A Story of Collateral Damage: How a Sex Abuser at Providence Baptist Church Affected More Than Those He Abused

“Stab the body and it heals, but injure the heart and the wound lasts a lifetime.” ― Mineko Iwasaki link


link

Two weeks ago I was shopping at a big box store in Raleigh. A smiling young woman in her mid 20s was at the register. She was having some trouble with her phone, and I told her to reboot it. (See, GBTC, I'm learning.) Well, it worked and she asked me if I worked with computers. (GBTC-Stop laughing.) I told her I was a blogger, and she asked me what I blogged about. I always answer that question, *child sex abuse and the church.* She started to tell me about a church in town that had lots of teen boys who were abused. I asked her if she was talking about Providence Baptist Church.

She got emotional and said she knew someone who had been abused. Then, her eyes got wide and said "Are you the lady who blogged about that? I know about you!" She ran around the counter and grabbed my hands, thanking me profusely. There was a line of customers so we couldn't talk longer.

For the next couple of days, I began to think about the big picture of what happened at that church.This all transpired in 2006-2009. The abused teens were badly hurt (some of the worst cases of molestation I have ever heard.) But there were others who were hurt, albeit not physically abused. I know a number of young adults who have turned away from the church because of what they witnessed. Not all of these young people were on the sidelines. They were related to church *leaders* who called those of us who fought for the truth, "Liars".

I have known Lise for a long time. Her parents are dear friends and were in the adult Sunday school class that I taught, along with my husband and another friend. That very active class split up when many of us realized we could no longer attend a church that looked at us as liars for seeking the truth. Thankfully, a group of us remains friends to this day. 

I believe Lise's story is very important. There are far more people hurting when a molester in the church abuses youth in the church. Our sons and daughters are watching us. Do you want to be known as the person that kept your mouth shut in the face of evil or do you want to go down fighting evil, even if it means losing your church and your friends? The answer to that question may affect your children for years to come.

One woman in the church told me "I do not feel called to be concerned about this matter!" 

The Deebs are grateful that Lise wanted to tell her story (with a little prodding from us.) She is a remarkable young woman, and I am grateful that faith still matters to her. I would not have blamed her for walking away from the church. You may see her name crop up now and then because she has agreed to help us with things like Facebook. Milennials know what they are doing in that regard! Thank you, Lise. You are one brave woman!

Background note: Most of the pastors who were present when this incident transpired have left the church. I do not want the church today to be judged on the actions of the former pastors. I hold no hard feelings to the church, although I continue to believe they mishandled a horrendous situation. It was the response of the pastors and elders at PBC that opened our eyes and led to us start this blog. 

A couple years before he retired, the senior pastor, David Horner of The Gospel Coalition Council, invited his good buddy, CJ Mahaney, to address the congregation. I think that one act shows just what he thinks about child sex abuse and the long-standing pain and suffering of the victims and their friends who attended his church. As far as I am concerned, he thumbed his nose at the victims.

Note to the abused teens and their friends: If any of you want to tell your story, contact us or Lise. We will hold your identity in strict confidentiality, if you wish. Please know that the Deebs think about you all the time and we are so, so sorry for the pain caused by the abuser and then by callous church leaders.


Lise's Story

When I was thirteen years old I was a member of a Sunday School class at Providence Baptist Church for middle school kids. The Sunday School teacher of that class was Doug Goodrich.

In August of 2007, Doug Goodrich was sentenced to thirteen years in prison for what he did to boys that attended my church.

I wish I could write this and tell you that I was wary of Doug, that I got an off vibe from him and knew to keep my distance. That the only reason I went to that Sunday School class was because my brother went to the high school one. That wouldn't be the truth.

The truth? I loved that class. It was the first place I felt at home at Providence since my family switched to Sunday morning two years prior. Most of the kids in the class were kids I had known at Saturday night church and the only other girl in the class quickly became the best church friend I had ever had. I thought Doug Goodrich was hilarious and charming and basically one of the coolest people on the planet.

The first day I walked into the class, Blake Hickman, my middle school pastor at the time, immediately sang Doug’s praises. For a solid five minutes he cracked jokes and bantered with Doug and ensured us that Doug was one of the best Sunday School teachers we could possibly have.

About six months later he was caught in Laurel Hills park with a teenage boy in his car around 2 am in the morning.

I don’t remember much from the rest of that summer surrounding Doug Goodrich. What I do remember are these things:

1. I remember crying at Refuge holding the hand of the other girl in the class as Steve Wright (the Youth Pastor) spoke openly about the situation for the first time.

2. I remember our senior pastor, David Horner, was on sabbatical that summer but couldn't be bothered to come back as story after story of abuse emerged.

3. I remember sitting in that class the Sunday after the news broke, staring at Blake and Joel, silently begging them to say something to us. Begging them to pull us aside and tell us that it wasn't our fault, that we couldn't have known, that it wasn't on us for trusting him, for liking him.

No one spoke to us. No. One.

And so I sat there, in silent agony, wondering how I could have missed it. Wondering how stupid I was for not seeing it.

I sat there, burning with guilt as I analyzed every interaction I had with the man. There had to have been signs right? How could I have been so drawn to a person that did such horrible things?

These questions still haunt me to this day.

The most damning part of the story? When Blake Hickman sang the praises of this twenty-five-year-old man, he had already been accused of inappropriate conduct. A student had come forward with reports to the Pastors about “flashing” at camp the prior year. Blake Hickman knew, he knew and yet, on that day, my first day in Doug’s class, he convinced me that Doug Goodrich was safe and could be trusted.

People called Doug Goodrich a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I call the Pastors who knew and did nothing the shitty shepherds who let the wolf in.

Fast forward two years and slowly the truth comes out. There had been warnings, some of the Pastors knew and brushed it off, that they had accused a child of lying and mental illness when they came forward. More and more came out and bit by bit and brick by brick, the home that I had always known in Providence Baptist Church came crashing down.

As the dust settled and the ruins laid around us, my family and several others who knew the truth about the situation, about the lies and the accusations, and the horrific manner in which the Pastors and Elders at Providence pushed back when we tried to turn on the lights, decided that our time at Providence had come to an end.

Sometime in the spring of 2009, my family attended our last day at Providence. I went upstairs as usual to meet my parents in their Sunday School classroom and realized that it was really ending.

They took the pictures off the walls, they packed up the books from their makeshift library, and they each said goodbye one last time. We walked downstairs and out the back door and to our car and that was my last true day at the church I grew up in.

I finished out the year in kid’s ministry on Wednesday nights before my exchange year but didn’t attend again on Sunday morning.

After my year abroad in Germany I came back to Raleigh and figured that I might as well go to the college ministry once. After all, I had grown up in this church – I literally had no where else to go.

So I went. And standing there, in the room with people I had spent my entire life with, grown up with, I realized I had changed. Not only had I changed, but this place, these people, they could never be a part of me again. I felt sick as I thought about all that went on, all the lies and terrible things and as much as I wanted to forget, to shove it to the back of my mind and pretend that everything was okay, that was never going to happen. The damage had been done, the wound too deep, and the scar to apparent.

So I left. At eighteen years of age I walked out of my church again for what would be the last time. I walked away from the only faith institution I had ever known, I walked away from what had been my family. My messed up, abusive family, but family all the same.

For seventeen years I loved that church. It just never loved me back. 


Comments

A Story of Collateral Damage: How a Sex Abuser at Providence Baptist Church Affected More Than Those He Abused — 198 Comments

  1. Lise, thank you for sharing your story , nothing more can be said
    May you find a faith family who loves you in a manner worthy of you!

  2. Thank you for sharing!

    There had been warnings, some of the Pastors knew and brushed it off, that they had accused a child of lying and mental illness when they came forward.

    This is why anyone whose answer to this is ‘just ‘teach the kids to cry out’ because they could have stopped things? They need to stop talking. If I hear that phrase on any list of ‘what to do’ (and I saw it in an article just the other day) it proves they don’t know what they’re talking about. Because people report things, and they are ignored. Consistently. FIX THAT.

  3. Lise, what a heart breaking story. I’m sorry you had to endure such callousness among Christians. Those pastors and the leadership in your church were ignorant of the love and compassion of our Lord. They were blind guides.

    I wish you well. God be with you!

  4. Thank you, Lise. The horrors of abuse are so widespread and are made even more painful when institutions cover it up or look the other way. Appreciate your voice.

  5. “For seventeen years I loved that church. It just never loved me back.”

    Lise, the last sentence of your testimony broke my heart. Please know that you are loved. As for the way your church treated you, Jesus said “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Not everyone that goes to church is the Church … if they do not love, they are not His disciples. Jesus will not judge you for loving that church … those that did not love you back will be judged. You may have suffered as an unintended target of the abuse at Providence Baptist … but there is a greater Providence who has targeted you with His love.

  6. Lise

    I’m sure it’s hard to share what happened at your church. Thank you for telling us how it affected you and your family.

    It’s heartbreaking the way the abuse was overlooked, dismissed by the leadership of your church. Happens too often. Hopefully, because of testimonials like yours, more people will force needed changes.

    Keep your eyes on Jesus…He won’t fail you.

  7. This story is exactly what my family experienced and my daughter has been scarred forever!! She feels haunted by it and still wrestles with uglinessness, evil and meanness of the church that she endured.

  8. Lise, thank you for sharing your story with us. Though we are devastated when those we know do horrible things, it’s even more devastating to find out that others we trusted let it go on when they could have stopped it. I know there’s really no words that comfort something like that, other than to plea for others to not let the same thing happen again.

    Doug Goodrich was my classmate. I barely knew him; only a face to a name. I had several good friends at Providence and our singles groups did a few outings together. Unfortunately, he’s not the only classmate of mine to do horrible things while working in a church and I suspect many of my classmates support pastors like CJ Mahaney.

    It’s things like this that caused me to leave the SBC entirely.

  9. so disillusioning. so horribly wrong. thank you for revisiting all this and sharing it, Lise.

  10. Thank you Lise for being SO brave! It took a lot of courage to tell your story. You ARE bringing this onto the light even more.

    Doug is a child molester. Child molesters are master manipulators. They thrive in an environment where they are given unearned trust. They can even manipulate people in the face of accusation. Their charming personalities make it hard for people to believe they could commit such atrocities. That is how they get chance after chance after chance to abuse. There was nothing – absolutely NOTHING you could have done or seen or suspected that would make you guilty in any sort of way of not raising a red flag. This is what these monsters do – they trick people – good people, trusting people, innocent children. They are just monsters doing what monsters do. Thank God he was caught.

    The church failed you, plain and simple. Just like churches have done over and over and over when a leader is accused of abuse. In an attempt to avoid shame, they hide the abuse, which really just projects the shame onto the victims and those, like you, who wished to God they had seen something that would have caused suspicion. It’s ok to be mad at the church. They failed you. It hurts and it sucks. It is really really hard to come back from a betrayal like this.

  11. Lise, I too am so very sorry you had that happen to you. But thank you for sharing your story. Having walked a mile in your shoes, and the shoes of those poor boys, I think you hit the issue spot on. Well said. Grace.

  12. Why am I not surprised that good old CJ, and Gospel Coalition would somehow have a conection with this disaster…

  13. Lise,

    God bless you a hundredfold for sharing your experience, your story. Very brave.

    From the post: “I sat there, burning with guilt as I analyzed every interaction I had with the man. There had to have been signs right? How could I have been so drawn to a person that did such horrible things?”

