Thursday, April 06, 2006

"Clearing R.C. Sproul, Jr's Name."

Our deepest thanks and appreciation go out to Pastor Shaun Nolan for posting this insightful article on his blog. We're reposting it here in its entirety, rather than only posting a link to it, because stuff like this just has a funny way of disappearing. (EDIT: just like we thought would happen Pastor Shaun Nolan made this article disappear -- in fact he took down his entire blog).

What Pastor Shaun has done is to give us a play-by-play preview of the CREC's Saint Peter Commission and the items on their agenda for fulfilling their predetermined role, per Doug Wilson's directive, of exonerating the Saint Peter Four and ordaining them in the CREC. Doug Wilson's "A Justice Primer" blog series has only made that too obvious. Thank you Pastor Shaun for now making it even just that much more obvious. Oh, and we love your catchy title, "Clearing R.C. Sproul, Jr's Name." That's the exact title we should have come up with ourselves weeks ago!

At this point the CREC is really going to have to move quickly on that show trial, though. In most cases the phrase "rush to justice" has a real bad connotation, but in this case it doesn't really matter anyway. The only thing that matters is the outcome. After all, RC Sproul Jr does have that Generations Conference on "Honor" coming up real soon (May 5-6). It just wouldn't look right to have a defrocked minister behind a pulpit talking about "honor." Much better to have an exonerated defrocked reordained minister talk about "honor." Well, maybe not. You'd have to be real gullible to believe that getting exonerated by Doug Wilson and his CREC could be a badge of honor. Then again, there are a lot of gullible Christians out there, so maybe it'll work after all!


Clearing R.C. Sproul, Jr's Name


It was a great privilege to have lunch with R.C. and Vesta Sproul this afternoon. (Some of you may know that Vesta’s brother is our assistant pastor at View Crest. So, lest you think me important, the occasion had nothing to do with yours truly.) During the course of conversation, we turned to a discussion of the recent allegations against R.C.’s son. At the close of our conversation, I asked R.C. if I could share what he had told me via Postscript Posthaste. He said that would be fine.

Please understand that what I am saying here is by no means “official”. I recognize that many of my readers have a deep respect for both R.C. and R.C. Jr., and I want to ease their consciences about this matter. I also understand that there are those out there who find no greater pleasure than to slander another man’s character. For those in the latter group, you’ll want to stop reading now. I will offer you nothing of flammability and I do not wish my name associated with your diatribes. Even when I initially addressed this issue, my purpose was only to remind all of us of the deep necessity of Biblical accountability and not to issue judgment. Further, anything I say here is technically “hearsay” so it won’t stand up in any court. Nevertheless, I trust R.C. and believe he is telling the truth about his son.

So then, what is going on with R.C. Jr.?

Of late we have heard little about the situation surrounding R.C. Jr’s “defrocking” and this is for good reason. I am told that most, if not all of the charges brought against the session of St. Peters were themselves fraudulent. (I will address some of them below.) In case of point, no trial actually took place before the pronouncement of deposition was issued. This is highly irregular and because of this, the elders of St. Peters have sought to clear their names via examination apart from their former denomination, the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly (RPCGA). As I write, the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals (CRE) is conducting a detailed examination of the charges. What this means is that the trial they did not receive is being conducted by a third party. The results, soon to be released, will then be examined by other groups for the purpose of validating conclusions and clearing the name of the men involved.

The Charge of Tax ID Misuse
The elders of St. Peter’s were charged with using the ARP (Associate Reformed Presbyterian) Tax ID number instead of the RPCGA number. According to R.C. Sr., a consultant had been called in to help St. Peter’s with their finances. That consultant discovered the ARP ID number being used (which was there because the church had formerly been ARP) and informed them they needed to fix that. R.C. Jr. promptly called both the ARP to apologize and the IRS to apologize and initiate changes.

The Charge of Lording It Over the Congregation
The elders of St. Peter’s were charged with not allowing members to leave. I am told the members in question were under discipline of the church and were told they would not be allowed to flee discipline. This is the normal process with members under discipline in Presbyterianism. We don’t want folks running from accountability. That people do leave anyway is beside the point. After they did leave, they complained to the General Assembly and their charge was thus included.

The Charge of Planting a Church and Ordaining a Pastor Without Permission of the Presbytery
What the documentation of the RPCGA fails to note regarding this charge is that a separate presbytery of that same denomination did, in fact, do these things. As I understand it, the church that was planted was not within the bounds of the presbytery which St. Peter’s was in. It was only later that the Moderator of the denomination ruled that church “unofficial”. (Please don’t ask me how a Moderator can do this. My understanding is that this is a very small denomination that places a great deal of power in the hands of its denominational Moderator.)

The Charge of Practicing Paedo-Communion
This simply wasn’t the case. Young children were examined by the elders for the purpose of discerning a credible profession of faith and some were admitted, but no infants were allowed to partake. Even the PCA Book of Church Order says that it is up to the discretion of the elders as to the age at which a child can demonstrate faith. This was the process at St. Peters.

In Conclusion
In conclusion, I must say that I am pleased to hear the “other side” of this story and I sincerely hope that justice is served in the most positive sense. I would love nothing more than for their names to be cleared and their ministries continue unhindered. I am making this information available only to do my part in maintaining balance, easing consciences pricked by what they had heard, and to inform you, my readers, of the upcoming report from the CRE.

I urge you to continue to pray for these men and for the Reformed Church at large that is impacted by events like these. May God be glorified even through this.


We're grateful to Pastor Shaun that he would "inform you, my readers, of the upcoming report from the CRE." We know the report isn't quite finished yet, but since the outcome was predetermined weeks ago, all that's left now is to write the report in support of what was already determined from even before when the CREC "not judicial in nature" Commission was convened (CREC Moderator Randy Booth has that underlined because when he underlines something it really means that it's really the truth and that you can really trust him -- really). In our opinion, Pastor Shaun has done an excellent job of providing an outline for the CREC "not judicial in nature" Commission's Show-Trial Report.

