Fairfax Community Church: Why You Should Check the Sex Offender Registry Before Joining a Church

"We mute the realization of malevolence- which is too threatening to bear – by turning offenders into victims themselves and by describing their behavior as the result of forces beyond their control.”  ― Anna C. Salter, Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders link

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Cry

FYI: I contacted FCC for their public statement on the matter. They have not returned my call. We are expecting the local NBC affiliate to run this story tomorrow evening. There may be newspaper coverage as well. Look for an interview with Amy Smith (wearing a beautiful scarf!) and a statement from Eagle.

TWW Warning

Your kids are not safe in many churches even if they say they do background checks for those who work with children. This is a deceptive statement. You need to do your own background checks on pastors, church leaders, and all those who volunteer to help around the church in any fashion. Why? There are some churches who will not tell you that they have no trouble with *repentant* pedophiles having free reign in the church except in the children's area. Pedophiles can be found disguised as greeters, pastors, elders, deacons, ushers and the coffee cleanup lady. Pedophiles love churches since people are so trusting in that environment. Don't be fooled into thinking your children are safe.

Church safety statements say less than you think they do.

I am sure that before you put your kids in a church based Sunday school program, you look to see what safety measures are in place. For example, here is a statement found at Elevation Church's website regarding child safety in their eKIDZ program.

Safety

All eKidz volunteers pass a background check, and we employ an off-duty police officer as well as our own security team to ensure your child’s safety. We use a security tag system for child check-in and pick-up, and a paging system for parents/guardians in case we need to reach you during the worship experience.

However, for TWW readers, we know that Elevation Church has a convicted abuser of internet child sex abuse who served time in a federal prison for his activities. No, he just doesn't go to church where he is watched very, very closely. He is a greeter which means he has contact with families. He leads a Bible study. He is Stephen Furtick's declared hero and even got to sign autographs after a church service. He has been deemed *cured* by people who do not know any better.

We wrote a several posts about this. Here are the links for those who are new to our blog. It will draw some interesting parallels to the FCC.

After writing these posts, I assumed that such situations were rare and chalked it up to the rather unusual goings on at Elevation Church. However, I was immediately proven wrong.

Fairfax Community Church's Care Director Eric Nickle is on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry.

Approximately 1 1/2 years ago, my husband and I, along with a number of other people, attended the baptism of Eagle at Fairfax Community Church. I was shocked when Eagle recently informed me about the issue with Eric Nickle. Amy Smith posted the documents proving that Nickle's has a criminal sex offender history: Convicted child sex offender listed as violent on VA state registry is "Care Director" pastor at Fairfax Community Church.

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If you go to the Amy's blog and click on the links, you will find that Nickel is not only an offender but he is classified as a *violent* offender. Did you catch that?

What was his crime?

According to Watchkeep/official records:

Eric Nickle was convicted on October 13, 2000 for Indecent Liberties with a Child by Custodian. VA law code 18.2-370.1 is listed on Nickle's sex offender registry. His initial registration was on July 17, 2000 and renewed on July 20, 2015. 

What does that mean? (see link at Amy's site.)

§ 18.2-370.1. Taking indecent liberties with child by person in custodial or supervisory relationship; penalties.

A. Any person 18 years of age or older who, except as provided in § 18.2-370, maintains a custodial or supervisory relationship over a child under the age of 18 and is not legally married to such child and such child is not emancipated who, with lascivious intent, knowingly and intentionally (i) proposes that any such child feel or fondle the sexual or genital parts of such person or that such person feel or handle the sexual or genital parts of the child; or (ii) proposes to such child the performance of an act of sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus or any act constituting an offense under § 18.2-361; or (iii) exposes his or her sexual or genital parts to such child; or (iv) proposes that any such child expose his or her sexual or genital parts to such person; or (v) proposes to the child that the child engage in sexual intercourse, sodomy or fondling of sexual or genital parts with another person; or (vi) sexually abuses the child as defined in subdivision 6 of §18.2-67.10 is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

B. Any person who is convicted of a second or subsequent violation of this section is guilty of a Class 5 felony, provided that (i) the offenses were not part of a common act, transaction or scheme; (ii) the accused was at liberty as defined in § 53.1-151 between each conviction; and (iii) it is admitted, or found by the jury or judge before whom the person is tried, that the accused was previously convicted of a violation of this section.
1982, c. 521; 1986, c. 503; 1991, c. 517; 2001, c. 840; 2005, c. 185; 2014, c. 794

What is Eric Nickle's position at Fairfax Community Church?

He is the Care Director. Yesterday, Fairfax removed the following page on Eric Nickle from their website. This may be due to the fact that the media has latched onto this story and will be doing a report of it tomorrow. We will keep you informed. 

Amy, however, found the deleted page on web cache and we now have screen shots. Take a look at what he does and what he did when he first came to the church.

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What in tarnation is Fairfax Community Church (as well as Elevation Church) doing by allowing a sex offender to greet people coming to the church??!! This is the easiest way to get to know the families with children. Also, by shaking hands and gabbing, Nickle is put in a position of trust by the church leaders and this causes both parents and children to believe he is a trustworthy individual.

He is the Care Director. My guess is that he is charge of the FCC Community Care progam.Take a look at the programs offered through this. The include recovery programs for children as well as adults.

At this link, you will find the Nickle is in charge of new small group formation.

At this link, you will find the Nickle is the contact person for the men's General Issue Group. He has an email at the church which might indicate that he is actually hired by the church: ericnickle@fairfax.cc. Note the topics for discussion in this group.

This group of men deal with a wide range of issues; anger, anxiety, chemical dependency/alcoholism, sexual issues, broken relationships, etc. We all have issues. During the group’s sharing time we discuss our victory, strength and hope with regards to own personal issues. We employ practical tools for life change based on Biblical truths and a community in Christ.

Eagle, former attendee of FCC, wrote about his concerns regarding Nickle.

Eagle wrote Why Does Fairfax Community Church have a Care Director on the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Sex Offender Registry? He  has two main concerns about Nickle being in a position of trust at FCC.

Pedophiles are at risk of re-offense.

Pedophilia is not just a *mistake.* It is a sexual dysfunction in which the individual finds sex with children preferable to adults. This is not something that "just goes away with prayer." For most afflicted with this dysfunction, it is a life-long struggle. Pedophiles carry out their deeds when no one is around to witness the offense. No one, except for Nickle, can truly know if he is safe. If he is truly repentant, he should understand that by engaging in this crime, he has forfeited his right to be trusted around children for the rest of his life. 

Sovereign Grace Ministries

As you will read in Eagle's narrative, many people fleeing membership in a nearby SGM church tend to come to Fairfax Community Church. How do you think they will react when they find out about an sex offender in a position of trust whose background has not been disclosed to the church members?


