Anatomy of Evangelical Scandals: Steve Estes, Ken Ramey, Tullian Tchvidjian and the Misunderstanding of Repentance

“No evil dooms us hopelessly except the evil we love, and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from. ” ― George Eliot, Daniel Deronda link

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=54437&picture=prstem-nahoru
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Update 4/19/2016  Correction: Brock Estes was allegedly abusing adult pornography- not child pornography.  We tried to correct this in the original post but this one slipped through. We apologize for our error.

Tutorial Point #2: Repentance needs to be examined over time; especially when it comes to issues like sex abuse, domestic violence and narcissism. Also, repentance does not mean that the individual has a *get out of jail free* card. 

What is repentance?

I'm going to try to polish my image as a daughter of Stan(sic) and a minion of Satin(sic) by looking at the Greek.

From The Bible Gateway Dictionary:

Evangelical repentance consists of (1) a true sense of one's own guilt and sinfulness; (2) an apprehension of God's mercy in Christ; (3) an actual hatred of sin (Ps. 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2 Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God; and (4) a persistent endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of his commandments.

The true penitent is conscious of guilt (Ps. 51:4, 9), of pollution (51:5, 7, 10), and of helplessness (51:11; 109:21, 22). Thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always seen him to be and declares him to be. But repentance comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true repentance (Ps. 51:1; 130:4).

Here is what Strong's Concordance has to say. Repentance comes from the word 

metanoeó: to change one's mind or purpose

Studylight.org looks more carefully at this Greek word.

* METANOEO is the English spelling of the Greek word μετανοὲω.

Old Testament usage

Μετανοὲω in Classical Greek meant, "to perceive afterwards." It was used as the opposite of προνοὲω(Strong's #4306), "to perceive beforehand." Μετανοὲω later came to mean, "to change one's mind or purpose." This meaning was carried over into the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament.

This word is used to express what Samuel said to Saul in 1 Samuel 15:28-29 (in the Septuagint this text is 1 Kings 15:28-29): "The Lord has torn your kingdom from Israel out of your hand today, and will give it to your neighbor, the one good over against you. And He will divide Israel into two, and he will not turn away nor change His mind (μετανοὲω), because He is not a man so that He should change His mind(μετανοὲω)." -Literal Translation of the Septuagint.

Samuel is saying that God does not change His mind or purpose in what He does.

In Proverbs 20:25 it says, "It is a snare for a man to sanctify quickly something of his own, for after vowing comes changing of the mind (μετανοὲω) ." – Literal Translation of the Septuagint.

This proverb warns against taking some possession and quickly dedicating it to the Lord and then afterward, wanting to change his mind.

The proverb teaches that after dedication, it cannot be taken back. The idea of changing one's mind or purpose was carried into the New Testament as well.

New Testament usage

Μετανοὲω is first used in the New Testament by John the Baptist as he called Israel to repent, or make a decision to change their trust in salvation from Judaism to the coming Messiah, as recorded in Matthew 3:2 saying, "Repent (the imperative, or command form, of μετανοὲω), for the kingdom of heaven has drawn near."

– Literal Translation. After John was cast into prison, it is recorded in Mark 1:15 that Jesus came preaching the gospel saying, "The time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has drawn near;. Repent (again, the imperative or command form of μετανοὲω) and believe in the gospel."

– Literal Translation. Jesus continued the message of the need for those to repent and to believe in the gospel to be saved. In Luke 15:7, Jesus emphasizes the importance of repentance when He said, "I say to you that in this way joy will be in heaven over one sinner repenting (μετανοὲω) than over ninety-nine righteous ones, who have no need of repentance." – Literal Translation. 

Paul says in Acts 17:30, "Indeed therefore, God having overlooked the times of ignorance, He now commands all men everywhere that they should repentF2 (μετανοὲω)," – Literal Translation. The necessity of repentance is demonstrated by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:21: "if perhaps when I come again, my God should humble me toward you, and I should mourn over many of the ones who have sinned before and not having repented (μετανοὲω) over their uncleanness and fornication, and licentiousness which they practiced."

What is not mentioned in these definitions?

There are things that Christians tend to forget when the word repentance is mentioned. 

1. Repentance can be faked, at least in this life.

2. Repentance for sin does not mean the person is not sinful.

3. Repentance does not mean a *get out of jail free* card.

How many criminals suddenly *find the Lord* when caught in a crime or prior to parole hearings? Getting religion is often viewed positively by parole boards and judges. We wrote a post on an incident that happened in our area: Pathological Naiveté: A Child Porn Addict is “Cured” Through Bible Study.

Here is a portion of that post.



Warning: Explicit material in the next paragraph only.

Imagine…  A little girl, let’s call her Sarah, is held down by a man and forcibly raped.  The horrendous scene is recorded on camera.  You can hear her little voice sobbing and calling out for her mommy.  Yet, there is no mommy, and this heinous act is completed.  The repulsive video is available on the Internet.  A man in Raleigh, North Carolina gets his kicks out of watching child pornography like this.  In fact, he has been getting sexually aroused this way just about every night for TWELVE years.  He is finally brought to justice and will soon be sentenced for this felony.  This crime carries a minimum of FIVE years in a federal prison.

This criminal is upset and does not want to go to jail while he awaits his sentencing because he has important things to do.  What is the response of one Southern Baptist pastor?  The pastor takes the stand in order to ask a judge to give him extra time to be on the streets reportedly because this man has become a Christian.  Huh?

Let’s back up and tell this incredible story.

Imagine opening up your Sunday newspaper and reading this glaring front page headline:  "Child pornography consumes a life".  That's exactly what happened yesterday to those who subscribe to The News and Observer, a regional newspaper based in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Mandy Locke did an excellent job investigating and writing about this story.  All of the quotes and the general storyline come from this article link. (This link has been updated).

History 
David Chatham, a 43 year old public relations executive, began viewing adult pornography at the age of 9 when he found his dad's Penthouse magazine, tucked away in a briefcase in a closet.  Approximately 12 years ago Chatham began viewing child pornography.  He is married and has no children.  In December 2008 he was arrested and was found to have over 3,400 images of naked, molested boys and girls, toddlers and teens on his computer.  Chatham was tried in federal court, pled guilty, and will soon be sentenced to serve a prison term of at least five years.

Knowledge of Wrongdoing 
There will be no insanity plea here.  Prior to his arrest, Chatham claimed that he knew he would eventually be apprehended.  There are investigators who spend their working hours on the web tracking down these perverts.  Incredibly, Chatham admitted to the newspaper reporter that he rehearsed what he would say and do when the inevitable arrest occurred.

Wife and Biological Children 
He has no children of his own.  His wife claimed she did not want children. (Why is that, I wonder. Did she subconsciously know something was amiss)?  She also claimed that she did not know about her husband’s activity in spite of him spending hours in the middle of the night on the computer.  I, Dee, have a friend who became suspicious of her husband’s midnight computer viewing after a couple of years, despite his claims of “doing work.”  She investigated and immediately sought help.  The wife’s claim of “not knowing”, during a relationship that spanned 9 years until his arrest, seems a bit odd.  Perhaps she just didn’t want to know.

Conversion Experience 
Chatham claims he began attending a Bible study immediately after he was arrested and is now a Christian.

Other Post Arrest Activities 
Chatham began attending sex addicts meetings, received intensive psychological intervention, and worked with authorities to give lectures to men who share his pornography addiction.  By all accounts, he became a model, contrite individual who was trying to turn his life around.

Request for leniency 
Going before a judge , a number of people spoke on Chatham's behalf, asking for leniency, another three months of freedom to get his affairs in order,  before he went to prison.  The request was flatly denied, and he went straight to jail…  Did any of Chatham's good Christian supporters testify about the children whose lives had been destroyed with his assistance? Why do I say this? The child porn industry would not survive without money used to purchase these heinous images. He had purchased 3400+images.

Analysis

Conversion after apprehension

There is no question that David Chatham knew his activities were illegal and immoral.  What is troublesome is that his “new life” didn’t begin until after his arrest.  He claims he rehearsed what he would say when he was arrested.  Why did he wait until his arrest?  Child molesters are highly manipulative individuals.  “Wait”, you might say, “He was not a molester”.  We contend that he contributed time, and, most likely, money, to this illegal business.  In effect, his financial support contributed to this heinous industry.  By his actions, he was condoning and implicitly agreeing to the rape of toddlers – that’s right – toddlers!!!!

This man was a public relations expert who rubbed elbows with the rich and powerful.  He must have thought out how he would tip the scales in his favor when arrested. 

His porn acquisitions went on for 12 years!  Such a habitual activity is not cured overnight.  We are sure that there are Christians out there who probably claim that a miracle occurred. To that we say, “Can you prove it?”  Is it worth the risk to our children?  Don’t committed Christians also commit heinous acts?

Jaycee Duggard met the "converted" Phillip Garrido

Let’s take a look at another well-known case, which , at the time of our original post was currently ongoing.  Most everyone has heard of the remarkable story of Jaycee Duggard who was abducted by Phillip Garrido when she was 11 years old.  She was held in captivity for close to two decades during which time she was forcibly raped by this monster and bore two children.

Prior to Jaycee’s abduction, Garrido had been a convicted sex offender.  He was sentenced in 1976 to 50 years in jail after kidnapping and raping a woman.  However, 10 years into his sentence Garrido claimed to have “found God” and was released on parole.  Four years later, he kidnapped Jaycee and her life became a horror movie.  (In Touch magazine, September 14, 2009)  Perhaps Garrido lost God when God became inconvenient.

Back to Chatham

We believe that “conversion” is sometimes used as an excuse and DO NOT believe that 9 months is sufficient time to make a judgment about this man’s sincerity.

Does conversion imply a fully changed life?

We do not wish to judge whether or not Chatham is a Christian.  That's between him and God.  In fact, let’s assume that he is.  Why does a newly found faith (9 months) imply that he is not a danger to his community?  There are countless examples of Christians who fall prey to sexual sins.  Darrell Gilyard, a convicted rapist pastor who was vigorously promoted by Paige Patterson, lived a secret life of rape and is now in prison. Link   

Addendum 7/6/12: Gilyard is out of jail and is now preaching. However, his church petitioned the court to allow children to come hear him preach. I kid you not! Thankfully, the secular court was smarter than his church members. Read about it at FBC Jax Watchdog  Link

How many Christians who are alcoholics or drug addicts “fall off the wagon?” Since when does a “dedication to Christ” mean that someone won’t sin?

Does dedication to Christ “cure” sexual deviance?

Dr. Jon made an interesting point.  If all it takes is dedication to Jesus to “cure” deviance, why not have the courts turn over all of the prisoners who are Christian converts to churches and save the government a whole lot of money by closing a bunch of jails?  Even the pastor in this situation would admit that Christianity does not have a 100% cure rate in this area. Heck, they can’t even reduce the 50% divorce rate within the Southern Baptist faith!

Does belief in an expressed faith in Christ trump concern for the safety of children?

Chatham has spent 12 years viewing hard-core child pornography.  Anyone who would view something so awful day in and day out for 12 years (sometimes for 14 hours a day!) has a darkness in his soul that is not easy to penetrate.  In fact, there is a side bar article entitled “Internet Enables a Dark Crime” by Mandy Locke,  here, that reviews a study done at a federal prison in Butner, North Carolina.  That study found that roughly 85% of men imprisoned for receiving or distributing child pornography and did not have a known history of committing sexual abuse when arrested, actually had committed a hands on offense. Note: the figure is 85%! 

Chatham himself stated:  “Though he never had a desire to touch a child sexually, he worried that, over time, that inhibition would slip, too.”  This man may be crying out for help.  He claims he never had this desire, but his assertion is a bit suspect given the nature of his perversion.  Although he passed a lie detector test, these tests can be inaccurate.

We are grateful that his wife never wanted children!   Although she claims she didn’t know about this problem, there is sufficient reason to be circumspect about her assertion.

Churches appear to be naïve, or worse, lax, in providing for the safety of the children entrusted to their care.  The blinders must come off!  Many of these same churches claim that all men are depraved, but they don’t appear to practice safety measures that coincide with their theology.

According to the article, the pastor of Chatham's church took the stand on Chatham's behalf, along with a number of other supporters, to ask the magistrate for leniency prior to his sentencing.  Chatham wanted three more months of freedom before going to prison.  The pastor talked of Chatham’s dedication to Christ (9 months).  His therapist claimed she didn’t “think” that Chatham would abuse any kids.  (That's quite reassuring!)  Chatham's attorney, Joe Cheshire, argued that Chatham did change his life and should be allowed to keep doing that!  Incredibly, this same attorney defended a pedophile seminarian that had been at the same church. That pervert was given 13 years in jail! Never forget that a defense attorney must defend his client.

There was no way that Chatham should be allowed one more minute of freedom on the streets with children.  There's no question that therapists have screwed up in “pervert” assessments as well demonstrated by the previously mentioned Garrido case.  As for Cheshire’s statement that Chatham is doing a lot of good, why not let him do the good in jail where there will be a “captive” audience for Chatham’s message?  

