Is RC Sproul Jr Just Using Doug Wilson and the CREC?Posted: May 12, 2006 Filed under: CREC, Doug Wilson, James McDonald, RC Sproul Jr Leave a comment
CREC Moderator and “not judicial in nature” Commission chairman Randy Booth has let it leak to the Saint Peter church that their “name-clearing” report will be released on May 20th. We’re all expecting some interesting surprises to come of it.
A lot of folks have been scratching their heads over RC Sproul Jr’s sudden presumed interest in becoming a member of the CREC. Yes, it’s true that since he’s managed to get himself defrocked by the RPCGA there isn’t a legitimate Presbyterian denomination in the world that would walk across the street to so much as spit on RC Sproul Jr if he was on fire. But still. . . the CREC? Could RC Jr really be that desperate?
Even though RC Sproul Jr is personal friends with several CREC pastors, including Douglas Wilson, he’s never made a secret of the fact that he wouldn’t want to be a member of the CREC. He’s held that opinion for a long time. For example, after RC Sproul Jr and Saint Peter Presbyterian Church left the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC) in 2000, RC Jr announced his intentions to go into the PCA. That move elicited a lot of discussion, both within Saint Peter, and from outside Saint Peter:
I recently read of the stir caused in the Westminster Presbytery of the PCA about you joining. I must say I was surprised to see that after leaving the ARP you choose to go to the PCA. I was wondering if you might enlighten me as to some of your reasons for choosing the PCA as opposed to some other Reformed denomination like the OPC or Doug Wilson’s Confederation of Churches whose real name I can’t remember right now, or the RCUS to name a few.
I am a seminary student and am sincerly interested in your reasons for choosing the PCA.
Why the PCA? The best reason is that in this area, that’s where most of the Reformed men are. Since coming here I’ve built relationships with many of the men in the presbytery, and there are many, many very very godly men, men I aspire to become like.The next best reason is that for all its faults, the PCA is still a true church. No church is perfect, and I have wrestled long and hard over this. I love my friends in the CRE (or, also known as the Wilson group), but they have two strikes against them. First, they are almost all in the northwest. It’s tough to have accountability when your brothers are over three thousand miles away. Second, in their polity, the presbytery/denomination does not exercise the power of the keys. The give “spiritually binding” advice, but only the local session can excommunicate someone.The OP’s, I believe, wouldn’t have me. Of course, we may find out that the PCA’s wouldn’t have me either when all is said and done. I hope that helps some.
Indeed, the PCA wouldn’t have him either, and ultimately he wound up in the RPCGA. The RPCGA subsequently thought better of it and found significant grounds to not only usher him to the door, but to defrock him. Ever since then RC Sproul Jr has been looking for a way to salvage his battered image. Enter the CREC and it’s “not judicial in nature” Commission.
Has RC Sproul Jr changed his tune against joining the CREC, a tune that he’s held consistently for years? If he’s changed his tune why hasn’t he stated anything publicly to that effect? After all, RC Jr is renowned for spinning tall tales. It makes sense that if he were now planning on going into the CREC he’d be telling the public, and especially his Saint Peter church members, that the CREC isn’t nearly as bad as he previously said it was. But our sources tell us that he hasn’t been saying any such things at Saint Peter or anywhere else.
So what’s the real agenda? Could it be that RC Sproul Jr is just using the CREC to “clear” his battered name, and that he has no real intention of joining the CREC? If that’s the case then where will he go? Funny you should ask!
For several weeks James Michael McDonald of Family Reformation Fellowship and Marion Lovett of Heritage Presbyterian Church have been quietly soliciting pastors to join a new denomination that they’re trying to get off the ground. James McDonald and Marion Lovett were co-conspirators in RC Sproul Jr’s paedo-communion plot against the RPCGA. McDonald and Lovett bailed out of the RPCGA within days after Sproul Jr was defrocked and immediately began working on getting their new denomination together.
I have it on good authority that McDonald and Lovett issued a standing invitation to Sproul Jr to join their new denomination, Covenant Presbyterian Church Presbytery, some weeks ago. The origins of this “denomination” are dubious, at best. None of the founders are ordained. They left the RPCGA minus their credentials. In point of fact they were deposed, although unlike RC Sproul Jr they weren’t deposed under charges. Are they planning on ordaining themselves? Numerous other questions loom large that challenge the legitimacy of what these men are doing, but we’ll leave those concerns for a future article.
The pressing question right now is what will RC Sproul Jr do about that CPC invitation? As far as we can determine he hasn’t expressly turned it down. Will he, after the CREC Commission “clears his name,” reject the CREC’s offer to join their confederation and then join the CPC instead? Some have speculated he’ll do just that. In fact it’s really the only thing that makes sense.
