Thursday, April 13, 2006

RC Sproul Not Deterring Son From CREC

RC Sproul Jr going postal look
Many have assumed that Dr. RC Sproul has advised, or will advise, his son RC Sproul Jr to stay clear of the CREC because:

1. They're not Presbyterian.

2. The CREC has gone off the Reformed rails with their Federal Vision/New Perspectives On Paul/Auburn Avenue doctrines.

Some have gone so far as to predict that "RC Jr. will not end up going into the crec cult: his father and others close will advise against it."

Those predictions should be right, because the prediction is based upon principle. If the principles are valid then the prediction should also be valid. But that's actually where they went wrong -- assuming that principle will rule the day. In this case (and this is where we'll make a prediction of our own) pragmatism will win out over principle. But even more basic than that, many folks don't even have their facts straight.

In the first place, Dr. RC Sproul isn't even a genuine Presbyterian. Sure, he's ordained in the PCA, but that's only because he needs a place to "park his ordination." He's never done anything to insist that his church, Saint Andrews Chapel go into the PCA, or any other Presbyterian denomination. Saint Andrews Chapel is an unaffiliated independent church, and that appears to be the way that Dr. RC Sproul likes having it. It's pretty obvious that Dr. RC Sproul isn't a committed Presbyterian, nor does he want the accountability that comes with it. That's the example he's set for his son, and his son has followed dad's example faithfully.

Rather than administering the church membership vows from the RPCGA BCO, RC Sproul Jr fabricated and substituted his own church membership vows to the Saint Peter parishioners. His failure to administer the correct church membership vows resulted in no parishioner of Saint Peter church ever having joined the RPCGA. Truth be told, Saint Peter Presbyterian Church wasn't "Presbyterian" the entire time of RC Sproul Jr's affiliation with the RPCGA. They ceased being a Presbyterian church when they left the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in 2000 and they haven't been a Presbyterian church since then.

Was RC Sproul Jr's failure to administer the RPCGA's membership vows just due to his own incompetence, or was it a deliberate attempt to keep Saint Peter church out of Presbyterianism altogether, thereby diminishing his accountability to his Saint Peter congregation? Was this all a cunning way of following the example set for him by his own father of pastoring an unaffiliated independent church, and all the while calling himself a "Presbyterian"? Both men claim to be Presbyterians, but they seem to appreciate little of what being a Presbyterian means. How can they be Presbyterians when they both pastor independent unaffiliated churches? They're 'Presbyterian" in name only. They want the credibility that comes from being ordained by Presbyterian denominations, but without the accountability.

As far as the Federal Vision/New Perspectives on Paul stuff goes, while Dr. RC Sproul is widely considered a staunch defender of the five Solas of the Reformation, including Sola Fide, it doesn't appear that Dr. Sproul has in any way expressly condemned FV/NPP or even distanced himself from it (if anyone has evidence to the contrary please correct us). This is troubling given that FV/NPP is a covert assault on the five Solas, and Sola Fide in particular. Dr. Sproul has had FV guys like Doug Wilson, Steve Wilkins and Steve Schlissel speak at Ligonier Conferences and/or write for Table Talk. Could it be that Dr. Sproul just doesn't perceive what a threat to Reformed theology the FV/NPP movement is? Maybe so. A lot of people haven't figured that out yet, and a lot of people haven't figured out yet that the CREC represents perhaps the single most potent force in advancing the Federal Vision.

Some folks have done far more than just speculate that RC Sproul Jr is a closet Federal Visionist. If he is then getting himself ordained in the CREC would be the ideal move -- but only if he's desirous of coming out of the closet. If he's not a Federal Visionist, or if he is but he doesn't want to come out of the closet, then joining the CREC could prove to be a big problem. How will he manage to distance himself from the Federal Visionists when the CREC is made up largely of Federal Visionists? On the other hand, if not the CREC then where else can RC Sproul Jr go?

No bona fide denomination of any kind, let alone any Presbyterian denomination, is going to examine and provide "judicial review" of the RPCGA's Declaratory Judgment. Presbyterian denominations respect and honor one another's judgments and allow them to stand unchallenged. The only exception to that is where some gross miscarriage of justice is obvious, and no one is going to be able to prove that in RC Sproul Jr's case. In fact, in many respectable Presbyterian circles the most common phrase being uttered these days about RC Sproul Jr is, "We predicted a long time ago that he was going to wind up getting defrocked. It was never a matter of if, but when." No Presbyterian clergyman who's even just a passing acquaintance with RC Sproul Jr is the least bit surprised that he managed to get himself defrocked.

