Spotlight Addendum: TGC Member Church, Fellowship Bible Church, Being Sued for Rape of 3 Year Old Child.

You can recognize survivors of abuse by their courage. When silence is so very inviting, they step forward and share their truth so others know they aren't alone.”  ― Jeanne McElvan link

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=61538&picture=terrified-man
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So, TGC has been deleting comments regarding their support of a certain ministry that has a number of allegations of child sex abuse. Since it is obvious that the media played a major role in exposing child sex abuse in the RCC, I would like to think that the social media run by TGC would be the FIRST to expose child sex abuse allegations within their own tribe (Is that the word they like these days?) 

So, I have decided to do it for them. Fellowship Bible Church of Brentwood TN, a proud member of The Gospel Coalition, is  being sued due to their response to the rape of a 3 year old child by a volunteer teen in their youth program. This teen raped the child in a bathroom and pled guilty to aggravated sexual battery. So, this is not "he said/she said." It happened. 

Here is the report from News Channel 5: Family Files Lawsuit After Sexual Assault of 3-Year-Old At Church. Please pay attention to the following points.

….The family didn’t find out about the situation until the next weekend. “Their son was saying he didn’t want to go back to church.”

…at first, the church denied that it happened, stating the child was making it up.

…. “the Church urged the (family) not to pursue criminal charges against the perpetrator.” The family later took the teenager to court where he pled guilty for aggravated sexual battery.

The lawsuit also alleges the church misled the parents of other toddlers and “sought to hide the truth about the perpetrator pedophile and about the rape of (the 3-year-old) from other families.”
 

Of course, the church had no comment.  I wonder if TGC will comment or will they say it's all a lie and feature this church's pastors at a break out session at the next TGC convention?

Folks, it is time that the dudebros break ranks and start protecting the kids and kicking out churches which abuse children with as much vehemence as they use to mandate gender roles.

TWW commends the brave parents of this child. They are standing up against a church that they loved and which allegedly attempted to silence them in their time of need. Lawsuits are absolutely necessary so long as the church attempts to hide their sinful responses from the world. 

Comments

Spotlight Addendum: TGC Member Church, Fellowship Bible Church, Being Sued for Rape of 3 Year Old Child. — 379 Comments

  1. I’m glad the family took the right course and got satisfaction in court, so at very least the kid knows his parents love him enough to believe him and fight for him.

    Shame on the church.

  2. You would think TGC folks would realize this is worth burning a bridge over…ie they ought to kick this church out for such sick behavior. Set an example. Buy I guess child rape is less important than their pet theological issues.That is what their inaction says.

  3. I live about 70 miles from Nashville. I go to Nashville occasionally, for various reasons.
    News Channel 5 is about as close as it gets to a “local” news station for me. I rarely go a day without watching News Channel 5. The first time I heard of this story was yesterday. I am almost certain that the story came out because of the lawsuit. The reporter who covered the story said that he had contacted the church, and all they would say is, “No comment.”
    Come on! What typical 3 year old could make up something like that???

  4. Great job Dee… Keep beating the drum…. The Hubris of the TGC to criticize RCC, yet not within themselves, Completely invalidates TGC in my mind

  5. So, where are the gospel™men of TGC when it comes to abuse within their ranks?

    Abuse? What abuse?
    doubleplusungood ref doubleplusunevent, comrades.
    (HUMBLY, of course.)

  6. Divorce Minister wrote:

    Buy I guess child rape is less important than their pet theological issues.That is what their inaction says.

    Purity of Ideology, Comrade.
    Ask any survivor of Cambodia’s Killing Fields about Purity of Ideology.

  7. Nancy2 wrote:

    BTW, Fellowship Bible Church is “led by a plurality of elders.”

    Because as is communicated by that world, the Holy Spirit gives a select few special anointing that the others cannot have. It is the “plain reading” of scripture. Sigh.

  8. Long time reader, first time commenting…THANK YOU for advocating on behalf of abused children and families…please don’t stop.

  9. Nancy2 wrote:

    BTW, Fellowship Bible Church is “led by a plurality of elders.”

    Which means a Pastor/Dictator and his Yes-Men Courtiers.

  10. Accountability floats up. We are living in a day when all “volunteers” need to be vetted by church leadership. It is OK for a pastor, when someone raises his hand to volunteer for a church position (particularly where children are involved), to take the prospective volunteer aside and ask “Who the heck are you?!” If church leaders fail in this regard, then the congregation needs to ask them “Who the heck are you?!”

  11. @ Max:
    I actually had this happen to me as a young man. We were new members of a large church and I soon felt led to volunteer to teach a young married couples class, along with my wife. Before I was appointed to that position, the pastor called me into his office and asked me “Who are you?”, explaining the nature of his question. He wanted to know that I was indeed a Christian, that I had a testimony of faith, and equipped for this church position. It was an intensive come-to-Jesus Q&A session, which I passed by the pastor’s assessment. While I was initially intimidated by this approach, I left his office with a great respect for this man of God to protect his flock.

  12. @ siteseer:

    “Churches” as entities are easy to sue. Hard to win because participation is voluntary and protected. I would love to see the lawsuit. Are pastors mandatory reporters in Tennessee?

  13. Max wrote:

    Accountability floats up. We are living in a day when all “volunteers” need to be vetted by church leadership. It is OK for a pastor, when someone raises his hand to volunteer for a church position (particularly where children are involved), to take the prospective volunteer aside and ask “Who the heck are you?!” If church leaders fail in this regard, then the congregation needs to ask them “Who the heck are you?!”

    Totally agree. All departments, Nursery, Children’s Church Sunday Schools, Awana, Youth Pastor….anyone who will be with the children.

  14. @ Mae:

    It amazes me as to how some people want to work with children. I would not…that is something I would not want to get involved with.

    My prediction for Fellowship Bible Church…have the pastor publish a book, hit the lecture circuit, claim he is being persecuted, and flee to Louisville and do a church plant in a Marriott or Hyatt!

  15. @ Eagle:
    … or embark on an unrepentant comeback, like Mark Driscoll. Sad, but you are right – the young and restless will fall for the book and lecture circuit scheme … and Louisville would probably shelter their brother, since he’s of the right theological persuasion.

  16. @ Max:
    Unfortunately Max, In this day and time, the guy doing the “vetting” is a 30 year old (30 is the new 20) entitlement mentality YRR. And those he has “vetted” are friends from seminary who need some resume enhancement for ministry. I think the same could be said for Furtick and Noble types, too.

    The real question is: Where are the grown ups who are paying the bills?

  17. Pingback: The Gospel Coalition = Good Old Boys Network | 1st Feline Battalion

  18. About 25 years ago, at a TGC church I used to attend – a good church, in most respects – there was a similar case of a teenage male sexually abusing a young child he was babysitting. The pastor recommended to the parents to not prosecute him because it would ruin the young man’s life. The parents were educated people – but they went along with it although the mother STRONGLY disagreed. I believe the parents divorced not too long after.

    There are several things that make these kinds of situations confusing for people.
    There is an element of cognitive dissonance that you have to contend with: he couldn’t have done something truly awful because “he used to be in my Sunday School class,” “he leads worship with the praise band,” etc.
    Compassion tends to flow towards the perpetrator if the perpetrator appears to feel remorseful about his actions. The violated family on the other hand feels angry, therefore coming across as being “unforgiving” which is, as we know, the unforgivable sin.
    I also think it is harder when both the victim and the perpetrator are children. However, this is a very short-term view: holding the perpetrator accountable, and getting him some proper* help at the time could prevent tragedies further on down the road.
    *Not “biblical” counseling, but real, psychological help along with whatever the criminal justice system has available.
    People are in fellowship with the perpetrator’s parents, and how do you maintain a compassionate friendship when their child has raped a toddler?
    People think that they can tell if others are good or bad. This is usually based on superficial criteria: how they are dressed, how they act in front of us, what piercings/tattoos they have, etc. Because their intuition failed so critically is extremely disturbing, so they pretend that it could not have happened.

  19. Lydia wrote:

    The real question is: Where are the grown ups who are paying the bills?

    Feeling the Whip in the pews, of course.
    “TITHE! TITHE! TITHE! TITHE! TITHE!”

  20. Through a glass darkly wrote:

    Compassion tends to flow towards the perpetrator if the perpetrator appears to feel remorseful about his actions. The violated family on the other hand feels angry, therefore coming across as being “unforgiving” which is, as we know, the unforgivable sin.

    And Professional Perps know how to Game The System.

    We only hear about the ones who slipped up and got caught.

  21. @ Lydia:
    Oh yes, Lydia. Vetting would not work well with “elders” in their 20s-30s; you need maturity for that task. Regarding your inquiry “Where are the grown ups who are paying the bills?”, they left long ago along with their wisdom. Don’t get me wrong, our churches need the energy of youth, but it must be coupled with wisdom of the aged … young guys to speed things up a bit, but old guys to slow it down. Church was meant to be multi-generational, but the YRR movement doesn’t have room for that. When you are bent on restoring the gospel that previous generations have lost (what arrogance!), you don’t want old folks tagging along in your new reformation.

  22. Max wrote:

    @ Lydia:
    Oh yes, Lydia. Vetting would not work well with “elders” in their 20s-30s; you need maturity for that task

    And even more important, Starry-Eyed Celebrity Crushes on their Pastor/Dictator.

  23. @ Through a glass darkly:
    Some of the ‘nicest’ people in the world are sociopaths and narcissists. One has to have a very close consistent relationship to pick up on it, eventually. And everyone is “on” at church.

  24. Through a glass darkly wrote:

    The pastor recommended to the parents to not prosecute him because it would ruin the young man’s life.

    This makes me mad. The only person ruining that young man’s life was him. And he ruined a kid’s too.
    About blinking time TGC sorted themselves out. How can something as horrific as child rape be minimised? I still find this bewildering about all the abuse in the RCC, of all things, of all things, how does this get glossed over?

  25. Vetting, yes. Fifteen years ago when I volunteered to help with the nursery, I wasn’t allowed to help until the church had received my police report and then it was drilled into us: Two unrelated adults in the room at all times. No closing the door to the bathroom. Nobody except vetted adults allowed in the room. These rules are not hard, people!

  26. I think too many Christians are naive and believe that anyone claiming to be a fellow believe is both telling the truth and actively fleeing temptation rather than acting on it. I have a friend who always tells me that the new doctor/dentist/chiropractor they are using is a Christian. I guess she must assume that this makes them better at their jobs. I never know how she finds out because I don’t go around asking prospective medical professionals what religion, if any, they are members of. I don’t trust them anymore if they are Christians or any less if they aren’t. Maybe this is because I tend to be rather skeptical of people’s trustworthiness, especially when it comes to watching my kids.

  27. Lydia wrote:

    @ Through a glass darkly:
    Some of the ‘nicest’ people in the world are sociopaths and narcissists

    I can confirm that.

  28. Beakerj wrote:

    I still find this bewildering about all the abuse in the RCC, of all things, of all things, how does this get glossed over?

    Yes, and our buddies at TGC roundly condemned the abuse and the cover up that occurred in the RCC. Where have they been with C J? It will be interesting to see if any of the glitterati decide to call out Fellowship.

  29. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    @ Through a glass darkly:
    Some of the ‘nicest’ people in the world are sociopaths and narcissists
    I can confirm that.

    Yeah, me too. Which is why I prefer a consistent jerk or blunt/direct person any day. At least you know what you are dealing with.

  30. Fellowship Bible Church is NOT a member of TGC. Your link goes to a web page where you searched for Fellowship Bible Church on TGC’s website. But if you go to the page where TGC lists their members, Fellowship Bible Church is not included and has never been included.

  31. Will M wrote:

    Beakerj wrote:
    I still find this bewildering about all the abuse in the RCC, of all things, of all things, how does this get glossed over?
    Yes, and our buddies at TGC roundly condemned the abuse and the cover up that occurred in the RCC. Where have they been with C J? It will be interesting to see if any of the glitterati decide to call out Fellowship.

    They condemn abuse/molestations generically. Then they pretend the situations that involve their gurus are totally different and have nothing to do with any of it.

    During the CJ scandalabras their standard defense was on “technicalities”. The law has spoken therefore CJ is innocent. Nevermind the details, the shepherding cult, sgmwikileaks, fleeing to the arms of Dever and then Mohler, etc, etc. That had nothing to do with CJ. It was the mean bad bloggers who were at fault.

  32. Lydia wrote:

    The law has spoken therefore CJ is innocent. Nevermind the details

    I see a similiar tactic used in the comments of articles about abortion. Someone will call it murder and the other side, in large numbers, will counter with, “No it’s not, it’s a legal procedure.” They seem to think that proclaiming over and over that the Supreme Court making it legal means that therefore anyone who considers it to be murder is a member of the “Christian Taliban” who “hates women”. (Yes, I see people using those arguments over and over.)

  33. Like the rest of the comments, this sickens me to no end. I am fed up with churches telling their parishoners not to take the case to the law and not to prosecute them. Most of us were taught all our lives that Christians didn’t sue people. We didn’t take them to court. This is a bunch of bs nad it has to stop. If we save just one innocent child, then this blog is so well worth it. But I honestly think you are helping out a lot of people. Believe me I would have taken the boy to court or anyone else and the church included if one of my children was abused while on the grounds of a church. I would tell every new media outlet and every online blog, etc. that I could. Enough is enough!!.

  34. harley wrote:

    Like the rest of the comments, this sickens me to no end. I am fed up with churches telling their parishoners not to take the case to the law and not to prosecute them.

    Yes, this!
    What do these church leaders say when this kind of abuse happens in public schools or secular daycare centers???
    What would the church leaders say if the teenager had raped the child in a bathroom in a restaurant or a shopping mall???
    What would they say if that 3-year-old child had been the son of one of the church leaders ????

  35. Kyle wrote:

    Fellowship Bible Church is NOT a member of TGC

    I searched The Gospel Coalition’s Church Directory for member churches in Brentwood, Tennessee, and guess which church shows up? Fellowship Bible Church is one of four churches in that area.

    http://churches.thegospelcoalition.org/app/results/eyJyZXN1bHRfcGFnZSI6ImFwcFwvcmVzdWx0cyIsImtleXdvcmRzIjoiYnJlbnR3b29kLCB0biJ9

    Here is The Gospel Coalition’s link to Fellowship Bible Church.

    http://churches.thegospelcoalition.org/app/church/14752

    From that page on the TGC website:

    Church Directory

    Fellowship Bible Church
    1210 Franklin Road
    Brentwood, Tennessee 37027
    United States

    About Us:

    To glorify God by proclaiming Christ, maturing in the faith and giving our lives away.

    Pastor: Bill Wellons

    Church contact: Traci McMurray

    Website: http://fellowshipnashville.org

  36. Lydia wrote:

    Are pastors mandatory reporters in Tennessee?

    Probably. I live in Tennessee (another part of the state) and used to do volunteer work for a crisis pregnancy center. I was a told that in my work with them I was considered a mandatory reporter and was given training about how to handle it if a teenager showed up pregnant with a much older “boyfriend.”

  37. @ Deb:
    Thank you for reconfirming what I already confirmed. I read FBC site and got the tingle which led me over to TGC.

  38. Kyle wrote:

    Fellowship Bible Church is NOT a member of TGC. Your link goes to a web page where you searched for Fellowship Bible Church on TGC’s website.

    Please check the TGC website again.

    If you look at TGC’s website, the only churches which turn up there are member churches. I can assure you that Joel Osteen’s church would never, ever show up there.

  39. @ Elizabeth Lee:

    My 16 year-old went through training and was a mandatory reporter at the local YMCA when working there. If a 16 year-old can be trained you’d think pastors could be as well????

  40. @ Kyle:

    I am sorry but you have to face the fact that TGC is far more concerned about women elders in churches as opposed to the abuse of children in churches.

    Fellowship Bible Church would never allow a woman to become an elder but they allegedly believe people should not report pedophiles to the police. After all women are far more dangerous

  41. Socrates or someone once said “You will know them by their fruits”. At what point do we wake up and take this seriously?

  42. @ dee:

    As you know, TGC recently added a "Report" button beside the name of each member church in its directory.

    Hope some people are putting it to good use!

  43. @ Deb:
    Deb wrote:

    As you know, TGC recently added a “Report” button beside the name of each member church in its directory.

    Sometimes I think we have telepathy going on here. I planned to bring that up tomorrow. Look at the draft already in place. Too funny!!

  44. The time is almost here when the courts will no longer be squeamish about coming down hard and heavy on high profile protestant churches who don’t police themselves and who don’t file a police report immediately when child sex abuse happens.

    I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
    I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
    I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
    And it’s a hard,
    and it’s a hard,
    it’s a hard,
    and it’s a hard
    It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

    ~ Bob Dylan ~

  45. dee wrote:

    Fellowship Bible Church would never allow a woman to become an elder but they allegedly believe people should not report pedophiles to the police. After all women are far more dangerous

    Because women don’t have a penis (and pedos do), and that’s all that matters.

  46. Nancy2 wrote:

    What would they say if that 3-year-old child had been the son of one of the church leaders ????

    You mean if the 3-year-old child was ROYALTY?

  47. Lydia wrote:

    During the CJ scandalabras their standard defense was on “technicalities”. The law has spoken therefore CJ is innocent. Nevermind the details, the shepherding cult, sgmwikileaks, fleeing to the arms of Dever and then Mohler, etc, etc. That had nothing to do with CJ. It was the mean bad bloggers who were at fault.

    A God Can Do No Wrong.

  48. @ Kyle:
    Kyle, I am confused, I checked the Deeb’s links and it seems really clear that the church in question is part of TGC??? Are you, or this blog talking about another church?? I believe in openness/truthfulness/accountability.. Please respond if something is amiss; otherwise you seem to be part of the very cover up issues this blog is attempting to address.

  49. Here is the mandatory reporting law in TN:

    Tennessee

    Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-605(a)

    Any person who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been sexually abused shall report such knowledge or suspicion to the department.

    Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-403(a)

    Any person who has knowledge of or is called upon to render aid to any child who is suffering from or has sustained any wound, injury, disability, or physical or mental condition shall report such harm immediately if the harm is of such a nature as to reasonably indicate that it has been caused by brutality, abuse, or neglect or that, on the basis of available information, reasonably appears to have been caused by brutality, abuse, or neglect.

    https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/statutes/clergymandated/?hasBeenRedirected=1

  50. Before we go rushing to judgement without all the facts, here is a statement from the church:

    Fellowship Family,

    I am writing you and all the members of Fellowship about a very serious matter. You may have seen news reports over the past 24 hours about a lawsuit that was filed late yesterday arising from an outrageous crime—a sexual assault—that was committed on our premises against a young child in our congregation.

    We are outraged that this heinous crime occurred. It came to our attention when the victim’s family advised our staff, and we immediately reported it to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and that same morning contacted officers from the Brentwood Police Department. (The authorities asked for our cooperation in keeping the matter confidential so that they could complete their investigation, and, of course, we agreed). I can tell you that the alleged perpetrator is a young teen and the child of a volunteer teacher in our children’s ministry, and both parent and child were immediately removed from their volunteer positions in our church pending the police investigation.

    Toward the end of the investigation, a formal delinquency charge of a sexual nature was subsequently filed by the authorities, and at that time we met with all the parents of children in the classroom where this young teen was volunteering. The juvenile status of both the victim and the alleged perpetrator preclude anyone from identifying them or details of the case.

    In our cooperation with authorities and our communications with parents, there has been nothing to suggest that this was more than a one-time, isolated event.

    We have also endeavored to work with the victim’s family, offering counseling and any other assistance they might find helpful. They have chosen, instead, to file a lawsuit. Fellowship is committed to supporting victims of abuse in our community. We take any allegation of abuse very seriously. We have no tolerance for anyone who seeks to harm a child in a physical, sexual, or emotional way.

    I am distressed that statements in the news media, quoting from the lawsuit, have been so erroneous—that we denied anything had happened, that we claimed the victim had “lied” and urged the family not to pursue criminal charges, that we don’t take child safety seriously and have no proper policies and procedures, and that we sought to hide the truth from other families. All of these statements are untrue.

    Please know that we are personally sickened by this crime and will strive to do all in our power as leaders to prevent this grotesque criminal behavior from occurring again.

    I want to make sure that we answer any questions you may have, to the extent we can.

    Please know we love these families, and we love God’s church.

  51. I believe TGC should call out this church but I doubt they can because it would open them to rightful charges of hypocrisy.

    Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and Justin Taylor, along with Joe Carter, to name a few, have much to answer for and no current authority to speak to any kind of church abuse. They will answer to God if they do not deal with their attitudes and actions in this life and repent to the victims that they have wronged. There is a certain post TGC must remove and an apology for it that is owed to certain plaintiffs.

    Praying for this family. What a tragedy to be treated in this way by professing Christians.

    Will M wrote:

    Beakerj wrote:

    I still find this bewildering about all the abuse in the RCC, of all things, of all things, how does this get glossed over?

    Yes, and our buddies at TGC roundly condemned the abuse and the cover up that occurred in the RCC. Where have they been with C J? It will be interesting to see if any of the glitterati decide to call out Fellowship.

