Today, R. C. Sproul Jr. admitted to visiting Ashley Madison.
In August of 2014, “in a moment of weakness, pain, and from an unhealthy curiosity” he visited the site to “fan the flames of my imagination.” He left an old email but did not pursue the matter.
Christianity Today reports that Ligonier Ministries has suspended Sproul Jr. “due to his admission that he visited the adultery matchmaking website Ashley Madison.”
This surprising revelation is shocking the conservative homeschooling movement. Both Bill Gothard and Doug Phillips fell to violations of the Seventh Commandment. And now R. C. Sproul Jr.
There were consequences for his actions:
“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.”
It is especially this last action by the Presbytery (a group of churches that are responsible to each other) that will be most instructive to the homeschooling community. Admittedly, I am a Presbyterian. And I respect my brothers and sister who are Independent. But I hope the actions of the Presbytery will show a positive light on accountability of local leadership by other churches.
The problem with the Doug Phillips’ situation (which I wrote about extensively here) is that he was found guilty by a local church and then fled to another church that ignored that discipline.
In this case, if the Presbytery deposes (removes his pastoral credentials) a large number of churches will not receive him as a pastor if he flees. Yes, he could find a church that would ignore the discipline. But at least his option would be narrowed while a greater witness of churches will have testified to the world the man’s guilt (as in the case of Tchividjian).
As it stands, we must await with bated breath. The issue is still undecided. May God have mercy upon him. And may this be a warning to our weak flesh. And a reminder of the powerful effects of the sexualized culture of America upon the church.
[Update: after this revelation, Sproul Jr. stated on his recent article about the Duggars: “August 31, 2015 Update to This Article: in light of my public statement here, I believe I should have withheld comment on this matter.”]