Wednesday, April 03, 2019

RC Sproul Jr Abandons Reformed Faith?

RC Sproul Jr is no stranger to scandal. He's created a great deal of it over the course of his life. If the scandals were to ever subside we'd have nothing left to report and this blog would cease to be relevant or to be read. It would fade into obscurity instead of staying for years in google's top 10 search results for "RC Sproul Jr". A drop in our google ratings would need to be preceded by RC Jr fading into obscurity.

We truly wish RC Sproul Jr all the best... as an insurance salesman, or a realtor, or in lawn care, or some other secular vocation where any scandals he causes won't bring further shame and reproach to the name of the Lord. The problem is that, even though he's repeatedly demonstrated that he's biblically disqualified to be a minister, pastor, teacher, or anything else related to Christian ministry (Titus 1:5-9, 1 Tim 3:1-7), he keeps masquerading as those very things. Until he does as he should have done in 2006 when he was defrocked, and leave Christian ministry for good, we'll have to keep reporting on and exposing his misguided "ministry" exploits.

In light of all the scandals he's caused common sense would dictate that RC Jr would want to avoid public attention. But personal obscurity isn't something RC Jr can abide. His narcissistic personality can't tolerate it. He craves the limelight, the center stage, and so we have little option but to continue giving him the exposure he warrants. This isn't to say we have any intention of reporting on the minutiae of his life (other blogs and social media already do that). Much of his life, although cringeworhty and drama-ridden (e.g. he and his wife's public sniping against his adult children), is better left to others to cover. What we will report on are the things we believe our target audience is needful of knowing, say for example RC Jr abandoning the Reformed faith.

To bring our readers current RC Sproul Jr announced on his Twitter on March 27, 2019, "I am a member in good standing at Pine Hills Church here in Fort Wayne. It is a part of the Federation of Evangelical Churches." Such an admission came as quite a shock to those familiar with the FEC, especially given how proudly Sproul seemed to be making this public announcement.

There are several remarkable things about Sproul's admission. For one thing it's a bit of an alibi, albeit an incredibly stupid alibi, to cover for the allegation that Sproul had previously been attending a Pentecostal church, the Foursquare Life Bridge Church. Dismissing his foray into Pentacostalism with such an alabi is akin to, "I couldn't have murdered my wife. I wasn't even in town the day she was killed. I was in another state robbing banks." 

Needless to say these two revelations regarding Sproul's church affiliations raised some eyebrows, not to mention quite a few questions. Why would the son of RC Sproul, who was brought up in Reformed Presbyterian churches, under the tutelage of one of the world's most brilliant Reformed theologians, and who received his D.Min. from a Reformed Presbyterian seminary (Whitefield Theological Seminary), and who was ordained by three Reformed Presbyterian denominations (ARP, RPCGA and CPC) find himself attending a church for four months that is the antithesis of all that? Pentecostalism, and particularly a Pentecostal denomination founded by a female preacher -- Aimee Semple McPherson -- is the antithesis of the Calvinist teachings and practices of the Reformed faith and the Westminster Confession. It's hard to imagine a church that's any further removed from the Reformed faith than the Foursquare church. It's for good reason many are scratching their heads. People have been looking for answers.

RC Jr has been asked about his Pentecostal church attendance on his Twitter and elsewhere. If the rumors were untrue RC Jr could have just graciously denied it. But instead he's evaded, arrogantly belittled, and even raged against such inquiries. His belligerence only confirms the validity of people's concerns and this has resulted in even more questions.

Rather than calmly denying that he attended a Pentecostal Foursquare church for four months (which it seems he can't do since there's apparently too much evidence out there to prove he did) he uses as his alibi, "I am a member in good standing at Pine Hills Church".

But this only raises a whole new set of concerns. Pine Hills Church is a member of the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches. The FEC is the re-branded Evangelical Mennonite Church. It's roots are in the Egly-Amish. They're not just Baptist, they're Anabaptist, and there are significant differences. For example most Baptists consider themselves to be Protestant. However, Anabaptists would argue they are not Protestant. Baptists are quite often Arminian, but there are also many Calvinist Baptists (John Piper being a noteworthy example). However Anabaptist soteriology largely conforms to Arminianism. Some even refer to Anabaptists as "Proto-Arminian." 

For this reason Anabaptists shouldn't be confused for Baptists. For one thing we can find examples of "Reformed Baptist" churches, but there is no such thing as "Reformed Anabaptist" or a "Calvinist Anabaptist." If RC Jr were to have joined a Reformed Baptist church it probably wouldn't raise any eyebrows since Reformed Baptists are in agreement with the major tenets of the Reformed faith (the Baptist Confession of Faith is remarkably similar to the Westminster Confession of Faith). But for RC Jr to proudly announce he's joined a distinctly Anabaptist sect is extremely problematic. It's hard to draw any other conclusion but that he's abandoned the Reformed faith of his father, and his father's Ligonier Ministries, and become Anabaptist.

How could this happen? What motivated him to do this? Surely there's a back story. We believe much of it centers around RC Jr's remarriage on October 14, 2016 to Lisa Ringel. Sproul's first wife Denise, the mother of his six biological children, passed away from cancer in 2011. Because of Denise's passing RC Jr had biblical justification to remarry, provided his fiance was also biblically unhindered to remarry. RC Sproul Jr was at the time an ordained minister in the Covenant Presbyterian Church. So the determination of whether or not his remarriage would be biblical would need to be made by the elders of the Presbytery who'd ordained him. It's interesting to note that one of the founders of the CPC is James McDonald. He and his wife Stacy had both been divorcees prior to marrying one another. As such the CPC was not inherently opposed to remarriage, provided it met the biblical criteria.

It's alleged RC Jr's Presbytery wouldn't give their blessing to his remarriage due to Lisa divorcing three prior husbands, none of which were allegedly deemed to be for biblical causes (e.g. adultery, physical abuse, etc.). Rather than submitting to the will of his Presbytery RC Jr demitted his ordination, which the CPC accepted on October 4, 2016. Sproul fled the authority of his Presbytery to marry Lisa Ringel. Since demitting his ordination RC Sproul Jr has had no ordination, license, or authority granted to him by any church or denomination to serve as Pastor, Minister, Teacher, Theologian, or otherwise.

Little more than a month after his remarriage RC Sproul Jr self-destructed. He was arrested on November 29, 2016 for drunk driving with two minor children in the car. The result of his arrest, and subsequent plea bargain in order to avoid a potential 7 year prison sentence, was personally and professionally catastrophic. He got off with just a suspended 1-1/2 year sentence, but now he's also a convicted felon. He was forced to resign from Ligonier Ministries and Reformation Bible College where he'd for some years enjoyed a six-figure salary and lavish lifestyle. This part of the story is equally challenging to explain. Why only a month after remarriage, to a woman he ostensibly adored, would RC Jr go on a bender such that he completely blacked out and has no memory of the evening? Why did he risk killing his own minor children by careening down the highways blind drunk with them in the car? Worse yet it's recently come to light, courtesy of a social media posting of one of Lisa's daughters, that RC Jr wasn't just drunk that night. He was allegedly also stoned on opioids that he took from his wife.
"Their dad got a dui a few years back with them In the car, scared for their life, after he took my moms pain meds from a tummy tuck, and blew a .175" 
Again we have to ask how could such a thing happen? We believe Ligonier Ministries' Steven Lawson sums up the crux of the problem well in What Is Self Discipline?:

"Admittedly, personal discipline is not a popular subject today. In our society, any insistence upon self-discipline is largely resisted, even among many Christians. Legalism, they cry, defending their rights of Christian liberty. These free-spirited believers maintain that discipline restricts their freedom in Christ, binding them in a spiritual straightjacket.

"But many of these believers have so abused their freedom in Christ that they have virtually no spiritual discipline. They have swung the pendulum so drastically toward Christian liberty that their spiritual lives are out of balance. Such neglect of self-discipline prolongs their spiritual immaturity, leaving them with little self-control to resist temptation and sin."
Steven Lawson was quite aware of RC Jr's abuses of "Christian liberties." It's likely that RC Jr even served as Lawson's inspiration for the article. He wrote it a mere one month prior to when RC Jr was due to be reinstated at Ligonier Ministries after having been suspended for a year (with pay) because of his Ashley Madison scandal. It might further be said that Lawson's article was even prescient; he wrote it a mere 5 months prior to RC Sproul Jr's felony DUI arrest.

RC Sproul Jr's years of preaching and practicing "Christian liberty," mocking any who questioned his brazen abuses of alcohol, proved nothing more than a cover for his licentiousness. Time and again RC Jr demonstrated his remarkable lack of maturity or self-discipline. What he needs more now than ever is accountability and submission to a team of wise and competent biblically-minded counselors. Such a team also needs to include at least one mental health professional. Sproul also needs an extended time of quiet reflection out of the public eye. Instead he's actively promoting himself and his "RC Sproul Jr Ministries," believing himself biblically qualified to preach and teach. Has he been restored to ministry by any denomination or church body? No. Has he even attempted going through any formal process of biblical restoration? None. Yet he's now actively promoting himself using the titles "Rev." and "Pastor."

