Highpoint Church Memphis Has a Convicted Statutory Rapist Leading Worship

“And let's stop calling them "sex offenders," as if their crimes had anything to do with sex. (Perhaps Jeffry Dahmer was a "food offender.")” ― Mike Lew link

D. Sharon Pruitt from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, USA
USAF

Last week, I spoke with Jim Pritchard, the Administrative Pastor of Highpoint Church Memphis, regarding their association with Scott Payne, former pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church and The Church at Schilling Farms. I then wrote a series of posts on three victims of sexual predator here, here, here, here, and here. All of these posts were done in conjunction with Amy Smith of Watch Keep.

Pastor Pritchard told me that any instance of child sex abuse is a crime and it should be reported to the authorities. He then stated that the church wanted to bring healing to the victims and felt this could be accomplished by being reconciled with Scott Payne. This was not the intent of the victims and they expressed this in their responses.

However, there was a part of that conversation that kept niggling at the back of my mind. He also said, seemingly out of nowhere, that God could forgive anybody, even a pedophile and that God loves them and can heal them. I remember thinking, "Where  did that come from?" and chalked it up to anxiety about the subject matter.

Yesterday, this conversation came back to me when I learned from Amy Smith and the three victims that Highpoint Church Memphis has a man who helps lead worship who was convicted of aggravated statutory rape in 2009 and is on the registered sex offender's list.

Amy Smith posted the following proof.

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-3-43-11-pm

You can find this following information here as well as here and here.

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In an email sent from Highpoint Memphis, you can see him on stage. (He is 5th from the left.)

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-3-48-55-pm

I placed another phone call to the church and once again spoke with Pastor Jim Pritchard. I asked him if he would like to make a comment about having a man convicted of aggravated statutory rape lead music. He told that he would not be making a comment at this time. I then offered to send him the supporting documents. He said the church would be able to get them "if they needed to."

I am now left wondering of Pastor Pritchard was concerned that I might learn of this situation when he originally spoke to me. If that is so, let me respond.

  • God will forgive anybody who is truly repentant.
  • Love the repentant pedophile/rapist but love the victims and the potential victims first. 
  • This sort of crime has lifelong consequences for the victims. Boundaries and safeguards must be put into place.
  • Completely trusting the pedophile/rapist in this situation is stupid. You have no idea what is really going on in his life, no matter what he says.
  • Pedophilia/Rape is a behavior which is difficult to stop and has a high recidivism rate. Your children are at risk
  • If the entire church has not been informed of this situation, do.so.now!
  • A truly repentant pedophile/rapist would want the entire church and community to know about his problem in order to keep children safe.
  • Highpoint needs to consult Boz Tchividjian (Billy Graham's grandson) at G.R.A.C.E. for help in safely dealing with this matter.
  • Church and staff members, get this information out to the attendees if your pastors will not do so. 
  • Has the church ever prayed for the victim of Timothy Heinz?

TWW and Watch Keep have been writing about child sex abuse and the poor responses of churches for over 7 years. It is beyond imagining why any church leader would attempt to keep the presence of a sex offender in church a secret. Why is the protection of a pedophile more important than protecting the children who are the potential victims? 



Here is an update on the previous situation.

Update from Highpoint Church.

Q & A

(Dated November 18, 2016)

First and foremost, we are saddened by the hurt that the victims of this abuse have experienced. We applaud them for courageously sharing their stories, and we encourage anyone who has suffered abuse from the perpetrator in this, or any other, situation to contact law enforcement immediately.

As Dr. Payne has said in his public statements, it is tragic that the church and every adult involved did not handle this situation appropriately almost 20 years ago. Any situation involving suspected child abuse should have been communicated to law enforcement, appropriate steps should have been taken to make sure it did not happen again, and the innocent victims should have received the proper support and counseling. We are distressed that such action was not taken. Highpoint has always been a church committed to helping the hurting, and our hearts and prayers go out to these victims, their families, and so many who have suffered. We welcome and encourage anyone who suffered abuse related to this situation to contact Highpoint Church at the email below, or at 901-207-1213, in order for us to help.

Over the last week or so, there has been a lot of information published on blogs, social media, and TV news outlets about the heartbreaking events that happened almost 20 years ago. Some of that information is accurate, some is not; some of it is a genuine attempt to provide truth in context, some is not. It is our desire to answer some questions that have arisen from our church family as a result of this horrible event.

Since Highpoint did not exist when this abuse took place, what was Highpoint’s response upon finding out about the situation in the fall of 2015?

Highpoint Church was discussing a merger with The Church at Schilling Farms before we had any knowledge that any abuse had taken place. During those discussions but before any agreement had been finalized, Dr. Scott Payne shared Michael Hansen’s letter of October 13, 2015, with the leaders of Highpoint Church in mid-November. This was the first information that Highpoint had received of any aspect of this situation. Mr. Hansen’s letter was specifically directed to Dr. Payne, referencing the issues regarding his understanding of how Dr. Payne had or had not handled the situation.

Pastor Chris Conlee attempted to pursue biblical guidance to bring Mr. Hansen, the other men, and Dr. Scott Payne to discussion and mediation as referenced in Mr. Hansen’s letter, with the ultimate goal of healing. During that process, he had a personal meeting, as well as several phone conversations, with Mr. Kenny Stubblefield, and a conference call with all three men to work toward a meeting with them and Dr. Payne. In addition to those conversations, Pastor Conlee had numerous discussions and meetings with Dr. Payne. All of this was done for the purpose of getting the parties together to start a process of mediation and healing.

However, in the midst of this effort, Chris Conlee and Highpoint Church received a letter, dated January 8, 2016, from a prominent trial lawyer in Memphis who had successfully litigated cases involving sexual molestation in the past. His letter stated that he and another named attorney were now representing the “group of men that were sexually assaulted by a youth pastor/intern at Immanuel Baptist Church.” He also indicated that all further contact was to be with him, rather than the victims. Upon receipt of this letter from the attorney, Highpoint Church had no choice but to cease all further communications with the victims. We then engaged our own attorney who reached out to the victims’ attorney, and the remainder of the communication was conducted between the two attorneys.  Our understanding of the situation was that we were facing potential civil action, and in order to protect the church, we refrained from any further communication with the victims.  We had no choice but to back away from any involvement, including the original merger plan, based upon the men’s desire to place this in the hands of an attorney. After almost a year went by, our attorney contacted the victims’ attorney and learned he was no longer representing them.

Why did Highpoint not report this abuse to the authorities upon finding out about it?

When we learned of this abuse, the victims were adults. Based upon previous experience of working with adults who are dealing with prior child sexual abuse situations, we know that the authorities will only act if they are dealing with the adult who was abused as a child. Moreover, we felt it would be an invasion of their privacy for us to report this without their permission, especially after receiving the letter from their attorney.

Originally, the plan was for the two churches to merge. Why did that change? 

When we learned of the situation regarding the alleged sexual abuse, we had to alter the plans and timetable for the merger as it was originally planned. We certainly did not want to be sued over something that happened before our church came into existence. While our attorneys advised us there was doubtful legal basis to hold us accountable for these actions, we did not want to risk being named in a lawsuit.

As we worked through the legal issues, the elders at The Church at Schilling Farms and Highpoint executed a lease and future purchase agreement on the facilities instead of moving forward with the merger at that time. On January 10, 2016, Highpoint Church conducted its first service in the newly leased facility and the former members of The Church at Schilling Farms and Highpoint Church joined in worship and ministry. It remains our plan to purchase this property if and when all the legal complications are resolved.

Some have criticized us for remaining quiet about this matter and the decision to move away from a merger. Given the sensitive nature of the allegations and the potential that a lawsuit could be filed, we felt it best not to publicize anything that could create additional complications. Since this entire situation has now been made public outside our control, we wanted to provide our church family with all the facts.

What happens now?

As we grieve with the victims, we pray for healing for those affected by this tragic situation, and encourage anybody who has suffered any kind of abuse to reach out to the authorities. We continue to believe that the Church should be a safe place and dedicated to protecting our children, students, and entire church family. We welcome the hurting and remain committed to offering hope and healing in a broken world.

If you have any questions, please contact Jim Pritchard.



Here is the response to this updated statement by Michael Hansen on Facebook.

11/18/16

This morning Highpoint Church/ Highpoint Church released an updated version of its statement (https://goo.gl/F67uKI) regarding sexual abuse that happened at Immanuel Baptist Church (now "The Church at Schilling Farms"). I took the liberty of correcting the updated statement below. They had an opportunity to be our partner in this. They had a chance to be on our side and to help us get the answers we needed in order to finally, at long last, receive justice. They've opted not to do that — instead engaging in protectionist behaviors and feigning interest in healing, something I've never asked for from them. 

They're a part of this story because they merged with The Church at Schilling Farms *after* learning about the abuse from a letter I wrote to its pastor, Scott Payne. Now, whether this was a legal merger of two business entities or merely a real estate deal between them is not the point. But they do need to answer questions transparently and publicly about this, because: (1) their own website called the arrangement a merger until at least Dec. 28, 2015; (2) Teaching Pastor Andy Savage called it a merger on Nov. 22, 2015 in an announcement from the pulpit wherein he said "nothing sinister is going on" despite having read my allegations and questions; and (3) Highpoint Church merged their membership rosters (and even combined their HP Collierville Facebook page with The Church at Schilling Farms' account). 

Also, it's worth asking whether or not the merger renegotiation was about even more than simply protecting the institution of the church, which Highpoint has now point blank confessed to: was my pain and suffering used as leverage for you to get a better deal?

