Contending For Truth - Ligonier Ministries Lawsuit Scandal

Monday, September 25, 2006

More Ligonier Lies: Ligonier Ministries Has "Withdrawn Complaint"

For the past two weeks (and particularly last week), Ligonier Ministries' supporters have lit up Ligonier's phone lines. Most of them had just one thing on their minds: "How can you as a Christian ministry violate Scripture with impunity and sue a fellow professing Christian?" Offended by such unbiblical and unchristian behavior, Ligonier donors not only called in to complain in droves but they also started dropping their financial support.

The initial response of Ligonier "senior management" (Tim Dick, John Duncan and possibly others) was to instruct their customer service reps to tell callers: "There is no lawsuit. We're not sure where that story came from." That of course was a bold-faced lie, and, evidently, few Ligonier supporters bought it, instead declaring they would stop contributing while the scandal continued.

So early last week, under withering criticism, Ligonier senior management backed up, regrouped, and instructed their employees to stop saying anything about the lawsuit. Instead, employees were permitted to say only: "I am not able to comment on that at this time. It would be best if you e-mailed customerservice@ligonier.org." Callers who insisted on speaking with someone were referred to the voicemail of the "frontline manager."

Through it all, at no time did Ligonier Ministries or Tim Dick ever admit that they had filed a lawsuit against me, a fellow Christian. In fact they repeatedly denied that the nature of their actions against me constituted a lawsuit. At best, in their communications to customer service reps, they attempted to portray their actions as something other than a lawsuit by countering that "it is only an injunction," to stop publication of my blog without admitting that an injunction is just one kind of relief requested by a formal lawsuit. Ligonier also evaded mentioning that they have sued me for damages:
"This is an action for damages in excess of $15,000.00, exclusive of costs, interest, and attorney's fees, and for temporary and permanent injunctive relief based upon common law defamation..."
Then, suddenly late this past Friday that changed, or at least some of the story changed. I received the following email from Ligonier's President Tim Dick:
From: "Tim Dick" tdick@ligonier.org
To: "Tim Challies" tim@challies.com, worldblog@gmail.com, "Frank Vance" advancemyten@yahoo.com
Subject: Statement links
Fri, 22 Sep 2006 17:27:37 (EDT)

The following links will take you to public statements from Ligonier Ministries Sr. staff and CEO. Please feel free to post at your discretion.

Public Statement by Ligonier Senior Management

Public Statement by Tim Dick

Timothy A. Dick
President and CEO

Ligonier Ministries
400 Technology Park
Lake Mary Fl 32746

The links that Tim Dick furnished lead to two statements, one from "senior management" and one from Tim Dick. According to Ligonier's senior management they have (past tense) "withdrawn the complaint" against me. So now at least they're acknowledging that they have taken legal action in court against me. Furthermore, they're claiming as of September 22 that it's been "withdrawn."

The fact that Tim Dick waited until after 5 PM eastern time on a Friday to send this email struck me as opportunistic, especially in light of the fact that those links might have been posted two days prior: see "9_20_2006" in the URL (on the other hand it's possible the links were backdated for some reason). Delaying notice of that information until late Friday meant that it would be impossible for anyone to contact the court and verify whether or not the lawsuit had indeed been withdrawn.

Anyone who has to deal with PR issues knows that if you want to bury a story you wait until late Friday afternoon to release it. That results in the least possible news coverage because people are busy with other things over the weekend. Furthermore, Tim's email was sent to only three sites, further limiting its coverage. Additionally, there is no way to find those statements on Ligonier's web site; there are no links to them anywhere on Ligonier's web site, and a search for them by title produces nothing.

Under the circumstances, there is simply no way that I can view the timing of this as mere coincidence. Tim Dick's email has shady written all over it. Given the month-long wait for any public statement from Ligonier about the lawsuit, a couple of other blogs were extremely eager to post the content of Tim Dick's email on Friday, and they did so without making any effort whatsoever to verify it. However, I knew better than to trust a guy like Tim Dick. No, I'd just have to patiently wait until Monday morning to verify if Tim Dick was telling the truth about his having "withdrawn" the lawsuit. Only later would it be appropriate to comment on the other aspects of the Ligonier statements.