Begin Eagle's narrative

The Cult Around the Corner

…In a Google review Fairfax Community Church is described as a place for healing for those injured by the cult around the corner. I have another question for Rod Stafford, Andy Gingrich and others in Fairfax Community Church leadership. What does this quote mean? What is the cult around the corner from Fairfax Community Church? If you live in the Washington, D.C. area let me spill the beans on a dirty little secret I first heard in 2006, 2007 when I attended McLean Bible Church.

I was speaking with a guy I knew whose family is Baptist. He explained to me that he went to a Catholic school for education. I asked him why didn’t he attended an evangelical Christian school? He said the other alternative is Covenant Life School. I was puzzled…why did he go to a Catholic one instead? He said it was extremely fundamentalist. Plus it was also referenced that Covenant Life Church was looked at as a cult by many Christians in the DC area as well as the affiliated churches in the same movement.

…The cult around the corner is none other than Sovereign Grace Fairfax. …. After all it was one of the churches involved in the largest lawsuit for allegedly covering up child sex abuse in United States history.

[Editor’s note: At this point, Eagle reviews the allegations of sex abuse at SGM Fairfax. Please take the time to read these stories if you have not done so. Warning: They are heart wrenching.]

How I Stumbled Upon the Information Regarding Eric Nickle

One night I was reading and researching about FCC. I had been through so much spiritually that I wanted to research where I was attending, especially if I was going to call FCC home. I had endured a false accusation from a Care Group Leader from Redeemer Arlington and I was also clinging and looking for a place to find support. It should also be noted that the false accusation was the darkest season in my life.

As I researched FCC and looked at Google/Yelp reviews I noticed a comment made by a mother who pointed out that Eric Nickle was on the Virginia Sex Offender registry and walked around freely. She was concerned about the children and families that were in his presence, I saw that and I was deeply disturbed. I realized that Fairfax Community Church was going to be the third evangelical Christian church I was involved with which struggled with how to handle the issue of dealing with a sex offender.

I raised it with Dee Parsons who checked it out Virginia Sex Offender registry and told me it was true. She was equally disturbed. A couple of days later I checked back at Google/Yelp reviews and I learned the comment was gone. Fairfax Community Church had erased the comment and I was puzzled and asked the question to myself…why isn’t Fairfax Community Church being transparent and open about this information?

Why is Fairfax Community Church hiding it? It is because of this incident that when I wrote this post describe how I run pastors and staff of churches I investigate through the local sex offender registry. Its a good way to check if the church is following the local laws and how transparent a church is.

This issue weighed on me deeply when I was at FCC. I watched Eric Nickel when I came and left and paid attention to whether or not there were children around. I was frightened because I was in a difficult situation myself as I was managing a false accusation from a member of a former Sovereign Grace church. In the course of time it felt like a burden to attend church, know this information and keep it to myself.

In my FCC small group I made the comment as to how the Southern Baptist Convention struggles with child sex abuse and another person who once was in the SBC said it isn’t that much of a problem. I sat there thinking if she knew how her own church struggled with this issue of how to handle a sex offender could she admit it? Or would it be another example of cognitive dissonance? In the course of time I eventually parted ways with Fairfax Community Church. There were a number of issues that weighed on me but I felt committed to my small group and when that ended I decided to walk away. This issue however still weighed on my soul, and its with that knowledge that I want to write openly about this topic for all the members and attendees of Fairfax Community Church who call this place their home. I need to get this off my chest.

Is this Wise? Especially for People who Migrate from Sovereign Grace Fairfax?

So now that you are aware of what happened at nearby Sovereign Grace Fairfax can you imagine being at FCC having formerly been at SG Fairfax and learning that the Care Director of FCC is on the Virginia Sex Offender registry? I mean can you imagine? You left Sovereign Grace Fairfax, you’ve been shunned and your entire community has cut you off and treats you as dead. You have left a church that was at the center of the largest lawsuit in evangelical history for covering up child sex abuse and was rocked to the core by child sex abuse problems.

Your trust has been damaged by your church experience and you find yourself at Fairfax Community Church which is one of the places people from Sovereign Grace Fairfax end up at. After your history when you learn that the Care Director Eric Nickle is on the sex offender registry is that going to help build your trust? Trust can be destroyed in a minute and take years to rebuild if it can be rebuilt at all. Churches not being transparent about issues like this do not help. 

Then there is a second issue. What about the other families at Fairfax Community Church? Can you imagine being a parent and have children and learn this? Your children are incredibly precious. What is equally disturbing is the recidivism rates for sex offenders of children. They are high, while not as high as some believe; they can still be pretty high. What I also find disturbing about this is that Fairfax Community doesn’t seem to understand its place or role of what is happening in nearby churches.

How can a church effectively help or assist a person if they are unaware of what is happening in a church around the corner or the local area? Its easy to deal with sex trafficking and abuse in Asia through International Justice Mission; but what about if there are internal concerns in your congregation or the church down the street from you? Honestly I know there are some evangelicals that deeply struggle with discernment and good judgment. So the question stands why does Fairfax Community Church have a Care Director that is on the Virginia Sex Offender registry?

End of Eagle's narrative


As a church member, what should you do?

1. Familiarize yourself on why pedophilia is different than sex between consenting adults.

One of the best websites is G.R.A.C.E (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.) This is run by Atty. Boz Tchvidjian who is a grandson of Billy Graham and a former prosecutor for crimes against children. Perhaps FCC would consider calling them in to help them learn how best to handle these situations?

2. Tell the church about the pedophile.

He lost his right to anonymity when he committed this crime. If he is repentant, he will be happy to allow his crime to be broadcast since knowledgeable people can encourage and monitor his behavior. If he doesn't want people to know, you need to ask, "Why? Could he be trying to hide his issue so that he can more easily engage the trust of families and their children?"

3. The church should remember to pray publicly for his victim and seek to support them if it is possible.

Why is it that the victim is never mentioned? There are many people who were molested as children. How do you think someone who has been abused feels when they see a pedophile held up as a trustworthy individual? Wade Burleson reached out to the Tom White's (Voice of the Martyrs) victims and was effective in attempt. We need more pastors who get it.

4. Ask your pastors why this is being kept a secret.

There is some pretty bizarre theology running around out there. Repentance does not mean a *cure.* Remember, Paul dealt with his thorn in his side for a lifetime. Nickle may struggle with this until the day that he dies. If your pastor becomes irritated with you, you need to figure out why he feels this way. It might be time to leave the church.

5. Stop being naively trusting.

Ask questions. Do you own search for names on the sex offender registry. If you find a name of someone who is in leadership in your church, report it to any and all who will listen. This is not gossip.  The registry was invented to keep the public informed in order to keep children safe. It is meant to be discussed.

A challenge to all who are reading this post.