Getting himself re-ordained means that he's got to find some sympathetic denomination to exonerate him of the charges. But there is no sympathetic denomination, only one lone "confederation" with a bad reputation for exonerating defrocked Presbyterian ministers. And if RC Sproul Jr isn't first exonerated of the charges he doesn't have a prayer of being re-ordained in any denomination. Even the CREC wouldn't ordain him without first clearing RC Sproul Jr's name. On the other hand, if it's the CREC that clears his name no real denomination is going to believe it anyway -- the CREC's credibility is in the toilet. So the only place a CREC exoneration will have any currency is in the CREC.

So here's our prediction: The name of RC Sproul Jr will be "cleared" by the CREC (or at least that's what they'll claim they did, and they'll issue a sham "Commission Report" to make it look "official"). After they "clear" him they'll ordain him in the CREC. This will occur in spite of the fact that the CREC, in practice and teaching, represents the antithesis of what Dr. RC Sproul represents. However, the CREC does not represent the antithesis of what RC Sproul Jr represents. In point of fact they have much more in common theologically than they have differences, and they have much more in common than RC Sproul Jr is comfortable publicly admitting. So he'll just remain in the closet, at least for as long as he can.

Dr. RC Sproul will support his son's move into the CREC because there's no other place that RC Sproul Jr can go. In the end pragmatism will rule the day because supporting one's own son is more important than remaining faithful to the Reformed Christian faith. Blood is thicker than Sola Fide.


At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Wilson, Shlissel, and other FV's speaking at Ligonier conferences and writing in Tabletalk...

Doug Wilson was a last minute replacement when the great James Boice died before the Ligonier conference. That one is somewhat understandable (though lamentable). At that point Jr was the guy who picked the speakers.

With regard to Tabletalk, those choices were Jr's as editor. Those choices cost Ligonier subscriptions, and *may* be one of the reasons he was removed from that position.

At 11:35 PM, Blogger V Hill said...

OK. I'm a little confused by all that I've read this evening. I was searching for RC Sproul Sr. comments to the Da Vinci Code, when I come across the RC Jr. being defrocked. Then I come across a website called Drinking with RC Sproul Jr.

I find all this sad in a way. I never grew up in the Presbyterian Church. I grew up in a strict, legalistic, hyper-fundamentalist, KJV only church. It was repressive. It was RC Sr.'s Holiness of God series that brought me to Reformed faith and understanding. I have such high regard and respect for Sr. that I was wonder where some of the comments are coming from. Is this R.C Jr.'s blog, or the work of someone else? If it is mainly satire, it carries an edge of something I can't put my finger on that is unsettling. It grieves my spirit for some reason. Maybe I'm reading too much into it.

Thanks for hearing me out.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger RC 2.0 said...

V. Hill, we find it all sad too, which is why we put this blog up in the first place. If R.C. Jr had ever shown any humility, contrition and repentance this blog, and others like it, would have never become necessary.

Please understand that our concern isn't for Dr. R.C. Sproul. He's a good and honorable man, and he's done much for the cause of Reformed theology. We have no intention of laying the sins of the son at the feet of the father. R.C. Jr. is entirely responsible for his own sins.

Regardless of what anyone says however, it just can't be helped that R.C. Jr's scandals will in some way injure the reputation of his father. That's the last thing we'd want to see, but it's probably inevitable. R.C. Jr could probably do much to prevent that. For example, he could publish a public statement along the lines of, "My father bears no responsibility for my defective character. He was a good father to me and he raised me in the teaching and the admonition of the Lord. My father is a great man who in no way failed his son." But instead he just continues to publicly dishonor his father.

At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is R.C. Sproul's Jr. Testimony that is just that mentioned above.

At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JESUS, mercy, JESUS, love, JESUS, grace, JESUS, kindness, JESUS, forgiveness, JESUS, patience, JESUS, wisdom, JESUS, compassion, JESUS,...

So what if we're right if it only makes Him look bad!!

At 8:22 AM, Blogger Darshaun said...

Before you say anything about the Federal Vision, you should red what the people IN it say they believe, and not what those OUTSIDE of it say about it.

The New Perspective on Paul was made up by the Canadian Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright, NOT the those in the Federal Vision. They disagree with him as much as we do.

Check your sources before you argue. The best ones are the primary sources


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