Monday has come, and as of the time of this posting it's been determined that the Florida clerk of the court where Tim Dick and Ligonier sued me has nothing in the case file indicating that Ligonier has filed anything with the court asking that the case be withdrawn, nor has the clerk received anything in this morning's mail, nor has anything been deposited at the court clerk's desk where attorneys hand deliver motions and pleadings. Let me repeat: not only did Ligonier and Tim Dick not file anything last week to dismiss their lawsuit against me but the clerk of the court couldn't find any such thing even today. Thus for Ligonier and Tim Dick to say that the lawsuit "was withdrawn" (past tense) is patently false. This is evidence of just more Ligonier Lies.

In fact, Ligonier proved it had no intentions whatsoever of withdrawing the lawsuit at least as late as last Thursday. According to the case file at the court, on September 21 at 8:30 a.m. Ligonier attempted once again to have another ex parte hearing with the judge, specifically on a "Motion For Assistance In Determining Proper Method To Effect Constructive Service Of Process." So as of last Thursday they weren't looking to drop the case at all but rather how to move the case forward more quickly.

These facts are documented and accessible to the public as part of the court's permanent file on Ligonier's lawsuit. In fact the court clerks say that they've been fielding quite a few calls about this particular lawsuit. When I asked about the case this morning the clerk immediately responded, "Ah yes, the world-famous Ligonier Ministries lawsuit. We've been getting calls about this from all over the country. We're all pretty amazed by how much attention this case has attracted."

Adding to the list of Ligonier lies is this new lie submitted as a comment by a Ligonier customer service rep to Jen's Gems that "the lawsuit that you have posted was withdrawn much earlier this week. Vance has not shared this. There is a lot that he has chosen not to share."

As far as my "sharing" information, it's a little hard to "share" things that no one has ever bothered to "share" with me in the first place. It's a lot like getting sued and having the plaintiff lie to the judge and say, "it is impossible to contact him or to serve him with the Verified Complaint or the Instant Motion. Moreover, counsel was not able to provide the Defendant with notice and an opportunity to be heard regarding the request for temporary injunctive relief for the same reason." Ligonier tried to rush the judge to issue a temporary injunction, but they knew I'd object and that any legal objections would only delay what they wanted to get immediately. So they asked the judge to make a ruling without me even having the opportunity to make a defense for myself. That's called an "ex parte" hearing and they lied to the judge in an effort to get it. Thankfully the judge didn't buy it. Ligonier and their attorneys now need to think through very carefully the probable consequences of lying to Judge Nelson.

Speaking of "sharing" things with my readers, I would like to have been able to have "shared" the fact that Ligonier sued me on August 25, but I wasn't able to do that until I found out about it eleven days later, not from Ligonier Ministries but from the Orlando Sentinel. I would like to have been able to "share" with everyone that "the lawsuit that you have posted was withdrawn much earlier this week." There's just one problem. Once again I was never informed, and then when they did inform me it just happened to have been after the court was already closed for the weekend. In coming days there will be much more to "share" about all of this even beyond the fact that the lawsuit was not withdrawn last week as falsely claimed by Ligonier.

The public statements by Tim Dick and Ligonier "Senior Management" contain more lies than the false claim of the lawsuit being dismissed, and I will respond to them in detail over the next few days. I wish I could agree with Tim Dick when he says that he "considers the matter closed." However, nothing about this matter is closed or is likely to be any time soon so long as Ligonier's leadership continue with their lies and cover-ups.

With this latest report Ligonier donors are bound to be even more outraged than they were before. They should know that the Ligonier Board Of Directors is slated to meet sometime in the next week or two. If you haven't already done so you should consider contacting the Board members and conveying your concerns. Don't be afraid to make demands -- since you are a stakeholder the Board is accountable to you. However, let me point out that demanding only the firing of Tim Dick is unlikely be an adequate remedy since John Duncan as General Manager may wind up taking his place. That would be no kind of solution at all, and in fact that kind of medicine may prove worse than the disease.

39 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a great Nick Lowe song, "All Men Are Liars." I don't know if it applies or not, but it is a great song nonetheless.