Will all of you who attend church do a sex offender registry search for all people who are in a position of trust in your church? I am not talking about just the kids' ministry. I am talking about pastors, elders, deacons, volunteer leaders, greeters, etc. If any of you find something, let TWW know. We will write a post on it and will hold your name in confidence if you wish. 

I am beginning to become concerned. In the course of one month, we have found 2 sex offenders in two well known churches who hold positions of trust and admiration. This is dangerous. It is time for the church, and all of us pew sitters, to get serious about this increasingly visible problem.

Comments

Fairfax Community Church: Why You Should Check the Sex Offender Registry Before Joining a Church — 95 Comments

  1. Yay you! Lightening reflexes! you read it carefully? Have you done you offender registry search yet? 🙂

  2. You know Dee…what is really interesting? When your situation erupted at Providence Baptist with David Goodrich and the cover up of what happened your Senior Pastor was out traveling on a cruise. He labored over a drink and a sun tan. Well in this case the Senior Pastor Rod Stafford and Small Group Pastor Andy Gingrich were out traveling also. Andy and Rod were in Kenya and it looks like they were in a nature preserve/safari on the horn of Africa. What is it with traveling pastors who are always out of town when this stuff erupts?

    My question to Andy and Rod…how was the nature preserve? Did you guys have fun? Hope this news didn’t interrupt a working trip. 😉

  3. Eagle wrote:

    What is it with traveling pastors who are always out of town when this stuff erupts?

    Plausible Deniability?

  4. Eagle wrote:

    You know Dee…what is really interesting? When your situation erupted at Providence Baptist with David Goodrich and the cover up of what happened your Senior Pastor was out traveling on a cruise. He labored over a drink and a sun tan. Well in this case the Senior Pastor Rod Stafford and Small Group Pastor Andy Gingrich were out traveling also. Andy and Rod were in Kenya and it looks like they were in a nature preserve/safari on the horn of Africa. What is it with traveling pastors who are always out of town when this stuff erupts?

    My question to Andy and Rod…how was the nature preserve? Did you guys have fun? Hope this news didn’t interrupt a working trip.

    Wasn’t Chandler out of the country too when Dee and I stirred up trouble by posting TVC in their own words via emails, texts and letters?

  5. This was the fourth time I ran into the issue with pedophilia/child sex abuse or a sex offender situation. I wrote about the first one here at Elmbrook Church in Milwaukee.

    https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/how-i-learned-evangelical-christianity-is-struggling-with-child-sex-abuse-an-incident-at-milwaukees-elmbrook-church-in-1999/

    Then at another church I had a Bible study leader who had an affair with someone under age. He started to tell me about it. Totally stunned me. He actually wanted to work with children and the pastor I knew said absolutely not.
    Then I was invited to Sovereign Grace by an Air Force Captain and you know what came out of that. Then I was at Fairfax Community Church when I stumbled across the information about Eric Nickle. That weighed on, and I was already in a difficult situation. I was managing a false accusation that threatened my name, my ability to earn income.

  6. What is deeply disturbing or what some people don’t seem to understand is that while the issue of child sex abuse or how a church deals with a sex offender deals primarily with the safety of children, it also is an indicator of other issues.

    Look at the stories involving the child sex abuse at nearby Sovereign Grace Fairfax. Those stories also indicate:

    1. Corruption
    2. Spiritual abuse
    3. The law being manipulated
    4. Financial issues and how money is used
    5. Abuse of authority
    6. Lack of transparency on other issues

  7. The comment by Eagle regarding Rod and Andy being out of the country is off-base. You report about a serious issue, then playfully respond that you hope this news didn’t interrupt their work trip ;). You very much come across as someone who takes entirely too much joy in writing about such an issue…which is disturbing.

    Considering when the offense occurred and the fact that he served his sentence as well as extensive and continued counseling, what do you suggest he be able to do as a job? Has he not paid his debt to society? Oftentimes it is churches and “charity-centered” businesses/organizations that help people like Mr. Nickle.

    Based off of this writing, it appears that not a single one of you believe in redemption.

  8. Steve wrote:

    Based off of this writing, it appears that not a single one of you believe in redemption.

    We never said that Eric was not redeemed. One can be redeemed and still be capable of serious sin.

    You are the one that is naive and you need to do some reading on pedophilia. Just because he served his sentence and gets counseling does not mean that he is still not dangerous. Pedophiles struggle with this for a lifetime. They may never be cured. They may be redeemed and still not cured. Do you understand that?

    Has he paid his debt? Yes. But that does not mean he is cured or will not reoffend. A person who truly gets it will be open and honest.

    You are not well read in the area of pedophilia. I would suggest that you go over to Boz Tchividjian’s GRACE (link in post) and see what he has to say about this. He is an expert.

    BTW, he does have a job. He owns a cleaning service or didn’t you know that. he advertises his business of Linked In. He has the capability of earning money. He does not need to be a Care Director.

    Here is the crux of the matter. If the entire church was not made aware that he is considered a violent sex offender then he hasn’t accepted the fill consequences of his actions. He is trying to hide his past and your pastors are helping him to do so.,

    If he was truly humble, he would tell everyone about his past and the entire church could hold him accountable. Why not?

  9. OK, this is far, far worse than finding out a local church has become a franchise for the Hillsong empire. 0_o Ugh, when will people get it that child abuse is a no go?

  10. Eagle wrote:

    What is it with traveling pastors who are always out of town when this stuff erupts?

    I have found that fewer and fewer pastors are spending any significant time with the sheep or even in the same town the sheep live in. Between speaking gigs, conference attendance, mission vacation trips and personal vacations they seem to manage swinging into town every fri nite and swinging back out on Monday. It baffles my mind how and who these guys think they are pastors. If your never around the sheep you aren’t their pastor. If you don’t know the sheep, you aren’t their pastor. Most of them are the book definition of hireling. The only good thing is most of them run off as soon as someone offers them a little more money or perks, so there is that silver lining.

  11. I see he’s been Care Director since 2006. Did they give him that position when he was basically right out of prison?

  12. @ Steve:

    Steve, I honestly think many Christians are in denial about how sinful people can be. The number of churches I have been in that have struggled with this issue combined what a 2005 Air Force Academy graduate taught me just reinforced that greatly. Don’t for one minute think that a pastor or an Air Force Captain who went to one of the best military academies in the world is not above sin.

    Many people are going to deal with sin for the remainder of their life. Me, Steve, Dee Parsons, and everyone reading this post. Its not “you conquer” it and no more problems. No people deal with things for life. Why are so many Christians naïve about this, it sets them up to be had.

  13. @ Steve:
    PS Please read through this blog a bit. we write a good deal on child sex abuse and have tons of information. You are a new commenter and I bet you have some ties to FCC. Here’s a piece of advice.

