I had a nice little chat with "Senior Management" at Ligonier on Monday afternoon, and I thought you readers would like to know about it. "Senior Management," or at least one of them, is John Duncan. He was patient with my questions and spoke with me for more than two hours. I was grateful for the time, because dealing with a real person is so much easier for me than with a nebulous entity like "Ligonier" - especially now that customer service has been forbidden to talk.
John was upset, however, that I had accused Ligonier of “deeds of darkness.” I explained that “deeds of darkness” is just another term for sin, and that we all sin, both believers and unbelievers alike. He did not think Ligonier had sinned in this matter with Frank Vance, however. I, of course, repeated I Corinthians 6 to him, about Christians not suing Christians, at which time he shocked me by saying that Frank Vance has never professed to be a Christian, so they were operating under the assumption that Frank Vance is not a believer, and therefore they had the right to sue him.
Let me stop here and say that even if Frank Vance were a lying Muslim, as Doug Wilson has concluded, the best thing Ligonier and Tim Dick could have done would be - nothing. Frank Vance was a “nobody” in the blogging world and in Reformed circles, so his little blip on the screen would have been nothing more than a fleeting rant. Nobody would really have cared much about what was happening inside Ligonier if Tim Dick hadn’t made a public spectacle of demanding his rights when somebody called him a name.
However, let’s get back to Ligonier’s and John Duncan’s justification for suing Frank Vance. John stated over and over and over again in our otherwise delightful conversation that Frank Vance had not professed to be a Christian. By the time we finished conversing, I decided that I needed to see for myself if that was indeed true.
As I was looking through various posts and comments, I noticed that many people didn’t use their real names. Being the story of the day, we all wonder who Frank Vance really is. I wonder who Passerby is on Frank’s site? I wonder who Hoping is on my site? I wonder who Charitable Onlooker and Practicing Attorney and Maggie and Wendi are? I don’t have any links to them and they don’t tell me their real names, so should I just discount all their comments? Why aren’t they forthright in telling their names as well? This is how the blog world works right now and we need to hold everyone to the same standard. Well, I may not know who Frank Vance is, but I think I do know who Passerby is, and that’s important. Frank told Passerby that he knew he was John Duncan, and neither Passerby nor John Duncan have refuted that. I mention this only because one commenter on my blog accused Charitable Onlooker of being “Senior Management” and there was a quick denial there.
Passerby has, however, posted this comment: “(please accept the anonymity of those of us who don’t want five blogs spending their days slandering us).”
Hang in there with me as I bring this all to my point. John Duncan repeatedly told me that Frank has never professed Christianity. John Duncan speaks exactly like Passerby and Hoping and has not refuted that he is Passerby or Hoping. Now I would like to bring you to another significant comment Passerby left on drbrooker.net on September 17th in speaking of Frank Vance.
“I am a senior manager at Ligonier. ,,, We have never encountered this degree of malice and distemper from a professing believer.”
John, you almost had me convinced in yesterday’s phone conversation.
What does Frank have to say about whether or not he is a believer? Here is a whole post about why it is biblically unlawful for Ligonier to sue him because Christians are not to sue other Christians. If Frank were not a believer, would he go to these extreme lengths to exposit Scripture on this point? He has quoted numerous Scriptures throughout his entire blog. He has made many references to Christianity, to the Reformed doctrine, and to Christians and churches. Is that how unbelievers generally talk? Personally, I’ve never heard unbelievers speak that way.
Here is a comment that Frank posted last week telling Passerby that perhaps Frank’s “own Pastor and Elders could have been party to a mediation process,” if Ligonier hadn’t already sued him in the first place. Last I checked, the Muslims don’t have “pastors” and “elders.” That sounds like a Christian church to me.
Frank once said, “"Through it all, at no time did Ligonier Ministries or Tim Dick ever admit that they had filed a lawsuit against me, a fellow Christian."
And Mike answered, “There is no solid reason to believe this; - The part about you being a Christian, that is. Your actions are inconsistent with such a statement.”
I guess Mike thinks Frank is a believer, too.
At no time did Ligonier ever ask, “Frank, are you a professing Christian? Are you a member of a Christian church? Could you share with us your testimony of how you came to faith in Christ?” Even now they’re not asking. It seems they’d rather not really know. They didn’t ask because they didn’t care. The only reason they seem to care now is because they’ve come under withering criticism for violating I Corinthians 6, and their only escape clause is if they can show that Frank is NOT a believer after all. I repeat, even if Frank were a Muslim, or some such unbeliever, is that truly a biblical justification for suing him? Aren’t there better ways to handle name calling?
Maybe Frank Vance’s “tone” is not what John Duncan would have used in a similar situation. But we cannot accuse someone of not being saved merely by their “tone.” Frank is a man who obviously spends much time in church and in the Word. I’m not sure I’ve ever come out on my site and quoted, “I am a Christian; therefore, you cannot sue me.” But with the amount of Scripture I’ve used, it ought to be obvious that I’m not an infidel. I’ve read your statement, John, “Senior Management,” and at no time do you profess to being a Christian either. You use the same phrases and terminology Frank has used throughout his site. Does that mean that you are a Christian because you use that terminology, but Frank can’t be one because he uses that same terminology?
In our conversation you came across as a kind man, John, but your justification will not wash with me. Shouldn't you and Tim Dick have shown this concern about whether or not Frank is a believer BEFORE you sued him?