Sep 15, 2006

Contending With Ligonier Ministries

Nathan, the prophet, went to see David, the king, one day. He told him a heart-wrenching story: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

David was furious and wanted to kill the man on the spot AND make him pay restitution.

But Nathan said, “You are the man! God blessed you with everything; why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword.” He then pronounced the Lord’s punishment for David’s disobedience of the Lord’s command, saying, “For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel.”

So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

Here we have the man after God’s own heart committing at least two very grave and serious sins in secret, a man of God doing evil in His sight. Thankfully, someone has the guts to stand up to the King of Israel and say, “You are the man! You are the sinner. Repent!” And because David was a man after God’s own heart, his wicked heart was teachable and tender when confronted with his breaking of the law, God’s law.

Proverbs tells us that “those who forsake the law praise the wicked, But such as keep the law contend with them.”

God calls those who keep His law to contend with the wicked (those who forsake God’s law are wicked). Even though David was a man after God’s own heart, he was behaving in a very wicked way and God was extremely displeased with him. God sent Nathan to contend with David. Look at the fruit of that contention!

We don’t like confrontation, we don’t like contention. It is much easier to bury our heads in the sand and pretend like it doesn’t affect us than to “get involved.” Contending with those who forsake God’s law is hard work and just plain isn’t fun. It’s too much work. The other person might attack us. They might retaliate. What if they don’t repent? It’s too much of a risk, we reason. Someone else will do it.

Will they? Who is that someone else? If you are reading this, that someone else should be YOU! Are you following the story of sin in great men of God? Then get up and do something about it. Don’t let it be an issue of gossip in your life. Whether you write or speak about it, or whether you just read or hear about it, it is still little more than gossip if you don’t get up and DO something about it.

Maybe you don’t know what to do. Great! Then you came to the right place! I am going to give you some ideas of exactly what to do about a current situation where Christian leaders need to have their feet held to the fire leading to repentance.

Edmund Burke once said, “All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

Are you willing to let evil triumph in the Lord’s work? Or are you willing to contend with those who are breaking God’s law at Ligonier Ministries?

Every Christian can, and should, pray. That is the first thing.

The following three posts are open letters to Dr. RC Sproul, Vesta Sproul and the board of directors, and Tim Dick, president of Ligonier Ministries. I would strongly encourage each person reading this to cut and paste these letters into Word and mail them to Ligonier (addresses provided). If you do not financially support Ligonier Ministries currently, please delete that part and still send in the letters. Ligonier needs to be inundated right now by Christians who will contend with them for breaking God’s law.

You may also call Ligonier Ministries at 800-435-4343 and tell them the same things. I do not recommend e-mailing, but you may. Ligonier’s customer service e-mail is customerservice@ligonier.org. This e-mail account is read by Tim Dick, who then forwards it to the person responsible. I asked Ligonier today if RC’s e-mails were forwarded to him. They assured me they were, although RC does NOT have e-mail. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Let me just mention that a hard copy is more binding than e-mail and much more likely to go to its intended recipient.

Here are some additional addresses to use for the Board Of Directors

Dr. R.C. Sproul, Chairman

Founder & Chairman, Ligonier Ministries, Inc.
Lake Mary, Florida
R.C. Sproul
2741 Deer Berry Ct
Longwood, FL 32779-3071

Mrs. Vesta Sproul, Director

Co-founder of Ligonier Ministries, Inc.
Lake Mary, Florida
Vesta Sproul
2741 Deer Berry Ct
Longwood, FL 32779-3071

Mrs. Pat Dizney, Director

Entrepreneur
Orlando, Florida
(unlisted)

Mr. Stephen Levee, Director

Real Estate Developer
Madisonville, Louisiana
Steve Levee
324 Robinhood Rd
Covington, LA 70433-4763
(985) 809-1717)

Mr. Greg Miseyko, Director

Investment Management Consultant, Morgan Stanley
Deerfield Beach, Florida.
Gregory Miseyko
63 Little Harbor Way
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441-3606
(954) 596-2111

Mr. Archie Parrish, Director

President, Serve International, Inc.
Atlanta, Georgia
Archie Parrish
Serve International
P.O. Box 71716
Marietta, GA 30007
770-642-2449
http://www.kingdomprayer.org/


When you write or call, please remember to consider all of God’s counsel about how we are to handle ourselves as Christians, such as with
charity, being kind, and in a spirit of gentleness. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”

It is time to call Ligonier Ministries to repentance.


20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Repent or perish.

Anonymous said...

Repent or perish.

Anonymous said...

Repent or perish.

Anonymous said...

Repent or perish.

Carson Allen said...

Jen

Thank You for standing up for the truth and being gentle in spirit. I am using your open leters to send to R.C.'s house.

So why don't we just forgive and forget? This is what no2salvation-by-process wants to know over on Franks blog. If you could help me answer that question for him it would be greatley appriciated.

Jen said...

Carson,

Mark just answered your question at Frank's site. Check it out there.

Jen said...

Anonymous,

Please use a name other than anonymous so as to prevent confusion.

Who are you calling to repentance here? Me or Ligonier?

Jen said...

Carson,

I think this verse says it best: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them." Eph. 5:11

steve codling said...

your gentle but unwavering spirit in this issue is encouraging... and as to why we don't just pray, forgive and leave it in God's hands - well, it was good that Luther didn't just leave his disgust over indulgences "in God's hands". He thought it was an issue to be dealt with because it compromised God's name, and it led him to confront many other issues as well.

Jen said...

We just watched the "Luther" movie recently and Luther really inspired us to do what we're doing here. There certainly are times to take it public, to take it to the WHOLE church.