    Your comments show a lack of understanding of the issue of pedophilia. If you want to change the hearts and minds of people to see things your way, I would suggest that you educate yourself. Otherwise, you will be blown off. The old canards of “pay his debt to society” and “you don’t believe in redemption,” show me that you have not carefully thought through this issue. They are the comments of newbie. Please get some education.

  14. @ Mitch:
    I personally know one pastor who refused to return from his summer sabbatical after a number of boys were found to have been molested by a seminary student in his church. His exact quote “I don’t return from my sabbaticals even if the church is burning down.”

    He was on a cruise when he was informed. His response was akin to “too bad, so sad.” He made a few phone calls and turned over to sun his other side. I will never, ever forget that statement and neither will some other people. He is one of the good ol boys on TGC’s advisory council. Nice, really nice.

  15. Steve wrote:

    The comment by Eagle regarding Rod and Andy being out of the country is off-base. You report about a serious issue, then playfully respond that you hope this news didn’t interrupt their work trip ;). You very much come across as someone who takes entirely too much joy in writing about such an issue…which is disturbing.
    Considering when the offense occurred and the fact that he served his sentence as well as extensive and continued counseling, what do you suggest he be able to do as a job? Has he not paid his debt to society? Oftentimes it is churches and “charity-centered” businesses/organizations that help people like Mr. Nickle.
    Based off of this writing, it appears that not a single one of you believe in redemption.

    This isn’t some delinquent kid who boosted a car and committed petty vandalism then paid his debt to society. There are crimes and then there are crimes. Pedophilia is a compulsion that is destructive in the extreme. If that person has found Jesus and wants redemption then they will recognize this in themselves. They will not place themselves in a position of trust – with access to children. This is akin to letting a heroin addict manage a pharmacy. Or a serial gambler manage a casino. Both may be very contrite and sincere but does that sound smart to you? This man is on the registry as a violent sex offender. The Commonwealth didn’t just apply that designation lightly. What jobs can he do? Any that don’t involve access to families with children. Heck, is that not violating some sex offender restriction or other?

  16. You know what is interesting Dee?

    When I was at FCC I was examining the material being used. I wanted to make sure that Mark Driscoll, John Piper, or so much other stuff doesn’t creep in. While doing that I noticed that FCC women’s ministry was using and pushing Lysa Terkeurst, Proverbs 31 ministries which is affiliated to Steven Furtick and Elevation Church. Lysa went to bat for Steven Furtick against all the problems hemorrhaging out of FCC. So I tried to talk with Andy Gingrich and tell him about all the issues in Elevation Church and Steven Furtick.

    I wanted to tell him about the staged and fake baptisms that Elevation has done. The largest house in North Carolina that Steven Furtick has built. The home in Charlotte blows my mind because Charlotte is one of the key homes in the United States to the banking industry. I think of all the financial industry individuals down there, and then a pastor having a larger home then key banking officials. Even the Sunday School coloring books that Elevation Church has used which are more reminiscent of a propaganda program of the Democratic Republic of North Korea than a SBC church. And with that Andy Gingrich just dismissed what I stated and said that Lysa Terkeurst is solid material (IIRC). So in light of how things played out…its interesting tat you wrote a post that features both Elevation Church and Fairfax Community Church. While FCC is not Neo-Calvinist it begs the question…was this post foreordained by God? 😛

  17. @ dee:

    Mom, you and I need to register for that 9 Marks Conference at SEBTS that deals with church discipline. When you met Jonathan Leeman you can talk about how important the doctrines of grace are to you and how you are a firm believer in TULIP. Than you can show Jonathan Leeman your pug! 😛

  18. @ Steve:
    And Steve, based off you comment, I can tell that you don’t give one rip for a child who was abused and had their world turned upside down. If you cared, you would have mentioned it.

  19. dee wrote:

    @ Steve:
    And Steve, based off you comment, I can tell that you don’t give one rip for a child who was abused and had their world turned upside down. If you cared, you would have mentioned it.

    These comments of yours have just further brought home to me just how far my head (and my family/church’s in general) has been in the sand on these things.

    Until I was led to this site, I was NEVER exposed to any of these ideas. It is really a problem that people aren’t being preemptively educated on these issues, or being encouraged to educate themselves. Folks learn about it after it’s already affected someone close, generally.

    This is sad.

  20. Steve wrote:

    The comment by Eagle regarding Rod and Andy being out of the country is off-base. You report about a serious issue, then playfully respond that you hope this news didn’t interrupt their work trip ;). You very much come across as someone who takes entirely too much joy in writing about such an issue…which is disturbing.
    Considering when the offense occurred and the fact that he served his sentence as well as extensive and continued counseling, what do you suggest he be able to do as a job? Has he not paid his debt to society? Oftentimes it is churches and “charity-centered” businesses/organizations that help people like Mr. Nickle.
    Based off of this writing, it appears that not a single one of you believe in redemption.

    I believe in redemption, but based upon your writing and your obvious disregard for those innocents who might be hurt by a sex offender, I am having a great deal of trouble seeing signs of redemption in you.

  21. Just a PSA. I, for one, would love to see a day when the questioning of salvation comes at the end of an argument, not at the beginning.

    When you come into a comment section, guns blazing, playing the y’all probably ain’t even saved card, you’re starting out wrong.

    At least try on our shoes first.

  22. Steve wrote:

    Considering when the offense occurred and the fact that he served his sentence as well as extensive and continued counseling, what do you suggest he be able to do as a job? Has he not paid his debt to society? Oftentimes it is churches and “charity-centered” businesses/organizations that help people like Mr. Nickle.
    Based off of this writing, it appears that not a single one of you believe in redemption.

    1. So what about the child who was violated violently?
    2. Paying a debt to society (depending on the judge or jury) does not mean he is safe when he gets out.
    3. And you are right, most companies and organizations shy away from hiring these types for a good reason. He should have thought of that when he violently violated a kid.
    4. I think a sign of redemption is that he would not put people in this position in the first place in “ministry”. And he would be totally transparent about his crime.

    There are life long consequences with such crimes against the most vulnerable of our society. Something to consider before you commit them.

    Be honest. Would you want him babysitting your kids?

  23. GovPappy wrote:

    Just a PSA. I, for one, would love to see a day when the questioning of salvation comes at the end of an argument, not at the beginning.
    When you come into a comment section, guns blazing, playing the y’all probably ain’t even saved card, you’re starting out wrong.
    At least try on our shoes first.

    Sorry for perpetuating that, playing the tit-for-tat game. I was wrong to throw it back in Steve’s face.

  24. I am the ex-wife of a child molester. I met my husband in my nice conservative church’s singles group. A decade later I divorced him.

    Since then he’s admitted to a psychologist who specialized in sex offenders that he’s had more than 50 victims. But because he’s never been arrested, he’s not on any sex offender registry. He was part of a court-approved treatment program for more than two years as a requirement for visitation rights, but was later considered a drop out and a treatment failure.

