Oct 2, 2006

The Honor of Shame

In biblical reckoning, today is the Day of Atonement. While we no longer need to offer up sacrifices, holding our breath as to whether the Lord will accept them or not, this is certainly an opportunity to reflect on God’s grace toward us. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain and has redeemed us to God by His blood. How seriously do we consider our redemption? Do we repent wholeheartedly at the time of salvation, only to refuse to repent when sin eventually creeps back into our lives? This is the time of year that our family takes additional time to pray and ask our Heavenly Father to reveal any sin in our lives, any relationships that we need to mend. Today is a day for us of focusing on full repentance for anything that may have been overlooked at times of communion, or if there is some nagging sin we have held onto, refusing to deal with it outright. Although every day should be a day of repentance for Christians, it is good to spend this extra time every year searching our own hearts.

On this Day of Atonement, I would like to call RC, Tim Dick, John Duncan, the Ligonier board members, and any others, to consider searching their hearts for true repentance. I have read the statements by Tim Dick and Senior Management and do not find any evidence of repentance for suing a fellow believer in a secular court or covering up afterwards.

Let us examine the biblical qualifications of true repentance. We are not talking about the repentance that leads to salvation, since we are dealing with professing Christians. But true repentance is necessary for believers who have sinned as well.

If we don’t start by admitting that something is a sin, there will never be any true repentance. What “sin” has Ligonier confessed to so far? Tim says, “I regret any confusion this may have caused” and “I accept full responsibility for the decision.” “Senior Management” said, “The decision was reached not to pursue a conclusion to this matter through the legal system.” This is the closest thing to confessing sin in these statements, which are the only public statements so far released by the ministry. That is NOT confession.

Now let’s go to II Corinthians 7:8-12 and see what Paul thinks should be included in repentance. First, Paul talks about the difference between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. Worldly sorrow is being sorry that you got caught. “I’m sorry someone figured out what we were up to.” Worldly sorrow involves defensive anger, as evidenced here by Tim: “Each time I refuted the accusations, he refused to listen. My denials were then used by the accuser to perpetuate his blog commentary. At that point, I stopped interacting with the accuser, who again escalated his attack, continuing to exhibit, by his public and private conduct, a testimony inconsistent with that of a Christian.
And here by Senior Management: “The accuser's malicious attacks culminated with the accusation that Ligonier defrauded Soli Deo Gloria, in our recent acquisition of it. This has been categorically refuted by Don Kistler, SDG's founder. Threats to Ligonier and its leadership have continued to escalate, with the accuser issuing deadlines for Ligonier to answer his non-credible charges. At one point our president was told he had “put a knife to his own throat,” by ignoring the accuser. Throughout this entire ordeal, numerous emails and posts refuting the accuser were ignored by him. Mediation through ecclesiastical means is always preferred. On at least six occasions, we have sought information from the accuser as to how we might contact his pastor or session. The accuser has refused all requests, publicly scoffing at the notion.

Worldly sorrow also includes pride. Notice that the whole content of each statement is focused on how they were hurt, how they were attacked, how they were accused, all the bad things that happened to them. The focus is on them. And that leads us to the next aspect of worldly sorrow – self-pity. Don’t you feel sorry for Ligonier when you read those public statements? Have they drawn out your sympathies in showing how hurt they’ve been? Worldly sorrow does not produce a change in behavior. Ligonier certainly appears to be hanging on to their right to file suit against Frank Vance once they have another opportunity. Worldly sorrow covers up what was done. Saying that they take full responsibility is a totally meaningless statement without the necessary accompanying confession and admittance of sins. Defensive anger, pride and self-pity are not the marks of true, godly repentance, but rather that of the world’s way.

Worldly sorrow wonders what other people are thinking. Godly sorrow wonders what God thinks. Godly sorrow is primarily directed toward God. David said, when he had committed great sins, “Against Thee, and Thee only, have I sinned.” Although other people are certainly affected, we need to remember that all sin is rebellion against God.