    These perpetrators are experts at grooming everyone into believing they are wonderful. It’s a con – grooming everyone around the victim, too. Honest people don’t play that game, and we are not experts. Goodness, it is taking professional profilers, social scientists that study behavior, a LONG time to figure out the pedophiles’con so the rest of us can recognize one when we see the signs. Normal people just don’t walk around with that information because they are not like that, and may have never experienced this masquerade for what it is.

    From the US Department of Justice, National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW):

    “The grooming process does not occur with just the intended victim. Offenders may groom not only the child but also their family and even the local community, … ”

    (Note: However, when LEADERS know that someone has committed a crime and they DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE this or act on the information they have, they are not leaders. They, too, are the problem. Moreover, regarding that lady that said she was “not called to get involved”, Jesus addressed her type in the Good Samaritan story. She, too, is one of the bad guys. She walks on by.)

  14. I could not believe that I was duped by the pedophile in my church. I am a senior and quite knowledgeable on this topic….and totally fooled.

    Honey…you were young and it's rare to catch on to these guys…plus wasn't he after boys not girls?? Be glad you are out and that bast### (ed.) exposed. If you look up that word (ed.), it means a wretch or a scoundrel .. if the shoe fits!

  15. ___

    What really big teeth you have: “A pattern of unsuspected proverbial seminary ‘wolves’ headed for church leadership from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, perhaps?”

    huh?

    Fact: In August 2007, Brian Doug Goodrich, 26, pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with boys as young as 13 while he was a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The abuse occurred while Goodrich was an intern at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh. (1)

    Fact: In December 2007, a Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary student (Justin Eugene Taylor, 27) was charged with abusing a 10-year-old child while working at an after-hours YMCA program at a Wake County elementary school. (2)

    What?

    Q. Who’s afraid of the big bad seminary student?
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zpCBOCG3CXg

    Q. Did SBTS ever fix their pastoral church program wolf entrance problem? Or can we expect more cases to be discovered? (3)

    Proverbial prospects precipitously scary huh?

    Could b.

    (sadface)

    Sòpy
    ___
    (1) http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/1714785/
    (2) http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/2175448/

    ***
    (3) http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/1230/on-sexual-abuse-of-children
    (3) http://www.sbc.net/churchresources/sexabuseprevention.asp

    🙁

  16. @ JYJames:

    One of the people in this story (I won’t name names for once since we are not 100% positive it was this person) thought that since I made a facebook post bashing the CBMW (I was 15/16 at the time) it meant I shouldn’t be allowed to lead children (I was serving in children’s ministry at the time) because I might lead the kids astray.

    There was some type of coaching going on…

  17. @ ishy: Sad to hear about your classmates. Sad to hear about your departure from the SBC if only because I know how hard it is to walk away from something you are so committed to. Hope you landed somewhere better. FWIW I've found the UMC to be refreshingly opposite from the SBC in many ways. I'm sure there are many other denominations that are not nearly as toxic as the SBC seems to be.

  18. Ugh. This was horrible to read. I’m sorry you went through this, Lise. I just can’t even imagine.

    Sadly, it reminds me of things I’ve read recently, where people were told to keep silent even when a pastor was hauled off to jail. I’ve been in groups online where ex-members of Scientology have to just VENT about all the evils done to them. I’ve found it’s so necessary for people to be able to get out what is bugging them, to talk it out, to have their hurts acknowledged. And yeah, sometimes the venting gets out of hand, but you know, overall, I think it’s good.

    The church needs to open a space for people who were damaged within it to vent–and at the same time, stand back, listen and don’t judge.

  19. @ Mae:

    Thanks. I recently read a book by Zach Hoag “The Light is Winning” and he had a quote in there that sums up my experience with faith:

    “That for my whole life I have been fiercely, unstoppably drawn to Jesus. And that when I look at him I cannot look away.”

    I believe and will continue to believe that God will redeem what happened at PBC and turn those ashes into beauty. I don’t think it happens without us working with him though, to that regard I agree wholeheartedly on continuing to speak up on such matters.

    However, the changes won’t be made unless people start listening and believing in the true lasting damage churches are causing people. We all have a role to play in that.

  20. Lise,

    I am grateful that you are still embracing your faith after having gone through this horrible experience. Keeping those who were hurt not only by Doug Goodrich but by their pastors in my prayers.

    Some of the victims may have been classmates of my younger daughter (or a year behind her), although I don't know their identities.

  21. Sopwith wrote:

    Fact: In December 2007, a Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary student (Justin Eugene Taylor, 27) was charged with abusing a 10-year-old child while working at an after-hours YMCA program at a Wake County elementary school.

    Did SBTS ever fix their pastoral church program wolf entrance problem? Or can we expect more cases to be discovered?

    !!!!!! I didn’t even know about that and I did know him.

    Sopwith is completely right, though. There is no vetting process. And with the even stronger push to authoritarianism in the SBC, I’m pretty sure that hasn’t gotten better.

  22. Lise wrote:

    @ ishy: Sad to hear about your classmates. Sad to hear about your departure from the SBC if only because I know how hard it is to walk away from something you are so committed to. Hope you landed somewhere better. FWIW I’ve found the UMC to be refreshingly opposite from the SBC in many ways. I’m sure there are many other denominations that are not nearly as toxic as the SBC seems to be.

    That is exactly where I ended up, Lise! I am not so sure I was committed as much as where I used to live there just weren’t that many options. And the UMC is extremely stringent about their clergy process. It is very much the opposite of the SBC in that respect. I have been contemplating ordination, though I think for now I will go the lay servant route.

  23. I just spent the last three days on holy ground, it reminded me of when I was in nonofficial non paid nonchurch nonpara church ministry on social media on a few different apps on several computers and scouring over social media to help in a very very small way with some rescues, not like the ones out there. But it felt good to be part of helping. I get we should not feel or well never mind. Depraved, barf for everyone evil act there is tens of thousands of kind acts that go unnoticed. I am in awe of people and in the quiet grace of God. It is truly time for the professional Christians to get out of the way and follow those truly leading. Take the fine people running this website if U want a pretty good example. I will never again question the existence of God.

  24. Sorry, I put that post here I do not wish to diminish the pain folks have suffered concerning abuse. I was just so excited to see what is happening behind the scenes, my deepest apologies.

  25. Lise wrote:

    @ Mae:
    Thanks. I recently read a book by Zach Hoag “The Light is Winning” and he had a quote in there that sums up my experience with faith:
    “That for my whole life I have been fiercely, unstoppably drawn to Jesus. And that when I look at him I cannot look away.”
    I believe and will continue to believe that God will redeem what happened at PBC and turn those ashes into beauty. I don’t think it happens without us working with him though, to that regard I agree wholeheartedly on continuing to speak up on such matters.
    However, the changes won’t be made unless people start listening and believing in the true lasting damage churches are causing people. We all have a role to play in that.

    Elise, you are wise beyond your years. The future of the church is in good hands when young adults know Jesus is paramount to the faith.

    “Beauty for ashes” is the Lord’s specialty. I too hope you see redemption at PBC.

  26. “People called Doug Goodrich a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I call the Pastors who knew and did nothing the shitty shepherds who let the wolf in.”

    Jesus said that the ‘hirelings’ run away when the wolf comes. At the very least they look the other way.

  27. Lise, along with Dee and Deb, thank you for your courage to speak up.

    I was there that Sunday at Providence — revisiting the church after being gone for a few years — when the surprise preacher was CJ Mahaney! Believe it or not, several days earlier I had read the entire sickening lawsuit from Brent Detwiler's website naming CJ Mahaney and others. If you don't know about this lawsuit in vivid detail and IF you are strong at heart, go to Brent's website and read and weep.

    So, when David waxed on and on about this godly CJ, I thought I was going to be sick. BUT, what really was disheartening was when I forwarded this lawsuit to several of my close friends at Providence that afternoon, not one single person was even a bit curious about the truth of the lawsuit. NOT ONE!

    While I was beyond upset, they didn't show even one bit of righteous anger. I was mystified. They made excuses why David Horner would allow such a man in his pulpit.

    THEN, I understood how the pastors and elders (and we knew most of them) could be involved in the sexual abuse coverup at the church and the dreadful aftermath. I still wonder where the righteous anger was and to this day, these same folks still refuse to admit anything was ever really evil at that church.

    I truly believe another conniving pervert could get himself ingratiated at Providence and do his dastardly deeds and get away with it because many of the same leaders and members are still there and I have yet to hear any of them publicly repent for their part in the coverup. There should be people weeping at the altar over this, but nary a word.

  28. “But SBC leaders have also said they believe the denomination cannot do much to address the problem, because of Baptists’ system of autonomy of the local church.”

    Even within congregationalism, there has to be a way to address this. They could at least create a database, unless that runs afoul of privacy laws or something. I really hope they learn from GRACE and SNAP, and set up a protocol for prevention as well as handling these situations when they do occur. Christa Brown is correct that there is no excuse for doing nothing.

  29. brian wrote:

    But it felt good to be part of helping…. there is tens of thousands of kind acts that go unnoticed. I am in awe of people and in the quiet grace of God. It is truly time for the professional Christians to get out of the way and follow those truly leading. Take the fine people running this website if U want a pretty good example. I will never again question the existence of God.

    It is fairly difficult to focus on helping and doing good when your heart has a hole in it. As the quote at the beginning of the post says, “…injure the heart and the wound lasts a lifetime.”

    Quite often, being “others” oriented appears in the cycle of pain. That lasts for a while, until some trigger comes along and moves you to the next position on the wheel.

    And then, once your involved with a “church” and find a place to “minister”, quite often you are abused in other ways. I have seen the same things repeated over and over again, ad nauseum, by the people who were supposedly “loving on” me. (That expression gives me the creeps)

    Case in point: The last church we were part of has gone off the rails and we had to leave. Not a single “shepherd” came looking for us. Only one person seemed to care, until he found out that we were going to stay away from any church until we found a place that was right for us. Then he hit me with the Heb. 10:25 clobber verse.

    So all of the service and ministry got flushed down the toilet, the shepherds appear to be hirelings, and the sheep are scattered. I am beginning to think that American (as in U.S.) Christianity (or more rightly called “corporate churchianity”) has failed. I suspect we will find a home with people we have never considered before.

    I refuse to submit to abusive people anymore.

    However……

    It is good that you had such an experience. I am sorry to pour cold water on it. But until “church” people here are listening to God, following Jesus, and led by the Spirit, I am staying the h-e-l-l away. The abuse has to stop somewhere.

    Sorry if this offends anyone.

  30. Deb wrote:

    I wonder who was coaching the pastors behind the scenes…

    There is always leadership behind the scenes in situations like this. As a side note, Providence is an official 9Marks church – all of those are “healthy” you know.

  31. Lise:

    So sorry to hear of such a tragic ordeal. People who turn a blind eye and pretend nothing ever happened are just as culpable as the perpetrator, in my opinion. Oftentimes, the leadership of the church is far too concerned with preserving that church's "reputation" instead of ministering to those who've been hurt.

    Speaking out and shedding light in the darkness, however, is far more reputable than just sweeping the situation under the rug! As difficult as sharing this hurt must be, doing so will help encourage others as they recover along the way. Please know that you have no reason to feel guilty because of someone else's evil deeds. Don't lose heart, and continue to "fix your eyes on Jesus"!

  32. Lise, I am sorry and truly had no idea that was going on…as you well know, by that time my family (dad, mom and sisters) had been away from PBC for nearly 15 years. I grew up in the same youth ministry, but you had an experience similar to my sisters (the youth pastor I had known from 6th grade through 12th grade had been ‘fired’ from PBC for disagreeing with senior leadership), although they did not witness the horrors that you did (that I am aware of).