We implore all pastors not to be naïve when it comes to sexual offenders.  They are manipulators who have a strong compulsion to get their “fix” of choice.  Please, please report these abusers immediately, get them jailed, and then spend time rehabilitating them.  For years, my pastor has hosted a man who was convicted for first-degree murder.  That sort of quiet compassion, with a commitment that extends over years, is commendable and probably provides for insight into a man’s character far better than 9 months.  Sincerity is better measured in years, especially for this sort of crime.

Pathological Naivete

Perhaps the greatest irony is that it appears some pastors seem far more concerned about the abuser than those who have been abused.  How many of the “supporters” of these criminals are as concerned about the victims?  Do these supporters ever imagine how many children have been tortured for this man’s perversion?  I have personally known church members who did not think that one rapist should go to jail because he could be helped by  these “well meaning yet pathologically naïve” churchgoers.

Poor theology and dangerous psychology

Chatham’s wife was quoted as saying:  “I see now that he’s sick.  It’s like him having cancer.  I couldn’t leave him in that state, and I can’t leave him like this.“  I am the mother of a child who suffered with a malignant brain tumor.  I'll bet I speak for many others out there.  I wish that simply turning off the computer could have cured my child’s tumor.  Gee, flick a switch and the cancer goes away.  No, ma’am, this is not like cancer.  Yes it is a compulsion, but do not put it in the same category as cancer!  

“She holds him tight and tells him that he is a good person, worthy of her love.”  No, he is not a good person.  He watched images night in and out, of toddlers, children and teens being tortured (yes, rape is a form of torture).  This went on for 12 years!!!!   He was not helpless.  He admitted that he knew what he was doing was wrong.  He could have sought help but chose to wait until he was arrested.

The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  However, some sins have a greater effect on society than others.  Children’s lives have been destroyed due to the activities of this man and others like him.  Good is not a word that should be used in this situation.  Do you think the raped children would call Chatham, “a good man?”

US Attorney Jay Exhume and Federal Magistrate David Daniel appear to understand sin better that the preacher. Attorney Exhume sad that all of the above testimony “wasn’t enough to make him different from the droves of men he sends to prison each year for defiling children by watching them be abused.”  APPLAUSE!!!!!!!!!!!

These legal professionals seem to understand the effects and consequences of sexual sin that hurts children so much better than do many pastors and churches.  They have seen it all, including false conversions, irreparably harmed children, and men who cannot overcome their sin.

So many pastors have underestimated the horrendous effects of sexual abuse in their churches.  Incredibly, some pastors here in North Carolina DO NOT even think they are mandated reporters.  Some even condemn sexually abused children for “not telling mommy and daddy.”  Pastors, please take this problem seriously.  It will not be solved by a couple of Bible studies and some nice speeches.  Anyone who believes it can needs to get out of the counseling business or, better yet, spend some time with children who have been tortured and abused.

We are grateful that these lawmakers put this man in jail and got him off the street.  Chatham's supporters can visit him in jail and watch his ministry develop.  However, do not be deceived.  He will need intensive counseling, and even then, may never have normal feelings.  After all, Chatham has spent most of his life fueling his pornography habit since he was first exposed as a nine year old!  He will need to be watched around children and computers for the rest of his life.  One day, he will be set free when he meets his Savior.  Until then, he is just another sinner that is capable of deeply harmful behavior. 

End of post.



Let's take a look at the theology of repentance from the following pastors.

1. Steve Estes link and link

Steve Estes and the Elders excommunicated his former daughter in law, declared her a non-Christian and turned her over to Satan because she decided to divorce her husband, Brock. Brock was the son of Steve Estes. He allegedly pulled a gun on his wife, tried to choke her,and  sexually assaulted her. He also engaged in observing pornography and was a heavy drinker. He claimed that Brock was:

the most repentant man he had seen in his 30 years of ministry.

Analysis: A man, with a violence problem with a long time addiction to alcohol and porn, may be sad he is caught but he is still a dangerous man. Even if he is the most repentant man on earth, he will need years of counseling and observation to be sure that he is no longer violent and abusing child porn Update 4/19/2016  Correction: He was allegedly abusing adult pornography- not child pornography.  We tried to correct this in the original post but this one slipped through. We apologize for our error.and alcohol. It would also be wise if this man is no long allowed near guns. Does anyone know if he has been reported to the prison authorities? (He is reportedly a prison guard.)

Steve Estes should not be teaching Practical Theology at Westminster Seminary if he believes that this is the way to apply church discipline. I have contacted the seminary to see if this treatment of domestic violence victims is part of the theology of Westminster Seminary. No response, yet, but I will keep trying. I am quite concerned about what they are teaching the seminary students.

2. Ken Ramey link, link and link.

Ramey demonstrated his ignorance of both repentance and conversion in these posts. Billy, a developmentally delayed young teen was horribly assaulted by an older teen in the church. Ramey wanted the event to be kept quiet, forbidding Shauna and Billy, from talking about it. 

 The "perpetrator"  confessed his faith and even made a confession of faith in Christ as a result of the conviction he was under regarding what he had done. 

…Finally, I think it is important for us to remember that the Bible that if we are aware that someone has committed a sin, we are to personally and privately confront that person for the purpose of leading them to repentance and restoring them to a right relationship with God and anyone else their sin has affected. (cf. Gal 6:1, Matt 18:12-16). The only time a person's sins should be made public is when they refuse to repent of it or are unwilling to be reconciled to others who have sinned against them (cf. Matt 18:17, 1 Tim 5:19-22). Unrepentant sin should never be swept under the rug but always confronted and exposed (cf 1 Cor 5:1-13). However, if sin is confessed and repented of then we are to cover it of love for Christ and our fellow sinner (cf. 1 Peter 1:8, James 5:19-20, Gen 9:20-23). God Himself said, "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who professes and forsakes them will find compassion" (Proverbs 28:13). We should deal with one another sins accordingly. 

A violent sex offender is not *cured* overnight. Also, this horrible rape was not just a sin. It is a crime in the US and the molester pled guilty to the charges of felonious assault. Ramey and his Elders put the church at risk by making an assumption that expressed repentance leads to safe behavior. Such naivete does not belong in the church which should be the first to understand that humans are capable of great sin even after a profession of Christ.

3. Tullian Tchvidjian

According to the Christian Today

The year 2015 has been an extremely difficult one for Billy Graham's grandson Pastor Tullian Tchividjian. After he found out that his wife Kim cheated on him, he sought comfort in a friend, and he later engaged in an extramarital affair himself.

When church leaders of the high-profile Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in South Florida confronted him about it, Tchividjian admitted to the affair and he later resigned "due to ongoing marital issues." Tchividjian hoped that they would be able to "weather this heart wrenching storm," but unfortunately, his marriage was unable to hold out and he subsequently filed for a divorce.

A number of people believed that Tullian threw his ex-wife under the bus. It turned out that they were correct in their assessment.

In September 2015, Tullian got a new job.

Tullian Tchividjian is now the director of ministry development at Willow Creek Church in Central Florida. 

"We're so delighted to welcome Tullian Tchividjian to the staff of Willow Creek Church," reads the church website. "

…The South Florida Presbytery deposed Tchividjian of his pastoral credentials in August, but remained firmly committed to helping the former pastor.  

"Our goal in doing this is to both protect the integrity of the Church from which his credentials were given while, at the same time, wrapping Tullian in the grace offered by Jesus Christ to all those who confess sin, pursue repentance and desire restoration," reads the Presbytery statement, Charisma News previously reported. 

Shortly after this, Tullian relaunched his Liberate ministry with a new board of directors.

Interestingly, a number of people, including TWW's good friend, Julie Anne Smith of Spiritual Sounding Board, thought that this return to ministry was too soon. However, the proponents of Tullian's new job claimed that he was repentant and was being restored. After all, grace applies, doesn't it, especially for celebrity pastors…. Once again, the critics, including Julie Anne Smith would prove to be right.

According to Christianity Today

This weekend, Tullian Tchividjian’s past two churches confirmed rumors that the Florida pastor had another affair prior to the one that prompted his resignation last summer.

But the pastor who gave Billy Graham’s grandson a second chance says he doesn’t regret it.

Last Wednesday, CT reported how Tchividjian was fired following fresh “disclosures.”

“Repentance is progressive and often painful,” both Willow Creek Presbyterian Church and Tchividjian separately told CT. “It involves disclosing and dealing with the darkest places of our hearts and lives.”

“I remain committed to that painful and progressive process,” Tchividjian told CT.

On Monday afternoon, he publicly apologized for the pain he has caused his family.

His Liberate ministry has been shut down and the board dissolved. The saddest news of this whole mess is that apparently some of the leaders at Coral Ridge knew of this first affair and told Tullian not to tell his wife. They call this leadership?

So, think about this. Tullian confessed to one sin, kind of blamed it on his wife and resigned his pastorate. All of the leaders involved in this debacle were quick and willing to believe Tullian's first account because being forgiving and trusting is what good Christians do, right?

An understanding of the Gospel should mean that all three of these men and those who follow them should understand that even the beloved pastor can be involved in unrepentant sin. They can cheat, lie, assault, steal, gossip, and abuse along with everyone else. Keep this in mind. Your pastor is a sinner and never forget it.

Janet Mefferd and an Anatomy of an Evangelical Scandal.

Janet nailed the problem with scandals in the Christian church. 



In recent years, evangelicalism has experienced what appears to be a dramatic uptick in the number of (what should be) ministry-ending scandals among famous Christian pastors, leaders and celebrities of different sorts. After a while, one can grow incredibly weary of working up fresh outrage over each new fall – not only because the falls seem to be occurring more frequently, but also because the church at large seems to go through a remarkably similar and depressing chain of events each time a scandal hits. 

So with that in mind, I decided it might be instructive to compile the common chain of events you can expect to occur – give or take a detail — when the next Big Christian Name scandal breaks. Please note this list is written with no one person or scandal in mind. It is just meant to be a general composite of and commentary on what I’ve observed over many years of watching these kinds of scandals unfold. As we embrace true repentance and grace, may we also make sure we never minimize serious sin among our Christian leaders and heroes. If we do, we only exacerbate the problem – and minimize or even discount the Word of God. “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” (James 3:1)

With that in mind … the anatomy:

1. Big Christian Name commits adultery/spiritually abuses people/secretly goes on Ashley Madison/embezzles/secretly buys his way onto the New York Times bestseller list/solicits prostitutes/commits sexual abuse/ plagiarizes/covers up sexual abuse, et al.

2. Big Christian Name, when finally outed for big-time, ministry-ending sinful conduct, offers public statement, apologizing, quoting Scripture and asking for prayer.

3. Big Christian Name steps down (or “away”) from ministry and goes silent, either for a year or roughly an hour.

4. Big Christian Name’s Rabid Fans engage in social-media “grace and forgiveness” Fest to Big Christian Name, lauding the Name’s “inspiring humility and repentance.”

5. Big Christian Name’s Rabid Fans simultaneously engage in social-media “you’re a graceless Pharisee” Fest to outers and/or critics of Big Christian Name’s sins, denouncing their “graceless judgment and first-stone-throwing.”

6. Big-Name Christian Counselor and/or Rehab Specialist and/or Famous Pastor parachutes in to “advise and do spiritual triage.”

7. Big Christian Name receives phone call from Big Christian Publisher, pitching idea for heartfelt Big Book Deal memoir on “What I Learned about God’s Grace and Forgiveness from my Big Sins.”

8. Alternate ending: Big Christian Name adamantly digs in, refuses to apologize and therefore “let Satan bring down this important ministry,” but continues to be outed for his Big Sins. Eventually is forced into issuing public statement, apologizing, quoting Scripture and asking for prayer.

9. (See 4, 5, 6 and 7.)

10. Big Christian Name’s Big Friends ignore scandal, ensuring all posts and tweets during the height of the bad publicity stick to either religious liberty or abortion.

11. After about a month, Big Christian Name’s Big Friends stick toe in water and write oblique articles, quoting Bible verses and Famous Theologians of the Past, talking about the need for immediate “grace and restoration” for Big Sinners who shall remain Nameless (at least in their articles).

12. Alert critics note what Big Christian Name’s Big Friends are doing and call them out on it.

13. Big Christian Name’s Big Friends engage in limited social-media campaign against critics, with the rallying cry: “It is neither biblically wise nor biblically necessary to comment on every scandal out there!”

14. Big Christian Name’s Big Friends and Rabid Fans, having had it with critics, offer unified social-media analysis: “At root, we’re ALL doing exactly what the Big Christian Name did (or is doing). And if we’re not doing it now, we’ve ALL thought about doing it. (Throw in extraneous Matthew 5:28 citation here.) And if you don’t admit you’ve THOUGHT about doing exactly what the Big Christian Name did, then you’re a LIAR, and you hate GRACE, and you’re a PHARISEE.”

15. Exhausted and exasperated critics object to red-herring, unbiblical and illogical analysis of scandal, plead for biblical view of repentance and call for a renewed fidelity to the Bible on ministry qualifications for “blamelessness” and “a good reputation with outsiders,” per I Timothy 3 and Titus 1.