Who or what deemed him worthy of such distinguished titles? He pronounced them on himself thus proving he's a renegade, a maverick, an autonomist, without respect for church authority.

Sproul has for many years portrayed himself as accountable to church authority. In the past he's even taken vows of submission. Yet when those in authority over him have attempted to hold him accountable he's consistently evaded and even fled that accountability. Reformed churches in general, and Presbyterian churches in particular, are structured and governed in such a way that accountability is a given. Reformed folks tend to be very proud of the Presbyterian system of accountability, submission to sessions and Presbyteries, Books of Church Order, checks and balances, etc. Sproul himself often boasted of the Presbyterian system and criticized less formal forms of church government. He's been especially critical of Congregationalism.

RC Jr loves the appearance of accountability and claiming that he's under authority because it lends him credibility. Yet when held to account by the system he's taken vows to submit to he's rebelled and repeatedly fled accountability. Sproul loves authority, but only when he's the one wielding it. For him accountability only goes in one direction. It would appear the demittal of his ordination to the CPC was an act of "shake the dust off your feet" against Presbyterianism and the Reformed faith. He's fled to a place where, for all practical purposes, there is no genuine authority that can be exercised over him. He can claim he's "in submission" all he wants, but it's all a sham. He can do pretty much anything he wants and, by his craftiness and audacity, evade accountability. We believe this is a major contributing factor in why RC Jr has fled to the Anabaptists.

Pine Hills Church, like all Anabaptist churches, is "Congregational" in governance. Every member gets a vote, and the bar is set quite low for membership. Quite literally it's a democracy. The FEC Manual of Faith, Practice, & Organization makes that abundantly clear. It's the opposite of Reformed church governance.  

RC Jr has always portrayed himself as being "accountable" and "under authority." In Reformed Presbyterian circles where he's taken vows of submission that hasn't been a hard sell (though in each case he's ultimately rebelled against them). But claiming "submission" to "authority" in a congregational Anabaptist church? He's finding that a much tougher sell.

RC Jr claims to be in submission to a "session" in his church, but Anabaptists don't have sessions. On a practical level, he's not in submission to anyone who has the wherewithal or backbone to discipline him. Even if the Anabaptists ever tried to discipline him (the very thought of pacifist Mennonites disciplining anyone is almost laughable) he could simply evade accountability. His past history proves he most certainly would.

Other factors likely enter into explaining RC Jr's flight from the Reformed faith to the Anabaptists. His pastoring and preaching prospects are tenuous at best in the Reformed world where standards tend to be set rather high (Ligonier Ministries having been the exception, but that was entirely due to nepotism). He can far more easily get away with calling himself "Rev." and "Pastor" among the Anabaptists. They may have some standards, but they tend to set the bar quite low. Also, the name "RC Sproul Jr" is pretty much unknown among Anabaptists. They're less likely to perform due diligence and discover his numerous scandals. From a practical standpoint it makes sense for him to switch from Reformed to Anabaptist. However, from a biblical standpoint it's a disaster in the making that's likely to result in only more scandals, perhaps even much worse scandals. After all, in spite of all the accountability Sproul was under while he was a Reformed Presbyterian, he still managed to create multiple ugly scandals. One can only imagine the sort of debacles he's likely to get himself into as an Anabaptist and an autonomist.

We don't raise our concerns about any of this to incite a Calvinist vs. Arminian doctrinal debate. That's not the point of this article. The point is that RC Sproul Jr was a professing Reformed faith Calvinist throughout his life. He may still be that for all anyone knows. But that's just the problem -- no one seems to know and RC Jr is evading giving any accounting of his actions. RC Jr's conduct in the past 2 years lead any thinking person to the conclusion that, in all likelihood, he's abandoned the Reformed faith for the Anabaptist faith. Logically it follows there is also a possibility he's abandoned Calvinism for Arminianism. If he hasn't then he owes everyone a plausible and credible explanation, not just more evasion and belligerence. Raging against those who question him only confirms suspicions.

Anyone who challenges RC Jr regarding his sudden and seemingly inexplicable metamorphosis he accuses of promulgating "falsehoods." He seems incapable, however, of correcting the alleged falsehoods, and the reason is obvious -- the allegations aren't falsehoods at all but quite true. He then goes on to accuse his challengers of "slander." His wife then follows his example while also ratcheting things up a notch.

It would appear both RC Jr and Lisa need to learn how to use a dictionary. They clearly don't comprehend the definition of "slander." To qualify as slander the allegation must, first and foremost, be false. If the allegations are true it cannot, by definition, ever qualify as slander. By RC Jr's definition pointing out his errors and calling him to repentance is "slander." Rather than responding graciously and humbly to such calls for repentance he's reacted with an how dare you arrogance.

Of equal and perhaps even greater concern is that RC Jr is promoting and positioning himself, once again, for Christian ministry, but without any church authority to do so.

"I exercise no ministry leadership" is a blatant lie. He doesn't have the blessing of any church to do so but the fact is he's promoting himself for preaching, and actually doing a little bit of it here and there, while using the titles "Pastor" and "Rev." all under the moniker "RC Sproul Jr. Ministries." RC Sproul Jr doesn't meet the biblical criteria of what it takes to hold a biblical office as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Moreover, he is disqualified per Titus 1:5-9 and 1 Tim 3:1-7.

If the Anabaptists view it otherwise, and if they see no reason for calling him to repentance, then they deserve him and all the scandals he'll bring on them.

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Saturday, June 09, 2018

RC Sproul Jr Released From Criminal Probation

RC Sproul Jr

On June 1, 2018 RC Sproul Jr filed a petition with the Allen County Indiana Adult Probation Department to be released from criminal probation.

As our readers will recall RC Sproul Jr was facing up to 7 years in prison and $21,000 in fines for drunk driving with two minor children in the car. At the time of his arrest on November 29, 2016 it was determined that he was more than twice the legal limit of .08 BAC (.175 BAC) and so drunk that he was incapable of even standing up on his own to take a sobriety test. He hired one of the best drunk driving attorneys in Indiana, plead not guilty, and asked for a trial by jury. Soon thereafter however he sought to avoid trial by petitioning to have his case referred to drug court. The drug court refused to accept his case because of the two felony charges (only his two misdemeanor charges might have qualified for drug court referral).

Rather than moving forward with the jury trial, RC Sproul Jr in a plea deal plead guilty to one felony charge of the four criminal counts that he'd been charged with. He was sentenced under Indiana statute 9-30-5-3(a)(2)/F6: "Operating Veh. While Intox or Controlled Substance: Passenger Under 18" and given a prison term of 1 Yr 183 Days. His prison sentence was suspended under the terms of the plea deal and he was placed on "1 year active adult probation."

We're pleased to say that, from all appearances, RC Sproul Jr has kept his nose clean for the past year. On June 5 Judge Samuel Keirns granted Sproul's petition and ordered that Sproul be discharged from probation.

No doubt things might have turned out differently had he not sobered up (giving him the benefit of doubt here that he is sober). He might have even found himself in serious trouble had he continued with his life-long obsession of flaunting his "Christian liberty" and promoting "drinking in moderation."

RC Sproul Jr alcohol tobacco and firearms

Sproul's "drinking in moderation" advocacy has always been a complete sham given his long history of alcohol dependency and abuse. Furthermore he's been downright foolish and reckless given that an alcoholic is incapable of honestly defining what comports with "moderation" in the first place. Sproul's life has been one of the best possible examples of how an alcoholic has no ability to gauge for themselves when to say "I've had enough."

We're encouraged to see that in the past year RC Sproul Jr has ceased his public advocacy of "Christian liberty," at least as it concerns alcohol. Very prudent. His new beverage of choice is coffee:

Only up until recently RC Sproul Jr would have instead said, "That odd sense that I've had this same beer before- deja brew."

RC Sproul Jr's beverage of choice is coffee
Many Christians are quite capable of responsibly enjoying the moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages, and they also have a reasonable definition of "moderation." RC Sproul Jr has never been one of them though.

We wish RC Sproul Jr and his family all the best and hope that he avoids for the remainder of his life the consumption of alcoholic beverages and flaunting his "Christian liberties."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

R.C. Sproul Jr. and King David

"King David did far worse. We are sinner's like everyone else, the difference is we're forgiven in Christ. The man has repented and been forgiven. There is not one of us who would like our thoughts put up on a big screen for all the world to see. I'm just glad I'm judged by God and not man."

A YouTube comment posted in defense of RC Sproul Jr.

RC Sproul Jr and King David

For almost two decades RC Sproul Jr has found himself at the center of one controversy after another (not to mention a few scandals, as well). RC Jr has never shied away from controversy. In fact he gravitates toward it and seems to enjoy creating it. He's welcomed the free publicity that controversy garners him. Because of the controversial positions he's taken, RC Jr has found himself regularly featured as the topic of discussion on many blogs and social media.