Paul goes on to make a list of what godly repentance should entail:

Clearing of yourselves
Vehement desire

This is a difficult passage to understand, so let’s look at them one by one.

Diligence here is in the same sense as in dealing in business: being earnest in dealing with the issue, to be very careful and diligent in accomplishing what needs to be done, not being flippant, but having a serious attitude toward right and wrong.

Clearing of yourselves is the Greek word apologia, which is used in a different manner in this verse than the normal meaning. Here it refers to a clear explanation of what was done wrong to all those who were affected or who have a need to know. It involves clearly stating the details of the sin(s) to the appropriate parties.

Indignation means to be irritated or vexed, but not in a spirit of anger or self-justification; rather, to be so displeased with your own self for having committed such a grievous sin.

Fear here has nothing to do with being afraid. Rather it is a godly dread or terror of that particular sin you have committed, to the point that you now take a very strong stance against that particular sin, and have a heightened hatred of sin in general.

Vehement desire is that burning desire to live your life fully sold out to God now that you are turning from your sins.

Zeal involves having a fervent mind, one that is determined to do what needs to be done for the Lord now.

And vindication involves godly sorrow working in your heart to make you ready to take a stand on the right side of truth, God’s truth, and to stand up for right against wrong.

We all know that repentance means a complete turn in the opposite direction of where we were heading, but this verse above clearly lays out the specifics of that.

Let’s see what Ligonier should have done, if they wanted their donors and supporters to believe they truly repented.

First, RC Sproul, Tim Dick, John Duncan, each board member, and possibly other senior management need to put their names out there. Thank you, Tim, for at least having the guts to use your own name.

Diligence: We need to see that you each are serious about dealing with sin, especially in this situation.

Clearing of yourselves: There needs to be specific confession. What did you do wrong? How did you sin? Who did you sin against? Why was this wrong?

Indignation: There should be absolutely no self-justification in those statements. You should take full responsibility by using statements such as “I was wrong when I …” or “I am so sorry that I did…”. If there is even a hint of blaming others, God will not consider that true repentance.

Fear: We would like to see you each make a public statement about how wrong it is to do what you have done. Show us your hatred of your sins.

Vehement desire: Dismissing a lawsuit without prejudice so that you can resurrect it again later is NOT turning away from your sins. Now is the time to take a stand AGAINST Christians suing one another and for you to call other Christians to hold to God’s Word on this, and other, issues related to your sins.

Zeal: Determine what needs to be done for Lord now, what needs to be done to clean up His testimony that you have tarnished here.

Vindication: Show us your sorrow; show us your shame. Where is your shame? Worldly sorrow won’t work here. We are calling you to a godly sorrow, a godly repentance.

RC, Tim, John, board members, and others: Do us the honor of showing your shame. Search your hearts today and see if there is anything wicked there. Godly repentance works righteousness. We so desire to see this once-righteous ministry glorify God in everything. We are praying for your repentance.


Mike Johnson said...

What a firestorm! IN the process of pointing out one sin, many are committed (like sewing discord, pride, etc).

All would do well to heed the words of Jesus:

"let him who is without fault cast the first stone."

Jen said...

Your point is well taken, Mike. However, this was a formula I had to follow when I needed to repent from some very serious sins in my before-Christ life. This was written from personal experience and I can vouch for how spiritually freeing it is to follow God's way.

Practicing Attorney said...

What a firestorm! IN the process of pointing out one sin, many are committed (like sewing discord, pride, etc). All would do well to heed the words of Jesus: "Let him who is without fault cast the first stone."

All would do well to head the words of Jesus -- in context, Mike. Jesus rebuked the Jews in their charges against the woman not because she had not sinned but because her accusers were hypocritically condemning her and preparing to punish her while violated Biblical requirements of due process (e.g. having witnesses not involved in the crime). It may also have been the case that some of the accusers were caught up in adultery themselves. In any case, they were hypocrites.

Jen has not behaved hypocritically in her criticism of Ligonier, so suggesting Jesus' words apply to her in this instance is improper. Actually, Jesus' words apply best in this instance to Ligonier, which teaches it is wrong to sue a Christian but does so anyway -- then lies about it.

