It’s Clergy Sex Abuse; Not an Affair!

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

http://www.christianpost.com/news/tullian-tchividjian-reveals-he-planned-to-kill-himself-after-losing-ministry-over-affair-scandal-170182/
Tullian Tchividjian link

As information is emerging on Tullian Tchividjian and his sexual relationships with women he met through his ministry, a Twitter disagreement arose this past weekend on what is involved in such a relationship. On one side were those who claimed that a sexual relationship between a pastor and a congregant is simply two consenting adults engaging in an affair.

On the other side, there were those who asserted that such a relationship is far move complex that a consenting a relationship between two adults. In fact, a pastor initiating such a sexual encounter is guilty of clergy sex abuse. 

I am in the latter camp. A pastor holds a position of power in the relationship and is misusing the power differential to gratify himself at the expense of a parishioner who comes to him for spiritual advice or counseling.

Here is what the American Counseling Association has to say about the ethics of a sexual relationship between a counselor and a client. Surely the church should agree with such ethics.

 The 2005 ACA Code of Ethics continues to recognize the harm that can be impacted upon clients when they are sexually intimate with their counselor. The counseling relationship is one based on trust, so we must respect the power differential inherent in any counseling relationship regardless of the counselor’s theoretical orientation or perspective. Engaging in any type of sexual or intimate relationship with a current client is abuse of power. Clients come into counseling emotionally and psychologically vulnerable and in need of assistance, so a counselor trying to engage in such relationships would be trying to take advantage of that client and their vulnerabilities to meet their own needs. Relational/cultural theory frames this as striving for a “power with” instead of a “power over” relationship.

Have you heard about the Clergy Sexual Abuse Awareness & Prevention Campaign? I hadn't until @kimrung2 posted, on Twitter, the video at the end of this post. Hope for Survivors an organization dedicated to helping the victims of clergy sex abuse. By this, I mean adults who have been coerced into a sexual relationship with their pastors. They have many resources along with videos by those who have been harmed by pastors.

Here is a video of a brave woman who describes her sexual relationship with her pastor. I think she does a good job of demonstrating why this is a coercive relationship between a pastor and a vulnerable church member.

Comments

It’s Clergy Sex Abuse; Not an Affair! — 813 Comments

  1. It would make for a great resource for survivor communities if there were a set of links to the documentation for various denominations, church planting networks, and ministry associations to their rules – regulations – recommendations about clergy sexual misconduct. This reference list of denominations and associations from from Gordon-Conwell seminary would be a good starting place. I’d do this myself, immediately, but I have other writing obligations for quite a while still. Maybe if some reader(s) sense an urgency to do this and have the time or can facilitate crowd-sourcing it, go for it!

    http://www.gordonconwell.edu/mentored-ministry/documents/DENOMINATIONALCHART2015.pdf

    P.S. This denominational chart from Gordon-Conwell features a column that details views on gender: complementarity vs. egalitarian.

  2. It is abuse of authority when between teacher/student (when both are of legal age), doctor/patient, and attorney/client; why, then, is it considered a mutual relationship when between pastor and congregant? It is as much abuse as the others.

  3. @ Burwell:

    *Authority* by definition means someone has more rank, influence, power, leadership responsibility than those who follow. It doesn’t work to flip the script and say that the person in power is suddenly a PEER with someone the exercise authority, rank, influence, power, leadership responsibility over.

  4. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    @ Burwell:
    *Authority* by definition means someone has more rank, influence, power, leadership responsibility than those who follow. It doesn’t work to flip the script and say that the person in power is suddenly a PEER with someone the exercise authority, rank, influence, power, leadership responsibility over.

    Like whether Calvary Chapel and Acts 29 are a Denomination or just Independent Fellowships…

    They are God’s Anointed Authority when it is to their personal advantage to be Anointed Authority, and Peer when it is to their personal advantage to be Peer with the pewsitter.

  5. A pastor holds a position of power in the relationship and is misusing the power differential to gratify himself at the expense of a parishioner who comes to him for spiritual advice or counseling.

    I think that is absolutely in the same realm as a counseling relationship that cross over into a sexual one – and you can lose your license for that.

    My question is more along the lines of asking if a clergy/parishioner relationship should *always* be considered on the level of counselor? Or are there occasions when it is and occasions when it isn’t. I have had only a few conversations with my minister and nothing terribly personal. I think those gateway pastors just go on tv and don’t actually meet the vast majority of their members in person. I’ll admit I’m sort of undecided about where the line is as far as predation verses affair.

    Obviously, no minister should be having an affair regardless, though.

  6. I don’t know – I think it depends on the case. While some cases clearly are an abuse of power I’m not sure all are.

    I’ve seen a case where the pastor/congregant were both of an age where they should have known better but cheated on their spouses anyways with each other (and later divorced those spouses and married). To call it abuse on the pastor’s part seems to diminish the agency and equal culpability of the congregant.

  7. The pastor is in a position of perceived power. He (I suppose it could be a she as well) is traditionally thought of as a “person of God”.

    When God’s name is invoked then I challenge that this is on par with invoking the “it’s ok, I’m a doctor/counselor/lawyer” scam. Maybe it’s even more powerful.

    And also, when you really think about it, God is supposed to be the ultimate authority. These pastors have received his call (supposedly). I don’t know about you but how fearful are you of the almighty? I’d have more respect if they ended one relationship before starting another. At least there’s some honesty there.

    And please don’t bring up King David…this is the 21st century AD not BC.

  8. srs wrote:

    To call it abuse on the pastor’s part seems to diminish the agency and equal culpability of the congregant.

    If a supervisor in a company has an affair with an employee, human resources should not discipline him/her?

    If a counselor has an affair with a counsel, it is ethical so long as the person is 18?

  9. You quote the standards of the ACA, but so many clergy consider themselves accountable to a different standard and then just claim restoration. Since they subscribe to “Biblical” counseling, professional counseling guidelines do not apply. We saw this with Agape Bible Church where the pastor who was accused of sexual misconduct merely moved on down the road and opened up shop under a non-denominational (no accountability) banner and then set up policies where no one was accountable for past misdeeds. I am merely attempting to point out a context in which subscribing to Nouthetic counseling can contribute to abuse.

  10. I’m of two minds: On the one hand, it seems to me that the existence of the sort of power dynamic between pastor and congregant that would make a sexual relationship between them, by definition, an abusive relationship is, itself a major problem and a breakdown in Ecclesiology. Conversely, where there is a healthy and non-authoritarian relationship between pastor and congregant, the coercive power dynamics that make it abuse rather than an affair should not exist.

    However, on the other hand, I live in the real world and I have to acknowledge that, even when a healthy dynamic is officially in place on the books of a church’s policy, in reality there is very often still an inherent power dynamic between pastor and congregant. Since that’s the reality on the ground, I think that power dynamic needs to be assumed in the case of sexual relationships between pastor and congregants, and it must be treated as an abusive situation. (Although a big part of me hates it.)

  11. Sexual abuse is a crime, a felony.

    I’m just wondering as to why people are stating that pastors are in a position of authority to begin with, then equating that with counselors, medical professionals in order to proclaim a power differential.

    The whole world knows about the so-called “affairs” between TT and other women in the congregation.

    Lawyers know, doctors know, judges know, police know, the grocery clerk knows, etc. This is not a private matter that the public does not know. And yet, no one has indicted former pastor TT of this “sexual abuse”.

    Why? Probably because pastors do not hold a position of authority to begin with.

    In accordance with the statutes that I have read, pastors are not in a position of authority, until…Until is a key word. So, just by the mere fact that they are a pastor, it means nothing at all. Nothing.

    I’m also wondering why people are using secular words to describe this situation, i.e. affair.

    Can we use a more biblical term since this is about spiritual matters? I think the word “adultery” is more appropriate than the word “affair”.

    The word, “affair” is a term often used in soap operas, making the word glamorous, instead of a sin against God and people. Affair is intriguing, enticing, interesting, etc.

    If sexual abuse is against the law, and if sexual abuse took place, then why is TT not in custody?

    There seems to be a lot of accusing of a crime without evidence that a pastor in general is in a position of authority. It seems that there is a general consensus that pastors are, by default, in a position of authority.

    That needs to be clarified before we go accusing someone of a felony crime, don’tcha think?

    Ed

  12. Ed Chapman wrote:

    There seems to be a lot of accusing of a crime without evidence that a pastor in general is in a position of authority. It seems that there is a general consensus that pastors are, by default, in a position of authority.

    I may well be missing your point, but I think you are assuming that all abuse of a sexual nature is a crime. As I understand the OP, sexual activity between clergy and non-clergy is abusive because of the perceived power or influence differential between them. The fact that states may or may not consider that activity a felony does not erase the spiritual, moral, and ethical problems with such activity.

    As I understand it, your argument is that Sexual Abuse is a crime; sexual activity between clergy and laity is not a crime; Therefore there was no Sexual Abuse. Is that your argument?

  13. In the early days of sexual harassment policies and laws, the power differential was a huge factor in settlements. That ship sailed later when the country was convinced from the highest level such power differentials did really not matter.

    The prevailing consensus became about whether it was consensual or not –which puts it in another legal category.

  14. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Can we use a more biblical term since this is about spiritual matters? I think the word “adultery” is more appropriate than the word “affair”.

    This is just semantics. Affair in English fits better in some sentences than ‘adultery’. I think in context we all know what it means.

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    Probably because pastors do not hold a position of authority to begin with.

    What you are missing, Ed, is there is an entire movement of pastors trying to convince laity that they hold all kinds of authority (or in Leeman’s terms ‘keys’) over the congregation. The authority vested in pastors, priests and elders varies rather wildly by congregation as well.

    And of course, counseling is another matter entirely. In a counseling situation, the emotions and fiduciary issues are going to be similar whether the legal protections are there or not. Which makes them equally unethical.

  15. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Sexual abuse is a crime, a felony.
    I’m just wondering as to why people are stating that pastors are in a position of authority to begin with, then equating that with counselors, medical professionals in order to proclaim a power differential.
    The whole world knows about the so-called “affairs” between TT and other women in the congregation.
    Lawyers know, doctors know, judges know, police know, the grocery clerk knows, etc. This is not a private matter that the public does not know. And yet, no one has indicted former pastor TT of this “sexual abuse”.
    Why? Probably because pastors do not hold a position of authority to begin with.
    In accordance with the statutes that I have read, pastors are not in a position of authority, until…Until is a key word. So, just by the mere fact that they are a pastor, it means nothing at all. Nothing.
    I’m also wondering why people are using secular words to describe this situation, i.e. affair.
    Can we use a more biblical term since this is about spiritual matters? I think the word “adultery” is more appropriate than the word “affair”.
    The word, “affair” is a term often used in soap operas, making the word glamorous, instead of a sin against God and people. Affair is intriguing, enticing, interesting, etc.
    If sexual abuse is against the law, and if sexual abuse took place, then why is TT not in custody?
    There seems to be a lot of accusing of a crime without evidence that a pastor in general is in a position of authority. It seems that there is a general consensus that pastors are, by default, in a position of authority.
    That needs to be clarified before we go accusing someone of a felony crime, don’tcha think?
    Ed

    Ed,

    Julie Anne had to shut you down several times over at Spiritual Sounding Board for your lack of empathy to victims. Whether it was this case/pastor or the victim of Doug Philips (Vision Forum) who sued him.

    You are starting in on the same vein here that you did over at SSB.

  16. @ Lea:

    Sidenote, on this use of ‘biblical’ terms…I hate when people use the term ‘fornication’. I don’t believe it’s generally necessary to use four syllables where one will do.

  17. @ Gram3:
    Gram3,

    What I am stating is that the claim is the words “sexual abuse”, and that is a crime. If you are going to use the words “sexual abuse”, you are alleging a crime, not an ethics violation. If you are going to use examples of medical professionals, counselors, and use the term “power differential”, and “position of authority” those are legal terms. And what is being established by using all of those legal terms, is the accusation that a felony crime took place.

    The bible does not state that pastors are not to have sex with the congregation. It states for EVERYONE to not commit fornication.

    Adultery is a sin against God, and pastors are not the only ones to whom that applies.

    And, by the way, the word “perceived” is not a situation used in the bible, nor is it a word used in the statutes.

    Those that perceive sexual abuse, when in doubt, report it to the proper authorities. Let them determine the crime, if any at all.

    We have a lot of “alleging” going on, without evidence. If “sexual abuse” is being publicly declared in blogs, it becomes a legal matter, does it not? It’s no longer an matter of ethics. This is where the law can step in and investigate. Am I wrong?

    Ed

  18. Gram3 wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:
    There seems to be a lot of accusing of a crime without evidence that a pastor in general is in a position of authority. It seems that there is a general consensus that pastors are, by default, in a position of authority.
    I may well be missing your point, but I think you are assuming that all abuse of a sexual nature is a crime. As I understand the OP, sexual activity between clergy and non-clergy is abusive because of the perceived power or influence differential between them. The fact that states may or may not consider that activity a felony does not erase the spiritual, moral, and ethical problems with such activity.
    As I understand it, your argument is that Sexual Abuse is a crime; sexual activity between clergy and laity is not a crime; Therefore there was no Sexual Abuse. Is that your argument?

    Gram3,

    Ed lacks empathy for victims. Julie Anne at Spiritual Sounding Board had to shut him down on this topic/pastor and another one involving the victim of Doug Philips (Vision Forum) who sued him.

  19. @ Lea:
    I think we should call it what it is…adultery, not glamorize it with diminished words, minimizing it.

  20. @ Lea:
    People often leave out trust. The trust placed in a person who leads an institution and what that institution declares it stands for.

  21. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Probably because pastors do not hold a position of authority to begin with.

    I disagree. I have seen people give undo credence to what a pastor says or does simply because he is in that office. Your entire comment seems to hinge on semantics (affair vs. adultery, abuse vs?) and I do not have either the time or inclination to debate at that level, just wanted to register my disagreement with your premise. The “authority” of a pastor may only be a perceived one, but it is real and it is abused.

  22. @ Ed Chapman:

    Ed argued this topic to death over at Julie Anne’s blog to the point it sounded as though he was victim-blaming the women conned by these skeevy pastors, holding the women equally accountable.

    Like it or not, Ed, a lot of people do view pastors as being authoritative, rightly or wrongly.

    While others put trust in pastors because pastors are supposed to be loving, tender, trustworthy confidants and shepherds a person can turn to in times of trouble.

    Preachers do have influence over some people.

    Some preachers exploit this trust or perceived authority to do things like take sexual advantage of vulnerable, hurting, and/or confused women. In such a case, it’s far more than “adultery” and a case of abuse and/or exploitation.

  23. @ Velour:
    Ya, I get accused of that a lot now that I am bringing up the legal aspects of “sexual abuse”. No one has yet to prove that there are victims in this case, but everyone is on the bandwagon that a pastor, in general, is in a position of authority.

    Let’s get to the truth, before we declare who a victim is, and what qualifies as a victim.

    If you are going to use legal terms, you had better be legally correct in your accusations.

    Ed

    Ed

  24. Ed Chapman wrote:

    What I am stating is that the claim is the words “sexual abuse”, and that is a crime. If you are going to use the words “sexual abuse”, you are alleging a crime, not an ethics violation. If you are going to use examples of medical professionals, counselors, and use the term “power differential”, and “position of authority” those are legal terms. And what is being established by using all of those legal terms, is the accusation that a felony crime took place.

    So, in your view, if a term or terms has a legal definition (among other possible definitions) then the legal definition is the only definition the term should take. I don’t think that is a position which can be defended. Extreme verbal abuse by a parent to a child is not a crime. Is it not abuse because it is not a crime? That is one example where your framework (as I understand it) does not work. I don’t see TWW making a legal case but rather a case for relative responsibility for a sin. Not all sins are illegal.

  25. How can it not be an abuse of authority when the pastors and elders are always telling the pew sitters that they ARE, their authority? Isn’t that the whole reason behind this gender role stuff in the church? The MEN are in AUTHORITY, and “they know what’s best” we WOMEN are “DECEIVED” or worse “DECEIVERS”. Sorry guys you can’t have it both ways either you are the authority or not. You do have power over your congregants so you have an even bigger responsibility, you will be held accountable, maybe not in this world but definitely the next. Women, you have the right to say NO! These men are not our owners. I always thought TT was to pretty to be a pastor, I figured that he would be doing something like he has before long. Oh! Is that sexist! Not anymore than a man saying it about a woman.

  26. Being a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, I am well aware of the grooming process, the deceit, and the manipulation spiritual leaders use to prey. Working with other survivors, the stories are all the same. These predators come from the same mold. They are not followers of Jesus because if they were, they would have the Holy Spirit convicting them of their sin. I hear the pain, the guilt, and the shame of those abused by their church leaders, and I also know of the lack of pain, guilt, and shame from the offenders.

    Just because it is not yet a crime in every state when clergy engage in relationships with members of their care, it is illegal in several states with other victims working to pass legislation in their states. Yes, there is always a power differential between clergy and congregants. Yes, they hold authority over their flock. The very nature of the relationship between a shepherd and sheep shows that there is an imbalance. One is the leader whose sole duty is to guide, teach, and protect those they serve. There is never consent when clergy enter a relationship with someone under their protection.

    TT abused his power. He used his position to seek relationships with people he was called to lead, guide, and protect. He used his title to lead his sheep into sin. That is a clear abuse of power. Just because it isn’t yet a law in every state does not negate that truth.

    Kim was abused by her pastor and although it is not considered a crime by man’s law, it certainly is considered a crime by God’s law. Every shepherd who uses the sheep for their own satisfaction and who feed themselves, are enemies of God’s. They should also be enemies of the church.

    Thank you, Kim, for sharing your story and pain. May the hope you found encourage the countless souls devastated by clergy sexual abuse. And may God open the eyes of the blind to the truths of this form of abuse.

  27. Ed Chapman wrote:

    And what is being established by using all of those legal terms, is the accusation that a felony crime took place.

    No, that’s not the same thing at all. A ‘power differential’ can exist with no legal issue at all.

    Gram3 wrote:

    if a term or terms has a legal definition (among other possible definitions) then the legal definition is the only definition the term should take

    Or maybe just listen to everything Gram said.

  28. @ Ed Chapman:
    And I would add that I don’t think anyone is saying that the non-clergy person is absolved of responsibility or is excused from the sin. Either clergy have greater status and responsibility or they don’t.

  29. @ Ed Chapman:

    Tullian is taking advantage of his position, which is vested with a lot of trust by a lot of people, to take sexual advantage of vulnerable women, women who may come to him seeking encouragement when they are at a low point, biblical advice for problems, etc.

    -And him doing that is unethical, unfair, sleazy, dishonest, ungodly, and unbiblical, whether or not some states consider that a crime.

    I am pretty sure in secular counseling, it’s a crime for a mental health profession to do this with clients – shouldn’t Christians have HIGHER standards for counseling done in churches and/or by preachers, than in secular venues??

  30. Ed Chapman wrote:

    There seems to be a lot of accusing of a crime without evidence that a pastor in general is in a position of authority. It seems that there is a general consensus that pastors are, by default, in a position of authority.

    That needs to be clarified before we go accusing someone of a felony crime, don’tcha think?

    I would like to add that counselors, medical professionals, lawyers, police, etc. are in a position of authority because the state grants them the power to practice – counselors or psychologists and medical professionals are licensed, lawyers have to pass the state bar exam to practice and the police are given their police powers by their government employers. The state or government has oversight and disciplinary procedures in place for wrongdoing. I’m not aware that pastors are subject to such government oversight. The authority given to pastors is of a voluntary nature given by the congregation.

  31. Ed Chapman wrote:

    @ FW Rez:
    A court of law is all about semantics.
    Ed

    No, it’s not. I work in law and you don’t. There are lots of laws and lots of rules.

  32. Lydia wrote:

    @ Lea:
    People often leave out trust. The trust placed in a person who leads an institution and what that institution declares it stands for.

    Broken trust is hurtful in any situation. It’s part of what makes an affair so damaging in the first place.

  33. Ed Chapman wrote:

    I think we should call it what it is…adultery, not glamorize it with diminished words, minimizing it.

    I think you’re splitting hairs over terminology.

    Me, personally, I’m not as hung up on whether folks want to label TT’s actions as adultery, affair, or abuse – to me, it’s all the same (though I do understand the views of folks like Julie Anne who seem to feel strongly it should be called “abuse” and not “adultery/affair”).

    What TT did was take advantage of people who were under his care, who placed trust in him, which is wrong and sleazy.

  34. Ed Chapman wrote:

    @ Velour:
    Ya, I get accused of that a lot now that I am bringing up the legal aspects of “sexual abuse”. No one has yet to prove that there are victims in this case, but everyone is on the bandwagon that a pastor, in general, is in a position of authority.
    Let’s get to the truth, before we declare who a victim is, and what qualifies as a victim.
    If you are going to use legal terms, you had better be legally correct in your accusations.
    Ed
    Ed

    You are incorrect, Ed.

    I work in law and you don’t. I haven’t made any “accusations” or commented on this case.

    The law, however, recognizes plenty of kinds of victims, not just victims of crime.

  35. @ Daisy:
    I agree with you, Daisy. Clergy actually seek out the wounded and vulnerable in their congregations because they are easy prey. Having a social work degree, it was highly stressed in college, that every helping profession is 100% responsible to keep healthy boundaries between themselves and those they serve. Why? Because every helping profession works with a vulnerable population. And although it may not be a crime for me to abuse my authority over those I serve, it certainly is an abuse of power. Just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t make it OK. Some people are not open to hearing the truth. But thank you for speaking it.

  36. Ed Chapman wrote:

    No one has yet to prove that there are victims in this case,

    What we have in TT’s case, from what I’ve read so far, is a dude taking advantage of his position to hop into the sack with women. Those women are his victims.

  37. Ed Chapman wrote:

    A court of law is all about semantics.
    Ed

    But we’re on a blog, not in a court of law.

    Depending on what state TT was in when this stuff went down (Florida?), it might be a crime where he was living and working at the time – I’m not sure.

    Someone here or on JA’s blog cited web pages showing that some states consider TT’s actions to be a crime.

    Even if a state has no law saying it’s a crime for a man to, say, fondle children, you would have to argue that adults fondling children is not a crime, that there are no victims, etc.
    As if to say, it’s not morally repugnant and morally wrong for an adult to molest kids. -That is what you sound like on this topic.

    Just because there is not a specific law against an action does not make that action moral, right, godly, or fair.

  38. Daisy wrote:

    Those women are his victims.

    Also their families. His family. The church itself who has to deal with the fallout. Etc.

  39. Daisy wrote:

    Just because there is not a specific law against an action does not make that action moral, right, godly, or fair.

    Correct, Daisy.

    In my state (California) there was a woman crossing the street and a stranger came up and fondled her through her clothes. The police told her that they couldn’t arrest the man because there was no law against it, only skin-to-skin contact.

    So she was outraged and horrified. She changed California law so that it’s now a crime.

  40. FW Rez wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    A court of law is all about semantics.

    OK, I’ll bite. Where do you draw that conclusion from?

    I can name one: Reasonable Person.

  41. Reasonable Person. A phrase frequently used in tort and Criminal Law to denote a hypothetical person in society who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct and who serves as a comparative standard for determining liability.

    And that standard changes. That is an example of Semantic.

  42. Lydia wrote:

    Reasonable Person. A phrase frequently used in tort and Criminal Law to denote a hypothetical person in society who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct and who serves as a comparative standard for determining liability.
    And that standard changes. That is an example of Semantic.

    A judge explains to a jury what these terms mean under law (and the type of case, crimianl or civil that is being heard). They go over it in great detail and the jurors’ responsibilities, can they fulfill them, etc.

  43. I would say that if a pastor counsels a person and then has a sexual relationship with that person, that would be abuse because they were acting as the role of counselor. If a pastor starts flirting with a member of the congregation and they end up having an affair, that doesn’t seem the same to me. However, that might come from the fact that I don’t view pastors as an authority over me. If TT did have an affair with a woman who came to him for counsel or were in a vulnerable position, I say throw the creep in jail. Does anyone have info on who the woman are and what the circumstances were?

  44. Mary Jo Noworyta wrote:

    TT abused his power. He used his position to seek relationships with people he was called to lead, guide, and protect.
    He used his title to lead his sheep into sin.
    That is a clear abuse of power. Just because it isn’t yet a law in every state does not negate that truth.

    Kim was abused by her pastor and although it is not considered a crime by man’s law, it certainly is considered a crime by God’s law.

    Every shepherd who uses the sheep for their own satisfaction and who feed themselves, are enemies of God’s. They should also be enemies of the church.

    Your post got me to thinking, if we substituted any other problem or sin in place of adultery / affair / sexual activity, would Ed still hold the same views?

    If TT had been sweet-talking vulnerable women in his church out of their money, to buy himself cigars and fancy hub cabs, would Ed still sit here and say the women were not victims?

    Or, would he argue what is all the fuss about, because sweet talking women out of their money to buy cigars is “not a crime.”

    The Bible itself tells Christians to be on the lookout for false teachers and wolves in sheeps’ clothing precisely because Jesus (and the Apostles) already saw problems of fake Christians masquerading as trustworthy figures who would dupe others – whether it was duping them sexually, in financial matters, or theologically.

    If there is no such thing as a church leader making victims due to his actions,why does the Bible warn us of this very thing???

    Jesus speaking:
    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Mt. 7:15,16).

    Paul wrote:
    “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
    Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
    Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Ac. 20:29-31).

    There are many other examples in the New Testament. If it were not true that Christian men can and do exploit people, rip them off, and mislead them, then why all these warnings by Paul and Jesus that such will and can happen?

  45. Velour wrote:

    In my state (California) there was a woman crossing the street and a stranger came up and fondled her through her clothes.

    What in French is called a “Frotteur”.
    (Yes, French has a specific word for it; take that as you will.)

  46. When you reduce complex issues down to “their side” and “our side” you are guaranteed the ego reward you seek, either affirmation through agreement or demonizing through disagreement. Why is this being treated as an issue with a binary construct in choosing how to approach the issue. Childish thinking.

    Can there be abuse of position? Yes. But to treat it is default in every case is the kind of over-simplistic thinking that troubles much of this world.

  47. Lydia wrote:

    In the early days of sexual harassment policies and laws, the power differential was a huge factor in settlements. That ship sailed later when the country was convinced from the highest level such power differentials did really not matter.

    The prevailing consensus became about whether it was consensual or not –which puts it in another legal category.

    (Boldface added.)

    The issue of whether it is consensual may be why the RAINN database that I linked has information on clergy as perpetrators in the section on when “consent” CANNOT be used a legal defense. The way they pose the question is this: “Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?” The answers, state by state, will contain a variety of occupations and situations.

    https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/state-by-state-laws-on-clergy-sexual-misconduct/

  48. Daisy wrote:

    The Bible itself tells Christians to be on the lookout for false teachers and wolves in sheeps’ clothing precisely because Jesus (and the Apostles) already saw problems of fake Christians masquerading as trustworthy figures who would dupe others – whether it was duping them sexually, in financial matters, or theologically.
    If there is no such thing as a church leader making victims due to his actions,why does the Bible warn us of this very thing???

    Some of these churches have made it a legal issue, because their membership “contracts” require absolute submission to a pastor. So while it might not hold up in a court of law, who’s to say they wouldn’t try? Or that they wouldn’t use it as a legal threat (which is a legal issue, btw).

  49. Daisy wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    I think we should call it what it is…adultery, not glamorize it with diminished words, minimizing it.

    I think you’re splitting hairs over terminology.

    As Douggie ESQUIRE and the NSFW song “Loophole” does about “knowing in a Biblical sense”, AKA Tab A into Sot B.

    Poll for the massmind:
    Ed Chapman: TT Truth Squad troll or no?

  50. Velour wrote:

    In my state (California) there was a woman crossing the street and a stranger came up and fondled her through her clothes. The police told her that they couldn’t arrest the man because there was no law against it, only skin-to-skin contact.

    I wonder why the cops could not have just considered that a case of assault and arrested him for that?

    The Feds got that Mafia guy, Capone, for tax evasion, when they couldn’t nab him on being Mr. Mafia.

  51. Daisy wrote:

    The Bible itself tells Christians to be on the lookout for false teachers and wolves in sheeps’ clothing precisely because Jesus (and the Apostles) already saw problems of fake Christians masquerading as trustworthy figures who would dupe others – whether it was duping them sexually, in financial matters, or theologically.

    And I remember in RCIA catechism someone (not the catechist, one of the other noobs) mentioned that a full third of the Didache is about how to recognize a con man.

  52. Lydia wrote:

    In the early days of sexual harassment policies and laws, the power differential was a huge factor in settlements. That ship sailed later when the country was convinced from the highest level such power differentials did really not matter.

    “From the highest level” = Supreme Court or Monicagate?

  53. Daisy wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    In my state (California) there was a woman crossing the street and a stranger came up and fondled her through her clothes. The police told her that they couldn’t arrest the man because there was no law against it, only skin-to-skin contact.
    I wonder why the cops could not have just considered that a case of assault and arrested him for that?
    The Feds got that Mafia guy, Capone, for tax evasion, when they couldn’t nab him on being Mr. Mafia.

    Different things legally. Tax evasion was already a federal crime in Capone’s case.

    The statute didn’t cover sexual battery with clothes on, only with clothes off.

  54. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Poll for the massmind:
    Ed Chapman: TT Truth Squad troll or no?

    Ed is a long time poster at Julie Anne’s SSB blog.

    I don’t think he’s so much a TT fan, as a guy who tends to get myopic about terminology and Old Testament Mosaic law, and should it apply to Christians today, sort of stuff… which ends up making him sound very victim-blamey and nit-picky in these discussions.

    He was all over TT threads at Julie Anne’s blog the last couple of weeks with this same stuff, making it sound as though TT’s targets are equally culpable.

  55. Ken G. wrote:

    I would like to add that counselors, medical professionals, lawyers, police, etc. are in a position of authority because the state grants them the power to practice – counselors or psychologists and medical professionals are licensed, lawyers have to pass the state bar exam to practice and the police are given their police powers by their government employers. The state or government has oversight and disciplinary procedures in place for wrongdoing. I’m not aware that pastors are subject to such government oversight. The authority given to pastors is of a voluntary nature given by the congregation.

    In most cases, even though the state will license them, you choose your lawyers, doctor, counselor, etc (there may be exceptions, but generally you can change doctors the same as you can change pastors). So I don’t think the voluntary nature changes the type of relationship at all. It just means the unlicensed have all of the responsibility, but little of the legal liability. This has developed likely because pastors and ‘christian’ counselors have held themselves up as Christians, so they should be abiding by the same ethical standards, or even higher ones!

    The sad reality is that they do not.

  56. Velour wrote:

    The statute didn’t cover sexual battery with clothes on, only with clothes off.

    Does’t, legally speaking, unwanted touch fall under assault?

  57. Let me put it the way, and then I will depart.

    If someone knows of a sexual abuse of any kind, and does not report it to the proper authorities, can that person be prosecuted?

    What I am really getting at here, call the cops and report this alleged abuse, and let the professionals investigate.

    That is…if you want “justice” that the Bible discusses.

    Ed

  58. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Let me put it the way, and then I will depart.
    If someone knows of a sexual abuse of any kind, and does not report it to the proper authorities, can that person be prosecuted?
    What I am really getting at here, call the cops and report this alleged abuse, and let the professionals investigate.
    That is…if you want “justice” that the Bible discusses.
    Ed

    Ed, You’re incorrect.

    I work in law.

    Under law there are many types of abuses and many types of victims, and not all victims are victims of crimes. That doesn’t mean that they weren’t victimized.

  59. @ Ed Chapman:

    I’m not sure what the law is in the state where TT did all this stuff.

    Suppose there are no specific laws in that state for what he did, are you saying that churches should not hold TT accountable?

    Or, if there are no laws against what he did, should churches and Christians keep giving him the pass, like setting him up again to get back into a pulpit at a new church, promoting him, etc?

    The Bible says Biblical Justice for a man like Tullian, who claims Christ, is to…

    1. Kick him out of the church

    “…hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.” (1 Cor 5.5)

    (Unless he repents, then take him back – and it means honest repentance, not the quick sham variety sites like “Ex Pastors” and mega churches promotes)

    2. Have nothing to do with a guy like this

    1 Corinthians 5:11

    But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

    3. If a guy fails certain tests, the Bible says the guy should not be in a position of trust or authority in the church.

    Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, (1 Timothy 3:2)

    But point 2 is not what some Christians are doing in regards to TT.

    They are publishing sympathetic puff pieces on RNS site and Ex-Pastors, promoting TT and painting him as a victim.

    They are apparently preparing to launch the guy back into ministry sometime down the road.

  60. I’m all for refusing pastorship permanently to anyone who disqualifies themselves for issues of abuse.

    The Bible never says disqualified pastors could be a pastor again. It only says they can be a Christian again.

    The only reason many of these guys want back in is because that’s where the money is. It’s all about them. They don’t care about the people at all.

  61. From the post:

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

    One winter’s day some years ago I set off walking up the Ptarmigan Ridge path on Ben Lomond. The top is at 974m; on this particular day the snow-line was about 700m. So, when I reached the first dusting of snow, there were very many footprints to follow. But as I got higher, and the snow got deeper, the footprints started to thin out; evidently, more and more people had decided they didn’t fancy it and turned back. In the end, there was just one brave soul who had trodden a path across snow that had drifted to several feet deep in places. Some of the footprints were very deep!

    But the effect of that person’s footprints was that it attracted another set (mine, in this case). If you consider yourself an experienced hillwalker, there’s a certain responsibility to help tread a path. (A couple of big snowfalls can bury it again, of course, but hey.) Once about a dozen people have walked the same route, the snow starts to become trodden down and thus easy to walk; and then anybody can follow it. But for the first person, it’s hard.

    Here’s the thing. There are two paths on Ben Lomond; my fellow-walker took the other path down, evidently, and I never met him/her *. But I followed them nonetheless.

    Not all leadership needs boldness and charisma.

    * Based purely on the size of their boots, it was probably a man; but I can’t be certain.

  62. Missy M. wrote:

    But to treat it is default in every case is the kind of over-simplistic thinking that troubles much of this world.

    The issue between consenting adults is vulnerable to question, IMO, so I agree that simplistic answers are not real answers. I have no idea what the circumstances are behind this particular video. There was plenty of bad decision-making, at the very least, in this woman’s story. Is she responsible as an adult for what happened between them? I think she is, if adult means anything. Is he responsible as an adult? I think he is. And I think he has even more responsibility because of his position.

    Assigning greater responsibility to someone in a relatively more powerful/influential/authoritative position is not the same as absolving the other adult, IMO. There are predatory females as well as predatory males, so a person in a relatively more powerful position needs to be very, very careful. There has been much discussion here about the so-called Billy Graham rule. I think there is a lot of wisdom in that rule, though I do not believe it should be a “law.” Plenty of things are wise that are not laws and plenty of things are unwise that are not illegal.

  63. Gram3 wrote:

    There has been much discussion here about the so-called Billy Graham rule.

    I have mixed feelings on it, I think you can take it way too far (like these men who are all ‘I can’t help you stranded on the side of the road, because then we would be ALONE together). You are never going prevent men and women being alone together entirely, nor should you. As in most things, it’s about proper balance. For instance, having a female nurse in the office during a pap smear/breast exam is probably a good idea for everyone.

    I think the thing video was very good to listen to if for no other reason than to get an idea how grooming happens. I was talking about doing a sort of RCA on these cases in church that go wrong, you can look at how things can go wrong from the other perspective too. When could she have best stopped it with the least amount of damage? How should she have revealed it to the church/wife/etc? Without judging her for mistakes, we can still learn. And that is important.

  64. Gram3 wrote:

    There are predatory females as well as predatory males, so a person in a relatively more powerful position needs to be very, very careful.

    Excellent point, and that’s why churches need to have clear policies against sexual relationships between clergy and members. When rules and consequences are clear, most people avoid breaking rules. The clergy member, whether male or female, predatory or not, will be trained in the rules–which ideally protect everyone, whether or not the church is egalitarian.

  65. Lea wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:
    There has been much discussion here about the so-called Billy Graham rule.
    Lea wrote:
    I have mixed feelings on it, I think you can take it way too far (like these men who are all ‘I can’t help you stranded on the side of the road, because then we would be ALONE together).

    For awhile, one mainline denomination was headed by a woman. Should there have been a Betty Graham rule during her term?

    The Billy Graham rule locks women out of too many things by casting them as unnecessary and/or suspicious.

  66. Friend wrote:

    For awhile, one mainline denomination was headed by a woman. Should there have been a Betty Graham rule during her term?

    Did she need it?

  67. Apologies for introducing a rabbit trail. Perhaps we are getting hung up on Rules rather than Wise Behavior and Wise Boundaries.

  68. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Here’s the thing. There are two paths on Ben Lomond; my fellow-walker took the other path down, evidently, and I never met him/her *. But I followed them nonetheless.

    * Based purely on the size of their boots, it was probably a man; but I can’t be certain.

    Well, if it was Ben MacDhui instead of Ben Lomond…

  69. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    Here’s the thing. There are two paths on Ben Lomond; my fellow-walker took the other path down, evidently, and I never met him/her *. But I followed them nonetheless.
    * Based purely on the size of their boots, it was probably a man; but I can’t be certain.
    Well, if it was Ben MacDhui instead of Ben Lomond…

    Nick,

    We have a Ben Lomond here too, in California, in the Santa Cruz Mountains (Northern California) with lovely redwood trees.

  70. Friend wrote:

    that’s why churches need to have clear policies against sexual relationships between clergy and members. When rules and consequences are clear, most people avoid breaking rules.

    Yes, I think that is true for organizations, and especially the church. I think that secular standards are a floor for church standards and not a ceiling.

  71. Gram3 wrote:

    Apologies for introducing a rabbit trail. Perhaps we are getting hung up on Rules rather than Wise Behavior and Wise Boundaries.

    This is kind of what I was trying to get at. I think the billy graham rule generally goes too far, but it possible to not go far enough. Let’s try to have sense about the whole thing.

    As for the topic, be very careful when your someone starts crossing your boundaries. That story of the 13 year old that is going around whose former youth pastor started putting moves on her told her parents early enough for it to stop going all the way. I think that’s what we need to be encouraging. And then the corollary is we need to be making sure there are consequences for the other side crossing those boundaries. Like a different pastor I read about who started texting, was caught, and was still left in his position! Let’s learn from these things.

  72. srs wrote:

    I don’t know – I think it depends on the case. While some cases clearly are an abuse of power I’m not sure all are.
    I’ve seen a case where the pastor/congregant were both of an age where they should have known better but cheated on their spouses anyways with each other (and later divorced those spouses and married). To call it abuse on the pastor’s part seems to diminish the agency and equal culpability of the congregant.

    agree 100% with this statement. It is a lie to believe that the congregant is not equally responsible especially if the congregant is 1. of age 2. currently married or in the middle of marriage processes 3. financially independent and capable of full responsibility in regards to behavior

    Note that women pastors could also be sex abusers or have ability to consider “infidelity” as a “good thing”. Our world is now accepting a term called “open marriage.’

    Also note that healthcare workers have the HIGHEST infidelity in this nation! So to point at spiritual leaders or spiritual people as always being the bully in these types of situations isn’t quite looking at the overall big picture of what and where infidelity arises. Men have a high rate of infidelity but women are only a few percentage points behind men these days.

  73. ishy wrote:

    The only reason many of these guys want back in is because that’s where the money is. It’s all about them. They don’t care about the people at all.

    Someone at Julie Anne’s blog, LT, left a link to this video and encouraged us to watch it:
    https://vimeo.com/93207547

    LT says the content of that video explains why so many of these celebrity preachers are so quick to cover for their fallen celebrity preacher friends and try to get them back in the pulpit ASAP.

    Here is part of what LT said at Julie Anne’s blog:

    That film [see Vimeo link above] terrified these pastors to no end. It really shook them up.

    Gateway spends $161M a year to run 1 large campus and 4 modest ones (they opened a 6th in 2016). Their pay package is over $100,000 on average including benefits.
    Many of the Gateway Pastors do not have a college or seminary degree.

    They have no way of replacing their staggering pay package and massive T&E accounts if they fall and are not quickly restored.

    In the film, they show Ted unable to find a job.

    He cheerfully applies over and over and over. He explains that his degree from Oral Roberts in Biblical Studies doesn’t even qualify him to become a janitor.

    By the end of the film Ted is trying, not that successfully, to sell life insurance door to door. He has to travel all over the state of Arizona to try to make a single sale. It’s gut wrenching.

  74. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Sexual abuse is a crime, a felony.
    I’m just wondering as to why people are stating that pastors are in a position of authority to begin with, then equating that with counselors, medical professionals in order to proclaim a power differential.
    The whole world knows about the so-called “affairs” between TT and other women in the congregation.
    Lawyers know, doctors know, judges know, police know, the grocery clerk knows, etc. This is not a private matter that the public does not know. And yet, no one has indicted former pastor TT of this “sexual abuse”.
    Why? Probably because pastors do not hold a position of authority to begin with.
    In accordance with the statutes that I have read, pastors are not in a position of authority, until…Until is a key word. So, just by the mere fact that they are a pastor, it means nothing at all. Nothing.
    I’m also wondering why people are using secular words to describe this situation, i.e. affair.
    Can we use a more biblical term since this is about spiritual matters? I think the word “adultery” is more appropriate than the word “affair”.
    The word, “affair” is a term often used in soap operas, making the word glamorous, instead of a sin against God and people. Affair is intriguing, enticing, interesting, etc.
    If sexual abuse is against the law, and if sexual abuse took place, then why is TT not in custody?
    There seems to be a lot of accusing of a crime without evidence that a pastor in general is in a position of authority. It seems that there is a general consensus that pastors are, by default, in a position of authority.
    That needs to be clarified before we go accusing someone of a felony crime, don’tcha think?
    Ed

    Ed. I am not aware of a state which uses the term “sexual abuse” as a legal term, though perhaps those states exist. Instead, the actual crimes are more typically called “sexual assault,” “sexual battery,” “indecent liberties with a child,” etc.