    The authorities know about him, but the public doesn’t.

    He attends a mega-church faithfully.

    I’ve told my story on Spiritual Sounding Board in a post that has garnered nearly 200 comments (and many similar stories) as of today.

    http://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/05/15/being-married-to-a-pedophile-a-wife-speaks-out-and-offers-hope-to-other-wives-of-pedophiles/comment-page-1/#comments

  25. My former church in Northern California, a complementarian church, refuses to let women serve in positions of leadership, even heading kitchen clean-up crews after a potluck lunch. The pastors/elders did however choose one of their friends for such a position, a convicted sex offender on Megan’s List! The pastors/elders told me that he was ‘coming off Megan’s List’. The California Attorney General’s Office and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s sex offenders’ task force called that “all lies” and “total lies”.

    The four pastors/elders screamed at me in a meeting which they ordered me to. They later ordered that I be excommunicated and shunned.

    Previously to my excommunication/shunning, they did the same to a godly doctor (married to his wife for 40+ years). The senior pastor even told the congregation to pray for his wife; his wife reported that she always hated that church and those elders and had warned her husband they shouldn’t go there.

  26. Ruh-roh. I’m out of town on vacation at the beach right now. (But, I’m not a church leader.)

    When Paul was brought before the authorities in Acts 25 he stated that if he had done anything worthy of death, he would not refuse to die. A violent sex offender, if he is a Christian, should not refuse to live a life with a restriction on having access to children. Redemption has little to do with it.

  27. dee wrote:

    I personally know one pastor who refused to return from his summer sabbatical after a number of boys were found to have been molested by a seminary student in his church. His exact quote “I don’t return from my sabbaticals even if the church is burning down.”

    Since he is on TGC I am sure he often lets people know he is going to be responsible to Jesus for the sheep in his care. Here is what those guys do not get, yes they will give account and I believe it will be an accounting for how they took car of the sheep not how the disciplined them and certainly not how the sheep sinned. I imagine the conversation will go something along the lines of, I left 300 sheep in your care. There are now 200. What happened to the others and why aren’t there more than I left you with. I am sure this is the lesson of the talents and I fear that many of my compatriots will be surprised to find they have received their reward alreasy.

  28. Steve Scott wrote:

    Ruh-roh. I’m out of town on vacation at the beach right now. (But, I’m not a church leader.)
    When Paul was brought before the authorities in Acts 25 he stated that if he had done anything worthy of death, he would not refuse to die. A violent sex offender, if he is a Christian, should not refuse to live a life with a restriction on having access to children. Redemption has little to do with it.

    Yep. And not just that, but if he’s really a Christian he ought to take Jesus’ words dead seriously, because He talked about millstones and bodies of water with regard to sins such as harming the defenseless, the little ones. These things are so downright vicious and disastrous to the lives of innocents that Jesus set them aside for particular attention. Same goes for the lack of forgiveness, lest I forget, but I fail to see how forgiveness equates with giving a violent pedophile access to families as a greeter.

  29. Velour wrote:

    My former church in Northern California, a complementarian church, refuses to let women serve in positions of leadership, even heading kitchen clean-up crews after a potluck lunch. The pastors/elders did however choose one of their friends for such a position, a convicted sex offender on Megan’s List! The pastors/elders told me that he was ‘coming off Megan’s List’. The California Attorney General’s Office and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s sex offenders’ task force called that “all lies” and “total lies”.
    The four pastors/elders screamed at me in a meeting which they ordered me to. They later ordered that I be excommunicated and shunned.
    Previously to my excommunication/shunning, they did the same to a godly doctor (married to his wife for 40+ years). The senior pastor even told the congregation to pray for his wife; his wife reported that she always hated that church and those elders and had warned her husband they shouldn’t go there.

    Would have been appropriate to overturn their tables in their laps at that point. But of course, one day they’ll face the One who did that and punctuated it with a whip.

  30. Jack wrote:

    This isn’t some delinquent kid who boosted a car and committed petty vandalism then paid his debt to society. There are crimes and then there are crimes. Pedophilia is a compulsion that is destructive in the extreme. If that person has found Jesus and wants redemption then they will recognize this in themselves. They will not place themselves in a position of trust – with access to children

    Standing ovation!

  31. I wonder if Steve was a troll or a real and incensed member of the apparent cult that is FCC?

  32. Steve wrote:

    Has he not paid his debt to society?

    There is a reason why the Sex Offender Registry exists. How many other crimes require one to be registered after paying their “debt to society?”

  33. From the deleted profile page of Mr. Nickles on the FCC website, it’s clear that he was hiding in plain sight. The “SA” in “SA’s White Book” = Sexaholics Anonymous! The “white book” is a recovery manual for sex abusers! As a Christian, I know that everyone is within reach of God’s forgiveness and redemption. But to give a church position to someone with a criminal history of child sex abuse is a stretch at restoring the fallen. Children for God’s sake!!

  34. Steve wrote:

    Based off of this writing, it appears that not a single one of you believe in redemption.

    No, I think folks here believe in redemption. That’s not the issue.

    Would you let this Nickle guy babysit your kids, or babysit your nieces and nephews?

    I would guess No. And why is that, why would you say “No”? And there you have some of your reasons why the folks here are warning about guys like Nickel, they’d be the same as your reasons.

    Just because guys like Ted Bundy or Charles Manson Paid Their Debts To Society by doing jail time does not mean (if they were alive and/or free now) I’d want to be their next door neighbor, hang out with them all the time, go to the movies with them, or exchange Valentine’s Day cards with them every year.

  35. No church has a right to determine a sex offender “redeemed,” and then hide from the congregation the fact that a sex offender is serving so publicly in the church. What is FCC so afraid of? Since they’re deleting Yelp comments and website pages, I assume they are keeping their members in the dark. It’s lying by omission.

  36. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    There is a reason why the Sex Offender Registry exists. How many other crimes require one to be registered after paying their “debt to society?”

    Mucho excellente point.

  37. dee wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    I think he was a member. He hails from the Fairfax area.

    It is so tough to tell a troll making a bad joke from a member of a pseudo-Christian cult.

  38. @ Jack:
    Well said. Thank you for stating the issues so clearly. Honestly I do not understand why this happens and why the “leadership” does not lead. If the church leadership thinks that they need to perspective of a pedophile or other such offender in order to help in their recovery groups (I am not saying that would be necessary or desirable because I don’t know), then the pedophile’s contributions should, IMO, be filtered through a professional. And I don’t mean a one-semester course in nouthetic counseling. I mean a professional who understands completely the issues involved.

  39. I actually got an email from Fairfax Community today. They are starting a new series called “Wish You Were Here!”

    And my answer in return is…………

    NOT! 😛

  40. Eagle wrote:

    @ Gram3:
    They don’t have nouthetic counseling at FCC. I know quite a bit about this place.