Refusing to back down in the face of controversy has been one of the things that has earned him so many fans, even though he's the one who has usually been responsible for fomenting those controversies in the first place. Whether it be anti-public school (homeschooling-only), anti civil government, male control and stay at home moms and daughters ("patriarchy"), anti-birth control ("full-quiver"), anti-Sunday School ("family integrated church"), flaunting his use of alcohol and tobacco ("Christian liberty"), etc., RC Sproul Jr has made a career of extremism and fringe causes.

RC Sproul Jr could have found ways of expressing his opinions diplomatically, reasoning with and exhorting his audience respectfully. Instead, he's often been self-righteous, sanctimonious, dogmatic, and demeaning of all contrary opinions. This then affords him the added bonus of being able to play the victim when he's attacked for the positions he's taken and the obnoxious ways he goes about expressing them. His willingness to speak out forcefully in support of fringe positions has earned him the admiration of an element of the church who have felt disenchanted with, and disenfranchised from, mainstream Christianity.

Unfortunately, his fans have often shown a remarkable lack of discernment for knowing where mere controversy ends and scandal begins. They've seemingly grown so used to defending RC Jr over his controversies that they lack the ability to cease defending him when prudence dictates they should. They fail in asking themselves some obvious questions, such as: Is this topic/situation about a mere controversy or is it about sinful behavior? If it's about sinful behavior should I be defending RC Jr and thereby be deemed guilty of defending sin?

Several of RC Sproul Jr's sinful scandals have been so egregious that they became very public, being published in numerous Christian periodicals and blogs, and even in mainstream media sources. Examples include:
  1. His defrocking in 2006 for, among other things, "abuse of authority in an inexcusable manner" (i.e. ecclesiastical tyranny) against multiple families in his St. Peter Presbyterian Church, "a consistent pattern of duplicity"stealing the tax ID number of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC), and other serious charges that he plead guilty to in order to avoid being put on trial for numerous additional charges, such as drunkenness and plying minor children with hard alcohol. 
  2. His Ashley Madison scandal in 2015.
  3. His drunk driving scandal in 2016.

In the first two cases there were a number of his loyal fans that wrote blog articles in his defense, and hundreds more that posted supportive comments to those articles, as well as comments to what few negative articles there were (as well as to YouTube posts). Things, however, did begin to change a bit with RC Sproul Jr's drunk driving arrest and felony conviction, something which even his most ardent supporters found difficult to defend. With his felony DUI conviction there may not have been any supportive articles (all news and blog articles were less than flattering). However, there still were dozens of comments posted to those articles by RC Jr fans who attempted to minimize the seriousness of his egregious actions of driving drunk with two minor children in the car, and a blood alcohol level of over .175 -- more than twice the legal limit of .08 -- enough that normal people (anyone lacking the high tolerance from decades of alcohol abuse) would have passed out long before.

RC Sproul Jr is hardly the first preacher to find himself at the center of a scandal or two. In fact almost everyone can name some names of scandal-embroiled preachers. In most cases when a preacher is outed for egregious misconduct he quietly withdraws to private life, usually for good; and this is as it should be. However, there are exceptions, and those exceptions almost always heap scandal upon scandal -- the original scandal itself, and then the added scandal of that preacher refusing to leave, thinking himself qualified to return to ministry, when all the evidence shows he just needs to permanently depart. Such has been the case with RC Sproul Jr.

Yes, RC Sproul Jr. was suspended from his positions at Ligonier Ministries and Reformation Bible College over his Ashley Madison account. But that turned out to be a golden parachute suspension -- a paid vacation. The Ligonier Ministries board of directors, controlled by his mom and dad, suspended him with pay to the tune of a six-figure salary, all at the expense of Ligonier Ministry donors. Then after ten months right back into his former positions he went, all aided and abetted by his family connections at Ligonier Ministries.

With three major scandals under his belt so far there's still no indication that RC Sproul Jr intends to leave ministry for good, nor that his family connections won't result in some new position at Ligonier Ministries once the shock over his latest scandal subsides. Certainly he's made no announcement, either publicly or even privately, that he intends to leave the ministry for good. In all likelihood RC Sproul Jr has already planned his comeback. That concerns us greatly, but that concern would be somewhat abated if there were an indication that he didn't still have an enabling fan base. Unfortunately, even with his drunk driving conviction there is talk of "restoring him."

RC Sproul Jr has not repented of any of his egregious and very public sins and transgressions, so restoring him to a position of leadership is getting the cart before the horse. It shouldn't even be a consideration to anyone, but for some it is. Even in the event that someday he does make public confession of his public sins, and even if he does make restitution to the many that he's harmed, injured and abused over the years (for that too is biblically required, and even Alcoholics Anonymous requires it), would that alone qualify him to return to ministry? It would not. However, his manifest disqualifications aren't about to dissuade him or his enabling family members.

RC Sproul Jr and Jimmy Swaggart
With the self-deluded doggedness of a Jimmy Swaggart,  RC Sproul Jr has conned himself into believing that, regardless of any misconduct, he will always be qualified to be a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

RC Sproul Jr. is manifestly disqualified from Christian ministry, and that fact has been well established, and very publicly so, particularly since 2006 when he and his cohorts in ecclesiastical tyranny were defrocked by their Presbyterian denomination:
"Most importantly, their actions manifest that they lack the qualification for the ministry (1Timothy 3:1-7). It would be unwise to allow these men to continue to hold an office for which they are not qualified."
That, however, did not stop his family, pastor buddies, and devoted fans from rushing in to lend him cover. In addition to his father RC Sproul Sr who called the charges "fraudulent" (charges which RC Jr had already pled guilty to) most noteworthy of his enablers were Doug Wilson and Doug Phillips, both of which have since been thoroughly and irreparably disgraced by sex scandals; in Doug Wilson's case by defending and actively supporting two pedophiles in his church, and in Doug Phillips' case by being exposed and sued by his children's nanny as a sexual predator, lecher and pervert.

Were it not for the encouragement of his devoted fans, and the enabling of his family and pastor pals, RC Sproul Jr probably would have been forced to leave the ministry a decade ago. Unfortunately there are just too many naive Christians who have been eager to sweep RC Sproul Jr's sins and transgressions under the carpet. As Christians are prone to do they usually dress up their excuses in biblical-sounding rhetoric in support of their undying devotion to their favorite religious celebrity. One of their most oft-used biblical examples is that of King David. Here's an example comment posted in defense of RC Sproul Jr, and there are dozens more just like this one:

"King David did far worse. We are sinner's like everyone else, the difference is we're forgiven in Christ. The man has repented and been forgiven. There is not one of us who would like our thoughts put up on a big screen for all the world to see. I'm just glad I'm judged by God and not man."

Anyone who makes such excuses for RC Sproul Jr only demonstrates their ignorance for scripture. Unfortunately such ignorance is widespread. Are we "forgiven in Christ"? Only when we genuinely and humbly confess and repent, something which RC Sproul Jr himself has taught, but something which he has not done for any of his scandals. As we've been exposing here for over a decade, RC Sproul Jr has been abusing alcohol, encouraging others to abuse alcohol (under the guise of "drinking in moderation"), and driving drunk for many years. Is RC Sproul Jr sober today? Has he sworn off the booze as an alcoholic should do? Perhaps. Is he sorry he got caught? Undoubtedly. But does that equate to repentance? Given his long history for proudly abusing alcohol and mocking anyone who expresses concern about it, at best it only equates to regretting being reckless enough to have been caught. Given RC Jr's track record of sham confessions and faux repentance it seems improbable that he's genuinely repented.

Some have asserted RC Sproul Jr has repented. But if so where is the evidence for it? We believe the evidence proves exactly the opposite. One cannot tell lie after lie in their confession, as RC Sproul Jr has routinely done, and then legitimately claim they've repented. An example of this is how he allegedly confessed and repented to his Presbytery in 2006, but then as soon as he was released from their jurisdiction he commenced to slandering them and contradicting the very confessions he'd formerly made. His confession and repentance was proven to be a complete sham in order to escape being put on trial. It was a confession of convenience, not a sincere heart.

A more recent and perhaps even more brazen example of this is RC Sproul Jr's Ashley Madison scandal, a case in which he outed himself, only as a direct result of Ashley Madison being hacked, in order to avoid a much worse scandal had he risked waiting on others to out him later on. He "confessed" on his blog (which he has since taken down) in a highly manipulative way to garner sympathy and even admiration, all the while telling one lie on top of another. As we proved the evidence of his brazen lying about his Ashley Madison account is overwhelming. That's not biblical confession but the ploy of a crafty and sleazy politician. RC Sproul Jr's duplicitous actions leave no basis for interjecting King David into the discussion.

