Kistler has been treated worse than an employee of a secular company.” But that’s also not the tenth of it.

    Brian you say, “Please take note that none of what I am about to say comes from anonymous sources.” Yet you haven’t named any of your sources Brian, which is the same thing as your sources being anonymous. Are you willing to name your sources? If not why not?

    Lastly Brian let me convey that I find the obvious pleasure that you take in repeatedly slamming me for some alleged “anonymity” troubling. You don’t know whether I’m using an alias or not, but here’s what you do know:
    1. You know of the legal threat that Ligonier will sue me again if they can track me down.
    2. You know of the advice of my attorneys that I not disclose my whereabouts, my church membership, or any other personal information.
    3. You know that my legal counsel have advised me to neither admit nor deny that Frank Vance is my given name, or whether Frank Vance is an alias.

    All that uncertainty and speculation about who Frank Vance is and where he is gives me a strategic advantage, and it’s not one that I’ll be giving up, regardless of how much and how often men like you publicly mock me. Regardless of your opinion on the matter I have no moral, biblical, or legal obligation to hand myself over to those who would do me harm.

    Frank

  70. Nice piece of fluff about me, Frank.

    I am not asking you to reveal your sources, I am asking you to reveal yourself. The comments in my post about anonymity were not directed at your sources, but at YOU. Anyway, my current post is not about you, it is about the treatment that Don Kistler received when he was terminated by Ligonier, and the conflict of interest reason being given for that termination.

    ps. When has anyone ever asked me about my financial support to Ligonier? If that question has been asked, I can’t recall it. Not that I would divulge that info anyway.

  71. Frank Vance says:

    Brian you’re welcome.

    You’ve asked about my identity many times, and you can keep asking all you want, and you can keep badgering and mocking me all you want. My answer will always be the same: “It’s none of your business.” You’ve also alleged many times that I’m using an alias. You go right ahead and continue saying that if you like. You’re certainly not hurting my legal position by saying so.

    Brian please don’t insult my intelligence, or the intelligence of my readers, with your excuses now over what you supposedly meant to say about anonymity. It’s only too plain what you meant.

    It’s also plain what I now mean when I call you a hypocrite for failing to disclose your sources when you’ve badgered and mocked me for not publicly disclosing my own sources. So are you going to disclose your sources? If not why not? Could it be that maybe you actually have a good reason for not disclosing your sources (like maybe what they told you they shared in confidence)? Could it be that maybe the reason I’ve never disclosed my sources is for the very same reason and that now maybe you owe me an apology for repeatedly mocking me for keeping my word to my sources?

    Glad you at least stopped by though. As you can see I’ve extended you a courtesy that you don’t extend to me or to anyone who disagrees with you, particularly when it comes to Ligonier. Since you don’t want to answer my questions on your own blog are you willing to answer them here?

  72. APV says:

    Watchman-Frank,

    There is a fairly obvious and simple explanation everyone seems to be overlooking, day after day.

    If Kistler, himself, was the one privately accusing Ligonier of fraud (for reasons unknown to any of us) and that allegation was false, this would explain everything that has happened in this story.

    Kistler’s private allegations made their way to Frank, Frank assumed they were true and began reporting this story. Frank has interpreted everything Ligonier has done in light of that supposed credible information. Kistler was terminated (perhaps for other unknown reasons as well) and Frank is still charging Ligonier with fraud, which was never committed.

    Kistler could be unwilling to say anything further at this point because he knows his original, private accusations were false. There is no other explanation for his silence. Fear of legal entanglements doesn’t suffice as an explanation because if he was, in fact, defrauded and then terminated unlawfully he would be in an advantageous position with nothing to fear, legally or morally.

    Keep in mind there has been a public denial of fraud, by Kistler himself, and several blog comments, by him, in which he in no way insinuates that Ligonier has defrauded him. He only laments not being in his previous position.

    This would also explain Ligonier’s silence throughout the entire ordeal.

    Tim Dick could have been avoiding a denial with Frank, in the beginning, simply as a method of verifying where the fraud charge was really emanating.

    As to the withdrawal of the suit, it may be that when Ligonier determined it was actually Kistler who was the source of the fraud theory, this prompted Ligonier to withdraw the legal action without any further acknowledgement or interest in you, Frank.

    Such a revelation, along with whatever other unknown issues might have contributed, could have caused Kistler’s ultimate demise.