We're also grateful to Pastor Shaun that he would "remind all of us of the deep necessity of Biblical accountability and not to issue judgment." Funny thing about that is he's issuing his own judgments -- calling the charges "fraudulent" is an extremely serious judgment. Of course, in Pastor Shaun's case he'd claim that he's not issuing a judgment, he's just telling us the truth. The truth is that "most, if not all of the charges brought against the session of St. Peters were themselves fraudulent." Pastor Shaun knows this because Dr. R.C. Sproul told him so. Of course, any pronouncements that Dr. R.C. Sproul would make about his son are entirely objective and must be taken as the gospel truth. However, anyone on the other side of the debate is "issuing judgment," and as we all know "issuing judgment" is bad. It's especially bad that the RPCGA issued judgment. "Touch not the Lord's annointed." Judging--bad. Love--good. "Love covers a multitude of sins," so let's all get busy and get to covering, um, clearing.

We don't really need to spend much time critiquing Dr. R.C. Sproul's analysis of the case, as retold by Pastor Shaun. It's all pretty well summed up in:
"I am told that most, if not all of the charges brought against the session of St. Peters were themselves fraudulent."

We were pretty sure the Sprouls and their true believers were going to use the "Liar, liar, pants on fire" defense. Now it's been confirmed. Alleging now that the charges were "fraudulent" is a real amazing claim, especially since R.C. Sproul Jr confessed to the charges. So what is R.C. Jr going to do now? Claim "temporary insanity" at the time of his confession (or maybe he was just drunk)? If it were true that the charges were fraudulent, that would not only put R.C. Sproul Jr's accusers in the worst possible light, it would also put the RPCGA in the worst possible light for having rendered a judgment based upon alleged "fraudulent" charges. When someone makes an allegation of "fraud" the burden of proof rests squarely on them to prove the "fraud," or in this case the burden rests squarely on the CREC "not judicial in nature" Commission Show-Trial. Considering the evidence that the RPCGA has already made public, not to mention all the other things they say that they have in the case file that they have yet to make public, an allegation of "fraud" would be mighty tough to prove.

Pastor Shaun isn't the only one who "would love nothing more than for their names to be cleared and their ministries continue unhindered." Dr. RC Sproul would also love to see his son cleared. No one can blame him for wanting to see his son cleared and reordained, but it's tragic that he can't come up with anything better than just alleging that the charges are "fraudulent." It's also real sad (in fact it's just pathetic) that they can't come up with anything better than Doug Wilson and the CREC to "clear" him with. The pickings must be mighty slim for RC Jr.
"In case of point, no trial actually took place before the pronouncement of deposition was issued. This is highly irregular and because of this, the elders of St. Peters have sought to clear their names via examination apart from their former denomination, the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly (RPCGA)."

Sure. They got screwed by the Westminster Presbytery of the RPCGA, and the Declaratory Judgment was just a hatchet job. That's why rather than appealing their case to the General Assembly, which is what all Presbyterians do when they think they've gotten a bum deal (and you know that, Pastor Shaun, because you're a Presbyterian minister yourself), and demanding the trial that they now claim they were deprived of, they wrote a letter or apology and begged to be released. In that letter they said,
"We want to thank you and the brethren of Westminster Presbytery (RPCGA) for your friendship, kindness, and gracious patience shown to this Session over the past four years."

Yes, it sure sounds like they thought they were getting screwed.
"As I write, the Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals (CRE) is conducting a detailed examination of the charges. What this means is that the trial they did not receive is being conducted by a third party. The results, soon to be released, will then be examined by other groups for the purpose of validating conclusions and clearing the name of the men involved."

So as we already knew the CREC "not judicial in nature" Commission is obviously judicial in nature -- just not judicial in the legitimate sense of the term. Everyone involved in the CREC Commission, and everyone in the know about the goings on of the CREC Commission (which would certainly include RC Sproul Jr, who can't help but talk to his dad, who can't help but talk to Pastor Shaun, who can't help but blog about it) already knows what the outcome is: "clearing the name of the men involved."

Is anyone really surprised to hear Dr. RC Sproul crowing that his son will soon be exonerated? Naw! We've been able to tell for weeks prior to the convening of the CREC "not judicial in nature" Commission that the only real agenda was to review the case and fabricate some bogus allegations for overturning it, as though they had any legitimate authority to do that. Can you say "Kangaroo Court"?


Comments from the original article:

46 Comments:

michele said...
Thank you so much for presenting the other side. I was going to post another article on this today because I had heard that there were further developments but I'm so glad I got busy and didn't do it. I will link to you instead :-)

I'm glad that there is someone looking into this because it is confusing and I think if RC Sproul Jr. has been slandered it should be cleared up publicly.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006 10:27:00 PM
 
Mark said...
This doesn't surprise me at all, Shaun. But the level of hateful speech in the blogosphere has astounded me. I actually have made a point of not commenting because I couldn't stand the thought of being on the receiving end (plus, I had no direct information). I think you're a brave man.
Thursday, April 06, 2006 12:06:00 AM
 
ThirstyDavid said...
Pastor Shaun, thanks for posting this.

I am a moderator at Challies.com, where a reader has posted the complete text of this article. Would you give permission to leave it up? If not, I will remove it and leave a link back here.
Thursday, April 06, 2006 6:49:00 PM
 
Patrick Poole said...
Shaun,

With reference to RC Jr's defrocking (notice that I don't join you in the use of scare quotes), I find it very curious that you nowhere refer to, let alone mention, the documentary evidence in the matter. Doing so could have avoided you making a number of obvious errors.

