Sunday, December 25, 2005

Party On! (or you might cause RC Sproul Jr to stumble)

Saint Peter Presbyterian Church keggerWhat does Scripture teach regarding how we are to treat a brother whose "faith is weaker" in a particular area than is our own? For example, what if for us the moderate consumption of alcohol may be a matter of "Christian liberty," but for the "weaker brother" it may be a violation of their own conscience? How are we to conduct ourselves with the brother who is a recovering alcoholic? Do we run the risk of stumbling him by offering a glass of wine when he's in our home for a meal? Do we even consume alcohol in his presence at all? Or what considerations should we show a sister if she'd been raised by an alcoholic father or mother, having grown up witnessing the repeated abuse of alcohol and the resulting destruction of her family? For her witnessing even just a single glass of wine consumed with a meal might cause her great offense. Do we, for the sake of preserving our own "Christian liberties," disregard the fact that there are Christians who may be not only offended by alcohol because of some bad personal history, but perhaps may even be stumbled in their faith because of it? Is it ever permissible to ignore the tender consciences of our brethren and flaunt our liberties? What sayeth the Scriptures?
So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. Rom. 14:19-21
The notes of the Reformation Study Bible (edited by RC Sproul Sr.) are helpful to us in addressing this issue of the appropriate consumption of alcohol by Christians:
"The believer's responsibility is now stated positively: avoiding the destruction of others is complemented by promoting 'peace' and the things that 'edify' (v. 19). For the 'strong,' (15:1) this includes both maintaining fellowship with the 'weak' and also encouraging them to understand the liberty that is theirs in Christ. When such aims are in view, freedom to eat and drink will be made subservient to them; the well-being of the brother will take precedence over the enjoyment of meat and wine."
Tragically, however, RC Sproul Sr.'s son doesn't share his father's biblical convictions for promoting peace, edifying others, or the well-being of weaker brethren. Rather, RC Sproul Jr delights in flaunting his Christian liberties and causing offense to his weaker brethren. According to RC Sproul Jr, it's biblical, and it's also pastoral, to mock other Christians whose faith might be weaker than our own:
"I try, like most of us, not to be easily offended. I don't like the other idea of other people having to go about on pins and needles because of my weaknesses. But sometimes that's where we end up. We are, after all, all Christians here, and are called to bear one another's burdens. I pray one day my conscience will grow stronger, so that this wouldn't be necessary. But we're not there yet. So here it is. Would you please, so as not to cause me to stumble, stop suggesting that it is wrong to drink alcohol in moderation, or that drinking alcohol in moderation somehow is a failure to love my brothers? Thanks ever so much." Double, Bubble, Toil and Stumble, by RC Sproul Jr.
This mocking of weaker brethren, through inverting and grossly perverting the clear intent of sacred Scripture, would be bad enough; but it actually gets much worse. According to numerous eye witnesses, RC Sproul Jr has a very perverse understanding of "moderation." By the admission of various current and former St. Peter Presbyterian Church members and visitors, RC Sproul Jr's definition of "drinking in moderation" includes "church keggers" and the passing around of whiskey bottles at Saint Peter Presbyterian Church functions. "Moderation" even includes serving alcohol at church functions to minors and even little children (such as drinks spiked with grain alcohol). The prodigious consumption of alcohol by Saint Peter Presbyterian Church members, as well as "students" of RC Sproul Jr's Highlands Study Center, is taught to them as being matters of "spiritual discipline":
"For those who wonder about the extensive use of alcohol, tobaccy, and who knows what all else at the HSC, I implore you to not worry about such wonders. Those at the HSC have simply succeeded at making the consumption of such things 'spiritual disciplines'."
Basically, what "drinking in moderation" means at Saint Peter Presbyterian Church and the Highlands Study Center is that if you haven't blacked out yet you're drinking in moderation. So if that kind of "drinking in moderation" offends you then you'd better just keep your mouth shut about it, because you sure wouldn't want to cause RC Sproul Jr to stumble. Party on RC Sproul Jr!


