Christian Domestic Discipline, Domestic Violence, Patriarchal-Complementarian Movement, RC Sproul Jr., Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Bullies, Women and the Church

R.C. Sproul, Jr. Steps Down from Ligonier Ministries and Reformation Bible College

R.C. Sproul, Jr., Ligonier Ministries, Abuse, Reformation Bible College


R.C. Sproul, Jr., Ligonier Ministries, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Sounding Board
Twitter Photo (note the lock indicating the account is now private)


Ligonier Ministries has reported that RC Sproul, Jr. is stepping down from Ligonier Ministries & Reformation Bible College citing personal reasons:

December 12, 2016

Last Friday, the board of directors of Ligonier Ministries and Reformation Bible College received and affirmed the resignation of Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. He is stepping away from his duties at the ministry and the college for personal reasons. This was communicated by phone to his father, Dr. R.C. Sproul, the founder of Ligonier Ministries and chancellor of Reformation Bible College, and it was later communicated in writing to the entire board of directors of Ligonier Ministries.

We support the Sproul family and give thanks for the many edifying contributions of Dr. Sproul Jr. over the years through his work at the ministry and the college. We believe he will be well cared for by his church during this time of transition, and we pray for him in his future endeavors.

After this announcement was publicized, I noticed that his social media accounts were closed. His Facebook account was shut down. His Twitter account was changed to private. His blog was shut down entirely. However, I checked this morning and his Facebook account is up again.

You may recall that last year, R.C. Sproul, Jr. confessed to “visiting” the Ashley Madison site, only after hackers said they were releasing names of people registered to the site. This confession was published August 31, 2015:

In August 2014, in a moment of weakness, pain, and from an unhealthy curiosity, I visited Ashley Madison. My goal was not to gather research for critical commentary, but to fan the flames of my imagination. There I found two gracious judgments. First, I felt the grace of fear. Second, I felt the grace of shame. I was there long enough to leave an old email address. And within minutes I left, never to return. I did not sign up for their service or interact with any clients. I have always remained faithful to my wife even after her passing.

The grace of God’s judgment bore its fruit, and by His grace I repented of my sin. By His grace, I have also received His forgiveness, the outworking of His love. Prophetic providence had done its good office. Jesus died for this sin, but there are still earthly consequences. With the revelation of the hack has come the revelation of my sin. I recently informed the board of Ligonier Ministries, which has handled the matter internally, having suspended me until July 1, 2016. I also informed my presbytery which is also handling the matter internally. And now the world is informed.  (Wayback Machine cache:

Ironically, just a month before the above confession (July 22, 2015), Sproul, Jr. had written this article on Ashley Madison.

The reality is that nothing that we do is private. Not because of the shocking reach of the Internet, not because of the devious skills of hackers, but rather because all that we do is known by the One who knows all things. The reality is that we all sin before the eyes of the watching God of Heaven and Earth. Not only that, but all of our sins will one day be publicly exposed. On that great day of judgment, there will be no delete; there will be no erase; there will be no way to hide all that all of us have done. It is my hope that this kind of cyber assault might wake us up to that reality.

My prayer is that we, even if we haven’t committed adultery, even if we haven’t flirted with committing adultery, even if we just learned about Ashley Madison, would just recognize and embrace the biblical truth that our sins will find us out. (Wayback Machine cache:

A quick Google search will show that R.C. Sproul, Jr., has a long checkered past. He was defrocked years ago (spiritual abuse) and started his own church group. He has long promoted Patriarchy. A number of people have send me reports of spiritual abuse, and here is one of the most popular blog articles in which I share one of the most demeaning and demoralizing ways a husband can treat a wife, wife spanking: The Christian Patriarchy Movement’s Dark Secret of Wife Spanking.

R.C. Sproul, Jr., has denied that he has taught husbands to spank their wives, or that he spanked his own wife. However, the article tells the account of one pastor, and referenced two others who also acknowledged these practices at Sproul’s house. Obviously, I am unable to verify this personally, but three different people saying the same story causes one to take note. Additionally, in a religious climate where women are ruled over by husbands, one doesn’t have to travel much more down that path to acknowledge that disciplining wives is not too far-fetched. It seems to be a natural progression in the husband/ruler and wife submissive/obedient roles.