I also want to emphasize that they knew from the very beginning that we had been working with attorneys. There seems to be an attempt to question our motives by harping on us having obtained legal representation. An artful smear, so to speak, and I'll have none of it. 

So here's the deal: On a phone call with Pastor Chris Conlee regarding mediation (not "pastoral guidance," something as an atheist I neither want nor need) — a phone call that we agreed to in spite of the advice of our counsel — I expressed emphatically that any mediation would take place with our attorneys present because we, as victims, had no desire to be victimized all over again. What is so complicated about that? It was on this same phone call that Mr. Conlee conveyed his confused theology that sometimes one person's truth is different from another — meaning that our truth may not match Scott Payne's, but that they're both true. Huh?

You had a chance, Highpoint, to be our partner in tackling the epidemic of child sexual abuse that is happening to this day in the Christian Church. You had a chance to shine a spotlight on Chris Carwile's abuse and the Church's systemic failure. You had a chance to collaborate with us on reform, both internal and within the law, to ensure justice for victims. 

Instead, your stance has been ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Let me say this clearly: You blew it.

Comments

Highpoint Church Memphis Has a Convicted Statutory Rapist Leading Worship — 155 Comments

  1. I feel like many churches are currently infected with a complete and utter lack of sense. As if you can’t find somebody else to play a guitar!!!

    Sidenote, did I really get first and second this far apart? Wow.

  2. “He also said, seemingly out of nowhere, that God could forgive anybody, even a pedophile and that God loves them and can heal them. I remember thinking, ‘Where did that come from?’ and chalked it up to anxiety about the subject matter.”

    According to this site his victim was 13-17 years old: http://statelaws.findlaw.com/tennessee-law/tennessee-rape-and-sexual-assault-laws.html. In a thread about a month ago someone pointed out that pedophiles are attracted to children less than 13 (that distinction surprised me because at the time I read it). It’s therefore apparently inaccurate to call him a pedophile, but it’s still something that the congregation needs to know about. Maybe there is even more going on in the church than just this particular case?

  3. Lea wrote:

    I feel like many churches are currently infected with a complete and utter lack of sense. As if you can’t find somebody else to play a guitar!!!
    Sidenote, did I really get first and second this far apart? Wow.

    After being on a church staff, well, in the 1970s now, it seems the ” lack of sense ” has not changed any in the Evagelical church….and to be honest, I am not surprised. ( Sadly)

  4. Ken F wrote:

    “He also said, seemingly out of nowhere, that God could forgive anybody, even a pedophile and that God loves them and can heal them. I remember thinking, ‘Where did that come from?’ and chalked it up to anxiety about the subject matter.”

    According to this site his victim was 13-17 years old: http://statelaws.findlaw.com/tennessee-law/tennessee-rape-and-sexual-assault-laws.html. In a thread about a month ago someone pointed out that pedophiles are attracted to children less than 13 (that distinction surprised me because at the time I read it). It’s therefore apparently inaccurate to call him a pedophile, but it’s still something that the congregation needs to know about. Maybe there is even more going on in the church than just this particular case?

    And according to the above website, the perpetrator of aggravated statutory rape is 10 yrs older than the victim.

  5. “He then stated that the church wanted to bring healing to the victims and felt this could be accomplished by being reconciled with Scott Payne.”

    Go and learn what “bringing healing to the victims” actually entails in real life.

    “Reconciliation” does not heal the effects of sexual or any abuse trauma.

  6. Ken F wrote:

    “He also said, seemingly out of nowhere, that God could forgive anybody, even a pedophile

    Forgiving and forgetting are not the same thing. Forgiving a horrendous crime does not mean giving the criminal countless opportunities to commit the crime on more victims. They don’t seem to be able to make any distinction.

  7. @ trs:
    these pastors have got the horrifically abusive attacks of a predator on a victim mixed up with a reasonably healthy relationship that is within normal limits and suffers a break where reconciliation is possible

    that kind of makes sense that the pastor would get confused because in neo-Cal world, the relationship between a husband and his wife can be brutally humiliating for the wife who is ‘disciplined’ if she fails to be properly submissive

    that male headship thing is a sick model to start with ….. throw in a paedophile or a sex offender into the Church environment together with a pastor who doesn’t know from healthy and who doesn’t know to report abuse: what do you get????

    a tragedy of errors

  8. Ken F wrote:

    In a thread about a month ago someone pointed out that pedophiles are attracted to children less than 13 (that distinction surprised me because at the time I read it).

    Yeah, i hate to be pedantic about these sorts of things, but I believe the distinction is mostly meant to be between prepubescent and puberty but too young by society standards? Of course, these days children are going through puberty very very young too (like 10) which kind of makes things harder to define since we have this sort of teenager/not teenager line.

    I looked up the aggravated statutory charge and it says the child was between 13 and 17, with him being 10 years or more older. Would be scarier on the younger end of things, to me.

  9. Highpoint merged with Schilling Farms, period. Trying to act like this was just a lease and not a merger once allegations became public is a flat out lie. Plenty of people attended the merger service and received communication regarding the “one big family” Highpoint became when they merged with Schilling Farms. Conlee’s only involvement with the victims should have been to express his sympathies for what they endured and he should have urged them to contact authorities immediately since the perp could still be molesting other children. And it appears they’re aware that they currently have a registered sex offender on staff, but have yet to contact the congregation with an explanation. This whole scenario is enough to turn me away from organized religion. Keep your “pastoral guidance.” I’ll read the Bible, pray, and give to the less fortunate from the comfort of my home where my children are safe. Deepest sympathies for the victims.

  10. Good Lord, close Highpoint down, along with their affiliated “ministries”! Enough is enough!!

  11. Naturally, Pritchard didn’t even touch on the subject of Payne’s horrible victim-blaming statement regarding Michael Hansen, and how he must have wanted to be abused (*retch*). Perhaps Conlee convinced him that it’s one of those “relative truth” thingies?

  12. The organized church has become a safe place for demons to hide. There is very little discernment, along with not enough common sense to vet church staff … something as simple as checking a State’s sex offender list! Can Jesus forgive such sin for those who truly repent? Certainly! Should they be in ministry? Absolutely not!

  13. Somewhat off topic, but… what exactly is Dr. Payne a doctor of? Thanks to our intrepid Ms. Velour, I find myself wondering about the legitimacy of doctorates that pastors and preachers claim to hold. A cursory internet search didn’t reveal very much.

  14. What in the world do “healing/reconciliation” have to offer for victims? Exactly what would this do for them? Healing and reconciliation are just a couple of meaningless words thrown around in church, used to push victims into silence.

    In these official statements, once again, a church has used deceptive spin techniques to smear victims and make themselves look good. It makes me sick.

    I’ve been reading about the sex predators Tullian Tchividjian and Clayton Jennings… between frauds like them and pedophiles like this church protects, I’m seeing church as an unsafe place for women and children. The public facade and the reality behind the scenes can be polar opposites. Thanks to “healing” and “reconciliation” the ugly side stays hidden, and the number of victims grows.

    It’s interesting HP’s leaders express no sense of responsibility for the kids who were victimized AFTER they sent Chris Carwile on his way without reporting him. I have read that some have come forward now from that time period. How many victims are there? That guilt is on them. But they obviously haven’t learned or don’t care, when they position a convicted pedophile as a “worship leader.”

  15. Ken F wrote:

    In a thread about a month ago someone pointed out that pedophiles are attracted to children less than 13 (that distinction surprised me because at the time I read it). It’s therefore apparently inaccurate to call him a pedophile, but it’s still something that the congregation needs to know about. Maybe there is even more going on in the church than just this particular case?

    Bottom line: he is a sexual predator of those who are too young to protect themselves.

    I, too, wonder what else is going/has gone on. I suspect we’ve only scratched the surface.

  16. trs wrote:

    “Reconciliation” does not heal the effects of sexual or any abuse trauma.

    Pushes it under the rug.

  17. Highpoint Church Memphis Has a Convicted Statutory Rapist Leading Worship

    So what else is new?
    These days I’m surprised if a church DOESN’T have a Statutory Rapist or a Pedo in a high position.

  18. siteseer wrote:

    What in the world do “healing/reconciliation” have to offer for victims?

    Matt. 3:7 etc. …But when John saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his place of baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit worthy of repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.…

  19. From the post:
    “… a man who helps lead worship who was convicted of aggravated statutory rape in 2009 …”

    Predator was 35 when he raped/assaulted a child. More than 20+ years older than the child?

    Power.

  20. In a comment above, someone mentions that according to some sources a person attracted to children ages 13-17 isn’t a pedophile, that is only applicable to attraction to children under 13. That may be an attempt to manipulate thought through language, as in it’s not as bad to molest a 14 year old because pedophlia no longer applies. It’s a slippery slope, folks. Note the difference in child prostitute and prostituted child.

  21. Right??

    There are way too many “evangelical” pastors whose qualifications include a failure to succeed or fit into a business environment, eloquent public speaking abilities and a willingness to manipulate others with the nature of an ill-willed politician inside a “Christian” sub-culture.
    Can you imagine a Fortune 500 company attempting to create a marketing campaign that deflects responsibility, defends and reinforces the cover up of sexual abuse, or that uses UTM coding (https://blog.kissmetrics.com/how-to-use-utm-parameters/) to track page visitors and collect data on them while not responding to media requests to return the same transparency it is “harvesting” (pun intended) from the people who visit the website page of their official statement (you can see in the URL of their official statement page the presence of the UTM parameters…. http://www.highpointmemphis.com/officialstatement?utm_source=Official+Statement&utm_campaign=E-NEWS&utm_medium=email)?