Anonymous said...

This entire mess is another reason why I am sick of the church having this celebrity mentality. I am sick and tired of Christian celebrities.

Ex St. Pete said...

"The believer's responsibility is now stated positively: avoiding the destruction of others".

I know for a fact that R. C. Sproul Jr has destroyed the lives of a number of people. Alcohol abuse isn't the only way he's done it but it's a biggie. One example I know of is a young man who came to St. Peter with a history of alcohol abuse. R. C. and Laurence knew it. They'd been warned about it and warned to keep an eye on him.

As a teenager he'd been sent by his parents to a Christian boy's home to try and sober him up and turn his life around. The boy's home program worked really well and he'd remained sober for quite a long time after graduating. His life had been turned around and he had a promising future.

Not long after graduating from the program he made the huge mistake of moving to Bristol, joining St. Peter and coming under the influence of R. C. Sproul Jr. Worse yet he moved into the home of Pastor Laurence Windham. Laurence is a boozehead just life R. C. and he loved helping the young man consume the many cases of wine that he bought. After he squandered all his money on booze the young man managed to get a line of credit at a local wine shop. He racked up several thousand dollars of debt at the shop.

While at St. Peter the young man committed some really terrible sins, many of which R. C. and Laurence knew about, and none of which they disciplined him for in any way.

No need to give the whole tragic story. Just to say that today he's been reduced to debt, poverty, stealing, and alcoholism. R. C. Sproul Jr is the worst example of a pastor that I've ever witnessed in my life.

RC 2.0 said...

Ex St. Pete,

I know who you're talking about. Tragic story, but it's not the only tragic St. Peter Presbyterian Church story. I know about other men and women, even children, that RC destroyed. You probably do too. If any more of their stories are told here we'd better at least identify them by initials. Otherwise it'd get confusing trying to keep them all straight. No full names though. I feel sorry for them and it wouldn't be right to humiliate them. But they make good examples of the "fruit" of RC's "ministry."

DT is another one that RC destroyed with booze. RC also destroys people with spiritual abuse. He's very much the cult leader personality. St. Peter isn't a theological cult. RC is reasonably biblical, but St. Peter fits the criteria of a sociological cult.

In spite of all the spiritual abuse DT has suffered under for years at St. Peter he's still there. That's not unusual for cults. People who study cults say they're often hard to get out of. It's a lot like the stories you hear of abused women who keep going back for another beating. Strange but true. Something is seriously wrong with DT for staying at St. Peter. He's got obvious deep-seated insecurities. That's not to slam DT, but just to say those are exactly the kinds of vulnerable personalities that stay in a cult.

DT and his beautiful wife were good people before they came to St. Peter. But DT came with his weaknesses and vulnerabilities. For one there's his weakness for liquor.

RC and Laurence also have some really weird ideas of "manliness." Drinking lots of beer and whiskey is "manly." There are even certain foods that they call "man food" and certain movies that they call "man movies." If you want to be a "real man" at St. Peter you have to do certain "man things," and drinking a lot of booze is one of them. If you don't want to drink you're not a real man. So for any men who come to St. Peter who already suffer from any insecurities in their manhood they're likely to be terribly vulnerable to all the "be a man" talk. DT was one of those insecure guys. Worse yet DT came to St. Peter with a lack of self control for booze.

DT's story reads a lot like the story of the young man you mentioned above (whose initials are MC). For MC and DT joining St. Peter was like pouring gasoline on a fire. Like DT, MC routinely drives "under the influence," RC and Laurence know it and they don't care. Little wonder. They too have been known to get behind the wheel after having had too much to drink.

