Contending For Truth - Ligonier Ministries Lawsuit Scandal

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ligonier Ministries Lawsuit: Did They Have Other Options?

Conflict resolution. It's something that each of us, to greater and lesser degrees, must routinely participate in. Whether it be in mediating peace between our children, making peace with colleagues at work, making peace with church members, or even with a stranger out on the road who shakes his fist and makes an obscene gesture because we forgot to signal, we daily are called to resolve conflicts. We're called to be peacemakers:

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:18
Some people are very good with conflict resolution and others seem quite adept at taking relatively minor disputes and turning them into virtual scorched-earth civil wars.

Conflicts between people, as well as conflicts with the institutions that people manage, are inevitable. More important than any conflict is the issue of how the people involved in a conflict will work toward a peaceable resolution.

Of all people Christians should be the most adept at the peaceable resolution of their conflicts. But this is often not the case. Of all people Christian leaders, the Pastors, Elders, preachers and theologians, should be especially gifted at conflict resolution. For good or for ill they lead by their example. Sadly too often the example of conflict resolution set by Christian leaders is very poor. In fact the example that some Christian leaders set in conflict resolution is nothing short of deplorable. The Ligonier Ministries vs. Frank Vance lawsuit is an excellent example of that.

Pastors, preachers, teachers and ministry leaders "must be blameless, of good behaviour, temperate, prudent, respectable, not pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money" (1 Timothy 3:2,3,7). A Christian leader who lacks such character will prove himself incapable of managing conflicts well, and may actually make conflicts much worse than they started out to be.

Such a man is likely to find himself frequently at odds with his own church or ministry staff, his church members, and perhaps even with those outside his church or ministry. His testimony for Christ will inevitably suffer, and through the strife that he causes he may even bring reproach to the name of the Lord. It's this very last issue that causes me by far the greatest concern in the civil lawsuit of Ligonier Ministries against me. The major problem here isn't what this lawsuit will do to my reputation, or even what it will do to Ligonier's reputation (albeit it will be far more devastating to theirs than mine). The major concern I have is what this lawsuit will do to the reputation of Reformed Christianity. Even more significant, this lawsuit can in no way bring honor to Christ, and it's very likely to accomplish just the opposite.

Ever since finding out through the Press that Ligonier Ministries has sued me I've found it quite difficult to process what this all really means. It's not that I don't understand how lawsuits work, or the objectives of plaintiffs and defendants. It's that I just can't comprehend how a Bible-professing Reformed Christian ministry, headed by the most well-known and esteemed Reformed theologian of our day, RC Sproul, could blatantly violate the Bible which Ligonier Ministries says it believes:
Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, matters of this life? If then you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud, and that your brethren. 1Corinthians 6:1-8
The reasons why Christians shouldn't sue Christians are self-evident and hardly even needs commentary. Nevertheless there have been many Christian commentaries written condemning the practice of Christian suing Christian. The Reformer John Calvin had quite a bit to say on the subject. Indeed, even RC Sproul himself has had much to say:

1 Cor. 6:1 Paul appears to change the topic from the evils of immorality to the problem of lawsuits among Christians. It is important, however, to notice the connection. In the first place, the topic of immorality has not been abandoned, but will recur in v. 9. Secondly, the failings of the Corinthians with regard to lawsuits are an expression of the problem already discussed in ch. 5, namely, a weak doctrine of the church... If the Corinthians understood the relation between the Israelite community and the Christian fellowship (5:12, 13 note), they would realize it was absurd for believers to go outside the church to solve their disputes.

6:7 Nevertheless, if the Corinthians understood the serious implications of all the improprieties in their church, and if they appreciated the qualities that should characterize believers (cf. 12:4-7), they would much sooner bear injustice than bring disgrace upon the Christian community by publicly exposing their misdeeds in the civil courts.

New Reformation Study Bible, R. C. Sproul General Editor (2005)

Given RC Sproul's own disdain for Christians suing Christians how then can it be that his ministry would now violate the very principles that he espouses? The only conclusion I can come to is that there is a grave moral and logical disconnect between the orthodoxy and their orthopraxy of Ligonier Ministries.

Here's what Matthew Henry had to say of this passage in his commentaries:

"Christians should not contend with one another, for they are brethren. This, if duly attended to, would prevent many law-suits, and end many quarrels and disputes. In matters of great damage to ourselves or families, we may use lawful means to right ourselves, but Christians should be of a forgiving temper. Refer the matters in dispute, rather than go to law about them. They are trifles, and may easily be settled, if you first conquer your own spirits. Bear and forbear, and the men of least skill among you may end your quarrels. It is a shame that little quarrels should grow to such a head among Christians, that they cannot be determined by the brethren. The peace of a man's own mind, and the calm of his neighbourhood, are worth more than victory."
Indeed any alleged harm that I might have caused Tim Dick, and by extension Ligonier Ministries, and by further extension RC Sproul, is a mere "trifle," especially when compared to the enormity of the injury that will come upon the testimony of the Lord Jesus as a result of this lawsuit. Matthew Henry is correct when he says, "They are trifles, and may easily be settled." Why then would Ligonier Ministries choose instead to sue? Did they honestly think that there was no other way -- a biblical way -- to resolve our dispute? If they didn't then it begs the question: How could a Christian ministry that expounds Reformed theology in such a scholarly way be so woefully ignorant in this particular area?