    Frank, it may be that you’ve thought you were doing the right thing all along but what you were doing, in reality, was aiding the efforts of a discontented man who involved you in an untruthful enterprise.

    The only thing you should be concerned about is whether your moral and legal case crumbles under the weight of Kistler’s dishonesty (if indeed he could be shown to have been dishonest). This would, in effect, make you quite vulnerable to charges of slander and libel for which you have no real excuse or counter claim.

    If Ligonier possesses evidence that Kistler, in fact, lied or falsely accused them of fraud it will have actually proven them to be extraordinarily gracious, enduring the allegations made often on this blog, patiently and quietly, and terminating Kistler without disgracing him.

    Ligonier would be under no obligation to publically speak about such evidence, for their own privacy and that of Kistler.

    The simplest explanation is usually the right one.

    Another Point of View

  73. mosaic says:

    From Brian’s list of facts about Don’s firing…

    Don violated Ligonier’s ‘conflict of interest’ policy, so his termination was ‘with cause’. Ligonier’s policy does not define what a “conflict of interest” is. The policy just states that there can be no conflicting interests.

    This is no surprise that the policy is not stated and ill-defined. This has been a long standing tactic of Ligonier in their human resources policies, so that leadership can make the policy mean whatever they say it means.

    I do wonder if Don sued for wrongful termination whether a policy as flimsy as this would stand up in court. Oh, wait, I’m forgetting that Christians aren’t supposed to sue Christians.

  74. Truth seeker says:

    Brian writes on his blog: “Ever since finding out this news, I have been trying to get enough insight and counsel to make an informed and well-discerned decision as to what my reaction should be with respect to my continued and future support of Ligonier – both monetarily and otherwise. >>

    I am totally confused. Why does Brian need counsel on what to think about facts? Would he take counsel from Sproul right now on what to think about Hank Hanagraff?

    Brian writes: “Please take note that none of what I am about to say comes from anonymous sources. I have been deliberate in making sure that I don’t base any reaction of mine on “Frank Vance” or anyone else who won’t reveal their true identity. Until “Frank” comes forth with more than words, and under his own real name, I will not take anything he or anyone else says on his site with much credibility. This whole issue is too important for the body of Christ to hide behind a false name while making accusations. What he is saying may be true; I don’t know. But I will not consider it until I know who I’m dealing with.”

    The lawsuit is not true? The high salaries are not true? The heathen grandson on Ligonier’s payroll is not true? The firing is not true? Gee whiz, what more do you need? I could go on and on but you get the picture. I think Brian is waiting for someone influential to tell him what to think. Ergo his plea to Dr. White and desparate attempts to find someone he thinks is godly to tell him. He thought that of Sproul for the last year!

    Brian you put Frank down about verifying his name and allude to that being cowardly, yet you, a grown man are going to mere men to find out what to think about facts. Go figure. Quite frankly, you have come off quite conflicted. At least Challies is happy in his ignorance and does not seem to waver about believing the lies and deception he was fed by Ligoneir.

    Brian writes:. “I am listening to people who I consider to be concerned with the glory of God in everything they do. I am convinced that those who I have discussed this with are seeking to honor Christ in their words and deeds, and it is because of that that I believe I can make a judgment call as to what my position will be toward Ligonier, again barring any new information that is released that would change my view.”

    Words from ‘mere men’ are what you need to make a judgement call with all facts that have been presented? Perhaps you should speak to Ligoneir attorneys, too. I am sure they consider themselves godly men.

    You have defended Sproul for the last year as a man seeking to honor God in words and deeds and this was after the defrocking of his son and after he defended the defrocking of his son. And after you saw the salaries, etc. etc. See how this works? All of us have been let down by mere men we thought were godly. Some of us learned the lesson and put our trust in the Lord instead.

    Paul Washer had an excellent insight to this in one of his sermons. I am paraphrasing but here it is: He said that if John Piper came into the building where he was, he would go out the other door. Here is why: He really loves and respects Piper too much and FEARS that he will elevate him and his teaching above his own study of scripture with the Holy Spirit.

    Let us give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to convict us of the truth of scripture! Do any of us realize how true that is? We say, Sproul said this about Hebrews or McArther said this about 1 Corinthians. Why don’t we ask the Holy Spirit to teach us?

    I know that God uses teachers and preachers. I am not denying that. I just think we have elevated some of these mere men to a place where we have to go and see what they say about something so we know what to think. Even before we pray for the truths in scripture to be illuminated to us by the Holy Spirit.