16. Big Friends/Rabid Fans begin new round of “Pharisee” catcalls.

17. Ever so softly and gently, Big Christian Name puts out a well-timed, heartfelt tweet.

18. Big Friends and Rabid Fans sob, offer new round of thanks to God.

19. Big-Name Christian Counselor and/or Rehab Specialist and/or Famous Pastor declare Big Christian Name “fit for ministry,” “healed of his addictions” and/or “justified in his divorce.” 

20. Big Christian Name excitedly sets up his own, new 501(c)3 ministry and/or announces his new job within ministry.

21. Big Christian Name makes triumphant return with talk-show appearance/Big Book Deal announcement/Big Friend-endorsed conference and/or church appearance.

22. Big Friends/Rabid Fans yell, “Grace triumphs again!”

23. Critics throw up hands, plead for Christ’s immediate return.

24. Big Christian Name wins again. 

25. Curtain.

Comments

Anatomy of Evangelical Scandals: Steve Estes, Ken Ramey, Tullian Tchvidjian and the Misunderstanding of Repentance — 170 Comments

  1. So, TT apologizes for the pain he caused his family. Did he actually own that he lied about his (ex?) wife? Why is it so hard for these folks–e.g. TT and other pastors–to say “adultery,” “lied,” and other proper names for the sins committed? “Failures” seems an especially odd word choice for the Reformed crowd to use.

    Oh, that is right. If it is someone that they like or is famous, they will use terms like “failure” but for the mere peons it’s “adultery,” “lies,” “slander,” etc. all after a proper “sin-quest.”

  2. IMHO, the core issues is the commercialization of Christianity here in the US. When selling the “product” is more important than true, basic integrity, and the real hard work of fundamental change in people, which can take a lifetime, we will continue to see these “instantaneous changed lives”…

  3. @ Divorce Minister:
    I only wish that it was from TT. It was released by Hunter Fredrick, his PR firm. It is also his final statement on the matter which is also a command from his PR firm. I suspect that there may be a bit more to come and he is no longer going to comment on any of it.

  4. since I am not ‘evangelical’, it is hard to know the process an evangelical Christian goes through on their journey towards repentance and seeking God’s forgiveness . . .

    HOWEVER, instinctively I know this much:
    that IF Steven Estes’ grandson Brock was truly repentant, then he would have opposed any efforts to continue to injure his wife through the actions of his grandfather’s Church . . .

    what a pitiful family, the grandfather and the grandson

    Brock’s wife was fortunate to have the strength to get away from this nightmare as I think she realized the whole family scene remained corrupted by vindictiveness towards her . . . very sad story anyway you see it

  5. Anyone who supposedly repents of sin, especially when that sin is also a crime, gives lie to that repentance if they turn around and plead innocent in court. To Chatham’s credit he pleaded guilty. However, pastors and church members should not speak up on behalf of criminals requesting leniency or special allowances.

    Stop Baptist Predators wrote that the stated reason for pastor Ricky Mill’s leniency request was Chatham’s “dedication to Christ.”

    No. Not acceptable. Someone’s ‘dedication to Christ’ has no bearing on the consequences of his/her crime and should not be used as leverage to buy him 3 more months before he went to prison.

    Or as in the words of Ulysses Everett McGill: “Even if that did put you square with the Lord, the State of Mississippi’s a little more hard-nosed…”

    Regarding Steve & Brock Estes:

    Quoting Steve regarding his gun-wielding, wife-beating, drunken son being: “the most repentant man he had seen in his 30 years of ministry.”

    (Trying to type through the screaming sirens emitting from my internal BS meter in regards to that quote), my initial response is that Steve has evidently never seen a repentant man.

    A repentant Brock would not have allowed his father and the church to malign and further abuse his abused wife publicly. Repentant people don’t start making demands of those they have sinned against.

    Ken Ramey’s comments of how the “perpetrator” made a confession of faith, etc. Or teaching that Matthew 18 applied whatsoever in this crime. Or that someone who repents & confesses of a heinous crime (after being caught, ahem), that the sin is to be covered by our love and evidently never discussed or acknowledge again.

    Once again, no, that is a misapplication.

    Paul told the Galations about Peter’s sin in Antioch when he sided with the circumcision crowd. Paul was not walking in the ways of Ken Ramey… Why was Paul ‘uncovering’ Peter’s sin? And before the pew plebes at that!

    Another time, Paul refused to let Mark go with him on one of his missionary trips, because Mark had abandoned Paul in Pamphylia. Barnabas disagreed and wanted Mark to come with them. But Paul strongly disagreed and they parted ways, Paul headed out with Silas and Mark went off with Barnabas.

    Paul is obviously not following the teachings of Ken Ramey here – There was no Matthew 18ing! There was no immediate restoration! And what could have possessed Luke to have MADE ALL THIS PUBLIC?

    And as to TT – I do believe in repentance and restoration. But once a leader has committed certain sins – no, you do not get to move right back into position a few months later.

    He supposedly confessed his earlier adultery to Steve Brown – but note that when this all blew out into the public he put it all on his wife and her supposed adultery. His earlier confession to Steve Brown and repentance counted for nothing.

    He betrayed his wife and his children. He betrayed Coral Ridge. He betrayed the female church members with whom he committed adultery. He betrayed Willow Creek. He betrayed Kevin Labby. His later confession and repentance to Coral Ridge counted for nothing.

    Now, he’s got a PR guy on it…

    Evangelicalism keeps teaching and preaching about how God is going to judge the US because of feminism, homosexuality, abortion, same-sex marriage – and so He may.

    But what is clear to me is that right now, God’s judgement has begun with the house of God. I am not speaking of floods and fires – rather, God is shining light.

    And looking over the list of recent evangelical ‘oopsies’ – each time the light reveals sin in a churchianity leader, a flood of their fellow leaders come flowing out to excuse it, cover it, make it all go away, stand them back up on the money pipeline, and go back to business as usual as if nothing ever happened. And that doesn’t include the tidal wave of followers who pour forth to mimic their leaders.

    God shines a light on sin, and deceiving leaders and deceived followers start putting on their blinders and stapling up the black-out curtains.

    Leaders need to wake up. Followers need to wake up too. I don’t think this is going to go away or that the exposures are going to stop. It’s time to determine whether we have built our houses on sand or rock.

  6. Deb wrote:

    We first blogged about TT in December 2009.

    This was one of the first stories that caught my eye when I started reading older posts on TWW a year ago. Tullian remained while hundreds who voted for his ouster left the church. One quote stood out to me was his characterization that his opposition “will stop at nothing until they have overthrown legitimate authority and replaced it with their own.”

    Yup the “pastor” has the AUTHORITY, the hundreds of people upset are just dweebs to be tossed aside. At the time I read it, years after the episode, I was disturbed so many were supportive of TT, forgiving him of what appeared to be dictatorial behavior. I believe that had he been ousted and taken down a notch back then he may well have not had the arrogance to venture into the affairs that did eventually bring him down.

    These guys remind me of the stories of shoplifters that steal bigger and bigger items, becoming more daring, until finally they get caught pushing a refrigerator out he door. The difference is the churchianity varient allows all to be forgiven with a wave of the hand and the words “I repent”.

  7. Divorce Minister wrote:

    Why is it so hard for these folks–e.g. TT and other pastors–to say “adultery,” “lied,” and other proper names for the sins committed? “Failures” seems an especially odd word choice for the Reformed crowd to use.

    Also, the go-to euphemism is usually “mistake”, and the apology issued is unclear whether the person is sorry for committing the mistake OR sorry for being caught.

  8. 26. Big Christian Name one day dies, faces God, gives account for what he did to abuse church, slander God’s name, blaspheme Christ.

  9. Attorney Exhume said that all of the above testimony “wasn’t enough to make him different from the DROVES of men he sends to prison each year for defiling children by watching them be abused.”

    From what I have seen DROVES is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Experts in the field (I don’t have the statistics handy but someone could find them) will tell you that pedophiles, sex abusers etc are never cured. Why the courts put them on probation and let them is beyond me.

    Churches who should know that the place is full of sinners MUST protect the children better than they do. No excuses! Any leader who objects should be given closer scrutiny.

    I could tell you many true stories having worked as a social worker etc.
    but let me just say that when we had some work release prisoners from the STATE PRISON, the prisoners would actually brag about coming in as the bad guy in order to show improvement and then of course fake the conversion to try and get an early parole.

    I know a retired minister in Colorado who is a Chaplain at a tough prison here and he has much to say about the criminal mind and how devious, selfish, evil it can be. Yes we are talking about the criminal mind.

    Finally, my mother’s mother died when she was 8 years old during the Depression. When their father was in the hospital the children were farmed out (to work) to different church families. My mother was in the home of one of the church elders and he repeatedly sexually molested her. She never dared tell until she was old. She had felt deep shame and mental problems throughout her life.

    A millstone around their neck and thrown into the sea sounds about right to me.

  10. you’re amazing, dee. in light of everything else going on, you’ve put together such a thoughtful synthesis of things. thank you so much.

    loved janet mefferd’s list. I hope this post & her list gets much exposure.

    ++++++++++

    I consulted the Martindale.com website, and found all the attorneys in Texas with experience in defamation. 2 of them also have experience in sexual assault, as well. one is in Houston. i’ll email it to you.

  11. In compiling links for the resource bibliography on the situation with Tullian Tchividjian over the past 4 days or so, I’ve taken time to read the 2016 articles listed and some of the earlier ones as well.

    One theme stuck with me, illustrated even with today’s “final statement” issued on Mr. Tchividjian’s behalf by the Frederick and Associates firm: About the only specific apology he makes is to his ex-wife and family; the rest is generic regret aimed toward who may have been impacted by his actions. And I can’t recall having seen any report of him apologizing to the two women he engaged in sexual relationships with and/or their families, for wounds he inflicted on them, although he acknowledges the existence of both of his adulterous situations now.

    Questions on how to be more effective with recovery, restoration, and restitution have been emerging from my research on how Mr. Tchividjian failed the Christian systems that he was supposedly influencing toward Christlike transformation, and how the systems and key people involved also seem to have failed him. So much damage could have been prevented, it seems, simply by asking tough questions to get the necessary details to know all the people who were harmed, and then getting more appropriate boundaries and help in place.

    Anyway, from the dozen or so case studies I’ve done on spiritual abuse and/or “fallen ministers” in the last 8 years, my conclusion is that we just don’t do this very well at all. Doesn’t matter what theology, denomination, or movement — when a severe problem situation involving public figures within the Church breaks out, our responses for the system of people directly and indirectly affected usually earns us a “D.”

    I think we have much to learn from practices used in some recovery ministries for people dealing with “life dominating and damaging” behavior patterns. For instance, one practice I’ve heard is a set of 5 or 6 questions used in a weekly “check-in” portion of a small group meeting, where 1 question deals with sharing difficulties with temptations since the last meeting and having an opportunity to confess sins. And the final question is along the lines of, “Is the anything you’ve shared with us that was a lie or wasn’t the full truth?” Think of the potential difference that last question alone could make when there is a “confession” that may be designed to silence others, or is really only a “caughtfession” that semi-acknowledges what happened after someone else has confronted you.

    Grace doesn’t erase the long series of micro-musings about temptations that lead eventually to macro-decisions of intentional sin that lead to mega-damage of people inside and outside of the church, and it really doesn’t remove all consequences either.

    The persevering grace we need from others as we recovery equips us to be transformed, encourages us as we wrestling along that long-term pathway to Christlikeness, and helps us by setting wise boundaries for us when we’re unable to do so for ourselves. But then, isn’t that we all need?

  12. @ brad/futuristguy:
    I don’t think offenders need a wet nurse to coddle them back to someplace comfortable. The priority shouldn’t be on protecting them but the potential victims. The fox doesn’t need to be tucked into the chicken coop for the night.

    Many communities are providing a public data base of sex offenders in your town, area, neighborhood and how about church.
    Protecting our young or the vulnerable in the church as a priority. Police and state criminal background checks on anyone involved with children or youth. Policies such as TT grandfather Billy Graham had about not getting in an elevator or hotel room without another member of the ministry. No child or young person alone with anyone. Glass windows on classrooms and offices.
    A church policy that if a crime is committed it shouldn’t be covered up to protect the criminal but the church needs to get into gear and protect the victim.

  13. these big name professional Christians… they’re like slithery politicians.

    I still remember when attorney general alberto Gonzalez was confessing to something really egregious he was responsible for having done (he had gotten caught). he had this far away look in his eye, head held high, as if he was noble.

    it was such a contradiction, what he was admitting to because he had gotten caught doing it, and the sense of nobility in his demeanor. if you weren’t paying attention to the substance of his words & the significance of the situation, you would have thought he was kind of heroic, and perhaps someone worthy of your support. all because of the smoke and mirrors of how he was communicating.

    church environments are so heady, it’s very hard to think straight. even pastors who are good human beings get caught up in their own perceived importance, and manipulating their audience (even in very soft ways). they don’t even know they’re doing it.