    I’m not sure why the phrasing means to much to you, but there you have it. “Sexual abuse” is, however, the blanket term in common usage to denote sexual conduct with someone over whom someone else has power, usually a child, but not always. For instance, in our state, consensual sex between an 18 year old and a public school teacher is a crime. It would not be a crime if they met in a different capacity. In this case, a state has made it a criminal offense.

    In most cases where the victim is an adult, however, the criminal offense will be based on the same law as anyone else would be held to in a situation; however, for people with a power differential, that is relevant for their licensing and for civil law. So for instance, a doctor touches a woman on a private area of the body for no medical reason. It’s criminally sexual battery. He will also be subject to losing his license to practice medicine because his or her field recognizes the power differential. A woman bringing civil suit would likely prevail as well. In fields in which the patient or client is there for mental health reasons, a therapist of whatever sort cannot engage in a sexual relationship even if the client was the one who pursued it. There is an assumption of diminished capacity for consent. A professional would be subject to losing their license and would likely lose in a court of civil law. Some states may additionally criminalize the behavior and some may not.

    The Bible itself holds higher standards for those with power than for those without. Teachers and elders, for instance, are held to a different standard than congregants. The shepherds of Israel were likewise judged by a higher standard. Read the admonitions to employers, etc. We are all supposed to love one another, but there is an additional bar for those with power.

    So to sum up: calling an act “sexual abuse” is not the use of a legal term that I am aware of. (It could possibly be the language in the statutes of some state, so I don’t want to make a blanket statement, but I doubt it.) It is rather the use of common contemporary English to describe sexual misconduct in which one person has power over another and misuses that power for their sexual gratification.

    And, if you study the Bible, you will find there are several circumstances in which there are higher standards for those with power than for those over whom they have power.

  75. Missy M. wrote:

    Can there be abuse of position? Yes. But to treat it is default in every case is the kind of over-simplistic thinking that troubles much of this world.

    It would depend on the context, wouldn’t it, maybe, or the particulars?

    If a pastor goes out of his way to seek out a particular woman who he has his eye on to flirt with her, or, if a woman comes to see him at the church for advice or pastoral care (such as counseling), I’d say that’s pretty cut and dry, and the pastor is at fault.

    In a situation where a woman makes the first move on Pastor Boy, especially if she goes out of her way outside of church walls to hit on him, like if she sees him shopping at the local grocer’s and walks up to him fluttering her eye lashes at him, I could see how this is more a case of adultery or an affair.

    But what of cases in public schools where the adult teacher has sexual relations with a student?

    Whether the kid starts the flirting or not, it’s still the adult teacher’s responsibility to keep those boundaries intact.

    I think much the same thing applies to pastoral cases.

  76. pickle wrote:

    It is a lie to believe that the congregant is not equally responsible

    Calling it a ‘lie’ is overly dramatic. Difference of opinion. I noticed you mentioned nothing about the counseling aspect, which I think is quite relevant. (and indeed is where the legal aspect is generally invoked when these things are illegal)

    pickle wrote:

    Also note that healthcare workers have the HIGHEST infidelity in this nation!

    Why is this relevant?? This has nothing to do with the topic or your next sentence.

  77. Friend wrote:

    For awhile, one mainline denomination was headed by a woman. Should there have been a Betty Graham rule during her term?
    The Billy Graham rule locks women out of too many things by casting them as unnecessary and/or suspicious.

    The sexist assumption at play with the BGR is that women (especially unmarried ones) are harlots who are all prone to hitting on married men.

    The flip side of the coin is that it’s assumed that all men (esp. married) are animals regulated by lust and hormones and incapable of maintaining cordial and professional relationships with women.

    Funny, in all my time at a full time office job, I never once slept with married dudes from work who I met at lunch during the work day, nor did it even cross my mind to hit on them.
    We didn’t have sex in their cubicles when I stopped by to confer on projects, either.

  78. I’m in the middle of writing about indicators of toxic systems, and there are some relevant things from that which apply to situations of clergy sexual misconduct/sexual abuse. I agree with the suggestion that each situation may have complex layers that need to be looked and analyzed, and I’ve been thinking about five different elements to consider: theological, moral, ethical, legal, regulatory (like IRS and state Attorney General, when there is a registered non-profit or business corporation involved), and professional associations.

    There are the MORAL issues of sin [as determined through THEOLOGICAL studies] when there is a illicit sexual relationship involving a church pastor, employee, or board member. There are also ETHICAL issues of power and misuse of relationships to consider. These together help discern differences in “culpability and complicity.”

    (I’ve been working on descriptions of for how these two forms of responsibility fit together on a scale. I define “culpability” as involving higher levels of initiation and power, and therefore great responsibility for misdeeds, while “complicity” involves being drawn in to become an “accomplice” more than an initiator. This came out of my perceived need for some way to think about what to do with leaders who plan mischief — sexual or otherwise — and show a pattern of deceiving others in order to get what they want for themselves. You may not agree with the terms or the idea of a scale, but if you’ve developed something better, go for it! )

    But there are also other dimensions beyond the theological-moral-ethical to consider, such as the LEGAL issues where clergy and others specified as people with a role of public trust cannot use “consent” of the other party — whether adult or minor — as a defense for their actions.

    And then, if the church is a registered non-profit, there can be additional actions taken based on whether a pastor or other staff or board member who is involved in sexual misconduct also engages in any other issues that involve legal or REGULATORY AGENCIES. Such as creating a hostile work environment through sexual harassment, or using the relationship with the illicit sexual partner to gain financial benefit, or to obscure required transparency in the corporation, or to block appropriate governance of the non-profit.

    And then, even if a pastor is not a professional licensed counselor, and so subject to the rules and regulations that PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION, there may still otherwise be the requirements and procedures agreed to as part of being ordained and/or licensed for ministry, and/or involvement in denominational roles. For instance, church discipline and deposition (removal of ministry credentials).

    So, that’s what I think I’ve learned so far about layers of issues to consider in situations of alleged clergy sexual misconduct/abuse/assault.

  79. pickle wrote:

    agree 100% with this statement. It is a lie to believe that the congregant is not equally responsible especially if the congregant is 1. of age 2. currently married or in the middle of marriage processes 3. financially independent and capable of full responsibility in regards to behavior

    I would say it would depend on the specifics.

    If a woman goes to see the clergy man at the church building because she’s in some kind of stressful situation and looking for spiritual guidance or encouragment, some pervy men are known to “hit on” women in such times.

    Emotionally needy or hurting people are easier to sucker into sex than ones who are not.

    In those cases, the preacher is exploiting the woman and he is at fault – the woman is his prey.

  80. Oh, Ed, I wish we could go back to the days when you and I had pizza and beer and watched my daughter play volleyball. That was fun. This victim blaming and back and forth bantering exhausts me. I don’t lose friends over disagreements, but man, this one bugs me.

    FTR, Ed and I were at it even via private e-mail. We agreed to disagree.

  81. The Biblical language for what TT did with the women in his congregation or which the pastor did with regard to the woman in the video is “feeding on the flock” where the shepherds are using the flock for their own advantage:

    Ez.34: 10 Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.

    The use of eating as a metaphor for sex is found in Prov 30:20 An adulterous woman consumes a man, then wipes her mouth and says, “What’s wrong with that?” English Standard Version This is the way of an adulteress: …

    I believe the Ez 34 passage is referring to a broad category of devouring in terms of taking advantage over the members of the flock, but both financial and sexual devouring would fit the passage.

    Ez 34 goes on: herefore thus saith the Lord God unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.

    21 Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad;

    22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.

    One sees in this part of the chapter a difference in strength, denoted by “fat cattle” which can thrust with side and shoulder and push those who are in contrast weak, lean, or diseased. I think that is pretty clearly spelling out what people are referring to in secular terms as a power differential.

  82. BTW, I was reading at that ‘hope for survivors’ site and they state “There should be no private female-to-male (or vice versa) counseling in a church setting. Have the pastor’s wife, church secretary, your spouse or a trusted friend sit in with you during your sessions.”

    I know this is a site about abuse, but it seems very strange to me that you cannot have counseling alone. If you are so concerned that boundaries will not be observed that you cannot even sit alone in a room with someone, I feel this is a really, really good reason to eschew ‘christian’ or ‘pastoral’ counseling altogether. Which is a sad statement on the state of said counseling but there you go.

  83. Daisy wrote:

    The sexist assumption at play with the BGR is that women (especially unmarried ones) are harlots who are all prone to hitting on married men.

    The flip side of the coin is that it’s assumed that all men (esp. married) are animals regulated by lust and hormones and incapable of maintaining cordial and professional relationships with women.

    I disagree that there is a blanket assumption about all men and all women being predators of any kind. The reason for organizational rules like the is that no one knows a priori which male or female will be a hazard to the organization or its mission. It is a risk management tool grounded in the certainty that *some* males and females will behave inappropriately or illegally accompanied by the uncertainty about *which* males or females will behave inappropriately. Such rules are not a statement about all men or all women but rather precautionary for the good of the organization or its mission.

  84. Ed Chapman wrote:

    If sexual abuse is against the law, and if sexual abuse took place, then why is TT not in custody?

    Just because something isn’t designated a crime in your book does not mean that it isn’t. I happen to know that pastors who indulge themselves in sexual misconduct are very apt to be in the losing end of a lawsuit.

    Take a look at liability contracts for churches. Sexual exploitation on the part of pastors is often spelled out.

    I stand firm with the premise of my post.

    Time for you to break out Google and go to town. Let me start you off.

    For instance, in Gibson v. Brewer (1997), the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a church could not be held liable for negligence in supervising a minister who allegedly committed sexual misconduct. The court based its ruling on the principle that civil courts may not assess the adequacy of a church’s oversight of its clergy. At the same time, however, the Missouri court said the church could be held liable for intentional failure to supervise the minister if the church knew of the minister’s propensity to commit sexual misconduct and failed to prevent him from doing so. This is a much higher threshold for injured plaintiffs to satisfy when suing churches.

    http://www.pewforum.org/2011/03/31/churches-in-court5/

  85. “A pastor holds a position of power in the relationship and is misusing the power differential to gratify himself at the expense of a parishioner who comes to him for spiritual advice or counseling.”

    all kinds of dynamics going on here ….. the worst is that a vulnerable troubled person seeks help from someone they trust and that trust is violated, sometimes leaving the person more damaged than when they first came for help

    no way a pastor can’t realize that he would need to refer the person to another clergy-counselor because a physical/emotional attraction is beginning to form,
    but in truth, the clergyman is bound not to regard the troubled person as an object for their own gratification, but as someone coming to a ‘shepherd’ who is a bit lost and weary from trouble …. to take advantage of such a condition is a violation of everything that ministry is all about

    multiple affairs while in the clergy, with people seeking help????
    something is wrong with the clergyman in this case and he needs to remove himself from a position where he realizes he is weak and can do harm

  86. @ Ed Chapman:

    Oh no! Are you the Ed who went after Doug Phillip’s victim? Oh phooey! There will be no convincing you then, even if you Google.

    Warning: stay on point and do not be cruel to any victims on this blog and all will be well.

  87. Even though we were wounded in an abusive church, before watching this, I would have placed partial blame on the woman. God forgive me; she was a victim. Thank you for posting this brave woman’s testimony and opening my eyes to the truth. My heart breaks for people like her and for those who have lost their faith and hope because of what has been done to them.

  88. srs wrote:

    To call it abuse on the pastor’s part seems to diminish the agency and equal culpability of the congregant.

    Not if the congregant was being counseled by the pastor. The counselee is vulnerable when being counseled. I believe there are times when women go after pastors for a relationship. However, the pastor is a pastor for a reason and should refuse all advances.

  89. srs wrote:

    I don’t know – I think it depends on the case. While some cases clearly are an abuse of power I’m not sure all are.

    I’ve seen a case where the pastor/congregant were both of an age where they should have known better but cheated on their spouses anyways with each other (and later divorced those spouses and married). To call it abuse on the pastor’s part seems to diminish the agency and equal culpability of the congregant.

    IF the congregant sought help from the pastor and the affair resulted, then I think the responsibility IS on the shoulders of the pastor

    There is an ethic that requires people in the helping professions to at least do no harm, and most certainly not to take advantage of someone who is troubled and whose thoughts and emotions are confused …. when someone is at low ebb, it isn’t right to assume they are ‘equally responsible’ particularly when they have sought help from someone they trusted enough that they could come and share their concerns.

    I disagree with your conclusion IF the woman has come to her pastor seeking his pastoral help. Then he bears the responsibility because she was troubled and he was trusted to help her.

  90. I thank God for all these discussions. I put my mistakes out there to be judged however they are judged because I never want another woman to be taken off guard at the lowest points in their lives and trust anyone without state licensing.

    I would share the depth of the abuse I had asked my pastor for help me with but I won’t hurt my family that way. He knew I struggled with severe anxiety but I had attended the church for 3 years and he seemed trustworthy. He would give me spiritual books to read and scripture admonition. I felt like I was growing spiritually. My husband was happy too.

    I didn’t realize until hindsight the subtle grooming that had occurred. It would take hours to describe it in detail.After some time I subtly that he was no longer helping me the same way with his words. By then he had me convinced no one would understand me or the things he had now shared with me. Big mistake on my part.I had been married 15 years at that time with never a hint of unfaithfulness.

    I do take all the responsibility that I can. I wish everyday I hadn’t been so dependent on him or scared of what would happen. I finally got him caught.The church welcomed him immediately back in. He wrote a long letter stating he hoped to return to ministry in the future.

    All my fears were realized. I regretted having not taken his plan and just leaving him in the pulpit. My husband doesn’t feel the same. He wanted him stopped even taking on the pain the church unleashed on us.

    It took 6 months of trauma therapy for me to forgive myself. It took another 6 months of therapy to even start to deal with the original problems I asked my pastor to help me with.The last 6 months I found my voice. My pastor didn’t require one professional therapy session and was going out with all the church people socially immediately. He had done this to me over a period of 4 years but was over it in 2 days with the churches support.

    I will probably no longer attend church once my kids are gone. I will never speak to a pastor in person. I still have panic attacks trying to sit in a church building. I felt horrible about it all. My husband and I sent my documentation and emails to the seminaries my pastor graduated from. Upon reviewing…..The Masters Seminary, Bob Jones and another local Christian University removed his name from their graduate pastors list and put a no hire on the local one.

    If you choose to blame or hate me that’s OK. I used to feel that way when I heard of these things. I don’t blame any of you for feeling that way. Please know my heart. I am someone who made terrible mistakes in my weakest emotional, physical and spiritual time in my life.I trusted the wrong person. I trusted someone I thought loved God even more than me and wanted to strengthen me in my weakness.

    I carried my abuse issue around my whole life and when it came crashing down on me I trusted…….never again. All I can do now is tell my story. All I can do is plead for churches to make themselves safe not just for the altogether members but the vulnerable ones to.

    I will never trust any church leader or even speak to one for the rest of my life. So continue to talk about this. Please learn from my brokenness.Blame whoever, but please make churches accountable. If all the pain that has occurred from my experience could be used just for that alone I will believe God has used it for his purpose.

    I am just a broken survivor. No more and no less.

  91. Gram3 wrote:

    se of the perceived power or influence differential between them. The fact that states may or may not consider that activity a felony does not erase the spiritual, moral, and ethical problems with such activity.

    Agreed.

  92. okrapod wrote:

    Did she need it?

    Some people will always be attracted to anything that looks like power, but I can’t imagine her courting that kind of attention, deliberately or otherwise.

    I would LOVE to see her stop to help a man change a tire!

  93. Daisy wrote:

    Funny, in all my time at a full time office job, I never once slept with married dudes from work who I met at lunch during the work day, nor did it even cross my mind to hit on them.

    Me neither! Wow! I wonder if anybody else on TWW has managed to avoid constant daily workplace affairs!?!? 😉

  94. dee wrote:

    in Gibson v. Brewer (1997), the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a church could not be held liable for negligence in supervising a minister who allegedly committed sexual misconduct. The court based its ruling on the principle that civil courts may not assess the adequacy of a church’s oversight of its clergy.

    While the Missouri Supreme Court’s ruling in Gibson would be binding on the lower courts in their state and require them to rule the same way with similar facts as Gibson, until the law changed, Gibson would not be a binding decision on states not in that jurisdiction. It would be persuasive authority only.

    Here is a law firm in my state (California) that represents victims in lawsuits for clergy sexual abuse. http://www.thesenatorsfirm.com/Clergy-Sexual-Abuse.aspx

  95. ishy wrote:

    Daisy wrote:
    The Bible itself tells Christians to be on the lookout for false teachers and wolves in sheeps’ clothing precisely because Jesus (and the Apostles) already saw problems of fake Christians masquerading as trustworthy figures who would dupe others – whether it was duping them sexually, in financial matters, or theologically.
    If there is no such thing as a church leader making victims due to his actions,why does the Bible warn us of this very thing???

    Some of these churches have made it a legal issue, because their membership “contracts” require absolute submission to a pastor. So while it might not hold up in a court of law, who’s to say they wouldn’t try? Or that they wouldn’t use it as a legal threat (which is a legal issue, btw).

    Does the church (or churches) where TT found, groomed, and carried out his adultery/abuse/affairs happen to have membership covenants? I just got curious after this mention of contracts. A signed statement requiring absolute submission… I hadn’t even considered that aspect, but it really sets people up, no matter how good the intentions might have been.

  96. Here in the UK, my job as a Youth Worker (along with teachers & others) means that it would be illegal for us to get into a relationship with a young person until they are 18 or over, despite the age of consent being 16 here. This a recognition of the extra influence our professional positions give us over others, & helps protect them from it. We have nothing like the influence often that Church Youth Workers or Pastors would be held to have in their congregations. These power imbalances do need careful consideration.

    And Ed’s nitpicking is just another example of principle over person, although he may be working behind the scenes carefully loving & helping both sides in the equation. I suspect not though. Generally the love for the Pastor figure continues & that of the woman or parishioner is contingent.

  97. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    whether a pastor or other staff or board member who is involved in sexual misconduct also engages in any other issues that involve legal or REGULATORY AGENCIES. Such as creating a hostile work environment through sexual harassmen

    Although plenty of religious organizations are exempt from anti-discrimination laws.
    Our state (California) here: http://celogroup.com/church-a-religious-corporation-not-organized-for-private-profit-is-not-considered-an-employer-under-feha-and-thus-not-subject-to-fehas-prohibition/

    The New York Times did a big series…more than six years ago on this subject. I have previously posted the links here on other threads.

  98. @ Friend:
    Me too! Never slept with any colleagues either in church or out, or hit on them. There was one I found attractive, but he was married, & his wife was my friend so the thought never crossed my mind. We must be remarkable people here at TWW.

  99. Refugee wrote:

    Does the church (or churches) where TT found, groomed, and carried out his adultery/abuse/affairs happen to have membership covenants? I just got curious after this mention of contracts. A signed statement requiring absolute submission… I hadn’t even considered that aspect, but it really sets people up, no matter how good the intentions might have been.

    Hard to say, but Coral Ridge sounds pretty intense. They do have a “vow”:

    The membership process at Coral Ridge includes full participation in the six-week New Members classes, submitting an application and written testimony describing your relationship with God, being interviewed by an elder (church leader), and then being received into the church family as you take membership vows during the service.

  100. Velour wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    Reasonable Person. A phrase frequently used in tort and Criminal Law to denote a hypothetical person in society who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct and who serves as a comparative standard for determining liability.
    And that standard changes. That is an example of Semantic.
    A judge explains to a jury what these terms mean under law (and the type of case, crimianl or civil that is being heard). They go over it in great detail and the jurors’ responsibilities, can they fulfill them, etc.

    What is “average care, skill and judgement”. Do the standards change? I think they did based on how sexual harassment settlements changed from the early days. (Not talking Federal) Power differentials in consensual situations took a hit in certain venues after Clinton.

  101. Beakerj wrote:

    @ Friend:
    Me too! Never slept with any colleagues either in church or out, or hit on them. There was one I found attractive, but he was married, & his wife was my friend so the thought never crossed my mind. We must be remarkable people here at TWW.

    I think the fact that people like Dustin Boles referred to the additional ‘temptation’ during ministry indicates that there is something to the unfair advantages pastors having in taking advantage of parishioners. Most people in every day life are exposed to many members of the opposite sex and some may even be available for these sorts of affairs (although what he did was actually pretty different because he wasn’t even seemingly able to groom most of these women into sex). (Tullian is more attractive and has a better pedigree, though.)

    Many of these ministers seem to have a better opportunity then they would in the regular world, and that alone sort of proves the point a bit.

  102. @ Beakerj:

    Of course, the biggest issue is that these so called ‘ministers’ seem to have poorer morals than a good chunk of the world outside. Which says nothing good about them.

  103. @ Gram3:

    Regardless of the rationale behind it, single women get the short end of the stick.

    This sort of thing doesn’t seem to be as much an issue in the secular world of work. Which tells me there is something very off or weird about church life, or how Christians think about things.

  104. Lea wrote:

    @ Beakerj:
    Of course, the biggest issue is that these so called ‘ministers’ seem to have poorer morals than a good chunk of the world outside. Which says nothing good about them.

    I wonder if many of these guys went to Christian school/college. So many guys at the Christian college I went to were just utterly desperate for attention. Many of them had either been overly spoiled by their mothers, or they had been told constantly that they didn’t measure up and were horrible sinners just for being a normal teenager. Most that hit on me or my friends seemed completely puzzled that we didn’t want to fall at their feet and serve their every whim.

    A lot of Christian parents aren’t raising healthy men and women. They’re either super overprotective and indulgent, or they are extremely critical and monitor their children’s every move. Then those kids go to a Christian college because their parents want to keep them sheltered, and told that they have to marry young and fast and produce grandkids.

    These adult men and women don’t know how to have healthy relationships. They only know how to manipulate and control people to get what they want, either because that worked on their parents, or they were imitating their parents.

    It’s something that’s concerned me since I went to Liberty.

  105. Lea wrote:

    BTW, I was reading at that ‘hope for survivors’ site and they state “There should be no private female-to-male (or vice versa) counseling in a church setting. Have the pastor’s wife, church secretary, your spouse or a trusted friend sit in with you during your sessions.”
    ——
    I know this is a site about abuse, but it seems very strange to me that you cannot have counseling alone.

    If you are so concerned that boundaries will not be observed that you cannot even sit alone in a room with someone, I feel this is a really, really good reason to eschew ‘christian’ or ‘pastoral’ counseling altogether.

    Which is a sad statement on the state of said counseling but there you go.

    I would not feel comfortable spilling my guts and personal business in front of a third party, if I showed up expecting to see the one person (counselor, clergy person, psychiatrist, or whomever).

    If I were walking in ahead of time knowing it was group therapy or something, that might be okay.

    I tend to avoid all this nonsense by staying away from churches; that is something a lot of unmarried women do.

    More and more singles are dropping out of church, over stuff like this and other matters.

  106. The Billy Graham Rule is simple risk management.

    Unfortunately, there are unstable people out there and good people, male and female, who could be protected by some organizational boundaries.

    Often no one has hit on or slept with anyone, but the accusation is made as revenge for some perceived slight, or to get the accused person’s job, or because the accuser is just nutso.

    If there are glass doors, or walls, or other people present, or some of the other simple protections in place, the accusation falls flat. Hard to claim Pastor Jane seduced Carl if both were clearly in view while she counselled him. Glass walls maintain privacy but allow others to see no one is grabbing anyone or seducing anyone.

    I totally agree it would be absurd to leave a woman vulnerable along a roadside, but in today’s world that isn’t usually the situation. Guys may not be able to fix that car or tire anyway, but can surely stop (protects her from opportunistic crime) but may find being on the cell phone while waiting for her AAA truck protects them from accusation. Of course, men are also victims of opportunistic crimes and no one judges letting them wait for AAA on their own. Sometimes we want it both ways: women are equals unless we want to be seen as more vulnerable and in need of help.

    Many corporations now send 3 in vehicles, regardless of gender of any involved. Male/male predation accusations or female/female happen as well as male/female. So simple to avoid it for all.

    Some react to the BGR viscerally, feeling it accuses them personally of being predatory or unable to control their hormones. In reality it simply seeks to eliminate the chance of false accusations.

    We (dh and I) have both never been willing to risk our reputations for the sake of someone else’s social construct.

  107. ishy wrote:

    Refugee wrote:

    Does the church (or churches) where TT found, groomed, and carried out his adultery/abuse/affairs happen to have membership covenants? I just got curious after this mention of contracts. A signed statement requiring absolute submission… I hadn’t even considered that aspect, but it really sets people up, no matter how good the intentions might have been.

    Hard to say, but Coral Ridge sounds pretty intense. They do have a “vow”:

    The membership process at Coral Ridge includes full participation in the six-week New Members classes, submitting an application and written testimony describing your relationship with God, being interviewed by an elder (church leader), and then being received into the church family as you take membership vows during the service.

    That sounds like a cult …. that membership ‘vow’

    to whom are these members vowing what????

  108. @ ishy:

    They are raised with the “don’t think pink” mantra mentality. So, they can only think about pink. pink=sex.

  109. Here’s what I got up last night I have the intro paragraph below. The author is commenting so if you want to engage and ask questions you can do so:

    Kathryn Butler a Clinical Surgeon in the Boston area writes an article for Desiring God in which she explains why she walks away from active medicine to be a stay at home Mom. This article is filled with issues that I believe warrants a response. From Kathryn throwing the complementarian grenade, to making others feel guilty, to also exploring whether or not she is wasting her skills as Jesus taught in the parable of the talents. This post is from the son of a California neurosurgeon who grew up in a medical family.

    https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/critique-on-kathryn-butlers-from-medical-doctor-to-stay-at-home-mom-at-desiring-god-as-coming-from-the-son-of-a-neurosurgeon/

  110. ishy wrote:

    These adult men and women don’t know how to have healthy relationships. They only know how to manipulate and control people to get what they want, either because that worked on their parents, or they were imitating their parents.
    It’s something that’s concerned me since I went to Liberty.

    I will add that Liberty heavily pushed the idea that once you got married, it would solve all your problems, but especially the problem of lust. The people pushing it were married, and KNEW it was a lie, but they still pushed it heavily.

  111. Christiane wrote:

    That sounds like a cult …. that membership ‘vow’
    to whom are these members vowing what????

    Indeed it does sound like a cult.

    Their website basically said you find out what you vow during the class. I couldn’t find their covenants on their website.

  112. Christiane wrote:

    to whom are these members vowing what???

    Eh, It could be bad or harmless, depending on the nature of said vow. I think they asked me when I joined my church if planned to love jesus or something? It wasn’t anything nefarious. I don’t know about this church though.

    Daisy wrote:

    I would not feel comfortable spilling my guts and personal business in front of a third party

    This is how I would feel as well. Which is why you should probably skip church counseling entirely and go straight to a professional.

  113. ishy wrote:

    Their website basically said you find out what you vow during the class.

    Oh wait, really? That’s creepy.

  114. Daisy wrote:

    I would not feel comfortable spilling my guts and personal business in front of a third party, if I showed up expecting to see the one person (counselor, clergy person, psychiatrist, or whomever).

    If I were walking in ahead of time knowing it was group therapy or something, that might be okay.

    I tend to avoid all this nonsense by staying away from churches; that is something a lot of unmarried women do.

    More and more singles are dropping out of church, over stuff like this and other matters.

    I have sought advice in the privacy of the confessional where the priest does not see me or know who I am. The ‘separation’ of the grille shields the identity of both people, and yet permits each to hear and be heard by the other. This privacy is a precious thing in that it frees a troubled person to speak more openly BECAUSE it is not known who they are

    I would always opt for privacy if possible, but that is my own need. I imagine others value their privacy highly too.

  115. Lea wrote:

    ishy wrote:
    Their website basically said you find out what you vow during the class.
    Oh wait, really? That’s creepy.

    A bit, isn’t it? But it’s probably easier to be objective when reading it than it would be in person. I can’t help but wonder how bad it sounds on paper.

  116. Christiane wrote:

    That sounds like a cult …. that membership ‘vow’
    to whom are these members vowing what????

    I have been required by both the methodist church about 10 years ago and more recently by the episcopal church at the time of confirmation to make public affirmation of certain things. i don’t know if that is a vow or not, but I do not think that either UMC or TEC is a cult.

    And, we were told in RCIA that if we wanted to convert to catholicism we would have to make an affirmation which include that we believed everything the catholic church teaches (I do not remember the exact terminology). That was a huge issue for me at the time. And I do not consider the catholic church to be a cult.

  117. @ Christiane:

    I have never sought advice from any religious professional, but I do see that what you are describing would be an excellent idea.

  118. ishy wrote:

    Hard to say, but Coral Ridge sounds pretty intense. They do have a “vow”:
    ——————-
    The membership process at Coral Ridge includes full participation in the six-week New Members classes, submitting an application and written testimony describing your relationship with God, being interviewed by an elder (church leader), and then being received into the church family as you take membership vows during the service.

    Oh brother. Especially to the part about having to provide a “written testimony.”

  119. Lea wrote:

    I think the fact that people like Dustin Boles referred to the additional ‘temptation’ during ministry indicates that there is something to the unfair advantages pastors having in taking advantage of parishioners. Most people in every day life are exposed to many members of the opposite sex and some may even be available for these sorts of affairs (although what he did was actually pretty different because he wasn’t even seemingly able to groom most of these women into sex). (Tullian is more attractive and has a better pedigree, though.)
    Many of these ministers seem to have a better opportunity then they would in the regular world, and that alone sort of proves the point a bit.

    Good catch.

  120. I would like to bring something up about the King David defense. First here is the passage.

    2 Samuel 12 First Nathan tells the story to expose David 1-4. Then David got angry

    (5 David became very angry at the rich man. He said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this should die! 6 He must pay for the lamb four times for doing such a thing. He had no mercy!”)

    Then Nathan said; “Though art the man”. And David repented. God said I gave you lots of wives and would give you more if you wanted. God also said how he was going to let other people have sex with David’s wives so that all of Isreal would learn that what David did in secret with Bathsheba God would allow others to do with David’s wives in public.

    Then
    (Nathan answered, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You will not die. 14 But what you did caused the Lord’s enemies to lose all respect for him. For this reason’ the son who was born to you will die.”)

    Um!! I will refrain from commenting.

    Then God killed David and Bathsheba’s kid. Before the baby died David cried and wept and fasted figuring what could it hurt, it is worth a shot. Then this

    When David found out the baby was dead he got up cleaned himself up and went and had a meal. That was quoted to me several times about getting over dead family really quick, like right after they die. No weeping here, no pouting and blathering about someone God took out move on. How can anyone read this passage and tell me a literal take it at face value meaning is not just well, tribal and cruel. I still have not gotten over the death of some of my family. I don’t show it nor will I ever especially at church but. That story always bothered me when people use it as how God keeps a leader in charge that did something really awful.

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Samuel+12&version=NCV

  121. Ed Chapman wrote:

    In accordance with the statutes that I have read, pastors are not in a position of authority

    Pastors and priests are considered by most in their congregations to be spiritual authorities. Many of them teach that they are in authority over the people. This perceived authority creates a huge power differencial, whether it is legitimate to believe a pastor/priest has spiritual authority and whether it is recognized by the secular authorities or not. Thus, it is abuse. It is a form of lawlessness on the pastor/priest’s part.

    The secular authorities may not term it abuse, but if we look at similar relationships (counselors, teachers), they are termed as abuse. Further, the Bible is stricter than the secular authorities. “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” A stricter judgment for the teacher than the parishioner.

  122. Ed Chapman wrote:

    The bible does not state that pastors are not to have sex with the congregation. It states for EVERYONE to not commit fornication.

    Again, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment,” James 3:1

  123. Ed Chapman wrote:

    We have a lot of “alleging” going on, without evidence. If “sexual abuse” is being publicly declared in blogs, it becomes a legal matter, does it not? It’s no longer an matter of ethics. This is where the law can step in and investigate. Am I wrong?

    Yes, you are wrong. Why are you arguing such, Ed? You would like to hold those who are powerless to the same standard as those with power, why? Just nit-picking semantics? or is there more to it?

  124. siteseer wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:
    We have a lot of “alleging” going on, without evidence. If “sexual abuse” is being publicly declared in blogs, it becomes a legal matter, does it not? It’s no longer an matter of ethics. This is where the law can step in and investigate. Am I wrong?
    —–
    [siteseer wrote]:
    Yes, you are wrong. Why are you arguing such, Ed? You would like to hold those who are powerless to the same standard as those with power, why?

    Just nit-picking semantics? or is there more to it?

    The process on how pastors groom adult women to gain sexual access seems similar to how adult predators groom child targets, and set them up for sexual abuse and exploitation.

    One wonders would Ed argue that a 5 or 15 year old person who is molested by ‘Chester the Molester’ from down the street, or by ‘Sally their School Teacher,’ is just as at fault as the adult?

    Or, what of a mentally handicapped adult who may be 34 years of age physically, but has the mental capacity and understanding of a 10 year old kid?

    It would be easy for a predator to prey on such a person, to play off their particular brand of vulnerability.

    It’s all very similar to how preachers target a woman who is suffering from depression, job stress, a bad marriage, a recent death in the family, etc.

    I am amazed that Ed doesn’t seem to recognize the other factors at play here which mitigate things.

    These pastor-church member dalliances are not always straight-forward consensual affairs, where both parties just want a romp in the hay for the fun of it, or because both are lusty and want to “get it on”.

    I don’t think Ed understands or cares about the other aspects that go into any of this.

  125. Lea wrote:

    BTW, I was reading at that ‘hope for survivors’ site and they state “There should be no private female-to-male (or vice versa) counseling in a church setting. Have the pastor’s wife, church secretary, your spouse or a trusted friend sit in with you during your sessions.”
    I know this is a site about abuse, but it seems very strange to me that you cannot have counseling alone. If you are so concerned that boundaries will not be observed that you cannot even sit alone in a room with someone, I feel this is a really, really good reason to eschew ‘christian’ or ‘pastoral’ counseling altogether. Which is a sad statement on the state of said counseling but there you go.

    I agree. What makes the church secretary or pastor’s wife appropriate recipients of confidences? A simple window in the door will do the trick.

  126. “It’s Clergy Sex Abuse; Not an Affair!”

    And it’s an old-fashioned word that preachers don’t talk much about these days: SIN. The reason we don’t hear much preaching about holiness and purity coming from American pulpits these days is that we don’t have a holy and pure pulpit.

  127. Abi Miah wrote:

    What makes the church secretary or pastor’s wife appropriate recipients of confidences?

    Probably if I wanted to be telling my drama to th churn secretary i would just do that and skip the pastor altogether.

  128. Ed wrote: “I’m just wondering as to why people are stating that pastors are in a position of authority to begin with… Probably because pastors do not hold a position of authority to begin with. In accordance with the statutes that I have read, pastors are not in a position of authority… So, just by the mere fact that they are a pastor, it means nothing at all. Nothing.”

    It blows my mind that Ed thinks pastors in our culture don’t have any position of authority. They had enough “authority” to ex-communicate my daughter just because she wouldn’t return to her abusive spouse when they commanded her to do so. They admitted that biblically she had grounds to leave him BUT they refused to give her that permission and she was required to obey their “authority” or else. This resulted in a Sunday morning announcement of church discipline and shunning. And you call this authority “nothing”??? It ruined my daughter’s faith and life when the pastor used his (non-existent… according to Ed) authority against her. (BTW This took place in a “Bible Church”).

  129. @ Dave (Eagle):

    I left a couple of posts on your blog a moment ago.

    I think that lady’s post, or Desiring God’s publishing of it, was to subtly shame working women reading it into quitting their jobs, to take on the favored Complementarian role for women of S.A.H.M.

    I also noted in my second response that in all my years of reading complementarian material, I’ve never seen them pose the same questions to working men (fathers) that they do to working women (who are mothers).

    I’ve never seen a complementarian write a blog post asking dudes the following
    (or these sorts of posts are sure as heck not as frequent for men as they are for women),

    “Fathers, examine your hearts and motives, WHY are you holding down that job outside the home? To honor God, or to pursue what the world values, hmmmm?”

    – nope, that propaganda is only reserved for WOMEN.

    Women get guilt tripped and shamed for not taking on the SAHM role. Men don’t get shamed for not being SAHFs (Stay at Home Fathers). At least, I don’t ever recall seeing it on complementarian sites.

  130. It is dangerous for church leaders to use and abuse those purchased by the costly blood of Jesus. Paul warned the Ephesian church elders, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

  131. Lea wrote:

    I know this is a site about abuse, but it seems very strange to me that you cannot have counseling alone. If you are so concerned that boundaries will not be observed that you cannot even sit alone in a room with someone, I feel this is a really, really good reason to eschew ‘christian’ or ‘pastoral’ counseling altogether. Which is a sad statement on the state of said counseling but there you go.

    I agree. This isn’t done in secular counseling. I know there are times that counselors do fail but the victim has legal recourse and I can’t imagine doing counseling with a bystander sitting in- especially the church secretary!

  132. dee wrote:

    Oh no! Are you the Ed who went after Doug Phillip’s victim? Oh phooey! There will be no convincing you then, even if you Google.

    Some people always root for the underdog. Ed is one of those guys who always roots for the overdog.

  133. siteseer wrote:

    dee wrote:
    Oh no! Are you the Ed who went after Doug Phillip’s victim? Oh phooey! There will be no convincing you then, even if you Google.
    Some people always root for the underdog. Ed is one of those guys who always roots for the overdog.

    No, that is not true. And Ed did not blame Lourdes. Even though he and I strongly disagree on this clergy sex abuse issue, he has been a strong defender of survivors.

  134. brian wrote:

    When David found out the baby was dead he got up cleaned himself up and went and had a meal. That was quoted to me several times about getting over dead family really quick, like right after they die.

    Just because he finally got up and ate something (how long had he gone without?) doesn’t mean he was over the grief. I doubt a person would ever really get over that.

  135. @ Kim rung:
    I really valued your transparency both in the video and in your comment. I pray that others who read will feel led to affirm you in your desire to warn against and prevent the type of abuse you suffered. May you experience peace and joy in your life ahead!!

  136. Julie Anne wrote:

    siteseer wrote:
    dee wrote:
    Oh no! Are you the Ed who went after Doug Phillip’s victim? Oh phooey! There will be no convincing you then, even if you Google.
    Some people always root for the underdog. Ed is one of those guys who always roots for the overdog.
    No, that is not true. And Ed did not blame Lourdes. Even though he and I strongly disagree on this clergy sex abuse issue, he has been a strong defender of survivors.

    Perhaps you missed, Julie Anne, Ed’s whole comment string. Yes, he did blame Lourdes.
    I interacted with him as did others over there.

  137. Kim rung wrote:

    I am someone who made terrible mistakes in my weakest emotional, physical and spiritual time in my life.I trusted the wrong person.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I think it is helpful to see the progression, and the instaforgiveness is maddening of course.

    I have trusted the wrong person too. (not in church, because I learned to be cynical about church leadership quite early) I think the only way to not make that mistake is to trust no one.

  138. Lea wrote:

    he instaforgiveness is maddening of course.

    By this i mean of your pastor, not of you. I hope you’ve been able to forgive yourself, because that’s generally the hardest part.

  139. ​I think this particular case study is relevant here because it is a constructive and inspiring example of how one church dealt with past child sexual abuse and clergy sexual misconduct — both issues which had happened inside the church building. Friends of mine were the new pastors on the team there, and they gave me permission to share this account on my blog.

    It took a full decade for substantial change to take place in the congregation and for my friends to retire and turn over the church to a younger generation of local leaders they’d discipled. But they began pretty much right away on the process of establishing genuine transparency and addressing the evil that had happened in the past. Here’s their story, which I’ve edited only slightly, and added some material that’s in square brackets that ties in with some of the questions/comments that have come up in this thread.

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

    #6. CONCRETE TRANSPARENCY. Money, sex, and power – the triplet temptations, especially for those in positions of authority who have the means to hide them. There was a church that once had a great legacy of sharing the good news of Jesus, and serving in the community. But somewhere along the line, some leaders left the path of righteousness, and all kinds of darkness flooded in. By the time several years of horrible revelations ended, the list included adultery, theft, infidelity with staff and counselees, sexual assaults of teens and children at the church building, and child abuse. The battered and traumatized body of believers who survived all that brought on board a pastor willing to work with them long term to help right the wrongs, heal the wounded, reach the community, and train up new generations of leaders. That way, a redemptive legacy could be redeveloped and passed on.

    The pastor and his wife were part of what became a team that included both women and men, and people of different generations and cultures. One of the first things to happen to “clean house” was highly symbolic but also very practical. The nursery, children’s ministry rooms, and all the main offices had the wood walls removed and replaced with floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Rooms that shouldn’t have locks, had them removed. This meant full transparency now for rooms where multiple instances of sexual assaults and abuse had occurred back then.