At least the Jews in this Scripture passage recognized their sin when confronted by Jesus and, beginning with the older men, left the scene. But Ligonier's oldest man, RC Sproul, continues to hide behind others without a word while they continue to insist on their rights to sin.

And what does the Bible say about these two different responses? "Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

Diane said...

Jen, I really appreciate your latest post. Every day should be a Day of Atonement for believers but so few seem to understand the necessity of it. I think it's largely due to the insipid, inoffensive and ineffective "teaching" in so many of our churches. In trying to woo the "seekers" (of whom the Bible says there are none) we've adopted worldly strategies that grow churches miles wide and a half inch deep. I think R C would agree.

We can only truly know God through His word. It was given to us for that purpose. It is when we get a searing glimpse of His holiness that we begin to see and despise our own wretched sinfulness. And who has built an entire ministry around the central purpose of making known to as many as possible the holiness of God? What sad irony.
I join with you in the plea expressed in your final paragraph:

"RC, Tim, John, board members, and others: Do us the honor of showing your shame. Search your hearts today and see if there is anything wicked there. Godly repentance works righteousness. We so desire to see this once-righteous ministry glorify God in everything. We are praying for your repentance."

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Brandon G said...

Practicing Attorney,

Thanks for correcting one of the most misquoted and misapplied verses around. Also worthy of mentioning with the adulterous women is that she was caught in the act, i.e. a man was present also. The law stated that both adulterer and adulteress were to be put to death, so these accusers were not fulfilling the law properly, which Jesus obviously knew.

Teacher said...

This was a beautiful post and excellent teaching.

I have been one to know worldly sorrow that by the Grace of God turned to Godly sorrow for sin. The difference is all you say and the fact that you are so appalled and shamed by your sin that only through the truth of a Savior by the Name of Jesus can you be saved.

Everyone around you can tell when you have Godly Sorrow for your sins. You are not the same. You will never be the same again. That is true repentence for sin. It is agonizing but much joy is to be found in the cleansing, the Grace and Mercy.

I do have one question as it relates to election: What happens if there is no repentence?

I think of this verse from Hebrews 6:
4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because[b]to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

7Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

I pray we are not witnessing a hardness of heart coming from Sproul, Dick and Duncan.

Jen said...

Teacher, I can't begin to speak to what happens if they don't repent. I will leave that up to God.

However, I was studying a rather controversial verse in my devotions this morning, and think that it applies here. 1 John 5:16 says: "If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death."

What really struck me is that this verse is talking about praying for a "brother." Since those involved at Ligonier are all professing Christians, we are told here to pray for them when we see them sinning a sin. This post will not get into what is and is not the unpardonable sin, but I think it is clear that our responsibility is to pray for them.

Mark Epstein said...


Your understanding that Christians must all pray one for another is spot on.

Mike Johnson said...

"Thanks for correcting one of the most misquoted and misapplied verses around."

You mean, of course, that you are thankful for the way "practicing attorney" corrected some interpretations of this verse. The verse itself needs no correcting. And I made no implication that Jen was acting hypocritically.

I stand by my statement though, and reject that I took Jesus' words out of context. They perfectly apply in this case: many are not following the explicit commands of scripture for unity, love and how to correct a sinning brother. In that state, many rush to gather stones - many who are not even remotely connected to the case, and who could not possibly know with certainty the facts.

Jen said...

Mike, it sounds as if you are accusing me of printing stories without a factual basis. I believe I have documented everything I write about. I don't think you know my relationship to the situation, unless you are really one of the people I've had contact with at Ligonier.

However, I shall continue to pray daily for Ligonier and those involved to come to repentance. I wish to see Ligonier restored to being a God-glorifying ministry in every aspect.

Mark Epstein said...


I fully agree that we should (and will) continue to pray for Ligonier. Yet, public sin requires public acknowledgement of sin on the part of the sinner. With yesterday's USA Today's front page article on suing bloggers, the Ligonier situation becomes even more complicated, since the blaspheming of Christ has moved from the local press and local court to the national media (in fact, the most widely read paper in the country!). What a heart wrenching and utter shame.

