Monday, April 10, 2006

Every Spin Captive: RC Sproul Jr the Martyr

Highlands Ministries ETC Every Thought CaptiveBeing the very Savant Of Spin that he is, in 2001 RC Sproul Jr dedicated an entire edition of Every Thought Captive to "Spin."

RC Sproul Jr takes aim at the easiest of targets for the subject of spin, politicians and news media. Needless to say, this doesn't even pose a serious challenge. What a tremendous strategy for deflecting attention away from himself, and his achievements as one of the world's preeminent Parsons Of Prevarication!

No doubt RC Sproul Jr hoped to have his own mendacity pale in comparison to that of sleazy politicians and media mavens. In reality, however, RC Sproul Jr's reputation has easily earned him the title Sultan Of Spin, and in the five years since writing about it extensively in ETC, he's only grown in his prevaricating prowess.

We've included below some quotes from the Sage Of Spin himself. Notice that RC Sproul Jr doesn't particularly condemn the practice of spin. Indeed, his tone demonstrates a degree of admiration for those accomplished in the artful practice of spin. Indeed, RC Sproul Jr "loves good spin."
Spinning Wheels:
"I love good spin for its ability to say much with subtlety, and with few words."

"A good spinmeister feeds you the conclusion in the same way a good magician feeds you the card you thought you were freely choosing. It is the art of making something look like a completely different thing, while making you think this is always as it has been."

"We spin when we choose the safe version to describe our own sin, and when we choose to describe those sins which have been not just committed, but perpetrated against us, in the worst possible light."

"When we spin we are liars, but spin ourselves into believing that we are merely learning to be more effective in our communication, and so lie about our lies. When we spin we treat our fellow image bearers as a bunch of animals that must be manipulated. When we spin we treat truth as a tramp. While we would never treat the Word with contempt, we spit on words daily."

Spinning In Infinity:
"Because we expect it, because we have lived through so many big lies, the little lies fall like so much rain. And so we live in perpetual spin."

"The problem is that once we start to accept the lies, we start to accept the spin. And once we start to accept the spin, then we start to participate in it."

"We should expect the lies, and expect the spin. But we should not accept either. We should speak clearly, forthrightly and call our leaders back to honesty. We should demand the truth, and refuse to be put to sleep. And those 'leaders' who play those games must also be put to shame, and out to pasture."

That last quote is our personal favorite. Of course, RC Sproul Jr apparently thinks it only applies to politicians, since it was in the context of elected political representatives that he wrote it. But it applies equally well to ordained ministers, and anyone else in an office of trust. RC Sproul Jr's demand that we "put them out to pasture," though he didn't intend it to apply to himself, was ironic, if not prophetic. Members of his own church, as well as his denomination, came to "expect the lies, and expect the spin" from Sproul Jr (nothing has really changed, even after being defrocked -- the spin and the lies just go on and on). But they did "not accept either." They spoke "clearly, forthrightly" and called their "leaders back to honesty." Tragically, the Saint Peter Church leaders refused the invitation to honesty. RC Sproul Jr and the Saint Peter Four continued to "play those games" and so they were "put to shame, and out to pasture."

No one should expect that just because a politician is "put to shame, and out to pasture" that they'll stop being a liar. In fact a deposed politician is likely to engage even just that much more energetically in spin. The same is no less the case with RC Sproul Jr. Being put out to pasture (defrocked) has in no way changed his penchant for spin: "We spin when we choose the safe version to describe our own sin."

The most effective tug at the heartstrings story to spin is to make himself out to be the victim. It takes not only a liar, but a sociopath to spin so tall a tale, especially after he's victimized so many others by abusing his power. A sociopathic defrocked pastor will spin tall tales for not only what remains of his church flock, but before that he'll be spinning tall tales for his family:
"When they see Daddy being persecuted for righteousness' sake by former friends who are supposed to be brothers and sisters in Christ, we talk about what love among the brethren should look like. R.C. will also talk to them about... the fact that he and we are blessed when we are persecuted and when others revile and speak all manner of ill against us. We can be assured that those lessons will stick with our children for life." Tending Your Garden, by Denise Sproul, ETC, March/April 2006

Yes, Mrs. Sproul, your husband is certainly teaching his children (and sadly, you too) lessons that will stick with them for life, but they're all the wrong lessons -- lessons in spin, unrepentance, and assuming the role of victim and a martyr complex every time he's rebuked by fellow Christians, including those in authority over him. It goes something like this: "Children, Jesus said that we would persecuted, and that when we are persecuted we are blessed. The fact that Daddy is being persecuted, and that the persecutors even claim to be followers of Jesus, is a sure sign that Daddy is in God's will. Jesus said that men will hate us for serving him. Persecution is a sure sign that we're being obedient to God." Of course, that's a misrepresentation what Jesus said, but that's all part of the spin:
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." (Matt. 5:10-11)

We're only promised a blessing when we've been "persecuted for righteousness’ sake." In other words, for a righteous cause, and when men "say all manner of evil against you falsely." The fact that your own brethren have rebuked you for your sins, called you to repentance for your sins, and then deposed you of your ecclesiastical office, doesn't mean that you're being persecuted. It just means that justice is being served. But in the fairy tale world of Spinmeister Sproul making yourself out to be the martyr can be useful. If successfully pawned off on enough sympathetic ears, the victim becomes a hero -- at least to the most gullible.
"For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience?" 1Peter 2:20

In other words, RC Jr, you need to stop taking credit where no credit is due you.
"For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong." 1Peter 3:17
"But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters." 1Peter 4:15

Time to get over the martyr complex, RC Jr. You're not suffering for Christ. You're only suffering the consequences of your own sins (like being a thief). You're only reaping what you've sewn. It's time for you to grow up and stop playing the victim. It's time to lay off the spin.

Some may think that the problem with RC Sproul Jr is that he's lacking in introspection. But based on what we've learned about the man he's actually very introspective, and he's been willing to admit some pretty astonishing things about himself, like the fact that he's arrogant and stupid:
"Third, we are known throughout the evangelical realm as the arrogant ones. See, right above there is a Reformed guy saying we’re the smart ones. Our reputation, I believe, fits us. But not all of us. Every now and again God in His judgment gives us stupid, arrogant folk, your present writer being a prime example." Precious In the Lord's Sight

Being introspective enough to admit that he's arrogant and stupid, however, doesn't mean that RC Sproul Jr has made any serious efforts toward pursuing wisdom and humility. In the same way, even if RC Sproul Jr were introspective enough to be able to admit that he's a sociopath and a pathological liar it probably wouldn't help him in the least to become an honest man.


At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Joshua said...

R.C. likes to give advice, and he gives it out all the time, but he's never been real good about seeing how his advice applies to himself. Here's something he said in one of his blog articles last year, "In short, repentance is always a good thing. Look for the sin. Hear the accusations. They may expose something you’ve missed."

I wonder if we're ever going to see R.C. repent?


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