Ligonier Ministries Covers-up the Truth about R.C. Sproul Jr.’s “Visit” to Ashley Madison Despite Many Appeals

RC Sproul Jr.
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This is a lengthy story but important story. It begins with this introduction.
On August 31, 2015, R.C. Jr. posted a confession on his website titled “Judgement and Grace” because he feared being exposed by hackers for having an account with Ashley Madison – a perverse website used to arrange illicit relationships for the purpose of fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and lesbianism. He needed to get ahead of the information being made public. His statement was brilliant but bogus. It misled the public and was full of deceit.

Here is my initial 11-page letter to R.C. Jr. from October 19, 2105 appealing for his repentance.
The story ends with this exhortation to Chris Larson, president and CEO of Ligonier Ministries.
I [Brent] immediately noticed that “suspended” was added and linked in both listings. I felt some elation thinking you [Chris Larson] were finally giving a truthful explanation for R.C. Jr.’s suspension. I clicked and to my utter dismay it connected to “Judgment and Grace.” I was stunned beyond belief! I couldn’t believe you were directing people to a statement you knew contained false and misleading information. In that moment, I realized you, and I must assume Dr. R.C. Sproul Sr. and the Ligonier Board, were committed to covering up for R.C. Jr. by promulgating his false narrative!

Chris, I invite you to repent by the grace of Christ. Then I hope you will be used of God to lead R.C. Jr. to repentance along with all the related parties who have covered up for him. By “covered up” I mean not exposing his false narrative but instead promoting it. The evidence of repentance will be a public confession by R.C. Jr., you and the Ligonier Board.

I’d encourage you to read the entire story from beginning to end. Just click on Ligioner Ministries Covers-up the Truth about R.C. Sproul Jr.'s "Visit" to Ashley Madison Despite Many Appeals. It will take you to a PDF document.

Unfortunately, all my private efforts for good over the past six months have come to nothing. Scripture now commands, “tell it to the church” (Matt 18:17). I hope leaders across the evangelical divide will appeal to R.C. Jr. and Ligonier Ministries and not remain silent. I pray repentance is forthcoming.

See also:


  1. Angela, truly I understand the concern that Ligonier, R.C. Jr., and CPC have not been forthright about R.C. Jr.'s failure. However, in the lengthy document produced by Brent Detwiler there is no mention of R.C. Jr.'s bereavement, no empathy toward his loss of his wife of many years. This is not to condone what R.C. Jr. did or his unbiblical language when he made his failure public, but it is a singular omission, for me. This may provide insight into his language in his admission, that is, his use of the word "pain", that Detwiler thinks is merely deceptive and unbiblical. Special care needs to be taken with such a man; and he wasn't married at the time of this failure. Though sin, and such sin, is still sin.
    Nevertheless, R.C. Jr. has had more than this failure, and it seems that in this brilliant and personable man something wasn't/isn't being addressed, either in his youth or now in his workplaces. He's gotten away with things. So sad and scandalous, and dishonoring. I understand Mr. Detwiler's actions, but could only wish that at least once he would have mentioned R.C. Jr.'s bereavement. Thank you for bringing this to us - just a word of qualification in my thank you to you as providing important news.
    An opinion - when pastors greatly fall, I believe it is the exceptional man who should be restored to ministry. There is too much scandal and dishonoring of the Lord otherwise. They need to "fire" (?) such men, not admit them back to "stardom".
    Your thoughts would be helpful to me.

    1. Hi Maria, You bring up a very good point that Mr. RC Sproul Jr. apparently did this during a time of grieving for the loss of his wife. I encourage you to contact Mr. Detwiler and share your thoughts with him. My thoughts are that the focus of Mr. Detwiler's concern is he wants to see RC Jr. fully restored to fellowship with Christ and the Church and he's is concerned the leadership at Ligonier hasn't taken the proper steps to help RC Jr. see his sin and fully repent of it. My difference with RC Jr. is theological, but that difference isn't enough for me to seek his harm either through the loss of his reputation, position or a spiritual separation from fellow Christians and/or Christ. I did not plan to post this story when I first came across it, but after reading the pdf file written by Mr. Detwiler, I realized I needed to share it in order to help bring about reconciliation. And, yes, I agree with you about not reinstating pastors caught in grievous sin. Once they have repented, there are other ways they can minister in due time than being allowed back in the pulpit.

    2. Angela, I won't be contacting Mr. Detwiler. Truly, he doesn't need advice from me. Thank you for answering graciously about the various aspects of my comment.
      I have differences with R.C. Jr.'s theological views too, that is, about his celebration of Christmas.
      Lord bless you, my friend!

  2. Maria, with all due respect I must take exception to your position, "Special care needs to be taken with such a man". I fail to see how or why any "special care" should apply in this case, especially in light of what Mr. Detwiler said to Sproul of another well-known pastor:

    "Furthermore, you set a terrible example in what you wrote. 'Weakness' and 'pain' are common excuses for viewing pornography and committing immorality and adultery. I think of Tullian Tchividjian. 'Heartbroken and devastated [by his wife’s adultery] ... I subsequently sought comfort in a friend and developed an inappropriate relationship myself.' His 'inappropriate' relationship was likewise an adulterous relationship which he hid from church leaders until confronted."

    Having a spouse cheat on you can be every bit as devastating, if not more so, than losing a spouse to death. Betrayal can be worse than death. I trust you aren't willing to extend Tullian Tchividjian "special care," even in light of his wife first having had an adulterous affair. No one bought Tchividjian's sorry excuse. No one should buy Sproul's excuse either, nor minimize the seriousness of his sin.