    Solid doors for all offices and conference rooms in the staff wing of the church were replaced with ones that had large windows in the upper half. These lined a hallway where other staff and the occasional invited visitor might walk past at any random moment, and so the possibility of hiding misconduct was lessened. [They put in the windows because these rooms had been used for sexual encounters, including — if I remember correctly — clergy sexual misconduct with counselees and with employees. Changing the doors to ones with windows was done intentionally to help re-establish trust and accountability to locations that had been used to hide evil. While this could be seen as a minor invasion of privacy, it made that wing a far more spiritually safe place.]

    Those kinds of concrete actions made a spiritual difference. The content of ministry changed too, to match this new direction and openness. Practical sermons, healing seminars, mentoring meetings, listening sessions, neighborhood study-and-mission groups, community access, leadership development. [I also recall that, when possible, the pastor personally contacted those who had been victimized by previous staff. Sometimes this was the victim, other times spouse or ex-spouse, family members, others directly affected by their connection with someone victimized. When someone agreed to let him visit them, he apologized on behalf of the church for what had happened, and offered to provide counseling for them to help in their healing process. As best I can remember from my conversations with him, this took a few years because there were a lot of people affected and not all were ready to process it yet.]

    In a slow investment process that took over 10 years, the sins and evil of this church’s past had been addressed as best as possible. Also put in place were a new course reset toward a vibrant and missional future – with enough strategy and structures to provide for organizational needs – along with enough local connections and relationships to keep things organic, indigenous, and flexible. A church on the edge of destruction had been reclaimed before it was too late.

  140. Siteseer ” I doubt a person would ever really get over that.” I thought that before I became an evangelical Christian, I saw what my brother’s death did to my father and mother. But once I joined the collective I learned death was part of the fall and we all have it coming including little babies and if they are not convenient babies then they especially have it coming. They will die, go to the torment before they are resurrected in fully adult “perfect” bodies only to suffer eternal wrath because of their personal sin in Adam. Yes, I have heard people say this with a straight face. That rivals the 18-month-old who would murder his father for the shiny watch and walk across his bloody body with no remorse. The reason I keep driving at these points is I think this is where the toxic thinking comes from, it comes from Toxic theology, to even have conversations like the one described above is toxic not to mention psychotic in my opinion. If you listen to how women and children are vilified, how they are objectified as lesser beings. Words like headship, spiritual leader, subordination, equal but separate and other such borg speak you get a framework for abusive situations. I hope that makes sense.

  141. Velour wrote:

    Perhaps you missed, Julie Anne, Ed’s whole comment string. Yes, he did blame Lourdes.
    I interacted with him as did others over there.

    I was basing it on our email conversation. I’ll have to take a closer look at the thread on my site. Thanks.

  142. Julie Anne wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    Perhaps you missed, Julie Anne, Ed’s whole comment string. Yes, he did blame Lourdes.
    I interacted with him as did others over there.
    I was basing it on our email conversation. I’ll have to take a closer look at the thread on my site. Thanks.

    It was really awful.

  143. Can I ask one thing to the group, I can harp on a single issue a bit too much so if I am doing that let me know. Its not intentional but it can get annoying. Thanks. I want to be a supportive part of this community.

  144. @ okrapod:
    I suppose I have seen affirmations of faith in a different way from taking vows. I was ‘confirmed’ in the formal sacrament, and my husband and I were married in the Church sacramentally, but I saw the former as the declaration of my faith as strengthened by the reception of the power of the Holy Spirit, and the latter as exchanging vows with my husband and he with me in the presence of God and the Church.
    I think I see your point about the similarities, but I also have an idea that the two (affirming/confirmed faith and taking a vow/exchanging vows) are distinctive each in their own specific ways. Food for thought. Thanks for responding.

  145. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Daisy,

    You are now falsely accusing me. @ Velour:

    Velour wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    Let me put it the way, and then I will depart.
    If someone knows of a sexual abuse of any kind, and does not report it to the proper authorities, can that person be prosecuted?
    What I am really getting at here, call the cops and report this alleged abuse, and let the professionals investigate.
    That is…if you want “justice” that the Bible discusses.
    Ed

    Ed, You’re incorrect.

    I work in law.

    Under law there are many types of abuses and many types of victims, and not all victims are victims of crimes. That doesn’t mean that they weren’t victimized.

    When in doubt, call the cops, and let them sort it out. Let the lawyers argue before a judge.

  146. Daisy wrote:

    I am amazed that Ed doesn’t seem to recognize the other factors at play here which mitigate things.

    I don’t know if Ed is in denial or not about the accepted boundaries in our society that prevent abuses when it comes to any kind of helping profession and the clients/congregants/students who are being helped.

    The ethics involved in those positions of responsibility in helping professions prohibit taking advantage of the individual needing support.
    Healthy boundaries make for healthy relationships and without those boundaries being honored, a lot of damage can result.

    One big theme of family counseling is, in fact, examining boundaries to see if they ARE healthy.
    Sounds to me like ‘Ed’ is more up on legal matters than on the most basic ethics in our society. Not all ‘laws’ are written and when broken result in crimes/punishment; sometimes it’s the unwritten laws that are more important because we take for granted that among us accepted as civilized, honorable, and decent will not break those norms, sanctions, and taboos that are universally accepted as checks on behaviors that are destructive to people’s lives.

    Ministry is above all, a ‘helping profession’ in the best sense of the word. That it should become a place for the destruction of a person is a great sin before God. Should a minister find that he/she is prone not to honor healthy boundaries in counseling those of the opposite sex, then ministry itself becomes a mine field for that minister, and no longer an appropriate position.

  147. Friend wrote:

    Gram3 wrote:

    There are predatory females as well as predatory males, so a person in a relatively more powerful position needs to be very, very careful.

    Excellent point, and that’s why churches need to have clear policies against sexual relationships between clergy and members. When rules and consequences are clear, most people avoid breaking rules. The clergy member, whether male or female, predatory or not, will be trained in the rules–which ideally protect everyone, whether or not the church is egalitarian.

    Why is that necessary in Christianity that forbids sexual relationships except to your own spouse to begin with? Hello? What happened to the rules of the bible? Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery is not clear enough? Apparently for some that are bashing me that don’t seem to like me quoting Old Outdated Mosiac Law, I suppose, huh? Wow!

    Ed

  148. Julie Anne wrote:

    No, that is not true. And Ed did not blame Lourdes. Even though he and I strongly disagree on this clergy sex abuse issue, he has been a strong defender of survivors.

    I’m sorry, Julie, maybe I am mistaking him for someone else. I was thinking I had seen posts of his before that followed the same line he was taking today. Please forgive me if I’ve been wrong.

  149. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Why is that necessary in Christianity that forbids sexual relationships except to your own spouse to begin with? Hello? What happened to the rules of the bible? Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery is not clear enough? Apparently for some that are bashing me that don’t seem to like me quoting Old Outdated Mosiac Law, I suppose, huh? Wow!

    Ed, no one disagrees that it isn’t supposed to happen. The question is, when it happens, how is it dealt with? If it isn’t seen as abuse of authority but rather as a moral failing shared equally by two partners, the solution is not going to fit or make a change in a toxic situation; a victim is going to be victimized again and an abuser is going to be allowed to continue abusing.

  150. @ Ed Chapman:
    There is such a thing as the greater responsibility in a situation where someone is known to give help and support to others,
    and a person is counting on them for that support.

    In the case of the situation of that ‘minister’ and the lady ‘Lourdes’, I don’t know the whole story;
    but if the minister was involved in an affair with a person in his congregation or ‘under his authority’ or whatever relationship existed,
    the minister does have the greater MORAL and ETHICAL responsibility in the matter.

    I would not give a ‘pass’ to such ministers who enter into that sin while in their positions of responsibility.
    Nor would I completely hold a congregate in the same position of responsibility.
    There are too many dynamics in play here for ‘equalizing’ blame, ED. Way too many.

    I don’t think you have a good case here, on this blog, where too many have been hurt by those who did not have the moral strength OR the ethical backbone to control themselves. As for those who sought ‘authority’ over others instead of serving people, may God have mercy on their souls if they do not repent and if they harass and blame and persecute those they have injured. There will be a justice for victims.

  151. Mary27 wrote:

    Ed wrote: “I’m just wondering as to why people are stating that pastors are in a position of authority to begin with… Probably because pastors do not hold a position of authority to begin with. In accordance with the statutes that I have read, pastors are not in a position of authority… So, just by the mere fact that they are a pastor, it means nothing at all. Nothing.”

    It blows my mind that Ed thinks pastors in our culture don’t have any position of authority. They had enough “authority” to ex-communicate my daughter just because she wouldn’t return to her abusive spouse when they commanded her to do so. They admitted that biblically she had grounds to leave him BUT they refused to give her that permission and she was required to obey their “authority” or else. This resulted in a Sunday morning announcement of church discipline and shunning. And you call this authority “nothing”??? It ruined my daughter’s faith and life when the pastor used his (non-existent… according to Ed) authority against her. (BTW This took place in a “Bible Church”).

    But that is my whole point. If a pastor declares that he has power, he is wrong. Matthew 18 states that the church has the final say, and that is a last resort. The word “Church” is “assembly”, which is discussing the whole congregation, not the pastor, not the elders.

    There is a false narrative that pastors have power.

    To me, excommunication from a church means nothing except to find another church. How many church’s are there within a 20 mile parameter from your house? Probably many. Excommunication is a declaration that you are an unbeliever and do not belong in the church at all. If that is what a pastor declares, dust your feet and move to a different church.

    I come from a non-Calvinist background. I am a Christian. I attend two church’s on Sunday. One church I attend is to support my brother in law who is an ex-drug addict. There are many drug/alcohol addicts in this church who are recovering, and many come in with numerous tattoos, nose rings, purple hair, and the list goes on and on and on. The pastor has no control over their lives. The law does, as they are mostly on probation, but they are curious about Jesus, and the way that the pastor preaches, he teaches Jesus as if teaching it to a child for the first time, and the people respond, WITHOUT FEAR.

    We need to rid ourselves of this false pretense narrative that pastors are in a position of authority. Take away their power, and what
    Christiane wrote:

    @ Ed Chapman:
    There is such a thing as the greater responsibility in a situation where someone is known to give help and support to others,
    and a person is counting on them for that support.

    In the case of the situation of that ‘minister’ and the lady ‘Lourdes’, I don’t know the whole story;
    but if the minister was involved in an affair with a person in his congregation or ‘under his authority’ or whatever relationship existed,
    the minister does have the greater MORAL and ETHICAL responsibility in the matter.

    I would not give a ‘pass’ to such ministers who enter into that sin while in their positions of responsibility.
    Nor would I completely hold a congregate in the same position of responsibility.
    There are too many dynamics in play here for ‘equalizing’ blame, ED. Way too many.

    I don’t think you have a good case here, on this blog, where too many have been hurt by those who did not have the moral strength OR the ethical backbone to control themselves. As for those who sought ‘authority’ over others instead of serving people, may God have mercy on their souls if they do not repent and if they harass and blame and persecute those they have injured. There will be a justice for victims.

    Just to be clear to people here, Lourdes was a victim. I’ve never stated that she wasn’t.

    1. She was a child when the grooming began.
    2. Their was sexual ASSAULT blatantly unsolicited non-consensual, etc.
    3. He used threats and intimidation

    If you leave the “pastor” element out of it, it’s still a crime.

    She is a victim. No doubt.

    All I want is for people to call the cops, and that does not have to be the victim.

    Get the proper authorities involved. When in doubt, call the cops. Yes, I argue about semantics.

    I was always taught, better to be safe than sorry. Call the cops, regardless of all the discussion about whether this is a matter of ethics, or a matter of crime. When in doubt, call the cops either way.

    Let people like Velour argue before a judge with the prosecutor. I want Justice, but justice will never happen if all we are doing is debating this on a blog. Call the cops.

    Ed

  152. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Let people like Velour argue before a judge with the prosecutor. I want Justice, but justice will never happen if all we are doing is debating this on a blog. Call the cops.

    Ed

    Velour, (and I cannot speak for her), is all for justice for victims. I cannot understand how you got that wrong.

  153. siteseer wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    Why is that necessary in Christianity that forbids sexual relationships except to your own spouse to begin with? Hello? What happened to the rules of the bible? Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery is not clear enough? Apparently for some that are bashing me that don’t seem to like me quoting Old Outdated Mosiac Law, I suppose, huh? Wow!

    A lot of what goes on in sexual abuse situations has more to do with control and power than with sex itself. It is a ‘perversion’ of ‘authority’ in the worst way, attacking the victim’s vulnerability horribly.

    A ‘pastor’ who has an affair with a congregate is guilty of sexual abuse, a terrible act of broken trust. If that congregate is a minor, he needs to go to jail for breaking the law. He needs to leave the pastorate if he is capable of using it to hurt someone in that way.

  154. Ed, if you are coming from the position that adults should stop giving pastors or priests power and authority, I agree with you. It is a real problem. People tend to give instant trust to titles and positions. They also tend to trust words of those titles and positions without even knowing them or watching to see if words and actions match. They don’t deserve instant trust, sadly.

    We are learning the hard way we can’t trust our institutions. Perhaps this is part of wisdom? Growing up? I have no interest in trying to convince leaders to be trustworthy. That is a meaningless exercise. I do, however, think we must come alongside victims who trusted such leaders and help them toward healing to become strong and independent. I think people should be warned.

    If a pastor groomed a distraught adult parishioner who trusted him for counsel and used his position in that way, there is not a lot of legal recourse unless it was non consensual. Church is voluntary. There was no employment quid pro quo. The power differential is practically a moot point these days. So, am not sure why you keep saying “call the cops”.

  155. siteseer wrote:

    The question is, when it happens, how is it dealt with? If it isn’t seen as abuse of authority but rather as a moral failing shared equally by two partners, the solution is not going to fit or make a change in a toxic situation; a victim is going to be victimized again and an abuser is going to be allowed to continue abusing.

    Indeed. I was watching a Ted talk the other day about rape and she said it not only matters that you know rape is wrong, but it matters why you think it is wrong, because it affects the solution you choose to implement. I think that’s the case here. Is it wrong because it’s a moral failing on both parts or is it wrong because it’s predatory behavior?

    Obviously it’s both, but if you think it’s only one it leads you to the solution of telling victims to repent and apologize. And if you think it is more female fault than pastor it leads to shunning females and forgiving pastors and practically, we see that all the time.

  156. @ Lea:
    There doesn’t seem to be much outrage over the abuse of a trusted position and using that position for self gratification in ways that harm people. That aspect of the wrong doing is becoming more and more ignored and the new normal.

  157. Mary27 wrote:

    They had enough “authority” to ex-communicate my daughter just because she wouldn’t return to her abusive spouse when they commanded her to do so. They admitted that biblically she had grounds to leave him BUT they refused to give her that permission and she was required to obey their “authority” or else.

    They will not change until it is their daughter. It will take something personally catastrophic to get them to even stop and think about what they are doing. I’m so sorry for your daughter and for you and everyone else who grieves because of what was done to her by men she thought she could trust.

  158. brian wrote:

    The reason I keep driving at these points is I think this is where the toxic thinking comes from, it comes from Toxic theology, to even have conversations like the one described above is toxic not to mention psychotic in my opinion.

    Yes, it is. Using the David story to tell grieving people to get over it, already is horrendous on so many levels. That misses the point (at least my opinion of the point) of the story for the nation of Israel. David was king, so he *had* to get back to work, and to do that, he had to eat. That does *not* mean that he was over his grief. I think he carried that grief along with the other destruction that resulted from his sin. IMO one way he repented was to do his duty as king which he had shirked by not going out to battle for his people. The privilege of being king also came with great responsibility, and one of those was fighting for your people.

    I am so sorry for how you were treated when you were grieving, but I thank you for sharing your story.

  159. Has anyone been able to figure out what the exact relationship was with TT and the women he committed adultery with or as might be able to be said sexually harassed? Especially if TT was counseling these women (vs. be distant pastor in a large church) most if not all of the blame is on TT.

    Something similar could be said even if TT got to know these women in some type of church related project where they were helping TT with a project or ministry etc.

    I posted what is written below on SSB:

    Interesting discussion here. As the comments indicate, especially depending on the specific circumstances there is no one answer. I am surprised no one has quoted a few NT verses on this subject:

    They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,
    (II Tim 3:6)

    Verse 8 seems to indicate that this passage is especially talking about teachers like is being discussed here.

    With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! (II Peter 2:14)

    Again this passage seems to be referring to leaders. It talks about seduction and taking advantage of gullible and unstable women.

    Thus besides the OT verse about the the woman needing to cry out these vs. talk about especially leaders (says false leaders) can be guilty of. If nothing else these passages show its not equal guilt and seems to refer to grooming and purposeful seduction that occurs.

  160. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Why is that necessary in Christianity that forbids sexual relationships except to your own spouse to begin with?

    Because part of being wise and acting with wisdom is a frank acknowledgement that sin will find a way. Unless sinless perfection is the state of every person, then boundaries and precautions need to be put into place to guard the weaker ones in every sense of the word “weak.” If Law were enough and had the power to overcome sin, then the death and resurrection of Jesus would not have been necessary.

  161. One dare not speak of women who have preyed on vulnerable men in the ministry. I had such a friend, not close but within a circle of women.

    We knew she was too flattering to our pastor but figured she was sugary to be nice but still, it was mentioned among the rest of us once or twice.

    Over time we could see her being more and more involved in doing things,for the pastor and it became obvious she was grooming him! Yes, he should have seen it and set boundaries but from our point of view she was the predator.

    Apparently he did eventually put the brakes on before it got physical, resigned and moved away. But the idea that the pastor always had the power isn’t always true. Again, it is the dynamics of the situation.

  162. Gram3 wrote:

    then boundaries and precautions need to be put into place to guard the weaker ones in every sense of the word “weak.”

    I think it’s because you can have a Christian in a secular job, like counselor, and they may commit adultery, but that doesn’t mean they do it with their client because they know that’s a line they cannot legally or ethically cross. There is no reason not to set the same standards firmly in place in church. Instead of saying ‘sin is sin’, we should be saying ‘this is a line you are not allowed to cross, if you do decide to sin’. Because it is unethical, in addition to being immoral.

    And furthermore, we would be saying to the women that this is a line your pastor is not allowed to cross, and if he does you should know that this is a problem, not just an error. Like we do with the predation on children, and we see the consequences of treating that as equal sin too! (although I do not see them as the same, the principle is similar).

    So there are levels of error, not just generic sin.
    1. Sex outside of marriage with a random person is a sin.
    2. Sex with a parishioner is a sin + unethical and abuse of power potentially.
    3. Sex with a parishioner that is a child is a sin + unethical + abuse of power + illegal + sick.

    and so on and so forth.

  163. Daisy wrote:

    pickle wrote:
    agree 100% with this statement. It is a lie to believe that the congregant is not equally responsible especially if the congregant is 1. of age 2. currently married or in the middle of marriage processes 3. financially independent and capable of full responsibility in regards to behavior
    I would say it would depend on the specifics.
    If a woman goes to see the clergy man at the church building because she’s in some kind of stressful situation and looking for spiritual guidance or encouragment, some pervy men are known to “hit on” women in such times.
    Emotionally needy or hurting people are easier to sucker into sex than ones who are not.
    In those cases, the preacher is exploiting the woman and he is at fault – the woman is his prey.

    “emotionally hurt” woman …… my baloney and my chicken. A woman who slept with a meth-addict has been sooo soooo sooo emotionally hurt by her boyfriend formerly decided to go to a “spiritual man” for support. She LOVED having sex with the spiritual man because it was so “wrong.” Women and men COULD POSSIBLY be at fault for affairs. Whether they are in the church membership roster or not. Did you not read the old-testament and how it said to “stone” WOMEN who were ALSO caught in adultery.

    Like I said, the HEALTHCARE profession has the HIGHEST infidelity in the country. Those most likely to check out ashleymadison.com are healthcare workers, particularly physicians, in the USA. Many people look to doctors for “spiritual support” in hard times in their life. The healthcare industry itself is a “religion” of sorts.

    The “counseling” by a pastors in “hard times” is a cover-up for supporting the MEDICAL INDUSTRY by pastors in this country. A + B = C. So in effect it is the MEDICAL INDUSTRY that needs repair……not the bible itself.

  164. pickle wrote:

    The “counseling” by a pastors in “hard times” is a cover-up for supporting the MEDICAL INDUSTRY by pastors in this country. A + B = C. So in effect it is the MEDICAL INDUSTRY that needs repair……not the bible itself.

    I’m sorry, but this is nonsensical drivel.

  165. pickle wrote:

    The healthcare industry itself is a “religion” of sorts.

    I shall be sure to tell my husband that he is a high priest in the religion of healthcare as he comes in late at night trying to keep his heart patients alive.

  166. Christiane wrote:

    A lot of what goes on in sexual abuse situations has more to do with control and power than with sex itself. It is a ‘perversion’ of ‘authority’ in the worst way, attacking the victim’s vulnerability horribly.

    Well said!

  167. Lea wrote:

    pickle wrote:
    The “counseling” by a pastors in “hard times” is a cover-up for supporting the MEDICAL INDUSTRY by pastors in this country. A + B = C. So in effect it is the MEDICAL INDUSTRY that needs repair……not the bible itself.
    I’m sorry, but this is nonsensical drivel.

    SO you have not read any comments and so forth by betrayed spouses on http://www.afairhealing.com The Betrayed SPOUSE KNOWS it is the WOMAN and the MAN who are at fault. They are both the ones who LIE to cover up their actions. Yes, WOMAN have betrayed their spouse too. If you play the game of “its always the pastor” at fault for affairs…….YOU ARE A FOOOOOOOOOL.

    These dayz……”open marriage” is a big trend and getting bigger and bigger. Cause some people do not know how to keep the pants on their WAndering SPousE.

    There are cases where a beautiful godly man “slips” into the hands of a wandering woman in need of spiritual counsel. And the woman is a victim of his counsel. BUT if a person refuses to looooooook to see if a woman has some “dirt” in her bag, you are playing the devil’s fiddle. The devil loves counterfeit money and counterfeit Christians who refuse to investigate the reality of situations.

  168. Ed Chapman wrote:

    There is a false narrative that pastors have power.

    Just because you claim Matthew 18 does not mean that it is so. There is an inherent power and cachet in the position of a celebrity pastor.I am surprised that you don’t think this is so.

  169. Missy M wrote:

    One dare not speak of women who have preyed on vulnerable men in the ministry. I had such a friend, not close but within a circle of women.
    We knew she was too flattering to our pastor but figured she was sugary to be nice but still, it was mentioned among the rest of us once or twice.
    Over time we could see her being more and more involved in doing things,for the pastor and it became obvious she was grooming him! Yes, he should have seen it and set boundaries but from our point of view she was the predator.

    Good points Missy. That is why one really needs to look at the circumstances. I would tend to think that this WASN’T the case with TT since he used the excuse of falling into adultery since his wife had committed adultery but we may never know this side of eternity.

    I also would add that it sure was quick that TT remarried. One would have thought TT would have waiter a while to remarry.

  170. @ Mary Jo Noworyta:

    “Just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t make it OK.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    perhaps there is comfort, in a way, in hard and fast boundaries. black & white stuff. There is plenty in life that is gray, however. if i had the time, i could make a very good case for all the many shades of gray in the bible and the understanding and experience of God.

    i observe that all people, including christians, tend to manage their black/white to gray spectrum of perception according to what is convenient and to their advantage. this is a moral problem. it’s a stinking moral problem where people make their living off morality and God (ultimate morality).

    i think professional christians, pastors (and christians in general) have a blind spot here. take money, finances. i observe pastors take full advantage of the tax code. how marvelously black & white that one is! it’s perfectly legal, they say. now consider how the pastor’s neighbors and the church’s neighbors have to subsidize for them for the public services they enjoy and also take full advantage of. there are so many other factors here (tithing manipulation, padded mission trips,…).

    “it’s perfectly legal” ignores all the consequences in all the many shades of gray which others experience.

    i think pastor/parisioner adultery is in the same category. if we make it all black & white and only see it in legal terms it’s much more tidy. but it ignores the enormous gray mess that the power differential creates for the parishioner.

    “it’s biblical” is certainly in the same category. How gloriously black and white! Now there’s the king can of worms… i won’t open it, though.

  171. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Mary Jo Noworyta:
    “Just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t make it OK.”

    It also doesn’t mean that the person doing this won’t have to one day give an account to God for their actions. God will be the final judge.

    I am sometimes think that this is a fact that a number of leaders seem to forget.

  172. Lydia wrote:

    Ed, if you are coming from the position that adults should stop giving pastors or priests power and authority, I agree with you. It is a real problem. People tend to give instant trust to titles and positions. They also tend to trust words of those titles and positions without even knowing them or watching to see if words and actions match. They don’t deserve instant trust, sadly.

    We are learning the hard way we can’t trust our institutions. Perhaps this is part of wisdom? Growing up? I have no interest in trying to convince leaders to be trustworthy. That is a meaningless exercise. I do, however, think we must come alongside victims who trusted such leaders and help them toward healing to become strong and independent. I think people should be warned.

    If a pastor groomed a distraught adult parishioner who trusted him for counsel and used his position in that way, there is not a lot of legal recourse unless it was non consensual. Church is voluntary. There was no employment quid pro quo. The power differential is practically a moot point these days. So, am not sure why you keep saying “call the cops”.

    Lydia, Your paragraph 1 is exactly what I am talking about. Your paragraph 3 is misunderstanding what I am saying.

    Yes, if the pastor is in the “role” of a counselor, there is indeed legal recourse of a criminal nature. But if the pastor is not in a “role” of counselor, then there is no legal recourse.

    I keep saying to call the cops, because the average Joe and Mary has no clue either way.

    Better to be safe than sorry. If the pastor broke the law, or even if that is what the perception is, when in doubt, call the cops.

    Pastors have no power until that counselor hat is on. Without that hat, they have no power. That is the way that the statutes put it, using different verbage.

    And then I would revert back to your paragraph number 1. Stop giving pastors power, and they won’t have any. If pastors declare that they have power over your life, leave that church and find another.

    Ed

  173. dee wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    There is a false narrative that pastors have power.

    Just because you claim Matthew 18 does not mean that it is so. There is an inherent power and cachet in the position of a celebrity pastor.I am surprised that you don’t think this is so.

    Dee,

    With all due respect, it is so. I’ve dissected Matthew 18 for years, and the word “CHURCH” has been misused and abused by so many in both the Catholic circles (Which is why they think that only priests can forgive sins), and Calvinists (Which believes that Church is discussing leaders). Dissect that word “church”.

    Assembly is the English equivalent of the definition. We The People (Christians as a whole) are the church that Jesus is building.

    Ed

  174. @ Paul D.:

    I can believe all of that, which is why I won’t participate in the church institution as it stands today. It is as wrong for the “pastor” to have titles and perks and celebrity, as it is for “pastor” to be overworked, underpaid, and disrespected. The way the church institutions are set up today are lopsided and don’t involve the entire body of Christ as they should. A pastor is simply one who cares for people. A teacher teaches. An administrator administrates. An elder shares wisdom. And singer sings. A helper helps. One who has mercury cares for those in need. We all pray. Some of us function in several areas, but should not rule, nor slight others using their gifts and abilities.

  175. dee wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    There is a false narrative that pastors have power.

    Just because you claim Matthew 18 does not mean that it is so. There is an inherent power and cachet in the position of a celebrity pastor.I am surprised that you don’t think this is so.

    Dee,

    To follow up with my last response, look at 1 Cor 6, when discussing settling civil matters in the church rather than to take it to the courts. Who is chosen to judge these “minor” matters?

    Answer: The least esteemed in the church.

    That is not the pastor or elder or bishop or deacon.

    But if it is of a nature that is not a minor issue, then you are to take it to the proper authorities (Police).

    But the point is, the pastor has no power here either. The least esteemed has the power, for that person is the judge.

    Ed

  176. Bridget wrote:

    @ Paul D.:

    I can believe all of that, which is why I won’t participate in the church institution as it stands today. It is as wrong for the “pastor” to have titles and perks and celebrity, as it is for “pastor” to be overworked, underpaid, and disrespected. The way the church institutions are set up today are lopsided and don’t involve the entire body of Christ as they should. A pastor is simply one who cares for people. A teacher teaches. An administrator administrates. An elder shares wisdom. And singer sings. A helper helps. One who has mercury cares for those in need. We all pray. Some of us function in several areas, but should not rule, nor slight others using their gifts and abilities.

    For all those that have misunderstood me, Bridget has stated everything that I have been advocating from the very beginning. I guess that I am not explaining myself very well, but this is what I have been talking about all along. Each one of us has a role in the church because we are a body, and a body has parts. The head is Jesus, but the body is the rest of us.

    Well stated, Bridget.

    Ed

  177. Ed Chapman wrote:

    I guess that I am not explaining myself very well, but this is what I have been talking about all along.

    You are saying how you think it should be.

    Others are stating how it is.

    Those are different.

  178. Lea wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    I guess that I am not explaining myself very well, but this is what I have been talking about all along.

    You are saying how you think it should be.

    Others are stating how it is.

    Those are different.

    Quid quo pro does not have to remain that way, does it?

    I was in the US Navy for years, and some of our “leaders” were afraid of change. But us younger “subordinates” welcomed it, as technology advanced. They were “old school” and didn’t trust change.

    But, in this case, change is needed due to Christianity skewing. Christianity changed over time and became corrupt. It was not like that from the beginning.

    Ed

  179. Gram3 wrote:

    Yes, it is. Using the David story to tell grieving people to get over it, already is horrendous on so many levels.

    I got a lot of that attitude from Christians (church people I met, as well as family members) after my mother died, and I went to them for help or encouragement.

    Absolutely no Christian wants to invest time in “weeping with one who weeps” because their loved one died.

    There is very much an attitude from a lot of Christians of “get over it already, and do it all alone, on your own time, don’t bother me with it.”

    I’d say a lot of Christians have that same outlook about abuse victims, too. They view domestic violence victims and child abuse victims as being inconveniences they don’t want to deal with.

  180. Steve240 wrote:

    Has anyone been able to figure out what the exact relationship was with TT and the women he committed adultery with or as might be able to be said sexually harassed? Especially if TT was counseling these women (vs. be distant pastor in a large church) most if not all of the blame is on TT.
    Something similar could be said even if TT got to know these women in some type of church related project where they were helping TT with a project or ministry etc.

    I posted what is written below on SSB:
    Interesting discussion here. As the comments indicate, especially depending on the specific circumstances there is no one answer. I am surprised no one has quoted a few NT verses on this subject:
    They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,
    (II Tim 3:6)
    Verse 8 seems to indicate that this passage is especially talking about teachers like is being discussed here.
    With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! (II Peter 2:14)

    I don’t know if you saw Julie Anne’s post on SSB, but her sources indicated that Tullian was using his former Twitter account (that had the word “pastor” in it) to groom women.

    I’m not sure how to explain this, but in my view even if the women Tullian was seducing were not seeing him for counseling specifically, if he was using his pastor social media account to target women from his church or Christian women from anywhere, I still think that is an abuse of his job, trust, and influence and position.

    It’s kind of like a school gym teacher or coach who uses his influence and daily contact with kids at the local school to hit on or flirt with young boys who go to the school. It’s the same concept, and I think it’s highly inappropriate.

    I saw a news story several months ago about a state trooper (I forget which state) who was using his job (which consists of pulling women drivers over to give them tickets for speeding etc) to “hit on” women.

    That state trooper was allowing women, or pressuring them, to give him sexual favors to get out of tickets.

    I don’t think a person should be using his job in that manner, to pick up women. It’s not the time or the place.

  181. @ Gram3:

    Self-control and discipline is a component of this. The Bible teaches that believers have self-control.

    I don’t think it’s always necessary to put in place legalistic parameters to prevent possible fornication / adultery between adults.

    The Pharisees in Jesus’ day had rules like this, where they would so deflect their gaze if they saw a woman walking down the street, they would walk into trees.

    They would teach that because women were tempting to men, that men should avoid women altogether.

    All of this is a very insulting view of the female sex and leads to women being treated as though they are shameful, dirty.

    Further, it cuts women off from opportunity to get ahead career-wise (in the present day as maybe back then), to receive pastoral counseling, and to be in community with others.

    I see all of this at play with this Billy Graham Rule type mentality, which is so fearful of possibly adultery, that women are shunted aside.

  182. Gram3 wrote:

    There are predatory females as well as predatory males, so a person in a relatively more powerful position needs to be very, very careful.

    Bingo Gram3! Bingo!
    I could expand on this and the underlying sexual component, but I won’t, lest I incur the wrath of a well-meaning element here whose ethos will not consider alternatives.

  183. @ Missy M:

    Your comment kind of reminds me of men who jump into conversations online, where women are complaining about the sexism they’ve endured from men, to man-splain to those women, “Not all men!!”

    This seems to be a “Not all pastors!!” comeback.

    Some women may target pastors, but, it’s still the pastor’s responsibility to keep the boundaries in place.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of pastors abusing their position to exploit women far out number flirty women who want to hit on pastors, like the tarty lady character, (Rose?), on the “Keeping Up Appearances” show who was always flirting with the married pastor.

  184. @ pickle:

    It’s a fact that some to most of the women who are preyed on by sleazy pastors are emotionally vulnerable women. They make easier targets than women who are mentally healthy and not undergoing a lot of stress in their lives.

    There are male psychiatrists and psychologists and male school teachers and male pedos who intentionally seek out wounded, hurting, females, because they are easier to exploit – due to having poor boundaries, too trusting natures, wanting so desperating to be loved and receive validation.

    Why do you suppose so many pedos select children from abusive or divorced homes to prey on? Because those kids are easier targets – same principle is at work with skeevy pastors who choose women who come to see them who are seeking guidance and counseling.

  185. @ Ed Chapman:

    Pastor in the Role of counselor? You mean with a state license/certification for counseling? Big difference if you want to get legal with adults and consensual sex with a power differential.

    (Hope everyone knows I am being pragmatic about the legalities, only.)

  186. pickle wrote:

    Did you not read the old-testament and how it said to “stone” WOMEN who were ALSO caught in adultery.

    By the way, it’s quite a jump for you to make this conclusion.

    Obviously I realize that women sometimes sexually sin. I never denied that some women can and do sexually sin – I’ve known a few in my personal life.

    However, a lot of sexual predators choose professions such as Boy Scout leader, psychologist, school teacher, or preacher precisely so they have easy access to easy targets – such as emotionally vulnerable women.

  187. @ pickle:

    I don’t think you want to be educated on some topics, like the fact that men in certain occupations who are dirt bags, may use their influence and power to exploit women into sex (or children, if their sexual preference is for children).

  188. Ed Chapman wrote:

    There is a false narrative that pastors have power.

    But pastors do in fact have power – because they brainwash their congregations into accepting a biblical interpretation that says they do.

    Some people buy into that and believe their preacher has power and authority over them.

    This blog regularly covers authoritarian churches who keep instilling into their ‘Pew Potato’ members that their preacher is boss over them.

    I think it’s somewhat mean-spirited to blame the Pew Potatos for buying into this.

    I know as an adult now in my 40s, I’ve had my eyes opened the last few years that things I was raised to believe in by my church and parents from the time I was a kid is actually false and a bunch of bunk. Sometimes people believe stuff to be true because it’s how they were raised, Ed.

    And there are folks out there who genuinely believe their pastor is either a God annointed authority over them, or, at the very least, is a trustworthy, kind hearted Shepherd figure who has their best interests at heart.

    You may not think pastors have any power, but a lot of Pew Potatoes think or assume they do, which is part of what makes them easily exploitable by the skeezy pastors out there.

  189. @ Muff Potter:
    I am always embarrassed by the “women are better or more virtuous” shtick.

    My view is that historically, women just had less power and opportunity. :o) In many instances, historically, they just learned to be better manipulators and use what resources available. I am not even convinced we ‘always’ bring balance to male dominated groups –from my experiences.

  190. @ Daisy:
    It is every adult’s responsibility to keep boundaries which includes vulnerable women AND vulnerable pastors.

    You seem to want vulnerability for female parishioners only. Hogwash.

    People are complex, issues with adults are too. You seem to have one angle and one only, excusing vulnerable adult women but no one else who is vulnerable.

    If you cannot and will not recognize there are some women who prey on seducing spiritual figures, you’re living in a world of childish thinking.

  191. In the State of Texas if a teacher has an ” affair” with a student, even if they are 18+ ( and I taught that age) it is abuse and you wind up in jail for quite a while.
    Ministers having an affair with the ” pew sitters” is the same. You’re using you influence for your own “needs. “

  192. Ed Chapman wrote:

    If pastors declare that they have power over your life, leave that church and find another.

    That is too little and too late for women who have already been victimized by a creepy pastor.

  193. Daisy wrote:

    Some women may target pastors, but, it’s still the pastor’s responsibility to keep the boundaries in place.

    I think there are women who target pastors for interest, but the power differential does not exist there so it’s different. You aren’t going to likely have women counseling the pastor, for instance. I think the women who fall for pastors is more like a rock star groupie, they are attracted to the stage and power?

  194. Missy M wrote:

    It is every adult’s responsibility to keep boundaries which includes vulnerable women AND vulnerable pastors.

    A woman who is hurting and vulnerable is likely to not be able to practice strong boundaries, because her thinking may be muddled.
    You’re asking the wounded person to practice or do something they may not be able to do at the time…

    But the pastor can.

  195. One more thing I will say about the women who are targeting pastors…I would be hesitant to believe the pastors side of it without independent knowledge when there actually was a resulting relationship – because predators lie. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who is truly at fault and it seems like sometimes you have pastors who are targeting someone (like the example above from Kim) and then when they are found out they are all ‘this jezebel seduced me’. Just as abusers sometimes call out their spouse as the abuser. So sometimes it’s hard to tell from the outside who is really at fault.

  196. Lea wrote:

    Daisy wrote:
    Some women may target pastors, but, it’s still the pastor’s responsibility to keep the boundaries in place.
    —–
    I think there are women who target pastors for interest, but the power differential does not exist there so it’s different. You aren’t going to likely have women counseling the pastor, for instance. I think the women who fall for pastors is more like a rock star groupie, they are attracted to the stage and power?

    That could be so for some women.

    I think it’s rather sad that several people on this thread (such as Missy M and one or two others) totally misunderstand my perspective.

    They are really eager to blame and bash women for the sexual failings of men.

    I have never once said all women every where are pure as the freshly driven snow and never snare or entice men. There are indeed women who are like this.

    But in the particular case of a woman who seeks out a pastor for advice, guidance, or counseling, the onus falls on the pastor to keep the boundaries intact.

    When my mother died several years back, I was hurting so badly and so lonely without her for a few years after her passing, a creepy pastor may have been able at that time to seduce me between the sheets
    (even though I’m over 40 yrs of age, a virgin, and committed to staying chaste until marriage)…

    A person who is mixed up mentally due to grief (or depression, or some other large painful life event) may not be able to think straight or keep boundaries intact-

    Ergo, the burden for keeping boundaries in place falls to the one in the position of influence and power, whether it is a preacher, school teacher, or police officer.

  197. Daisy wrote:

    You may not think pastors have any power

    They generally have the power to, either by themselves or working with staff, kick someone out church. For some people, this is their job. For others, it is their life, the home of all their friends….This IS real power. In the same way that you can voluntarily leave your job, but that doesn’t mean that your boss doesn’t still have power over you if they make that job impossible.

  198. Ed Chapman wrote:

    1. She was a child when the grooming began.

    Adults can also be groomed by other adults.

    Sometimes, con artists intentionally target lonely, elderly people to bilk them out of their money.

  199. @ Ed Chapman:

    So you are using people’s stories of having been abused by pastors or other church people as a proxy to criticize the contemporary church in general terms?

    If that is so, maybe that argument would be better served on another thread, instead of ones about situations about abuse specifically.

    The fact remains there are people who do still go to churches these days, what about them? They should not be preyed on by gross preachers.

    Some states may not have laws against what these preachers are doing. So maybe the next step is how do church people handle it?

    Paul wrote in the NT not to even eat with such people – so a pastor who uses his position to take advantage of women should be kicked out of his job and not allowed to return to the church. Maybe that is one possible solution.

  200. Lea wrote:

    You are saying how you think it should be.
    Others are stating how it is.
    Those are different.

    Yes, that point, a million times that. 🙂

    We’re talking reality, not theoretics or ideals.

  201. Ed Chapman wrote:

    But, in this case, change is needed due to Christianity skewing. Christianity changed over time and became corrupt. It was not like that from the beginning.

    I’m still not understanding this response.

    How does you wanting to change things about church help women who have already been preyed upon by preachers?

    I personally don’t know why anyone would want to still continue going to any church these days, considering how abusive they are, and how many stealthy pervs sit in the pews, but the fact remains, people still do attend, and some still do view the preacher as being trustworthy.

    I don’t think you’re going to convince everyone to stop going to church.

  202. Daisy wrote:

    women who have already been preyed upon by preachers

    I don’t think he thinks they’re prey – he thinks they were equally at fault.

  203. Daisy wrote:

    I personally don’t know why anyone would want to still continue going to any church these days, considering how abusive they are

    They’re not all abusive. And the ones that are, generally people don’t realize until something happens. And then they can’t convince the rest because they are too invested…

  204. Lea wrote:

    Daisy wrote:
    women who have already been preyed upon by preachers
    ———–
    I don’t think he thinks they’re prey – he thinks they were equally at fault.