Short of suing me, and therefore violating Scripture with impunity, did Ligonier Ministries have any other options? I can think of two, and perhaps there are more (commenters are welcome to offer additional biblically-based suggestions):

1. Tim Dick could have responded to the allegations.

Had Tim Dick responded rather than altogether evading the allegations that he'd defrauded Don Kistler in Ligonier's "acquisition" of Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, none of this would have ever happened. Tim Dick could have responded in one of two ways, and either response would have steered us down an entirely different path:

A). Tim Dick could have denied the allegations. Had he denied the allegations by simply saying, "Frank you're completely wrong and what you've been told by all those witnesses isn't true," then I would not have, and I could not have in good conscience, gone forward with publishing the Ligonier Ministries Defrauds Soli Deo Gloria Ministries In "Acquisition" story. It would have been an issue of Tim Dick's word versus the witnesses, and in my mind that wouldn't have been sufficient enough to justify going forward with the story. But Tim never did that, and to this day he has yet to deny the allegations.

B). Tim Dick could have admitted to the allegations. Had Tim Dick confessed to the fraud allegations I would have taken this as a very positive sign and, again, I would not have, and I could not have in good conscience, gone forward with the story, provided however that at the same time he would have offered assurances of a prompt and full resolution and restitution with Don Kistler.

Tim Dick however did neither one. He neither admitted any wrongdoing, but neither did he deny it. In fact he just evaded answering the allegations at all. He never evaded talking about other unrelated issues (thereby attempting to change the subject and even stall for time), but never would he so much as even acknowledge that I was alleging that he'd committed a serious fraud, all this in the course of several email exchanges.


2. Tim Dick could have suggested that we resolve the dispute through Christian mediation.

If Tim Dick and Ligonier Ministries lacked the ability and resources to resolve this dispute themselves they should have suggested entering into formal Christian mediation or perhaps arbitration. One organization that offers such services is Peacemaker Ministries, run by Christian attorney Ken Sande. Peacemaker Ministries is committed to resolving disputes between believers biblically, which means without resorting to the civil courts. Other options for Christian mediation are also available, all of which appear to be biblical, and they can even be legally binding in the form of what is known as "binding arbitration." Had this been suggested it's very likely that I would have accepted the offer.

Instead I was hit with a lawsuit with no prior warning, or even any notice after I'd been sued. I find this remarkable in light of the fact that I was more than fair with Tim Dick in issuing him prior notice, a full ten days advanced warning, of the consequences should he fail to address the fraud allegations. Tim Dick only used my fairness against me by immediately filing a lawsuit in which he asked the judge for "prior restraint" (which obviously didn't work). Tim Dick's intentions were clear, to silence me via what can only be construed as a SLAPP lawsuit, going so far as to even petition that the judge issue a "prior restraint" of my freedom of speech.

Not only did Tim Dick not warn me that if I didn't cease and desist that he'd file a lawsuit, but once he filed the lawsuit he didn't even tell me about it! I first heard about it from the Press one week later! To this date neither Tim Dick nor his attorneys have informed me in what court I've been sued, case number, nothing. Not only is this morally unethical it's even legally unethical.

If Ligonier's lawsuit is successful it will only serve to have a chilling effect on free speech for all bloggers and webmasters. It will only serve to intimidate other whistle blowers who serve the public interest by exposing organizational fraud and corruption in organizations that refuse to be held accountable, and that for practical reasons simply cannot be held accountable, through any other methods than this form of public exposure.

But even if Ligonier's lawsuit fails (and First Amendment legal experts have all told me that will likely be the outcome) it still might serve to have a chilling effect because of the fear that many bloggers will now have, because of the publicity of the Ligonier case, that they too might find themselves the subjects of a lawsuit. Even frivolous lawsuits can serve to chill free speech. Multi-million dollar corporations can easily silence (and they often have) a whistle blower by the threat of a lawsuit, even if such a suit had no legal merit.

Ligonier's lawsuit is biblically frivolous and I plan to prove in court that it's also legally frivolous and an abuse of the legal process. This isn't to say that if I had it to do over again that I wouldn't do a few things somewhat differently. It is to say however that there's absolutely nothing here worthy of being sued over and, moreover, biblically it's absolutely forbidden. Those who continue to speak out in support of Ligonier in these efforts are supporting the evisceration of the Bible itself.

45 Comments:

Blogger Jen said...

Outstanding exposition! Those are certainly clear-cut biblical options for this, and almost any, difference of opinion, argument, dissension, and even worse. May I add that I Corinthians 6 provides one other option: to remain quiet and endure persecution. That is not always an option, however, if remaining quiet would allow sin to prevail, grow, or harm others. I continue to pray that Tim Dick would avail himself of a more biblical option.

9/12/2006 05:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Neal said...

Frank,
Do you consider your refusal to keep Tim's initial emails to you private (as he requested)helping or hindering the conflict resolution process?

Could this not - had you kept them private and responded privately to him - have possibly been the beginning of working through some of these issues?

At that point - the very beginning of your communication with Tim Dick - what were you hoping to accomplish by refusing his request that you keep his communication with you private? Also, regardless of what your motives were for ignoring his request to keep them private...why did you not first converse with him in a private response as he did to you? Maybe something better could have come from this...

9/12/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Anonymous ItsAboutTime said...

For those that are skeptical of vancetribe's comments, I would be too if I was not exposed to people who have been involved w/ Lig. If you check w/ those that have dealings w/ Lig, then you would know that vancetribe's comments come as not a big surprise. This is indeed very unfortunate and sad for all of us.