    Perhaps you may not feel that it's unfair to compare Sproul to Tchividjian, but I understand perfectly why Detwiler does. And you set a dangerous precedent when you excuse him with, "and he wasn't married at the time of this failure." Why would you state such a thing if not to minimize the magnitude of Sproul's sin? He created an account on a web site that advertises, "Life is short. Have an affair." We're not talking about a dating site. We're talking about a sex hookup site, and one that Sproul himself had formerly condemned. Had he actually hooked up with any women it's likely they would have been married, and surely he knew such a probability existed when he set up his account. By creating an Ashley Madison account RC Sproul Jr was giving his tacit endorsement to women breaking their wedding vows.

    What troubles me even more than RC Sproul Jr having set up an Ashley Madison account is the utter hypocrisy and mendacity of his "confession" about it, not to mention his sham "repentance." Non-Christians can plainly see it and have held RC Sproul Jr up as a typical example of what they find so distasteful about Christianity. "For the name of God is blasphemed among the heathen through you, as it is written." (Rom 2:24)

    Too many otherwise intelligent Christians have been eager to shove RC Sproul Jr's Ashley Madison scandal under the rug, and in so doing they have shown a total lack of common sense. Contrary to popular opinion RC Sproul Jr hasn't confessed, nor has he repented. The evidence for that is overwhelming. It's no wonder the church is in such a sorry state of affairs when we haven't the backbone to clean house, as we should.

  3. Geoff, R.C. Jr.'s actions are inexcusable and his admission shows a lack of repentance. You are right to correct me.
    May the Lord help us to walk in truth, love, and holiness.
    Thank you!

  4. Thank you Maria for your gracious reply.

    I completely agree with your earlier statement: "They need to 'fire' (?) such men, not admit them back to 'stardom," and I would add that this certainly needs to apply to RC Sproul Jr. Needless to say Sproul won't be getting fired, just the opposite. His so-called "suspension" from Ligonier is a sham. It's not a punishment but a reward. He was suspended with pay to the tune of a six-figure salary, all at the expense of Ligonier Ministry donors.

    Wouldn't it be great that if every time we committed some grievous sin we could be rewarded like that? Well, no, actually that would be really bad for us. We'd never learn anything from our mistakes; which is precisely the problem with RC Sproul Jr. He's been mollycoddled and protected his entire life by mommy and daddy. They did it when he was defrocked from the ministry in 2006 and they're doing it again right now.

    Mr. Detwiler has more than adequately proven that "Ligonier Ministries Covers-up the Truth about R.C. Sproul Jr.’s 'Visit' to Ashley Madison." He's also proven that RC Sproul's Jr's denomination, Covenant Presbyterian Church, has likewise covered up for him. Given RC Sproul's Sr's extremely poor health it seems likely he won't be with us much longer and the church will lose one of its most brilliant theologians. What then is to become of Ligonier Ministries? With Vesta Sproul effectively in charge of the board of directors the likelihood is almost certain that "Precious" will, sooner or later, be put at the helm of his father's ministry.

    Given the effectiveness so far of Ligonier and Covenant Presbyterian Church's cover up of RC Sproul Jr's Ashley Madison scandal it's unlikely that he'll encounter much opposition in assuming the helm. Then he can reward himself with a raise, rather than having to wait on Ligonier's board to give it to him. His 2014 salary was only $279,702, and his 2015 raise put him just short of $350,000. If past history of his raises is any indication, by 2017 RC Sproul Jr will be making around $450,000. Ah, yes, the life of a celebrity preacher!

    1. Geoff, if only more men in ministry would take seriously the many admonitions concerning money, most importantly the Lord's warning that we cannot serve both God and mammon. In this hour, once again, we need to pray for the Church to honor the Lord!

  5. Thank you to both Geoff and Maria for their comments on RC Sproul Jr. I want to caution folks reading this to also research Sproul Jr.'s beliefs and teachings regarding paedo-communion ( and patriarchy ( Thank you!

    1. Angela, I will take these links and read - an important discussion. Thank you!

    2. Thank you Angela, and thanks for those links. Sproul has been a long time champion of Patriarchy, considered by many to be a founding father of the movement, along with his close friend Doug Phillips (of Vision Forum fame). Between the two of them it's rather hard to say who's caused more scandal and brought more shame to the name of our Lord. One only need look to the fruit of their lives to see what a low view of women they have. Reading the graphic descriptions of the perverse sex acts contained in the lawsuit filed by his children's nanny against Phillips literally made me sick to my stomach.

      Although Sproul and Phillips claim to have biblical support for Patriarchy, a careful analysis of their published beliefs shows their penchant for twisting and perverting sacred scripture to conform to their male-centric biases.

      As to paedocommunion, I don't agree with it myself but I also think it's a subject that's at least open for debate. Believing in paedocommunion doesn't of itself make RC Sproul Jr a heretic. However, the duplicitous way that he went about trying to force it on his Presbyterian denomination clearly shows what an incredibly dishonest schemer he is. He wasn't defrocked for believing and practicing paedocommunion. He was defrocked for being "duplicitous" about it. As that article says that you linked to: "The consistent pattern of actions taken by these men are duplicitous in nature, and demonstrate that they willingly and knowingly act in an arbitrary fashion in violation of their vows." He was defrocked in 2006, and it's pretty obvious from the way he's handled his Ashley Madison scandal that RC Sproul Jr is every bit as duplicitous today.


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