    Regarding the college class, my daughter tried it last year for two Sundays. She was unimpressed and found it to be too shallow, so she did not return. Even though I went to PBC all growing up, I never felt at home in the college class, either, and would not go when home for the weekends.

  33. Lise wrote:

    FWIW I’ve found the UMC to be refreshingly opposite from the SBC in many ways.

    Ironically, where you are going now is an outreach of the church I attended before we joined PBC. 🙂

  34. @ Finegold:

    When my younger daughter was attending N.C. State, she got involved with CRU (Campus Crusade).

    Imagine my shock when she called me to say that C.J. Mahaney had spoken at CRU’s weekly gathering. As I understand it, NCSU’s CRU holds its weekly meetings at various churches in the area. The one at which Mahaney spoke was held at Providence Baptist Church. At the time one of the main CRU leaders was a PBC member. My respect for CRU greatly diminished at that moment.

  35. @ Max:

    The senior pastor at the time is very good friends with Al Mohler, who came and spoke at Providence in 2005.

    Horner and Dever attended the same seminary (Gordon Conwell). Both served as Trustees at Southern Seminary.

  36. ishy wrote:

    Doug Goodrich was my classmate. I barely knew him; only a face to a name. I had several good friends at Providence and our singles groups did a few outings together. Unfortunately, he’s not the only classmate of mine to do horrible things while working in a church and I suspect many of my classmates support pastors like CJ Mahaney.
    It’s things like this that caused me to leave the SBC entirely.

    I want to make sure that the lurkers from SEBTS and PBC reread this comment.

  37. Max wrote:

    Providence is an official 9Marks church

    Lise said “… I loved that church. It just never loved me back.”

    Shouldn’t love be at the top of the list of marks for a healthy church?! After all, Jesus said “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” He also said that loving God and loving each other are the greatest commandments. I guess Dever forgot that when he put his 9Marks together; love should have been the #1 mark!

  38. Anna wrote:

    Doug is a child molester. Child molesters are master manipulators. They thrive in an environment where they are given unearned trust. They can even manipulate people in the face of accusation.

    There were some women in our church that felt he had repented and should be allowed to stay at PBC and get their support and counseling! Can you imagine?

  39. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    But thank you for sharing your story. Having walked a mile in your shoes, and the shoes of those poor boys, I think you hit the issue spot on.

    I am so sorry. Have you ever share your story?

  40. @ Deb:
    These guys will stick together to the bitter end … which I hope is sooner than later. New Calvinism is leaving a lot of victims in its wake for various reasons.

  41. LC wrote:

    This story is exactly what my family experienced and my daughter has been scarred forever!! She feels haunted by it and still wrestles with uglinessness, evil and meanness of the church that she endured.

    I don’t have much to say to this except how sorry I am. I think “wrestles” is a great word to use here. I started attending church a few months back (first time in 8 years so don’t take this as a “you should go back to church” from me) and I’m not sure I’ll ever not wrestle with what happened at PBC.

    Once you pull back the curtain and see just how ugly and mean the Church can be when it is not pointed towards Christ you can never unsee it. And you never truly get over it I believe.

    When Spotlight first came out and the scene where Mike (Mark Ruffalo) yelled “It could have been you! It could have been me! We have to nail these *guys* to the wall!” I almost stood up and cheered because for the first time in my life, someone got my rage.

    I’m truly sorry and if your daughter ever wants to talk please let her know she is welcome to reach out. The Deebs can get her in touch with me easily.

  42. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    Why am I not surprised that good old CJ, and Gospel Coalition would somehow have a conection

    Just so you understand, until I was in this church for a few years, I had no idea of TGC, Mahaney, etc. But some things began to seem off. For example, one of the pastors believed that kids should marry young. (Deb was present for this one). He said that his greatest hope as that the vast majority of dorms on college campuses were married student dorms. Add to this, an insistence on teaching YEC for 6 weeks every year of Sunday school K-12 and kicking kids out who asked logical questions, I knew something was deeply weird.

  43. Max wrote:

    Deb wrote:
    I wonder who was coaching the pastors behind the scenes…
    There is always leadership behind the scenes in situations like this. As a side note, Providence is an official 9Marks church – all of those are “healthy” you know.

    As many have stated before, love is NOT one of the nine marks mentioned in his book! You can have all your doctrine right, but without love, you’re nothing but a clanging gong or noisy cymbal! (sorry for my terribly mangled paraphrase of I Corinthians 13!)

  44. JYJames wrote:

    From the US Department of Justice, National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW):
    “The grooming process does not occur with just the intended victim. Offenders may groom not only the child but also their family and even the local community, … ”

    Excellent quote. I must remember that!

  45. Lea wrote:

    Thank you for sharing!
    There had been warnings, some of the Pastors knew and brushed it off, that they had accused a child of lying and mental illness when they came forward.
    This is why anyone whose answer to this is ‘just ‘teach the kids to cry out’ because they could have stopped things? They need to stop talking. If I hear that phrase on any list of ‘what to do’ (and I saw it in an article just the other day) it proves they don’t know what they’re talking about. Because people report things, and they are ignored. Consistently. FIX THAT.

    Back in the 1980’s, one of our US Senators, Paula Hawkins from Florida, made child sexual abuse one of her issues. I still remember her saying that she knew of children who “said no, begged no, pleaded no, and it didn’t help.” This was back when we were starting to finally teach children that it was OK to say “no”.

    The whole “crying out” business doesn’t answer the question, what happens when you cry out and no one rescues you, and you “cry out” and no one believes you?

  46. dee wrote:

    I am so sorry. Have you ever share your story?

    Thank you. I am not sure I can.

    Honestly, it has been 45 years this year, and I am just now coming to terms with the lingering effects. I have tried sharing it in the past with various people, but…… Only a couple of people know about it. My brother, who I found out 10 years ago was another victim of the same man, and my wife are the only one’s who know the whole story. But, once I think I have diffused the b*mb, it seems to just go off again.

    Thought about going to a counselor, but I never seem to make it.

    Maybe someday.

  47. Lise wrote:

    Once you pull back the curtain and see just how ugly and mean the Church can be when it is not pointed towards Christ you can never unsee it. And you never truly get over it I believe.

    I’ve never been involved in a church where there was an instance of sexual abuse (at least, where sexual abuse was publicly exposed). I was, however, involved in a church which placed very high and unreasonable expectations on their members. I left there over 25 years ago, and I still struggle with the unhealthy stuff I learned there. So I agree with you, I don’t think you ever truly get over it. (I’m part of a healthier church now.)

  48. Root 66 wrote:

    You can have all your doctrine right, but without love, you’re nothing but a clanging gong or noisy cymbal! (sorry for my terribly mangled paraphrase of I Corinthians 13!)

    You didn’t mangle the verse at all. These New Calvinists are known for their doctrine, not their love.

    I like the way the J.B. Phillips translation renders 1 Corinthians 13:1-3:

    “If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foretelling the future and hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but the very secrets of God, and if I also have that absolute faith which can move mountains, but have no love, I amount to nothing at all. If I dispose of all that I possess, yes, even if I give my own body to be burned, but have no love, I achieve precisely nothing.”

  49. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing the perspective of a teen finding out about this sort of situation in a place they believed they could trust. It’s spiritual Betrayal. It’s huge. It changes your life forever. Dante wrote about this sort of betrayal by someone who claims to love and that you trusted —as one of the rings of hell. There is a soul searing to it.

    I am a little jealous in a good way that shows your maturity. I was middle aged before I stood there and fully, completely realized, these are not my people.

  50. Lise wrote:

    FWIW I’ve found the UMC to be refreshingly opposite from the SBC in many ways. I’m sure there are many other denominations that are not nearly as toxic as the SBC seems to be.

    I landed in another denom as well. I didn’t honestly know how bad the SBC had become, I just knew it didn’t ever feel right to me, and I got tired of their stance on women (and that was just the no pastor thing, not even knowing all the other stuff!).

    How crazy that you were deemed ineligible for a disagreement when men who act badly in serious matters are welcomed. Priorities are seriously off at the moment.

  51. NJ wrote:

    Even within congregationalism, there has to be a way to address this. They could at least create a database, unless that runs afoul of privacy laws or something.

    Baptists shouldn’t need a private/separate data base for perpetrators! If they report the perpetrators to authorities and HELP get convictions, instead of helping the perps move on, then all the perps would be on the sex offenders list. The Baptists should do background checks on everyone working at their churches. IF the Baptists did this, there would be one place to check – police record including the sex offenders list.

  52. @ Bridget:
    I agree. No one stops to think about who will control the database. In my view is just another possible layer of protection for bad people. All it takes is for decent people in the local church to do the right thing.

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  54. Bridget wrote:

    Baptists shouldn’t need a private/separate data base for perpetrators!

    At our old church (not Baptist, but “Bible”), the guy leading worship is a registered sex offender. They know this, but there he is, up in front anyway. Just one example of many things wrong with those people (leaders).

    I feel guilty tho, because I am the one who invited him to our church in the first place.

  55. Finegold wrote:

    I still wonder where the righteous anger was

    This is where I marvel at these actions on behalf of pastors. How can you not be angry in the face of such treatment of children? I think this is on Pauls ‘even the pagans think this is terrible’ level. How can you embrace people who hurt children? How can you possibly not care?

    I do not want to believe this, but the only thing that makes sense is either that they simply refuse to believe children (and generally women) in ANY accusation against a man, or when they do believe, they must be complicit in some way, or abusers themselves, or literally terrible, horrible people with no conscience at all…no love in their hearts. How could any normal person truly not care?

  56. Lydia wrote:

    Wow. Thanks so much for sharing the perspective of a teen finding out about this sort of situation in a place they believed they could trust. It’s spiritual Betrayal. It’s huge. It changes your life forever. Dante wrote about this sort of betrayal by someone who claims to love and that you trusted —as one of the rings of hell. There is a soul searing to it.

    You hit the nail on the head. I’ve tried to explain what the last few months were like at that church knowing everything that went down… it was a type of hell that’s for sure to sit in class and have your pastor walk in like everything is fine and dandy (the father of one of the kids in your class to boot!) and not scream at them that you knew everything.

  57. NJ wrote:

    “But SBC leaders have also said they believe the denomination cannot do much to address the problem, because of Baptists’ system of autonomy of the local church.”
    Even within congregationalism, there has to be a way to address this.

    I think the biggest fix they need is an attitude change. Believe kids, believe women and seek to protect them. The rest will follow.

  58. @ Lise:
    And being a teen means you can’t be “disrespectful” in church to bad adults. Even disagreement is “disrespectful”.

  59. Burwell wrote:

    the youth pastor I had known from 6th grade through 12th grade had been ‘fired’ from PBC for disagreeing with senior leadership

    Wow. And they brought in this guy after??

  60. Abigail wrote:

    I could not believe that I was duped by the pedophile in my church. I am a senior and quite knowledgeable on this topic….and totally fooled.

    At least you get it . So many people think a predator looks like some cartoon character-dressed in along dark trench coat and sneaking around playgrounds. Doug looked like a good guy-prefect-funny, seminary student, grew up in North Carolina, etc. He was a monster but looked like a teddy bear.

  61. Tina wrote:

    The whole “crying out” business doesn’t answer the question, what happens when you cry out and no one rescues you, and you “cry out” and no one believes you?

    Exactly.

    It’s wonderful to teach your children that they can come to you, but you d*** well better do something when they do.

    However, any ‘pastor’s’ who bring that up just sound like they are blaming the kids for the actions of adults. Also, that passage wasn’t actually directed at children in the first place.

    Adults need to concentrate on their part in things, and that is 1. Listening, 2. Believing, 3. Acting. Also, PAY ATTENTION. If something is off, you don’t have to wait until the bodies pile up to act.