Ex Lig Donor said...

Mr Johnson, you may not realize it, but your words have a very bitter undercurrent that is plain for others to see. Clearly you are angry that certain things have been brought to light, but the way to quench that anger is for the responsible parties to repent biblically rather than for you to attack the messenger or quote Scripture out of context -- both of which you have done, despite your denials.

...many are not following the explicit commands of scripture for unity, love and how to correct a sinning brother.

That may be so, but it's not what "let him who is without sin cast the first stone" means. If it did mean what you claim, no discipline, e.g. the discipline of a parent, would be permitted in this world -- which, of course, is contrary to Scripture.

You also fail to acknowledge that not all are to be held to the same standard. As the Bible says, those who presume to teach will be judged more harshly. James 3:1. Public teachers will and should be judged more strictly. It goes with the territory. RC Sproul, Tim Dick, and John Duncan need to accept this and accept that because many of their sins related to Ligonier are not private, real repentance must be proportionately public as well.

In that state, many rush to gather stones - many who are not even remotely connected to the case, and who could not possibly know with certainty the facts.

Mr. Johnson, you are playing epistemological games. No one is claiming to know anything with full "certainty," so saying that this standard, an unbiblical standard for testimony, hasn't been met is a red herring. Furthermore, you "could not possibly know" whether those who have commented are "not even remotely connected to the case." That is an assumption that you make not only without certainty but also without any shred of evidence, because you do not know the identity of the vast majority of those commenting.

Mr. Johnson, you are not fooling anyone with your efforts to shift blame and your holier-than-thou attitude. The truth is that you are doing exactly what you criticize others for doing and you, like the Ligonier leaders, need to repent.

Reformed Victorious said...

Jen... Keep in mind that this whole issue started becuase "frank vance" (which is indeed a pseudonym) claimed that Tim Dick and Ligonier conned Don Kistler. My pastor is good friends with Don and with employees at Ligonier, and believe me, THERE IS NO SHRED OF EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THESE OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS. You want to talk about sin? Frank Vance had the audacity to post the personal information (phone numbers, adresses, etc.) to the millions of people who surf the web. Ever since, death threats have been coming at Ligonier left and right, people have been harassing the Sproul and Dick families sending them hate mail and threatening to kill them and thier families, people have stalked employees of Ligonier, taking pictures of their houses and threatening to break in. These are just a few of the things that are happening. Jen...I'm confident that you are a discerning Christian woman who desires to live your life by the truth of God's Word. Your blogs are an encouragement, and I appreciate your commitment to teaching others the word of God. Yet I will say this...by supporting Frank Vance, swallowing hook line and sinker Vance's foundationless and unproven assertions, and writing against Ligonier, you are fueling the fires of harassment, death threats, and needless pain. Frank Vance, in a spirit of division, began this whole ordeal by making an untrue and deceitful assertion. He is the reason for the whole ensuing ordeal. Jen...I pray that God would change your heart on this matter. I'm dissapointed that you would be taken in so easily by these liars and I'll pray for you as you seek wisdom in handling this.

Auffie said...

Thus spake reformed victorious: Ever since, death threats have been coming at Ligonier left and right, people have been harassing the Sproul and Dick families sending them hate mail and threatening to kill them and thier [sic] families, people have stalked employees of Ligonier, taking pictures of their houses and threatening to break in.

Death threats! Are you serious? Why would Ligonier's listeners, who are presumably Christians, do such things? If Ligonier supporters felt cheated by Sproul et al., they would just stop giving them money, and maybe grumble a bit and vent their frustration on the Internet. But death threats, (presumably) from Sproul's listeners?! I just find that incredible. Are you sure this is not made up?

Now regardless of whether Frank Vance's charges were true, Ligonier still should not have filed the lawsuit. For if Vance's charges were false, and in their best effort to deal with him biblically they could not succeed, then they should have ignored him. If Vance's charges were true, then they should repent. But filing a lawsuit was not only unbiblical, but also extremely stupid. It only gave rise to further suspicion that there is some substance in Vance's arguments that hit Mr. Dick's nerves.