So far, it’s unclear why he is stepping away from his positions. He recently remarried in the past couple of months (his first wife died after a long illness). Other than that, he’s been relatively quiet.

This will be a story to watch. There are far too many unanswered questions about what has happened in the churches under his watch. It is my strong belief that R.C. Sproul, Jr.’s long history of bad conduct/behavior makes him unfit for the pastorate. We don’t need any more harmed sheep.

Here are a few recents articles that have come out since the latest announcement.

Here are some older posts for reference:


31 thoughts on “R.C. Sproul, Jr. Steps Down from Ligonier Ministries and Reformation Bible College”

  1. Besides these other things, after his Ashley Madison exposure RC Sproul also continued to be a long-distance elder at Heritage Church in Centerville, TN, where he participated in the disciplining and ex-communication of a woman whose husband had committed adultery. Long story there, but it was just one more way he was standing in judgment of others while doing these things.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Best news since the moon landing. May many, many more get out of what they think is ministry, and STOP hurting women. I feel like dancing on the ceiling, but I’d rather not.

    Julie Anne, your site is working in mysterious ways; I love it.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Years ago…2007? RC JR was defrocked for for several things one bring misuse of church tax number. Daddy gave him paid speaking gigs and Doug Wilson welcomed him to CREC. During this time some got to read his online book, Ligonier Tales which referred to the woman who originally funded his dad and Ligonier as a “white witch”. Then there was the Ligonier financial scandal that featured Ligon Duncan brother, James and Sproul son in law. USA Today covered it as did the Orlando Sentinel. Ligonier was trying to sue the blogger. Then bloggers found out SR had been lying for years about his churches affiliation and he answered to no one. They outed the entire family as money grubbers with documentation. Try keeping entitled grandkids off social media! Making bank off Jesus.

    So I read this and wonder how any of them could continue with any credibility. But they did.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Diane, you are the cats pajamas!

    I came across a lot of this stuff when I started researching trends in Christendom back in 2005. With the explosion of social media it was overwhelming. After seeing what I saw in the mega world, I wanted to know if that world was an aberration or if it was worse. Ligonier was the first scandal that was basically documented by bloggers involved in that world. And it became the talk of legal blogs about suing bloggers. You knew when Glenn Reynolds covered it, it could be a serious test case. It never made it to court but left open in case they found the blogger.

    I was stunned at how the Ligonier folks responded to all of it. The arrogance. I was stunned at the entitlement mentality. Cheating partners out of business. Grandchildren bragging about inheriting the “family business”, patriarchs putting their lowly wives on the board taking large salaries. (Swindoll did this with wife and kids, too, paying huge salaries)

    All the “respectable” men were little more than deceptive con men making bank off Jesus. Charity Navigator was a gold mine of info. But they have become smarter than that now.

    So, It was worse than I ever expected. I had no idea about people like Gothard, Hyles and the more intense reformed world was a shock, too. I started to view the world of ministry paid professionals as a real problem. A sin trap.

    And it’s getting worse.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lydia00-

    I am now going to ask for pajamas with kitties on them for Christmas.

    And Julie Anne-

    Here is a summary from Spinderella Sproul (divided for easier reading):

    “The other day I read the Words Of Wit With RC Sproul Jr page at Drinking With RC Sproul Jr. It’s hard to believe that a gospel preacher would actually say that kind of claptrap and then be proud enough about it to publish it for the whole world to see. One of the things quoted from at that site is RC Jr’s Ligonier Tales, a shabby piece of trashy dime store drivel.

    As repulsive and degrading as I found the whole process to be, I went to the Highlands Study Center web site and read every one of the eleven chapters of RC’s “novella,” Ligonier Tales (yes, I do deserve the Purple Heart). I don’t recommend that anyone do this right after eating. In fact I don’t recommend you do it on an empty stomach even after taking Dramamine.

    Why an ordained Presbyterian Pastor would publish such twaddle on his ministry’s web site for the whole world to see is sure beyond me. He ought to be ashamed, but obviously he’s not. A lot of us grew up doing things that we’re plenty embarrassed about. But most of us have got enough horse sense to not talk or write novellas about it. Maybe what RC Sproul Jr. is trying to tell us all is that just because he’s the son of a famous theologian he didn’t grow up any different than any of the rest of us. But if that’s what he’s trying to say, he could do it without giving everyone the lurid details.