  75. praying and thinking says:

    Brian, I am not writing this in a hostile manner, but in an earnest manner, wanting to reason truth. Quite apart from me or from Frank Vance, would you consider these things, to probe whether they are true? Please know that I am not being sarcastic nor pugnacious, but sincere. Have you ever experienced the fierce fury similar to a Bob Jones University or Pensacola dean against an undergraduate senior discovered (or even suspected) to be a calvinist? I don’t mean just glares and verbal attacks, but intense fierceness. Are you aware of the very serious threat to Frank Vance from this law-suit? You have indicated on your blog-site that you have a wife and children. Would you want Mr. Tim Dick, John Duncan, R. C. Sproul, Sr. (and others allied with them or working on their behalf) pursuing you as they have tried and still very much want to do against Frank Vance? Did you read the Comment by “Corey” posted in this same thread (posted above on December 10 at 2:12 P.M.)? If you have not, please do read that Comment. Corey did not write all that can be written in this way. Frank has said plainly his reason for not naming his sources, their request to remain un-named (I suspect for the same reasons, the fierce wrath of Ligonier people against them if they were named) and Frank’s commitment to keep his word and honor their request and confidentiality. You still want Frank to identify his location, etc., but that would completely surrender and expose himself to the sure consequences from Ligonier. Have you considered how you would feel if you and your wife and children were in Frank’s position? Does even the thought of such fierce wrath and consequences against you and your wife and children upset you? Did you withhold your own conclusion in this matter from public knowledge because of concern of possible consequences against yourself or your family if you said plainly what you thought about the profoundly false, evil treatment by Dr. Sproul, Sr. and his Ligonier people against Dr. Kistler?
    I think that the extreme things done against Don Kistler are the more important matter to consider in this situation, but the lawsuit against Frank Vance is strongly worthy to probe. Though I think this is a less important or prominent matter to concentrate on, still very important is the fact that Ligonier has attempted and still wants to sue Frank Vance in court. Frank here and there may seem rough (he’s taken on a hornet’s nest, or sooner a group reminiscent of a gang of Brown-shirts in their attitudes and practices), but a serious reading of all the articles and comments since May show Frank to be a seriously professing Christian, who should be regarded and treated as a brother in Christ. Are you bothered that Ligonier is suing another believer? The claim that Frank is not a believer is a distraction, and — I think — very likely not an honest statement, in clear view of so much evidence that Frank is a serious professor of faith in Christ. Further, are you bothered that Ligonier denied the suit existed when contacted by many people upset about the suit, then they said the suit had existed but was withdrawn when many called the court-house to confirm the matter (and even then the suit was not withdrawn until a week later, and then with clear desire and intention to re-file the law-suit later). These are open facts that demonstrate lies by Ligonier. Do these things bother you?
    Are you bothered to think that Mohler, Piper, Dever, on and on many other Reformed leaders, will continue to speak at Ligonier Conferences or to speak on the same platform with Dr. Sproul, Sr., not addressing this matter truthfully, very effectively tolerating, accepting, or embracing what Dr. Sproul, Sr. and his people have done in this very real slaughter of Dr. Kistler? No blood was shed (though the stroke may be a direct result of fierce pressure and warfare from Ligonier against Dr. Kistler in all of this), but this was a real slaughter of Dr. Kistler. Whether from filthy greed for the assets, or from vengeance against Dr. Kistler’s after he was part of the unanimous vote to defrock Sproul, Jr., or from both greed and vengeance, Dr. Sproul, Sr. and his company (reminiscent of brown-shirts) have fiercely taken down a brother in Christ.
    Completely apart from what you think of Frank Vance or of me or others who agree with what he has presented, please consider these details that I have presented in this Comment.
    Brian, please seek, no, pursue — and don’t stop until you find — the truth in this matter.