    TT & his peers who are just as slithery and slimy are in a league of their own, however. me, here, standing over on the side breathing cool fresh air… i’m just amazed at the scuzz & the lack of objectivity.

  14. all the scuzz…. all the scuzz of my silly religion…

    I just got a compilation of Peter, Paul, & Mary and have been listening to it lots. oh, what a tonic. a breath of fresh air. so honest. so beautiful.

  15. Pingback: Resource Bibliography on System Issues Related to the Tullian Tchividjian Situation | Spiritual Sounding Board UNITED STATES

  16. I think it was C.S. Lewis who wrote that if one became a Christian after committing a crime ones first act would have to be to turns ones self over to the authorities for the appropriate punishment – even if that meant the death penalty.
    I could be wrong about who wrote this – but I am sure that the actual words are correct!
    Becoming a Christian isn`t a get out of jail free card for this world – far from it!
    It is, of course, for the next.

  17. “Critics throw up hands, plead for Christ’s immediate return”

    This is where I am at.

    x x x x

    I am heartsick about the things that are being done in the name of Christ.

    “Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words”

  18. Joe wrote:

    What’s the over/under that TT had more than 2 women?

    Well…my ex-husband committed adultery. He has since remarried and I have pretty good evidence that he’s cheating on his second wife, too. I’m voting that there are more. I hope TT’s ex-wife has been tested for STDs. You never really know with people like him.

  19. Dee and Deb – under the section on Steve Estes it says something about his child porn viewing son. I’ve been reading your articles on this from the beginning and hadn’t seen anything about child porn, just regular old sinful pornography.
    Just wanted to ask if that was an error based on the first part of the article?

  20. clarissa wrote:

    I think it was C.S. Lewis who wrote that if one became a Christian after committing a crime ones first act would have to be to turns ones self over to the authorities for the appropriate punishment – even if that meant the death penalty.
    I could be wrong about who wrote this – but I am sure that the actual words are correct!
    Becoming a Christian isn`t a get out of jail free card for this world – far from it!
    It is, of course, for the next.

    “Now a step further. Does loving your enemy mean not punishing him? No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment – even to death. If you had committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged. It is, therefore, in my opinion, perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentence a man to death or a Christian soldier to kill an enemy…”

    C. S. Lewis, *Mere Christianity*, Chapter 17 “Forgiveness” (the whole chapter is very pertinent to this discussion… http://pdbooks.ca/pdbooks/english/L/Lewis-C-S–Mere-Christianity/yudbwx_files/OEBPS/Text/Section0023.html

  21. I figured d it interesting that the very civil authorities that Ken said could not judge biblically or rightly were the only ones standing up for Billy and the ones who rightly judged the situation based on their experience, studies dine on rape. I say hats off to Conroe district attorneys, montgomery p.d. , and Hermann Memorial! Professional, compassionate, and our heroes. Eat that Ken Ramey and anyone else at LBC who says otherwise!!!!

  22. Off the topic again…
    Prières pour Bruxelles.
    My wife and I were in Brussels this past May. At the same subway.
    Lovely city. Lovely people. Prayers.

  23. I have known several men who have had affairs. It is ugly, they generally rationalize it in several ways, and once they do it once, it is often like they cannot stop. It is like a narcotic.
    As one guy told me,” it is so wonderful, so exhilarating, and you know, it is going to end badly, but still you do it…”

  24. @ Tess:
    These people need to put their Bibles down every once in a while and pick up a dictionary! When a person intentionally, willfully, and very deliberately does something that they know is wrong, it’s NOT a “mistake”!

  25. @ Sarah:
    I caught the error early due to a reader pointing it out and corrected it last night. Thank you for letting us know.

  26. Apart from all the current dustup over TT this, IMO, is the most important part of the OP and needs to be shouted from the rooftops and trumpeted everywhere . . .

    “We implore all pastors not to be naïve when it comes to sexual offenders. They are manipulators who have a strong compulsion to get their “fix” of choice. Please, please report these abusers immediately, get them jailed, and then spend time rehabilitating them.”

  27. I want to make one quick point about pornography-the type one might call adult pornography. It is well known that much pornography is produced using women and men who are trafficked. In other words, it is not just some horny guy viewing a consenting woman performing acts for public consumption.

    Many women are not only trafficked but hooked on drugs given to them by their captors so they will be docile. Anyone (Brock and Steve are you listening?) who participates in viewing porn on line is supporting the industry of human trafficking and it is despicable.

  28. I just got word that apparently KEN RAMEY AND the ELDERS had a late night meeting last night at the church at around 8:30pm!!!!! Could it be that someone tipped them off that we were at the D.A.’s office speaking with the D.A. who handled Billy’s Rape? By the way our get together was wonderful. Billy got a chance to thank this district attorney and his advocate for believing him and standing up for him. My hats off to Conroe criminal justice system these men and women do outstanding work and have a tough thankless job!!!! They are a huge part of billy’s healing and so many others. @ Divorce Minister:

  29. @ marquis:
    Ken Ramey needs to publicly apologize for the way they handled your situation. The question remains: Is he man enough to do it?

  30. js wrote:

    Apart from all the current dustup over TT this, IMO, is the most important part of the OP and needs to be shouted from the rooftops and trumpeted everywhere . . .
    “We implore all pastors not to be naïve when it comes to sexual offenders. They are manipulators who have a strong compulsion to get their “fix” of choice. Please, please report these abusers immediately, get them jailed, and then spend time rehabilitating them.”

    This may come as a surprise, but the percentage of men having affairs might be the same or perhaps more, in the clergy. I saw it in seminary. Some women are attracted to ministers for whatever reason. And a lot of these guys can’t resist temptation….plus, they hear so much about how ” great” they are, they fall to the temptation.

  31. @ marquis:
    There was apparently a sermon given in church last week which is not online and one allegedly has to go to the church to listen to it. That proves that too much is going on in the dark around this church. Real men and women who get Jesus speak in the light.

  32. I apologize for writing child pornography in the post. It was not child pornography. It was garden variety, human trafficking pornography which exploits men and women, often getting them hooked on drugs. I caught my error early due to a sharp eyed reader and changed it.

    Also, one other typo might lead people to think that Brock had a son who was doing this stuff. Unfortunately, it was all allegedly done by Brock himself. Thankfully, he has no children.

  33. Absolutely right Dee!!!!dee wrote:

    I want to make one quick point about pornography-the type one might call adult pornography. It is well known that much pornography is produced using women and men who are trafficked. In other words, it is not just some horny guy viewing a consenting woman performing acts for public consumption.

    Many women are not only trafficked but hooked on drugs given to them by their captors so they will be docile. Anyone (Brock and Steve are you listening?) who participates in viewing porn on line is supporting the industry of human trafficking and it is despicable.

  34. @ Nancy2:
    dee wrote:

    Many women are not only trafficked but hooked on drugs given to them by their captors so they will be docile

    Jim Bakker????

  35. FH wrote:

    Is Steve Estes aware of his son’s addictions?
    Why isn’t the church holding him accountable?

    The Church of Head Apostle PASTOR Estes?
    A wholly-owned subsidiary of PASTOR Estes, Inc?

  36. dee wrote:

    @ marquis:
    There was apparently a sermon given in church last week which is not online and one allegedly has to go to the church to listen to it.

    Not just go to the church, but first get vetted by The Gatekeeper.

    I keep thinking of Operating Thetan III and Galactic Emperor Xenu.

  37. dee wrote:

    @ marquis:
    Ken Ramey needs to publicly apologize for the way they handled your situation. The question remains: Is he man enough to do it?

    How can you apologize (especially to a pewpeon) when you not only Have Done No Wrong, but Can Do No Wrong?

  38. Headless Unicorn Guy you nailed it! Yes this,secretary will protect Ken to the end in my opinion and it doesn’t matter who he abuses nor do I believe this woman gives a,hoot about child sexual abuse when it pertains to this church in Kens handling of my son. It’s my opinion and based on my interactions with this lady and what I have found out about her involvement in all this!@ Divorce Minister:
    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    dee wrote:

    @ marquis:
    There was apparently a sermon given in church last week which is not online and one allegedly has to go to the church to listen to it.

    Not just go to the church, but first get vetted by The Gatekeeper.

    I keep thinking of Operating Thetan III and Galactic Emperor Xenu.

  39. I am calling on ken ramey to publicly apologize to Billy and tell the truth. I am calling on members in this church to call ken to apologize to Billy and tell the truth. Please!!!!Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    dee wrote: @ marquis: Ken Ramey needs to publicly apologize for the way they handled your situation. The question remains: Is he man enough to do it? How can you apologize (especially to a pewpeon) when you not only Have Done No Wrong, but Can Do No Wrong?

  40. Let us not forget that T. T. has been one of the more conspicuous proponents of cheap grace. Maybe he believed his own aberrant theology?

    If grace is cheap, if repentance makes the consequences go away, then God would owe an apology to King David, an apology for the sword which did not leave his household and for the child who died as the prophet said.

    If grace is cheap then the Father has some explaining to do to the Son.

    Bonhoeffer was correct. Grace is not cheap.

  41. I watched a mini version of this happen on the small stage of a local church in 1981. The man involved was a talented and dedicated layman. He worked with the youth. He was discovered to have had inappropriate contact (I never got the scoop on how far it all went, but I suspect very far) with a girl in the youth group. That girl started dating a boy in the youth group. The layman then moved on to another girl. When he started making a move, that girl hammered him, and the entire thing was disclosed.

    The youth pastor was a godly man, and moved quickly to remove him from working with the youth. Rumors apparently spread through the church like wild fire.

    The next Sunday, the layman came to the altar at the end of the sermon to rededicate his life. The pastor, who was also the sweetest and most godly man (and who may not have known the details at that point) allowed the layman to take the mic to tell of what God was doing in his life. (This pastor had a habit of allowing this, so it was not unusual).

    The layman said that God was working in his life, that he had fallen and that he had repented. Then he “challenged” the congregation and said that they were no better than he because we were all sinners.

    The layman went on to try and win people to his side, but over the ensuing months that proved unsuccessful. He moved to another church. His wife divorced him, but she was not involved in the church anyway (that should have been a sign to someone).

    I met this layman’s brother in about 1995, and he told me that the layman had recently died of a heart attack. So I never knew what he did with the rest of his life.

    I was 20 when all of this went down, and this was 1981. Knowing what we know now, this should have been reported to the police and DHS, but I am not sure that back then they would have acted the way they would now. The girl involved was 16 or 17, so she was not far from the age of majority.

    The church did not let this guy work with kids again, and the people of the church realized what had happened and would not give this guy a platform (except for that first Sunday).

    Still, he had his supporters, and they all used the Pharisee language.

    I learned the importance of being blameless and being of a good reputation as a 20 year old, and it is a lesson that has stayed with me since then.

    A nearby local church (which has been in the news for a child abuse lawsuit) used to have co-pastors. It was discovered about 8 years ago that one of the pastors had been going to strip clubs. He was eventually ousted, but not after a grand show of remorse and a request to remain as a co-pastor (on the basis that David did not lose his throne – that is used quite a bit btw, and the obvious response is – you are not David!)

    The church made the wiser decision to let him go, but there was a substantial minority in the church that wanted him forgiven and wanted to move on with him staying as co-pastor. So it all disrupted the church.

    So – I recognize this pattern all too well.

    My recommendations for dealing with this stuff after it has occurred are very strict. Being blameless and of a good reputation is very important. Everyone knows we are all sinners, but that does not really address the question of how to handle someone who has violated a fiduciary duty as a spiritual leader, or a person who has committed a crime, especially one that has a strong psychological connection, like pedophilia.

    It would actually be helpful to these people if some “tough love” were employed. Encourage them to stay active in the faith, but tell them up front that they have forfeited the right to lead in a public way. And then help them explore how to transition to a secular job. Especially help the wife and children who may be subject to economic turmoil for reasons beyond their control.

    Before this type of event happens, churches should explain their position on how they would address this. They would address it firmly and the minister would be excused.

    I also wonder to what extent the celebrity culture and the amount of money involved in some of these situations contributes to the saga described by Ms. Mefferd.

    If these guys could see that they can be employed in some other profession, and they could make that transition, it might help them to think more honestly about their situation and see that they are really not cut out for the ministry.

    But when it’s all they have known, and they are making bank, leaving it seems unrealistic. That may cause them to be untruthful as a they ponder the economic damage to themselves and their families.

    Churches would do well not to overpay people and allow their staff to paint themselves into a corner financially so that it’s all they can do. That may create incentives that make these situations worse.

    And guys that teach pastors might do well to address this, and ask pastors to wonder allowed what they would do if they lost their ministry due to bad conduct or even some factor out of their control (e.g. physical or mental illness on their part or misconduct/illness on the part of a spouse).

  42. @marquis and dee:

    Ken needs to apologize to Billy AND to, you, marquis.
    And to his elders for leading them down an evil path.
    And to his congregation.
    And to his wife and son.