  52. Jeff Chalmers wrote:

    Great job Dee… Keep beating the drum…. The Hubris of the TGC to criticize RCC, yet not within themselves, Completely invalidates TGC in my mind

    Yep. And I’m willing to bet that there are many other TGC churches that are attempting to deal with child sex abuse and domestic abuse in house, hidden from the view of outsiders. Go ahead TGC – keep pointing a finger at the Roman Catholic Church – looky over there….but every time you do, a finger will be pointed in YOUR direction until you’re willing to deal with the elephant in the room.

  53. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:
    BTW, Fellowship Bible Church is “led by a plurality of elders.”
    Which means a Pastor/Dictator and his Yes-Men Courtiers.

    HUG, your comments are so right on! Touch not the anointed pastor and yes-men. Those who do will suffer the consequences…..CHURCH DISCIPLINE!

  54. Here is what the church has to say:

    Fellowship Family,

    I am writing you and all the members of Fellowship about a very serious matter. You may have seen news reports over the past 24 hours about a lawsuit that was filed late yesterday arising from an outrageous crime—a sexual assault—that was committed on our premises against a young child in our congregation.

    We are outraged that this heinous crime occurred. It came to our attention when the victim’s family advised our staff, and we immediately reported it to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and that same morning contacted officers from the Brentwood Police Department. (The authorities asked for our cooperation in keeping the matter confidential so that they could complete their investigation, and, of course, we agreed). I can tell you that the alleged perpetrator is a young teen and the child of a volunteer teacher in our children’s ministry, and both parent and child were immediately removed from their volunteer positions in our church pending the police investigation.

    Toward the end of the investigation, a formal delinquency charge of a sexual nature was subsequently filed by the authorities, and at that time we met with all the parents of children in the classroom where this young teen was volunteering. The juvenile status of both the victim and the alleged perpetrator preclude anyone from identifying them or details of the case.

    In our cooperation with authorities and our communications with parents, there has been nothing to suggest that this was more than a one-time, isolated event.

    We have also endeavored to work with the victim’s family, offering counseling and any other assistance they might find helpful. They have chosen, instead, to file a lawsuit. Fellowship is committed to supporting victims of abuse in our community. We take any allegation of abuse very seriously. We have no tolerance for anyone who seeks to harm a child in a physical, sexual, or emotional way.

    I am distressed that statements in the news media, quoting from the lawsuit, have been so erroneous—that we denied anything had happened, that we claimed the victim had “lied” and urged the family not to pursue criminal charges, that we don’t take child safety seriously and have no proper policies and procedures, and that we sought to hide the truth from other families. All of these statements are untrue.

    Please know that we are personally sickened by this crime and will strive to do all in our power as leaders to prevent this grotesque criminal behavior from occurring again.

    I want to make sure that we answer any questions you may have, to the extent we can.

    Please know we love these families, and we love God’s church.

  55. Max wrote:

    Accountability floats up. We are living in a day when all “volunteers” need to be vetted by church leadership. It is OK for a pastor, when someone raises his hand to volunteer for a church position (particularly where children are involved), to take the prospective volunteer aside and ask “Who the heck are you?!” If church leaders fail in this regard, then the congregation needs to ask them “Who the heck are you?!”

    For starters, how about criminal and child abuse background checks. Then putting a safe program into practice where no children are left alone with only one volunteer. Checks and double checks for safety.

  56. Julie Anne Smith wrote:

    Here is the mandatory reporting law in TN:
    Tennessee
    Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-605(a)
    Any person who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been sexually abused shall report such knowledge or suspicion to the department.
    Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-403(a)
    Any person who has knowledge of or is called upon to render aid to any child who is suffering from or has sustained any wound, injury, disability, or physical or mental condition shall report such harm immediately if the harm is of such a nature as to reasonably indicate that it has been caused by brutality, abuse, or neglect or that, on the basis of available information, reasonably appears to have been caused by brutality, abuse, or neglect.
    https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/statutes/clergymandated/?hasBeenRedirected=1

    The church states that they did follow all reporting procedures immediately. I would encourage you to hold judgement until all of the facts are known…

  57. Max wrote:

    @ Eagle:
    … or embark on an unrepentant comeback, like Mark Driscoll. Sad, but you are right – the young and restless will fall for the book and lecture circuit scheme … and Louisville would probably shelter their brother, since he’s of the right theological persuasion.

    “…since he’s of the right theological persuasion.”

    Like Piper defending Driscoll for the same ^ reason. Hey, there were some folks in Jesus day who were of the right theological persuasion but waaaaay off when it came to putting into practice the law of love. And I’m sure you can guess who those folks were….give me a P then an h then an a then an r….now finish the rest!

  58. Darlene wrote:

    For starters, how about criminal and child abuse background checks. Then putting a safe program into practice where no children are left alone with only one volunteer. Checks and double checks for safety

    The church where I’m a member requires anyone working with children or teenagers, even on a volunteer basis, to undergo a comprehensive background check and attend child protection training classes. It’s a sad but necessary step in this day and age.

  59. Lydia wrote:

    @ Max:
    Unfortunately Max, In this day and time, the guy doing the “vetting” is a 30 year old (30 is the new 20) entitlement mentality YRR. And those he has “vetted” are friends from seminary who need some resume enhancement for ministry. I think the same could be said for Furtick and Noble types, too.
    The real question is: Where are the grown ups who are paying the bills?

    The grown ups are quietly sitting in the pews, tithing a minimum 10% of their gross income, and submitting to the pastor’s and elder’s vision for the church.

  60. dee wrote:

    @ Kyle:
    I am sorry but you have to face the fact that TGC is far more concerned about women elders in churches as opposed to the abuse of children in churches.
    Fellowship Bible Church would never allow a woman to become an elder but they allegedly believe people should not report pedophiles to the police. After all women are far more dangerous

    Cuz women are so easily deceived and manipulative, didn’t ya know? Me thinks that if women were given the responsibility of being an elder or a deacon, that more children and women would have advocates. But with only the dudebros in charge, well….

  61. Darlene wrote:

    Cuz women are so easily deceived and manipulative, didn’t ya know? Me thinks that if women were given the responsibility of being an elder or a deacon, that more children and women would have advocates. But with only the dudebros in charge, well….

    I think these dudebros wives need to grow some back bone and breathe a little fire, or a lot of fire!
    ( ….. So cool! When I keyed in “dudebros”, the iPad autocorrected it to “debris”! How appropriate.)

  62. Deb wrote:

    As you know, TGC recently added a “Report” button beside the name of each member church in its directory.

    Seriously? Oh wow.
    Is there a button for the “pastor” also?

  63. Bob Cleveland wrote:

    Can you IMAGINE what God thinks about the church’s inaction?
    I would NOT want to be in the shoes of the church’s leadership.

    *sigh* God doesn’t seem to be saying much about the issue. Not sure where the rape of a child fits within the divine plan. Sad state of affairs all around.

  64. fbc brentwood did post a statement on their website: http://www.fellowshipnashville.org/important/
    i have no clue what time this post went up, but i have a screenshot for you too in case something is edited at a later time. i will email it to the deebs in pdf format. i live in central arkansas and have loose ties to fellowship bible church in little rock, AR which is the “mothership” of fellowship brentwood/nashville. see their church planting network here: http://www.fellowshipassociates.org/alumni/ and note the connections, redeemer dubai, et al.(alumni are listed in order alphabetically by the founding pastor’s last name – see furman and wellons for the connections i’m talking about. this page may end up being as useful as the TGC page.) bill wellons, pastor of fellowship brentwood, is the son of founding pastor bill wellons sr of fellowship little rock.

    i’m steaming mad about this brentwood deal and bill wellons jr’s letter basically saying this victim’s family is full of sh#t (ed.). Deebs, i hope they will be able to tell more of their story here.

    also, i saw spotlight just this morning (10 am show thank-you-very-much – says the mom who rushed to the theater as soon as she dropped off her kids at school and mothers day out LOL) and a quote that stuck with me is so true “if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.” i’m seeing that to be so true the more i read these horror stories of child abuse – especially the ones that take place in and around churches. i haven’t gotten SNAP network off my mind all day. pray for me. i know the holy spirit is telling me to call up my local chapter and ask how i can help. to at least inform myself of what they do and what help they need and how i might get involved. i’m so overcommitted in several areas, but i feel like i at least need to gather information so i can make an informed decision.

  65. Hello everyone! I’m a long-time lurker, long-time fan, and first time commenting (that I can remember!). *waves to everyone* I live down the road and around the corner from Fellowship Bible Church. Yes, they are, let’s all say together, Reformed and complementarian (of course they are).

    Side note: before FBC built its current church, they met in a school, I believe. I used to drive by their property before the building was built, and I would see a sign with the church name in large letters. I’d then look past it to the run-down barn on the property. Made me giggle every time.

    In regards to FBC restricting women’s participation in leadership, they make the typical mistake of not considering the situation Paul was addressing when he wrote those certain verses in I Cor. and I Timothy. It makes a difference when you look at context as opposed to just lifting verses off of the page. In fact, churches and people like this tend to pay lip-service to worshiping Christ, but unintentionally end up worshiping Paul (see the recent post on abuse and complementarians). I don’t believe Paul or anyone else had the power to determine doctrine; they could only explain Christ’s teachings. So, you have to read Paul through the lenses of Christ, which leads to the Ephesian verses being about relationship instead of authority, etc. Any hoo, my two cents.

  66. Bridget wrote:

    If a 16 year-old can be trained you’d think pastors could be as well????

    SOME pastors can’t be trained because they already know everything.

  67. Nancy2 wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    You mean if the 3-year-old child was ROYALTY?
    Bingo!
    Heir to the Throne.

    Like Bob Griener JUNIOR?
    Bob Jones JUNIOR, Bob Jones III, Bob Jones IV?

    According to Stuff Fundies Like, the surest way to become a Megachurch or IFB Lead Pastor/Head Apostle is to be born the son of the Lead Pastor/Head Apostle with a name ending in “Junior”.

  68. Corbin wrote:

    Here is the first statement from the church:

    Noteworthy in the statement is this:

    I am distressed that statements in the news media, quoting from the lawsuit, have been so erroneous—that we denied anything had happened, that we claimed the victim had “lied” and urged the family not to pursue criminal charges, that we don’t take child safety seriously and have no proper policies and procedures, and that we sought to hide the truth from other families. All of these statements are untrue.

    So whom do you believe? If this is true, and if this has been communicated to TGC, it is hardly surprising they haven’t taken any action, assuming they regard themselves as responsible for policing their affiliated churches.

  69. Eagle wrote:

    @ Mae:
    It amazes me as to how some people want to work with children. I would not…that is something I would not want to get involved with.
    My prediction for Fellowship Bible Church…have the pastor publish a book, hit the lecture circuit, claim he is being persecuted, and flee to Louisville and do a church plant in a Marriott or Hyatt!

    Unfortunately they probably will play the shell game. Move the pastor elsewhere, claim persecution from the victims family, etc. Hey, there is already a template in place.

  70. @ Darlene:

    You know what is strange? The thing about keeping the molesters name confidential within the church. They are saying law enforcement asked them to but so what? There is nothing law enforcement can do if they communicate the full story to church members. Churches are protected in these sort of things. If they practice full disclosure to church members there is nothing the law can do about it. I am not sure if people really understand how many individual rights they give up when they become members of a church.

    We can debate the right or wrong of full disclosure concerning the under 18 molester to the church but using law enforcement to contain the situation bothers me. And make no mistake, it is about containment.

    My hat is off to the couple suing them. It takes more guts than some realize in that world. If your 3 year old is not safe in the church nursery then what is the point of it all? People need to know.

    Who knows, the lawsuit might come from the fact they were trying desperately to contain it all. And the statement sounds like it, too. The wider church might not have been told but people talk so a statement was necessary PR.

    This couple won’t exactly be welcome in most churches now.

  71. Jack wrote:

    Bob Cleveland wrote:
    Can you IMAGINE what God thinks about the church’s inaction?
    I would NOT want to be in the shoes of the church’s leadership.
    *sigh* God doesn’t seem to be saying much about the issue. Not sure where the rape of a child fits within the divine plan. Sad state of affairs all around.

    I think we have neon signs telling us to “get out”. Run. And to warn others. God did not create robots so why are the pew peon people acting like robots instead of humans reflecting Christ? God works through those that belong to Him. Sadly, there are not that many.

  72. @ Corbin:

    I was just about to share the link to this statement by Pastor Bill Wellons, but you beat me to it!

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out at a church affiliated with The Gospel Coalition.

  73. singleman wrote:

    The church where I’m a member requires anyone working with children or teenagers, even on a volunteer basis, to undergo a comprehensive background check and attend child protection training classes. It’s a sad but necessary step in this day and age.

    Insurance companies require it now. Sadly, a background check would not have saved this particular 3 year old in this situation.

    Personally, I think churches need to take a very bold step with making zero tolerance a well known policy in more ways than ever imagined. That every single accusation is immediately given to the authorities to investigate. And that the church will not accept instant repentance when caught. Nor keep the situation contained. None of this “escorting” the pervert around church stuff. It is ridiculous how much sympathy and attention the perps get. Do they really expect perps and victims to attend church together? Yes, they do. All because of cheap grace.

    They pretty much think like this, “Hey, the 3 year old will get over it. We believe in forgiveness here”.

    Churches are going to have to be what they think is unfair to get a handle on this. Potential perps have to know how seriously the church takes it and will act upon it.

    My guess is that it will take insurance companies refusing to cover them before it really changes.

  74. Darlene wrote:

    Corbin wrote:
    Here is the first statement from the church:
    http://www.fellowshipnashville.org/important/?utm_content=bufferbd962&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
    I just read that myself and was going to post it here to TWW. The church is claiming that the media is lying except with regard to the child being sexually abused.

    Well, this should get interesting….. Two VERY different versions of a serious situation is going to be potentially played out in a lawsuit.. It will be VERY interesting to see how TGC deals with this..

  75. Just realized this church is part of the same Fellowship network as a church I attended here in Denvee for a bit. That same church (Denver Fellowship) is also part of the Acts 29 network, so you could say this church in TN has ties to Acts 29 as well. Since realizing this, I am certain this is a TGC church, so the commenter who said otherwise should come back and correct himself.

  76. Darlene wrote:

    The grown ups are quietly sitting in the pews, tithing a minimum 10% of their gross income, and submitting to the pastor’s and elder’s vision for the church.

    The blind leading the blind in far too many places. The pew sitters better start praying for discernment … church leaders ain’t what they used to be!

  77. @ Darlene:
    I swear these New Calvinist leaders must have entered into a backroom blood pact to support each other no matter what … for the greater good of the reformed movement.

  78. Darlene wrote:

    putting a safe program into practice where no children are left alone with only one volunteer. Checks and double checks for safety

    You would think a mega-church would have enough folks to go around for such a system, but I guess they figure sovereign God has it taken care of … whatever will be will be.

  79. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    Socrates or someone once said “You will know them by their fruits”. At what point do we wake up and take this seriously?

    Socrates may have said that, but he borrowed it from Jesus: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16).

  80. Pingback: The Gospel Coalition, Complementarianism, and Child Sexual Abuse | Jory Micah UNITED STATES

  81. Mark wrote:

    Here is what the church has to say:
    Fellowship Family,
    I am writing you and all the members of Fellowship about a very serious matter. You may have seen news reports over the past 24 hours about a lawsuit that was filed late yesterday arising from an outrageous crime—a sexual assault—that was committed on our premises against a young child in our congregation.
    We are outraged that this heinous crime occurred. It came to our attention when the victim’s family advised our staff, and we immediately reported it to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and that same morning contacted officers from the Brentwood Police Department. (The authorities asked for our cooperation in keeping the matter confidential so that they could complete their investigation, and, of course, we agreed). I can tell you that the alleged perpetrator is a young teen and the child of a volunteer teacher in our children’s ministry, and both parent and child were immediately removed from their volunteer positions in our church pending the police investigation.
    Toward the end of the investigation, a formal delinquency charge of a sexual nature was subsequently filed by the authorities, and at that time we met with all the parents of children in the classroom where this young teen was volunteering. The juvenile status of both the victim and the alleged perpetrator preclude anyone from identifying them or details of the case.
    In our cooperation with authorities and our communications with parents, there has been nothing to suggest that this was more than a one-time, isolated event.
    We have also endeavored to work with the victim’s family, offering counseling and any other assistance they might find helpful. They have chosen, instead, to file a lawsuit. Fellowship is committed to supporting victims of abuse in our community. We take any allegation of abuse very seriously. We have no tolerance for anyone who seeks to harm a child in a physical, sexual, or emotional way.
    I am distressed that statements in the news media, quoting from the lawsuit, have been so erroneous—that we denied anything had happened, that we claimed the victim had “lied” and urged the family not to pursue criminal charges, that we don’t take child safety seriously and have no proper policies and procedures, and that we sought to hide the truth from other families. All of these statements are untrue.
    Please know that we are personally sickened by this crime and will strive to do all in our power as leaders to prevent this grotesque criminal behavior from occurring again.
    I want to make sure that we answer any questions you may have, to the extent we can.
    Please know we love these families, and we love God’s church.

    If these are the true facts, then it would appear the church handled the situation properly. I must point out, though, that just because this letter is written does not mean that they are the facts. The facts need to be proven.

    I don’t believe the churches account over the victims just because the Pastor of a church wrote a letter. Church elders are supposed to have character traits to be believable, but I am afraid that too many do not and that causes lack of trust.

    I am curious as to how you got a copy of the letter.

  82. singleman wrote:

    The church where I’m a member requires anyone working with children or teenagers, even on a volunteer basis, to undergo a comprehensive background check and attend child protection training classes. It’s a sad but necessary step in this day and age.

    This is true. It should be noted that you cannot run a background check on anyone under 18. This means that teenagers should only work with adults, preferably not with parents unless there is a second adult as well, and should never be left alone with children.

  83. You nailed it and that is,what has happened with my sons perpetrator. My child and i fell under church discipline just for telling.These pastors are as sick and twisted as the perpetrator. It’s like the mother walking by seeing her child being sexually abused and saying nothing because she doesn’t want to lose her financial security. I can’t but help feel the unbelievable pain that I know this has caused the family and their baby. I thank God that my pastor was kept from speaking to me when he showed up on scene. He attempted several times until the officer said if he didn’t back away that he would be arrested for interfering with their investigation. He was attempting to taint the investigation I believe I’m so glad this family is suing their asses off.Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Through a glass darkly wrote:

    Compassion tends to flow towards the perpetrator if the perpetrator appears to feel remorseful about his actions. The violated family on the other hand feels angry, therefore coming across as being “unforgiving” which is, as we know, the unforgivable sin.

    And Professional Perps know how to Game The System.

    We only hear about the ones who slipped up and got caught.

  84. marquis wrote:

    You nailed it and that is,what has happened with my sons perpetrator. My child and i fell under church discipline just for telling.These pastors are as sick and twisted as the perpetrator. It’s like the mother walking by seeing her child being sexually abused and saying nothing because she doesn’t want to lose her financial security. I can’t but help feel the unbelievable pain that I know this has caused the family and their baby. I thank God that my pastor was kept from speaking to me when he showed up on scene. He attempted several times until the officer said if he didn’t back away that he would be arrested for interfering with their investigation. He was attempting to taint the investigation I believe I’m so glad this family is suing their asses off.Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Through a glass darkly wrote:
    Compassion tends to flow towards the perpetrator if the perpetrator appears to feel remorseful about his actions. The violated family on the other hand feels angry, therefore coming across as being “unforgiving” which is, as we know, the unforgivable sin.
    And Professional Perps know how to Game The System.
    We only hear about the ones who slipped up and got caught.

    Marquis,
    You were put under “church discipline” for exposing this kind of filth? Your experiences need to be made public as an example for all of us to on the lookout for corrupt leaders. Good for the officer!!

  85. Lydia wrote:

    The thing about keeping the molesters name confidential within the church. They are saying law enforcement asked them to but so what?

    I can understand law enforcement saying this at the beginning of an investigation and it being a wise thing to do. Otherwise, you can tip off the alleged perpetrator who could then run, etc. Also, sometimes court orders are out in place to protect victim’s names from being released, possibly underage perpetrators as well.

  86. Deb wrote:

    @ Jeffrey Chalmers:
    Kyle needs to come back and admit that he is the one who was mistaken.

    You would think. But if he is of TGC manhood, what you suggested does not often happen.

  87. Exactly my response to those who think we should “wait to withhold judgement” when this happened in 2014, the abuser pled guilty already and the family has been at this church for twelve years. It didn’t just happen, and local reporters do have to cover themselves to avoid libel. Basically, the time for judgement has come and it starts here. Done with this denial.

    Nancy2 wrote:

    @ Corbin:
    The assault happened in Aug. 2014, and everything is kept hush-hush until the news hits the media.

  88. Max wrote:

    @ Darlene:
    I swear these New Calvinist leaders must have entered into a backroom blood pact to support each other no matter what … for the greater good of the reformed movement.

    For The Party, Comrades.

  89. Darlene wrote:

    I just read that myself and was going to post it here to TWW. The church is claiming that the media is lying except with regard to the child being sexually abused.

