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Archive for December, 2006
Ligonier isn’t a business. It’s a nonprofit ministry which is funded by donations.
The very basic facts covered in that statement seem to be completely eluding LIgonier supporters.
I really do not know what to think of their confusion. If it is because Ligonier supporters are simply unable to understand the difference between a for-profit business and a nonprofit ministry, they are thus to be pitied.
If it is because they simply won’t, then I suppose they merit the sort of pity given to Simon the Magus.
We are called to be stewards, and I am trying to envision somebody before God explaining why they thought it more important to support a ‘ministry’ paying its officers quarter of a million dollar salaries and housing them in gated communities, rather than to use such funds as they have to visit the sick, to care for orphans and widows, to support missionaries living on the razor’s edge of poverty and danger, to support the elders of their local congregation, and to supply Bibles to those who do not have them.
Can you see Paul taking in a quarter of a million dollars and using it to buy a mansion in a gated community and then asking for more donations? Do you see Peter living like this? Can you imagine Joseph of Arimethea asking his fellow believers for donations to help pay for the tomb he provided and all the associated expenses for that?
Ligonier is, IMO, a symptom of something very wrong with American Christendom.
I just found this link to an excellent article regarding ministries and what top executives are paid. Ligonier seems to be getting more attention these days in regard to finances.
Notice that Tim Dick made in at #5 in executive pay (based off of the major ministries he researched). I wonder if Tim Dick moved up in 2005? We are all waiting for the 2005 Form 990, Mr. Dick.
I received the following comment recently:
You don’t appear to be prideful just extremely misinformed and naive. For you to criticize and defame managers of an international christian organization about their salaries, while possessing no knowledge of their duties or responsibilities, is juvenile.
It is clear that you have strong views about what salaries constitute legitimate remuneration for the leaders of a non profit company. Unfortunately you have no Biblical basis to substantiate such an opinion and obviously have not worked in the real world much.
You have also accused Ligonier of fraud, extortion and theft. None of which are true.
You have exposed yourself to certain moral and legal ramifications for your inappropriate behavior, libelous posts and cooperation with Frank Vance.
Does your wife know you’ll probably end up in federal court?
Notice the extremely vague accusations then it is topped off with a subtle threat that I might be sued. From what Frank Vance and others have stated, threats to individuals who speak out against Ligonier are common.
I also received another comment (minus a URL I don’t want to receive any hits) earlier from the same IP address:
Time to pack it in.
You’ve defamed a number of people. You’ve been terribly wrong, don’t do any
Mr. Walton, if indeed that is your real name, you are misinformed about the true purpose of a non-profit. Ligonier is a non-profit ministry that is dependent on donations, hence they have to ask for donations in order to further the ministry. Generally, when donors give money, they are giving it to further the purpose of the ministry, not the lifestyles of insiders. It is not much concern to me what “their duties and responsibilities are” because we are dealing with a non-profit here. An individual working for a non-profit should never expect to be paid a salary anywhere near what a for-profit business would paid.
According to the 2006 Report, the purpose of Ligonier is:
to awaken as many people as possible to the holiness of God by proclaiming, teaching, and defending God’s holiness in all its fullness.
Notice the lack of anything about “providing a nice profit for family members of RC Sproul, Sr, and leadership and with every increase in donations, we increase the leaderships’ salaries, all while living in the same gated community, just-off-the-fairway home in Florida.” I would expect such behavior from a secular company run by money loving unregenerate business men, but not a reformed ministry dedicated to “proclaiming the holiness of God.” Many more family members work for Ligonier, but they are not listed on the 990′s. Remember, Tim Dick gave himself a 67% raise in one year. We have yet to even see what occurred in 2005 with salaries, but if the past is an accurate indicator of the future, they went only one direction-UP.
Ligonier should wisely consider this information from the IRS:
Churches and religious organizations, like all exempt organizations under IRC section 501(c)(3), are prohibited from engaging in activities that result in inurement of the church’s or organization’s income or assets to insiders (i.e., persons having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization). Insiders could include the minister, church board members, officers, and in certain circumstances, employees. Examples of prohibited inurement include the payment of dividends, the payment of unreasonable compensation to insiders, and transferring property to insiders for less than fair market value. The prohibition against inurement to insiders is absolute; therefore, any amount of inurement is, potentially, grounds for loss of tax-exempt status. In addition, the insider involved may be subject to excise tax. See the following section on Excess benefit transactions. Note that prohibited inurement does not include reasonable payments for services rendered, payments that further tax-exempt purposes, or payments made for the fair market value of real or personal property.