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

  22. Reidster wrote:

    Scott holds a doctorate of theology that he received at Anderson Theological Seminary.

    Andersonville Theological Seminary, which is unaccredited by any regional accrediting organization, or by any of the usual theological accrediting agencies, such as TRACS or ATS. It is only licensed to do business in Georgia because the state has an exemption for theology schools. If one looks at the cost of a doctorate from Andersonville, it is $1500. Total. That *screams* “diploma mill” to me, in combination with the “no visible accreditation whatsoever.”

    That’s another scam with so many pastors these days, getting a “doctorate” from “somewhere” because you can get the better pulpits with that “doctorate.”

  23. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    These days I’m surprised if a church DOESN’T have a Statutory Rapist or a Pedo in a high position.

    LOL me too. A few years ago this stuff really shocked me, but now I’m almost completely desensitized to it. That’s sad.

  24. GMFS

    Comment 1 of 2

    This from Luke 11, with a minor revision:

    Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a [SECOND FRIEND] of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

    So, consider that the “second friend” in this context is the person who comes to us having experienced sexual abuse. (And the first friend in the parable is a kind of inferior copy of God himself.) The trouble is that the churches and professional clergy discussed here at TWW generally don’t do what the protagonist in this parable does. IOW, they don’t admit to themselves that they have nothing to give the “second friend” or, at least, that they don’t have what the person actually needs.

    Everyone is different, right? That means every survivor of sexual abuse is different. We can’t simply stuff them all in the same box and say, “they need healing”, or “they need reconciliation”, or “they need to follow Matthew 18”, or “they need to follow our pet process and everything will be all right”. Or even “they need our outrage”. They each need what they each need.

  25. Comment 2 of 2

    A while back, on the thread looking at Driskle’s latest career move, Ken F and I had a very brief conversation (you can see it here if interested) in which Ken made the following observation:

    Churches I have attended have had compassion for victims, but only to a point. The general vibe I’ve gotten over the years is that victims should not talk too much about it because it makes others uncomfortable, and victims need to heal quickly. It’s an unhealthy way to minister to victims because it does not give them the time and space needed to work through the lifelong effects of trauma. Perpetrators/abusers in the churches I have attended were considered scum of the earth with no voice or rights, and the vibe I got was that it was bad to be around them for any reason. That was unhealthy behavior as well.

    Lavishing love and grace on offenders/abusers gives churches a great, cheap “miracle”. They can talk about “the power of forgiveness” without ever actually having to demonstrate any power. Whereas the victim who doesn’t heal quickly doesn’t provide the church with their cheap miracle.

    There’s this ongoing myth in the largely-cessationist western church that a visible miracle like, say, raising someone from the dead or regenerating a lost limb, would obviously take some kind of intervention from God giving us something we don’t have BUT, at the same time, “forgiveness” and “love” and “inner healing” can all be conferred effortlessly at the touch of a cliché. By elevating these impossible-to-disprove “invisible miracles”, the church can go on convincing itself that it is doing greater works than the mere physical healings performed by the early Church. Whereas in fact, it is doing neither.

  26. In any secular profession (like medicine, counselling, education) Heinz would not be able to obtain a license to practice, much less be hired.

    The definition of “child” is something that the lawyers can figure out but whenever power and authority are involved in the coercion of a young person to take part in a sexual act then a crime has been committed. Look at Warren Jeffs of the FLDS.

    The fact is these sexual predators abuse the ultimate power when they have positions within a church. When pastors endorse them, when congregations (if they even know about what’s in their midst) “forgive” them.

    I don’t give a rat’s beans what the bible says about forgiveness or what Jesus would do. It’s not up to a pastor to “forgive”, only the victim has any right to use that word. And “forgiveness” does not equate to “it’s all ok now”. A victim will always carry the scars from the event, it was a crime when it happened, it’s still a crime after the “forgiveness” . Forgiveness doesn’t redeem anything.

    There are sins, and there are sins. As a teen, I got caught by the cops vandalizing a school. My parents were called, the school was called. The school did not press charges provided I payed for the crime with labour. I did 2 months of custodial work and stayed on the right side of the law ever since.

    Yes, I sinned. But it is not on par with the damage that a sexual predator can cause.

    Not all sins are equal. Protection of children comes first.

    Oh yeah, I did find out what Jesus would think in Matthew 19 when it comes to children. Highpoint would do well to read those verses.

  27. This somehow reminds me of the stripper whores’ motto, “What happens at a bachelor party stays at a bachelor party.” We know that’s just a euphemism for full blown orgy.

    No, whatever happened at the party doesn’t stay there. Sooner or later the truth will out. The shocking thing is that many of these strippers are now in “positions” in Neo-Calvinist (and the normal Calvinist and Reformed) “churches, thinking they are somehow entitled to teach or “counsel” or whatever it is they are doing because they are “elect” and other nonsense.

    No, a true Christian church cannot and should not allow any sexual deviant person on staff, whether convicted of a sexual crime or not. Full stop. Then again, the elects’ sin has been predetermined, not so?. And so they can’t and could not do anything about it. What a load of rubbish.

    So please investigate your church’s personnel; you’d be shocked.

  28. @ Jerome:

    What does a “doctorate” imply from this institution?

    “Andersonville holds no recognized form of accreditation by the USDE or CHEA. And as a religious institution, it does not have to. However, Andersonville Theological Seminary has been chartered by the State of Georgia as a non-profit Christian seminary and has been approved by the Georgia Non-public Postsecondary Education Commission for religious exemption at 2082 East Exchange Place in Tucker, GA 30094-5305.”

  29. There are currents of thinking in religion and in our larger culture and in politics and in the world at large that impact and/or may impact people’s thinking. If one is going to decry something which some people may be partially condoning by their behavior then we need to look at the ‘alien’ ideas which may be impacting that thinking.

    Idea #1: that the priest has the power to grant absolution. This in evangelical protestantism has the appearance of the pastor granting forgiveness. This idea carries with it the concept that other people do not have the authority to question the judgment of the priest/pastor in this matter. This includes the idea that the authority to forgive sin has been granted by Jesus to the church (chapter and verse here) and that this authority is mediated through certain people (priests) who act on behalf of the church.

    We either believe this or we don’t believe it. This is a reformation issue which we really have not discussed very much from this angle when it comes to protestant pastors and the granting of forgiveness.

    Idea #2: that post-pubescent females are biologically (physically and mentally) sexually mature enough for sex including marriage. In our current culture we have adopted the concept that if something is accepted in another culture then it is all right ‘for them’ even if ‘we don’t do that’ and we have people who say that if it is all right for them then it is all right for us, at the biological level.

    Someone who says ‘no’ to this idea of ‘them but just not us’ is quickly called culturally insensitive if not worse. After all COEXIST is quickly becoming an idea on path to achieve deity.

    Idea #3: that unity is more important, more to be sought, than truth. The sin of ‘sowing discord’ seems to be considered to be a worse sin than the sin of abusing the young, the weak and the helpless. The idea ‘that they may be one and We are one’ (Jesus) is more important than ‘whoever causes on of these little ones to stumble…mill stone’ (Jesus).

    I don’t even know what to say about this level of biblical malpractice. Even a dunce can see in scripture what Jesus thought about all sorts of abuses and abusers and the passion with which He addressed the issue.

    In my opinion the church/churches need a radical rethinking of so many things, these being only a few.

  30. Canna wrote:

    That may be an attempt to manipulate thought through language, as in it’s not as bad to molest a 14 year old because pedophlia no longer applies.

    I don’t agree with this. I just think words mean what they mean and it is best to stick to them. A person attracted to prepubescent children is merely a DIfferent kind of predator than one attracted to children who are too young but have reached puberty.

    As I said, no one really Wants to be pedantic in these cases. It doesn’t make what happened any less wrong. And churches should really stop hiring registered sex offenders without telling the world. It actually sounds like this hasn’t even been that long ago, what 5 years?

  31. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Lavishing love and grace on offenders/abusers gives churches a great, cheap “miracle”. They can talk about “the power of forgiveness” without ever actually having to demonstrate any power. Whereas the victim who doesn’t heal quickly doesn’t provide the church with their cheap miracle.

    True healing takes TIME. The abuser hasn’t actually been hurt and therefore can bounce back all ‘I’m sorry’ (real or not) quickly. The victim can’t do that.

  32. Jack wrote:

    A victim will always carry the scars from the even

    Yes. There is a guy on Julie Anne’s site that keeps throwing in these ‘I know someone who was raped/abused/etc and it didn’t destroy their life’ comments and it drives me batty because first of all, that’s not the standard, second I doubt they would tell you if it did because you don’t seem a safe person and third, these things, even when you have ‘healed’ can still affect your life – and not just yours, they affect the way you parent and some things can get passed down to the children. It is so naive to think it just goes away.

  33. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    Nick, I agree with your point about churches wanting a “cheap miracle”. Christians always love a good redemption story, and the worse the sinner, the better the story.

    When it comes to pastors mishandling these situations, one thing that needs to be probed is the pastors’ theology of God’s healing. Do they believe it’s usually instantaneous? Or if not, we should at least act like it is?

  34. Deana Holmes (fka mirele) wrote:

    That’s another scam with so many pastors these days, getting a “doctorate” from “somewhere” because you can get the better pulpits with that “doctorate.”

    When a PASTOR(TM) has a Doctorate, assume it’s fake until proven otherwise.