    Who are The Faithful going to believe (on pain of Eternal Hell) — the Secular Humanist Librul Media or the MenaGAWD?

  90. marquis wrote:

    I thank God that my pastor was kept from speaking to me when he showed up on scene. He attempted several times until the officer said if he didn’t back away that he would be arrested for interfering with their investigation. He was attempting to taint the investigation I believe

    How in the world did your pastor know the time and place you were giving statements to the police? Your pastor sounds sick.

  91. Bridget wrote:

    I am curious as to how you got a copy of the letter.

    It was linked to above; it’s on the church’s website.

    It’s difficult to know whom to believe. I had personal experience of how a vote at the company I work for to implement some industrial relations provisions under German law was reported in the press. This gave the impression of management intimidation, but I was actually there and there was none. It only reinforced the old adage ‘don’t believe what you read in newpapers’ rather forcefully.

    It all seems to come down to whose spin seems to be more rather than less credible.

  92. TGC has always erred on the side of the institution, and that is exactly what the RCC initially did.

    Ken wrote:

    Corbin wrote:

    Here is the first statement from the church:

    Noteworthy in the statement is this:

    I am distressed that statements in the news media, quoting from the lawsuit, have been so erroneous—that we denied anything had happened, that we claimed the victim had “lied” and urged the family not to pursue criminal charges, that we don’t take child safety seriously and have no proper policies and procedures, and that we sought to hide the truth from other families. All of these statements are untrue.

    So whom do you believe? If this is true, and if this has been communicated to TGC, it is hardly surprising they haven’t taken any action, assuming they regard themselves as responsible for policing their affiliated churches.

  93. Lydia said:

    “This couple won’t exactly be welcome in most churches now.”

    I hadn’t thought of this until I read that comment, but Lydia is probably right. It would take a mature, wise pastor and probably elders of a church that already had the proper safety protocols in place to give this family the church home they need. I hope they find such a place, and would not have to pack up and move before they could find a new group of believers in the Body of Christ to worship and fellowship with.

  94. Deb wrote:

    @ Jeffrey Chalmers:
    Kyle needs to come back and admit that he is the one who was mistaken.

    You would think. But if he is of TGC manhood, what you suggested does not often happen.Bridget wrote:

    I am curious as to how you got a copy of the letter.

  95. “This is true. It should be noted that you cannot run a background check on anyone under 18. This means that teenagers should only work with adults, preferably not with parents unless there is a second adult as well, and should never be left alone with children.”

    Bridget, I don’t know if I would go quite that far. My own 13 year old daughter would probably be marvelous in a church nursery, under the supervision of a qualified, vetted adult. I suppose if a church wanted to, they could put a rule in place about only adults taking the little ones to the potty, for example.

  96. Deb wrote:

    @ Jeffrey Chalmers:
    Kyle needs to come back and admit that he is the one who was mistaken.

    You would think. But if he is of TGC manhood, what you suggested does not often happen.Bridget wrote:

    I am curious as to how you got a copy of the letter.

    Darlene wrote:

    The church is claiming that the media is lying except with regard to the child being sexually abused.

    They are claiming the version of the story the media wrote about is fabrication. They are implying that whoever gave the media the story is lying.

  97. To our readers

    I am planning on doing a post today to finish up our Spotlight movie series. Within that post, I will discuss the statement. Unfortunately, I observed, up close and personal, another church ‘s handling of a pedophile situation. This statement from the church is boilerplate and may not even be true. I will speak from the experience of the Deebs when we were forced to confront an unjust situation prior to starting this blog.

    Bottom line: The Deebs are not impressed with the statement.

  98. Darlene wrote:

    he church is claiming that the media is lying except with regard to the child being sexually abused.

    First the kid lied, Now the media lied. Its all lies. Right. Wait for the next statement which will say that we don’t have all the facts. By this they mean their *facts* which of course are true since they are pastors.

  99. Nancy2 wrote:

    The assault happened in Aug. 2014, and everything is kept hush-hush until the news hits the media.

    Yep-that’s what happened at my former church as well. Frankly, it is a load of bull. The kid was convicted and the church has every right to inform the families that there is a predator afoot.

    However, the church should not worry. They will probably get top billing at the next T4G conference.

  100. Bridget wrote:

    They are implying that whoever gave the media the story is lying.

    I have to admit that this part made me laugh in a rueful sort of way. You see, when a group of us presented how another church failed some molested boys, the church was told that it was all “a pack of lies.” This is likely a legal strategy and we are all being played.

  101. NJ wrote:

    Bridget, I don’t know if I would go quite that far. My own 13 year old daughter would probably be marvelous in a church nursery, under the supervision of a qualified, vetted adult.

    That is exactly what I said, I think. The adult should just not be her parent and yes, there should be a vetted adult bathroom monitor who stands at the open bathroom door while the children are taken to the bathroom.

    The YMCA bathroom doors stay open when kids go in. The teacher stands at the door. They don’t let the children go in if there are other adults in the bathroom. They wait until the bathroom is empty and ask other adults who might come to wait.

  102. @ Bridget:
    Oh yeah, the church leader who was so vocal about us liars-all of his kids have walked away from the faith. One of them is even communicating with me. They know who told the truth.

  103. @ Bridget:
    Before I post about a church affiliation, I check it several times by leaving the site, returning, reentering the info, etc. I am paranoid that i might make a mistake and was a bit worried I had done so when I saw Kyle’s comment. Thankfully, the old nurse’s adage before giving a med which is to check it three times, worked out in this situation.

    However, I am always open to the possibility that i have screwed up.

  104. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Who are The Faithful going to believe (on pain of Eternal Hell) — the Secular Humanist Librul Media or the MenaGAWD?

    I prefer to think of this blog as the Humane media!!!

  105. Melody wrote:

    It didn’t just happen, and local reporters do have to cover themselves to avoid libel.

    You betcha. In the Karen Hinkley story at TVC, the Dallas Morning News was poised to go with the story but pulled back at the last minute-supposedly because lawyers were concerned. I think there was some Bible belt pressure put on the paper.

    I remember hearing from the reporter about this and I have to admit I started laughing. We had more emails and screen shots of texts than you could shake a stick at. It was one of the most heavily documented stories we have ever written about.

    This situation is similar. The kids was convicted, for crying out loud. It happened. It could be communicated to the church in order to keep the kids safe.

    The family were long time members. The loved the church. IMO, the church screwed up and I will talk about this today. Been there, done that.

  106. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    You were put under “church discipline” for exposing this kind of filth? Your experiences need to be made public as an example for all of us to on the lookout for corrupt leaders. Good for the officer!!

    Do not worry. This story will be told as soon as certain individual who are helping Marquis feel it is time. It is going to be another humdinger.

    Pray for Marquis. She has been through hell with this situation.

  107. Max wrote:

    I swear these New Calvinist leaders must have entered into a backroom blood pact to support each other no matter what … for the greater good of the reformed movement.

    As I will write today, this statement is boilerplate. I know a former pastor who I believe mishandled a pedophile situation is now BFF s with CJ Mahaney and had him speak at their church. I think these guys get together and try to figure out how to get out of the mess that the made for themselves.

  108. Bridget,

    Fair enough. I was thinking of a situation where an adult needed to take kids to the bathroom while leaving one or more teens temporarily in charge in the main room.

    Part of this may also be the fact that I was speaking of my daughter. I have yet to hear of any of these situations involving a young teenage girl molesting a toddler; it always seems to be a young male perpetrator.

  109. dee wrote:

    Bridget wrote:
    They are implying that whoever gave the media the story is lying.
    I have to admit that this part made me laugh in a rueful sort of way. You see, when a group of us presented how another church failed some molested boys, the church was told that it was all “a pack of lies.” This is likely a legal strategy and we are all being played.

    You do know I am saying this for Mark’s benefit? He posted the Church’s statement implying that these were “the facts.”

  110. @ Lydia:

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

    Edmund Burke

    I would add “….and women….” as well. I get that free will is allowed to exist but there are times when you really wonder why God won’t (or can’t) intervene in these truly evil situations. I’m sure there’s books written on the subject but it’s a mystery to me.

    You are 100% right though. If the average pew sitter stays silent about abuse then it’s really reenforcing the abuse and alienates the victim. The sad thing is that Christianity (though its not unique to Christianity – however that’s the only religion I know) as practiced in many churches is more akin to medieval feudalism than modern day liberal democracy.

    The religion usurps the rights provided by the state. It’s a dichotomy that many pastors are “patriotic” while trampling on the values that the country (say U.S or Canada for example) espouses. The very rights that our ancestors fought so hard to achieve!

    I’ve said this before and I’m sorry to sound like a broken record but it doesn’t help that the religion’s guiding document was birthed during the bronze age – context is everything.

  111. Bridget wrote:

    If these are the true facts, then it would appear the church handled the situation properly. I must point out, though, that just because this letter is written does not mean that they are the facts. The facts need to be proven.

    I don’t believe the churches account over the victims just because the Pastor of a church wrote a letter. Church elders are supposed to have character traits to be believable, but I am afraid that too many do not and that causes lack of trust.

    I am curious as to how you got a copy of the letter.

    @Bridget
    You are correct in stating that the facts of the letter need to be proven. Might I also point out that just because someone makes formal allegations in a lawsuit, that doesn’t make their statements factual either.

    Irrespective of the church issuing a statement, I am skeptical of anyone filing a lawsuit for such a large amount of money. According to the newspaper they are seeking 22.5 million for the victimized child, as well as 5 million for the father, 5 million for the mother, and 5 million for the victim’s sister. Seriously? If a sibling of mine is victimized, why do I get 5 million dollars? It is extremely difficult to overlook the fact that the prospect of a 37.5 million dollar payout creates a perverse incentive to misrepresent the facts.

    Don’t get me wrong, what happened to this child is absolutely terrible. However, the lawsuit makes it appear as if the parents are exploiting their child’s misfortune for personal gain. 10 million dollars of this goes directly to the parents but not the victim? Come on…

    The church states that they immediately contacted the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and the Brentwood Police Department. Thankfully, both of those agencies would have to keep record of that, and so I believe we will eventually find out who is telling the truth and who isn’t. There are objective facts to be discovered.

  112. NJ wrote:

    I was thinking of a situation where an adult needed to take kids to the bathroom while leaving one or more teens temporarily in charge in the main room.

    There really should be a vetted adult at both places. The church I was at had a set of adults that were in the main hall and monitored all classes that went to the bathroom. Teens often brought the kids to the bathroom, but the respective monitor was at the open door.

    NJ wrote:

    Part of this may also be the fact that I was speaking of my daughter. I have yet to hear of any of these situations involving a young teenage girl molesting a toddler; it always seems to be a young male perpetrator.

    Yes, but the same should hold true for teenage girls even if they are a lesser possibility.

  113. Ken wrote:

    It was linked to above; it’s on the church’s website.

    Thanks. I did see that later.

    I also know how churches and pastors “spin.” I have seen it first hand and believed it at times. Unfortunately, I now do not believe pastors just because they are pastors. Too many of them should not be pastors.

  114. Austin wrote:

    t, I am skeptical of anyone filing a lawsuit for such a large amount of money.

    Austin wrote:

    owever, the lawsuit makes it appear as if the parents are exploiting their child’s misfortune for personal gain. 10 million dollars of this goes directly to the parents but not the victim? Come on…

    First of all, it this happened, I hope the family gets every penny of the money. The only thing that seems to speak to the church is the loss of the almighty buck. Take a look at the RCC. As soon as settlements started to break the bank and properties had to be sold to pay off the suits, changes started to be made.

    There have been so many instances of child sex abuse which have been tolerated by complicit evangelicals(of which I am one) that a large judgement needs to be made to strike fear into the heart of complicit church leadership everywhere.

    Here’s the deal, and I would not be surprised if this was behind the thinking. Hit the church hard with a large lawsuit. Win. Let it be appealed (and it will) and let this stick around in the media so that churches and *coalitions* understand that business as usual will not be tolerated.

    Going after a measly sum of money does nothing to change the system. I, personally, am hoping for a really large settlement since i believe, that in the long run, this will force church to change.

    Finally, you can be sure that some of what was claimed is true since a frivolous lawsuit would be thrown out of court. One cannot make up all sorts of stuff and not get a kick in the pants from the judicial system for doing so.

  115. Bridget wrote:

    ou do know I am saying this for Mark’s benefit

    I did but I thought you might join in with my rueful laugh thinking back to the TVC situation. Sorry if I worded it poorly. 🙂

  116. @ Austin:

    I understand all of that. I was responding to Mark specifically regarding his comments, including the comment to Julie Anne.

    I also understand that there are lawyers advising the family as far as the amounts are concerned. There is also the main issue of how the church oversaw the ministry where the child was molested. There could well be negligence in that area.

  117. dee wrote:

    I thought you might join in with my rueful laugh thinking back to the TVC situation.

    I can! And with how your former church mishandled a case!

  118. Bridget, sounds like your church did it right. Thinking on it further, you’re right; the standard should be the same for any teenage helpers.

    I gotta get some things done today, so I’m out for awhile. Be back later.

  119. This story is also being covered by The Tennessean newspaper.

    As far as News Channel 5 WTVF is concerned, I have watched that station my whole life (I’m 51). Those reporters are credible.

    Bridget wrote:

    I also understand that there are lawyers advising the family as far as the amounts are concerned. There is also the main issue of how the church oversaw the ministry where the child was molested. There could well be negligence in that area.

    In addition to that, what is to stop the teenage pedopile’s family from going to another church where this teenager could rape yet another toddler???

  120. Fellowship Bible Church has released a statement:

    ===============

    Fellowship Family,

    I am writing you and all the members of Fellowship about a very serious matter. You may have seen news reports over the past 24 hours about a lawsuit that was filed late yesterday arising from an outrageous crime—a sexual assault—that was committed on our premises against a young child in our congregation.

    We are outraged that this heinous crime occurred. It came to our attention when the victim’s family advised our staff, and we immediately reported it to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and that same morning contacted officers from the Brentwood Police Department. (The authorities asked for our cooperation in keeping the matter confidential so that they could complete their investigation, and, of course, we agreed). I can tell you that the alleged perpetrator is a young teen and the child of a volunteer teacher in our children’s ministry, and both parent and child were immediately removed from their volunteer positions in our church pending the police investigation.

    Toward the end of the investigation, a formal delinquency charge of a sexual nature was subsequently filed by the authorities, and at that time we met with all the parents of children in the classroom where this young teen was volunteering. The juvenile status of both the victim and the alleged perpetrator preclude anyone from identifying them or details of the case.

    In our cooperation with authorities and our communications with parents, there has been nothing to suggest that this was more than a one-time, isolated event.

    We have also endeavored to work with the victim’s family, offering counseling and any other assistance they might find helpful. They have chosen, instead, to file a lawsuit. Fellowship is committed to supporting victims of abuse in our community. We take any allegation of abuse very seriously. We have no tolerance for anyone who seeks to harm a child in a physical, sexual, or emotional way.

    I am distressed that statements in the news media, quoting from the lawsuit, have been so erroneous—that we denied anything had happened, that we claimed the victim had “lied” and urged the family not to pursue criminal charges, that we don’t take child safety seriously and have no proper policies and procedures, and that we sought to hide the truth from other families. All of these statements are untrue.

    Please know that we are personally sickened by this crime and will strive to do all in our power as leaders to prevent this grotesque criminal behavior from occurring again.

    I want to make sure that we answer any questions you may have, to the extent we can.

    Please know we love these families, and we love God’s church.

    Bill Wellons

    Teaching Pastor & Organizational Leader
    On behalf of the Elders

  121. dee wrote:

    I think these guys get together and try to figure out how to get out of the mess that the made for themselves.

    Double down and PREACH LOUDER?

  122. Bridget wrote:

    Deb wrote:
    @ Jeffrey Chalmers:
    Kyle needs to come back and admit that he is the one who was mistaken.

    You would think. But if he is of TGC manhood, what you suggested does not often happen

    TGC Gospelly Manhood:

    Those With a Penis Can Never Be Wrong.

  123. @ Max:

    So true, any church that does not vet volunteers for ministry to children, especially, is not showing care and respect for those they are to protect. Just because someone says they want to do something, does not mean they should be.

  124. I listen to a sermon covering Eph. 5 at Fellowship Bible Church last night. In the sermon, the speaker bragged that he and his wife were friends of Wayne Grudem. He used some of Grudem’s claims to “vet” his sermon, and there is a lot of sugar-coating in the sermon.
    I can find the sermon and post it if anyone is curious. It’s about 35 minutes long.

  125. dee wrote:

    By this they mean their *facts* which of course are true since they are pastors.

    Haven’t you heard? The pastors are NEVER wrong. They are above question, and the only ones to listen to!

  126. dee wrote:

    @ Chrstina:
    Thank you for the possible Acts 29 connection. I will check that out.

    No problem! I checked the Fellowship Associates website (the network Fellowship Bible Church TN is a part of), and there’s a page with a list of their “mentors” that has TVC and the Acts 29 Network on it, along with Fellowship Denver (http://www.fellowshipassociates.org/partners/). Side note: There’s a button in the main navigation called “Authentic Manhood”. I did a HUGE eye roll when I saw that.

  127. @ Max:

    “Elders” should be elders, not 20 somethings, and preferably not under 35 or so, and with a mix up to some in their 60s or 70s.

  128. dee wrote:

    I know a former pastor who I believe mishandled a pedophile situation is now BFF s with CJ Mahaney and had him speak at their church.

    You know if David Horner of Providence Baptist had just said he was sorry and that he screwed up….this blog wouldn’t exist. In the end I would suggest David Horner just didn’t hurt himself, he also hurt SGM, Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll and others. I’ve actually blasted Tweets at David Horner. He was one of the 95 reasons why we need a new Reformation.

  129. NJ wrote:

    Part of this may also be the fact that I was speaking of my daughter. I have yet to hear of any of these situations involving a young teenage girl molesting a toddler; it always seems to be a young male perpetrator.

    Glad you mentioned this. I have yet to hear of one instance of child sex abuse in the churches done by girls who watch over the little ones.
    Dylan was right though, a hard rain is gonna’ fall.

  130. @ Lydia:

    “I am not sure if people really understand how many individual rights they give up when they become members of a church.”
    +++++++++++++++

    can I have an itemized list?

  131. Darlene wrote:

    Then putting a safe program into practice where no children are left alone with only one volunteer.

    One article about this story directed readers to this video by the church (which I have not watched),
    I think the article says the guy in the video says that there should be two people accompanying kids to the rest room at all times:
    https://vimeo.com/135315691

    I don’t think that procedure was followed in this case?

  132. Christina Dowers wrote:

    No problem! I checked the Fellowship Associates website (the network Fellowship Bible Church TN is a part of), and there’s a page with a list of their “mentors” that has TVC and the Acts 29 Network on it, along with Fellowship Denver (http://www.fellowshipassociates.org/partners/). Side note: There’s a button in the main navigation called “Authentic Manhood”. I did a HUGE eye roll when I saw that.

    From their “About Us” tab: Fellowship Associates exists to call men into Authentic Manhood and to train leaders to plant churches.
    No gurlz allowed??? Females need not apply???

  133. patriciamc wrote:

    Hello everyone! I’m a long-time lurker, long-time fan, and first time commenting (that I can remember!). *waves to everyone*

    Hello and welcome 🙂

  134. Lydia wrote:

    None of this “escorting” the pervert around church stuff. It is ridiculous how much sympathy and attention the perps get. Do they really expect perps and victims to attend church together? Yes, they do. All because of cheap grace.

    Some of these churches (like Furtick’s Elevation) refer to the molesters as “heroes,” devote blog pages extolling how awesome they are, have the molester autograph their books for church members.

    Oh, and this particular molester at Elevation also led men’s purity classes, telling other men how to avoid sexual immortality.

  135. dee wrote:

    The family were long time members. The loved the church. IMO, the church screwed up and I will talk about this today. Been there, done that.

    This is one of the saddest parts of these sorts of situations.

    Not just concerning child abuse in churches, but I have seen so many Christians say that in spite of being very involved members of their church for five, ten, or more years, when they really needed their church (emotional or financial support), their church ignored them or told them to buzz off.

    Many of these people say they were active members, tithed regularly for years and/or volunteered at various church duties of functions.

    I’ve seen this in the context of abused women who had to divorce a spouse and were having a hard time scraping together money to buy food,
    a guy who couldn’t afford to buy air line tickets to fly his five family off to the coast to attend a family funeral,
    a woman who worked as a photographer who snapped free photos for Mark Driscoll who was ignored by him when she needed his support, on and on.

    I’m saddened and shocked that in spite of the fact a person has been so supportive of their church community, when their time for needing help appears, that same church refuses to help that person. It’s a very hurtful, big betrayal.

  136. Daisy wrote:

    a guy who couldn’t afford to buy air line tickets to fly his five family off to the coast to attend a family funeral,

    I meant his family of five.

    Despite tithing lots of money to that church over a span of ten or whatever years, that church refused to pay for air line tickets for him to go to his FIL’s funeral. This was Robert Morris’ Gateway Church in Texas.

  137. Daisy wrote:

    Darlene wrote:

    Then putting a safe program into practice where no children are left alone with only one volunteer.