    IMHO, once he acknowledges his sin to himself (and to God) in private, he will understand that his leadership has been corrupted and that he needs to step down from the pastorate.

  43. BC wrote:

    I don’t think offenders need a wet nurse to coddle them back to someplace comfortable. The priority shouldn’t be on protecting them but the potential victims. The fox doesn’t need to be tucked into the chicken coop for the night.

    Many communities are providing a public data base of sex offenders in your town, area, neighborhood and how about church.

    Protecting our young or the vulnerable in the church as a priority. Police and state criminal background checks on anyone involved with children or youth. Policies such as TT grandfather Billy Graham had about not getting in an elevator or hotel room without another member of the ministry. No child or young person alone with anyone. Glass windows on classrooms and offices.

    A church policy that if a crime is committed it shouldn’t be covered up to protect the criminal but the church needs to get into gear and protect the victim.

    @BC … If we’re talking about pedophiles, other kinds of sex offenders, and many kinds of perpetrators of crimes, then I’m in agreement with what you are saying and always have been. We must apply biblical mandates to protect people from harm and restore justice, obey civil laws like mandatory reporting of known/suspected child abuse, and adhere to regulatory requirements like no big-time financial benefits for staff, board members, and family/friends.

    But that wasn’t really what I was trying to talk about in my comment. I was trying to look at larger systems. And how terms like “repentance” and “restoration” often do get used to glue some guy right back into a role on stage or at a podium. And that doesn’t fit with prevention or protection well. I guess I didn’t get that across well …

    Hopefully I did better at a blog series a couple years ago on what I think we should we be doing with malignant leaders and toxic systems. It gives a lot more clarity and detail on both the personal and organizational sides for what I believe needs to happen in legitimate processes of “repentance” for leaders, where “restoration” to a position of public influence is not guaranteed and in fact, isn’t even likely.

    This link goes to the middle of the series, which has a chart that overviews what I see as the interlocking personal and organizational sides of the equation. And the rest of the series fills in the concepts as best I could articulate them back then. I’m working on a lot of additions to this material, which is in part why I’ve been watching this particular situation with Tullian Tchividjian and his apparent “gaming the system” to the detriment of at least two congregations and a lot of other people.

    https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/responsibility-for-spiritual-abuse-part-3d/

  44. @ BC:

    P.S. Maybe my original comment got misinterpreted because the post dealt with three different situations. I only meant to address the one involving Tullian Tchividjian. Sorry I didn’t make that clear enough earlier.

  45. BC wrote:

    I don’t think offenders need a wet nurse to coddle them back to someplace comfortable. The priority shouldn’t be on protecting them but the potential victims. The fox doesn’t need to be tucked into the chicken coop for the night.

    In his career as a prosecutor specializing in child sexual abuse, Boz T (TT’s bro?) said he had NEVER seen a church take the side of the victim, ALWAYS the perp.

  46. marquis wrote:

    I figured d it interesting that the very civil authorities that Ken said could not judge biblically or rightly were the only ones standing up for Billy and the ones who rightly judged the situation based on their experience, studies dine on rape

    Remember Boz T’s reference just above.

  47. Yes! He is certainly correct in Billy’s situation. What it comes down to now is that Ken and these pastors backed the wrong horse!!!! Ken is now finding out that this will not just go away. He needs to tell the truth and apologize to BILLY! @ Divorce Minister:
    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    marquis wrote:

    I figured d it interesting that the very civil authorities that Ken said could not judge biblically or rightly were the only ones standing up for Billy and the ones who rightly judged the situation based on their experience, studies dine on rape

    Remember Boz T’s reference just above.

  48. dee wrote:

    Many women are not only trafficked but hooked on drugs given to them by their captors so they will be docile. Anyone (Brock and Steve are you listening?) who participates in viewing porn on line is supporting the industry of human trafficking and it is despicable.

    They are vicariously committing the crime.

    Many of these women have been victims of childhood sexual abuse, as well.

  49. These church “bubbles” that protect criminals and abusers frustrate me to no end …… makes me angry!
    My arena was teaching, grades 7-12. I taught in 3 public school systems and one private school.
    In that world, if a teacher or an aide is viewing child porn, they are at the very least, fired. The info is made public. When two staff members have an illicit affair in school grounds, they are fired. The info is made public. (I know a couple of teachers who did this). When a teacher/aide commits rape, statutory or otherwise, they are fired, licensure/certification is permanently revoked, and they go to trial. I worked with both a teacher and a teacher’s aide who committed statutory rape – they went to prison. A substitute teacher in Tennessee was sentenced to 5 years just a couple of day ago for having a sexual relationship with a 10-year-old student.

    Nobody, but nobody, protects these monsters, idiots, and NPDs in the real world!

    Churchianity is the complete opposite. It’s either: move on along, there’s nothing to see here, and don’t “gossip” about it ….. or it’s: oh, they repented, it’s all better now, back to business as usual, and don’t “gossip” about it. They protect and praise the offenders and offend the offended.

  50. Remnant wrote:

    @marquis and dee:
    Ken needs to apologize to Billy AND to, you, marquis.
    And to his elders for leading them down an evil path.
    And to his congregation.
    And to his wife and son.
    IMHO, once he acknowledges his sin to himself (and to God) in private, he will understand that his leadership has been corrupted and that he needs to step down from the pastorate.

    And after he does that, he needs to make up a great deal in cash out of his own pockets, not the church slush fund (assuming there’s a meaningful difference between those) for what Marquis is out as a result of losing clients.

  51. Anonymous wrote:

    A nearby local church (which has been in the news for a child abuse lawsuit) used to have co-pastors. It was discovered about 8 years ago that one of the pastors had been going to strip clubs. He was eventually ousted, but not after a grand show of remorse and a request to remain as a co-pastor (on the basis that David did not lose his throne – that is used quite a bit btw, and the obvious response is – you are not David!)

    Your story is also another example how these “pastors” think they are kings.

  52. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    BC wrote:
    In his career as a prosecutor specializing in child sexual abuse, Boz T (TT’s bro?) said he had NEVER seen a church take the side of the victim, ALWAYS the perp.

    IF this is true (and I find it sadly believable) people need to know. It needs to be taught in seminary, as a very bad thing.

    Do they not have ethics classes in seminary? Do they not address these things? Or is it just that nobody cares when money is on the line…

  53. marquis wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy you nailed it! Yes this,secretary will protect Ken to the end in my opinion and it doesn’t matter who he abuses nor do I believe this woman gives a,hoot about child sexual abuse when it pertains to this church in Kens handling of my son.

    Harley Quinn to Pastor’s Joker?

  54. Anonymous wrote:

    It was discovered about 8 years ago that one of the pastors had been going to strip clubs.

    There is a strip club called Cat West directly across the road from Fort Campbell military base. Soldiers use to frequent the place. Problems started at Cat West and spilled over to the base. Soldiers were banned from visiting Cat West. The 8 foot high walls around the parking lot of the strip club, to protect patrons from “prying eyes” were torn down due to public outcry. When a soldier or a soldier’s vehicle is spotted at Cat West, JAG doesn’t listen when the soldier expresses remorse.

  55. Ok … This may not sound like good “doctrine”, but I hope you get my point. In John 1:29 John the Baptist said of Jesus, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” On the Cross Jesus said in John 19:30, “It is finished.”

    These offenses aren’t “sins”; Jesus took care of that already. These are CRIMES! Bible reading and prayer and tears don’t negate crimes.

    These pastors (alleged) need to stop hiding behind the First Amendment and be prosecuted for their complicity in these crimes. At the very least they are guilty of aiding and abetting criminals after the crimes were committed.

    To quote my son, “Just sayin’.”

  56. @ okrapod:
    Good comment. There are behaviors that will end up altering life on earth. These are also matters of basic trust. What guys like TT are really demanding is instant trust.

  57. Anonymous wrote:

    I also wonder to what extent the celebrity culture and the amount of money involved in some of these situations contributes to the saga described by Ms. Mefferd.

    Celebrity might be involved, but also if a Christian caught in sin has the “right doctrine,” he will almost always get a pass.

    I’ve noticed some other well-known Christian personalities will defend out the ying yang guys whose doctrine they agree with, but if another preacher with doctrine they dislike were to be found guilty of the same trespass, they would get tarred and feathered for it.

    The preacher with the disliked doctrine would not get pleas of, “but we’re all sinners!” That sort of reasoning is reserved for guys with doctrine we really like, one of ours.

  58. I was saddened but not surprised to see things flame out for TT so spectacularly. Last year, when he threw his wife under the bus and Paul Tripp released a statement sanctioning his divorce, I knew that this was meant to clear the decks for a swift return to ministry. I sincerely hope that this latest statement from his PR representative is not meant to lay the groundwork for yet another ministry comeback, but I’ve become quite cynical about these situations.

  59. Latest news on the Tullian Tchividjian situation: “Coral Ridge Removed Elder and Apologized on Sunday for Handling of Tullian Tchividjian Affair, Sources Say”

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/coral-ridge-church-tullian-tchividjian-removed-elder-apologized-affair-sources-159687/

    If you are interested in following the story, Leonardo Blair, the author of this article for the Christian Post (CP), has written about half of the CP articles on it over the past 2 years. Follow him. He gets the historical context and flow.

  60. With regard to the definitions of repentance at the beginning of this post, I would say that true repentance should include some horror at the damage done to the victim. Most of the statements of repentance that come from these Big Christian Celebrities (think Josh Duggar) are completely and totally self-centered. “I this, I that, I the other.”

    I remember when John Edwards was caught and exposed, his public statement included tears and horror at what he had done to his wife, and to the woman who had carried his baby. He said he knew that his career in public life was over because he couldn’t keep that up and also do what was necessary to try to make amends (12-step concept) to both these women and to his children for the harm he had done them. To me this is a model of true repentance. A willingness to actually take responsibility for the damage, not just mouth admission to the act (which often sounds like bragging). A true understanding of the evil that resulted from the situation, and a revulsion to have caused that. The other stuff is just window dressing, IMO.

  61. Lea wrote:

    Do they not have ethics classes in seminary? Do they not address these things? Or is it just that nobody cares when money is on the line…

    Several years ago, a friend of mine who had been to seminary said that he didn’t know of a seminary that taught ethics. One goal of his was to go back as a professor and teach ethics.

  62. Patriciamc wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    Do they not have ethics classes in seminary? Do they not address these things? Or is it just that nobody cares when money is on the line…
    Several years ago, a friend of mine who had been to seminary said that he didn’t know of a seminary that taught ethics. One goal of his was to go back as a professor and teach ethics.

    I wonder about the ethics classes being taught now. I am sure T.B. Matson is spinning in his grave. ( He was a Professor of Ethics at SWBTS in Ft. Worth.) He had more morals and ethics than the entire faculty in Ft. worth now….

  63. @ Lea:

    BC wrote: “In his career as a prosecutor specializing in child sexual abuse, Boz T (TT’s bro?) said he had NEVER seen a church take the side of the victim, ALWAYS the perp.”

    Lea wrote: “IF this is true (and I find it sadly believable) people need to know. It needs to be taught in seminary, as a very bad thing. Do they not have ethics classes in seminary? Do they not address these things? Or is it just that nobody cares when money is on the line…”
    ++++++++++++

    first of all, nothing is more glamorous, affirming, and credibility-building (even in one’s self-estimation) to church people than to be instrumental in ‘amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like you, who once was lost but now are found’.

    secondly, christian cultural values do not make room for victims. many popular verses snatched from a topical section of any ‘pocket promise book’ create a mindset that doesn’t allow victims to exist. right off the top of my head,

    *give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thess 5:18)

    *I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

    *Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

    *Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10)

    *Count it all joy when you fall into various trials (James 1:2)

    *Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world (Phillipians 2:14-15(

    that last one especially…. (especially especially since just a few verses prior it talks about Jesus’ intense suffering & how he humbled himself and endured it, without complaining we can conclude).

    who wouldn’t want to be blameless and shine like a star? (deny themselves their ‘carnal’ feelings and emotions, completely stunting the healing process)

  64. Patriciamc wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    Do they not have ethics classes in seminary? Do they not address these things? Or is it just that nobody cares when money is on the line…

    Several years ago, a friend of mine who had been to seminary said that he didn’t know of a seminary that taught ethics. One goal of his was to go back as a professor and teach ethics.

    Really??? I am utterly amazed. Especially since pastors often do counseling – in the mental health field you can lose your license having sex with someone you have in therapy (or taking money, boy wouldn’t that open things up in church!). Most definitely would lose your job.

    I had to take an ethics class for a business degree! That’s just crazy to me.

  65. I have read the Christian Post article and was struck by “the bad new, good news” approach of the Pastor which seemed remarkably shallow to me. Of course, since I did not have access to the entire announcement made perhaps I am being hasty. But in my opinion there was hardly time to digest the “bad news” and grieve at this failure before the magic carpet took us on the “good news” ride about a wonderful new era of transparency and “Phew, I think we pulled that one off!!” perhaps muttered by the leadership.

