Peter Kershaw: Blast From The Past
Peter Kershaw’s originally submitted post is found here.
Given my narrative commitments I am inclined to continue to draw your attention to the beginnings of the Ligonier Law Suit story.
by Peter Kershaw
On June 13 Pastor Doug Wilson posted an announcement entitled “Many Thanks and Saint Peter,” about the CREC Commission’s public release of its Report on St. Peter. In a very brief period of time some 144 comments were posted in that thread, many of which were questions and requests for clarification. Mr. Wilson has yet to respond to a single question.
Then on June 23 Mr. Wilson posted a related article entitled “With Wooly Mittens On.” Once again his article elicited a flurry of questions and requests for clarification. In like fashion Mr. Wilson evaded answering any questions. However, today CREC Commission member Pastor Dennis Tuuri began …to respond to some questions. Mr. Wilson had earlier used as an excuse for his lack of response:
“Matt, you say, ‘The RPCGA found that there was tax fraud and ecclesiastical tyranny. . .’ Now, is there any possibility that we might not be able to reply to this without being critical of the RPCGA in a way that we do not want to do?”
To his credit, Mr. Tuuri has started answering some questions “without being critical of the RPCGA.” Quite obviously it is feasible to answer questions and not malign the RPCGA. Unfortunately, this isn’t to say that Mr. Tuuri has answered all questions without being critical of, or laying the blame on, anyone else. With respect to the most serious and problematic of all the charges that were brought by the RPCGA against R.C. Sproul Jr, the theft and fraudulent use of the ARP’s tax ID number, Mr. Tuuri has laid the blame for that on Mr. Rick Saenz, the former St. Peter treasurer:
Matt wrote: “The RPGCA found that there was tax fraud and ecclesiastical tyranny.” To the best of my memory, the term tax fraud wasn’t actually used in the RPCGA decision. The ARP’s TIN was not used in reporting income to the IRS. The former treasurer, who left SPPC before all this came up, and was a bit unhappy with SPPC for completely different reasons, said he saw absolutely no evidence of any kind of fraud. The failure, he said, was his in not obtaining a new TIN when they left he ARP. To the best of our knowledge, not one dime was made by SPPC in this issue, nor was one dime lost to the IRS or the ARP. Still, the Elders have repented of their short-comings, which we found to be somewhat minor. . . Dennis Tuuri
Dennis Tuuri – 6/28/2006 11:05:15 AM |
It’s problematic that Mr. Tuuri is relying so much on his own faulty memory, rather than relying on the public record, prior to making public allegations. As the RPCGA’s Declaratory Judgment plainly states (at pg 5):
“. . . but we know now that they consciously were using a number not issued to their church, but fraudulently using a number given to a different ministry.”
With the exception of Mr. Saenz’s testimony on paedocommunion, not a word is mentioned of Mr. Saenz in the RPCGA’s Declaratory Judgment. However, Mr. Sproul’s own complicity in the TIN fraud is prominently discussed in the Declaratory Judgment, including the testimony of former Highlands Study Center staff member Randy Winton. Furthermore, there is the testimony of several RPCGA Elders who personally heard R.C. Sproul Jr confess that he was using the ARP’s TIN, and even suggested that others should consider using it too:
“Further, at a prior presbytery meeting when someone ask the question about securing a tax number, Dr. R. C. Sproul Jr. jokingly stated that they should use the ARPC number, St. Peter was continuing to use it. At the time, no one really thought much of the statement, thinking it only an off the cuff remark, but we know now that they consciously were using a number not issued to their church, but fraudulently using a number given to a different ministry.”
This calls into question not only Mr. Tuuri’s faulty memory on the TIN fraud issue, but every other issue that was determined by the CREC Commission. If Mr. Tuuri was able to get such a vital fact completely wrong, how can anything else in the CREC Commission’s “investigation” be trusted?
In an effort to correct Mr. Tuuri’s blatant misrepresentations and creative memory of these matters Mr. Saenz emailed Mr. Tuuri:
6-28-06 at 2:34 pm
What you wrote was this: “The former treasurer, who left SPPC before all this came up, and was a bit unhappy with SPPC for completely different reasons, said he saw absolutely no evidence of any kind of fraud. The failure, he said, was his in not obtaining a new TIN when they left the ARP.”
This badly misrepresents what I told you and Randy Booth. I doubt that the misrepresentation is intentional, but I’d like to see it corrected.
1) I never told you that I failed to obtain a new TIN when St. Peter left the ARP. I was not the treasurer at that point. In fact, I told you that I had assumed until near the end of my tenure as treasurer that St. Peter did not have a TIN, because of Dr. Sproul’s fierce anti-Erastian position. Although I would have seen that number plainly displayed on the checking account statements if I had thought to look, I only learned that St. Peter had a TIN when I was working with a bank employee to make some changes in the account.