My plead to Lig is please drop the lawsuit and make things right so that we can live peacefully w/ one another. It's not too late to drop the suit.

9/12/2006 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger Michael Metzler said...

Frank,

A friend of mine wrote in with a suggestion and a question. I thought the suggestion was a very good, and the question was probably at least indicative of a concern nagging a number of people. I was going to answer this at my site, but I figured you were the man for the job. First the suggestion:

“I do think both you and Frank would benefit from a sort of dispassionate chronological analysis about "how we got here"... Frank would also benefit from this I think... it seems like some of his site must be missing (earlier posts), and if you don't read the comments you don't get what's going on... I mean, it seems like Frank was simply critiquing the RCjr/CREC stuff, then Tim Dick waded in and commented, Frank responded, and that seemed to put Tim Dick on Frank's radar... he gets some sources about Ligonier because of this, and now here we are...”

I think this is crucial, and is a point I have made when sending little argumentative missiles to other blogs criticizing your “tone” and angry intentions; getting the Story right seems crucial. I read something recently by a couple cognitive scientists about how folks in this kind of environment will be naturally telling themselves some kind of story trying to figure out what is really going on here. Perhaps you could make this story more explicit. I think in this case, the story is remarkable; note that the criticisms usually at least imply a different story, such as you just having some personal grudge against Dick, thereby waiting for the opportunity to vent about him.

As for the question:

“don't you think it is a weakness that he says "i've got witnesses, but I can't tell you anything other than that they confirm what I'm saying"??? it's a little akin to Doug Wilson saying "men I trust say that RCjr has repented, so he has", isn't it??? I mean I think Frank has shown there's smoke there, but I'm not sure how much fire he has proven yet…”

You’ve covered this to a degree already, but this is a good guy who has just read through everything. Contrasting Wilson’s subterfuge with your method here might be good.

Thanks
Michael Metzler
www.poohsthink.com
Moscow, Idaho

9/12/2006 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin Bussey said...

Frank,

I pray they do drop the lawsuit. Blessings to you.

9/12/2006 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Carson Allen said...

Don't count on it itsabouttime

9/12/2006 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Frank Vance said...

Neal, I approved the posting of your comment for one reason only -- as an illustration of the lengths that at least some Ligonier defenders will go to to change the subject. This isn't to say that was your intention (I don't know you and I therefore couldn't know your intentions). It is to say that it smells an awful lot like it though, so I'll go ahead an use it for illustrative purposes.

If changing the subject wasn't your intention then what you should do next is post your questions under the subject that they directly relate to. That's the only defense you'll need if in fact your intention wasn't to change the subject here.

I realize that you might now try a comeback and argue that because in your comment you conveniently just happened to work in the phrase "conflict resolution process" that your comment was on-topic. Nice try but no banana.

For illustrative purposes only let's just assume for the moment that it was your intention to change the subject. Changing the subject is what started the ball rolling in this Ligonier debacle in the first place, and that's what it is, a debacle. The debacle did not start with my posting my email correspondence with Tim Dick, which he was responsible for initiating. Had Tim Dick not changed the subject (evaded the subject) when the allegations of his fraud against Don Kistler were presented to him, we wouldn't be here today.

That is the phase at which the conflict resolution process properly began, initiated entirely by yours truly. Tim Dick evaded conflict resolution entirely. Attempts to now to allege that resolution of this conflict could have taken place long ago had I not posted Tim Dick's emails is completely illogical, intellectually dishonest, and a blatant misrepresentation of the chronology of events.

I fully anticipate others too will arrive and attempt to likewise change the subject and shift blame in similar illogical and dishonest ways. Tim Dick has already set the example and what few of his supporters remain will follow in his footsteps.

Changing the subject in the face of such blatant sin (suing a Christian brother) is a desperate measure indeed. But remember what I've already stated, "Those who continue to speak out in support of Ligonier in these efforts are supporting the evisceration of the Bible itself."

9/13/2006 07:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Neal said...

Frank,

Why is it that you are the only one who is above scrutinity? I did not try to change any subject, I simply asked a question about how you responded to Tim's first email to you (where he requested that his email be kept confidential), and you instead posted it on the internet.

I think it is very appropriate to the subject matter of this post - conflict resolution - and I think it reveals much of how willing you really were to find a resolution to any of this in the first place.

Your refusal, in the beginning, to honor Tim's request for privacy does not support your claims that you are fair and were seeking resolution.

And the fact that you are not willing to answer my simple question about it - but instead changed the subject of my post to one of discussing changing the subject - is nothing but a smoke screen.

Finally, if you do not post this it will prove that you are, in fact, not fair at all with those who hold opposing views, for I have not been insulting or called anyone names or anything like that...I simply am expressing a view different from yours.

And, anyone who is trying to hold you accountable for the way you have handled this is not automatically taking up for Ligonier.

9/13/2006 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Frank Vance said...

ItsAboutTime, I'm with Carson on this one. I'm counting on this lawsuit going forward and preparing accordingly. God has been exceedingly merciful to me by providing a free legal defense.

You're legally correct that it's not too late for Ligonier to drop this lawsuit. But legalities aren't the issue here. The issue here is all about pride, specifically Tim Dick's pride, which I'm told is enormous. It's also about common sense, which I'm told that Tim Dick has none. Those two factors make it a virtual certainty that this lawsuit will go to trial.