  62. I’ll give this a whirl.

    RE: Collateral Damage

    In my case, one man’s criminal act caused the following damage:

    1. My relationship with my parents. They did not protect, took his side, and told me to “just get over it”.
    2. Relationship with siblings. Acting out, violence, anger, etc. Not too many happy childhood memories. Often wished I had been born to someone else, somewhere else, in a galaxy far far away.
    3. School. Grades, relationships with other boys, well, just about everyone.
    4. Girl friends. In romantic relationships I have been abused.
    5. Marriage. On my second, and I thank God for her every day. One of the few joys in life for me.
    6. Every employer I have ever worked for. I am on number 46 now. Also very good.
    7. My personality. The river of my life was diverted, and I have been drifting, in so many ways, ever since.
    8. Church. I have tried, but I simply do not fit in.
    9. Men. I get along better with women. Many men frighten me. Just saying…
    10. My mind / thought process. Just starting to understand this part. Often have the feeling of going in circles, ad nauseum….

    ….In general, all of life since that summer. He committed a criminal act, stole my childhood, stole my life, stole my future, stole my future relationships, stole everything, except my position in Christ which cannot be touched by the perp.

    So I got that going for me.

  63. Finegold wrote:

    I truly believe another conniving pervert could get himself ingratiated at Providence and do his dastardly deeds and get away with it because many of the same leaders and members are still there and I have yet to hear any of them publicly repent for their part in the coverup. There should be people weeping at the altar over this, but nary a word.

    There are too many more important things like the Women’s Tea. How sweet.

  64. Lise wrote:

    When Spotlight first came out and the scene where Mike (Mark Ruffalo) yelled “It could have been you! It could have been me! We have to nail these *guys* to the wall!” I almost stood up and cheered because for the first time in my life, someone got my rage.

    The Deebs and Bill went to see the movie. We cheered when they mentioned SNAP!

  65. dee wrote:

    @ A.Tumbleweed:
    Well, if you would ever like to work out how you feel about what happened, we could post it anonymously. It might help…

    Thank you. I will think about it. I agree, it might help. Thanks.

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  67. To PBC parents

    Do not remain silent about what happened. Your children are watching you. When they grow up, they will call you out on ignoring evil. Dealing with evil is far more important than the next fun church event.

    We have heard from another former student in the PBC ministry who has offered to tell us their story. Think about it. Do you want your kids to grow up and then question why you stayed silent or accuse those who wanted the truth to come up of being liars?

  68. Max wrote:

    Shouldn’t love be at the top of the list of marks for a healthy church?! After all, Jesus said “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” He also said that loving God and loving each other are the greatest commandments. I guess Dever forgot that when he put his 9Marks together; love should have been the #1 mark!

    Bears repeating. One reason is that loving people consistently is very hard work, but putting a list of rules together for other people to keep is very easy. But the main reason, IMO, is that the 9Marks System, like all other Authoritarian systems, puts a few enlightened elites at the top to rule over the masses of peons. That is not what the Bible describes.

    It sounds to me as if the leadership at PBC had (has?) very hard hearts, perhaps hardened by years of excluding the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and relying on the power of the flesh puffed up by things like taking sabbaticals to write yet more books instead of caring for their own people or attending conferences where they are mutually affirmed by like-minded men. How many years have they listened only to the voices which have affirmed their points of view and excluded the voices of any who have different perspectives which might have corrected them?

    You and I are a couple of old, conservative Baptists who are alarmed at the arrogant SBC pastors and cronies in the establishment who are *pretending* to be conservative while ruining the next generation with this authoritarian unBaptist thoroughly non-textual nonsense. I hope somehow that someone rises up in the seminaries and says “Enough” of this fraudulent “conservatism” that is really just guru worship.

  69. Gram3 wrote:

    It sounds to me as if the leadership at PBC had (has?) very hard hearts, perhaps hardened by years of excluding the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and relying on the power of the flesh puffed up by things like taking sabbaticals to write yet more books instead of caring for their own people or attending conferences where they are mutually affirmed by like-minded men. How many years have they listened only to the voices which have affirmed their points of view and excluded the voices of any who have different perspectives which might have corrected them?

    I think we could have a very interesting conversation about how you *create* the type of hard heart that would overlook such behavior.

    This is why I think all the talk about *patriarchy is in the bible so there* badly misses the point (well, in many ways but specifically in this one). If you wanted to create a system where men abuse women, and everyone abuses children, you couldn’t do a much better job than some of these communities have done. And we see it in all the bad fruit. Which is also ‘biblical’.

  70. LC wrote:

    This story is exactly what my family experienced and my daughter has been scarred forever!! She feels haunted by it and still wrestles with uglinessness, evil and meanness of the church that she endured.

    And since the church represented Christ on earth, God and Christ will always have that taint of ugliness, evil, and meanness in her hindbrain.

    This is why “Five Fast Praise-the-LOOORDS” or Five Proof Text Verses about God’s Love or other Christianese Platitudes won’t cut it. The damage goes DEEP. Especially when you consider that ugly, evil, and mean church probably used (and tainted) the same buzzwords and platitudes.

  71. Anna wrote:

    Child molesters are master manipulators. They thrive in an environment where they are given unearned trust. They can even manipulate people in the face of accusation. Their charming personalities make it hard for people to believe they could commit such atrocities.

    Though I have never to my knowledge encountered a child molester, I have been on the receiving end of master manipulators. Let’s just say “Littlefinger” from Game of Thrones is a type example. Problem is, IRL very few of them run into a Sansa & Arya who’ll see through their mask AND put a stop to them.

  72. JYJames wrote:

    These perpetrators are experts at grooming everyone into believing they are wonderful. It’s a con – grooming everyone around the victim, too. Honest people don’t play that game, and we are not experts.

    1) I’ve been saying that in my comments for years.
    2) Honest people also have jobs and lives and other parts of their personalities; to these perps, EVERYTHING in their being is about the Long Con, 24/7/365. Sleepless, unsmiling concentration. So they can always put more Con and Camouflage into the Game than honest people can Discernment and Scrutiny. Because in manipulative grooming the Live and Are and Have Their Being.

  73. Sometimes timelines can be revealing. Here are some significant events from over a decade ago.

    June 2006 – Doug Goodrich Arrested http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/158901/

    The article states that he had working as a student ministry intern at PBC for 3 years. Is that right?

    May 2007 – The Gospel Coalition officially launches with a two-day gathering at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS). This CT articles provides the details.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/october/37.70.html

    PBC Senior Pastor David Horner was one of the founding TGC Council Members, a position he continues to hold.

    August 2007 – Doug Goodrich pleaded guilty and sentenced to 13 years

    http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/1714785/

    With all the excitement back in 2007 among that core group of Calvinists leaders who established The Gospel Coalition, I can't help but wonder how much attention Doug Goodrich's victims actually received from PBC leadership…

  74. Deb wrote:

    @ Jeffrey J Chalmers:
    I wonder who was coaching the pastors behind the scenes…

    Their attorneys?

  75. Lydia wrote:

    @ Lea:
    The difference between what is descriptive and what is prescriptive?

    that too. Yall, there are a lot of bad things in the bible. You’ve got to come up with a better argument than ‘it’s in the bible’.

    But the truth is, if I thought the bible told me to do something heinous, I would ignore it. And I really hope other Christians would too.

  76. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Though I have never to my knowledge encountered a child molester, I have been on the receiving end of master manipulators. Let’s just say “Littlefinger” from Game of Thrones is a type example. Problem is, IRL very few of them run into a Sansa & Arya who’ll see through their mask AND put a stop to them.

    I suspect one reason for that is like what happened at Providence. You often need to have power over the group to do things like that. The police might respond to child abuse but even if the person is convicted, as we’ve seen many times over on TWW, the churches just let them right back in and even back in charge.

    When I reported being sexually assaulted by a man who called himself a Christian, other Christians told me I imagined it because “he’s a nice man”. Nice men don’t grope women. And most people know when they are being assaulted. It took that man assaulting numerous women before they started listening.

    I don’t think most Christians care if someone is really nice. I think to admit someone is a predator would cause them to confront their worldview that God is some fairytale godmother that makes everything in their life easy and protected from all harm.

  77. dee wrote:

    Abigail wrote:
    I could not believe that I was duped by the pedophile in my church. I am a senior and quite knowledgeable on this topic….and totally fooled.

    At least you get it . So many people think a predator looks like some cartoon character-dressed in along dark trench coat and sneaking around playgrounds. Doug looked like a good guy-prefect-funny, seminary student, grew up in North Carolina, etc. He was a monster but looked like a teddy bear.

    “For Satan himself can transform himself to appear as an Angel of Light.”
    — some Rabbi from Tarsus

    So many people think a predator looks like some cartoon character-dressed in along dark trench coat and sneaking around playgrounds.

    A misdirection which can be cultivated by the REAL predators’ grooming.
    (Littlefinger whispers about the forty-something single who likes animated cartoons or collects My Little Pony ephemera…)

    While the escorts are off depth-charging the decoy, the real torpedoes bore into the other side of the convoy.

  78. Gram3 wrote:

    You and I are a couple of old, conservative Baptists who are alarmed at the arrogant SBC pastors and cronies in the establishment who are *pretending* to be conservative while ruining the next generation with this authoritarian unBaptist thoroughly non-textual nonsense. I hope somehow that someone rises up in the seminaries and says “Enough” of this fraudulent “conservatism” that is really just guru worship.

    There’s supposed to be a Twitter movement called #EmptyThePews calling on churchgoers to ditch these churches and take their Tithe$ with them.

  79. Lise,

    You are a young woman. When this happened, you were a child who had no idea how to guard yourself, and you had every reason to expect that the adults in leadership at your churcch would protect you and the other kids. I agree with Abigail’s basic assessment. I’m old, and I have been fooled many, many times. Sociopaths have some kind of sixth sense about how to fool people. It’s what they do, and they are good at it, so it’s not you. Pedophiles are like other predators who go where their prey gather. I know you know this, but child abuse isn’t just in the SBC, and it isn’t just in the Church. It’s everywhere. The first time I learned about child sexual abuse was another girl and a teacher when I was sixteen. The other adults mostly did not believe a few of us and our parents until there were more victims a couple of years later. There is nothing new under the sun. Anyway, keep your eye out for the welfare of kids now that you are wise to this issue, and you will continue making a difference. Best wishes!

  80. Gram3 wrote:

    excluding the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and relying on the power of the flesh

    I hate to keep bringing up New Calvinism, but your words describe most of their ministries in my area. Lord knows that flesh is in control in most 21st century churches, but New Calvinism is certainly doing a lion’s share of the damage right now. Everything I see coming forth at such churches fall under a “Flesh” heading. Not much, if anything, can be attributed to Spirit-led ministry.

    Gram3 wrote:

    I hope somehow that someone rises up in the seminaries and says “Enough” of this fraudulent “conservatism” that is really just guru worship.

    It should be obvious to most Southern Baptists that a man-centered religion has taken over the ranks on the heels of the Conservative Resurgence. Yes, these are not the conservatives who fought that battle – the Conservative Resurgence merged quickly into a Calvinist Resurgence. Unfortunately, I don’t think enough see it yet to cry enough is enough. We definitely need a champion in the ranks to call the denomination back to its senses – to snap them out of this cult of personality trend and errant indoctrination at our seminaries. But that man, or men, must be in obscurity – I just don’t see much movement in that direction. There are the folks over at SBC Today who have raised red flags about SBC Calvinization, but they are mostly grassroots Southern Baptists who have no power to challenge the big dogs. Without divine intervention, I don’t see much hope on the horizon to turn this thing back.