If we elect to make honest comparisons, King David is the example of a man reduced by his sins to a "a broken and a contrite heart." In contrast RC Jr has twisted and perverted confession and repentance for personal advancement and material gain. It was in the context of Nathan confronting David for his sins of adultery and murder that David penned, "a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." (Ps 51:17) Great sin calls for great contrition, and contrition is something that RC Sproul Jr has never demonstrated, only excuses, lies, duplicity, and equivocations.

And as for "not one of us who would like our thoughts put up on a big screen for all the world to see," how does that apply to King David? Oh, right, his sins were exposed to the entire nation of Israel (2 Sam 2:12) and then memorialized in the Word of God for the whole world to read about. God Himself clearly deems it just and appropriate to put the sins of prominent leaders "on a big screen for all the world to see."

Even with David's repentance, and God's forgiveness of his awful sins, God still imposed consequences on David for those sins. God decreed that the child that David had conceived with Bathsheba would die (2 Samuel 12:14). But even much worse than that would befall him:
Thus says the LORD, "Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun." (2 Samuel 12:11-12)
Yes, God forgives the genuinely repentant sinner; but that doesn't mean that forgiveness absolves the transgressor of the consequences of his sins. The expectation that RC Sproul Jr permanently remove himself from any and all forms of Christian ministry is a reasonable and biblical expectation, and certainly a very minor consequence in comparison to what King David suffered.

Why did the Lord impose such harsh consequences on David for his sins even though the Lord had forgiven those sins? Because, "by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme." RC Sproul Jr has repeatedly "given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme." Yet strangely enough there are those who wish to put RC Jr right back into ministry, thereby extending to him yet more opportunities to encourage the "enemies of the LORD to blaspheme."

RC Sproul Jr's defrocking in 2006 should have been enough to prove to his fans, his family, and especially to himself, that he was disqualified from Christian ministry. If wasn't. He made excuses and justified himself. His fans, and even his otherwise very intelligent father, followed his example of rebuffing the clear instructions of scripture. His Ashley Madison scandal in 2015 should have been enough to prove to his fans, and even to himself, that he was disqualified. It wasn't. Once again he made excuses for himself and his fans followed his example. Getting exposed as a drunkard in 2016 and convicted for felony DUI in 2017 should have been enough to prove it to himself. Driving drunk with kids in the car has finally pushed a large portion of his remaining fan base over the line; but it's still not enough for RC Sproul Jr. What line does RC Sproul Jr need to cross -- how severe a transgression must he yet commit -- before he recognizes that he's disqualified from being a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Christian leaders are held to a higher standard and God says they come under a more severe judgment -- by their scandals they give cause to the enemies of Christ to blaspheme His name:
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. (James 3:)
For years too many of RC Jr's fans have shown little if any regard for how the scandals of RC Sproul Jr have given cause to unbelievers to blaspheme the name of the Lord. They've given far more regard to defending the reputation of a man than to defending the reputation of the one they call "Lord." Too many have labored to lower the bar -- the biblical standard of accountability, every single time RC Sproul Jr was exposed in some sinful scandal. They didn't learn to do that from the Word of God. No doubt they learned it from the example of the religious celebrity they admired and followed.

May the Lord God deliver us all of our hero-worship and turn our hearts to rely instead, not on men, but on the Holy Spirit to rightly divide the Word of God for us.

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Friday, June 02, 2017

RC Sproul Jr Pleads Guilty

RC Sproul Jr guilty of drunk driving

Having failed to meet the legal criteria of having his criminal case accepted by the Allen County Drug Court, RC Sproul Jr appeared on June 2, 2017 in Allen County Indiana Superior Court before Judge Samuel Keirns for a pre-trial status conference. In that hearing RC Sproul Jr plead guilty to one of four criminal charges against him:
9-30-5-3(a)(2)/F6: Operating Veh. While Intox or Controlled Substance: Passenger Under 18
His three other criminal charges, two misdemeanors and one other felony, were dismissed under a plea agreement in exchange for his pleading guilty to the one felony.

He was sentenced to 1 year and 183 days incarceration. That prison sentence was suspended and he was remanded to "1 year active adult probation."

RC Sproul Jr was facing up to 7 years in prison and $21,000 in fines. Under this plea agreement  he will face no prison time, provided he successfully completes the requirements of his probation. However, he does now have a permanent criminal record, and a felony record, no less.

No doubt RC Sproul Jr is breathing a huge sigh of relief that he will not have to face a full criminal trial before a jury. That trial had been scheduled for June 6, 2017. The odds of his being able to convince a jury of his innocence was remote.

No doubt he's also breathing a sigh of relief that he won't have to serve any prison time. Now begins the phase of his compliance with the terms and conditions of his probation. Failure to comply could result in his having to serve the original 1 year and 183 days sentence on the felony he plead guilty too. 

At the time of this publication we have no details on what the specific terms of his probation will be. As that information becomes available we'll post it as an update here.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

RC Sproul Jr Ruled Ineligible For Drug Court

RC Sproul Jr
On May 30, 2017 RC Sproul Jr appeared before Judge Frances C. Gull in Allen County Indiana Drug Court to determine his eligibility for the Drug Court Treatment Program. Had he qualified and successfully completed all the requirements of the Drug Court Treatment Program he could have avoided a criminal trial altogether. He might have even qualified to have his criminal record expunged.

However, as we noted previously, Drug Court only applies to misdemeanor charges. Being charged with two felonies, on top of the two misdemeanors, was an instant disqualification. So in our view petitioning to have his case referred to Drug Court had the appearance of an act of desperation.

Not only had RC Sproul Jr decided to get drunk and then drive, he decided to do so after placing his two minor children with him into the car (none of that was news to us -- he's been doing all that for years). Driving drunk with two minors netted him two felony charges, and they are the kind of charges which any judge takes very seriously, including Drug Court judges. As we predicted would happen, the two felony charges disqualified RC Sproul Jr from having his case referred to Drug Court.

So what's next for RC Spoul Jr? A criminal jury trial is scheduled to convene on June 6, 2017. Just prior to that on June 2 will be a Status Hearing before the trial Judge Wendy Davis. In all likelihood RC Sproul Jr's trial will be delayed while his attorney, Patrick Justin Arata, puts in various motions and does some last minute scrambling to put on the best possible case. Perhaps Mr. Arata might also depose the arresting officer.

As bleak as things appear to be for RC Sproul Jr it's likely his attorney will try to work out a plea deal to avoid the criminal trial. To do that RC Sproul Jr will have to plead guilty to one or two lesser charges in exchange for the prosecutor dropping the felony charges. Ideally Mr. Arata might get the Prosecutor to drop the felony charges. However, we're doubtful Prosecutor Karen Richards will go for that kind of deal. The risk of a public backlash, to her as an elected official, is too great.

Drunk driving with kids in the car is the sort of case that has too much likelihood of receiving local press attention, all the more so when the drunk is a preacher. When it comes to putting the lives of children so egregiously in danger it takes very little to ignite public outrage. Whether it be young or old, left or right, liberal or conservative, religious or non-religious, everyone cares deeply about the welfare of children. Those who put the lives of children in mortal danger easily earn the ire of the public. No Prosecutor wants to suffer a public backlash for being perceived as having gone soft on someone whom the public would hold in the highest of contempt.

What's especially remarkable about this case, and therefore makes it even more newsworthy, is that RC Sproul Jr is a well-known and very public spokesman for the Pro-Life movement. He's even raised a lot of money for various pro-life causes. RC Sproul Jr has characterized abortion as a terrible form of violence and a "holocaust" against the pre-born. Yet at the same time he treats his own children with total disregard for their safety, as though their lives had no value.

Drunk driving is a very serious problem that results in many thousands of deaths annually on America's highways, and many more thousands serious injuries, often resulting in permanent disability. Ironically when a drunk winds up killing and maiming others, she or he quite often walks away with few if any injuries. The general consensus of anyone who has been affected by a drunk driver is that they deserve to be imprisoned for many years. That's certainly the consensus of MADD, the largest anti-drunk driving organization in the country.

Unfortunately, drunk driving is so commonplace that the courts in many counties are literally overwhelmed with DUI cases. To cope with the case load the system, quite often, gives first and even second-time DUI offenders a break -- they get no jail time, provided they didn't crash and injure anyone. Much of the public disagrees with this and views no jail time for drunk drivers as a grave injustice. In their view drunk drivers are carnage on wheels, and it's only a matter of time before they kill and maim. No one should have to die before they get locked up.

Any jury that RC Sproul Jr stands before is likely to be comprised of citizens who hold to such views. He's going to have a very tough sell.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

RC Sproul Jr Referred To Drug Court

RC Sproul Jr Drunk Driving

On May 11 Robert Craig Sproul appeared before Judge Wendy Davis in a Pretrial Conference hearing in Allen County Superior Court, Indiana. In that hearing Judge Davis referred RC Sproul Jr's drunk driving case to Indiana Drug Court Treatment at the request of his attorney, Patrick Justin Arata.