For instance, you repeatedly state that RCJr and his thugs were denied a trial. Yet in fact, RCJr jumped the denominational ship before the trial could be held. The RPCGA Declartory Judgment removing these men from office, which was unanimously approved by Westminster Presbytery and was in full accord with their BCO, was based only on the charges that they pled guilty to. RCJr demanded to be released before the trial on the disputed charges could be held. The public statement issued by the RPCGA immediately after releasing them from general membership clearly states that the trial on disputed matters was forthcoming:

"While these men were deposed (defrocked) from office for their continued pattern of actions in violation of the Book of Church Order, they were not brought to trial on personal issues from other allegations that were made. Westminster Presbytery was considering a further investigation of the allegations of personal sinful behavior against them to determine if there was sufficient evidence that a trial regarding these allegations was necessary."

The Declaratory Judgment (p. 10) quotes a 12/15/05 email from RCJr to the Moderator asking that: 1) that they be allowed to leave the RPCGA, who would still conduct the trial; or 2) that the trial be transfered to another denomination (presumably the CRE). Thus, your bald assertion that RCJr was somehow denied a trial by the RPCGA is a gross mischaracterization of the facts.

Perhaps the most substantive charge to which RCJr pled guilty to was exercising discipline against John Austin and his entire family without any due process whatsoever. (As an aside, I do find it a bit cheeky that he and his defenders now whine and falsely complain about the process imposed by the RPCGA; at least they had full access to due process, unlike the Austins and several other families at St. Peter.) For this, the defrocked session confessed and stated their repentence as did RCJr individually. Are you really encouraging your readers to ignore the admissions to the facts made by these men, or are you contending that these admissions were made under torture administered by Ken Talbot, the Westminster Presbytery moderator? Should we also ignore altogether the witness of RCJr's personal assistant, Rick Saenz, who apologized for his role in the unlawful censure of the Austin family and who confessed his cowardice in the face of RCJr's tyrannical abuse, or is he also part of the grand blogstorm conspiracy that Mark Horne decries?

I will, however, commend you for not repeating the mindless mantra advanced by Laurence Windham, Doug Wilson and Randy Booth (the CRE Moderator) that these "men" were "deposed without censure". I do find it sadly amusing that the CRE is now conducting an "examination". With the CRE's long history of harboring denominational fugitives (e.g.: Burke Shade, Dennis Tuuri, etc.), this is kind of like the Nazis conducting a war crimes trial. Since the CRE is not even a presbyterian denomination, might you be able to explain to me, Shaun, how the CRE has any authority whatsoever to revisit the lawful judgments imposed by RPCGA? Do they have any more ecclesiastical authority than any other blogging Tom, Dick or Harry?

Also, do you really think that it is appropriate for you to publicly proclaim that you are "Clearing R.C. Sproul, Jr's Name" when you have been so negligent with the published facts of the case? At best, by your own admission, your vindication of RCJr is based on nothing more than hearsay from RCJr's father. Might there be some bias there? And do you really think that what you have provided in this post is enough to overrule the unanimous judgment of the brothers and fathers of Westminster Presbytery (RCPGA), to whom RCJr and his thugs had at least nominally submitted themselves to? Do you stand by your self-proclaimed "clearing" of RCJr's name?
Thursday, April 06, 2006 7:19:00 PM
 
Anonymous said...
These people make Clinton look like an amatuer. What spin!
Thursday, April 06, 2006 10:10:00 PM
 
Karen said...
"Clearing R.C. Sproul, Jr's Name." Wow! If that doesn't just say it all right there!

Thanks Pastor Shaun for posting this. You probably have no idea what a great service you've just done for the Reformed community. Please don't ever take this post down. Oh well. It doesn't really matter now. It's already getting reposted all over the internet.
Thursday, April 06, 2006 10:45:00 PM
 
Mark said...
I don't know who, if anyone, ever alleged a conspiracy. But I do know it wasn't me.
Thursday, April 06, 2006 10:58:00 PM
 
Patrick Poole said...
So Mark, would you consider Shaun's comments as falling under your "blogstorm" categorization? Thanks for clarifying that you consider criticisms of the Sproul sprout to be random and organized. So noted.
Thursday, April 06, 2006 11:14:00 PM
 
Karen said...
"And notice the comments are turned off..."

Interesting that you enjoy posting your comments here, Mark, but that you're not permitting anyone to post comments on your own blog. Hmm.

Here's another one of those site's that reposted Pastor Shaun's article.
Thursday, April 06, 2006 11:27:00 PM
 
Anonymous said...
"Sprout"

"Thugs" (x2)

"Mindless mantra"

"fugitives"

"Nazis"

Sure, a parent *might* be biased for his son. But that bare possibility hardly amounts to anything compared to the copious evidence here and elsewhere that you hate RC Sproul Jr with undying hatred.

If people refuse to believe hard evidence against RCjr, it may well be because of your own jihad against him tainted their judgments.
Thursday, April 06, 2006 11:42:00 PM
 
Patrick Poole said...
Well, Anonymous, unlike yourself, I have the courage of my convictions and have no problem attaching my name to what I say. I appreciate Shaun's bold efforts dedicated to "Clearing R.C. Sproul, Jr's Name". That is a Herculean task, like trying to clean the Augean stalls.

It is tragic that a good man like Shaun would devote himself to clearing Sprout of things that he freely admitted to. Sprout is apparently willing to let his would-be supporters walk the plank. But more interesting, I spoke with some of Sprout's victims this evening about Shaun's post. None of them had heard from Shaun, even though their identities and contact information are well known (I would be glad to provide such to him if he has an interest).