    One article about this story directed readers to this video by the church (which I have not watched),
    I think the article says the guy in the video says that there should be two people accompanying kids to the rest room at all times:
    https://vimeo.com/135315691

    I don’t think that procedure was followed in this case?

    That training video does have the following relevant statements:

    “Since two volunteers are required before parent’s can drop off children… You should never be alone with a child.”

    “In all cases, no one should be alone with a child. Two adults are required to escort a child to the bathroom.”

    “As a children’s ministry volunteer, if you suspect abuse or neglect is happening at home, it is your responsibility to report this to authorities. Please contact your coordinator if you have a concern about any child.”

  138. @ dee: Exactly. This is what I am encouraged to see in this case: journalism without church being permitted to censor or control. These families deserve the support of their community, and unfortunately in this case, they will likely not get any from within their church home of twelve years.

    On that statement the church issued, all of it is likely “true” from the church law firm’s perspective, but it’s the nitty gritty of what actually took place that matters. It’s quite generally worded, from a linguistic point of view. I don’t find it convincing, just typically political, and not in my view particularly concerned about the child nor family involved.

    I also find this wording very disturbing:
    “Toward the end of the investigation […] we met with all the parents of children in the classroom where this young teen was volunteering” This is disturbing because an investigation may have taken some time, ie several Sundays, and if the teen was still attending church, this church followed legal and image protection advice rather than doing whatever it takes to protect kids, which is what the parents’ lawsuit indicates.

    The statement is basically an attempt to reframe events in favor of the church, which is a poor position for a Christian organization to take, albeit a typical one.

    Praying this family gets justice and also genuine Christian support.
    And sorry- that was a rather long-winded way to say a sad, “yep”.

  139. dee wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:
    Authentic Manhood a
    What is the difference between authentic men and regular men?

    Don’t ask me, I’m a woman.
    I don’t even know if women come in authentic and regular versions!

  140. I think many churches have good policies in place but that doesn’t mean children are being protected. In this case, the procedures were not followed, and I don’t think the church can be blamed for the abuser’s crimes. The issue is that the church does not in their statement seem to understand the value of the individuals harmed by this crime. They did well to call it a crime, but they are still covering their butts. Their response was apparently to wait and see rather than step up and listen to the victim and their family.
    @ Austin:

  141. Nancy2 wrote:

    From their “About Us” tab: Fellowship Associates exists to call men into Authentic Manhood and to train leaders to plant churches.
    No gurlz allowed??? Females need not apply???

    I visited that page. That text is very large on the page.

    “Authentic” Manhood? Is there such a thing as “inauthentic” manhood? And why do these guys get to define it?

    I think some Christians make stuff more complicated than it need be, including “how to be a man” or “how to be a woman.” I don’t see a lot of emphasis placed on “how to be a man / woman” in the Bible.

    Oh goodness, I just saw this linked to on that page you referred us to:
    What Does It Mean To Be A Man?
    http://www.authenticmanhood.com/
    “Authentic Manhood: It Changes Everything”
    ——
    I bet they have a similar page somewhere for women, “How to be a Woman” that was written by a man. 🙂

  142. dee wrote:

    Unfortunately, I observed, up close and personal, another church ‘s handling of a pedophile situation. This statement from the church is boilerplate and may not even be true.

    My former cult also released a similar statement when multiple incidents of child molestation in their midst made the news. They went a step further and started a petition for former members to sign in their defense. One of my friends signed the petition after much harassment even though she was sexually abused by a member and the church never did report it. (In fact, she was told to repent for her part in it.) So, as far as I’m concerned, these statements are worth diddly-squat.

  143. Daisy wrote:

    “Authentic” Manhood? Is there such a thing as “inauthentic” manhood? And why do these guys get to define it?

    Christina Dowers said she did a huge eye roll when she saw that. I did an eye roll, too. My eyes rolled over to my kitchen door. You see, my tool kit is on the other side of that door, in the carport ……….

  144. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    (In fact, she was told to repent for her part in it.)

    Christians who victim blame like that are just deviant and vile. People who are assaulted don’t have to repent of being assaulted. They didn’t ask for, or play a role in, being victimized.

    It really turns my stomach that some Christians think in these terms. They have some twisted understandings of God and the Bible.

  145. Melody wrote:

    @ Greg:
    How is it that the perpetrator is still called “alleged” in this statement?

    My question is- if the perpetrator pleaded guilty, is that court case ongoing or concluded? If concluded, it is bad form in my book to continue to call the perpetrator alleged. This is pertinent because it indicates something about how this church views all the individuals involved. Simply put, it seems to me they are calling the family suing them liars, without saying it outright.

  146. Melody wrote:

    @ dee: Exactly. This is what I am encouraged to see in this case: journalism without church being permitted to censor or control. These families deserve the support of their community, and unfortunately in this case, they will likely not get any from within their church home of twelve years.

    On that statement the church issued, all of it is likely “true” from the church law firm’s perspective, but it’s the nitty gritty of what actually took place that matters. It’s quite generally worded, from a linguistic point of view. I don’t find it convincing, just typically political, and not in my view particularly concerned about the child nor family involved.

    I also find this wording very disturbing:
    “Toward the end of the investigation […] we met with all the parents of children in the classroom where this young teen was volunteering” This is disturbing because an investigation may have taken some time, ie several Sundays, and if the teen was still attending church, this church followed legal and image protection advice rather than doing whatever it takes to protect kids, which is what the parents’ lawsuit indicates.

    The statement is basically an attempt to reframe events in favor of the church, which is a poor position for a Christian organization to take, albeit a typical one.

    Praying this family gets justice and also genuine Christian support.
    And sorry- that was a rather long-winded way to say a sad, “yep”.

    Reporting accusations listed in a lawsuit without corroborating evidence is not “journalism.” Sure, no church should be able to censor speech, but so far the media has only reported one side of the story.

    You say the statement “is basically an attempt to reframe events in favor of the church.” However, you cannot discern whether or not an event has been “reframed” unless you have complete knowledge of what occurred, which none of us do. Who’s to say that the church statement isn’t true, and that the parent’s haven’t “reframed” the events in their favor to win a lawsuit?

    Melody, I would encourage you (and many others) to quit speculating on worst case scenarios with hardly any reliable evidence. How do you know firm measures were not put in place to ensure the teen was not allowed back on church grounds? One individual stated that Fellowship needs to change their policy so that no child is left alone with a volunteer, and then the training video shared by Daisy revealed that this policy was already in place! All we have at this point is hearsay and inferences. Perhaps this church made some mistakes, perhaps they didn’t. However, I find it unwise to slander an entire church when there is still a realistic possibility your assessment is wrong.

    I am not denying that some churches make mistakes. They do, they must be held accountable, and we should do all we can to advocate for what is right. However, this rhetoric surrounding Fellowship in the absence of concrete detail is absolutely toxic. Think about if this was your church.

  147. @ dee:

    Authentic Manhood

    What is the difference between authentic men and regular men?
    +++++++++++++++

    ego artificially augmented with self-righteous implants

  148. Daisy wrote:

    People who are assaulted don’t have to repent of being assaulted. They didn’t ask for, or play a role in, being victimized.

    This is especially true for a six-year-old girl being molested by a boy ten years older than her. it went on for years. She finally told some older friends about it when she was in her early twenties.

    Too many churches are more concerned about their own reputation than caring for victims. They try to keep these situations hushed up and swept under the rug.

  149. Nancy2 wrote:

    From their “About Us” tab: Fellowship Associates exists to call men into Authentic Manhood

    How absolutely absurd is that?! What in the world is an “authentic man??”

    Christianity has sunk to an all-time low….

  150. Austin wrote:

    but so far the media has only reported one side of the story.

    Because the media has contacted the church, and all the church leaders will say is, “No comment.”
    The church has been given the same opportunity opportunity as the lawyer to address the public through the media. They could have given the same statement to the general public that was posted on the church website, but they chose not to do so. In the statement on the church website, they say that the accused pled guilty—— how is that speculation? Should churches be allowed to censor the exposure of horrific actions in order to protect their public images?
    Will we ever hear both sides of the story, or will church leaders continue to refuse to tell their side?

  151. What Nancy2 said, Austin. The articles I am reading are quoting those who will talk. If the church won’t be transparent, they can’t complain when the free press do their job and report the information that they have. Nothing further for you. you might want to do your own reading around as I do.

    Nancy2 wrote:

    Austin wrote:

    but so far the media has only reported one side of the story.

    Because the media has contacted the church, and all the church leaders will say is, “No comment.”
    The church has been given the same opportunity opportunity as the lawyer to address the public through the media. They could have given the same statement to the general public that was posted on the church website, but they chose not to do so. In the statement on the church website, they say that the accused pled guilty—— how is that speculation? Should churches be allowed to censor the exposure of horrific actions in order to protect their public images?
    Will we ever hear both sides of the story, or will church leaders continue to refuse to tell their side?

  152. Melody wrote:

    I think many churches have good policies in place but that doesn’t mean children are being protected. In this case, the procedures were not followed, and I don’t think the church can be blamed for the abuser’s crimes. The issue is that the church does not in their statement seem to understand the value of the individuals harmed by this crime. They did well to call it a crime, but they are still covering their butts. Their response was apparently to wait and see rather than step up and listen to the victim and their family.
    @ Austin:

    @Melody

    “Outrageous crime”

    “We are outraged that this heinous crime occurred.”

    “We have also endeavored to work with the victim’s family, offering counseling and any other assistance they might find helpful.”

    “Please know that we are personally sickened by this crime and will strive to do all in our power as leaders to prevent this grotesque criminal behavior from occurring again.”

    “Please know we love these families, and we love God’s church.”

    I’m sorry, but given the above quotes from the statement, I do not agree with your assessment. The letter ends by saying “we love these families.”
    Furthermore, if the church is in fact being falsely portrayed, what else are they supposed to say?

  153. @ Austin:

    What do you expect when churches are not transparent and forthcoming? Why is it you guys are always looking to censor speech? I have never seen more calls to censor speech than when CJ Mahaneys shepherding cult was exposed. Is that what being an “authentic male” is about? Sigh.

  154. Nancy2 wrote:

    Don’t ask me, I’m a woman.
    I don’t even know if women come in authentic and regular versions!

    The headings for women are:

    Submissive (as assessed by the extant teaching of the current leader)

    &

    Jezebel.

  155. Victorious wrote:

    How absolutely absurd is that?! What in the world is an “authentic man??”

    “Hypermasculinity” — define Manhood as Power and Domination and Violence, burn out any Feminine weakness, and firewall what’s left. Type example where I first heard the term: A.Hitler, public “Fuehrer” persona.

    Aggression and Domination — Power, Sexual, you name it. Shoot guns, pick fights, get laid, Dominate others. “ME MAN! RAWR!”

  156. Nancy2 wrote:

    Will we ever hear both sides of the story, or will church leaders continue to refuse to tell their side?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we, eventually, hear *their* side preceded by Proverbs 18:17 for emphasis.

  157. Austin wrote:

    I’m sorry, but given the above quotes from the statement, I do not agree with your assessment. The letter ends by saying “we love these families.”
    Furthermore, if the church is in fact being falsely portrayed, what else are they supposed to say?

    16 months passed before these church leaders made it known to their church body that one of their members had raped a 3-year-old child on church property during church services. When the information was released to the church body, it was done only because the information had been acquired by the media.

  158. dee wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:
    Authentic Manhood a
    What is the difference between authentic men and regular men?

    The size of their dongs.
    (And that can go either way — either bigger and bragging about it, or smaller and trying to compensate.)

  159. Daisy wrote:

    Daisy wrote:

    to avoid sexual immortality.

    Immorality.

    Oh, I’m sure there are those who would go for “Sexual Immortality”…

  160. yeeeeah…a bout that:

    https://revchrismoles.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/but-what-about-proverbs-1817/

    Also in Proverbs 18:
    “It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice.”

    BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:

    Will we ever hear both sides of the story, or will church leaders continue to refuse to tell their side?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we, eventually, hear *their* side preceded by Proverbs 18:17 for emphasis.

  161. @ elastigirl:
    No. i don’t itemize. You can do some googling though. I have family who are legal counsel for several Megas. I am not talking about individual criminal behavior with in the church. I am talking about the church as an entity and it’s responsibility in the situation. Now the insurance company may have to make a huge payout And of course insurance goes up. But what exactly would the church be sued over?

  162. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    dee wrote:
    Nancy2 wrote:
    Authentic Manhood a
    What is the difference between authentic men and regular men?
    The size of their dongs.
    (And that can go either way — either bigger and bragging about it, or smaller and trying to compensate.)

    I have bolt cutters in two sizes. : )
    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Oh, I’m sure there are those who would go for “Sexual Immortality”…

    Did I mention that I have bolt cutters?

  163. @ Lydia:
    Btw, nothing would make me happier than for many churches to be sued to the point of bankruptcy because of their corrupt behavior. They are too protected.

  164. @ Nancy2:
    Sheeesh! These hyper-masculine churches just seem to bring out the worst in me. ……. or maybe the best. Depends on how you look at it, I guess.

  165. I tend to agree. I was asked on here to think about if it were my church. My husband and I have thought this scenario through, and we would protect our children by erring on the side of caution and leaving. God is bigger than our “local”.

    If parents feel strongly enough they were not supported during this time that they are suing about it, and if the crime was not immediately shared with other parents, that is not a place I want my children to be.

    I do not care about my church’s reputation primarily; I care about my family’s safety primarily. That is what I as a parent am responsible for before God. I think the problem is that too many people are way more concerned with maintaining wrong priorities to please their pastors than with following Christ, which can be a lonely path.

    @ Lydia:

  166. Nancy2 wrote:

    Austin wrote:

    but so far the media has only reported one side of the story.

    Because the media has contacted the church, and all the church leaders will say is, “No comment.”
    The church has been given the same opportunity opportunity as the lawyer to address the public through the media. They could have given the same statement to the general public that was posted on the church website, but they chose not to do so. In the statement on the church website, they say that the accused pled guilty—— how is that speculation? Should churches be allowed to censor the exposure of horrific actions in order to protect their public images?
    Will we ever hear both sides of the story, or will church leaders continue to refuse to tell their side?

    @Nancy2

    Nancy, you are overlooking the fact that Fellowship is in a defensive position at the moment. The family and their attorney were in control of when to file the lawsuit, and therefore had as much time as they wanted to articulate their case and prepare a statement for the media. The church, however, did not have this same advantage. Given that the lawsuit was filed yesterday, and news reports (including an interview with the attorney) were released prior to 5:00 PM on the same day, I assume FBC had hardly any time to prepare a statement between the time they learned of the lawsuit and when they were contacted by the media. From a legal perspective, it would be incredibly foolish to make a statement on such short notice. To equate the preparedness of Fellowship to make a statement with the attorney’s preparation is fallacious.

    Furthermore, the statement to church members was not sent until after 7:00 PM, which is more than 2 hours after media reports began. By extension, we know that the media would have contacted them even before 5:00 PM. It is not as if the church made a statement and then at a later time declined to speak with the media. To suggest otherwise, in my opinion, is either dishonest or careless.

    Finally, you say “the accused pled guilty—— how is that speculation?” It isn’t. I am not denying that this teen committed a horrific act, and neither is the church. What I have a problem with is people speculating on the way the church handled this when the information available to us is scarce and being disputed. You say: “will church leaders continue to refuse to tell their side?” In this particular case, I do not understand your remark since a church leader wrote the aforementioned statement telling “their side.” You say: “Will we ever hear both sides of the story.” We already have heard preliminary “sides” of the story. Hopefully the court proceedings will delineate the true facts of the matter. As I mentioned in an earlier comment: “The church states that they immediately contacted the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and the Brentwood Police Department. Thankfully, both of those agencies would have to keep record of that, and so I believe we will eventually find out who is telling the truth and who isn’t. There are objective facts to be determined.”

  167. Melody wrote:

    What Nancy2 said, Austin. The articles I am reading are quoting those who will talk. If the church won’t be transparent, they can’t complain when the free press do their job and report the information that they have. Nothing further for you. you might want to do your own reading around as I do.

    Nancy2 wrote:

    Austin wrote:

    but so far the media has only reported one side of the story.

    Because the media has contacted the church, and all the church leaders will say is, “No comment.”
    The church has been given the same opportunity opportunity as the lawyer to address the public through the media. They could have given the same statement to the general public that was posted on the church website, but they chose not to do so. In the statement on the church website, they say that the accused pled guilty—— how is that speculation? Should churches be allowed to censor the exposure of horrific actions in order to protect their public images?
    Will we ever hear both sides of the story, or will church leaders continue to refuse to tell their side?

    @Melody

    Melody, below is my response to Nancy. Hopefully this sufficiently articulates another possibility.

    Nancy, you are overlooking the fact that Fellowship is in a defensive position at the moment. The family and their attorney were in control of when to file the lawsuit, and therefore had as much time as they wanted to articulate their case and prepare a statement for the media. The church, however, did not have this same advantage. Given that the lawsuit was filed yesterday, and news reports (including an interview with the attorney) were released prior to 5:00 PM on the same day, I assume FBC had hardly any time to prepare a statement between the time they learned of the lawsuit and when they were contacted by the media. From a legal perspective, it would be incredibly foolish to make a statement on such short notice. To equate the preparedness of Fellowship to make a statement with the attorney’s preparation is fallacious.

    Furthermore, the statement to church members was not sent until after 7:00 PM, which is more than 2 hours after media reports began. By extension, we know that the media would have contacted them even before 5:00 PM. It is not as if the church made a statement and then at a later time declined to speak with the media. To suggest otherwise, in my opinion, is either dishonest or careless.

    Finally, you say “the accused pled guilty—— how is that speculation?” It isn’t. I am not denying that this teen committed a horrific act, and neither is the church. What I have a problem with is people speculating on the way the church handled this when the information available to us is scarce and being disputed. You say: “will church leaders continue to refuse to tell their side?” In this particular case, I do not understand your remark since a church leader wrote the aforementioned statement telling “their side.” You say: “Will we ever hear both sides of the story.” We already have heard preliminary “sides” of the story. Hopefully the court proceedings will delineate the true facts of the matter. As I mentioned in an earlier comment: “The church states that they immediately contacted the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and the Brentwood Police Department. Thankfully, both of those agencies would have to keep record of that, and so I believe we will eventually find out who is telling the truth and who isn’t. There are objective facts to be determined.”

  168. Austin wrote:

    Nancy, you are overlooking the fact that Fellowship is in a defensive position at the moment. The family and their attorney were in control of when to file the lawsuit, and therefore had as much time as they wanted to articulate their case and prepare a statement for the media. The church, however, did not have this same advantage.

    I suppose they thought they had their bases covered 16 months ago and forgot about it?

  169. Lydia wrote:

    @ Austin:

    What do you expect when churches are not transparent and forthcoming? Why is it you guys are always looking to censor speech? I have never seen more calls to censor speech than when CJ Mahaneys shepherding cult was exposed. Is that what being an “authentic male” is about? Sigh.

    @Lydia

    Lydia, why are you suggesting that I am in favor of censoring speech? In a previous comment I even said: “Sure, no church should be able to censor speech…”

    Authentic male? I’m puzzled as to why you are picking on me…

  170. Austin wrote:

    However, I find it unwise to slander an entire church when there is still a realistic possibility your assessment is wrong.

    I wondered when someone would say…”don’t slander” It was only a matter of time.

  171. Austin wrote:

    “we love these families.”

    Love has been redefined.

    For Mark Driscoll love was threatening to beat someone up.
    For CJ Mahaney love was blackmailing your ministry partner and saying, “faithful are the wounds of a friend.”

    I see this statement as being more spin in the long run. Its not being cynical its reading and looking at the facts. By the way Austin….which pastor are you at this church?

  172. Nancy2 wrote:

    Austin wrote:

    Nancy, you are overlooking the fact that Fellowship is in a defensive position at the moment. The family and their attorney were in control of when to file the lawsuit, and therefore had as much time as they wanted to articulate their case and prepare a statement for the media. The church, however, did not have this same advantage.

    I suppose they thought they had their bases covered 16 months ago and forgot about it?

    @Nancy2

    Nancy, the church would not have known ahead of time the exact mix of accusations that would be made in the lawsuit, or how to best respond to the tone of those accusations. They also would not have a clue how much the family might sue for. If you were being sued for 37.5 million dollars, I think you would need a moment to process as well. Are you seriously making assumptions based on the speed of a response to a multi-million dollar lawsuit?

    Furthermore, if the complaints made in the lawsuit are in fact false as the church states (neither you or I know if that is the case at this point), then how could they have prepared for that? That would have caught them by surprise.

    Finally, you could also argue that the church is taking this matter seriously by taking the time to articulate a proper response. Making quick unprepared statements would be indicative of a cavalier attitude towards this.

  173. My thought exactly. When love becomes a buzzword and expects all wrongs to be covered rather than understanding there are also consequences to sin. I’m sure more will come out in weeks and months to come, but the fact the attorney thought there was a case and the parents felt there was a need for one speaks volumes. A very sad situation. @ Eagle:

  174. Eagle wrote:

    Austin wrote:

    “we love these families.”