  66. Patriciamc wrote:

    Several years ago, a friend of mine who had been to seminary said that he didn’t know of a seminary that taught ethics. One goal of his was to go back as a professor and teach ethics.

    Accounting graduates wanting to get a CPA certificate must complete a fifth year of classes that are all ethics classes. And they’re only going to be dealing with money not human beings.

    It appears that seminaries believe that men and women studying to become pastors are already Christians and therefore they are ethical. Apparently this is not true for pastors or many other Christians. Christian does not equal ethical.

  67. elastigirl wrote:

    secondly, christian cultural values do not make room for victims. many popular verses snatched from a topical section of any ‘pocket promise book’ create a mindset that doesn’t allow victims to exist. right off the top of my head

    Adding on to the Scripture verses that Christians so frequently use to silence victims, are the silencing techniques used by quickly spreading NeoCalvinists:

    *”God knew you were going to be abused [name type of abuse] and He permitted it to happen to you.” (It’s the Christian version of karma.)

    *Sin-leveling. You are just as bad a person as your abuser.

  68. dee wrote:

    I want to make one quick point about pornography-the type one might call adult pornography. It is well known that much pornography is produced using women and men who are trafficked.

    Tim Fall wrote about this on his blog a few years ago. (Tim is a Christian and a judge.)

    https://timfall.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/rape-drugs-roadside-stands-and-human-trafficking-there-are-no-innocent-bystanders-see-more-at-httpwww-jennyraearmstrong-com20120612rape-drugs-roadside-stands-and-human-trafficking/

  69. Don’t forget Romans 8:28,29 because this church sings this verse (not literally ) the moment you start counseling. Then it’s met with your not joyful enough, your not thankful@ Divorce Minister:
    elastigirl wrote:

    @ Lea:

    BC wrote: “In his career as a prosecutor specializing in child sexual abuse, Boz T (TT’s bro?) said he had NEVER seen a church take the side of the victim, ALWAYS the perp.”

    Lea wrote: “IF this is true (and I find it sadly believable) people need to know. It needs to be taught in seminary, as a very bad thing. Do they not have ethics classes in seminary? Do they not address these things? Or is it just that nobody cares when money is on the line…”
    ++++++++++++

    first of all, nothing is more glamorous, affirming, and credibility-building (even in one’s self-estimation) to church people than to be instrumental in ‘amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like you, who once was lost but now are found’.

    secondly, christian cultural values do not make room for victims. many popular verses snatched from a topical section of any ‘pocket promise book’ create a mindset that doesn’t allow victims to exist. right off the top of my head,

    *give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thess 5:18)

    *I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

    *Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

    *Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10)

    *Count it all joy when you fall into various trials (James 1:2)

    *Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world (Phillipians 2:14-15(

    that last one especially…. (especially especially since just a few verses prior it talks about Jesus’ intense suffering & how he humbled himself and endured it, without complaining we can conclude).

    who wouldn’t want to be blameless and shine like a star? (deny themselves their ‘carnal’ feelings and emotions, completely stunting the healing process)

  70. Patriciamc wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    Do they not have ethics classes in seminary? Do they not address these things? Or is it just that nobody cares when money is on the line…

    Several years ago, a friend of mine who had been to seminary said that he didn’t know of a seminary that taught ethics. One goal of his was to go back as a professor and teach ethics.

    Maybe God’s Anointed have No Need of Ethics?
    After all, they have GAWD On Their Side!

  71. Bridget wrote:

    Accounting graduates wanting to get a CPA certificate must complete a fifth year of classes that are all ethics classes. And they’re only going to be dealing with money not human beings.

    Whether those ethics classes take is a whole ‘nother matter…

  72. Patriciamc wrote:

    Several years ago, a friend of mine who had been to seminary said that he didn’t know of a seminary that taught ethics. One goal of his was to go back as a professor and teach ethics.

    Even lawyers have to pass a mini Bar Exam that deals exclusively with ethics, and so far as I know, ethics is required in every ABA-accredited law school. I’ve never taught an introductory business law course without ethics coverage, and I always discuss Jesus and the Golden Rule.

  73. Nancy2 wrote:

    These church “bubbles” that protect criminals and abusers frustrate me to no end …… makes me angry!
    My arena was teaching, grades 7-12. I taught in 3 public school systems and one private school.
    In that world, if a teacher or an aide is viewing child porn, they are at the very least, fired. The info is made public. When two staff members have an illicit affair in school grounds, they are fired. The info is made public. (I know a couple of teachers who did this). When a teacher/aide commits rape, statutory or otherwise, they are fired, licensure/certification is permanently revoked, and they go to trial. I worked with both a teacher and a teacher’s aide who committed statutory rape – they went to prison. A substitute teacher in Tennessee was sentenced to 5 years just a couple of day ago for having a sexual relationship with a 10-year-old student.
    Nobody, but nobody, protects these monsters, idiots, and NPDs in the real world!
    Churchianity is the complete opposite. It’s either: move on along, there’s nothing to see here, and don’t “gossip” about it ….. or it’s: oh, they repented, it’s all better now, back to business as usual, and don’t “gossip” about it. They protect and praise the offenders and offend the offended.

    In my town, a couple high school coaches were having sex with various girls in the school, the principal found out and didn’t report it immediately. All three were fired and arrested.

  74. Lydia wrote:

    What guys like TT are really demanding is instant trust.

    Exactly. No one has the right to demand trust. Trust has to be earned. And it takes time.

  75. Maybe they could all take a lesson in true repentance from Zacchaeus. Give half of everything you own to the poor and pay back everyone you have defrauded four times as much.

  76. BL wrote:

    Repentant people don’t start making demands of those they have sinned against.

    This. So much this.

  77. In my 60+ years as a Christian, I’ve not seen much genuine repentance or fear of God in Western Christianity! Many who claim to know Christ live like hell through the week, with no pursuit of holiness or evidence of brokenness when convicted of sinful behavior. Scripture says “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Cor 7:10). Instead of godly sorrow, we see Bill Clinton-type repentance … sorry for getting caught! And that ain’t repentance which leads to salvation, even though many folk appear to have no regret … but will, come Judgment Day. Christianity Lite has invaded the church, where pulpit and pew can get away with about anything … or so they think. Jesus still shouts from the heavens “Repent … or else.”

  78. There needs to be zero tolerance for this crap! I’m sick of the ” I’m saved now bit”! Good, great! Your saved now accept the consequences of your crime and act like you give a crap aboUT those you harmed!!! In fact stop blaming those you harmed for being pissed off because you harmed them! Pardon my language but I’m so sick of this type of trite, pitful,I’m sorry I got caught attitude by the offenders and their supporters. I have has it! @ Divorce Minister:
    Law Prof wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:

    These church “bubbles” that protect criminals and abusers frustrate me to no end …… makes me angry!
    My arena was teaching, grades 7-12. I taught in 3 public school systems and one private school.
    In that world, if a teacher or an aide is viewing child porn, they are at the very least, fired. The info is made public. When two staff members have an illicit affair in school grounds, they are fired. The info is made public. (I know a couple of teachers who did this). When a teacher/aide commits rape, statutory or otherwise, they are fired, licensure/certification is permanently revoked, and they go to trial. I worked with both a teacher and a teacher’s aide who committed statutory rape – they went to prison. A substitute teacher in Tennessee was sentenced to 5 years just a couple of day ago for having a sexual relationship with a 10-year-old student.
    Nobody, but nobody, protects these monsters, idiots, and NPDs in the real world!
    Churchianity is the complete opposite. It’s either: move on along, there’s nothing to see here, and don’t “gossip” about it ….. or it’s: oh, they repented, it’s all better now, back to business as usual, and don’t “gossip” about it. They protect and praise the offenders and offend the offended.

    In my town, a couple high school coaches were having sex with various girls in the school, the principal found out and didn’t report it immediately. All three were fired and arrested.

  79. Lea wrote:

    I had to take an ethics class

    I’m certainly a proponent of keeping “ethics” in school curriculum, whether it be college or seminary. There is certainly some benefit to having students engage in ethical dialogue. However, can classes in ethics make students more virtuous? At the heart of the problem is a problem with the heart. You can’t make a person more ethical or virtuous by trying to steer them in the right direction, when their hearts are intent to go another. America has lost its moral compass – what was once wrong, is now right. “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart” (Prov 21:2).

  80. I think God’s idea of repentance always includes restitution.

    Numbers 5:7, for example:

    “he/(she) shall confess his sin which he has committed; and he shall make full restitution for his wrong, adding a fifth to it, and giving it to him to whom he did the wrong.”

    Zacchaeus got it right. God’s love, truth and forgiveness meant more to him than worldly goods.

  81. Max wrote:

    At the heart of the problem is a problem with the heart. You can’t make a person more ethical or virtuous by trying to steer them in the right direction, when their hearts are intent to go another. America has lost its moral compass – what was once wrong, is now right.

    So true… 🙁

  82. @ Dan:

    “Maybe they could all take a lesson in true repentance from Zacchaeus. Give half of everything you own to the poor and pay back everyone you have defrauded four times as much.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    considering the degree to which newfangled doctrine is based on conjecture, i’m sure we can put together a doctrine of repentance to include “scripture’s command” of ‘Give half of everything you own to the poor and pay back everyone you have defrauded four times as much’.

    we could all convene at The Holiday Inn somewhere, rent one of their conference rooms, craft our doctrine, all sign our names in an act of solemn solidarity…

  83. Ardiak wrote:

    I think God’s idea of repentance always includes restitution.

    Agreed. Genuine repentance bears with it a desire for making things right with those you have sinned against. While I’ve heard repentance defined as “changing your mind to go in another direction”, true repentance sometimes requires you to go back to where you’ve come from and express that repentance with restitution … effectively, that would be to go in another direction.

    I once managed a chemistry laboratory and had to fire a lead chemist for drinking on the job – a dangerous thing to do around chemicals! After some soul-searching, he returned to thank me for firing him, saying that act got his attention about his addiction. He joined a Bible study I led, came to Christ, and is still serving God years later. He never asked for his job back, nor did I feel led to offer that. He had learned that sin carries consequences, even for the repentant. However, God provided good employment for him elsewhere as He worked out restoration in this young man’s life.

  84. I wonder if the *layman* elder who resigned (for not disclosing what TT had told him) will
    get the same quality of church care that TT did after TT divorced his family.

    Perhaps this elder will be offered a paying job (that is not ministerial) at a church along with much pastoral attention and support.

  85. @ Max

    Well – said.

    Jesus was all about that “fruit that befits repentance.” He didn’t minimize or cover-up the real damage and destruction that sin effects in our lives. In fact, God straight out tells us that sin brings about death and destruction.

    How can real repentance NOT deal with the damage one does to other people’s lives?

  86. @ elastigirl

    lol

    I’m already anticipating debate about the wording. “everyone you have defrauded…???”

    Like having to take responsibility for “making a mistake?”

    Hmmmmm would that constitute “bringing a charge against a leader” — without witnesses, even?

    who knew writing doctrine would be so tricky?

  87. Ardiak wrote:

    How can real repentance NOT deal with the damage one does to other people’s lives?

    It must. Which is why so much of Christendom seems so banal, deceptive and empty.

  88. siteseer wrote:

    “Critics throw up hands, plead for Christ’s immediate return”

    This is where I am at.

    I find myself regularly saying, “Jesus save us from your professional followers.” Either that or *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*.

  89. Nancy2 wrote:

    Jim Bakker????

    He’s moved on to the lucrative business of bilking the fearful and the fatalistic out of their hard earned money for buckets of inedible survival rations. Which is a different kind of social and spiritual travesty.

  90. I want to share with you guys an encouraging article I just read. A Baptist pastor in Connecticut was faced with a situation where he had to decide whether to join a campaign of silence about a fellow pastor who is a pedophile or to expose him. His conscience led him to protect his congregation. God bless this man, I pray he becomes a role model to many!

    “Given widespread accounts of sexual assaults in other churches and institutions spanning several decades, most people can’t fathom how authorities can fail to alert the community of predators in their midst. Unfortunately, there is an answer that crosses denominational lines. Silence sets in when the energy to guard the institution exceeds the concern for people the institution is supposed to protect. In my view, the institution tends to protect itself.

    “Jesus had some very harsh words directed at those who would harm children. This obliges denominational leaders to steer away from hiding behind civil law and, instead, consider what pastoral love demands. Passively allowing dysfunctional people, in this case a pedophile, to fly under the radar isn’t restorative grace. It’s repugnant garbage.”

    http://www.courant.com/opinion/op-ed/hc-op-insight-keane-break-silence-about-pedophile-0320-20160318-story.html

  91. siteseer wrote:

    He’s moved on to the lucrative business of bilking the fearful and the fatalistic out of their hard earned money for buckets of inedible survival rations. Which is a different kind of social and spiritual travesty.

    Yeah, but with the same goal – getting other people’s money. I wonder if he’s stashed any of that nasty food for himself? If Jesus raptures his church anytime soon, Ole Jimbo may need a stash to get through the tribulation.