But that manifests the problem at hand: has Shaun improved the level of discourse on this matter when by his own admission he is presenting only one-sided hearsay? And getting back to my previous comment, what does it say about the level of information Shaun provides when it fails to address the significant body of evidence readily available, or that he has ignored it altogether? And what does it say that Shaun misrepresents the actions of the CREC with reference to Sprout? As CRE Moderator Randy Booth has said publicly, the committee is "not judicial in nature" and thus is not conducting the trial that Shaun represents that it is. What does that say about Shaun's grasp of the facts? I would honestly like to hear his response.
Friday, April 07, 2006 4:27:00 AM
 
Karen said...
Mr. Poole, I wouldn't be too hard on Pastor Shaun. It seems to me that his "grasp of the facts" is about as reliable as it gets, at least in terms of accurately retelling the story as he heard it. I'm taking him at his word as a story-teller. After all, how could his story source get any better than RC Sproul? And obviously RC Sproul's story source is RC Sproul Jr, and RC Jr's story source is Doug Wilson. So what Pastor Shaun is laying out here for us comes from the highest story-telling authority of the CREC's Commission, and as far as I'm concerned it doesn't get any better than that.
Friday, April 07, 2006 7:58:00 AM
 
Anonymous said...
The facts are this: If Jr.'s last name were not Sproul, he would be working construction somewhere to pay the bills. The whole thing is a sham and his father should be ashamed! I have no doubt daddy wants to believe him so bad that his judgement is clouded and those who love Sr. are willing to overlook FACTS.

This is taken right out of Clinton's strategy play book of spin. Go find sympathetic people to clear our names.

It grieves me that the whole reformed community seems to be totally mute on this while they have no problem condemning Warren, McLaren and Osteen all the time.

I just do not get it. They were found guilty and defrocked and they admitted guilt. Now we are back to they were "fraudelent charges"? What? Why didn't they stand and fight the first time?

I use anonymous because we have already seen the character of the men involved. They are viscious.
Friday, April 07, 2006 12:13:00 PM
 
pastorshaun said...
Hello friends,

I am not even going to attempt to reply to everything that has been said here. I do, however, want to thank those of you who saw this as what it was, and nothing more.

While I respect both R.C.'s, I am not their judge (nor am I a blind fan) and this post was not meant to clear anyone in a judicial sense. I think I've made that abundantly clear. (My title was a reference to these elders submitting to examination by others, not to my post proper.) My post was a modest attempt to share some good in the midst of a whole lot of malicious slander. Those of you who treated this post that way are to be praised for your restraint.

I also have no plan to interact with any of the other material out there on this blog. I have read it and, given my conversation with R.C., I question certain portions of it. I will not be posting those personal opinions, however. While it might be interesting to interact with some of you on them, it would not serve anyone's good. Not being close to the matter (nor asked to serve judicially), we would quickly become the blind leading the blind.

As for the CRE being "non-judicial", please forgive my referring to it as a trial. That was incorrect.

As for the RPCGA not holding a trial because the guys left before they could, I think it is patently clear that they sought the permission of the RPCGA to leave. It makes sense, if they were not treated fairly in the RPCGA, that they would seek judgment elsewhere.

As someone has rightly said, "the answer is probably in the middle" with guilt on both sides. I don't think any God-fearing pastor would not admit some guilt in a situation like this. R.C. said repeatedly that his son had sought his advice in doing the right things and in righting wrongs. I am willing to believe that he is telling the truth and, given the history of the RPCGA, am willing to allow for some error on their end, as well.

But the truth is not mine to decide. I am content to leave judgment in the hands of the Lord and I would strongly encourage you to do the same. If you want to do something, pray for these men, their accusers, and their judges.

For His Glory Alone,
Pastor Shaun
Friday, April 07, 2006 12:59:00 PM
 
Mark said...
Dear Patrick,

1. Since I was never unclear the first time, I cannot be thanked for clarifying anything. What I did was correct an inaccurate statement that you made about what I said.

2. The person we are discussing has a name. It is (note the spelling): R. C. Sproul, Jr.

Thank you for your interaction.
Friday, April 07, 2006 12:59:00 PM
 
Patrick Poole said...
Shaun,

I appreciate you clarifying your positions and offering your very modest retraction. What I find most disconcerting is how casually you have slandered the fathers and brothers in the RPCGA; and when you're called on it, you have nothing more to offer your "the answer is probably in the middle" equivocation. And yet you boldly stated in your original post: "I also understand that there are those out there who find no greater pleasure than to slander another man’s character." What utter hypocrisy!

You also say: "I am told that most, if not all of the charges brought against the session of St. Peters were themselves fraudulent."

Those are very strong words, brother, but is this even remotely true? Don't we have available signed statements from RCJr's own hand admitting to the very actions he and the other three were deposed for? And yet you have by your own confession taken upon yourself the task of "Clearing R.C. Sproul, Jr's Name" of abuses that he has freely confessed to. With that in mind, I certainly understand your unwillingness to address the points that I and others have made here, but forgive me if I don't join with Mark Horne in proclaiming your "bravery".

Again you say: "In case of point, no trial actually took place before the pronouncement of deposition was issued."

I ask you again, Shaun, do you still represent that this is true, when in fact the "men" in question asked to be released before their trial could be held? Yet you continue: "This is highly irregular..." Was their deposition from office in full accord with the RPCGA's BCO? Was it not approved UNANIMOUSLY by Westminster Presbytery? Was the RPCGA really abusing their authority when the accused admitted to all of the charges they were defrocked for and were given the opportunity to challenge the disputed charges in a trial?

I challenge you, Shaun: would your readers have an accurate understanding of the facts from your public representations here? Can you present your readers with even a shred of evidence to back up your outrageous, and thus far unfounded, public claims?

As someone who attaches the title of "pastor" to his posts, you must surely understand that you are doubly accountable for your words. (James. 3:1) But you make serious accusations against the fathers and brothers of the RPCGA. (I Tim. 5:19) You've already admitted to making some erroneous claims (e.g. the CREC's "not judicial in nature" committee). How could you ever look a man like Don Kistler in the eyes; a man who has been friends with the Sprouls for decades, and who was offered an opportunity to abstain from Westminster Presbytery's judgment, but has risked his position and livelihood with Ligonier and his relationship with the Sprouls by approving along with the ENTIRE presbytery the deposition of these defrocked tyrants? Have you no honor for these men in the RPCGA? Have you loved your neighbors in the RPCGA as yourself? Have you been diligent to protect the good name of every member of Westminster Presbytery?