    Love has been redefined.

    For Mark Driscoll love was threatening to beat someone up.
    For CJ Mahaney love was blackmailing your ministry partner and saying, “faithful are the wounds of a friend.”

    I see this statement as being more spin in the long run. Its not being cynical its reading and looking at the facts. By the way Austin….which pastor are you at this church?

    @Eagle

    You described how love is defined by two other people, but neglected to provide any evidence of how the author of the statement defines it. Are you arguing that the word “love” is relative? Has the word been robbed of its value in terms of conveying the original meaning? If that is the case, then the word has been ruined. Therefore, we don’t receive any meaning when the author uses it. Just because it has been tainted and used with different meanings, that doesn’t mean you get to pick which meaning best suits your agenda when someone else uses it.

    You say you are “looking at the facts.” Please tell me, what are your facts? I want to know, I really do, because all I have seen so far is conflicting statements and inferences.

    I am not a pastor at this church, nor have I ever held a position of authority/been employed by any church. I just don’t like far-fetched speculation in the absence of solid evidence.

  175. Lydia wrote:

    @ Darlene:
    This couple won’t exactly be welcome in most churches now.

    Most TGC, 9Marks, & Reformed Neo-Cal churches. I bet they would be welcome in other churches not of that ^ persuasion.

  176. Austin wrote:

    Think about if this was your church.

    I find the slavish devotion to churches very strange.

    As I remarked in another post up the page, there are Christians who put in years of faithful service to a local church only to be brushed aside when they later go to that church in their time of need.

    I’m not seeing where or how most churches are owed such loyalty, since they sure as heck are not showing loyalty to long time members.

    My reaction might be different, if I were in a church. Instead of rallying around the church, I may be horrified to learn that my church was lax on child safety and apparently pressured the parents to keep mum about the abuse. I would most likely want to quit such a church, not hang around and protect it.

  177. Chrstina wrote:

    Just realized this church is part of the same Fellowship network as a church I attended here in Denvee for a bit. That same church (Denver Fellowship) is also part of the Acts 29 network, so you could say this church in TN has ties to Acts 29 as well. Since realizing this, I am certain this is a TGC church, so the commenter who said otherwise should come back and correct himself.

    Acts 29, TGC, 9Marks….is there really a difference? Don’t all of these belong to the Neo-Cal, YRR Camp that exalts Piper & Co.?

  178. And further to that, love is a verb. Wondering what love the victim’s family actually experienced? The statement from the church appears to call them liars, because the family apparently says their child was/ they were not initially believed while the church says they took it seriously/acted immediately. Both can’t be right, and that is why a court case is needed. As I understand it, just saying you love someone is certainly is not the proof you actually love them; you have to act accordingly. So again, I am wondering what love the victim and their family were shown, or whether they felt manipulation.

    Melody wrote:

    My thought exactly. When love becomes a buzzword and expects all wrongs to be covered rather than understanding there are also consequences to sin. I’m sure more will come out in weeks and months to come, but the fact the attorney thought there was a case and the parents felt there was a need for one speaks volumes. A very sad situation. @ Eagle:

  179. Max wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    The grown ups are quietly sitting in the pews, tithing a minimum 10% of their gross income, and submitting to the pastor’s and elder’s vision for the church.
    The blind leading the blind in far too many places. The pew sitters better start praying for discernment … church leaders ain’t what they used to be!

    Or how about the Elect of God can be trusted?

  180. Max wrote:

    @ Darlene:
    I swear these New Calvinist leaders must have entered into a backroom blood pact to support each other no matter what … for the greater good of the reformed movement.

    But when the RCC does wrong, they gleefully point the finger in their direction because only the Calvinistas have Purity of Doctrine!

  181. dee wrote:

    Austin wrote:

    t, I am skeptical of anyone filing a lawsuit for such a large amount of money.

    Austin wrote:

    owever, the lawsuit makes it appear as if the parents are exploiting their child’s misfortune for personal gain. 10 million dollars of this goes directly to the parents but not the victim? Come on…

    First of all, it this happened, I hope the family gets every penny of the money. The only thing that seems to speak to the church is the loss of the almighty buck. Take a look at the RCC. As soon as settlements started to break the bank and properties had to be sold to pay off the suits, changes started to be made.

    There have been so many instances of child sex abuse which have been tolerated by complicit evangelicals(of which I am one) that a large judgement needs to be made to strike fear into the heart of complicit church leadership everywhere.

    Here’s the deal, and I would not be surprised if this was behind the thinking. Hit the church hard with a large lawsuit. Win. Let it be appealed (and it will) and let this stick around in the media so that churches and *coalitions* understand that business as usual will not be tolerated.

    Going after a measly sum of money does nothing to change the system. I, personally, am hoping for a really large settlement since i believe, that in the long run, this will force church to change.

    Finally, you can be sure that some of what was claimed is true since a frivolous lawsuit would be thrown out of court. One cannot make up all sorts of stuff and not get a kick in the pants from the judicial system for doing so.

    Well, well… the police have confirmed that the church did in fact report this immediately as they stated.

    “Brentwood Police Department Assistant Chief Tommy Walsh confirmed in an email Wednesday that the incident was reported to police on Aug. 31, 2014.

    Given the nature and confidentiality of the incident, DCS could only confirm that it was alerted to the incident and that investigators opened an inquiry, but could not confirm a date on when it was reported.”

    http://tnne.ws/1XHHnvD

  182. NJ wrote:

    Lydia said:
    “This couple won’t exactly be welcome in most churches now.”
    I hadn’t thought of this until I read that comment, but Lydia is probably right. It would take a mature, wise pastor and probably elders of a church that already had the proper safety protocols in place to give this family the church home they need. I hope they find such a place, and would not have to pack up and move before they could find a new group of believers in the Body of Christ to worship and fellowship with.

    On the other hand, maybe this family isn’t too keen on attending church right now. Maybe they are in the camp of the DONES.

  183. Melody wrote:

    And further to that, love is a verb. Wondering what love the victim’s family actually experienced? The statement from the church appears to call them liars, because the family apparently says their child was/ they were not initially believed while the church says they took it seriously/acted immediately. Both can’t be right, and that is why a court case is needed. As I understand it, just saying you love someone is certainly is not the proof you actually love them; you have to act accordingly. So again, I am wondering what love the victim and their family were shown, or whether they felt manipulation.

    Melody wrote:

    My thought exactly. When love becomes a buzzword and expects all wrongs to be covered rather than understanding there are also consequences to sin. I’m sure more will come out in weeks and months to come, but the fact the attorney thought there was a case and the parents felt there was a need for one speaks volumes. A very sad situation. @ Eagle:

    Daisy,

    You say in these two comments:

    “Instead of rallying around the church, I may be horrified to learn that my church was lax on child safety and apparently pressured the parents to keep mum about the abuse.”

    “The statement from the church appears to call them liars, because the family apparently says their child was/ they were not initially believed while the church says they took it seriously/acted immediately.”

    You are correct, both can’t be right. The police have confirmed the statement made by the church that they alerted authorities immediately:

    “Brentwood Police Department Assistant Chief Tommy Walsh confirmed in an email Wednesday that the incident was reported to police on Aug. 31, 2014.

    Given the nature and confidentiality of the incident, DCS could only confirm that it was alerted to the incident and that investigators opened an inquiry, but could not confirm a date on when it was reported.”

    http://tnne.ws/1XHHnvD

    I tried to warn everyone against rushing to judgement without all the facts…

  184. NJ wrote:

    “This is true. It should be noted that you cannot run a background check on anyone under 18. This means that teenagers should only work with adults, preferably not with parents unless there is a second adult as well, and should never be left alone with children.”
    Bridget, I don’t know if I would go quite that far. My own 13 year old daughter would probably be marvelous in a church nursery, under the supervision of a qualified, vetted adult. I suppose if a church wanted to, they could put a rule in place about only adults taking the little ones to the potty, for example.

    I would think that for a zero tolerance policy to be in place, two adults should accompany every child that goes to the potty. That, of course, would require additional volunteers to work in the nursery & day care. But the safety of children is worth it!

  185. Well folks, the police have confirmed that the church did in fact report this immediately as they stated.

    “Brentwood Police Department Assistant Chief Tommy Walsh confirmed in an email Wednesday that the incident was reported to police on Aug. 31, 2014.

    Given the nature and confidentiality of the incident, DCS could only confirm that it was alerted to the incident and that investigators opened an inquiry, but could not confirm a date on when it was reported.”

    http://tnne.ws/1XHHnvD

  186. dee wrote:

    I am sorry but you have to face the fact that TGC is far more concerned about women elders in churches as opposed to the abuse of children in churches.

    This is a rather bold statement. But, it does appear to be true. And this very troubling and disconcerting.

  187. @ Melody:
    You know, it is wise to decide your boundaries before joining any church. That occurred to me a few years back. How come I did not have clear boundaries in where I would draw the line with church or church employee behavior ( yes, they are employees)

    Something to consider. Such as no signing membership papers of any kind. Or, Members must be a part of making a budget and voting. And so on…

  188. Austin wrote:

    I assume FBC had hardly any time to prepare a statement between the time they learned of the lawsuit and when they were contacted by the media. From a legal perspective, it would be incredibly foolish to make a statement on such short notice

    Why didn’t it occur to any of the Muckity Mucks at this church that eventually the story may break in the media? That way, they would have had a statement of sorts prepared months ago, in advance.

    And why wait for media to break it? Why didn’t they come out sooner and inform the church they had a teen pedo on premises?

  189. @ Austin:
    Not sure I understand. You think they deserve a medal for reporting it? A 3 year old was molested at church. Given any thought to the innocent victim?

  190. dee wrote:

    To our readers
    I am planning on doing a post today to finish up our Spotlight movie series. Within that post, I will discuss the statement. Unfortunately, I observed, up close and personal, another church ‘s handling of a pedophile situation. This statement from the church is boilerplate and may not even be true. I will speak from the experience of the Deebs when we were forced to confront an unjust situation prior to starting this blog.
    Bottom line: The Deebs are not impressed with the statement.

    And I’m not impressed with the statement either. This family is putting a lot on the line just by coming forward. What is this world coming to when parents have to talk to three year olds…THREE YEAR OLDS!…about abuse. But even in this situation, had the child been told about inappropriate touching and necessary boundaries with respect to his body, the abuse still could occur because the perp is older, taller, and stronger.

  191. One last thought from me for now: it’s interesting to see the predictable assumptions about the victim’s family suing for a large sum of money while the church is deemed a possible victim of an implied exploitation. Happens every time, whether by demanding forgiveness or smearing the victims as liars or opportunistic, this turnaround of the real issue here: how much value do churches place on the innocence of a child?

  192. Eagle wrote:

    Austin wrote:

    However, I find it unwise to slander an entire church when there is still a realistic possibility your assessment is wrong.

    I wondered when someone would say…”don’t slander” It was only a matter of time.

    It usually does not take long. I often wonder if toddlers molested at church is the norm for the defenders that always come out. It really is starting to look that way. Heinous evil at church and they worry about the institutions PR.

  193. dee wrote:

    Bridget wrote:
    They are implying that whoever gave the media the story is lying.
    I have to admit that this part made me laugh in a rueful sort of way. You see, when a group of us presented how another church failed some molested boys, the church was told that it was all “a pack of lies.” This is likely a legal strategy and we are all being played.

    Yes, a legal strategy to keep the church from paying damages. Should the family win the lawsuit, it will be quite costly for this church.

  194. Austin wrote:

    Well folks, the police have confirmed that the church did in fact report this immediately as they stated.

    Smart move, considering they couldn’t make the parents shut up and go away.

  195. Austin wrote:

    Reporting accusations listed in a lawsuit without corroborating evidence is not “journalism.” Sure, no church should be able to censor speech, but so far the media has only reported one side of the story.

    That is what happens when the church does not give a statement.

  196. NJ wrote:

    I have yet to hear of any of these situations involving a young teenage girl molesting a toddler; it always seems to be a young male perpetrator.

    Pedophilia is extremely rare among woman and when it occurs is usually associated with severe mental illness. Ephebophilia (attraction to pubescent teens) is more common with women; whether the number of cases are increasing or whether they are just more likely to be reported isn’t known.

  197. dee wrote:

    Unfortunately, I observed, up close and personal, another church ‘s handling of a pedophile situation. This statement from the church is boilerplate and may not even be true.

    I understand completely where you are coming from. I would like to believe what pastors and elders say in statements that they release to the church and the public. But, my experience is that most of the what is written is spin and does not tell the whole truth. The first inclinations, as someone mentioned above (for TGC), seems to be to protect the institution and its leadership.

  198. NJ wrote:

    Bridget,
    Fair enough. I was thinking of a situation where an adult needed to take kids to the bathroom while leaving one or more teens temporarily in charge in the main room.
    Part of this may also be the fact that I was speaking of my daughter. I have yet to hear of any of these situations involving a young teenage girl molesting a toddler; it always seems to be a young male perpetrator.

    Perhaps it is a wise policy to have only females work in the nursery. It’s not that all males cannot be trusted, but with so much negative publicity it might be the wisest solution.

  199. Daisy wrote:

    Austin wrote:

    I assume FBC had hardly any time to prepare a statement between the time they learned of the lawsuit and when they were contacted by the media. From a legal perspective, it would be incredibly foolish to make a statement on such short notice

    Why didn’t it occur to any of the Muckity Mucks at this church that eventually the story may break in the media? That way, they would have had a statement of sorts prepared months ago, in advance.

    And why wait for media to break it? Why didn’t they come out sooner and inform the church they had a teen pedo on premises?

    Based on past experience with these types they try to contain it within a certain segment of the church. The statement comes off like the word was out so they had to give sime sort of statement to the church.

    Just going by the amount of elders, it seems to be a somewhat large church. But who knows anymore. The Neo Cals are elder addicts.

  200. Darlene wrote:

    Then putting a safe program into practice where no children are left alone with only one volunteer. Checks and double checks for safety.

    That is what should be happening. And their should always be one vetted adult and family members should not work together.

  201. Bridget wrote:

    I’ll repeat this.

    There is also the main issue of how the church oversaw the ministry where the child was molested. There could well be negligence in that area.

  202. Nancy2 wrote:

    I listen to a sermon covering Eph. 5 at Fellowship Bible Church last night. In the sermon, the speaker bragged that he and his wife were friends of Wayne Grudem. He used some of Grudem’s claims to “vet” his sermon, and there is a lot of sugar-coating in the sermon.
    I can find the sermon and post it if anyone is curious. It’s about 35 minutes long.

    Please do post it, Nancy!

    Here’s another thing. I’m thinking that when families of victims meet with the pastor and elders after they believe their child has been sexually abused, they should secretly record the conversation. I just read a post over at Julie Anne’s blog, SSB, yesterday about a wife who had been being spanked by her husband. On one occasion, she had the disciplinary incident recorded on her iphone. Then she took that recording to the police. Husband was arrested, put on trial & found guilty. Now he’s in prison. Recording people’s words and actions seems to be the way to nail law breakers.

  203. I copied and pasted this article”

    “Morgan & Morgan Files Child Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against Fellowship Bible Church

    Morgan & Morgan, along with Hollins, Raybin & Weissman, filed a lawsuit yesterday against Fellowship Bible Church for the negligent failure to provide a safe environment for a child, who was sexually assaulted by a male teen church-childcare volunteer.

    Williamson County, TN (PRWEB) December 01, 2015

    A Williamson County family filed a lawsuit* yesterday against Fellowship Bible Church of Brentwood, TN. The complaint states that the church was negligent in providing a safe environment for a child in its care and failure to respond adequately to allegations of impropriety under its watch.

    The complaint details that on August 24, 2014, the family went to worship at the church and left their three-year-old son at the Children’s Ministry for care. The church assumed sole and exclusive care for the son during the church service. While in the care of the church, the boy was sexually assaulted in a bathroom by a male teenage worker selected by the Church to watch the children. The perpetrator has pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery.

    The complaint also discloses that the parents were long-time members of Fellowship Bible Church, and were actively involved in church life. The mother of the victim had volunteered there many times. The parents had done their premarital counseling at the church and were baptized and married there. Their children were also dedicated at the church.

    According to the lawsuit, when the parents found out about the sexual assault, the church allegedly took no steps to ensure that the perpetrator was prevented from attending services where the family would be present. Instead, the church urged the family to not pursue charges, and asked them to attend another church campus.

    “We want justice for this family and we hope to raise awareness about child safety – not just at this church but at all churches and childcare facilities.” said Kathryn Barnett, managing partner of the Nashville office of Morgan & Morgan. “What happened to this family should never happen to anyone else. Churches and others who care for children can’t ignore the very real but very preventable risk of child molestation and sexual abuse by turning a blind eye and assuming it can’t happen to them.”

    According to the complaint filed, Morgan & Morgan and Hollins, Raybin and Weissman are pursing the lawsuit* against the church for its alleged negligence in failing to ensure adequate screening and supervision for all staff and volunteers and for failing to install adequate security measures in its classrooms. The lawsuit explains that the classrooms in the Church Youth Ministry building did not have locks to prevent predators from entering empty classrooms. There were no windows or partial doors to prevent nefarious activity in the bathrooms. The facilities also lacked surveillance cameras, sharply reducing the likelihood of a predator’s activities being discovered.

    Moreover, the lawsuit states that the training provided by the church to its childcare volunteers focuses almost entirely on trivial issues like finding substitutes, skirt lengths, snacks, and timeliness. Less than one minute of the training video for all volunteers touched on the essential issue of protecting and safeguarding the children entrusted to the church from sexual molestation. The lawsuit requests relief in the form of compensatory and punitive damages.

    *John and Jane Doe, individually, and on behalf of their minor children Johnny and Janie Doe, v. Fellowship Bible Church of Williamson County., Case No. 2015-538, in the Circuit Court for Williamson County, “

  204. Eagle wrote:

    dee wrote:
    By this they mean their *facts* which of course are true since they are pastors.
    Haven’t you heard? The pastors are NEVER wrong. They are above question, and the only ones to listen to!

    Yep, and when they do wrong, the pastors take a sabbatical for a time to rethink things. But it’s all hush hush. Speaking of which, now that Mark Driscoll is out in the spotlight again, I wonder when we’ll hear about more of his shenanigans.

  205. Austin wrote:

    One individual stated that Fellowship needs to change their policy so that no child is left alone with a volunteer,

    Where is that comment?

    Many commenters, me included, have been revisiting the policies that should be in place in all churches.

  206. Austin wrote:

    However, I find it unwise to slander an entire church when there is still a realistic possibility your assessment is wrong.

    Really, the slander card has come out now? Dee and Deb do not allow slander on their blog. I’m sure they will clear up your assertion in due time.

  207. Here’s another thing. These Authentic Manhood beliefs think that Feminism is the cause of most of the evils in the world and church. But truth is, if it weren’t for Feminism, husbands could still beat their wives and not have to answer to the law for it. So why is it that these folks think those were the Good Ole Days?

  208. Lydia wrote:

    @ Austin:
    Not sure I understand. You think they deserve a medal for reporting it? A 3 year old was molested at church. Given any thought to the innocent victim?

    Lydia,

    I’m not sure if you are deflecting or missing the point. My point is that all day people have been drawing conclusions from very little information, which I have protested. Some have directly called into question the validity of Fellowship’s statement that they immediately alerted authorities. The police have now confirmed this. We now know that FBC was being truthful about immediately reporting this incident. The family claims that Fellowship attempted to suppress this, even though law enforcement has confirmed that Fellowship reported it on the same day that the family claims they informed the church.

    These new facts are relevant to the discussion that has been taking place. In regards to the immediate reporting, people have made fools of themselves today by making inferences from such limited and inconclusive information. I tried over and over to warn you all…

    I have made it clear that abuse of any sort is intolerable and those responsible should be held accountable. However, when a situation is still developing and information is limited, I’m not going to run with the herd like an idiot before the facts are known.

    Lydia, I have given thought to the victim, and I firmly believe in protecting the innocent as evidenced by the following quotes from my comments today:

    “Don’t get me wrong, what happened to this child is absolutely terrible.”

    “I am not denying that some churches make mistakes. They do, they must be held accountable, and we should do all we can to advocate for what is right.”

  209. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Lydia:
    “I am not sure if people really understand how many individual rights they give up when they become members of a church.”
    +++++++++++++++
    can I have an itemized list?

    Number One on the list: 1. You are now no longer free to think for yourself!

  210. I copied and pasted another article at 6:34. If it makes it through moderation, there’s a little more info about the parents’ claims in the suit.

  211. Austin wrote:

    people have made fools of themselves today by making inferences from such limited and inconclusive information. I tried over and over to warn you all…

    Really? I get a very different impression of what you are doing.

    It is also simply “your opinion” that people are making folks of themselves — not fact.

  212. @ Austin:

    You’re coming across as very defensive or protective of a church that has been caught apparently mishandling a child abuse case.

    This type of start or introduction on a blog that covers and ministers to the spiritually (or otherwise) abused is not going to go off well here with the blog regulars, but stir up doubts about what your motives are, or maybe stir up suspicion. Just a heads up. 🙂

  213. Austin wrote:

    ’m not sure if you are deflecting or missing the point. My point is that all day people have been drawing conclusions from very little information, which I have protested.