All men, all men are liars
Their words ain’t worth no more
than worn out tires
Hey Girls, bring rusty pliers
To pull this tooth
All men are liars
And that’s the truth.

Do you remember Rick Astley?
He had a big fat hit that was
ghastly
He said I’m never gonna give you
up or let you down
Well I’m here to tell ya
That Dick’s a clown
Though he was just a boy when he
made that vow
I’d bet it all that he knows by
now

Chorus

Among God’s creatures man must be
The most slimy and slippery now
There stands the naked ape in a
monkey suite
Behind a little mustache he grew,
the shifty brute
All the ones not choking on the
words they ate are
Sweating on getting their stories
straight

Chorus x 2

9/25/2006 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Reminds me of the 90's said...

The spin coming from these people reminds me of dealing with the Clinton Administration. The spin is so confusing that it only precipitates more guessing and spreading of false information by Ligonier themselves!

I hope at the very least Slice, World and Challies will post this latest development. Especially Challies since he has clearly been used by these folks. The bottom line is that the lawsuit was not removed when they sent that statement link.

By the way, I searched and searched for that statement on the Ligonier site and it was nowhere to be found. That made me wonder.

I thought of the Clintons when they said it was not really a lawsuit! Really, what is it when you ask for 15,000 and it is stamped with the official court stamp? What is that called?

9/25/2006 01:38:00 PM  
Anonymous darrin said...

I have yet to see you comment on Don Kistler's statement which seems to deny some of your accusations against Ligonier. Will you be making comments on that?

9/25/2006 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Frank Vance said...

Darrin, yes of course I'll be making comments about that. In fact I plan on writing at least one entire article about it, but just like with the other Ligonier public statements the Kistler statement requires verification.

Tim Challies as a self-professed "optimist" posted not just Tim Dick's email, he also posted the full content of the Ligonier public statements last Friday, taking them at face value and taking Tim Dick at his word. It's for good reason that I don't share Mr. Challies' optimism about anything initiated by Tim Dick, including the Kistler statement. I've been lied to too often by Tim Dick to trust a thing he says. When I'm able to validate that Don Kistler is in fact the author of the statement, and that he produced it of his own free will and not under any duress then I'll issue an article. Until then I won't be commenting, and just as with the two Ligonier public statements about the lawsuit I won't be pressured into commenting before the matter has been thoroughly investigated.

9/25/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Headmistress, zookeeper said...

FWIW, I also just called the Florida court and they told me essentially the same thing Vance reports here- that there was an 'exparty?' hearing on Thursday, and that they have received nothing indicating the lawsuit has been withdrawn.

9/25/2006 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger David McCrory said...

Mr. Vance,

Is Frank Vance your real name, or have you previously acknowledged that you use a screen-name?

9/25/2006 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous jimmy olsen said...

A couple of observations about these statements. First, who is "Senior Managment"? If Tim is CEO, wouldn't he be "Senior Management"? So why the second letter? Perhaps to give the impression of "It's not just me (Tim). Others (who remain nameless) agree with me."

Secondly, does Tim think that Frank's alleged behavior "inconsistent with that of a Christian" gave him the license to bring suit against Frank, a confessed Christian? It sounds as though he thinks so.

Third, where is Don Kistler's statement? There is a reference to it in the Senior Management letter, but no link to where one might read it.

And finally there is the statement that the suit "has been withdrawn", which flies directly in the face of the fact that no withdrawal has been filed yet.

I'm smelling something fishy, and it ain't the grouper I had last night.

9/25/2006 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger a modern voltaire said...

Before we all leave this situation behind, I think it is important to point out several things. Tim Dick did not admit wrongdoing. Don Kistler is an employee of Ligonier and subject to the pressures to do what his superiors tell him. The Board of Directors was included in Tim's list of entities, so they must not have known about the suit. The deep-seeded abuses detailed by many bloggers still exist - the family, the salaries, the closed Board, the arrogence, etc. The ONLY thing that has changed is that the lawsuit is or will go away. The year end appeal for donations will be made soon. Do you want to support this????????

9/25/2006 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger Headmistress, zookeeper said...

I just had a puzzled thought. Tim Dick and Ligonier's lawyers say that your name is a pseudonym and they have no way of contacting you and do not know who you really are.

How, then, was the reporter from the Florida paper able to contact you and ask how you felt about being sued by Ligonier?

9/25/2006 06:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastic said...

Frank, once again you have been too harsh in your criticism of Tim Dick and Ligonier. Your tone is not loving at all. You need to give them the benefit of the doubt. Think the best of them. Live and let live.

Have you already forgotten that Tim Dick said, "I accept full responsibility"? Give him some credit. He said the same thing Clinton said about Monica Lewinsky and Janet Reno said about Waco. It only made them more famous.

Don't you realize that in the world today it is enough to just say "I accept full responsibility" without suffering any consequences (unless a verbal slap on the wrist counts)? Nobody gets fired; instead they get therapy or, at a Reformed ministry, "counseling." Either way, it's unloving and cold to fire someone; we just can't have that.

What's important right now is for you to stop getting in the way of the healing process at Ligonier. The staff need to share their feelings to move beyond the hurt. Maybe they'll have another one of those meetings like last week, when John Duncan explained it all away: there is no lawsuit; we don't know where that idea came from.

Whatever the story, it's vital for closure for the staff to just go along and get along. If the explanation this week doesn't quite match the one last week (or the week before) or the court records, or the actual sequence of events, well, pointing that out in front of everyone would be impolite.

Of course, even worse for corporate harmony than the employees challenging "senior management" at a staff meeting would be privately contacting the board members to tell them the frontline view of events, unspun by managers desperate to keep their jobs and above-market salaries. That would upset the board for no good reason -- all because of your harsh, unloving tone, Frank.

9/25/2006 06:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael Metzler said...

I would recommend reading how all this blew up on Douglas Wilson's blog--the the nature of the obfuscation is fascinating. I have two links here:

Ligonier’s Suit: Justice Douglas Wilson Does It Again!

Michael Metzler

9/25/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Frank Vance said...

Mr. Metzler, it would seem that this has turned into quite a hot topic in certain circles. Thanks for pointing out how much this is being discussed on Doug Wilson's blog, "The first link is pretty much inactive, but the second link, 'Some Ligonier Links' now has 96 comments (and the rest of Wilson’s web site is mostly zeroed)."

It'll be interesting to see how much longer Doug Wilson can continue maintaining his virtual silence on this important and biblically relevant subject.

9/25/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Another former donor said...

Mr Vance,

Thanks for the detailed investigative reporting reflected in the post today. I see that it has silenced your critics -- at least until they are told what to think tomorrow. Maybe some day Challies, et al. will realize that if it's okay to test and prove what an apostle said (like the Bereans) it's no offense against morality or biblical ethics to put Ligonier "senior managers" to the same test before repeating what they say as gospel...

At any rate, that's not the main point of my comment. I wanted to make a prediction for you, while there was still time. This is my prediction: "Senior Management" (which may or may not include Tim Dick; it's hard to say) will blame the lawyers for the whole Ligonier lawsuit fiasco.

It's already started, of course, with John Duncan claiming he didn't realize to get an injunction meant to file a lawsuit (even over a week after the Orlando Sentinel headline started with the word "Lawsuit"). But that's not enough: the lawyers also have to take the fall for filing that dismissal so late (and so far, not at all). I can just hear him now: "Well, staff, we did tell them days ago -- I don't recall exactly which day, but I know it was days ago -- that it's time to put this behind us. I'm appalled and angry, more than you realize, that that didn't happen. For that, I will admonish them firmly, very firmly."

As a businessman, I've dealt with enough lawyers to know they often get the blame unfairly, even though they've been trained since law school to do what the client says or face malpractice claims. One of the side effects of the attorney-client privilege is that even though you blame the lawyer he can't break confidence to defend himself, as long as you don't sue him.

So if the reality is that you "forgot" to tell the lawyer what you wanted, or when you wanted it, it's the lawyer's fault when nothing happens in time for you to tell the truth to the public.

You understand how it is for the lawyers, don't you Frank? The lawsuit was your fault, even though no one told you about it, and the Ligonier lies are your fault as well, because there would have been no need for them, but for your "defamatory" blog. In fact, the lawyer's faults are your faults, too, because they wouldn't have failed to receive notice from their client unless you had failed to receive notice first. And that, as sarcastic has already pointed out, is your fault too.