I would kindly but seriously suggest that you should remove this post and publicly apologize for the slander you have engaged in at the expense of your brothers in Christ in the RPCGA; not just for the testimony of their good name, but your own as well.
Saturday, April 08, 2006 2:13:00 AM
 
pastorshaun said...
Patrick,
Thank you for your comments. Please see my previous comment.
Shaun
Saturday, April 08, 2006 10:29:00 AM
 
Anonymous said...
Friends, I simply ask, with as much neutrality as I am capable of having, what possible source could RC Sr have for determing fraudulent charges by the RPCGA other than his son's input? He would have no access to the denomination's files. As much as I admire and love the man, his expertise here is minimal or non-existent. His sources have to be suspect.
Saturday, April 08, 2006 8:58:00 PM
 
makena said...
Patrick Poole,

You have made some very good points. Thank you for reminding us of the other people who are being hurt by all of this. Some how Jr. has become the victim. I hope people will search to find the truth and not just what they want to hear.

And to the poster who commented about RC Sr. and his sources.....I couldn't agree with you more!
Sunday, April 09, 2006 12:04:00 AM
 
Frank Vance said...
"His sources have to be suspect." Suspect indeed! But if by "suspect" you're saying that they're not an accurate portrayal, in terms of the CREC Commission's methods and intentions, I'd have to disagree.

It's pretty obvious that Dr. Sproul has been repeating what he's heard from his son. But don't overlook the likelihood that Dr. Sproul has been in contact with Doug Wilson. That's not just mere speculation on my part. They're obviously not strangers to each other. Doug Wilson has spoken for Ligonier and written for Tabletalk. What could get Doug Wilson in any tighter with the old man than to exonerate his son and reordain him?
Sunday, April 09, 2006 9:16:00 AM
 
makena said...
I didin't think Doug Wilson and RC Sproul Sr. were on the same theological page lately. Am I wrong on this?
Sunday, April 09, 2006 3:01:00 PM
 
Anonymous said...
Doug Wilson can't have any information other than what Sproul Jr. has told him. At least, he can't have the information the denomination had, unless the denomination released it, which they haven't done.

The ones with the most information on all of this are RC Sproul Jr and the RPCGA. Their stories vastly differ, but no one but those two parties know what has happened.
Sunday, April 09, 2006 8:11:00 PM
 
Anonymous said...
Shaun, help me out here. How can the charges be fraudulent if RC Jr admitted to them, confessed them, and repented of them?

If the charges are fraudulent and he did all the above, then he has lied, hasn't he?

This is all quite perplexing.
Monday, April 10, 2006 1:30:00 PM
 
pastorshaun said...
Anon,
No one is suggesting that these men did nothing wrong, but that what they did do wrong was not worthy of deposition.

I agree with you, Anon. This is all quite perplexing. But God knows, and I am praying for a fair and just conclusion to it all.
Monday, April 10, 2006 2:13:00 PM
 
Anonymous said...
I'll say this. It'll be real hard to get a church to do discipline if they can expect this when they do. We decry the fact that there's no discipline, and then turn on the ones who do it. Do the outsiders really have the right to say, without having access to the information that only the church has, that it wasn't worthy of deposition?
Monday, April 10, 2006 5:23:00 PM
 
pastorshaun said...
Appealling a decision rendered by a court and "turning on the court" are not the same thing. Discipline is a wonderful thing, but that does not mean that all courts are infallible. Appeal and complaint should always be options available to the defendant. (Please do not ask me why they are not appealling within the RPCGA system. I simply do not know.)

You bring up an excellent point when you question the right of outsiders to judge a situation having only limited information. While folks are certainly welcome to their personal opinions of a matter, the kind of public judging that has been going on when only partial information has been available has been appalling. How quickly many have jumped at their chance to cast the first (or second or third) stone. These would do well to consider the logs in their own eyes first. That these men have been deposed is a serious thing, but it gives no one the right to be belligerent.

The session of St. Peters, who are by no means outsiders, have determined that they were not treated fairly and are appealling this matter. This we know. We also know some of the reasons why. Now that we know these things, our job is to keep our mouths shut and await the outcome lest God judge us in the same way we judge.

For the honor of Christ, let us then proceed with wisdom.
Monday, April 10, 2006 8:11:00 PM
 
Karen said...
"Appeal and complaint should always be options available to the defendant. (Please do not ask me why they are not appealling within the RPCGA system. I simply do not know.)... The session of St. Peters, who are by no means outsiders, have determined that they were not treated fairly and are appealling this matter."

But I thought the CREC Commission was "not judicial in nature." The RPCGA Declaratory Judgment was obviously judicial, and any appeal of that Judgment would obviously have to be judicial as well. So has the work of the CREC Commission now moved from non-judicial to judicial and they just haven't let the public know about it?
Tuesday, April 11, 2006 3:17:00 PM
 
Anonymous said...
Isn't the whole point of Presbyterianism that if you don't like the session's decisions, go to Presbytery, and if you don't like Presbytery's decision, then go to General Assembly/Synod?

It's beyond perplexing that they left the denomination and appealed to somebody else (not to mention that the somebody else has stated that they are not looking at the matter judicially).

It's a very simple matter of "Dad said I couldn't have candy so I'll go ask Mom for some".

And the reason I think why people are jumping on a case like this (throwing stones as you say) is because Reformed people act pretty proud about having it all figured out with reasons for everything (and I speak as a Reformed person). And so when it's shown that they don't have it all together, and that they don't even live by their own rules, and that they don't hold themselves to the same standards that they complain about everybody else not following, well then the dogpile starts for a little bit of payback.

I mean, RC Sproul has argued that the Bible makes it clear that homeschooling is the ONLY way to educate your children. So he calls me a sinner because I don't do this, and yet I'm supposed to keep my mouth shut when his own Presbytery makes a public ruling, and he wants to fight it without going through the due process of the denomination that he chose to join. So I think that's a bit of why there's so much stone throwing. Sproul has thrown his fair share of stones at people who haven't done anything other than have a different viewpoint about something that the Bible certainly does not address explicitly.