This little tidbit came from the 2006 President’s report:
For those new to the ministry, it was during this time that I was responsible to make some difficult decisions. Our forecast for donations for 2005 was off by a larger margin than we have ever experienced in our history. This led to an immediate action of cutting expenses significantly, as well as planning to make our way through 2006 not just recovering from this financial shortfall, but also getting into a position of financial strength.
Because of the shortfall in 2005, we had to cut $250,000 of radio air time from our budget, resulting in a significant loss of outreach. However, at year-end we experienced unprecedented financial support from many Ligonier students, supporters, and friends. We were able to pay off all debts that we had accrued throughout 2005, ending the year solidly in the black.
I am happy to report that 2006 has been a much better year financially for the ministry, as we have maintained
an extremely conservative budget.
Could those “significant expenses” that had to be cut been the result of the purchase of a $4 million mansion? Could the cut expenses been the reported long-time Ligonier employees who were let go? Remember, the fasted way to effect the bottom line is through payroll. Did the Ligonier leadership minimize or reduce their salaries in order to limit the effects of the financial shortfall? This also ties into Hank Barnes’ article about Ligonier and Sproul’s church.
I want to make it clear that I am not against Christians profiting generously in a for-profit business, as long as they do it biblically, morally and ethically. Money can become an idol and the bible warns the rich:
1 Timothy 6 9-19
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;
14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: 15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
When my husband became a believer everything changed. Not the very next day, but very rapidly we both grew closer to the Lord and each other. I was encouraged to grow in my own relationship with the Lord by seeing Brandonâ€™s commitment. I had accepted Christ as a child, but had no (human) guidance and never grew.
I began my study searching verses to strengthen my marriage. After our miscarriage and my sorrow, which grew as time increased, we had some difficulties in our marriage. Brandon was harsh and I was weepy and instigating. I sought out passages to teach me my role as a woman and a wife. (more…)
Read the President’s letter from Ligonier, then dwell on my Ligonier finances graphic. I am having formatting problems with trying to quote the text in question, so just read pages 4 and 5. Also, combine this letter with the excellent information provided by Hank Barnes, which I was going to make my Ligonier finances, part 2 post but my daughter was born and Hank did such a thorough job I figured there was no need to repeat it. Once I can copy the text properly I will add some more commentary.
Hank Barnes Ligonier article
I have setup a new side blog, http://exposingrickwarren.wordpress.com/, whose “purpose” it to show his unbiblical yoking with darkness to fight social causes and also to share other serious problems.
My husband and I were barren for four years. It was during this time that we became convicted about allowing God to control the size of our family. In His wisdom and timing we became pregnant this year and I gave birth to our first borne less than two months ago.
Recently I started feeling different. I was having a few symptoms of pregnancy. I took a test and it appeared very very faintly positive. I was surprised at my mixed emotions. Abigailâ€™s pregnancy had been very hard on my body, in the end I developed preeclampsia, a dangerous disease of pregnancy that can cause stroke and seizure from high blood pressure. Therefore the thought of perhaps being pregnant again so soon scared me. (more…)
I was checking out the No Greater Joy website and while I was reading an article, and you can imagine my reaction when I read the following:
They have stayed up at night with AK-47s and guarded missionary compounds to the sound of gunfire…
Before I comment, here is a site describing the AK-47, http://kalashnikov.guns.ru/models/ka50.html. So, as can be easily seen, this weapon is first and foremost a military weapon that can shoot up to 400 rounds per minute. Definitely not something you would use to hunt dear. Now, I sent an email to No Greater Joy asking if the guns were loaded and what they were planning to do with the weapons, but I got no response.
So my question is this, what is a Christian man doing with a military assault rifle that can fire up to 400 rounds per minute? Is he going to use it to scare away any potential threats or does he plan on annihilating all intruders? I thought we were in a spiritual warfare, where we fight against the spirit of darkness and not a literal warfare, where if an enemy invades, we slaughter them, military style?
It is very sad when the US government wastes billions of taxpayer dollars to find water on another planet. Let us all help NASA out by sending them some bottled water, as obviously they are very thirsty. All they had to do was just ask. Who is with me?