    RC Jr’s communicating a lot more with his trashy novella than “I’m nothing special, I’m just like all the rest of you.” Anyone who grew up acting as foolishly as RC Jr did ought to be embarrassed enough about it to not memorialize it for the whole world to see. A son who cares to keep the fifth commandment ought to know that publishing his spectacular adolescent moral failures could in no way help his father’s reputation. Not RC Jr! Indeed, all RC Jr is effectively doing is saying, “My dad was a failure as a father.” He even seems to be real proud of his foolish adolescent years. Nowhere does he express any regret, remorse or sense that he has anything to apologize for. If anything he seems to look back with fondness on those good ‘ol days.

    In Ligonier Tales RC fancies himself as a rough and tumble hard-drinkin’ beer-guzzlin’ jock, and a regular Casanova ladies-man. My impression about RC from reading Ligonier Tales is that he was horribly insecure and was constantly seeking attention and trying to impress his peers. Not one word is ever mentioned about trying to please or impress his parents or be an obedient son. In fact hardly a mention is made of his parents, other than the fact that they referred to RC Jr as “Precious.” I’ve heard said that RC Sproul Jr is referred to by family by the pet name “Precious” to this day. His novella ends in an anticlimactic fast-forward a couple decades “here I am today a happily married-with-kids successful preacher-man” non-ending. No lessons are taught, no lessons are learned, no value or benefit of any kind is conveyed by the writer to the reader for expending the time to peruse this literary swill.

    Reading RC Jr’s novella is much like sitting down to watch a bad movie that a friend told you is actually a good movie. You sit there minute after minute thinking, “At some point it’s gonna get good.” But it never does, and you’ve just wasted your evening. You feel cheated. That’s how it feels to read Ligonier Tales. You can easily reckon that the only reason RC Sproul Jr. wrote it is to cover for some deep seated insecurities. Maybe he wrote it as a personal catharsis, but that doesn’t mean he’s got to punish the rest of us with it. The part that I kept waiting to read was the part where he talks about his mom and dad — the part where he honors his parents — the part where he obeys the fifth commandment. It never comes. RC’s entire novella is the biggest piece of self-obsessed bilge I’ve ever read. It’s only redeeming quality? It’s short enough that the nausea doesn’t last very long.”

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What is “Patriarchy”? Is it some new form of Christianity?
    The church I belong to is a small one, international but small, and Patriarchy is not a term I’m familiar with. I’ve tried googling it, but keep getting different results, none of them really relating to a church.


  7. KAK, a macho super-male-dominated extremely-submissive-wife-and-children sub-form of Christianity. Does that answer work? Julie Anne has blogged about it a lot, and I a little. You can also look at for more info about it. It’s a real problem in some of the conservative branches of evangelicalism and fundamentalism.


  8. Rebecca, I couldn’t find anything about the “disciplining” and excommunication– do you have a link?


  9. RC, Jr. is not completely off the web. Highlands Ministries is still selling his books and “Basement Tapes,” although you do have to look for them.


  10. It sounds pretty similar to the so-called church discipline The Villiage did against the pedophile’s wife. But these Legion-iers seem to do a good job of keeping stuff hushed up. He just resigns for no reason at all? And didn’t he already quietly come back to the Legion and collage positions after serving a year’s penance for his moment of Madison weakness?


  11. You know what I just love love love most about these salaried religious professional celebrity charlatans with rotten fruit?

    I love how they use the Scriptures to control others (especially women), but they play the “I just want my privacy” card when they’ve been busted with their pants down or some other dodgy scenario occurs.

    Everyone else has to submit to the Scriptures except for them.

    If you are making filthy lucre in Jesus’ name and are found to be a hypocrite then it sucks to be you in the age of the Internet.

    The internet is a sweet gift in these instances.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love how they use the Scriptures to control others (especially women), but they play the “I just want my privacy” card when they’ve been busted with their pants down or some other dodgy scenario occurs.

    Interestingly, I’ve been watching a scenario on Facebook with victims commenting on the page of a person who robbed a family member at gunpoint and almost ran over a bunch of people, and their friends comments sound very similar to the response church leaders get when exposed. People are very unhappy to see the truth spoken out loud and directly.

    On topic, Will be interesting to see what prompted this step down.