Steve Codling
Wednesday, April 12, 2006 2:47:00 AM
 
Anonymous said...
Shaun, when you spoke with Dr. Sproul Sr., did he offer any explanation as to the admission of guilt his son made to he denomination, and the repentance offered?

Thank you.
Thursday, April 13, 2006 1:55:00 PM
 
pastorshaun said...
From my comment above: "R.C. said repeatedly that his son had sought his advice in doing the right things and in righting wrongs."

PS
Thursday, April 13, 2006 2:12:00 PM
 
Dante said...
Here's an interesting take on this story:

RC Sproul Not Deterring Son From CREC
Friday, April 14, 2006 10:31:00 AM
 
Rita said...
I found an interesting article that relates to this, Can RC Sproul Jr Be Restored?
Friday, April 21, 2006 4:46:00 PM
 
Anonymous said...
Pastor Shaun, I'd be interested in your thoughts on this. You said that you didn't think what RC Sproul Jr had done was worthy of being deposed. Would you ordain a man who had done these things if he came to your denomination for ordination? If the criteria for a pastor is that he be above reproach, aren't any of these things worthy of deposition?
Tuesday, April 25, 2006 9:11:00 AM
 
pastorshaun said...
Anon,

I'm simply reporting the other side of the story. I'm not making any judgments (at least, I'm trying not to--forgive me if I have).

If a man with this history came into my denomination, I *would* be in a place to make judgment (along with my fellow ministers) and I would expect that we would examine all sides, as well as honor true repentance demonstrated by its fruit. That is what we have done with men in the past.

As it is, I don't know everything about this situation and so can't give you a "yes, I'd let him in" kind of answer.

Blessings.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006 9:44:00 AM
 
Rita said...
Pastor Shaun,

Now that the CREC's Saint Peter Report is out could you please share your thoughts on it with us? I'm having a hard time seeing how it clears R.C. Jr's name, but with your inside sources maybe you've got a different take on things.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006 9:08:00 AM
 
John said...
Doug Wilson is taking a lot of heat over the CREC's handling of the R.C. Sproul Jr. debacle:

Many Thanks and Saint Peter
With Wooly Mittens On

Lot's of questions, no answers. Not that I'm the least bit surprised.
Monday, June 26, 2006 7:14:00 PM
 
jamey bennett said...
I am saddened by the hateful vitriol in the Christian community. I know people who have left to Orthodoxy and Rome because Reformed people are so hateful sometimes. Once upon a time people used to have a life... Good for you in posting this. R.C. is a good man, saved by grace. Thanks for the post. - Jamey Bennett, www.wittenberghall.com
Tuesday, June 27, 2006 11:17:00 AM
 
jamey bennett said...
BTW - This is one of the reasons I'm a Reformed Anglican now. Anglicans have their problems, but the continuing Anglicans I'm around are very kind people. I think we forget that the evil people are not the RC Jr's of the world. My bishop left ECUSA because the fights were making him bitter. And its a good thing, because he is a tender (yet masculine) man.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006 11:20:00 AM
 
Donald said...
"I think we forget that the evil people are not the RC Jr's of the world." How very naive. The most potentially evil and dangerous men in the world are those who masquerade as shepherds: "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." Acts 20:28-30

The RPCGA acted prudently by deposing four of their Elders because they were deemed "not qualified" for the office. They did so to protect the sheep, and they should be commended for that. There is now no more clear evidence that R.C. Sproul Jr. is a wolf in sheep's clothing but that he is in open defiance of the denomination that he swore to submit to their discipline, and now that they deposed him from office he continues masquerading as a pastor.

How very "hateful" of me as a Reformed minister to say so. I guess my vitriolic comments will cause some to flee to Rome.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006 11:10:00 AM
 
John said...
CREC Commission dude Dennis Tuuri is now blaming a former Saint Peter treasurer for RC Jr's tax identification number theft. Thankfully it now looks like Tuuri's just retracted his story (or is that backpeddling?). If these guys ever had any credibility at all I think it's now pretty well shot to H-E double hockey sticks.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006 9:25:00 PM
 
Anonymous said...
This is typical of what I have come to expect. Christians pick their heroes and defend them when they experience problems reguardless of facts. Were I in RC Sprouls situation I would give my son the benifit of the doubt, but that doesnt mean my son couldnt be misleading me. I love RC Sproul Sr. for what he and his ministry have done in my life, however he is yet but a man, prone to all the fobiles and follies to which we are all subject. Too many blindly follow a beloved teacher and began to think them above reproach, yet they are as fallen as I. My point here is not to put my stamp of right or wrong on the whole affair. Simple to state that on both sides there is unchristian blind faith in one man or group, or another. Do not forget who we all are, and that includes the exalted folks on both sides of this. So argue the merits not your emotional attachment to one teacher/leader or another.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006 1:33:00 PM
 
Anonymous said...
Hmmmm. As I read the "All clear on the Southern Front" Sr. defends Jr., Here's what I take away from it. 1.) It was a set of extreme circumstances that happen to coincide all at the same time, to the same person. 2.) "I did not have sex with that woman."