What does it mean for RC Sproul Jr that his own attorney, one of the top drunk driving attorneys in the nation, advised him to petition to have his case transferred to Drug Court? It likely means his attorney knows they didn't stand much of a chance of convincing a jury of his innocence. In all likelihood the arresting officer has dash-cam video and audio evidence of the pursuit and arrest. That evidence, shown to a jury, would be damning, not to mention the additional evidence of the blood-alcohol test that showed RC Sproul Jr had a blood-alcohol content of .175 (more than twice the legal limit). The fact that he had two of his minor children with him in the car would have played especially badly to a jury.

RC Sproul Jr's next court appearance is scheduled for May 30 before Judge Frances Gull to determine his eligibility. Not every case referred to Drug Court Treatment is automatically accepted because not every substance abuser makes a good candidate for the Drug Court Treatment Program. Certain criteria first have to be met, and the judge has some latitude in who she will and will not accept. However, one thing the judge cannot do is accept someone into Drug Court Treatment that doesn't meet the legal requirements. From our read of the law RC Sproul Jr does not meet the legal criteria since prosecutorial deferment only applies to misdemeanor charges (RC Sproul Jr has also been charged with two felonies). As such this legal maneuver gives the appearance of an act of desperation, unless that is Mr. Arata has successfully negotiated with the Prosecutor to defer the felony charges conditional upon Sproul's admission and successful completion of the Drug Court Treatment Program. If that's the case then Mr. Arata has been more than earning his enormous fee.

Drug Courts have become very popular among criminal court judges and prosecutors all across the country. Prosecuting drug offenders (alcohol is considered a drug, legally and medically) is very time consuming and expensive, not to mention the considerable expense of incarceration. The outcomes are seldom ever positive. Incarcerating drug offenders costs tax payers many billions of dollars annually and does nothing to help the offenders or their families. Often it just makes the problem of substance abuse even worse.

Drug courts provide the offender a chance to rehabilitate themselves with the aid and supervision of a court system that serves as their ally rather than adversary. Criminal recidivism rates tend to be dramatically lower for participants of drug court programs compared to those who are run through the criminal court process.

Unfortunately there are inherent weaknesses with Drug Court programs, particularly where it concerns alcoholics. For example, Drug Courts rely heavily on periodic drug testing to weed out the non-compliant. While "peeing in the cup" often catches illicit drug abusers it generally is an ineffective means of catching the alcohol abuser. Alcohol is metabolized and eliminated from the body within several hours, whereas illicit drugs often take days, if not weeks, to be eliminated to below detectable levels. Alcoholics also tend to be the last to acknowledge to themselves, let alone others, that they have a serious problem (denial is one of the hallmarks of alcoholism).

Drug Court programs can be highly effective for the sincerely penitent, but they are also far from perfect. For those who want to game the system, just so they can avoid prison, they're likely to get away with consuming their drug of choice on the sly. This is especially true of the alcoholic -- alcohol being the easiest of all drugs to get away with abusing.

If RC Sproul Jr is accepted into the Drug Court Treatment Program, and he's allowed to retain a driver's license (albeit a provisional one which will restrict when and where he can drive), he'll be required to install an ignition interlock ("breathalizer") on his car. But such devices can be circumvented: As the old adage goes, "Locks keep honest people honest." He may also be required to check himself in to an alcohol rehab ("detox") center. But regardless of the expense of an alcohol rehab program, most of them have a high recidivism rate. The court may also order that RC Sproul Jr get a "sponsor" and participate in Alcoholics Anonymous. But such programs are only as beneficial as the willingness of their participants to sincerely seek help. Too many AA participants aren't there by choice, and the odds aren't in their favor of a successful outcome.

As such, the prospects for RC Sproul Jr aren't good. He's been gaming the system for much of his life. He is cunning, duplicitous, and manipulative. If his primary goal of agreeing to Drug Court Treatment is getting off the booze for good then his prospects could be good. If, however, his only goal is avoiding prison, the long-term prospects for he and his family are very poor.

Knowing RC Sproul Jr as we do we believe that, should he convince Judge Gull of his eligibility for the Drug Court Treatment Program, he will likely successfully complete the program and avoid prison. He may even avoid a permanent criminal record. However, we are confident he'll also continue consuming alcohol, something that no alcoholic should ever do. Ultimately RC Sproul Jr will suffer a relapse, be arrested yet once again for drunk driving, and then be put away for a very long time.

The only real hope for RC Sproul Jr is to become the very thing that he has mocked and ridiculed so many for for so many years -- a teetotaler.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

RC Sproul Jr Criminal Trial Set For June 6

On Thursday, February 2, RC Sproul Jr appeared in Allen County, Indiana Superior Court to answer and plead to the following criminal charges:

  • Operating a Motor Vehicle with Alcohol Concentration Equivalent to .15 or More (Indiana Code 9-30-5-1(b))
  • Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated; Endangering A Person (IC 9-30-5-2(b))
  • Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated or Controlled Substance: Passenger Under 18 (IC 9-30-5-3(a)(2))
  • Neglect of a Dependent, defendant places dependent in situation that endangers the dependent (IC 35-46-1-4(a)(1))

The first two charges are Class "A" Misdemeanors, each punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 365 days, a fine of up to $500, or both. The second two charges are Class "F" Felonies, punishment from 6 months to 2½ years imprisonment. The advisory sentence is one (1) year and a fine of up to $l0,000.

In all RC Sproul Jr is facing, as a worst case scenario, 7 years in prison and $21,000 in fines. 

Per the sworn affidavit of the arresting Allen County Police Officer Paul Heffner he observed RC Sproul Jr driving left of the center line, failing to maintain his lane, driving off the roadway, striking a curb, and weaving. He was also driving at 30 mph for at least 2 miles with a flat tire on I-469. When he was stopped, the officer observed that Sproul needed support to walk, he swayed, mumbled and had a moderate smell of alcohol on his breath. A chemical test later revealed his blood alcohol content as 0.175, more than twice the legal limit. He was also arrested and charged with endangering the lives of his two minor children who were with him in the car.

Today RC Sproul Jr pleaded not guilty and requested a trial by jury. The court has set a trial date of June 6, 2017. 

Judge Wendy Davis was assigned as trial judge. Judge Davis appears to be well respected in her community and, among other things, serves on the Board of Youth For Christ. In an interview she gave with the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette she shows considerable compassion for the plight of drug addicts and getting them the assistance they need, rather than just reflexively throwing them into prison. It's entirely possible Judge Davis will show similar compassion to RC Sproul Jr, should he be willing to acknowledge that he is an alcoholic, or at least acknowledge he has an alcohol dependency problem. However, should RC Sproul Jr force the court to go through with a full trial, and then be found guilty of the charges, he may find that her otherwise compassionate demeanor may evaporate.

RC Sproul Jr is represented by Patrick Justin Arata, one of the best DUI attorneys in the legal business, and certainly one of the best in Indiana. Some 70% of his legal practice is taken up by defending drunk drivers. Though Mr. Arata is very expensive he will, no doubt, be well worth it to Mr. Sproul if he can keep him out of prison. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

RC Sproul Jr Charged With Drunk Driving

As we reported earlier, RC Sproul Jr resigned (was fired) from Ligonier Ministries. Now we know the reason why.   

RC Sproul Jr drunk driving arrest

State of Indiana v. Robert C Sproul

Allen County Superior Court 6
Case #: 02D04-1612-F6-001308

On November 29, 2016, RC Sproul Jr was arrested in Indiana for drunk driving with two of his minor children in the car. His blood-alcohol level was .175, over twice the legal limit.

Here's how the University of Oklahoma describes RC Sproul Jr's drunken state:
0.13 — 0.15 BAC: Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. Blurred vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reduced and dysphoria* is beginning to appear. Judgment and perception are severely impaired.
( * —Dysphoria: An emotional state of anxiety, depression, or unease.)
0.16 — 0.19 BAC: Dysphoria predominates, nausea may appear. The drinker has the appearance of a "sloppy drunk."
In The Know Zone describes it this way:
6. BAC = .12-.15 = Vomiting usually occurs, unless this level is reached slowly or a person has developed a tolerance to alcohol. Drinkers are drowsy. Drinkers display emotional instability, loss of critical judgment, impairment of perception, memory, and comprehension. Lack of sensor-motor coordination and impaired balance are typical. Decreased sensory responses and increased reaction times develop. The vision is significantly impaired, including limited ability to see detail, peripheral vision, and slower glare recovery.

7. BAC = .15 = This blood-alcohol level means the equivalent of 1/2 pint of whiskey is circulating in the blood stream. 
8. BAC = .18-.25 = Drinkers are disoriented, confused, dizzy, and have exaggerated emotional states. Vision is disturbed, as is perception of color, form, motion, and dimensions.  
Those who have personally witnessed RC Sproul Jr consuming prodigious quantities of alcohol know that tossing back a 1/2 pint or more of whiskey, on an empty stomach, in less than an hour, isn't unusual for him.

