Fairfax Community Church Statement on Eric Nickle

Here is the statement that Fairfax Community Church kindly sent to me.

Thanks for contacting us about Eric. Here is our response to your inquiry about Eric’s employment at Fairfax Community Church.                                               

Eric began attending Fairfax Community Church in 2003 after his release from the Fairfax Detention Center.

  • Eric began attending a recovery group at the church for men who face similar life challenges. It was in this context that we became aware of this personal history.
  • Eric was hired part time in July 2006 to provide computer support.  Over time this job expanded to full time hours.

At the time Eric joined our staff we jointly reached a number of agreements:

  • We ensured Eric was in full compliance with the requirements of his probation. While he was on probation, the probation officer met with Eric at the church.
  • We established physical boundaries for Eric’s use of the building; by his own initiation, Eric asked that he be restricted from areas of children’s ministries and that his workspace be placed in a space open and highly visible to the rest of the staff.  An internet filter was placed on all the church’s computers.
  • Our staff and lay leadership is fully informed of Eric’s personal history; his story has been shared in some small group settings.  He shared his struggle at a weekend service a number of years ago.

Eric’s current duties include:

  • Overseeing the men’s groups for sexual addiction and chemical dependence. He does countless hours of follow-up and is the go-to person in the middle of the night for those who struggle in this area. He only oversees the care of males over 18 years of age.
  • He is uniquely qualified to provide ministerial support to men who are suicidal, facing prison terms, or who have lost their families due to their addictions. He speaks at other groups and churches often telling his story.

Eric’s history enables him to minister to men who face rejection and isolation elsewhere.  This is why his title at FCC is Care Director.

Rod Stafford
Senior Pastor
Fairfax Community Church

 

 

 

 

Comments

Fairfax Community Church Statement on Eric Nickle — 499 Comments

  1. I do not see any expression of concern of Eric’s young victim. There is not even the offer of praying for the young victim. Why not?

  2. “Eric began attending a recovery group at the church for men who face similar life challenges.” I think it is vital we call this challenge what it is. These are men who struggle with the impulse to have sexual contact with a child. I think it is vital not to sugar coat such a problem.

  3. “Similar challenges” = support group for pedophiles??? These people are SO freakin’ naive, it’s pathetic and sickening.

    I honestly don’t know what *can* be done for pedophiles, but these misgided people are not helping one iota.

  4. Fairfax Community Church was where I re-entered Christianity after rejecting it for years…but before I say anything I want to hear what other people say. This is the first time my former church was written about.

  5. “Our staff and lay leadership is fully informed of Eric’s personal history; his story has been shared in some small group settings. He shared his struggle at a weekend service a number of years ago.”

    So, it seems the entire congregation is not aware of Nickle’s history. I have a problem with this. Families with young children can not make informed decisions and take responsibility for their children when they’re in the dark. And, if I’ve learned one thing from my own experience with a cult and also reading spiritual abuse blogs for the last 3 1/2 years, churches have a poor track record of taking responsibility for sexual abuse in their midst. In fact, most of the time, they deal with it all wrong. I wouldn’t put my children at risk hoping that the leadership at FCC will do what many other churches have failed to do.

  6. numo wrote:

    “Similar challenges” = support group for pedophiles??? These people are SO freakin’ naive, it’s pathetic and sickening.

    I honestly don’t know what *can* be done for pedophiles, but these misgided people are not helping one iota.

    My guess is that they’re still lumping pedophilla together w/ “sexual sin.” There is rarely thought of a “victim” or “consent” in that category. 🙁

  7. numo wrote:

    “Similar challenges” = support group for pedophiles??? These people are SO freakin’ naive, it’s pathetic and sickening.
    I honestly don’t know what *can* be done for pedophiles, but these misgided people are not helping one iota.

    Eh, chances are they just throw them in with the people who are “struggling with SSA”… because as we all know, the accepted wisdom in much of conservative evangelicalism is that gay people are pretty much child molesters (that’s what you’ll hear from Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, and so forth).

  8. dee wrote:

    I think it is vital not to sugar coat such a problem.

    Doesn’t the Bible call all sorts of sins sin? Eric may very well be totally on the wagon, and it sounds like he’s helping others, and it’s great the church is helping them all—– but——– “life challenges”? Really? I have “life challenges” like getting older, not so good-lookin, not so much money as I’d like– and then I have sins. Couldn’t the pastor have at least used the word “sin” if he was afraid to say “pedophilia”? After all, it’s a church! Paul even had one great big list of sins, which he followed with “and such were some of you”.
    Then there’s: “Our staff and lay leadership is fully informed of Eric’s personal history; his story has been shared in some small group settings. He shared his struggle at a weekend service a number of years ago.”
    What about current pew-sitters who missed the small group settings or service? Wouldn’t they like to know, just in case?

  9. So am I off base here in thinking that the world is training pedophiles in counseling how to do the right thing in returning to society without being a danger, but churches are still in “protect the sinner/predator” mode? He seems to want to protect the church from himself, but they’re less strict?

    Honestly it doesn’t sound like they’re too far off from getting it right though – if only because they got to him long after his crimes and well into his recovery program and they’re working with what was already in place. Just my initial thoughts. As always, the church is behind – behind “the world” on a issue of this importance. I’m also still missing the clear indication that the entire church has been informed in the past, and new people coming in are informed.

    It is sad that there’s no mention of the victim or of any attempt to reach out, or any real acknowledgment of the sickness of his crime. Just “sexual sin”. Yeah, and murder is just “breaking the law”.

  10. This is addressed to the leadership of Fairfax Community Church. Yes Rod Stafford this includes you.

    The other day someone I know told me about something that upset them greatly. They are in the process of retiring and spoke with a financial adviser. This financial advisor actually worked in the DC Navy Yard before their current job. They were also one of the survivors of the Navy Yard shooting with Aaron Alexis. They were in a room with 3 co-workers when they took cover. She hid into a ball under her desk trying to become as small as possible. Before her eyes she watched a mentally ill gunman shoot two of her co-workers. When she crawled out she saw her co-worker gasping for breath and watching blood spurt out of her body. Both co-workers died. She had a stress heart attack and has been trying to move forward from that day in September 2013. When the Navy Yard shooting happened I was attending FCC. Actually I was going to be baptized in a month. When the Navy Yard shooting happened FCC largely went on like life was normal. No break from the series schedule. No talk about where was God at the Naval Sea System Command amidst a massacre. No talk about pain and suffering or the problem of evil. No diversion from the schedule to handle something that happened in FCC’s own backyard. The ringmaster of the circus that Sunday morning was John Falke. I couldn’t believe it! I walked away wondering what good is a church that ignores pain in its own backyard? Why does Fairfax Community Church exist? Now what would have happened if that woman who survived showed up? Would FCC been able to help her?

    I wondered why the church was so naïve and so out of it. I think I got my answer in that statement above.

    Rod Stafford some of that above is un-true. The members and people who attend the congregation at FCC do not know this information. Its been kept from them. I was an attender, I went to the small group at 7:00 on Friday nights briefly and this information wasn’t released. I stumbled across this information online during the depths of managing a false accusation from someone in Sovereign Grace, and I was trying to get through that because my name, my ability to earn income and so much more were threatened. This was a burden to keep Rod Stafford. When I attended FCC I spent times paying more attention to Eric Nickle to make sure that no one would get hurt. That nothing would happen. It was something that weighed on me when I attended. Rod Stafford FCC was disingenuous as this information was kept from people. It was hidden, reserved and kept silent.

    It begs the question if FCC is so forthcoming why did FCC purge the comment on Google/Yelp review a couple of years ago? Why not leave a statement that is open and saying “Yes we have a sex offender in a position of authority and here’s why?” Why not be transparent? Why not be open? Better yet…why not be honest from the very beginning? When I stumbled across this news I realized that this was going to be the third evangelical Christian church that I was going to be involved in that had this problem. And this was going to be the fourth time in evangelicalism that this issue thrust its ugly head.

    Rod why be disingenuous? You’re down the street from Sovereign Grace Fairfax. You just take a right out of the church parking lot on Braddock Road and when you hit 123 take a right again and your basically there. Rod Stafford do you know the hell some people went through at Sovereign Grace? I don’t think so…I remember the one time I met with you and I told you about my history and you didn’t know about the issues in the Evangelical Free movement. I was kind of stunned because I mentioned that to other pastors at a couple of other places and they knew. So you obviously didn’t know the history of story of Sovereign Grace Fairfax. How can you help these people when they are at your doorstep broken, bruised and shattered. And then your going to be disingenuous and not forth coming? Do you think that lack of honesty will help those people build trust again?

    Rod Stafford do you know how hard it can be to walk through the doors of a church when you’ve dealt with spiritual abuse or manipulation? Rod Stafford do you know how hard it can be to walk through the doors of a church when you’ve dealt with overhanded authority? I don’t think you do.

    You know Rod I thought FCC was going to be the place I’d settle into but over time many issues happened that bothered me. I wrestled with this information about Eric Nickle for a long time when I was at FCC. I was up to my eye balls in another mess courtesy of someone I knew from a Sovereign Grace church. What bothered me deeply is if something would have happened and I knew that information myself and kept it to myself. That would be an awful thing to live with. So Rod I’m sorry I have to call you out on that statement. It was incredibly naïve.

    Rod I think the problem is that as FCC has grown you’ve become more removed from the population. This is one of the reasons why even though I was long gone I was concerned when I heard your “A Better $tory” campaign. You want to grow… Why? You can’t even manage what you have now? Why grow? That’s only going to make the problems worse Rod. So Rod I am sorry but that statement above has issues. Its incredibly naïve. Its risky.

    Rod have you ever been in a church that has reeled from a sex abuse situation? Many people have…I showed up at one in Milwaukee that was reeling from a similar situation. So Rod I have to disagree. The more I thought about this the more disgusted I became.

    Rod Stafford you kept this information from the congregation.
    And that was wrong and deceitful.

    Sincerely

    Eagle

    Former attender of Fairfax Community Church

  11. XianJaneway wrote:

    My guess is that they’re still lumping pedophilla together w/ “sexual sin.” There is rarely thought of a “victim” or “consent” in that category. 🙁

    I think you are exactly on target here. More than likely these groups are filled with men who struggle with lust, watching porn ect. I really doubt that there are a large number of paedophiles and certainly not many convicted pedophiles in these groups. This is nothing more than sin leveling or false equation. In other words a man or woman who struggles with looking at porn is the same as a convicted sex offender. Ridiculous! Yes both are sin, but one sinner is a certain danger to the children of this church and it is wrong to not inform the adults of this group. As far as sharing his story it was probably done in the context of a retreat for said groups with the understanding that what is shared is kept confidential. I doubt he stood before the congregation and.admitted his sin. I will say I am surprised you received a responce at all. I think this demonstrates the power of the internet and they are attempting to get in from of this story.

  12. This is an area that had previously eluded my evaluation. Please note that I am horrified by what this does to victims but at the same time many of the perpetrators appear to be former victims. I am aware that the idea of cure for adults is rare and the perpetrators likely carry the compulsion through life.

    I wonder what is the recommended way to deal with a convicted pedophile in the church. If the person appears repentant, a relatively long time period elapsed since any prior crime, they are honest that they are not cured and desire real accountability, what happens?

    Does a local church have no place for them if there are any children in the congregation?

    If there is room for them what are the conditions? Are a limited number of people aware, ministry leaders and any one working with children? Should everyone be aware and the person deal with the continual censorship? Very few will go out of their way to associate with a known pedophile, repentant or otherwise. Does this require a constant updating of new members? There is turn-over in any congregation.

    Likely if it is not generally known, a number of parents will feel betrayed if the knowledge is withheld from them. The nature of the crime and associated condition appears to also give a life sentence to the perpetrator of permanent suspicion and treatment as an undesirable pariah.

    What does their relationship with the church look like?

  13. “Overseeing the men’s groups for sexual addiction … ”
    Paahhleeze! How many sexual predators do they have in that church???

    And, just for a crude comparison, do they get their people who are recovering from chemical dependence jobs in drug stores?

  14. Bill M wrote:

    Please note that I am horrified by what this does to victims but at the same time many of the perpetrators appear to be former victims. I am aware that the idea of cure for adults is rare and the perpetrators likely carry the compulsion through life.
    I wonder what is the recommended way to deal with a convicted pedophile in the church.

    I can’t do more than join you in making educated guesses here as I’ve never been involved in a church setting that had to deal with a confessed paedophile asking (whether truthfully or not) for help – nor with a maliciously unrepentant paedophile, for that matter, though that case is much simpler to deal with: the person is a dangerous criminal, fullstop.

    As a society, we have two choices with a confessed paedophile. We can shoot him in the head and have done with it; subsidiary option, we can lock him up for life and spend a shedload of money doing so that would, arguably, be better spent elsewhere. Or we can do something else that involves some kind of rehabilitation. In which case we might not let him near children, but somebody has to work with him.

    If society chooses to rehabilitate a paedophile, then the church accordingly has two broad options. We can state categorically to society that we refuse to help them deal with him: he has committed a sin that is in principle unforgivable in this age or in the age to come, and is a walking ghost waiting to go to hell. Or we can find a way to help society deal with him. Which we choose will depend on, and say something about, what kind of God we believe in, how powerful He/She/It is, how compassionate, towards whom, and so on.

    There is, I believe, evidence to suggest that a disproportionate number of paedophiles were themselves abused as children. There are even cases in which children are abused by other children who are themselves being abused. As tempting as it is to preach a good news of simple hate, I can’t personally be satisfied with that. By “good news of simple hate”, I mean the belief that we either hate the paedophile, perpetually, or we condone his crimes and hate his victims. This is not true.

    I have, of course, referred to the generic paedophile as “he”, and experts agree that most paedophiles are men. But there is a growing recognition of the problem, still relatively under-reported, of child sex abuse by women as well.

  15. There is a reason for a registry, but the problem is that a lot of people are on these registries who really do not belong there, including a lot of men who at 18 had some form of relationship with a person a year or so younger than they were at the time. I know one such personally, and being on the list is totally devastating for him. Cannot get a job, because people complain to his employer for hiring him, even though there has been 20+ years since his offense of believing the female involved that she was 18 too!

    We also had a family here who had their 15-16 y.o. females equipped with false driver licenses, have them get involved with men with really nice cars (inc. a few jags), then tell them, give us the car or get reported. They did it for years as their means of income, sent several men to prison, took a bunch of nice cars that they then sold.

    There needs to be more done in investigating and prosecuting these cases, and we need to have a way to sort out the pedophiles from men who are accused of rape, and put them on a different list. In our town, taking a whiz in a secluded area where no one actually sees the member, just can tell what you are doing, will get you on the list for “indecent exposure”.

  16. @Bill M / Nick Bulbeck:

    There is a distinction between the categories “Can be rehabilitated” and “Is qualified to be in a position of trust.”

    In the same way, there is a distinction between the categories “Can be redeemed” and “Is qualified to be in ministry.”

    If Eric Nickel was a convicted thief and embezzler, do you suppose he would currently be working as Church Treasurer?

  17. Arce wrote:

    There is a reason for a registry, but the problem is that a lot of people are on these registries who really do not belong there, including a lot of men who at 18 had some form of relationship with a person a year or so younger than they were at the time. I know one such personally, and being on the list is totally devastating for him. Cannot get a job, because people complain to his employer for hiring him, even though there has been 20+ years since his offense of believing the female involved that she was 18 too!
    We also had a family here who had their 15-16 y.o. females equipped with false driver licenses, have them get involved with men with really nice cars (inc. a few jags), then tell them, give us the car or get reported. They did it for years as their means of income, sent several men to prison, took a bunch of nice cars that they then sold.
    There needs to be more done in investigating and prosecuting these cases, and we need to have a way to sort out the pedophiles from men who are accused of rape, and put them on a different list. In our town, taking a whiz in a secluded area where no one actually sees the member, just can tell what you are doing, will get you on the list for “indecent exposure”.

    Public court records are a way. Though I highly doubt the majority of sex offenders are on the list because they thought someone was 18. I would also rather avoid attending a church that employs rapists, shocking though that may be.

    Here’s a thought, maybe also stop referring to people as “men” and “females.” 😐

  18. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I can’t do more than join you in making educated guesses here…

    P.S.

    Bill – your guesses may, of course, be better educated than mine! I realise you may know any number of things that I don’t. But you know what I mean.

  19. For some reason this comment was stuck in moderation.

    Dee is silencing me! ;-]

    “So am I off base here in thinking that the world is training pedophiles in counseling how to do the right thing in returning to society without being a danger, but churches are still in “protect the sinner/predator” mode? He seems to want to protect the church from himself, but they’re less strict?

    Honestly it doesn’t sound like the situation is too far off from getting it right though – if only because they got to him long after his crimes and well into his recovery program and they’re working with what was already put in place by law. Just my initial thoughts. As always, the church is behind – behind “the world” on a issue of this importance. I’m also still missing the clear indication that the entire church has been informed in the past, and new people coming in are informed.

    It is sad that there’s no mention of the victim or of any attempt to reach out, or any real acknowledgment of the sickness of his crime. Just “sexual sin”. Yeah, and murder is just “breaking the law”.”

  20. Bill M wrote:

    Should everyone be aware and the person deal with the continual censorship?

    Yes. Let’s suppose the church leadership makes a poor judgement call, and a child in the church is molested. Besides the avoidable harm done to the child, the church is looking at a potential lawsuit. I would sue.

  21. Arce wrote:

    There is a reason for a registry, but the problem is that a lot of people are on these registries who really do not belong there, including a lot of men who at 18 had some form of relationship with a person a year or so younger than they were at the time. I know one such personally, and being on the list is totally devastating for him. Cannot get a job, because people complain to his employer for hiring him, even though there has been 20+ years since his offense of believing the female involved that she was 18 too!

    I do think this is wrong. I received an email from change dot org about a similar situation. The girl lied about her age. Even the girl’s parents did not want the young man to be prosecuted, but he was anyway. However, this isn’t the case with Nickle.

  22. From FCC statement:

    “We ensured Eric was in full compliance with the requirements of his probation. While he was on probation, the probation officer met with Eric at the church.”

    Does this mean that the probation officer is comfortable with how the church is handling Eric’s employment? It isn’t clear from this vague statement.

    I’m still not clear on why the entire church isn’t made aware of Eric’s status, especially visitors and new families. They are the most vulnerable.

  23. numo wrote:

    “Similar challenges” = support group for pedophiles??? These people are SO freakin’ naive, it’s pathetic and sickening.

    Its even worse. Apparently they put guys who use adult porn in the same group with pedophiles. They do not seem to understand the vast difference in those two issues. This is dangerously naive.

  24. Warning to our readers: Due to the subject nature, many comments are getting thrown into moderation. I have had 3 of my comments (and now it will be 4) put there.

  25. @ Josh, Doctor of Pulchritudinousness:

    Many evangelical churches also won’t allow hetero, single, celibate adults to hold positions of leadership, or to teach Sunday School classes because they are convinced that hetero singles are sex crazed folks who will flirt with anything that can fog up a mirror.

    I’m having a hard time grasping how churches are A-OK with convicted pedos teaching church classes (including ones about sexual purity) but won’t allow non-pedo celibate singles to teach or lead.

    Very odd too that many of these churches expect hetero/homosexual single (sometimes who are celibate) adults to fall into sexual sin but not convicted pedos. -Why do the pedos rise above fear or suspicion with this crowd, but not hetero/homo celibates?

  26. @ Dave A A:
    I couldn’t agree with you more. I think they should post Eric’s picture along with a short history throughout the church. Then, the adults who go to that church can decide whether or not they are comfortable with the situation.

  27. Dave A A wrote:

    It’s one of my “life challenges” and “struggles”.

    My life challenge is blueberry pie. I was skinny as a rail throughout most of my lie. Then, I had kids and other life challenges and I can no longer eat as much blueberry pie as I wish.

  28. GovPappy wrote:

    t is sad that there’s no mention of the victim or of any attempt to reach out, or any real acknowledgment of the sickness of his crime. Just “sexual sin”. Yeah, and murder is just “breaking the law”.

    Thank you for saying this. What about the victim?

  29. Bridget wrote:

    Does this mean that the probation officer is comfortable with how the church is handling Eric’s employment? It isn’t clear from this vague statement.

    My guess is that the probation officer is OK with the situation. Eric is at least in a church during the day while many pedophiles are roaming the streets.

    That still does not mean that he is safe to be around not does it mean that he should be in a position of trust.

  30. GovPappy wrote:

    For some reason this comment was stuck in moderation.

    Let me warn everyone that whenever we discuss subjects like this, there are many words, etc. that will trigger moderation. And, if I am catching some zzzzzs, it could be hours before the comment is approved.

  31. @ Sarah:
    Issue, is a 16 y.o. who poses as 18 or 19 y.o. (convincingly, btw) to be called a woman or a girl? I think neither is appropriate. But the males involved are generally over 18 (though not all btw), so I used the term “men”.

  32. Nancy2 wrote:

    “Overseeing the men’s groups for sexual addiction … ”
    Paahhleeze! How many sexual predators do they have in that church???

    And, just for a crude comparison, do they get their people who are recovering from chemical dependence jobs in drug stores?

    Probably. It sounds like they are totally clueless. Or, just maybe, they just don’t care about people.

  33. Please do not discuss moderation on this blog. The reason is quite simple. We have a filter that throws things into moderation. There is a reason for every word and phrase. There are times when I am sleeping, etc. that we need to be careful. There are some ornery characters out there. 

    If I am not going to approve a comment, I will write comment stating that a comment was not approed. So, unless you see such a statement, assume Dee is bidding on a cute sweater on Ebay and is otherwise engaged. And, if you are really nice to me, I will share with you my secrets for almost always winning a bit. I call it the “Circling Shark” method.

  34. dee wrote:

    That still does not mean that he is safe to be around not does it mean that he should be in a position of trust.

    Yes. I don’t get why the probation officer is okay with this. The statement by FCC seems odd in that it *doesn’t state* that the probation officer is satisfied with Eric’s position of trust. It only states that the probation officer met Eric at the church once and that Eric is complying with the terms of his probation. Has the entire church seen Eric’s probation terms?

  35. Bridget wrote:

    Has the entire church seen Eric’s probation terms?

    I can’t imagine that they have since the entire church doesn’t even know about the his crime.

  36. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Even the girl’s parents did not want the young man to be prosecuted, but he was anyway.

    That is why I am really careful to discuss only issues of actual child molestation. Not a boyfriend/girlfriend dispute.

  37. @ dee:

    Can’t Fairfax Community Church learn from Sovereign Grace Fairfax? I would love to have Amy Smith dissect this comment by Rod Stafford. I would love to know what she says.

  38. Bill M wrote:

    What does their relationship with the church look like?

    here are a few thoughts.
    1. Wade Burleson allowed a repentant pedophile to come to his church with caveats. He was to be accompanied at all times when he was on the church property. His picture was posted around the church and people were notified of his past.

    2. A repentant pedophile should be aware that such a problem is deeply rooted and can affect them for the rest of their life. They are sexually attracted to children just like you, I assume, are sexually attracted to females. Someone who is truly trying to deal with their problem will be willing to allow others to keep them honest.

    3. When someone commits a crime, they must be willing to take what comes with that crime. If someone molests a child, they are most likely aware that they will no longer be trusted to be around children. That is called a consequence.

    4. Let me give you an example. A nurse is convicted of mercy killings a 3 old folks. She goes to prison for 20 years and repents. She will never be allowed to practice nursing again. Is this wrong? Or is it wise?

    5. Of course many pedophiles were molested as kids. However, does that mean we should allow them more freedom because of their upbringing? The real issue is “Do they know what they are doing is wrong?” If the answer is yes, then they must bear the consequences of the crime. If no, then they are legally insane and will need to be place in a mental institution as a danger to themselves and children.
    Many alcoholics were raised in alcoholic homes. Should we give them a pass of drinking and driving?

  39. All of the commenters have identified the problems here.

    The pastor’s statement seems to say many good things.

    But –

    1. Congregation is not informed

    2. The use of vague terms and lumping a pedophile in with other sexual sins.

    3. I question the wisdom of allowing this person to lead. Serve – yes. But “lead” in terms of direct, organize etc.?

    4. Scrubbing the Yelp review. Eagle makes a good point there.

    5. Arce is correct about the registries and how some people end up on them. That’s why facts are important.

    6. Nick makes a good point. Pedophilia is not the unforgiveable sin. We should minister to pedophiles, and extend the Grace of God to them. But given the danger, we should err on the side of children. The pedophile is forgiven, but he will have to bear the burden of disclosure. That’s a small price to pay, especially when one considers what the victim has endured.

  40. Anonymous wrote:

    We should minister to pedophiles, and extend the Grace of God to them.

    I so agree. But what breaks my heart is the number of churches willing to extend mercy to the pedophile and never mention the victim.

  41. dee wrote:

    But what breaks my heart is the number of churches willing to extend mercy to the pedophile and never mention the victim.

    Pedos have a JUICIER Salvation Testimony. All those lip-smacking details of SIN SIN SIN.

    Never mind whether said pedo is a court favorite of Lead Pastor (like Kiddie Porn Norm at Elevation).

  42. I think there is also a deeper, theological issue here…. Evangelicalism, and fundamentalism, stresses too much “emotional” night/day conversions, and changed lives. That is why they love to put forward “radically changed” people up front.. In fact, if you do not have a “dramatic” conversion story, you quite often are “boring” and do not get the lime light that “heathen to saint” gets… It really comes down to “marketing” They are sailing a way to change your life for the better, and these examples are like a taking a pill to solve your overweight problems, or what ever health issue you have.
    My experience in life is that anything worth anything takes ALLOT of hard work… but that does not “sale” well

  43. BeenThereDoneThat, you stated, “It’s very likely everyone in the congregation doesn’t know.” What would you suggest though? Every 3 months send out an email stating Eric’s history? Considering the limitations that have been put in place for him, and the fact it’s been 15 yrs, that seems extreme. I’m in no way excusing what he did, but if you did something 15 years ago and you did time in jail and are taking (what appears) the right steps in “recovery” w
    Dave A A: Whether the pastor used the word “sin” or “pedophilia” seems to be rather “in the weeds” and beyond the scope of what is occurring
    I think it goes without saying that prayers are being said for the victim. Similar to whenever discussing any hot-button issue as a Christian, if I am pro-life, I personally believe it goes without saying that I am praying for the mother and do not wish her to experience harm/death
    I have family and friends who are in AA and Al-Anon. A somewhat common stereotype of alcoholics is that they are violent and abusive…this stereotype has gone away somewhat as the rate of alcoholism increases and people study the topic in greater depth. Additionally some recovering alcoholics can handle going to a bar with friends while others cannot. Does this mean that diners at a restaurant should be notified that an alcoholic works there as a busboy or a server? Oftentimes, the same people who go through AA are the ones who end up sponsoring someone. Why would it not be the same in the groups Mr. Nickle’s is part of? While the damage he caused was much greater, alcoholics and substance abuse addicts cause tremendous pain as well…should we refer to them as alcoholics for the rest of their lives and/or restrict where they are able to work (within reason). As Mr. Stafford pointed out, restrictions were/are put in place and, if I were to make an educated guess, (which I would certainly not be alone in making when commenting on this issue) is that he is rarely/in a private setting
    The term “trust, but verify” comes to my mind. I completely understand having trouble trusting Eric because of what he did, but how long does that lack of trust go on for? He did a horrible thing and the victim deserves our prayers. He did time in jail. He is taking part and seems to be taking a leadership role in his “recovery”…I’m curious what else he could do in order to earn back trust in your eyes? The church put limitations on him, therefore TRUSTING, but VERIFYING.
    Dee: You stated, “My life challenge is blueberry pie. I was skinny as a rail throughout most of my lie. Then, I had kids and other life challenges and I can no longer eat as much blueberry pie as I wish.” – While such a topic is difficult to converse about, such flippant and what appear to TRY to be humorous comments are unwarranted. Nothing about this situation is remotely funny. You are dealing with human beings.

  44. Anonymous wrote:

    2. The use of vague terms and lumping a pedophile in with other sexual sins.

    The first reminds me of George Carlin recounting about going to Confession as a kid and confessing without confessing — no actual details or anything definite, just “impure impure impure”.

    The second is just a corollary of “All Sin is SIN!!!!!” sin-leveling.

    6. Nick makes a good point. Pedophilia is not the unforgiveable sin.

    Maybe as long as it’s opposite-sex pedo.
    Just like Duggargate was opposite-sex pedo incest.
    HOMOSEXUALITY(TM) is the Unpardonable Super-Sin.

  45. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    I think there is also a deeper, theological issue here…. Evangelicalism, and fundamentalism, stresses too much “emotional” night/day conversions, and changed lives. That is why they love to put forward “radically changed” people up front.. In fact, if you do not have a “dramatic” conversion story, you quite often are “boring” and do not get the lime light that “heathen to saint” gets…

    Like I said above, except maybe “SPECTACULAR” would be a better description than “JUICY”. (Even if you have to pad heavily to make it SPECTACULAR.)

    “Just like a do-it-yourself Reality Show, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

  46. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Just like Duggargate was opposite-sex pedo incest.
    HOMOSEXUALITY(TM) is the Unpardonable Super-Sin.

    I remember when Rod Stafford did a series called “Ask…” He has a relative that is gay IIRC. He briefly spoke about it.

  47. Pam Palmer emailed me her thoughts on Fairfax Community Church. Rod Stafford and Andy Gingrich..in case you don’t know Pam was one of the plaintiffs in the Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit. Her church, Covenant Life, forced her 3 year old to forgive her molester. Pam is trying to change the statute of limitations laws in Maryland.

    ****

    Eagle:

    Here are several points I’d like to make:

    *All members of a church should be involved in deciding if they are willing to allow an apparent repentant pedophile in their midst.

    *The policies involved in protecting children from pedophiles in church families should be designed and monitored by more than just a few males in leadership.

    *Women, mothers and fathers, and adult survivors of sex abuse should be involved in the decision-making regarding policies about child protection from sex abuse.

    *Multiple professionals: psychologists, experts in caring for child abuse victims and those knowledgeable about the care of pedophiles, and child abuse law enforcement experts must be consulted in this policy-making.

    *According to U.S. Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Public Website, “Many states have laws that restrict residency within a certain number of feet of a school or day care; however, these laws vary from state to state. Most states’ sex offender registries provide information regarding state registry laws. NSOPW provides a list of state public registry sites.”

    This is the legal code for Virginia, in reference to known violent sex offenders and schools or daycares:

    § 18.2-370.5. Sex offenses prohibiting entry onto school or other property; penalty.

    A. Every adult who is convicted of a sexually violent offense, as defined in § 9.1-902, shall be prohibited from entering or being present (i) during school hours, and during school-related or school-sponsored activities upon any property he knows or has reason to know is a public or private elementary or secondary school or child day center property; (ii) on any school bus as defined in § 46.2-100; or (iii) upon any property, public or private, during hours when such property is solely being used by a public or private elementary or secondary school for a school-related or school-sponsored activity.

    Cited from: http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/18.2-370.5/

    Why do church leaders think that allowing convicted sex offenders into their buildings, at any time, is safe for children who come to church activities, walk around innocently (in and out of bathrooms and other areas alone in the buildings, etc.) with convicted sex offenders present? This is an grievous example of the “world” being more shrewd in dealing with those around them than the “children of light” Luke 16:8b

    “And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light.” New Living Translation Lk 16:8b

    *I agree with you that God can redeem anyone and that the Church should minister care and love to sex offenders, but NOT at the expense of our children! Ministry to sex offenders can easily happen exclusively in homes and other buildings where children are not present. Period. Public worship that includes sex offenders can occur in other venues like homes or adult-only congregations. Perhaps a congregation of older individuals (seniors or middle-aged adults only) may choose to be a congregation that ministers to sex offenders. This would be a great solution. And would protect children.

    *Also of grave importance, since Fairfax Community Church has a thriving sex addiction/sex offender ministry headed by a registered sex offender, then that means within that church community many more sex offenders and/or pedophiles will be congregating in that building, alongside the many unwitting families with multiple children jostling about innocently. What is wrong with this picture?!

    *And lastly my thoughts on FCC’s actual statement: “Life challenge”? “personal history”? “his story”? “his struggle”? “addiction”? I am so sick of church leadership minimizing pedophilia and sexual crimes. Ministry to pedophiles and sex offenders must occur away from children. Otherwise it is like a sober crack addict socializing in a crack house, where the crack itself is a living, breathing innocent being hanging out in and around the addict.

    *My primary take away thought, is that all church families need to evaluate and make decisions on how they as a church family are going to handle the issue of sex abuse. However, to establish or reform their policies, they need to take into consideration current statistics and psychological and criminal research about pedophilia. Currently, most churches and denominations have very faulty policies to protect children from sex offenders. This conversation needs to really start happening.

    Just some of my thoughts on this subject! You can quote me from this. I wrote this very quickly, edit me as needed if you quote me. Thanks! J

    Pam Palmer

  48. Arce wrote:

    @ Sarah:
    Issue, is a 16 y.o. who poses as 18 or 19 y.o. (convincingly, btw) to be called a woman or a girl? I think neither is appropriate. But the males involved are generally over 18 (though not all btw), so I used the term “men”.

    Further confusing the issue is that Age of Consent varies from state to state; in many of the Former Confederate States where the Age of Consent is around 16, the 16 y.o. would be considered an adult and there would be no crime. Whereas here in Cali where the Age of Consent is 18, it would be statutory rape.

    Never mind how Age of Consent can vary abroad, down to the urban legend that under Shari’a the female Age of Consent is 9 y.o. because of Mohammed arranging a marriage with a girl of that age. (Some Islamic sources say that was when the marriage was ARRANGED but not actually consummated until she had reached whatever legal age was at that time and place. However, a pedo would interpret that to his personal advantage, so…)
    Anime fans have long had to be careful because of this; Age of Consent in Japan is younger than in the USA so a lot of Schoolgirl Hentai (steamy anime) would be kiddie porn under US law but not Japanese law, i.e. legal in Japan but not in the US.

  49. Steve wrote:

    While the damage he caused was much greater, alcoholics and substance abuse addicts cause tremendous pain as well…should we refer to them as alcoholics for the rest of their lives and/or restrict where they are able to work (within reason).

    Engaging in alcoholism is not a crime, whereas molesting children is.

    “What would you suggest though? Every 3 months send out an email stating Eric’s history?”

    Whatever is necessary to keep current members informed. He IS still a registered sex offender.

  50. dee wrote:

    @ Dave A A:
    I couldn’t agree with you more. I think they should post Eric’s picture along with a short history throughout the church. Then, the adults who go to that church can decide whether or not they are comfortable with the situation.

    But what if a lot of them leave AND TAKE THEIR TITHE$ WITH THEM?

  51. Steve wrote:

    TRUSTING, but VERIFYING.

    I would lean more toward FORGIVING, but NEVER FORGETTING.

    At roughly the age of 30, this man had some sort of physical, sexual contact with a minor who was either in his custody or under his care. This would result in a lifelong TRUST issue for me.

    I wouldn’t let that man anywhere near my 10 year-old-niece, or my daughter’s 11-year-old stepson! That would definitely bring out and amplify my feminine mothering instincts — as in mother tiger, mother bear, etc.

  52. Steve wrote:

    Eric because of what he did, but how long does that lack of trust go on for?

    How long will he be on the sexual predator registry? What is wrong with making sure the entire congregation is made aware of his status? Children are more vulnerable than Eric is(.) I’m sure Eric knows this, especially if he is repentant. He knows that people prey on children BECAUSE they are more vulnerable. That is exactly why child molesters molest children.

  53. @ Steve:
    FCC is not only withholding Nickle’s status from the congregation, they are actively hiding it from the congregation and the general public by removing Yelp comments. Why is that? Why are they censoring others from sharing this information – information that is required by law to be public?

  54. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Yes. Let’s suppose the church leadership makes a poor judgement call, and a child in the church is molested.

    This brings up the greatest shift I’ve had in my thinking over the last year. I’ve seen so much poor judgement by “leaders”, especially those with too much authority and too little accountability, that I would have little trust in a limited group having knowledge. It is also another abuse of authority for a leader to secretly take a repentant molester into the church and thereby subject everyone to the risk without their knowledge and permission.

    The example Dee cited with Wade Burleson where the person is accompanied at all times sounds sensible.

    From reading the comments the idea appears to be that the problem is not that the crime is the unpardonable sin, but that the crime represents an incurable condition that is extremely dangerous to those most vulnerable. The suspect is carrying an incurable disease, if they have no compassion for those they have infected or consideration for those they may yet infect, then they are not someone you want anywhere around.

  55. Bill M wrote:

    From reading the comments the idea appears to be that the problem is not that the crime is the unpardonable sin, but that the crime represents an incurable condition that is extremely dangerous to those most vulnerable. The suspect is carrying an incurable disease, if they have no compassion for those they have infected or consideration for those they may yet infect, then they are not someone you want anywhere around.

    A problem here is that we do not know what he actually did or what he actually was accused of. The fact that he was convicted of ‘indecent liberties’ would lead to a conclusion that it was either a minor offense or else that this was agreed to as a plea. In the past I asked our friendly in-house prosecutor about some guy down the street listed as ‘indecent liberties’ and was told that this tells you nothing and is frequently a plea. (Of course, that would be around here.) So maybe it was a 30 year old getting it on with a sixteen year old, which would be illegal but not necessarily incurable ‘mental illness’ since that used to be done legally in the past. And when certain famous mormons have been convicted of such stuff they are not declared mentally ill. And let us not forget ‘the prophet’ and his youngest wife. Or maybe it was repeated sexual fondling of a toddler, which says mental if anything ever said mental. But we just don’t know.

    Since we now have laws that can be prosecuted on he said she said and they were both kids in college and rape is the issue, we cannot say that all sex crimes are connected to incurable mental illness, not with our current way of handling sex crimes. Thus, I am thinking, with the teacher and the high school student cases, of which we habitually have one or two every year. Crime, yes. Mental illness, maybe and maybe not.

  56. @ Bill M:
    Your comment explains exactly where I’m at and where I’m coming from. In my former cult, leadership was more concerned with the church’s reputation than the victims of sexual abuse. Half of the victims that were involved in the cases that made the news are no longer a part of the cult. One of them was essentially called a liar when she went on camera stating that the cult had given her no support. So, I will no longer let church “leadership” make decisions that could potentially put my children at risk.

    I agree that Wade Burleson’s church seems to have a good policy in place.

  57. Its interesting that we’re talking about people who tithe leaving. FCC launched a campaign called “A Better $tory”. As I told Dee on the phone when I was driving to work, when her situation happened with Providence Baptist enough people bolted that the church couldn’t do a planned expansion. Fairfax Community had their church commit to a 2 year giving campaign. Hell they had a 24 year old Aleathea Hensly talk about how she was going to empty out her savings and give to this building campaign. I mean consider….24 years old, out of college probably has a lot of college debt with Mom and Dad helping out from time to time. Against this she is going to be giving a good chunk of her savings over to FCC so they can grow bigger.

    That is irresponsible and wrong. I actually wrote about the “A Better $tory” campaign here.

    https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/fairfax-community-church-and-the-evangelical-idol-of-church-growth/

    But what I was telling Dee Parsons…what if enough wind of this got around the church and families left upset over the lack of transparency that FCC exhibited. Would Fairfax Community Church be Providence Baptist 2.0 in the sense that enough people left to where the church was hobbled in a building campaign and couldn’t complete or launch it?

    I had long left FCC but I watched those videos online before writing that post. I couldn’t stand the manipulation of Nehemiah. If I was there and saw that then I would have left FCC. That is too disturbing to watch.

    But originally I wanted to hear what other people said before I commented. After all we’re writing about the church I was baptized in after rejecting Christianity for half my thirties. But the more I thought of Rod’s statement the more angry I became. The statement doesn’t add up and my hunch is that it was vetted by a lawyer before it was released. Fairfax Community’s Church’s actions do not match what is written in the statement. You do not HIDE, DELETE, REMOVE, or CONCEAL information like Fairfax Community is doing. This is supposed to be a church it snot supposed to be the Richard Nixon Whitehouse.

  58. @ Steve:

    The fact remains a lot of churches are not handling pedophiles in their midst correctly, to the point that pedos who want to still prey on children know it, and they flock to churches to get new victims.

    Some lady (I forget her name) who has studied violent offenders for years who’s interviewed numerous abusers and has written books about it, had a number of these pedo guys tell her that they specifically target churches to prey on kids, because church people are too lax, lazy, or naive and trusting.

  59. @ Steve:

    Why do these guys have to have roles in these churches? I think that is, or can be, dangerous, even if it’s to permit them to be a greeter.

    Why can’t they just show up, attend a worship service or adult Bible study, and go home?

    Why are they in charge of other adults who are having issues, or allowed to be greeters, and such?

  60. dee wrote:

    I so agree. But what breaks my heart is the number of churches willing to extend mercy to the pedophile and never mention the victim.

    The victims are in an impossible situation brought on my one person’s horrible heinous sin. Not all victims want to be tagged and identified because that carries a life long stigma, sadly. They are always known as the defiled ones especially in certain comp/pat circles.

    The pedophile has made the certain environments impossible for victims/survivors. And if you listen to the talk around the redemption of the pedophile, you can see that people are more interested in shaming folks on that score than they are how the victim will be able to navigate the rest of their lives from such devastating trauma. This will be a trauma that will take years and years to work through. Much longer than the perps prison sentence.

    Why do we assume that forgiveness means total acceptance into society as if nothing has happened? That is how it is presented by these folks who speak of redemption, etc. It just is not so. Reality changes everything. Are they naïve thinking it is God’s wisdom?

    Here we go again on the “forgiveness” issue totally misunderstanding what it means. WE cannot guarantee a pedophile is “cured” if ever. Why take the chance with any child’s life? Why pretend he is another trustworthy Christian we greet at church? There are programs out there for such types to go and worship without being around children.

    He chose to violate a child. That will be with him the rest of his life and he cannot change what he did to that child. I know many atheists and other non believers who would rather die than do such a thing to an innocent child. Why do so called Christians get a pass?

    If anything, the victims should feel protected before the perp enjoys acceptance. If he were really redeemed wouldn’t he shy away from such limelight that he has for himself at Fairfax?

    Yes, God can forgive him but why do we think that means stopping earthly consequences for such a heinous act. How many reading here think about violating children? And please, no sin leveling on this one.

  61. I have another question..if Fairfax Community Church is going to act like the Nixon Whitehouse what role is Andy Gingrich going to play? Is he going to be H.R. Haldeman or John Erlichman? He does run the small group ministry there at FCC in the same manner that Joseph Stalin governed the Soviet Union. A legacy perhaps of the IFB in Delaware? Just an observation….

  62. Steve wrote:

    I completely understand having trouble trusting Eric because of what he did, but how long does that lack of trust go on for?

    For the rest of his life. Why can’t you get that? He CHOSE to violate a child. He COULD HELP IT. HE CHOSE TO DO IT. He has to live with that just as the victim has to live with navigating such a violation for the rest of their lives. What about them?

    Forgiveness does not mean he is trusted. There is such shallow thinking on forgiveness out there. Please check this out. We actually enable so much evil with our wrong thinking about forgiveness.

    http://www.nacr.org/wordpress/160/the-f-word-forgiveness-and-its-imitations

  63. I keep getting the impression that violating children is not seen as such a horrible thing in many “Christian” circles. I don’t get it. Is it seeing them as sort of throw away nobodies who cannot really do anything for the church? Is it protecting the leaders over the most vulnerable of our society? Is it having a big redemption story to sell to other molesters?

    Where can the victims go to church?

  64. dee wrote:

    Apparently they put guys who use adult porn in the same group with pedophiles. They do not seem to understand the vast difference in those two issues.

    Dee it is even worse than that, many of the men in these groups could be there because they struggle with lustful thoughts about adult women. As described this is a group for mens issues. The problem is the majority of men are not attracted to sex with children and honestly I think most men would be incensed to be in the same category as a pedophile. I have some experience with SA and have read their material and one of the problems I had with that type of recovery group was the fact that all sexual activity outside marriage fell in the same category which was addiction. Addicted to porn was the same as convicted pedophile. Serial adulterer same as series rapist. Second these groups are always lay-lead which means there is only a slight chance that anyone with any actual addiction training will be present in the meetings and even if they are their words hold the same weight as the addict. It is truly the blind leading the blind. In the case of a pedophile, people don’s seem to understand that there is much more at work here than just lust. But hey perhaps it is that we just dont understand grace. (snark)

  65. Bill M wrote:

    The example Dee cited with Wade Burleson where the person is accompanied at all times sounds sensible.

    I think that is unrealistic. I read somewhere, I think it was one of the writers of the “Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse” that they announce to the entire congregation and show pictures of the “redeemed” perp who comes to church. They make sure everyone knows who the person is and what they did, their sentence, etc.

    Let’s face it, most won’t stay when that is done. They feel the shame the victim must feel. Of course, most would find that a mean way to handle it. But people deserve to know the truth as they are coming to a place where they think they can trust people and expect honesty and transparency concerning such issues. At the very least it would go further in protecting children because even the kids would know Mr. Eric might not be safe.

  66. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    I think there is also a deeper, theological issue here…. Evangelicalism, and fundamentalism, stresses too much “emotional” night/day conversions, and changed lives. That is why they love to put forward “radically changed” people up front.. In fact, if you do not have a “dramatic” conversion story, you quite often are “boring” and do not get the lime light that “heathen to saint” gets…

    Exactly. The Big Story sells, it’s easy to market. It makes the methods and righteousness of the celeb leader and the church system seem all the more miraculous and life-changing. I don’t know how much credit Jesus gets, though, other than lip service or as an aside to the true greatness that is the system and the leader.

    If you just became a follower of the Lord at youth camp when you were 12 and before you’d had the chance to get in too much trouble, you’re boring–no one will call you a hero or line up at the back of the church to get your autograph. But if you’re a reformed full tilt criminal, that’s sexy in the celeb church culture. Mike Warnke, the unreformed liar who claimed to have been a reformed satanist, learned this well and rode it all the way to Christian celeb stardom (saw him myself in ’86, was totally hoodwinked).

  67. okrapod wrote:

    Crime, yes. Mental illness, maybe and maybe not.

    Here’s a great big BINGO for you okrapod. Here in Southern Cal. the great white sharks have been moving South along the coastal waters for some years now. It seems they’ve acquired a taste for black rubber wetsuit clad surfers…yeah okay Potter, what’s your point? Simply this: Child sex abuse is a crime! The courts are losing their patience and squeamishness for going after non-Catholic* 501(c3) religious organizations that harbor predators and will come down on them hard and heavy in the near future. No amount of clever pleading by highly paid legal counsel or howls of ‘persecution’ from the rafters will matter, their enablers and those who claim they ‘didn’t know’ will also go down for complicity.

    *Many Catholic Dioceses across the Nation are now bankrupt after settlements and court awards.

  68. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    In fact, if you do not have a “dramatic” conversion story, you quite often are “boring” and do not get the lime light that “heathen to saint” gets… It really comes down to “marketing” They are sailing a way to change your life for the better, and these examples are like a taking a pill to solve your overweight problems, or what ever health issue you have.

    Jeffery I think you are on to something here that also explains part of the reason there is no concern for the victims. See the victims seldom if ever heal quickly. Most of them are so violated and injured that it takes more than a lifetime to recover. Well this doesn’t make for a good testimonial on Sunday night. But now a molester who is magically and instantly healed, why who doesn’t want to hear about that. We as people love fast easy results, just look at all the diet pills on the market. People flock to those types of things but seldom is there a crowd around the guys telling you about the long hard work of actual weight loss and maintenance. It is the same, we don’t want to hear about the thorn in the flesh that never fully went away, we want to hear about the lame who got up instantly and walked.The problem is that in these pedophile situations it is so easy to claim healing and begin to fake recovery when in reality there is no healing at all. The other thing to remember, as with all addicts, this person is only one bad decision away from going right back to acting out in his addiction. He will more than likely get away with it for quite sometime before anyone even realizes it. But if everyone who comes in contact with him knew what was up they would know what to look for and immediately be able to alert the proper people. I know the church doesn’t want him to “suffer” his whole life for his sin. My answer to that is “why not, his victim will”. Why should he recieve more than the victim gets?

  69. Steve wrote:

    I think it goes without saying that prayers are being said for the victim.

    Steve, with all due respect, that most decidedly does NOT go without saying based on what I’ve seen of your church culture.

  70. Steve wrote:

    While such a topic is difficult to converse about, such flippant and what appear to TRY to be humorous comments are unwarranted. Nothing about this situation is remotely funny. You are dealing with human beings.

    Did you really do that, Steve, are you that far gone, perhaps even given over to a depraved mind, that you would accuse Dee, who is the one largely bringing this thing to light in a way that your church leaders have never done, of being less than serious about the topic? Have you been paying attention to TWW over the years?

    I could say things about this behavior being very typical of the sociopathic mind, but for now, I will assume the best of you, which is pretty much that your are at this time a blinded follower willing to defend your system and leaders–not Jesus, mind you–at all costs, even at the cost of your credibility and integrity.

  71. Law Prof wrote:

    Steve wrote:

    I think it goes without saying that prayers are being said for the victim.

    Steve, with all due respect, that most decidedly does NOT go without saying based on what I’ve seen of your church culture.

    And, It is always a good thing to put some actual “doing” in the mix with prayers. God expects us to “do” the right things, too. Not just pray that God will do them for us.

  72. Lydia wrote:

    They make sure everyone knows who the person is and what they did, their sentence, etc.

    Let’s face it, most won’t stay when that is done. They feel the shame the victim must feel.

    It is a conundrum. At my former church there is a committee that handles such things though this never came up when I was on it. Unfortunately none of the committees there actually discuss things in a rigorous fashion. The pastor would come in with “this is what we are going to do” and 95% of the people go along. I was typically one of the few independent thinkers but in this case I would have deferred because I wouldn’t have well formed thoughts.

    So likely the decision would be to inform a small number using the concerns you have mentioned, the ‘redeemed” perp leaves or many of the congregation leaves if it is widely known. The problem is neither the committee nor the pastor were entrusted with the power to make such a decision. It takes a degree of arrogance to subject others to such a risk without their knowledge or consent.

    Either way is messy but I’m definitely leaning towards making it as open as possible as I await further examples.

  73. dee wrote:

    Its even worse. Apparently they put guys who use adult porn in the same group with pedophiles. They do not seem to understand the vast difference in those two issues. This is dangerously naive.

    I … can’t…even…I don’t understand…this is really dangerously naive.

    Let me put it this way. If this were a public school, and this guy was a teacher or an aide there, people would be coming stark staring unglued. But because it’s a church, everything is fine and in fact the guy is allowed to lead a group on sexual addictions???

    Churches which look the other way or obfuscate the obvious regarding child sexual abusers are unsafe places.

    Also, I’d note that I am not real thrilled with people coming in here and trying to whitewash the presence of someone on the sex offenders list. The vast majority of those people are there because they committed non-consensual sexual assaults against others, including children, and were not merely involved in “Romeo and Juliet” relationships. It really bothers me to see this occurring.

  74. Bill M wrote:

    Either way is messy but I’m definitely leaning towards making it as open as possible as I await further examples.

    I am not sure I see the problem if they are on the PUBLIC registry. I can understand there might be a conundrum to be discussed if they aren’t. Some think the registry means you don’t mention it. I think it is the opposite when it comes to church situations.

  75. Steve wrote:

    While such a topic is difficult to converse about, such flippant

    The point I took from Dee was she was exposing the flippant way this was being considered by Fairfax. Their wording, while not humorous, can be classified as flippant.

  76. Steve wrote:

    I think it goes without saying that prayers are being said for the victim.

    You cannot even remotely make this assumption. In far too many cases I’ve read, the churches have backed up the wrongdoer to the exclusion of the victim. Remember, in SGM churches, some of the children were made to go in front of and forgive their abusers and guilted until they did so.

  77. Muff Potter wrote:

    No amount of clever pleading by highly paid legal counsel or howls of ‘persecution’ from the rafters will matter, their enablers and those who claim they ‘didn’t know’ will also go down for complicity.

    The trailer is out for the new movie Spotlight and WOW. “Spotlight” is a major motion picture about how a team of dedicated, award-winning reporters, with the help of then-New England SNAP director Phil Saviano, began uncovering massive complicity of top church officials.
    http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/2015/07/30/rachel-mcadams-mark-ruffalo-spotlight-trailer-church-sex-scandal/
    s journalists, the film is based on the true story of The Boston Globe‘s “Spotlight” team as they investigate the Massachusetts Catholic sex abuse, coverage which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003. Directed by Thomas McCarthy, the trailer sheds a light (a spotlight, perhaps?) on the power that investigative journalism can have on creating change and uncovering truth.

  78. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Or, maybe FCC’s liability insurer finds this objectionable and cancel their policy?

    Sometimes it takes insurance companies having to pay out before real changes are made. Just like a successful lawsuit in one area makes companies operating in the same area clean up their acts.

  79. Lydia wrote:

    I am not sure I see the problem if they are on the PUBLIC registry. I can understand there might be a conundrum to be discussed if they aren’t. Some think the registry means you don’t mention it. I think it is the opposite when it comes to church situations.

    The registry is public but very few consult it. The question is how public with in a church congregation it will be. A broadcast from the pulpit may not be in order but if it is largely kept hushed up that will end badly. The part I liked with Dee’s example from Wade Burleson was the constant escort.

  80. Amy Smith wrote:

    The trailer is out for the new movie Spotlight and WOW. “Spotlight” is a major motion picture about how a team of dedicated, award-winning reporters, with the help of then-New England SNAP director Phil Saviano, began uncovering massive complicity of top church officials.
    http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/2015/07/30/rachel-mcadams-mark-ruffalo-spotlight-trailer-church-sex-scandal/
    s journalists, the film is based on the true story of The Boston Globe‘s “Spotlight” team as they investigate the Massachusetts Catholic sex abuse, coverage which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003. Directed by Thomas McCarthy, the trailer sheds a light (a spotlight, perhaps?) on the power that investigative journalism can have on creating change and uncovering truth.

    You know, I thought Scientology was the depths of evil in religion for years. Then about 1998-1999, the first whispers of a real problem in the Boston Archdiocese started coming out and one of the weekly papers (now sadly defunct) wrote a story about a deposition by attorneys hired by the archdiocese to quiz victims. (Keep in mind, this was before things came completely undone in 2002.) I thought the Scientology attorneys were wicked and depraved up until that point. I absolutely had to change my mind after reading the questions put forward by the archdiocesan attorneys.

    We still have not had the Protestant child sexual abuse moment. It’s still coming. And people are going to be very shaken when it finally occurs. It’s not just a Catholic issue.

  81. If you guys are interested I just received this email from FCC. Their small groups program is unveiling a program called Table Groups. Who wants to join? 😛

    ****

    Hello Eagle,

    Small groups at Fairfax.cc is growing and you can help! Over the last few months Andy and I have been developing a strategy to make small groups more accessible to anyone that calls Fairfax.cc home. It is our desire to have anyone, at anytime in any life stage connected in a small group. That is why we are launching a NEW small group opportunity: table groups.

    Table groups meet weekly in homes with 8 – 12 people to share a meal and answer the “how was your day” and “what is going on next week” questions. In a table group there is no formal study – life is the curriculum of your time together.

    These groups will not form at GroupLink. Instead, table groups will be formed around people with previous small group experience. That’s where you come in. Do you have a group of people you’d like to get to know better? Do you want to build relationships in your neighborhood?

    If you’re curious about learning more about leading a table group, join me on Sunday, August 23 after the 11:15am service at 12:45pm in the Great Room for an informal gathering. REGISTER HERE. Information about joining a table group will be available in late September.

    If you already know you’d like to lead a table group, fill out this form and let’s start the conversation.

    Life is better together.

    Kayla

  82. Steve wrote:

    I think it goes without saying that prayers are being said for the victim.

    It goes without saying that it shouldn’t go without saying.

  83. Amy Smith I would love to hear your analysis of Rod Stafford’s statement on Eric Nickle. I think your the best person on here to analyze it given your experience with this issue.

  84. Law Prof wrote:

    If you just became a follower of the Lord at youth camp when you were 12 and before you’d had the chance to get in too much trouble, you’re boring–no one will call you a hero or line up at the back of the church to get your autograph. But if you’re a reformed full tilt criminal, that’s sexy in the celeb church culture.

    That’s my story. Accepted Christ at a very young age, lived like a “goody goody” my whole life, so my testimony isn’t exciting enough for churches.

  85. mirele wrote:

    BeenThereDoneThat wrote:
    Or, maybe FCC’s liability insurer finds this objectionable and cancel their policy?
    Sometimes it takes insurance companies having to pay out before real changes are made.

    All about the Benjamins, Baby.

  86. @ Mitch:

    When I was at FCC I looked into the group Eric Nickle led. I felt uncomfortable as it was a wide array of issues. One time there was a guy who it sounded like was preparing for prison and was being processed by the legal system. I don’t know exactly what happened but it sounded like he was involved in child porn. I listened to a few things and was deeply bothered…because I was not in the same category. Not even close….

    Many evangelicals lump it all together. Looking at child porn, or molesting a person is just as bad as a guy sleeping with his girlfriend or looking at regular adult porn on their android. I actually had planned to write about this more at my blog as I read a piece by Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition that was weird. But many normal guys get hammered over sex yet the molester gets a pass go figure. I’d venture to say but with the growth of the dones and the nones. And the number of people I’ve known burned out by evangelical Christianity I would estimate that the numbers of people burned out might make the death toll of the US in WWII look very conservative.

  87. mirele wrote:

    We still have not had the Protestant child sexual abuse moment. It’s still coming. And people are going to be very shaken when it finally occurs. It’s not just a Catholic issue.

    Maybe then all the Born-Again Bible-Believers will finally stop pointing fingers at Those Romish Papists with their Pedo-Priests and crowing in BIBLICAL(TM) triumph.

  88. mirele wrote:

    dee wrote:

    Its even worse. Apparently they put guys who use adult porn in the same group with pedophiles. They do not seem to understand the vast difference in those two issues. This is dangerously naive.

    I … can’t…even…I don’t understand…this is really dangerously naive.

    Again, sin-leveling across the board.
    Stealing a piece of candy when you’re five years old is SIN! SIN! SIN! (SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE!)
    Just like raping a five-year-old when you’re 40-something. It’s all SIN! SIN! SIN! (SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE!)

  89. Law Prof wrote:

    I could say things about this behavior being very typical of the sociopathic mind, but for now, I will assume the best of you, which is pretty much that your are at this time a blinded follower willing to defend your system and leaders–not Jesus, mind you–at all costs, even at the cost of your credibility and integrity.

    i.e. a Good Little Party Member.

    In his autobiography, Reichsminister Albert Speer wrote about “Arranging my mind” to see nothing wrong with the Nazi regime which was personally benefiting him.

  90. Law Prof wrote:

    Exactly. The Big Story sells, it’s easy to market. It makes the methods and righteousness of the celeb leader and the church system seem all the more miraculous and life-changing. I don’t know how much credit Jesus gets, though….

    Jesus Who?

    If you just became a follower of the Lord at youth camp when you were 12 and before you’d had the chance to get in too much trouble, you’re boring–no one will call you a hero or line up at the back of the church to get your autograph.

    Because they’re a *CELEBRITY* and you’re a Nobody.

    And the JUICIER the Testimony, the bigger the *CEELBRITY*. Don’t forget the porn fix angle of hearing about Vicarious Forbidden SIN In Great Detail while still staying Respectable.

  91. mirele wrote:

    Churches which look the other way or obfuscate the obvious regarding child sexual abusers are unsafe places.

    I am sorry to be a broken record on this, but this is precisely one of the reasons that child molesters give as to why they LOVE to go to churches.

    They find it so easy to prey on children in or from churches because the adults are so naive, trusting, etc

  92. A number of years ago when I was at FCC (I’d say 2005-2006?) Eric Nickle told me that he was arrested for prostitution. He told me that you don’t want to get arrested. Can being arrested for prostitution get you on the sex offender registry?

  93. mirele wrote:

    Remember, in SGM churches, some of the children were made to go in front of and forgive their abusers and guilted until they did so.

    That also happened in one very publicized case in an IFB church where an older guy raped a 15 year old girl 2 or 3 times, and I think she became pregnant as a result?

    The church forced her to get up and apologize for being a harlot over this.

    This story was covered by ABC news, if I remember correctly.

  94. Eagle wrote:

    A number of years ago when I was at FCC (I’d say 2005-2006?) Eric Nickle told me that he was arrested for prostitution. He told me that you don’t want to get arrested. Can being arrested for prostitution get you on the sex offender registry?

    That’s not what got Eric Nickle on the Sex Offenders Registry in Virginia. His registration states he is on there under section 18.2-370.1: “Taking indecent liberties with child by person in custodial or supervisory relationship.” That’s not prostitution.

  95. Steve wrote:

    Dee: You stated, “My life challenge is blueberry pie. I was skinny as a rail throughout most of my lie. Then, I had kids and other life challenges and I can no longer eat as much blueberry pie as I wish.” – While such a topic is difficult to converse about, such flippant and what appear to TRY to be humorous comments are unwarranted. Nothing about this situation is remotely funny. You are dealing with human beings.

    Oh dear. Hold it right there Steve. Her point is that labelling paedophilia a ‘life challenge’ is ridiculous, given that the things we would normally use this term for (along with terms like ‘besetting sin’) would be gluttony, gossip, a liking for too many G & T’s & so on, NOT a psycho-sexual deviancy leading to the actual sexual abuse of children.That’s where the blueberry pie comes in. Paedophilia should be WAAAAYYYY past the use of that term, & using it means that most people, by far, would never never never guess this guy is a child abuser rather than a user of adult porn or a serial adulterer, say. Please amend your criticism.

  96. I was looking at Fairfax Community Church’s worship Twitter feed last night. I saw that they were following both Elevation Church and Steven Furtick and Mars Hill Seattle and Mark Driscoll. I didn’t do my homework enough…that surprised me.

  97. Steve wrote:

    I think it goes without saying that prayers are being said for the victim.

    You bet it goes without saying. I have been watching this stuff for 6 years. And you can bet that I rarely ever hear anyone say anything about the victim. No, it needs to be said-each and every time you mention the pedophile. Too bad no one has done so publicly yet.

    Steve wrote:

    Why would it not be the same in the groups Mr. Nickle’s is part of?

    Someone’s sexual preference runs far deeper than an an addiction that starts later in life. And just so you know that I am no being flip, my father was the head of the medical staff at an alcoholic rehab facility in Massachusetts and I worked there as well. Again you are trying to compare apples to oranges and you need to educate yourself on the specifics of pedophilia.

    Steve wrote:

    if I were to make an educated guess, (which I would certainly not be alone in making when commenting on this issue) is that he is rarely/in a private setting

    I don’t know about that. Do you guys live with him in his off time?

    Steve wrote:

    I’m curious what else he could do in order to earn back trust in your eyes?

    I would not trust him fully ever. again. He threw away his trust card when he chose (yes he chose) to violate a child and cause that child harm that will dog him/her for the rest of their lives. He should never be a in a position of trust again since he likes kids who are easily bamboozled and easy to scare into silence.

    Steve wrote:

    While such a topic is difficult to converse about, such flippant and what appear to TRY to be humorous comments are unwarranted. Nothing about this situation is remotely funny. You are dealing with human beings.

    I wasn’t being flippant. I was feeding back how silly it is to play word games when we are dealing with a deadly serious issue like pedophilia. To blow off his crime as a “life challenge” is demeaning, especially to the victim. You do realize that molesting a kid can lead to life time consequences for the victim. I have spent a great deal of time talking with victims of child sex abuse as well as forming friendships with their families over the last 7 years. I, more than you, understand that there are human beings involved and I remember the victim and his/her family.

    For that reason, one should call his crime and predilection for what it is: sexual molestation of a minor child. A child who will feel that pain until the day that he/she dies. Eric is a big man who used his size and his adult reasoning to get his sexual pleasure from a little kid. Think about that one. He gets sexually stimulated by little children.

    Before you go for my throat, why don’t you read this blog and see the years that I have spent dealing with this problem. Please educate yourself.

  98. Bill M wrote:

    The part I liked with Dee’s example from Wade Burleson was the constant escort.

    That is making someone else responsible for their behavior while trusting adults and children have no clue. So what happens when the perp is “nice” to children (grooming?) How “responsible” and “educated” on this matter does the escort have to be? And how long does it really last? If everyone knows then everyone is aware of what might really be going on when they run into Mr. Perp outside of church, too. They might think twice before going along with his being Mr. Nice guy from church joking with the kids.

    I probably would not have such a reaction if I had not been on the board of an abuse center and went to a prison with some counselors to interview pedophiles because I was so ignorant on these things and wanted to learn. Keep in mind, these are the ones who were reported and then convicted. That is more rare than we might think. Most of them had at least 100 victims before that happened. It was quite an eye opener in how they groom. Talk about patience! It is often so subtle people cannot see it.

  99. mirele wrote:

    Eagle wrote:
    A number of years ago when I was at FCC (I’d say 2005-2006?) Eric Nickle told me that he was arrested for prostitution. He told me that you don’t want to get arrested. Can being arrested for prostitution get you on the sex offender registry?
    That’s not what got Eric Nickle on the Sex Offenders Registry in Virginia. His registration states he is on there under section 18.2-370.1: “Taking indecent liberties with child by person in custodial or supervisory relationship.” That’s not prostitution.

    This comment causes me to wonder what is going on with Eric. When he said this to Eagle, he was:
    1. Lying about his real crime which means he is still concealing what he did. That means he is NOT trustworthy.
    2. He has another arrest to contend with. Does the church know about this?

    I hope FCC is reading this. They better find out which it is. Neither option sounds good.

  100. Lydia wrote:

    Most of them had at least 100 victims before that happened. It was quite an eye opener in how they groom. Talk about patience! It is often so subtle people cannot see it.

    My youngest brother is not a pedophile, but he IS a master manipulator. Once he groomed various third parties as allies for literally years before springing a revenge plan on our stepmother.

    “Mistletoe killing an oak,
    Rats gnawing cables in two;
    Moths making holes in a cloak,
    How they must love what they do…”
    — Rudyard Kipling, “A Pict’s Song”

  101. dee wrote:

    I wasn’t being flippant. I was feeding back how silly it is to play word games when we are dealing with a deadly serious issue like pedophilia.

    Ah, but that sidetracks the thrust of the argument into parsing semantics, where the lawyer or debater has a home-field advantage. I got nailed by that more than once by a guy who used to be on a debating team. And the play and movie The Caine Mutiny has an example where the board of inquiry/court-martial gets sidetracked by “How many quarts of strawberries were there?”.

  102. mirele wrote:

    That’s not what got Eric Nickle on the Sex Offenders Registry in Virginia. His registration states he is on there under section 18.2-370.1: “Taking indecent liberties with child by person in custodial or supervisory relationship.” That’s not prostitution.

    Note “CUSTODIAL OR SUPERVISORY RELATIONSHIP”.
    i.e. Position of Authority (“Overseeing”) over child/victim.
    And he’s now in some sort of Ministry/authority (“Overseer”) position?
    Only in church…

  103. Daisy wrote:

    That also happened in one very publicized case in an IFB church where an older guy raped a 15 year old girl 2 or 3 times, and I think she became pregnant as a result?

    The church forced her to get up and apologize for being a harlot over this.

    And count herself lucky she wasn’t stoned to death in an Honor Killing?

  104. Daisy wrote:

    mirele wrote:

    Churches which look the other way or obfuscate the obvious regarding child sexual abusers are unsafe places.

    I am sorry to be a broken record on this, but this is precisely one of the reasons that child molesters give as to why they LOVE to go to churches.

    They find it so easy to prey on children in or from churches because the adults are so naive, trusting, etc

    i.e. Prey-Rich Environment and OPEN SEASON!

  105. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    I call it the long con. They are good at it. And because it is a long con we have to ask ourselves if the redemption story is just another chapter in the con after they are caught. There is nothing wrong with being wise.

  106. dee wrote:

    Before you go for my throat, why don’t you read this blog and see the years that I have spent dealing with this problem. Please educate yourself.

    Some who come here have no interest in self education, they just want a particular theology to prevail — And to hell with real life where the rubber meets the road.

  107. Lydia wrote:

    They might think twice before going along with his being Mr. Nice guy from church joking with the kids.

    There should be training and the stipulation absolutely no contact with kids.

  108. Lydia wrote:

    The victims are in an impossible situation brought on my one person’s horrible heinous sin. Not all victims want to be tagged and identified because that carries a life long stigma, sadly. They are always known as the defiled ones especially in certain comp/pat circles.

    This is where the church as a whole needs to give permission. As these things play out all too often there will be a victim of child abuse present and they will have a strong reaction to an abuser being present. I would expect that all too commonly the abuse victim will have only two choices, leave or deal with it, because if they object they will suddenly be made the offender because they “can’t forgive”.

    Not just Christians but also the media loves stories about the near automatic forgiveness given to perpetrators, but reality is far removed from that. The damage is extensive and the forgiveness can come by degrees and take decades. For a third party to come trotting in and demand full and total forgiveness is only a further outrage.

  109. Bill M wrote:

    This is where the church as a whole needs to give permission.

    This nails it precisely. The leaders don’t think they need to share their power nor do they feel the need to consult anyone. They have a view of leadership more in line with Plato’s republic than the Bible. They are the greater ones who see clearly, the congregation is made up of the lessers, the ignorant ones in the dark.

    In their own minds, they are the Oracles of God.

    Of course, they could not possibly be farther from the truth based on biblical concepts of leadership. There exist no leaders in the Kingdom of God with any power such as what was apparently assumed by the leaders at Fairfax. There exist no leaders at all except for those who humbly serve and never push themselves into the spotlight and never try to do anything by compulsion, but by example.

  110. @ dee:
    Dee, Steve’s comments are more like confusing watermelons and grapes, the two are of that much difference. And no where in any of the commentary by the church is there any mention of prayer for the victims, providing money to the parents for intensive counseling for the child, perhaps money for the surgery to correct the damage and scarring that sexual abuse of a child can cause. (Some, without surgery, will never have a normal bowel movement, for example, and little girls may not be able to bear a child when they become an adult. This is serious business, and churches in general not only fail to make it better, they make it worse.)

  111. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    Most of them had at least 100 victims before that happened. It was quite an eye opener in how they groom. Talk about patience! It is often so subtle people cannot see it.

    My youngest brother is not a pedophile, but he IS a master manipulator. Once he groomed various third parties as allies for literally years before springing a revenge plan on our stepmother.

    “Mistletoe killing an oak,
    Rats gnawing cables in two;
    Moths making holes in a cloak,
    How they must love what they do…”
    — Rudyard Kipling, “A Pict’s Song”

    This is another aspect of this sordid subject, the dedication involved. Often I’ve heard the sermon decrying the evil of seeking instant gratification. Here we have examples of outright evil but the dedication, the investment of years, the single-minded un-sleeping commitment appears to be extraordinary and would be laudable elsewhere. These people are not slackers.

  112. Pam Palmer makes a most poignant point. Our government has already decided that sex abusers should not be in close proximity with children.
    In some localities, I believe sex offenders need to be a certain distance away from playgrounds in addition to schools and daycare centers. Why aren’t churches in the list?

    In the spirit of these laws, I think most parents would reasonably assume that the same logic would extend to bringing their children to church. In the same way that their children are being protected throughout their school buildings without fear of being accosted by a janitor or bu someone in the staff lunchroom. It is also reasonable that parents would expect their children to be safe throughout their church including the grounds and properties.

    Parents can no longer rely on the common sense of their Church leaders. To think that we can open the eyes of those whose heads are so deep in doctrine that that they can no longer discern the wisdom of God nor the common sense of man

    Our ministries need to serve the greater good and prioritize the needs of the oppressed. If leaders want to have focused, trained ministries or support groups, then by all means do it outside of the church buildings!!! This is not rocket science! And there are so many underserved people groups in our churches. Why not focus on para church ministries already focused on such care. Then they could redouble the care of the widowed, the singled moms, the handicapped, the poor.

    I really wonder if our outrage would be better served by partnering with other groups like SNAP and lobbying to get Churches on the same list as the other protected locations. Instead of appealing to church leaders, let’s appeal to the segment of society which has already made such progress in protecting our children.
    I am so thankful for all you do here and for all those people who have made breakthroughs bringing us to this point. Let’s join those outside the church. They get it

  113. Steve wrote:

    Additionally some recovering alcoholics can handle going to a bar with friends while others cannot. Does this mean that diners at a restaurant should be notified that an alcoholic works there as a busboy or a server?

    You cannot be serious when comparing an alcoholic busboy’s potential harm to a customer and a pedophile’s potential harm to future victims. That is absurd.

  114. Gram3 wrote:

    Steve wrote:

    Additionally some recovering alcoholics can handle going to a bar with friends while others cannot. Does this mean that diners at a restaurant should be notified that an alcoholic works there as a busboy or a server?

    You cannot be serious when comparing an alcoholic busboy’s potential harm to a customer and a pedophile’s potential harm to future victims. That is absurd.

    Steve is just Defending the Faith (and Fairfax) against The Heathen, that’s all.
    I wonder what he’s getting out of it? Ego-boo?

  115. Elizabeth wrote:

    Parents can no longer rely on the common sense of their Church leaders. To think that we can open the eyes of those whose heads are so deep in doctrine that that they can no longer discern the wisdom of God nor the common sense of man.

    Ideology trumps Reality, Comrades.

  116. Law Prof wrote:

    The leaders don’t think they need to share their power nor do they feel the need to consult anyone. They have a view of leadership more in line with Plato’s republic than the Bible. They are the greater ones who see clearly, the congregation is made up of the lessers, the ignorant ones in the dark.

    They are the Highborn, the Baratheons, the Lannisters, the Targeryans, the Freys, the Boltons.

  117. The man is on the registry as “violent”. That would indicate more than just looking at pictures. This would indicate that whatever the crime was, there was nothing consensual about it. No matter how you slice it, this is not right. He’s in a position of trust, in a leadership position working with vulnerable men (who are over 18). This would not be allowed in any professional setting. Doctors lose their licenses over having liaisons with their patients, adult patients – not children. No doctor, psychologist or professional counsellor would ever be allowed to practice after such a conviction as Mr. Nickles. Based on what I’ve read, in pedophilia (like rape), the power over the child is as much a part of the compulsion. The only common thread in all of these churches (including the Catholic ones) is that there is a strong emphasis on the man having a special place in creation. Women and children are not equal to the man. Hence we must forgive our Christian brother, his broken victim is not our concern since the victim is not his equal. It’s all part and parcel with this whole idea that women are to submit to their husbands and stay with them, no matter what. This hyper-fundamentalism repudiates all the human rights gains of the modern era. These churches are so scared of secular society that they are willing to toss all the gains that men and women have fought (and in some cases died) for. Well secular society is also getting to be scared of them. Wonder who’ll win and how many more victims it will take?

  118. Bill M wrote:

    For a third party to come trotting in and demand full and total forgiveness is only a further outrage.

    To everybody except the Righteous Third Party and the perp.

  119. Bill M wrote:

    This is another aspect of this sordid subject, the dedication involved. Often I’ve heard the sermon decrying the evil of seeking instant gratification. Here we have examples of outright evil but the dedication, the investment of years, the single-minded un-sleeping commitment appears to be extraordinary and would be laudable elsewhere. These people are not slackers.

    This is what freaked me out the most. And I am convinced that if the same people who constantly defend cheap grace heard actual details of what goes into the process and the forms of molestation they would not be so quick to demand acceptance into church groups for these repentant pervs. They spent years single mindedly grooming kids. Some groom a hundred in their lifetime. How many of those kids never said a word? How many wait until adulthood when they can handle it?

    There is another aspect to this besides the sexual—the need for power. These types prey on the vulnerable because they need total power and complete control they cannot get with adults. It is evil. Just plain evil.

    I was reading not long ago about all men worship groups for former prisoners who are pedophiles. They can start one in their area and be the leader of that.

  120. mirele wrote:

    Eagle wrote:

    A number of years ago when I was at FCC (I’d say 2005-2006?) Eric Nickle told me that he was arrested for prostitution. He told me that you don’t want to get arrested. Can being arrested for prostitution get you on the sex offender registry?

    That’s not what got Eric Nickle on the Sex Offenders Registry in Virginia. His registration states he is on there under section 18.2-370.1: “Taking indecent liberties with child by person in custodial or supervisory relationship.” That’s not prostitution.

    This part is disturbing indeed.

    Either he lied on his own, or the leaders told him to enhance the truth.

    The fact that Eagle had to ask him in the first place highlights a big issue.

  121. Lydia wrote:

    There is another aspect to this besides the sexual—the need for power. These types prey on the vulnerable because they need total power and complete control they cannot get with adults. It is evil. Just plain evil.

    And this fact iis just one more reason these people should never be allowed a position of trust or authority. Part of the addiction or pathology is about power. This doesn’t mean he couldn’t.help other men in the same situation. But why is it he isnt working in some clinical setting? That would be because those settings are regulated and controlled and driven by a code of ethics that he could never meet. So instead he found a church that will set him up with little supervision and even less control. Sick I tell you

  122. @ Gram3:

    One area or so where I feel the analogy may apply is that from what I’ve read, both situations, being an alcoholic or a pedo, are both life-long problems or temptations.

    Alcoholics are told to limit exposure to alcohol if they can, while pedos should stay away from children.

    I don’t agree with the rest of Steve’s attitudes about any of this, though.

  123. Elizabeth wrote:

    I really wonder if our outrage would be better served by partnering with other groups like SNAP and lobbying to get Churches on the same list as the other protected locations. Instead of appealing to church leaders, let’s appeal to the segment of society which has already made such progress in protecting our children.
    I am so thankful for all you do here and for all those people who have made breakthroughs bringing us to this point. Let’s join those outside the church. They get it

    I absolutely agree. I have partnered with SNAP. They are awesome heroes who have paved the way in this long-term fight. I personally think we need to do both: appeal to church leaders and work to enact appropriate laws. I also think that much work needs to be done to reach the regular members and raise awareness and educate about this issue. Hence the Blog Queens and others like Eagle and Boz T.

  124. “Eric’s history enables him to minister to men who face rejection and isolation elsewhere. This is why his title at FCC is Care Director.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    To the extent it’s true, I admire Eric for the effort he’s making to do something good.

    Although there is much that is troubling about this whole situation.

    Like this: Fairfax Community Church will give authority to a convicted child sex offender/violent. Do they espouse comp/pat beliefs, and thus do not give authority to women?

    Note to Christians who embrace complementarianism / patriarchy and who feel ok about the church hiring Eric Nickle, giving him authority, and putting him in charge of something, yet who will not give a woman authority:

    Wake up.

  125. Pam Palmer wrote:

    I also think that much work needs to be done to reach the regular members and raise awareness and educate about this issue. Hence the Blog Queens and others like Eagle and Boz T.

    This is the key – the church leaders don’t care, and appropriate laws are not going to happen. It’s time for regular members to open their eyes and see what’s going on with some of these freakish megapastors/megachurches…

  126. @ elastigirl:

    Elastagirl-

    FCC doe snot practice complementarism. They actually have a couple of female pastors such as Kathleen Otchy and Kayla Allen I believe. I am going off my head. FC is not a Neo-Calvinist church at all…its affiliated with the Church of God Anderson, Indiana denomination. Wseylyn Holiness movement.

    Trust me I research it before getting involved and still researched the heck out of it when I was there.

  127. As the ex-wife of a pedophile, I can tell you that professionals who have special training to treat sex offenders don’t allow the perpetrators to call themselves “sex addicts.”

    They insist that they call themselves “sex offenders.”

    Eric has provided “computer support” for the church, yet the pastor thinks a mere “filter” is going to stop him?

    Even if the pastor were naive and trusting enough to have Eric babysit his children and/or grandchildren, he should not be putting his reputation behind this man. Pedophiles love churches because everyone is so stupid.

    See this slide 12 of this PowerPoint from Church Mutual Insurance:
    https://www.churchmutual.com/media/safetyResources/files/KeyLiabilityRisksForReligiousOrganizations.pdf

    Unique Characteristics of Pedophiles
    1. incurability
    2. promiscuity
    3. predatory behavior
    4. high recidivism rate

    Pedophiles are superb manipulators and actors. Those who aren’t are already in prison.

  128. Anon3 wrote:

    Pedophiles love churches because everyone is so stupid.

    Yow! Though it sometimes seems that way, with some of the craziness that congregations put up with. And I would say, enable.

  129. Steve wrote:

    Dave A A: Whether the pastor used the word “sin” or “pedophilia” seems to be rather “in the weeds” and beyond the scope of what is occurring

    I did not mean to suggest he could ONLY use those two words– but something stronger and, dare I say, Biblical and Gospel-centered than “life challenges”, “struggle”, and “addictions”.

  130. Anon3 wrote:

    Pedophiles are superb manipulators and actors. Those who aren’t are already in prison.

    We only hear about the ones DUMB enough to get caught.

  131. Mitch wrote:

    And this fact iis just one more reason these people should never be allowed a position of trust or authority. Part of the addiction or pathology is about power.

    THAT explains why Pastor protects and elevates the pedo.
    Like seeks Like.

  132. @ Eagle:
    “Table Groups”, huh??.
    I’ll bite.
    Do we storm the place, overthrow the tables, and cast out the “money changers”?

  133. @ Lydia:
    I’m just beginning to pay attention and slowly educate myself on this one, and it’s truly disturbing. One wears out their gag reflex. I suspect many (like me for years), given the cold gospel-centered™ attitude towards it, take the “not my problem” approach to it and choose to not think about what it involves. “Sexual sin” hides a multitude of crimes and truly sickening actions. How great is our God! We are all earnestly in prayer for this young man daily! Do you believe in grace? If it was up to you you’d have sent him to hell already! You don’t understand the power of the Gospel. He did a terrible thing, but forgiveness is found in Christ! We’re all sinners in need of a savior. Why are you hunting him down like wolves? He’s paid for his crimes. You would have kept the apostle Paul out of the ministry!

    Do I need to continue?

  134. @ Law Prof:
    That’s just it. If all sins are equal, why the commotion and party over repentance from one sin? How is my redemption story not worthy of autographs? Not that I wasn’t Abby of that, but those of us with non-publicity-stunt stories have to sit back and go, “eh?”

    Here’s a salvation story that won’t play on the big stage. I grew up in a strict puritanical household with 9 other siblings. Homeschooled. Extremely isolated. Godliness was hours in scripture reading/memorization/journaling and prayer every day. Godliness was following the spiritually and psychologically abusive, manipulative man of God in our lives, while simultaneously shunning and/or mocking the world for their lost, blind state. I accepted Christ in those circumstances one evening. Knew I needed him, but never felt good enough or ready for him. It took years for me to grow. The psychological suppression was very strong. Salvation felt more like “now that hurdle is out of the way, let’s get back to holiness”. Years later, we left the abusive church, a Ruckmanite IFB place with about 20 people. When we left, there was roughly 10 people there. I was still an infant in Christ. We left the one and fell right into another, a Hyles Anderson bankruptcy palace led by Tom and Peeping Tom Greg Neal. During this time I got closer to some Southern Baptist friends through work. I started attending their church from time to time, and there were tiny bits of growth starting to appear in my life. Married a girl I met there. I was invited to a private Facebook “small group” by a long-time friend, and that was a great influence in my life. By this time I was long gone from Berean Baptist. I was awakened to the damage that had been done to my life and made this Twitter parody account to vent my frustration and anger. Being honest with myself and meeting other believers with similar stories and different, but strong, faiths, awakened me further. I met some darned good folks on there, one of whom led me here to this community. I’m still a work in progress, and some days still feel like that darned “babe in Christ”, but I’m free. Free to pursue Christ and love my neighbors.

    That one won’t get a book deal or a handshake line at church, and I have no desire for one, but how is God’s work in my life any less amazing because it didn’t involve a sordid tale sexual sin or sex crimes? There’s much more I’d love to say on that count, but I gotta run. Just had to vent this a little.

  135. @ GovPappy:

    We have been down this road before, Gov. Why is your focus on the “young man”? Let’s stop and think what real redemption might look like when it comes to those who commit heinous sins against the most vulnerable. If truly convicted of what they have done to innocents, how might they respond? Would it be to seek limelight and focus on being a ‘sexual addict” instead of a sexual predator? Would they be honest and transparent about their crime(s) or try to keep it vague as we see in this situation (and others like Elevation). Have they admitted that such a life required a long con. One does not wake up one day and decide to violate a kid.

    I am a big believer in grace just not cheapo grace. There are some crimes that one will have to deal with the consequences for the rest of their lives even though totally forgiven. Reality has changed. Are you tracking, in these situations, how quickly the church will promote them? They cannot even give it a few years on the benches when it comes to repentance since that means a total change of heart and direction?

    I suggest you spend some time with real victims and how such crimes affect them for the rest of their lives. What about them? And please. Don’t tell them how they should be healed or when they should be healed.

    I find the “repentant” criminals have plenty of supporters. Church people tend to rally around them and even show up to court to beg for leniency. I never really thought about how that looked to outsiders until an old college friend who is a judge made a comment about it to me years back. He is agnostic so he was put off with Christians who would show up in huge numbers to protest the rulings in porn shop violations but then show up in huge numbers to beg for leniency when a “Christian” pedophile was goingto be sentenced. It made no sense to him they would be more concerned with the perp than the victim.

    I get the feeling that you believe if I am more concerned for the victim I don’t believe in the conventional way of seeing forgiveness and grace. I don’t. In fact, I do not believe redeemed people molest kids, commit cold blooded murder, rape, etc. I am one of the few. I get that.

  136. Gov Pappy, I have a comment in moderation but I can assure you I have no power to send anyone to “hell”, whatever that is. Individuals decide for themselves the extent they are separated from God.

    And I will fully admit I am more concerned for the victims. The worst thing is when a victim ends up separated from God because the church rallies around the predator.

  137. @ GovPappy:
    I agree with GovPappy…. While I can not speak for others, I have no issues with the “repentant sinners” in all of the situations described in WW…. That is between G&d and them…
    My issue is with the theology, and application of that theology, in current churches…. For example, The “celebrity pastors”, lack of complete transparancy in the organizations, church buying into “marketing/american business model”, and the quick to sham/attack/put down anyone that questions them is the issue…. all seem to contract basic teaching of orthodox christianity…

  138. Lydia wrote:

    For the rest of his life. Why can’t you get that? He CHOSE to violate a child. He COULD HELP IT. HE CHOSE TO DO IT. He has to live with that just as the victim has to live with navigating such a violation for the rest of their lives. What about them?

    Unfortunately many conflate the penalty of sin with the consequences of sin. One is eternal, the other is temporal. For example: an unbeliever robs a bank and during the act he gets his arm caught in the bank vault and his arm is subsequently amputated. During his time in prison he repents of his rebellion against God and turns to Jesus as Lord and Savior. The penalty of his sins have been paid. But his arm doesn’t grow back. The loss of his arm is the (temporal) consequences of his sin.

    It’s the same thing here (or should be). If Nickle is truly repentant and has received the gift of salvation, then he is forgiven. But his arm isn’t going to grow back. The consequences for his sin is that he will (or should) be closely monitored for the rest of his life.

  139. @ WillysJeepMan:
    This is an excellent comment. I wish I had said it as good as you have. You got me to thinking when you used the term “gift of salvation.” Is it not enough that God has forgiven Eric (if he has truly repented?)

    Eric violated a child. he should be rejoicing that God has forgiven him as should everyone in that church. That does not mean he is safe or should not be the consequences. Eric and his friends should realize that he is truly *without an arm.*

  140. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    quick to sham/attack/put down anyone that questions them is the issue…

    You speak truth here. Shame on church leaders who think so highly of themselves they will put down anyone who attempts to question them. They resemble the Pharisees more than the servant Jesus.

  141. @ WillysJeepMan:

    Great way to explain it. There is an interesting article that touches on some of the problems with easy forgiveness and cheap grace that actually end up perpetuating more wrong doing to others if we don’t handle it correctly. The problem with the way most Christians handle it is that it ends up marginalizing victims even more. Most Christians blow this off saying oh, justice is done when Jesus comes back. but we must also seek justice as we can now or we are not trustworthy.

    Here is a snippet but I hope people read it in full. It is from the National Association for Christian Recovery:

    http://www.nacr.org/wordpress/160/the-f-word-forgiveness-and-its-imitations

    STEPS: Tell me more about the fact that forgiveness doesn’t always mean a return to intimate relationship. What do you mean?

    DAVID: Forgiveness never returns us to things as they were – it is never just about restoration of a relationship to a former state. The relationship must change as the result the injury – otherwise the forgiveness is just a form of denial. Take the example of a father who has sexually abused his daughter. As an adult, the daughter confronts him and through a long process comes to forgive him. Suppose he then says “I want things to be like they used to be when I could have time alone with my grandchildren.” To return to the old relationship and to allow that privilege would be irresponsible and dangerous. To construct a new kind of relationship means that we must have time to know that he is fully and completely trustworthy. Towards the end of the long process of forgiveness, a responsible daughter will say “No, we will not return to how things used to be. I welcome you back into relationship with me and my family but things are not the same. You may see the grandchildren but only with me present at all times.” The father may say “See, you haven’t really forgiven me.” But forgiveness does not mean returning to business as usual but crafting a new relationship with a level of intimacy appropriate to our level of trust. To return to a civil relationship may be an enormous achievement in situations like this. A return to intimacy may never be possible or appropriate and it is certainly not required by forgiveness.
    STEPS: There are a lot of things that mimic forgiveness, or that we confuse with forgiveness. Forgiveness is not the same as accepting what the person did. It is not pretending that what happened didn’t happen. It’s not about denial.
    DAVID: No. And it’s not even necessarily about the complete eradication of resentment. I think Jim McClendon’s line where he says “resentment is God’s good gift that leads us to prize justice” is important in this context.

    STEPS: Do you mean that even when you have fully forgiven someone there can remain an appropriate place for resentment?

    DAVID: There is, of course, a malevolent kind of resentment that is destructive and distancing. There can, however, be a benign form of resentment that says “I despise actions that injure innocent parties. I will never approve of what took place. I will never excuse it. I reach out for relationship where ever possible but I will not give up my commitment to justice.”

  142. GovPappy wrote:

    That’s just it. If all sins are equal,

    I don’t think the Bible teaches all sins are equal.

    It teaches any sin can send a person to Hell, but not that all sins are equal in severity.

    God applies stiffer penalties for intentional homicide in the Old Testament than unintentional, for example.

    Jesus seems to treat sins against children (ie, millston around neck) as being worse than sins against adults.

  143. @ Daisy:
    P.S.
    Not that I am fine with churches who consider what HUG calls “juicy” testimonies to be better than run- of- the- mill testimonies.

    I was a goody goody my whole life, so I don’t have one of those intriguing “criminal- to-convert” stories churches love so much.

    Folks like myself who live pretty clean lifestyles are ignored in many evangelical churches. We’re too boring for them.

  144. @ Jack:
    What a great comment! Forgiveness does not mean all is well. Let’s start all over again. It means “You have been forgiven, Now begins the hard work. Think about it.

    If, instead of being a church leader, Eric became a church servant. He humble confesses to all that he is a pedophile. he does things for the church that do not involve children-like painting an elderly widow’s home, mowing the grass for a man who has cancer, etc.

    To show that this is not all about him, he tries to do these things in an anonymous fashion. This brings him out of the starring role since pedophiles get off on being in charge of their victims.

    There is an awful case going on in Texas at the moment. As the mother of a child who survived a brain tumor, this particularly resonates for me. One of the pediatric oncologists at MD Anderson- a fine cancer hospital- has been arrested on child porn charges. Some of that porn involved taking pictures of his little patients. The betrayal is breathtaking.

    https://www.fbi.gov/houston/press-releases/2015/medical-center-physician-appears-in-court-on-child-pornography-charges

    Would some of theses pastors be OK with him ever treating their children for cancer in the future? Of course not. If this guy repents, he will need to spend the rest of his life showing that he gets the tremendous sacrifice that Christ made for him. He has thrown away his doctor card and the trust that comes with that position.

  145. I have a post that I want to write on Monday. It appears that, once again, Queen Esther is taking a hit. This time from a woman.

  146. @ GovPappy:
    WOW!!!! I knew that there was much to your story. One day, we need to feature it in a post. I love your alter ego-Governor Pappy. Each day, I look forward to smiling at the pictures/comments. You have brought joy to my life in the midst of busy days.

  147. dee wrote:

    I have a post that I want to write on Monday. It appears that, once again, Queen Esther is taking a hit. This time from a woman. I plan to write on this on Monday.

    Aw. Esther keeps getting unfairly dragged through the mud. Driscoll in particular got Esther totally wrong and backwards.

    IMO, it’s bad enough when men do stuff like this to women, but even sadder to see women who buy into these views and propagate them.

    (I used to be one because I was brought up in a family that believed in this stuff, but I eventually saw through it and was willing to question what I was being taught.)

  148. @ dee:
    Let me guess. Esther sinned somehow. It can’t be that she wasn’t submissive enough to a male, so maybe it was that she prostituted herself or manipulated her husband or she usurped her husband’s authority…something in order to keep her from being the heroine of the story. Women are not supposed to be courageous and assertive but rather demure and passive. Esther and Jael and Deborah and Phoebe really mess up their narrative about females. Never mind that part about God creating the Woman to be ezer which means “personal assistant” instead of “rescuer.” In some ways Queen Esther reminds me of Jesus with her courage and willingness to do whatever it takes to save her people. Let the stoning begin.

  149. Lydia wrote:

    personal assistant

    I prefer ‘ally.’ Personal assistant has connotations of paid employment. Ally gives the sense of an Other prepared to do what is within their power to help.

  150. Daisy wrote:

    It teaches any sin can send a person to Hell…

    Think for a moment the illogic you must sign onto and how you must suppress your conscience within in order to swallow this rot.

  151. GovPappy wrote:

    …but how is God’s work in my life any less amazing because it didn’t involve a sordid tale sexual sin or sex crimes?

    We have a homeschooling family of nine, so not surprisingly we’ve brushed up against the very cultures you describe: hateful KJV-only hypocrites, the Arminian holiness perfection crowd, pharisaical neocalvinists, smug Vision Forum-types and wild-eyed isolationist Gothardites. Given my experiences, I frankly think your story’s more unusual and amazing than the thief, liar, and murderer who comes to know Jesus in a prison cell. In my opinion, you were amongst people who, in the name of God, were essentially thieves, liars and murderers, they were just too gutless to come right out and literally do it, murdering your body. Instead they worked on your soul, which is far more destructive. Thank God that in spite of all this, you came to know Jesus.

    Your story is amazing. Mine is mundane.

    Had it far easier than you: raised in an agnostic family that was beyond atheism, they absolutely did not care. Went to church maybe a half dozen times growing up, typically on Easter every few years–for the cultural experience, I suppose. There was no hypocrisy though, mom and dad were more compassionate than 80% of the people I’ve run into in churches because they were not trying to earn any merit from some angry, hateful God they’d made in their own image. What they did came out of the natural kindness and creativity and beauty present in all people (even though highly imperfect and oft selfish) because we’re all made in the image of God–so long as we don’t warp that image beyond all recognition by joining a band of psychopaths who go on killing sprees or doing something even worse: joining a band of pharisees who do the same except to those seeking God in a church.

    So for me, an 18 year old who treated the opposite sex quite poorly and did recreational drugs and regularly dropped the F-bomb, it was quite easy to come to know Jesus. I had no father issues to overcome, I knew no hypocrisy, I had an easy go of it.

  152. @ Muff Potter:
    Not to mention the problem involved with defining sin since Augustine’s original sin. It is one reason sin leveling became the norm. There is literally no common sense applied to the issue.

  153. @ lydia:

    It’s like saying that a jay-walker both deserves and should get the same penalty as James Holmes (Colorado cineplex shooter).
    And yes it makes no sense.

  154. dee wrote:

    Would some of theses pastors be OK with him ever treating their children for cancer in the future? Of course not.

    They’re too Important to risk their heir apparent.
    Pew Sitters/Tithing Units, on the other hand…

    JMJ at Christian Monist once mentioned growing up in some sort of independent evangelical or Baptist church where it was an open secret that one of the Elders (Youth Minister?) was a pedophile. The Church Ladies/Pillars of the Community protected their children from him by steering new members with kids into him. i.e. so he would rape THEIR children, not MINE.

  155. Thing is, Linda and Muff, Jesus was pretty adamant that there were different levels of judgment, He states this on a number of occasions, multiples times it’s recounted in Matthew and elsewhere, as did the writer of Hebrews (Paul or whomever it was) and James. This is by no means an uncommon theme in the NT.

    In fact, it seems that the ones who will be judged as being most reprobate (if we are to take those scriptures that make the point of varying judgment seriously) are those who pharisaically lord it over others while rejecting the love of Jesus, those who harm children and those who presume the authority to teach others in a church environment. How interesting that that happens to be exactly the crowd most taken to task on this forum.

  156. Law Prof wrote:

    …and those who presume the authority to teach others in a church environment. How interesting that that happens to be exactly the crowd most taken to task on this forum.

    Clarification: I don’t claim the Bible says there’s anything inherently reprobate about teaching others in a church environment, of course, I assume many people in a church environment should do that at various times, just that when one does, they should not take it lightly, knowing that the scrutiny will be all the greater and the judgment more stringent should they teach things falsely.

  157. dee wrote:

    This is an excellent comment. I wish I had said it as good as you have. You got me to thinking when you used the term “gift of salvation.” Is it not enough that God has forgiven Eric (if he has truly repented?)
    Eric violated a child. he should be rejoicing that God has forgiven him as should everyone in that church. That does not mean he is safe or should not be the consequences. Eric and his friends should realize that he is truly *without an arm.*

    Thanks for the kind words. Absolutely. The response should be, “brother, you’re missing an arm. We’re going to help you.” (“help” in this case is to be constantly watched… to help him avoid temptation. That is in addition to the primary reason of keeping children safe.)

    “Is it not enough that God has forgiven Eric?”
    Depends on who you ask. I suspect that an antinomian would give an unqualified “yes”. For me, I’d need to know, “enough for what?”. To spend eternity in Heaven, absolutely. To be separated from all of the consequences of sin, no.

    We won’t experience that separation from the consequences of our sin until the process of sanctification is complete and we have received our glorified bodies. THAT is the time when the bank robber will have his arm back. THAT is when Nickle will not have to be under constant watch.

    I believe that one of the purposes that the Lord has for allowing the consequences of sin to remain even though the penalty has been removed is to be a reminder to us (and to others) of where we were and where we are because of Christ, and how dramatic our glorification will be. Without some of those consequences as a reminder we’d be too quick to think that “we’ve arrived”. (we can do that IN SPITE of the lingering consequences… 🙂 )

  158. I’m very torn on this particular story.

    On the one hand, if the gospel isn’t capable of redeeming people, we might as well pack up and go home.

    On the other hand, science is showing us just how hard and how rare it is for pedophiles to be anything but pedophiles.

  159. dee wrote:

    Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:
    quick to sham/attack/put down anyone that questions them is the issue…
    You speak truth here. Shame on church leaders who think so highly of themselves they will put down anyone who attempts to question them. They resemble the Pharisees more than the servant Jesus.

    As a university professor, I see this type of abuse all of the time…. What I find most ironic, growing up in a fundamental background, is that the fundies pride themselves on not being worldly (they don’t drink or dance, or go with girls that due); yet, the politics they play is NO different than the politics I see at the big U… in another words, some much of this church abuse is just ways of the world….

  160. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    I think there is also a deeper, theological issue here…. Evangelicalism, and fundamentalism, stresses too much “emotional” night/day conversions, and changed lives. That is why they love to put forward “radically changed” people up front.. In fact, if you do not have a “dramatic” conversion story, you quite often are “boring” and do not get the lime light that “heathen to saint” gets… It really comes down to “marketing” They are sailing a way to change your life for the better, and these examples are like a taking a pill to solve your overweight problems, or what ever health issue you have.
    My experience in life is that anything worth anything takes ALLOT of hard work… but that does not “sale” well

    There’s a nasty flip-side to that coin: a victim who may have years of PTSD, trouble “forgiving”, or who lives with other serious repercussions from the offender, MUST not be as open to the Holy Spirit ™ as this Obviously Repentant Former Abuser is. 🙁

    I ™ “Holy Spirit” because the Spirit’s job is to guide us into all truth. People who are blind to the manipulative powers of con-artists are truly NOT being led by the Spirit. They’re being sold a lie. They’re having an emotional experience. They may have a mental illness that impairs certain cognitive processes, or a myriad of other things–but they’re not being Led By The Spirit.

  161. Lydia wrote:

    I keep getting the impression that violating children is not seen as such a horrible thing in many “Christian” circles. I don’t get it. Is it seeing them as sort of throw away nobodies who cannot really do anything for the church? Is it protecting the leaders over the most vulnerable of our society? Is it having a big redemption story to sell to other molesters?

    Where can the victims go to church?

    It’s a violation of their precious Umbrella of Authority. So many Baptists habrgulker wrote:

    I’m very torn on this particular story.

    On the one hand, if the gospel isn’t capable of redeeming people, we might as well pack up and go home.

    On the other hand, science is showing us just how hard and how rare it is for pedophiles to be anything but pedophiles.

    The church just has a nasty history of being naïve on this topic. 🙁

  162. Ugh! Dee, or Guy Behind The Curtain, can you remove the first part of my previous comment? Two got combined, & half of one was deleted. 😛

  163. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    dee wrote:
    Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:
    quick to sham/attack/put down anyone that questions them is the issue…
    You speak truth here. Shame on church leaders who think so highly of themselves they will put down anyone who attempts to question them. They resemble the Pharisees more than the servant Jesus.
    As a university professor, I see this type of abuse all of the time…. What I find most ironic, growing up in a fundamental background, is that the fundies pride themselves on not being worldly (they don’t drink or dance, or go with girls that due); yet, the politics they play is NO different than the politics I see at the big U… in another words, some much of this church abuse is just ways of the world….

    I’m a uni prof also. The politics I’ve seen in big U is relatively mild vis-a-vis the politics I’ve seen in churches, which I can only liken to Chicago-style machine politics, the brutality of Tammany Hall circa mid-19th century or old style Soviet intrigues.

  164. dee wrote:

    I have a post that I want to write on Monday. It appears that, once again, Queen Esther is taking a hit. This time from a woman.

    The story of Esther is not a love story, it’s a courage story. Men who lack courage (driscoll) are threatened by her example. It’s also a lesson to women that we’re not exempt from the responsibility to show courage when the occasion arises.

  165. I don’t believe ANY ex-con pedophiles who are working in a church are repentant. They wouldn’t be there if they were. They WOULD be forming their own church group as someone suggested if it meant that much to them to gather with other believers. They are showing blatant disregard for the one out of four or so victims who want to attend church without triggers.

    And, I will only begin to have a tiny bit of respect for the church that allows “ex-peds” to work there when that same church can prove to me that “ex-Madoffs” are running their finances, “ex-Milly-Vanillies” are running the music, and the Clintons are teaching marriage classes.

  166. Uppity Bimbo wrote:

    The story of Esther is not a love story, it’s a courage story.

    And it’s also a dig on power. Look at “King Aserhaus”, i.e. Padishah, Shahanshah, Shah of Iran and not-Iran, at the mention of whose name the whole world trembles. The BIG Boss, yet he’s written as a buffoon whose favorite courtiers du jour (one day Haman, the next Mordecai) lead him around by the ring through his nose.

  167. Law Prof wrote:

    The politics I’ve seen in big U is relatively mild vis-a-vis the politics I’ve seen in churches, which I can only liken to Chicago-style machine politics, the brutality of Tammany Hall circa mid-19th century or old style Soviet intrigues.

    At least Tammany in the 19th Century was “Honestly Dishonest”, without the Cloak of Righteousness you find in the Soviets, the Churches, and the Kyle’s Mom Activists.

  168. @ Law Prof:
    Dee, maybe you could run both of our stories back to back, should we ever get around to writing them. Getting two extremes on the spectrum might be a big encouragement. Plus I want to hear your story unpacked, Professor. Thanks to both of you for the encouragement.

  169. Lydia wrote:

    @ GovPappy:

    Well duh. I totally missed it. My radar must not be working properly. :o)

    Hehe no problem. Feel free to continue to keep us honest.

  170. Ester is a true heroine of the Bible. She put her life on the line for her people, risked death by dismemberment, to get the king, who had every legal right to her and to do anything to her he choose, to go against his prized satrap, and offer her people a means to avoid annihilation.

    BTW, as a man, when I considered marriage, I asked God for a woman my equal or superior in devotion to Him, intelligence, and capabilities, because I knew that in life today, it is rare that a man will outlive his spouse, and I did not wish to be leaving behind a woman unable to fend for herself. And one who could be a model to her children. And she continues to prove God’s grace to me now almost 37 years later.

  171. I read this thread last night and am still thinking about it today, so I came back to comment.

    Full disclaimer- I’m from Fairfax and have attended services FCC before. I’m not a member. I do not know Eric.

    I think the comments have strayed from the point a little. There are many comments on Eric Nickle, and the consequences of his actions. From what I can read here, he has done as required- jail time, registered as a sex offender, attended 12-step groups, etc. From the information presented here, I have no reason to believe he would not comply with further requirements. I don’t think this qualifies him to spend time with children or to be exempt from consequences, but I don’t think that Eric should be the focus of the discussion.

    The problem is with the leadership of the church. Part of the problem may stem from a lack of education and policy on how to protect the most vulnerable members and how to support victims of abuse. But, more importantly, I think limiting the information of a convicted sex offender on staff is a stunning display of hubris and condescension on the part of the church leadership. The leadership clearly believes that they are smarter or more knowledgeable about sex offenders than the justice system, trained psychologists and other professionals. It also seems that the leadership feels more qualified than me to parent my children, given that they have taken away the right/ability to make important decisions about my children’s safety while at church.

    Eric Nickle is a symptom of a much larger, more insidious problem in the church, where church leadership takes on a role of manipulating the congregation to be good little sheep, while believing the church leadership is exempt from the same expectations and responsibilities.

  172. Magnolia wrote:

    Eric Nickle is a symptom of a much larger, more insidious problem in the church, where church leadership takes on a role of manipulating the congregation to be good little sheep, while believing the church leadership is exempt from the same expectations and responsibilities.

    Smack dab on the nail head, which we now know is in authority over the rest of the nail. But I digress. The clergy has elevated itself above the pewpeons, and this is a very old story that just will not go away. There are not classes of people. There are not classes in the church arranged by hierarchies of any sort. We are all members of Christ’s body, and each of us has the same Holy Spirit indwelling us. Paul commended the Bereans who verified what he was saying, and if he was not above new believers checking up on him, then neither are the current crop of church elitists above it.

  173. brgulker wrote:

    I’m very torn on this particular story.

    On the one hand, if the gospel isn’t capable of redeeming people, we might as well pack up and go home.

    On the other hand, science is showing us just how hard and how rare it is for pedophiles to be anything but pedophiles.

    And insurance companies like Church Mutual, the largest insurer of churches in the U.S., have reported (based on claims and litigation) that child sexual abuse is the Number 1 reason that churches get sued every single year. Attorney Richard Hammar at Church Law & Tax reports same:
    http://www.churchlawandtax.com/blog/2015/may/top-5-reasons-churches-went-to-court-in-2014.html

    According to insurance companies, attorneys and researchers, there is an epidemic of child sexual abuse in the evangelical church that rivals that of the Catholic Church, and may exceed it.

  174. Corbin wrote:

    Off topic, but I thought everyone would want to hear this.
    “John Piper on Mark Driscoll and the Church.”
    https://youtu.be/4Yhn_4mmowU

    It is related to the topic, IMO, as Magnolia pointed out. At the end of the video, he conflates, once again, the Church which is the Body of Christ with the local organizations. He says it is impossible to walk away from the local organizations without walking away from Jesus because Jesus loves the Church, his body. That is simply incoherent and is a deliberate mis-characterization of the people who are Done with the local organizations because of the huge leadership failures in the local organizations and their affiliated organizations. People have not left Jesus. They have left certain local organizations because they did not see any sign of Jesus in the leadership of those local organizations. Piper will *never* admit that because he is a big part of the problem.

  175. Magnolia wrote:

    But, more importantly, I think limiting the information of a convicted sex offender on staff is a stunning display of hubris and condescension on the part of the church leadership. The leadership clearly believes that they are smarter or more knowledgeable about sex offenders than the justice system, trained psychologists and other professionals. It also seems that the leadership feels more qualified than me to parent my children, given that they have taken away the right/ability to make important decisions about my children’s safety while at church.

    Bingo.

  176. Gram3 wrote:

    People have not left Jesus. They have left certain local organizations because they did not see any sign of Jesus in the leadership of those local organizations. Piper will *never* admit that because he is a big part of the problem.

    Honestly, though, most leaders will never admit this. They receive their income from these 501c3 organizations, so they cannot go away.

  177. Patti wrote:

    And, I will only begin to have a tiny bit of respect for the church that allows “ex-peds” to work there when that same church can prove to me that “ex-Madoffs” are running their finances, “ex-Milly-Vanillies” are running the music, and the Clintons are teaching marriage classes.

    LOL!!!

  178. @ Bridget:

    So what do they do . . . mis-charachterize the people who have left their organizations known as churches. That is so very big of them.

  179. Gram3 wrote:

    Corbin wrote:
    Off topic, but I thought everyone would want to hear this.
    “John Piper on Mark Driscoll and the Church.”
    https://youtu.be/4Yhn_4mmowU
    It is related to the topic, IMO, as Magnolia pointed out. At the end of the video, he conflates, once again, the Church which is the Body of Christ with the local organizations. He says it is impossible to walk away from the local organizations without walking away from Jesus because Jesus loves the Church, his body.

    I haven’t seen it and won’t see it. Having witnessed Piper up close and in person multiple times when I lived in the Twin Cities, I refuse to watch anymore of him, just too repulsive for me. But is Piper slamming Driscoll here for running from his church? Or somehow finding a way to prop up Driscoll wile simultaneously slamming anyone who would leave Driscoll’s version of church? What’s the context of the video?

  180. Gram3 wrote:

    …Piper will *never* admit that because he is a big part of the problem.

    I believe that he is a big part of the problem on a variety of fronts. He defended and ran interference for Driscoll at a time when he should’ve been calling him out publicly for his stunts. Piper wielded a great amount of influence and had he publicly, firmly, but gracefully taken Driscoll to task, he might’ve helped bring a “brother” back.

    For Piper to claim that he has had private mentoring conversations with Driscoll and remained hopeful in spite of any outward sign of change demonstrates a level of naiveté that I am unable to believe possible for someone with decades of ministry experience as Piper.

    The Evangelical Industrial Complex at it’s “finest”.

  181. @ WillysJeepMan:

    Same for Mahaney. He made a point to speak up for Mahaney when he came to speak at his church in Louisville. He has no credibility with me at all on many fronts.

  182. Bridget wrote:

    Honestly, though, most leaders will never admit this. They receive their income from these 501c3 organizations, so they cannot go away.

    Of course not. But surely the potential market of accomplished women and the men who appreciate them is nearly exhausted. Secure men don’t need this to feel masculine, and an accomplished woman who is secure in her identity in Christ doesn’t need a little christ to rule over her. The older people who stay for the sake of their friendships will graduate to glory soon enough. So, I’m thinking that these gospel entrepreneurs need to make an alternate long-term business plan. I don’t see the “done” trend reversing any time soon. When they start cannibalizing each other’s organizations, the end of the scheme is near.

  183. @ Law Prof:
    He is being interviewed by a guy I don’t know who asks him some pretty good questions which boil down to “what about Driscoll?” Piper acknowledges that Mars Hill is a huge fail for the church, evangelicalism, reformed theology and female subordinationism. He acknowledges rather sheepishly that he wishes he could have had more influence on Driscoll. That part was cringeworthy. I mean, seriously? Who turned off Piper’s mic so he couldn’t speak out about Driscoll’s abuses and disqualification. Piper is weak, and that is why he comes across weakly. Anyway, at the end the interviewer asks him about the Dones who say they have left the church but have not left Jesus. And Piper goes into a very Piperesque sermonette which makes no logical sense and avoids the huge elephant in the room.

  184. WillysJeepMan wrote:

    For Piper to claim that he has had private mentoring conversations with Driscoll and remained hopeful in spite of any outward sign of change demonstrates a level of naiveté that I am unable to believe possible for someone with decades of ministry experience as Piper.

    Well, naivete is one word. Not the word I would use to describe the behavior and lack of leadership exhibited in UHD by the Gospel Glitterati in the cases of Driscoll and Mahaney. It truly is an industry wholly-owned by oligarchs.

  185. I am disturbed by learning of this, having attended a few services at FCC. With that said, I feel it necessary to point out a few things I have recognized:

    – The posts seem to have strayed from the original topic. While it is only normal to make some educational guesses about what did/did not occur, restrictions put in place, etc.; it seems that the educational guesses, viewed as an aggregate, have pulled the discussion off course. “We” seem to agree that we don’t necessarily have that much of an issue with Mr. Nickle attending FCC. It is the position of power that many view as extremely worrisome. The response by FCC states that systems and limitations were put in place so he wasn’t alone with children, so I’m trying to understand, is that not adequate enough regarding restrictions and limitations? I’m somewhat failing to understand where the “position of power” is as big of a problem as the postings make it out to be. As an adult, by default, you are in a position of power in the eyes of a child. Is the issue that he assumingly has greater access to kids as a result of his position in the church? Wouldn’t the stipulations and restrictions, as stated in FCC’s response, answer that question?

    A primary question I have, as I have seen that the authors of the above posts are associated and/or members of SNAP, is the timing of this? Mr. Nickle’s crime was in 2000, he paid his debt to society in the eyes of the legal system, and he seems to be participating and going through the steps to “recovery”/”remission”/whatever term you choose to call it. Considering he started attending there in 2003, then was hired part-time in 2006 (9 years ago), the fact that this is brought up now, so close in proximity to the time of the SNAP conference (and what one could safely assume is a major point in time for donations) is very suspicious. Just as all of us seem to perform due diligence on FCC and other religious institutions in regards to pedophilia, the time of these posts requires attention. Eagle, by your own writings you express you had issues with FCC and that you watched Mr. Nickle during your time there. When coupled with your association with SNAP, I find it hard to not state there is a large amount of bias in your words. In your post on 7/25 I failed to find the date when you found out about Eric (if it was stated please correct me). Your “About Me” lists 2014 as the year you stopped attending FCC. If that is the case, and I will very generously give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you stopped attending at the end of December of that year, why wait almost 8 months to post about it? With the SNAP conference close by in Alexandria and the timing of your posting, forgive me for saying, but that is a pretty big coincidence. Extending this thinking further, if even the idea of writing such a post was in any way to increase attendance, donations, and/or the image of the organization, that is beyond reprehensible.

  186. Gram3 wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    He is being interviewed by a guy I don’t know who asks him some pretty good questions which boil down to “what about Driscoll?” Piper acknowledges that Mars Hill is a huge fail for the church, evangelicalism, reformed theology and female subordinationism. He acknowledges rather sheepishly that he wishes he could have had more influence on Driscoll. That part was cringeworthy. I mean, seriously? Who turned off Piper’s mic so he couldn’t speak out about Driscoll’s abuses and disqualification. Piper is weak, and that is why he comes across weakly. Anyway, at the end the interviewer asks him about the Dones who say they have left the church but have not left Jesus. And Piper goes into a very Piperesque sermonette which makes no logical sense and avoids the huge elephant in the room.

    Thank you, Gram3. Driscoll is probably the most prominent person in Christendom who might be referred to as a “done” at the moment, at least a temporary one, at this point. While he may have little in common with most dones and his reasons for leaving the church are rather different from most, and is almost certainly angling to work his way back into a starring role in the institution, he nonetheless is at this point by all accounts a church refugee, a done. I wonder if the interviewer was trying to bait him into making the connection and identifying Driscoll as a done.

  187. @ WillysJeepMan:
    Also Grudem’s son, Elliott, was on Driscoll’s payroll, and Driscoll and Ware have ties through Grudem and Western Seminary. Big surprise that Driscoll did and said what those Great Men actually believe but could never admit. The truth is that Driscoll was a great salesman for the System to younger males and the females who were interested in those younger males. There are a lot of self-anointed “leaders” who think Kingdom leadership is about building their own kingdoms by whatever means. Piper is typically passive when he says he wishes he could have had more influence, making Driscoll responsible for Piper’s failure to lead and speak out.

  188. Gram3 wrote:

    Well, naivete is one word. Not the word I would use to describe the behavior and lack of leadership exhibited in UHD by the Gospel Glitterati in the cases of Driscoll and Mahaney. It truly is an industry wholly-owned by oligarchs.

    Kind of what I was thinking, I doubt that many who’ve worked so hard to elevate themselves and make of themselves something wealthy, influential and important within the industry are truly naive. I think it has more to do with them taking care of those of a certain privileged class with which they identify, as well as an understanding that those with influence, even those temporarily on the outs, may well be able to use it to their advantage one day. Quid pro quo.

  189. @ Magnolia:
    I agree. My issue isn’t as much with Nickle (although I asked a question or two earlier in the thread), as with enabling churches exploiting crimes and repentance™ to pump up “the power of the Gospel™”. Making a show of a truly awful crime. It’s dangerous. Bad precedent.

    When Paul came to Christ, did Peter and James and John parade him across the Jerusalem church as an example of how the new Gospel could save even the worst? Maybe I missed that in Acts.

  190. Law Prof wrote:

    I wonder if the interviewer was trying to bait him into making the connection and identifying Driscoll as a done.

    My impression from the perspective of PR and marketing is that this was a staged opportunity for Piper to get out his “reason” for not doing more about Driscoll and to attempt to do damage control for YRR theology in general and Female Subordinationism in particular. And even more especially since The Village debacle. Interesting that Piper used that word to describe Mars Hill. Anyway, that is how it came across to me, and especially since the video was promoted/produced by DesiringGod.

  191. GovPappy wrote:

    @ Magnolia:
    I agree. My issue isn’t as much with Nickle (although I asked a question or two earlier in the thread), as with enabling churches exploiting crimes and repentance™ to pump up “the power of the Gospel™”. Making a show of a truly awful crime. It’s dangerous. Bad precedent.
    When Paul came to Christ, did Peter and James and John parade him across the Jerusalem church as an example of how the new Gospel could save even the worst? Maybe I missed that in Acts.

    Guess I missed it also. I remember Paul being pretty well persona non grata at first, as initially no one would trust him.

  192. @ Law Prof:
    Driscoll, Mahaney, and Chandler are defeaters for their position. They are still pretending nothing happened with Mahaney and Chandler. Driscoll was a loose cannon who sunk his ship, and I think they have decided that their narrative was that Driscoll went out from them (to Gateway?) because he was not truly one of their elect.

    It would be so great if churches like Fairfax Community and so many others could observe and apply what has happened in these other circumstances and set a new course and be an example.

  193. @ Rick:

    Have you been reading the same comment thread here I have been reading? Or perhaps you missed the earlier thread. Most of what you present has been discussed quite a bit in both. Not all of us are on the same page concerning Fairfax and how they might have handled this better. My view is that his exact crime should be made known to the entire congregation. Not in the vague terms he has used or a cover of “sexual addict”. He was a violent predator

  194. @ Gram3:

    I am not sure what is going on with Piper these days but whatever happened to the grand plan he announced on his retirement video shot from Geneva with DG funds to be the 21st Century Calvinist Global Apostle? Funds drying up?

  195. @ Rick:
    1. I a quite sad that you did not mention the victim. That is a prime directive of this blog. Eric is not the only involved in this encounter. Always, always always mention the victim or you will sound like a guy who is just interested in defending a pedophile.

    2. Since I know how Eagle’s thoughts developed on this matter, I can tell you why this came up at this time. Eagle was working through a number of issues. Eric was only one of those. Neither of us are involved with SNAP although we deeply respect their work.

    Instead of looking for an outside conspiracy, why don’t you look at this blog in the context of article from a couple of weeks ago? Those dealt with the child porn felon at Elevation church. Here is one link to get you going.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/07/22/the-sins-of-our-fathers-elevation-church-needs-to-know-that-repentant-pedophiles-are-not-heroes/

    As this story garnered a number of comments, Eagle began to revisit his concerns about Eric Nickle. I think you will easily see the connection. Never default to conspiracies when a simple explanation will suffice.

    3. Eric paid his debt to the criminal justice system. However, that does not mean that he has now been cured of his compulsions to get sexually stimulated by kids. I would suggest that you educate yourself on the danger of this particular dysfunction. Many pedophiles deal with this for the rest of their lives.

    The day Eric molested that kid, he turned in his “I should be trusted” card. He may be forgiven but that does not mea he is cured of his problem.Please read the statistics at the NIH for your education.

    Imagine yourself as a little child, being molested by huge man like Eric. You cry and struggle but you are overcome by a man who used you for his sexual jollies. You grow up, struggling to trust men again. Then, one day you go to church and you see a man who did this to another child. He is loved and respected and put into a position of trust. Can you imagine the confusion?

    Would you allow a doctor who served a sentence for operating on a patient under the influence to operate on you? After all, he paid his debt to society.

    4. Finally, I am an adult in a position of power as you say. I did not abuse that trust by getting my sexual gratification with a child. Therefore, I have the  right to be around children. Eric gave that up for his own meaningless pleasure. To compare the tow of us is naive. Please educate yourself on the issue of pedophilia. In fact, why don’t you look at the SNAP website ocar even G.R.A.C.E. since it is run by Billy Graham’s grandson you might find him more acceptable.

  196. Rick wrote:

    I am disturbed by learning of this, having attended a few services at FCC.

    D&D have been covering this topic for some time and I am led to believe based on their past commitment that they’ll be covering it long after any SNAP conference has come and gone. What’s really reprehensible is, as Dee points out, you have absolutely nothing to say about victims in this matter. Just throwing bile and allegations around. Go ahead, support your system, just don’t pretend it has jack squat to do with supporting the Lord.

  197. Rick wrote:

    A primary question I have, as I have seen that the authors of the above posts are associated and/or members of SNAP, is the timing of this? Mr. Nickle’s crime was in 2000, he paid his debt to society in the eyes of the legal system, and he seems to be participating and going through the steps to “recovery”/”remission”/whatever term you choose to call it.

    The timing of a blog post is the biggest, or at least a primary, problem you have with this entire situation? No one has said that he needs to go back to jail for the offense for which he has served his sentence. No one has said he should not go through the steps necessary to mitigate the risk that he might harm a child in the future. As far as I know, there is no such thing as “remission” for pedophilia. The issue is twofold as I see it: he is disqualified from a position of leadership which is a privilege and not a right, and the other members of the church need to understand the entire situation because of the children and also in order to help him in the accountability and rehabilitation process whatever that may be. These two things should not be controversial either for the church leadership or for the adult offender in question because it is only common sense and wisdom from the Bible about how things should be handled in the church.

    With that in mind, the timing is irrelevant because the real issue is what the leadership at the church has decided to do. Bloggers have no responsibility for the FCC or for the people who attend there, and I have zero to do with SNAP and had not heard of it until a few years ago.

    If it is valid to question the timing of a post on a live issue (he is still in a leadership position), then it is also valid to question your motivation for your comment. The fact is that both would be beside the point and an ad hom distraction from that point.

  198. @ Rick:
    I will also add, as I have in other instances where commenters have made trivial points while ignoring the main issue, your focus on the details of various timelines and individuals and your speculation about possible motives is interesting in view of the fact that you started your comment with an accusation that this post had drifted from the main point into speculation. Is speculation acceptable for you but reasoned questions by the TWW community are off-limits because some imaginary blogging statute of limitations has expired?

    Is it your position that anyone is qualified to be in a leadership position at a church, and, if not, what might any limitations look like to you?

  199. Lydia wrote:

    I was reading not long ago about all men worship groups for former prisoners who are pedophiles. They can start one in their area and be the leader of that.

    Maybe some of these big multi-site churches should have an adults-only location. It might not be a profit center, but if they REALLY cared about helping pedophiles they would not put them in a situation where they would be subject to constant temptation.

  200. Bill M wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    They might think twice before going along with his being Mr. Nice guy from church joking with the kids.

    There should be training and the stipulation absolutely no contact with kids.

    Absolutely right. And that means NO contact. Not just, “well, he seems to be doing well, let’s try him as a substitute in the kids’ Sunday school”

  201. Elizabeth Lee wrote:

    Maybe some of these big multi-site churches should have an adults-only location.

    That is an excellent idea. But there is a problem here that also needs constantly considered. It is one thing to be wary of the criminal that people know about, but what about the perverts that nobody knows about. Having an adults only site might lull people into complacency about the site(s) where there are kids. They might consider their kids safe.

    Maybe we were excessive about this, but from generation to generation in my family we have trained the children to be wary of everybody. That would be everybody. I think this is necessary because we actually have so little information about individuals, including the person across the street or at the church or even the grandparents. This helps to protect both the children and the adults. I am not a threat to anybody’s kids and never have been but I make it a point to never never and never be alone with somebody else’s children–for my own safety. And never alone with a patient with the door closed. Ever. Merely isolating the people with a bad history that we know about will not solve the problem.

  202. @ mirele:
    So, FCC has someone in leadership that LIES about their arrest record? Covering up being a pedophiles?? So, despite several bloggers claiming that he “paid his debt to society” that does NOT give him liberty to LIE about his past, especially when it comes to something as evil as pedophilia.

  203. Rick wrote:

    Mr. Nickle’s crime was in 2000, he paid his debt to society in the eyes of the legal system,

    Do you mean that same legal system that still requires him to register as a sex offender? Do you mean that same legal system that makes the sex offender registry available to the public? If the legal system wishes the public to know that Nickle is a sex offender, why is FCC trying to keep this information from being disclosed?

  204. SNAP advisory about event at FCC today

    Victims to leaflet church

    Sexually violent predator works there

    Only some of the church-goers know about him

    “Why put kids in harm’s way?” group asks

    WHAT

    As congregants leave a service, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will hand out leaflets about a registered child sex offender now working at the church.

    WHEN

    TODAY, Saturday, August 1 at 5:45 pm

    WHERE

    In front of Fairfax Community Church, 11451 Braddock Road, Fairfax, Virginia 22030

    WHO

    Several members of a support group for clergy sex abuse victims called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

    WHY

    A convicted child molester who is listed as “violent” on the Virginia sex offender registry now worked on the staff of a northern Virginia church. A support group is criticizing church officials for “recklessness, callousness and secrecy.”

    Since 20__, Eric Nickle has been the “care director” at Fairfax Community Church.

    http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2015/07/convicted-child-sex-offender-listed-as.html?m=1

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/07/29/fairfax-community-church-why-you-should-check-the-sex-offender-registry-before-joining-a-church/

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/07/29/fairfax-community-church-statement-on-eric-nickle/

    SNAP believes that church officials are being reckless by employing Nickle and telling only some congregants about his past.

    Fairfax staff say they’re restricting Nickle’s activities at the church, but SNAP is skeptical.

    “It’s dreadfully risky for church staff to claim or try to monitor shrewd sex offenders,” said Amy Smith of SNAP. “The outcome is often more child sex crimes surfacing years later.”

    The group also challenges the church’s notion of “forgiveness.”

    “We can forgive a drunk driver but shouldn’t give him school bus keys. We can forgive someone who commits violence but shouldn’t give him a gun,” said Becky Ianni of Burke VA. “We can forgive someone who abuses kids but shouldn’t give him any role in a position of trust and authority.”

    “Putting a child sex offender oin a position of trust and authority endangers innocent kids and hurts abuse victims,” said Smith. “Why take this avoidable risk with the most vulnerable among us?”

  205. Gram3 wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    He is being interviewed by a guy I don’t know who asks him some pretty good questions which boil down to “what about Driscoll?” Piper acknowledges that Mars Hill is a huge fail for the church, evangelicalism, reformed theology and female subordinationism. He acknowledges rather sheepishly that he wishes he could have had more influence on Driscoll. That part was cringeworthy. I mean, seriously? Who turned off Piper’s mic so he couldn’t speak out about Driscoll’s abuses and disqualification. Piper is weak, and that is why he comes across weakly. Anyway, at the end the interviewer asks him about the Dones who say they have left the church but have not left Jesus. And Piper goes into a very Piperesque sermonette which makes no logical sense and avoids the huge elephant in the room.

    Exactly….. Piper is either weak, or he knows the answer to the “elephant in the room” is not what he likes, namely, that we all need INDEPENDENT, TRNSPARANT, accountability ….. Especially in church leadership… Piper gushes about MD sermon, and then goes on to state what a disaster the implosion of Mars Hill Church was. Well, I guess there is more to the true local church then spouting from the pulpit sermons that the celebrity Christian leaders like her hear? really? Being such a Calvanist that Piper is, he should know this…. Any person that has studied church history knows that church leaders go “off the rails” all the time; that is why ACTIVE, independent oversight is vital… And even that is not enough quite often..

  206. mirele wrote:

    Sometimes it takes insurance companies having to pay out before real changes are made.

    It might not even require a payout. When Church Mutual found out that a registered sex offender was attending a church, they sent them “a letter May 1 with several requirements: first, that he fully disclose the identity of sex offenders to the approximately 100-member congregation; second, that offenders be allowed to attend only one predetermined service; and last, that offenders be required to have an escort.” If the church didn’t meet those requirements Church Mutual would no longer provide coverage.

    http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120624/NEWS/206240323

    I know that insurance companies have to protect themselves, but even they understand the inherent risks of having a sex offender in close proximity to children.

  207. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    If the legal system wishes the public to know that Nickle is a sex offender, why is FCC trying to keep this information from being disclosed?

    Well stated. You are on a roll!

  208. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    Any person that has studied church history knows that church leaders go “off the rails” all the time; that is why ACTIVE, independent oversight is vital… And even that is not enough quite often..

    I don’t know how Piper thinks about church history. He has written several biography’s about historical church leaders. IIRC, they were glowing accounts of the men’s lives. There was no bad and/or ugly included. They were unbalanced and left one believing the men were saints.

  209. Bridget wrote:

    Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:
    Any person that has studied church history knows that church leaders go “off the rails” all the time; that is why ACTIVE, independent oversight is vital… And even that is not enough quite often..
    I don’t know how Piper thinks about church history. He has written several biography’s about historical church leaders. IIRC, they were glowing accounts of the men’s lives. There was no bad and/or ugly included. They were unbalanced and left one believing the men were saints.

    He has to! Given he is a Calvinist, how can he show how nasty Calvin was at times! It would discredit his “authority”

  210. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    He has to! Given he is a Calvinist, how can he show how nasty Calvin was at times! It would discredit his “authority”

    The YRR crowd were eating up those little bios. I would consider them propaganda, even lies since they were unbalanced.

  211. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    … that offenders be required to have an escort. If the church didn’t meet those requirements Church Mutual would no longer provide coverage

    This is the policy adopted by Wade Burleson that was cited earlier by Dee.

    Now we need to get these membership covenants, er contracts, on Church Mutual’s radar. If there are a few lawsuits over them it won’t take long to get insurance companies involved. A “for profit” company doesn’t have the luxury of drones tithing.

  212. Hello,
    We (my boyfriend and I) are jointly writing this – he is a victim of sexual abuse as a child (I am not). First, we offer our prayers for all victims of sexual abuse. We know first hand of the incredible trauma and shame associated with this act and the long healing of those wounds that leave profound scars. God weeps at this heinous act that preys on the youngest and most vulnerable in our society. We personally believe that God is loving and compassionate and seeks to restore all of us to a life free of shame and brokenness – regardless of the cause of that brokenness. We are all sinners seeking restoration and wholeness so that we can each live in total freedom from the past, growing into who God has designed us each to be.

    We are members of Fairfax Community Church (FCC) and came seeking truth of what the issues are in this situation. We have spent a number of hours reading the posts and stories of members here. There are elements of truth and good commentary of how people believe this situation should have been or is being handled. However, we have also been saddened by many of the accusations flung on this board that appear to be based out of anger or speculation, rather than truth. For example, it is a well-known fact to those who attend FCC, that Rod takes the month off from preaching in July to both spend time being with one of the ministries the church supports and with his family. We believe the “mancation in Kenya was interrupted” commentary is off-base since Rod was in Kenya attending a board meeting at Kima International School of Theology (which the church supports).

    We have found no evidence of Rod’s or leadership’s “lies” that have been discussed here or evidence that FCC is trying to withhold information, as evidenced by Rod’s response at the beginning of this post.

    We welcome you to come to church tomorrow to hear first hand; to seek truth yourself; to see beyond a blog to the real people who attend FCC. We are not perfect, but people on a journey towards wholeness.

    May God bless each of us – as we all seek healing and restoration in the power of Christ. We seek to live in God’s truth, humility, compassion, and with “NoMoreShame”.

  213. Given the turn around at FCC, it would be near impossible to do this. People are coming and going all the time, the church body almost completely changes every 3 years. I would expect the leadership to stay on top of this and it sounds like Mr. Nickle is doing everything in his power to not only not go down the same path but help others with similar struggles.

  214. TheRealLC wrote:

    it sounds like Mr. Nickle is doing everything in his power to not only not go down the same path but help others with similar struggles.

    And you know this how?

    Secondly, what does it say about your church that it takes a pedophile and puts him into a position of trust without going out of its way to warn everyone. It seems the government cares more about this than you do,

    Thirdly, what does it say to the victims of abuse when the pedophile is put in a position of trust.

    Finally, you did not offer one comment about your concern about the victim he so dreadfully used for his own sexual pleasure. I deeply concerned that none of Eric’s supporters have expressed such a concern.

  215. NoMoreShame wrote:

    We are members of Fairfax Community Church (FCC) and came seeking truth of what the issues are in this situation. We have spent a number of hours reading the posts and stories of members here. There are elements of truth and good commentary of how people believe this situation should have been or is being handled. However, we have also been saddened by many of the accusations flung on this board…

    So, as members have you found evidence that this was dealt with up front at FCC, in that a potentially dangerous situation for every single child in the church was announced to e very single person who has a stake in the matter–namely, the parents of all those children?

    If you have not, then you are really just throwing out red herrings and I am shocked that a victim of child sexual abuse would support such a cover-up policy.

  216. TheRealLC wrote:

    Given the turn around at FCC, it would be near impossible to do this. People are coming and going all the time, the church body almost completely changes every 3 years. I would expect the leadership to stay on top of this and it sounds like Mr. Nickle is doing everything in his power to not only not go down the same path but help others with similar struggles.

    That’s beyond absurd. Simply a catastrophically ridiculous point to make.

    So, in your opinion, since there’s a tremendous amount of turnover at FCC (an enormous red flag in an of itself), it’s just too hard to warn parents of grave dangers to their children? Really, that’s the hill you’re willing to die on?

    Pathetic.

  217. @ NoMoreShame:
    Thank you for being the first commenters at TWW to express concern for Eric’s victim. i wish your church leaders had done so.

    Secondly, this blog allows for comments from anyone. I did not express concern for your pastor’s vacation. I think it is nice that the church pays for him to fly and spend a month working hard with one your sponsored missionaries. Did you know that many pastors do not do that? They make a visit and then spend the rest of the time vacationing on the church dime. It is wonderful to know that your pastor is so devoted to the work of your missionaries.

    NoMoreShame wrote:

    We welcome you to come to church tomorrow to hear first hand; to seek truth yourself; to see beyond a blog to the real people who attend FCC. We are not perfect, but people on a journey towards wholeness

    I have personally visited your church and I happen to know a real person who has attended your church. That still does not mean that I believe your church has handled this situation appropriately. If you truly believe in “No More Shame” there should be a permanent ability to new people to know that you have a pedophile in a position of trust. In fact, it would say more about your motto of “no more shame” if you did so.

    I believe that Eric may be forgiven.However, I do not believe that any convicted pedophile should be in a position of trust. Neither do most insurance companies.

  218. TheRealLC wrote:

    Given the turn around at FCC, it would be near impossible to do this. People are coming and going all the time, the church body almost completely changes every 3 years. I would expect the leadership to stay on top of this and it sounds like Mr. Nickle is doing everything in his power to not only not go down the same path but help others with similar struggles.

    I can’t let this go, it is too ridiculous (unless, of course, you’re just a troll, in which case I would say “well done, effective trolling”), so let us assume there’s radon gas leaking into the day care area, would you say that since the church body turns over every few years, it’s just too much trouble and you wouldn’t expect leadership to stay on top of it? I don’t get that.

    If your point is that every visitor can’t be monitored for child sexual abuse charges, especially in a church with such extreme turnover (again, if accurate, a major red flag that something is seriously amiss), that may be so, but that is not what is on the table: what’s on the table here is a known violent child sex offender being put in a position of at least some prominence (greeter, group leader) with no general warning to parents of small children.

  219. NoMoreShame wrote:

    We welcome you to come to church tomorrow to hear first hand; to seek truth yourself; to see beyond a blog to the real people who attend FCC. We are not perfect, but people on a journey towards wholeness.

    Unless you are working behind the stage on a daily basis, I would not put too much stock in the weekend show and what you hear on stage. I am amazed at how many people think they know the pastors but have not spent any real day to day personal time with them. Beware stage personas.

  220. Law Prof wrote:

    So, in your opinion, since there’s a tremendous amount of turnover at FCC (an enormous red flag in an of itself), it’s just too hard to warn parents of grave dangers to their children? Really, that’s the hill you’re willing to die on?

    @ TheRealLC:
    I echo Law Prof’s comment. There is concern that you have a turnover of your entire church every 3 years. I know the DC area has rapid turnover but something sounds off if a church loses just about everybody.

    In fact, if that is what is going on at your church, it makes it even more imperative to warn people in some permanent fashion.

  221. TheRealLC wrote:

    I would expect the leadership to stay on top of this and it sounds like Mr. Nickle is doing everything in his power to not only not go down the same path but help others with similar struggles.

    Nickell has it billed as sexual addiction within the groups he oversees. He left out the children part. Wonder why?

  222. NoMoreShame wrote:

    However, we have also been saddened by many of the accusations flung on this board that appear to be based out of anger or speculation, rather than truth.

    Truth is the “child” part of his crime was left out when the church claimed certain people were told. If that does not make you “angry”, I worry about you. How can we “speculate” when we read the churches own statement?

  223. Lydia wrote:

    NoMoreShame wrote:
    We welcome you to come to church tomorrow to hear first hand; to seek truth yourself; to see beyond a blog to the real people who attend FCC. We are not perfect, but people on a journey towards wholeness.
    Unless you are working behind the stage on a daily basis, I would not put too much stock in the weekend show and what you hear on stage. I am amazed at how many people think they know the pastors but have not spent any real day to day personal time with them. Beware stage personas.

    Wow is that the truth! This coming from one who was twice and elder and once a youth director on paid staff. People have no clue if all they see is pastor on stage, pastor in the hallway, pastor at functions, pastor in cutesy humorous (only to parishoners) videos on Sunday.

  224. dee wrote:

    In fact, if that is what is going on at your church, it makes it even more imperative to warn people in some permanent fashion.

    Yes. Because Eric seems to be a permanent fixture in all the turnover.

  225. Law Prof wrote:

    can’t let this go, it is too ridiculous (unless, of course, you’re just a troll, in which case I would say “well done, effective trolling”), so let us assume there’s radon gas leaking into the day care area, would you say that since the church body turns over every few years, it’s just too much trouble and you wouldn’t expect leadership to stay on top of it? I don’t get that.

    This is not so hypothetical. For example it has been a problem if you live near an industrial area you may be unknowingly subject to risk due to various chemical leaks, look up Bhopal for example. There used to be a greater ability to find out what the risks were until the fears of terrorism was used to tie up the information in the hands of few.

    As with any vested interests, layered over with a bureaucracy, a few in authority make secret decisions for many concerning risks. And similar to this situation, those making the decision don’t fully share in the risk.

  226. I’m torn. I’ve been to FCC. I know Eric. I know Rod. I know Andy. I know those that have been abused. My stomach is tossing this way and that as I’ve read all these posts. I don’t agree in all the ways FCC has handled this. But I also don’t believe that Eric is in a role of power as some have said. Yes, he is on staff. Yes, he is paid. And no, he doesn’t just walk up to people and tell them that he is a registered violent sex offender. But yes, he is under a lot of safety restrictions, set in place for the safety of all that walk in the doors. He doesn’t greet families at the door of the church. He only greets the men he recognizes from his groups. Otherwise, he doesn’t interact. He never walks down the children’s wing of the church. All his male groups that he does oversee meet at night, when there are no children present or other groups meeting. FCC only has children’s events on the weekends, not throughout the week as other churches do. They meet in the Great Room, which is a large room at the front of the church that has no doors and only windows. There is no privacy.

    I am a parent and my children have been involved at FCC. Do you not think that the directors of the ministry, Marcy Davis, Luz Mueller, and Amy Tristan not know about Eric? They roam the halls with walkie talkies. There are undercover security guards that monitor who comes and goes. They would never let Eric near any child on a weekend.

    But at the same time, I don’t want Eric’s presence to be a trigger for anyone overcoming such trauma and devastation that I cannot imagine. So I’m torn with whether to agree or disagree with what is being said. I do trust that FCC is taking this seriously and I believe that they always have. Unfortunately whatever they do now will be viewed through a lens of backstepping.

  227. Bill M wrote:

    And similar to this situation, those making the decision don’t fully share in the risk.

    And that is a problem that economists study a great deal: the issue with negative externalities. Unless you can internalize the externalities in the actor creating them, they will not have an incentive to cease with the harmful behavior.

    Illustration: A factory dumps radioactive waste into the neighborhood’s water supply. The factory owner lives miles away in an exclusive, gated development. The citizens of the neighborhood bear the costs of the activity, virtually all of them, while the owner bears very little, i.e., other than perhaps some bad publicity and consequent loss of market share (but only if word gets out) or a low supply of nearby workers healthy enough to work a shift (because they’re all in the hospital glowing green), the owner will bear none of the costs. This is why we have environmental regulations and in some cases criminal liability imposed on executives: to internalize the costs of negative activity on the bad actors who are doing it. If the costs are ramped up on the polluting owner, he or she will be more likely to make a rational decision.

    The problem with many churches, particularly of the celeb-worship, cult of personality strain, is that leaders build up walls of separation (i.e., “yes men”, layers of bureaucracy) between themselves and the consequences of their decisions. These walls also can filter out information, so that they don’t even have a viable means of learning about the consequences of their actions unless they care enough to roll their sleeves up, get among the people, and investigate (ha, ha, fat chance of that).

    The negative externalities can become intolerable over time for the ones who must bear the burdens, those in the pews, and given our judiciary’s views on the separation of church and state and the judiciary’s consequent fear of intruding on matters purely religious, there are few governmental regulations or actions that ever reach the bad actors unless they get involved in tax evasion or do something outrageous enough that it clearly makes out a tort for which they can be sued.

    I am of the opinion that the average celeb pastor or church leader is often a veritable factory cranking out negative externalities.

  228. dee wrote:

    I believe that Eric may be forgiven.However, I do not believe that any convicted pedophile should be in a position of trust. Neither do most insurance companies.

    That’s what I was wondering: Does the church’s insurance company even know this? That can be grounds for cancellation of the church’s entire insurance policy. Is the church self-insured?

  229. Lydia wrote:

    Nickell has it billed as sexual addiction within the groups he oversees. He left out the children part. Wonder why?

    Bad for Business.

  230. dee wrote:

    TheRealLC wrote:

    it sounds like Mr. Nickle is doing everything in his power to not only not go down the same path but help others with similar struggles.

    And you know this how?

    PASTOR Said So, of course!

  231. Velour wrote:

    dee wrote:

    I believe that Eric may be forgiven.However, I do not believe that any convicted pedophile should be in a position of trust. Neither do most insurance companies.

    That’s what I was wondering: Does the church’s insurance company even know this? That can be grounds for cancellation of the church’s entire insurance policy. Is the church self-insured?

    To keep pounding the point…. How honest has this “person” been about his true past and how truthful has the church about it…. There are a number iof allegations of less than truthfulness….

  232. @ Torn Aprart:
    If Eric had been put in charge of men’s group I would have had no problem with that. However, he is far more than a leader of one men’s recovery group. That is the problem. He holds a paid position at the church and is in a position of trust because of that. He should not be in that position.

  233. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    . How honest has this “person” been about his true past and how truthful has the church about it…

    After all of this, I bet that the entire church will know about it. The will also be a bit more cautious in the future. If that is we accomplish, the it is worth it.

  234. Lydia wrote:

    Eric seems to be a permanent fixture in all the turnover.

    He is quite lucky to find a church that will hire him. I know one man who served time in prison(20 years) for deliberately overdosing a woman who was dying. He has only been able to find a job as an admin asst in a not for profit company.

  235. Torn Aprart wrote:

    Unfortunately whatever they do now will be viewed through a lens of backstepping.

    It should not unless there is pride involved. One of the issues so often discussed around here is authoritarian systems limit interaction with decision makers, both directions. When the flow of information is limited or managed decisions need to be modified when further information is finally forced into the system.

    If your leaders at FCC cannot revisit their policy because it will be seen as backstepping then they are guilty of pride and will have convicted themselves of an inability to hold responsibility. Humble servants do not have the difficulty grappling with their errors.

  236. You guys are crazy. I am a rising Freshman, and I am attending FCC. In fact, I even got baptised there. I do indeed have a younger and older sibling. I am proud of my church and what they are doing. Now listen up! I am a very active participant in my church community. If I am not worried about my safety at this church. Then there is no way you should be.

  237. Bill M wrote:

    Humble servants do not have the difficulty grappling with their errors.

    And even ones who are not so humble and really struggle with the concept (like me) so long as we have not insulted ourselves completely from the consequences of our actions and shouted everyone down who could be a check on our stubbornness and stupidity, will be capable of eating dirt and apologizing and repenting.

    If someone is truly sufficiently to lead a whole body of believers (frankly, I think no one person or tiny group of people is capable of doing that in the NT era), then saying “Wow, did I blow it, please forgive me, and accept my stepping down for a time, perhaps forever, while I do some soul-searching and ask myself what made me think that was a good idea.”

  238. SEVERELY BOTCHED PREVIOUS POST, CORRECTED BELOW:

    And even ones who are not so humble and really struggle with the concept (like me) so long as we have not insulted ourselves completely from the consequences of our actions and shouted everyone down who could be a check on our stubbornness and stupidity, will be capable of eating dirt, apologizing and repenting.

    If someone is truly sufficiently humble to lead a whole body of believers (frankly, I think no one person or tiny group of people is capable of doing that in the NT era), then saying “Wow, did I blow it, please forgive me, and accept my stepping down for a time, perhaps forever, while I do some soul-searching and ask myself what made me think that was a good idea” should be easy.

  239. Shocked, just shocked at the comments on this blog. Reminds me of a bunch of Pharisees that Jesus would condemn today. So many assumptions, so many lies by those that are not directly involved. One guy went a couple times to FCC and now is an expert (disgruntled at best) on everything that goes on at FCC. Dee is so snarky about a pastor that goes on a business trip to Africa for ONE week and is on vacation for another 3 weeks which is pretty normal. I know a lot of pastors that take 3-weeks a year for vacation From what you’ve written you’ve implied he’s been in Africa the whole month? Come on. You are the sick ones. You don’t care about victims. You only care about your agenda and what makes you feel good at the end of the day. Even as I write this, I know one of you (probably all of you) are looking at what I write trying to twist something to mean something else. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. I believe Jesus is shaking his head in disbelief of how immature all of you are acting. Curious, what statement will be copied of this comment and be twisted. Anyone who believes anything you guys are saying without going directly to FCC themselves and have an honest conversation is not honoring the victim or anyone involved. Wonder why the SNAP protest tonight that was mentioned on Twitter was not attended by the media (or by many protesters for that matter?) Because there is no story. If this was a story, the media would have been there and covered it. Praying for all of you.

  240. Shocked wrote:

    Shocked, just shocked at the comments on this blog.

    But, apparently, not shocked at an unannounced sex offender at FCC.

    “Praying for all of you.” Gee, thanks. God bless you, too. I’m praying no children are molested at FCC.

  241. Been There Done That-

    Wow, you should get an award for the “twist.” Again, you don’t have the facts, so you are making statements that are mean spirited and not educated. If you knew the facts, like apparently the “media” does, hence no story, you wouldn’t like them because then you wouldn’t be able to spew your hate. And yes I am praying for you. 🙂

  242. shocked wrote:

    Again, you don’t have the facts, so you are making statements that are mean spirited and not educated.

    Are you saying there is not a registered sex offender working at FCC that the congregation has not been informed of?

    “you wouldn’t be able to spew your hate” Projection much?

  243. Shocked wrote:

    ee is so snarky about a pastor that goes on a business trip to Africa for ONE week and is on vacation for another 3 weeks which is pretty normal. I know a lot of pastors that take 3-weeks a year for vacation From what you’ve written you’ve implied he’s been in Africa the whole month?

    I am so sorry. You misunderstood my comment. Please follow the link back to the original comment by another. I was responding to that commenter who mentioned that the pastor was on a working trip to the mission field. I was actually complimenting him. Good night! Talk about assumptions!

    Shocked wrote:

    Anyone who believes anything you guys are saying without going directly to FCC themselves and have an honest conversation is not honoring the victim or anyone involved.

    Actually, there is one other place to go that is far more accurate and that is to the sex offender registry. The reason the government puts that our there is to warn others that said person may be a risk to children. I take that seriously and that does honor the victims. That listing tells me all that I need to know. Eric should not be in charge of a ministry at FCC, IMO. Instead, he could lead a men’s group but he should not be in a position of trust.

    Speaking of that, did you say anything about your concern for the victim or is this just a tirade directed towards those who truly care about the safety of children?

    Shocked wrote:

    So many assumptions, so many lies by those that are not directly involved. One guy went a couple times to FCC and now is an expert (disgruntled at best)

    How do you know he is disgruntled? Are you able to read the motivations of others so clearly, even those of people you have not met. I can assure you. The *guy* who used to attend FCC cares deeply about child sex abuse victims and has spoken out on their behalf numerous times- long before anything was said about Fairfax.

    Shocked wrote:

    so many lies by those that are not directly involved

    Since you are some sort of pastor, it is incumbent on you to delineate, quite carefully, the lies that you say are being told here. Let’s start with my post and me since I run this blog. Why don’t you tell me exactly how I lied. Prove it. I linked to the documents and made statements on behalf of those documents. If you cannot prove to me that I lied, than perhaps it is you who is not telling the truth.

    Let me tell you about Eric from those government, publicly available documents. He is on the violent sex offender registry list. He molested a child for his own sexual pleasure. This means he is sexually attracted to little kids. Kids who have no say but to live out the horror of a big man forcing himself on them without their consent. In so doing he has given them nightmares and a lifetimes of pain which they will never forget. They are at high risk for mental illness and may need medication to deal with anxiety.It may affect their relations with others. They may have contracted a disease or have been physically injured since a child should not be used as a sex object.

    But what does this really matter? He’s repented, after all. So, let’s get on with things…

    I am curious. Why are you so angry? Usually anger comes from one of two sources in these situations. The first is I hit too close to home for you. The second is I directly affected a friend or family member. Which is it for you?

    Finally, the protests do something other than what you seem to think. I can assure you that from this point forward, FCC will regularly alert their congregation to known pedophiles on the staff. Secondly, it educates the congregation as to the issue. It opens up their eyes. Lastly, it helps other churches to see that there are those who take pedophiles very, very seriously. SNAP deeply cares for the victims as do I even thought I am not a member of SNAP.

    I appreciate that fact that you are praying for me. I need it. I deal with a number of abuse issues and known both victims and their families. It makes me quite sad to meet the children who have been hurt. Pray for my strength. Please pray also for the victims of pedophilia and for the pain that they will continue to endure.

  244. shocked wrote:

    Again, you don’t have the facts,

    Are you saying the child sex offender registry is in error? Wow- now that is a media story. Could you please send me the details and I will write about it.

  245. Yes, apparently they are aware. You take the word of a couple people on this blog over truth. Don’t believe the lies you read here. I’d encourage to go to the church and find out for yourself instead of believing what you read on a blog. Go ye therefore and “twist.” @ BeenThereDoneThat:

  246. Shocked

    I will let you continue to comment but you must document the lies that I have told. If you have not done this by the time I wake up for church, then you will be moderated until you present evidence of my lies. I get quite weary of people who claim that I have slandered, libeled and lied and do not present any evidence when I directly ask for it.

    Unless you do so, you are the one who is guilty of lying, not me. I look forward to your clear presentation of the lies, quoting me exactly. Since you are a pastor, I know you would evidence before accusing me of lying although you didn’t quite get my comment, complimenting your pastor on his 4 week, working mission trip.

  247. shocked wrote:

    Don’t believe the lies you read here

    You better give evidence of this by the time I wake up or you will be moderated. I take lying seriously and i do not take appreciate anyone who gets on a rant and makes accusations without direct proof. Take it u a notch and be a credit to your office and give me proof of my lies.

  248. shocked wrote:

    If you knew the facts, like apparently the “media” does, hence no story, you wouldn’t like them because then you wouldn’t be able to spew your hate.

    I think you do not understand how the media decide what they will devote time and resources to do. Their absence proves nothing about the merit of the story itself. I don’t hate anyone or FCC. I do think that the leadership needs to re-think the way they have approached this, and I think that church leadership in general needs to be more open. In this particular case, I think wisdom would have a professional involved in leading the men’s group, for the good of all involved.

    That isn’t hate. Disagreeing and providing a different perspective isn’t hate. The fact is that church leaders live in a bubble largely of their own making, and sometime that leads them to make unwise decisions even if their motives are the best. If they would learn to listen to others and consider for a moment that pewpeons might have some wisdom to offer to them, then we might not be having this conversation.

  249. Sonja wrote:

    I am a rising Freshman, and I am attending FCC. In fact, I even got baptised there.

    Well that settles it. There is nothing to worry about.

    Sonja wrote:

    You guys are crazy

    If this is what they are teaching you as good communication that effects a change at your church and at your school, we are indeed in trouble.

  250. Dee, apparently you don’t get it. You believe what you want, and twist, and honestly, I don’t know why I am responding to you. I am feeding your goal of twisting truth. Sorry I got sucked in to your sad little world of a couple people who read your blog. (Yes, I was guilty tonight) Praying God will give you strength. But maybe you should pray for a better understanding of this situation, because you still are not getting it and never will sadly. @ dee:
    @ dee:

  251. shocked wrote:

    Yes, apparently they are aware.

    Not according to the statement above from FCC. And if the turnover rate is as high as some commenters say, the congregation should be informed on a regular basis. FCC’s own statement does not say this. Did FCC not provide TWW with the facts?

  252. @ Sonja:
    One little point, it really helps if you talk about the victim. Remember, this is a bug guy who forced himself on a kid in order to get his jollies. Can you imagine? He likes kids. He may always like kids. That means he is potentially a danger to you and your siblings.

  253. Shocked wrote:

    You don’t care about victims.

    Who, in your estimation are the victims, the pastors who take 3 and 4 week vacations you were mentioning just before this comment? Or whom?

    Thank you for at least not signing off with the phrase “God bless,” which Christians do after leaving rude or condescending comments on blogs or in e-mails.

  254. Because of the protest, we are now getting the defend FCC and the pedophile crowd. This is normal and usually happens. All new commenters will be moderated so they may be stuck there until I arise from my beauty sleep.

    However, Pastor “Shocked” has until tomorrow morning to document my supposed lies. If he does not do so, he will be permanently moderated or even by forced to hear Sarah Brighten and Andre Bocelli sing “Time to say Goodbye.”

  255. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    FCC commenters remind me of the Elevators.

    It is so tedious. The y’all use the same play book and do not realize how silly they sound. I am waiting for the “Hey Haters” refrain.

  256. dee wrote:

    I am waiting for the “Hey Haters” refrain.

    I get a fit of giggles just thinking about the Max Holiday Dub version of that video. 🙂

  257. shocked wrote:

    Dee, apparently you don’t get it.

    I asked you to document your proof that I lied. What is stopping you from doing so? If I have been proven to lie I will correct it immediately and ask for forgiveness.

    I wonder if you might be the Pastor Dave at the FCC- Clarksburg location. If so, then you do have an obligation to back up your accusations with evidence. Is this how you demonstrate turning the other cheek to your church? Is this how you demonstrate how to show love to others?

  258. Dee, I apologize for offending you. I should have done a better job of expressing my frustration with you. You feed on comments like this and I should of known better. Ugh! Sorry. As for your last comment, no I don’t support the pedophelia crowd. That was a low ball but expected. Don’t worry about me commenting again, (yes please moderate me) and yes, I should have quoted all of the problems I see with your posts for the integrity of my claims. Obviously, feel free to delete my comments. (I guess you can do that if you’re the moderator) I will go back to praying and leave you alone. (I’m sure I said something there to get attacked) Goodnight! dee wrote:

    Because of the protest, we are now getting the defend FCC and the pedophile crowd. This is normal and usually happens. All new commenters will be moderated so they may be stuck there until I arise from my beauty sleep.

    However, Pastor “Shocked” has until tomorrow morning to document my supposed lies. If he does not do so, he will be permanently moderated or even by forced to hear Sarah Brighten and Andre Bocelli sing “Time to say Goodbye.”

  259. shocked wrote:

    Dee, apparently you don’t get it. You believe what you want, and twist, and honestly, I don’t know why I am responding to you. I am feeding your goal of twisting truth. Sorry I got sucked in to your sad little world of a couple people who read your blog. (Yes, I was guilty tonight) Praying God will give you strength. But maybe you should pray for a better understanding of this situation, because you still are not getting it and never will sadly. @ dee:
    @ dee:

    You’re funny.

  260. Shocked wrote:

    Praying for all of you.

    I don’t want your prayers. Because in all honesty, Dave (or whomever), you don’t really mean it when you say that, you’re not really concerned about a one of us and you’re lying either in fact or in spirit when you say “Praying for us.” You know you are, don’t play games.

  261. Daisy wrote:

    Thank you for at least not signing off with the phrase “God bless,”

    Uh, oh. I guess I’m the guilty one this time. Sorry, Daisy. 🙂

  262. shocked wrote:

    Dee, I apologize for offending you. I should have done a better job of expressing my frustration with you. You feed on comments like this and I should of known better. Ugh! Sorry. As for your last comment, no I don’t support the pedophelia crowd. That was a low ball but expected. Don’t worry about me commenting again, (yes please moderate me) and yes, I should have quoted all of the problems I see with your posts for the integrity of my claims. Obviously, feel free to delete my comments. (I guess you can do that if you’re the moderator) I will go back to praying and leave you alone. (I’m sure I said something there to get attacked) Goodnight! dee wrote:
    Because of the protest, we are now getting the defend FCC and the pedophile crowd. This is normal and usually happens. All new commenters will be moderated so they may be stuck there until I arise from my beauty sleep.
    However, Pastor “Shocked” has until tomorrow morning to document my supposed lies. If he does not do so, he will be permanently moderated or even by forced to hear Sarah Brighten and Andre Bocelli sing “Time to say Goodbye.”

    So, in other words, you can’t come up with a single solitary lie that Dee or anyone else has typed here.

    Thanks for confirming that.

  263. @ shocked:
    Pastor Dave-you still have not done what I asked you to do. You need to prove that I lied. Instead, you throw some garbage out there to see if it sticks. If you are a pastor, then man up and prove my lies. You haven’t offended me. I am truly concerned that you know that I lied and I can'[t figure out what I said that was a lie.

    It will not surprise me if you run off into your corner and hide. That often happens with people who make claims that cannot be proven and I call them on it. I proved that Eric is a pedophile. I spoke about my concerns on that matter. What was a lie? Do you accuse others with whom you disagree of lying? Seriously?

    I will not delete your comments. But, I think they will stand as a testimony to how your church may do business.

    Let me say this again. I expect to be getting lots of comment from the defend “Fairfax CC and the pedophile” crowd. This time I added italics that might help you to get what I am saying. The comments we have been receiving are the same ones we got when we discussed the pedophile hero of Elevation Church.

    I do not see the need to defend a pedophile. He did what he did and he went to jail for doing so. Whereto or not you understand this, Eric is a pedophile and he will have to deal with this the rest of his life.

    Now, as a pastor, can I ask you once again to show that you are a man of honor and truth by outlining the lies that I told in my post. This is a simple request. It will show that your words have integrity.

  264. @ shocked:

    So where exactly did Deb and Dee lie about this situation with FCC? You keep saying they are lying, but you never cite specifics.

  265. dee wrote:

    Is this how you demonstrate turning the other cheek to your church? Is this how you demonstrate how to show love to others?

    Sadly, this may well be EXACTLY how (presumably) Pastor Dave shows love to others, backs up his allegations, and turns the other cheek. If you ever want to see rage, just set up a situation where a pastor who’s used to having the final say and controlling others is put on a level playing field and unable to control the agenda.

    If he really is Pastor Dave, how nice it is to see his true face. Probably the most godly part of his posts was the honest anger. Probably the least godly were the (probable) lies about how he was praying for us.

  266. @ Law Prof:
    Pastor Dave will not outline the lies that he says I have told. i have asked him to do so time and time again. I am starting to worry that he is just one of those sorts of guys who accuses anyone who disagrees with him or his church of lies, slander ,and defamation without giving one confounded example.

    If he is a pastor, he has an obligation to do so. I believe that he might be Pastor Dave of the Clarksburg location. I have asked him if he is but he want answer that one either.

    The mistake that he is making is that he thinks this blog is only read by a couple of people. It might be a surprise to him when this post, along with his comments, wind up on Google page 1. Actually, it has already happened.

  267. Law Prof wrote:

    Probably the least godly were the (probable) lies about how he was praying for us.

    It depends on what he was praying for. There are the “Smite them, God smite them!” type of prayers!! 🙂

  268. Sonja wrote:

    I am proud of my church

    Your pride should not be in your church. The church is not greater than her Lord. If you are going to boast, boast in him. It does not follow from your perception of safety that therefore all children are safe.

  269. @ Daisy:
    Thank you Daisy. He just keeps saying it and will not document it. He will now run off and hide in a corner because he will not do it…or perhaps cannot do it.

  270. shocked wrote:

    Again, you don’t have the facts

    Law Prof wrote:

    You know you are, don’t play games.

    The least they he can do is mix up the playbook. I’ve only been reading here for 8 months but I’ve already seen the “don’t have the facts” rolled out several times now.

  271. Gram3 wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    Law Prof wrote:
    You’re funny.
    “Shocked” is not funny at all. What with all the TWW twisting going on, I’m feeling a bit like Chubby Checker.

    Just my way of saying that some things are so downright ridiculous, what can one do but laugh? But of course, I agree, it would not be funny in any way, shape or form having a human being like that assuming spiritual authority over my family. Then again, I have on three occasions had just such people as Dave assume what they thought was proper authority over my family, and it was not funny, it was catastrophic.

  272. @ dee:

    I’ve been hanging out at this blog enough to know that you and Deb don’t lie. You guys even link to documentation to back up your points.

    If this guy really thinks you’ve lied, he needs to cite specifics.

    You’re just trying to help protect children and other hurt or wounded people in churches and end up getting harassed by people such as “shocked.” 🙁

  273. @ Law Prof:
    Oops. What I meant was that “Shocked” has made me think of Chubby Checker with all the accusations of twisting this and twisting that. The chubby part I have nailed. The twisting part…well, there is nothing funny about Gram3 and the Twist at this point in history. What is twisted cannot be untwisted 🙂

  274. Law Prof wrote:

    I have on three occasions had just such people as Dave assume what they thought was proper authority over my family, and it was not funny, it was catastrophic.

    Yes, I know about those meetings where the Real Pastor comes out. Talk about shocked! I wondered who flipped the switch. So much pain done in the name of Jesus.

  275. Gram3 wrote:

    Sonja wrote:
    I am proud of my church
    Your pride should not be in your church. The church is not greater than her Lord. If you are going to boast, boast in him. It does not follow from your perception of safety that therefore all children are safe.

    That sure does say a lot, doesn’t it? We need to understand what we’re dealing with, and it is idolatry. People idolize their leaders, their church, their doctrine, their temporal desires for fellowship or standing in the community.

    With all that idolatry, one wonders how much room is left for the love of Jesus and those who have been created in His image.

  276. Sonja wrote:

    You guys are crazy. I am a rising Freshman, and I am attending FCC. In fact, I even got baptised there. I do indeed have a younger and older sibling. I am proud of my church and what they are doing. Now listen up! I am a very active participant in my church community. If I am not worried about my safety at this church. Then there is no way you should be.

    You are a freshman, and I am a professor, Sonja. I lecture, among other things, on law, accounting, and logic with a bit of rhetoric thrown in. One thing that you should learn is that your arguments will be more effective if you do not start with invective in the first sentence.

  277. Eagle, if you’re still following this thread, I’m sorry you experienced another bad apple of a church. You obviously felt enough about it to be baptized there. It’s not your fault FCC didn’t end up being what you hoped it would be. You deserve better than what I’ve seen displayed in the comments from FCC defenders.

    This isn’t a religious song, but it reminds me of the journey so many of us are on to heal from abuse and find our way home.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAPTQMYi7eU

  278. Sonja wrote:

    You guys are crazy. I am a rising Freshman, and I am attending FCC. In fact, I even got baptised there. I do indeed have a younger and older sibling. I am proud of my church and what they are doing. Now listen up! I am a very active participant in my church community. If I am not worried about my safety at this church. Then there is no way you should be.

    You are a freshman, and I am a professor, Sonja. I lecture, among other things, on law, accounting, and logic with a bit of rhetoric thrown in. One thing that you should learn is that your arguments will be more effective if you do not start with invective in the first sentence.
    dee wrote:

    shocked wrote:
    Don’t believe the lies you read here
    You better give evidence of this by the time I wake up or you will be moderated. I take lying seriously and i do not take appreciate anyone who gets on a rant and makes accusations without direct proof. Take it u a notch and be a credit to your office and give me proof of my lies.

    And of course, if someone does call you a liar, but they have lied about that, then they have defamed you, in this case it would be libel. But I know you know that, with regard to defamation law, we’re essentially two lawyers talking shop.

  279. Dee – somehow I managed to inadvertently create a hybrid with my previous post. No clue what I was doing there.

  280. Eagle,

    What were you falsely accused of doing in your Sovereign Grace church? And, what makes you any different than decent men who were falsely accused of ritual sexual abuse in the basement of slumber parties and regional events at SGM?

    Yet, you’ve made yourself an expert as you blog in your mother’s basement in your pajamas on things you know nothing about. Not only that, you are traumatized by the ridiculous stories you read?? You read lies. You perpetuate lies. Then, you cry about it.

    You have tried and convicted and accused innocent men with complete ignorance.

    Why shouldn’t we convict you?

  281. Shocked wrote:

    Reminds me of a bunch of Pharisees that Jesus would condemn today.

    Seriously, look in the mirror closely, see if there is something in your eye.

  282. MissionaryNow wrote:

    Yet, you’ve made yourself an expert as you blog in your mother’s basement in your pajamas on things you know nothing about. Not only that, you are traumatized by the ridiculous stories you read?? You read lies. You perpetuate lies. Then, you cry about it.

    Missionary? For what? A lot of venom for using a missionary moniker.

    Hey folks, this isn’t helping your cause.

  283. For the record I know many of the people involved. This was a heavy burden because I read the comments here, and I read the stories and I know what I stumbled across when it comes to information.

    These were some of the things I saw when I was at FCC.

    1. Eric Nickle did greet at the door.
    2. Eric Nickle did help run Group Link. He actually gave me assignment.
    3. Eric Nickle has prayed with people at the crosses with families nearby. I know because he prayed with me once. I struggled with it because I knew the information and kept it to myself.
    3. Eric Nickle told me he was arrested for prostitution. Later on I stumbled across the information on the sex offender registry. So either he was arrested and FCC didn’t know that, or there was dishonesty.
    4. Eric Nickle has led the Sex Addiction group in the children’s class room a couple of times. I thought nothing of it until I learned about the sex offender registry. Is that a way for a man attracted to children to still stimulate himself after hours even when no children are around?
    5. Eric Nickle has walked around in the lobby with families and people nearby. It weighed on me when I saw him and knew about the sex offender registry.

    No would Rod Stafford had spoken about this had it not been for Amy Smith and SNAP, or the original blog post I written. Writing that was not easy. But IO can’t contain information like that and keep it to myself. If something had happened I would have felt awful.

    I’m sorry…I’ve been involved in three different churches that struggled with this issue. Three different times it has come up. Churches are ripe for sexual offenders because many Christians are naïve. Forgive does not mean forget. And if you want to read some examples I have written of some examples at my blog.

  284. @ Sonja:

    Sonja you are also called to be a Berean. You are called to test scripture, and weigh what you hear. Churches can mislead and harm people. Its best to pay attention to scripture first. Oh and I was not attending casually. I was deeply involved.

  285. @ Shocked:

    I forgive you for questioning me and insulting me. Reading comments like this has been enlightening especially as I was baptized at FCC in November 2013.

  286. MissionaryNow wrote:

    Eagle,
    What were you falsely accused of doing in your Sovereign Grace church? And, what makes you any different than decent men who were falsely accused of ritual sexual abuse in the basement of slumber parties and regional events at SGM?
    Yet, you’ve made yourself an expert as you blog in your mother’s basement in your pajamas on things you know nothing about. Not only that, you are traumatized by the ridiculous stories you read?? You read lies. You perpetuate lies. Then, you cry about it.
    You have tried and convicted and accused innocent men with complete ignorance.
    Why shouldn’t we convict you?

    Uh, more allegations of lies without anything to support them?

    Couldn’t you at least be a Christian about this and say “Look, people, if it’s really true that we have a convicted violent child sexual abuser at our church in a visible position with some authority and the leaders have done nothing to warn the general church population, especially those with children, about it, then we will get to the bottom of it, repent, and make sure it never happens again. But give us time to look into this, we’ll do the right thing.”

    That would’ve been a Christian way of going about it. But instead, you post something directed at Eagle that, for want of a better description, is purely evil.

  287. @ shocked:

    18 million people who read TWW is a couple of people…? WOW!!! 20 million people live in Australia, and 18 million live in Mozambique. So that is hardly a couple.

  288. Eagle wrote:

    @ Shocked:
    I forgive you for questioning me and insulting me. Reading comments like this has been enlightening especially as I was baptized at FCC in November 2013.

    Eagle,

    I can see why you struggled with agnosticism for so long, these people are just bumping up against the top of the viciousness scale. All in the name of Christ (or at least, in the name of FCC–but maybe that’s the problem).

  289. Bill M wrote:

    MissionaryNow wrote:
    Yet, you’ve made yourself an expert as you blog in your mother’s basement in your pajamas on things you know nothing about. Not only that, you are traumatized by the ridiculous stories you read?? You read lies. You perpetuate lies. Then, you cry about it.
    Missionary? For what? A lot of venom for using a missionary moniker.
    Hey folks, this isn’t helping your cause.

    Gosh, he’s just killing his cause. But then again, based on his demeanor, which seems to me a mite sociopathic at least in form, I don’t think he has the same cause as you or me or Dee.

  290. With some of the recent dust tossed into the air to obscure the issue, a quick recap. FCC has on staff someone who is on the sexual offenders list, specifically a convicted child sex offender listed as violent. This has not been disputed. The discussion has been on how to handle this and what type of relationship someone with that history should have with a church.

    Recent FCC defenders are not helping me get a better understanding other than if they are from FCC, then the problems there go deeper.

  291. Law Prof wrote:

    these people are just bumping up against the top of the viciousness scale.

    It’s amazing what comes out. You’d think their handlers would ask them to take it down a notch rather than leave this impression of their church.

  292. Bill M,

    Typically as I believe you know, things like this are just a sign of a far deeper problem, and all you have to do is scratch a group a bit and you find out what’s under the surface. If there’s anyone here attending FCC but on the periphery who’s read the posts of MissionaryNow, Shocked and others (assuming they’re representative samples and not trolls misrepresenting themselves as FCC members, perhaps trying to sabatoge them, which would be a very bad show indeed), I hope their eyes are opened, because it seems very much like a vicious and destructive cult just beneath the surface.

  293. @ Eagle:
    Eagle, your testimony widened the scope of my faith and understanding. Thanks for putting yourself out there.

  294. @ BeenThereDoneThat:

    BTDT reading these commenters by FCC and watching this behavior saddens me. FCC was where I chose to get baptized after being in agnosticism for half my thirties. I’m actually beginning to think that FCC was a mistake one in a long line of mistakes. Maybe the issue is more of evangelicalism but had I known this riot would have happened and the crowd would pull out knives and stab me in the back or others…I’m embarrassed to say I was baptized at FCC.

    This behavior is wrong. Its not how Christians are supposed to act. I honestly wonder how some of these people would have survived in the days of Rome. If they think they are being persecuted now…well they don’t know persecution.

    It was not easy to deal with some of this information. It saddens me that this is the response. My thoughts of FCC have sunk to a new low.

    Signed Disgusted in Fairfax…

  295. @ Bill M:

    I’m working on part one of the men’s post now for Monday. It deals with evangelicals and porn. I want to write a lot more about FCC but I need to watch the sermon, study the statement and chew on it. So there will be more posts at my blog about FCC.

  296. @ MissionaryNow:

    Missionary Now I forgive you for your comments. And for the record…as I type this I am wearing a t-shirt from Montana, jeans, and I live in the 3 floor of a condo in Fairfax. And we don’t have a basement! 😛

  297. Law Prof wrote:

    I can see why you struggled with agnosticism for so long, these people are just bumping up against the top of the viciousness scale.

    Yep. I’m in this in-between state myself, barely partially Christian but having major doubts, so I am rather Agnostic the last few years.

    So when I see people who are presumably Christian leave the sorts of nasty posts on here that they’re leaving (and which I think are unjustified), it’s not making a good case for Christianity.

    On the other hand, some of the nicer people and the Christians who are defending the hurt (such as Deb and Dee and regular posters here) give me some hope.

    But the ones leaving the nasty posts might want to consider how they are negatively impacting those of us who are considering leaving the faith, or having a hard time holding on to it.

    You would think their devotion would be to Jesus Christ, not a particular preacher, church, or denomination.

  298. There are two things I find fascinating….

    1. The problem of Eric Nickle is also indicative of leadership problems of FCC. They know more than the legal system, psychologists and have taken away that decision from people who attend and parents. They parented instead of letting parents decide. Its a questionable use of authority. FCC has struggled with authority issues when I was there. I actually tried approaching Andy Gingrich a few times and discuss concerns and he just categorically dismissed me. Or in another case came down so hard I was stunned by how authority was used. His use of authority left another CGL upset and afraid. That bothered me deeply. But when FCC is going to be so controlling and authoritative in the process they force people to turn elsewhere. That’s why this is being discussed here on the internet. In the Yelp review a mother of 4 writes how she approached FCC leadership about Eric Nickle and they dismissed her. I was dismissed also. This is indicative of heavy handed authorterian leadership.

    2. The other thing I find deeply fascinating is how quickly FCC responded to this information. Its in damage control mode. I mean they put off their sermon series “Wish You Were Here” to talk about this topic. I want to listen to the sermon before I write about it because that is only fair. But I am amazed that FCC would move so fast and change the schedule to tackle this topic. When they had the shooting in the DC Navy Yard in September 13, the area reacted strongly. People were hurting and FCC acted like nothing happened. No sermon about pain and suffering, no talk on the problem of evil. The circus must continue and act like nothing happened. I walked away from that just shocked and asked myself…”what good is a church if it doesn’t respond to pain in the community?”

    So FCC scrambles to react to the issue of having a violent sex offender on staff, and they ignore the mass shooting in their backyard. Is the issue money? I mean if people bolt, and the “A Better $tory” campaign is affected can FCC grow? Is FCC more of a business than a church? Watching and analyzing this behavior is stunning.

  299. Eagle wrote:

    I’m embarrassed to say I was baptized at FCC.

    Sometimes I feel that way about my former cult, too. Then I remember who I made my commitment to. You didn’t get baptized in the name of FCC. They were just an instrument just like God used a donkey to speak through one time.

  300. Law Prof wrote:

    If there’s anyone here attending FCC but on the periphery who’s read the posts of MissionaryNow, Shocked and others …, I hope their eyes are opened,

    The concepts brought out by this post are new to me and I have only processed it in the last few days. I now believe someone with Nickle’s history has earned himself a lifetime of grief for the lifetime of grief he forced onto innocents. Nickle’s path won’t be easy, no normalcy. I can easily see how his history and likely continuing condition could be minimized by the poor understanding of church leaders. I could have made the same error, there is a lot of room for humility and for the people at FCC to re-evaluate.

    But it doesn’t end this way. Instead there is vitriol, venom and name calling. Make the case why FCC is not wrong. Question the assumptions here. Join the discussion.

    Unfortunately these latest posts I see the same insular, circle the wagons, shoot the messenger, our side can do no wrong, way too much faith in “leaders”. Good grief people, get out of the ghetto and think for yourself. Reason through this independently. You may not agree with FCC or TWW, but think for yourself. If after find your own voice and then are surprised to find your church has no interest in hearing it move on. But please don’t be the dupe and go out there saying something you will regret later when your eyes are opened.

  301. I think at bottom these types of responses have a lot more to do with what we see in the Asch and Milgram experiments than they have to do with people genuinely seeking the Lord and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

  302. Eagle wrote:

    The other thing I find deeply fascinating is how quickly FCC responded to this information. Its in damage control mode.

    If the leadership responds anything like those who purport to be attenders of FCC have responded here, they will only do greater damage. If they respond with political craftsmanship and obfuscation and admonitions to the congregation to “trust their leaders”, they will only do greater damage.

    The only thing to do is to seek God and apologize for their acts and omissions. Because even if Mr. Nickle never harms another child in his life, what they have done in not bringing all parents in the church clearly into the loop is wrong and perhaps a sign of deep corruption. Nothing about Mr. Nickle can possibly change that.

  303. So after I pulled the knives out of my back I got in my trusty Nissan Sentra and drove to FCC. I sat in the parking lot and cried and just couldn’t believe people from FCC could act like thst. This is an eye opener I am honestly embarrassed to have been baptized there. Anyhow well I’ll have some IHOP. Somehow I wonder if I am going to be a done in a few years time.

  304. Law Prof wrote:

    Sadly, this may well be EXACTLY how (presumably) Pastor Dave shows love to others, backs up his allegations, and turns the other cheek. If you ever want to see rage, just set up a situation where a pastor who’s used to having the final say and controlling others is put on a level playing field and unable to control the agenda.

    If he really is Pastor Dave, how nice it is to see his true face

    “Over all this their good manners, their expressions of grave respect, their ‘tributes’ to one another’s invaluable services form a thin crust. Every now and then it gets punctured, and the scalding lava of their hatred spurts out.”
    — C.S.Lewis, Preface to The Screwtape Letters

  305. @ dee:

    Even better Dee! If this is what one of the top school systems Fairfax Public Schools are training people…God help us!

  306. Daisy wrote:

    Some lady (I forget her name) who has studied violent offenders for years who’s interviewed numerous abusers and has written books about it, had a number of these pedo guys tell her that they specifically target churches to prey on kids, because church people are too lax, lazy, or naive and trusting.

    That would be Anna Salter. Her book “Predators”, while deeply disturbing, is a must-read. She may have written others. I think “Predators” is quite old now.

  307. Classic diversion by FCC supporters. Also, classic they will not use their names…
    The core issues is w/r to the convicted child molestor ( note I use the true term, not watered down sex offender title) and how the church and the offender present this. This reminds me of the Penn State disaster, and the Catholic Church.
    Here is my question to FCC supporters:
    1. Has the convicted child molestor been properly suppervised?
    2. Has he made out be some sort of hero/example of the gospel? Yes, God forgives, but he no more a hero for the gospel than any other sinner. Did he really Sign autographs? That is creepy…
    3. Has the convicted child molestor misrepresented his offense to the general membership of the church?
    4. Has FCC misrepresented his offenses to the general membership?
    5.

  308. Eagle wrote:

    I sat in the parking lot and cried and just couldn’t believe people from FCC could act like thst. This is an eye opener

    What we’ve seen in the comments here is very typical of abusive churches. If you try to discuss a problem, YOU become the problem.

  309. @ MissionaryNow:
    Please tell me how you are modeling Jesus and drawing people into the Kingdom. It’s hard to tell from your comment. Or are you a missionary for a different person?

  310. Shocked wrote:

    Reminds me of a bunch of Pharisees that Jesus would condemn today.

    How would that work? The Pharisees were the RELIGIOUS LEADERS of Jesus’ own tribe. They used people to elevate themselves. They were the center of religious attention and the “important ones” who wanted people to follow them. They were constantly making religious show of how devout they were in public.

    You need a new analogy. Being a Pharisee requires perceived power. FCC leaders have people who attend a building each week to sit in a pew and listen to their teaching about Jesus Christ without any interaction. Now that is power. And it works.

  311. Those from FCC who are writing these comments illustrate how they are redefining the issue and blame shifting. It troubles me that I will be mischaracterized as someone who just went twice, etc… You know what I was thinking of this morning when I was getting ready for another church. When I was looking into Mormonism years ago in college I learned that the LDS faith teaches Mormons to avoid ex-Mormons and also makes statements such as “well they were not a true member of the faith”, “they were casually involved” ,etc… to those who left. Its interesting to me to see how FCCs characterize someone who left as “well he just went twice” etc..

  312. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    Nickell has it billed as sexual addiction within the groups he oversees. He left out the children part. Wonder why?

    Bad for Business.

    Well, that is the whole point. That is why pastors won’t announce it and make sure people are informed. It is very bad for business. Instead, only a few are told who are in leadership positions and escorts are the supposed remedy. (Escorts bring up a whole other set of problems with someone who has lived a long con)

    But the truth is pastors know if they announce it church wide and focus on zero tolerance that it will mean fewer new visitors, new members, etc. They also fear some will leave. It is all about the numbers. So they dumb down the crime by agreeing to be vague to protect the “rights” of a child predator and then promote a provocative but vague redemption story. Everyone is played.

  313. Eagle

    So there are three services today at FCC two this morning and an evening. Should I back to FCC so I can be made an example of? While the issue of Servetus applies to the Neo-Calvinists we could also set a precedent in an Arminian denomination as well. That said there are still a few more places on my back members or attenders of FCC can stab.

  314. @ BeenThereDoneThat:

    People at FCC can say what they want…that’s fine. What they say speaks volumes about FCC and their faith. If pastor Dave who leads at Clarksburg is going to act like that…wow!! WOW!! I think we’re seeing why the dones are growing with church today. That’s no way to treat someone.

  315. @ Bill M:

    Indeed circle the wagons, and protect at all costs…..its doesn’t matter if its Al Mohler, Mark Dever, CJ Mahnaey or Eric Nickle in the end the means justify the end. Its an us vs. them mentality on steroids. Perhaps this is why agnosticism/atheism can be a respite form the toxic parts of the Christian faith.

  316. Law Prof wrote:

    The problem with many churches, particularly of the celeb-worship, cult of personality strain, is that leaders build up walls of separation (i.e., “yes men”, layers of bureaucracy) between themselves and the consequences of their decisions. These walls also can filter out information, so that they don’t even have a viable means of learning about the consequences of their actions unless they care enough to roll their sleeves up, get among the people, and investigate (ha, ha, fat chance of that).

    It is worse than that, Law Prof. In growing churches the leaders HAVE to insulate themselves in order to make that system work. And yes, it is a system. A CLOSED SYSTEM. They don’t want to know the consequences of their actions and over time because they believe they have been elevated by Jesus, any outspoken dissent is seen as going against what God has tasked them to do. No one is more dangerous than those using large numbers of people to do what they do for God.

    One cannot “pastor” large numbers of people. (The NT “pastor” was never meant for that anyway) So they become talking heads. Great speakers who are admired from stage. And the people in the pews really do think they know them. I came to the conclusion it is a lot like people identifying with a television character and becoming a big “fan”. And they will go to great lengths to prop up their celebrity and even 5 min with him in close proximity is a great honor for them. (The celeb gets used to this adoration) And they will gush over what sort of person he is without every really knowing him personally but they think they do. It is bizarre if you think about it. It is far from how the Body of Christ is to operate.

  317. MissionaryNow wrote:

    Eagle,

    What were you falsely accused of doing in your Sovereign Grace church? And, what makes you any different than decent men who were falsely accused of ritual sexual abuse in the basement of slumber parties and regional events at SGM?

    Yet, you’ve made yourself an expert as you blog in your mother’s basement in your pajamas on things you know nothing about. Not only that, you are traumatized by the ridiculous stories you read?? You read lies. You perpetuate lies. Then, you cry about it.

    You have tried and convicted and accused innocent men with complete ignorance.

    Why shouldn’t we convict you?

    Shooting the messenger is a very old tactic and meant to deflect from the real and very important issues that are embarrassing. And it does nothing to protect children in the long run. Don’t be a part of that.

  318. To any FCC members who may be reading here: Realize that the same attitude displayed here from those associated with FCC could be aimed at you if you question them.

    If a child is molested at FCC, your leaders will not take responsibility for their failure to protect. Please take every necessary precaution to protect your kids. If you don’t have kids, please help your brothers and sisters by paying attention to the kids you see. If you see something that looks suspicious, alert somebody.

  319. In the interests of full disclosure: I am a grandmother and my house does have a basement. Somebody here has reminded us of the inherent dangers of basements and loungewear and I have now indulged in some introspection on these issues. As for the loungewear, I confess that one day in the middle of last week I spent several hours just hanging out in loungewear. I know there is no excuse for that but I had convinced myself that since I had just had some outpatient surgery that morning (cataract/IOL) and since I had restrictions (no lifting or bending over-that sort of thing) I could let down my guard to the sad extent of actually hanging out in comfortable clothing. How could I have done such a thing? I must remember to be more careful in the future.

    As to basements, however, a more stringent approach may necessary. When I was a little kid I was terrified of basements and spent a lot of effort getting over that. But truth be told there may be something suspicious going on in my basement. (Sarcasm to follow–mixed of course with true facts.) I recently replaced my old washer and dryer with new computerized models including one of those HE washers. Now I see that the gadgets have minds of their own, and I have to fight them for control of the laundry. I have been thinking that was just something mechanical/electronic but maybe not. Maybe it is something evil lurking in my basement and influencing the gadgets. I am convinced as it is that computers are connected to the dark side of the force. Maybe my childhood fears were correct. Perhaps basements try to corrupt people, especially people in loungewear.

    Not only that, but I did find a little snake down there once-about two inches long and little wider than a bobby pin but a snake none the less. Could that be an omen? It was just a baby rat snake, as far as we could tell, so we carefully put it out back with the ivy so he could grow up and do his job for nature and us, but maybe….?????? Again I was rationalizing, this time that he would help keep wee critters away from the compost pile. How easy it is to ‘reason away’ some serious infraction of some, well, some something or other. I must rethink my casual attitude toward basements including my own, what with all these possible signs to be wary about.

    Anyhow, thanks for whoever reminded me of the dangers of basements and pajamas. I will try to be careful in the future.

  320. okrapod wrote:

    Anyhow, thanks for whoever reminded me of the dangers of basements and pajamas. I will try to be careful in the future.

    Just tuning in here.
    And all I can say is, wow. Just wow.
    The deflective snark designed to shame people who point out the elephant in the room is outlandish. Someone better tell this grandma that she’s got some serious issues when it comes to dealing charming predators that talk the talk so they can perp the innocent.
    The dangers of basement, indeed.
    She needs to figure out some other way to deal with these issues than sweeping it under the rug and deflecting attention away from it to the dang basement. Her attempts at deflection is over-the-top lame.

  321. Torn Aprart wrote:

    I’m torn. I’ve been to FCC. I know Eric. I know Rod. I know Andy. I know those that have been abused. My stomach is tossing this way and that as I’ve read all these posts. I don’t agree in all the ways FCC has handled this. But I also don’t believe that Eric is in a role of power as some have said. Yes, he is on staff. Yes, he is paid. And no, he doesn’t just walk up to people and tell them that he is a registered violent sex offender. But yes, he is under a lot of safety restrictions, set in place for the safety of all that walk in the doors. He doesn’t greet families at the door of the church. He only greets the men he recognizes from his groups. Otherwise, he doesn’t interact. He never walks down the children’s wing of the church. All his male groups that he does oversee meet at night, when there are no children present or other groups meeting. FCC only has children’s events on the weekends, not throughout the week as other churches do. They meet in the Great Room, which is a large room at the front of the church that has no doors and only windows. There is no privacy.

    I am a parent and my children have been involved at FCC. Do you not think that the directors of the ministry, Marcy Davis, Luz Mueller, and Amy Tristan not know about Eric? They roam the halls with walkie talkies. There are undercover security guards that monitor who comes and goes. They would never let Eric near any child on a weekend.

    But at the same time, I don’t want Eric’s presence to be a trigger for anyone overcoming such trauma and devastation that I cannot imagine. So I’m torn with whether to agree or disagree with what is being said. I do trust that FCC is taking this seriously and I believe that they always have. Unfortunately whatever they do now will be viewed through a lens of backstepping.

    Thank you for a sincere comment from at least one FCC person. I understand that it seems by your comment a lot of protections have been put in place to deal with Eric. But frankly, if every single person coming to FCC has not been told, it hardly matters.

    I would really encourage you to do some serious research on child molesters/predators. They have lived a very long con and church people tend to be way too naïve. The question is not really if Eric has the opportunity to molest a child at church. The question is much more subtle than that. Does Eric have the opportunity to “groom” at church and that is a much harder question to answer. In fact, you can’t. But his very position at church means he is presented at church as someone you can trust. And we tend to do that. We trust a medical practioner in a white coat because they of the white coat and the degree on the wall. We assume others more expert than us have vetted them. And there are laws that make that mandatory. not so at church. People come and tend to trust those who are leading/teaching others because they have been vetted by “spiritual” leaders.

    Ask yourself a simple question. If the leaders had made sure that those attending knew the NATURE of his crime, how would people respond? It is likely most would do nothing real overt but would go to great lengths to subtly make sure their children had no contact. Every smile from Mr. Eric would be suspect. While you might find that intolerable for Mr. Eric, that is simply the consequences of his crime of wanting his sexual jollies from a child. That is just the way it is. And FCC leaders had NO RIGHT to keep that information from people. It is cowardly.

    Whose rights are more important in this situation? How do we know for sure that Eric is not rebuilding his credibility to get his sexual jollies from children in the future with another long con? You see, Mr. Eric is not a stranger to these kids outside of church, is he? They have seen him around church greeting folks, etc.

  322. I went to the service yesterday at 5PM. It is not going to be streaming, nor put up on the internet. These are a few points, questions, and comments I got out of last night.

    – There still seems to be a discussion surrounding the limitations and restrictions put on Mr. Nickle, yet those topics of discussion seem to have been addressed in the response Mr. Stafford sent out, or were they not addressed to the level that you feel is appropriate? (I ask that seriously and not in a sarcastic tone).

    – Mr. Nickle’s dad was a swinger and his mom was sexually molested by a pastor before he was born. His parents thought having a child would keep their marriage together but, instead, they got divorced when Eric was 1 year old. As he was raised, he was exposed to pornography at a very young age.
    – The victim was Mr. Nickle’s daughter. When she was 12 – 14 (I forget the exact age), upon her falling asleep he would come in and touch her (first through her clothing and then underneath it). The first time he touched her underneath her clothes she awoke and immediately told her mom (Eric’s wife).
    – The sermon stated that, according to Virginia law, all crimes committed in such a way (even though no physical violence (in the traditional sense of striking, etc.) was caused, the term “violent” is still attached). @LawProf: This is your area of expertise so your words regarding whether this is true or not may help further elucidate the matter.
    – Many years have passed and they have both gone through a tremendous amount of counseling (both on their own and together) to the point where they meet (in public) and Mr. Nickle gets to spend time with his daughter and grandson/granddaughter (I forget if it’s a boy or a girl but it was stated in the sermon).
    – A second story was told about a woman who works at the church and is the supervisor of Mr. Nickle. She was a victim of molestation at the hands of a pastor when she was younger. I am refraining from using her name because of this. She has been Mr. Nickle’s supervisor for the entirety of his employment at FCC.
    – Upon leaving the church, a few SNAP members were standing at the entrance to the church and offering pamphlets to drivers. Upon declining to receive the literature, the woman said, “That’s alright, thank you anyways”. I write this because I was “happy” to see that no animosity of any kind seemed to be outwardly demonstrated.

  323. @ okrapod:

    LOL! I need to send this to Kevin Ezell, President of the SBC NAMB who made the same comment about bloggers in the basement in their PJ’s.

  324. I wrote one comment yesterday. I stated that I have attended FCC. I stated that I know Eric. And Rod. And Andy. And others in leadership. I stated that I know those involved in children’s ministry know of Eric’s past, that he is on the sexual offenders list. There are leaders in the hallways at all services with walkie talkies, and undercover security as well. My children attend the services, and I knew about Eric’s past as well, before this was brought into even more light.

    And I’ll say it. I am embarrassed by the way my church has handled this. I knew that no matter what they do now, it will seem like they are backstepping. Or as @eagle has said, that they are only doing it so that people don’t leave and mess up the building campaign. Personally, I see where that skepticism might come from, but I don’t think you have any fact to stand behind that one. You have fact to stand behind many of your other comments, but that one was a low blow.

    I’m sorry for the way FCC has handled this. As their letter from last night stated, they believe that they were consistent with what the law states, as far as protecting our children. Could they have been more transparent? That’s obvious. Will they in the future? I sure hope so. Has Rod made mistakes in this? Most definitely.

    I can see the the love and passion that all of you on this message board have towards the victim and towards those that could become victims because of people like Eric. I’m not an Elevator. I’m not here to throw stones at you. I’m not an FCC defender as you’ve called us. But I am a member.

  325. @ Torn Aprart:
    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. You did a much better job than Pastor Dave who accused us of being liars but refused to give us evidence of that.

    I do believe that this incident, along with the publicity surrounding it will lead to changes at FCC in how they deal with an abuser.

  326. @ Torn Aprart:
    I think if more people would stop thinking of us as stone throwers and more as alarm sounders, the conversations might be different. Generally people want to have alarms sounded. Foolish people hit the snooze or ignore the smoke alarm and the tornado sirens.

  327. Mark wrote:

    The victim was Mr. Nickle’s daughter. When she was 12 – 14 (I forget the exact age), upon her falling asleep he would come in and touch her (first through her clothing and then underneath it). The first time he touched her underneath her clothes she awoke and immediately told her mom (Eric’s wife).

    This sounds like the Josh Duggar scenario. it is deeply concerning that Eric would find such activity sexually arousing. He obviously has a sexual preference for children below the age of consent. Remember these are the only incidents that have been confessed at this point. The average pedophile has had multiple contacts with many kids prior to their arrest. So, we do not necessarily know the whole story. I say extreme caution needs to be the rule.

    Mark wrote:

    As he was raised, he was exposed to pornography at a very young age.

    That is often the case. Many pedophiles not only have been exposed to pornography but have been molested as well. This the reason that one must be extremely cautious of such an individual. It is imperative the the cycle is broken. Once again, I do not believe that Eric should be in a position of trust.

    Mark wrote:

    Upon declining to receive the literature, the woman said, “That’s alright, thank you anyways”.

    I am glad that the SNAP volunteers were polite That tends to be their stance during the protests although I have never attended one.

    Question: Why i the world would someone turn down the offer of literature? This group is an expert of the subject of pedophilia and the church. Am I to guess that members of your church really don’t care about learning about pedophilia and the church?

  328. There was a fireworks festival in a nearby city today. I wasn’t able to go to that, but there seem to be plenty of fireworks on this comment thread to make up for it!

    Boy, the defenders from FCC just came out of the woodwork (along with a few honest and worried folks, like Torn Apart above). If this is what the Deebs are putting up with, I wonder what’s being said to Amy Smith at her blog — I haven’t checked it out yet.

    I know you ladies are tough, and you can take it, but it looks like you’ve touched a nerve. Keep at it, ’cause we need people like you.

  329. okrapod wrote:

    Anyhow, thanks for whoever reminded me of the dangers of basements and pajamas. I

    Warning: I know of washing machines which cause socks to disappear. This is a plot of the evil one.

  330. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    I know you ladies are tough, and you can take it, but it looks like you’ve touched a nerve. Keep at it, ’cause we need people like you.

    Thank you. We have been at this game for 6 years. The response is predictable and even a bit tedious. I guess some people are not at all interested in learning about the real facts of pedophilia.

  331. MissionaryNow wrote:

    Yet, you’ve made yourself an expert as you blog in your mother’s basement in your pajamas on things you know nothing about.

    And munching on Cheetos. You forgot to mention the Cheetos, MN. That’s the most important part of the cliche.

  332. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    To any FCC members who may be reading here: Realize that the same attitude displayed here from those associated with FCC could be aimed at you if you question them.

    This is an excellent comment.

  333. Mark wrote:

    – The victim was Mr. Nickle’s daughter. When she was 12 – 14 (I forget the exact age), upon her falling asleep he would come in and touch her (first through her clothing and then underneath it). The first time he touched her underneath her clothes she awoke and immediately told her mom (Eric’s wife).

    Mark, Thanks for your entire comment. As to the above, we have no idea if there were other victims or if he just got caught. One does not just decide out of the blue to molest their own child. Often proximity and opportunity have more to do with what has been in their brains for years.

    And I warn others who might think that the fact his daughter sees him in public has anything to do with whether he is safe or not. It doesn’t.

    There was a similar incident I am familiar with of a dad doing the same with his then 14 year old daughter. The mom was not going to report it but just separate from him. The daughter came to church and was not herself and some of her teachers noticed her withdrawing and sought to find out why. The 14 year old girl told them. They asked the mom who said, oh, he was drunk and swore it would not happen again. The teachers called authorities and that call resulted in the judge throwing the book at him.

    I am so glad those teachers acknowledged her value and acted.

  334. @ Eagle:
    I do not know for sure that it is that Pastor Dave. He will not answer my questions about anything. He just accuses me of lying and will not offer any proof.

  335. dee wrote:

    Question: Why i the world would someone turn down the offer of literature? This group is an expert of the subject of pedophilia and the church. Am I to guess that members of your church really don’t care about learning about pedophilia and the church?

    Perhaps they honestly thought that the sermon told them all they needed to know (about Nickle, anyway).

    It’s also possible that they were feeling overwhelmed. The facts of the case that Mark outlined from the sermon are very, very disturbing. Sunday service might have left them a bit fatigued. Hopefully, they’ll have some incentive to study pedophilia a little more later.

  336. Eagle wrote:

    So after I pulled the knives out of my back I got in my trusty Nissan Sentra and drove to FCC. I sat in the parking lot and cried and just couldn’t believe people from FCC could act like thst.

    I have tried to indicate that you really care about little kids. But some people want to make you (and me)the problem. They do not know what this looks like. I am thinking about writing a post on how churches, pastors and members would respond when confronted about their church. Both FCC and Elevation will be template.

  337. @ Bill M:
    Thanks Bill. It is my wish to educate as many people as possible as to the inherent problems in churches. One thing that FCC and Elevation do not seem to get is that the real fruit of our love and faith is exhibited not when everybody loves us but when people challenge us. Pastor Dave is the prime example of this. Character is only modeled under duress. I think he failed the test/

  338. Torn Aprart wrote:

    I can see the the love and passion that all of you on this message board have towards the victim and towards those that could become victims because of people like Eric.

    Thank you! You know, people tend not to want to hear the details of what a victim has gone through. The Christians are the worst. They tend to trot out shaming tactics using Jesus. ‘You need to forgive and forget’

    One thing you learn a long the way- if you are interested at all in what victims go through- is that healing is made much harder because so many people end up protecting the perp without even realizing what they are really doing.

    what these Christians are really saying is they do not love justice. They tend to believe we should only seek justice in eternity–but not right now. They tend to believe that Jesus was against justice with his forgiveness but that is not the case at all. Jesus had a condition: Repentance. To change direction. To be a new creation. And that takes a long time. In the meantime we are charged with protecting the most vulnerable and innocent of our society.

  339. Lydia wrote:

    And I warn others who might think that the fact his daughter sees him in public has anything to do with whether he is safe or not. It doesn’t.

    Thank you for saying that. I can’t shake the feeling that FCC shared the info they did to downplay and almost excuse(?) Nickle’s behavior. The fact that he molested his own daughter (which to me is worse) shows that he went for what was easily available at that time.

  340. Torn Aprart wrote:

    Or as @eagle has said, that they are only doing it so that people don’t leave and mess up the building campaign.

    personally, I am worn out with all church building campaigns. And I warn folks against them all the time. It is so easy to get caught up in “more” and bigger and better. It is so easy to see it as a validation of the “rightness” of the direction of the church. Spend that money helping victims, paying for cancer treatments for the poor or something more noble.

  341. MissionaryNow wrote:

    Yet, you’ve made yourself an expert as you blog in your mother’s basement in your pajamas

    You forgot about the eating Cheetos part of that Mark Driscoll quote. He is truly a respectable source these days…

    BTW, he does’t have a basement in his condo! I do have a basement but I never let anyone go there except the bug eradicator guy. I think there are spiders with hairy legs crawling around down there.

  342. Mark wrote:

    according to Virginia law

    Somebody posted a link to the VA police regarding this. I read it. I recommend it for reading to anybody who is interested in this aspect of it.

  343. @ Lydia:

    Once upon a time in a town where we lived there was a psychiatrist who proposed to his presbyterian church that the church set up a room in the church basement for the safe practice of S&M by people who were into that sort of thing-sort of a combination of lab practicum and support group as I understood it. He said he was concerned about the safety of people when they did this. Okay! The church did not do it. So I have no doubt that there can be bad things that go on in basements. Not necessarily in loungewear however, if I understand it.

  344. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    The fact that he molested his own daughter (which to me is worse) shows that he went for what was easily available at that time.

    I give the leadership credit for finally coming out with the particulars. Pedophilia and child sexual abuse of all kinds just makes no sense to me. Doing that to one’s own daughter is beyond the beyond. I think Nickle’s personal story is tragic and illustrates the need to protect children from being abused like he was. I also think that someone like Nickle who is repentant *and who works with a professional and under the professional’s direction* can provide insight to a recovery group.

  345. Eagle wrote:

    So after I pulled the knives out of my back I got in my trusty Nissan Sentra and drove to FCC. I sat in the parking lot and cried and just couldn’t believe people from FCC could act like thst. This is an eye opener I am honestly embarrassed to have been baptized there. Anyhow well I’ll have some IHOP. Somehow I wonder if I am going to be a done in a few years time.

    I’m sorry for your pain. I’ve been there (in your position, not the parking lot of FCC)… more than once.

    I had to come to the realization that I cannot expect believers to behave in a way differently than they have been discipled. The character of leadership seeps out into everything… every ministry, every sermon, every prayer meeting, every fellowship opportunity.

    A consistent, steady, and pervasive drip of dysfunction has a way of convincing people that the abnormal is normal. The larger the group the greater affect. The thinking goes, “After all, can so many be wrong?”

    As for being embarrassed about being baptized there. It comes down to a question that the Lord regularly challenges each believer with, “Will you follow a man, a movement, or Me?” We can sometimes allow our identity in Christ to drift toward identifying with a man (the pastor, leader) or a movement (specific church or movement of churches).

  346. @ Gram3:
    A situation similar to Nickle’s happened at my former cult. The perp was raised with swinger parents, and was exposed to very inappropriate things from a young age. Not only did he go on to molest his own daughter, but at least one of the girl’s brothers molested her as well.

    Today the daughter posts pics of her and her dad on FB. They seem to have moved on. But she left the cult shortly after her dad was convicted. She went on camera saying the cult gave her no support, and they called her a liar. The cult was far more interested in defending themselves to whoever would listen.

    Mr. Nickle may never molest another child. But I get the heebie-jeebies when a church is more concerned with protecting itself than making sure its most vulnerable members are protected.

  347. Through a glass darkly wrote:

    Daisy wrote:
    Some lady (I forget her name) who has studied violent offenders for years who’s interviewed numerous abusers and has written books about it, had a number of these pedo guys tell her that they specifically target churches to prey on kids, because church people are too lax, lazy, or naive and trusting.
    That would be Anna Salter. Her book “Predators”, while deeply disturbing, is a must-read. She may have written others. I think “Predators” is quite old now.

    Yes, that’s the lady I was thinking of. I read parts of one of her books for free on a book site, and it was some of the most disturbing stuff I have ever read.

  348. Eagle wrote:

    So after I pulled the knives out of my back I got in my trusty Nissan Sentra and drove to FCC. I sat in the parking lot and cried and just couldn’t believe people from FCC could act like thst. This is an eye opener I am honestly embarrassed to have been baptized there. Anyhow well I’ll have some IHOP. Somehow I wonder if I am going to be a done in a few years time.

    You’re just finding out what those people who smiled in the pews and prayed for you in the care groups and said “Hey bro, how ya doin?” at the church picnics are really all about. It hurts to find out what a lot of people really are and you just do not find out what’s inside someone at the average church. That takes time and experience. But this is exactly what the Lord warned us about, wolves and those who comes as angels of light.

  349. @ Eagle:

    I am sorry that you had that experience. I am thinking that anybody who is anybody probably has some knife wound scars in their back. Including Jesus of course.

  350. Lydia wrote:

    Great speakers who are admired from stage.

    In my not-so-humble opinion, and as a regular speaker in the classroom, for professional organizations and conferences (next conference speaking engagement I have starts tomorrow), public speaking is one thing I do know about and is one of the very few things that I’m very good at. The great majority of celeb Christian speakers are not great, most of them are not even good. It’s just that the standards are so low in Christendom, we call mediocrities “great”. Out of the hundreds of Christian (or “Christian”) speakers I’ve seen over the decades, I can count on one hand the number of great speakers I’ve seen, and one of them was Billy Graham, another was Greg Boyd. Most are somewhere on the scale between incompetent and mediocre.

  351. WillysJeepMan wrote:

    A consistent, steady, and pervasive drip of dysfunction has a way of convincing people that the abnormal is normal. The larger the group the greater affect. The thinking goes, “After all, can so many be wrong?”

    This.is.it.

  352. @ Law Prof:

    I know where you are coming from because I made my living in a similar fashion. I guess I should have been more explicit. It is always not a matter of master “speaking skills”, IMHO. in fact, not being a good orator often has great compensations for a pastor. It makes him appear humble, one of us, and they play off it while they hone those skills week after week. Look at Driscoll. Mahaney. Piper. Is it about the content or their personality/position making the content seem like truth? And how does the stage and venue affect the content in a spiritual sense?

    For once, I would love to see these guys submit to unvetted questions with an audience that is not so enamored with the speaker but serious about the topic. (I realize most are too large for that but isn’t that another point?) I always did that and boy do you learn a lot. It is certainly not safe if your goal is to be admired and followed. But what if your goal is strictly education and/or truth. In that case, it is imperative to be questioned.

  353. @ okrapod:

    Hee hee. I have a nice church basement story. When I was a teen one church allowed us to turn the church basement into a cool hippie for Jesus style coffeehouse. We painted it black with cool neon (for that time) designs, installed a black light and played our really bad amateur music to worship Jesus. we served soda pop and really bad coffee from a giant church percolator with masses of evil Little Debbies. It was almost scandalous to eat and drink during worship. We were such rebels.

    I still cannot believe the adults allowed us to “Paint it black”. :o)

  354. Lydia wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    I know where you are coming from because I made my living in a similar fashion. I guess I should have been more explicit. It is always not a matter of master “speaking skills”, IMHO.

    Oh I wasn’t trying to fire a shot across your bow, I knew where you were coming from, that you weren’t really meaning that, that you were saying it shouldn’t be about the great speaker. Totally agreed. I just have a burr under my saddle about all the people (not you) who gush over all these great orators, profound theologians, brilliant boys, and general geniuses in the pulpit. When I take a look at them, read what they write, compare how they reason, they seem like outright mediocrities at best.

  355. @ Law Prof:

    You know, this topic speaks to something more important and how we might better understand what is going on. What is preaching/teaching? My guess is that you had a different audience year to year. You do not have people who come to you to teach them law for 10 years or so. And your audience comes to be taught what they do not yet know within that context. There also has to be the aspect of learning how to think about what we are taught.

    Where does the institutional church with the preaching pastor on stage fit into this? To what end? Motivational? Instructional? Not sure that is possible after so much time has passed unless the church audience is not growing, too.

    I love listening to scholars who bring perspectives I might not understand pertaining to ancient cultures. But that is not what most are hearing week after week. I don’t know, I would love to see an in-depth discussion on this topic somewhere… but not many are interested. It might be why I am becoming more comfortable with a more liturgical service where just reading scripture instead of telling me what to think about it, is the focus. Never in a million years would I have thought I would ever say that!

  356. Lydia wrote:

    And the people in the pews really do think they know them. I came to the conclusion it is a lot like people identifying with a television character and becoming a big “fan”. And they will go to great lengths to prop up their celebrity and even 5 min with him in close proximity is a great honor for them. (The celeb gets used to this adoration)

    People sure thought Bill Cosby was a nice guy and didn’t even crack on the allegations until some man brought it up during a stand up routine.

    The comments alleging he attacked them, of 20, 30, 40 women victims meant nothing for the longest time.

  357. Daisy wrote:

    People sure thought Bill Cosby was a nice guy and didn’t even crack on the allegations until some man brought it up during a stand up routine.

    The comments alleging he attacked them, of 20, 30, 40 women victims meant nothing for the longest time.

    It’s called “I’m A CELEBRITY!”

    And A CELEBRITY Can Do No Wrong, both in and outside the church.

  358. Law Prof wrote:

    The great majority of celeb Christian speakers are not great, most of them are not even good. It’s just that the standards are so low in Christendom, we call mediocrities “great”.

    Not just speakers. Check out:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/tag/left-behind/
    Slacktivist's near-page-by-page review/commentary/analysis on Left Behind or pretty much anything and everything reviewed/analyzed over at Heathen Critique
    https://heathencritique.wordpress.com/

    I've read bad fanfic that was light-years better than that.

    MOD: Links reformated. Folks please just use simple links.

  359. Lydia wrote:

    what these Christians are really saying is they do not love justice. They tend to believe we should only seek justice in eternity–but not right now.

    “In the Sweet By-and-By,
    You’ll get Pie in the Sky when you Die…”
    — “The Preacher and the Slave”, old Wobbly march song

  360. Lydia wrote:

    But the truth is pastors know if they announce it church wide and focus on zero tolerance that it will mean fewer new visitors, new members, etc.

    Shouldn’t that be spelled “fewer new vi$itor$, new member$, le$$ TITHE$”?

  361. Lydia wrote:

    t is likely most would do nothing real overt but would go to great lengths to subtly make sure their children had no contact. Every smile from Mr. Eric would be suspect.

    I hope that would be the case, but I don’t know.

    So many Christians, even the lay persons, are so trusting and naive, I would not doubt it if they had this attitude of, “but the guy has repented, who am I to judge, Jesus forgave him, who am I to act suspicious of him, he deserves a 2nd chance, I believe in the grace of God.” etc.

    A couple of times on this blog in months past, HUG told us about another blog where a guy said he went to a church that had a known pedo, but the preacher wouldn’t do much about it.

    Every time a new family with kids showed up at that church, the long time families would steer the kids of the new family to the pedo.

    They were sacrificing the new kids to keep their own kids safe (which is so sick, sick, sick). So, some laypersons are pretty bad about this stuff, too.

  362. Daisy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    And the people in the pews really do think they know them. I came to the conclusion it is a lot like people identifying with a television character and becoming a big “fan”. And they will go to great lengths to prop up their celebrity and even 5 min with him in close proximity is a great honor for them. (The celeb gets used to this adoration)
    People sure thought Bill Cosby was a nice guy and didn’t even crack on the allegations until some man brought it up during a stand up routine.
    The comments alleging he attacked them, of 20, 30, 40 women victims meant nothing for the longest time.

    Had a friend who worked in the industry decades ago. Told me about Mr. Cosby’s dark reputation about 25 years ago. Of course, I had no way of knowing, have never even met anyone famous. Trust me, there were people who knew for decades.

  363. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:
    The great majority of celeb Christian speakers are not great, most of them are not even good. It’s just that the standards are so low in Christendom, we call mediocrities “great”.
    Not just speakers.
    Check out Slacktivist’s near-page-by-page review/commentary/analysis on Left Behind or pretty much anything and everything reviewed/analyzed over at Heathen Critique. I’ve read bad fanfic that was light-years better than that.

    Left Behind was horrific writing. But most popular writing, secular and religious, is pretty awful. Have you read any of the Divergent series? Written by the semi-literate for the semi-literate.

  364. Law Prof wrote:

    When I take a look at [celebrity church CEO’s], read what they write, compare how they reason, they seem like outright mediocrities at best.

    How true. I believe I’ve droned on about this before, but I first encountered Driskle having heard nothing but good about him. The person who persuaded me that Driskle is a mediocre preacher was Driskle himself, around three sermons in.

  365. @ dee:

    I’m sorry to be a broken record, but this also reminds me of workplace abuse.

    I read so many books about workplace bullying after it happened to me on a professional full time job I had.

    The parallels are the same. The target who’s being harassed and bullied at the office gets blamed for being bullied rather than the bully, nor does the victim get protected from the bully.

    The HR dept, other workers, other managers will perceive the victim as being at fault in some way or deserving of the abuse while the Human Resources department dept rallies around the bully boss.

    This dynamic is actually pretty common in workplaces, and it looks like this also plays out in churches and in schools.

    I don’t know if you’d be interested in reading books about work place abuse because they get into all this stuff, as well as topics like group psychology and group scapegoating (when a group of co-workers gang up on one worker), etc.

    These books explain how and why bullying happens in jobs. Maybe something from that can shed light on why/how it happens in churches?

  366. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    The person who persuaded me that Driskle is a mediocre preacher was Driskle himself, around three sermons in.

    Same here. So many tried to convince me that he was a great teacher.
    Nothing could have been further from the truth.
    He butchered scripture in order to make it line up with his opinion.

  367. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:
    When I take a look at [celebrity church CEO’s], read what they write, compare how they reason, they seem like outright mediocrities at best.
    How true. I believe I’ve droned on about this before, but I first encountered Driskle having heard nothing but good about him. The person who persuaded me that Driskle is a mediocre preacher was Driskle himself, around three sermons in.

    You’re being too gracious, it was probably about three minutes in when you just knew.

  368. Sorry to hear about what you experienced on the job, Daisy. I swear, I’ve been around, have degrees from the east, west and middle of the country, have worked east, west and middle of country, worked for multinational corporations, mom-and-pops, and everything in between, have worked in high pressure sales, low pressure government, academia, mid management, bottom of the rung, everything. And I have never once seen workplace bullying–except in the church, where it seems to be the norm rather than the exception.

  369. Law Prof wrote:

    And I have never once seen workplace bullying–except in the church, where it seems to be the norm rather than the exception.

    Generally true for me also. I don’t have your geographical breadth but I’ve worked for hundreds of organizations. The control game that goes on in some churches won’t work in the businesses I’ve worked with, too much competition and good employees are too hard to be easily lost to such nonsense.

    I’ve seen only one business on par with the mismanagement I’ve seen in churches. It was a former client, over 100 hundred employees, I had worked with them for 10 to 15 years. A new CEO, first name Les, came in with grand visions and a grand view of himself. Now that I’m aware of the type I’d put him in the narcissist category, no compassion for anyone. After only a few months I started hearing from staff “I’d rather work for less than work for Les”. We dropped the client for similar reasons and it went bankrupt in less than a year.

    To me it proves a point, in this current culture, if you ran a business like these people run churches you will fail, and sooner rather than later.

  370. Daisy wrote:

    People sure thought Bill Cosby was a nice guy and didn’t even crack on the allegations until some man brought it up during a stand up routine.

    I have always been wary of comics. The majority of them strike me as incredibly hostile people.

  371. Daisy wrote:

    @ Steve:

    The fact remains a lot of churches are not handling pedophiles in their midst correctly, to the point that pedos who want to still prey on children know it, and they flock to churches to get new victims.

    Some lady (I forget her name) who has studied violent offenders for years who’s interviewed numerous abusers and has written books about it, had a number of these pedo guys tell her that they specifically target churches to prey on kids, because church people are too lax, lazy, or naive and trusting.

    Perhaps it’s the research that Dr. Anna Salter has done about sex offenders?
    http://www.sott.net/article/272019-SOTT-Talk-Radio-Predators-Among-Us-Interview-With-Dr-Anna-Salter

  372. Law Prof wrote:

    Had a friend who worked in the industry decades ago. Told me about Mr. Cosby’s dark reputation about 25 years ago.

    Something I remember from a juvenile bio of Bill Cosby circa 1966-70, titled Cool Cos: In several quotes in the book, Cosby referred to skills at “conmanship” from being a class clown to his career in showbiz. “CONMANSHIP”. I wonder if that was more truthful than the rest of the bio.

  373. I’ve attended the church for 2 1/2 years. I attend almost every Sunday. I volunteer in the nursery and as a greeter. I was never told. Should I have asked?

    I am highly offended that you think that touching his daughter is not violent. ANY unwanted sexual content is violent. That is why VA law requires this label.

    Mr. Nelson may be a sex addict, addicted to porn or addicted to substances. The real issue is that he is a pedophile. Pedophiles should NOT be employed by churches.

    Pastor Rod’s sermon made me, as a survivor, no longer feel safe at FCC.

    http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2015/07/convicted-child-sex-offender-listed-as.html?showComment=1438538003978&m=1#c162837508564825807

  374. At our SNAP event yesterday at FCC, within minutes of our arrival, Loretta Cooper came out from the church and crossed the highway to come speak to us and give us copies of the 2nd official statement on Eric Nickle. http://fairfax.cc/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/GeneralStatement080115.pdf?utm_content=buffer4fa69&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    Since she hand delivered the statement and spoke with us on behalf of FCC, I assumed she’s on staff but she said she’s not. She’s a former reporter she said.

    Loretta said that I am inflating his title and job duties as “Care Director” when really Eric “mostly just carries boxes.”

    I asked why the church removed Eric Nickle’s profile page from the website. She said “a junior level staffer got rattled and removed it when he saw [tweets, posts, etc.].

    I expressed our concern with a convicted pedophile being elevated to a position of trust and authority. Loretta, visibly upset with me it seemed, said “you’ve done more to elevate him than we have.”

    Virginia SNAP leader asked Loretta if FCC has a child sexism abuse awareness/prevention training program. She said they do not.

    We ended the conversation with my question to her “have you reached out to Boz T. for his input?”
    She said no, but she reads and loves his website and promised to contact him. Then she said, “finally something we can agree on, Amy.”

    @BozT: Can churches protect children & minister to sex offenders? New [guest] post tackles this difficult issue. http://t.co/e61lStTaiO

  375. Sorry for the typo. Of course that should be “child sexual abuse awareness/prevention training.” I’m a little tired as I’ve just flown home from a great SNAP conference in DC.

  376. @Amy,

    Another excellent job you and your group have done on behalf of children (and families)!

    There is so much information available, through the church’s insurance company, attorneys who specialize in liability issues (including child sexual abuse which is the No. 1 reason that churches get sued every year according to insurance companies and attorneys like Richard Hammar at Church Law & Tax), that there is NO reason that FCC hasn’t addressed this. Can you imagine if they were sued and the negligence jury instructions were read. Wow. That is just gross negligence to sit there, for years on end, and do NOTHING. Shame on them!!!

    http://www.churchlawandtax.com/search/?query=Child+Sexual+Abuse&contenttype=article&start=1

  377. @ Law Prof:

    Thank you. I had to leave that job. I could not endure anymore of the bullying by the boss (it went on for a few years).

    That boss was also mean to other people at that job, but even my co-workers noticed she was ten times more focused on bullying me than other people there.

    I had no clue how to deal with the terrible, mean boss, because, as I’ve explained numerous times before on this blog, my mother raised me to be a doormat and practice conflict avoidance.

    I lacked boundaries and had no idea how to speak to the boss, or even if it was appropriate for me to confront a supervisor at all. I was raised to be incredibly compliant and obedient to everyone, especially people in authority. I felt my only option was to quit. I about had a mental break down over the job harassment.

    Anyway, I read a lot of books about the topic of workplace abuse, and the dynamics of that are pretty much the same with that as what I see on the blog posts here about church abuse, and how church victims are blamed and the bullies not held accountable. It’s eerily and sadly similar.

  378. Bill M wrote:

    Generally true for me also. I don’t have your geographical breadth but I’ve worked for hundreds of organizations.

    1 or 2 other points I wanted to add:

    Women are usually victims of workplace abuse far more than men are. Women on women bullying is the most common.

    Also, part of the reason I was bullied is because I was so nice, passive, compliant, lacked boundaries, and I had those traits in part because my mother thought being a good Christian woman meant being a doormat and having those traits (she was a gender complementarian).

    Those traits are very appealing to abusers and bullies. One book I had said that those most vulnerable to being picked on in a job are folks who don’t have boundaries.

    Same seems to be true of kids who are picked on at school (I was bullied as a kid, too). I’ve read a lot of articles about school bullying as well. Same dynamics.

  379. Daisy wrote:

    @ Velour:

    Thank you, Velour, for all the links.

    You are most welcome, Daisy. I always appreciate your savvy insights into church life and undoing the whole comp doctrine.

  380. okrapod wrote:

    So I have no doubt that there can be bad things that go on in basements. Not necessarily in loungewear however, if I understand it.

    I think that I have now heard it all!

  381. Lydia wrote:

    but not many are interested. It might be why I am becoming more comfortable with a more liturgical service where just reading scripture instead of telling me what to think about it, is the focus. Never in a million years would I have thought I would ever say that!

    I just heard on one of the fundagelical radio stations here in Southern Cal. that what you’ve described is a sure sign of an apostate ixtian and an apostate church.

  382. dee wrote:

    shocked wrote:
    Don’t believe the lies you read here
    You better give evidence of this by the time I wake up or you will be moderated. I take lying seriously and i do not take appreciate anyone who gets on a rant and makes accusations without direct proof. Take it u a notch and be a credit to your office and give me proof of my lies.

  383. Muff Potter wrote:

    I just heard on one of the fundagelical radio stations here in Southern Cal. that what you’ve described is a sure sign of an apostate ixtian and an apostate church.

    That is encouraging, since they apparently have some reason to be concerned about sheeple leaving fundagelicalism for better pastures. I assume there is enough of that to cause them some concern; else why are they worried about it.

    Or maybe they have just run low on things to be against.

  384. WillysJeepMan wrote:

    A consistent, steady, and pervasive drip of dysfunction has a way of convincing people that the abnormal is normal.

    The 21st century church in America is indeed a frog in a kettle. We’ve become acclimated to a gradual rise in temperature … and are now being boiled to death in our own stew.

  385. @ Max:

    I dunno, Elastigirl Church is kinda nice. variety of backgrounds, we focus on what we have in common, agree to disagree on the rest, have a dynamite hybrid prayer time, champion kindness, and find creative ways to build community in our neighborhood. Costs nothing.

  386. okrapod wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:
    I just heard on one of the fundagelical radio stations here in Southern Cal. that what you’ve described is a sure sign of an apostate ixtian and an apostate church.
    That is encouraging, since they apparently have some reason to be concerned about sheeple leaving fundagelicalism for better pastures

    So they build (another) Berlin Wall of Eternal Hellfire to keep their people in.

    No wonder Rob Bell got piled on a couple years ago; what would these preachers do without the Threat of Eternal Hell to keep their sheeple in line?

  387. Daisy wrote:

    Anyway, I read a lot of books about the topic of workplace abuse, and the dynamics of that are pretty much the same with that as what I see on the blog posts here about church abuse, and how church victims are blamed and the bullies not held accountable. It’s eerily and sadly similar.

    In business, it’s because the Bullies Get Results they can show to their Superiors.

  388. Amy Smith wrote:

    I expressed our concern with a convicted pedophile being elevated to a position of trust and authority. Loretta, visibly upset with me it seemed, said “you’ve done more to elevate him than we have.”

    Was this “If you pretend it didn’t happen, We Wouldn’t Have a Problem/IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!”?

  389. @ elastigirl:
    I was referring to organized religion in America, which in so many ways is off course from how the true Church is to live. In organized religion, we are doing good things, but not the best. We are majoring on the minor, but not keeping the Main Thing the main thing. The institution we call “church” has become the residence for aberrant theology, another gospel, Jezebel spirits, and other deceptions. Jesus came to redeem and work through individuals, not institutions. The “church” is OK if it is reaching the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry. It sounds like you have decided to be the Church, rather than go to church. If so, there are a whole lot of believers out there deciding to do the same thing … they are called the “dones.” I’m just about done, but not quit yet.

  390. Eagle wrote:

    Somehow I wonder if I am going to be a done in a few years time.

    As a Done myself, this is not an easy place to be. Every Sunday I wonder if I shouldn’t be in church, but then I think about all the triggers and do something else. Yesterday it was working on learning how to code.

  391. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Yes, because wearing PJs in the basement is far more evil than molesting a child. Who knew?

    You forgot the Cheetos. Wearing PJs and eating Cheetos in the basement is worse than molesting a child.

    (For the record, I work on the second floor of my townhouse. There are no basements here.)

  392. Muff Potter wrote:

    I just heard on one of the fundagelical radio stations here in Southern Cal. that what you’ve described is a sure sign of an apostate ixtian and an apostate church.

    Said radio station is run by folks with a reformed bent, although they will promote and allow various ministries which are not reformed. What they mean is that if the church does not engage in the line-by-line ‘teaching’ of Scripture, said church is in all likely hood not ‘a Bible-believing church’ and should be avoided.

  393. Daisy wrote:

    People sure thought Bill Cosby was a nice guy and didn’t even crack on the allegations until some man brought it up during a stand up routine.
    The comments alleging he attacked them, of 20, 30, 40 women victims meant nothing for the longest time.

    Well, yeah, it’s not like people weren’t trying to say things. Mark Ebner, a freelance reporter and acquaintance of mine, had been writing about Cosby’s activities since early 2007. This caused Ebner some problems in Hollywood because he was attacking a paragon of virtue! The last several months have been something of a vindication for Mark, but also extremely painful at the same time as we all find out about Cosby’s depths of depravity.

  394. elastigirl wrote:

    I dunno, Elastigirl Church is kinda nice. variety of backgrounds, we focus on what we have in common, agree to disagree on the rest, have a dynamite hybrid prayer time, champion kindness, and find creative ways to build community in our neighborhood. Costs nothing.

    Gasp! You mean your focus is on the here and now rather than the sweet-by-and-by?
    You guys must be like those awful works-based heretics Paul warns of.
    (tongue in cheek elastigirl, tongue in cheek!)

  395. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Amy Smith wrote:
    I expressed our concern with a convicted pedophile being elevated to a position of trust and authority. Loretta, visibly upset with me it seemed, said “you’ve done more to elevate him than we have.”
    Was this “If you pretend it didn’t happen, We Wouldn’t Have a Problem/IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!”?

    I still want to know that he was “signing autographs” at a church function??? Did that sounds like pretty high “elevation” to me??

  396. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    I still want to know that he was “signing autographs” at a church function??? Did that sounds like pretty high “elevation” to me??

    I though the autograph guy was the one at Elevation, not FCC, but I could be wrong, it’s hard to keep them straight there are so many pedophile church scandals popping up.

  397. For the record, Loretta Cooper is not a spokesperson for FCC of any kind and I for one, wish she had kept her mouth shut. I think she hurt the cause more than helped it by talking about things she doesn’t know enough of. She is the wife of the youth pastor, Kyle. Unfortunately, her statements were false. It’s obvious that Eric does more than carry boxes and she knows that. Yes, he does help some with maintenance issues as they arise, but the fact that he is part of the community life team shows he’s not facilities. And I also know for fact that it wasn’t some JR staffer that got rattled and took the staff page down. That came from someone that should have known better, but they’re not a jr staffer.

    Loretta has spent a lot of years on Capitol Hill and I think she meant well, but I wish she had not assumed this role.

  398. @ torn aprart:

    Torn Apart-

    What troubles me is what is said, vs. what is being done. I just wish that FCC could say, “we screwed up…we made a mistake, we handled it poorly” I plan on writing about this but why are so many evangelical Christian churches so terrible at conflict resolution? I don’t enjoy this…after a number of people went for my jugular I worked through the comments above and drove to FCC at 1:30 or so in the morning and cried a little bit. I really wanted this to work especially given my history. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded. For me this was handled poorly and shows deep problems in FCC. The FCC that exists now is not the FCC that was at Hunt Road. But all the other issues from “A Better $tory” to how FCC handled the Navy Yard shooting all makes sense, and it shows a church out of touch with reality and not knowing the needs of the congregation and the community its in.

    This was not easy to do Torn Apart…I feel sick in my stomach about having to deal with these issues the last few days.

  399. torn aprart wrote:

    For the record, Loretta Cooper is not a spokesperson for FCC of any kind and I for one, wish she had kept her mouth shut.

    FCC senior pastor Rod Stafford is telling reporters that Loretta Cooper is the spokesperson. https://twitter.com/rodstafford/status/627633299532464129
    @leritareid: @rodstafford I am with ABC7 and would like to speak with you. Can you please follow me, so we can DM. Thanks.

    @rodstafford: @leritareid Your best contact at Fairfax Community Church is LorettaCooper@me.com. She would be happy to talk with you. Thanks!

  400. Amy Smith wrote:

    torn aprart wrote:
    For the record, Loretta Cooper is not a spokesperson for FCC of any kind and I for one, wish she had kept her mouth shut.
    FCC senior pastor Rod Stafford is telling reporters that Loretta Cooper is the spokesperson. https://twitter.com/rodstafford/status/627633299532464129
    @leritareid: @rodstafford I am with ABC7 and would like to speak with you. Can you please follow me, so we can DM. Thanks.
    @rodstafford: @leritareid Your best contact at Fairfax Community Church is LorettaCooper@me.com. She would be happy to talk with you. Thanks!

    So, if I have this straight, the pastor at FCC is referring news reporters to the wife of the youth pastor. Is she even a paid staff member? can’t/shouldn’t the pastor take the lead on this instead of passing people on to the wife of the youth pastor?

  401. I guess I was wrong then. If Rod wants Loretta to be the spokesperson for FCC so be it. Won’t be the first time I’m wrong about something.

  402. Amy Smith wrote:

    @rodstafford: @leritareid Your best contact at Fairfax Community Church is LorettaCooper@me.com. She would be happy to talk with you. Thanks!

    Wow. Their chosen spokesperson can’t (or won’t) even get her facts straight. I wonder if that is intentional.

  403. torn aprart wrote:

    Loretta has spent a lot of years on Capitol Hill and I think she meant well, but I wish she had not assumed this role.

    If she’s lying, it’s hard to see that she meant well, unless you approach it from an extreme teleological perspective that the ends–I guess, supporting FCC’s long-term goals–justify any means to reach them. Of course, I read a Bible inspired by a Lord Who apparently doesn’t consider dirty laundry something that one ought to cover up. We’ve been reading through II Samuel in Bible time lately, some pretty rugged stuff there that requires a lot of explanation to the kids!

  404. Eagle wrote:

    …but why are so many evangelical Christian churches so terrible at conflict resolution?

    Perhaps because in deed and in truth many of them are neither evangelical nor Christian.

  405. Torn aprart wrote:

    I guess I was wrong then. If Rod wants Loretta to be the spokesperson for FCC so be it. Won’t be the first time I’m wrong about something.

    You’re a stand up person. If FCC leaders just could do what you’re doing, they would gain so much more, and might even get closer to the Kingdom of God.

  406. Amy Smith wrote:

    FCC senior pastor Rod Stafford is telling reporters that Loretta Cooper is the spokesperson.

    I’m sorry but Brother Stafford needs to put his baseball helmet on in regard to this and step up to the plate. This is serious stuff that a “senior pastor” should address directly. Working through a spokesman is the stuff of the world, not the church.

  407. @ Max:

    “I was referring to organized religion in America, which in so many ways is off course from how the true Church is to live. ….It sounds like you have decided to be the Church, rather than go to church. If so, there are a whole lot of believers out there deciding to do the same thing … they are called the “dones.” I’m just about done, but not quit yet.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    I know. I was just promoting done-ness.

    I saw the opportunity just hanging here, glistening in the sun all shiny & rosy, and I picked it!

  408. @ Muff Potter:

    Haven’t you heard? I am a Pelagian heretic, Apostate with a rebellious Jezebel Spirit who cannot read plain scripture. :o)

    The whole liturgical thing is because I cannot endure another sermon where the pastor’s message is the “most important event of the week”.

    My cousin invited me to her church out of town in a few weeks as they have a OT scholar coming who I have heard before and he is interesting so we will drive an hour to worship in that tiny church. But in these parts, such are only invited to speak at CBF churches which are considered apostate by the SBC. So, liturgical it is? I don’t know. A few weeks ago, I attended a communion service and then a prayer service put on by 2 African Bishops and an African woman pastor from Kenya which was incredible yet simple and very moving. They taught us some very simple songs which I wish I would have recorded.

    So much spiritual variety, so little time!

  409. @ torn aprart:

    I can remember when I finally fessed up to myself that what they (mega church pastor/staff) were saying and what they were doing were two totally different things and I just could not be a part of it anymore. Everything is about image and perception. It is a sad time.

    Someone interesting that I met told me a few weeks ago that living as a believer means we are always truth seekers. No matter the venue, the discomfort or the topic, we seek truth and it is a process. That just resonated with me so much.

    God bless you, torn apart.

  410. Lydia wrote:

    living as a believer means we are always truth seekers

    A good word! The Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Truth) will lead us into all truth. When the Truth (the Word) connects with the Spirit of Truth, it becomes Revealed Truth! We need to build our lives on revealed truth, not the teachings and traditions of men. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

    Genuine believers are indeed truth seekers! The counterfeit should make us uncomfortable; much of what goes on in organized religion is counterfeit posing as the genuine. A discerning heart in touch with the Spirit of Truth can spot the imposter and his work. As this watchblog points out, the deceiver is at work in the church. We are to be watchmen and sound the alarm when we discern the enemy in the camp.

  411. torn aprart wrote:

    also know for fact that it wasn’t some JR staffer that got rattled and took the staff page down.

    using the hashtag FCC was using over the weekend #askfairfaxcc, I asked on Twitter if it was just a rattled junior level staffer, why hasn’t Eric’s page been put back up on the website? No answer.
    There’s a local DC reporter seeking comment from FCC members. If you’d be willing to speak with him, I can put you in touch. Email me at watchkeepamy@gmail.com
    You can remain anonymous.

  412. @ Lydia:

    You’re in good company Lyds. Even though I sign onto the tenets of The Apostle’s Creed and believe them fervently, I am still considered heretic and anathema by some for not believing the rest of Augustine’s enchilada so to speak.
    One kind soul (firmly convinced that I don’t ‘know Jesus’) even told me:

    “The devils also believe and tremble Muff… where will you spend eternity?

  413. Law Prof wrote:

    The whole liturgical thing is because I cannot endure another sermon where the pastor’s message is the “most important event of the week”.

    I’d put it down as pride. My experience is they don’t question their own motives, they don’t question much of anything, there is no self doubt. So when a conflict arises it is because the other person is wrong, end of story.

    If there is no willingness to look inward, no humility that allows respect for another point of view, then resolution is impossible.

    Some of the smooth ones will lead you on, nod their head sympathetically and whether it is diabolical or just reflexive manipulative, nothing changes. I’ve sat in the room and had the pastor type enthusiastically say someone’s point was good and take notes to emphasize it only to realize later it was all and act, absolutely nothing changed. I visualized he wadded up the paper and tossed it in to the waste basket as soon as everyone was out the door.

  414. Law Prof wrote:

    Eagle wrote:

    …but why are so many evangelical Christian churches so terrible at conflict resolution?

    Perhaps because in deed and in truth many of them are neither evangelical nor Christian.

    I’m not sure what I did to grab the wrong quote, I meant to comment on the above, so I’ll repeat:

    I’d put it down as pride. My experience is they don’t question their own motives, they don’t question much of anything, there is no self doubt. So when a conflict arises it is because the other person is wrong, end of story.

    If there is no willingness to look inward, no humility that allows respect for another point of view, then resolution is impossible.

    Some of the smooth ones will lead you on, nod their head sympathetically and whether it is diabolical or just reflexive manipulative, nothing changes. I’ve sat in the room and had the pastor type enthusiastically say someone’s point was good and take notes to emphasize it only to realize later it was all and act, absolutely nothing changed. I visualized he wadded up the paper and tossed it in to the waste basket as soon as everyone was out the door.

  415. @ Muff Potter:

    When did God tell us that we must believe what every theologian and/or council has to say? He didn’t! The gospel does not include Augustine’s times.

  416. Bridget wrote:

    When did God tell us that we must believe what every theologian and/or council has to say? He didn’t! The gospel does not include Augustine’s times.

    Ah Bridget, now we get to the nitty-gritty. Just what is the Gospel? What you say it is, and what I say it is may diverge drastically. What’s ‘good news’ to many may be bad news for me and vice versa. We should probably leave it at that.

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  418. @ Torn aprart:

    Torn aprart…if you would like to meet in Fairfax I would be happy to meet with you and discuss this in person. I could buy you coffee or a sandwich. Its your call. You can find my email address on my blog. Sometimes its better to talk about things in person.

  419. Thank you for the invite @Eagle. I appreciate your honesty on this post and your journey that you are on, but I've said everything I need to say on this topic. Again, I apologize for those at FCC that have attacked you or Dee or anyone else in this group. And I hope that you will not give up on your journey. Your baptism is real and I hope you can find a church home that rekindles the excitement you had when you were baptized at FCC. There are many churches in the area that are doing a great job and would line up with your missional values and passions. As for me, I'm not done at FCC yet. They have many shortcomings, but that's part of the package when you join a church. It's part of being in a sinful world. My kids enjoy it there and are learning about Jesus. So we will continue. Good luck on your journey.

  420. torn aprart wrote:

    I’m not done at FCC yet. They have many shortcomings, but that’s part of the package when you join a church. It’s part of being in a sinful world. My kids enjoy it there and are learning about Jesus. So we will continue. Good luck on your journey.

    Is that why you join and stay involved in a church? Your kids like it there? If that is the thinking…why did I push back from Mormonism at one point in my life? The Mormons have great family programs, and kids love it there as well. No church is perfect but when does that include outright deception, and dishonesty? When did dishonesty became part of the gospel? What I find telling about this statement is the following…it reveals why evangelical Christianity is in a crisis, and why atheists and those outside the faith are given needless ammunition. Many Christians don’t care…as long as they are entertained and have social connections that’s all that matters. The bottom line torn apart is that you go to church to worship God. If FCC cared about the Gospel why haven’t they repented of their dishonesty and deception? They claim to care about the gospel can you imagine what would happen if a church in the DC area repented of its sin? What could tat show. Christians are known to be arrogant and self-righteous. Part of the reason why I would suggest is that Christians don’t admit their mistakes. They don’t own them and say, ‘I screwed up…”

    FCC has lost all moral authority to preach the gospel. They have revealed themselves to be what they are. Its a business.

  421. Eagle wrote:

    I’m not done at FCC yet. They have many shortcomings, but that’s part of the package when you join a church. It’s part of being in a sinful world. My kids enjoy it there and are learning about Jesus. So we will continue. Good luck on your journey.
    Is that why you join and stay involved in a church? Your kids like it there? If that is the thinking…why did I push back from Mormonism at one point in my life? The Mormons have great family programs, and kids love it there as well. No church is perfect but when does that include outright deception, and dishonesty? When did dishonesty became part of the gospel? What I find telling about this statement is the following…it reveals why evangelical Christianity is in a crisis, and why atheists and those outside the faith are given needless ammunition

    While what you state is certainly true, Eagle, it takes the Holy Spirit’s leading to lead people out of churches when it’s time. I think we have to trust that. I didn’t understand things that were going in my NeoCal church, but the Holy Spirit was faithful it all started to ‘add up’ and I was ready to go.

  422. ^Correction to post above:
    For some reason it deleted Torn Apart’s name from the quote:
    I’m not done at FCC yet. They have many shortcomings, but that’s part of the package when you join a church. It’s part of being in a sinful world. My kids enjoy it there and are learning about Jesus. So we will continue. Good luck on your journey.

  423. @ Velour:

    I find it sad Velour. There’s a lot more to write in time on this situation…but why does it have to stoop of levels like this? I’m more toward the fringes in the sense hat I see a lot of problems and issues that exist in Christianity in the US. This kind of stuff is embodied in it.

  424. Eagle wrote:

    @ Velour:

    I find it sad Velour. There’s a lot more to write in time on this situation…but why does it have to stoop of levels like this? I’m more toward the fringes in the sense hat I see a lot of problems and issues that exist in Christianity in the US. This kind of stuff is embodied in it.

    I find it sad, too, Eagle. But we still have to trust the leading of the Holy Spirit to get people out of abusive churches. I think of abusive church situations as like domestic violence. It’s really hard for a dv victim to leave after the first *hit*, etc. There is so much that binds them to that situation, to the hopes it will *just get better*, to thinking about the positives. It’s a big trauma to ask most people to give it all up. That’s why they go back. That’s why they stay.

  425. @Eagle, you are very good at spinning words yourself. You have accused Rod and Loretta and FCC of spinning words, but that’s all you did with my last post. I respectfully declined your invitation to meet. I respected your story and hoped that you would respect mine. My children are precious to me. If you attack them or my motives behind them, you wake a sleeping bear. My children like FCC. They have no idea who Eric Nickle is. They are learning about Jesus in an age appropriate manner and like to talk about what they’ve learned as we leave. That has nothing to do with being entertained. I said nothing about entertainment. I don’t know why you had to poke, poke, poke my response and try to make it into something it wasn’t. Please be respectful of my families wish to stay involved in FCC. You don’t have to like it. But you don’t need to bash me because of it or compare me to a domestic violence victim.

  426. torn aprart wrote:

    But you don’t need to bash me because of it or compare me to a domestic violence victim.

    Hi Torn Apart,

    I respect your decision and what you have said about your children. I used the analogy to compare spiritual abuse in churches to domestic violence victims when I was addressing a point to Eagle, not you.

    Take care!

  427. @ torn aprart:

    Torn Apart you are free to critique me as its not personal. I am raising the point of asking why go to a church that has lost its moral authority to teach, preach, etc… My background is storied and I see the big picture. I heard similar claims when I looked into Mormonism in college, and I also heard similar claims when I was being recruited to Sovereign Grace. The guy recruiting me to SGM talked about how much he was learning about Jesus in a denomination that was engaged in cover up of child sex abuse, and that forced 3 year olds to forgive their molesters. But he was getting his needs met so he could choose to overlook the truth.

    If evangelicals really care about the gospel torn apart then a lot of this stuff wouldn’t be happening. They would demand accountability and confront problems internally. Fairfax Community Church’s biggest problem is Fairfax Community Church. The damage is done torn apart. Google FCC and following the website you will see a number of articles on the situation. Some people will leave now, some people like yourself will stay. Others in looking into the church will see the articles and stay away.

    You shouldn’t be taking what I am saying personally. However I am a blunt guy who speaks my mind. Its not about spin its about being upfront. You are free to do what you want but your church and my former church lost the moral authority to teach. They are a driven business and they are operating as a business. If they care about the Gospel of scripture they would repent, and own their mistakes. They cannot because they are in the early stages of a $16 million dollar campaign. Fairfax Community Church isn’t about the Gospel of scripture its about the gospel of money. The church got corrupted as it grew and has lost its moral authority. Trust me its been an eye opening experience for me as I thought FCC is better than it is. I was wrong. In Acts 17 Paul called on people to search the scriptures and test things, evangelicals are horrifically illiterate when it comes to scripture. This is just confirming that once more.

  428. torn aprart wrote:

    I respectfully declined your invitation to meet.

    That’s fine I just offered that by the way. I wanted to illustrate that I am not afraid of meeting others.

  429. There is another thought that popped into my noodle that I think many people should be disturbed by. Its come up in the SGM Kingsway post and I see it in this thread here. Many Christians are identifying more with their church than God. They feel more a sense of loyalty and identity with their church than Jesus. What is happening is that people are making a church an idol. That helps explain why you don’t find Bereans in these environments, as the Bereans pick up on this, maybe try and change the situation (often unsuccessfully) and then leave.

  430. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    “Our staff and lay leadership is fully informed of Eric’s personal history; his story has been shared in some small group settings. He shared his struggle at a weekend service a number of years ago.”
    So, it seems the entire congregation is not aware of Nickle’s history. I have a problem with this. Families with young children can not make informed decisions and take responsibility for their children when they’re in the dark. And, if I’ve learned one thing from my own experience with a cult and also reading spiritual abuse blogs for the last 3 1/2 years, churches have a poor track record of taking responsibility for sexual abuse in their midst. In fact, most of the time, they deal with it all wrong. I wouldn’t put my children at risk hoping that the leadership at FCC will do what many other churches have failed to do.

    So my guess is that everybody should know everyone’s entire personal history? I know…I know…sexual offenders of people under 18 have high recidivism rates…not. Do a little research before vomiting Nancy Grace talking points.

  431. @ Feminist:

    I am not sure why you responded to Been There Done That in the manner that you did. She has had more experience with abuse than many have had. Her point of view, while not yours, is a valid point of view.

    As you surely must know, Erick Nickle abused his own underage daughter as a fully grown, adult man. Our own government seems to think it is valid to keep Nickle on a sexual offender list because they believe the public should know what he did in order to make an informed decision about how to best protect their own children. Perhaps you do not think such a public list is necessary? If so, you are out of step with the prevailing wisdom.

    BTDT does not *vomit* facts. She has shared her story and thoughts over a period of time on this blog and has earned my respect. You are a new commenter and frankly your one comment was not only unconvincing due to your over the top expression but it also causes me to wonder exactly what r who you are defending.

  432. Feminist wrote:

    Do a little research before vomiting Nancy Grace talking points.

    Well, bless your little heart.

    Our legal system doesn’t require everyone’s “personal history” be disclosed. It does, however, require convicted sexual offenders be made known. Some states even require sexual offenders to keep their distance from areas where children congregate. But, perhaps TVC is smarter than our legal system. We all know religious leaders are of the highest integrity and to be trusted beyond doubt. Not.

  433. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    But, perhaps TVC

    {sigh} That should be FCC. It’s a sad state of affairs when there are so many abusive churches that it’s hard to keep them all straight.

  434. Feminist wrote:

    BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    “Our staff and lay leadership is fully informed of Eric’s personal history; his story has been shared in some small group settings. He shared his struggle at a weekend service a number of years ago.”
    So, it seems the entire congregation is not aware of Nickle’s history. I have a problem with this. Families with young children can not make informed decisions and take responsibility for their children when they’re in the dark. And, if I’ve learned one thing from my own experience with a cult and also reading spiritual abuse blogs for the last 3 1/2 years, churches have a poor track record of taking responsibility for sexual abuse in their midst. In fact, most of the time, they deal with it all wrong. I wouldn’t put my children at risk hoping that the leadership at FCC will do what many other churches have failed to do.

    So my guess is that everybody should know everyone’s entire personal history? I know…I know…sexual offenders of people under 18 have high recidivism rates…not. Do a little research before vomiting Nancy Grace talking points.

    Is it possible that you didn’t do your *research* about sex offenders in the church? According to Church Mutual, the largest insurer of churches, there is an epidemic of child sexual abuse in the evangelical church that exceeds that of the crisis in the Catholic Church (who have had to change their ways due to decades of arrests and litigation). The situation is so serious for insurance companies, the liability, that insurance companies are stopping to insure churches in various states.

    Additionally, according to (Harvard-educated) attorney Richard Hammer at Church Law & Tax who studies thousands of published and published court opinions, the Number 1 reason that churches were sued in 2014 (as they have been every single year for years on end) is: Child Sexual Abuse of Minors!
    http://www.churchlawandtax.com/blog/2015/may/top-5-reasons-churches-went-to-court-in-2014.html

    There are countless studies of same by the F.B.I. and the District Attorneys’ Association and other groups, including sex crimes experts.

    Churches are a favorite place for predators to go to prey for new child victims because so many people in the churches are so incredibly foolish!

    (Note: Some insurance companies are requiring that churches minister separately to sex offenders, announce their presence to all members, be escorted at all times, or cancelling coverage of churches entirely.)

  435. @ Feminist:

    Let me guess where you go to church. Heck maybe we sat together at one point or where in the same seats! Why do I say that? Because I went to differing services at FCC. I liked their 5:00 on Saturday because you could get pizza for $1 or $2.00 a slice. That was a good, cheap dinner. 😛

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