    Exactly. Very little information is actually TONS of information. I used to be on the other side writing boilerplate PR Spin. I know the game. These days if someone tells me they are a pastor or elder I am immediately not impressed. The corruption is too wide spread. And corruption begins with being more concerned about the reputation of institution and the elders.

    Their statement is a DISGRACE compared to what took place. The only way you can understand that is if you can put your apologetics for the insitution aside and think of a 3 year old. CJ could not do it, either. It seems to be ingrained in your world.

    I don’t normally say this but I honestly think there are going to be some big surprises when it comes to “I never knew you”.

  214. dee wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:
    Authentic Manhood a
    What is the difference between authentic men and regular men?

    Dee, is this a quiz? If so, I’m game! Regular men don’t have to attend classes and seminars and Bible studies to learn how to be men. Authentic men – according to the Neo-Cal paradigm – are puffed-up fakes that think they’ve got to prove their manhood to all the dude-bros, oh & the womenfolk as well. Seems the latter must be insecure about their manhood while the former are not.

  215. Austin wrote:

    However, when a situation is still developing and information is limited, I’m not going to run with the herd like an idiot before the facts are known.

    developing for two years and just now is a statement written TO the church? Get real. That is not a church filled with the Holy Priesthood ministering to one another. That is a church filled with followers of men. I am quite familiar with the signs. And I consider it an honor to be seen as an idiot in your world.

  216. Daisy wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:
    “Authentic Manhood: It Changes Everything”
    ——
    I bet they have a similar page somewhere for women, “How to be a Woman” that was written by a man.

    “How to be a Woman” that was written by a man. Yep, because women are too deceived to know how to be authentic women. And they have no business teaching, except to other women, but they get their material from a man. Sounds a bit like Jack Schapp? He had all kind of ideas about how girls and women should behave. Oh, and the CBMW – the men seem to be the ones with all the ideas about women’s roles.

  217. Nancy2 wrote:

    The assault happened in Aug. 2014, and everything is kept hush-hush until the news hits the media.

    I know. It is so sad. They are pretty good with the post-publicity spin. I’ve found that lots and lots of people are repentant after being caught…

  218. Eagle wrote:

    I wondered when someone would say…”don’t slander” It was only a matter of time.

    Rats, I missed that one on the list I gave a few days ago.

  219. Austin wrote:

    “The statement from the church appears to call them liars, because the family apparently says their child was/ they were not initially believed while the church says they took it seriously/acted immediately.

    I never made that comment – you attributed that to me. I don’t think I wrote that.

    It looks to me so far as though this church did not completely handle this abuse case correctly. If that were my church, I would not have a problem waving good-bye. I wouldn’t give unqualified loyalty to a church.

  220. Austin wrote:

    “Brentwood Police Department Assistant Chief Tommy Walsh confirmed in an email Wednesday that the incident was reported to police on Aug. 31, 2014.

    The church telling the police about it is not the same as them staying quiet to the rest of the church.

    Did the church elders/pastors/staff notify the rest of the members right away that a pedo had been in their midst?

  221. @ Melody:

    This is one reason why child abuse or domestic abuse victims are reluctant to tell police or whomever, they are not apt to be believed, I have read. This was happening a on the thread about Naghmeh Abedini, who says her spouse was abusing her.

  222. @ Darlene:

    I find it so grating that the complementarian men think it’s their place to tell women how to be women.

    They tell us how we women are supposed to be or act. I don’t run around telling men how to be or act like men. I was born female. I think I understand how to be and live as a woman more than they will ever know.

  223. Melody wrote:

    So again, I am wondering what love the victim and their family were shown, or whether they felt manipulation.

    Is there any difference when you’re talking Church?

  224. Darlene wrote:

    Most TGC, 9Marks, & Reformed Neo-Cal churches. I bet they would be welcome in other churches not of that ^ persuasion.

    Churches that worship Christ instead of Calvin.

  225. Daisy wrote:

    Some of these churches (like Furtick’s Elevation) refer to the molesters as “heroes,” devote blog pages extolling how awesome they are, have the molester autograph their books for church members.

    Next comes the Reality Show starring the molester.

  226. Daisy wrote:

    patriciamc wrote:
    Hello everyone! I’m a long-time lurker, long-time fan, and first time commenting (that I can remember!). *waves to everyone*
    Hello and welcome

    Thank you!

    The popular alternate newspaper here in Nashville hasn’t picked up on this story, yet. I cringe to think of what they’ll say when they do because they’re very anti-religion. I’m scared that they, and FBC, will make all Christians look bad.

  227. Through a glass darkly wrote:

    About 25 years ago, at a TGC church I used to attend – a good church, in most respects – there was a similar case of a teenage male sexually abusing a young child he was babysitting. The pastor recommended to the parents to not prosecute him because it would ruin the young man’s life.

    Anybody who molests a little child OUGHT to have their life ruined. That’s part of making the punishment fit the crime.

  228. After the RCC pedo-priest scandal, Priest = Pedophile, no exceptions.

    Now it’s coming to the point Gospel = CORRUPT, no exceptions.

  229. Daisy wrote:

    Instead of rallying around the church, I may be horrified to learn that my church was lax on child safety and apparently pressured the parents to keep mum about the abuse. I would most likely want to quit such a church, not hang around and protect it.

    Same here. I would never darken its doors again, in fact.
    Austin, Mark, et al, seem to have other loyalties.

  230. Lydia wrote:

    @ Austin:
    Not sure I understand. You think they deserve a medal for reporting it? A 3 year old was molested at church. Given any thought to the innocent victim?

    Well, it apparently takes Austin a lot of energy being an “Authentic Man”[TM]. That kinda tends to fry your brains, dontchaknow.

  231. Darlene wrote:

    Here’s another thing. These Authentic Manhood beliefs think that Feminism is the cause of most of the evils in the world and church. But truth is, if it weren’t for Feminism, husbands could still beat their wives and not have to answer to the law for it. So why is it that these folks think those were the Good Ole Days?

    Because they’re not the ones on the receiving end.

  232. Austin wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    @ Austin:
    Not sure I understand. You think they deserve a medal for reporting it? A 3 year old was molested at church. Given any thought to the innocent victim?

    Lydia,

    I’m not sure if you are deflecting or missing the point. My point is that all day people have been drawing conclusions from very little information, which I have protested. Some have directly called into question the validity of Fellowship’s statement that they immediately alerted authorities. The police have now confirmed this. We now know that FBC was being truthful about immediately reporting this incident. The family claims that Fellowship attempted to suppress this, even though law enforcement has confirmed that Fellowship reported it on the same day that the family claims they informed the church.

    These new facts are relevant to the discussion that has been taking place. In regards to the immediate reporting, people have made fools of themselves today by making inferences from such limited and inconclusive information. I tried over and over to warn you all…

    I have made it clear that abuse of any sort is intolerable and those responsible should be held accountable. However, when a situation is still developing and information is limited, I’m not going to run with the herd like an idiot before the facts are known.

    Lydia, I have given thought to the victim, and I firmly believe in protecting the innocent as evidenced by the following quotes from my comments today:

    “Don’t get me wrong, what happened to this child is absolutely terrible.”

    “I am not denying that some churches make mistakes. They do, they must be held accountable, and we should do all we can to advocate for what is right.”

    I’m thinking family member of one of the pastors. Afraid of losing his mealticket…..

  233. @ zooey111:

    Not necessary. Just look at a snippet from a TGC writer on the other thread and it is easier to understand:


    may be a naive friend, but I believed him then and believe him now. Dr. Akin had no reluctance to have him speak at the conference, nor following his preaching for us did several other highly reputable Christian leaders: John Piper, Bruce Ware, Mark Dever, Wayne Grudem and Thabiti Anyabwile, to name a few who invited C. J. to preach. I hold each of these men in the highest regard and would never for one moment categorize them as those who would overlook serious allegations in order to cover up evil in any form.”

    Note how they make decisions concerning the truth of innocent children being molested. They take their cues from their gurus who make bank off Jesus. It does not occur to them to question the obvious situation and how the money flows in from the associations. They simply appeal to the authority of gurus. Not seek truth. The children are secondary to them. Nothing is more important than defending the brand.

    It’s why I am so mean about this. They are calloused and corrupt but think they are rational and godly. They will argue technicalities while children have to grow up with that horror from CHURCH.

  234. Although I understand where both sides are coming from, I do want to agree with Austin – it makes sense that a church wouldn’t release a statement to the press immediately, I certainly wouldn’t. What we know is this: a horrible sin was committed against an innocent victim.

    The other accusations about the responses to this, culpability, etc, will be hopefully cleared up in court – I pray for the sake of those involved and the sake of Jesus that truth will shine.

  235. If anyone is reading this blog and finds themselves in a similar situation as in child abuse in a church being covered up or a family member being abused, please contact the Deebs. They will get you in touch with the right people where you live at. The people who respond on this blog live all over the United States and the World. I myself live about 90 miles east of Dallas, TX. There are people in this group who will listen to you. They will grieve with you and get you the proper help. We have got to stop child abuse in the churches, and this blog is a big step in the right direction. I think we should have a new motto here “No child abused in the church”, No person sexually violated”, and No Spiritual Abuse”.

  236. Nancy2 wrote:

    I did an eye roll, too. My eyes rolled over to my kitchen door. You see, my tool kit is on the other side of that door, in the carport

    Nancy, you are hilarious and awesome. 😀

  237. Austin wrote:

    Well folks, the police have confirmed that the church did in fact report this immediately as they stated.
    “Brentwood Police Department Assistant Chief Tommy Walsh confirmed in an email Wednesday that the incident was reported to police on Aug. 31, 2014.

    Actually, Austin, the e-mail from Chief Walsh only confirms that this incident “was reported”. He doesn’t say by whom. It could have been reported by the parents, and now the church is trying to snow the rest of us.

    Also, you should look up the legal definition of “slander”. Speculation and opinion are not defined as such under U.S. law. Or are you a dictionary unto yourself?

  238. zooey111 wrote:

    Anybody who molests a little child OUGHT to have their life ruined. That’s part of making the punishment fit the crime.

    Confession time: It surely wouldn’t be Christ-like, but if somebody molested one of my dogs, there would probably be a warrant for my arrest.
    If somebody molested my child, they had better get a new identity and go into hiding! If the molestation happened at church, and the church leaders #1 priority was to protect the church, I would be screaming, “HERETICS!!!” from the mountaintops.
    I don’t see how parents cope with know their children have been raped.

  239. Sarah wrote:

    Although I understand where both sides are coming from, I do want to agree with Austin – it makes sense that a church wouldn’t release a statement to the press immediately, I certainly wouldn’t.

    Are you referring to the statement on their website to their church? Evidently the entire church did not even know for 2 years.

  240. zooey111 wrote:

    Anybody who molests a little child OUGHT to have their life ruined. That’s part of making the punishment fit the crime.

    Thank you.

  241. Bridget wrote:

    @ Austin:
    Do you work for this church, Austin?

    @Bridget

    Bridget,

    As I stated earlier:

    “I am not a pastor at this church, nor have I ever held a position of authority/been employed by any church. I just don’t like far-fetched speculation in the absence of solid evidence.”

  242. Bridget wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    people have made fools of themselves today by making inferences from such limited and inconclusive information. I tried over and over to warn you all…
    Really? I get a very different impression of what you are doing.
    It is also simply “your opinion” that people are making folks of themselves — not fact.

    @Bridget

    No, Bridget, I’m afraid this is objective truth. As referenced in my post on Dec 2 at 5:53 PM, Daisy made the following remark at 5:38 PM:

    “Instead of rallying around the church, I may be horrified to learn that my church was lax on child safety and apparently pressured the parents to keep mum about the abuse.”

    In her next comment, which I cannot timestamp because the post has been mysteriously deleted…she stated:

    “The statement from the church appears to call them liars, because the family apparently says their child was/ they were not initially believed while the church says they took it seriously/acted immediately.”

    After the above quote, she went on to say that they cannot both be right, and that she does not believe the church. I summed up my 5:53 PM post by including the following:

    “You are correct, both can’t be right. The police have confirmed the statement made by the church that they alerted authorities immediately:

    ‘Brentwood Police Department Assistant Chief Tommy Walsh confirmed in an email Wednesday that the incident was reported to police on Aug. 31, 2014.

    Given the nature and confidentiality of the incident, DCS could only confirm that it was alerted to the incident and that investigators opened an inquiry, but could not confirm a date on when it was reported.’

    http://tnne.ws/1XHHnvD

    I tried to warn everyone against rushing to judgement without all the facts…”

    These are quotes, Bridget. It is a fact that people have been jumping to conclusions, I warned against that, and within hours I had been proven right.

  243. Daisy wrote:

    @ Austin:
    You’re coming across as very defensive or protective of a church that has been caught apparently mishandling a child abuse case.
    This type of start or introduction on a blog that covers and ministers to the spiritually (or otherwise) abused is not going to go off well here with the blog regulars, but stir up doubts about what your motives are, or maybe stir up suspicion. Just a heads up.

    @Daisy

    Daisy,

    If this church has in fact mishandled the situation, then this is a serious issue that must be dealt with immediately and with force. I firmly believe in supporting the innocent, whether that be the church, or the victim’s family. However, in order to do that, we need to carefully determine who the innocent is first.

    Am I disputing the horrible abuse this child suffered? Not whatsoever. It is a tragedy, it must be prevented from happening again, and the legal system has given us the truth of the matter. However, the allegations of a cover up, mistreatment, etc., have not been proven in court. We do not have all of the details, and most of what we do have is disputed. We can only draw inferences, not evidence based conclusions.

    In past cases where an investigation has conclusively determined mishandling of abuse situations by church authorities, by all means call them out and say what needs to be said. Discussion of these confirmed cases is necessary, and we must find ways to put an end to it. Unfortunately, these evil acts take place all too frequently. An open dialog like this is a good thing. However, you destroy your credibility when you make unwarranted conclusions. Making inferences that reflect negatively on a church that turn out to be false significantly diminishes your legitimacy in true cases.

    You say: “a church that has been caught apparently mishandling a child abuse case.” How do you know that? You are presuming guilt, and neither you or I have the facts necessary to reach an informed conclusion.

    You also said:

    “The statement from the church appears to call them liars, because the family apparently says their child was/ they were not initially believed while the church says they took it seriously/acted immediately.”

    After that, you made it clear that you thought the church was lying. Less than 15 minutes after your comment, I shared with you the newspaper quote from the police department corroborating the claim made by the church. You have objectively proven that you are jumping to conclusions, and making inferences that turn out to be incorrect.

    If this church is guilty, there needs to be repercussions. These problems must be stopped. I want the same thing you do Daisy. I believe your intentions are good, but making unsupported inferences is not the way to accomplish this, especially when we have so many proven cases to discuss.

  244. Lydia wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    ’m not sure if you are deflecting or missing the point. My point is that all day people have been drawing conclusions from very little information, which I have protested.
    Exactly. Very little information is actually TONS of information. I used to be on the other side writing boilerplate PR Spin. I know the game. These days if someone tells me they are a pastor or elder I am immediately not impressed. The corruption is too wide spread. And corruption begins with being more concerned about the reputation of institution and the elders.
    Their statement is a DISGRACE compared to what took place. The only way you can understand that is if you can put your apologetics for the insitution aside and think of a 3 year old. CJ could not do it, either. It seems to be ingrained in your world.
    I don’t normally say this but I honestly think there are going to be some big surprises when it comes to “I never knew you”.

    @Lydia

    Lydia,

    Just because many churches are corrupt and play PR games, that doesn’t conclusively indicate Fellowship is doing the same. Would you view it as fair for someone to make suggestions about your character because someone else with a similar trait did wrong? Isn’t this the mindset of many racists? I can’t help but notice that over and over, this case is not being dissected based on evidence exclusive to this situation. People repeatedly keep referencing churches and pastors completely unrelated to this church. In my opinion, this is unfair.

    If the accusations made by the parents are true, then you are correct, the statement made by the church is an absolute disgrace. However, if the church is being truthful, then the parents are a disgrace for exploiting the unfortunate suffering of their child. I do not have enough information to make a conclusive determination, and neither do you.

    See my above reply to Daisy about why this “witch hunt” behavior hurts your well intentioned cause.

  245. Daisy wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    “The statement from the church appears to call them liars, because the family apparently says their child was/ they were not initially believed while the church says they took it seriously/acted immediately.
    I never made that comment – you attributed that to me. I don’t think I wrote that.
    It looks to me so far as though this church did not completely handle this abuse case correctly. If that were my church, I would not have a problem waving good-bye. I wouldn’t give unqualified loyalty to a church.

    @Daisy

    Daisy,

    Someone commenting as “Daisy” made that remark sometime between 5:38 PM and 5:53 PM yesterday. The comment has mysteriously disappeared.

    You say: “I don’t think I wrote that.”

    Please clarify, you don’t “think” you wrote that, or you know that you didn’t write that?

    You also say: “I never made that comment – you attributed that to me.”

    Someone posting as “Daisy” made that exact comment. We have to enter an email address or have an account to post comments here, correct? Is the site owner/moderator able to confirm that the deleted comment originated from a Daisy other than the Daisy we are talking with now?

    Also, are commenters able to delete their previous comments, or did a moderator delete this when it turned out to be wrong?

  246. Daisy wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    “Brentwood Police Department Assistant Chief Tommy Walsh confirmed in an email Wednesday that the incident was reported to police on Aug. 31, 2014.
    The church telling the police about it is not the same as them staying quiet to the rest of the church.
    Did the church elders/pastors/staff notify the rest of the members right away that a pedo had been in their midst?

    @Daisy

    I don’t know if they notified the rest of the members right away, do you?

  247. zooey111 wrote:

    Daisy wrote:
    Instead of rallying around the church, I may be horrified to learn that my church was lax on child safety and apparently pressured the parents to keep mum about the abuse. I would most likely want to quit such a church, not hang around and protect it.
    Same here. I would never darken its doors again, in fact.
    Austin, Mark, et al, seem to have other loyalties.

    @zooey111

    False. I would take my children and run from any threat to their well-being, no matter who poses that threat. However, I also believe in carefully discerning what is and is not a threat.

  248. zooey111 wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    Lydia wrote:
    @ Austin:
    Not sure I understand. You think they deserve a medal for reporting it? A 3 year old was molested at church. Given any thought to the innocent victim?
    Lydia,
    I’m not sure if you are deflecting or missing the point. My point is that all day people have been drawing conclusions from very little information, which I have protested. Some have directly called into question the validity of Fellowship’s statement that they immediately alerted authorities. The police have now confirmed this. We now know that FBC was being truthful about immediately reporting this incident. The family claims that Fellowship attempted to suppress this, even though law enforcement has confirmed that Fellowship reported it on the same day that the family claims they informed the church.
    These new facts are relevant to the discussion that has been taking place. In regards to the immediate reporting, people have made fools of themselves today by making inferences from such limited and inconclusive information. I tried over and over to warn you all…
    I have made it clear that abuse of any sort is intolerable and those responsible should be held accountable. However, when a situation is still developing and information is limited, I’m not going to run with the herd like an idiot before the facts are known.
    Lydia, I have given thought to the victim, and I firmly believe in protecting the innocent as evidenced by the following quotes from my comments today:
    “Don’t get me wrong, what happened to this child is absolutely terrible.”
    “I am not denying that some churches make mistakes. They do, they must be held accountable, and we should do all we can to advocate for what is right.”
    I’m thinking family member of one of the pastors. Afraid of losing his mealticket…..

    @zooey111,

    False… again. I am not related to or friends with any pastor or employee of this church.

    You know, it’s funny, as people keep making these accusations, it continues to prove my point. So many of you are still making completely uninformed and false assumptions.

  249. Austin wrote:

    In her next comment, which I cannot timestamp because the post has been mysteriously deleted…she stated:

    Posts never mysteriously disappear on this site. Dee and Deb can confirm.

  250. Unless I feel overly compelled to clarify my position/forthcoming responses to me, I intend for this to be my last post here. I hope you will realize that I actually agree with the intentions of almost all posting here, and those who have directly conversed with me.

    Child abuse is a serious issue, and it is completely intolerable. I commend the site owner for providing an environment where this crucial dialog can take place. However, I do take issue with our human tendency to make presumptions, equate different situations improperly, jump to conclusions, etc. In this particular case involving Fellowship Bible Church, many are making unjustified statements with a total lack of solid evidence. To equate this particular case to the failings of totally unrelated parties is unjustified.

    I have already objectively proven that this is occurring by sharing the police corroboration of the church statement, which was after at least one person expressed the belief that the church was lying. It is also entertaining to see several people accuse/assume I am a pastor at this church, that I am employed by this church, or somehow related to the church leadership. These false suggestions are not only completely untrue, but succinctly prove my point that many here are making false assumptions.

    Using much of the text from a previous comment of mine, allow me to fully explain my point. If this church has in fact mishandled the situation, then this is a serious issue that must be dealt with immediately and with force. I firmly believe in supporting the innocent, whether that be the church, or the victim’s family. However, in order to do that, we need to carefully determine who the innocent is first.