This blog has been sounding the alarm for over ten years that RC Sproul Jr has a serious drinking problem. For the most part those warnings have gone ignored. RC Jr has outright mocked those concerns, including those raised by visitors who voiced objections to RC Jr's controversial approach to Pastor Appreciation Sunday. RC Sproul Jr has literally destroyed the lives of several people that we're aware of, and no doubt more we're not aware of, by his deplorable example in abusing alcohol and encouraging others to abuse it too. He either refuses to see it or is incapable of seeing it. As far as he's concerned he always "drinks in moderation." But given that he has often rendered an opinion on "moderation" while he's drunk he hardly qualifies as an expert on that subject. Some have voiced concern that RC Sproul Jr is likely an alcoholic in desperate need of rehab.

We've long been aware that RC Sproul Jr routinely gets behind the wheel inebriated, endangering himself and the lives of others, including his own family members. It's remarkable he hasn't long ago killed himself and perhaps a few others.

Many members of St. Peter Presbyterian Church, the church that he started in Virginia, and then subsequently resigned from after his defrocking in 2006, often witnessed RC Sproul Jr inebriated, including at various church celebrations (i.e. keggers). It was commonplace at those church parties that minor children were served alcoholic beverages, including drinks spiked with Everclear (190 proof grain alcohol). RC Sproul Jr fostered a culture of heavy drinking at St. Peter Presbyterian Church, not just with church members but also with the pastors he invited to his "Pastor Camps" (open bars were the norm). He was also known to turn a blind eye to drunk driving. For example a young man who was one of RC Jr's personal assistants had lost his driver's license because of multiple DUIs. RC Sproul Jr was well aware of it but raised no objections to his continued driving. After all the assistant still needed to run numerous errands for RC, and a little thing like a suspended driver's license wasn't going to get in the way of that.

Drunkenness was one of a number of formal charges that were brought against RC Sproul Jr in late 2005 to his denomination, the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly. As word of these charges spread a number of other former members of St. Peter Presbyterian Church also stepped forward and corroborated the allegations, including the fact that some of their own children had been plied with alcohol without their consent. These and many other charges were to have been adjudicated by the presbytery in a formal trial. RC Sproul Jr formally confessed in writing of "abusing his authority in an inexcusable manner" (i.e. spiritual abuse), thereby effectively pleading guilty to at least some of the charges. 

"Coming as his own accuser and confessor" the presbytery voted unanimously to depose him from the ministry. Having already made plans with Doug Wilson to make his exit strategy to the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches, RC Sproul Jr pleaded to be released from the jurisdiction of the RPCGA and transferred to the CREC, which they granted. Having no further jurisdiction of him the RPCGA cancelled the trial and permitted RC Jr to transfer membership to the CREC. The CREC allegedly reviewed the charges and held an investigation (an "investigation" in which they didn't interview a single witness who had submitted formal written charges). The CREC ignored the evidence and testimony, including the charges of drinking abuses and drunkenness, and reinstated RC Sproul Jr after issuing a report. Having had his dirty laundry cleaned by the CREC, RC Sproul Jr subsequently departed the CREC to be ordained by the Covenant Presbyterian Church Presbytery. Then he later took his place at his father's ministry, Ligonier Ministries, where his annual compensation quickly rose by 2014 to $279,702, all at the expense of Ligonier Ministry donors. It seemed his troubles were behind him. But it didn't last.

On August 31, 2015 RC Sproul Jr outed himself for having "visited" Ashley Madison. In reality his "brief visit" involved him setting up an Ashley Madison account, including registering his "Affair Limits." All but his most adoring fans (of which he seems to have had many) saw through his "confession" and "repentance" and recognized it for the sham it was. His suspension from Ligonier Ministries was also a sham -- a six-figure ten-month paid vacation -- a golden parachute suspension. 

Even so RC Sproul Jr still retained many adoring fans who were eager to "forgive" and ignore the overwhelming evidence that he was unfit to function as a minister of gospel of Jesus Christ. But then many of them were the same ones who ignored the overwhelming evidence that he was in no way fit as a minister when he was defrocked by his presbytery in 2006. Just how bad does the evidence have to get for some people before they cease their hero worship? Perhaps RC Sproul Jr's arrest for drunk driving and endangering the life of a minor child will finally be the end of it?

The State of Indiana has charged RC Sproul Jr with four criminal counts:

Count 1:
35-46-1-4(a)(1)/F6: Neglect of a Dependent def. places dependent in situation that endangers the dep

Count 2:
9-30-5-3(a)(2)/F6: Operating Veh. While Intox or Controlled Substance: Passenger Under 18
Count 3: 
9-30-5-2(b)/MA: Operating A Vehicle While Intoxicated; Endangering A Person

Count 4:
9-30-5-1(b)/MA: Oper Veh w/ Alcohol Concentration Equivalent to .15 or More

From the records it appears that RC Sproul Jr may have remained in jail for up to a week after his arrest awaiting a bail hearing (although this isn't entirely clear from the court record). On December 7 RC Sproul Jr posted a $5,000 bond. His next court hearing is February 2, 2017. 

We can only hope that he loses his driver's license and is required by the court to enter rehab. Anything less continues to put the public in jeopardy.  

It was obvious to us that the RPCGA had it right when they said in the their Declaratory Judgment of RC Sproul Jr and his cohorts in ecclesiastical tyranny in 2006:
"Most importantly, their actions manifest that they lack the qualification for the ministry (1Timothy 3:1-7). It would be unwise to allow these men to continue to hold an office for which they are not qualified."
Doug Wilson and the CREC ignored that very wise determination, as did the CPC, as did Ligonier Ministries, as did many other ministry leaders who paid RC Sproul Jr to speak at their events. Their collective whitewashing of the scandal-ridden career of RC Sproul Jr served as an example to the church at large. As a direct result too many gullible Christians have been willing to "give him the benefit of the doubt," as though there were some credible basis for doubt.

There are important lessons to be learned here, not the least of which is this: the church of Jesus Christ needs to repent of its idolatrous practice of placing mortal men on pedestals. There is only One who is worthy of our adoration.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ligonier Ministries Fires RC Sproul Jr?

On December 12, 2016 Ligonier Ministries announced that RC Sproul Jr tendered his resignation:

December 12, 2016

Last Friday, the board of directors of Ligonier Ministries and Reformation Bible College received and affirmed the resignation of Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. He is stepping away from his duties at the ministry and the college for personal reasons. This was communicated by phone to his father, Dr. R.C. Sproul, the founder of Ligonier Ministries and chancellor of Reformation Bible College, and it was later communicated in writing to the entire board of directors of Ligonier Ministries.

We support the Sproul family and give thanks for the many edifying contributions of Dr. Sproul Jr. over the years through his work at the ministry and the college. We believe he will be well cared for by his church during this time of transition, and we pray for him in his future endeavors. 
The board of directors for Ligonier Ministries and Reformation Bible College "affirmed the resignation." By definition to "affirm" means "to declare one's support for." In other words Ligonier's board wanted RC Sproul Jr gone. But did RC Sproul Jr himself want to be gone? This seems improbable, and for reasons which will be explained here. As such his so-called "resignation" is equally improbable. In all likelihood RC Sproul Jr was fired; but to make it all look nicey-nicey he was given the opportunity of resigning. However, a forced resignation is, in reality, a firing. As Brent Detwiler put it:
If fact, I highly doubt the resignation was voluntary.  I provided 60 pages of carefully documented findings on R.C. Jr.’s lying, deceit, and hypocrisy to the board of directors and other ministry leaders in April.  I think they “fired” him though it will never be explained in those terms.  
High-placed business  execs, as well as political staffers, have often been told, "We need to terminate our relationship. We're asking you to resign." Implicit in the message is, "We're giving you the opportunity to save face by resigning. If you don't resign we'll have no choice but to fire you. That will look bad for you, but it will also look bad for us because we were the ones who were stupid enough to hire you in the first place. Now just look at the mess you created. So please tender your letter of resignation pronto. And feel free to say you're leaving for whatever reasons you like. If you can't come up with something good then just say, 'I'm resigning for personal reasons'."

In some cases the exec or bureaucrat isn't even given the choice of resigning. It's commonplace, especially with high political offices, that when someone is appointed to direct a government agency, that they're required to sign an undated letter of resignation. You can bet that Donald Trump will make liberal use of undated letters of resignation with many that he appoints. Should the need arise all he has to do to get rid of them is affix the current date on their letter of resignation, and then call them to let them know they've "affirmed" their resignation. No messy firing necessary and no need to even ask them to resign. In all likelihood he'll appear along side them at a press conference and thank them, and with generous accolades for their years of service. It will even appear genuine because he'll say far more than merely, "We support the ________ family and give thanks for the many edifying contributions of __________ over the years through his work at ________,"

The remarkable brevity of Ligonier's "thanks" is a strong statement of just how bad things must have become between they and RC Sproul Jr. They might as well have said, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

It's actually not at all unreasonable for us to take some cues from the world of politics, for based on its track record Ligonier Ministries is very political organization. Take for example, "He is stepping away from his duties at the ministry and the college for personal reasons." How many times have we heard the same exact statement when the head of some political agency has been forced to resign over some scandal? Rather than acknowledging the obvious reason that they were fired they are allowed to resign for vague and unspecified "personal reasons." This is, of course, nothing but a smoke screen, and none but the most naive will buy it.