    You don’t need to check if PASTOR(TM) always insists on being addressed as DOCTOR(TM) or always brings up “I HAVE A DOCTORATE(TM)” every chance he can.

  35. Corbin wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    These days I’m surprised if a church DOESN’T have a Statutory Rapist or a Pedo in a high position.

    LOL me too. A few years ago this stuff really shocked me, but now I’m almost completely desensitized to it. That’s sad.

    It’s what’s become NORMAL.

  36. Jack wrote:

    And “forgiveness” does not equate to “it’s all ok now”. A victim will always carry the scars from the event, it was a crime when it happened, it’s still a crime after the “forgiveness” .

    If a drunk driver swerves over the yellow line and hits another car head-on, and a 14-year-old in the other car is paralyzed as a result, does forgiving the drunk driver heal the victim? NO!
    Forgiving a perp does not heal the emotional and physiological damage done to the victim. Just because the damage isn’t physically visible, doesn’t meant their “healed”.

    Is the drunk driver worthy of forgiveness if he/she repeats the behavior and harms or kills more people? Would the church try to cover up that behavior to protect the offender? If it did, what would the legal ramifications be?

    I know this is a bad comparison, but is a sexual predator more worthy, more holy, than a drunk driver? Some of these church leaders seem to think so!

  37. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Deana Holmes (fka mirele) wrote:
    If one looks at the cost of a doctorate from Andersonville, it is $1500. Total.
    How many cereal boxtops is that?

    Really! I paid way more than that, just to get a B.S.!!!!

  38. I cannot for the life of me understand the way this church proceeds from an informational and business standpoint.

    All of this going on, and no one in the congregation knows?

    They should have put all of this on the table (they could have withheld the names of the victims to protect their privacy), and said, “We are not going to merge because the other church has a potential legal liability with respect to molestation of teenagers many years ago by an associate youth pastor. Instead, we are going to lease, purchase … etc.”

    What would be wrong with that? As a member I actually would think more highly of a group that came out and said that.

    Also, they should have done more in terms of outreach to the victims, and if that doesn’t materialize for whatever reason, you can report that, as well. Reporting on what you have done with and for the victims gives you an opportunity to set the tone about how a church will handle this kind of thing. It was all done in secret, and now that secrecy looks awful.

    As to having the sex offender on stage playing guitar, based on what we know, it’s not right.

    I doubt that the church really knows the facts. They should do some verification before giving that guy a role like that and letting him wander the halls of the church.

    Sure, he could have been 28, and the girl could have been a mature looking 17 year old, and they may have had a consensual situation that the law prohibits. Still doesn’t make it right, but that would be a different situation from some other fact patterns.

    But in my view, the church really knows nothing until it looks, talks to the victim and her family.

    I hate to speculate about this, but the way the church has handled it is very naive and has put their own congregants in potential danger.

    I hope that the 3 men who were molested by the associate youth pastor will find some peace. I was blessed to have a really good youth pastor, and I cannot imagine how I would feel if this had happened to me. I wish them the best.

  39. Anonymous wrote:

    All of this going on, and no one in the congregation knows?

    This is what always throws me, but it also makes me Massively suspicious of anybody telling people not to ‘gossip’. Because if the church is not going to be honest, that is the only way information will spread!!! So, gossip away, as far as I’m concerned.

    But then, one church aside, I’ve generally been in on the backstory at church so it sort of shocks me that people would not be.

  40. Nancy2 wrote:

    I know this is a bad comparison, but is a sexual predator more worthy, more holy, than a drunk driver?

    If they’re Pastor’s Pet Pedo, YES.

  41. Jack wrote:

    “forgiveness” does not equate to “it’s all ok now”

    This never works with sexual predators, as the church is finding out the hard way. DO NOT forgive them and then turn around and give them a church position! We are becoming so open-minded in the church that our spiritual brains have fallen out! Forgive them? Yes. Make room for them in ministry? NO!

  42. Nancy2 wrote:

    Is the drunk driver worthy of forgiveness if he/she repeats the behavior and harms or kills more people? Would the church try to cover up that behavior to protect the offender? If it did, what would the legal ramifications be?

    I know this is a bad comparison, but is a sexual predator more worthy, more holy, than a drunk driver? Some of these church leaders seem to think so!

    when the victim of the sex offender is a woman, a child, an underage boy, then these victims are not ‘important’ in the scheme of power in that ‘church’ to start with, are they?

    and having been victimized, such a ‘church’ will then see these victims as a liability. By sending the perpetrator away, the leadership sends a signal ‘we know he was guilty and harm has been done on our watch’, this assuming a certain awareness that ‘something happened’ for which the ‘church’ may be tangentially responsible (certainly MORALLY, if they harbored a known perpetrator without telling the membership).

    The taking in of harmful people who are grown males by a ‘church’ that sees male head-ship as the domain of power IS a mark of deep hubris…… putting these wolves in the position where they can prey may be a part of that hubris, when you see ‘hubris’ in its fullest definition.

  43. Christiane wrote:

    The taking in of harmful people who are grown males by a ‘church’ that sees male head-ship as the domain of power IS a mark of deep hubris…… putting these wolves in the position where they can prey may be a part of that hubris, when you see ‘hubris’ in its fullest definition.

    Hubris is a strange disease but it does have one outstanding feature: the perpetrator lords it over the victim and shames the victim, and by doing this hopes to elevate himself to a higher position in the eyes of others. Put-down artistry on steroids, yes.

    I think the SBC has allowed male hubris to enter, and to drive many good people away (I’m thinking an example was President Carter), and now the SBC is being swamped by the male-headship neo-cals who are attempting to extend their ‘power’ into the entire evangelical theological domain. The attack on women with ‘silencing’ them is a shaming technique: taking away a person’s voice is a denial of their humanity.

    Hubris:
    “to cause shame to the victim ….. merely for your own gratification…… As for the pleasure in hubris, its cause is this:
    naive men think that by ill-treating others they make their own superiority the greater” (Aristotle)

  44. Pingback: Church with rapist leading worship postpones merger with second church facing sex abuse claims - Transnational Television

  45. The ‘power’ in male head-ship seems to be interpreted by more than some as ‘permission’ to abuse, most certainly to humiliate.
    The bishop or pastor who knowingly harbors a predator on staff may be himself a ‘predator by proxy’.

  46. Lacey Landers, Etobicoke, Toronto wrote:

    This somehow reminds me of the stripper whores’ motto, “What happens at a bachelor party stays at a bachelor party.” We know that’s just a euphemism for full blown orgy.
    No, whatever happened at the party doesn’t stay there. Sooner or later the truth will out. The shocking thing is that many of these strippers are now in “positions” in Neo-Calvinist (and the normal Calvinist and Reformed) “churches, thinking they are somehow entitled to teach or “counsel” or whatever it is they are doing

    Wow, this is so, so true!I know exactly what you are talking about! It’s as though the Calvinist churches are taking any person to fill its man made positions, hence the vulgarity found in that counterfeit movement. Is it any wonder the sexual abuse and sexual scandals in that man made belief system are so high? No, it’s commonplace because “we are all sinners saved by grace.” What a cheap cop-out and excuse to bring in one pervert after another. I have seen some counselors in these churches, and I would not leave my enemy alone with these counselors for 5 minutes. Then again, Calvinism is a false gospel and so it follows that everything about is false and icky.

    Whatever happens at a vulgar bachelor’s party does not stay there, no matter how much they want to believe that. And there’s absolutely no way to justify perverts in church office…..ANY church office.

  47. If the worship band starts playing “Into The Night” by Benny Mardones, you know something is probably off….

  48. Folks, I have to put my mother in law’s pug to sleep this afternoon. She has not done well since Polly’s death and has had a seizure and seems unable to walk. She is very old and has had a good life after being rescued by Polly. My three other rescue pugs are doing well, thank God.

  49. @ dee:
    You honor Polly’s memory by caring for her rescues. Polly’s little pugs are blessed to have you care for them now.

  50. @ dee:

    So sorry to hear this, Dee. God give you all the support and strength you need for this painful step.

  51. dee wrote:

    She has not done well since Polly’s death

    Most folks don’t realize that pets grieve, too. When our neighbor (a duck hunter) died, his Labrador retriever (which went everywhere with him for years) stayed by his hunting boots and would not eat; the faithful dog eventually walked to the forested area behind their home to die.

  52. who would want to name a seminary after the most infamous of all Confederate prisoner of war camps? The very name Andersonville makes my stomach turn.

  53. dee wrote:

    Folks, I have to put my mother in law’s pug to sleep this afternoon. She has not done well since Polly’s death and has had a seizure and seems unable to walk. She is very old and has had a good life after being rescued by Polly. My three other rescue pugs are doing well, thank God.