    Am I disputing the horrible abuse this child suffered? Not whatsoever. It is a tragedy, it must be prevented from happening again, and the legal system has given us the truth of the matter. However, the allegations of a cover up, mistreatment, etc., have not been proven in court. We do not have all of the details, and most of what we do have is disputed. We can only draw inferences, not evidence based conclusions.

    In past cases where an investigation has conclusively determined mishandling of abuse situations by church authorities, by all means call them out and say what needs to be said. Discussion of these confirmed cases is necessary, and we must find ways to put an end to it. Unfortunately, these evil acts take place all too frequently. An open dialog like this is a good thing. However, you destroy your credibility when you make unwarranted conclusions. Making inferences that reflect negatively on a church that turn out to be false significantly diminishes your legitimacy in true cases.

    If this church is guilty, there needs to be repercussions. These problems must be stopped. I want the same thing that the rest of you want, protection for the innocent. I believe that everyone here has very good intentions, but making unsupported inferences is not the way to accomplish our goal, especially when we have so many proven cases to discuss.

    That is my point, folks. I am not arguing for blind submission to church authority or anything of that nature. I am simply advocating for some pragmatism here. I hope that nobody will attempt to construct fanciful inferences from my words. What I say is what I mean. Please remember, I strive for the same overall objective you have.

  251. Austin wrote:

    You are correct, both can’t be right. The police have confirmed the statement made by the church that they alerted authorities immediately:
    ‘Brentwood Police Department Assistant Chief Tommy Walsh confirmed in an email Wednesday that the incident was reported to police on Aug. 31, 2014.
    Given the nature and confidentiality of the incident, DCS could only confirm that it was alerted to the incident and that investigators opened an inquiry, but could not confirm a date on when it was reported.’

    That statement does not confirm who made the report, only that a report was made.

    I can’t read the article you linked. I am not allowed access without subscribing.

  252. @ zooey111:
    Recommending that the family not proceed with a legal remedy was horrible advice. Redemption and restoration can only occur when we look honestly at sin. Glossing over it doesn’t help anyone.

  253. Austin wrote:

    Also, are commenters able to delete their previous comments, or did a moderator delete this when it turned out to be wrong?

    If a comment is removed (which can only be done by the people running this blog) a comment will be left stating as much. No need for conspiracy theories.

  254. Austin wrote:

    Bridget wrote:
    @ Austin:
    Do you work for this church, Austin?
    @Bridget
    Bridget,
    As I stated earlier:
    “I am not a pastor at this church, nor have I ever held a position of authority/been employed by any church. I just don’t like far-fetched speculation in the absence of solid evidence.”

    I missed where you stated that previously.

    Are you a member of this church!

  255. Austin wrote:

    It is also entertaining to see several people accuse/assume I am a pastor at this church, that I am employed by this church, or somehow related to the church leadership. These false suggestions are not only completely untrue, but succinctly prove my point that many here are making false assumptions.

    The questions I asked were not accusations, assumptions, false suggestions, or false assumptions. They were simply questions. The questions I asked do not prove anything!! Wow, I am glad you are not in a “position of authority” (as you call it) in any church.

  256. Bridget wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    Bridget wrote:
    @ Austin:
    Do you work for this church, Austin?
    @Bridget
    Bridget,
    As I stated earlier:
    “I am not a pastor at this church, nor have I ever held a position of authority/been employed by any church. I just don’t like far-fetched speculation in the absence of solid evidence.”

    I missed where you stated that previously.
    Are you a member of this church!

    No, although I have attended their services in past years.

  257. Bridget wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    It is also entertaining to see several people accuse/assume I am a pastor at this church, that I am employed by this church, or somehow related to the church leadership. These false suggestions are not only completely untrue, but succinctly prove my point that many here are making false assumptions.
    The questions I asked were not accusations, assumptions, false suggestions, or false assumptions. They were simply questions. The questions I asked do not prove anything!! Wow, I am glad you are not in a “position of authority” (as you call it) in any church.

    Bridget, I was not referring to you when saying that. There were others who did not write remarks in terms of sincere questions as you did.

  258. @ Austin:

    I do take issue with our human tendency to make presumptions, equate different situations improperly, jump to conclusions, etc.

    Perhaps you could set a shining example of this by apologizing to Daisy for doing the very thing to her you say you take issue with.

  259. Austin wrote:

    Is the site owner/moderator able to confirm that the deleted comment originated from a Daisy other than the Daisy we are talking with now? Also, are commenters able to delete their previous comments, or did a moderator delete this when it turned out to be wrong?

    As far as I can determine, no comments have been deleted, although I will continue to investigate.

    If any of you wish to quote someone, please use the feature at the bottom of the post – Reply w/Quote. This feature links back to the comment and includes the portion of the comment to which you are responding. It's a neat feature.

    Rest assured, commenters are not able to delete comments on our blog.

  260. Deb wrote:

    Austin wrote:

    Is the site owner/moderator able to confirm that the deleted comment originated from a Daisy other than the Daisy we are talking with now? Also, are commenters able to delete their previous comments, or did a moderator delete this when it turned out to be wrong?

    As far as I can determine, no comments have been deleted, although I will continue to investigate.

    If any of you wish to quote someone, please use the feature at the bottom of the post – Reply w/Quote. This feature links back to the comment and includes the portion of the comment to which you are responding. It’s a neat feature.

    Rest assured, commenters are not able to delete comments on our blog.

    You are correct, my mistake. It was not Daisy that made that remark. I apologize for the confusion.

  261. deb wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    Is the site owner/moderator able to confirm that the deleted comment originated from a Daisy other than the Daisy we are talking with now?
    Also, are commenters able to delete their previous comments, or did a moderator delete this when it turned out to be wrong?

    As far as I can determine, no comments have been deleted, although I will continue to investigate.
    If any of you wish to quote someone, please use the feature at the bottom of the post – Reply w/Quote. This feature links back to the comment and includes the portion of the comment to which you are responding. It’s a neat feature.
    Rest assured, commmenters are not able to delete comments on our blog.

    I am so sorry for the confusion, I see now that the quote IDaisy wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    “The statement from the church appears to call them liars, because the family apparently says their child was/ they were not initially believed while the church says they took it seriously/acted immediately.
    I never made that comment – you attributed that to me. I don’t think I wrote that.
    It looks to me so far as though this church did not completely handle this abuse case correctly. If that were my church, I would not have a problem waving good-bye. I wouldn’t give unqualified loyalty to a church.

    Daisy,

    I am so sorry, I thought that it was you that made that remark. It was actually someone else. No wonder I couldn’t find it again when looking for your name. My apologies.

  262. Daisy wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    “The statement from the church appears to call them liars, because the family apparently says their child was/ they were not initially believed while the church says they took it seriously/acted immediately.
    I never made that comment – you attributed that to me. I don’t think I wrote that.
    It looks to me so far as though this church did not completely handle this abuse case correctly. If that were my church, I would not have a problem waving good-bye. I wouldn’t give unqualified loyalty to a church.

    Daisy,

    I am so sorry, I thought that it was you that made that remark. It was actually someone else. No wonder I couldn’t find it again when looking for your name. My apologies.

  263. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    @ Austin:
    I do take issue with our human tendency to make presumptions, equate different situations improperly, jump to conclusions, etc.
    Perhaps you could set a shining example of this by apologizing to Daisy for doing the very thing to her you say you take issue with.

    Inadvertent confusion is not the same as consciously deciding to make presumptions in the absence of sufficient knowledge. Nice try.

    I have however apologized to Daisy for my inadvertent error.

  264. @ Austin:

    Nice try.

    Aren’t you a peach? Is everyone at FBC like that?

    I have however apologized to Daisy

    I’m sure she will appreciate it. Thank you.

  265. Austin wrote:

    I have already objectively proven that this is occurring by sharing the police corroboration of the church statement, which was after at least one person expressed the belief that the church was lying.

    No, you haven’t. The police chief only corroborated that someone reported this crime — he never said (as far as I know) that the church made the report. In fact, it would have been wisest for the parents to go to the police on their own, and not wait for FBC to do it for them.

  266. Thing is, if TGC types cared anything at all about what Jesus had to say (it would appear as if many don’t), they would simply follow what He said, and He said that for those who mislead and/or hurt little ones, it’d be better for them if they were tossed out of a boat in the middle of a sea with a millstone round their necks. Jesus Christ Himself said they’d be better off dead. Wow, think of it, the Prince of Peace said that.

    I guess that must be the problem; it has been dawning on me for some time that the biggest stumbling block for the average TGC type (or many who worship their notion of church as an institution) is Jesus Himself, and I have to think that while some are just deluded sheep who’ll eventually come round, others are full blown wolves who relish in doing anything possible to hurt Jesus or those whom He created in His image.

  267. @ Austin:
    Hi Austin

    I just reviewed all of your comments and wanted to respond to you before you take off.

    1. It is not surprising that some readers thought you might be affiliated with the church since your first ever comment on this blog was in regards to the FBC situation. Since your IP shows that you live in the Nashville area, it makes it even more likely that you have some affiliation with the church, either as a member, attendee, employee, legal advisor, publisher or public relations sort of guy.

    2. I am pleased to hear that the church reported the incident to the police. However, that does not negate the possibility that they tried to talk the family out of doing so.

    3. The history of this family with the church does not point to a bad relationship up to the point of the rape of their 3 year old boy. They were there for 12 years. Got their premarital counseling there. Volunteered. This family was FBC since the church is made up of the people who are members who give their time and effort. They are the church as much as the pastors and elders so I really do not like seeing them sidelined as some sort of interlopers.

    4. I have been following these sorts of church situations for about 7 years now. If you read this blog, you will find that this is hardly our first rodeo when it comes to observing churches which poorly handle such situations.

    Something went wrong with how the church related to this dedicated church family whose child was terribly harmed on church property by some teenage pedophile. I am concerned that you, perhaps inadvertently, are hinting that their lawsuit is so large that they are in it for the money. I totally disagree.

    I think this was handled so poorly on the part of the church that this family may be making a statement on how churches have mishandled such despicable molestations in the past as well. Just as the RCC got serious abut dealing with child sex abuse when they actually had large settlements against them, maybe this is the first time that an evangelical church is feeling the sting of a serious lawsuit as opposed to a church tossing an outside settlement of$ 20-30K tied to a confidentiality agreement.

    So, we can agree to disagree. You think they are money grubbers. I think they are making a thoughtful stand against business as usual. And I bet there was business as usual here. I speculate that the church leaders did not handle this well or this would not have happened on such a scale. I look forward to following the lawsuit. I think we will all learn something from it. I am particularly interested in how the church goofed up. I am sure it will all come out. We will continue to post updates.

    5. TWW never removes a comment without being asked to do so by an author or if we believe the comment is inappropriate. We always put a comment in the the thread that we have removed a comment.

    Finally, if the pastors or the family would ever like to come onto the blog and write their side of the story and answer our questions, we would be happy to host them.

  268. @ Serving Kids In Japan:
    Also, the church could have made the report after trying to convince the family not to have done so. One does not exclude the other. Something went very wrong here. This family was very involved in the church up until the rape of their child. Then communication broke down. I will look forward to the following the trial.

  269. Austin wrote:

    Inadvertent confusion is not the same as consciously deciding to make presumptions in the absence of sufficient knowledge. Nice try.

    Oh good night. You are obviously angry about what has happened. Fess up. What is you relationship to the church?

  270. @ Austin:

    Austin, just to clarify: I could care less about this churches reputation. I used to get paid to help churches with their public reputation. I repented and got saved from that world.

    Here is what I know: few will ever know what really took place within the leadership. They want it that way. Pure transparency does not happen in those places. Trust me. I have a pretty good idea what does take place: crisis image management. And you are an unpaid PR person. The kind they love to use.

    All I care about is that a 3 year old was molested “at church”. I refuse to allow that to become ho hum to me. I refuse to fall into the ‘oh well, we all sin’ and the church is a hospital for sinners and turn it into a sanctuary for perverts. It makes me furious. In fact, I suggest they shut the place down over it lamenting to Jesus Christ. Is there no serious shame and sorrow anymore?

    A 3 year old.

  271. Austin wrote:

    However, if the church is being truthful, then the parents are a disgrace for exploiting the unfortunate suffering of their child. I do not have enough information to make a conclusive determination, and neither do you.
    See my above reply to Daisy about why this “witch hunt” behavior hurts your well intentioned cause.

    1. How will you ever know if the leaders are truthful or not. You won’t. You will simply have to decide to believe them. You cannot say “church” as if everyone is considered a priest in the Holy Priesthood with actual say in how things are handled. That is not how things are handled there. This is a small group of guys behind closed doors.

    2. It is your opinion that the child could be exploited. That is the typical response. I have a different view. This child’s life was changed forever by an evil church goer tasked to care for him. We cannot even begin to explore the psychological damage done.

    I believe fighting for your children and justice sends them a different message for the future: We don’t put up with this. And frankly, money is the only thing most of these guys really care about after their power. Money fuels the power machine. Trust me, when attendance drops off or things get tight, they preach a giving or tithe sermon immediately.

    You need to come up with something new besides “witch hunt”. It has been done to death. I have heard some use “Jihad” against the church as in we are terrorists. :o)

  272. dee wrote:

    I have been following these sorts of church situations for about 7 years now. If you read this blog, you will find that this is hardly our first rodeo when it comes to observing churches which poorly handle such situations.

    I say, “Ride ’em, cowgirl!!!”

  273. Lydia wrote:

    All I care about is that a 3 year old was molested “at church”. I refuse to allow that to become ho hum to me. I refuse to fall into the ‘oh well, we all sin’ and the church is a hospital for sinners and turn it into a sanctuary for perverts. It makes me furious. In fact, I suggest they shut the place down over it lamenting to Jesus Christ. Is there no serious shame and sorrow anymore?
    A 3 year old.

    This 3 year old will probably spend the rest of his life paying a price for the abuse he suffered in the FBC at the hands of a church volunteer’s teenage son. He shouldn’t be the only one who pays.

  274. Nancy2 wrote:

    This 3 year old will probably spend the rest of his life paying a price for the abuse he suffered in the FBC at the hands of a church volunteer’s teenage son. He shouldn’t be the only one who pays.

    I pray he does not. I hope he is covered in God’s mercy. I pray he is watched, evaluated and taken to professional counseling when necessary.

  275. Austin wrote:

    “The statement from the church appears to call them liars, because the family apparently says their child was/ they were not initially believed while the church says they took it seriously/acted immediately.”
    After the above quote, she went on to say that they cannot both be right,

    I don’t think I wrote that. I don’t know who did. I don’t remember writing it.

  276. Austin wrote:

    You [attributing this to Daisy] also said:
    “The statement from the church appears to call them liars, because the family apparently says their child was/ they were not initially believed while the church says they took it seriously/acted immediately.”
    ———
    [Austin says]:
    After that, you made it clear that you thought the church was lying. Less than 15 minutes after your comment, I shared with you the newspaper quote from the police department corroborating the claim made by the church. You have objectively proven that you are jumping to conclusions, and making inferences that turn out to be incorrect.

    I really don’t think I ever wrote that.

    I don’t know who you keep quoting there, but I don’t think it was me.

    You must have grabbed someone else’s quotes when hitting the ‘Reply With Quote’ button or something.

  277. @ Daisy:

    I may have written it, but I don’t think I did.

    I’m thinking the church looks pretty bad in waiting a couple of years to put out media statements, but I don’t know if I ever felt they were out and out lying, as your quote attributed to me says.

  278. Daisy wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    You [attributing this to Daisy] also said:
    “The statement from the church appears to call them liars, because the family apparently says their child was/ they were not initially believed while the church says they took it seriously/acted immediately.”
    ———
    [Austin says]:
    After that, you made it clear that you thought the church was lying. Less than 15 minutes after your comment, I shared with you the newspaper quote from the police department corroborating the claim made by the church. You have objectively proven that you are jumping to conclusions, and making inferences that turn out to be incorrect.
    I really don’t think I ever wrote that.
    I don’t know who you keep quoting there, but I don’t think it was me.
    You must have grabbed someone else’s quotes when hitting the ‘Reply With Quote’ button or something.

    You are correct, Daisy. I realized my error earlier today and wrote a comment apologizing to you.

  279. Austin wrote:

    You know, it’s funny, as people keep making these accusations, it continues to prove my point. So many of you are still making completely uninformed and false assumptions.

    Because you’re very gung ho about defending a church.

    Many times, when Deb and Dee do a post critical about Furtick’s church, Furtick church members make a bee line to this blog to leave post after post defending Furtick and/or his church.

    The same thing happens when it’s a Mark Driscoll thread, all the Driscoll supporters show up to tell us we are jumping to conclusions or being unfair.

    Ditto if it’s a John Piper post, or Matt Chandler TVC post, etc.

  280. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    I have already objectively proven that this is occurring by sharing the police corroboration of the church statement, which was after at least one person expressed the belief that the church was lying.
    No, you haven’t. The police chief only corroborated that someone reported this crime — he never said (as far as I know) that the church made the report. In fact, it would have been wisest for the parents to go to the police on their own, and not wait for FBC to do it for them.

    Your assessment is incorrect. The most recent article (which came out yesterday morning) included the church response and their claim that they had contacted the BPD and DCS. The paper also stated that they had reached out to the police department for comment. Then, later in the afternoon it was updated with the statement by police and DCS. Why would the newspaper wait two days to post statements from the police and DCS unless they had contacted those agencies on Wednesday to verify claims the church made Tuesday night? The original article on Monday makes no mention of contacting authorities for comment. In addition, it states that the Assistant Chief made the confirmation in a Wednesday email, which is the day after the church released their statement.

    Furthermore, it does not make any sense why the paper would bother to investigate and report when authorities were contacted unless there was some question as to when/if a certain party made a report. We already know that the teen has been prosecuted. Reporting that “someone” contacted authorities would be entirely redundant.

    Finally, the context of the police statement within the article does not make sense if you are correct. The text is as follows:

    “’We are outraged that this heinous crime occurred,’ Wellons wrote. ‘It came to our attention when the victim’s family advised our staff, and we immediately reported it to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and that same morning contacted officers from the Brentwood Police Department. (The authorities asked for our cooperation in keeping the matter confidential so that they could complete their investigation, and, of course, we agreed).’

    The family left their son at the children’s ministry while worshipping on the morning of Aug. 24, but they weren’t aware of the sexual assault until the next weekend, according to the lawsuit.

    Brentwood Police Department Assistant Chief Tommy Walsh confirmed in an email Wednesday that the incident was reported to police on Aug. 31, 2014.
    Given the nature and confidentiality of the incident, DCS could only confirm that it was alerted to the incident and that investigators opened an inquiry, but could not confirm a date on when it was reported.”

    The article presents the claim made by the church, provides a timeline for reference, and then reports the statements made by authorities. Given that these statements were preceded by the pastor’s claim that they contacted authorities on August 31st, the police department “confirming” that the incident was reported on August 31st clearly indicates that they were commenting on the pastor’s claim. Given the claim made by the church, what question posed by the media would the police department be “confirming” other than “FBC claims they contacted you on August 31st to report this incident, is that true?”

  281. Austin wrote:

    Inadvertent confusion is not the same as consciously deciding to make presumptions in the absence of sufficient knowledge. Nice try.

    I don’t think that’s an entirely fair way to characterize what many people in this thread have done.

    Some of them are drawing conclusions on what information they do have that has made public. I don’t see anything particularly immoral or horrible about that.

  282. dee wrote:

    @ Austin:
    Hi Austin
    I just reviewed all of your comments and wanted to respond to you before you take off.
    1. It is not surprising that some readers thought you might be affiliated with the church since your first ever comment on this blog was in regards to the FBC situation. Since your IP shows that you live in the Nashville area, it makes it even more likely that you have some affiliation with the church, either as a member, attendee, employee, legal advisor, publisher or public relations sort of guy.
    2. I am pleased to hear that the church reported the incident to the police. However, that does not negate the possibility that they tried to talk the family out of doing so.
    3. The history of this family with the church does not point to a bad relationship up to the point of the rape of their 3 year old boy. They were there for 12 years. Got their premarital counseling there. Volunteered. This family was FBC since the church is made up of the people who are members who give their time and effort. They are the church as much as the pastors and elders so I really do not like seeing them sidelined as some sort of interlopers.
    4. I have been following these sorts of church situations for about 7 years now. If you read this blog, you will find that this is hardly our first rodeo when it comes to observing churches which poorly handle such situations.
    Something went wrong with how the church related to this dedicated church family whose child was terribly harmed on church property by some teenage pedophile. I am concerned that you, perhaps inadvertently, are hinting that their lawsuit is so large that they are in it for the money. I totally disagree.
    I think this was handled so poorly on the part of the church that this family may be making a statement on how churches have mishandled such despicable molestations in the past as well. Just as the RCC got serious abut dealing with child sex abuse when they actually had large settlements against them, maybe this is the first time that an evangelical church is feeling the sting of a serious lawsuit as opposed to a church tossing an outside settlement of$ 20-30K tied to a confidentiality agreement.
    So, we can agree to disagree. You think they are money grubbers. I think they are making a thoughtful stand against business as usual. And I bet there was business as usual here. I speculate that the church leaders did not handle this well or this would not have happened on such a scale. I look forward to following the lawsuit. I think we will all learn something from it. I am particularly interested in how the church goofed up. I am sure it will all come out. We will continue to post updates.
    5. TWW never removes a comment without being asked to do so by an author or if we believe the comment is inappropriate. We always put a comment in the the thread that we have removed a comment.
    Finally, if the pastors or the family would ever like to come onto the blog and write their side of the story and answer our questions, we would be happy to host them.