As we reported previously, between Ligonier Ministries and Reformation Bible College, RC Sproul Jr was paid some $279,702 in 2014. Our sources report that he received in the neighborhood of $350,000 in 2015, and that even with his suspension (with pay) over RC Sproul Jr's Ashley Madison scandal

RC Sproul Jr is not independently wealthy. He can't afford to voluntarily resign and walk away from a six-figure income (and a very high six-figures, at that), especially where he has no prospects of finding a job with a salary that comes even close to what he's accustomed to. He remarried only last month and, from all accounts, his new bride isn't independently wealthy either, nor do dieticians typically earn six-figures.

RC Jr's job prospects are dismal. Where else can a defrocked pastor and theologian make six-figures when even his own father's ministry won't have him anymore?

RC Sproul Jr has been pulling down six-figures for well over a decade, even well before he was defrocked from the ministry by his presbytery in 2006. That defrocking resulted in his ultimately having to leave the church he'd started in Virginia, St. Peter Presbyterian Church, and move back to Florida (a place that he had many times said he hated and would never go back to), to take a position at Ligonier. The reality is there was no other place that would hire him, let alone pay him in the manner to which he had grown so materialistically accustomed. Only at Ligonier could he expect to take home six-figures for so little work. Nepotism is a beautiful thing!

Other than being a theologian and an author, RC Sproul Jr has no marketable job skills; and let's be candid here -- those aren't particularly marketable skills (not for six figures anyway), and especially not for anyone who's resumé includes "Defrocked from the ministry in 2006."

There is no other ministry who could or would justify paying RC Jr anywhere near what his daddy paid him. Moreover, with all the scandals he's caused there probably isn't a ministry in the world who would hire RC Sproul Jr for any amount of money. So it's improbable, if not inconceivable, that he voluntarily resigned Ligonier to take a position elsewhere, or for any other credible reasons. And "personal reasons" is about as bogus as it gets.

RC Sproul Sr's health has significantly diminished over the past several years and today is, at best, precarious. Because of his health problems he's withdrawn from virtually all his former duties at Ligonier. It could be that Ligonier's board of directors saw the handwriting on the wall and didn't like the prospects for Ligonier's uncertain future. Ligonier's board couldn't leave things to chance that, when RC Sr leaves this world that his scandal-ridden son might make a power play. Perhaps Ligonier's board was just prudent enough to preempt that possibility altogether.

Did Ligonier Ministries and Reformation Bible College fire RC Sproul Jr? Given RC Sproul Jr's scandal-laden track record it's a question that many people are reasonably asking. Unfortunately neither Ligonier nor RC Jr are being at all forthcoming, and given their respective track records it's unlikely they'll divulge anymore than they already have.

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

R.C. Sproul Jr's Ashley Madison Scandal

R.C. Sproul Jr's confession to "visiting" the affair web site Ashley Madison has been widely reported, both in the mainline news media and by bloggers. Once again R.C. Sproul Jr has brought great shame to the body of Christ, giving cause for unbelievers to mock the name of our Lord, along with the conservative family values he espouses.

For his Ashley Madison "visit" Ligonier Ministries suspended R.C. Sproul Jr until July 2016. As of this date R.C. Sproul Jr. is still listed on staff as a Pastor of Ascension Presbyterian Church in Longwood, Florida. Some have openly questioned whether Sproul's Ligonier Ministries suspension was too severe a punishment for what, on the surface appears to be, a rather harmless action. This article will prove just the opposite is the case.

R.C. Sproul Jr, the savant of spin, has long been a careful observer and pundit of political strategists. He well knows of Lanny Davis, special counsel to President Clinton, who counseled the President and White House staffers, "Tell it all, tell it early, tell it yourself." With his imminent outing in the Ashley Madison hack R.C. Sproul Jr. appreciated the wisdom of "tell it early, tell it yourself." In outing himself he was able to control the story and limit the extent of the damage (Josh Duggar could have learned something from Sproul). Unfortunately, Sproul fell far short of "tell it all."

It was right that Ligonier Ministries suspended R.C. Sproul Jr for a year. However, as this article will explain, his "suspension" hardly qualifies as punishment, and his "confession" is a sham intended to garner sympathy, and even admiration, by feigning humble contrition. R.C. Sproul Jr has spun his Ashley Madison scandal very much like he did when he was defrocked from the ministry in 2006. He has yet once again put the best possible face on a scandal of his own making, even turning it to his own advantage.

The last thing the church needs is another spinmeister. In coming weeks and months we're likely to hear of other pastors and ministers, and perhaps hundreds of them, whose names will come out for having Ashley Madison accounts. My fear is that they'll follow R.C. Sproul Jr's example of faux repentance, garnering sympathy and even admiration they in no way merit, and offering themselves up for a golden parachute "suspension."

Contrary to the opinions expressed by many, R.C. Sproul Jr's example is anything but laudable. Let's start by taking a look at a portion of his August 31, 2015 confession:

"In August 2014, in a moment of weakness, pain, and from an unhealthy curiosity, I visited Ashley Madison. My goal was not to gather research for critical commentary, but to fan the flames of my imagination. There I found two gracious judgments. First, I felt the grace of fear. Second, I felt the grace of shame. I was there long enough to leave an old email address. And within minutes I left, never to return. I did not sign up for their service or interact with any clients. I have always remained faithful to my wife even after her passing." Judgment and Grace

This language is remarkably similar to the faux repentance and saccharine religious rhetoric he used to announce his defrocking in 2006. In almost 10 years nothing has changed, and just like in 2006 he seeks to diminish the seriousness of his sin with terms like, "unhealthy curiosity." Why not just call it what it is? Lust. What better way to pursue one's lust than through the privacy of the internet? According to porn watchdog organization Covenant Eyes, 50 percent of Christian men and 20 percent of Christian women admit they're addicted to porn. The figure for pastors is no better. Not all porn addicts go on to arrange affairs, but porn can serve as a gateway to it, as even Josh Duggar confessed is true of himself. 

Porn is a huge problem in the church and growing worse. However, what far fewer Christians struggle with (we trust) is being compelled to take actions which will lead them headlong into an affair. R.C. Sproul Jr's actions on the Ashley Madison site clearly demonstrate that he intended to arrange an affair. Apparently he stopped just short of finalizing a rendezvous. However, his intentions, and taking the first steps in acting on those intentions, should be of far greater concern to the church than many bloggers have demonstrated thus far. If they're so willing to give Sproul a pass then where will they draw the line with the many other pastors who are likely to also be outed in coming months?

Contrary to the opinions of many Christian bloggers who have covered this story, an "affair" is not limited to cheating on one's spouse. Unattached single people also have affairs. An affair is properly defined as, "A secret sexual relationship between two people, generally of a short term nature." Ashley Madison advertises itself as "the number one service for people seeking discreet relationships" and they arrange affairs for marrieds, singles, and gays. Given that His wife passed away in 2011, no one would have faulted R.C. Sproul Jr had he registerred for a Christian dating site account like eHarmony or Christian Mingle. But Ashley Madison isn't a dating site. It's an "affair" site and no one could fail to miss that. 

For the most part R.C. Sproul Jr's "confession" has been accepted, at least by Christians, with nary a doubt as to his sincerity and honesty. Indeed, many have commented that his confession was humble, contrite, thorough, and even admirable. Such a response only demonstrates remarkable naiveté. With very little effort R.C. Sproul Jr's story comes crashing down like a house of straw.

That's "registered an Ashely Madison account" not "visited"
Let's start with, "I visited Ashley Madison... I was there long enough to leave an old email address. And within minutes I left..." The fact of the matter is that R.C. Sproul Jr left far more than "an old email address." He did not just "visit." One cannot leave an email address with Ashley Madison without registering an account. R.C. Sproul Jr very cunningly and deceptively substituted the innocent and benign "visited" for the far more egregious "registered." Why does this distinction matter? Let's start the process of registering an Ashley Madison account to find out.