  76. praying and thinking says:

    I want to write about Frank Vance. He and I have never met nor spoken. A very great amount can be known about him from the many articles and Comments since May. More than any other person, or more than all the others combined, Frank has brought forward the truth of what has been done to Don Kistler in this. At very real cost to himself. Why? Why take on the hornet’s nest and gang of fierce men? This is not a temporally advantageous thing for anyone to do. This is temporally dangerous and disadvantageous to do. I do not know with certainty, but I think I know why Frank has done this: to help Don Kistler to be restored after what has been done to him, and to call the body of Reformed believers to do the truth in this, to address Biblically what Ligonier has done in this, to expose and reprove their deeds, to call them to repentance. To know what has been done in this matter and to pretend this never was done is as profoundly false and sinful as the original deeds against Dr. Kistler. Frank has done a valuable service (with no advantage to himself but very real cost to himself) to call us to the truth, to call Reformed leaders and all genuine disciples to do the truth toward Dr. Kistler, to address truthfully this evil in the middle of Reformed believers, and to call those who did this to repentance.
    Mohler, MacArthur, Piper, on and on many Reformed leaders, cannot truthfully claim that they have marginal abilities mentally and that they missed all of this. At what point can they no longer say credibly, “I did not realize, had no idea of any of this”?
    God sees every heart. No one deceives God.
    He sees my heart, and I’m the worst sinner I’ve met.
    Frank, thank you for doing the truth in this, and for calling the body of Reformed believers to do the truth in this.

  77. So far, it seems that Kistler’s Solia De Gloria ministry is forever lost to Ligonier. Now, on the surface this seems to match with what Vances’ sources have stated about the contract swap. But my lovely wife kindly reminded me that this doesn’t prove anything, because we have no physical proof in the way of a contract showing the clause present, to then be compared to the actual contract, with the clause removed. Without this evidence, we are currently left to believing anonymous sources, which have been fairly accurate to date. Frank, is there anyway for us to finally once and for all expose the corrupt leaders of Ligonier? How long are Sprouls’ friends going to stay silent?

  78. praying and thinking says:

    Frank, there seems to me to be a blizzard, a thick blizzard, of false premises and false requirements coming against the things you have presented. Brandon, please be assured that I mean no disrespect to you nor to your wife. I assume that you are sincere, and certainly I can also myself miss widely. The lack of paper contracts with the clause printed and then later with the clause removed, the lack of the paper copies does not negate nor even weaken what Frank has strongly demonstrated. Let me use a comparison I used earlier (again, I am clearly not at all saying that the Nazi Holocaust of Jews is the same as what has been done against Don Kistler, not at all). If people say, “Where are the bodies? We require to see and examine the dead bodies of these millions killed before we will believe any of this.”, there are no bodies extant now from the millions whom the Nazis killed. Even if bodies — or ashes — could be found, the same people would say, “Now you must prove that these were truly Jewish victims of Nazis, and not simply elderly people who died of old age.” The absence of millions of bodies does not negate nor weaken the overwhelming evidence and proof that the Nazis killed millions of Jews. My point is, that utter, absolute, concrete proof of every detail is not necessary to know the truth of a matter, and not necessary for a matter to be proven. No, we may not have paper copies of altered contracts, but that is not necessary to know the truth of this matter. Even if there were paper copies, many would require impossible proofs that these paper copies were not fabricated by others, or other impossible requirements of proof. I profoundly disagree with the silence of Don Kistler in this, not to say plainly the truth of what was done, but even the silence of Don Kistler (which dwarfs the absence of paper copies or clandestinely recorded tapes) does not negate nor weaken what Frank Vance since May has so strongly demonstrated with powerful evidence and proof. Rather than requiring impossible proofs not available now, should we not remember and probe closely the abundance of details, overwhelming evidence and proof that we do have?
    Brian Thornton’s requirement that we can only believe those whom we personally know, that the testimony of any whom we do not directly and personally know ourselves is compromised, not proven, and should not be believed: that requirement is nowhere in Scripture. That and many other false premises or requirements do not lead to the truth, but lead away from the truth to lies.
    Sincere people may be temporarily mis-led by false premises or requirements, but the more important matter is this: do they truly love and seek the truth?

  79. Frank Vance says:

    Don’t fall prey Brandon to the arguments of Ligonier’s defenders that because of just this one issue — the defrauding of Don Kistler, that it can’t be proven with incontrovertible evidence, that there isn’t a strong case to be made that Ligonier Ministries is a corrupt organization.

    As you well know Brandon there’s a long list of items that I’ve already exposed regarding Ligonier’s corruptions. What more can I do than what has already been done?

    When Ligonier defenders like Brian Thornton see the mountain of evidence against Ligonier, and the most they’re willing to say is, “Dr. Kistler has been treated worse than an employee of a secular company,” it says as much about the condition of his own heart as it does about how corrupt an organization Ligonier is. Not only is Ligonier itself corrupt, apparently it has a corrupting influence on many of its fans — corrupting in the sense that it causes them to be willfully blind to sin.

