First Baptist Church Columbia, South Carolina, Is Being Sued for Failure to Report Sex Abuse of a Minor

“You can recognize survivors of abuse by their courage. When silence is so very inviting, they step forward and share their truth so others know they aren’t alone.” ― Jeanne McElvaney, Healing Insights: Effects of Abuse for Adults Abused as Children link

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=25728&picture=cry
link

First Baptist Church, Columbia, South Carolina, is accused of hiding reports of abuse. The church is considered one of the largest SBC churches in South Carolina. For those who accuse us of only reporting on Reformed abuse, make a note. This appears to be a non-Reformed Baptist church (unless they are hiding stuff on their website.) TWW reports abuse in all types of Christian churches.

What happened?

Baptist News Global posted Lawsuit accuses prominent church of not reporting abuse.

The lawsuit filed Oct. 10 in Richland County, S.C., claims a now 17-year-old teen identified under a pseudonym began attending First Baptist Church of Columbia, S.C., with family members when he was in elementary school.

When he was 11 and starting middle school, the youth says he began attending a Sunday night discussion group led by an adult volunteer who groomed the child and over time “gradually escalated his inappropriate and illegal activity” to include lewd text messages and “intentional touching.”

WACH FOX 57 reported in Columbia church named in lawsuit involving sex abuse of minor:

The lawsuit goes on to accuse McCraw of sending Doe “several dozen” text messages per day, with many being “sexually-motivated, inappropriate, and illegal.” The lawsuit includes examples of these text messages, which are from last year. The filing goes on to say that McCraw also accessed Doe’s Snapchat without permission. McCraw admitted this in a text message.

McCraw is also accused of inappropriately touching Doe on several occasions, including Doe’s buttocks and inner thigh, while on church grounds.

WISTV shared some of the texts the abused teen received.

 

Was this information reported by church leaders to the proper authorities? No-the church did its own investigation.

The church conducted its own investigation and did not turn over their conclusions to the the proper authorities nor did they make any other report. According to WACH FOX 57, South Carolina reporting laws require clergy to reports any such incidents.

When informed of the messages, the lawsuit claims, church leaders did not turn over findings of their own investigation to law enforcement in compliance with a state law requiring certain professions, including clergy, to report information they receive in their professional capacity that gives them reason to believe a child has or may have suffered abuse or neglect.

The family has filed a lawsuit against the church.

WACH FOX 57 reports that the civil suit names the following men in the suit. It also appears that Wendell Estep was the lead pastor who has decided to retire. His picture is still on the website.

The victim, 17, and his parents filed the suit on Tuesday. The defendants named include the church, Andrew McCraw, Wendell Estep, and Philip Turner. According to the documents, McCraw was a youth assistant mentor and small group leader at the church. Turner oversaw McCraw as the Student Minister of First Baptist Church. Wendell Estep was the Pastor at First Baptist Church of Columbia but recently announced his retirement.

You can read the entire lawsuit at this link. Just scroll to the bottom. Warning: The contents are disturbing.

The lawsuit alleges that the church has been sued by multiple molested children in the past.

This is particularly concerning and we will be following this story to see if we can get more information. If this is true, this church is guilty of blatant disregard for the safety of the children.

According to WACH FOX 57:

The lawsuit says the First Baptist Church of Columbia “has been sued numerous times by children who have been sexually abused by Defendant First Baptist’s employees, agents, and/or staff.”

According to WISTV.com in LAWSUIT: Program assistant at Midlands church accused of sexual abuse of minor:

Joel Doe and his parents are also requesting the unsealing of previous sex abuse cases involving First Baptist Church of Columbia and Estep, documented in the court system, to be used as evidence in their claim. The Richland Co. 5th Judicial Public Index lists three other such claims.

The First Baptist Church defendants filed an Answer to the Amended Complaint.

Click on this link to read the contents. According to WACH FOX 57 in First Baptist Church addresses allegations in formal answer to lawsuit, here are some of the church’s claims. These boil down to the inevitable baloney that we have seen in so many other cases: blaming the parents, the church knew nothing, and the church did everything in accordance with the law.