    I don’t think he’s clear about his views.

    On some posts here and over at Julie Anne’s blog, he does seem to blame women in these situations.

    It looks to me that Ed (and a few others on this very thread) cannot conceive of how an adult woman can be suckered into sexual contact with a pastor…

    When it’s basically the same dynamic as how adults (pedos) sucker children into sexual contact.

    Pedos choose children who they know are going through a tough time, (maybe kids who’s parents are divorced), they know the kid is feeling lonely, wants validation and attention.

    Pervy preachers do the same thing to adult women who come to see them, women who may be lonely, hurting, etc.

    Such targets get manipulated into sexual actions, but Ed wants to depict all sexual acts as being on the level of full-on, willfully- sought- out consensual sex, which such is not the case for all these situations.

    Any way, I’ve read most all of Ed’s posts here and at SSB, and goodness only knows what his views are.

    I try to make sense of them, but when myself or someone else replies, he says we’re not understanding.

  205. Lea wrote:

    They’re not all abusive

    In some cases it’s hard to tell at the out-set which ones are and are not, though some of the abusive ones do give off red flags, which this blog educates people about.

    I went to one church that I would not say was abusive in general terms, but one or two the members I trusted in ended up hurting me, letting me down. So you have to be careful for that.

    The overall church might be okay and healthy, but individual members you run into might end up being judgmental or critical types once you share your personal business with them.

  206. @ Lea:
    I think of James 3:1.

    The pastoral position in the institutions are supposed to be trustworthy. That has changed since we are all now the same wormy sinners. This in just one reason I don’t do the institutions anymore.

  207. Ed Chapman wrote:

    But that is my whole point. If a pastor declares that he has power, he is wrong. Matthew 18 states that the church has the final say, and that is a last resort. The word “Church” is “assembly”, which is discussing the whole congregation, not the pastor, not the elders.

    There is a false narrative that pastors have power.

    To me, excommunication from a church means nothing except to find another church. How many church’s are there within a 20 mile parameter from your house? Probably many. Excommunication is a declaration that you are an unbeliever and do not belong in the church at all. If that is what a pastor declares, dust your feet and move to a different church.

    It is not so easy… the churches in our area all seem to be infected by the neo-Calvinist bug and we actually were unable to find a “safe” church for our daughter at the time when she might still have been interested. Ed also seems to be using the word “authority” with only one of its definitions: “persons having the legal power to make and enforce the law”. Authority is also “a power or right delegated or given; the right to control, command, or determine”. Churches today give this authority to their pastors. It is not biblical but this “delegated authority” still exists and is often abused. One way to avoid giving pastors this “power” over us is to refuse to become church members, and you can be sure we won’t do that again.

  208. Daisy wrote:

    Any way, I’ve read most all of Ed’s posts here and at SSB, and goodness only knows what his views are.
    I try to make sense of them, but when myself or someone else replies, he says we’re not understanding.

    And when someone is so hostile to women I wonder what their relationship with women has been and is currently.

  209. Lydia wrote:

    The pastoral position in the institutions are supposed to be trustworthy.

    Right, and so people tend to believe them. They tend to disbelieve women and this is true in general situations like abuse as well. [I think I mentioned my liar ex told me his wife was abusive, and then I read how common that is from abusers and I wonder…]

    Yes, the other side exists. Some women are abusive. Some women are seducing the pastor. But I think at this point I would want a lot of evidence before I jumped into believing it.

  210. Daisy wrote:

    It looks to me that Ed (and a few others on this very thread) cannot conceive of how an adult woman can be suckered into sexual contact with a pastor

    I can imagine that a woman who would NEVER do such a thing might actually some day be so broken by grief or just heart-broken that she is far more vulnerable to being ‘consoled’ in inappropriate ways by a ‘pervy pastor’. That is WHY it is such victimization. The woman is already hurting and in pain. To add to this knowingly is a horrific sin. People can injure others who are already injured and the compounded pain can lead to self-destructive behaviors, and even suicides.

    The pastor can ‘control’ HIS own sinful acts, but not the end result of involving another person who has come to him already stressed out and suffering.

  211. Lydia wrote:

    My view is that historically, women just had less power and opportunity. :o) In many instances, historically, they just learned to be better manipulators and use what resources available. I am not even convinced we ‘always’ bring balance to male dominated groups –from my experiences.

    My view too Lyds. And with that I’m gonna stand down now before my mouf’ gets me in a s#it-load o’ trouble…

  212. @ Daisy:
    Then a wounded Pastor cannot set boundaries either, with a predatory woman. Like I said, I’ve it with a lady from our church circle of women (no longer, of course) No two sets of rules for who gets to be vulnerable and who doesn’t.

  213. Missy M wrote:

    No two sets of rules for who gets to be vulnerable and who doesn’t.

    Are you drawing a differentiation between people generally in the congregation or people who specifically approach a pastor for counseling? Because I see those as different things.

  214. Mary27 wrote:

    Authority is also “a power or right delegated or given; the right to control, command, or determine”.

    It is also influence or status or some other informal power.

  215. Muff Potter wrote:

    My view too Lyds.

    I do not support the infantilization of females in whatever form it takes, and I agree that gender-based bad behavior is a crime of opportunity. As we get more females in the role of pastor, I think it is reasonable to expect that there will be abuses. Because humans sin against one another.

  216. It is both “clergy abuse” and “ADULTERY”. We need to quit this silly talk about “affairs”, and start using Biblical terms such as “adultery and whoring”.

    Tullian betrayed his position of trust and authority, for selfish gain. He betrayed his office, the Church, and the Lord. Serious clergy abuse.

    On the other hand, I don’t think many people take the crime of adultery very seriously.

    Adultery is an abomination in God’s sight (Lev. 18:26), and merited the death penalty under the Law (Lev. 20:10). Adultery is as serious a crime as murder. It is the murder of the “one-flesh union”, the “murder of a family”. It is the ultimate betrayal.

    Still, Tullian added to his crime of adultery with his wicked abuse of office.

  217. Missy M wrote:

    Then a wounded Pastor cannot set boundaries either, with a predatory woman. Like I said, I’ve it with a lady from our church circle of women (no longer, of course) No two sets of rules for who gets to be vulnerable and who doesn’t

    If a pastor has been emotionally compromised, and is unable (or unwilling) to set boundaries, he needs to leave that profession, would be my take on it.

    By the way, I’m very tired of people attributing views to me I do not hold, and you’re one of the ones who keeps doing this to me in this thread.

    I have never once said or felt that women are lilly-white angels, and no women ever “hit on” a married man.

    Some women are sexual predators. I’ve never said otherwise.

    It remains my view though, that we are living in a male-dominated culture that encourages men to feel very entitled to women and to sexual acts, so more often than not, men are the sexual predators, not vice versa.

    Your last comment does not make any sense to me.

    Either a person is vulnerable, or he or she is not.

    Many times, when a woman goes to see a preacher, it is precisely because she is going through a traumatic life experience, such as death in the family, her husband is abusing her or what have you.

    In such circumstances, the woman is indeed vulnerable at that time.

  218. Gram3 wrote:

    I do not support the infantilization of females in whatever form it takes, and I agree that gender-based bad behavior is a crime of opportunity. As we get more females in the role of pastor, I think it is reasonable to expect that there will be abuses. Because humans sin against one another.

    BTW, I just said as much on Julie Anne’s blog, about five minutes ago.

    I said over there that in cases where a female preacher or teacher uses her position to abuse or exploit a male (or female) student or congregant, that female leader should be treated in the same way as a male predator would.

    I am against people treating adult women like babies.

    However. As I was just explaining to Lea on the other blog, I was raised to be child-like by my parents and the church I was raised in, and I’m having to un-learn these things now in my 40s.

    During the years I was thinking in child-like ways, or approaching life in child-like ways, it left me more open to being bullied or taken advantage of by other adults (which I was).

    A woman can be an adult in years but have the life experience or mentality of a child, if she was brought up by over-protective parents…

    And/or not given life skills by her parents when she was growing up, which would allow her to spot abusers early on if possible to avoid abuse, and to practice having boundaries if a seedy pastor crosses her path.

    I was not taught that stuff in my formative years and didn’t even realize most of this stuff ’til I got to around my early 40s.

    Prior to my early 40s (even into my mid or late 30s), it would’ve been much easier for another adult to take advantage of me.

  219. Daisy wrote:

    As I was just explaining to Lea on the other blog

    It is weird to bounce back and forth! I left you a response there. Suffice it to say, I disagree.

  220. @ Daisy:
    For a person concerned with representing what other have said it seems a bit odd that you choose me of saying you said women are lily-white and never hit on me I never said you said that

  221. @ Lea:
    I am just referring in general, to vulnerable people, that they can be clergy, too, who are subject to predatory members. If we are talking about people being vulnerable, clergy can be.

    As far as those seeking counseling, 9 out of 10 I’d say are legitimately vulnerable people but sometimes manipulators feign injury and vulnerability only to gain a private audience with a Pastor and this can be true of both genders.

  222. Missy M wrote:

    For a person concerned with representing what other have said it seems a bit odd that you choose me of saying you said women are lily-white and never hit on me I never said you said that

    Did you not say somewhere up thread that I am naive and a fool to think that women never, ever hit on men?

    Or did someone else write that to me, and I’m mixed up and am thinking it was you?

    You do seem to be under the impression I think all women are above reproach and never instigate affairs, when I never said any such thing.

  223. I really am not sure what value church really has in modern times. I feel safer outside of the buildings. I have worked as a professional with doctors and male coworkers for over 20 years and have never allowed myself to discuss any personal information with them to not allow anything to be taken wrong. My mistake was to not go to a licensed counselor instead of my pastor when my family was dying off and the other issues came up. I implore all people to not seek help from pastors or any unlicensed “helping” professional. They speak with ” biblical authority”, their assumed role because of “title” is that they love God and want those they lead to know God too. My pastor was a masters level nouthetic counselor. The church’s I was raised in were very afraid of “secular counseling”. I had no experience with the counseling at all. But with my upbringing I felt if I ever needed help a pastor or spiritual leader would be the safest spiritually. I was sadly mistaken, and I paid the price as well as all the people in the congregation, friends and family, and community. For my pain and weakness that allowed the wrong person to help me will forever be heavy on my heart. If pastors who we pay to preach the word, lead the administration of the ministry, provide counseling and provide spiritual admonition are really not to be trusted, not to be accountable leaders, and not expected to do no harm when counseling…..I believe church is a farce. A place to visit but not believe or trust anyone to be what they claim to be. I honestly believe the church leaders the bible describes are a fairy tale. The higher responsibility of pastors and the tougher discipline and the warnings of wolves in leadership is also a biblical fairy tale. Again, until churches are safe and leaders are actually trustworthy leaders I am not convinced church is a relevant part of my spiritual growth and health. It is a sad state of the church.

  224. @ Daisy:

    Yep, here’s the quote, by Missy M, and it was in reply to one of my posts, because it has the “@ Daisy” in the heading:

    It is every adult’s responsibility to keep boundaries which includes vulnerable women AND vulnerable pastors.
    You seem to want vulnerability for female parishioners only. Hogwash.
    People are complex, issues with adults are too. You seem to have one angle and one only, excusing vulnerable adult women but no one else who is vulnerable.
    If you cannot and will not recognize there are some women who prey on seducing spiritual figures, you’re living in a world of childish thinking.

    I never said that women do not prey on men, or spiritual figures.

    Source for Missy M quote:
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/10/03/its-clergy-sex-abuse-not-an-affair/comment-page-1/#comment-286668

  225. Daisy wrote:

    The Pharisees in Jesus’ day had rules like this, where they would so deflect their gaze if they saw a woman walking down the street, they would walk into trees.

    “NIKEs!”

  226. I have been blessed l,more than some of the others who have been misused or abused (which ever makes one feel it is not as big a deal) to have my faith in God back. Probably not church ever but I love God for His endless mercy and grace.

  227. @ Daisy:
    Nothing there about lily white, white you claimed I said you said. And I used the word, “if”. You’re giving our gender a black eye here. Pun intended

  228. Missy M wrote:

    Nothing there about lily white, white you claimed I said you said. And I used the word, “if”. You’re giving our gender a black eye here. Pun intended

    You did not use the specific phrase “lilly white” in your post to me, but you implied that is my view point, which it is not.

    I never once said women never cheat with married men. I never said women don’t hit on men or seek out affairs with pastors or other men.

    I’m not giving “our gender a black eye.”

    Your attitude is the one that enables male sexual predators to keep on exploiting women, and probably make any of their victims who read your posts too afraid to speak up, speak out, and get help – because someone like you will possibly jump to the conclusion that woman was a willing, equal participant.

  229. Kim rung wrote:

    i am grateful that God has seen to restore my faith in Him, just not church.

    Amen, Kim.

    I had to stop the video several times of your story. It was so painful for me to watch.
    I could hear your love of God, of people, His church, and your sincere desire to do well in ministry. And as you ran toward that goal this person/predatory pastor kept putting himself in the way, knowing that was your desire and using it against you.

    Sad and bad.

    I’m glad you’re here and didn’t succeed in that suicide attempt.

    And I marveled at how God cut the ties to that church for you, your husband, and your children.

    So glad you’re on the road to healing.

  230. Kim rung wrote:

    I really am not sure what value church really has in modern times.

    I wonder too. It seems like it’s a money-making, power-giving franchise for so many.

    I feel safer outside of the buildings.

    Me too.

    My mistake was to not go to a licensed counselor instead of my pastor when my family was dying off and the other issues came up. I implore all people to not seek help from pastors or any unlicensed “helping” professional. They speak with ” biblical authority”, their assumed role because of “title” is that they love God and want those they lead to know God too. My pastor was a masters level nouthetic counselor.

    I’m with you. That’s the problem with Nouthetic Counseling and today’s authoritarian Membership Covenants ordering it for members. Incompetent, untrained men spout nonsense to church members who are forced to listen to it.

    I have never seen so much damage done to so many peoples’ lives. I was required, along with other church members [Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley] to undergo years worth of counseling to have ‘unity’ with church members who should have been in treatment for things like alcoholism, a memory disorder/Dyslexia, and an abusive childhood and lashing out at other members and attenders all of the time.

    I had to turn in my ex-pastors/elders to the California Medical Board for the Unauthorized Practice of Medicine, a crime in my state. They repeatedly blamed me, and rendered a diagnosis, for a church member’s genetically inherited brain disorder and memory problems, that she’s already been diagnosed with all of her life, failed school, can’t work, and gets a monthly disability check from the Social Security Administration and has gotten it for 30-years (and was medically diagnosed to qualify for it).

    The church’s I was raised in were very afraid of “secular counseling”.

    That is a shame. It’s like being afraid of the auto mechanic or the doctor or the plumber or [fill in the blank of needed professional service].

    I had no experience with the counseling at all. But with my upbringing I felt if I ever needed help a pastor or spiritual leader would be the safest spiritually.

    I think pastors/elders are some of the least safe, least qualified, and least trained people to go to for help.

    Those without a great deal of training can do a great deal of damage.

    For my pain and weakness that allowed the wrong person to help me will forever be heavy on my heart.

    That’s why everyone from police officers to doctors to other professionals are to follow ethical (and in many times it is written in law) standards and not take advantage of people. Because look at the fall out.

    If pastors who we pay to preach the word, lead the administration of the ministry, provide counseling and provide spiritual admonition are really not to be trusted, not to be accountable leaders, and not expected to do no harm when counseling…..I believe church is a farce. A place to visit but not believe or trust anyone to be what they claim to be.

    Spot on.

    I honestly believe the church leaders the bible describes are a fairy tale.

    I’ve heard of good pastors. But they seem to be few and far in between.

    The higher responsibility of pastors and the tougher discipline and the warnings of wolves in leadership is also a biblical fairy tale. Again, until churches are safe and leaders are actually trustworthy leaders I am not convinced church is a relevant part of my spiritual growth and health. It is a sad state of the church.

    I’m with you.

    I even bought the elements (red wine and matzoh crackers) and take communion at home. I figure Jesus understands. I take communion especially after a time of good communion here with other believers.

    Hugs to you. (I’m MtnShepherdess on Twitter and we’ve communicated there.)

  231. Kim rung wrote:

    Thank you

    Welcome, sweetie.

    And I’m sorry that so many people have gotten off track on this article and posted (hurtful) comments blaming the victim (in this case you and others like you). The thread got derailed from a serious subject, in my opinion.

  232. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Pastors have no power until that counselor hat is on. Without that hat, they have no power. That is the way that the statutes put it, using different verbage.

    I definitely disagree that a pastors power is that black and white. Even when a pastor doesn’t have his “counselor hat” on the pastor definitely has some power.

  233. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Pastors have no power until that counselor hat is on. Without that hat, they have no power. That is the way that the statutes put it, using different verbage.

    I definitely disagree that a pastors power is that black and white. Even when a pastor doesn’t have his “counselor hat” on the pastor definitely has some power.

  234. Daisy wrote:

    I don’t know if you saw Julie Anne’s post on SSB, but her sources indicated that Tullian was using his former Twitter account (that had the word “pastor” in it) to groom women.
    I’m not sure how to explain this, but in my view even if the women Tullian was seducing were not seeing him for counseling specifically, if he was using his pastor social media account to target women from his church or Christian women from anywhere, I still think that is an abuse of his job, trust, and influence and position.
    It’s kind of like a school gym teacher or coach who uses his influence and daily contact with kids at the local school to hit on or flirt with young boys who go to the school. It’s the same concept, and I think it’s highly inappropriate

    Thanks for clarifying this for me. I didn’t see Julie Anne’s post indicating this. It is sad that TT was grooming these women for an affair.

  235. we are on the same page…..sadly. Hugs to you and the many others out there who have been shamed to silence. Nouthetic counseling is dangerous and only recognized tumors or neuronal tangled capable of being seen on a scan or obvious genetic disorders (downs, kleinfelders, etc) as actual biological disorders. All chemical possiblilties are not applicable to the brain but to only to the rest of the human body. So medications or behavioral treatment is not allowed and even ridiculed. Only biblical admonishing. They are considered sins not biological or environmental causes. That included autism because the cause can’t be genetically proven or visualized on scans.. These men are typically very educated. Vey impressive diplomas and famous theologian recommendations. John MacArthurs seminary as well as many other like minded seminaries have rigorous educational requirements generally at a masters level. Lack of education isn’t really always the problem. It is an off base, unstudied/ not good design research based counseling that is very dangerous and leaves people who need help feeling defeated by sin and willing to do anything to conquer it but unfortunately without the help and treatment they need. It can be devastating. I think the devil loves it. I warn anyone who seeks this counseling style.

  236. brian wrote:

    When David found out the baby was dead he got up cleaned himself up and went and had a meal. That was quoted to me several times about getting over dead family really quick, like right after they die. No weeping here, no pouting and blathering about someone God took out move on. How can anyone read this passage and tell me a literal take it at face value meaning is not just well, tribal and cruel. I still have not gotten over the death of some of my family. I don’t show it nor will I ever especially at church but. That story always bothered me when people use it as how God keeps a leader in charge that did something really awful.

    One last comment for a while.

    If you read II Samuel 12: 21-23 it explains why David all of a sudden “gotten over the death.”

    David told his servants in this passage that the reason for his change was that David hAd been trying to implore God by his actions to reconsider and possibly spare the life of the child he had with Bathsheba that Nathan said would die.

    David was quoted as saying “Maybe the Lord will feel sorry for me and let the baby live.”

    Despite David’s 7 day prayer, fasting, and lying on the ground God still chose to take the life of this child as Nathan the prophet had said would happen.

    Thus with this being the case I wouldn’t this passage of scripture to teach that one should quickly get over the death of someone as you indicated someone told you. It didn’t really say that David “got over it” rather that David knew that what he was trying to ask of God could no longer happen since the child had already died.

  237. Ed, I totally agree with all you said. Pastors are just men. Should not be looked at in anyway as responsible spiritual leaders. Honestly, if churches were hospitals it would be safer to just close them. Wish I had your insights before ever serving, getting help or even attending a church. Thank you for confirming all the dangers of church. I assume you don’t attend one either?

  238. Kim rung wrote:

    These men are typically very educated. Vey impressive diplomas and famous theologian recommendations. John MacArthurs seminary as well as many other like minded seminaries have rigorous educational requirements generally at a masters level. Lack of education isn’t really always the problem. It is an off base, unstudied/ not good design research based counseling that is very dangerous and leaves people who need help feeling defeated by sin and willing to do anything to conquer it but unfortunately without the help and treatment they need. It can be devastating. I think the devil loves it. I warn anyone who seeks this counseling style.

    Yes, Kim, my ex-pastor was also a graduate of John MacArthur’s The Master’s Seminary and the Master’s College. I think it’s a subpar education from what I’ve seen in the graduates.

    And they are arrogant men who practice Nouthetic Counseling. Everything is framed as they have the answers and if it doesn’t work out it’s the counselee’s fault. Like, boyz, do you think there’s anything else beyond the counselee’s control that could be going on in this situation?

  239. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Why is that necessary in Christianity that forbids sexual relationships except to your own spouse to begin with? Hello? What happened to the rules of the bible? Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery is not clear enough? Apparently for some that are bashing me that don’t seem to like me quoting Old Outdated Mosiac Law, I suppose, huh? Wow!

    Some clergy members and church members are single. Wow.

    But human-crafted rules do in fact clarify things. Clergy sex abuse (a phrase not in Mosaic law or in my KJV) is not exactly the same thing as adultery, as you well know.

  240. I didn’t know what it was. Never heard of it but found out later my pastors masters degree in counseling didn’t mean the same thing as licensed counselors. I was counseling naive…..no more. I emails from him admonishing me for sinning by my anxiety disorder that stemmed from childhood abuse, so I accepted that I was sinnng and asked for more help to be more godly. When I got warn down, my autoimmune illness was out of control(high dose steroids) my husband was absent and I was leading a ruthless worship transition he asked me why I was fighting against God’s will for my life. He again admonished me to trust God and accept my sin of complaining. I wanted to honor God so bad that I beat myself up spiritually and turned to the pastor for help. Nouthetic counseling is damaging. It nearly took my life.

  241. Kim rung wrote:

    Nouthetic counseling is dangerous and only recognized tumors or neuronal tangled capable of being seen on a scan or obvious genetic disorders (downs, kleinfelders, etc) as actual biological disorders. All chemical possiblilties are not applicable to the brain but to only to the rest of the human body. So medications or behavioral treatment is not allowed and even ridiculed. Only biblical admonishing. They are considered sins not biological or environmental causes.

    Yeah, that was the reason I was refused from being a missionary. I also have had an autoimmune disorder since childhood, and the counselor for the mission agency that had to “sign off” on me claimed that I needed counseling to “fix” my autoimmune disorder. I guess he thought counseling would regrow my thyroid, too, since it was taken out when I was teenager. So I got counseling, and the counselor I saw thought he was nuts. They argued about it on email for a year or so.

    If counseling fixed every physical problem, then do these guys never die? I’m gonna say no.

  242. Thank you❤️ I have seen and looked into the eyes of pure evil. God has rescued me and my family. I want to just be available if others need a voice. God has Angel Armies I sense all around me. I don’t believe evil will overcome. I know it won’t in the end. I am no longer afraid. The first time in my whole life. My favorite song is “No Longer Slaves to Fear” by Bethel Music. So many people are fearful all their lives. I wish my freedom would have come years earlier but I don’t doubt God’s goodness anymore.

  243. ishy wrote:

    and the counselor for the mission agency that had to “sign off” on me claimed that I needed counseling to “fix” my autoimmune disorde

    What????

    I can’t even…this is not the gospel I was raised with. I don’t know what happened, but this is awful. I’m glad I’ve worked in mental health long enough that I know better I guess, because before I did I didn’t pay much attention. But I didn’t know they were applying this medical issues as well! Insanity.

  244. Friend wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    Why is that necessary in Christianity that forbids sexual relationships except to your own spouse to begin with? Hello? What happened to the rules of the bible? Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery is not clear enough? Apparently for some that are bashing me that don’t seem to like me quoting Old Outdated Mosiac Law, I suppose, huh? Wow!

    Some clergy members and church members are single. Wow.

    But human-crafted rules do in fact clarify things. Clergy sex abuse (a phrase not in Mosaic law or in my KJV) is not exactly the same thing as adultery, as you well know.

    No, I don’t know. I use a KJV pretty exclusively. It states to flee fornication.

    Ed
    Friend wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    Why is that necessary in Christianity that forbids sexual relationships except to your own spouse to begin with? Hello? What happened to the rules of the bible? Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery is not clear enough? Apparently for some that are bashing me that don’t seem to like me quoting Old Outdated Mosiac Law, I suppose, huh? Wow!

    Some clergy members and church members are single. Wow.

    But human-crafted rules do in fact clarify things. Clergy sex abuse (a phrase not in Mosaic law or in my KJV) is not exactly the same thing as adultery, as you well know.

    No, I don’t know. I use the KJV myself. Having sex with someone not your spouse is not allowed in Christianity. Therefore, we do not need to add a condition for clergy. It’s not allowed for anyone. Wow. I can’t believe that I need to explain that. Why does this need to be clarified?

    1 Corinthians 6:9
    Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

    1 Corinthians 6:18
    Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

    1 Corinthians 7:2
    Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

    1 Corinthians 10:8
    Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

    Ephesians 5:3
    But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

    2 Corinthians 12:21
    And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.

    Ya know, I’ve seen commenters state things like, “Ya, fornication is wrong and such, but…”

    What but? Isn’t it clear that Christians are not to have sex outside of marriage period? What does the word “clergy” have to do with it? It’s exclusive to everyone, not just clergy.

    Clergy has no power, and if it is perceived that they do have power, get out of there quickly. Do not return.

    Sexual assault is a crime and a sin, and sex outside of marriage is sin.

    Galatians 5:19
    Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness

    Ed

  245. It ended up I had thyroid cancer that was accidentally found on a dental exam! All the years of the pain of feeling like a sinner and my only hope seemed to be a pastor who “lovingly” admonished me. I had the tumor removed a year ago May. I had left it in for a year in my depression thinking God was taking me out for my sin. I believed I deserved to die. He was busy working out 30 hours a week for triathalons and I felt like I deserved to die. After I got him caught, I was taken to the hospital by the police because of a total emotional breakdown, 10 days at a hospital and survival, I decided God must still love me. I couldn’t figure out how. The James Cancer hospital doctor left 8 messages while I was hospitalized stressing the importance of getting the cancer removed. I made my first decision to live in 4 years and had the surgery. It saved my life and now I am healed and working at a high level job in one of the top cancer centers in the country helping save cancer patients. God had a plan…….it isn’t a church thing anymore……it is a God thing. I am here to help any vulnerable person… Be it physical, spiritual or emotional. I wish his plan hadn’t hurt so many people. I learned after the fact I was possibly #3 at my previous church. All three pastors did the same thing. I wish I had been warned and the church hadn’t covered up the truth. I think God had a bigger plan. Can’t say what it is……but I trust Him.

  246. Lea wrote:

    ishy wrote:
    and the counselor for the mission agency that had to “sign off” on me claimed that I needed counseling to “fix” my autoimmune disorde
    What????
    I can’t even…this is not the gospel I was raised with. I don’t know what happened, but this is awful. I’m glad I’ve worked in mental health long enough that I know better I guess, because before I did I didn’t pay much attention. But I didn’t know they were applying this medical issues as well! Insanity.

    Yes, they are applying it to medical issues.

    I turned in my ex-pastors/elders to the state for engaging in the Unauthorized Practice of Medicine, a crime that can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony.

    To give you some idea of how dumb and dangerous the GBFSV pastors/elders have been in their application of Nouthetic Counseling (call it what it is…laziness and incompetence).

    *Spent months with members discussing “gossip”, drawing pictures on a chalkboard, quoting Scripture verses and demanding that everyone have “unity” with an out-of-control widow instead of dealing with the real problem: She’s an untreated alcoholic, needs to be seen by a physician, and needs a doctor to supervise her treatment for alcoholism.

    *Spent years discussing “unity” about another older woman church member, a retireee, who was constantly verbally abusing church members and attenders, vicious put downs, and fights, instead of having her seen by a physician, referred, and diagnosed. She could have benefited from professional, outside, licensed therapy to resolve her childhood issues, which she just took out on everyone else all of the time.

    *Blamed me for the memory problems of a woman Dyslexic who has short-term memory problems, working memory problems, and auditory memory problems from her genetically inherited brain disorder. She coulnd’t remember entire events and accused other people like me of lying.
    The pastors/elders agreed with her and said that her memory problems were somebody else’s sin problem, including mine.

    No more. I turned them in to the medical board. They are practicing, including diagnosing, without a license which is exactly why such conduct is criminalized in my state – to protect the public.

  247. Ed Chapman wrote:

    But that is my whole point. If a pastor declares that he has power, he is wrong.

    I do agree with you, Ed, but are the victims just out of luck until they figure that out the hard way?

  248. Kim rung wrote:

    Ed, I totally agree with all you said. Pastors are just men. Should not be looked at in anyway as responsible spiritual leaders. Honestly, if churches were hospitals it would be safer to just close them. Wish I had your insights before ever serving, getting help or even attending a church. Thank you for confirming all the dangers of church. I assume you don’t attend one either?

    I’m very sorry for the things that happened to you. Yes, I do attend church. In fact, 2 of them. In my Christian world, these abuses do not happen at all.

    I have a philosophy that states,
    “In a denomination, someone else already decided FOR YOU what you are to believe. If you question, you are disciplined.

    In a non-denomination, the preacher reports, WE DECIDE.”

    I blame the Calvinist belief system. I know that I will get into trouble with die hard Calvinists, but I don’t care. I’m not in their camp.

    Ed

  249. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Ed

    Ed, I’m not going to spend a minute trying to convince you that I oppose adultery and fornication, or pointing out that single people usually spend some time getting to know each other before marriage, and that this time can be both sexually chaste and against reasonable workplace rules.

    Regardless of your own beliefs, sincerity, purity, fluency with online KJV concordances, etc., etc., your comments to me come across as manufactured outrage. Life is too short for this, my brother.

    I need to head out for a candlelight vigil, which seems more important right now.

  250. siteseer wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    But that is my whole point. If a pastor declares that he has power, he is wrong.

    I do agree with you, Ed, but are the victims just out of luck until they figure that out the hard way?

    We need to do everything that WE can do to convince them, call it “Awareness” or whatever. We need to teach them somehow, some way, and not continue with the status quo that keeps victims afraid.

    I really don’t know how to go about it, but I find it difficult that others here have a hard time with me by me stating to call the cops.

    I get bashed for telling people to call the cops, and it frustrates me to no end.

    Ed

  251. Kim rung wrote:

    Ed, I totally agree with all you said. Pastors are just men. Should not be looked at in anyway as responsible spiritual leaders. Honestly, if churches were hospitals it would be safer to just close them. Wish I had your insights before ever serving, getting help or even attending a church. Thank you for confirming all the dangers of church. I assume you don’t attend one either?

    I am not following you, Kim.

    Ed has repeatedly put down women victims and blamed them. Both here and over at Spiritual Sounding Board. Abuse is a complicated issue. And many people who are abused as adults, not all, were also abused as children and are much more vulnerable to boundary violations.

    Professionals are to be just that…professional. No matter who is in front of them with whatever problem. There are lines that aren’t supposed to be crossed.

  252. Ed, my husband was going to Southern Seminary. Calvinistic all the way. My pastor had an oil painting from John MacArthurs office, signed by him. I became good friends with Alistair Beggs female worship leader who mentored me as well. She described a very spiritually uplifting working relationship with AB as she called him. I thought I had the same thing…… Alistair came to our church my first year as worship leader. I made sure everything was perfect and my pastor prayed with me over my nerves. I asked God to be glorified and to not let my sin of anxiety to stop His will. It went well. In hindsight I see the message my pastor sent me in a whole different light now. It is even creepy, but even my husband didn’t catch it. Trust me…..hindsight is 20/20! We looked at good recommendations, mentoring, degrees from the right seminaries. We ignored the church messes because the elders convinced us it was because of really rotten members. My husband and I took on the horrible battle for the pastor and he elders. It nearly destroyed us. We are done with church. Not sure why you go to church with such low expectations for pastors?? It just seems sort of crazy to me? Not sure how conforming it is to watch the worship team, the pastor, etc on the stage but figure they can do whatever to those they stand up there and preach too? Hollow? I just don’t get you Ed. But, God does and that is all that matters in the end. I will pray for you Ed. I really mean that. ❤️

  253. Daisy wrote:

    man-splain

    I get your point, but that is a very derogatory term to use and it does not help to move a conversation forward. It’s a way to shut someone up based on their gender rather than their ideas. It fits some men, but not all, just as it fits some women, but not all.

  254. I guess I am totally new to the blog world. My weakness and strengthen is that I try to understand people. It is hard for me to accept there are people who are so hard and course in the light of human pain. Ed, is an enigma. Maybe even an evil force. But I will pray for all people, even the evil to be used in some way to bring glory to God. That is my spirit.

  255. i guess I was trying to follow Ed to his logical end. I just wanted to understand him a little more. I guess I am not familiar with his dialogue.

  256. @ Daisy:
    I don’t jump to conclusions which means not ruling out the fact that a woman can have been the predator, a truth you cannot bear, it seems.

  257. i feel Ed’s lack of belief that pastors have any leadership responsibilities above those he leads is non-sense?? And then attend not one but 2 churches?? It invalidates all he says. I guess I hoped their was some logic. Crazy times. I can still pray for spiritual clarity. God is gracious and every day is a new day to change.

  258. So true! All we did was support and compliment our pastor’s wife and family. I gave all our kids clothes to his wife, bought her gift cards, took her out for dinner when her husband was out of town and even babysat so they could go on dates. I was not a predator. Thankfully my husband read the emails and could see my heart. It saved our marriage. I know I am not the only woman who had good intentions and trusted a spiritual predator.

  259. @ Kim rung
    I just read your last post and how carefully you took your gifting as a praise and worship leader serious. I am so sorry that you as a human being and you as a sister in Christ with the gift of worship were not treated correctly by “the shepherd” of “the flock” you were a part of. To speak plain English (not “Christianese”), I am so sorry that your pastor was not upfront with you, put you under unnecessary pressure as an artist and a worshiper and thought nothing of “using” you to make himself “look good” in the eyes of AB. Never mind whatever AB thought. Alistair Beggs may never ever have even been aware of the fact that “pastor man” decided to “misuse” you as a “woman worship leader”. As a fellow worshiper, may the Lord “repay you double for your trouble/grief/sorrow”. Please don’t give up worshiping and singing to Him, even if it is only in your kitchen while you are cooking (my own personal experience, and no one but the neighbors hear me.) When we “worship and sing in the secret/dark places”, it changes things and God’s healing power changes us and keeps us going. I am so sorry for how you were quietly abused by that man/pastor. May the Lord help you to forgive him (which you probably already did, but may you reap more good than the pain this pastor inflicted upon you).

  260. i was placed for the first time in my life at a mental hospital because they didn’t know where to place a pastoral abuse victim. I gave all my clothes to the poor female alcoholics that were admitted. I held vomit containers for the new drug addicts admitted going through withdrawal. I had never been in a place like that in my whole life. . My spiritual leader and the church response? He was offered a financially comparable job and had the whole church surrounding him with immediate forgiveness. Remenber I didn’t take he and his wife’s recommendation of leaving him in the pulpit and leaving all my friends and family over 7 years of loving them and allowing it to play out without responsibility. Trust me,I have the indecent proposal in writing as to why many have left that terrible place. The last time I sang was in a glass room with all the patients around…..Amazing Grace accapella. Every patient was in tears. Many asked me to write my story. My day of discharge 25+ patients surrounded me, many dressed in the clothes I gave to all of them and I and cried. I told them I would fight to live everyday of my life because of the stories they shared with me those 10 days. God rescued me from the darkest place I had ever been…..at the hands of the church. Not God,,,,,but the church. I had cancer removal surgery a week later. I speak on all the brokers behalf.. Sure, financially and educationally I am successful…… But I wasn’t truly successfully until I faced my demons and saw all people on the same level. That is a God story…,,,… I can’t write a story like that. Now I wouldn’t change a thing. God gave me new insight and heart. I may be judged, but it couldn’t be worse than the sad people I met…….God is no respecter of persons. At the end we all will be judged at His level of holiness. May Jesus blood be our mediator. My worship is very private. God hears. I pray for anyone out there who has been hurt, who feels unworthy…….God does not see you that way…… Man may judge you child.,…but God looks at the heart……..signing off ❤️ To all!

  261. Missy M wrote:

    @ Daisy:
    I don’t jump to conclusions which means not ruling out the fact that a woman can have been the predator, a truth you cannot bear, it seems.

    While mathematically that is true, that there are females who are predators, the majority of predators are still men. One of the things we have to be careful of is that number of manipulative men predators who will say that the victim wanted it, came on to him, etc.

  262. Kim rung wrote:

    I learned after the fact I was possibly #3 at my previous church. All three pastors did the same thing.

    Whoa! That’s awful.

  263. Steve240 wrote:

    Thanks for clarifying this for me. I didn’t see Julie Anne’s post indicating this. It is sad that TT was grooming these women for an affair.

    Julie Anne said on another post there today:

    “In these cases, TT sought out the women.”

    So, Tullian pursued these women. They weren’t chasing him.

    That comment comes from the thread at her SSB blog entitled
    “Is This Tullian Tchividjian’s Spiritual Comeback Tour?”

  264. Velour wrote:

    Kim rung wrote:

    Ed, I totally agree with all you said. Pastors are just men. Should not be looked at in anyway as responsible spiritual leaders. Honestly, if churches were hospitals it would be safer to just close them. Wish I had your insights before ever serving, getting help or even attending a church. Thank you for confirming all the dangers of church. I assume you don’t attend one either?

    I am not following you, Kim.

    Ed has repeatedly put down women victims and blamed them. Both here and over at Spiritual Sounding Board. Abuse is a complicated issue. And many people who are abused as adults, not all, were also abused as children and are much more vulnerable to boundary violations.

    Professionals are to be just that…professional. No matter who is in front of them with whatever problem. There are lines that aren’t supposed to be crossed.

    You are wrong, Velour. So completely wrong. Here is a synopsis of what I said in regards to Lourdes:

    If we are afraid to call the police to put the perp behind bars, then the abuse continues, creating new victims, and in the case of Lourdes, she sought a civil action instead of a criminal action. That is what I was questioning. I was not questioning her claims. She was a victim indeed of sexual “assault”. Even if you were to take the “pastor” element out of the equation, she was still a victim of sexual assault, and that is still a felony crime no matter how you slice it. Phillips needed to be placed in a jail cell, convicted, sent to prison, and required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. But that didn’t happen. Instead, he was sued. In other words, he got off scott free for his felony crimes because people were afraid to call the cops, or to tell someone that would do it in her stead.

    In the Lourdes case, I did not victim blame.

    In THIS case, I question the validity of the existence of a victim, because the pastor has no power or authority that you claim that they have.

    Ed

  265. Ed Chapman wrote:

    No, I don’t know. I use a KJV pretty exclusively. It states to flee fornication.

    Are we still talking about preachers who prey on vulnerable or naive women? Because those are pretty much two separate categories.

    It’s kind of like saying women who are raped are guilty, just as guilty as the rapist for the act, and are fornicators.

  266. @ Kim rung:
    Well written Mama Kim! Perhaps you may not have known it at the time, but it is blatantly obvious that you both acted like a mother, and also had the heart of a true mother to every single patient on that ward. I am sure that others must have told you this, but let me reiterate this again, just in case you need a little encouragement :
    Do you realize that you were “the hands and feet of the Risen Christ” the “manifestation of the Balm of Gilead”, “comfort to those who refuse to be comforted”, the words of kindness to those who have never been held or even acknowledged ?
    When you sang your heart out on that ward, you were shaking the gates of hell itself. True worship cannot ever be stifled. My mother was a very famous christian singer in the country of her birth before she married my father, but honestly, her singing Christian lullabies to me when I was a baby/toddler, are what has most influenced my own children’s lives. I have always “lived in her shadow” (theoretically that is – and if she ever knew this, she would be utterly mortified… don’t be the child of a famous person, even in local christian circles).

    What I can most certainly assure you of, or perhaps better said just simply remind you of, is the indomitable power of true worship solely obsessed with the object of the heart’s worship which is Jesus himself. There is nothing better than to lose oneself and “anything and everything” singing God’s/Jesus’s praise at the top of my lungs when “no one hears me” or “only the misfits hear me” or “I don’t care who hears me” or whatever other accusation may attack me at this particular moment. May the Lord repay you double for your trouble and may the beauty that he replaces your ashes with sustain you and give you great gladness for the rest of your life!

  267. Missy M wrote:

    One dare not speak of women who have preyed on vulnerable men in the ministry. I had such a friend, not close but within a circle of women.

    We knew she was too flattering to our pastor but figured she was sugary to be nice but still, it was mentioned among the rest of us once or twice.

    Over time we could see her being more and more involved in doing things,for the pastor and it became obvious she was grooming him! Yes, he should have seen it and set boundaries but from our point of view she was the predator.

    Apparently he did eventually put the brakes on before it got physical, resigned and moved away. But the idea that the pastor always had the power isn’t always true. Again, it is the dynamics of the situation.