Though RC Jr has a number of friends and colleagues in the CREC, that hasn’t dissuaded him from knocking the CREC for years as a denominational wannabe, pawning itself off as Presbyterian “confederation” (now there’s a real oxymoron term), with not an ounce of accountability.
We fully agree with RC Sproul Jr’s assessment of the CREC. He’s right on the money about them, and it’s because of that that we’re especially concerned for all those poor Saint Peter folks. We hope that more and more of them continue coming to their senses enough to realize that they weren’t being shepherded by godly servant-leaders, but that they were being subjected to ecclesiastical tyrannies under the RC Sproul Jr autocracy. If RC Jr and his band of bullies were almost able to get away with their abuses against the Austin family and others while they were in a real Presbyterian denomination with a real constitution and real accountability, just imagine how bad things are going to get if they go into the CREC where there’s no accountability at all!
Even for those who know nothing about the CREC, all they have to do is take a look at their so-called “constitution” to get a taste of how fast and loose they play. By comparison to any denomination, including any non-Presbyterian denomination, the CREC’s “constitution” is a fourteen-page joke. RC Sproul Jr is right to criticize them for their total lack of accountability, and for Doug Wilson’s ridiculous claim that he’s a “Presbyterian.” But then on the other hand, in all fairness we have to acknowledge that the CREC isn’t a denomination, it’s a confederation, and it’s perfectly acceptable for confederations to play fast and loose and to have no accountability.
So who is RC Sproul Jr to be pointing the accusatory finger at anyone else and saying, “Those men are avoiding accountability and refusing to submit to godly authority”? Truth be told the only kind of authority that RC Sproul Jr likes is the kind that he gets to wield himself. The way that he jumped ship from the RPCGA, rather than appealing the Declaratory Judgment to General Assembly, and remaining to face the additional charges pending against him at trial, only proves that he’s either a coward, or an autonomist who refuses to submit to authority. So he runs away to his buddy Doug Wilson where he knows he can cut a deal, because he knows that Wilson cares as little for accountability as he does: “Dad said I couldn’t have the candy, so I’ll go ask mom.”
Truth be told RC Sproul Jr is a Presbyterian in name only. There isn’t a Presbyterian bone in his body, anymore so than there’s a Presbyterian bone in Doug Wilson’s body. RC Jr wants that label “Presbyterian” to give the appearance that he’s being held accountable, that he’s under godly authority, that he obeys the rules. It makes for a good marketing ploy — “simple, separate, deliberate” and accountable. But in the same way that RC Sproul Jr calls himself a “Presbyterian,” when he says that he’s “accountable” it’s a complete sham. He craves credibility, a credibility he knows that he could never have in the CREC.
There’s another factor to consider in why it’s likely that RC Jr won’t join the CREC, and why a startup Presbyterian denomination would be so enticing — control. RC Sproul Jr is a control freak. But so is Doug Wilson. RC Jr never has any chance of exercising any real control in the CREC — the control freak slot is already filled. Not so with the newly forming CPC — he’ll be in charge overnight.
So where will it leave Doug Wilson if RC Sproul Jr joins the CPC? It’ll leave Wilson with a lot of egg on his face. He’ll have asked five “CREC Commission” members to have expended a considerable amount of time and effort (including travel time to and from Bristol) on “clearing RC Sproul Jr’s name,” only to see him waltz into another denomination. And let’s not forget all the effort that Wilson and his CREC Commission are expending on trying to get ten Reformed ministers to rubber stamp their “not judicial in nature” report.
If RC Sproul Jr joins the CPC, where will that leave him? He’ll be able to still claim that he’s a Presbyterian (”See, it says ‘Presbyterian’ right there in my denomination’s name!”), but he’ll wind up making a whole bunch of new enemies in the CREC.
Lest we leave any stone unturned, is it possible that RC Sproul Jr might join both the CPC and CREC? The fact that the CREC is only a “confederation” and not a real denomination makes that a distinct possibility, that is if both organizations permit it (which they probably would). He could get his name “cleared” by the CREC, join the CREC in some superficial meaningless capacity so that Wilson gets to use his name for marketing purposes, and then RC Jr could seek ordination in the CPC by some guys who aren’t ordained themselves! Such a deal!
We’re sure looking forward to that May 20 release date of the RC Sproul Jr name-clearing report. No doubt there will be a whole lot in it that we’ll want to comment about. And we’re really looking forward to seeing where RC Sproul Jr is going to wind up. No matter what he does we’re confident that it’ll prove newsworthy.
This article is republished here at the request of the author.