Anonymous said...

if your home schooling a 19 year old, somethings wrong

Mark Epstein said...

Anonymous,

Perhaps you could use some time in our classroom "down here in Texas." There is a difference between "your" and "you are" (you're). Of course, our 19 year old knows the difference.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Anonymous neglected the necessary apostrophe in 'something's wrong,' as well.

Thank-you both for doing this.

hopeful said...

is this helpful with regard to the Don Kistler/SDG allegations that Mr. Vance has made?

http://www.challies.com/archives/002100.php

Jen said...

I think anonymous just needs some good old-fashioned homeschooling to learn how to write!

Hopeful, if you check the dates, you will see that I posted this several days before Don Kistler's "e-mail" (which hasn't been verified yet) was posted. You will also notice that I have not mentioned anything on my blog about Don Kistler. Whether or not the allegations being made against Don Kistler are true and whether or not the e-mail from "Don Kistler" is in fact from Don, neither of these have anything to do with Ligonier filing a lawsuit against a fellow believer, which clearly violates Scripture, and the subsequent cover-up and lies, which also clearly violate Scripture. If, and that's a big if, Ligonier is totally innocent regarding all things Don Kistler, they are still fully accountable, and need to be held accountable, for ALL their actions, which include these egregious sins. As a "stockholder" in this once-God-fearing ministry, I am called to hold them accountable, and am calling other Christians to do the same. We need to continue to pray for them and the whole situation.

grieved said...

I have not heard of the Kistler e-mail.

However, I agree with Jen, this goes way beyond Kistler. The lawsuit shows there are serious spiritual problems within the organization. They have taken on a secular world view in dealing with problems. This happens in so many Christian organizations that it is really sad.

If you read Franks entire blog, you will see that he contacted Tim Dick and tried to do this in a orderly biblical manner. Only to be rebuffed many times. There is nothing unbiblical about exposing the deeds of darkness within Chrisendom. We have a whole generation of Christians who do not understand this concept. Rebuking is loving. It can keep us from eternal damnation.

People tend to forget that this is a donor supported ministry. They are accountable to their donors and customers who go to them for one thing: Christian teaching from the Word.

Had no lawsuit been filed, chances are none of us would have known about the other abuses. The lawsuit brought a microscope onto the ministry.

What is forgiveness without repentence? Cheap Grace?

Jen said...

You know, this is really Ligonier's chance to SHINE as a light in the darkness! If they would see this as a potential watershed point of history for their ministry, and humbled themselves, took full responsibility for ALL iniquity, and repented (from the top down), I believe they would see their ministry catapult into a mighty vessel able to be used by God for even greater furthering of His Kingdom. What an incredible opportunity God is offering Ligonier right now!

Mark Epstein said...

Jennifer,

Your comment concerning Ligonier's chance to shine is spot on. This is a wonderful opportunity for this organization's leaders to repent and move forward under the direction of God's Holy Spirit. I think everyone remotely following this major issue in Christendom needs to be praying for Ligonier's leadership. In this instance, they need to lead by humbling themselves. After all, wasn't that Christ's normative pattern?

hopeful said...

Mrs. Epstein,

You have in fact mentioned the matter involving Dr. Kistler on this blog.

In the post prior to this, you make public your Open letter to Dr. Sproul et al.

You write:
"In addition, we would ask that you answer the charges Frank Vance makes against Ligonier regarding duplicity in a contract with Don Kistler."

That matter has now been unequivocally answered.

Please acknowledge your mistake as you so publicly desire Ligonier to acknowledge their "mistake." You have taken Frank Vance at his word without one apparent inquiry into his qualifications for self-appointed arbiter of righteousness. You appear to have traded 35 years of Ligonier's faithful Christian testimony and service to the Church for a blogger's comments over the summer.

You may also appreciate the steps Ligonier appears to be taking at:

http://www.ligonier.org/statement_9_20_2006/from_seniormanagement.php

http://www.ligonier.org/statement_9_20_2006/from_timdick.php

If Mr. Vance is a Christian, how does threatening the president of a Christian ministry by saying that a "knife has been put to his throat" comport with Mr. Vance's testimony as a Christian. You have rightly speculated, "what should they [Ligonier] do" in the absence of church courts.

I believe the public testimony of your blog is that you have not "hoped all things" regarding Ligonier Ministries as 1 Cor. 13 would encourage the bride of Christ to do.

As ever,
hopeful

Jen said...

Hopeful, you sound just like John Duncan!

You quoted me saying, "In addition, we would ask that you answer the charges Frank Vance makes against Ligonier regarding duplicity in a contract with Don Kistler" and gave this as proof that I "mentioned" Don Kistler on my blog. While I agree that "mention" can be used to refer to something briefly, it can also be used to formally cite an achievement, which is how I was using the word here. Asking people from Ligonier to make a statement about the situation regarding Don Kistler is NOT the same as my making a personal observation or accusation on my blog about this. I only asked for more information; that cannot be equated with reporting on the situation.

The matter with Don Kistler has now been unequivocally resolved? How do you figure? An e-mail to one highly biased blogger constitutes the resolution of months of accusations from a different blogger? And no official statement from Ligonier? I think there's more to that story yet! But since I don’t know more yet, I will not take sides either way.

This semantics game that you like to play also applies to the comment that Frank Vance said Tim Dick had a “knife put to his own throat.” Any Joe Blow would agree that that is purely a figure of speech and would not take that as a real physical threat. Is that why Tim Dick filed a suit against Frank Vance - because he thought Frank was going to slit his throat? That is not even plausible!

I shall reserve comment on Ligonier's "official" statements for another time, please.

Thanks for stopping by, John.