  92. siteseer wrote:

    I want to share with you guys an encouraging article I just read. A Baptist pastor in Connecticut was faced with a situation where he had to decide whether to join a campaign of silence about a fellow pastor who is a pedophile or to expose him. His conscience led him to protect his congregation. God bless this man, I pray he becomes a role model to many!

    I agree Bill Keane’s actions are good news, I also look for the day when he is no longer the exception.

  93. Law Prof wrote:

    26. Big Christian Name one day dies, faces God, gives account for what he did to abuse church, slander God’s name, blaspheme Christ.

    And, we are told by Scripture, God is “no respecter of persons”……
    (I think thy must be leaving that verse out of the Bibles these guys are reading).

  94. @ Ardiak:

    “I’m already anticipating debate about the wording. “everyone you have defrauded…???”

    Like having to take responsibility for “making a mistake?”

    Hmmmmm would that constitute “bringing a charge against a leader” — without witnesses, even?

    who knew writing doctrine would be so tricky?”
    ++++++++++++++++

    look, here’s what we do. the model seems to be get all your friends together & really get in touch with your neuroses, and then just plan it all out so that all our neuroses are accommodated. Then we publish it, calling it “Rediscovering Biblical Repentance”.

  95. @ Bill M:

    siteseer wrote: “I want to share with you guys an encouraging article I just read. A Baptist pastor in Connecticut was faced with a situation where he had to decide whether to join a campaign of silence about a fellow pastor who is a pedophile or to expose him. His conscience led him to protect his congregation. God bless this man, I pray he becomes a role model to many!”

    Bill M wrote: “I agree Bill Keane’s actions are good news, I also look for the day when he is no longer the exception.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    how do we do a flash-publicizing? you know that word, ‘trending’. it’s so very timely.

  96. *sigh* words fail me.
    A patriarchal culture that sees half its members as chattel birthed out of a bronze age theocracy that attracts narcissists & psychopaths. I notice that the victims are overwhelmingly represented by women & children. Sorry, not seeing the Divine plan at work here. We can quote Scripture till the cows come home, until the rank & file cease accepting the status quo, nothing will change.

  97. Joe wrote:

    What’s the over/under that TT had more that 2 women?

    Being as he did not come clean the first time, probably pretty high.

  98. Law Prof wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:
    These church “bubbles” that protect criminals and abusers frustrate me to no end …… makes me angry!
    My arena was teaching, grades 7-12. I taught in 3 public school systems and one private school.
    In that world, if a teacher or an aide is viewing child porn, they are at the very least, fired. The info is made public. When two staff members have an illicit affair in school grounds, they are fired. The info is made public. (I know a couple of teachers who did this). When a teacher/aide commits rape, statutory or otherwise, they are fired, licensure/certification is permanently revoked, and they go to trial. I worked with both a teacher and a teacher’s aide who committed statutory rape – they went to prison. A substitute teacher in Tennessee was sentenced to 5 years just a couple of day ago for having a sexual relationship with a 10-year-old student.
    Nobody, but nobody, protects these monsters, idiots, and NPDs in the real world!
    Churchianity is the complete opposite. It’s either: move on along, there’s nothing to see here, and don’t “gossip” about it ….. or it’s: oh, they repented, it’s all better now, back to business as usual, and don’t “gossip” about it. They protect and praise the offenders and offend the offended.
    In my town, a couple high school coaches were having sex with various girls in the school, the principal found out and didn’t report it immediately. All three were fired and arrested.

    Why is it always a coach? It is never the AG teacher or the English teacher or the civics teacher?

  99. Do abusers get cured? I don’t know. These people mentioned above are now highly visible. Sorry for Tullian Tjvidjian’s (misspelled) ex wife. Too bad there are enablers along the way to these tragedies.

  100. I think people miss the point of repentance. You should consider Zacchaeus and the lengths he went through as a thief masquerading as a tax collector.

    He gave half of what he earned to the poor and repaid back four times anyone he had wronged (in accordance with the law).

    We know that repentance is basically a change in the direction of your life.

    If people abuse children, they should never be around them again in the same setting they were before (ever!). After the appropriate jail time as administered by the justice system, they should spend time earning money to donate (confidentially) to children’s shelters and other children’s charity.

    If men abuse their spouses, they should get the appropriate jail time and if true repentance has occurred, after the jail time they need to willingly not associate with women and spend time earning money to donate (again confidentially) to women’s shelters.

    The deal is this, repentance is easy when there is something materially to gain from it. Zacchaeus, when dealing with Jesus came to realize the wrongs he had done and to remedy it. His acts of repentance did not benefit him materially, but was a natural outflow of repentance.

    The church’s role in this is to protect the flock. Because someone says they are repentant, does not mean there are no consequences. You remove that individual from the church to protect the flock. Lots of churches are not protecting their members.

    I am deeply saddened by all these stories.

  101. mirele wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:
    Jim Bakker????
    He’s moved on to the lucrative business of bilking the fearful and the fatalistic out of their hard earned money for buckets of inedible survival rations. Which is a different kind of social and spiritual travesty.

    Get your CHRISTIAN(TM) 50-lb buckets of dried beans and rice before You Can’t Buy Food without Taking The Mark!!!!!

  102. @ Baller79:

    Yes, repentance means to change, and if one is truly repentant then doing something penitential is certainly biblical and your illustration is a good one. If one accepts the mercy and forgiveness of God through repentance then this has repercussions in that person’s life, sometimes unpleasant repercussions.

    I don’t know for sure how that idea seems to have gotten lost in some strains of christianity, but I think that perhaps there is out there the idea that mercy/forgiveness/grace is actually a product to be marketed and so some people have marked down the price like some discount retailer in order to aim for a larger market. This is tragic for both the offender and the victim, but it does seem to pack the pew and fill the collection plate.

  103. K.D. wrote:

    Why is it always a coach? It is never the AG teacher or the English teacher or the civics teacher?

    It does happen with the English teachers, as a teen I briefly dated a lovely young lady whop I knew from a Bible study who later graduated valedictorian, went to college, killed it there, became a much-beloved English teacher at a city high school–then destroyed her marriage and career by carrying on an affair with a student and her story ended up on one of those TV tabloid news shows (I think it was Inside Edition). So it does occur, but perhaps with the coaches it’s more common, maybe because they’re put on more of a pedestal, they exercise more authority over the team than a typical teacher over a classroom.

  104. @ Law Prof:

    Sadly, I saw this happen twice when I was teaching. I taught middle school English, and in my last year we had a new, young female join our faculty as a 7th grade teacher (she took my classroom, actually, when I moved to teach writing). She was blonde, young, well educated (Wake Forest University), etc. Yet she was inappropriately close to one specific 7th grade boy, and rumors flew around. To my knowledge, nothing was every verified.

    When I taught high school the following year (in a different county due to a move), one day a girl stood up in psychology class and announced she was carrying Mr So-and-so’s baby; he was a math teacher in the school. It turns out she was not pregnant, but they had been having an ‘affair’ (he was single). She was 18 so he wasn’t charged with statutory, but he was charged with violating the position of authority between a teacher and student, which is a minor felony here in NC. Ultimately, he was deported to Canada (he was a visiting teacher) and banned from teaching in the US again.

  105. Law Prof wrote:

    So it does occur, but perhaps with the coaches it’s more common, maybe because they’re put on more of a pedestal, they exercise more authority over the team than a typical teacher over a classroom.

    It’s not just male coaches either. I know a female basketball coach who had a lesbian affair with one of the girls on the team.

  106. Coaching is physical and involves things like away games. I can see why it might be more common.

    >>Bill M wrote: “I agree Bill Keane’s actions are good news, I also look for the day when he is no longer the exception.”
    +++++++++++++++++++
    Indeed! This should be the norm.

    As for ethics classes, no they don’t make someone moral. But they do explain the ethical expectations, and in a professional field with licensure, they would explain what you are not allowed to do, lest you lose your license. Clergy should be taught many of the same standards as therapists, imo. They should be taught the way to handle a crisis in a Christian way, and not in a blame shifting, CYA way. Or better yet, how to avoid these things altogether! Like systems that can be set up that will do a better job of protecting kids from child molesters, for instance, which would both protect the church from legal and financial liability AND protect children from the great harm that this does.

    Furthermore, if you ignore these ethical issues you say, quite clearly, that they are not very important. I think that’s the wrong message to send.

  107. Law Prof wrote:

    So it does occur, but perhaps with the coaches it’s more common, maybe because they’re put on more of a pedestal, they exercise more authority over the team than a typical teacher over a classroom.

    Sports coaches have a more personal and intense relationship with their students. Typically an hour, or maybe 3 or 4, per day after normal school hours. In and around locker rooms. Plus the emotional issues related to winning and loosing.

    It’s just an area where it’s easier to get into a dependency relationship than “regular” classes.

    But some of the biggest teacher / student scandals have involved “regular” teachers and students.

  108. Bridget wrote:

    Accounting graduates wanting to get a CPA certificate must complete a fifth year of classes that are all ethics classes. And they’re only going to be dealing with money not human beings.

    It appears that seminaries believe that men and women studying to become pastors are already Christians and therefore they are ethical. Apparently this is not true for pastors or many other Christians. Christian does not equal ethical.

    Even lawyers (lawyers!) have to take a class on legal ethics and pass a multistate professional responsibility exam as one of the qualifications for a state bar license. I am astonished to hear that seminary students don’t even have the one measly class requirement.

  109. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Get your CHRISTIAN(TM) 50-lb buckets of dried beans and rice before You Can’t Buy Food without Taking The Mark!!!!!

    That stuff is apparently so wretched that the beans and rice served in Scientology’s Sea Org allegedly tastes better.

  110. I’m no expert on much of anything, but it seems to me that the adulterer or pedophile or pornography addict, who is in the ministry, might be qualified to return to the ministry when they finally realize that they cannot EVER return to the ministry.

  111. Bob Cleveland wrote:

    I’m no expert on much of anything, but it seems to me that the adulterer or pedophile or pornography addict, who is in the ministry, might be qualified to return to the ministry when they finally realize that they cannot EVER return to the ministry.

    Yes. this is it exactly.

  112. mirele wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Get your CHRISTIAN(TM) 50-lb buckets of dried beans and rice before You Can’t Buy Food without Taking The Mark!!!!!

    That stuff is apparently so wretched that the beans and rice served in Scientology’s Sea Org allegedly tastes better.

    Well, back in the Eighties local fandom used to say “It’s Gotta be Christian — look how shoddy it is!”

  113. @ okrapod:
    This is so true! Forgiveness and grace seem to function as discount items on sale at your “local church”. Great analogy.

  114. NC Now wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:
    So it does occur, but perhaps with the coaches it’s more common, maybe because they’re put on more of a pedestal, they exercise more authority over the team than a typical teacher over a classroom.
    Sports coaches have a more personal and intense relationship with their students. Typically an hour, or maybe 3 or 4, per day after normal school hours. In and around locker rooms. Plus the emotional issues related to winning and loosing.
    It’s just an area where it’s easier to get into a dependency relationship than “regular” classes.
    But some of the biggest teacher / student scandals have involved “regular” teachers and students.

    You’ve not been in school in a while. Yes, coaches spend a lot of time with kids, more than you realize, and go on overnight road trips, etc….but I’ve been involved with debate, One Act Play, UIL Academics, etc. Just as much emotional. same win, emotional loss to these kids, overnight trips. ( I wish I had time back from Austin trips, if I never go to Austin again, Jesus has blessed me.)Trust me, there is, but, these folks generally are not messing with their kids, and you can get emotionally bound with these kids. I am close to a former UIL Academic winner and her husband to this day. I consider them close friends.
    But coaches, well, they seem to take one additional step….and I am not saying this doesn’t happen with other teachers, but something else is there…

  115. K.D. wrote:

    But coaches, well, they seem to take one additional step….and I am not saying this doesn’t happen with other teachers, but something else is there…

    In high school, Athletes (especially Football) ARE the Predestined Anointed Elect of the school; why shouldn’t their coaches be the Predestined Anointed Elect PASTOR-equivalents?
    “When they visited us, it was like God entering your house.”

  116. Bob Cleveland wrote:

    I’m no expert on much of anything, but it seems to me that the adulterer or pedophile or pornography addict, who is in the ministry, might be qualified to return to the ministry when they finally realize that they cannot EVER return to the ministry.

    Amen & Amen, Bob! Once a ministry leader becomes a stumbling block, they remain a stumbling block to others in their walk of faith. The items you note disqualify a man from ever taking a leadership position again. The ability to lead by example (a pastor’s responsibility) has been lost forever. Certainly, God forgives and restores the truly repentant, but a man who has such sin on his ministry resume should have enough spiritual sense to find other employment. He has forfeited his call to lead and influence others in the Body of Christ.