“Defendants admit Defendant First Baptist Church was in the past sued in connection with actions in the late 1990s of one individual, but denies any further lawsuits alleged in this paragraph,” referencing paragraph 13 of the original lawsuit, which discusses the sexual crimes of former church Deacon John Hubner;

In regards to allegations of sleepovers between Doe and McCraw, “Defendants deny any knowledge of this alleged incident, which was never reported, but would believe that any such event would have to be after June 2016 if Plaintiff claims Defendant McCraw’s wife, whom he married in June 2016, was not home;”

In regards to allegations of sleepovers between Doe and McCraw, “Defendants deny any knowledge of this alleged incident, which was never reported, but would believe that any such event would have to be after June 2016 if Plaintiff claims Defendant McCraw’s wife, whom he married in June 2016, was not home;”

“Defendants deny knowledge of any alleged inappropriate or illegal activity, as nothing has been reported or alleged by Plaintiff other than the alleged conduct Plaintiff claims took place in 2016, but believes Plaintiff’s parents would have been aware of any time their son was spending with Defendant McCraw outside of the church environment;”

First Baptist Church addressed allegations in a statement posted on the church website and then suddenly deleted the statement.

Never fear, TWW took a screen shot from the church website. We are sorry that it is not more clear.You can enlarge it. However, if you go to this link, it was reprinted by WACH FOX 57. My personal favorite: the guy was just an unpaid volunteer. My former church used this one as well. As if it makes any difference…

I checked the church website today and guess what? It’s gone.

So, for all of you wannabe sleuths out there, see if you can figure why they took this down. They must have said something that caused the lawyers heartburn.

My concerns on how the church should have responded.

  1. Anytime a church puts up a statement and then takes it down with no explanation, that church should be viewed with suspicion. This is a church which cannot be depended upon. In fact, I would go even further and say that such a church may be more likely to be a church which covers up abuse.
  2. A church should never do “its own investigation* into reports of abuse. The moment a report is received, the church leader’s first call is to the police. Then, the church can do what it is supposed to do and support the victim and the victim’s family.
  3. The accused should not be allowed to remain at the church while the investigation is ongoing. If the church is concerned about the accused’s spiritual welfare, they can provide it to the accused in a secure location away from the church.
  4. Stop thinking it makes the church seem less culpable by declaring that the accused individual is an *unpaid volunteer.” Anytime a church allows anyone access to the children, they are responsible, whether the accused was paid or not.
  5. Stop blaming the parents. They trust their leaders because they are taught by their church leaders to do so. If a leader claims authority, then that leader must accept the burden of authority. The buck stops with the leader unless he is a wimp.
  6. I hope this church offered to pay for professional counseling to the abused individual and his family. I did not see this mentioned in any story. If a church truly cares for the abused, then they would naturally do this. The absence of such an offer would be concerning to me.
  7. Sadly, I have to conclude that the church defendants in this case are emotionally bereft. In other words, I find it hard to believe they care for the boy that was harmed. They did not mention any concern for his welfare in their up and down statement. The victim and his family deserve kindness and consideration in the midst of this situation. If this is true, I would never attend such a church nor would I inflict such a church on the lives of children.
  8. The church leaders sound self centered to this observer. It appears to be all about protecting their hides and the church. They need to STOP IT! Jesus does not require their intervention. He requires their honesty and self sacrifice.
  9. Why do any church leaders assume that they have the right, knowledge or training to investigate child sex abuse? I believe that such leaders are dangerous. Parents should be aware that their children may not be safe around such individuals.

A message to the young man and his parents

We are so sorry for this horrific abuse of your son which occurred in the one place you would think you would be safe. We find the response of the church to this abuse to be inadequate-lacking in love, common sense and acceptance of responsibility. We are asking our readers to pray for the healing of your son and for the peace that passes all understanding for all of you.

If we can ever be of assistance to you by publishing more about this story, please contact us at dee@thewartburgwatch.com.