  80. Don’t worry Frank. As you well know, I have seen the corruption that you have exposed and what I have researched pertaining to salaries. Why anyone would support a ministry where the president gives himself a 67% raise in 1 year is beyond me. As to Kistler, I would just like for him along with the sources to come out and truly publicly clear the air, but that is probably never going to happen.

  81. Truth seeker says:

    Brandon wrote: But my lovely wife kindly reminded me that this doesn’t prove anything, because we have no physical proof in the way of a contract showing the clause present, to then be compared to the actual contract, with the clause removed.>>

    Here is the only problem with this thought: Kistler was fired and now has nothing of SDG.

    The contract is moot at this point. Kistler probably never dreamed he would need anything but a handshake from these guys. He probably let them draw the thing up!

    What saddens me is that Kistler is enabling sin by not speaking up about what happened. Even if it makes him look foolish for not being attentive to the details of the merger, he needs to say what happened and record his story.

    Keeping silent on these things does not glorify God. Truth always does.

  82. APinkFan says:

    Don Kistler needs to consider the following verses:
    Proverbs 24:24-25 (King James Version)
    King James Version (KJV)
    Public Domain

    24He that saith unto the wicked, Thou are righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:

    25But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.

    The Christian world needs to know that the depraved among us need to be exposed and many will thank him for taking a stand.
    I know it’s tough but SIN must be confronted with truth.

  83. By Pastor Clements;
    I am new to this forum so please forgive any mistakes.
    I would like to remind all readers of a policy inside most organizations that prohibits any conflict of intrest toward the orginization. I am not sure of the depth of Kistler’s outside works aside from Ligonier, but I am sure that anyone reporting on such matters should have all the facts before trying to bring down an organization such as Ligonier Ministries.
    Another matter that lacks information concerning Ligonier is the matter of a land purchase. I have read from an outside source concerning the matter. Maybe if there really is someone who feels so strong against the land deal there hunger for truth would be stronger than fear.
    Could some reporters desire to see a ministry that stands for God’s word fall?
    In a time when so few preach the truth I plead with you to get the facts from the source and not disgruntaled people ony. It is of eternal importance.

  84. Frank Vance says:

    Pastor Brett your comment here, and especially the two additional comments that you attempted to post, and which I won’t be approving, demonstrate that not only are you new to this forum, but you appear to be new to this entire subject.

    I’m going to ask Watchman to address this problem by amending the Comment Rules to prevent these sorts of speculative and ill-informed comments. Before offering comments a commenter should at least make an attempt to inform themselves of the subject.

    This blog is for the purpose of informing Reformed Christians about tyranny and corruption in Reformed churches and ministries. This is not a place for people to carry on endless speculations about things that they haven’t even bothered to investigate. If you have specific and informed concerns and objections then we welcome your comments.

    I do however fully agree with your admonition that people “get the facts from the source.” I’m a firm believer that there are two sides to every story and that people should always make a sincere effort to get both sides of the story. I’ve done that myself in my reporting.

    There’s just one problem though with getting the other side of the story from Ligonier. The “source” lies, and they’ve lied repeatedly, and I’ve thoroughly documented their lies in my articles.

    Lastly, I don’t think it appropriate your characterization that I or anyone else is “trying to bring down an organization such as Ligonier Ministries.” Accountability isn’t about “bringing down” the one who’s being held accountable, and I think you know that.

  85. I would still like to ask, Why do concerned members of Saint Andrews not speak up? It is not my desire to carry on with false accustations or ill informed statements. I am informed enough to know that truth is more important than “church membership”.
    As for your desire to ammend policies against me, is that for anyone who disagrees with you or challenges your sources?
    Please inform me in brief summary of the orgination of such dislike for ligonier ministries. Why them and not some of the other Reform teachers and preachers who profit from their service for the Lord? This is not a conceited question. I really want to know.
    Not only am I new to this forum, subject and style of commenting, I am also new to Ligonier Ministries and need to know. This could be instrumental in my continued support for or discontinued support of Ligonier.
    I also stand firm on the fact many orginizations have policies against going outside to do the same thing while employed by such an orginization. And anyone interested in this subject should desire to know if Ligonier have policies against this. It is not that I disagree or agree with you. I have read several articles you have written and none answer all the questions that you need for me to fully support your actions.
    And furthermore you know full well that a few accustations against a preacher of the gospel in this age is enough to “bring him down”. In our society not enough people get all the facts and for them the seriousness of the charge outways the guilt or innocents.
    Pastor Brett

  86. Frank Vance says:

    I too would like to know why Saint Andrews Chapel members don’t speak up. Why are they eager to email me with their concerns rather than take them to their elders? I’ve asked them this very question. Standard response: “The elders are Sproul’s yes-men. He hand picks them and they do what they’re told. There’s no accountability. It’s not like we can go to anyone else either because the church isn’t part of a Presbytery. What Sproul wants Sproul gets. I’m coming to you Frank because I can’t find any other way of holding him accountable.”