    The thing to be aware of is that this woman did not come from a position where she held any kind of power over the pastor. The pastor, on the other hand, with a few words has the power to destroy a parishioners friendships, their reputation, cause them to be shunned, destroy their children’s and families lives, etc. He has the position of trust already with the whole congregation and he can mobilize them to take his side.

    The woman in your example was most likely seeking a piece of the pastor’s power. The only power she had over him was the power of seduction, if he was vulnerable to that. She had no force of guilting him, pressuring him, coercing him, blackmailing him.

    Many of the women who are victimized sexually by pastors and other spiritual authorities had no interest in a sexual relationship, they are put into a position where they feel like they can’t say no. Sometimes the predator takes years to do this. If you don’t understand how that happens, maybe you didn’t watch the video. “A Twisted Faith,” is a book that gives a good inside look at how this can happen, too.

  268. Velour wrote:

    Kim rung wrote:

    Ed, I totally agree with all you said. Pastors are just men. Should not be looked at in anyway as responsible spiritual leaders. Honestly, if churches were hospitals it would be safer to just close them. Wish I had your insights before ever serving, getting help or even attending a church. Thank you for confirming all the dangers of church. I assume you don’t attend one either?

    I am not following you, Kim.

    Ed has repeatedly put down women victims and blamed them. Both here and over at Spiritual Sounding Board. Abuse is a complicated issue. And many people who are abused as adults, not all, were also abused as children and are much more vulnerable to boundary violations.

    Professionals are to be just that…professional. No matter who is in front of them with whatever problem. There are lines that aren’t supposed to be crossed.

    In THIS case, to me, it’s just a simple case of adultery on all parties involved.

    The statutes are clear, that the pastor has no power until they have that counseling hat on. You keep telling me that I am wrong, re-iterating that you are in law.

    If you are right, that pastors have a power differential, equating to a teacher, or a medical professional, and you are really for the victims as you claim, then prosecute them in a court of law and be done with it.

    Get the perps in a jail cell, convict them, put them on a sex offender registry.

    Then I will believe that you are for the victims, telling people that you are in law.

    But you can’t put them in jail, can you? Pastors have no power that you claim that they do. I wish people would stop promoting that fallacy, because if they have no power, then people won’t be afraid of them, or fear them.

    Ed

  269. Ed Chapman wrote:

    I get bashed for telling people to call the cops, and it frustrates me to no end.

    I think I already told you earlier today (perhaps on Julie Anne’s blog) that it’s my understanding that not all states have laws against pastors taking advantage of emotionally troubled women.

    There is no legal recourse for some women to whom this happens.

    I said maybe the best that can likely be done in states where cops can do nothing, is for Christians to follow Paul’s advice, and kick out a pastor who does this, have no fellowship with him.

    One of my reasons for disagreeing with your comments here and at SSB blog is you seem to continually equate –

    1. a troubled or wounded woman being duped, suckered, or pressured into a sexual situation by a dishonest preacher

    to be the same situation as…

    2. A married man and woman who both decide for a fully- agreed- upon, consensual tryst, because they are bored, want an ego boost, or are horn dogs.

    I maintain that situations ‘1’ and ‘2’ are not the same and not all parties are equally responsible in situation ‘1’.

    But per situation 1, you want to keep quoting comments about the Bible says “Thus saith the Lord, doth do flee fornication and adultery.” I don’t think such biblical verses are entirely applicable here.

  270. Ed Chapman wrote:

    In THIS case, I question the validity of the existence of a victim, because the pastor has no power or authority that you claim that they have.
    Ed

    Ed,

    You consistently put down Lourdes over on SSB. You didn’t shown a shred of sympathy for her and people questioned you right back for that.

    You claim knowledge of law, a profession that I work in, and yet you don’t have knowledge of how it works at all.

    You said you looked up a statute. Which one? Which state? And case law?

    I don’t know what field you work in but you have black and white thinking, and seem to have very little understanding of gray.

  271. Daisy wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    No, I don’t know. I use a KJV pretty exclusively. It states to flee fornication.

    Are we still talking about preachers who prey on vulnerable or naive women? Because those are pretty much two separate categories.

    It’s kind of like saying women who are raped are guilty, just as guilty as the rapist for the act, and are fornicators.

    I never said what you are implying, Daisy. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

    Ed

  272. siteseer wrote:

    “A Twisted Faith,” is a book that gives a good inside look at how this can happen, too.

    Thanks for the recommendation! I may check it out.

  273. Ken F wrote:

    I get your point, but that is a very derogatory term to use and it does not help to move a conversation forward. It’s a way to shut someone up based on their gender rather than their ideas. It fits some men, but not all, just as it fits some women, but not all.

    Oh, I totally disagree. It’s a very applicable word, because many men are very guilty of doing it to women.

  274. Missy M wrote:

    I don’t jump to conclusions which means not ruling out the fact that a woman can have been the predator, a truth you cannot bear, it seems.

    No, I never ruled that out as a possibility. You’re creating straw men arguments once again.

    Kindly stop attributing views to me I don’t hold, or saying I said things I never said. That would be swell.

  275. Velour wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    In THIS case, I question the validity of the existence of a victim, because the pastor has no power or authority that you claim that they have.
    Ed

    Ed,

    You consistently put down Lourdes over on SSB. You didn’t shown a shred of sympathy for her and people questioned you right back for that.

    You claim knowledge of law, a profession that I work in, and yet you don’t have knowledge of how it works at all.

    You said you looked up a statute. Which one? Which state? And case law?

    I don’t know what field you work in but you have black and white thinking, and seem to have very little understanding of gray.

    No, I did not put down Lourdes at all. I gave my synopsis that I questioned the means by which she used in reporting this, by suing instead of filing a criminal report.

    I’ve read the statutes, Velour. If this is not on the books in the other states, then that is common sense the the other states do not consider a pastor as having a power differential over a congregant.

    It then reverts back to the Bible which states to not commit adultery.

    If sexual abuse occurs, call the cops and prosecute. Point blank. Let you lawyers argue in front of a judge instead of arguing with me.

    Ed

  276. Daisy wrote:

    not all.

    Oh, I totally disagree. It’s a very applicable word, because many men are very guilty of doing it to women.

    You are badly informed. Don’t throw all of us into your bad attitude about men in general. I do not assume that all women are as bigoted as you come across by your generalization.

  277. Ed Chapman wrote:

    I’ve read the statutes, Velour. If this is not on the books in the other states, then that is common sense the the other states do not consider a pastor as having a power differential over a congregant.

    Legally wrong, Ed.

  278. Daisy wrote:

    One of my reasons for disagreeing with your comments here and at SSB blog is you seem to continually equate –
    1. a troubled or wounded woman being duped, suckered, or pressured into a sexual situation by a dishonest preacher
    to be the same situation as…
    2. A married man and woman who both decide for a fully- agreed- upon, consensual tryst, because they are bored, want an ego boost, or are horn dogs.
    I maintain that situations ‘1’ and ‘2’ are not the same and not all parties are equally responsible in situation ‘1’.
    But per situation 1, you want to keep quoting comments about the Bible says “Thus saith the Lord, doth do flee fornication and adultery.” I don’t think such biblical verses are entirely applicable here.

    100% correct, Daisy.

    There is a world of difference between a person being preyed upon, suckered, manipulated and deceived, and those who willingly and knowingly take part in an act(ions).

  279. Ed Chapman wrote:

    In THIS case, to me, it’s just a simple case of adultery on all parties involved.
    The statutes are clear, that the pastor has no power until they have that counseling hat on. You keep telling me that I am wrong, re-iterating that you are in law.

    I totally disagree that it’s a clear cut case of adultery, in the woman’s video above on this page, or in the Tullian case.

    This is where I am disagreeing with you, not over the idea that if there is a law against it, police should be called.

    Also… there is a difference between formal and informal power and influence.

    Just because a pastor does not have legal power or an official, state-recognized counseling certificate does not mean that he is not viewed as an authority or trustworthy leader figure among women in his church.

    Honestly, do you pull this same warped thinking regarding kids (and some adults) who are groomed and then victimized by adult predators in schools, Boy Scouts, secular psychiatry, and so on?

    I maintain it’s the same dynamics at play in those situation as it is in churches.

    During my years of grief after my mother died and i was a mental mess then and emotionally vulnberable, I could’ve fallen prey to a Tullian type of pastor, had I seen one for informal pastoral care / advice/ grief.
    -And you would sit there and characterize that as being “adultery” or “fornication.” That shows a marked lack of compassion for people who are exploited.

  280. Ed Chapman wrote:

    I did not put down Lourdes at all. I gave my synopsis that I questioned the means by which she used in reporting this

    This is why people thought you were victim blaming, though. Because you were blaming her because she didn’t report it like you thought she ought to have. People gave many good reasons why she might not have done which I don’ think you addressed. The legal system is far from perfect.

  281. Ed Chapman wrote:

    In THIS case, to me, it’s just a simple case of adultery on all parties involved.

    The statutes are clear, that the pastor has no power until they have that counseling hat on. You keep telling me that I am wrong, re-iterating that you are in law.

    Ed, you just don’t get it. I don’t know if you are purposely ignoring the dynamics or what. Did you even watch the video?

  282. Ed Chapman wrote:

    It then reverts back to the Bible which states to not commit adultery.

    The bible actually has a passage about evil men preying on vulnerable women. It’s not a fan.

  283. Ed Chapman wrote:

    I never said what you are implying, Daisy. Please don’t put words in my mouth.
    Ed

    I’m not, Ed.

    In one post you say you
    1. believe the victims and support them,
    but then, in another, you’re telling other posters 2. you think cases of pastors preying on naive or hurting women are clear cut cases of adultery.

    I can’t reconcile point 1 with 2, because 2 is victim blaming.

  284. Ed Chapman wrote:

    ’ve read the statutes, Velour. If this is not on the books in the other states, then that is common sense the the other states do not consider a pastor as having a power differential over a congregant.
    It then reverts back to the Bible which states to not commit adultery.
    If sexual abuse occurs, call the cops and prosecute. Point blank. Let you lawyers argue in front of a judge instead of arguing with me.

    Regarding the portion I put in bold.

    Just because a state does not regard something as being illegal or a crime, does not mean it is moral, ethical, biblical, or right.

    A pastor using his influence to get naive, hurting, or disturbed women into the sack (especially if they have come to see him for pastoral care) is not adultery, Ed.

    It’s disturbing for you to suggest that it is so, just because some states don’t regard it as such. What awful reasoning.

  285. Ken F wrote:

    You are badly informed. Don’t throw all of us into your bad attitude about men in general. I do not assume that all women are as bigoted as you come across by your generalization.

    Many men do engage in “man splaining,” and when a woman first coined that term, it became very popular with women, because at last they had a word that so concisely defined what they experience with a lot of men. I’ve experienced it on blogs and in real life on jobs.

    Please don’t refer to me as “bigoted against men,” I very much resent that remark.

    I’ve already had to correct another poster on this thread at least three times to stop attributing views to me I don’t hold.

  286. @ Ken F:

    Matter of fact, a lot of studies have been done showing that men interrupt women far more often than vice versa, men get more lines in movies than women do, and men talk down to women (mansplaining) far more than vice versa.

    Here is one such article related to one of these subjects:
    The secret plague of women at work: ‘manterrupting’
    https://www.theguardian.com/money/us-money-blog/2015/jan/15/women-gender-survey-research-success
    “Recent studies suggest Americans are not ready for a female leader – even if she can get beyond the interruptions of male colleagues who won’t let her speak”

    So, this is not my imagination. I’m not making this up. Many women have experienced this with a lot of men.

  287. Velour wrote:

    100% correct, Daisy.
    There is a world of difference between a person being preyed upon, suckered, manipulated and deceived, and those who willingly and knowingly take part in an act(ions).

    If I’m understanding his recent posts correctly, he seems to think that if a state does not have a specific law saying a pastor should go to jail for enticing a woman congregant, it is therefore not an immoral act, and further, he therefore can chalk it up to adultery (???)

  288. Ed Chapman wrote:

    I really don’t know how to go about it, but I find it difficult that others here have a hard time with me by me stating to call the cops.

    I get bashed for telling people to call the cops, and it frustrates me to no end.

    Ed

    It can take years for a victim to regain their trust in their own perspective of reality. After abuse, a person is so confused, so filled with distress, so broken, it isn’t a cut and dried case of “go to the cops” and lay it all out, bim bam boom. Our brains don’t work that way. It takes time to recover the ability to think clearly and to sort out what happened and how it happened. Sometimes by the time a victim gets through that, the statute of limitations is past. Other times, the abuser has such power, the victim knows that they will not be believed if they go to authorities. Sometimes they don’t have the clear evidence needed for one kind of case but do for another. Sometimes there is terror to overcome before they can move forward. The victim may have seen how the abuser has dealt with other persons who attempt to hold him/her accountable. Manipulative people have MANY tricks and power moves, their lives are filled with liaisons of power. It can get very complicated.

    I want to believe you mean well, Ed, and just haven’t had an inside look at how these things work. If you are a very logical, black and white thinker, it may be hard to put yourself into another person’s shoes and be aware of how differently their experience can be. I would encourage you to read more about it, listen, watch videos. It isn’t fair to think everyone should have your temperament, think as you do, experience life the way you do. God didn’t make us that way. You have a duty to try to understand and care for those whose experience is different than yours.

  289. Ken F wrote:

    Don’t throw all of us into your bad attitude about men in general.

    I don’t think anyone is throwing all men into it. Some are guilty of this and some aren’t. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you do it, Ken.

  290. Ed Chapman wrote:

    In THIS case, to me, it’s just a simple case of adultery on all parties involved.

    How can you know that? Do you have inside information about exactly what happened? Do you know TT personally?

  291. @ Kim rung:

    Kim, thank you so much for making this video. Your willingness to be vulnerable and share how this happened will help so many. God bless you.

  292. Ed Chapman wrote:

    It then reverts back to the Bible which states to not commit adultery.

    So… I guess if neither the pastor nor the vulnerable woman he’s counseling are married, and he preys on her, and there’s no state statute that calls it abuse, then everything is hunky-dory, eh?

    Ed, I’m afraid such literal-mindedness smacks of Phariseeism, at the very least.

  293. pickle wrote:

    “emotionally hurt” woman …… my baloney and my chicken. A woman who slept with a meth-addict has been sooo soooo sooo emotionally hurt by her boyfriend formerly decided to go to a “spiritual man” for support. She LOVED having sex with the spiritual man because it was so “wrong.” Women and men COULD POSSIBLY be at fault for affairs. Whether they are in the church membership roster or not. Did you not read the old-testament and how it said to “stone” WOMEN who were ALSO caught in adultery.

    Weren’t they both supposed to be stoned? And didn’t we leave off with that when Jesus said, “he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone” ?

    This is a slightly different topic, but some abusers actually target drug addicted women because they are very easy to manipulate- when a person needs a drug, they are in the place of having to do whatever it takes to get it.

    The story of a wealthy Christian businessman who was something of a local celebrity in his small town may be of interest here, http://newwest.net/main/article/sex_money_and_meth_addiction_the_story_of_dick_dasen_and_his_girls/

  294. You brought streams of tears to my eyes…,that is all I ever dreamed of…..true worship..,,thank you.

  295. my thank you is in tears. May the next heart ant worshippers of the True God be free of evil influences by the ones who claim biblical authority.,,,, that is my prayer.

  296. I have the same tears from reading your post as I had watching the tears of people battling drug and alcohol I addiction that day. God knows and taught me real worship in that dark place. Thank you! ❤️

  297. having faced cancer at a young age…..time is precious. Bible verses are one thing. True worshippers are a whole other entity our God lives for….blessings to all. ❤️

  298. Velour wrote:

    Good reporting. Thanks for sharing that link.

    The chapter links don’t seem to be working but if you google the chapter names, they are there. Pt 3 A Pillar of the Community is a good one.

  299. Ed, the police that had to take me to the hospital said to my husband…”yeah, pastoral abuse. We have seen this a lot.” So crime or not…..it crushed a community of people …… I will pray for your heart to change and to see people as they are. God always protected the week. Oh how thankful His is who he is and not people like you. God can change your heart. I believe he can and I will pray for that. ❤️

  300. yes, it was me. I wish I didn’t have this story. I loved God with all my heart…….but He must have greater plans. I have to believe that.

  301. Velour wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    I’ve read the statutes, Velour. If this is not on the books in the other states, then that is common sense the the other states do not consider a pastor as having a power differential over a congregant.

    Legally wrong, Ed.

    Well, if you can’t interpret what I have said, then how can anyone trust you to interpret the law. I state that you are wrong, counselor!

    Besides, what is your problem in the advice to call the cops? You seem to have an issue with that for some odd reason.

    And, what is YOUR legal basis that pastors, by default, have a power differential? What are you basing that on?

    Ed

  302. refugee wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    It then reverts back to the Bible which states to not commit adultery.

    So… I guess if neither the pastor nor the vulnerable woman he’s counseling are married, and he preys on her, and there’s no state statute that calls it abuse, then everything is hunky-dory, eh?

    Ed, I’m afraid such literal-mindedness smacks of Phariseeism, at the very least.

    Does the bible tell us to obey the magistrates or not? Does the bible not tell us to not commit fornication and adultery or not? Does the bible state that adulterers and fornicators do not inherit the kingdom of God or not?

    And that is in the New Test! But, seems that people want to dismiss the bible and create their own ethics.

    Ed

  303. Ed Chapman wrote:

    And, what is YOUR legal basis that pastors, by default, have a power differential? What are you basing that on?
    Ed

    It is not a legal issue, Ed. It is simply how the current church institutions function. It is the reality that members and congregants deal with. The fact that they are misguided, misled, and taught by pastors that elders and pastors hold authority is not all their fault. These are the very people that Jesus came to set free and defend from the Pharisees abuses. He had compassion and love toward those who were taken in by the abuse of authority. Yes, Christians need to have a better understanding of their position in Christ and how Jesus said leaders were to lead. But, in the meantime, it does not help to heep more guilt on those who have kown nothing but what their pastor says – like Pharisees.

    I do agree with you that the police should be notified, but this is often difficult for people to do who have been groomed and taken advantage of by someone they loved and respected. They also feel stupid, gullible, and are plagued with guilt for what they did. It is a very difficult situation. And adult victims pretty much need to report the abuse or bring a lawsuit on their own. It is like domestic violence, the victim must agree to bring charges. Someone else cannot do it for them.

  304. Ed Chapman wrote:

    And, what is YOUR legal basis that pastors, by default, have a power differential? What are you basing that on?

    Sports stars and rock stars have a certain power over their fans – kids look up to them. Their power and influence is not legal-based. It’s somewhat similar to the sort of power pastors have over church members.

  305. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Does the bible not tell us to not commit fornication and adultery or not? Does the bible state that adulterers and fornicators do not inherit the kingdom of God or not?

    A woman who has been seduced by a pastor, especially if she’s gone to him for guidance or advice, is a sex abuse victim – she was not engaging in fornication or adultery, as you are defining it or depicting it. You continue to blur the lines.

  306. Bridget wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    And, what is YOUR legal basis that pastors, by default, have a power differential? What are you basing that on?
    Ed

    It is not a legal issue, Ed. It is simply how the current church institutions function. It is the reality that members and congregants deal with. The fact that they are misguided, misled, and taught by pastors that elders and pastors hold authority is not all their fault. These are the very people that Jesus came to set free and defend from the Pharisees abuses. He had compassion and love toward those who were taken in by the abuse of authority. Yes, Christians need to have a better understanding of their position in Christ and how Jesus said leaders were to lead. But, in the meantime, it does not help to heep more guilt on those who have kown nothing but what their pastor says – like Pharisees.

    I do agree with you that the police should be notified, but this is often difficult for people to do who have been groomed and taken advantage of by someone they loved and respected. They also feel stupid, gullible, and are plagued with guilt for what they did. It is a very difficult situation. And adult victims pretty much need to report the abuse or bring a lawsuit on their own. It is like domestic violence, the victim must agree to bring charges. Someone else cannot do it for them.

    We all have a bible. Maybe we should read it sometime without the pastor, just like the Berean’s did. They did not trust the word of anyone until they checked it out for themselves.

    Your example of domestic charges is a good one, however, that does not preclude someone calling the cops that get the ball rolling. And you should know, even an accusation gets CPS involved, whether the victim wants it or not. The Law is intended to protect the citizens of its jurisdiction, and they do take the allegations seriously.

    Ed

  307. DELAWARE

    Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?

    Yes. […]

    Doctor and patient

    * Where the defendant is a health professional, or a minister, priest, rabbi or other member of a religious organization engaged in pastoral counseling, the commission of acts of sexual contact, sexual penetration or sexual intercourse by such person shall be deemed to be without consent of the victim where such acts are committed under the guise of providing professional diagnosis, counseling or treatment and where at the times of such acts the victim reasonably believed the acts were for medically or professionally appropriate diagnosis, counseling or treatment, such that resistance by the victim could not reasonably have been manifested.

    Religious figure

    * Where the defendant is a health professional, or a minister, priest, rabbi or other member of a religious organization engaged in pastoral counseling, the commission of acts of sexual contact, sexual penetration or sexual intercourse by such person shall be deemed to be without consent of the victim where such acts are committed under the guise of providing professional diagnosis, counseling or treatment and where at the times of such acts the victim reasonably believed the acts were for medically or professionally appropriate diagnosis, counseling or treatment, such that resistance by the victim could not reasonably have been manifested.

    [For full information on consent laws there, see] Delaware Code § 761(d) and § 761(i)(4).

    https://apps.rainn.org/policy/compare/consent-laws.cfm

  308. Daisy wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    Does the bible not tell us to not commit fornication and adultery or not? Does the bible state that adulterers and fornicators do not inherit the kingdom of God or not?

    A woman who has been seduced by a pastor, especially if she’s gone to him for guidance or advice, is a sex abuse victim – she was not engaging in fornication or adultery, as you are defining it or depicting it. You continue to blur the lines.

    Daisy, you are wrong until you get to the word, “especially”. And, if she is a sex abuse victim based on that, call the cops. I am not blurring lines. It’s not sex abuse if the pastor is not in a counseling role. It’s no different than if a congregant committed adultery with another congregant, because pastors do not have a power differential as what is being implied by so many here, until that counselor hat is on.

    I stand by that.

    Ed

  309. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    engaged in pastoral counseling

    Brad,

    Your comment requires a caveat that is indeed included in your comment, which states, “engaged in pastoral counseling”. That is the caveat that must be met before it becomes abuse.

    Ed

  310. GEORGIA

    Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?

    Yes. […]

    * A person who is an actual or purported practitioner of psychotherapy commits sexual assault when he or she engages in sexual contact with another individual who the actor knew or should have known is the subject of the actor’s actual or purported treatment or counseling or the actor uses the treatment or counseling relationship to facilitate sexual contact between the actor and such individual. Georgia Code § 16-6-5.1(c).

    […]

    Consent is not a defense to offenses under section 16-6-5.1.

    https://apps.rainn.org/policy/compare/consent-laws.cfm

  311. Daisy wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    And, what is YOUR legal basis that pastors, by default, have a power differential? What are you basing that on?

    Sports stars and rock stars have a certain power over their fans – kids look up to them. Their power and influence is not legal-based. It’s somewhat similar to the sort of power pastors have over church members.

    Speculation, not fact.

  312. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    GEORGIA

    Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?

    Yes. […]

    * A person who is an actual or purported practitioner of psychotherapy commits sexual assault when he or she engages in sexual contact with another individual who the actor knew or should have known is the subject of the actor’s actual or purported treatment or counseling or the actor uses the treatment or counseling relationship to facilitate sexual contact between the actor and such individual. Georgia Code § 16-6-5.1(c).

    […]

    Consent is not a defense to offenses under section 16-6-5.1.

    https://apps.rainn.org/policy/compare/consent-laws.cfm

    Again, Brad, the word counseling is all over that.

  313. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Your comment requires a caveat that is indeed included in your comment, which states, “engaged in pastoral counseling”. That is the caveat that must be met before it becomes abuse.

    ED, by the fact that a minister would be ‘involved’ with a congregant , there exists an abuse of trust. I think you must know that at some level.

  314. Ed Chapman wrote:

    We all have a bible. Maybe we should read it sometime without the pastor, just like the Berean’s did. They did not trust the word of anyone until they checked it out for themselves.

    I agree. I also know that many moons ago when I was a young, new, believer I listened to those who were discipling me. I didn’t know much. I trusted their teaching and their interpretation. How did I know some of these men were authoritarian or involved in the Shepherding movement? I just didn’t.

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    Your example of domestic charges is a good one, however, that does not preclude someone calling the cops that get the ball rolling.

    Honestly, Ed, I don’t know that the cops would do anything if I called to report that my acquaintance at church had been groomed during counseling and had an affair with pastor. Do you think they would. Do anything?

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    And you should know, even an accusation gets CPS involved, whether the victim wants it or not.

    Well of course! If the the victim is a minor, absolutely call police first thing, whether or not the victim wants it or not.

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    The Law is intended to protect the citizens of its jurisdiction, and they do take the allegations seriously.

    Actually, they don’t, unless someone’s being is in physical danger.

  315. siteseer wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    And, what is YOUR legal basis that pastors, by default, have a power differential? What are you basing that on?

    Reality.

    No, its fallacy, not reality.

  316. IOWA

    Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?

    Yes. […]

    * In addition, sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist occurs when there is sexual conduct with:

    (1) an emotionally dependent patient or client or emotionally dependent former patient or client; or

    (2) a patient or client or former patient or client within one year of the termination of the provision of mental health services by the counselor or therapist. I.C.A. § 709.15.

    https://apps.rainn.org/policy/compare/consent-laws.cfm

  317. Christiane wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    Your comment requires a caveat that is indeed included in your comment, which states, “engaged in pastoral counseling”. That is the caveat that must be met before it becomes abuse.

    ED, by the fact that a minister would be ‘involved’ with a congregant , there exists an abuse of trust. I think you must know that at some level.

    Not true. What are you basing that on? I do not know that on any level, and I attend two different church’s on Sunday. I do not come from a Calvinist background. All this power and control crap originated with the Catholics and the Calvinists ran with it. There is no power and control issues in regards to either of the two pastors that preach in those two church’s that I attend.

    Ed

  318. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    IOWA

    Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?

    Yes. […]

    * In addition, sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist occurs when there is sexual conduct with:

    (1) an emotionally dependent patient or client or emotionally dependent former patient or client; or

    (2) a patient or client or former patient or client within one year of the termination of the provision of mental health services by the counselor or therapist. I.C.A. § 709.15.

    https://apps.rainn.org/policy/compare/consent-laws.cfm

    Counselor or therapist

  319. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Daisy, you are wrong until you get to the word, “especially”. And, if she is a sex abuse victim based on that, call the cops. I am not blurring lines. It’s not sex abuse if the pastor is not in a counseling role. It’s no different than if a congregant committed adultery with another congregant, because pastors do not have a power differential as what is being implied by so many here, until that counselor hat is on. I stand by that.

    There is a power and influence imbalance going on, most certainly.

    As I have read elsewhere, some states do not have laws on this matter, so a woman who is sexually abused by her pastor does not have legal recourse. (I’ve mentioned this a million times over.)

    Because the pastor is in a leadership position, and people consider him an authority or trustworthy figure, the onus is on him to keep those boundaries in place.

    He is in no place to be flirting with women, or encouraging them for a romp in the hay – so yes, when pastors use their roles of influence and trust over women in their churches, they are sexually abusing those women, even if they are not in a “counseling” position at the time.

    You are confusing sexual abuse with fornication/adultery, I stand by that.

  320. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Your comment requires a caveat that is indeed included in your comment, which states, “engaged in pastoral counseling”. That is the caveat that must be met before it becomes abuse.

    No. Also consider in some churches, like the ones this blog exposes on a regular basis, that women are taught to obey the pastor and church elders.

    Women and girls, under complementarianism, are taught to trust men, don’t make their own choices, admire and look up to the men in charge over them, who led them spiritually etc, which creates a power imbalance. This makes girls and women easily exploitable by skeevy pastors who want to “get it on” with women around them in their churches.

  321. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Sports stars and rock stars have a certain power over their fans – kids look up to them. Their power and influence is not legal-based. It’s somewhat similar to the sort of power pastors have over church members.
    ———————
    Speculation, not fact.

    That’s a true, observable fact of life not speculation.

    Surely you’ve seen TV shows and such on rock band groupies? Or these basketball players who brag on the thousands of girls they have bedded? Men in certain roles and positions in society do indeed have influence and sway over others.

  322. MINNESOTA

    609.345 CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT IN THE FOURTH DEGREE.
    § Subdivision 1.Crime defined.

    A person who engages in sexual contact with another person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree if any of the following circumstances exists:

    […]

    (H) the actor is a psychotherapist and the complainant is a patient of the psychotherapist and the sexual contact occurred:

    (i) during the psychotherapy session; or

    (ii) outside the psychotherapy session if an ongoing psychotherapist-patient relationship exists. Consent by the complainant is not a defense;

    (I) the actor is a psychotherapist and the complainant is a former patient of the psychotherapist and the former patient is emotionally dependent upon the psychotherapist;

    (J) the actor is a psychotherapist and the complainant is a patient or former patient and the sexual contact occurred by means of therapeutic deception. Consent by the complainant is not a defense;

    […]

    (L) the actor is or purports to be a member of the clergy, the complainant is not married to the actor, and:

    (i) the sexual contact occurred during the course of a meeting in which the complainant sought or received religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort from the actor in private; or

    (ii) the sexual contact occurred during a period of time in which the complainant was meeting on an ongoing basis with the actor to seek or receive religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort in private. Consent by the complainant is not a defense;

    https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=609.345

    NOTE: Main points H-I-J-L capitalized for clarity of reading. The actual statute has lower-case letters.

  323. Ed Chapman wrote:

    No, its fallacy, not reality.

    Do you regularly read this blog? A lot of church members are conditioned by their church or theological beliefs to think their pastors and elders have authority over them. This is discussed about weekly on this blog, with examples taken from real life.

    In the case of girls and women, they are taught in churches (under complementarianism) that they are “second class citizens,” easily deceived, need “male headship,” and so must look up to and obey the men above them, (in particular, fathers, husbands, and preachers, elders).

    This means girls and women in particular are quite easily duped and roped in by pastors with dirty motives, even if it’s not in the context of a counseling session.

  324. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Counselor or therapist

    And some pastors use their role as leader to take advantage of girls and women, even if it’s not in the midst of a counseling session. Some of these men may start by hitting on women after church in a hot tub – this blog did a story about that about a week ago. A pastor was hitting on women at his home, with their husbands around.

  325. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    (i) during the psychotherapy session; or
    (ii) outside the psychotherapy session
    if an ongoing psychotherapist-patient relationship exists. Consent by the complainant is not a defense;

    (I) the actor is a psychotherapist and the complainant is a former patient of the psychotherapist and the former patient is emotionally dependent upon the psychotherapist;

    (J) the actor is a psychotherapist and the complainant is a patient or former patient and the sexual contact occurred by means of therapeutic deception. Consent by the complainant is not a defense;
    […]
    (L) the actor is or purports to be a member of the clergy, the complainant is not married to the actor, and:
    (i) the sexual contact occurred during the course of a meeting in which the complainant sought or received religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort from the actor in private; or

    (ii) the sexual contact occurred during a period of time in which the complainant was meeting on an ongoing basis with the actor to seek or receive religious or spiritual advice, aid, or comfort in private. Consent by the complainant is not a defense;

    Yep.

  326. Daisy wrote:

    ongoing psychotherapist-patient relationship exists

    Daisy, did you miss this:
    ongoing psychotherapist-patient relationship exists

  327. NEW HAMPSHIRE

    Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?

    Yes.

    A person commits aggravated felonious sexual assault if he or she (1) engages in sexual penetration with a victim to whom that person provides therapy or medical treatment, and (2) acts unethically or uses that position to coerce the victim. H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 632-A:2(g).

    […]

    https://apps.rainn.org/policy/compare/consent-laws.cfm

  328. SOUTH DAKOTA

    Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?

    Yes.

    […]

    Any psychotherapist who knowingly engages in sexual contact or sexual penetration with a person who is not his or her spouse and who is a patient who is emotionally dependent on the psychotherapist at the time of contact is guilty of a felony. D. Code §§22-22-28 – 29.

    https://apps.rainn.org/policy/compare/consent-laws.cfm

  329. TEXAS

    Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?

    Yes, a sexual assault is considered to occur without the consent of the other person where:

    (1) the actor is a public servant who coerces the other person to submit or participate;

    (2) the actor is a mental health services provider or a health care services provider who causes the other person, who is a patient or former patient of the actor, to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the actor;

    (3) the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser; or

    […] Texas Code Ann. §§22.011(b)(8) – (11).

    https://apps.rainn.org/policy/compare/consent-laws.cfm

  330. VIRGIN ISLANDS

    Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?

    Yes, […].

    A person is guilty of aggravated rape in the second degree if they perpetrate an act of sexual intercourse or sodomy with a person and the perpetrator’s position of authority over the victim is used to accomplish the sexual act. 14 V.I.C. § 1700a.

    The term “position of authority” includes, but is not exclusive to the following: an employer, youth leader, scout leader, coach, teacher, counselor, school administrator, religious leader, doctor, nurse, psychologist, guardian ad litem, baby sitter, or substantially similar position, and a police officer or probation officer other than when the officer is exercising custodial control over a minor. 14 V.I.C. § 1700.

    https://apps.rainn.org/policy/compare/consent-laws.cfm

    [[NOTE: In this entry, I have reversed the order of these two paragraphs to make it more clear that this criminal charge could involve non-minors. As best I could understand from also looking at the actual V.I.C. statutes (at the LexisNexis legal database), the crime of aggravated rape in the second degree does not apply only to behaviors with a minor.]]

  331. WASHINGTON

    Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?

    Yes, there are several special relationships between the victim and actor that would impact the victim’s ability to consent and therefore make it a crime to engage in sexual intercourse with a person. Examples of special relationships include:

    (a) a person in a significant relationship with the victim and abuses a supervisory position within that relationship,

    […]

    (i) physical and mental health care providers.

    Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9A.44.093, 9A.44.050, 9A.44.096, 9A.44.010.

    https://apps.rainn.org/policy/compare/consent-laws.cfm

  332. WISCONSIN

    Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?

    Yes, there are several special relationships between the victim and actor that would impact the victim’s ability to consent and therefore make it a crime to engage in sexual contact with a person.

    Examples of special relationships include:

    (a) a therapist-patient relationship;

    […]

    Wis. Stat. Ann. §§ 940.22, 940.225.

    https://apps.rainn.org/policy/compare/consent-laws.cfm

  333. Okay, so, I went through the RAINN database to survey all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. I was looking specifically to find where there are sexual misconduct* [SEE NOTES BELOW] situations involving clergy, religious figures, counselors, therapists, people “in positions of authority,” and such like where the other adult’s “consent” could not be used as a defense in a criminal trial because the answer is “Yes” to the question, “Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?”

    NOTES:

    * I used the term “sexual misconduct” above NOT because it is a technical legal term, but simply as a catch-all category — because the range of charges could go from misdemeanor to assault to aggravated assault or other terms. Read the particular state laws to see what scope of charges they have.

    * I think I captured most of the situations, but cannot guarantee it. If I did, there are 10 states/territories with relevant information: Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Texas, Virgin Islands, Washington, and Wisconsin.

    After all of that, two observations:

    1. “Clergy” or some other title for a member of a religious organization appears three times: Delaware, Minnesota, and Texas.

    2. There are numerous terms used to describe people who supply counsel, guidance, mental health services, pastoral counseling, therapy, psychotherapy, etc. I ran a search on the RAINN “no consent as a defense” entries for those 10 states that I compiled above — I was looking for one particular word: “licensed.” As in licensed counselor. NOTE: It does NOT appear even once.

    I did not check the full state codes on these 10 states/territories to see if the word “licensed” appears in the actual statutes. But, let’s just assume that if it was in the actual codes, RAINN would have made sure to put it in their database. In my opinion, this could prove to be an important observation. Pastoral care, spiritual direction, pastoral counseling/guidance, etc., might well be considered as a form of “counseling” without it having to be licensed.

    * There are some statements I found particularly intriguing that deal with holding a role or position of authority or influence over the victim:

    NEW HAMPSHIRE — A person commits aggravated felonious sexual assault if he or she (1) engages in sexual penetration with a victim to whom that person provides therapy or medical treatment, and (2) acts unethically or uses that position to coerce the victim. H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 632-A:2(g). (Emphasis added.)

    VIRGIN ISLANDS — A person is guilty of aggravated rape in the second degree if they perpetrate an act of sexual intercourse or sodomy with a person and the perpetrator’s position of authority over the victim is used to accomplish the sexual act. 14 V.I.C. § 1700a.

    The term “position of authority” includes, but is not exclusive to the following: an employer, youth leader, scout leader, coach, teacher, counselor, school administrator, religious leader, doctor, nurse, psychologist, guardian ad litem, baby sitter, or substantially similar position, and a police officer or probation officer other than when the officer is exercising custodial control over a minor. 14 V.I.C. § 1700. (Emphasis added.)

    WASHINGTON — (a) a person in a significant relationship with the victim and abuses a supervisory position within that relationship, […] Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 9A.44.093, 9A.44.050, 9A.44.096, 9A.44.010. (Emphasis added. I include this because it struck me as I read it that this could potentially apply to someone in ministry who is overseeing others — elder, deacon, ministry leader, etc., who is in charge of others, whether paid staff or volunteers.)

    * Final Thoughts: So, 10 out of 54 states, district, territories where “consent” of the other adult party CANNOT be used as a defense for sexual misconduct actions as some type of counselor or clergy — or when the actor is a person in a position of authority over the victim. Doesn’t seem like it’s all that many, but that’s about 20%. But it is what it is.

    It would be helpful to do a historical study to track when these statutes were adopted, and if there is a recent trend for more states to specify clergy in sexual misconduct, or counselors.

    I’m sure there is more to be gleaned from all this, but it is 12:30 a.m. my time. So there that is, for what it’s worth.

  334. @ brad/futuristguy:

    Interesting. In the UK, the phrase “position of trust” is the relevant legal term, though this was specifically introduced to protect (again, in formal terminology) “children and vulnerable adults”. What makes an adult “vulnerable” is generally mental illness or impairment. <sorryExcuse>I don’t have enough time to do anything like the research you’ve done, Brad, but</sorryExcuse> so I’m having to go on memory here. But IIRC, this is what you generally find in Blighty:
     A sexual relationship between adults is generally considered an offence if there was coercion involved
     The “position of trust” term generally applies to minors, and in particular to those aged between 16 and 18 who technically are over the age of consent but are given additional protection against exploitation
     An adult is deemed “vulnerable” if their consent is impaired by mental illness or mental impairment…
     … BUT I’m sure I recall it also being the case that consent can be impaired temporarily, by means of a person being stressed or emotional without necessarily being formally diagnosed as depressed or otherwise mentally ill

    I’m sure I’ve heard of cases of, for instance, men in senior corporate roles exploiting women in junior roles. But there are two basic possibilities here:
    1) “I’ll promote you if you sleep with me” (an offer)
    2) “I’ll give you trouble if you DON’T sleep with me” (threat)

    Case 2, the threat, is treated far more seriously than case 1 in law.

    In the case of a clergyman having a sexual relationship with a woman in his congregation, it’s a legal grey area. In the UK, churches must have procedures in place for the protection of children and vulnerable adults, but where consenting adults are involved, the clergy aren’t – AFAIK – considered to have any particular power or advantage. However, in a counselling situation, that would often involve one party being unhappy or under stress, the latter might well be considered “vulnerable”. No church organisation worth its salt would allow that kind of relationship to develop between members of opposite genders in any case.

    You might put it this way: UK law doesn’t expect any particular Christ-like strength of character or wisdom in the clergy of the kind they would need in order to set an example in word and deed.

  335. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    Ed Chapman wrote:
    I’ve read the statutes, Velour. If this is not on the books in the other states, then that is common sense the the other states do not consider a pastor as having a power differential over a congregant.
    Legally wrong, Ed.
    Well, if you can’t interpret what I have said, then how can anyone trust you to interpret the law. I state that you are wrong, counselor!
    Besides, what is your problem in the advice to call the cops? You seem to have an issue with that for some odd reason.
    And, what is YOUR legal basis that pastors, by default, have a power differential? What are you basing that on?
    Ed

    I asked you to cite the specific state statute you said you read and any relevant case law. You have not done so.

    There are plenty of organizations that deal with sexual assaults that many victims can call first for help in the process.

    What do you do for a living, Ed? What is your relationship with women? Do you have a wife? Girlfriend? Daughter?

    You don’t seem to have any influence from women in your immediate life.

  336. Kim rung wrote:

    having faced cancer at a young age…..time is precious. Bible verses are one thing. True worshippers are a whole other entity our God lives for….blessings to all.

    I also had thyroid cancer, so I understand exactly what you went through, along with the long-term consequences of thyroid removal. It messes your body and your mind up, and that’s been medically documented in thousands of sources. When I had my thyroid taken out at age 16, I was told that medication would “fix everything”. Now in 2016, they’re like “Oops, we were wrong. You still have the autoimmune disease, and medication doesn’t replace active thyroid hormone completely.” They rarely do thyroidectomies anymore, instead preferring to do seed radiation or some other sort of localized treatment.