    Do you have any idea why he is in a leadership position and possibly on staff? I don’t know anything about FCC.

  41. Years ago, when looking up the perp who operated in our church on the sex offender registry, I noticed that he was listed as ‘violent’. This confused me, because I knew that his approach to victims was not to my knowledge what I would call violent. So I checked the statutes. The term “violent” has specific meanings under the law. Legally a person who was not necessarily what we think of as physically coercive (holding at gunpoint, violent rape) is considered violent depending upon the age of the victim, the number of times he has offended, etc. I’m glad the law takes this stand — any offense against a child, in my mind, is violent, and the perps should be viewed as serious threats to anyone in their preference zone.

    Often, people assume that a perp who offends against a family member is not a threat to general society. Wrong. The family member is often the most available victim, the path of least resistance, the safest victim, easiest to silence, easiest to control. However, if there is not an available family member, the perp will find others. Don’t be fooled into thinking a guy is safe simply because it was against his own child.
    Here’s the link to the statues explaining the violent classification:
    http://sex-offender.vsp.virginia.gov/sor/statutes.html

  42. dee wrote:

    @ Mitch:
    I personally know one pastor who refused to return from his summer sabbatical after a number of boys were found to have been molested by a seminary student in his church. His exact quote “I don’t return from my sabbaticals even if the church is burning down.”
    He was on a cruise when he was informed. His response was akin to “too bad, so sad.” He made a few phone calls and turned over to sun his other side. I will never, ever forget that statement and neither will some other people. He is one of the good ol boys on TGC’s advisory council. Nice, really nice.

    What??? How privileged he must be. *Pastor* in name only.

  43. @ dee:

    There may be two distinct problems there. One: the “pastor” is merely a hired manager, not someone who has taken on a sacred duty before God. If Lesley and I were out somewhere leaving our (capable teenage) children for the night and something happened, we’d move heaven and earth to get back. The hireling cares nothing for the sheep.

    Two: I can’t tell from the available information, but was there sufficient authority and maturity within the congregation to deal immediately and robustly with the problem, without needing any input from the “pastor”? Or was the congregation too timid and dependent to make any decisions? If the latter… sigh…

  44. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    My guess is that everyone is a bit stunned and not sure exactly what to do. This is indicative in their response. If they stand by him, why would they scrub his page from the website? That alone is telling two different stories.

    The most important lack in their response is this. There was not one mention made of his victim. True compassion would exhibit itself in a statement that the church feels for the victim of Eric’s molestation and would be willing to help them by any means possible. Just the statement would say volumes.

  45. Nickname wrote:

    Often, people assume that a perp who offends against a family member is not a threat to general society. Wrong. The family member is often the most available victim, the path of least resistance, the safest victim, easiest to silence, easiest to control

    Well stated.

  46. Darlene wrote:

    How privileged he must be

    Yes. In fact, he did not return for a couple of months. By that time, things were going south and the whole situation was handled poorly. They lost a number of members. I beat most of them out the door.

  47. Arce wrote:

    But serving, never!

    I am so grateful that I had observed a pastor in Dallas, Pete Briscoe, who would have responded immediately. He would have jumped off the cruise ship and swam to shore to return to his church. It is due to his example that I realized that not every pastor out there is self centered.

  48. Eagle wrote:

    Steve, I honestly think many Christians are in denial about how sinful people can be. The number of churches I have been in that have struggled with this issue combined what a 2005 Air Force Academy graduate taught me just reinforced that greatly. Don’t for one minute think that a pastor or an Air Force Captain who went to one of the best military academies in the world is not above sin.

    Thank you for saying this, Eagle. You have cut through to the heart of the matter: People, Christian people are guilty of presuming to “just know” that some
    person has served his sentence & so that means that he is fine to have around families. Its simply not true…..This world is full of sins so ugly that folks try not to think about it. And the result? More precious children are exposed to vicious predators– in the church, where we ALL need to acknowledge just how vile that some people can be.

    Great article, you all!! Keep it up….We will not know until eternity, how many parents (& others) have been warned & been able to keep their little ones safe.

  49. @ Gram3:
    You can take a look at their response on the next post.

    Many churches are stuck on stupid when it comes to those who repent from their crimes. They assume that Jesus has healed them. They love the “I was a gruesome criminal and I came to Jesus” meme. They do not understand the dangers of pedophilia and the compulsions that drive them.

    I thought of something last night. Let’s say you find out a nurse is killing people she thinks are suffering. She goes to prison for 20 years. She repents and is released due to good behavior. Do you think it would be wise to hire her as a nurse again. Of course not. But that is precisely what these churches are doing.

  50. Great post.

    I am sending this to my pastor and recommending that we search sex offender registries on more than just those applying to work with youth and children.

  51. Anonymous wrote:

    I am sending this to my pastor and recommending that we search sex offender registries on more than just those applying to work with youth and children.

    You do not know how much this means to me. Thank you!

  52. dee wrote:

    Let’s say you find out a nurse is killing people she thinks are suffering. She goes to prison for 20 years. She repents and is released due to good behavior. Do you think it would be wise to hire her as a nurse again. Of course not. But that is precisely what these churches are doing.

    Yes, that’s how it seems to me. Nick and Bill M have raised some good questions on the other thread. Somehow churches need to find the way of wisdom, but I think that the burden is on the offender to remove himself/herself from any possibility of harming anyone else. I can see the good motivation for involving an offender in rehab/recovery programs, but reality must not be tossed out the window, and certainly not at the expense of victims and potential future victims.

  53. Anonymous wrote:

    I am sending this to my pastor and recommending that we search sex offender registries on more than just those applying to work with youth and children.

    I would also suggest that churches do additional background checks on State courts automated case management systems. Most States allow free direct access to court information where you are able to examine case records on job candidates, including docket entries, parties, judgments and charges in public court. It’s also a good idea to take a look at a candidate’s social media communications on Twitter and Facebook … those can be quite revealing. Don’t simply rely on employment and character references that a candidate provides. It’s a shame, but we live in a day when you can’t just trust someone applying for a ministry position … the enemy is out and about seeking to kill, steal and destroy and often finds a haunt in church.

  54. dee wrote:

    Many churches are stuck on stupid when it comes to those who repent from their crimes. They assume that Jesus has healed them. They love the “I was a gruesome criminal and I came to Jesus” meme. They do not understand the dangers of pedophilia and the compulsions that drive them.

    I see similar thinking from lots of Christians with other things in life.

    I used to have clinical depression. Some Christians deny that Christians can even have depression in the first place.

    For the ones who do acknowledge it happens, they think you can just pray the depression away, or get over it by some Bible reading.

    They go too far with the “new creature in Christ” verse, to assume accepting Christ means poof! any and all problems you had will disappear instantly.