    Churches who demand that such leaders be given second and third chances are a big part of the problem. Those who say “You who are without sin, cast the first stone” are just not thinking this thing through clearly. We should never lower the standards to accommodate a leader’s sin; we need moral purity in the pulpit if we are ever going to see it in the pew again. Even Paul had a concern about this when he said “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Cor 9:27). In today’s culturally-relevant, easy believism, anything-goes church, in which Christianity Lite rules belief and practice … folks feel more comfortable about their own sin if they have leaders who are having problems living as holy vessels. We need leaders who are personally pursuing holiness to turn a nation back to God, but that won’t happen until we turn the Church back to God … and, to do that, we need leaders who set examples before the flock, rather than always confessing personal sin! Personally, I don’t see this happening until God steps in and judges His Church … the sort of judgment that sets a nation right again always begins at the House of God first.

  117. Lydia wrote:

    @ okrapod:
    This is so true! Forgiveness and grace seem to function as discount items on sale at your “local church”. Great analogy.

    But Wait! There’s More! Every personal Fire Insurance policy comes with a FREE Complimentary Rapture Ticket/Boarding Pass!

  118. Max wrote:

    In today’s culturally-relevant, easy believism, anything-goes church, in which Christianity Lite rules belief and practice … folks feel more comfortable about their own sin if they have leaders who are having problems living as holy vessels.

    “If HE can get away with it, So Can I!”

  119. Bob Cleveland has always had a word of wisdom and thank God he is sharing his words here with us. When Bob joins the conversation, I know that something good will come of it.

  120. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Yep. As America spirals further into moral chaos, it seems that the pulpit in many places has forgotten that the pattern for ministry is Jesus, who was without sin. There will be those who argue “Max, you are too tough on the ministry. We ain’t Jesus!” … to which I would argue that pursuing Christlikeness should still be the goal of both pulpit and pew, but particularly those who claim to be called into the office of pastor. Failing to recognize this by failing in your ministry is a failure … period. Good Lord, is it too much to ask a pastor to keep his pants on!

  121. @ Max:
    What about ministry leaders who promote and defend other ministry leaders who protected child molesters? Al Mohler seems to think that is OK.

  122. @ Lydia:
    And Mark Dever. Big leaders in the SBC modeling horrible behavior to the young pastors they have so much influence over.

  123. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Harm others all you want fire insurance! Just say the magic repent word and you are rapture ready. In the case of Neo Cals, the Calvin insurance guarantees you were chosen for heaven before the world was even created. No rapture required. (Too bad for the suckers who were damned by default)

  124. Lea wrote:

    Clergy should be taught many of the same standards as therapists, imo.

    I agree. They seem to have a concept that they are above and beyond therapists a lot of the time. Seems like they are much more prone to model themselves after the CEOs of corporations. Have you ever noticed that the tripe that goes through the corporate world in the form of motivational speakers and so on tends to recycle in the church after it’s gotten stale? No wonder church is kind of like a Dilbert comic a lot of the time.

  125. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Get your CHRISTIAN(TM) 50-lb buckets of dried beans and rice before You Can’t Buy Food without Taking The Mark!!!!!

    HUG-
    “I only drink milk from a Christian cow” lol

  126. I remember years ago hearing Steven Arterburn from New Life Ministries speak about husbands who’ve had affairs. His suggestion was for the wife to require the husband to go to therapy and become part of an accountability group – but also for him to sign the deed to their house over to her. If he agreed to that, he would show he values the marriage above everything else.

    As for Jim Bakker, when he got out of jail, he was working for an inner city ministry and seemed on the right track. Seems like he veered off of that life of service.

  127. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    K.D. wrote:

    But coaches, well, they seem to take one additional step….and I am not saying this doesn’t happen with other teachers, but something else is there…

    In high school, Athletes (especially Football) ARE the Predestined Anointed Elect of the school; why shouldn’t their coaches be the Predestined Anointed Elect PASTOR-equivalents?
    “When they visited us, it was like God entering your house.”

    In Texas, for football players, you don’t know how close to true that is…..

  128. Former CLCer wrote:

    His suggestion was for the wife to require the husband to go to therapy and become part of an accountability group – but also for him to sign the deed to their house over to her.

    It should be in both their names to begin with . . .

  129. Lydia wrote:

    What about ministry leaders who promote and defend other ministry leaders who protected child molesters?

    Well, I wouldn’t call ministry leaders who endorse such folks “ministry leaders.” In most cases they have an agenda of some sort for doing so, like promoting and defending New Calvinist who’s who at all costs for the good of the movement. When you personally operate by stealth and deception to accomplish an end (e.g., to take over churches and denominations with aberrant theology), you would have no reservations about standing by others who have disqualified themselves from ministry?!

  130. Lydia wrote:

    Big leaders in the SBC modeling horrible behavior to the young pastors they have so much influence over.

    I’ve met some of the young reformed pastors in my area. They are not scaring the devil any more than their big name mentors. They are preacher boys, not men of God … men of God in American pulpits are getting tougher to locate – rare and endangered species they are.

  131. RE: The discussion of teachers/coaches, etc…
    Pam Palmer posted a link to my son’s podcast, where we discuss the pedophile who operated in our church and was in and out of our home regularly. We barely touched the tip of the iceberg in the podcast, and didn’t mention that this perp’s previous felonies occurred while he was a middle school teacher and coach. After being barred from teaching, he turned to church to find victims. If you care to listen, here’s the link again. Fast forward to the 10:00 mark.

    From Pam’s post on another thread: “Here’s a very informative podcast by a pastor and his mom on dealing with pedophiles in a church setting based on their past experience:
    http://thisliminalstate.com/2016/03/19/tll-25-beth-holt-on-protecting-kids/

    Intro. starts at 5:27
    Interview starts at 10:00″

  132. K.D. wrote:

    You’ve not been in school in a while. Yes, coaches spend a lot of time with kids, more than you realize, and go on overnight road trips, etc….but I’ve been involved with debate, One Act Play, UIL Academics, etc. Just as much emotional.

    I guess I disagree. My kids did both athletics and other activities. And not too recently. Athletics ramps it up way more than the more academic extras.

  133. Max wrote:

    men of God in American pulpits are getting tougher to locate – rare and endangered species they are.

    Max, I feel like they are getting rarer in the pews, too.

  134. @Bridget – his point was for the husband to sign away rights to the house until the marriage is totally restored.

  135. @ Former CLCer:
    That is not so easy in all states if they stay married, it is not paid off and he signed mortgage.

    People would do better to talk to a lawyer instead of a pastor. :o)

  136. mirele wrote:

    I am astonished to hear that seminary students don’t even have the one measly class requirement.

    Well they DO have prayer.

  137. Deebs!–
    Reding the kinda sorta apology letter by TT and his PR guy, I think it’s a perfect candidate for a line-by-line analysis– maybe in a future OP. It’s short, but chock full of diabolicalness. He’s so obsessed with leding that he has to remind his reders that they need repentance, too.

  138. Well, wait a minute about seminary students.

    I don’t know how it is now, but back in the day there were students from SBTS who were taking a pastoral care class (I think it may have had a different name) and who did clinical rotations through the old LGH and the CSH. This is where I ran into some of them, ‘on the floor’ to use our lingo. These people had been informed in class as to what ethical behavior was acceptable at those two hospitals at least. I found this out the hard way one time when one of them gave the patient his chart to read at CSH. The patient was angry with me for what I had written and he physically attacked me. The investigation which resulted turned up that the student indeed had been given some ‘ethics’ training in class but did not do what he had been taught.

    I realize that is not a lot of information, but it is some evidence that they were at least doing something in this pastoral care class. How much they did I do not know.

  139. @ Former CLCer:

    I see. But actually it is a bad idea unless the house is paid off. If wife is the owner she is probably my liable for the mortgage also if it is in her name. Plus it might actually need to be sold to her. I get the gist of your comment, even if it might not be doable.

  140. @ Bridget:

    I have said this way too many times, but my-dad-the-lawyer put many a meal on our table from fees for bailing some pew person out of some serious mistake which was made on advice of the preacher.

  141. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Dan:
    “Maybe they could all take a lesson in true repentance from Zacchaeus. Give half of everything you own to the poor and pay back everyone you have defrauded four times as much.”
    +++++++++++++++++
    considering the degree to which newfangled doctrine is based on conjecture, i’m sure we can put together a doctrine of repentance to include “scripture’s command” of ‘Give half of everything you own to the poor and pay back everyone you have defrauded four times as much’.
    we could all convene at The Holiday Inn somewhere, rent one of their conference rooms, craft our doctrine, all sign our names in an act of solemn solidarity…

    Are you referring to the Danvers statement, or something? I seem to recall R.C. Sproul and something like this, but my brain is not happy today, and not too co-operative in dredging up information from the past.

  142. okrapod wrote:

    @ Bridget:
    I have said this way too many times, but my-dad-the-lawyer put many a meal on our table from fees for bailing some pew person out of some serious mistake which was made on advice of the preacher.

    Why pew peeps think the preacher knows everything is beyond me . . . why preacher man thinks he can advise pew peeps in all areas is beyond me as well!

  143. @ refugee:

    Danvers statement – yes, indeed. The model for how you & your friends can invent your own doctrine to accommodate your neuroses.

  144. Let me tell you a little more about the Coral Ridge and affiliated Knox Seminary. They had a staff member by the name of Jonathan Gerstner who has a thing for young girls. This was discovered while he was on staff @ Knox in FL. It was covered up, and he was recommended by his comrades at Coral Ridge and Knox for the role of senior pastor at a PCA church just outside Baltimore. Get him far away from Ft. Lauderdale and ship him up to a small church in MD, yup that was a good idea. Well, Gerstner just could not help himself and he took a liking to the young gals in MD. He offered to teach them amazing things and even offered advice for how not to get in trouble with them mom (because an adult would need this advice, right?). Except, in 2002 his emails were going to an undercover Maryland State Trooper. This was big news in our neck of the woods and as my mother attended this church during that heart-wrenching scandal I heard much about it – http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2003-01-11/news/0301110056_1_gerstner-leasure-online . Elders from that little MD PCA church hot-footed it to Ft. Lauderdale for a WTH did you do to us meeting; Coral & Knox leadership admitted they knew about Gerstner’s proclivities. His former ministry knew! So I guess these are some of the same vile leaders who encouraged TT to keep his affair from his wife. The little PCA church in MD informed PCA leadership, and I don’t really know what all that means. Gerstner was found not guilty and local news articles mention nothing of his activities in FL, because CR and Knox covered them up. I believe Gerstner was stripped of his ordination and I have no idea where he now lurks. But I believe his still trolling for young girls, because these disgusting habits ever go away. Not that I believe God can’t cure, but for the very reasons mentioned in Dee’s post – a lack of repentance.

  145. So, I just kept digging. Jonathan Gerstner is pastoring a church in Chandler AZ – http://churchaz.com/about-us/our-staff/. I also found a webiste (not updated since 2012) where he posts about his “transformation” to address “rumors” people may have heard from when he lived on the east coast. Oh, and great news – he has been restored! Why can’t they just go away, get a job at a bank or a PR firm (right up their alley), and stay the heck away from ministry.

  146. Experiencing more shunning from LBC members. One member who cut ties invited me back for one more job, let’s see if they keep their commitment to have me come clean or cancel /move up cleaning since these blogs on ( Ken Ramey ) have come out

  147. elastigirl wrote:

    @ refugee:
    Danvers statement – yes, indeed. The model for how you & your friends can invent your own doctrine to accommodate your neuroses.

    And sign God’s name on it. (“SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE!”)

  148. marquis wrote:

    Experiencing more shunning from LBC members.

    Just saw the film called “The Hunting Ground”.

    The young women who reported their assaults were all shunned. The one at Florida State was told by the TPD detective working her case that she would be booted out of Tallahassee if she ever pressed charges against the all-star QB who was her assailant. She did press charges and she said she felt this came true.

    Two quotes from the film worth mentioning:
    “I feel like there’s this moral high ground in higher education that is just sitting vacant. What I haven’t yet seen, anywhere that I’m aware of, is a president who has decided that whatever it takes, it has to be done. And that’s what leadership is.” Dr. David Lisak, Clinical Psychologist
    “There is a desire to have this addressed internally, and part of that is silencing the (this) kind of problem [silencing the victim]; it’s viewed as kind of a public-relations-management-problem kind of a problem, I would say, probably.” – Kimberly Theidon, Former Assoc. Professor, Harvard University

    Perhaps there needs to be a “Spotlight” on the church also as “The Hunting Ground”.

  149. JYJames wrote:

    Perhaps there needs to be a “Spotlight” on the church also as “The Hunting Ground”.

    Where there is lots of Easy Prey, the Predators will swarm.

  150. JYJames wrote:

    The young women who reported their assaults were all shunned. The one at Florida State was told by the TPD detective working her case that she would be booted out of Tallahassee if she ever pressed charges against the all-star QB who was her assailant.

    “All-star QB” = FOOTBALL.
    The Master Race.
    Just like PASTOR’s Sons, i.e. Heirs Apparent to Daddy’s Pulpit.

  151. Apparently ken ramey is not happy with this blog, twitter, Facebook and any social media outlets that have been exposing him. According to him and Randy Alcorn those speaking out are Satan’s agents. @ Divorce Minister: