R.C. Jr. & Ligonier Ministries

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by C. M. Sheffield, Jan 10, 2011.

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  1. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Senior

    I don't know if R. C. Sproul Jr. has explicitly affirmed FV theology but I do know he affirms paedo-communion and is a recognized minister of the CREC.

    With that in mind, does his obviously close relationship to Ligonier Ministries (LM) pose a potential problem? I have often thought that R.C. Jr. would take over when his father retired. I don't know that that would indeed happen, but if it did, I would have to reevaluate my continued support of LM.

    How should we view R.C.Jr.'s unorthodox views and associations and his close relationship to LM?
  2. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Senior

    I didn't say he was. I said he affirms paedocommunion and is a recognized minister of CREC.
  3. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    I was simply answering the opening remark in your post.
  4. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I think that's a bridge to cross when it comes.

    As a comparison, DJ Kennedy's school, Knox Seminary, took a new path when the chancellor died. On the plus side, if I was considering the church DJK used to pastor as a church home, I think I might have an easier time supporting it today, than when he was the pastor (mainly for all the political emphasis that was there). A lot of the ancillary business of that church has spun-off in various stand-alone enterprises. I'm not sure anyone outside of there saw that coming.

    I think speculating over the future leadership of LigonierMinistries is very premature.
  5. bill

    bill Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't claim to have any special knowledge of the inner working of Lignoier. However, I visited Lignoier this year and talked to many on staff and they seem very committed to the work that R.C. has started. R.C. Jr. is back at Ligionier and wether that is good I guess time will tell, but there is a board of trusties that makes many of the decisions on what is taught. Many of them on the board are great men such as Sinclair Ferguson, Burk Parsons, and I believe Derek Thomas to name a few. All of them men I believe would be very instrumental in the direction Lignoier would go after R.C. is gone. I think it is to early to be alarmed, but that is only my two cents.
  6. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Thanks for the link, Phil. I think it helps us avoid jumping too quickly into guilt by association. Not saying anyone was doing that, just that we easily might do that.

    To answer the original question, I don't see anything in the statement Phil linked to that would make me think "this is incompatible with Ligonier." That's taking the statement for what it says, and not suspecting anyone on the basis of who their friends are. Of course, any future leader would be thoroughly vetted, we would hope. And as Bruce said, any discussion at that level is way premature.
  7. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Doesn't this assume that RC Jr. is FV? He has told me repeatedly that he is not.
  8. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Senior

    No. As I've already stated, it assumes he affirms paedo-communion and has close ties to men like Douglas Wilson. The last time I checked, paedo-communion was viewed as unorthodox by the vast majority of the Reformed Church. Or would you not see that as a problem in someone's theology?
  9. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    I'm not sure that he does affirm paedo-communion. Where is your source for this? Paedo-communion is not unique to FV, either. I know several advocates of PC who are adamantly opposed to the FV.
  10. brianlve

    brianlve Inactive User

    I will comment on this a little, I just read a book Charles Spurgeon "come ye children" To my understanding in the book CS says not to give communion to children until you know, that they have been redeemed. He does not state an age, but a condition of the heart, I know it is a very difficult topic and has a lot of parameters, My hope is that if you do read this book you would find some comfort.
    Kind Regards,
  11. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    Just as a POI, in the article written by RC Jr. that I linked to above, he does explicitly state: "I do believe in paedocommunion, as did most of the church for the first millennium." Yet I would certainly agree that in the context of this discussion FV and paedo-communion are not synonymous.
  12. Damon Rambo

    Damon Rambo Puritan Board Sophomore

    O.K., I guess you learn something new every day...

    Are you saying that in Presbyterian Churches, whether or not Children participate in the Lord's Supper is a big debate? This, to me, would seem like a non-issue, certainly less important than the meaning, method, and timing of Baptism, with which I and my Presbyterian brothers disagree so vehemently. Would those withdrawing support from LM likewise refuse to support ministries which had associations with Baptists?

    I can understand this being a bit of a sticking point within a congregation, or to a lesser degree, a denominational affiliation (A presbytery, or such), but for support and fellowship? Really?
  13. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Senior

    I believe he repented for having taught and practised paedocommunion under the auspices of the RPCGA after they had specifically forbid him from doing so. That doesn't mean he repented of his views regarding paedocommunion's validity.