    I’m sorry, Dee. If you recall, I’m a dog person, too. Our dogs are part of our family. I know how painful it is to have to put an animal down, from experience. I think it is great that you and Miss Polly have taken in rescue animals and given them good lives.
    We have 4 dogs. All of them are rescue animals in some form or fashion. All of them are spoiled rotten. Lizzie ( (4 yo Lab mix) and Allie (1 yo red tick coon hound) came from an animal shelter. Lizzie had ringworm and a stomach virus when we adopted her. Allie is the only one who was healthy when we acquired her (I know the people who took her to the shelter – good people, but elderly and on a limited income). Amos (3 yo pit bull mix) came from a home where the dogs were not cared for. Bumbles (about 9 1/2 yo Great Pyrenees) was abandoned in the woods, in the middle of winter, about a mile past our house and he almost starved to death. Amos has seizures (most likely caused by drop in blood sugar – his seizures are becoming less frequent overtime.). We aquired Lizzie, Amos, and Allie when they were small puppies. Bumble D. was 9 or 10 mos old when he moved in with us.
    Bumbles is special case – vet said 100% GP – he was obviously starved and abused physically. He was extremely weak, literally skin and bone. The first time he saw me with a drop cord, he ran and hid ….. the first time he saw me with a fly swatter, he ran and hid …………the first 6 mos. he lived with us, he was afraid of almost everything. Bumble D. trusts us completely, now. He has been part of my family for over 8 1/2 years. But he is getting old and arthritic. The day is coming when he will no longer be, but I find a strange comfort in the fact that we could give him a good, safe home, and a good life. I don’t think he remembers being starved and beaten.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Miss Polly’s pug had a wonderful life, and Miss Polly found immense enjoyment from the dog’s company in so many ways.
    It was wonderful of you to take Miss Polly’s pug in to your family so that it could live out the remainder of it’s life as part of a loving family.

  54. @ Max:
    … and some say dogs don’t have souls …

    “19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” (from Romans 8)

  55. Christiane wrote:

    Hubris:
    “to cause shame to the victim ….. merely for your own gratification…… As for the pleasure in hubris, its cause is this:
    naive men think that by ill-treating others they make their own superiority the greater” (Aristotle)

    The Zero-Sum Game, where the only way to raise yourself is to crush someone else down.
    I Win by making sure You Lose.

  56. nmgirl wrote:

    who would want to name a seminary after the most infamous of all Confederate prisoner of war camps? The very name Andersonville makes my stomach turn.

    Agreed. Andersonville prison was a place of much suffering and death. To name a seminary after such atrocity is to ignore American history and its impact on providing a credible label for pastoral graduates.

  57. nmgirl wrote:

    who would want to name a seminary after the most infamous of all Confederate prisoner of war camps? The very name Andersonville makes my stomach turn.

    If they were actually in a town named Andersonville, they might have come about the name legitimately, but they’re not. They’re in a town called Camilla, GA, some distance from Andersonville proper. With an “interesting” history which makes me think the town might be better spelled KKKamilla:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camilla,_Georgia

    Oh, and according to Wikipedia, Andersonville Theological Seminary is not only NOT accredited, it’s acknowledged by no one outside of itself and the Christianese Bubble. Counseling licenses NOT recognized by anyone except a “National Christian Counselors Association” and its own affiliate “Institute of Theological Studies”. “No traditional campus”, apparently correspondence courses via audio MP3s. All in all, sounds REAL shady to me.

  58. Max wrote:

    Agreed. Andersonville prison was a place of much suffering and death. To name a seminary after such atrocity is to ignore American history and its impact on providing a credible label for pastoral graduates.

    I took a look for it on Wikipedia (see my posting immediately above).

    Southern Victory/The South Will Rise Again naming?

  59. Nancy2 wrote:

    but I find a strange comfort in the fact that we could give him a good, safe home, and a good life. I don’t think he remembers being starved and beaten.

    your strange comfort may be the Holy Spirit’s transcendent echo from this coming blessing:
    “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

  60. MidwesternEasterner wrote:

    If the worship band starts playing “Into The Night” by Benny Mardones, you know something is probably off….

    Looked up that song. Woo. Appropriate for the situation; here’s the description of the music video:

    The video opens with Mardones walking down a street and approaching a house. The song plays over the video, and the lyrics serve as Mardones’ monologue. He is met at the door by a bearded man who tells him, “She’s just 16 years old. Leave her alone.” Mardones leaves and walks around to the back of the house, peering through a window at a girl sitting sullenly in her room. The video then cuts to Mardones at a pay phone, speaking to the girl on the other end of the line and professing his love. The video then cuts again to Mardones returning to the girl’s house, carrying a rolled-up carpet. He crawls through her bedroom window, unravels the magic carpet, and taking the girl’s hand, they take flight into the night sky. The video closes with Mardones serenading the girl as they embrace; the scene finally fades to black as they kiss.

  61. Max wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    creation waits in eager expectation

    Yes, all creation groans waiting for the children of God to get it right!

    “5 And He that sat upon the throne said,
    ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ ”
    (from Rev. 21)

  62. trs wrote:

    “He then stated that the church wanted to bring healing to the victims and felt this could be accomplished by being reconciled with Scott Payne.”

    Go and learn what “bringing healing to the victims” actually entails in real life.

    “Reconciliation” does not heal the effects of sexual or any abuse trauma.

    It seems like what they really want in these cases is “healing” for the church; reconciliation within the church for the church organization’s best interests.

  63. dee wrote:

    Folks, I have to put my mother in law’s pug to sleep this afternoon. She has not done well since Polly’s death and has had a seizure and seems unable to walk. She is very old and has had a good life after being rescued by Polly. My three other rescue pugs are doing well, thank God.

    Praying for you and yours, Dee.

    As Pa Ingalls told Laura when their dog Jack died that he was “in the Happy Hunting Grounds”.

  64. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Deana Holmes (fka mirele) wrote:
    That’s another scam with so many pastors these days, getting a “doctorate” from “somewhere” because you can get the better pulpits with that “doctorate.”
    When a PASTOR(TM) has a Doctorate, assume it’s fake until proven otherwise.
    You don’t need to check if PASTOR(TM) always insists on being addressed as DOCTOR(TM) or always brings up “I HAVE A DOCTORATE(TM)” every chance he can.

    Sadly, this is what I learned about my former senior pastor at Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. His “Ph.D.” is from a diploma mill called Faith Bible College in Independence, Missouri. It’s a sham according to the U.S. Department of Education and the Missouri Attorney General.

    Ditto for my ex-pastor’s other “advanced degree” — also a fake.

    No doubt his sermons are bought or plagiarized too.

    These guys want “respect” and titles but aren’t willing to work for them.

  65. Lea wrote:

    Would be scarier on the younger end of things, to me.

    It’s all pretty scary to me. From the victim’s perspective, I don’t think the age makes much of a difference – it’s all terrible and life-changing. But in terms of how to handle the offenders, perhaps there are differences in those who are attracted to prepubescent vs post-pubescent. Maybe the treatment is different – but I don’t know for sure. The main reason I pointed it out is so that no one here gets accused of slander or libel. His conviction was for aggravated statutory rape, which technically does not make him a pedophile. Calling him one could be considered a false accusation. But in either case, he should not be on stage.

  66. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    By elevating these impossible-to-disprove “invisible miracles”, the church can go on convincing itself that it is doing greater works than the mere physical healings performed by the early Church. Whereas in fact, it is doing neither.

    Thanks for the reminder. The more I read here the more I am convinced that evangelical protestant churches (the only ones I am really familiar with) grossly underestimate what it takes to heal, whether one is a victim or a perpetrator. Both cause moral/emotional wounds that never completely heal. The damage can never be completely undone for either. The fallout is victims are expected to get better MUCH sooner than they are ready. And perpetrators are restored to positions of influence and access MUCH sooner than they are ready (they will probably never be ready). Recovering from either takes dedicated lifelong effort. But the big difference is perpetrators have a choice as to whether or not to offend, victims normally do not have an analogous choice. Consequently, the perpetrators should be held to a very high standard, and the victims should be given room to not be ok. I don’t think most churches do this because they want to believe in easy healing.

  67. dee wrote:

    Folks, I have to put my mother in law’s pug to sleep this afternoon. She has not done well since Polly’s death and has had a seizure and seems unable to walk. She is very old and has had a good life after being rescued by Polly. My three other rescue pugs are doing well, thank God.

    I know exactly where you’re coming from dee. And that’s not just an empty say so. I too have had to have beloved four-legged family members put down. It’s simply the right thing to do. Whenever humans intervene to prevent the suffering of any living thing, all heaven smiles.

  68. Canna wrote:

    In a comment above, someone mentions that according to some sources a person attracted to children ages 13-17 isn’t a pedophile, that is only applicable to attraction to children under 13. That may be an attempt to manipulate thought through language, as in it’s not as bad to molest a 14 year old because pedophlia no longer applies. It’s a slippery slope, folks. Note the difference in child prostitute and prostituted child.

    Maybe the person was just trying to say a more accurate term is “hebephile,” or some other term.
    – – – – –
    Via wiki:
    – – – –
    Hebephilia is the strong and persistent adult sexual interest in pubescent (early adolescent) individuals, typically ages 11–14 (see the Tanner stage).

    It differs from ephebophilia, which is the strong and persistent sexual interest to those in later adolescence, approximately 15–19 years old, and from pedophilia, which is the primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children.

    While individuals with a sexual preference for adults may have some sexual interest in pubescent-aged individuals, researchers and clinical diagnoses have proposed that hebephilia is characterized by a sexual preference for pubescent rather than adult partners.

  69. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    When a PASTOR(TM) has a Doctorate, assume it’s fake until proven otherwise.
    You don’t need to check if PASTOR(TM) always insists on being addressed as DOCTOR(TM) or always brings up “I HAVE A DOCTORATE(TM)” every chance he can.

    Also be leery if the pastor claims he was once a NAVY SEAL.

  70. Daisy wrote:

    Hebephilia

    Oh! I didn’t know the proper name. I was thinking pederasty at first, but apparently that’s only boys.

  71. dee wrote:

    Folks, I have to put my mother in law’s pug to sleep this afternoon. She has not done well since Polly’s death and has had a seizure and seems unable to walk. …

    I am sorry 🙁

  72. Lea wrote:

    Oh! I didn’t know the proper name. I was thinking pederasty at first, but apparently that’s only boys.