    I don’t think anyone who hasn’t gone through hormone maladjustment understands how much it affects your mind and emotions. I developed ways to cope, but I really had no one to depend on as I have never been married, and my only living parent sometimes needs more help than I do. Just like men who have too much testosterone become angry and belligerent, and perimenopause brings unreasonable rage. Those aren’t the result of personal sin. They’re just the result of hormones out of whack. And anyone who has these issues will tell you that it’s impossible to control completely without the use of medication.

    Churches who believe that sin causes all physical ailments, and who recommend “biblical” counseling for all issues treat all disease and sickness like a sin issue (except when it happens to the pastor or elders, I’ve noticed). This method will ALWAYS fail, because everyone will meet disease, sickness, and death sometime in their lives. Disease, sickness, and death may be a result of sin, but it’s not always a result of our own sin, and sometimes has just been passed on from the fall.

  337. siteseer wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    No, its fallacy, not reality.

    Do people tell you you are bullheaded a lot?

    Catching up with the thread but think he had decided this is how things should be, so this is how they are. Not so.

    On the legal aspect, the problem becomes even when you call the polIce, properly how Ed claims to want, proving is tough. How do you prove the pastor had their counselor hat on when they are unlicensed, taking no medical notes or keeping records? Practically this becomes difficult. I was reading some of the cases that were brought and we had this issue in my state even though there are laws on the books it’s hard to prove. It’s hard to get the courts to convict.

    Rape cases can be hard to prove too, and sometimes even with eyewitnesses and a conviction the perpetrator gets off with three months. Why does Ed think the courts are infallible???

  338. pickle wrote:

    Depending on the source, like 22% for men and 19% for women.

    And according to the survey of evangelical (ish) pastors it is more like 30-40%.

    Which is the subject of this post. No one in the medical profession is claiming to be a spiritual advisor. Sheesh.

  339. pickle wrote:

    YOU REALLY NEED TO DO YOUR RESEARCH AND CHECK OUT YOUR HUSBAND’S FACEBOOK AND TEXT MESSAGES SINCE HE IS A PHYSICIAN……. mockers get their due.

    Like the list says……nurses among women are up high on the list too…..so maybe you commit a few infidelity crimes when you flirt with men on thewartburgwatch.com

    Don’t worry, even “Larry King” has been known to cheat, and openly so.

    Ad hominem, violating the community standards of TWW.

  340. I want to reference what Nick said without actually talking to Nick. So I am not clicking on something from his comment, partly because Velour advised me to quit doing that in order to quit making people mad, or something. So, anybody who is interested can go back and check what he said at 6:56 a.m. today to see what I am talking about.

    What he said about how these matters are viewed in UK is pretty much what I have seen regarding attitude toward the clergy and regarding what appears to be degrees of responsibility based on specifics of the circumstances and all that, and it pretty much represents how I tend to feel about it all. But then, for the past 12-15 years or so I have been away from ‘reformation style’ churches and have been in churches which were either part of the anglican communion (TEC) or which were historically derived from the anglican tradition (Methodist) and in my limited but personal experience there is a distinctly different attitude toward the clergy than in either the Baptist tradition I grew up with (preacher basically as hired hand sort of) or in the churches which you all are describing now (preacher as authority, interpreter and enforcer).

    Maybe, just maybe, there are some serious errors which have crept into some reformation style protestantism regarding the clergy and the church which need to be addressed at the level of theology. I am thinking that it is not just the preachers, it is also a system malfunction which places preachers in a position (power and money) which they themselves cannot handle. And since I am a certified (birth certificate) and government licensed (social security) little ole lady who remembers how it useta not be like this with the Baptists, I do remember and I do grieve about that-about what happened to my birth tribe so to speak.

  341. okrapod wrote:

    Maybe, just maybe, there are some serious errors which have crept into some reformation style protestantism regarding the clergy and the church which need to be addressed at the level of theology. I am thinking that it is not just the preachers, it is also a system malfunction which places preachers in a position (power and money) which they themselves cannot handle. And since I am a certified (birth certificate) and government licensed (social security) little ole lady who remembers how it useta not be like this with the Baptists, I do remember and I do grieve about that-about what happened to my birth tribe so to speak.

    I believe you are right that some of the dichotomy in arguments over this issue comes from the different denominational perspectives on pastoral leadership. But I see people on both sides claiming one side is more true than other here, instead of speaking about the people in the issue and the churches’ perspective from which they derive.

    I don’t think the TGC and traditional Baptist attitudes are mistakes so much as intentional reframing of the position of pastor. This belief that pastors have authority is intentionally and carefully cultivated. So much so, that the TCG churches are writing into their covenants that members have to completely obey their pastors, and that pastors have divine appointment from God, and even treating these covenants as legal contracts.

    It’s not just pastors that cultivate this belief, though, but pewishioners. I believe this comes from modern celebrity culture. People treat some pastors like celebrities, and give them undue power, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

    The Bible does say to give your pastor respect. It does not say to stop listening to the Holy Spirit, and it also says that every believer is a priest in their own right. Baptists used to believe in soul competency, but the TGC folk are very strategically and methodically changing that so that pastors and elders are the only ones who have the right to make decisions for their members. And I think most people, both here and elsewhere, vastly underestimate the power these people have accumulated. It’s a big, big problem.

  342. ishy wrote:

    It’s not just pastors that cultivate this belief, though, but pewishioners. I believe this comes from modern celebrity culture. People treat some pastors like celebrities, and give them undue power, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

    That certainly sounds like a good observation, especially seeing how some churches (i. e. both individual churches and church groups) seem to be actively pursuing the culture in order perhaps to pack the pews and fill the plate. So I bet you are correct and some of it is spill over from the culture.

  343. pickle wrote:

    YOU REALLY NEED TO DO YOUR RESEARCH

    Speaking of doing research, the lists you quoted are based on a select population of people on line and not on a slice of the population as a whole. That said, as to the women, I am thinking that the majority of women in the nation probably fit into that cluster of designated occupational groups, and if so that would mean that the majority of women who are not on line messing around would also fit into the same occupational distribution.

    If you are going to sling accusations you might want to do some more research yourself. But before you waste a lot of time on that do let me point out that there is no way to get accurate stats on who is doing what with whom since those who sneak around and are never ‘caught’ do not show up on stats. And yes, I am okrapod, RN, MD (along with a few other letters) and no, I must have not gotten the message before as to how evil I surely must be (snark).

    I do want to say that I am sorry for whatever may have happened that has given you this apparent animosity toward the medical professions. If indeed something happened, and surely things do happen, then I agree with you that bad things ought not happen like that. But if not, then maybe you are slinging what looks like hatred toward a whole group of people when maybe you need to treat other people as you want to be treated.

  344. okrapod wrote:

    some of it is spill over from the culture.

    Yes, pastors and church members are swayed by celebrity-worship. Many lay folk have been systematically trained to show admiration to clergy. To be on the receiving end of that could be seductive. Humility strengthens some pastors against being adored and cosseted. All of them should learn to recognize signs that church members hold them in excessively high regard.

    I have seen some clergy members and even their relatives do this. One time I mentioned to a pastor’s wife that my childhood church had trained us to show deference to clergy. She looked at me quizzically and asked, “Why on earth did they teach you that?”

  345. I’ve read the comments both here and on Spiritual Sounding Board. It all comes down to this, no matter what you call it, it is still sin. Yes, it’s adultery and it’s clergy abuse, but it goes beyond that. As was said on SSB, no matter how long ago the minister was engaged in this type of behavior, you still remember it. Whether it be 50 years ago, or longer, people still know about it. I watch Jimmy Swaggert sometimes on Sunday morning. Mostly just for the music. You watch Jimmy sing and play the piano, he is a very broken old man. But that doesn’t mean I like him. I remember the scandal surrounding him many many years ago. I would much rather see TT and men like him go into another type of work. Maybe TT could go to MD Anderson hospital, which is near him and sit and pray with the people and families in the ICU. That would make a big difference in the lives of so many. Not talking about him, (like many of us have done at one time or another) but just listening and praying. But I’m not sure he even knows how to. Let him go work in a food kitchen. There he will see the people who need kindness and help the most. But that would be beneath his and most of these men like him dignity. Let him go out and selflessly help the orphanages in Haiti that have been hit by the storm, not making a name out of himself, but doing it in the name of the Lord, and that only. To me, this shows repentance. Not getting back into the swing of things 6 months later and writing another book no one needs to read.

  346. Velour quoting Ed.
    Velour wrote:

    And, what is YOUR legal basis that pastors, by default, have a power differential? What are you basing that on?
    Ed

    So Velour, what is Ed even trying to get at?
    I admit, I haven’t read all the comments. I simply do not have time. I have a full time job and many other commitments that keep me away from the discussion a bit.

    What is Ed trying to make us understand?
    That we should keep quiet publicly about a very real cancerous trend that exists within the church and just call the cops if any legal boundaries have obviously been crossed?

    What is his point besides the fact that pastors have no ‘legal’ authority?
    Why does he have a problem acknowledging that pastors historically and presently DO have influence and prestige in the communities?

    Does he want us all to look the other way when some pastors abuse their elevated positions for their own sinful gain?
    Are we not allowed to talk about it or something?

    You seem to have interacted with him quite a bit. So maybe you can help me understand why he has so much trouble with us pointing out the very real power differential between a male pastor and female pewsitter and how that could be abuse.

  347. Lea wrote:

    proving is tough

    I never said that courts were infallible. But what are the sure consequences if the law does not get involved? Abuse continues for sure.

    If you live by the unwritten rule that it is better to be safe than sorry, preventing things in the future, then you may have prevented an abuse from continuing.

    Nothing is a sure deal, as we see that Jesus was crucified based on the false testimony of 2 or more witnesses. So, while there is a law on the books against blasphemy, Jesus was accused of it, by two or more witnesses, albeit false witnesses, convicted, and crucified.

    So, we do see that people can be falsely accused of a crime, indicating that there still are injustices no matter what.

    But, be safe than sorry. Prevent further abuses.

    Ed

  348. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Daisy,

    I do not buy into the premise that there is sex abuse if a pastor has sex with a congregant, unless that counselor hat is on. Point blank.

    Ed

    Sometimes it’s useful to look at a question as it might apply in a different setting.

    Would it be OK for a general to have sex with a private? Would it be OK for a general to have a single chaste lunch with a private and propose marriage to him or her?

    I know church is not the same as the military, but maybe the folks on this feisty thread can agree that there are settings where work roles preclude sexual involvement, or even chaste behavior with romantic intentions.

  349. Can I make a request of my fellow-Wartburgers here. It’s no more than a request, and I make it circumspectly (as one boldly approaching the throne of grace – meaning, I’ve no intrinsic right to approach it) because I may be out of order here. Deebs make a point of allowing all sorts onto this blog; they have full authority to do so and I understand their positive and considered reasons for doing so.

    “Pickle” is a troll. Classic behaviour: first comment kicks off with feigned agreement. Rapidly descends, via (in Lea’s word) drivel, to out-and-out baiting; the claims that both Dee and her husband are having affairs is, in the formal legal sense, libellous (it would formally constitute “slander” if it were spoken rather than written; I mention this for completeness as “slander” is a term much-misused by the defenders of authoritarian clergy).

    There are several high-quality strands of discussion intertwined on this thread. That initiated by “pickle” is not one of them. However, the troll is just looking for food and will go away if you don’t feed it. By the same token, there’s a small range of predictable troll-responses to this comment that “pickle” might make. If so, they don’t need a response either…

  350. okrapod wrote:

    I want to reference what Nick said without actually talking to Nick. So I am not clicking on something from his comment, partly because Velour advised me to quit doing that in order to quit making people mad, or something. So, anybody who is interested can go back and check what he said at 6:56 a.m. today to see what I am talking about.

    What he said about how these matters are viewed in UK is pretty much what I have seen regarding attitude toward the clergy and regarding what appears to be degrees of responsibility based on specifics of the circumstances and all that, and it pretty much represents how I tend to feel about it all. But then, for the past 12-15 years or so I have been away from ‘reformation style’ churches and have been in churches which were either part of the anglican communion (TEC) or which were historically derived from the anglican tradition (Methodist) and in my limited but personal experience there is a distinctly different attitude toward the clergy than in either the Baptist tradition I grew up with (preacher basically as hired hand sort of) or in the churches which you all are describing now (preacher as authority, interpreter and enforcer).

    Maybe, just maybe, there are some serious errors which have crept into some reformation style protestantism regarding the clergy and the church which need to be addressed at the level of theology. I am thinking that it is not just the preachers, it is also a system malfunction which places preachers in a position (power and money) which they themselves cannot handle. And since I am a certified (birth certificate) and government licensed (social security) little ole lady who remembers how it useta not be like this with the Baptists, I do remember and I do grieve about that-about what happened to my birth tribe so to speak.

    okrapod,

    I had to quote every word of this, because this is exactly what I am discussing. Thank you.

    Ed

  351. Friend wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    Daisy,

    I do not buy into the premise that there is sex abuse if a pastor has sex with a congregant, unless that counselor hat is on. Point blank.

    Ed

    Sometimes it’s useful to look at a question as it might apply in a different setting.

    Would it be OK for a general to have sex with a private? Would it be OK for a general to have a single chaste lunch with a private and propose marriage to him or her?

    I know church is not the same as the military, but maybe the folks on this feisty thread can agree that there are settings where work roles preclude sexual involvement, or even chaste behavior with romantic intentions.

    I was in the military for many years. I was a Disbursing Clerk (DK) in the US Navy. That is a payroll clerk for those who don’t know. I got out as an E5 paygrade. Since I got out, that job was combined with the the Peronnelman rating, and it is now known as PK.

    I state all of that in order to say that, as a payroll clerk, I saw a lot of disciplinary paperwork, because when people get in trouble in the military, it affects their paycheck, i.e. reduced in rank, forfeiture of pay, and/or fines.

    The scenario that you set up here is known as fraternization, and both parties are guilty. Each person is responsible for his/her own behavior/conduct. Fraternization is against the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice).

    We also have laws against sexual assault and sexual harassment.

    And, finally, we do have laws against adultery, although not enforced.

    The military personnel are not ignorant of any of this, because it is required training once per year.

    Ed

  352. Ed Chapman wrote:

    I had to quote every word of this, because this is exactly what I am discussing. Thank you.
    Ed

    I don’t think okrapod and you are saying the same thing. Just because you want something to be true or that legally it is law, doesn’t mean that’s how it works in practice.

  353. Ed Chapman wrote:

    But what are the sure consequences if the law does not get involved? Abuse continues for sure.

    There are never sure consequences, but I think we are more likely to get at the root by exposing it, calling it what it is, telling people it is not ok, kicking out the pastors who take advantage of their congregants like this, than the legal angle. Because the legal angle sucks.

  354. Lea wrote:

    I think we are more likely to get at the root by exposing it, calling it what it is, telling people it is not ok, kicking out the pastors who take advantage of their congregants like this, than the legal angle. Because the legal angle sucks.

    More than that, many of these pastors know they will be protected by their cronies if they engage in abuse, no matter the type. They know that their cronies will protect them from lawsuits and get them back into ministry fast where the money is.

    What kind of protection do their victims have?

  355. Ed Chapman wrote:

    The military personnel are not ignorant of any of this, because it is required training once per year.

    Ed

    Thank you for your detailed and very civil reply. I would suggest that annual training of clergy might likewise help to avoid improper relationships in the setting of the church. It would also be good to train church members about the issues, since they don’t seem to be adequately protecting themselves from clergy, or (in some cases) holding back from predatory behavior toward clergy.

  356. Velour wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    Ed Chapman wrote:
    I’ve read the statutes, Velour. If this is not on the books in the other states, then that is common sense the the other states do not consider a pastor as having a power differential over a congregant.
    Legally wrong, Ed.
    Well, if you can’t interpret what I have said, then how can anyone trust you to interpret the law. I state that you are wrong, counselor!
    Besides, what is your problem in the advice to call the cops? You seem to have an issue with that for some odd reason.
    And, what is YOUR legal basis that pastors, by default, have a power differential? What are you basing that on?
    Ed

    I asked you to cite the specific state statute you said you read and any relevant case law. You have not done so.

    There are plenty of organizations that deal with sexual assaults that many victims can call first for help in the process.

    What do you do for a living, Ed? What is your relationship with women? Do you have a wife? Girlfriend? Daughter?

    You don’t seem to have any influence from women in your immediate life.

    you are in law. Why can’t you find it? Brad did that already here a few posts up. Those are the statutes that I read, and all of them show that the counselor hat must be on.

    And, if you don’t remember, I asked you as to what you are basing your beliefs on in regards to clergy, by default, having a power differential, without that caveat of the counselor hat. But you turn it back on me?

    I don’t trust your judgment in regards to the law, Velour. My relationship with women has nothing to do with the Pastor/congregant relationship discussion where the law is concerned.

    Ed

  357. Friend wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    The military personnel are not ignorant of any of this, because it is required training once per year.

    Ed

    Thank you for your detailed and very civil reply. I would suggest that annual training of clergy might likewise help to avoid improper relationships in the setting of the church. It would also be good to train church members about the issues, since they don’t seem to be adequately protecting themselves from clergy, or (in some cases) holding back from predatory behavior toward clergy.

    I think that the bible already discusses that, however. Christians are not to have sex with anyone other than their spouse. Pastors do not know that already? Isn’t that bible 101 stuff?

    Ed

  358. @ ishy:

    You (and other non-UK Wartburgers) may or may not be familiar with Jimmy Savile. Quick background: Savile was a hugely popular and well-known DJ and TV host for many years until his death 5 years ago. He raised £millions for charity. He was also a prolific and dangerous sexual predator who molested and raped literally hundreds of children and young women. He was devious and clever, and knew exactly how much power and influence he had, how to use it, how far he could go, and – here’s what made him so dangerous – when even he had to stop and/or play it safe. His crimes never surfaced until after his death, when one of his victims finally felt it safe to come forward.

    Earlier this week, Lesley and I were watching a documentary by a wee laddie called Louis Theroux, who specialises in the “intimate personal portrait” kind of documentary, with colourful public figures. He’d done a documentary on Savile years ago, was entirely taken in, and even came to regard Savile as a personal friend. Theroux had kept in touch with Savile in part because he felt that he’d never quite got to know the real Jimmy Savile. He’d felt that Savile had some kind of secret that he never really discovered. This second documentary, that we were watching, was Theroux’ own reflection on just how he missed what Savile really was. He interviewed a number of Savile’s victims; one of the common factors was, as you’d expect, that they never said anything because they thought nobody would believe them or, if they did, would not take them seriously (It was just a pat on the bum * – what’s the fuss about?”).

    One thing that has emerged since Savile’s death is that he was protected in part by the culture in which he lived. Star celebrities were above the rules that little people had to follow. Also, groping was just something that women should put up with. And a man who got off with lots of young women was lucky, not creepy.

    Fortunately, albeit belatedly, the zeitgeist is different now. It’s no longer cool to molest women; in fact it is uncool. Which is something, at least. But in pastor-driven churches, it is not.

    * “bum” = “butt”. I.e., a generally-accepted and largely inoffensive colloquialism for the buttock region.

  359. ishy wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    I had to quote every word of this, because this is exactly what I am discussing. Thank you.
    Ed

    I don’t think okrapod and you are saying the same thing. Just because you want something to be true or that legally it is law, doesn’t mean that’s how it works in practice.

    Yes, we are saying the same thing. It never used to be like this, that pastors had power. That is true. Who gave them power? Someone did. Where did it originate? She is showing that it never used to be like this.

    And, in my Christian world, it is also not like this. I am not associated with Calvinism, or, as some call it, reformation. Pastors do not have power in our Christian world.

    Ed

  360. Pickle

    Your last comment was disapproved. You are now going into full time moderation and your comments may or may not be approved depending on the level of paranoia.

    Your comments have become ridiculous. Telling me to check my husband’s texts and emails? Good night, woman!

    Both of us leave our computers and phones lying around and know each other’s passwords. We didn’t do it to *check up* on each other. We did it because it is easier sometimes to find info the other one has.

  361. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    I had already decided to put *pickel* into full time moderation which means her chances of approval have just diminished greatly. She is either a troll or is a bit unusual.

  362. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    I am sure that is so, but. But the idea that nurses are sexually immoral and available is not new, it is pervasive in our culture, and I first heard it during WWII when the idea was that army nurses were more sinful than navy nurses but somehow they were both doling out wink-wink along with the band aids with the government turning a blind eye to it. It was told us at the time that the army had made nurses officers to discourage sexual predation from the guys since that could be prosecuted as something to do with enlisted vs officer.

    However, I did not see that extent of sexual malfunction during my years as an RN. Were some messing around? Of course. You find that in any group. Should that be used to continue the disrespect for nurses which continues to this day in the population? Heck no. Therefore, I reserve my right to choose to say that feeding a troll is a lesser problem than passing up the opportunity to say to all who read here that it is time to rethink everything that people think they know about nurses. In other words, it is not only the troll who reads here, and no way could it be only the troll who has heard this about nurses.

    I think that the truth that medical personnel are professionally comfortable with touching people’s bodies is just some sort of issue for people who have been accustomed to seeing the human body as nothing but a sexual object. So, I am thinking that they think that surely everybody feels like they do, which would be a mistake. In my experience it is just the opposite. It is totally easy to get used to thinking about the human body as a disease magnet rather than a sex magnet when what you see of the body on a day to day basis is exactly that. In fact, I heard ad nauseum both in nursing school and in med school that one must never forget that it is not a gallbladder in room 123 but rather always and ever a person in room 123.

    As to male physicians, I suspect they are no better or worse than anybody else, but I have never been a male so my ability to speak to that is limited.

    But thanks for the reminder about trolls. I am sure you are quite correct.

  363. pickle wrote:

    YOU REALLY NEED TO DO YOUR RESEARCH AND CHECK OUT YOUR HUSBAND’S FACEBOOK AND TEXT MESSAGES SINCE HE IS A PHYSICIAN……. mockers get their due.

    That is one of the rudest comments I have ever seen toward Dee or Deb on this site.

    I have never checked up on my husband in 30 years and never will. If I felt I was going to need to check up on his I would have never married him. I’m also not naive, but I won’t start checking now.

  364. Ed Chapman wrote:

    I think that the bible already discusses that, however. Christians are not to have sex with anyone other than their spouse. Pastors do not know that already? Isn’t that bible 101 stuff?

    Ed

    I don’t go along with the principle that we should just enforce the laws we have and not 1) pass new laws or 2) try to specify what existing laws mean. Although in a deep sense there is nothing new under the sun, our churches today are very different from the congregations described in the Bible. Wifi access was completely unavailable when Moses was away receiving the Ten Commandments. Perhaps it would have prevented the problem of the golden calf, but maybe instead it would have given people time to hide the calf by tracking Moses on Find My iPhone. 😉

    I need to go now, but do appreciate the civil exchange here.

  365. okrapod wrote:

    Therefore, I reserve my right to choose to say that feeding a troll is a lesser problem than passing up the opportunity to say to all who read here that it is time to rethink everything that people think they know about nurses. In other words, it is not only the troll who reads here, and no way could it be only the troll who has heard this about nurses.

    Fair point; thanks for pointing this out, Okrapod. I have to say I don’t think your point, in itself, constitutes feeding the troll! Anyway, Dee has now put the troll in the cupboard.

  366. Bridget wrote:

    I have never checked up on my husband in 30 years and never will.

    I had never checked up on my husband, and I thought who would want to be married to somebody you would have to check up on until I got an anonymous tip that I had made the wrong decision in that matter and that I was basically an idealistic basket case and how could I have got in this mess anyhow. It ended in divorce with all the real awfulness that entails. Perhaps if I had known sooner something could have been done to prevent that disaster, or perhaps not. But for sure early diagnosis and early action would have made the economic impact less. Needless to say I have pretty much given up on idealism regarding marriage or child rearing.

    So pretty much for me the idea of my spouse would never do that, or my kid would never think of such a thing-that is not for me. If it works for others more power to them.

  367. Velour wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    Ed Chapman wrote:
    I’ve read the statutes, Velour. If this is not on the books in the other states, then that is common sense the the other states do not consider a pastor as having a power differential over a congregant.
    Legally wrong, Ed.
    Well, if you can’t interpret what I have said, then how can anyone trust you to interpret the law. I state that you are wrong, counselor!
    Besides, what is your problem in the advice to call the cops? You seem to have an issue with that for some odd reason.
    And, what is YOUR legal basis that pastors, by default, have a power differential? What are you basing that on?
    Ed

    I asked you to cite the specific state statute you said you read and any relevant case law. You have not done so.

    There are plenty of organizations that deal with sexual assaults that many victims can call first for help in the process.

    What do you do for a living, Ed? What is your relationship with women? Do you have a wife? Girlfriend? Daughter?

    You don’t seem to have any influence from women in your immediate life.

    You might be surprised to hear this, Velour, but in my job as a payroll clerk in the US Navy, the majority of my supervisors were female. Especially on shore duty.

    I am no longer in the US Navy. I do labor work these days, and my boss is still a female. I have no problems with being subordinate to women.

    Ed

  368. @ Friend (and, for that matter, Ed and Gram3, among others, who’ve been part of the same discussion:

    I must say I agree with the basic principle that the general case of an affair between clergyman and congregation member is not necessarily a case of abuse. And that, regardless of what the balance of power in the relationship was – even if it was between two emotionally equal consenting adults – in this case, it was adultery and has no place among those who aspire to lead in the Church. That is, we don’t have to be able to call it abuse to call it wrong. At the same time, there are specific settings (e.g., an emotionally vulnerable adult) and/or church cultures (e.g., a semi-divine unaccountable leader) in which there is definitely an imbalance of power and in which such a relationship may well be exploitative and abusive.

    I genuinely don’t know which one this case is. Although, if Tullian wants to build a church organisation around it, he does owe it to the wider Church to prove that the theory and practice of the organisation is healthy.

  369. I’ve found all kinds of web pages discussing CSA (Clergy Sexual Abuse) of adult women.

    It’s A Crime Not An Affair
    Via the site “Adults Abused by Clergy”
    http://www.adultsabusedbyclergy.org/statelaws.html

    Snippet:
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    Caregivers are prohibited by state criminal statutes, fiduciary duty laws and by codes of ethics from exploiting their clients or patients to meet their own emotional and psychological needs.

    … Only thirteen states and the District of Columbia have penal statutes that, in at least some circumstances, support the criminal prosecution of clergypersons engaged in sexual misconduct with congregants or parishioners.

    These statutes, enacted by Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia turn on various linguistic formulations, including, most commonly, the specification that the misconduct occur within the confines of the counseling relationship.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    I don’t think I have much time to be on the internet this morning or afternoon, because I might have to run out on some errands – if I can. If it storms, I might have to stay put.

    I don’t think I have the time now to read or respond to all posts left since I was left here.

  370. Blaming Women for the Sexually Abusive Male Pastor
    http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=959

    The term “adultery” does not adequately define male ministers’ sexual involvement with female parishioners.

    Marie Fortune, executive director of the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence in Seattle, suggests that a male pastor’s sexual advances toward a woman that occur while he performs his professional duties are better understood as “sexual abuse.”

    Whereas the term “adultery” implies that both participants are consenting equals, the term “sexual abuse” assumes that a person has used personal, social or physical power to coerce sexual intimacy.

  371. Sex with a pastor: An affair or abuse?
    http://www.ourstoriesuntold.com/sex-pastor-affair-abuse/

    Snippet:
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    A woman went to her pastor for advice.

    Not for sex.

    She never imagined her pastor would do something so egregious as to manipulate her into having sex with him.

    The worst part was that because they were both adults, the woman blamed herself for having an “affair” with her pastor and then hid silently in her shame.

    But it was not an affair.

    It was an abuse of power.

    Sex between two parties where there is a power differential is not and can never be labeled “an affair.”

    Sex between persons with unequal power is not even about sex. It’s about power and control over someone with less power.

    If approached by a stranger at a party, the sexual advances would have been obvious to the woman. But when her pastor became amorous, the woman was caught completely off guard. She thought she was making more out of the situation than her pastor intended.

    She ignored her screaming intuition, warning her that something was terribly wrong. It was not easy to rebuff her pastor, whom she held in the high esteem afforded by his position.

    She didn’t want to offend her pastor by refusing his pastoral hug the first time and it became increasingly awkward to refuse to hug him each time after that.

  372. okrapod wrote:

    So pretty much for me the idea of my spouse would never do that, or my kid would never think of such a thing-that is not for me. If it works for others more power to them.

    Did you miss the part where I said I am not naive? I am also not idealistic, but I will trust until trust is broken, but I won’t look for it. Children are a different matter as minors. I have had some very difficult situations with children and unknown abuse. So not idealistic scenario there either. I’ve been thrust into circumstances that I had no knowledge in. Things have been quite different than I expected.

  373. Soul Stealing: Power Relations in Pastoral Sexual Abuse
    http://www.snapnetwork.org/psych_effects/soul_stealing_1.htm

    Snippets:
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    As with rape, a pastor’s sexual or romantic involvement with a parishioner is not primarily a matter of sex or sexuality but of power and control.

    For this reason I call it pastoral sexual abuse rather than “pastor-parishioner relations” or, worse, a matter of private activity between consenting adults (which is almost always how the perpetrator will describe it).

    Even when adultery is involved, unfaithfullness is not the primary issue. I have found that ministers enter into romantic or sexual relationships with parishioners primarily because there is an imbalance of power between them at the outset and because they need to reinforce and heighten the intensity of that power dynamic.

    This is need is driven by internal forces and Is reinforced by societaly conditioned expectations that women will function as a nurturing, sexual servant class.

    WHY SHOULD these relationships be considered abuse? If both the minister and the parishioner are single (usually not the case), what’s wrong with their having a relationship?

    As Fortune has outlined, there can be no authentic consent in a relationship involving unequal power.

    And no matter how egalitarian a pastor’s style of ministry, he carries an authority that cannot be ignored. I deliberately use the term “he” because, as in domestic violence, the vast preponderance of these cases involve male clergy.

    …The clergy role carries a great deal of power in and of itself, and one of the most insidious aspects of that power is the role of “man of God.”

    In some sense the minister carries ultimate spiritual authority, particularly in the eyes of a trusting parishioner who looks to him for spiritual guidance and support.

    But the male minister also possesses other forms of power: as a man, he carries the power society confers upon men and socializes them to hold over women, often in the guise of being their protectors. He is often physically stronger and more imposing.

    He may be an employer. He may also assume a teaching or mentoring role which encourages women to listen to his advice and correction. Often he also functions as a counselor, with all the transference inherent in such a relationship.

  374. Silent sufferers: Female clergy sexual abuse
    http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/145861.pdf

    This page discusses female clergy in training who are preyed upon by male clergy, but this can apply to non-clergy women who attend a church:

    Snippets:
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    Every clergy or minister is a symbol of religious authority. By virtue of the pastoral office, the minister interprets religious truth, the meaning of life, the way of faith, and even the reality of God (Chibnall, Wolf, & Duckro, 1998; Poling, 2005; Robinson, 2004).

    Add to that status the power of the pastor’s presence through ministry, and the special influence a minister holds among his or her congregation.

    In addition, female clergy supervised by senior male clergy may develop a special trust that can lead to openness and vulnerability.
    Feeling bonds of trust and affirmation, female clergy may bring the vulnerable, wounded, and intimate sides of themselves into the relationship, seeking acceptance, emotional support, and a role model.

    When the male clergy exploits his privileged position for personal sexual satisfaction, he violates a sacred trust that is contrary to Christian morals, doctrine, and canon laws.

    Because of the respect and even reverence the position carries, there is an imbalance of power and hence a vulnerability inherent in the ministerial
    relationship
    (Chibnall, Wolf, & Duckro, 1998; Poling, 2005; Robinson, 2004).

    In these circumstances, this imbalance of power makes it the responsibility of the church leader to maintain appropriate emotional and sexual boundaries with colleagues.

    Once violated, the female clergy may feel deep shame or self condemnation.

    She may be afraid others will not believe her or fear being blamed…

  375. Friend wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    I think that the bible already discusses that, however. Christians are not to have sex with anyone other than their spouse. Pastors do not know that already? Isn’t that bible 101 stuff?

    Ed

    I don’t go along with the principle that we should just enforce the laws we have and not 1) pass new laws or 2) try to specify what existing laws mean. Although in a deep sense there is nothing new under the sun, our churches today are very different from the congregations described in the Bible. Wifi access was completely unavailable when Moses was away receiving the Ten Commandments. Perhaps it would have prevented the problem of the golden calf, but maybe instead it would have given people time to hide the calf by tracking Moses on Find My iPhone.

    I need to go now, but do appreciate the civil exchange here.

    What happened with the interaction between Jesus and the Pharisees when they added laws to God’s laws?

    Now, I am not a legalist, but the commandments of Jesus, under the NT is to Love thy neighbor as thyself, and to love God, and we are told that those love laws satisfies all the other commandments from the OT.

    The following is a quote from bible dot org

    “In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees, ostensibly in an attempt to keep God’s Law, had devised and added hundreds of man made laws. But in so doing, they had shifted the focus from the heart to the outward man. This included elaborate rituals for washing themselves before meals and for cleansing their dishes and utensils. While there was a basis for these practices in the Book of Leviticus (11:33-34; 15:12), the Pharisees had taken them far beyond what God intended. Jesus uses this practice to confront the main issue.

    Religion apart from God is always trying to fix the outer man to look good to other men, but it neglects the fact that the Lord looks on the heart…”

    Colossians 2:20-23Amplified Bible (AMP)

    20 If you have died with Christ to the [a]elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were still living in the world, do you submit to rules and regulations, such as, 21 “Do not handle [this], do not taste [that], do not [even] touch!”? 22 (these things all perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men. 23 These practices indeed have the appearance [that popularly passes as that] of wisdom in self-made religion and mock humility and severe treatment of the body (asceticism), but are of no value against sinful indulgence [because they do not honor God].

    I used the Amplified version, but any version will do.

    Ed

  376. Bridget wrote:

    Did you miss the part where I said I am not naive?

    Not at all. I did not say that your were naive and I did not say that I was naive. You have made a deliberate decision as to what works for you. Nor did I say you were being idealistic; I said that idealism had been my downfall. Sorry if that was not clear in my comment.

  377. okrapod wrote:

    Bridget wrote:
    Did you miss the part where I said I am not naive?
    Not at all. I did not say that your were naive and I did not say that I was naive. You have made a deliberate decision as to what works for you. Nor did I say you were being idealistic; I said that idealism had been my downfall. Sorry if that was not clear in my comment.

    Got it. Sorry you went through all of that. It’s not good for anyone. Hoping I never have to deal it myself.

  378. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    Ed Chapman wrote:
    Velour wrote:
    Ed Chapman wrote:
    I’ve read the statutes, Velour. If this is not on the books in the other states, then that is common sense the the other states do not consider a pastor as having a power differential over a congregant.
    Legally wrong, Ed.
    Well, if you can’t interpret what I have said, then how can anyone trust you to interpret the law. I state that you are wrong, counselor!
    Besides, what is your problem in the advice to call the cops? You seem to have an issue with that for some odd reason.
    And, what is YOUR legal basis that pastors, by default, have a power differential? What are you basing that on?
    Ed
    I asked you to cite the specific state statute you said you read and any relevant case law. You have not done so.
    There are plenty of organizations that deal with sexual assaults that many victims can call first for help in the process.
    What do you do for a living, Ed? What is your relationship with women? Do you have a wife? Girlfriend? Daughter?
    You don’t seem to have any influence from women in your immediate life.
    You might be surprised to hear this, Velour, but in my job as a payroll clerk in the US Navy, the majority of my supervisors were female. Especially on shore duty.
    I am no longer in the US Navy. I do labor work these days, and my boss is still a female. I have no problems with being subordinate to women.
    Ed

    I asked about your relationships with women right now in your life.

    Thanks for explaining your job history. I figured that you worked a job that was detailed and focused in nature, rules bound, as you have a hard time seeing the forest through the trees.

  379. Velour wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    Ed Chapman wrote:
    Velour wrote:
    Ed Chapman wrote:
    I’ve read the statutes, Velour. If this is not on the books in the other states, then that is common sense the the other states do not consider a pastor as having a power differential over a congregant.
    Legally wrong, Ed.
    Well, if you can’t interpret what I have said, then how can anyone trust you to interpret the law. I state that you are wrong, counselor!
    Besides, what is your problem in the advice to call the cops? You seem to have an issue with that for some odd reason.
    And, what is YOUR legal basis that pastors, by default, have a power differential? What are you basing that on?
    Ed
    I asked you to cite the specific state statute you said you read and any relevant case law. You have not done so.
    There are plenty of organizations that deal with sexual assaults that many victims can call first for help in the process.
    What do you do for a living, Ed? What is your relationship with women? Do you have a wife? Girlfriend? Daughter?
    You don’t seem to have any influence from women in your immediate life.
    You might be surprised to hear this, Velour, but in my job as a payroll clerk in the US Navy, the majority of my supervisors were female. Especially on shore duty.
    I am no longer in the US Navy. I do labor work these days, and my boss is still a female. I have no problems with being subordinate to women.
    Ed

    I asked about your relationships with women right now in your life.

    Thanks for explaining your job history. I figured that you worked a job that was detailed and focused in nature, rules bound, as you have a hard time seeing the forest through the trees.

    My personal life is really of no concern of yours, except to my friends. But, I will reveal that my ex-wife and I are good friends, as she is in drug rehab, and I support her 100000 percent. My daughter has issues, as she committed adultery on her husband…with a woman, and committed domestic violence against him, had her kids taken away while the court was deciding what to do. She in now back with her husband mending things. We are not on speaking terms because I got extremely angry at her for doing drugs, i.e. pot, shrooms, and many others, and underage drinking. She got angry at me for confronting her, and to her, I am dead.

    But, again, it’s nonya biz.

    Ed

  380. @ Ed Chapman:

    That all has got to be hard to deal with. I am not too sure exactly how people deal with all that and still maintain a firm foundation in reasonable thinking, but again and again I hear you trying to stick with reason. You need to know also that those here who don’t exactly agree with everything you think are also trying to stick with reason. That is pretty much what we all try to do, but of course we are all influenced by our own experiences. I hope things straighten out for your ex-wife and for your daughter.

  381. So, if I understand Ed correctly, he is trying to say that: (correct me if I’m wrong, Ed)

    The Bible does not grant pastors any sort of authority over the laity, so any perception of power is a false perception. Since it’s a false perception, it doesn’t happen.

    Calling it sexual abuse is a mistake because it is just adultery, and both parties are equally at fault.

    There are only 2 possibilities: If the pastor has done something that is technically against the law, police should be called. If he hasn’t, then it is simple adultery.

    The Bible forbids adultery and a pastor who commits adultery should be banned from the pastorate anyway, so problem solved.

    The reasons I disagree with Ed:

    Regardless of what the Bible says, the reality is that people look up to their pastor, they expect that the pastor is more knowledgeable about God, more committed to God, and is in a position to shepherd their souls. They make the assumption that he took this position with a sincere heart. The pastor represents God to people and he represents the church, as well. This is so obvious there’s no point in debating it.

    Regardless of what the Bible says, there are levels of power in relationships. A pastor has the pulpit every week, he/she has the confidential ear of every person in the congregation and a position of trust and influence with all. He/she has the dynamics of power and coercion on his/her side, in strictly human terms, even without the spiritual perception. Whether this should or should not be so, it is so.

    When we look at it as simply adultery and fail to recognize the possible predatory aspect of pastor-parishioner sex, we set the stage for the pastor to simply say he/she made a one time error and to repent, and receive restoration to a position where he/she can continue to prey on victims. We also re-victimize the victim by failing to recognize they have not simply given in to temptation and committed adultery, they have been massively betrayed and coerced.

    I suspect Ed and I agree that even if it is simply one-time adultery, the pastor should not be restored to the pastorate. However, in the real world this is happening, and multiple victims are put at risk. We owe these victims more than saying “this isn’t supposed to happen.” We have to understand that God’s gracious forgiveness can be exploited by the manipulative and the naive. We need to shine a light into this area and awaken people to the risk.

    The Bible holds people to different levels of accountability. (James 3:1, Luke 12:47-48)

    The Bible recognizes that some will seek out positions of authority in the church in order to prey on the vulnerable and gratify their own lusts. (2 Peter 2, Jude)

    In Bible examples of power differential, God holds the perpetrator accountable, not the victim. (King David, the sons of Eli)

    The legal statutes and calling the police are not the issue here. The issue is to recognize that some people are sexual predators. These are people who worm their way into positions of power and influence so that they can groom victims to gratify their own needs. If you have not known a predator, it may be hard to realize how manipulative and devious they are (“in their greed they will exploit you with false words”). In the real world, regardless of whether the Bible technically does not say the pastor is supposed to hold more authority than anyone else, predators find positions of leadership in churches to be fruitful places to find vulnerable victims.

    If we fail to recognize sexual predation, we are liable to miss most of what is going on with the predator: we will see an otherwise great guy who knows and loves the Lord who just fell into temptation and sinned and is remorseful. We don’t see that it is a person whose whole life is a lie. Because of this, we don’t hold this person accountable to the level we need to, and we fail to give the victim the level of support that they need.