The Ashley Madison homepage presents "visitors" with a "Select" list. If you never go beyond the Ashley Madison home page it would be reasonable to say you only "visited." If you go beyond this point you are "registering for an Ashley Madison account":

To get beyond this page you must select a "relationship status." One would presume that R.C. Sproul Jr selected "Single Male seeking Females." This is where many bloggers and blog commenters have gotten themselves confused. They believe that Ashley Madison is only for married people seeking to cheat on their spouses. RC Jr isn't married (his wife passed away in 2011) so, therefore, no harm no foul. Right? Wrong. Ashley Madison is for everyone, married, single, and even gay. The objective is to "have an affair" and single people have affairs too, whether they're attached or not. Furthermore, the probability is high that any women R.C. Sproul Jr would have rendezvoused with through Ashley Madison would have been married. By registering for an Ashley Madison account he was giving a green light for married women to break their marriage vows. So much for his commitment to "family values."

Once you select an item from the list you're taken to the next page where you're presented with the following list to fill in and items to select. This is where R.C. Sproul Jr gave Ashley Madison his email address, as well as additional information.

Immediately below the "I Agree" button it states: "To help you have a successful affair, Ashley Madison and its affiliated entities will periodically notify you of potential matches in your area, new matches you've received, changes to the service and other services that may be of interest to you." How would Ashley Madison contact R.C. Sproul Jr to notify him of "potential matches" to "have a successful affair"? Through the email address that he registered his account with.

Perhaps the most disturbing selection field is affair "Limits":

Like every other field on the page "Limits" isn't an optional item. You have to select one of the above, as well as fill in all the other fields, in order to select "I Agree" and have your information saved to register your Ashley Madison account. So which of the above affair "Limits" could R.C. Sproul Jr select and it not be highly problematic? That's right, none of the above. In the context of "Life is short, have an affair," they're all bad.

"I did not sign up for their service"
R.C. Sproul Jr claims "I did not sign up for their service." This is just more spin. R.C. Sproul Jr registered for an Ashely Madison account. He did far more than merely "visit" the site. In registering for an account he most certainly did "sign up for their service." What he apparently didn't do is give them a credit card and order something like the Ashley Madison "Affair Guarantee" package like Josh Duggar paid $249 for. The fact that he may not have given them a credit card doesn't in any way diminish the severity of his sin, particularly in light of his having to specify his affair "Limits."

"I only recently learned about" Ashley Madison
In a July 22, 2015 article entitled Hacking Ashley Madison, R.C. Sproul Jr stated:
"I hope, however, that my children still don’t know about Ashley Madison, a website that I only recently learned about."
In the context of his article, "recently" more than implies that R.C. Sproul Jr hadn't ever heard of Ashley Madison prior to the media publicity about their being hacked. Yet with his subsequent August 31 2015 "confession" it became clear that he'd not only known about Ashley Madison for at least a year, he'd even opened his own Ashley Madison account the previous year in August 2014. He stated:
“In August 2014, in a moment of weakness, pain, and from an unhealthy curiosity, I visited Ashley Madison.”  
Yet his August 31 2015 "confession" gave no explanation for this glaring disparity in his stories. Once again, R.C. Sproul Jr did not "confess it all," not even close.

In that same article he says of Ashley Madison,
"It is a website which exists to facilitate adultery." 
Yet, knowing that, he'd signed up for an account himself anyway. He goes on to say,
"They’re actually threatening that if Ashley Madison does not shut down they will publicly release all the names of those who have sought the services of Ashley Madison. I suspect that there are a lot of people privately sweating, 37 million of them, probably." 
He was among the 37 million sweating, losing sleep, stressed out. Like all the other 37 million Ashley Madison account holders R.C. Sproul Jr was asking himself, "What do I do?" He had to formulate a Plan A and a Plan B. Plan B was for the worst case scenario of the hackers releasing the files. No doubt he hoped the hackers wouldn't release the files, and that would be his Plan A, which was to forget all about it and do nothing. If the hackers hadn't ever released the files would R.C. Sproul Jr ever have confessed? No way! And this goes to prove the point that his "confession" was a sham. It was forced, and not by the conviction of the Holy Spirit working on his conscience. He "confessed" only because he knew that if he didn't out himself it was inevitable someone else would and the resulting damage would have been far worse.

"This, after all, is quite a moral train wreck."
On June 4, 2015 R.C. Sproul Jr posted an article on the sex scandals of Josh Duggar and Dennis Hastert. In it he stated:
"We, of all people should be the people quickest to repent, quickest to acknowledge our sins. We should be the ones saying, 'I am not holier than thou.' But we’re not. I wonder if perhaps we might silence our critics, if we might quit the baying of the wolves if we would instead regularly, fully, and fearlessly confess our sins."
One might suppose such an article came from a sincere heart. If it had been sincere Sproul would have promptly informed the church where he pastors, and Ligonier Ministries, that he'd registered an Ashley Madison account. But he didn't. Instead he only posted pious sounding articles about what a terrible thing it was that anyone could have an Ashley Madison account. When he ultimately did "confess" three months later his confession was anything but "fully and fearlessly." He only did so after it became publicly known that Ashley Madison's site had been hacked and that the database files containing the names, email addresses, etc., of all 37 million Ashley Madison account holders were publicly available. 

Only a few days prior to R.C. Sproul Jr outing himself he posted How Should We Respond to the Recent Scandal Regarding Josh Duggar?  He immediately responds to this reasonable question with:
"We shouldn’t. Sorry to burst the bubble, but unless you are his family, his employer, his elders or his church, it’s none of your business. I am none of those things. Yet I find myself reading about it, praying about it, thinking about it. I get that people are interested. This, after all, is quite a moral train wreck."
Bear in mind that R.C. Sproul Jr was defining Josh Duggar as a "moral train wreck" shortly after Duggar was outed for having 2 Ashley Madison accounts, but before it became known on August 26 that Duggar had used his Ashley Madison accounts to successfully arrange affairs, including an affair with stripper and porn whore Danica Dillon.

One might reasonably surmise from his August 25 article that R.C. Sproul Jr was dictating the terms for how Christians are permitted to respond when he, only a few days later, would out himself for his own Ashley Madison account. Rather than acknowledging that he too exhibits the signs of a moral train wreck, he very innocently chalks it up to an "unhealthy curiosity." So much for "fully, and fearlessly confess our sins." Clearly R.C. Sproul Jr had a serious moral conflict of interest and he had no right offering up any commentary on Josh Duggar, and particularly telling anyone else, "It's none of your business."

R.C. Sproul Jr Suspended
"I recently informed the board of Ligonier Ministries, which has handled the matter internally, having suspended me until July 1, 2016."
On the face of it, this would appear to be an appropriate disciplinary action for Ligonier Ministries to take. But hang on a minute! Is R.C. Sproul Jr's suspension from Ligonier Ministries really discipline? Only if he were to have been suspended without pay. That would indeed be a punishment. However, from all accounts R.C. Sproul Jr has been suspended with pay. If this is true then it's no better than what often happens when a bad cop is suspended over charges of police brutality. Suspending a bad cop with pay is like rewarding him for bad behavior. It's a paid vacation, and it only reinforces the public perception of police corruption. That's apparently what's happened with R.C. Sproul Jr and it reflects very poorly on Ligonier Ministries.

In 2013 R.C. Sproul Jr received just over $120,000 in combined compensation from Ligonier Ministries and Reformation Bible College (his salaries in 2014 and 2015 are likely much higher). This means that R.C. Sproul Jr is receiving at least $10,000 a month for the next year to stay home and do nothing. R.C. Sproul Jr's "suspension" is a golden parachute -- a one-year paid vacation at the expense of Ligonier Ministries' donors. Ligonier donors should be outraged. They probably would be if they knew, but Ligonier has done nothing to inform their donors of the suspension, let alone that R.C. Sproul Jr has been suspended with pay. If you search Ligonier's web site you'll not find one mention of it. For all practical purposes R.C. Sproul Jr. is being rewarded for his sin and his sham confession. This is similar to how Ligonier Ministries rewarded R.C. Sproul Jr in 2006 after he'd been defrocked as a pastor by his Presbyterian denomination.

In his July 22 article R.C. Sproul Jr stated:
"The irony of the gospel is that our sins are only covered in so far as we expose them. In order for them to be covered by the blood of Christ, they have to be confessed by the ones committing the sin."  
To "confess" means "to come into complete agreement with." As it concerns R.C. Sproul Jr's Ashley Madison scandal his confession is not in agreement with the facts. He's concealed far more than he's revealed, and he's even contradicted himself. As can be seen in this article R.C. Sproul Jr has only confessed in part and lied about the rest.

I hope for his sake RC Jr's sins are covered by the blood of the lamb. But according to his own doctrine of how we receive the remission of our sins, these particular sins of his are not under the blood.


See: Ligonier Ministries Covers-up the Truth about R.C. Sproul Jr.’s “Visit” to Ashley Madison Despite Many Appeals

RC Sproul Jr's compensation from Ligonier Ministries
2014: $140,601
2015: $164.290
2016: $152.023 + a severance payment: "In 2016, Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr. received a severance payment from Ligonier Academy, Inc., a related organization." (pg. 37) However Ligonier Academy Inc.'s 990 tax return fails to document the specific amount of RC Sproul Jr's severance payment, as the law requires.

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