It's all your fault.

9/25/2006 07:56:00 PM  
Anonymous curious said...

Frank, Doug Wilson, over a Blog and Magblog comments, is claiming that Ligoneir told people that your name is a pseudonym. That is one reason they could not contact you. Tell me, how did the reporter contact you?

9/25/2006 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Frank Vance said...

Curious, Rene Stutzman emailed me. That information is easily obtained by clicking on my blogger profile. Rene informed me by email that I'd been sued by Ligonier and asked me to call her for an interview, which I did.

9/25/2006 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger Frank Vance said...

I can see why Michael Metzler so irritates a guy like Doug Wilson. He's just way too thorough: Summary Of Pooh's Posts Regarding Ligonier’s Law Suit

9/25/2006 08:28:00 PM  
Anonymous scott said...

Frank,

Thanks for rthe update. Let me state from the beginning that I mostly believe you are right regarding the character of the folks running Ligonier. That being said I do have 2 questions I would like answered. Is your name a pseudonym? Are you under the authority of a church board of elders or presbytery? I ask because your answers do relate to the question of who you are and Ligonier's ability to work with you or your church to resolve this. Again, I want you to know that I do support you but I am curious about those questions.

Scott

9/25/2006 08:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Homer Simpson said...

U R Gay

9/25/2006 09:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Josh S. said...

Mike Metzler? Thorough?

::spills coffee::

9/26/2006 04:24:00 AM  
Anonymous jimmy olsen said...

Took a while, but I finally found Don Kistler's statement over at Challie's. Weird that it wasn't posted at Ligonier's website, if all is so well between Don and Tim Dick/Ligonier, or at least hyperlinked from the Senior Management statement. Maybe noone there hows to add a hyperlink to text.

If things transpired as Frank contends regarding the acquisition, I could surely see how a statement like this could be extorted from Kistler. After all, if he has no evidence (or not enough, in his or a lawyer's opinion) to prove the contract switch he would be basically hung out to dry if he did anything other than defend Ligonier. Probably lose his job and his benefits, which given his recent health problems, would be a major financial burden. So Don's statement doesn't do much to prove Ligonier's case, and still doesn't explain or expunge Ligonier for responsibility for the Vance lawsuit or the numerous other issues that have come to light about Ligonier as a result.

9/26/2006 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Luke said...

Dear Mr Vance,

As others have pointed out, the statements issued by Ligonier claim that Frank Vance is not your real name, but a pseudonym; and that they have been unable to discern your true identity.

Now I write as someone who hears the ring of truth in much of what you say. I would encourage you, however, to address this claim directly: Is 'Frank Vance' a pseudonym? If so, it might be in the best interest of you to explain to your supporters and detractors alike why you feel it is necessary to withold your real name.

I for one can think of a number of reasons why doing so might be required by the situation. But it would be good to hear it straight from you, rather than engage in idle speculation. You remain in my prayers,

Luke

9/26/2006 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Ever Hopeful said...

Maybe some day Challies, et al. will realize that if it's okay to test and prove what an apostle said (like the Bereans) it's no offense against morality or biblical ethics to put Ligonier "senior managers" to the same test before repeating what they say as gospel...

Challies professes (See comment no. 5) to believe that it's important to "confirm[] a matter on the basis of witnesses." That being so, one has to ask why he has gone silent since the testimony of multiple witnesses has now proven that Ligonier and Tim Dick have not dropped their lawsuit as they falsely claimed in the statements he posted without advance confirmation.

Now that it has been confirmed that Ligonier lied again -- by claiming to have dismissed the lawsuit it first claimed never to have filed -- surely Challies now knows that his "optimistic" hope in Ligonier leadership has been misplaced? I hope so and look forward to him acknowledging this and disclosing it to his readers.

9/26/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Letdown Over Ligonier said...

Ingrid at Slice Of Laodicea seems to be as down as me over this Ligonier fiasco. I've never seen her write quite like this before.