  81. I was there during this and I had no idea. Thank you for writing. It's heartbreaking even 10 years later. I hate I had no idea.

  82. ishy wrote:

    When I reported being sexually assaulted by a man who called himself a Christian, other Christians told me I imagined it because “he’s a nice man”.

    When a serial killer gets busted, don’t all those interviewed by the media say exactly the same thing?

    Again, SUCCESSFUL predators are masters of camouflage and misdirection.
    If they weren’t, they’d have been exposed long before now.

  83. Lauren wrote:

    I was there during this and I had no idea.

    Again, Masters of Camouflage.

    Also helps to have pre-groomed Friends and Allies in High Places of Authority.
    (Can’t help thinking of that bokor in The Princess and the Frog…)

  84. Gram3 wrote:

    Sociopaths have some kind of sixth sense about how to fool people. It’s what they do, and they are good at it, so it’s not you.

    It’s where they Live and Move and Have Their Being.

  85. ishy wrote:

    When I reported being sexually assaulted by a man who called himself a Christian, other Christians told me I imagined it because “he’s a nice man”.

    Talk about arrogance…

    I got into it online a few weeks ago with some people by saying that the spouse in an abusive or adulterous marriage is in the best position to know if their marriage is in trouble or should be saved, instead of, you know, men in church who don’t live in the house and basically have no idea what’s going on. Apparently that is a crazy, radical idea.

  86. Lise wrote:

    I believe and will continue to believe that God will redeem what happened at PBC and turn those ashes into beauty.

    From the description of “what happened”, that’s going to take some doing.

    I don’t think it happens without us working with him though, to that regard I agree wholeheartedly on continuing to speak up on such matters.

    One woman in the church told me “I do not feel called to be concerned about this matter!” 
    (How convenient…)

    During the early-to-mid 1980s, Rich Buhler had an afternoon talk show on a local Christian station. (It was a pretty good show, very different and REAL compared to the usual Christian AM radio fare.)

    Once on open lines he was talking with a “George from Hemet” (the show’s standard pseudonym for a caller who wanted to remain anonymous). Said “George” was a woman who related how some woman in her church was starving her newborn due to what sounded like projected Anorexia Nervosa and post-partum depression — feeding her infant nothing but water “to keep him from getting FAT”.

    “George” was really worried about this, but the advice she got from her friends at church was to “Pray about it and Trust The LORD.” Rich told her in no uncertain terms to contact the authorities NOW before the kid died — she needed to back up those prayers and faith with some ACTION.

  87. Lea wrote:

    I got into it online a few weeks ago with some people by saying that the spouse in an abusive or adulterous marriage is in the best position to know if their marriage is in trouble or should be saved, instead of, you know, men in church who don’t live in the house and basically have no idea what’s going on. Apparently that is a crazy, radical idea.

    How many variations of trolls do we get on here that say something like, “You say you support victims but you’re really just slandering good men” then not much later that man gets arrested? They even come and try to say stuff like that after the man gets arrested.

    I do think some Christians just really want to live in this perfect world bubble where no one around them can do no wrong and God makes everything pretty if you only clap your hands and say you believe. Unfortunately, I think some others, maybe even a good number, are also predators and don’t want the church to wise up to their evil deeds. I particularly wonder if the more vocal defenders are really predators.

  88. Lea wrote:

    I got into it online a few weeks ago with some people by saying that the spouse in an abusive or adulterous marriage is in the best position to know if their marriage is in trouble or should be saved, instead of, you know, men in church who don’t live in the house and basically have no idea what’s going on. Apparently that is a crazy, radical idea.

    DOC SIMON: How much did the Feds offer you to betray River and me?
    JAYNE COBB: That’s Crazy Talk!
    DOC SIMON: Then let’s talk Crazy. How much?

  89. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    One woman in the church told me “I do not feel called to be concerned about this matter!”

    Someone said this on another blog recently. The blog was basically saying ‘do not ignore this if it presents itself to you’. I don’t think anyone is asking that you take this up as your cause in life if you don’t ‘feel called’ to do that, but if directly confronted with an abusive person you have a choice to make. Ignoring it IS a choice…and often it is an active one. If someone brings you allegations of a crime and you are in a position of prominence you are obligated to report them. Obligated by the law in many cases and by the moral law, imo. It does not have to be your CAUSE to take allegations seriously, anymore than it is your CAUSE to take a leaking roof seriously. You have a problem and it needs taking care of. If you ignore it, it only gets bigger and more costly.

  90. Lea wrote:

    This is why I think all the talk about *patriarchy is in the bible so there* badly misses the point (well, in many ways but specifically in this one). If you wanted to create a system where men abuse, and everyone abuses children, you couldn’t do a much better job than some of these communities have done. And we see it in all the bad fruit. Which is also ‘biblical’.

    Certainly the form that cultish thinking takes in these groups is patriarchy. No questioning is allowed. The Village and Karen Hinckley is another example. Mars Hill. SGM.

  91. ishy wrote:

    Unfortunately, I think some others, maybe even a good number, are also predators and don’t want the church to wise up to their evil deeds. I particularly wonder if the more vocal defenders are really predators.

    I do think some subset of these men (and as per usual, they are almost always men) were either cheaters or abusing elicit materials and didn’t think they deserved to be divorced over it. I don’t really see any other reason to take such a strong position about what strangers do in their own marriages.

  92. Lydia wrote:

    The difference between what is descriptive and what is prescriptive?

    That is a huge and obvious mistake. Doublefacepalm and a simultaneous headdesk.

  93. ishy wrote:

    “You say you support victims but you’re really just slandering good men”

    I never used to think of myself as a ‘feminist’, but I do consider women to be fully equal to men. But at this point, it seems that a sizable number of men are simply incapable of believing women are telling the truth in these scenarios. And this extends also to children.

    I never really believed that before.

  94. From the OP:

    One woman in the church told me “I do not feel called to be concerned about this matter!”

    That reminds me of James 2:14-18 – What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

    In other words, when you are confronted with a situation that needs help, and you are able to help, then you are “called” by God to help that situation. End of discussion.

  95. Lea wrote:

    I never used to think of myself as a ‘feminist’, but I do consider women to be fully equal to men. But at this point, it seems that a sizable number of men are simply incapable of believing women are telling the truth in these scenarios. And this extends also to children.

    What keeps me up at night is the thought that many men consider that abuse of women and children okay and even “good”. I mean, all you have to do is look at some of the things we see these leaders say. Doug Wilson. Mark Driscoll. John Piper.

    And if that is what they believe, what about the average Christian guy? What about the one this post is about? Or the one that assaulted me? And the one sitting next to you in church?

  96. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    dee wrote:

    I am so sorry. Have you ever share your story?

    Thank you. I am not sure I can.

    Honestly, it has been 45 years this year, and I am just now coming to terms with the lingering effects. I have tried sharing it in the past with various people, but…… Only a couple of people know about it. My brother, who I found out 10 years ago was another victim of the same man, and my wife are the only one’s who know the whole story. But, once I think I have diffused the b*mb, it seems to just go off again.

    Thought about going to a counselor, but I never seem to make it.

    Maybe someday.

    From another survivor, may God’s peace overtake you.

    I understand how hard it is to tell your story. For me, when I finally told a close friend, it was like every cell in my body was trying to throw up the memories. I’m glad you were able to talk about it with your wife and brother. That’s important.

    As to counceling…when I finally started to seek counceling, it was one of the hardest and scariest things I had ever done. When I called to make an appointment, I had to squish into the corner of my bed with the phone and could bearly talk above a whisper. When I went in and filled out the paperwork, I literally shook. And it took me awhile to really get that the therapist worked for me and I was in charge of the sessions, not her. She knew this, of course, but it took me a good while to get there mentally and stop being afraid of ‘doing something wrong.’

    My prayers are with you. Each of our healing paths are unique. God is walking with each of us. Know you are not alone.

  97. ishy wrote:

    What keeps me up at night is the thought that many men consider that abuse of women and children okay and even “good”.

    Yeah. I don’t know how much is one and how much is the other. Maybe it’s all the same. I do think it all comes from an exalted view of themselves, and thus any attempt to say men are ‘better’ than women needs to be stopped. I am over. it. It does nothing good and a lot of bad.

    At this point, I’m not interested in entertaining the thought of going to or supporting any church that does treat women as fully equal, in every way. I also would say that, for whatever reason, poor treatment of women tends to equal poor treatment of children.

  98. Burwell wrote:

    In other words, when you are confronted with a situation that needs help, and you are able to help, then you are “called” by God to help that situation. End of discussion.

    Yes. Exactly.

  99. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    There’s supposed to be a Twitter movement called #EmptyThePews calling on churchgoers to ditch these churches and take their Tithe$ with them.

    I’m not on Twitter (not actively, anyway), and we were keyed out, so 2 pewpeon spaces were freed up for 2 True Believers. I think that was a Win-Win.

  100. Lise, thank you for sharing your story. It can be easily overlooked how far reaching the effects of these abusers are.

    The first line of damage is the ones directly abused – and there is so much damage here. The second line is those who have the trust shattered and Faith wounded – and they are often overlooked by victim adbocates. Hmm…and in writing, I think there may be a third line of damage: those who refuse to believe and thus have their hearts turn cold….

    That said, those that are presented with evidence and turn a blind eye are bad enough, but those who know and actively work to cover up and discredit victims…those are operating in a pure form of evil.

  101. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    George” was really worried about this, but the advice she got from her friends at church was to “Pray about it and Trust The LORD.”

    Sad but true, many thousands of devout fundagelical folk live and langush in these kinds divorced from reality bubbles…

  102. ishy wrote:

    And if that is what they believe, what about the average Christian guy? What about the one this post is about? Or the one that assaulted me? And the one sitting next to you in church?

    If you’re sitting next to me in the pew at St Boniface:
    I’m no GUBA, I survived the Shepherding Movement, and in fandom I know many who were damaged to near-destroyed by abuse.

  103. Lea wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    GUBA
    ?

    “Grew Up Born-Again”, a term coined in the Eighties to describe a “Cradle Evangelical” raised entirely in the Bubble. Based on a book title of the Eighties, “Growing Up Born-Again”. (Search on that title at Amazon and it should come up.)

  104. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    “Grew Up Born-Again”, a term coined in the Eighties to describe a “Cradle Evangelical” raised entirely in the Bubble.

    I checked it on Amazon, and it looks interesting, something like you know you’re a redneck if. However, let’s not get into the pot and the kettle. The catholics have the term cradle catholic, but i don’t think they are using it as a slur. I was practically born on the back pew of the church. Gram3 said she was in Cradle Roll, which is the youngest of the SS departments; so was I.

    I really think that the use of the term bubble is not applicable in this situation.

  105. I have heard that members of PBC were

    (1) encouraged to respect the victims' privacy (thus their identities were not revealed) and

    (2) told that the pastors were ministering to the victims

    Can anyone verify whether this is true?

  106. Off the subject, remember us here in Texas 14.71 inches here in my backyard in the Last 48 hrs. Enough is enough.

  107. @ Lise:

    This appears to be the technique used to keep everyone from communicating about what happened. I guess it's a form of the "Don't Talk" rule and it worked quite well.

  108. K.D. wrote:

    Off the subject, remember us here in Texas 14.71 inches here in my backyard in the Last 48 hrs. Enough is enough.

    Yes, we will. This is the weirdest hurricane I can remember, and I can remember a long time. There have been stronger ones, obviously, but this one is just strange. Hook and Gig Harvey!