Notice that in Jen's blog she has never formed any opinion whether or not Vance's charges had merit. Jen has been careful to focus on these facts, which anyone following this saga can see, i.e., Ligonier behaved unbiblically in:

(1) First filing the lawsuit.

(2) then lying about it: callers were told that there was no lawsuit.

(3) then lying about it again (saying that it's been dropped when the documents were not yet delivered to the court).

(4) then lying again about their change of heart (not exactly biblical repentance) in the public statements, that based on "godly counsel" they decided to drop the lawsuit. But their lawyer betrayed them, telling the press that it was dropped on a technicality: they could not find the defendant, and they may sue again if they could find him.

(5) Not directly related, but the fact that they failed to discipline Ryan Dick for his obscenities and continued to put him on the payroll.

Pray tell, are these actions worthy of a preeminent Reformed ministry? These are the actions that Jen and many of us in this board are calling Ligonier to repent of. Dr. Kistler and Ligonier's transactions with him were not the subject of discussion.

Oh yes, there is the issue of how they handled their finances. Have you looked at their financials? Now that they succeeded in attracting public attention, their financials will be more closely scrutinized. People trusted Sproul's reputation, but they did not realize that they were being fleeced. Look at how Mr. Dick et al. paid themselves big bucks while asking donors for more money as though there were financial difficulties. And what's this $63k or so in legal fees in 2004? You may freely continue to give them your money, but I would have trouble giving to an organization that behaves like this. [For the record, I never gave Ligonier money directly, but I did buy a few Sproul books in the past, and the ESV Reformation Study Bible. With the present scandal, I am hesitant even to buy Sproul's books any longer. When people ask me about ESVRSB, I am greatly troubled because of its connection with Sproul and Ligonier.]

One last thing. Could you personally authenticate the "email" that allegedly came from Dr. Kistler and was sent to Tim Challies? Did you verify with Dr. Kistler directly? Why was it not published on Ligonier's website along with the nowhere-linked "public" statements? I have no clue whether it is authentic, but I would not be surprised if it turns out to be "fake but accurate". Maybe not even accurate. I hope I am wrong, for the sake of whatever remains of Ligonier's reputation.

Jen said...

Auffie, thanks for a well summarized reply to Reformed Victorious. I had written to him when he first posted the comment, asking him to provide evidence of the following: (His comments are listed first; my questions to him are in [brackets].)

"frank vance" (which is indeed a pseudonym) claimed that Tim Dick and Ligonier conned Don Kistler. THERE IS NO SHRED OF EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THESE OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS. [How do you know this? Show me evidence for your side.]

death threats have been coming at Ligonier left and right [Show me proof.]

people have been harassing the Sproul and Dick families sending them hate mail and threatening to kill them and thier families [More proof]

people have stalked employees of Ligonier [proof]

taking pictures of their houses and threatening to break in. [proof, again]

These are just a few of the things that are happening [what else is happening?]

supporting Frank Vance [in what way have I supported Frank Vance?]

swallowing hook line and sinker Vance's foundationless and unproven assertions [Do you take me as gullible and na├»ve and not able to get a story on my own? Are you saying I haven’t checked anything out for myself?]

writing against Ligonier [Is there anything I have written that is not documented, as I am asking you to do?]

you are fueling the fires of harassment, death threats, and needless pain [Christians are behaving this way? Provide proof, please.]

Frank Vance, in a spirit of division [Do know Frank Vance’s true heart and motivation?]

began this whole ordeal by making an untrue and deceitful assertion [Are you so sure? Provide evidence.}

He is the reason for the whole ensuing ordeal [Frank Vance, a nobody? Or Ligonier, by their sins?]

I'm dissapointed that you would be taken in so easily by these liars [Do you know that to be true? I’ve had some people email me privately to ask about it, but you just want to assume that I would fall “hook, line, and sinker” for a nobody’s comments about a ministry I deeply love. You’d better be more careful with your words!]