It just doesn't happen the way Sr. was talking about. The identity theft - "Ooops, sorry we missed that." Well okay. The attack on the families by Jr. & Co. "Hey, they were under church discipline, not us, and we wanted to make sure they didn't get away with it." Then, a "Ooops. Sorry. (again) it was our fault and I/we were at fault." At fault for what? You only apologize for a transgression. Ergo, a transgression was made (and documented.) Then, the daughter church thing. "That was a special circumstances thing." What? A daughter church set up OUTSIDE the bounds of the Presbytery? Why and for what purpose? And the child communion thing. What is the controversy here? It either happened or it didn't. Should be easy to determine. But, like the Whitewater case and Monica Lewinski scandal, to site an extreme comparison, all these "things" just sort of happened, all at the same time, all to the same guy. And now, a different group is to adjudicate the issue (again) because the results of the defrocking were not enjoyed.
I like R.C. I even send him dinero every month. But this is an embarrassment that should have been dealt with much sooner. Take your lumps and trust Believers to be merciful. The idea of "kicking against the pricks" is so useless and a poor use of resources. Jr. did it. "Whack! Now go to your room." Let's move on, but no. Sr. is taking the role of the intrusive parent denying that their kid had anything to do with the bad behavior at school.
Sr. - discipline Jr. as father to son. He's out of line for a lot of reasons. It would be the best thing to do for everyone, especially Jr.
Friday, September 29, 2006 5:50:00 PM
 
Keri said...
"I like R.C. I even send him dinero every month." Me too. Or least our family used to be Ligonier supporters. We had to cut them off. Things have just gotten too ugly at Ligonier. We can't support ministries that just use our donations to pay attorneys and private investigators with, which is what they did when they sued a Christian blogger and then lied about it too. This is very discouraging to us to see this kind of corruption going on by such a respected Reformed ministry.
Thursday, October 19, 2006 1:03:00 PM
 
Daniel Drost said...
Hi. I am undecided on the issue of RC Jr. but I have to say that I am dissapointed that you are pretending to be the good guy when you clearly spoke against the RPCGA. You are no better then those who "slander" RC Jr. but worse because you simplisticly think that you have been only positive. This is annoying and it annoys me that people are eating this up. Ultimately if the "slanderers" are right then they are not slandering becuase they are writing on a public forum where anyone, including RC Jr., could read it and respond. You also didn't deal with the question of why R.C. Junior had to go to a questionable "denomination" like Doug Wilson's to get cleared. If he is so blameless, why not the PCA or the OPC? I am not trying to be rude but I want reality not pretended effeminate "niceness." I say this with full respect for you, it is just that your comments need a rebuke. Please be more honest next time. God bless.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006 11:03:00 PM
 
Ed Enochs said...
I have been a long time supporter of RC Sproul and Ligonier Ministries (I have been to six different Ligonier Conferences)and have been reading his books since 1990, and I am wondering what in the world is going on. I do not know which side is right or wrong, but this problem with RC Jr along with the enormous problems taking place with Doug Wilson is really disillusioning me and making me feel that the Reformed Faith in America is becoming a lot like the scandal ladden PTL and TBN networks.

I have one thing to say to RC Jr, and Doug Wilson, Physicans Reform Thyselves!
Sunday, December 17, 2006 10:25:00 AM
 
Mighty Mouse said...
At first whiff of the "judgment" I can say something smells *mighty* fishy, not the least of which was the obvious haste with which the documents were created, as manifested in very poor grammar and typos.

-A former Reformed student, now an investigative reporter.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006 8:55:00 PM

 

 

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6 Comments:

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Patrick Wren said...

Or bouncing around the truth? Dad has a big shadow that is trying to protect his son. Follow the bouncing shadow

 
At 10:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What these men are doing is reprehensible! They are acting like Bill Clinton, for crying out loud! Talk about spin!!!! Shameful!

 
At 12:15 AM, Blogger Patrick Poole said...

RC2.0,

I posted this comment over at Shaun's place, but who can guarantee if it will remain there. Here's what I wrote:

Shaun,

With reference to RC Jr's defrocking (notice that I don't join you in the use of scare quotes), I find it very curious that you nowhere refer to, let alone mention, the documentary evidence in the matter. Doing so could have avoided you making a number of obvious errors.

For instance, you repeatedly state that RCJr and his thugs were denied a trial. Yet in fact, RCJr jumped the denominational ship before the trial could be held. The RPCGA Declartory Judgment removing these men from office, which was unanimously approved by Westminster Presbytery and was in full accord with their BCO, was based only on the charges that they pled guilty to. RCJr demanded to be released before the trial on the disputed charges could be held. The public statement issued by the RPCGA immediately after releasing them from general membership clearly states that the trial on disputed matters was forthcoming:

"While these men were deposed (defrocked) from office for their continued pattern of actions in violation of the Book of Church Order, they were not brought to trial on personal issues from other allegations that were made. Westminster Presbytery was considering a further investigation of the allegations of personal sinful behavior against them to determine if there was sufficient evidence that a trial regarding these allegations was necessary."

The Declaratory Judgment (p. 10) quotes a 12/15/05 email from RCJr to the Moderator asking that: 1) that they be allowed to leave the RPCGA, who would still conduct the trial; or 2) that the trial be transfered to another denomination (presumably the CRE). Thus, your bald assertion that RCJr was somehow denied a trial by the RPCGA is a gross mischaracterization of the facts.

Perhaps the most substantive charge to which RCJr pled guilty to was exercising discipline against John Austin and his entire family without any due process whatsoever. (As an aside, I do find it a bit cheeky that he and his defenders now whine and falsely complain about the process imposed by the RPCGA; at least they had full access to due process, unlike the Austins and several other families at St. Peter.) For this, the defrocked session confessed and stated their repentence as did RCJr individually. Are you really encouraging your readers to ignore the admissions to the facts made by these men, or are you contending that these admissions were made under torture administered by Ken Talbot, the Westminster Presbytery moderator? Should we also ignore altogether the witness of RCJr's personal assistant, Rick Saenz, who apologized for his role in the unlawful censure of the Austin family and who confessed his cowardice in the face of RCJr's tyrannical abuse, or is he also part of the grand blogstorm conspiracy that Mark Horne decries?

I will, however, commend you for not repeating the mindless mantra advanced by Laurence Windham, Doug Wilson and Randy Booth (the CRE Moderator) that these "men" were "deposed without censure". I do find it sadly amusing that the CRE is now conducting an "examination". With the CRE's long history of harboring denominational fugitives (e.g.: Burke Shade, Dennis Tuuri, etc.), this is kind of like the Nazis conducting a war crimes trial. Since the CRE is not even a presbyterian denomination, might you be able to explain to me, Shaun, how the CRE has any authority whatsoever to revisit the lawful judgments imposed by RPCGA? Do they have any more ecclesiastical authority than any other blogging Tom, Dick or Harry?