Only one thing could likely stop this lawsuit -- the removal of Tim Dick, and as long as Vesta Sproul is the head of Ligonier's Board Of Directors there's little possibility of that happening.

It helps to keep things in perspective, especially when you're being sued. After much prayer I've come to see that what's going on here has very little to do with me. It's not about Frank Vance getting sued for name-calling. Like any man I've got some issues with pride, but I also don't think enough of my own importance to believe for one second that in God's plan this is about me at all. I do think enough of Ligonier Ministries to believe that everything that's happened is about Ligonier Ministries.

God can do whatever he wants in this situation, and I firmly believe that He is doing exactly what he wants to see accomplished. God raises up men and He takes them down. We have to consider the possibility that God raised up Tim Dick to bring down Ligonier Ministries, and so far Tim's been doing a very effective job of that.

I believe that this lawsuit spells the beginning of the end for Ligonier. If ever there was an effective way of destroying your own support base this would be it -- publicly and wantonly violating the very biblical principles that you espouse.

If it's God's will to spare Ligonier Ministries then there must and there will first come repentance, reconciliation and restitution, not with me (I'm not even the issue) but within Ligonier. That must happen not just for Don Kistler, but also for all the others that over the years have been thrown under the wheels of the Ligonier wagon.

If it's God's will to dismantle Ligonier then we'll see this lawsuit go forward, and the end result will be ruination. As Dr. Sproul himself knows and preaches man cannot resist the will of God.

9/13/2006 08:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Grieved in Texas said...

Your latest post (9/12) gave voice to what I've been thinking since I first learned of this tragedy. I have learned so much from R.C. over the years and have had great respect for him and his ministry. I don't think it's too late for the leadership of Ligonier to reverse this situation, honor God and become shining examples of true repentance and humility - no matter how painful - but I'm afraid if it doesn't happen soon it will be too late. I've long believed that Ligonier would likely dissolve at the time of R.C.'s passing - whenever that may be - but it never once occurred to me that the organization would rot from within. God always has a plan and a purpose and His will is always what comes to pass, but I'll continue to pray fervently for R.C. and Ligonier Ministries. A true encounter with the holiness of God demands humility and repentence, and who should know that better than R. C. Sproul.

9/14/2006 03:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Scott J said...

Frank,

I learned of this situation (and found your site) thanks to Tim Challies. I typically do not comment at blogs but enjoy reading them. I am not a regular reader at Challies.com as I have found him to be uncompassionate and rude in his comments at times. As I was browsing blogs last week it was his subject title "Sinners in the hands of an angry blog" that caught my attention. I read with shock not only his biased attitude about you but the attitude and actions of Tim Dick and Ligonier ministries. Over the years I have supported Ligonier financially and by purchasing their products. That is until I learned of their grossly overpaid executives, Tim Dick's un-Christlike attitude and actions, and most abhorent - the web page and actions of Ryan Dick. The situation with Ryan Dick, specifically, would not have affected me as much if he wasn't a staff member at Ligoneer. If Tim or Ryan Dick are reading this they should be greatly ashamed of themselves. They are a disgrace and dishonor to the name of Christ. The very least that Tim Dick could do is to fire his son and then resign his ministry position. Oh wait..... I guess his theft of donor money for his fat salary and son's party life style is more important (it SHOULD be obvious that I am OUTRAGED at a ministry I trusted but can no longer trust).

I was going to just follow the story, see what happened, and not comment until I received a Ligoneer ministry brochure yesterday. I then decided that I was going to call them, express my disgust over their unbiblical lawsuit as well as Mr. Dick himself. I called today and spoke with a member of their customer service staff and I wanted to relate that experience to you and to others. I think it is important for others to know what happened when I called. I spoke with a rep and very kindly informed her that I wanted to be removed from their mailing list, that I would no longer support Ligoneer financially, and that I was demanding a public statement from RC Sproul regarding the matter. I asked how I could express this to Mr. Dick and was told to e-mail the customer service e-mail address. The female then got quiet and began to whisper and stated the following, "sir, I beg you to complain. We are asking people to." I then asked if others were calling in and she stated that Ligoneer was starting to be flooded with phone calls of people upset over the lawsuit. She was still whispering when she told me that. I reminded her that I knew that what was happening was not her fault but that RC Sproul should fire Tim Dick immediatley. I also said that the story was spreading at churches and over the internet and she stated she knew that already.

I am encouraging people to call Ligoneer and demad Tim Dick's resignation. For me whether the contract with Don Kistler was actually switched or a mistake is no longer the issue. It is now the issue of Tim Dick suing in the name of Ligoneer. How outrageous. It is the issue of RC Sproul defending his son after being defrocked, it is the theft of donor money for RC's family members "salaries". It is Ryan Dick's disgraceful behavior. I want to get the information about Ligoneer in the public whether Mr. Challies wants others to know or not. I am going to e-mail USA TODAY, CNN, and other various media sources and ask them why they are not covering this story. I am also going to ask for a little investigative reporting into Ligoneer and their finances.

When I spoke to the customer service rep at Ligoneer I told her that it was time for people to start writing John MacArthur, John Piper, and other men who associate publically with Sproul and ask them to get involved.

Thank you Frank for having a back bone to bring this matter out into the public. If some Christians would quit worshipping men and begin to care about TRUTH and justice they will strongly support you in this matter. Please keep us informed on this matter and don't be afraid to let people know how we can stay involved and help.

