Prominent Reformed theologian, author, speaker and former Presbyterian elder Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr., who once stated that one of his “favorite intellectual debates” is “[i]s bad beer better than no beer?” has resigned from his positions at his father’s Ligonier Ministries and Reformation Bible College a week after being arrested on felony DUI charges.
Ligonier Ministries released a statement about Sproul’s resignation on Monday, but only marked the departure as being for “personal reasons.”
“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,” it wrote. “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.”
The statement added that the ministry supports the Sproul family and is thankful for Sproul’s work at Ligonier Ministries and Reformation Bible College in Sanford, Florida. He had served as the rector of theology and professor of apologetics at Reformation Bible College and also wrote on biblical topics for his father’s ministry.
“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,” Ligonier said.
However, as Christian Post reports, and as confirmed by Christian News Network, Sproul was was arrested in Indiana on Nov. 29 and charged with four DUI accounts, including felony charges for being under the influence with a minor in the vehicle, and at twice the legal limit.
The case summary of “State of Indiana v. Robert C Sproul” in Allen Superior Court outlines that Sproul has been charged with “operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a passenger under 18,” and placing a “dependent in a situation that endangers the dependent,” as well as “operating a vehicle while intoxicated” and “operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent to .15 or more.”
He posted $5,000 bond and is free via a “monitored conditional release.”
Sproul, author of books such as “The Call to Wonder: Loving God Like a Child” and “Tearing Down Strongholds And Defending the Truth,” has deactivated his social media pages and his blog site.
He had been suspended from Ligonier Ministries last year after advising the board that he had visited the adultery site Ashley Madison during a “moment of weakness, pain, and from an unhealthy curiosity,” but did not sign up for an account or use its services. Sproul’s wife Denise passed away in 2011 following a battle with cancer. His suspension ended this past July, and he remarried last month.
Sproul had written about his beliefs regarding alcohol on a number of occasions, including in 2003, when he wrote the forward to the book “Drinking With Calvin and Luther: A History of Alcohol in the Church,” stating, “[I]t’s not enough that we should drink, but that we ought to drink well.”
In 2005, he also stated in a blog post, “Would you please, so as not to cause me to stumble, stop suggesting that it is wrong to drink alcohol in moderation, or that drinking alcohol in moderation somehow is a failure to love my brothers?”
His “Basement Tapes” collection included discussions on alcohol and tobacco, and in a section on his Highlands Study Center site, Sproul recounted of his college years, “I learned that perhaps the greatest sport a jock might aspire to was chugging beer. And I learned that I was pretty good at it.”
In recent times, Sproul had been a repeated guest on the Reformed Pubcast, a broadcast that focuses on Reformed theology and beer. The podcast, which invites listeners to “[g]rab a brew and pull up a stool,” has been controversial to some over its flaunting of a perceived Christian liberty, such as Adam Powers wrote on his blog “The Publicans.”
“The Pubcast’s emphasis on beer is too much for my liking. I don’t think it takes the consequences of alcohol seriously, or the struggle certain people have with it. It borders on sin, and has crossed the line at times by celebrating/flaunting our Christian liberty before God and others,” he wrote.
The Reformed Pubcast conducted a podcast live at Ligonier Ministries in February of this year.
Sproul also has been a guest on the Arizona-based Apologia Radio, and spoke at Apologia in July following controversy over the group’s beer flight sampler at a local pub that served as a fundraiser for a church plant in Hawaii.
While there has been much discussion over the subject of Christianity and alcohol throughout Church history, Scripture admonishes in 1 Corinthians 6:9 that unrepentant “drunkards … shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Proverbs 20:1 also teaches, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
Sproul has a hearing scheduled in February and faces possible fines or jail time.