    BTW, I was just informed that Sproul appointed John Duncan as elder. How’s that for accountability?

    Pastor Clement our comment rules periodically get amended to deal with situations often just like this. That includes being asked to answer questions that we’ve already answered. In other words I’m not interested in having my time wasted. Then on top of that you also require, “inform me in brief summary of the orgination of such dislike for ligonier ministries.” No thanks. I’m not taking that bait.

    If you’re interested in determining if Ligonier Ministries is a ministry worthy of your continuing support then do what many thousands of others have already done and read the whole story, not just “a few articles.” After you’ve done that then you’ll be in a much better position to ask informed questions.

  87. jimmy olsen says:

    Pastor Clement, I applaud you for caring enough to ask about Ligonier Ministries so that you can make an informed decision about whether to support the ministry by donation or in other ways, such as attending one of their national conferences like “Contending for the Truth”. So many Christians who donate to ministries don’t care enough or are willingly ignorant of the operation and levels of compensation within a ministry.

    However I agree that Frank’s time should not be wasted by reposting information that is already here on this site and others. All you need to do is click on the “Ligonier Ministries” link at the top of this post and read the articles contained therein. They pretty much tell the story.

    As for Frank or anyone at MW disliking Ligonier or R.C., I can say truthfully that the attitude I’ve seen here is not one of vilification, but one of holding this ministry and others, and those in authority, accountable for their actions. The hope is for repentance and reconciliation, not retribution.

    There are plenty of substantiated facts here. Read them, ask informed questions if you have them, and make your own decision.

    God Bless.

  88. Thing to ank you for responding to all my comments. I amand going to continue reading your articles and become more informed. I realize I have wasted some of your time, and I apologize. I guess I was a little upset to hear about a ministry I have grown to love from a distance is doing the very thing I work hard myself not to do. That is to not consider the views of the church in full. After hearing the many names involved with Ligonier and Saint Andrews elder board you got my attention. I have been invloved with people before who only considered there legacy and allowed it to become a wall of partition between the church and themselves.May God hold all his servant leaders accountable in the place He has placed them. Please forgive my misinformed comments and I look forward to participating in this forum in the future.
    May God bless your efforts, and please accept my apologies
    Pastor Brett

  89. After reading many comments about Kistler I am compelled to add to my other comment. Kistler, as far as I can tell, is the perfect “Joseph” example. He was once loved, then disliked and sold out. Apparantly He has chosen to stay out of the forum, and should be commended for that. Though He has been tossed aside he quietly serves God as always. He has exemplified the picture of a true stedfast servant of God. Not allowing events to interfere with the big picture of this life is indeed a fruit all Christians should pray for. Kistler has proven that He sees the big picture as of eternal purpose, and while others seek fame and fortune he is making regular deposits into the Heavenly treasury.
    May God bless all those who seek God and His will above all other temporary fortune and fame.
    Pastor Brett
    P.S. Why is it we never hear a preacher say He feels God is calling him to a place of service for a “pay cut”?

  90. Onne last comment,
    In no way do I want people to think I have concluded that Sproul and other Ligonier affilliates only seek fame. I hope this will be allowed. I have done lots of research the past few days. I now know why you wouldn’t answer my question ; What is the original reason for such dislike toward Sproul?
    There appears to be a lot of history that for some reason has not made it to this site.
    I will continue to support Ligonier. As for Ligonier staff being complacent ; I sent in an article just this Saturday around 5:00 am. I received a response before lunch. There was continued communication throughout the day. This was from the CEO. Working all day on Saturday, and giving advice to someone he doesn’t even know.
    If you do not allow this I will understand. After all it is not in agreement with most allowed posts.
    Finally,
    Pastor Brett

  91. Frank Vance says:

    Pastor Brett with all due respect you are a self-acknowledged Johnnie come lately. You’ve spent the last few days doing “lots of research.” Pardon me for not being impressed. Now you think yourself qualified to allege that “There appears to be a lot of history that for some reason has not made it to this site.” Yet you fail to specify what “history” that I’ve omitted.