    My response is going to be brief as I feel I have already spoken my peace, and I don’t think you have read all of my comments.

    1. As I have already stated in response to Bridget’s question, I am not a member of FBC, but have attended services there in the past. I have never been employed by FBC or done any paid or unpaid work for any church. I will add that I do know several members of the church. Since it appears that this website is based out of Raleigh, North Carolina, it makes it even more likely that your only knowledge of this church comes from what you have read online.

    2. True, however, at this point we only have hearsay to go on, no evidence.

    4. Is it not also possible that the family could be making false claims similar to what often occurs in these situations to support their legal case? I say this not because I believe it to be the case, but to counter unjustified presumptions you may be making.

    I have made it absolutely clear that what happened to the child was intolerable, and must be prevented.

    I am suspicious of the amount of the lawsuit, which is entirely reasonable. Your argument that the large sum is intended to provoke change is also reasonable.

    As someone who has actually seen what this church is like first hand, I do not perceive it as “business as usual” whatsoever. Although, from the perspective of someone learning about this online, I can understand why you would make that assumption. I have been to the type of church you are describing, and it really is sad. I could be wrong about the leadership of FBC, but so could you, so I would urge you to hold off until we know all the facts, which is essentially all I came here to say.

    5. Someone already addressed this earlier, but thank you. I apologize for the confusion.

  283. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    I’m sure she will appreciate it. Thank you.

    I’m trying to.
    I’m fairly sure I did not make the comments he attributed to me, but now I’m confused.

    I kept seeing the same quote supposedly by me with a sharp critique that I was contradicting myself by some other comment that actually was mine.

    I don’t know who I am anymore. 🙂

  284. dee wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    Inadvertent confusion is not the same as consciously deciding to make presumptions in the absence of sufficient knowledge. Nice try.
    Oh good night. You are obviously angry about what has happened. Fess up. What is you relationship to the church?

    I have already answered this.

  285. Lydia wrote:

    @ Austin:
    Austin, just to clarify: I could care less about this churches reputation. I used to get paid to help churches with their public reputation. I repented and got saved from that world.
    Here is what I know: few will ever know what really took place within the leadership. They want it that way. Pure transparency does not happen in those places. Trust me. I have a pretty good idea what does take place: crisis image management. And you are an unpaid PR person. The kind they love to use.
    All I care about is that a 3 year old was molested “at church”. I refuse to allow that to become ho hum to me. I refuse to fall into the ‘oh well, we all sin’ and the church is a hospital for sinners and turn it into a sanctuary for perverts. It makes me furious. In fact, I suggest they shut the place down over it lamenting to Jesus Christ. Is there no serious shame and sorrow anymore?
    A 3 year old.

    Lydia,

    If you read all of my comments you will find that I think what happened to this child is awful and we must prevent these things from happening. I have also made it clear that negligence must be held accountable. I am not going to continue responding to comments like this when I have already made it clear I agree with your point.

    In time we may discover that you are right and this church should be shut down. However, you do not know enough (and neither do I) at this point to suggest whether or not this church should be shut down. Quit it.

  286. Lydia wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    However, if the church is being truthful, then the parents are a disgrace for exploiting the unfortunate suffering of their child. I do not have enough information to make a conclusive determination, and neither do you.
    See my above reply to Daisy about why this “witch hunt” behavior hurts your well intentioned cause.
    1. How will you ever know if the leaders are truthful or not. You won’t. You will simply have to decide to believe them. You cannot say “church” as if everyone is considered a priest in the Holy Priesthood with actual say in how things are handled. That is not how things are handled there. This is a small group of guys behind closed doors.
    2. It is your opinion that the child could be exploited. That is the typical response. I have a different view. This child’s life was changed forever by an evil church goer tasked to care for him. We cannot even begin to explore the psychological damage done.
    I believe fighting for your children and justice sends them a different message for the future: We don’t put up with this. And frankly, money is the only thing most of these guys really care about after their power. Money fuels the power machine. Trust me, when attendance drops off or things get tight, they preach a giving or tithe sermon immediately.
    You need to come up with something new besides “witch hunt”. It has been done to death. I have heard some use “Jihad” against the church as in we are terrorists. :o)

    Lydia,

    Please read what I have written, as you are misunderstanding me. We should fight for children and never tolerate abuse. Church leaders who become slave to money are no good and should be removed. I have never suggested anything to the contrary.

  287. Daisy wrote:

    I don’t know who I am anymore.

    I don’t blame you when a certain commenter goes all X-Files on you. You know you hacked the blog and deleted your comment. LOL

  288. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    You know you hacked the blog and deleted your comment. LOL

    You got me. 🙂

    Seriously, the most damage I’ve done on this blog are bad jokes, occasionally pretty grouchy behavior (which I apologized for several threads back), and links to weird or goofy videos or jokes. 🙂

  289. I wanted to say I have prayed for Jeanette, who is mentioned at the top of the blog, under “Please pray for…”

    I’ve said a few prayers over her over the past day or two, since I saw that.

    Usually, if I see those requests that top of this blog, I pray for the person. I don’t know sometimes if God hears my prayers. I have doubts. But I still pray.

    I would appreciate prayers, too.
    I don’t want to get into specifics, but I could use prayers on a regular basis – if there’s a God, and he is listening.

    My anxiety has been really bad the last two years, off and on. I have a few things I’m facing or may be facing I could use help with, and this stuff makes my anxiety go up at times.
    Thank you. 🙂

  290. I have contacted the newspaper asking them to clarify the confirmation made by police yesterday. If I hear back from them, I will post this information tomorrow.

    Other than that, I am really going to try and resist commenting on here any more, haha. I simply don’t have the time.

    If there are still any of you who think that I do not share your passion for protecting children and putting an end to evil and church corruption, which has become far too common, please read my comments and take them to heart. I really do want the same things you do.

    Again, thank you to the site owners for hosting this dialog, and God bless you all in your advocacy for good.

  291. @ Austin:

    So, in your opinion, going to a church a few times gives you insight that cannot be gleaned by anyone who has not gone to that church? Seriously? I would contend that sitting thru a few services and having a couple of friends that like the church does not necessarily give you anymore information than I am able to obtain. In fact, I would contend that I can do as much research as you can and come to some pretty good guesses without stepping foot into the church. Read our blog to see what I mean.

    This is a church of 6,000. You go in on a Sunday and listen to a few sermons. You are just one of the crowd. The chances of you knowing anything unless you are a member of the elders is slim to none.
    You can learn far more by studying their website, seeing who they hang with and affiliate with.

    For example, Bill Wellons has been a guest speaker at UCCDubai -a 9 Marks church in which a good friend of ours (and official TWW hero), Todd Wilhelm, was despicably treated. We refer to it as the Hotel California. We know a great deal about what 9 Marks believes about authority and hierarchy and their belief that they hold the keys to the kingdom, etc. before you respond, read about it. Bill supports that ministry since he chose to speak there. I could go on and on.

    Is it not possible that the mom and dad of the raped 3 year old boy made these false claims to support their legal case? Perhaps but I would say that something seriously bad happened for them to ask for so much money. This is more than a simple”let’s screw the church we loved for so many years to make a fast multimillion.” All things are possible but this lawsuit indicates something far more deep and sad. It is my opinion that the church leadership mishandled things.

    Also, we do know that thee 3 year old boy was raped. There is no disagreement unless you wish to contest the court verdict. Therefore, we know something horrible happened. Here is what I think you would have said had this not occurred. “This family could be making this whole thing up.A 3 year old could be confused. That is perfectly reasonable.”

    Here is the biggest indication to me that something is going on with the leadership. In the statement by the church leadership, they referred to the convicted rapist as the “alleged perpetrator.” Alleged? Good night! It is not alleged. It happened. Why is the leadership casting doubt on the status of the teen rapist?

    This is concerning and may be an insight into how the leadership actually views what happened. Perhaps even now they do not fully believe what happened. If that is true, then this may be the reason that their formerly committed church member family is feeling quite out of sorts. I certainly would. I believe the family and believe that they have a legitimate reason for doing what they are doing. There are some red flags on the part of the church leaders response. The little boy actually was raped and the church is still saying it was “alleged.” I believe and stand with the family because it is darn obvious that people in the church are not doing so.

  292. Daisy wrote:

    I wanted to say I have prayed for Jeanette, who is mentioned at the top of the blog, under “Please pray for…”
    I’ve said a few prayers over her over the past day or two, since I saw that.
    Usually, if I see those requests that top of this blog, I pray for the person. I don’t know sometimes if God hears my prayers. I have doubts. But I still pray.
    I would appreciate prayers, too.
    I don’t want to get into specifics, but I could use prayers on a regular basis – if there’s a God, and he is listening.
    My anxiety has been really bad the last two years, off and on. I have a few things I’m facing or may be facing I could use help with, and this stuff makes my anxiety go up at times.
    Thank you.

    Daisy,

    I will pray for you now, and I will keep you in my prayers. God loves you, and despite all the stress and ugliness in this world, Christ is always with us. You’re going to be okay. 🙂

  293. Austin wrote:

    I have contacted the newspaper asking them to clarify the confirmation made by police yesterday. If I hear back from them, I will post this information tomorrow.

    Once again, the fact that the church reported it is not the main issue. Did they try to convince the family not to report it? The newspaper will not be able to tell you that.

  294. That: “I’ve gone to Friendly Baptist Fellowship a few times and know some families there, therefore I have some insight” line rings so false to those of us who’ve visited churches, felt the “love”, attended regularly, joined up with back slaps all around, been asked to join the board of elders, volunteered hundreds of hours, gone on retreats with other leaders and pastor, spent time at their house, had them back at your house, your kids play with their kids…only to find out when push comes to shove, when there’s something that might threaten the livelihoods or authority of pastor and the most senior elders, watched them tell the most shocking lies and do such Machiavellian things that you’d come to wonder if they’d slit your throat if the circumstances were right.

    Sometimes a little knowledge–such as Austin claims to have–can make you decidedly more ignorant of the situation.

  295. Nancy2 wrote:

    http://5f30a5af1b959e307f2f-8edac6a6fc3fd0fed8485cb61e67c53e.r50.cf2.rackcdn.com/uploaded/m/0e3839019_1415738895_membership-covenant-form.pdf
    This is a link to the “Membership Covenant” for FBC Brentwood. Any interested parties must also fill out an application. This is the kind of stuff Eagle had on one of his posts a few days ago! I was wondering why Austin hasn’t joined.

    That’s just magnificent. Ever notice that when these gospelly types get to crafting their documents and screeds with all the beautiful, flowery language that it sounds more like the communications between demons in The Screwtape Letters than any communication you ever read between any of the people in the Bible ever?

  296. Law Prof wrote:

    That’s just magnificent. Ever notice that when these gospelly types get to crafting their documents and screeds with all the beautiful, flowery language that it sounds more like the communications between demons in The Screwtape Letters than any communication you ever read between any of the people in the Bible ever?

    Behave yourself, Law Prof!!! Part of the covenant is not gossiping. Shhhhh!

  297. Law Prof wrote:

    Sometimes a little knowledge–such as Austin claims to have–can make you decidedly more ignorant of the situation.

    Your scenario reminds me of a fellow that spoke authoritatively about a country because he had once “lived there” for a time. On further discussion it became evident he stayed only in an American compound and never looked past the glossy surface of the culture there.

  298. Nancy2 wrote:

    This is a link to the “Membership Covenant” for FBC Brentwood.

    Good catch, some excerpts:
    “In addition, I will support the ministry and witness of Fellowship…”
    “* Submitting to the leadership of the church…”
    “* Following biblical guidelines for church discipline…”
    “* Refusing to gossip…”

    For those educated here, and know how to decode the Gospel™ cipher used in these covenants, they will understand what these actually mean and how they will be practiced or should I say enforced.

  299. @ Nancy2:
    Catch this line.

    “Submitting to the leadership of the church (elders), who are submitted to Christ as the Head of His church.”

    Note that the elders ARE submitted to Christ. That is an assumption in this situation.Are the always submitted? Could they be big screw ups in certain situations? The answer is yes. My guess is that these guys did not handle this situation well. There is little reason for dedicated members of this church to go down this road unless they were not offered the support they needed.

    To attempt paint this family as money grubbers after they have gone through a tragedy is despicable.

  300. dee wrote:

    Note that the elders ARE submitted to Christ. That is an assumption in this situation.Are the always submitted? Could they be big screw ups in certain situations? The answer is yes. My guess is that these guys did not handle this situation well. There is little reason for dedicated members of this church to go down this road unless they were not offered the support they needed.

    The Elders are the priests – the people who stand between the pew peons and God! When you also consider the statement on church discipline and the statement on gossip, it really does make me question how church leadership handled the situation. The “Membership Covenant” is ripe for spiritual abuse.

  301. Law Prof wrote:

    Sometimes a little knowledge–such as Austin claims to have–can make you decidedly more ignorant of the situation.

    Like the maxim ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.’ How true. The problem is that all that any of us has outside of our own field of expertise is, by comparison, only a little knowledge.

  302. dee wrote:

    My guess is that these guys did not handle this situation well.

    Yep. That is certainly my guess.

  303. Austin wrote:

    Daisy,
    I will pray for you now, and I will keep you in my prayers. God loves you, and despite all the stress and ugliness in this world, Christ is always with us. You’re going to be okay.

    Thank you. I am grateful for any prayers. I have something coming up later today that is anxiety provoking.

  304. Bill M wrote:

    Your scenario reminds me of a fellow that spoke authoritatively about a country because he had once “lived there” for a time. On further discussion it became evident he stayed only in an American compound and never looked past the glossy surface of the culture there.

    A great analogy.

  305. dee wrote:

    @ Nancy2:
    Catch this line.
    “Submitting to the leadership of the church (elders), who are submitted to Christ as the Head of His church.”
    Note that the elders ARE submitted to Christ. That is an assumption in this situation….

    Also implicit would be the assumption that perhaps rank-and-file members are not submitted to Christ necessarily, or not quite in the same direct manner as elders,that their submission to Christ is derivative of that of the elders. Their covenant, as that of so many other externally Christian/internally cult-like organizations, seems to be setting up a Bill Gothard-like umbrella covering.

  306. @ Law Prof:
    Jonathon Leeman of 9 Marks has not been shy about explaining the “human mediators” that are elders and hold the “keys” for you.

  307. Lydia wrote:

    @ Law Prof:
    Jonathon Leeman of 9 Marks has not been shy about explaining the “human mediators” that are elders and hold the “keys” for you.

    Jonathan Leeman is a liar then, and an extremely dangerous one.

  308. Law Prof wrote:

    Their covenant, as that of so many other externally Christian/internally cult-like organizations, seems to be setting up a Bill Gothard-like umbrella covering.

    “Take your workbook and turn with me
    To the chapter on Authority —
    Do you top the Chain of Command?
    Rule your family with an Iron Hand?
    Because a good wife learns to cower
    Beneath the Umbrella of Power;
    Under cover of Heaven’s Gate
    I MANIPULATE!”
    — Steve Taylor, “I Manipulate”

  309. @ Daisy:

    Thanks to anyone / everyone who prayed for me. That anxiety provoking thing I had to do late this afternoon ended up going okay. God must like y’alls prayers really well. 🙂

    I still have other things going on, or that may happen in the future that have me on edge, but at least this one thing turned out OK.
    Thank you for the prayers!!

  310. Daisy wrote:

    I still have other things going on, or that may happen in the future that have me on edge, but at least this one thing turned out OK.

    Daisy, I hope you won’t think I’m preaching…but this scripture/principle has been very helpful to me during stressful or times of uncertainty:

    …”So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

    Also, years ago I heard a suggestion on how to “schedule” your worry time. The thought was that just as we schedule most everything in our lives, worry is no different. The advice was to schedule about 10 min. every day for worrying and when that 10 min. is up, move on to something more enjoyable. It really worked for me! I know it sounds crazy….:)

  311. @ Victorious:

    Thank you, Victorious. 🙂

    I think you’re the person who suggested a book about ‘not measuring up’ on another thread?

    It’s a wonderful book, from the free chapters I’ve been able to read on the internet. I’d like to buy a copy someday. Out of the stuff I saw in it, most of it describes my family exactly.

  312. Just looking back over this and I wrote the comment that caused Austin some kerfuffle. Bear in mind everything I said is my opinion based on ifs and allegations. The point is that having read the newspaper articles, the church’s statement makes claims that contradict the allegations of the lawsuit, hence, I believe one party is not telling the truth, and given the history of the family at the church, I am inclined to believe they are telling the truth that they were not immediately believed. I stand by that opinion unless further evidence arises. @ Daisy:

  313. @ Melody:

    Don't worry, Melody. Austin was in a kerfuffle because of some sort of connection to the church-no matter what he said. No one gets that bent out of shape just because…. I am with you on the family.

  314. dee wrote:

    @ Melody:
    Don’t worry, Melody. Austin was in a kerfuffle because of some sort of connection to the church-no matter what he said. No one gets that bent out of shape just because…. I am with you on the family.

    I cannot say for certain what is driving Austin; what does one say of a person who uses words like “exploit” and out for “personal gain” and “skeptical” with regard to the parents in this lawsuit while out of the other side of his mouth scolding us by saying we “destroy (our) credibility when (we) make unwarranted conclusions”, calls this a “witch hunt”, tells us we’re “slandering an entire church”, engaging in “far fetched speculation”,

    My favorite comment of Austin’s is: “I am simply advocating for some pragmatism here.” That is exactly correct, Austin, you most certainly are, and that is exactly what church after church has done when they have protected their systems and man-made luminaries at all costs, particularly at the expense of the truth and justice. It also happens to be precisely what Caiaphas did when he advocated killing Jesus so that the system that gave him power would survive.

    Austin, it would appear to me that the ones who are more likely to be exploiting, out for personal gain and are ones about whom we should be skeptical are the church itself and you, their willing accessory. You skepticism and cynicism is directed at all the wrong sources, sir. But then again, if what’s driving you is idolatry of church systems, then people tend to become a little irrational when they succumb to idolatry, they do things like sacrificing children. If that is what’s going on with you (and only God knows the heart), your behavior makes perfect sense.

  315. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    @ Austin:
    Nice try.
    Aren’t you a peach? Is everyone at FBC like that?

    It’s called Good Little Party Member.

    🙂
    Hug, you score again!!

  316. Daisy wrote:

    I don’t know who you keep quoting there, but I don’t think it was me.

    I suspect that Austin is quoting Whatever The Little Voices Tell Him. Some folks just love to set up a situation where they can accuse people of saying things we never said.
    But hey! That’s me….

  317. Austin wrote:

    dee wrote:

    Austin wrote:
    Inadvertent confusion is not the same as consciously deciding to make presumptions in the absence of sufficient knowledge. Nice try.
    Oh good night. You are obviously angry about what has happened. Fess up. What is you relationship to the church?

    I have already answered this.

    Well, no, you haven’t answered. At least not with a REAL answer. As opposed to, you know, one of those “non-answer answers” that gave us all Watergate……

  318. Law Prof wrote:

    Ever notice that when these gospelly types get to crafting their documents and screeds with all the beautiful, flowery language that it sounds more like the communications between demons in The Screwtape Letters than any communication you ever read between any of the people in the Bible ever?

    Family resemblances can really be amazing sometimes,can’t they?

  319. Law Prof wrote:

    That’s just magnificent. Ever notice that when these gospelly types get to crafting their documents and screeds with all the beautiful, flowery language that it sounds more like the communications between demons in The Screwtape Letters than any communication you ever read between any of the people in the Bible ever?

    “…an official society held together entirely by fear and greed. On the surface, manners are normally suave. Rudeness to one’s superiors would obviously be suicidal; rudeness to one’s equals might put them on their guard before you were ready to spring your mine. For of course “Dog eat dog” is the principle of the whole organisation. Everyone wishes everyone else’s discrediting, demotion, and ruin; everyone is an expert in the confidential report, the pretended alliance, the stab in the back. 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 spills out.”
    — Preface to Screwtape Letters

  320. zooey111 wrote:

    I suspect that Austin is quoting Whatever The Little Voices Tell Him.

    In which case, Austin had better invest in a tinfoil hat.

  321. Law Prof wrote:

    My favorite comment of Austin’s is: “I am simply advocating for some pragmatism here.” That is exactly correct, Austin, you most certainly are, and that is exactly what church after church has done when they have protected their systems and man-made luminaries at all costs, particularly at the expense of the truth and justice. It also happens to be precisely what Caiaphas did when he advocated killing Jesus so that the system that gave him power would survive.

    And Herod when he ordered the Massacre of the Innocents, so that the system with himself on top would survive.

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