A SIDE NOTE TO MR TIM DICK: You are a disgrace sir and the reason most people do not want to be involved with Christianity, churches, and ministries. There are far too many frauds like you fleecing the sheep. Dump your pride and repent! Acknowledge your own sin. Drop this ridiculous law suit before the news of this spreads further and you have little to no support for Ligoneer. If you have nothing to hide then stop hiding the facts and tell the truth about this matter. Why have you not told Ligoneer supporters in a public letter of your actions? We demand an accounting. Perhaps a complaint to the US Government, the FBI, or the IRS Investigative Service will start to let a little light to start shining in on the situation. Mr Dick, you have been warned!

9/14/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger Carson Allen said...

Scott

Thank you for that informed post. I do agree with your posisiton. It's time for Piper; Moler; and MacArthur to hold him R.C. to account.

After all we are only doing what they have taught us for years to do

9/14/2006 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger Frank Vance said...

Thanks Scott for sharing your thoughts on this. If Ligonier can be salvaged then it'll be folks like yourself that save it. You don't clean a dirty house by just pushing the dirt under the rug. The dirt must be thrown out.

For others of the same mind as Scott who'd like to call Ligonier:
Toll-free: 800-435-4343
Local: 407-333-4244

Or write to:
Ligonier Ministries
P.O. Box 863595
Orlando, FL 32886

Tim Dick's email: tdick@ligonier.org

As far as emailing complaints to Ligonier's customer service department goes, I have no idea how successful that will be. At the very least what it does is create a written record, which is still a lot better than just calling on the phone. Nevertheless if Ligonier's phones start ringing off the hook with complaint calls that's bound to get some attention too.

Others may have some thoughts on that, but my suggestion is to call and email both, and whatever you email to customer service should also be emailed separately to Tim Dick.

If anyone has additional Ligonier email addresses of key contacts please post them here.

It'd be great if there were a way to get directly through to RC himself, but I'm sceptical that can be done. The Ligonier Board has got him so insulated that he probably has very little knowledge of what's going on right now. I've heard that he doesn't even spend much time in the office anymore.

A special note for Ligonier employees: You're welcome to post here, but I'd strongly advise doing so from some other place than the Ligonier office.

9/14/2006 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Frank Vance said...

My thanks go out to Ingrid Schlueter at Slice Of Laodicea for her article Ligonier Ministries Sues Blogger.

Slice averages 5637 unique visitors a day, and it showed in my visitors here today.

Ingrid hosts the nationally syndicated radio program "Crosstalk" on VCY America.

9/14/2006 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Frank Vance said...

Mark Epstein posts another very thoughtful article. In it he mentions that he and Jen will be writing a letter to RC and Vesta Sproul to determine if RC supports this lawsuit, either implicitly or explicitly. That's an excellent idea, and I suggest that other Ligonier financial supporters do the same thing.

Before writing though it'd be smart to call Ligonier and find out what their internal procedures are for screening mail addressed to RC Sproul, because it's unlikely that RC reads his own mail. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if Vesta is reading it and might be keeping all this bad news from her husband.

Writing RC is a good idea, but I'm also troubled by the ramifications of a "No" answer from RC, just as much as if Mark were to get a "Yes" answer. So I think I'll go and post a comment on Mark's blog.

9/14/2006 08:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Waiting said...

Frank, do you have any new evidence to post yet? If a lawsuit exists, should we be able to see it?

9/14/2006 08:36:00 PM  
Anonymous FormerLigMan said...

Well, while we're in the mood for writing, why not send correspondence to R.C. and Tim... at home. Remember, the Dicks also live with the Sprouls. So send all of your complaints there as well:

2741 Deer Berry Ct
Longwood, FL 32779-3071

9/14/2006 11:16:00 PM  
Anonymous FormerLigMan said...

Frank,
I posted this under your last post, but very few read it since you published a new post soon after. I wanted to make sure what I said was heard out there on the internet.

Some inside information about the board members of Ligonier Ministries:

It wasn't too long ago the board of Ligonier Ministries was somewhat "respectable". Sure, they have always had a reputation for bending to R.C.'s will a little to easily, however all that changed when Tim was first brought on as a consultant for organizational restructuring (soon after his head-hunter business went under - coincidence?). As Tim Dick advanced quickly through the ranks of Ligonier, the fewer the competent board members.

There are two general reasons why the “respectable” Ligonier board members were ousted:
1. They resigned when they learned they had no influence on the board. Anything R.C. says goes. When they disagreed with putting Tim in charge, they took off.
2. They were KICKED out (asked to resign) when they proved to be a roadblock for R.C. getting his way, particularly on the promotion of Tim Dick to CEO.

The board members have much to answer for. The purpose of having a board to begin with; (1), Discernment in organizational direction; (2), Hold the leadership (R.C., Tim, & Vesta) accountable/responsible for their actions; (3), Represent the shareholders (donors).

Notice neither one of these criterions have been pursued. The entire board needs to be replaced with a competent group of people who aren’t afraid to stand up to R.C., Vesta, and Tim. Remember, it was the current board members that approved the salaries of R.C., Tim Dick, John Duncan, etc. It is really the board that deserves the chastisement here. They are ultimately responsible for approving such ridiculous salaries.

9/14/2006 11:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Shocked said...

Thanks Former Lig Man for telling us R.C.'s home address. That's exactly the kind of information that I was looking for.