    Lastly, you’re only proving how woefully ignorant you are of the subject by asking the “why do you dislike RC Sproul so much” question that’s been asked of me a number of times before. I’ve never disliked RC Sproul. However, my opinion of him is certainly not what it once was. I do have considerable dislike for the CEO, Tim Dick, with whom you spent so much time dialoguing. I’ve never faulted Tim for being willing to chat. I just fault him for being a liar and a hypocrite. The same goes for John Duncan.

  92. Justice Prima says:

    Pastor Brett- Ligonier lied. Repeatedly. This is not opinion, he said/they said, or questionable at any level.

    What sort of pastor continues to give financial support to a ministry proven to be dishonest to his donors, falsehearted, sneaky, deceptive, and paying its first family nearly 1/2 a million dollars. Why do they even NEED your support?
    How do you intend to face your maker when that day comes and explain that it was good stewardship for you you to donate the Lord’s money to proven liars working at an organization paying quarter of a million dollar salaries to two family members living in the same house?

    and I agree with Vance- if there’s some backstory that you discovered and nobody else did (and that LIgonier hasn’t shared with anybody but you), why not tell the rest of us?

    Did you even READ Tim Dick’s first emails when he contacted Frank in the first place? Those alone would have been enough to cause me to withdraw all support.

  93. jimmy olsen says:

    I now know why you wouldn’t answer my question; What is the original reason for such dislike toward Sproul? There appears to be a lot of history that for some reason has not made it to this site.

    Oh, do tell, Pastor Clements. If you have some knowledge of past actions that would somehow justify the unbiblical lawsuit and the lies told by Ligonier’s staff about the status of the lawsuit, not to mention the firing of Don Kistler, we’d all love to hear it.

    How about we deal with the facts of the case, rather than try to excuse Ligonier’s bad behavior with the excuse that “Frank Vance hates Sproul!” That sort of argument sounds like something I’d expect to hear in an elementary school playground. R.C. himself I’m sure would have something to say about the illogic of that sort of reasoning.

  94. First of all; I have read the official court documents on public record and all the evidence listed. Not much in the way of hopeful reconcilliation there.

    Second; If you are so concerned about the salaries of these good teachers, I ask why? I can see where some people would wonder, but to just agree with your position without asking you and your faithful followers to provide your financial statements for the past ten years would hardly seem reasonable to someone truly desiring the truth. If it is a sin to be wealthy then Solomon would not have built his mansion, the faithful father could not have provided inheritance to his children twice, and Job wouln’t have been blessed with a double portion of things.
    Making accusations solely on salaries is a grave injustice to the big picture. For all of those concerned with the Ligonier salaries I urge you to consider your income to giving ratio.
    Again; I would like to know the official polocy of Ligonier concerning work of similar nature done outside Ligonier by a Ligonier employee. I respect Kistlers work. But I would not want the public to decide Ligonier is completely wrong wihout having all the facts.
    If anyone would like to know more, all you have to do is type Sproul into a search box or Ligonier and your journey for truth will have begun. Blog sites are almost always one sided as I have found after stumbling onto this one. I do understand this is your space and I am thankful for the opportunity to offer a difference of opinion. May we all strive for the truth
    Pastor Brett

  95. Justice Prima says:

    It is hardly accurate to portray the disagreements with Ligonier documented here as
    making accusations solely on salaries.’
    I know my income to giving ratio, and I have nothing to be ashamed of here. Nice piece of redirection, though.

    And nobody has ever said it was a sin to be wealthy. As people have pointed out here repeatedly (and you would know if you had honestly read the information here, talk about being one sided)- nobody would have a problem with the Sproul income, mansion, and home in a gated community if this income was truly from his booksales and actual work in kind. But it’s not. It’s from donations to a not for profit ministry. Those donations come from people making 1/5 of Tim Dick’s salary.

    Ryan Dick’s attitude toward this ministry as a multi million dollar family business that he has the right to inherit is disgraceful and not in keeping with a ministry attitude. He has grown up under the direction of Sproul Sr.

    There is no justification for a NONPROFIT MINISTRY to have Ligonier’s financial track record. But you know that, because you don’t try to justify it at all- you just try to mischaracterize what has been said here.

