“I think the warning labels on alcoholic beverages are too bland. They should be more vivid. Here is one I would suggest: "Alcohol will turn you into the same a**hole your father was.” ― George Carlin, When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? link
Warning: Unless RC Sproul Jr gets some real help, the next incident could be tragic.
We received an email from a former member of RC Sproul Jr's church. Through the years, we have heard that RC Sproul Jr has had an issue with drinking. We were reluctant to write about this since he continued in ministry under his dad. Surely his dad RC Sproul Sr would have dealt with it. Once again, I am proven wrong. However, this email led me to do some reading at the Spinderella Sproul website.
This website has been following RC Sproul Jr for years and has documented many problems with his ministry. We have covered some of these issues through the years. This Wikipedia article covers things like the Ashley Madison scandal and his defrocking. Julie Anne Smith, at Spiritual Sounding Board, has written a number of article on him, including accusations that he allegedly believes in wife spanking.
Unfortunately, in spite of years of problems including accusations of excessive alcohol intake, it does not appear that dad Sproul and others in his orbit did much to help him deal with his alleged substance abuse issues. Eventually, when loved ones look the other way and/or enable the behavior of people who have drinking problems, a crisis will rear its ugly head, as it did in this case.
Here is part of. the email we received.
I'm a former member of RC Jr's "church" St. Peter Presbyterian. I've been following with some interest his recent arrest for drunk driving with his kids in the car. For those of us who've personally witnessed RC drunk it came as no surprise. My biggest concern is that he'll give some time for the dust to settle and then weasel his way back into "ministry." The only thing that's likely to prevent it is more public exposure.
As you might already know he recently plead guilty to one felony in a plea bargain. Given what a big deal his arrest was it's surprising to me there hasn't been hardly any further word about his status since then. The only place that seems to have stayed on top of giving updates has been the Spinderella Sproul blog, the same blog you linked to in your original post.
So maybe it calls for a TWW update? You can gain a lot of useful info from going through the pertinent comments in the thread I linked to (waste of your time reading the ones from Mr. Smith though). This comment seems especially relevant.
I've enclosed a letter from Lael Hill, the Indiana State coordinator for MADD who I've been in contact with. She's given me permission to share her letter and you can use it as you deem fit.
Sproul initially pled "Not guilty" and tried to get heard in the Drug Court.
RC Sproul Jr initially pled *not guilty," proving he was not ready to face his issues. Basically, he lied. If he didn't lie, why would he later plead guilty?
Per the sworn affidavit of the arresting Allen County Police Officer Paul Heffner he observed RC Sproul Jr driving left of the center line, failing to maintain his lane, driving off the roadway, striking a curb, and weaving. He was also driving at 30 mph for at least 2 miles with a flat tire on I-469. When he was stopped, the officer observed that Sproul needed support to walk, he swayed, mumbled and had a moderate smell of alcohol on his breath. A chemical test later revealed his blood alcohol content as 0.175, more than twice the legal limit. He was also arrested and charged with endangering the lives of his two minor children who were with him in the car.
Today RC Sproul Jr pleaded not guilty and requested a trial by jury. The court has set a trial date of June 6, 2017.
Sproul tried to get this heard in the Drug Court but was unsuccessful because he was charged with felonies not misdemeanors.
Driving drunk with two minors netted him two felony charges,
On May 30, 2017 RC Sproul Jr appeared before Judge Frances C. Gull in Allen County Indiana Drug Court to determine his eligibility for the Drug Court Treatment Program. Had he qualified and successfully completed all the requirements of the Drug Court Treatment Program he could have avoided a criminal trial altogether. He might have even qualified to have his criminal record expunged.
However, as we noted previously, Drug Court only applies to misdemeanor charges.
Sproul pled guilty to one felony and the rest of the charges were dropped.
On 6/2/17, Spinderella Sproul posted Spinderella Sproul: Lessons In Spin With RC Sproul Jr.
Having failed to meet the legal criteria of having his criminal case accepted by the Allen County Drug Court, RC Sproul Jr appeared on June 2, 2017 in Allen County Indiana Superior Court before Judge Samuel Keirns for a pre-trial status conference. In that hearing RC Sproul Jr plead guilty to one of four criminal charges against him:
9-30-5-3(a)(2)/F6: Operating Veh. While Intox or Controlled Substance: Passenger Under 18
His three other criminal charges, two misdemeanors and one other felony, were dismissed under a plea agreement in exchange for his pleading guilty to the one felony.
He was sentenced to 1 year and 183 days incarceration. That prison sentence was suspended and he was remanded to "1 year active adult probation."
RC Sproul Jr was facing up to 7 years in prison and $21,000 in fines. Under this plea agreement he will face no prison time, provided he successfully completes the requirements of his probation. However, he does now have a permanent criminal record, and a felony record, no less.
No doubt RC Sproul Jr is breathing a huge sigh of relief that he will not have to face a full criminal trial before a jury. That trial had been scheduled for June 6, 2017. The odds of his being able to convince a jury of his innocence was remote.