Also, do you really think that it is appropriate for you to publicly proclaim that you are "Clearing R.C. Sproul, Jr's Name" when you have been so negligent with the published facts of the case? At best, by your own admission, your vindication of RCJr is based on nothing more than hearsay from RCJr's father. Might there be some bias there? And do you really think that what you have provided in this post is enough to overrule the unanimous judgment of the brothers and fathers of Westminster Presbytery (RCPGA), to whom RCJr and his thugs had at least nominally submitted themselves to? Do you stand by your self-proclaimed "clearing" of RCJr's name?

 
At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is because of this very kind of behavior that we are no longer practicing presbyterians! From our own experience, we have seen case after case where a "good old boy's club" got their buddies out of trouble. We have yet to see justice prevail when the system works in this manner. Where is the balance of powers? Anyone who believes in the total depravity of man, which I do, knows that absolute power in the hands of people corrupts absolutely.

My prediction....R.C. and the gang will get off, they will pick right up where they left off and the lording it over the congregation will be worse than ever. They will continue to be drunk with power (not to mention spirits) and more and more families will suffer through what the Austins and others have had to endure.

The other thing that just drives me crazy which is evidenced in this Pastor Shaun newspeak is that these guys will twist and turn anything and everything into meaning something so bizarre that it really means nothing. They go off on these tangents of church polity that are so far removed from what the Bible actually teaches that any normal Christian is left shaking his head and asking "what in the world did he just say?" The analogy to Bill Clinton is absolutely the right one. I once had a judiciary commission, in a situation where we had charged our church elders of lording it over the congregation (we still have reams of testimony from a good number of families) ask we respected our elders. The answer I gave was this: I would have to say that if is similar to the way I felt about President Clinton. I have utmost respect for the office of elder (president) but absolutely no personal respect for these men (Clinton.) Some of the committee gasped at that, some understood.

 
At 9:33 AM, Blogger RC 2.0 said...

I'll repost here another excellent comment by Patrick Poole:

Patrick Poole said...

Shaun,

I appreciate you clarifying your positions and offering your very modest retraction. What I find most disconcerting is how casually you have slandered the fathers and brothers in the RPCGA; and when you're called on it, you have nothing more to offer your "the answer is probably in the middle" equivocation. And yet you boldly stated in your original post: "I also understand that there are those out there who find no greater pleasure than to slander another man’s character." What utter hypocrisy!

You also say: "I am told that most, if not all of the charges brought against the session of St. Peters were themselves fraudulent."

Those are very strong words, brother, but is this even remotely true? Don't we have available signed statements from RCJr's own hand admitting to the very actions he and the other three were deposed for? And yet you have by your own confession taken upon yourself the task of "Clearing R.C. Sproul, Jr's Name" of abuses that he has freely confessed to. With that in mind, I certainly understand your unwillingness to address the points that I and others have made here, but forgive me if I don't join with Mark Horne in proclaiming your "bravery".

Again you say: "In case of point, no trial actually took place before the pronouncement of deposition was issued."

I ask you again, Shaun, do you still represent that this is true, when in fact the "men" in question asked to be released before their trial could be held? Yet you continue: "This is highly irregular..." Was their deposition from office in full accord with the RPCGA's BCO? Was it not approved UNANIMOUSLY by Westminster Presbytery? Was the RPCGA really abusing their authority when the accused admitted to all of the charges they were defrocked for and were given the opportunity to challenge the disputed charges in a trial?

I challenge you, Shaun: would your readers have an accurate understanding of the facts from your public representations here? Can you present your readers with even a shred of evidence to back up your outrageous, and thus far unfounded, public claims?

As someone who attaches the title of "pastor" to his posts, you must surely understand that you are doubly accountable for your words. (James. 3:1) But you make serious accusations against the fathers and brothers of the RPCGA. (I Tim. 5:19) You've already admitted to making some erroneous claims (e.g. the CREC's "not judicial in nature" committee). How could you ever look a man like Don Kistler in the eyes; a man who has been friends with the Sprouls for decades, and who was offered an opportunity to abstain from Westminster Presbytery's judgment, but has risked his position and livelihood with Ligonier and his relationship with the Sprouls by approving along with the ENTIRE presbytery the deposition of these defrocked tyrants? Have you no honor for these men in the RPCGA? Have you loved your neighbors in the RPCGA as yourself? Have you been diligent to protect the good name of every member of Westminster Presbytery?

I would kindly but seriously suggest that you should remove this post and publicly apologize for the slander you have engaged in at the expense of your brothers in Christ in the RPCGA; not just for the testimony of their good name, but your own as well.
Saturday, April 08, 2006 2:13:21 AM

 
At 10:43 AM, Blogger Reformed Baptist said...

Dr. Sproul should be ashamed of himself for such blatant spin. Let me speak with knowledge on one count against RC the Younger, that of establishing a daughter church out of bounds of the RPCGA. I was in attendance when Laurence Windham came to Michigan, and by the authority vested in him as an elder of St. Peter, "installed" Mark Dewey as pastor of Christ the King Church. Mark Dewey and I had several conversations where he referred to our church as a daughter church of St. Peter, and he recognized RC the Younger and Laurence as his authority, even though we were NOT in the RPCGA (either presbytery). Christ the King Church had NO denominational affiliation at its creation and yet was still recognized by elders of St. Peter and Mark Dewey as a daughter church of St. Peter. This was a clear violation of the BCO of the RPCGA, and for Dr. Sproul to try to spin this as a mixup in presbyterian jurisdiction is extremely troubling. This is nothing more than a falsehood being propagated in a feeble attempt to protect his "Precious".

 

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