    I do agree with Ed that believers should be taught not to expect their pastor to be closer to God than they are or to put more trust in him/her than they would the average believer, but you have to recognize the reality of human nature. Churches are not likely to start teaching this, as it would not be in their own self interest, and people are always going to put a higher level of trust in someone who has devoted their life to serving God, at least until they have become old and skeptical, like me.

  382. Ed Chapman wrote:

    What happened with the interaction between Jesus and the Pharisees when they added laws to God’s laws?

    I was afraid you might go there. If we’re to be guided by specifics, we should pay certain fines with an ephah of flour or two turtledoves. Life is full of ambiguities, and rules and laws help societies make sense of things that may or may not be unjust. The accounting principles used in the Navy are probably somewhat comparable to those used by an honest church accountant. To me that is honorable and orderly, not pharasaical.

  383. Ed Chapman wrote:

    But, again, it’s nonya biz.

    Ed

    well, Ed, people here have been known to pray for one another and for their families in times of trouble and sickness and grief

    so, if you need that help, and it sounds like you might, please know that the prayers for you and yours have already begun

  384. siteseer wrote:

    The legal statutes and calling the police are not the issue here. The issue is to recognize that some people are sexual predators.

    Exactly. And to inform potential victims of this, so they can be on their guard if possible. I think if 30-40% of pastors are engaging in this sort of behavior-at greater levels than the general population even!- people in church should know not to trust them all. That sucks but it’s the reality apparently.

  385. siteseer wrote:

    If you have not known a predator, it may be hard to realize how manipulative and devious they are

    Yes.

    siteseer wrote:

    we will see an otherwise great guy who knows and loves the Lord who just fell into temptation and sinned and is remorseful.

    And in reality, we often see the pastor himself as the vulnerable one who has been seduced by someone in the congregation, shun them and embrace him. We don’t know what has been going on behind closed doors. The woman then has been hurt twice and is left to falter on her own.

  386. I’ve been tweeting recently about fiduciary responsibility, clergy misconduct, sources to research on when consent is not a defense in sexual misconduct cases, etc.

    One particular thread yielded some very important insights, resources, and challenges posted by @UT_Grad_Amy.

    If you want to read the entire context yourself (a lengthy thread which involved several other commenters) you can go to this Twitter page and see her series from October 3, 2016.

    https://twitter.com/UT_Grad_Amy/with_replies

    Here’s an edited compilation of some of the information most relevant to this thread on TWW.

    The State of TX Sec 22.011 (10) makes having sex with member of the clergy a Class 2 felony Sexual Assault. This is defined as: “the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as “spiritual adviser.” This is not limited to one-on-one counseling sessions.

    […] The law leaves a lot of room for prosecutorial discretion. If a pastor uses that role to manipulate victims into having sex, the district attorney has latitude to pursue charges. Very useful for going after serial predators. The law meant as deterrent.

    Very important! States can change laws if victims speak up. Educate yourselves then contact your legislators. The best grassroots movements have been in response to victims’ voices.

    I noted that we’ve seen this recently with California’s removal of the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. (The way I see it, social activism is a form of survivor advocacy. Not all are called to participate directly, but can help in other ways. My role is research/resource.)

    @UT_Grad_Amy also shared links to some important resources on adults sexually abused by clergy, many available through Baylor University.

    She linked to the work of Professor Diana Garland, and what looks to be an immensely helpful 34-page paper on the legal basis for statutes that include clergy in sexual misconduct laws (with some analysis of case law, not just listing various state statutes). It’s from 2011: “Sexual Misconduct of Clergypersons with Congregants or Parishioners – Civil and Criminal Liabilities and Responsibilities.” She has sections on liability, constitutional issues, criminal liability of clergy for sexual misconduct, and a proposed model statute that addresses the legal clarity and constitutionality concerns.

    http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/132158.doc

    There is also a website that summarizes some of Professor Garland’s research and has other pages on legal statutes, ethical codes, news articles, etc. (It includes a few links to denominational standards/processes for dealing with clergy sexual abuse, but some may be dated and it is nowhere near comprehensive.)

    http://www.adultsabusedbyclergy.org/news.html

    There is also a resource section on the Baylor University site about Clergy Sexual Misconduct:

    http://www.baylor.edu/clergysexualmisconduct/index.php?id=67484

    Looking at some of the article titles and excerpts that other TWW commenters have posted on this thread, it seems clear enough that this is a significant issue. Hope these resources are helpful in looking at the broader legal-ethical-professional perspective on what is more than a theological-ministerial issue.

  387. Friend wrote:

    Would it be OK for a general to have a single chaste lunch with a private and propose marriage to him or her?

    This actually does happen, and there are indeed Officer/Enlisted married military members. It’s not illegal. They must, however, never be stationed together, therefore, the command must approve it, meaning that they must request permission. So, when the command approves the request, one party is sent on temporary orders to another local command until permanent orders are received for a transfer, so that the two parties are not stationed together under the same chain of command.

    I can’t remember all of the details surrounding this, but still, this aspect of it is not illegal.

    Ed

  388. Christiane wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    But, again, it’s nonya biz.

    Ed

    well, Ed, people here have been known to pray for one another and for their families in times of trouble and sickness and grief

    so, if you need that help, and it sounds like you might, please know that the prayers for you and yours have already begun

    Wow, I really appreciate that. Thank you.

    Ed

  389. okrapod wrote:

    @ Ed Chapman:

    That all has got to be hard to deal with. I am not too sure exactly how people deal with all that and still maintain a firm foundation in reasonable thinking, but again and again I hear you trying to stick with reason. You need to know also that those here who don’t exactly agree with everything you think are also trying to stick with reason. That is pretty much what we all try to do, but of course we are all influenced by our own experiences. I hope things straighten out for your ex-wife and for your daughter.

    Thank you. But I never wished this to be a focus, on me. Velour was pressing me on my personal life, and I did not appreciate that.

    Now, in regards to reason, my very first supervisor, whenever I had any question in regards to any job related situation, he always responded back to me, “What does the book say?”.

    We had two books. One, a DODfmr (Department of Defence Financial Management Regulations), and a PAYPERSMAN (pay and procedures manual). We also had the JFTR, (Joint Federal Travel Regulations) for settling travel claims.

    All of those manuals were derived from congressional laws signed by the president.

    Every so often, we had to take a 300 question bubble sheet test for advancement. Had not my supervisor taught me to research the book, I would not have received 2, not 1 but 2 Navy And Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

    And yes, I had the guts enough to question my civilian audit teams, and challenge them, by the book. I was accountable to the holding of 3/4 of a million dollars cash, along with pay&allowances and travel.

    Debits equal Credits was the very first thing I was taught on day one in accounting class.

    I am a by the book kinda guy.

    Ed

  390. Velour wrote:

    @ Ed Chapman:

    Ed,

    Oh, that explains your hostility toward women.

    Got it.

    Oh you are just full of it, Velour. I question professionalism in you. This has nothing to do with how I treat women. My ex and I hang out all the time. Just last night, we hung out at my place for dinner and two movies. And, in a few, I am going to her place for biscuits and gravy.

    Oh, speaking of movies, “ROOM” is highly recommended by me.

  391. @ Ed Chapman:

    Ed,

    I’ve spent boatloads of time on your hostility toward victims over at Spiritual Sounding Board, as have others here who are over at SBB. Deeply unimpressed by your enabling of bad behavior on the part of perps/predators.

  392. Velour wrote:

    @ Ed Chapman:

    Ed,

    I’ve spent boatloads of time on your hostility toward victims over at Spiritual Sounding Board, as have others here who are over at SBB. Deeply unimpressed by your enabling of bad behavior on the part of perps/predators.

    Again, you cannot correctly interpret what I said over at SSB properly, therefore, I cannot trust your legal judgment or advice.

    Ed

  393. @ Friend
    @ siteseer:
    @ refugee:
    @ Daisy:
    May we all find stillness and peace when others are unkind.
    Amen. May we continue with a gentle spirit and not bitterness.

  394. “It’s Clergy Sex Abuse; Not an Affair!”

    Pastors who commit such sins break 4 of the 10 Commandments:

    (1) They take the Lord’s name in vain (to represent Christ as a pastor and violate the trust of those entrusted to you, is to bear His name in vain).

    (2) They lie (deception is a lie)

    (3) They covet their neighbor’s wife.

    (4) They commit adultery.

  395. Max wrote:

    “It’s Clergy Sex Abuse; Not an Affair!”
    Pastors who commit such sins break 4 of the 10 Commandments:
    (1) They take the Lord’s name in vain (to represent Christ as a pastor and violate the trust of those entrusted to you, is to bear His name in vain).
    (2) They lie (deception is a lie)
    (3) They covet their neighbor’s wife.
    (4) They commit adultery.

    (5) They murder. Kim almost killed herself over this and took an overdose. She ended up in the hospital, thank goodness.

    These predators kill people, their marriages, their families, their friendships, their ties to God.

  396. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    @ Ed Chapman:
    Ed,
    I’ve spent boatloads of time on your hostility toward victims over at Spiritual Sounding Board, as have others here who are over at SBB. Deeply unimpressed by your enabling of bad behavior on the part of perps/predators.
    Again, you cannot correctly interpret what I said over at SSB properly, therefore, I cannot trust your legal judgment or advice.
    Ed

    There was no misunderstanding, Ed. You didn’t know what you were talking about and
    went on and on and on. Even when corrected. You purport to know more about law than I do.
    Go figure.

  397. Velour wrote:

    @ Ed Chapman:
    Ed,
    Oh, that explains your hostility toward women.
    Got it.

    Really? Talk about black and white. That seems like a slam dunk assumption about someone you have know.

  398. Hello again.
    I’ve not yet read through all posts that were on here since I last visited earlier this morning before running my errands, and I probably missed a few from last night (?)

    For now, I do want to make it clear (like I should have to), I am opposed to adultery.

    Ed was actually asking me something or other on SSB blog about my views on adultery and fornication.

    I’m over 40 and still a virgin in part to my former-ish Christian faith, as I was waiting for marriage to ‘do the deed,’ *wink wink*.

    Honestly, who asks a 40+ year old virgin,
    “Do you think adultery or fornication are sins according to the Bible?”

    Really? Seriously? You have to ask me that?

    I have never in my life condoned adultery or fornication, and I’ve never said the Bible supports either one.

    However, that same Bible speaks of men who scam gullible women, it warns about, and condemns, those in positions of trust / leadership / authority (perceived, legal, or otherwise) who take advantage of the weak, hurting, or naive under their care, or in their vicinity.

    2 Timothy 3:5-6

    …having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
    6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires…

  399. siteseer wrote:

    @ siteseer:
    Also, The Myth of Consent https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxoWXcKSmJ0&index=16&list=UU24nHFVoqX8nhtAIGTYjHHg

    This woman was kidnapped and assaulted as a child, yet she says that being a victim of sexual abuse by a pastor as an adult was a worse experience to go through. Amazing. And heart breaking.

    All the videos in this series are very good.

    Julie Anne had a guest post at her blog by a lady who studies how super strict religious up-bringing can have long-reaching ramifications on girls who were raised under that stuff.

    Lourdes, Lifeboats, and Bounded Choice: Part III (Raised in a Totalist Institution)
    “Using Katie Botkin’s lifeboat analogy, Cindy Kunsman explores the “Second Generation Adult” and Lourdes Torres-Mantefeuel’s alleged sex abuse by Vision Forum’s Doug Phillips”
    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2014/05/12/lourdes-lifeboats-and-bounded-choice-part-iii-raised-in-a-totalist-institution/

    Girls raised in such churches and families are normally not properly equipped to deal with adulthood, and they have little to no boundaries, which makes them more susceptible to being snookered sexually by smarmy preachers.

    I was raised in a somewhat similar way, though maybe not near as severe as some of the girls who came out of “Quiverfull” “Duggar” type families, so I can relate to them in a way.

  400. @ Bridget:

    I get pretty uncomfortable when people get this personal on someone. I don’t agree with Ed on a number of things, but I’d rather just say that.

  401. Daisy wrote:

    I have never in my life condoned adultery or fornication, and I’ve never said the Bible supports either one.

    I am so tempted to jump into a passionate defense of fornication…

  402. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Daisy,
    I do not buy into the premise that there is sex abuse if a pastor has sex with a congregant, unless that counselor hat is on. Point blank.
    Ed

    The “counselor hat” does not always have to be on for the pastor to entice a vulnerable women into diddling with him, Ed.

    Take me for instance.

    My mother dropped dead years ago.

    I was beside myself with grief at the time. Started a new church about a year later. Word got around the church my Mom was dead because I confided in several church women there.

    Had the pastor of that church been skeevy with ulterior motives, he could’ve heard about my grief and tried to exploit what he knew about my vulnerability to get to know me better, cozy up to me, and “win me over,” present himself as a caring friend.

    All of which could’ve created a situation in which I would’ve been open and receptive to a tumble in the sheets, to receive care, attention, affection.

    That is not the same thing as me now, years later, largely over much of the grief, walking into a church, seeing a pastor who I think is a cutie and going out of my way to flirt up a storm, and slipping him a hotel room key.

    Two very different sets of circumstances.

  403. Ed Chapman wrote:

    I never said that courts were infallible. But what are the sure consequences if the law does not get involved? Abuse continues for sure.

    And your view (as I am understanding it so far) seems to be that,

    1. If a state does not label ‘pastor- sexually- exploiting- congregant’ a crime,

    and/or
    2. If the congregant does not call the police after the ordeal,

    and/or

    3. If the activity does not take place under the very narrow auspices of a pastor (being a state-licensed counselor) who does the diddling of the congregant during a counseling session…

    -it is, in your view, automatically to be considered clear-cut, simple adultery or fornication and is not abuse. I disagree.

    Some Muslim theology / rules also makes sexual abuse targets jump through narrow sets of rules to ‘qualify as victims,’ to receive justice (like a female victim has to have like eight male eye-witnesses to her assault, IIRC).
    Your take on how you think churches should deal with ‘Christian- on- Christian’ sexual misconduct / assault reminds me of that. It’s troubling and odd.

  404. Daisy wrote:

    Two very different sets of circumstances.

    I just quoted a sample, but your comment overall rings true on many levels.

  405. Friend wrote:

    Would it be OK for a general to have sex with a private? Would it be OK for a general to have a single chaste lunch with a private and propose marriage to him or her?

    He would probably say no, it’s not okay, but he would likely classify it as “adultery” or “fornication” and deny it is sexual abuse at all. I’m just guessing here – but that has been his standard response to CSA (clergy sexual abuse).

  406. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Yes, we are saying the same thing. It never used to be like this, that pastors had power. That is true. Who gave them power? Someone did. Where did it originate? She is showing that it never used to be like this.

    So you admit that pastors have power or authority over their flocks. Yes, Ed, they do, in some churches – whether it’s biblical or not, or legal or not, is kind of beside the point.

    Some of these pastors are using their authority (whether it’s legal, social, or granted to them by the laity) to sexually exploit hurting or confused church members, in and out of counseling sessions.

  407. Daisy wrote:

    He would probably say no, it’s not okay, but he would likely classify it as “adultery” or “fornication” and deny it is sexual abuse at all. I’m just guessing here – but that has been his standard response to CSA (clergy sexual abuse).

    Ed did reply:

    This actually does happen, and there are indeed Officer/Enlisted married military members. It’s not illegal. They must, however, never be stationed together, therefore, the command must approve it, meaning that they must request permission. So, when the command approves the request, one party is sent on temporary orders to another local command until permanent orders are received for a transfer, so that the two parties are not stationed together under the same chain of command.

    I can’t remember all of the details surrounding this, but still, this aspect of it is not illegal.

    Ed

    Ed and Daisy, what I note in Ed’s description of these few military marriages with a big gap between the spouses’ ranks is a whole lot of useful, clarifying rules. And again, in my view, churches also benefit from having sensible rules.

  408. siteseer wrote:

    So, if I understand Ed correctly, he is trying to say that: (correct me if I’m wrong, Ed)
    The Bible does not grant pastors any sort of authority over the laity, so any perception of power is a false perception. Since it’s a false perception, it doesn’t happen.

    One of the things that maybe Ed cannot grasp is that from the vantage point of a lot of women sitting in church pews, they think the pastor has authority over them.

    And in some churches, women are taught by the preacher himself and elders that this is so.

    This blog is constantly doing stories about authoritarian churches who convince their members that the members are to submit to the pastors and elders.

    Further, if it’s a gender complementarian church, these girls and women will be taught things like-
    Men should be “head” over them (men should be their boss- like figure who gets to command them around); men should make decisions for girls and women; women should always un-questioningly trust men and follow men, etc.

    All of that is a recipe for making Christian girls and women easy marks for unscrupulous pastors.

    Even if Ed does not think pastors have power and authority over laity or should not, that does not change the fact that a lot of Pew Potatoes believe that pastors do have power and authority over them.

    There’s a difference between reality and ideals.

  409. siteseer wrote:

    The legal statutes and calling the police are not the issue here. The issue is to recognize that some people are sexual predators.
    These are people who worm their way into positions of power and influence so that they can groom victims to gratify their own needs.

    I agree. I agree with the rest of your post as well, but that was another part that stood-out to me.

  410. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Here’s an edited compilation of some of the information most relevant to this thread on TWW.
    The State of TX Sec 22.011 (10) makes having sex with member of the clergy a Class 2 felony Sexual Assault.

    This is defined as: “the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as “spiritual adviser.” This is not limited to one-on-one counseling sessions.

    Very interesting.

  411. Lea wrote:

    I am so tempted to jump into a passionate defense of fornication…

    You know, if sex was all that big of a buggaboo to the Almighty, wouldn’t he have done better to make it no more enticing or enjoyable than getting the wheat and barley crop in?

  412. siteseer wrote:

    This is a slightly different topic, but some abusers actually target drug addicted women because they are very easy to manipulate- when a person needs a drug, they are in the place of having to do whatever it takes to get it.
    The story of a wealthy Christian businessman who was something of a local celebrity in his small town may be of interest here, http://newwest.net/main/article/sex_money_and_meth_addiction_the_story_of_dick_dasen_and_his_girls/

    What is shocking about this case is that this businessman only received 2 years in jail from what I have read with the remainder of his sentence being suspended. IMO what this businessman did merited a whole lot more than just 2 years.

  413. Daisy wrote:

    This is defined as: “the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as “spiritual adviser.” This is not limited to one-on-one counseling sessions.

    If I remember right, the part in quotation marks was right out of the law code. The last statement was not, but was apparently drawn from knowledge based in research or local situations.

    There is a sense in which any public figure in a church who teaches, preaches, leads, “pastors” from the pulpit, tweets, posts, etc., in the public eye gives spiritual formation advice and directives. That is, broadly speaking, “giving counsel,” even if it is not formal “counseling.” This is why, when I was skimming through the state-by-state database on issues where consent is no defense for sexual misconduct, I was looking specifically at various kinds of “counseling” and positions of “authority.” Public figures in the church typically combine both.

    From what I think I know about spiritual abuse, public statements-teaching-sharing etc. are just as much a part of the overall “grooming/conditioning” process as any one-to-one conversations-counseling-visits are. Public projection of a charming, desirable, sympathetic persona is just as much a part of a process of theological and sexual seduction as private conversations and social media flirtation. And that is why questions about misuse of positions of authority are equally important to questions about “counseling.”

    In such cases involving church leaders, it seems to me that serial adultery is not merely private sin. It is public seduction by that leader. And anyone who fails in supposedly overseeing that person and holding him/her accountable to biblical requirements of leaders — is in on the game. So, the level of *biblically identified* culpability increases when it involves a leader.

  414. Bridget wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    @ Ed Chapman:
    Ed,
    Oh, that explains your hostility toward women.
    Got it.
    Really? Talk about black and white. That seems like a slam dunk assumption about someone you have know.

    Bridget, Stay out of it. We’ve – Daisy, I and others – have gone many rounds with Ed and his bizarre beliefs and his blame-the-victim-attitude over at Spiritual Sounding Board.
    Ed, arrogantly, proclaims to know more about my profession than I do.

    You know not of what you speak.

    Thanks.

  415. Velour wrote:

    Bridget wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    @ Ed Chapman:
    Ed,
    Oh, that explains your hostility toward women.
    Got it.
    Really? Talk about black and white. That seems like a slam dunk assumption about someone you have know.

    Bridget, Stay out of it. We’ve – Daisy, I and others – have gone many rounds with Ed and his bizarre beliefs and his blame-the-victim-attitude over at Spiritual Sounding Board.
    Ed, arrogantly, proclaims to know more about my profession than I do.

    You know not of what you speak.

    Thanks.

    Very professional of you to demand of others. I’ve already shown that you have no credibility in telling the truth. I don’t trust you. Then to demand of others like that? Wow.

    Ed

  416. Daisy wrote:

    in the clergyman’s professional character as “spiritual adviser.”

    in the clergyman’s professional character as “spiritual adviser.

    Clergy alone does not cut the mustard. Clergy must be in the professional character as a spiritual advisor. That’s a caveat.

  417. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    Bridget wrote:
    Velour wrote:
    @ Ed Chapman:
    Ed,
    Oh, that explains your hostility toward women.
    Got it.
    Really? Talk about black and white. That seems like a slam dunk assumption about someone you have know.
    Bridget, Stay out of it. We’ve – Daisy, I and others – have gone many rounds with Ed and his bizarre beliefs and his blame-the-victim-attitude over at Spiritual Sounding Board.
    Ed, arrogantly, proclaims to know more about my profession than I do.
    You know not of what you speak.
    Thanks.
    Very professional of you to demand of others. I’ve already shown that you have no credibility in telling the truth. I don’t trust you. Then to demand of others like that? Wow.
    Ed

    Ed,

    Up the thread you blamed Kim for being sexually abused by her pastor and spiritually abused. You have said that she committed adultery.

    You have done similar to the case of Lourdes.

    Now Bridget apparently thinks Kim is to blame too?

    You people have ‘lost it’!!!

  418. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    There is a sense in which any public figure in a church who teaches, preaches, leads, “pastors” from the pulpit, tweets, posts, etc., in the public eye gives spiritual formation advice and directives. That is, broadly speaking, “giving counsel,” even if it is not formal “counseling.” This is why, when I was skimming through the state-by-state database on issues where consent is no defense for sexual misconduct, I was looking specifically at various kinds of “counseling” and positions of “authority.” Public figures in the church typically combine both.
    From what I think I know about spiritual abuse, public statements-teaching-sharing etc. are just as much a part of the overall “grooming/conditioning” process as any one-to-one conversations-counseling-visits are. Public projection of a charming, desirable, sympathetic persona is just as much a part of a process of theological and sexual seduction as private conversations and social media flirtation. And that is why questions about misuse of positions of authority are equally important to questions about “counseling.”
    In such cases involving church leaders, it seems to me that serial adultery is not merely private sin. It is public seduction by that leader. And anyone who fails in supposedly overseeing that person and holding him/her accountable to biblical requirements of leaders — is in on the game. So, the level of *biblically identified* culpability increases when it involves a leader.

    I completely agree.

    Side note: Julie Anne said in one of her blog posts about TT that she has been in contact, privately, with various women who were snookered by TT.

    She says they say TT used Twitter to groom them. I asked Julie Anne for more clarification on that, but I didn’t see a reply from her.

    I take it to mean, TT, was checking out women Tweeters who Tweeted at him, and then getting friendly with them on that platform, then escalating things.

  419. Ed Chapman wrote:

    in the clergyman’s professional character as “spiritual adviser.
    Clergy alone does not cut the mustard. Clergy must be in the professional character as a spiritual advisor. That’s a caveat.

    A clergy person is a spiritual advisor. It’s who they are, what they do, and their role, and it’s how they are viewed by women in the pews.

    See also this post:
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/10/03/its-clergy-sex-abuse-not-an-affair/comment-page-1/#comment-287139

  420. Daisy and Brad,

    I wonder how many of these sexually predatory clergy had to undergo psychological testing and background checks prior to being admitted to seminary.

    A woman I know who became a pastor said that the psychologist testing and background checks that her seminary performed were so rigorous (many police, highway patrol, and FBI undergo similar tests) that people with major problems were discovered early on or dropped out of the process.

    The final pool of candidates for seminary were stable, honest men and women with good character.

    It’s certainly not full-proof, but it’s better than nothing.

  421. @ Velour:

    I have wondered whether church planter assessments (and by extension, seminaries) ought to use a rigorous MMPI instead of MBTI — a serious psychological inventory with interviews, not an informative but more informal temperament profile discussion. As time has shown, too many people get approved who eventually flip the script of character and demonstrate narcissistic and even sociopathic behaviors. And are often paid, at least for a time, by a denomination, network, etc., to do it.

  422. Pingback: Linkathon! | PhoenixPreacher

  423. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    @ Velour:
    I have wondered whether church planter assessments (and by extension, seminaries) ought to use a rigorous MMPI instead of MBTI — a serious psychological inventory with interviews, not an informative but more informal temperament profile discussion. As time has shown, too many people get approved who eventually flip the script of character and demonstrate narcissistic and even sociopathic behaviors. And are often paid, at least for a time, by a denomination, network, etc., to do it.

    Thanks, Brad. I’m with you. Can you post some more information on the two tests.
    I can look them up later. I’m busy right now.

  424. Velour wrote:

    Now Bridget apparently thinks Kim is to blame too?

    What? I never said any such thing. I was scrolling through the comments and saw your comment about me and am in disbelief.

  425. @ Velour:

    Maybe churches should start doing that.

    I just read an article about a month ago that talked about how police departments / academies have testing in place to weed out power hungry nuts or guys who have several personal disorders that would make them unsuitable for police work.

  426. Velour wrote:

    Can you post some more information on the two tests.

    Sorry, can’t right now, as I’ve been working with two clients 6 time zones apart, and it’s all crashing in at the mo saying, “Take a nap, dood.” Might be able to later, but can’t guarantee it due to other (oddly timed) obligations.

  427. Ed Chapman wrote:

    refugee wrote:
    Ed Chapman wrote:
    It then reverts back to the Bible which states to not commit adultery.
    So… I guess if neither the pastor nor the vulnerable woman he’s counseling are married, and he preys on her, and there’s no state statute that calls it abuse, then everything is hunky-dory, eh?
    Ed, I’m afraid such literal-mindedness smacks of Phariseeism, at the very least.
    Does the bible tell us to obey the magistrates or not? Does the bible not tell us to not commit fornication and adultery or not? Does the bible state that adulterers and fornicators do not inherit the kingdom of God or not?
    And that is in the New Test! But, seems that people want to dismiss the bible and create their own ethics.
    Ed

    You appear to me to be talking out of both sides of your mouth. In one breath, you say “there’s no law against it” and so, therefore… it’s okay? (except not in the biblical sense) And people shouldn’t be calling for action, or changes in the law?

    In another breath, you accuse people of dismissing the bible and not listening to the magistrates! But it seems to me that you don’t want to listen to the magistrates. Or you seem to see no point in working to pass new laws that will protect people in every state, not just the states that already have laws in place.

    Ed, you compartmentalize so much that I have trouble with your arguments, as above. Earlier, it seemed that you were advocating that as long as adultery was involved, you didn’t consider it abuse but rather to be dealt with as the sin of adultery. Then, later, you said that if a pastor had his counseling hat on, it was another matter. At least, I think that’s what you said, though by “another matter” were you allowing that to be called abuse (because it’s illegal for a counselor to prey on counselees?) or, again, were you insisting that it could not be abuse because it ought to be dealt with as sin?

    And when I challenged you about “only” adultery being the problem, because that’s what you seemed to be saying, you appeared to change the argument so you could bring fornication in.

    In any event, we live in a secular society with secular laws. Some of those laws may be based on the bible. But many are not. We do not live in a theocracy. It appears to me that your arguments only would work in theory in a theocratic setting. They are frustrating because they dance around the problem with fancy footwork, without truly addressing it.

    If I were to be uncharitable I would accuse you of thinking you were being cute. I will extend to you the benefit of the doubt and tell myself that you are sincere in your arguments. Bless your heart.

    Fornication is no longer against the law in places. Does that mean that someone in a perceived higher-power position cannot be termed abusive just because there’s no law against it? That seems to be what you are saying.

    And if there is no law against it, except for (perhaps) biblical law, and we do not live in a theocracy, then it seems as if you’re saying that it’s all hunky dory!

    Except (as you state) it’s against the bible… so there! So what? I don’t understand your point. Lots of people in our society do not recognize the bible as having any kind of power over them. Your “solution” is no solution at all, in a practical sense.

    Does the fact that God does not choose to act directly (sending lightning bolts down on fornicators) mean that no action should be taken, that we should just let abusers keep on abusing?

    I see no argument on your part that, other than condemning certain actions according to biblical precepts, something is wrong and some kind of action should be taken.

    (and I’m not talking about preaching to a predatory “pastor” about how what he’s doing is wrong. He already knows what the bible says about it, and still chooses to do it. He even probably preaches about it from the pulpit.)

    Sorry for the long comment. I find Ed’s arguments nonsensical, circular, and confusing. Maybe it’s just me.

  428. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    I have wondered whether church planter assessments (and by extension, seminaries) ought to use a rigorous MMPI instead of MBTI — a serious psychological inventory with interviews, not an informative but more informal temperament profile discussion. As time has shown, too many people get approved who eventually flip the script of character and demonstrate narcissistic and even sociopathic behaviors. And are often paid, at least for a time, by a denomination, network, etc., to do it.

    Agree! I think police departments should use them as well.

    Predators, by nature, seek positions where they believe they will have authority.

  429. Steve240 wrote:

    siteseer wrote:
    This is a slightly different topic, but some abusers actually target drug addicted women because they are very easy to manipulate- when a person needs a drug, they are in the place of having to do whatever it takes to get it.
    The story of a wealthy Christian businessman who was something of a local celebrity in his small town may be of interest here, http://newwest.net/main/article/sex_money_and_meth_addiction_the_story_of_dick_dasen_and_his_girls/
    What is shocking about this case is that this businessman only received 2 years in jail from what I have read with the remainder of his sentence being suspended. IMO what this businessman did merited a whole lot more than just 2 years.

    I was going to mention this, but you beat me to it. After reading through the old articles, I googled to find out what happened. He was convicted on five felony counts, I think, but only got a two year sentence. He helped some people legitimately, and targeted so many others. I wonder how he chose which to present his godly appearance to, as opposed to the others? He bailed some out of their economic problems and helped them get back on their feet, but for others, he fed their destructive habits in order to feed his own.

    I just cannot comprehend it.

  430. Lea wrote:

    Could we drop all the attacks maybe?

    Sorry, Lea. I got frustrated with Ed. He felt slippery to me; I simply could not grasp what point he was trying to make. I’m going to bow out of the conversation now.

  431. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Clergy alone does not cut the mustard. Clergy must be in the professional character as a spiritual advisor. That’s a caveat.

    If clergy is not spiritual advisor by definition, then what are they?

  432. Daisy wrote:

    Please don’t refer to me as “bigoted against men,” I very much resent that remark.

    Just to clarify, I did not call you bigoted. I said you come across as bigoted by using that phrase and also by attempting to use statistics to pin this bad behavior on men in general. If you truly are bigoted against men in general, then it would be very consistent for you to continue to use the term “man-splain” to shame men into shutting up. If you are not bigoted, and I assume that you are not, you would do well for yourself to quit using that phrase because it is below your dignity. It’s really nothing more than an ad hominem statement that does nothing positive toward moving a conversation forward. I’ve seen so many very articulate comments by you that convince me you don’t have to resort to insults like this to make your point.

  433. @ Ed Chapman:

    Ed, I’m so sorry to hear this. If it’s any consolation, I’ve been through rebellious teens and understand the heartache. Just keep listening non-judgmentally, accept your kids as they are, love them unconditionally and God can heal those wounds and restore the relationships. God bless and I will be praying for you.

  434. @ refugee:

    Every thing you said in your post there nicely captures the same issues I’ve been having with reading Ed’s posts and replying to him (here and at the SSB blog on this topic).

    You were able to articulate things I noticed but couldn’t put into words.

    I’ve tried to honestly understand his position but am at a loss, because it veers all over the place and at other times, appears to flip flop.

  435. Ken F wrote:

    Just to clarify, I did not call you bigoted. I said you come across as bigoted by using that phrase and also by attempting to use statistics to pin this bad behavior on men in general. If you truly are bigoted against men in general, then it would be very consistent for you to continue to use the term “man-splain” to shame men into shutting up.

    Ken, mansplaining is very real. As a man myself, I’ve noticed men doing it. Rather than chiding Daisy for simply using the term, it might be better for me and you to take care not to engage in it.

  436. Ken F wrote:

    Just to clarify, I did not call you bigoted. I said you come across as bigoted by using that phrase and also by attempting to use statistics to pin this bad behavior on men in general. If you truly are bigoted against men in general, then it would be very consistent for you to continue to use the term “man-splain” to shame men into shutting up. If you are not bigoted, and I assume that you are not, you would do well for yourself to quit using that phrase because it is below your dignity.

    It’s really nothing more than an ad hominem statement that does nothing positive toward moving a conversation forward. I’ve seen so many very articulate comments by you that convince me you don’t have to resort to insults like this to make your point.

    It’s my lived experience, and that for a lot of other women, that they are often talked over or talked down to by a lot of men. Which is what the term “man splain” covers.

    The word “man splain” is merely descriptive of a behavior and is not an insult.
    The word “man splain” is not an ad hominem. I find it funny that it’s usually men who object to that term who claim to find it insulting, when I hate being man-splained to, it’s very sexist and rude. I used to have a male co-worker who man-splained to me quite a bit (and he also did so to other female co-workers).

    Being man-splained to due to your gender (being female), is a heck of a lot more insulting than a man seeing a woman saying in the comments,
    “Hey, this is very much a real thing that happens to a lot of women, it’s sometimes called “man splaining.”

    I gave a link to an article with studies that show man-splaining is indeed a very real phenomenon, to the point, it can interfere with women at their jobs. Women don’t get heard, or get credit for their ideas at their workplaces. It’s a form of sexism.

  437. @ Ken F:

    P.S.
    I used the term “man splain” to the original poster in the thread named “Missy M” – was not even directed at you – it was to a woman – to illustrate that HER argument, was similar to man-splainers who use the “not all men” argument to make a “not all pastors” argument to dismiss and silence my point.

    You can read my use of the word “man splain” here-
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/10/03/its-clergy-sex-abuse-not-an-affair/comment-page-1/#comment-286649

    On another note, if a man does not want to be accused of man-splaining, then all he has to do is not participate in that behavior.

  438. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    Ken, mansplaining is very real. As a man myself, I’ve noticed men doing it. Rather than chiding Daisy for simply using the term, it might be better for me and you to take care not to engage in it.

    Thank you, Serving.

    When I first used that word in this thread, it was in a post to a person using a woman’s name (“Missy M”), here:
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/10/03/its-clergy-sex-abuse-not-an-affair/comment-page-1/#comment-286649

    And it wasn’t even about men, but about her using a similar tactic, a “Not All Preachers” one, as I noted in that post.

  439. Velour wrote:

    You know not of what you speak.
    Thanks.

    You are getting very proficient at telling people how to comment (i.e., Okrapod) or to “stay out of it.” Are you the authority now? Someone else recently suggested that I shouldn’t comment unless I had comprehensive knowledge on something, which they did not have on all subjects they comment about either. No one here does.

    Even if I disagree with someone, I find no need to make assumptions about them based on what they write on a blog. I doubt you would appreciate being assessed and dismissed as “bitter toward all men” due to the treatment you received by men at your former church, that you have written about extensively.

    FYI, I have read most of what Ed has written on this blog and Julie Anne’s. I don’t agree with him on some things and many times I’m not sure what he is trying to say. But I try to be charitable. I don’t think he is a woman hater. I do think he wants Christian women (and men) to stop believing that pastors/elders have authority over them, which I happen to agree with. The reality is that pastors/elders teach people that they do, in fact, have authority, which is given to them by God. This is wrong!

    I believe that most women who end up in adulterous relationships with pastors are victims of clergy abuse, but not all. I know there are also women who target pastors. There are predatory women as well as men. Each case needs to be assessed on its own. If people find this unreasonable, then fine, we disagree.

  440. Daisy wrote:

    On another note, if a man does not want to be accused of man-splaining, then all he has to do is not participate in that behavior.

    The problem is that there is no clear standard for it. So there is no clear demarcation between what is and what isn’t man-splaining. And both genders do it. I’ve been woman-splained way too often. I think dialogue is better when people refrain from such language.

  441. Bridget wrote:

    I believe that most women who end up in adulterous relationships with pastors are victims of clergy abuse, but not all. I know there are also women who target pastors. There are predatory women as well as men. Each case needs to be assessed on its own. If people find this unreasonable, then fine, we disagree.

    I agree with all that.

  442. Velour wrote:

    (5) They murder. Kim almost killed herself over this and took an overdose. She ended up in the hospital, thank goodness.

    These predators kill people, their marriages, their families, their friendships, their ties to God.

    This is true. Every account I’ve read about this type of abuse, the victim has felt suicidal at some point.

  443. Ken F wrote:

    The problem is that there is no clear standard for it. So there is no clear demarcation between what is and what isn’t man-splaining. And both genders do it. I’ve been woman-splained way too often. I think dialogue is better when people refrain from such language.

    As a woman, I can tell you I know it when I see it, and when it happens to me.

    And it has in fact in happened to me.

    It’s not an insulting term. It is merely describing how some men treat women.

    Unless a forum or blog I am on has a specific rule barring the term’s use, I will use it if I feel so inclined.

    I used it in this thread in a reply to a post by a woman to address her manner of argumentation. So I have no idea why you are complaining.

    There really is not such a thing as “woman splaining” in a systematic way – like on most jobs etc.

    Some women can be argumentative, rude, pushy, but it’s not the same thing.

    Rebecca Solnit: Men Explain Things to Me
    https://www.guernicamag.com/daily/rebecca-solnit-men-explain-things-to-me/

  444. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Looking at some of the article titles and excerpts that other TWW commenters have posted on this thread, it seems clear enough that this is a significant issue. Hope these resources are helpful in looking at the broader legal-ethical-professional perspective on what is more than a theological-ministerial issue.

    It seems that way. I really appreciate you pulling all of this information together. Do you get the sense that these issues are in a transitional state?

  445. So Ken was reading me your posts about “man-splaining”,and the thought that came to me is that maybe you might actually be minimizing a form of harassment that some male coworkers and/or bosses use. It sounds like what happened to you was actually way more demeaning than you initially acknowledge, but once you quote some details, it sounds serious enough that what most of us women do when we are being “man-splained” all of a sudden no longer seems a strong enough response. I don’t know about your professional and personal circles, but in my experience, if a man is “man-splaining”, all it takes to shut him up is usually a little snide or caustic remark, or if he is on a roll and we women don’t want to bother addressing him “having a moment” all we do is look at each other, roll our eyes and just let him talk until he runs out of steam. If he was man-splaining because he actually cared or was trying to “relate to women in a sensitive way” then we did no damage and did not unnecessarily scold him or humiliate him in public. If he was actually trying to be controlling and force us women to “do it his way” then that failed miserably also and he ended up looking like the fool he was acting like.

    Now if a boss starts doing that and demands compliance “or else”, that right there would already cross the line and become harassment and you might actually have a case that is worth reporting to HR. Just wondering if what you have experienced might be the latter.

  446. Ken F wrote:

    I’ve never met a man who found that term to be non-insulting.

    The poster above, who I believe is a man, Serving Kids, didn’t find it insulting.
    I’ve seen men on other sides who “get it” and even agree it’s a phenomenon.

  447. @ Daisy:
    “other SITES” not “sides”

    I’ve had it happen to me in my personal life, on jobs, on the internet, and it’s insulting to be man-splained to, Ken.

  448. Ed Chapman wrote:

    What happened with the interaction between Jesus and the Pharisees when they added laws to God’s laws?

    I don’t think anyone is trying to add laws to the scriptures. It’s a matter of being aware of how things work so they can be dealt with wisely.

    Now, I am not a legalist, but the commandments of Jesus, under the NT is to Love thy neighbor as thyself, and to love God, and we are told that those love laws satisfies all the other commandments from the OT.

    The way I see it, there is a question of how best to love someone, what does this person truly need? What do all of the people involved need? What is most healthy for them? What is most healthy for the church?

    I hope I haven’t seemed short with you, Ed. I truly have had a hard time following your arguments and understanding what you were trying to say. It did seem as if you were taking the side of the powerful against the powerless but I see now that was not your point. I do want to understand your perspective, I’m still not sure if I have.

  449. Daisy wrote:

    Some women can be argumentative, rude, pushy, but it’s not the same thing.

    Don’t forget catty, vindictive and unforgiving.*

    *Sarcasm, sort of.

  450. @ Ken F’s wife:

    In my codependent days, I sat in silence while being talked down to by male co-workers on old jobs because my devout Christian mother (and to a lesser extent, my father) taught me that Christian women are not to be assertive, and are not even to politely correct people.

    One of the male coworkers who engaged in this behavior, I think his motivation was to “show off” and impress me (and other lady coworkers) with his amount of knowledge. He instead came across like an arrogant “know it all.”

    I was raised to be a compliant, sweet, very feminine doormat, which meant I was not permitted to speak up to men and correct them.

    I was taught by my parents (mom especially) to endure obnoxious, rude, or condescending behavior in silence, not stand up for myself.

  451. Daisy wrote:

    I’ve had it happen to me in my personal life, on jobs, on the internet, and it’s insulting to be man-splained to, Ken.

    Do you consider me to be one?