2) I never told you that I “saw absolutely no evidence of any kind of fraud.” I did tell you that I didn’t think the TIN had been misappropriated for illicit financial gain. But using another organization’s TIN intentionally and without their permission is clearly fraudulent.
I told you that it was my private opinion that someone had used the ARP’s TIN to open the checking account so as to avoid obtaining a TIN in St. Peter’s name, again because of Dr. Sproul’s fierce anti-Erastian position. And I said that I didn’t think the action itself was all that serious, in the sense that prompt and sincere confession and repentance could have probably avoided serious legal and ecclesiastical penalties. But I also said that I thought the efforts to minimize and cover up the action (if that is what has happened) is very serious.
3) By suggesting that the real problem here is that someone failed to obtain a new TIN when St. Peter left the ARP, you and the commission continue to imply that at the time St. Peter was in the ARP it was legitimate for them to be using the ARP’s TIN. I told you that I would be very surprised if the ARP had ever given permission for St. Peter to use their TIN, since it would be analogous to someone allowing another person to use their Social Security Number. And I told you that you could easily establish the truth here by asking Dr. Sproul who it was who used the ARP’s TIN in opening their checking account, and asking the ARP whether they had given that person permission to do so. Did you ever ask those questions?
This is all going on memory, of course. If you made a recording of our conversation then please use it to determine if I told you anything different than what I’ve stated above, and please correct me. Otherwise, tell me how you think we should proceed in getting the public record corrected.
Adair County, Kentucky
Mr. Tuuri’s public allegations are extremely serious and egregious because they shift the entire blame onto a completely innocent man. Furthermore, it is a falsehood to allege that Mr. Saenz left St. Peter “a bit unhappy with SPPC for completely different reasons.” As St. Peter treasurer Mr. Saenz attempted to regularly question Mr. Sproul regarding a multiplicity of dubious financial transactions. His attempts at forcing disclosure were routinely rebuffed. This in turn caused Mr. Saenz to have serious misgivings about his role as treasurer when he had reason to believe that there were financial transactions which were illicit, as well as suspect from a tax standpoint, and those concerns did serve as a factor in his decision to depart St. Peter. Mr. Saenz later shared his concerns in testimony with the RPCGA.
As to Mr. Tuuri’s assertion: “To the best of our knowledge, not one dime was made by SPPC in this issue, nor was one dime lost to the IRS or the ARP,” see my legal brief. As I have noted there are federal cases which have been successfully prosecuted for tax ID fraud where no financial loss was incurred to any party. Furthermore, it’s a blatant falsehood to assert that “not one dime was made by SPPC in this issue.” The Highlands Study Center merchant credit card account was set up with that number, and it is through that account that HSC processed orders and received contributions.
With such serious misrepresentations and blame-shifting one has to wonder if there is any part of the CREC Commission’s Report which can be trusted. Furthermore, as Mr. Tuuri asserts, “Still, the Elders have repented of their short-comings, which we found to be somewhat minor. . .” Clearly the CREC’s position on the tax ID fraud issue, as well as the other issues over which the St. Peter session was deposed, differ dramatically from the RPCGA’s. The RPCGA does not view tax ID fraud as a “somewhat minor” matter. It calls into question the very standards upon which the CREC determines whether or not a man is fit to be ordained as an Elder in the CREC.
END OF KERSHAW’S POST
This article begins with the “Many Thanks to St. Peter” thread from Wilson’s blog; I will leave you with the last comment on that thread; it is written by Stan:
Well, it’s been almost three weeks since Pastor Wilson has answered any questions here. In point of fact he has yet to answer any questions of any kind here, so that really makes it more like five weeks. I guess that speaks for itself. “Stan… you want your answers now. Try to work with the possibility that more is going on than Internet chat.” Actually Pastor Wilson I think everyone here has been more than patient and understanding of your demanding schedule. I’d be happy for some forthright answers at a time of your convenience. But thus far about all you’ve done is get sarcastic, and even rude and accusatory (e.g. Rev. Kevin Johnson). Once again I have to point out that for a man who’s supposedly too busy to answer any questions in this thread you’re certainly not too busy to engage in a great deal of other “Internet chat.” In fact from what I’ve observed you’re a major contributor to the Internet chat. How about doing a little chatting here and answering the questions that you’ve evaded answering for five weeks? And if you’re too busy chatting elsewhere how about having CREC Commission member Dennis Tuuri answer some questions here, like he did in With Wooly Mittens On. Thank you.
Stan – 7/4/2006 1:04:47 PM | Report Comment
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