  109. @ K.D.:

    We are praying for all of you in Houston and surrounding areas that have been hard hit. I'm keeping up-to-date watching the news.

    Stay safe!

  110. Deb wrote:

    We are praying for all of you in Houston and surrounding areas that have been hard hit. I’m keeping up-to-date watching the news.

    ABC-13 in Houston has been doing remarkable around-the-clock coverage of the flooding and live rescues. I’ve been glued to their live video for the last two days. http://abc13.com/live/23374/

  111. Lea wrote:

    ishy wrote:
    When I reported being sexually assaulted by a man who called himself a Christian, other Christians told me I imagined it because “he’s a nice man”.
    Talk about arrogance…

    They weren’t there,… but they know better. ( … or so they think.)

  112. PBC youth and some of the boys who were abused were my best friends. Many of us stayed in the youth group and we never, ever spoke of it. What happened that summer incalculably affected our experience there in the years after, casting a long shadow. But enough years went by that we would all hang out and have a good time at youth group and not even think of it.

    I agree that the leadership of Providence did not do all they could to handle the fallout, and more specifically, to help us, the youth, with dealing with it. We did have one meeting where we convened at church and the youth pastors told us what happened. By that time, I already knew, because word had gotten to me, and I was totally blindsided. I, too, trusted Doug and enjoyed being around him. I even strongly remember the message he gave to us at his youth group meeting, the week of his arrest. He told us the names of the people he claimed to have brought to Christ.

    Even though I was not one of the victims, the whole situation still haunts me, and all of us who were among the group of young people whose lives were turned upside down. Even reading this blog post brings back memories I try to suppress. But I felt compelled to offer support and to say that years later, we are all doing okay, but it is something we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Thank you for sharing your story.

  113.  @ mitch:

    My wife and I were at Providence for many years. It took us a long time to see and understand the full extent of the "darkness" that prevailed there. God bless you all and I pray for God's healing for everyone this happened to,

  114. JYJames wrote:

    They weren’t there,… but they know better. ( … or so they think.)

    When I brought up issues to my former pastor, his standard response was always, “Well, I don’t know that…” Sounds like defensiveness is part of the job description.

  115. I wanted to say a big thanks to everyone who prayed about my team appointing a new youth worker for a project with very vulnerable young people. We interviewed 2 people & appointed a really lovely woman who I think will be fantastic for the project. We get to spend more time with her on Friday at training & feel pretty confident she’ll slot right in. Keep praying!

  116. If something is suspected its best to hand it over to the experts to fish out the predator and give him/her their just deserts.

    ”I do not want to believe this, but the only thing that makes sense is either that they simply refuse to believe children (and generally women) in ANY accusation against a man, or when they do believe”

    At least in regards to women we can’t simply believe them. Because there is false accusations that ruined the lives of innocent men
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4818874/Jemma-Beale-jailed-10-years.html

    Let the truth be ascertained by the experts and the penalty given.

  117. JYJames wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    ishy wrote:
    When I reported being sexually assaulted by a man who called himself a Christian, other Christians told me I imagined it because “he’s a nice man”.
    //
    They weren’t there,… but they know better. ( … or so they think.)

    Oh no, he did things things right in front of them. Whether they weren’t paying attention or they pretended to ignore it, I still don’t know. And the woman he was trying to assault a few years later that I stopped? They were standing right there, ignoring him pushing her into a corner, body blocking her, and her trying to push him away.

  118. @ K.D.:
    Some rescue person shared a phone video while driving toward Houston Of pick up trucks with every kind of boat you can imagine, attached. They were on the side of the highway with flashers on waiting to get in. It went on for miles. It was sacred. The Dunkirk spirit.

  119. ishy wrote:

    Oh no, he did things things right in front of them. Whether they weren’t paying attention or they pretended to ignore it, I still don’t know

    Probably excused it away as ‘kidding’ or ‘that’s just josh’ or something?

    Or there is that other possibility discussed, that people really and truly don’t care. Scariest one.

  120. Lydia wrote:

    @ K.D.:
    Some rescue person shared a phone video while driving toward Houston Of pick up trucks with every kind of boat you can imagine, attached. They were on the side of the highway with flashers on waiting to get in. It went on for miles. It was sacred. The Dunkirk spirit.

    Sounds like The Cajun Navy.

  121. With the increasing number of these reports flying through the blogosphere, it’s clear that 21st century church leaders have lost their ability to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1). The wolf can so easily come in the door undetected to victimize the sheep.

  122. Lydia wrote:

    I am cradle roll. But we were emphatically taught one does not inherit.

    I don’t know what you mean by inherit, but HUG was talking about spending one’s life inside something he perceives as a bubble. That is what I addressed. My issue is that neither cradle catholics nor people who grew up in the born again culture can be classified by definition as being hothouse flowers who are oblivious to the world or who are simpletons or who are trapped in superstition.

    As to whether it is biblical to note some differences in growing up in a Christian family vs not, there is what Paul said about Timothy’s mother and grandmother. My take on it is that when the catholics address this issue, including some stuff I heard from Marcus Grodi, they mean that there is a different appearance of a level of understanding between cradle catholics and converts. And indeed there does appear to be. There is something similar which can be seen in protestants sometimes.

    I am sick and tired to the bone of people thinking that those of us who were born into some particular Christian life style are somehow less than those who were wild and wooley and then gloriously saved from wildness and wooleyness. And I am also s and t of being labeled a bubble child as it were for whatever reason. Enough already. I get it that people don’t like conservative protestantism, or for that matter conservative catholicism, but that is no excuse for taking leave of reality and stigmatizing whole groups of people. Leave that to the mobs in the streets; Christians can do better than that.

  123. Anonymous wrote:

    PBC youth and some of the boys who were abused were my best friends. Many of us stayed in the youth group and we never, ever spoke of it. What happened that summer incalculably affected our experience there in the years after, casting a long shadow. But enough years went by that we would all hang out and have a good time at youth group and not even think of it.

    I agree that the leadership of Providence did not do all they could to handle the fallout, and more specifically, to help us, the youth, with dealing with it. We did have one meeting where we convened at church and the youth pastors told us what happened. By that time, I already knew, because word had gotten to me, and I was totally blindsided. I, too, trusted Doug and enjoyed being around him. I even strongly remember the message he gave to us at his youth group meeting, the week of his arrest. He told us the names of the people he claimed to have brought to Christ.

    Even though I was not one of the victims, the whole situation still haunts me, and all of us who were among the group of young people whose lives were turned upside down. Even reading this blog post brings back memories I try to suppress. But I felt compelled to offer support and to say that years later, we are all doing okay, but it is something we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Anonymous,

    I am so sorry that this happened at your church. It’s not something anyone should ever have to endure in God’s house! I am concerned that no one ever spoke of it in your youth group. Is that because the leaders wouldn’t allow it? It seems apparent to me from Lise’s post that not everyone has moved past these horrific events.

    I am concerned about your concluding remark – “We are all doing okay.” Who is ‘all’? Does that include those who were victimized by Doug Goodrich? Have you been in communication with them? I would be surprised to find out that they are all doing okay. Perhaps you could clarify…

  124. “So I went. And standing there, in the room with people I had spent my entire life with, grown up with, I realized I had changed. Not only had I changed, but this place, these people, they could never be a part of me again. I felt sick as I thought about all that went on, all the lies and terrible things and as much as I wanted to forget, to shove it to the back of my mind and pretend that everything was okay, that was never going to happen.”

    This is what I feel like whenever I visit my former IFB church, where my parents still attend. I think of the two wives who were counseled to stay in bad marriages. I think of the guy who had complaints lodged against him by the family of a little girl and how the church brushed it off. I think of how a few years down the road, went on to sexually groom & molest two sisters for a year and a half. Neither sister knew about the other. The church reported the offender and he’s in prison, but they also publically church disciplined and shunned the victims for 3 months. My parents didn’t speak out against it. No one did. They knew it was wrong but no one spoke up. I think of the new heavy handed pastor, converting the church over to strict but very polished looking IFB. I think of how it was once so relaxed and loving, but at the last testimony service a new member stood up and praised the pastor for “taking a stand against the sodomites” and someone on staff publically praising all “keepers at home women” and saying how all women were supposed to be at and in the home, even though there were many working women in the audience.

    It makes me ill. And I see echoes of these same attitudes through so much of Christian culture these days…

  125. I Fear a Cage wrote:

    and someone on staff publically praising all “keepers at home women” and saying how all women were supposed to be at and in the home

    Ugh.

    You’ve told that story before, about the sisters who were abused and it’s still hard to take. Shunned! And another reason for people not to ‘cry out’. I pretty much want to spit nails when I see that. Ignoring people and then shunning them when they do is a good way to ensure that it doesn’t happen.

  126. To I fear a cage:

    Yes, those complaints are valid. But then again, I’ve been in churches full of women convinced that wives and mothers belong at home and heard them berated for not being a “Proverbs 31 woman” and being employed outside the home. Neither side has a handle on mudslinging. I’m currently in a denom that ordains women but have a male pastor. Don’t know what I would do if they called a woman. I’ve had women pastors before and watched every.one.of.them. save one lead the church into condoning things the Bible is very clear and explicit are sin. Not sure I will ever sit under one again.

    And for that the name calling often begins: bigot, airhead, someone who has drank the koolaid, Stockholm syndrome victim, etc. Nope, just a born again woman who’s convictions vary from other born again women’s convictions.

    How I long for the days when our SBC pastors used phrases like “as I understand the Scripture this means: ” and “you might disagree but I believe”.

    Come to think of it, not a bad idea for all of us.

    Just take this as from the mouth of one of those stay at home wives and mothers who has never, in 50 years in church, heard anyone stand up and praise us save my own husband. And often heard how much we should admire and praise the “working wives.” As I said, two way street.

  127. @ okrapod:
    Agree. It does get old. I misunderstood. What I was referring to was the idea that being from a Christian family meant more than it did about salvation. We were warned about that as “individuals” in a group. It’s a personal relationship just a group belief.

    There have always been fundamentalist type groups that do not participate much in any way in the world. But as far as I can tell they’ve always been small fringe groups. There was a JW girl my age in the neighborhood and she wasn’t allowed to do anything with us Catholic and Christian kids playing Outside.

  128. @ okrapod:

    Hmmm, I was “cradle roll” too, so to speak. I don’t think I grew up in a bubble either. A little naive perhaps.

    Anyway, I admire cradle kids who didn’t go off the rails. Saved yourself at lot of grief. Being a prodigal leaves deep and lasting scars.

    The parable says God had two sons…both have their assets, both their failings.
    Together though, they can make a great team.

  129. Bridget wrote:

    Baptists shouldn’t need a private/separate data base for perpetrators! If they report the perpetrators to authorities and HELP get convictions, instead of helping the perps move on, then all the perps would be on the sex offenders list. The Baptists should do background checks on everyone working at their churches. IF the Baptists did this, there would be one place to check – police record including the sex offenders list.

    If not a database, then some sort of protocol where any candidate is automatically background checked against things like the sex offender list, and other databases (don’t want any embezzlers, for example).

  130. Lea wrote:

    I think the biggest fix they need is an attitude change. Believe kids, believe women and seek to protect them. The rest will follow.

    Agreed. An entire paradigm shift seems to be in order.

  131. Mae wrote:

    @ okrapod:
    Hmmm, I was “cradle roll” too, so to speak. I don’t think I grew up in a bubble either. A little naive perhaps.

    I was a little sheltered, until maybe middle school? But I still had a tv and access to the outside world. Maybe not true of very small subsets, but even homeschooled kids probably have family who will sneak in secular music or a movie with curse words every now and then! Of course, then I went to a public high school and non-religious college so now I know it all lol. (j/k)

    NJ wrote:

    If not a database, then some sort of protocol where any candidate is automatically background checked against things like the sex offender list, and other databases (don’t want any embezzlers, for example).