    I almost always forget all the different specific labels and just refer to all the adults that prey on much, much younger folks (like under age 20) as ‘pedophiles.’

  73. @siteseer

    “It seems like what they really want in these cases is “healing” for the church; reconciliation within the church for the church organization’s best interests.”

    Well said.

    That attitude leads to further abuse of the already-abused and those who care about them (and truth and righteousness). Too bad if the survivor is still suffering and in pain. They must not be “right with God.” Therefore, blaming THEM for their troubles in life to calling them “bitter” — to tacitly shunning them — is the “godly” response.

    evil, evil, evil

  74. dee wrote:

    Folks, I have to put my mother in law’s pug to sleep this afternoon. She has not done well since Polly’s death and has had a seizure and seems unable to walk. She is very old and has had a good life after being rescued by Polly. My three other rescue pugs are doing well, thank God.

    The pug had a good life with you–don’t be sad.

    When my sister’s mother in law died last year, she left behind a shih tzu mix named Cookie (and she does look like a bowl of Blue Bell Cookies and Cream ice cream). My brother told me almost immediately: “I want that dog.” I told him, “No, they’re still mourning MIL, you cannot ask our sister for that dog.” As it turned out, my brother in law was allergic to Cookie, so my sister found herself calling up almost immediately and asking if we’d like an 8 YO dog. My brother got the dog (cares for her for my mom) and my sister got the dog to a home where she’s doted over and adored. It’s always fun to go over to my mom’s and Cookie always greets me with a wolfish grin and a wagging tail. (Cats, on the other hand, are all about “where is my dinner? my toys? my skritches?”)

  75. ION:

    Following tonight’s fitba’, one of the Manchester City players gave the following gem in an interview:

    In the end after we got the red card we killed the game off and that was the most important thing. We are through and that’s the most important thing.

    So, two different things were the most important thing.

    It’s not just pastors with fake doctorates, evidently…

    GNFS

  76. Sorry Dee I am sure your Pug had a wonderful life and being a rescued pet that is even more of a blessing. I always felt that doing unto the least of these also included other species in a way. It shows what is in a person’s heart.

  77. Ken F wrote:

    Calling him one could be considered a false accusation. But in either case, he should not be on stage.

    Heinz raped a child.

    (a) Statutory rape is sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or of the defendant by the victim when the victim is at least thirteen (13) but less than eighteen (18) years of age and the defendant is at least four (4) years older than the victim.

  78. Amy Smith wrote:

    Heinz raped a child.

    Yes, that is a confirmed fact. He is an offender who should be watched (but not on stage). Calling him a pedophile based only on this conviction does not appear to be legally correct as far as I can tell based on what I’ve been able to find for the definition of pedophilia. For the victim it makes no difference. But for those who are concerned about not wanting to get sued for a false accusation, it would be better to call him by legally correct terms. I am absolutely not trying to defend him.

  79. Ken F wrote:

    But for those who are concerned about not wanting to get sued for a false accusation, it would be better to call him by legally correct terms. I am absolutely not trying to defend him.

    The formal term is “ehebephilia”.
    Informal term “Goes for Jail Bait”.

  80. brian wrote:

    I always felt that doing unto the least of these also included other species in a way. It shows what is in a person’s heart.

    Ya’ durn tootin’ it includes critters of every description.

  81. Hey Dee, I hope things went smoothly with your pug. I am thankful for modern means of putting animals to sleep so they don’t have to suffer.

    As for cats–do they ever love their people? In my experience, the answer is a resounding Yes. For more than half my childhood, we had a longhaired calico and white cat named Fluffy. I will never forget how she would snuggle up with me whenever I was sick in bed, and wouldn’t leave except to eat and do her business. She didn’t have to stretch out on my torso, shove her face under my chin and purr, but she did. She lived to be 16.

    We did not have to euthanize her. One day when she was hit by a vehicle, I was the one who found her. Mom and I figured death must have been instant, which was some comfort. Her health had begun to fail, and she probably had gotten slower than she used to be. Someone had partially covered her body in a brown paper bag, and carefully placed her by the side of the road, which I will always appreciate. Her resting place is in my parents’ backyard.

    I have known some wonderful dogs over the years, but I will always be first and foremost, a cat person.

  82. Two questions ought not be confused: what somebody did, and what if anything is a diagnosis to explain what they did. Paraphilia this or paraphilia the other is a diagnosis. Personality disorder this or personality disorder that is a diagnosis. Legal terms are dealing with what somebody did. These are two different issues.

    Personally I favor being exact in both kinds of terminology. We know what this man did, we do not know what if any mental health evaluations may or may not have been done and what diagnosis (es) may have been assigned. I think it is best to leave the legal terms to the court and the diagnostic terms to the appropriate professionals. Because, it can get really really complicated, which is why we have both legal and mental health professionals in the first place.

  83. I live in Memphis, and this church is not far from my home. I put up a link to this post on Facebook to warn local people about the problem with Highpoint. A friend of mine said that she knows the victim and that she (the victim) is still traumatized from the experience. I asked about the vic’s age and my friend says she was 12-14 when the abuse happened.

    We’re not talking about a 27-year-old who had sex with a 17-year-old (even though that would be bad enough). This “man” is 6’3″. He had sex with a child. I’m horrified.

  84. Elizabeth thank you for sharing that detail. I was afraid of that. Awful. I feel like 12/13 is that age when you are just starting to grow up into a woman, but you haven’t had the experience or time to develop the walls that you need to deal with men yet. It’s such a vulnerable time, in that way.

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Informal term “Goes for Jail Bait”.

    That reminds me of a friend in high school telling some guy at the gas station that we were jail bait.

    okrapod wrote:

    Personally I favor being exact in both kinds of terminology.

    Me too. Elizabeth Lee wrote:

    I asked about the vic’s age and my friend says she was 12-14 when the abuse happened.

    Elizabeth Lee wrote:

    I asked about the vic’s age and my friend says she was 12-14 when the abuse happened.

    Elizabeth Lee wrote:

    I live in Memphis, and this church is not far from my home. I put up a link to this post on Facebook to warn local people about the problem with Highpoint. A friend of mine said that she knows the victim and that she (the victim) is still traumatized from the experience. I asked about the vic’s age and my friend says she was 12-14 when the abuse happened.
    We’re not talking about a 27-year-old who had sex with a 17-year-old (even though that would be bad enough). This “man” is 6’3″. He had sex with a child. I’m horrified.

    Elizabeth Lee wrote:

    I asked about the vic’s age and my friend says she was 12-14 when the abuse happened.

  85. Sorry, I tried to reply to Elizabeth and messed up the quotes! If someone comes along feel free to edit. I just wanted to say I was afraid 12-14ish was what we were going to find out, because it’s such a vulnerable age.

  86. @ Lea:
    it’s within that range we call a ‘transition’ age for kids, and ‘vulnerable’ is a really good word for their situation

    knowingly seeking out a victim in this age range is without question an extremely predatory act

  87. @ Elizabeth Lee:
    If we was convicted in 2009 and was in a church already in 2013, it means he could have spent no more than about 3-4 years in prison. Does anyone know how much time he spent in prison, if at all?

  88. brian wrote:

    Here is todd Friel demonstrating how much he does not understand theology, hermeneutics, history, and common sense. Of course, that is just my opinion

    Brian: Be comforted–the earliest Christians believed Jesus is the messiah, crucified, risen from the dead, seated at the right hand of the Father and is Lord.

    Friel is ahistorical when he starts rattling off this stuff. There was no doctrine of original sin with the first generations of Christians. (It’s something that first pops up with Irenaeus in the 2nd century.) The canon wasn’t settled for several hundred years–and Catholics and Protestants differ on what is supposed to be in the canon. And “Trinity” the word was not invented until late in the 2nd century but was really given a push by Tertullian, presumably writing during his orthodox period, before he got caught up in Montanism and was declared a heretic.

    Doctrine will not save you–faith in Jesus as the crucified and resurrected Lord will.

  89. Ken F wrote:

    @ Elizabeth Lee:
    If we was convicted in 2009 and was in a church already in 2013, it means he could have spent no more than about 3-4 years in prison. Does anyone know how much time he spent in prison, if at all?

    My friend who knows the victim says that he did not go to prison.

  90. Elizabeth Lee wrote:

    My friend who knows the victim says that he did not go to prison.

    That is very bad. I have a friend who molested two teens around 15 years ago. He spent about 9 years in prison and a few on parole. During all of that time he was required to go through intensive treatment. He needed every minute of the hell-hole of prison. He is a changed man who continues to work on himself, but I would never advocate putting him on a stage in church or being in a ministry where he could have unsupervised access to youth. He very carefully makes sure that he is not around youth – partly because he does not want anyone to be able to accuse him of anything that would get him in legal trouble. He has done an incredible amount of soul work to try to understand why he had the attractions he did. Anyone who thinks that there is easy or quick healing for a molester needs to spend some time with a real one. There is no quick fix.

  91. @ Ken F:
    Thank you for presenting this perspective, KEN F.

    we see these people as ‘monsters’ and we speak of them as ‘monsters’, and so they are to their victims who may be scarred for life

    one unpopular aspect of ending the horror is to FIND OUT WHY these people did what they did to their victims …. that, and also working with the perpetrators to help them understand their sickness and try to find a way of life that no longer either threatens or harms innocent people……

    those who do this unpopular work are to be commended for their strength and their humanity …. not many can do this kind of work, so these people are valuable in our society …. I see these people as the antithesis to those ‘leaders’ who would harbor and ‘protect’ perpetrators and re-victimize the victims

  92. Christiane wrote:

    @ brian:
    What a creepy guy that Friel is!