I called Ligonier this week and talked to a customer service rep about my concerns over this whole law suit thing. The rep was very polite but not real helpful but I don't think that's their fault. The Ligonier employees just hasn't been told what to do and how to handle all the calls, and the rep did say they were getting a lot of calls about it. A lot of people are calling in to say they're dropping their support.

I asked if there was some way to write R.C. directly because I figured that all of R.C.'s mail is screened and if I write him a letter I want to make sure he reads it. Now that I have his home address that takes care of that issue. I just hope that Tim Dick doesn't steal R.C.'s mail and hide it from him. If he's the kind of guy you say he is then that could happen.

I told the Ligonier rep I just can't believe this is happening! R.C. is such a smart man so how come his ministry is acting so foolishly? The rep said, "Please pray for us, pray that God does some pruning around here."

The rep said they just really don't know how to respond to all the calls. No one has given them any instructions. They've asked for some kind of written statement from Ligonier management that they can give to people but so far nothing. All they can do for now is refer people to the Orlando Sentinel article.

It's obvious that Tim Dick didn't have a clue what he was in for when he sued you Frank. I couldn't be more unhappy with Ligonier. I want to believe that R.C. doesn't know what's going on and that if he did he'd stop it but I asked the rep about that and they said, "Dr. Sproul knows." When I asked what R.C.'s going to do about it they just said, "I wish we knew. They haven't told us anything."

9/15/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Grieved in Texas said...

formerligman (or anyone):
Do you have names of those who comprise the Ligonier board? How about family and St. Andrews members who are on the Ligonier payroll?
I contine to pray for the restoration of the ministry but cannot support it financially until they resolve many of these problems and raise thier financial stewardship rating.
I would like to see the entire board resign and a new board that would include NO family members and not more than one St. Andrews member.
It may not be too late for Ligonier, I pray it is not. R.C. Sproul and Ligonier Ministries have filled a great void in education of laity about the reformed faith. It is in God's sovereign control and He will be glorified in whatever happens, but I hope we will all continue to fervently pray that God will bring beauty from these ashes.

9/15/2006 10:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Terry said...

I called Ligonier and told the customer service how unhappy I was over this lawsuit. Something really strange is going on now because Kyle told me, "There is no lawsuit." I asked him how could that be? It's being reported in the papers. The Orlando Sentinel reporter talks about it as though she's read the case herself. Kyle said, "The blogger hasn't been legally served yet." I told him that wasn't an honest thing to say to people that just because Mr. Vance hasn't been legally served yet doesn't mean that Ligonier hasn't filed a lawsuit. I wonder if that's what Tim Dick has instructed his staff to tell people now? I asked Kyle when would either Sproul or the Ligonier Board issue a public statement. He said they'd all be meeting in about two or three weeks to discuss it and figure out where there go from there. I told him that was too late for me. If I don't start getting some answers a lot sooner I'll drop my support. Kyle said they were getting a lot of calls must like mine but that he's not allowed to say anything.

I'm going to be writing the Ligonier board of directors about this. I pulled the board of directors information from the Ligonier 2005 President's Report and then also added their contact info from whitepages.com or in the case of the Sprouls included what FormerLigMan posted.

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/

If I can come up with the other addresses Frank I'll email them to you.

9/15/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Michael Metzler said...

A friend sent me an insightful note:

"Interesting that on the Ligonier Website, RC Sr. has a letter pleading for financial support to 'carry the message of God's holiness to the nations.' or something to that effect. Might want to start with son, son-in-law and grandson before going out to the nations. Gosh."

Michael Metzler
www.poohsthink.com

9/15/2006 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger no2salvation-by-process said...

Mr Vance,

Why don't you just pray about it, forgive them, and then forget it.

Then you can get on with your life - isn't that what faith is all about.

y2t

9/15/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

See my latest article Contending With Ligonier Ministries.

We've also written Open Letters to
Dr. Sproul,
Vesta Sproul and the Board of Directors, and
Tim Dick.

They may be used by anyone who so desires.

Jen

9/15/2006 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger Carson Allen said...

No2Salvation

Get a clue. That's what Lig wants. People with no spine that just curl up in a little corner and hide under the banner of humility.

9/15/2006 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger no2salvation-by-process said...

Mr Allen,

Vengeance is mine saith The Lord.

Romans 12:17-21 "Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."

Have you any idea how unpleasant it is to have coals of fire heaped upon you Mr Allen? I know this is metaphorical but nevertheless what ever shape or form these coals of fire take it is always extremely unpleasant for the recipient.

If Mr Vance ends up in court then so be it, The Lord will defend him, for he has nothing to fear.

Mark 13:9-11 "But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. 10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations. 11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost."

I did not say curl up and die I said pray and hand it over to the Lord and then forget about it. He is our fortress and our high tower the condition of our spines is irrelevant, it's our Faith that matters - nothing else.

n2sbp

9/16/2006 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger Carson Allen said...

It's real easy to toss scripture texts around No2; J.W.'s and cults do it all the time.

Sproul and his son, who I have read and loved for years have been telling everyone for years to hold people accountable and thats all Frank is doing here. If you want a lesson on Godly accontability listen to C.J. Mahaneys message that he delivered at the Together for the Gospel conference this year.


Guess what? Any one at anytime can call Desiring God and ask questions like Frank is asking here; and they will answer them with Joy because they have nothing to hide. They dont' go around suing people like Tricky Dicky.