  96. Justice Prima says:

    If anyone would like to know more, all you have to do is type Sproul into a search box or Ligonier and your journey for truth will have begun.

    By the way, Pastor Brett, you also forget that many of us here are people who *called* Ligonier Ministries and were lied to. That’s a truth you seem to wish to ignore.

  97. Maybe someone can help me. There is a lot of information here. Much of which appears as only speculation. Could you direct me to the particular piece that proves a lie.
    With honest concern,
    Pastor Brett

  98. jimmy olsen says:

    Pastor Brett, I find it interesting that you focus on the income issue alone and don’t even address the “hard” issues here, where there can be no disagreement – that suing a Christian brother is wrong (Tim Dick / Ligonier did that) and that lying is wrong (Ligonier’s staff did that on many occasions throughout the lawsuit’s issuance and final withdrawal “without prejudice”).

    Then add to that the questionable activities of:

    Firing Don Kistler in the manner they did,
    The income of the Sproul family

    Ryan Dick, Sproul’s grandson and Ligonier employee bragging about all the great stuff he will buy when he inherits the ministry

    Allowing defrocked minister R.C. Sproul Jr. to speak at Ligonier conferences

    Withdrawing the lawsuit “without prejudice”, meaning they have reserved the right to sue a fellow believer again.

    The rude and deceitful posts that have been posted here that originated from Ligonier’s ip address

    I could go on, but I have work to do. Seems your occupation these days is to ignore the facts and focus on those that you can try to use to deflect folks from the real issues at hand here. Good luck with that. The truth will out.

  99. Justice Prima says:

    Look at Ligonier’s own statement about withdrawing the lawsuit. Then look at:
    when that suit was actually withdrawn

    Look at the reasons LIgonier gives for filing the lawsuit, and then read the lawsuit itself.

    And remember, again, many of us (including me) read that Ligonier dropped the lawsuit and then called the courthouse for ourselves and were told by the court that not only had Ligonier NOT dropped the lawsuit, but had attempted to get the judge to speed the motion up.

    All the googling in the world won’t change the way that Ligonier shot themselves in the foot with those lies- lies that were easily revealed with a phone call to the courthouse and a look at the dates.

    I guess they were right in their gamble that many of their supporters wouldn’t bother to check those facts out.

  100. Donor no more says:

    Through this website and others, I became aware of the shenanigans of R.C. 2.0; the questional practices at St. Andrews; the extravagant salaries of R.C., R.C.’s wife, Tim Dick; and the questionable business practices at Ligonier. I am very saddened and chagrined.

    The teaching of R.C. Sproul has been of great value to me for my growth as a Christian. I am thankful to R.C. for being God’s instrument in my life. I am grateful to God for introducing me to R.C. Sproul through the Holiness of God series around 15 years ago. However, I can no longer be a financial supporter and monthly partner to Ligonier Ministries and have ceased my donations. R.C. remains in my prayers.

  101. Thank you all for directing me to these items. As a “johnny come lately” it has been difficult for me to tie some things together. This new information will be helpful to me in the future. I would also like to know; Has R.C. commented on any of this? Maybe not here, but maybe in converstion elsewhere?
    Now that I have this information I would like to leave in peace. With that said may we all pray for our fellow Christians. It would be a major oversight to fail in acknowledging our soverign God even in this matter.
    May we now pray for one another so that we might someday pray with one another. I would not like to fail in this important step concerning a ministry that has helped me to better articulate my firm Christian beliefs.
    May God direct them that they will be able to continue this important work, with accountability to God and Gods people. No parting shots here. I will be praying with and for all with great hopes for reconcilliation.
    Servant of Christ,
    Pastor Brett Clements

  102. jimmy olsen says:

    R.C. has not commented here or anywhere else to my knowledge. Unfortunately I believe he has so insulated himself with “yes” men and family, he may not even be aware that this site exists or how Ligonier’s public image has suffered at the hands of its management’s mismanagement of this situation.

    As I have said before, and say again, I believe it will take a supernatural act of God for there to be any real change or genuine repentance. There are some ingrained behaviors that have become strongholds in the lives of these men. Thank God that He is the breaker of strongholds.

  103. a modern voltaire says:

    Does anyone know how Don is physically, where he is and what he is doing? Ligonier clearly came out a huge winner (financially) with the SDG acquisition – see their 2005 annual report for the largest increase in sales and donations in their history – and Don was just so much excess baggage. The beat goes on.


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