  13. @BostonLady:

    Best news since the moon landing. May many, many more get out of what they think is ministry, and STOP hurting women. I feel like dancing on the ceiling, but I’d rather not.

    Let Lionel Richie (with guest appearance by Cheech Marin) do it for you:

    (If you can sit through the mandatory commercial first.)


  14. @RebeccaDavis:

    KAK, a macho super-male-dominated extremely-submissive-wife-and-children sub-form of Christianity. Does that answer work?

    Ask the men and women in Talibanistan or Boko Haram or the Global Caliphate of Islamic State.
    You will get two different answers — one from the Men and women in public, the other from the Women when “unveiled” (in private when sure of no reprisals).


  15. @Headless UGuy,

    I now have a hernia in an awkward place (from laughing). Thank you.

    The Sprouls…the apple fell, didn’t it? And not too far from the tree, did it? In many different ways (it’s a rolling apple of some kind). An apple tree is known by its rotten apples.

    I trust Lionel Ritchie more than any of them apples… Ouch, my new hernia.


  16. the hierarchy, elites, celebrities, etc. in the Institutional Church in NA have been prostituting the Bride, the Ekklesia, the Organic Church, the believers (to some debatable extent). She is far too often being “trafficked” by those meant to protect and equip Her. may our hearts cry out on behalf of the Bride, may Her true servants weep between the porch and the altar for Her.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. There is a court record in Indiana that shows that RC, jr was charged with 2 felonies and 2 misdemeanors on Nov 29. DWI with at least one minor child in the car.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m glad this stuff has come out, but bear in mind, Sproul’s “long checkered past” and defrocking go back to some pretty sketchy situations. I’m glad all of it is public, no doubt, but I’m sure it’s not as simple as some might believe.

    Kenneth Talbot? Just as disturbing as Sproul Jr. IMHO.

    If I recall, the “split p” sect/denomination Sproul was in at first didn’t defrock him for “spiritual abuse”, but for paedocommunion. In other words, some rigid aspect of Presbyterian dogma that they felt he was deviating from.

    Quite frankly, the “split p” offshoots of the OPC and PCA include some pretty scary right-wingers, some of whom thought Sproul was too liberal!

    I’m no fan of Sproul, Wilson, or any of these people, but I seriously do recall some of the people making the most noise against them being just as unhinged if not more so.


  19. “It is my strong belief that R.C. Sproul, Jr.’s long history of bad conduct/behavior makes him unfit for the pastorate.”

    No one–absolutely no one–is fit for the pastorate as it’s defined by people like Sproul, Driscoll, Piper, Macarthur, Furtick, etc. Such a pastorate does not exist except in the minds of fools and sociopaths. The only thing that a pastor is is a humble, last-in-line, not-in-the-spotlight servant, an underling who leads, if at all, by godly example, never by compulsion, who puts their neck on the chopping block (like Paul of Tarsus), who at most implores people to follow them AS THEY FOLLOW CHRIST, who’s every bit as much subject to discipline as anyone else, who’d never even consider sitting in the choice seats at the T4G conference, who’d never think of collecting conference honoraria, living in 16,000 sq ft houses, assuming the right to discipline others unilaterally, bragging about how many people they’ve “saved”, how many listen to their simulcasts, etc. These people aren’t pastors, they’re superapostles, the very ones whom Jesus warned us about.


  20. @Leslie:

    There is a court record in Indiana that shows that RC, jr was charged with 2 felonies and 2 misdemeanors on Nov 29. DWI with at least one minor child in the car.

    Leslie, Julie Anne, everybody:
    I think we should start calling RC Jr by the name his family used for him:

    “There is a court record in Indiana that shows that Precious(TM) was charged with 2 felonies and 2 misdemeanors…”


  21. I can also verify that claim, having lived with the Sproul family for a period of time in the fall of 2007. It was a surreal experience. On the one hand, the families there were very well off and had all the comforts of wealth. The children had everything they could wish for, and it really set the tone for an idyllic, family oriented atmosphere.

    But then there was the dark side. Training sessions for Shannon, the highly special-needs Sproul daughter. The first time Denise came to me, pale and teary, asking if I could take a walk for about a half hour. The first time she didn’t get a chance to ask before he ordered her upstairs. The constant unwanted affections of men who I sensed were ‘creepy’ and relentless. It was a wild experience that I’ll never forget.


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