"I have taken an unapologetic stand for truth on my blog and do not intend to change. But I want no part of what I see behind the scenes of some of these groups who specialize in pointing out the error of others while they can't even get along with their own fellow believers. We have nothing to say to the world at large if we as believers let petty disagreements turn into thermonuclear war. As my husband Tom put it, 'I get more respectful treatment from those in the secular music world that I work with than you do from fellow Christians.' He told me he'd rather be in the orchestra pit any night than do my job. Well said, Tom." Well said Ingrid.

If there's any doubt about why Ingrid is so down just see this article of hers. She seems to be taking a few shots at you too Frank but it's obvious that her bigger concern is Ligonier's shameful behavior in causing "petty disagreements to turn into thermonuclear war."

9/26/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Michael Metzler said...

I posted a comment to Ingrid's article:

Ingrid,

I appreciate your post. However, I am concerned that in the name of peace and keeping a distance you have made assertions even here about another Christian that I do not believe are true: “As Ligonier Ministries recently learned, filing lawsuits against attackers and slanderers can backfire…these quarrelsome people.” It is not clear at all that Ligonier Ministries filed a law suit against a “slanderer.” A slanderer is one who posts false information, perhaps even with the intent to deceive. But I do not believe this is the case with Frank Vance. Also, it was certainly not “quarrelsome” behavior that caused Ligonier Ministries to initially start pursuing this blogger. And as a general note to the message of this post, I think it is important to distinguish just who deserves “attacks” based on the teaching of the New Testament. I would submit that Tim Dick of Ligonier fits the bill. Learning where to fight and where not to fight seems to be one solution to the problem you refer to here. Letting Ligonier just be is not the kind of “peace” we need right now in the church.

Thank you
Michael Metzler
www.poohsthink.com

9/26/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Grieved in Texas said...

I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps this is God's way of preserving the work and legacy of R.C. Sproul and Ligonier Ministries - by letting it implode rather than continue in corruption. I still don't want to believe any of this is happening and it breaks my heart, but I trust God for all outcomes.

God granted Hezekiah (2 Kings 18-20) an additional 15 years but with drastic results for Judah. He had started well but ended concerned only about his own comfort and proud of his amassed wealth. His son took over at his death and "did evil in the eyes of the Lord,..." and Judah suffered for a very long time.

Perhaps there are some false allegations or assumptions about the wrong doings at Ligonier, but enough are verifiably true which make them impossible to ignore. If only they would stand up and take responsibilty, make restitution where necessary, sincerely repent, and immediately restructure. I don't see how anything less will do.

9/26/2006 02:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Law Dude said...

Mr. Vance,

In all my years practicing law I can't say as I've ever seen a case where a plaintiff published a written notice claiming they'd withdrawn their lawsuit when they hadn't even drawn up the motion to withdraw it, let alone submit the motion to the court. To see a Christian ministry engaging in this sort of dishonest bahavior is scandalous.

I'm sure you are on top of this case but I just wanted to let my know that I just got off the phone with one of the judge's clerks. She confirmed that as of 4:30 today Ligonier still hasn't filed anything with the court to have the case dismissed. If others would like to verify it for themselves it's all public information. Anyone can call the clerk and ask.
Case No. 06-CA-1669-16-K
Court Clerk's Phone: 407-665-4378

In my professional opinion I don't think Ligonier ever had any intention of withdrawing the case. I think what they were hoping to accomplish is to con you into believing that they withdrew the case so that you wouldn't pay attention to their continuing motions and ex parte hearings in court. The fact that just last Thursday they had another ex parte hearing with the judge to figure out how to legally effect service is rather strong evidence that they're not planning on dropping this case. It appears that they're still lying to the judge and claiming that there's no way of contacting you.

More than likely here's what Ligonier and their lawyers were hoping to pull off. Eventually if you didn't respond then they'd perhaps be able to get a default judgment against you. With that default judgment then they could get your blog shut down and there goes your public forum and you'd have a hard time issuing a public statement on the deceptive way they went about getting a legal judgment against you. Very slick but also very unethical.

I'm going to make a point of calling the court every day until I know that the case has actually been dismissed. I also think it's important that this case be dismissed with prejudice. With prejudice means that it can't ever be brought again. I'd like to also suggest that your readers call Ligonier every day and ask why they still haven't filed anything with the court to withdrawn the lawsuit they publicly said they'd already withdrawn last week. Why is a donor funded Christian ministry publicly lying?