    Seems to me a background check is literally the bare minimum you could do. I had a background check and a drug screen for my job and I don’t work with kids.

  132. Anonymous wrote:

    years later, we are all doing okay,

    Could you please define who is included in *all.* Obviously Lise is not doing OK. We have heard that another member your group would like. to do a post. Don’t think they are doing so hot either. Could you please explain who *all* is and why you are able to speak for *all* of them?

  133. Lea wrote:

    Seems to me a background check is literally the bare minimum you could do.

    They did do background checks at PBC. The problem arises when the pedophile has yet to be arrested. Doug Goodrich had a great background check.

  134. linda wrote:

    As I said, two way street.

    It definitely is a two way street. Women ought not be divided into SAHM vs working moms. We ought to be divided into those who got the opportunity to live the life we felt led to live, whether at home or on the job, vs those who did not get the lifestyle they wanted and felt either locked up at home or else forced unwillingly into the workforce.

    My problem with both sides of the argument is when either bunch tries to make themselves and their lifestyle the best and only lifestyle totally pleasing to God. Women can be really vicious over some things I want to tell the whole bunch that they should have left off that mean girl stuff when they got out of middle school.

  135. okrapod wrote:

    Women ought not be divided into SAHM vs working moms.

    Not to mention people without children, or without husbands, who also exist and are largely ignored in all of this.

  136. @ Lea:
    Here is what I think although this has gotten a bit away from the topic. I do not need someone to ‘affirm my choices’ or tell me it’s ok to work, or not to work, or to get married or not, or to have kids or not… But maybe everybody could just respect that other people are making their own choices and let them be?

  137. Lea wrote:

    Not to mention people without children, or without husbands, who also exist and are largely ignored in all of this.

    Yes. Good reminder.

  138. Lea wrote:

    Not to mention people without children, or without husbands, who also exist and are largely ignored in all of this.

    They can’t be used as weaponized wombs to Outbreed the Heathen.

  139. dee wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    Seems to me a background check is literally the bare minimum you could do.
    They did do background checks at PBC. The problem arises when the pedophile has yet to be arrested. Doug Goodrich had a great background check.

    The man who went after me as a child, had a great standing in the church. Working on his Ph.d in chemistry, at MIT. He came from a missionary background. Nobody in the early 60’s had a clue about pedophiles.

  140. NJ wrote:

    If not a database, then some sort of protocol where any candidate is automatically background checked against things like the sex offender list, and other databases (don’t want any embezzlers, for example).

    Every Baptist Church can do this Now. They are choosing not to, apparently. Congregants should speak up and demand this happen if it’s not.

    Now this won’t catch someone who has not been convicted, but there also needs to be protocol in place to safeguard against children being alone with anyone on church grounds.

  141. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    At our old church (not Baptist, but “Bible”), the guy leading worship is a registered sex offender. They know this, but there he is, up in front anyway. Just one example of many things wrong with those people (leaders).

    So sorry! This is a bad example.

  142. (Off Topic, part 1.)
    I lived in Houston, Texas for years (I’ve lived through a few hurricanes too). If you’ve been watching TV, you know it’s bad there now. People are losing their homes because of the flood water from Hurricane / Tropical Storm Harvey.

    Pastor Joel Osteen (who has a mega church in Houston) came under a lot of criticism the other day for not immediately opening his Lakewood Church.

    However, another local, Mattress Mack, opened his furniture store to take in folks put out by the flooding. He put out mattresses and recliners so people can sleep in his big store.

    I have no idea what Mack’s religious views or beliefs are, but he has put Osteen to shame (says a lot of people I’ve seen online).

    I once shopped for furniture at Gallery Furniture (Mack’s store). Since I moved away, I miss his local commercials where he screams into the camera, “Gallery. Furniture. saves. you. money!!” Anyway….

    Spokes-heads from Lakewood Church are saying they never closed their door to hurricane victims.

    I don’t know what to think. If you google for Osteen’s name, you can find all sorts of articles and editorials about him not taking in hurricane victims right away.

    Osteen is claiming the city initially asked him to use his church as a distribution center, not a center.

    Joel Osteen Refutes Criticism of Harvey Response
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pastor-joel-osteen-lakewood-megachurch-houston-responds-to-harvey-backlash/

  143. @ Daisy:

    I know many Christians dispute Osteen’s doctrinal views, but putting aside his Wealth and Health message, he still sort of represents Christianity to Non-Christians out there and occasionally does mention Jesus Christ (the essential salvation messsage).

    I think this goes to show that having correct doctrine isn’t enough.

    People out there are looking at Osteen’s Lakewood’s behavior and are so upset by it, they can’t be bothered to listen to his religious claims now.

    It reminds me of these Neo Calvinist churches (and others) Deb and Dee regularly cover who constantly put their theology or “correct doctrine” about victimized or wounded people.

    People will be disgusted by your “correct doctrine” and not give one iota about it, if it looks as though you are horrible to people in the process.

    I’m not sure what this CNN author’s religious views are, but now, thanks in part to Osteen’s actions, she seems to think that Christianity is a bunch of hooey:

    Joel Osteen’s Excuses Are Bogus
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/29/opinions/joel-osteen-hypocrisy-harvey-filipovic-opinion/index.html

  144. Daisy wrote:

    Pastor Joel Osteen (who has a mega church in Houston) came under a lot of criticism the other day for not immediately opening his Lakewood Church.
    However, another local, Mattress Mack, opened his furniture store to take in folks put out by the flooding. He put out mattresses and recliners so people can sleep in his big store.
    I have no idea what Mack’s religious views or beliefs are, but he has put Osteen to shame (says a lot of people I’ve seen online).

    I believe Joel Osteen when he claims that he was working with authorities regarding the best use of his church facilities. All it would take is one individual in authority to state that is not the case and Joel Osteen would be ruined. Let’s not forget that getting to the church may impose a safety hazard due to the water while there may be other nearby shelters available that are more accessible. By the way, do you know the total number of churches in the Houston area, the number that could have been used as shelters and the number that actually opened as shelters?

    I don’t know Mack’s religious beliefs, either. His religious beliefs are not important and I won’t second guess his motives for keeping his store open. But one thing is certain, a lot of people will need to buy furniture and the free publicity and goodwill his store has received is, “priceless.”

  145. @ Ken G:
    I have met Mattress Mack personally. He is an awesome man. I lived in Galveston during Hurricane Ike. After the hurricane, Jim was a big help to so many. He gave us 2 chairs for our table that we had to replace for free. It was an honor to shake this man’s hand 9 yrs ago. When you lose all your furniture and you have someone like Jim reaching out a hand to help, it renews your faith in mankind. See, not many people helped my family out. My own family did, but very few others did. I know that there will be others that will help like Jim Mackinvale. His furniture warehouse is on the north side of Houston. Passed it many times when leaving town. God Bless those who give.

  146. Bridget wrote:

    Now this won’t catch someone who has not been convicted, but there also needs to be protocol in place to safeguard children being alone with anyone on church grounds.

    My most recent former church–the one that keyed us out–has good procedures to protect children, IMO. Along with background checks, there are multiple adults with the children, clear sight lines, and other precautions which I cannot recall but which my OCD side loved. That church does many things very wrong, but they get this right, even if they do love C.J., as irrational as that is. It isn’t big enough to have a cool youth pastor to draw a crowd, so that isn’t a problem. I imagine if they ever did, they would have parents present at every meeting.

  147. Ken G wrote:

    I believe Joel Osteen when he claims that he was working with authorities regarding the best use of his church facilities. All it would take is one individual in authority to state that is not the case and Joel Osteen would be ruined.

    Based on first reports of this, my initial feeling was “How could he ‘not’ open the church?!” Then I heard Osteen explain himself and that he was following the protocol established by Houston’s emergency management officials – for Lakewood Church to serve as a supply distribution center as their primary responsibility and to house victims if/when the designated shelters reached capacity. After this was clarified, I repented of my earlier thoughts about him.

    The liberal media is always looking for a way to dish the church. I’m not a fan of Osteen’s Christian psychology style of preaching, nor feel that any preacher of the Gospel really needs a $10 million mansion since Jesus had no place to lay his head, but I never had reason to doubt that he is a brother in Christ and that he cares about those in need. Unless other information comes forth to change my mind, that’s where I stand with Osteen today.

  148. Max wrote:

    he was following the protocol established by Houston’s emergency management officials – for Lakewood Church to serve as a supply distribution center as their primary responsibility and to house victims if/when the designated shelters reached capacity.

    This is by far the most responsible and effective thing for him to do, IMO. I hope that he made a phone call to the mayor and governor well before the storm made landfall.

  149. Totally messed up. A (pending) comment by “i” in reply to Max about Joel Osteen was by me. I blame Satin who prowls about here.

  150. ishy wrote:

    Whether they weren’t paying attention or they pretended to ignore it, I still don’t know. And the woman he was trying to assault a few years later that I stopped? They were standing right there, ignoring him pushing her into a corner, body blocking her, and her trying to push him away.

    Witnesses claim they know the perpetrator’s heart is in the right place anyway? Witness claim they know the character of the predator is good anyway?

  151. i wrote:

    Max wrote:
    he was following the protocol established by Houston’s emergency management officials – for Lakewood Church to serve as a supply distribution center as their primary responsibility and to house victims if/when the designated shelters reached capacity.

    This is by far the most responsible and effective thing for him to do, IMO. I hope that he made a phone call to the mayor and governor well before the storm made landfall.

    The whole jumping on Osteen even though the storm wasn’t (isn’t!) even over yet bugged me a bit. I agree, coordinating with professionals is a great idea! And this all sounds very reasonable. Much as I love stories of people helping on their own, I also love people who talk to professionals and get things in place ahead of time, and try to do the unsexy things that are nonetheless vital. Even more so if they didn’t advertise it with fanfare, and just did it quietly.

  152. Gram3 wrote:

    Totally messed up. A (pending) comment by “i” in reply to Max about Joel Osteen was by me. I blame Satin who prowls about here.

    Don’t blame me– blame your computer!

  153. @ i:
    I (meaning me, father of Deebs, not U) will gladly take credit for both Harvey and Joel. But remember what I’m REALLY the father of.

  154. Gram3 wrote:

    My most recent former church–the one that keyed us out–has good procedures to protect children, IMO. Along with background checks, there are multiple adults with the children, clear sight lines, and other precautions which I cannot recall but which my OCD side loved.

    Good to hear this, Gram. My former church covered this well. But when I asked the protocol if someone in children’s ministry suspected abuse of any kind, I was sadly disappointed with an elders’ response. The elders wanted everything to roll up through them because . . . wait . . . someone could be hurt by a false accusation. I tried to explain that the elder’s were not qualified to investigate and could make a situation worse, but to no avail.

  155. Lydia wrote:

    Can you imagine one of Mohler minions in charge of such a database? I wouldn’t trust it.

    Based on what I’ve read about Mohler, and the Baptist leadership world, I wouldn’t want Him/them in charge of replacing the toilet paper rolls much less a database for Baptist abusers.

  156. Bridget wrote:

    The elders wanted everything to roll up through them because . . . wait . . . someone could be hurt by a false accusation. I tried to explain that the elder’s were not qualified to investigate and could make a situation worse, but to no avail.

    Wisdom is required when formulating policies which must cover *all* circumstances, and that gets complicated, in my experience with complicated human nature. If the elders are saying you are bound not to report to the civil authorities (as well as to them) something which you personally witnessed, then that is clearly wrong, ISTM. There is no way they are qualified to investigate a possible crime.

