Sep 9, 2006

Ligonier Ministries: Divorcing Orthodoxy From Orthopraxy

I have written several times about one of my very favorite Bible teachers, RC Sproul. Before we ever heard of "reformed theology," we started listening to RC Sproul every day on the radio. Most of what he taught seemed to be accurate when lined up with the whole counsel of God. We greatly appreciate the meat of his messages and many a sermon has transformed our lives. This kind of biblically sound teaching is called "orthodoxy" - correctness of beliefs - and is sadly lacking in so many churches today. Once we had a taste of it, we craved more and more in-depth sound biblical teaching.

As we started listening to other reformed teachers, we eventually found out that "reformed" does not necessarily mean "reformed," just as "baptist" doesn't necessarily mean "baptist." We still find RC Sproul to be the best teacher of orthodoxy as it lines up with God's Word, especially since he does not seem to take an extreme position on anything, which is often what turns off so many people to reformed theology.

However, orthodoxy must always be wed to orthopraxy - correctness of actions. Why do we study God's Word? There are certainly many reasons, such as to know God, but out of our daily study should come the fruit of orthopraxy, that is, the fruit of a changed life. Knowing what God has to say about something (orthodoxy) and doing what God says (orthopraxy) are, unfortunately, sometimes two very different things. However, in God's eyes, they must always be fully wed. God will hold us to a higher degree of accountability when we have studied His Word, seen clearly what He tells us to do, and then do the opposite.

God does not look lightly on divorcing orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

Having then been both an avid listener and a financial supporter for years to Ligonier Ministries and RC Sproul, I was deeply grieved to hear that Ligonier, through Tim Dick, RC's son-in-law, is suing a fellow believer, in obvious contradiction to God's Word, which says clearly that a Christian will not take another Christian to the courts of the world.

I want to make clear that RC Sproul himself is NOT suing Frank Vance, the man who has exposed some very serious sins within the ministry of Ligonier and also some of the personal life of RC Sproul's family, who runs Ligonier. However, by not stopping these actions, which must be fully known to RC Sproul, he is implicitly condoning suing a fellow believer.

I am NOT an internet assassin, nor do I condone internet assassins, but since I have written here previously praising the works of RC Sproul (for which I still think he is a great Bible teacher), I feel an ethical obligation to let others know that his superb orthodoxy is currently divorced from his orthopraxy. I will not relate the details of what is going on at Ligonier Ministries, but you may read about it here. When Matthew 18 seems to be exhausted, the internet has provided a way to expose those who need to be exposed, for various reasons. Many brethen spent two years appealing to those in the wrong, only to meet with continued resistance and lack of repentance. As a supporter of RC Sproul and Ligonier, and having attended his incredible church several times, I fully appreciate being made aware of how my money is being used, and how orthodoxy is currently divorced from orthopraxy in this group of people, although I am deeply grieved and saddened by this whole scenario.

I pray for a quick and complete repentance from all involved, and until such time, feel we must withhold our financial support. Will I still listen to RC Sproul? Probably. I have long ago learned not to throw the baby out with the bath. But my enthusiasm for his incredible teaching will be dampened slightly.

May the Lord open his eyes to the correct orthopraxy, even when it's the hard thing to do.

1 comment:

Mark Epstein said...

Amen! Furthermore, as I read the blogosphere, it seems LM isn't the only entity that has threatened to sue or sued Reformed Christians. This is not only unbiblical, but certainly lines up with what Barn Cat stated on Frank Vance's blog and the abbreviated post of Cat's comments I placed on my blog.