    I watched a few of of the videos. Seems like a cross between John Piper and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

    He is very much in the ESS camp.

  93. Ken F wrote:

    Seems like a cross between John Piper and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

    What a cross.
    Like in the sci-fi flick Alien Resurrection.
    Makes me think of John 11:35:
    Jesus wept.

  94. @ Elizabeth Lee:
    I have heard from others who claim to know the victim that she was as young as 13. Do you know if that is true? I did not put the age in the post because I could not confirm it in a way that made me feel comfortable.

  95. @ Elizabeth Lee:
    Thank you. I plan to post this tomorrow. Did you know i was threatened today by a local person who claimed they were going to the police because I posted a screen shot of a local predator watch group who accused us of going on a witch hunt?

    I commented that I was going on a predator hunt and I found one! I then asked about the marijuana laws in TN. I plan to talk about this tomorrow.

  96. Elizabeth Lee wrote:

    live in Memphis, and this church is not far from my home. I put up a link to this post on Facebook to warn local people about the problem with Highpoint. A friend of mine said that she knows the victim and that she (the victim) is still traumatized from the experience. I asked about the vic’s age and my friend says she was 12-14 when the abuse happened.
    We’re not talking about a 27-year-old who had sex with a 17-year-old (even though that would be bad enough). This “man” is 6’3″. He had sex with a child. I’m horrified.

    I didn’t see this before I posted may last comment. This is the second report that this rape involved a kid around 13. I think tomorrow I may state that I have now heard this a couple of times.

  97. Ken F wrote:

    Technically, he was not charged with raping a child. But I personally feel like he did.

    Yeah, technically according to the law. However, many of us parents type think of a 13 year old as a kid.

  98. dee wrote:

    Yeah, technically according to the law. However, many of us parents type think of a 13 year old as a kid.

    Me too. That is why I was so surprised to see one of the commenters here point out this distinction about a month ago. It’s all sick. I just don’t want you to get in legal trouble by calling someone a pedophile on your post if in fact they don’t meet the legal standard.

  99. Christiane wrote:

    one unpopular aspect of ending the horror is to FIND OUT WHY these people did what they did to their victims …. that, and also working with the perpetrators to help them understand their sickness and try to find a way of life that no longer either threatens or harms innocent people……

    That has been my motivation for walking alongside my friend. One solution is to keep all of them locked up for life. But our legal system does not work that way – it either releases them back into the population or does not even put them in prison at all, as in the case of the offender in this post. So what are we to do? In the case of my friend I felt like I was supposed to come alongside him. So did my wife, which is quite amazing because she was a victim of sexual assault. She had a well-trained counselor who told her that these perpetrators knows how to abuse because they were abused. The fact they they were abused in no way lets them off the hook. But if there is any hope for getting them to stop abusing it will involve them coming to grips with why they feel a need to abuse.

    In my friend’s case, he was badly beaten by both his father and step father when he was very young, which gave him a terrible self-esteem. And he was also raped by his teenage babysitter and nothing was done about it. During his treatment he eventually realized that he was attracted to girls who look like his babysitter. That realization was a bit of a breakthrough for him. Had he not been abused he probably would not have become an abuser. But what caused that teenager to rape him? I’m sure she had a story as well. The cycle of abuse is heartbreaking. He was nearly suicidal at one point because he finally saw the damage he had done from the victim’s perspective. He felt like a monster with no hope.

    The bottom line is this abusive behavior needs to be dealt with seriously. Excusing it, ignoring it, or quickly absolving it damages both the victims and the abusers.

  100. Ken F wrote:

    The cycle of abuse is heartbreaking.

    Yes. In many cases, it IS a cycle …. generational abuse, or a trauma when young acted out in later years.

    Some folks say ‘lock ’em up’ and throw away the key’ but that does nothing towards FINDING ANSWERS as to causes and then having identified these markers, making interventions in the whole way we live that can stop some of this abuse pattern before it replicates with the abused becoming an abuser. Yes, there are many perpetrators who were NOT abused, but I have to question that, myself, just looking at Josh Duggar: people say he wasn’t a victim that acted out on his sisters …. but I think he WAS a victim in the setting where he witnessed his mother with baby after baby …. his own words when interviewed were ‘they just kept coming’ …. and the strange religious affectations of fundametalism under the leadership of Gothard was not a healthy factor in Josh’s upbringing either. He WAS ‘re-acting’ to his upbringing in a way that speaks to us of an abnormal home life with values about the relationships between men and women that are not respectful of women.

    I would like to see a lot more done to examine the causes of abuse in general and then some really good work to educate and prevent it, thereby breaking the ‘cycle’ in a pro-active way. Right now, it’s ‘throw ’em in the clink’ and label them forever after; which may need to be done to protect innocents BUT it is ‘reacting’ to the problem,
    rather than being an active participant in trying to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place. Does this make sense to you, KEN. Your work and your wife’s work with that poor man show some understanding of what I’m getting at, although I may have expressed my ideas poorly. Thanks for interacting.

  101. Christiane wrote:

    Does this make sense to you, KEN.

    It does. I feel incredibly blessed that God put this friend into my life. Prior to 2003 I never would have believed that I would have such a friend, and if I had known ahead of time I think I would have run from it because this type of crime is particularly loathsome to me. But I am glad that I followed our Lord’s prompting because our friendship has not only been a blessing for me, but it has also been very helpful for my wife’s healing. On the other hand, I don’t think I would wish this on anyone. I had to do quite a lot of hard soul-searching along the way. And many people have questioned my motives. This has not been an easy path, but God blessed me for following it. I know I made a difference for my friend, and hopefully for society as well.

  102. dee wrote:

    @ Elizabeth Lee:
    I have heard from others who claim to know the victim that she was as young as 13. Do you know if that is true? I did not put the age in the post because I could not confirm it in a way that made me feel comfortable.

    I trust the woman who told me she knows the victim. I’ve known her for several years. She works with children and has a record of community and church service. My friend did not give me a name and I did not ask for one.

  103. @ Ken F:

    ken,

    i appreciate your friend’s determination, conscientiousness, and sobriety of the situation. i respect him as a human being for these things.

  104. dee wrote:

    Yeah, technically according to the law. However, many of us parents type think of a 13 year old as a kid.

    If some adult male had raped, either forcefully or otherwise, my daughter when she was 13, I might be in jail. …. Along with a few more family members!

  105. @ Nancy2:

    thinking about this further, if a man raped my daughter, i have my doubts that i could muster any positive feeling, even respect, for any subsequent responsible and sober conduct he may adopt.

  106. Christiane wrote:

    @ brian:
    What a creepy guy that Friel is!

    Just the name “Friel”…
    A perfect Central Casting character name when preceded by “Obersturmbannfuehrer”.

  107. Amy Smith wrote:

    Heinz raped a child.

    (a) Statutory rape is sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant or of the defendant by the victim when the victim is at least thirteen (13) but less than eighteen (18) years of age and the defendant is at least four (4) years older than the victim.

    From a Dr Demento show of some 30 years ago:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INLgdeUJWqM

  108. Ken F wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    @ brian:
    What a creepy guy that Friel is!

    I watched a few of of the videos. Seems like a cross between John Piper and Bill Nye the Science Guy.

    Talk about “Unholy Spawn of…”

  109. I brought up the subject that this can get complicated, and it can, and so now let me bring up a couple or so reasons that it can get complicated. But first let no one think that I do not condemn ‘early sex’ based on whatever reason or whatever cause, criminal or not. But not all predation on young teens is due to a paraphilia.

    In Africa there existed at one time, and perhaps still does, the belief that if a man with AIDS had sex with a virgin he would be cured. There resulted a wave of rape of young virginal teens by people seeking a cure. This was not an epidemic of acute sexual perversion nor an epidemic of men who had themselves been raped as children. This was superstition related to a medical condition.

    In Nigeria we have seen the kidnapping of young school girl virgins by a certain terrorist group, certainly driven by male sexuality but also influenced by the particular claimed religious beliefs of the people who are doing this. It has been reported that one concept of these people is that sex with a virgin pleases their god.

    Then there is the issue of war rape including not just adult women but also men and young teens and even little children. This is not about sexual preference; it is about destruction of the people group subject to this atrocity.

    Then there is the ‘criminal psychotic’ (an old term) who gets some idea in his head that he needs to do this or that horror in order to keep the voices from destroying him or even destroying others. So he commits terrible and criminal acts in the belief that he must do so for whatever delusional reason he perceives.

    And then there are the all to frequent reports of some estranged spouse who takes out his revenge against his spouse by brutalizing or even terminating his own children. Getting back at ‘her’ through the children.

    And no, being in a family with lots of children is not child abuse, else we have to say that the Wesley’s for example were de facto abused children.

    Certainly there are sexual paraphilias and certainly steps must be done to isolate these people from the general populace if their paraphilia a of a kind that is dangerous to other people (not just some preference for shoes or such) but we must also see the big picture before we get too either sentimental or else too condemnatory about the perp. I believe in the law; I believe in medical/psychological treatments; but I do not believe that ‘reasons’ are ‘excuses’.

  110. @ okrapod:

    Oh, and not to forget the run of the mill sociopath for whom it may not be sex at all but only power. Or the sadist for whom it may not be about age but about the availability of easy prey and the joy to him of the humiliation of the individual.