    And unfortunately a lot of Christian television programs play into this as well. I think it’s false advertising.

    I hardly ever see testimonies on those TV shows by Christians who did not receive a healing (and it’s usually an instant healing), or who were not delivered from “thus- and- so” a trial (financial crisis, divorce, drug addiction, what have you).

    The majority of the time, Christian churches and TV programs only report on the stories that have happy endings.

    I think the reality is, most people (even if they accept Christ) have to spend weeks, months, or years fighting, healing, or struggling with stuff. It seems like a lot of churches and Christians don’t like to admit to that or grapple with it.

  55. Daisy wrote:

    They go too far with the “new creature in Christ” verse, to assume accepting Christ means poof! any and all problems you had will disappear instantly.

    JMJ over at Christian Monist (before he got swamped by work) used to write on that very subject a lot.

    I think the reality is, most people (even if they accept Christ) have to spend weeks, months, or years fighting, healing, or struggling with stuff. It seems like a lot of churches and Christians don’t like to admit to that or grapple with it.

    And those of us who DO grapple with it find ourselves utterly alone, surrounded by Always Victorious Happy Clappy Joy Joy REAL TRUE Christians(TM). Who are always ready with Jesus Juke advice for our Secret Sin.

  56. I rarely comment here, but, this topic has disturbed me deeply, so I am going to share one of the many devastating manifestations of being sexually abused as a child. Two of my abusers shamed me to my core because my body responded with orgasm, as God designed it to do. The first was my father, I was five years old, he was furious that my body responded, he screamed at me and said he would never touch me again. No more back rubs for me. Ugh.

    Second abuser told me I was a filthy animal & kicked me after he used me. There were other tramua’s that probably factor into my body shutting down & not being able to feel any desire when I was intimate. I am not proud of the fact that I slept with several men, I was so hungry for love that I believed sex would make them love me. O my god, I was messed up.

    After one failed marriage, I met a good man. I trusted him with all my heart, in our 5th or so year of marriage I started to feel desire when we made love, as soon as it happened, I would ask my husband, Am I being bad? He would reassure me that no I wasn’t bad. That happened over & over. Then I got some excellent counseling & understood why I kept asking if I was bad because I felt pleasure. It still stuns me that I had no idea why I would ask that question, as it is as clear as the blue sky to me today.

    Hubby & I have worked through so much, but, I still have to do self talk after we make love, telling myself that what we shared wasn’t dirty, I am not bad, nor am I a whore. I am 61 years old, my abuse started at five years old. So, Steve, you really need to educate yourself on what molesting does to the victims. The fallout is horrible, evil. And I haven’t even scratched the surface of the engulfing guilt, shame & worthlessness that one carries their whole life.

    Jesus helped me, but HE didn’t heal me, depression, anxiety tormented me for years as I served my fanny off in a John F. MacArthur wanna be boys church. Love that TWW & Eagle and Julie Anne and so many others keep the focus on the victims.

  57. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    And those of us who DO grapple with it find ourselves utterly alone, surrounded by Always Victorious Happy Clappy Joy Joy REAL TRUE Christians(TM). Who are always ready with Jesus Juke advice for our Secret Sin.

    Oh yeah, don’t I know it.

    Among some Christians, you are not allowed to have negative situations or feelings.

    In my own family (most of whom are Christian), I’ve been shamed to going to them since my mother died and asking for emotional support. Same with church people I’ve gone to.

    You’re not supposed to experience hurt or pain, and just stuff it all down and act like everything is peachy keen.

    I will check out the Monist blog you mentioned, if I remember to.

  58. Daisy wrote:

    Just because guys like Ted Bundy or Charles Manson Paid Their Debts To Society by doing jail time does not mean (if they were alive and/or free now) I’d want to be their next door neighbor, hang out with them all the time, go to the movies with them, or exchange Valentine’s Day cards with them every year.

    On a more personal note. Many years ago I used to patronize a business late in the evening simply because it was more convenient and it closed rather late. One night there was a new clerk behind the counter, a rather large man, who was an affable and jovial type of person. He said he was new and one of his relatives owned the business. All seemed fine. Then one evening, there were no other customers in the store, he was in a talkative mood and mentioned something about having to report to his parole officer the next day. He said that he was let of prison (his incarceration was for something violent) Somehow his parole was conditioned on his working in the store. Yes, he paid his dues to society, but I certainly didn’t want to be alone with him in his store. Never went back.

  59. Max wrote:

    From the deleted profile page of Mr. Nickles on the FCC website, it’s clear that he was hiding in plain sight. The “SA” in “SA’s White Book” = Sexaholics Anonymous! The “white book” is a recovery manual for sex abusers! As a Christian, I know that everyone is within reach of God’s forgiveness and redemption. But to give a church position to someone with a criminal history of child sex abuse is a stretch at restoring the fallen. Children for God’s sake!!

    That’s utterly shocking. It reminds me of Jimmy Saville, serial sex offender who also hid in plain sight. These sickos get a kick out of this kind of arrogant deception.

  60. @ nobody:

    People have no idea how this sort of thing messes with a person’s life. I learned while on the board of an abuse center than many victims become sexually active. How can we know what goes on in the mind of a mere child who is sexually molested. This is what I am good for? This is how love is expressed? (they are groomed to believe that)

    My mamma bear is coming out. If some “repentant” pervert does his time and thinks it is perfectly ok to press himself on a group where children are always present without everyone being told about his crime, I am going to ask him why he thinks he has the right to do so.

    These people have lived a long con and are quite good at it until someone finally figures it out and goes to the trouble to actually report it and they are convicted. Then we think a “sorry” is repentance and are more worried about their rights than the victim/survivor.

  61. I’m not currently attending anywhere, but after taking the challenge to search the registry I discovered the church I attended previously (and still have family attending) has a convicted child sexual abuser working as handyman/cleaner in addition to attending the church himself. Ironically this is also in Northern Virginia, like FCC and SGM… Because of some past issues I wouldn’t be surprised if the elders know about his conviction, but I am certain it is not common knowledge in the congregation. I feel like I need to do something with this information so I guess I’ll be doing plenty of praying in the next few days…

  62. Pingback: Eric Nickle, Rod Stafford, Fairfax Community Church and an Interrupted Mancation in Kenya (Sorry Rod…) | Wondering Eagle UNITED STATES

  63. NowADone wrote:

    I’m not currently attending anywhere, but after taking the challenge to search the registry I discovered the church I attended previously (and still have family attending) has a convicted child sexual abuser working as handyman/cleaner in addition to attending the church himself. Ironically this is also in Northern Virginia, like FCC and SGM… Because of some past issues I wouldn’t be surprised if the elders know about his conviction, but I am certain it is not common knowledge in the congregation. I feel like I need to do something with this information so I guess I’ll be doing plenty of praying in the next few days…

    Yep, praying’s in order. I’ll be praying for you. People ought to know, people with children especially. If the leaders are keeping this guy around while keeping the congregation in the dark, they might be the greatest evil that needs to be exposed.