So if you want to drop it and forget about it then why don't you simply not read this blog.

9/16/2006 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger Carson Allen said...

One more thing Mr No2

Now you are wretching verces out of context and wanting hot coles of fire to be burned over my head. Why did'nt you take your own advice and just forgive and forget that I said you had no spine?

You are doing the very same thing that you are accusing me of doing.

Any thougths on this Frank?

9/16/2006 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger Carson Allen said...

Frank

It sounds like No2 is saying that Lig is your enemy or that I consider him to be an enemy. Talk about wretching a verce out of context.

The Mark 13 verces are so completly wretched from there original context and pure esegesus. It's not even worth taking the time and effort to exegete them.

9/17/2006 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Epstein said...

N2SBP,

I sincerely do not wish to engage in a tit-for-tat discussion. Unfortunately, the biblical references you use are non-contextual for application to this situation and, even if they were, they would be eclipsed by 1 Cor 6, 1 Cor 4. Despite any failure on Frank Vance's part to employ the steps in Matthew 18 "correctly," the Bible enjoins Christians from suing other Christians -- period. There is no way we can "get around" this truth by "blaming the defendant" (in this case, Frank Vance) because it will exculpate Ligonier Ministries from the far more serious violation of a negative biblical injunction. If we posit the argument that Frank is not a Christian (because he used a blog), then we must likewise posit that Ligonier is no longer a Christian ministry because it violated the clear teaching in 1 Cor 6 which, in turn, would make it a legitimate target for any "worldly" application of the First Amendment, thereby rendering your biblical argument against Frank Vance moot. There is really nothing much more to the entire matter. The only viable solution in this particular situation is (1) the dropping of the unbiblical lawsuit and (2) all parties, including those Frank has identified as victims, submitting to binding Christian arbitration. Anything less than this will continue to besmirch the church, allow Satan to attack God's glory in front of the world (unbelievers), and exacerbate tension between brothers in Christ. I continue to pray for a godly solution as outlined above or, since I am a mere finite man, a solution I missed that reflects obedience to God's holy and infallible Word.

9/17/2006 07:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Bad Precedent? said...

The blogosphere's coverage of the Ligonier lawsuit scandal continues to grow:

Concerning the Ligonier Lawsuit

Ligonier Sues Christian Blogger

The shared concern is the threat to free speech posed by Ligonier's lawsuit.

9/17/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger no2salvation-by-process said...

Mr Allen,

We are not responsible for other people's actions. These people are out of order if they profess to be Christians and consider Mr Vance to be a brother.

All I am saying is this: It is an issue of faith for Mr Vance and all he has to do is trust in The Lord and he will win. It's as simple as that.

He professes to be a contender for Truth, so let him get on with doing just that and forget these people with their worldly solutions to their problems, for they can only come to naught.

If we behave as those in the world where is the witness - where is the example that will display the power and glory of God? Our victory in weakness.

n2sbp

9/17/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Minister of Justice said...

"After reading it and the various things linked to that, I certainly hope RC Sproul is aware of what is going on at Ligonier. I don’t know what the truth of the situation really is as I realize there are two sides to every story. But for a public ministry to not handle this behind the scenes is both deplorable and unbiblical." D.R. Brooker

9/17/2006 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger no2salvation-by-process said...

Mr Epstein,

"I sincerely do not wish to engage in a tit-for-tat discussion."

Then it would have been wiser to say nothing, but as you have challenged what I have said then I must set the record straight.

"There is no way we can "get around" this truth by "blaming the defendant""

I am not blaming Mr Vance, and if you think I am then you're jumpimg to unfounded conclusions. All I am doing is advising Mr Vance on how to deal with this situation as a Spirit Born Son of God and thereby save him a lot of time and worry.

Please read what I have said to Mr Allen and perhaps be kind enough to show me where I have 'blamed' Mr Vance?

n2sbp

9/17/2006 01:10:00 PM  
Anonymous passerby said...

Frank,

I have communicated with the sites you frequent.

Your dishonor grows. There is no way to diagnose the harm you have caused, due to your reprehensible actions.

I am encouraged by the discernment of mature believers who see your rantings for what they are : untrue and unwarranted.

You know that I contacted you, very early in your scandalous postings, telling you as a senior manager that there was no truth to your reports. You have withheld that information from your readers.

But your horrible fame is fading, nonetheless.

My hope is that after a long season abstaining from talking about Ligonier and abstaining from slandering other Christians whom you have no fraternity with, you will find something useful to do with your life.

Faith is not compatible with your current preoccupations.

passerby

9/17/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger Carson Allen said...

Well Said Mark.

If anyone is even remotley concerned about Mr. No2; just check out his web page for about two seconds.

He is a universalist(no one goes to hell) and a master at scripture twisting

9/17/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Frank Vance said...

Passerby, yes I was just informed of a blog where you commented, specifically D.R. Brooker.