In DT's case he's had at least two DWI's since coming to St. Peter. He lost his driver's license as a result, but kept on driving anyway. Obviously that means he's also driving without insurance too. If he gets pulled over, or if he's involved in an accident, he'll be going to jail for a long time. Any number of people at St. Peter know it, and they also know that RC and Laurence know it and don't care. Why should they? DWI's are "manly" aren't they? In a real church DT's licentiousness wouldn't be condoned. Unless he repented (which he never has) he'd be under church discipline. But St. Peter isn't a real church.

At St. Peter DT is told that he's "manly" and manliness is rewarded. DT's reward is that he gets to be part of the "RC fan club" (RC really calls it that). DT gets to do special "RC fan club" things, like run the soundboard at church and for the Basement Tapes recordings (on it's called The Boozement Tapes).

Is DT a "real man"? He may have been at one time, prior to coming under RC's licentious influence. But over the years he's been reduced to a tragic specimen of how a life can be ruined by a cult leader.

RC 2.0 said...

Pastor Appreciation Sunday is celebrated by many churches each year in October. It's a nice idea to honor pastors.

At St. Peter Presbyterian Church it's celebrated each year by giving whiskey and cigars to the pastors. It'd be one thing if that were done privately, but it's not. An informal ceremony is held in the church foyer immediately before everyone walks into the sanctuary. The pastors are given their whiskey and cigars in front of everyone, including visitors.

The shock, astonishment and offense taken by the typical visitor is often apparent. Some of them even had the courage to express their offense. They were generally told, "It's too bad you feel that way."

Several St. Peter members have also asked that, in deference to visitors, some of which have been their own friends and extended family members, that the cigar and whiskey giving ceremony be done privately, rather than in the church foyer. Their requests have gone ignored, or worse yet they were mocked by RC and Laurence.

Jerry Smith said...

I do not know RC Jr or any of the people referred to in these comments. I do know and understand we are EACH responsible for our own sin! The devil made me do do it, Pastor made me do it, RC Jr made me, none of those excuses will resolve an individual of their sin.
It appears RC Jr has some weaknesses of the flesh to deal with, I would hope these issues would be dealt with by his church elders and other persons responsible for shepherding RC Jr.
Pray for him and his family, please stop slinging the mud, and plastering his sins all over the Internet. As Christians we are called not to air our sins and those of our brothers/sisters with unbelievers.
I will pray for RC Jr and those affected by his sin, we live in a cursed fallen world and that will continue until the return of Christ.
I am not taking RC Jr's side in these matters, but as you call out for these matters to be handled biblically, please apply that same call to yourselves.
Nothing positive will come from airing these sins amount non believers.

RC 2.0 said...

Thank you Jerry for your continuing interest in this blog. Your previous comment was pretty much along the same lines as this one. You seem genuinely concerned that non-believers will read this blog: "As Christians we are called not to air our sins and those of our brothers/sisters with unbelievers." But the reality is it's not from this blog that they'll find out that RC Sproul Jr was arrested for drunk driving with two of his minor children in the car. There are plenty of other sights that are far more prominent than this one that they'll find that out from.

Secondly, this sight attracts few unbelievers in the first place. How do we know that? Common sense. Few people outside Christian circles even know who RC Sproul Jr is in the first place to go searching for "mud" (as you call it) on him. For that matter only a relatively small percentage of Christians even know who RC Sproul Jr is. The only reason anyone even has the slightest interest in him is because of his famous father. In our view Sproul Jr's significant fan base has always been completely unwarranted given the longstanding evidence that he has always been manifestly disqualified from the ministry.

While we appreciate your concerns that this blog might prove to be embarrassing to some Christians (and indeed it is embarrassing), the reality is that it is RC Sproul Jr who has brought shame and reproach not just on the church in general, but far more importantly RC Sproul Jr has brought shame and reproach upon the name of Christ Jesus. He needs to repent; and by repent we mean genuine repentance -- not just more of his phony fake manipulative self-serving repentance to gain sympathy.

And yes, we most certainly do "apply that same call to yourselves."