I am still waiting for his reply and evidence.

However, one thing that John Duncan told me was that Frank Vance threatened Tim Dick's life. Having a very difficult time believing that, I asked how. He said it was when Frank said that Tim not answering his allegations was like "holding a knife to his own throat." Does this figure of speech really sound like a death threat? I don't think anyone would seriously be afraid for their life based upon a figure of speech!

I have a feeling there is a logical explanation for all the other wild accusations as well. I'm not taking them seriously.

Steve said...

1. reformed victorious (RV) "by supporting Frank Vance, swallowing hook line and sinker Vance's foundationless and unproven assertions"...

at best this indicates that RV has not read this blog (since as stated, Jen has determinedly kept on point only to things that are factual - she has never addressed the validity of vance's claims about the Kistler thing), or at worst it indicates that RV is being deliberately untruthful...

I will assume the former, and encourage this person not to swallow hook line and sinker everything that Ligonier's people say (as we have seen, some have them have been fed lies to tell, as in the customer reps saying "there is no lawsuit, only an injunction").

Jen also gives us another piece of evidence that shows one cannot simply believe what RV's well-connected-to-Ligonier pastor says. I mean if John Duncan is going around saying that Tim Dick's life was threatened because frank vance used a METAPHOR, then there is something seriously wrong. That blows my mind actually.

2. RV also said "Keep in mind that this whole issue started becuase "frank vance" (which is indeed a pseudonym) claimed that Tim Dick and Ligonier conned Don Kistler"

This is another indication that RV should do some more research on this issue. Read the lawsuit. 12 of the 13 items mentioned as the basis for the suit have nothing to do with the Kistler issue, some happening as far back as MAY OF THIS YEAR, more than two months before frank vance had even heard of the Kistler allegation.


RV, and others, need to read or at least understand the history of this whole thing. Frank Vance started blogging (and commenting on other blogs) about RC Sproul JR's defrocking. He was quite critical about RC Jr's response to discipline, and made arguments against RC Jr's behaviour.

In response to this, Tim Dick started making comments in defense of RC Jr and against frank vance. Frank started to interact with Tim Dick over this issue, and THAT is how Tim Dick came onto frank's radar.

People started telling Frank other things about Tim Dick, and it went from there. So RV's first statement is clearly incorrect.

Yet that is how Ligonier et al would like it to be spun. That frank lied about Kistler so they sued. That, however, is a very inaccurate portrayal of events. It seems a lot more truthful to say, Tim Dick and Frank Vance were debating, and Frank Vance made a lot of personal jabs at Tim Dick, so Tim Dick used Ligonier donations to sue Frank Vance.

Steve said...

I was at my dad's yesterday and read some of the OCT '06 edition of Tabletalk (Ligonier's monthly devotional).

Anyway, it was kind of funny to read RC Sproul Jr's article on "Covenants". His introduction went something like (sorry, I don't have the issue in front of me - so if I get anything wrong please somebody correct me):

We live in a very litigious society. Everybody is fighting for their rights. And be careful not to spill coffee on somebody - they might sue.

To me, this was funny on two different levels:

1. It sure is a shame about those litigious heathen's out there who sue everybody for no reason at all - even hot coffee spilled. Much better to be a reformed Christian who only sues if someone calls you a "ninconpoop" and accuses you of being unqualified for your job, and accuses your son of showing up hours late for work and sleeping on the job - even though your son has published comments saying exactly that!.

2. RC Jr doesn't get his facts right when making sarcastic little sidehanded remarks.

The McD's coffee lawsuit was NOT a simple case of "Oh I got a little burn from coffee so I'm suing". No, McDonald's had settled out of court over 700 other coffee burn incidents in 10 years. They had been warned that they were serving their coffee 20 degrees too hot, yet they had no plans of doing anything. The 81-year old woman was not a little scalded, she was in the hospital for a week with third degree burns on her groin, thighs and buttocks and required skin grafts. She only sued after McDonald's wouldn't pay her medical bills.