  452. Ken P. wrote:

    Don’t forget catty, vindictive and unforgiving.*
    *Sarcasm, sort of.

    I don’t think it’s the same thing as man-splaining, still.

    Men in American culture are rewarded and encouraged, for the most part – by employers, school, churches other boys, parents, etc – to be assertive, bold, out spoken.

    Girls are not only usually discouraged from all that, but are punished, ostracized, get deemed “bossy” and worse, for the same behavior that is prized in males.

    You can always point to exceptions here and there, but by and large, American culture socializes boys to be one way and girls the other.

    There are studies online that show that American men do out-talk women and/or talk over or interrupt women far more often, especially at jobs.

  453. @ Daisy:
    @ Daisy,
    I think it’s sad that you were taught by your mother to endure true abuse silently. I was raised the same way in missionary circles. Once I went to work in “secular” circles, I tossed all those rules because my dad (although “man-splainer in chief” because he wants to help and fix things) basically told me that my only obligation was to do my job well. I wish that God would have given you somebody to encourage you the same way I was.

  454. Ken F wrote:

    Do you consider me to be one?

    No.

    I don’t recall having any problems with you on this site before.

    Are you the same guy as “Flag Ken” who used to post with a (I think it was) a German flag next to his name?

    If that’s not you, no, we’ve never had a problem on this blog before, not that I can remember.

    Which is one reason I was really surprised to see how angry you were with me up thread about any of this.

    My post was not even to you or about you, and not about the male gender per se, but about a woman up thread who was trying to argue against the CSA (Clergy Sex Abuse) being a real thing.

    Her attitude was “but not all pastors do X, Y, and Z” and my response was essentially like,
    ‘well, no kidding, I never said 100% of pastors victimize their congregations, but what about the percentage WHO DO?’

    This is a bit too much for me.

    I’ve been quibbling back and forth with Ed on this thread here over the CSA issue, (and over at SSB blog, and with a guy there named “Q”), both the last night and today, plus a person or two on this thread who were chewing me out at the same time.

  455. @ Ken F’s wife:

    Good comment. I agree with you; what you say has also been my experience. I have also noticed that people who are habitually trying to be a know it all do this with a lot of different kinds of people in a lot of different circumstances-not just men with women. They know better about almost everything than almost everybody they talk to. Once I watched an IT person with no medical knowledge whatsoever ‘explain’ to an MD specialist why he was right and the doc was wrong about something in the doc’s very own specialty. Weird thing to watch. Sometimes the expressions that people learn to use in argumentation such as ‘what do you mean by that’ and ‘what makes you think that’ can get the tirade toned down a bit because they did not start out actually wanting to furnish references for what they say.

  456. Ken F’s wife wrote:

    I wish that God would have given you somebody to encourage you the same way I was.

    Thank you. You and me both.

    My mother was very sweet but passive and raised me to be like that (she passed away a few years ago)

    The rest of my family is very negative, critical, and my big sister is very verbally abusive (I’ve pretty much cut ties with her over the last two years).

    My family is also very shaming – my father was shaming of us as kids, and my siblings (sister especially) picked up that tendency.

    I was told growing up by my family (mostly my dad) what all was wrong with me, down to nit picky details. Goodness knows I didn’t get any encouragement from any of them.

  457. Daisy wrote:

    I don’t recall having any problems with you on this site before.

    Are you the same guy as “Flag Ken” who used to post with a (I think it was) a German flag next to his name?

    Thanks for the clarification. I am not Flag Ken – I only started posting here last Spring.

    It’s possible that my experience is the exception. From my college days until now I’ve always been in a work environment with very stiff penalties for violating equal opportunity standards. I’ve never seen the kinds of abuse in the workplace that you describe. It could be because I am a man and therefore blind to it. But I don’t think so because of the types of very strong and vocal women I have worked with for so many years. Right now the women I work with are very competent and very vocal – men and women alike seem to have ample opportunity to be assertive. And if a man was to treat any of them like you were treated he would get hammered – both personally and professionally.

    I was not trying to imply that no men behave badly or that women do not get hurt by men. I was trying to point out the using such terms do more to stifle meaningful dialogue than to encourage it.

    A few times on this site I have suggested that there are some statistical differences between men and women, and every time I have done that has been a catastrophe. If it’s really true that genders are more alike than they are different and that individuals have more differences than genders do, why does it make sense to state that true statistical differences exist in this one case? That does not make sense to me. Also, if true, it would seem to support what complementarians suggest – innate differences between men and women that must be respected.

    Finally, here is an article I found very quickly just now that was written by a woman about this topic. It’s not the only one I’ve found – there are many: https://www.theguardian.com/media/mind-your-language/2015/feb/12/allow-me-to-explain-why-we-dont-need-words-like-mansplain.

    The bottom line is I think we can do better here than stoop to using such phrases.

  458. @ Daisy,
    So very sorry to hear all that… May the Lord help you heal up from all of that. The contempt of family members is one of the deepest pains I have ever felt…. it cuts like a knife and drains the marrow out of one’s bones. I am so very sorry that you had to endure all this….

  459. Bridget wrote:

    Oh, my! A Ken P. and a Ken F. Be careful.

    For sure, this has been one of the most bizarre threads in a long time.

  460. Ken F wrote:

    innate differences

    I think you’re missing the cultural ‘nurture’ side of things. Also, you can have ‘statistical differences’ in small numbers that are still not useful on an individual scale. Both of those things can be true. That’s how statistics work. But this is pretty far from topic.

    Nancy2 wrote:

    Ken P. wrote:
    Don’t forget catty,
    Eh, go ahead. Call me “catty”. Just think big. ……. ROOOAARRRRRR! ; ^ )

    Ha. Rowrrr!

  461. @ Ken F:

    I just find it a handy word to use a situation I’ve been in at times. I don’t even recall using it at this blog before today or last night or whenever that post was made.

    I think some differences between the sexes is due to socialization and culture, as opposed to all of them being in-born. Complementarians want to argue that all or most differenes are in-born and designed to be that way by God.

    I don’t fit the complementarian ideal of (or caricature of) womanhood, and I see a lot of men online who say they don’t fit the complementarian ideal of manhood.

  462. Lea wrote:

    Nancy2 wrote:

    Ken P. wrote:
    Don’t forget catty,
    Eh, go ahead. Call me “catty”. Just think big. ……. ROOOAARRRRRR! ; ^ )

    Ha. Rowrrr!

    Don’t worry ladies, I am not that dumb.

  463. Part the first:

    I notice some of you talking about the pastor as ‘spiritual advisor’ and various similar terms. I hear you saying stuff like even teaching is sort of like being a counselor and it may not be limited to the pastor, if I understand correctly. Believe me when I tell you that this idea is new to me and this is not how it used to be. I have tried to understand it, and I think it may be cultural also.

    Let me say it this way. Time was when in baptist circles the pastor was seen as pastor/teacher-all one thing. There was a lot of teaching going on, but teaching was not advising and much less counseling. Just like a math teacher does not advise the student regarding the quadratic formula. The biology teacher does not look at the frog in the dissection tray and advise the student that something could be understood in many ways but the teacher is advising that that thing could be understood to be the frog’s heart and advise the student of the value of writing that down on the lab quiz. Similarly back in the day teaching in church was not seen as advice but rather as religious education. Neither did we have in the culture a sea of advisors. Now we have advisors who will advise on nutrition, exercise, what movies to see, child rearing, vacation planning, interior design etc etc etc and now even vocabulary. So I am wondering if the role of the pastor being seen as advisor may have bled over from the culture. Have we become a nation of people who need to be advised what sort of t p to purchase? I am beginning to think so.

  464. Part the last:

    So somebody said if the pastor is not an advisor what is he? Well, depending on the particular tradition he may be the guy who does the marrying and burying, the person who knows the creeds and the prayers by heart, the person who is authorized to perform the sacraments, the person who has oversight administrative function and who is answerable to the hierarchy, the person on whose desk it stops when somebody has to be told ‘no’ for whatever reason, the person who not only does the homily but also teaches various topics let us say on week nights, and as happened today at our parish the person who calls from the ICU about a dying parishioner and asks the church to pray for the person. Best case scenario he has a family and has his own spiritual life and can serve as an example in those areas, and he can often be the person who is the ‘face’ of the parish to the community. There is more, but this is getting too long.

    So, I don’t know, but the idea that teaching is advising and/or counseling is something I just don’t see, and the idea of the preacher, much less his junior hirelings, as some sort of personal life coach is not really biblical as far as I can see.

  465. okrapod wrote:

    I hear you saying stuff like even teaching is sort of like being a counselor

    I don’t see those as the same personally. I think what makes someone vulnerable in counseling is sharing intimate details of their lives with someone, it creates an artificial closeness? And those things can be manipulated and used against them.

  466. Bill M wrote:

    For sure, this has been one of the most bizarre threads in a long time.

    Understated Bill M. Still though, the denizens here at TWW are to be commended for their tolerance and dialogue even when they disagree vehemently. You should see some locales, They blow up each other’s Mosques (figuratively speaking) over stuff like this.

  467. refugee wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    refugee wrote:
    Ed Chapman wrote:
    It then reverts back to the Bible which states to not commit adultery.
    So… I guess if neither the pastor nor the vulnerable woman he’s counseling are married, and he preys on her, and there’s no state statute that calls it abuse, then everything is hunky-dory, eh?
    Ed, I’m afraid such literal-mindedness smacks of Phariseeism, at the very least.
    Does the bible tell us to obey the magistrates or not? Does the bible not tell us to not commit fornication and adultery or not? Does the bible state that adulterers and fornicators do not inherit the kingdom of God or not?
    And that is in the New Test! But, seems that people want to dismiss the bible and create their own ethics.
    Ed

    You appear to me to be talking out of both sides of your mouth. In one breath, you say “there’s no law against it” and so, therefore… it’s okay? (except not in the biblical sense) And people shouldn’t be calling for action, or changes in the law?

    In another breath, you accuse people of dismissing the bible and not listening to the magistrates! But it seems to me that you don’t want to listen to the magistrates. Or you seem to see no point in working to pass new laws that will protect people in every state, not just the states that already have laws in place.

    Ed, you compartmentalize so much that I have trouble with your arguments, as above. Earlier, it seemed that you were advocating that as long as adultery was involved, you didn’t consider it abuse but rather to be dealt with as the sin of adultery. Then, later, you said that if a pastor had his counseling hat on, it was another matter. At least, I think that’s what you said, though by “another matter” were you allowing that to be called abuse (because it’s illegal for a counselor to prey on counselees?) or, again, were you insisting that it could not be abuse because it ought to be dealt with as sin?

    And when I challenged you about “only” adultery being the problem, because that’s what you seemed to be saying, you appeared to change the argument so you could bring fornication in.

    In any event, we live in a secular society with secular laws. Some of those laws may be based on the bible. But many are not. We do not live in a theocracy. It appears to me that your arguments only would work in theory in a theocratic setting. They are frustrating because they dance around the problem with fancy footwork, without truly addressing it.

    If I were to be uncharitable I would accuse you of thinking you were being cute. I will extend to you the benefit of the doubt and tell myself that you are sincere in your arguments. Bless your heart.

    Fornication is no longer against the law in places. Does that mean that someone in a perceived higher-power position cannot be termed abusive just because there’s no law against it? That seems to be what you are saying.

    And if there is no law against it, except for (perhaps) biblical law, and we do not live in a theocracy, then it seems as if you’re saying that it’s all hunky dory!

    Except (as you state) it’s against the bible… so there! So what? I don’t understand your point. Lots of people in our society do not recognize the bible as having any kind of power over them. Your “solution” is no solution at all, in a practical sense.

    Does the fact that God does not choose to act directly (sending lightning bolts down on fornicators) mean that no action should be taken, that we should just let abusers keep on abusing?

    I see no argument on your part that, other than condemning certain actions according to biblical precepts, something is wrong and some kind of action should be taken.

    (and I’m not talking about preaching to a predatory “pastor” about how what he’s doing is wrong. He already knows what the bible says about it, and still chooses to do it. He even probably preaches about it from the pulpit.)

    Sorry for the long comment. I find Ed’s arguments nonsensical, circular, and confusing. Maybe it’s just me.

    While it may appear that this is what I am doing, I am showing the comparison between God’s Laws, and when I say God’s Laws, I am stating the laws of Christ (Love God, Love People), and the laws of the land.

    In the Bible, there is no special law set apart for pastors that are not already set up for everyone else. We all fall under the same laws of Christ. Status does not matter. God is not a respecter of persons.

    So, what right do we have in adding laws to the laws of Christ? Are not his laws sufficient?

    Here is a parody:

    God, your laws are just not sufficient for us. We need additional laws in order to prevent people from disobeying your laws…so, we will invent a law that states if a pastor has sex with a congregant, we will call that sexual abuse. Your laws, God, does not protect anyone from abuse. We tried that love thing for a while, but it’s just not working.

    But the problem with that is, it’s an invented law by the church, not God, and not the law of the land that we are also told to obey.

    The law of the land does not consider clergy to be in a position of power, unless the counselor hat is on. I don’t care what Velour states in her interpretations. So, we cannot use that as a legal defense that a pastor has any power differential.

    Rape, molestation is a crime for everyone, not just clergy. Rape, molestation, and adultery is a sin for every Christian, not just pastors.

    No one has yet to convince me that in the case of TT that a victim even exists.

    The Pastor had sex with congregants. So what? That does not declare that the women are victims of sexual abuse. All it shows is that a Pastor slept with congregants. And yes, in spite of what Velour and Daisy and others state that the law states, those women can indeed consent to sex, because that counselor hat is not on.

    Bottom line, Pastors can have sex with congregants without it being sexual abuse.

    BUT, pastors cannot have sex with someone other than their spouse in the church, for that is a sin. But it is also a sin for the women who consented to have sex with said pastor, because there is no evidence that it was rape or molestation. Just because a pastor has sex with a congregant, that is not proof that it is sexual abuse.

    When it is stated that it is sex abuse when Clergy has sex with a congregant, no one can prove that from either a legal standpoint, or a biblical standpoint, therefore, there is no basis for that statement.

    Oh, sure, Daisy and others will quote tons of psychologists, etc., but there is a false narrative going around that pastors, by default, have power over congregants. That false narrative is what is giving a false credence that pastors have a power differential, using legal terms equating this to a medical professional, a teacher, a psychologist, etc. It’s simply not true.

    Respectfully,

    Ed

    PS. I hope this made sense, because people just don’t seem to get what I am saying, accusing me of victim blaming, but I am not victim blaming at all. Prove to me that there are victims, and I then will support the victims. Until then…

  468. siteseer wrote:

    Remember

    No, I don’t get offended that easily. It’s just been super overwhelming with all of the Ed Bashing that I have been experiencing these last few days.

    I’ve always supported victims on Julie Anne’s blog, so I am confused at the accusations being thrown at me that I am victim blaming.

    But, my detailed explanation is above in my response to refugee.

    Ed

  469. Velour wrote:

    Ed,

    Up the thread you blamed Kim for being sexually abused by her pastor and spiritually abused. You have said that she committed adultery.

    You have done similar to the case of Lourdes.

    Now Bridget apparently thinks Kim is to blame too?

    You people have ‘lost it’!!!

    The people that you are accusing are denying, showing that you are falsely accusing, proving that you are not credible in telling the truth.

    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor!

    Oh, I forgot…Old outdated Mosiac law!

    Ed

  470. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Oh, sure, Daisy and others will quote tons of psychologists, etc., but there is a false narrative going around that pastors, by default, have power over congregants. That false narrative is what is giving a false credence that pastors have a power differential, using legal terms equating this to a medical professional, a teacher, a psychologist, etc. It’s simply not true.

    Ed, if you go to the newest post here on the WBW, http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/10/05/update-on-lavonne-pfeil-the-little-old-lady-who-was-lied-about-and-thrown-out-of-her-church/ do you see how those pastors were able to destroy the lives of an elderly couple? This is power. It may not be biblical but it exists.

  471. Daisy wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    in the clergyman’s professional character as “spiritual adviser.
    Clergy alone does not cut the mustard. Clergy must be in the professional character as a spiritual advisor. That’s a caveat.

    A clergy person is a spiritual advisor. It’s who they are, what they do, and their role, and it’s how they are viewed by women in the pews.

    See also this post:
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/10/03/its-clergy-sex-abuse-not-an-affair/comment-page-1/#comment-287139

    Nope! I don’t care how it is viewed by women. It’s a false statement. The women need to be corrected in their understanding of it, because based on what Brad is posting, you also seem to dismiss the counselor hat in those as well, concluding that pastors are counselors by default.

    I have an advantage at reading laws, because of my Navy experience. One reason that I have the guts to challenge Velour, a person that states that they are “In Law”, and brags about it, too. I’m not impressed with how she has interpreted any laws in this regard.

    Ed

  472. siteseer wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    Oh, sure, Daisy and others will quote tons of psychologists, etc., but there is a false narrative going around that pastors, by default, have power over congregants. That false narrative is what is giving a false credence that pastors have a power differential, using legal terms equating this to a medical professional, a teacher, a psychologist, etc. It’s simply not true.

    Ed, if you go to the newest post here on the WBW, http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/10/05/update-on-lavonne-pfeil-the-little-old-lady-who-was-lied-about-and-thrown-out-of-her-church/ do you see how those pastors were able to destroy the lives of an elderly couple? This is power. It may not be biblical but it exists.

    Then go to another church! Do not consider that as power that they really don’t have. Dust your feet and go a mile up the road to a different church. My goodness. Your allegiance is to God, not the pastor. Your conscience is with God, not the pastor. If my pastor kicked me out of the church like that, I would thank God that he got me out of there, considering it a blessing. Stop being the victim and be the victory!

    Ed

  473. okrapod wrote:

    Time was when in baptist circles the pastor was seen as pastor/teacher-all one thing. There was a lot of teaching going on, but teaching was not advising and much less counseling.

    When the pastor is teaching, he/she is teaching on relationship with God, and this has a tendency for people to look to him/her as a guide or a shepherd in life issues and things relating to God. That is of a different character than teaching math or biology, I think.

    I’m not as old as you, Okrapod, but I don’t remember a time when people didn’t tend to place the pastor in the role of a shepherd and someone they looked up to. Before things got so impersonal as they are today, it would be common to call the pastor when there was a crisis, for support and guidance.

    I’d like to hear more of your perspective, how do you see the role of pastor? Have you always had the perspective you have now?

  474. Ed Chapman wrote:

    Then go to another church! Do not consider that as power that they really don’t have. Dust your feet and go a mile up the road to a different church. My goodness. Your allegiance is to God, not the pastor. Your conscience is with God, not the pastor. If my pastor kicked me out of the church like that, I would thank God that he got me out of there, considering it a blessing. Stop being the victim and be the victory!

    Ed, these people are elderly. They’ve lost all of their friends. When they go about town, people turn their backs and shun them. Did you note that they’d gone to that church for many years and the pastors came in and did this to them within around 2 years, then left?

    Have you ever been shunned? Believe me, it does not feel like any kind of blessing. It is so painful, it can have a profound affect on a person’s health.

    You can’t just replace lifelong friends, it takes a long time to do that. For an elderly person who may not be as mobile or active as they once were, they may never be able to make the same kind of connections again. If family is shunning you, there is no way to replace family.

    If your livelihood depended on people who are now shunning you, you can lose that, as well, as Shauna did and is still struggling to make ends meet and support herself and her son- http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/02/26/john-macarthur-and-9-marks-supporter-ken-ramey-of-lakeside-bible-church-has-a-disturbing-response-to-a-young-teens-rape/

    How do you define a victim? Does anyone fit your definition?

  475. siteseer wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    Then go to another church! Do not consider that as power that they really don’t have. Dust your feet and go a mile up the road to a different church. My goodness. Your allegiance is to God, not the pastor. Your conscience is with God, not the pastor. If my pastor kicked me out of the church like that, I would thank God that he got me out of there, considering it a blessing. Stop being the victim and be the victory!

    Ed, these people are elderly. They’ve lost all of their friends. When they go about town, people turn their backs and shun them. Did you note that they’d gone to that church for many years and the pastors came in and did this to them within around 2 years, then left?

    Have you ever been shunned? Believe me, it does not feel like any kind of blessing. It is so painful, it can have a profound affect on a person’s health.

    You can’t just replace lifelong friends, it takes a long time to do that. For an elderly person who may not be as mobile or active as they once were, they may never be able to make the same kind of connections again. If family is shunning you, there is no way to replace family.

    If your livelihood depended on people who are now shunning you, you can lose that, as well, as Shauna did and is still struggling to make ends meet and support herself and her son- http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/02/26/john-macarthur-and-9-marks-supporter-ken-ramey-of-lakeside-bible-church-has-a-disturbing-response-to-a-young-teens-rape/

    How do you define a victim? Does anyone fit your definition?

    Julie Anne was treated in about the same manner. Therefore, she took to posting negative comments about her own church on, what was it, Google? She did not sit in pity. She had the guts to stand up to a Goliath who in turn sued her for 1/2 million dollars.

    She is the victory!

    Ed

  476. siteseer wrote:

    Ed Chapman wrote:

    I have an advantage at reading laws

    Maybe it’s time to learn how to read hearts.

    I think that it’s time for wisdom and knowledge, myself. Reading hearts doesn’t solve the problem.

    Ed

    Ed

  477. Friend wrote:

    Ed and Daisy, what I note in Ed’s description of these few military marriages with a big gap between the spouses’ ranks is a whole lot of useful, clarifying rules. And again, in my view, churches also benefit from having sensible rules.

    The problem that I have with that is that church’s are not supposed to have a chain of command. The pastor is not the Commanding Officer, the Associate Pastor is not the Executive Officer, and the Elders are not the department heads, and we pew sitters are not the peon’s.

    Ed

  478. siteseer wrote:

    Do you get the sense that these issues are in a transitional state?

    I think a lot of things may be changing — such as removal of statute of limitations on filing charges on child abuse and sexual assault. That’s why in one comment above, I mentioned getting a historical snapshot of when various laws were enacted about clergy not being able to use consent as a defense in sexual misconduct cases. That gives us points to track to figure out if there is a trend happening over time.

    High-profile cases, often involving celebrities, is part of what has sparked some changes. For instance, the Penn State/Sandusky case in the US and the Jimmy Savile case in the UK that Nick Bulbeck mentioned. Around the same time, there was the case with the Boy Scouts opening their files about pedophiles and child sexual abuse, and the Sovereign Grace Ministries case with Nathan Morales. And the movie *Spotlight* seems to have amplified the momentum to address systems that cover-up abuse.

  479. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    And the movie *Spotlight* seems to have amplified the momentum to address systems that cover-up abuse.

    Yes. ‘Spotlight’ is a powerful, moving film. I urge anyone who has not seen it to watch it (it’s on Netflix). It is not an ‘anti-Catholic’ film. It is an anti-abuse, anti-cover up, and anti mis-use of power film. And it’s lessons carry over to other denominations in what can happen when abusers are allowed to move to other areas of the Church where they continue their predatory ways.

    It should be required watching for ALL clergy in all denominations where children are served and are in need of protection from abuse.

  480. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    And the movie *Spotlight* seems to have amplified the momentum to address systems that cover-up abuse

    So encouraging. I hope I get to live long enough to see every state protect people from the perceived “spiritual leaders”.

  481. @ Velour:

    I couldn’t find some notes I (thought I) had. The previous comment was the essence. Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator helps us consider aspects of personality (E/I – extrovert; introvert), how we take and process information (S/N – concretely thru the senses; intuitively/abstractly by reading between the lines), whether we more thinky or feeling (T/F) in our internal processing, and decision making and whether we want quick closure (J – judge) or keep things open as long as possible (P – perceive).

    The MMPI-2 — Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory — is used more for detecting tendencies toward significant character disorders and behavior problems.

    In developing assessment tools, my guiding statement is, “The way we ask the question preconditions the answer.” The MBTI is geared to search for information on how someone processes life. The MMPI is geared to search for information that goes far deeper into potential psychopathology — how those ways of processing life and responding reflect severely damaged views that will typically lead to harming others.

    Given that religion is consistently in the top 10 professions that those with narcissistic and sociopathic behaviors seek out, the MBTI won’t provide much help in identifying those who would misuse their ministry position to benefit themselves at the expense of others. [Narcissism and sociopathology are core to authoritarianism and spiritual abuse.]

    Seminary, leadership and ministry training programs, church planter candidate assessments — these are gateway points where probable (or actual) malignant ministry workers can be identified and prevented from gaining access to positions where they’ll manipulate people and systems for their own gain. But, these are typically where there is an MBTI assessment instead of an MMPI-2 evaluation.

    There is a potential team of people who’ve been connecting behind the scenes who are interested in completely revising the standard church planter candidate assessment process. If that works out, I suspect there will be some kind of rigorous assessment tool required, like MMPI-2 plus extended in-person interviews with someone certified to use it. This change could save the Church a huge amount of grief from personal damaged caused by spiritually abusive ministers, and prevent loss of resources and reputation for churches.

  482. Prior to attending the church I was abused in my husband and I were part of a church plant down the street. We worked tirelessly for 7 years. We grew from 25 to 1000. That pastor was caught having sex with many female counselees. I didn’t understand and blamed the women for it. As to why I don’t judge those who feel it was all my fault. We escaped to my abusing church. We believed what they told us about the church being a mess because of a group of church people. They had us convinced the pastor and elders were being persecuted without reason. Having been hurt so bad by a “bad pastor” we flew into savior mode to save these good leaders. The damage done by a pastor in our previous church set us up a bit in hindsight. My husband and I were used because of our willingness to sacrifice all for what we thought was for God. I gave up a job that paid $80,000 a year to work 60+ hours for $6000.00 as a worship leader, My husband quit growing his high paying secular career to pursue ministry. Thus, my excuriatihg brokenness, spiritual breakdown and eventual rebellion and hatred of God. We served in church under sexual predators for 15 years. After all of it we found out my abusing church’s prior pastor had hid out at our church plant due to some sexual thing as is reported in the community. He had come back while we we working at his old church. He was reinstated as an elder after I forced my pastor to resign. The first pastor at the plant recently was given a senior pastor position in a nearby town. He is now divorced and all kids are grown up. Scary. My abuser now occupies the spot the prior pastor did for 5 years in the back row. I fear he is waiting his turn to get back into leadership. This is how bad things get when there are no laws. This how bad it gets when pastors can blame their bad abuses on their flock and convince the other sheep to join them in assigning responsibility to the damaged. It is safer outside of these crazy places. I will serve God the rest of my life outside of the church. It is safer and I will never be able to feel safe or trust again. No one needs to add something so potentially devastating to their lives. We need to seek safe and encouraging places to reach the prize we run for. I love God. That is all.

  483. Ed Chapman wrote:

    The problem that I have with that is that church’s are not supposed to have a chain of command. The pastor is not the Commanding Officer, the Associate Pastor is not the Executive Officer, and the Elders are not the department heads, and we pew sitters are not the peon’s.

    Ed

    I agree with you that the church should not have a command structure, while stipulating that unfortunately this isn’t the reality in many churches. In Ephesians 5 and 6 Paul acknowledges social strata as part of the places where Paul traveled, mentioning God’s impartiality as something that happens in the hereafter.

    In most churches I’ve attended, there are decision makers, and if they disagree with me, I lose. The only exception is Friends meetings, which use consensus.

    But here’s my problem with the whole question of whether clergy should be allowed to have romantic relationships that steer clear of adultery or fornication. You seem to think this might be permissible under some circumstances. I disagree, even though I’ve actually seen such a situation work out well. Why does there seem to be no neo-Cal or YRR training of clergymen in how they should conduct themselves with church members? Sure, we can say they ought to read their Bibles, but these guys are constantly going to conferences to get new-n-improved training about leadership and how to be a man. The Bible has lots of stories about men, and yet the manhood seminars proliferate. Leadership is extra-Biblical but somehow considered a good clergy training topic. Why isn’t there a seminar about keeping clergy hands off the women and children? Why isn’t there instruction on frugality, so the tithes and offerings go to the poor instead of clergy mansions? Why not an hour or two about sobriety? The conferences seem to be about what the “anointed” want, rather than about the problems they sometimes cause or face, or about the needs of the folks in the pews.

  484. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    This change could save the Church a huge amount of grief from personal damaged caused by spiritually abusive ministers, and prevent loss of resources and reputation for churches.

    That comment of yours is a super great explanation. Really good. This ISTJ gets it. (Sorry. I could not resist.)

    It surely seems that testing might help, but unless the church/denomination has some system by which those who slip through the cracks can be removed from their position which they have abused this idea of pre-identifying potential misfits can only go so far toward solving the problems.

    We all know that various systems have different structures and different methods, and I only have personal experience with two different kinds of church structures, so I am no qualified to say much about this. I have seen a church fall completely apart under the ole timey baptist autonomous local church system, and I have been in a self-destructing methodist church which had to call in the denominational hierarchy to try to solve it It was a mess either way. So I am not preaching this system vs that system. I do think, however, that there will be people who slip through the cracks and they must be dealt with some way. And let me say, psych has its limits as all things do and systems have their limits, so I would not personally put all my eggs in any psych basket however promising the results nor in any system. It is just a start-not a comprehensive answer.

  485. @ Kim rung:

    Kim, there was a study (I believe it was limited to evangelical type churches, so not mainlines maybe) that said 30-40% were had one or more relationships like this with parishioners (I don’t think it was broken out by counseling/not though). Which I find alarming! How common is all of this?

    Something is amiss.

  486. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    If that works out, I suspect there will be some kind of rigorous assessment tool required, like MMPI-2 plus extended in-person interviews with someone certified to use it.

    I think that would be wonderful! Myers Briggs is not useful for screening these sorts of issues.

  487. Kim rung wrote:

    My abuser now occupies the spot the prior pastor did for 5 years in the back row. I fear he is waiting his turn to get back into leadership. This is how bad things get when there are no laws. This how bad it gets when pastors can blame their bad abuses on their flock and convince the other sheep to join them in assigning responsibility to the damaged. It is safer outside of these crazy places. I will serve God the rest of my life outside of the church. It is safer and I will never be able to feel safe or trust again. No one needs to add something so potentially devastating to their lives. We need to seek safe and encouraging places to reach the prize we run for. I love God. That is all.

    What a powerful witness. I appreciate your strength in sharing such a heartbreaking story. And you’re right: church is optional, no matter how many ways we are told otherwise. The more time I spend on TWW, the more I appreciate basic human decency–wherever it’s found–and the rule of law, which confers rights that Christians are sometimes urged to abandon.

  488. It is the perfect profession to pick up ladies and feed a narcissist. Women automatically trust your level of commitment to the Lord and tell you some of the most painful things of their lives…………like, what better way of worming your way into her marriage, life’s disappointments and vulnerabilities. It is the perfect set up. Then if you choose to take the money you are being paid to be a spiritual leader and actually do the opposite you are being paid to do…..bingo ….the perfect storm for people to be damaged. Then the pastor exonerated by grace. Not many other if any other helping professions have such amazing perks and loopholes to serve the narcissist. Church is not safe as it currently stands. I pray that changes.Lea wrote:

    Kim, there was a study (I believe it was limited to evangelical type churches, so not mainlines maybe) that said 30-40% were had one or more relationships like this with parishioners (I don’t think it was broken out by counseling/not though). Which I find alarming! How common is all of this?

    Something is amiss.

  489. @ okrapod:

    You make a lotta good points, okrapod. I agree — what good is it to do this kind of in-depth assessment, if there aren’t systems in place with people who understand what it means and who can/will act on the information to protect people in the system?

    I also see psychological assessments as a one tool as part of a broader set to use in gathering information, discerning, and deciding what to do. One reason we Christians need tools like this is that there is so little understanding about the dynamics of malignant leaders, the tactics they use in conditioning people to be stuck in systems that benefit the leaders, how the strategies and structures they put in place in organizations can outlast their tenure. Basically, if seminaries and training programs etc. already knew about “sociopathology,” we would not have survivor blogs because there would be systems in place to prevent such leaders from slipping into the system, and to intervene if they did and remove them.

  490. Friend wrote:

    In most churches I’ve attended, there are decision makers, and if they disagree with me, I lose.

    Yes. Me too. May I add that this is how people are in all areas. There are always alpha people who rule. The alpha people play the card they have, be it a dominant personality or be it that have become high priests to a greater god (knowledge or money or political power or connections or whatever) which other people acknowledge as a greater god. These structures change and are not static. Example: During my working lifetime I lived through the transition of the medical profession from a knowledge based hierarchy to a money based hierarchy. Much has been written about this and it is very real at all levels. Now I think I am seeing churches which are transitioning to an authoritative preacher and his hierarchical minions instead of the ‘greater god’ of either congregational rule or the rule of scripture or the rule of denominational history/ teachings/ hierarchy.

    But there is alway a power structure. People apparently need a power structure. This is part of the current advice to call the cops and change the laws. People seem to be saying to get somebody with some authority/power greater than the local preacher to solve this. Humans are hierarchical; we look for and follow power. Left to our own devices we form ever changing hierarchies but we do not tolerate chaos and lawlessness too well. We look for a ‘strong man’ to solve it, a greek hero god or a prophet of old or a politician or organizer or even for crying out loud some hollywood personality. This surely must have some survival value-like people are safer in a group than as an individual. But whatever, we do group together and strong people do rise to the top of the group.

  491. okrapod wrote:

    Part the first:

    I notice some of you talking about the pastor as ‘spiritual advisor’ and various similar terms. I hear you saying stuff like even teaching is sort of like being a counselor and it may not be limited to the pastor, if I understand correctly. Believe me when I tell you that this idea is new to me and this is not how it used to be. I have tried to understand it, and I think it may be cultural also.

    I wanted to respond to Part 1 and 2 that you posted earlier, okrapod. In a prior comment of mine (link below), I talked about how those who teach-preach-lead could be seen as “giving counsel,” even if it is not formal “counseling.” This would potentially put them in the counselor category on sexual misconduct that is covered by more states than is clergy misconduct.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/10/03/its-clergy-sex-abuse-not-an-affair/comment-page-1/#comment-287132

    Anyway, I realized last night that my earlier statement may have come across as odd. There was a lot of context I left out, so I thought I’d add some of that part about how changes in *some* paradigms of doing church could be seen as altering the essence of what it means to be “clergy.”

    Caveat: This is descriptive, not prescriptive. I don’t see pastor-teachers as advisors, directors, semi-counselors (or as CEOs of the church non-profit) as the way things should be. But rather it was an observation on some of the ways things have shifted in churches – and how they can become set-ups for spiritual abuse or, as implied in that earlier comment, clergy sexual misconduct.

    A couple of trends:

    In a significant portion of evangelicalism, there’s been a paradigm shift from exegetical and theological teaching aimed at equipping disciples, to seeker-sensitive teaching aimed at evangelizing non-Christians. And seeker-sensitive teaching often ends up being a lot like recovery/self-help material – just with a Jesus-ish sort of a framework. Also, in that kind of church model, since the target audience of sermons ended up being non-Christians instead of Christians, the tone is more about being persuasive, influencing, and “advising” instead of being authoritative, obedience-oriented, and challenging.

    The shift to community groups is another part of the changes in methodologies for doing church. I have nothing against small groups – good groups function as real “church” for many people. However, we have seen in cases of spiritually abusive churches and movements, where small groups expect deep confession as part of the supposed obedience as a disciple.

    We need to keep in mind that radical confession of all sins and secrets like we hear happening in such groups is not all that different from confession used during Mao’s Cultural Revolution as a technique of “totalist control” of thinking – i.e., “brainwashing.” People are pressured by leaders to reveal things that make them vulnerable. (Think about how that flips the script inside out: If we were truly vulnerable, we’d reveal what’s necessary as a part of transparency and wouldn’t need to be pressured by external sources to do so because the Spirit is working internally already. The flipped script also puts leaders into the role of the Holy Spirit, doesn’t it?)

    What used to be a function of one-to-one counseling whereby an individual would reveal such things to someone trained to discern and help them, has been turned into a group “support” function that can easily devolve into shaming to keep people in line and under control. I’ve been in support groups, run by peers, and also in therapy groups, run by a licensed counselor. What some of these off-base church groups do is the equivalent of running a therapy group where people’s deep stuff is exposed – but they’re led by amateurs. And haven’t some of the case studies in church discipline the past few years shown how much this is a set-up for deep damage?

    Also, in a strictly hierarchical church model, those who “lead” the community groups typically meet regularly with supervising staff. Do you think that the issues which people confess in those groups remain confidential? According to some of the membership covenants we have seen here on TWW, members sign over those rights to the church, letting leaders share whatever they know in order to “push” people toward “care.”

    Could we not argue that this changes the essential nature of what it means to be a “pastor” or other “leader” in a “position of authority” in churches that have such a paradigm? The leaders now have access to the kind of sensitive “counseling” information about individuals that could be exploited … say, even for the purposes of sexual seduction. And the reason behind many laws against counselor-client sexual involvement is that the counselor can take advantage of weaknesses and vulnerabilities the client has. But in these kinds of churches, “pastors” can know such information about individuals, passed on by group leaders – and without ever directly “counseling” anyone.

    Also, in an authoritarian church hierarchy, authority is supposedly used to direct people in ways that will cause “growth.” (Granted, those victimized by such systems would likely term it “behavior modification” instead of “growth.”) This is not really counseling or therapy in the traditional sense, but these authoritarian directives typically address many of the same deeply personal issues that counseling does.

    So, FWIW, that was some of the backdrop behind my earlier comment on changes in the nature of the profile of “pastor,” and how that can be used as grooming for spiritual abuse or for sexual seduction.

  492. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    But in these kinds of churches, “pastors” can know such information about individuals, passed on by group leaders – and without ever directly “counseling” anyone.

    Right you are. The foxes are in the henhouse, and they know which hens are least likely to try to fight them off.

    As you and Okrapod have noted, it would be better to identify the foxes before they are ordained and ushered into the henhouse. Psych evaluations can help, as well as clear steps for removing toxic clergy. I think that the whole ordination process should be lengthy, tedious and humbling, with ample scrutiny, a rigorous educational curriculum that develops critical thinking skills and Biblical scholarship, and a requirement to serve the poor, the imprisoned, the sick, et al., all with lots of oversight, assessments, and nosy questions. For the duration of ministry, there should be regular mandatory training. There should be anonymous surveys of church members. There should be a fraud, waste, and abuse hotline.

  493. @ brad/futuristguy:

    Oh my goodness. Yes, I see what you are saying. I do agree, now that I see what you are saying, that small group stuff and confess/tell all stuff are straight out of some would be counseling idea. So yes, I get it and thanks for explaining.

    I have been thinking how on earth could somebody fall for this (since I have never seen it in action) and then you used the word ‘seeker’ so I am thinking oh dear goodness. That must be it. This is a heap worse in my opinion than the old fundamentalist approach of grab them by the shoulder, wrestle them to the ground all the while crying ‘die or fry’ and ‘turn or burn’. To insinuate oneself into the unguarded areas of somebody’s thoughts and then manipulate that position to their damage and perhaps destruction all the while calling it what–evangelization?-I think I might throw up or something.

    Bless you for the work you are doing. You are doing a good thing.

  494. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    What some of these off-base church groups do is the equivalent of running a therapy group where people’s deep stuff is exposed – but they’re led by amateurs.

    This is a very interesting way of looking at it. We had ‘home groups’ when I was a kid growing up, but I think they functioned more like bible studies with food so I always had good associations with them. Sunday school at somebody’s house. This kind of therapy/tell us your sins small group is a very different thing.

    Group therapy can be very helpful precisely because of the social aspect, but there are expectations in therapy of confidentiality that apparently don’t exist in church. The impact of getting kicked out of what is essentially your group therapy and church and shunned by all your ‘friends’ at the same time would understandably be incredibly damaging.

  495. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    And haven’t some of the case studies in church discipline the past few years shown how much this is a set-up for deep damage?

    I don’t know that I’ve really seen any specifics on small group issues and how they might contribute overall (besides things like youth pastors preying on girls in youth group).

  496. okrapod wrote:

    This surely must have some survival value-like people are safer in a group than as an individual. But whatever, we do group together and strong people do rise to the top of the group.

    That’s what I have always appreciated about the Religious Society of Friends. The simple consensus-based structure allows for every voice to speak, and in worship encourages people to hear in each voice the message of God. The lack of clergy in silent meetings has a wondrous leveling effect! I’m not an exemplary pacifist, though, so a Friends meeting would not be a good ethical choice for me to make as a home.

  497. Friend wrote:

    You seem to think this might be permissible under some circumstances. I disagree

    I never said that. In a church setting only, it is not allowed for anyone. What goes on in the secular world is not my concern here. In the secular world, it’s allowed. Not in the church. And that goes for anyone in the church, not just the pastor.

    But, in those cases, refer to 1 Cor 7.

    I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, I am not now, nor have I ever been a Calvinist, nor have I ever subscribed to any type of Calvinist doctrines or beliefs, let alone what is now known as NEOCal.

    And once I saw the strange beliefs of Calvinists, without that NEO caveat, I saw immediate abuse in those doctrines, and that is why I am here on a few different Spiritual Abuse blogs.

    In my very strong opinion, Calvinism is the cause of the abuse, therefore, I advise everyone to leave Calvinism. Only problem with that advice, not many are listening, thinking that there is still some sort of credence to their doctrines, but that they are just going about it the wrong way. My response to that: No, it’s the doctrines. All the NEO’s have done is to double down.

    Ed

    Ed