    Some of the posts on this thread have shed more light on this situation than I was aware of. I was initially under the impression that he was at least FV leaning. But seeing that he is not is a comfort. However, I would still be uncomfortable with some of his views and associations.
  14. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    The common view, held by biblical presbyterian denominations (e.g. ARP, PCA, OPC, RPCNA) is that children must be examined for a credible profession of faith before being admitted to the sacrament, the Lord's Supper.

    While I don't want to distract from the post here, the issue really is that the constitutions of the denominations reflect that doctrine, e.g. through their Book of Church Order.

    So to advocate that, or practice that, would be contrary to the confessed doctrine of the church. That's where, as I understand it, the esteemed individual had trouble.

    By all appearances, he repented of that violation, though he may still hold that belief now in a denomination which allows it. A denomination which unfortunately also allows federal vision theology and allows those subject to church discipline to escape from it.

    The esteemed individual did NOT escape discipline in going there, and there is substantial evidence to suggest he does NOT hold to federal vision theology.

    He is entitled to a view of charity.

    On a side note, purely anecdotal, on a recent visit to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church (Sanford, FL) where the senior Dr. Sproul is Pastor, and where Ligioner Ministries is located, it seems the transition has begun there to Mr. Burk Parsons, who told me he is a PCA teaching elder.

    Like the Senior Pastor, Mr. Parsons is solid, biblical reformed and does not hold anything like the serious error of "federal vision." Nor do either, in accordance with the confessed doctrines of their denomination, the PCA, hold paedocommunion.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  15. bill

    bill Puritan Board Freshman

    I guess when we talk about paedocommunion we should define what we believe paedocommunion is. For instance I could ask my six year old if he believes in Christ and if he believes he is a sinner and if he believes Christ died on the cross for his sins and he will confirm all of this. If I ask him what it means to be saved he will tell me all of this as well, but when I go through the catechisms with him I realize he doesn't not really know Christ as his Lord and Saviour. Yet, some will allow a child with such a simple confession partake in communion. Even within the PCA this is practiced (depending on the session and what they require in there examination). I would still call that paedocommunion. I know I may be opening a can of worms, but the scriptural requirement is being able to discern the Body of Christ and examine oneself. I don't believe a child has that capability. So when we talk about paedocommunion we should define what we view as paedocommunion. Some may say they don't believe in paedocommunion, yet they will allow a child at a young age take communion if he or she has mental assent and I would still call this paedocommunion so we would be in disagreement.
  16. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    It seems what is required for a child's admission to this sacrament is an examined, credible profession of faith.

    Once that is determined, the Lord's Table is sufficiently protected, and beneficial to the one who partakes.
  17. JennyG

    JennyG Puritan Board Graduate

    I really hope so. R C Sproul Sr has been and is a leading light to many people including me
  18. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Graduate

    Doesn't he have his hands full with his own ministry? He also doesn't that paedocommunion must be accepted by all, so I couldn't forsee him highjacking LM to lobby for the acceptance of that view. He does have very strong opinions on the family and church (nothing wrong with that per se), but all in all I think he is very orthodox.
  19. Reformed Musings

    Reformed Musings Puritan Board Freshman

    I have serious reservations with Sproul, Jr., and his continued association with Ligonier Ministries. I owe his father a great debt of gratitude for his tutelage during my early days in the Reformed faith and still highly value his and Ligoniers' teaching. That debt in no way extends to his son.

    Paedocommunion wasn't the only issue in junior's 2006 defrocking by the RPCGA, nor was it even the core issue. In fact, it was #7 of 7 specifications in the Declaratory Judgment. The judgments, in order, were 1) His "abuse of authority" (direct quote) over his church and specific church families; 2) fraudulently using the Tax Identification Number from the ARPC for his church; 3) attempting to establish a daughter church in violation of the BCO; 4) dividing his congregation into parishes in violation of the BCO; 5) not using the vows required by the BCO (i.e., using his own); 6) not fulfilling the BCO requirements relative to developing Bylaws, a property disposition plan, rights of the congregation, etc.; and 7) teaching and practicing paedocommunion in violation of the Westminster Standards. This is public information as the Declaratory Judgment is a public document available on the web. Google is your friend.

    Given the current composition of Ligonier's board, I don't think that it's likely junior will have much of a role in its future.
  20. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Graduate

    The one about a tax idea number, isn't that a criminal act?
  21. Reformed Musings

    Reformed Musings Puritan Board Freshman

    Yep. Apparently the ARPC elected not to notify the Feds or press charges.
  22. Reformed Musings

    Reformed Musings Puritan Board Freshman

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