9/26/2006 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Lady Donor said...

Mr. Vance,

I called Ligonier again today, September 26, 2006, to see what the latest story is. I was very friendly and very polite to the man who answered the phone. Below is a paraphrase of my conversation: not every word is exact, but the substance is definately accurate; I typed it up right after calling.

Lady Donor

* * *

Lady Donor: Hello, I am a supporter of Ligonier. I'm calling to ask about the lawsuit. Why did Ligonier sue a Christian, then say they didn't sue anyone, then say they dismissed the suit, when they hadn't?

Ligonier rep: It's been dropped. It's over. Go to Tim Challies' Website. You can see documents there. You can see Kistler's letter.

Lady Donor: Well, actually, if you check the timeline, you'll see that Ligonier filed the lawsuit against Mr. Vance before he posted his story on Kistler -- did you know that?

Ligonier rep: Silence.

Lady Donor: In fact, it's ironic that you're sending people to Challies, because the whole thing started with Tim Challies. Ligonier hosted RC Jr. at a conference not long after he was defrocked. Many people were upset about it, and there was a discussion on Challies' website about that. Challies kept deleting comments by people who were critical of Ligonier, including Mr. Vance. Eventually, he got tired of it and set up his own blog. This was in May, long before Kistler. Besides, Tim Dick was the one who contacted Frank Vance first, not the other way around. So why did you sue him?

Ligonier rep: We couldn't get a hold of him. He wouldn't give us his information, his address, his number, his elders, the name of his church to inform them of what he was doing. Maybe they didn't know what he was doing. Do you know where he lives?

Lady Donor: Well, the newspaper reporter contacted him. If the newspaper reporter contacted him, why couldn't you? Besides, didn't you try to get the contact info of his church after the lawsuit, not before? Wasn't that done by someone at Ligonier posting by the name of passerby instead of using his real name? You need to get your timelines straight. You're putting things here and there based on the way it works for you, but that's not what happened. And you need to check out things for yourself. Did you call the court to check for yourself? I called the court, and they confirmed there was no motion to drop the suit.

Ligonier rep: I don't need to do that: we were told it's been dropped. It just takes a few days to process. It's over.

Lady Donor: It's not over. The person at the court told me they timestamp everything that comes in the day it comes in, and it's entered into the computer no later than the next day. And she checked in the computer. There was nothing there. It doesn't take "days" to show up.

Ligonier rep: What if we had them end it today, and it took several days to process, would that count for you?

Lady Donor: No, of course not, because you've already lied about it.

Ligonier rep: Silence ... dial tone.

9/26/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Frank Vance said...

It's now being alleged that my name isn't Frank Vance. As far as I know Doug Wilson is the first to state "Frank Vance is not his real name." Mr. Wilson seems real sure of himself. Ordinarily I might take offense by such an accusation. However, given that I've been sued, and given that Ligonier hasn't withdrawn the suit (although they've lied and publicly announced that they have), and given that even if and when they do withdraw the suit they are likely to be able to sue me again, legal counsel has advised me that it would be unwise to answer that question. Apparently, there are certain legal advantages to certain people having doubts about the answer to that question, and for the foreseeable future I need all the legal advantage I can get.

To address those who might have a legitimate legal, ethical or moral concern about my identity, let's just for the sake of argument say that the name "Frank Vance" is an alias. Would that be illegal? No it would not. Furthermore, as everyone can plainly see, Ligonier doesn't have any problems suing me either way. Even aliases can be sued and aliases have often sued others too, as evidenced by the numerous John Doe and Jane Doe lawsuits filed every year. The infamous Roe vs. Wade lawsuit is perhaps the most well known. Would the use of an alias be unethical? If it were then we'd have to condemn the labors and writings of numerous godly men in church history, including a number of the Reformers who wrote under assumed names.

Ironically enough, a Ligonier "senior manager" himself has repeatedly posted here under the alias "Passerby," demanding the name of my church and pastor, and this only weeks after his organization sued me, lied to the public about the lawsuit, and continues to lie by now finally admitting they sued me but that they withdrew the lawsuit last week.

All this aside, the reason this issue is being raised at all is only too obvious. It's called shoot the messenger. I've provided a forum for many witnesses to report the sordid truth about the leadership at Ligonier. As the Ligonier leaders have no answer to the vast majority of the concerns that have been raised, in their desperation, they are pulling out all the stops to personally attack the messenger. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it won't persuade many.

9/26/2006 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Frank Vance said...

Ligonier Finances Part 1

More parts to follow soon.

9/26/2006 09:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

"Through it all, at no time did Ligonier Ministries or Tim Dick ever admit that they had filed a lawsuit against me, a fellow Christian ."

There is no solid reason to believe this; - The part about you being a Christian, that is. Your actions are inconsistent with such a statement.

9/26/2006 09:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Hefty said...

Somebody should contact John "Frog" Duncan at Jduncan@ligonier.org
And get the latest lie.

9/27/2006 08:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Maggie said...

Yea, that's it Frank. It can't be true that a lawsuit was filed by Ligonier against you, because you don't act like a Christian, therefore, you aren't one, thus it's true that Ligonier didn't file suit against a christian. Therefore, they are not lying.

This sounds incredibly like "it all depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is."

Where is the integrity???

9/27/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Scandalized said...

Frank, after reading through all of your posts and comments, Jen's posts and comments, Challies' post and comments (the ones not deleted), Ligonier's hidden public statements, the scan of the lawsuit documents and literally everything else I could find on the Net, I have to say I am nothing short of scandalized by the Ligonier ministry and its leaders. At this point, nothing short of heads rolling will restore even a modicum of the public good will that has been squandered in recent weeks.

It seems to me that, at a minimum, three heads must roll: Tim Dick, the manager of the original screw up, John Duncan, the manager of the current cover up, and Ryan Dick, the assistant manager for public shame.

9/27/2006 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous jimmy olsen said...

Interesting proposition, Mike. 1 Cor 6 deals with disputes between believers, and although not always, disputes often involve sin on at least one part - perhaps even "unchristian" behavior? Or maybe we need to put a footnote on this passage that it only refers to disputes where both parties are in a state of sinless perfection? Now that I think about it, that must be what Paul meant. Whew, that cleared it all up for me. /sarcasm off

9/27/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Law Dude said...

Time once again for the Ligonier Lies update.

In checking with the court again today the clerk informed me that they still haven't received any Motion from Ligonier requesting that the case be withdrawn. Let me also pass along a part of my phone conversation with the clerk:

Clerk: "Circuit Civil, Betty speaking. May I help you?"
Me: "Betty I'm calling about a case."
Clerk: "Case number?"
Me: "06-CA-1669..."
Clerk: [laughter]
Me: Betty? Let me in on the joke. What's so funny?"
Clerk: "I'm sorry. It's just that we've gotten so many calls about this case. In fact every single time I've picked up the phone today it's been someone asking about this Ligonier case."

9/27/2006 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Itsabouttime said...

Law Dude,
Can you give us the court house's phone number so we can all call in about that case? I think the more public attention it gets, the more light it will shed on this.

9/27/2006 08:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be nice to the Customer service reps because no one at Ligonier is.

9/27/2006 09:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Frank and others...you will now have to find something else to talk about.

I just got off the phone with the County Clerk in Florida regarding the Ligonier case (it is now 2:08pm), and she was holding the voluntary dismissal in her hand, which she was getting ready to enter into the system.

I'm sure, given the track record of you and others posting here, that you will still not be satisfied and will find something else regarding Ligonier to speculate and assume on.

I will even be shocked if you post this...seeing as you are pretty much only posting comments that side with your rantings.

9/28/2006 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Frank and others...you will now have to find something else to talk about.

I just got off the phone with the County Clerk in Florida regarding the Ligonier case (it is now 2:08pm), and she was holding the voluntary dismissal in her hand, which she was getting ready to enter into the system.

I'm sure, given the track record of you and others posting here, that you will still not be satisfied and will find something else regarding Ligonier to speculate and assume on.

I will even be shocked if you post this...seeing as you are pretty much only posting comments that side with your rantings.

9/28/2006 12:45:00 PM  

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