In this case he is like most people I have heard talk about the McDonald's coffee lawsuit without knowing the background, but I hold RCJr to a a higher standard than most people. Why?

Because HE holds others to a higher standard than most people. It is RCjr who thinks I am sinning by sending my kids to our local farming-community public school. It is RCjr who wrote an open letter to somebody (who had considered joining his church) in his magazine about how he was sinning by being on social assistance and taking medications that a doctor had put him on due to risk of suicide.

RCjr talks as if he has it all together (lording it over his congregants was one of the main reasons the RPCGA defrocked him), and yet he doesn't even check his facts.

I think, personally, that this is why the RCjr & Ligonier issues & Doug Wilson have raised such firestorms within parts of the Christian community. As Reformed people we have the tendency to act like we have it all together, down to the smallest theological point or the smallest application point (Doug Wilson claims that teens with purple hair are sinning).

Yet when it comes to some things that are pretty bald-faced clear in the Bible, we reformed people make just as many mistakes as anybody else.

Wendi said...

For what it's worth, I have never made up my mind about the Kistler allegations myself (as an aside, my experience has been that is folly to defend those who will not defend themselves. They don't appreciate it, and in fact, will often choose to feed YOU to the wolves in an attempt to appease the very wolves you tried to protect them from). Still the most I permitted myself to judge of the merits of the Kistler accusations was that I would probably never know one way or the other, and so I maintained neutrality.

It is true that of 13 (a-m) specific complaints about Frank Vance, 12 of them are just silly (He called Tim Dick a nincompoop and a buffoon- this is matter for the court? How embarrassing!) and only one of them has anything to do with the Kistler allegation.
That might make it look like their suit didn't have anything to do with the Kistler allegations, but I don't think that's accurate.

The suit attempts to silence future statements Vance might make by using the public statements Vance has already made on his blog as 'evidence' of his allegedly defamatory tendencies- and as those of us who have followed this know, Frank Vance did not make any statement specifically mentioning Kistler until several days _after_ the lawsuit was filed. They could not mention Kistler by name because they were only using statements Frank himself had made, and Frank himself had not yet mentioned him by name on his blog (I expect he had in private correspondence). So that aspect of the suit does not alter my neutral stance on the Kistler allegations.

However, something else does. A close and judicial reading, especially of pages 7 and 8, should cause the careful reader to mistrust Tim Dick's protestations.

On those pages (point 22 oe 23 I think) the lawsuit quotes an email from Frank Vance in which he is replying to a previous e-mail he received from Tim Dick. In that email, Vance quotes Dick as pleading about 'time constraints' and a 'full schedule this week.'

There are two points that strike me about this.
First of all, if Tim Dick had no doubts about his innocence, he would not be pleading with Vance for patience and asking for an extended deadline in view of his time constraints and full schedule. Is that how you would respond if somebody said, "I have evidence that you stole a car. Make it right by Monday, or I publish my evidence?" If I hadn't stolen a car, I'd laugh and tell my accuser to go for it, or, if we were on more civil terms, I'd tell him he was wrong, I'd stolen no car and I wonder why he thought I had. Neither of these response take time. Neither does it take any time at all to say, 'bug off, you don't have a clue.'
So Tim Dick's pleading for time looks very suspicious to me.

Secondly, there is further evidence of Tim Dick's duplicity here- because we now know that one of the things Tim Dick was so busy with that very week is filing suit against Frank in court.
While he is pleading for extra time because of his specially busy week, he is working behind Frank's back to get him SLAPPed before he can go public. A person who will be that duplicitous in one area is not somebody I would trust in other areas.

Teacher said...

RV- Unfortuantly, there is not reason for any of us who have been following this scandal to believe you.

Every week it is has been a 'new spin' from Ligoneir supporters. First it was, "We did not file a lawsuit" (Lie). Then it was, "We have withdrawn the lawsuit" (Lie)

Then the lawsuit was withdrawn and we find out from a Lig attorney in the Orlando Sentinel that they reserve the right to sue if they can find Frank and spent donor money(?) to find him. (not to mention more attorney fees) How Biblical is that?