Besides others being irate at the lenient sentence, Mothers Against Drunk Driving was also none too pleased.
Were Sproul Jr's actions consistent with his Pro Life stance?
Spinderella points out that his behavior is hypocritical, given Sproul's involvement in the Pro-Life Movement.
What's especially remarkable about this case, and therefore makes it even more newsworthy, is that RC Sproul Jr is a well-known and very public spokesman for the Pro-Life movement. He's even raised a lot of money for various pro-life causes. RC Sproul Jr has characterized abortion as a terrible form of violence and a "holocaust" against the pre-born. Yet at the same time he treats his own children with total disregard for their safety, as though their lives had no value.
Sproul allegedly has a long history with alcohol abuse and drunk driving, although not arrested or convicted of doing so until this year.
According to Spinderella, Sproul has allegedly been drunk driving with his kids for years.
none of that was news to us — he's been doing all that for years
According to Spinderella, the church governing body was aware of this issue for many years. He allegedly also served children alcohol.
Many members of St. Peter Presbyterian Church, the church that he started in Virginia, and then subsequently resigned from after his defrocking in 2006, often witnessed RC Sproul Jr inebriated, including at various church celebrations (i.e. keggers). It was commonplace at those church parties that minor children were served alcoholic beverages, including drinks spiked with Everclear (190 proof grain alcohol). RC Sproul Jr fostered a culture of heavy drinking at St. Peter Presbyterian Church, not just with church members but also with the pastors he invited to his "Pastor Camps" (open bars were the norm). He was also known to turn a blind eye to drunk driving. For example a young man who was one of RC Jr's personal assistants had lost his driver's license because of multiple DUIs. RC Sproul Jr was well aware of it but raised no objections to his continued driving. After all the assistant still needed to run numerous errands for RC, and a little thing like a suspended driver's license wasn't going to get in the way of that.
Drunkenness was one of a number of formal charges that were brought against RC Sproul Jr in late 2005 to his denomination, the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly. As word of these charges spread a number of other former members of St. Peter Presbyterian Church also stepped forward and corroborated the allegations, including the fact that some of their own children had been plied with alcohol without their consent.
RC Sproul Jr has experienced tragedy in his life.
1. His wife passed away from cancer in December 2011.
2. His daughter, Shannon, born with Lissencephaly, died in October, 2014 at the age of 15. This rare disease is profoundly disabling and usually results in an early death.
Heartbreaking tragedy is not an excuse for substance abuse. Sproul Jr. needs serious help.
I learned an important lesson while working in an alcoholic hospital when I was young. Tragedy does not cause alcoholism. Alcoholism is an excuse to drink and every alcoholic in the world usually tries to find an excuse to drink.
In reading through the Spinderella blog, I read a number of comments which accused Sproul Jr. of telling people in his former church to stop taking medications for psychiatric disorders. This led to serious issues for the people involved. If these stories are true, then it is evident that Sproul looked to alcohol for relief from his pain and was able to ignore the fact that he was, in fact, treating his depression. Sadly those poor folks he advised not to take their medicines were far more intelligent and realistic than Sproul Jr.
It might appear that his parents and family have helped Sproul continue on his trajectory with excessive use of alcohol as opposed to getting him the serious counseling that he needs.
Since he pled guilty to a felony, there is no question that Sproul is an alcoholic and needs serious counseling. He made need to be hospitalized and treated by those who are not overly impressed with the Sproul name. This man needs help. If he has been drinking as long as is being alleged, Sproul is at high risk of offending again. The next time, his children or people in other cars may not be spared. If people in his orbit keep hiring attorneys and keep making sure he has lots of money, they are enablers and will bear some of the guilt when something tragic happens. Mark my words, it will happen. This was a wake up call.
Finally, if anyone who is aware of further drunk driving or other forms of abuse, I hope that they will call Child Protective Services. This is not cruel. Those children need help as well. They are likely growing up in a home with an alcoholic and will develop serious problems as the years go on. RC Sproul Sr-time to protect those grandchildren.
As I (Deb) have shared before with our TWW readers, when I was just 12 years old, I was in a vehicle that was struck by a drunk driver. A friend had invited me to go to the beach for a fun weekend with her and her parents. Tragically, her parents were killed upon impact, and my friend and I were pinned in the GMC pick-up in which we were riding. It took rescue workers 2-1/2 hours to cut us out of the wreckage.
My friend's injuries were so severe that she was in the hospital at UNC for months and months. Here bones had been severely broken, and I will never forget seeing her elbow and knee in traction. She lost an eye because when her cheek struck the dashboard, the bone came out through her eye socket. She also lost her two front teeth, among other serious injuries.
I sustained a skull fracture (from which I could have died had I not undergone surgery quickly), broken toes, a broken pinky, as well as several fractured vertebrae in my neck. I also had lacerations above my eyes and on my arms and legs, along with scalded skin from an exploding radiator.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are photos of my injuries a few days after the horrific tragedy. If sharing these ghastly pictures will convince someone not to drink and drive, I will be so grateful!
Deb's Facial Injuries