  111. Elizabeth Lee wrote:

    Also, a local apologist came by and gave the link to the church’s official statement about the child molester. They posted it yesterday.
    http://www.highpointmemphis.com/112316

    Well, I suppose it’s encouraging that they’re taking him off the stage. But he should never have been there to begin with.

    And, naturally, they have to trot out this tired, knee-jerky, sanctimonious bit: “So, it is true that we have a convicted sex offender serving at Highpoint Church. The reality is that Highpoint Church is made up of all kinds of sinners. Highpoint is a perfect place for imperfect people.”

    Note to Pritchard: Quit equating the rest of us “sinners” with violent criminals who prey on kids. And quit minimizing Heinz’s horrific crime with the word “imperfect”. I have to wonder whether you’re taking this problem seriously.

  112. @ Serving Kids In Japan:

    It is amazing how much air time the perpetrators and the church leadership get in these abuse cases in churches. It seems the victims never merit the same amount of care, concern, and resources.

  113. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    ote to Pritchard: Quit equating the rest of us “sinners” with violent criminals who prey on kids. And quit minimizing Heinz’s horrific crime with the word “imperfect”. I have to wonder whether you’re taking this problem seriously.

    Pritchard and his ilk need to get their noses out of their “theology” books and open a dictionary and a thesaurus occasionally. “Imperfect” is not synonymous with “evil”.

  114. Not only should the perp not been on stage, he shouldn’t be backstage either. The idea of a known predator working in the technical arts area is very problematic. This is not a “safe place” to “park” a predator. A good-sized church will often have volunteers, including teens, helping with sound, lights, cables, gear, etc. Many of them wear black clothing and they literally hide backstage in dark shadows and behind curtains. Much of the work is done alone, unsupervised, or the supervisor sees them once or twice an hour. In addition, many of these tasks are done before and after the service for setup/takedown, when few witnesses are around. A situation that too easily enables grooming, abuse, and coverups.

    Highpoint is guilty of negligence. Whether it rises to gross negligence or criminal negligence is for the courts to decide. Their excuses are shallow and self-serving. If another person is hurt there, expect a 7-figure legal claim.

    It’s such a shame that the Highpoint leadership and their congregation seems to prefer ignorance and temporary comfort over doing what’s right and actually seeking truth, justice, and loving the victims.

  115. okrapod wrote:

    I believe in the law; I believe in medical/psychological treatments; but I do not believe that ‘reasons’ are ‘excuses’.

    Very thoughtful and insightful comment, Okrapod.

  116. A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he was concerned that he might become bitter. He went to him and offered him biblical counselling, a book on healing and reconciliation and the addresses of some pastors whose doctrine the Samaritan himself supported. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and left him there. The next day he withdrew €400 and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Offer forgiveness and mercy to all the local robbers,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will offer mediation and reconciliation to this laddie covered in blood here.’

    Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?

    An expert in reformed theology might reply, “The one who preached biblical truth to him.”

    I’m sure Jesus would agree.

    Perhaps.

  117. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    An expert in reformed theology might reply, “The one who preached biblical truth to him.”

    I’m sure Jesus would agree.

    Perhaps.

    To those ‘pastors’ who see healing of a victim (who has been mercilessly attacked) as forcing the victim to ‘reconcile’ with the perpetrators,
    using the words of Flannery O’Connor, I would say:
    ‘YOU HAVE HOLD OF THE WRONG HORROR’

  118. Serving Weans In Japan wrote (quoting Highpoint themselves):

    The reality is that Highpoint Church is made up of all kinds of sinners. Highpoint is a perfect place for imperfect people.

    For certain kinds of imperfect people.

    For people who have cruised the Jerusalem-Jericho road looking for people to rob, it evidently is perfect.

    For the people they’ve robbed, it may not be quite so perfect.

  119. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    And, naturally, they have to trot out this tired, knee-jerky, sanctimonious bit: “So, it is true that we have a convicted sex offender serving at Highpoint Church. The reality is that Highpoint Church is made up of all kinds of sinners. Highpoint is a perfect place for imperfect people.”

    I think the whole “grace thingy” needs to be rethought.

  120. In the early church, those who had committed serious crimes like this and were serious about repentance often went to live in the desert as hermits. There are people considered saints in the RC and EO churches who committed even worse crimes, but the key is that they lived the rest of their lives as penitents. They certainly weren’t just restored (or promoted) to leadership positions with their crimes covered up. The victims weren’t blamed or forced to immediately “reconcile” with the offender.

    I don’t see why an arrangement like that wouldn’t be possible today. The USA certainly does have its share of deserts and remote areas.

  121. @ dee:
    Oh I’m so sorry. It’s a hard decision to have to make, but also a relief when you realise they’ll be out of their suffering as I did with my beautiful Miss Darcey earlier this year. Sleep well lovely pug.

  122. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    And, naturally, they have to trot out this tired, knee-jerky, sanctimonious bit: “So, it is true that we have a convicted sex offender serving at Highpoint Church. The reality is that Highpoint Church is made up of all kinds of sinners. Highpoint is a perfect place for imperfect people.”

    Not such a ‘perfect place’ for kids and young people who might become the next victims.

  123. Bridget wrote:

    @ Serving Kids In Japan:

    It is amazing how much air time the perpetrators and the church leadership get in these abuse cases in churches. It seems the victims never merit the same amount of care, concern, and resources.

    Boz T once wrote that in all his years as a prosecutor specializing in child sexual abuse cases, he NEVER saw a church take the side of the victim. Always “Rally Round The Perp, Boys!”

  124. Nancy2 wrote:

    Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    ote to Pritchard: Quit equating the rest of us “sinners” with violent criminals who prey on kids. And quit minimizing Heinz’s horrific crime with the word “imperfect”. I have to wonder whether you’re taking this problem seriously.

    Pritchard and his ilk need to get their noses out of their “theology” books and open a dictionary and a thesaurus occasionally

    http://i1.wp.com/www.nakedpastor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/the-theologians.jpg

  125. Christiane wrote:

    one unpopular aspect of ending the horror is to FIND OUT WHY these people did what they did to their victims …. that, and also working with the perpetrators to help them understand their sickness and try to find a way of life that no longer either threatens or harms innocent people……

    Bessel Van Der Kolk has been working for many years towards this end but there is a lot of resistence, still, to the idea that childhood trauma has lasting psychological affects.

    In the meantime, the most important thing we can do is prevent children being traumatized in every way we can. Not allowing them exposure to those who would prey on them sexually is one very major way.

  126. brian wrote:

    Here is todd Friel demonstrating how much he does not understand theology, hermeneutics, history, and common sense. Of course, that is just my opinion
    https://youtu.be/qBsbjoC-KnI

    I knew him almost two decades ago when he was a young, handsome, energetic local Christian radio talk show guy who seemed to just love Jesus. I was there the day he first introduced his newfound Calvinist heroes at a local Christian bookstore event. This person I’ve seen now is not the person I once knew. You start out one small step away from Jesus and then one follows another and then twenty years go by and you can’t find your way back.

  127. brian wrote:

    Here is todd Friel demonstrating how much he does not understand theology, hermeneutics, history, and common sense. Of course, that is just my opinion
    https://youtu.be/qBsbjoC-KnI

    And the funny thing is, on the large points, I agree with Friel, he’s right, Jesus and the Father are one, the Trinity is like nothing else, you can’t get to the Father but through the Son, and all of it. Yet, there’s something very off there, something utterly unlike the guy who seemed to have a simple love for Jesus whom I once knew. Maybe it’s a stage persona, but it sure is an off putting one. Probably the smugness of neocalvinism.

  128. siteseer wrote:

    but there is a lot of resistence, still, to the idea that childhood trauma has lasting psychological affects.

    Maybe that is why there is a tendency to want to see quick healing/recovery for both victims and perps. I don’t see how anyone could resist the idea that childhood trauma would have lasting effects.

  129. MidwesternEasterner wrote:

    In the early church, those who had committed serious crimes like this and were serious about repentance often went to live in the desert as hermits. There are people considered saints in the RC and EO churches who committed even worse crimes, but the key is that they lived the rest of their lives as penitents. They certainly weren’t just restored (or promoted) to leadership positions with their crimes covered up. The victims weren’t blamed or forced to immediately “reconcile” with the offender.
    I don’t see why an arrangement like that wouldn’t be possible today. The USA certainly does have its share of deserts and remote areas.

    That’s a really interesting thought.

    Zacchaeus (taxgatherer and all-around scumbag-turned-follower-of-Jesus from Luke 19 – that Zacchaeus) had a variation on this theme. Whereby, having spent his adult life sponging and getting rich, gave half of his possessions away and undertook to repay (not “be reconciled to”) anyone he had defrauded. That’s different from going off to the desert – we don’t really know what he did next, come to think of it – but it’s within the spirit of what you suggest. At least in the sense that he didn’t go straight back into tax-collecting with bonuses.

  130. Christiane wrote:

    @ Ken F:
    I am reminded of a sleazy used-car salesman

    I remember some long-ago comment that the most common job for ex-preachers is used car salesman. Because they’re masters at lying with utter sincerity.

  131. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I remember some long-ago comment that the most common job for ex-preachers is used car salesman.

    Most ex-pastors (those who called themselves pastors, but were not) do indeed become salesman – selling cars, houses, insurance, timeshares, clothing, etc. Most have no other marketable skills but the gift of gab and the ability to manipulate people by words. Genuine called-by-God pastors are becoming rare and endangered species – those never lose their churches, never fall from ministry, never look for another job.

  132. Pingback: Church Used Adult Married Man Who Raped Teen as a Worship Team Member in their Church – Christian Pundit UNITED STATES