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.
Link to IRS document on non-profits
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.