  64. NowADone wrote:

    I feel like I need to do something with this information so I guess I’ll be doing plenty of praying in the next few days…

    I think that what you are facing is the reason most people don’t look into this, though we should. It is so much easier to just go with the flow. I hope that the Holy Spirit will lead you and grant you wisdom about what to do.

  65. I’m so glad you advised us to do this!! I checked the registry for our entire (small) county in N. California.

    Additional suggestion—don’t only check for males; I found 2 females whose names I know from the community on the list. So, don’t trust anybody IMO.

    I didn’t find any people from our church but I did discover that a man who molested my daughter and whom we thought was in prison is in fact free and living just a few miles from us. This has really frightened us but I am so glad we found out.

  66. Considering that they have had much experience cleaning house and in light of current research, the Catholic Church views pedophiles are unreformable — not unredeemable. @ dee:

  67. molly245 wrote:

    didn’t find any people from our church but I did discover that a man who molested my daughter and whom we thought was in prison is in fact free and living just a few miles from us. This has really frightened us but I am so glad we found out.

    I am praying for you to navigate this wisely with your daughter and for her to feel protected and never see him about.

  68. @ Gram3:
    Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, this is a real rubber meets the road situation. I know I have to say something though, because there are tons of kids there. Praying about who to talk to and how to bring it up. I really don’t want it to be swept under the rug.

  69. @ An Attorney:
    If there is someone who is working on a story about the FCC situation or general lack of knowledge in churches on how to handle these situations I just might. It would get more people aware of the overall danger and might force the leadership to take some proactive steps. We’ll see.

  70. I know Eric very well. He has worked a very strong recovery program. For someone such as myself, who was a victim of childhood sexual abuse, I was okay with interacting with him after I had some recovery. He is not allowed to be alone with children. He is not allowed to be on social media. He has helped many other sex offenders repent and turn from their sin, and continue in ongoing recovery. As someone who has been in 12 step programs for 25 years, and someone who knew Eric for about six years, I know that he works a good program, has accountability and has turned his life around. Do I not have compassion on the child he victimized, oh contrare.

  71. A Former FCC Member wrote:

    I know Eric very well. He has worked a very strong recovery program. For someone such as myself, who was a victim of childhood sexual abuse, I was okay with interacting with him after I had some recovery. He is not allowed to be alone with children. He is not allowed to be on social media. He has helped many other sex offenders repent and turn from their sin, and continue in ongoing recovery. As someone who has been in 12 step programs for 25 years, and someone who knew Eric for about six years, I know that he works a good program, has accountability and has turned his life around. Do I not have compassion on the child he victimized, oh contrare.

    If things are so fine and above board:

    Then why, when asked about his past, did he mention prostitution but not violent child sexual assault?

    Then why did the church seek to scrub things that indicated the truth of the matter from social media?

    Then why hasn’t this been up front with full public disclosures all round, so as to protect the parents and children?

    Assume arguendo that everything you say is true (of course, the only way you’re know this is if you were a fly sitting on his shoulder, and as you are not, you cannot possibly know if he has truly turned his life around) and that Eric has been miraculously healed (which I certainly believe is possible for the Lord), does it still not give you pause that your church would not be absolutely up front about this in every way, just as a precaution? Do not the parents have every right to know?

  72. It’s wonderful to find a group of perfect individuals who have never done anything wrong and are therefore completely justified in condemning a man to live in a cave in ( ed. note deleted bad language from this FCC volunteer who works with children))instead of give back generously to his community in full repentance of his past. What’s that? You’re not all perfect? Oh, so that’s why I see all these stones being thrown by people who have zero right to judge. Sorry folks, FCC is just like every other church: filled with imperfect people doing the best they can. And FCC, like every major church in the D.C. area, has strict boundaries on what all staff can/cannot do. As a long-time volunteer with their children’s ministry and a parent of four young children, I have no issues with Eric working at FCC and I would say that any parent that does shares the same bigotry and knee-jerk reaction to sin that you all do.

  73. The Dude wrote:

    It’s wonderful to find a group of perfect individuals who have never done anything wrong and are therefore completely justified in condemning a man to live in a cave in ( ed. note deleted bad language from this FCC volunteer who works with children))instead of give back generously to his community in full repentance of his past. What’s that? You’re not all perfect? Oh, so that’s why I see all these stones being thrown by people who have zero right to judge. Sorry folks, FCC is just like every other church: filled with imperfect people doing the best they can. And FCC, like every major church in the D.C. area, has strict boundaries on what all staff can/cannot do. As a long-time volunteer with their children’s ministry and a parent of four young children, I have no issues with Eric working at FCC and I would say that any parent that does shares the same bigotry and knee-jerk reaction to sin that you all do.

    @T.D.,

    In case you don’t know there is an epidemic of child sexual abuse in the evangelical church that rivals, or exceeds, that of the Catholic Church. This comes from Church Mutual, the largest insurer of churches in the U.S., and attorney Richard Hammer at Church Law & Tax. Child sexual abuse is the No. 1 reason that churches get sued every year according to the insurance companies and the attorneys who research thousands of lawsuits every year. The problem is so serious that some insurance companies are stopping insuring churches altogether because the financial liability is so great.

    There is a line that churches can draw to both minister The Gospel to sex offenders and to protect children and other potential targets: they can minister to sex offenders separately.

    Not every sin is the same and few sins rise to the level of felony crimes and harm innocent and vulnerable children.

  74. @ The Dude:
    I think you are mistaken about what is going on here. There is wisdom that needs to be applied in every situation involving people and especially involving children. I am not casting stones at Eric. What I have said is that parents should have the knowledge necessary to protect their children. I have said that it is good that Eric is working the help others recover. I have also said that his work should be under the supervision of a professional who understands both his needs, the needs of the other men in the group, and the needs of the children. I believe he is not qualified to be in a leadership position in a church which is a privilege and not a right. He is forgiven of sin, but he is not relieved from consequences, including restrictions from leadership and other restrictions. He should be happy to recuse himself from such, and I think that would be a great example for others. I do not think it is throwing stones to say that a church or its leadership has behaved inappropriately or unwisely. If that is so, then the Apostle Paul has some explaining to do.

  75. @ The Dude:

    This comment is full of bogus assumptions about commentors here. Have you actually read the concerns that have been brought up?

    The Dude wrote:

    I have no issues with Eric working at FCC and I would say that any parent that does shares the same bigotry and knee-jerk reaction to sin that you all do.

    So every one who does not feel/think the same as you shares bigotry and knee-jerk reactions to sin?

    Well, that is pretty clear — you are right and everyone who has a different perspective is wrong. Got it. Isn’t that bigotry?

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