As to your prior attempted comments and why I didn't approve them:

1. At no time prior to now did you contact me and tell me that you were "a senior manager."
2. At no time have you contacted me by email. If you have proof that you did please send your emails to advancemyten@yahoo.com
3. If by "senior manager" you mean to say that you're Tim Dick then yes Tim Dick has emailed me. However given how well you're now writing and even spelling, Passerby, I seriously doubt that you're Tim Dick. Perhaps it was Tim Dick who previously attempted to post those incoherent and incongruous posts which I didn't approve? As others are now commenting elsewhere, Tim Dick writes like an eighth grader.
4. You did not at any time prior state that "there was no truth to your reports." It is true however when you say "You have withheld that information from your readers." Just because you post a comment doesn't obligate me to approve it. If a comment is incongruous, incoherent, confusing, vague, ambiguous or irrelevant it's probably not going to get approved. Just because you think it's some kind of significant revelation to allege nothing more specific than an "abundance of false reporting" doesn't mean that I or anyone else will consider that meaningful. Issuing vague denials is useless and a waste of everyone's time. Your latest post is equally a waste of time. The only reason I approved it is because you've finally admitted that you're a Ligonier senior manager. Tell me, does "senior manager" also mean that you're a member of the Dick family? Is that why you're refusing to give your real name?

I've made very specific allegations about Tim Dick on this blog. If you want to deny something then start getting specific. Otherwise don't expect me to approve any posts which just read like vague rantings.

Please email me Passerby, if in fact you're someone in "senior management" other than a lackey who composes blog comments for Tim Dick, or one of Tim Dick's sock puppets. Also, in the future please refrain from telling lies. It just makes you look bad. Lastly, don't attempt to post comments again from someplace other than the Ligonier office. At least that will give me an opportunity to validate that you actually work for Ligonier, rather than just being a Ligonier shill.

9/17/2006 07:30:00 PM  
Anonymous passerby said...

Frank,

I didn't think you would post a clear refutation.

Why don't you fax the name of your church, the telephone number and the name of your pastor to Ligonier tomorrow.

407 333 4233

I will call your pastor and we'll set up a meeting with him and your elders. I will gladly identify myself to them.

Are your elders aware of your posts ?

I take it you have proceeded with their blessing ?

passerby

9/17/2006 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger Frank Vance said...

Passerby, even if I were willing to acknowledge that the comment that you attempted to post last night was "a clear refutation," (and I'm not -- please see the definition of "refutation") there remains the problem of your continuing to post from someplace other than the Ligonier office. Further compounding the dubious nature of your comments, and now your demands, is the fact that you won't divulge your name. What are you trying to hide? Could it be that you're actually Tim Dick using the services of your secretary to help with your otherwise appalling composition and spelling?

As to your demands for the names of my Pastor, Elders, church etc., don't you think you've gotten this all a bit discombobulated? Shouldn't you have requested that information instead of suing me? So you file a lawsuit and you want to bring me up on ecclesiastical charges too? Kind of a double jeopardy thing huh?

Speaking of Elders, accountability, etc., do you have the blessing of your Elders to be filing lawsuits against Christian brothers and thereby violating 1 Cor. 6 with impunity? Do you have permission from your Elders to be creating a scandal for the entire Reformed community of believers? Have you "proceeded with their blessing?" Why don't you email the name of your church, the telephone number and the name of your pastor to me today? Oh, wait! What a silly question! I already know the answer to that! Tim Dick's pastor is RC Sproul, and RC Sproul "parks his ordination" in the PCA and "ministers out of bounds" in an unaffiliated independent nondenominational church accountable to no one, and his "Elders" are his mere yes-men. How very convenient, and yet you demand accountability from me when the accountability that you're under is a total sham.

In spite of the sham-factor if you're going to be making such demands of me then be sure you reciprocate. Oh, and in your email, which I expect for you to send from the Ligonier office, be sure to also include your name so I know that I'm actually dealing with a real Ligonier "senior manager" and not just a Ligonier shill.

9/18/2006 06:52:00 AM  
Anonymous passerby said...

Frank,

I am a senior manager, unrelated to the family.

I happily invite others to evaluate whether anything I've said is dubious.

Please don't presume to dictate the terms under which you will accept information. You aren't in a good position to suggest you have wisdom about how you receive and dispense infromation.

I am continuing to note that you will say anything, about anyone, in defense of your deceptions.

Now would be a good time to browse over the "evidence" for all your charges.

I am awaiting the fax with your info.

I will consider it to be the first attempt at genuine accountability you have personally demonstrated, since your blog began.

passerby

9/18/2006 08:17:00 AM  
Anonymous passerby said...

I'm waiting.

9/18/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Carson Allen said...

Frank

The only reason they want to talk to your pastor Frank is so they can try to Bully you. I can see you sniffed that out from a mile away.

9/18/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Carson Allen said...

Frank

Can you believe the Nerve of passerby. It's like we don't know its Dick the Trick. We know your reading this blog Tim.

The only reason they want to talk to your paster Frank is so they can try to Bully you. I can see you sniffed that out from a mile away.

9/18/2006 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Sally said...

Passerby,
I would tread very carefully at this point. Your condescending attitude and threatening tone in this comment is very concerning. I am a "mature christian" who is watching Ligonier's actions very closely. We shall see what is "true" and what is "warranted" in time, I pray. For you to attack Frank in this comment is not becoming of a person in the ministy. And I hate to break it to you but there is nothing "fading" about this situation, to the contrary, it is growing by the day. If these accusations are not true, or at a minimum have some truth to them, then why is Ligonier scrambling to make contract changes with Dr. Kistler??

9/20/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank,
Are you being a busybody? If you really are concerned for Don Kistler, why has he not endorsed your rantings? Why are you fighting his fight?

Blessed are the peacemakers. Maybe you've created this storm -- and maybe it would never had existed had not you decided to be the judge of all men.

9/23/2006 07:45:00 PM  

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