Then we have employees/supporters posting on websites accusing people of being sinners and unloving. (This kind of stunned some of us who thought they would understand the Bible better)

Then we have Tim Dick cancelling a meeting with Jen and Mark. Then we have John Duncan telling Jen she is sinning by expositing scripture on her own blog because she is a women. (He told HER that instead of her husband which negates his whole arguement)

No one could find their statements saying they withdrew the lawsuit because they were only sent to Frank, Challies and I think World Mag or something like that. They could not be found on their own website. Huh? Why?

To say that anyone following this believes you would be a stretch based soley on Ligoneirs actions/words.

Then we have their supporters like Doug Wilson trying to say it is ok to sue because Frank Vance is a muslim! (The fruits just gets more rotten)

Oh, did I mention that after certain comments on this blog, other Ligonier associated blogs (RC, Jr., Ryan Dick and Meghan May) were changed to hide questionable content? Thank goodness for google cache.

As many of us have seen, we are not dealing with people of integrity and character. We are dealing with spinmeisters and deceivers.

Your latest is just one more in a long line of spin.

By the way, Tim Dick is responsible for every single thing that has happened. Had he ignored Frank, no one would know but a handful.

But thanks for the heads up. Now we know what to expect the new spin to be. Death threats because of Frank Vance and Jen. Nice try.

The Clintons would be proud.

Always Batya said...

Wendi, You are one bright lady.

With everything that has happened those facts you list got lost. Tim never denied it and asked for more time.

During that 'time' he was working with his lawyers to prepare for filing the lawsuit.

How deceptive! How Clintonesque!

You know, the whole Kistler (whether true or not) thing pales beside what we have seen with the filing, the lies and coverup.

Corrie said...


Have you URGED the people who are getting death threats and being stalked and having their pictures taken to go, ASAP, to the nearest police station? Are you URGING them to record all phone calls containing death threats and to be saving all emails with death threats?

This is serious. If people are getting death threats, this is NOTHING to fool around with. They need to get the police involved right away. Have the police been contacted, Jordan? Has any restraining orders been filed?

Maybe USA Today or the Orlando Sun would like to know about these death threats and stalking incidents so they can investigate and report them to the public. This is something the public needs to know. A ministry that is receiving so many death threats and violations of their privacy is a very concerning piece of news.

Has Ligonier contacted these newspapers to let them know these horrible things? I can't even imagine that my fellow brethren would be threatening to kill anyone, especially over such a trivial thing as this. I can't fathom it at all.

How horrible. I am sure you have checked your facts out and saw the evidence of such threats and are making sure you are not being gullible with false reports. These are VERY serious accusations to make and if they are not true, this will just serve to make this problem much worse and it will make Ligonier look worse. Jordan, I am sure you know that what you have told us is very serious and should not be taken lightly. I expect to see that Ligonier will take appropriate action to expose this sort of danger.

Practicing Attorney said...

Auffie, Jen, Steve, Wendi, Teacher, Always Batya, Corrie:

You all had very thoughtful and compelling responses to "Reformed Victorious." Since he posted on his own blog an open letter to Frank Vance with the same contents as his post in this thread, I urge you to click through to his blog to repost your comments. Let him try to respond to them in his own blog since he hasn't done so here. If he refuses to do respond, fine, as long as he permits your comments. If he won't let you post your comments, then he will be exposed as another useful tool for Ligonier management rather than someone who is honestly concerned about seeking truth.

George said...

Here's what Jordan says on his blog--"This has inevitably led to death threats coming at Ligonier left and right, stalkers taking pictures of the Sproul family home"

FYI--the Sproul family home is in a gated community. People are not allowed into the neighborhood without permission.

Brandon Giromini said...


True about their primary residence but there are still 2 mansions, 1 that I have found so far, that is not being protected by gates. So maybe they are taking pictures of Ryan Dick hanging out at the mansion on Wayside Drive. You know, the one you could fit 2 houses in...One doesn't need to drive by the house when you can get helicopter fly over pictures from Windows Live Local. I will post more information on my blog soon.