    If you are in a state where you are a mandated reporter (in some states like TX *every* adult is one), then you are bound to report the abuse if you have a reason to believe that abuse occurred, elders or no elders. So, check the statutes in your state, and you may be able to enlighten your elders about their duties under the law. Winsomely and submissively, of course. 🙂

  157. Gram3 wrote:

    and you may be able to enlighten your elders about their duties under the law. Winsomely and submissively, of course.

    Well, Gram, I’m afraid I’m one of those gals who wouldn’t give a hoot what elders said about wanting to check out the information first. I’d be calling authorities to check investigate – not elders.

  158. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    At our old church (not Baptist, but “Bible”), the guy leading worship is a registered sex offender. They know this, but there he is, up in front anyway. Just one example of many things wrong with those people (leaders).
    I feel guilty tho, because I am the one who invited him to our church in the first place.

    Not your fault,of course. I’m reminded of a 15 year old girl, years ago, who was forced to flee her home by a homicidal sister supported by Mom and Dad. She was picked up by Officer John, who was also worship leader at the local charismatic church. He found her some foster parents and invited her to church, where she was found by Christ. She told her family and soon most had become believers and Mom and Dad joined the church. Worship leader and former officer John, OTOH, left his wife to run off with the girl’s 18 yo friend. They proceeded to travel around the country for a couple years, leading worship and entertaining from church to church, while posing as man and wife. They were either caught or the young woman wised up, and John came home to his wife and repented. Mom and Dad, still pretty new believers, were shocked when John was immediately put back up on stage leading worship/entertainment as if nothing had happened. Oh– did I mention he was the pastor’s son-in-law?
    Shortly thereafter, another church leader was accused of molesting his kids and nearly the whole church stood up for him, writing letters of support to authorities and accusing the kids of making it up. This was the last straw for Mom and Dad, who left after Dad gave the board a few choice words. They went to the Lord firm in their faith (having been holding home fellowship meetings for several years). And all “because” a cop picked up a troubled runaway.

  159. Harley wrote:

    I have met Mattress Mack personally. He is an awesome man. I lived in Galveston during Hurricane Ike. After the hurricane, Jim was a big help to so many. He gave us 2 chairs for our table that we had to replace for free. It was an honor to shake this man’s hand 9 yrs ago. When you lose all your furniture and you have someone like Jim reaching out a hand to help, it renews your faith in mankind. See, not many people helped my family out. My own family did, but very few others did. I know that there will be others that will help like Jim Mackinvale. His furniture warehouse is on the north side of Houston. Passed it many times when leaving town. God Bless those who give.

    Good on him for helping you out.

    I walked past Mack at his store when I was there to shop, but he was talking to someone else at the time, so I just walked by and didn’t say anything.

  160. Max wrote:

    for Lakewood Church to serve as a supply distribution center as their primary responsibility and to house victims if/when the designated shelters reached capacity. After this was clarified, I repented of my earlier thoughts about him.

    I’m definitely not a liberal, but.

    After having read several articles about the whole situation, including his response to the criticism, the whole thing is still rather muddled.

    He also seemed to change his story about if his church had water in it at the time or not.

  161. Lydia wrote:

    @ okrapod:
    Agree. It does get old. I misunderstood. What I was referring to was the idea that being from a Christian family meant more than it did about salvation. We were warned about that as “individuals” in a group. It’s a personal relationship just a group belief.
    There have always been fundamentalist type groups that do not participate much in any way in the world. But as far as I can tell they’ve always been small fringe groups. There was a JW girl my age in the neighborhood and she wasn’t allowed to do anything with us Catholic and Christian kids playing Outside.

    Truth often resides between 2 extremes. As a form of a golden mean. It often sets off extremists from opposites sides of the issue.

  162. Lea wrote:

    ishy wrote:
    “You say you support victims but you’re really just slandering good men”
    I never used to think of myself as a ‘feminist’, but I do consider women to be fully equal to men. But at this point, it seems that a sizable number of men are simply incapable of believing women are telling the truth in these scenarios. And this extends also to children.
    I never really believed that before.

    Isn’t it said that heresies come in pairs and truth often lies between 2 extremes both of which are errors?

    Just because there are women who do lie and make false accusations do not make all women liars.

    And dealing effectively with abuse in not way is against the position of egalitarianism or inegalitarianism.

    Human evil exists regardless and abuse needs to be dealt with. However that doesn’t mean that certain things stop being true. Men and women aren’t completely equal. And Christianity is not a religion of equality outside of salvation. Christianity has hierarchies as evident by the existence of elders and deacons. And of Husbands over wives thereby reflecting the relationship between Jesus and Church.

    God is responsible for this order. Despite human failings.

  163. james wrote:

    Christianity has hierarchies as evident by the existence of elders and deacons. And of Husbands over wives thereby reflecting the relationship between Jesus and Church.

    You express one opinion, but where does God explain that elders and deacons and husband’s are heirarchy?

  164. @ Bridget:
    Well, I think we are basically in agreement about what we would do as individuals. I said to enlighten them about their duties if they are mandated reporters under the law, if they are evading that duty (not to mention their duties as Christians and elders.) Your conscience cannot be bound, and that means they cannot coerce you as SGM did. That said, making policies is complicated, and elders should not wing it.

  165. james wrote:

    Just because there are women who do lie and make false accusations do not make all women liars.

    I mean, it seems pretty obvious that close to ALL men who DO commit these crimes are liars. So.

  166. Gram3 wrote:

    @ Bridget:
    Well, I think we are basically in agreement about what we would do as individuals. I said to enlighten them about their duties if they are mandated reporters under the law, if they are evading that duty (not to mention their duties as Christians and elders.) Your conscience cannot be bound, and that means they cannot coerce you as SGM did. That said, making policies is complicated, and elders should not wing it.

    Yes, we are. In my state mandatory reporters include –

    A clergy member or religious practitioner.

    I am no longer at that church. It crumbled over three years ago. Those elders are no longer elders.

  167. Lise, Thank you for sharing your story and the impact the church's lack of responsiveness effected you. This situation has reached beyond the church. I grew up in Raleigh oldest,only girl with four brothers. I left Raleigh at 18 and didn't return until I was about 54. I was struggling with the hate I observed among some of the believers towards "non-biblical" people. I wasn't sure where to worship. One of my brothers was a deacon at PBC and I later found out he know all about the molestation. When I questioned him, he had canned church responses about, "The pastor was out of town" etc. he actually has two friends who had sons victimized there. He admitted the fathers were furious about how the church dealt with it and the families left. Where I am affected is seeing both brother and basically all my family ignore the damage done to a victim by the church. They expect the victim to forgive and not be "bitter". My mother's go to phrase is "I don't want you to obsess over it-can't you just get over it?" Where the church is involved, they believe the image should be protective. I do love my family, but their attitudes towards victims of church abuse is not compassionate. I think they are more concerned with the affect of secular thought on society, not women

  168. Whoops–instead of the pain experienced by religious victims. As a female, my opinion carries less weight. Funny how a graduate school education is ignored when you are a woman.

    Lise-hopefully your voice will encourage leadership to get a better understanding of the large circle effected by church abuse. And as always, thank you Dee and Deb!

  169. @ PPP:

    Wow. This comment is very important. The pastor was on Sabbatical and did not return because, and I quote, “When I am on sabbatical, I don’t return even if the church is burning down.” That led the *brave* men on the elder board to tell him that next time he should return. That was about the only finding of significance on the part of the church. The pastor was on a cruise and he sure didn’t want to have to ruin his tanning schedule.

    That comment led another deacon to leave the church. He couldn’t believe his ears.Yep- the church was sick in a lot of ways. No wonder everyone liked the pedophile before they knew he was one. He was charming and actually paid attention to the kids and their moms, in particular.

    Some moms were so charmed by sweet Dougie that they didn’t want him to go to prison. Some offered to counsel him and some are reportedly writing him while he is in prison.

    Prediction: He is going to be released in 2020. I believe that some of those *sweet Dougie just needs some love* people will try to get him to attend PBC once again. I hope the new pastors are a bit more enlightened .

  170. dee wrote:

    Some moms were so charmed by sweet Dougie that they didn’t want him to go to prison. Some offered to counsel him and some are reportedly writing him while he is in prison.

    “I WANT TO HAVE HIS CHILD! SQUEEEEEEEEEEE!”

    AND WHY ARE SO MANY OF THESE GUYS NAMED “DOUG”?
    You’ve got Douggie, the Jerk with the Kirk in Moscow, Idaho…
    You’ve got Douggie ESQUIRE, cosplayer and keeboarper of Commander’s Handmaids…
    And we’ve got yet another “Sweet Douggie”?

  171. While I will concede that it is horrible to read what occurred to these poor souls, it is rather unfortunate to see the failure of professed Christians to heed St. Paul’s command—NOT suggestion—not to use profane words (cf. Ephesians 4:29; 5:4). This is a trend that I have observed on the Wartburg Watch: profanity and foul language. Responding to sin with more sin is not the way of Christ.

  172. I fear you do not understand what we are doing here. In fact, I think you do not fully grasp the pain involve when child sex abuse invades a church and is not handled apporpriatetly. Your comment shows your real concern-swear words. You mention the *poor souls* and then proceed to beat them over the head for bad language. Good night! 

    This blog is not here to make you feel comfortable. It is here to help you to understand the pain that occurs in these situations. It is the failure of the church that should hit your heart. It is the pain of the abused that should concern you, not their language. 

    As for trends, you will find that the posts we write do not use your so called objectionable language. Our blog allows people from all sorts of backgrounds, pain and styles of communication to comment here. I suggest you go back to your nice church and keep out all the hurting people who might offend you with their language. You will then have a very nice, comfortable church which will help you avoid interacting with people who are not as *good* as you are,. 

     

  173. R. Smith Rutherford wrote:

    it is rather unfortunate to see the failure of professed Christians to heed St. Paul’s command—NOT suggestion—not to use profane words

    I suggest you do some research on the Greek word “skubalon” that Paul uses. Here is a good place to start: https://thinkhebrew.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/pauls-profanity/. Bottom line is you need to rebuke Paul for using dirty language and failing to follow his own teaching. There are times when salty language is appropriate.

  174. R. Smith Rutherford wrote:

    Responding to sin with more sin is not the way of Christ.

    child abuse and saying naughty words? clearly equally bad *eyeroll*

    This is the same logic that gets accusations of ‘bitterness’ thrown at people who dare to have feelings related to being abused. A logic the readership generally rejects.

  175. R. Smith Rutherford wrote:

    While I will concede that it is horrible to read what occurred to these poor souls, it is rather unfortunate to see the failure of professed Christians to heed St. Paul’s command—NOT suggestion—not to use profane words (cf. Ephesians 4:29; 5:4). This is a trend that I have observed on the Wartburg Watch: profanity and foul language. Responding to sin with more sin is not the way of Christ.

    Are you mad because I used the word shitty? Cause I edited out quite a few others…

  176. Some people in the church did care. Did do something. They were ostracized and slandered, but they did do something. Not everyone sat on their hands. It was difficult though.

  177. @ Deb:
    Curious what year this happened with the CRU meeting where CJ spoke. My daughter is in CRU now. I was in CJ’s church for years and it turned into a nightmare for many of us, and like Lise, pastors wouldn’t, and still won’t believe us, and it wasn’t just sexual abuse going on.It is soooo painful to visit churches and hear them raving about CJ, or recommending his books, etc. None of them know him anywhere near as well as those of us who were in his church for years.

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