Addendum and a suggestion for consideration.

It is assumed that the family is only asking for the statutory minimum of $150,000. Frankly, I think they deserve a lot more. Abuse of minor children can have long term effects. Counseling may need to be ongoing and that can be costly.


Comments

First Baptist Church Columbia, South Carolina, Is Being Sued for Failure to Report Sex Abuse of a Minor — 83 Comments

  1. “The Church did it’s own investigation” will never be ok.

    If it takes 50 lawsuits to make this clear, no matter. We need to make this clear.

  2. Terrible!

    Also, the church statement did not claim the church reported the matter to the police.

  3. They can expunge church records, however, God has records, as do the victims. Expunging church records does not make what happened go away, they will discover. Victims wish those memories would go away. Not so easy, not so fast. It won’t happen.

    A driver running their car into a pedestrian may quickly drive away. The damage is done, left in their wake, and it is illegal to run away like that.

    A leader running a church with volunteers that prey on children may run away and retire, as in this case. However, the damage is done, and as the lawsuit implies, you can run but you cannot hide.

    Love God, love others, Jesus said. Nothing about this case is love. Nor is it leadership. It is cowardice.

  4. “The church statement says First Baptist respects the privacy of parties involved in the earlier cases but does not oppose their unsealing.”

    Well, that’s something, I guess. Sounds like there’s a pattern of not going to the police though. Wendell Estep has been the senior pastor since 1986; the buck stops with him. Since this is such a prominent Baptist church in SC, I am hopeful other churches will learn some valuable lessons and make needed changes accordingly. Then again, maybe I’m too much of an optimist.

  5. “The church conducted its own investigation…” – Wendel Estep

    “I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior…” – Kevin Spacey

    No gentlemen, these are crimes. You don’t investigate and you don’t apologize. You answer questions from the police.

  6. There is nothing surprising in FBC Columbia’s response. As in almost all cases like this, the church is more interested in preserving its reputation than protecting current and possible future victims. I believe whether or not the church staff new about any illegal activity, it should have known, if the church did any serious investigation.

    I hope the police and the SC 5th Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office keeps a close eye on this case. If evidence arises that staff members knew anything, they should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Arrests may be the only way that churches will take child abuse cases seriously. However, I do not hold much hope that this will happen.

    I wish the family good luck in their lawsuit.

  7. JYJames wrote:

    They can expunge church records, however, God has records

    Yes indeed, God keeps records and they are perfect. Whatever happens in this case, there will be an account given before God.

  8. “I would like for First Baptist Church to become the state’s leader regarding safety issues of children.” – Wendel Estep, 2002, following the John Hubner settlement

  9. I don’t know if the church staff did or did not know anything, but I find it almost impossible to think that there were no parents of other kids who looked askance at this volunteer youth worker and at least had a level of suspicion. I don’t know what they could do about that level of suspicion, however, other than to keep their kids out of youth group and explain that by saying it ‘just was not working’ for them. And what good would that do?

    What I am describing above is a real issue. Re let her kid drop out of youth group because it just was not working, but that had absolutely nothing to do with any level of suspicion about anything-totlly different circumstances. So, how would one ever address the issue of suspicion? We are seeing in this recent Hollywood mess that ‘everybody knew’ and for that matter the whole nation probably knew or suspected, but what good that do anybody?

    When I was a kid, except for a very short period, the church did not have ‘youth group’ and as far as I can tell we did not miss anything significant because of that. Maybe those churches that look askance at youth ministries have a better idea.

  10. okrapod wrote:

    I don’t know if the church staff did or did not know anything,

    I believe the church’s statement that they had conducted their own investigation is an admission that they knew “something.”

  11. Steve wrote:

    “I would like for First Baptist Church to become the state’s leader regarding safety issues of children.” – Wendel Estep, 2002, following the John Hubner settlement

    It seems that FBC Columbia’s definition of safety is miles apart from mine.

  12. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20021225/sc-baptist-church-reaches-settlement-in-sex-abuse-case
    Hmmmmm… Bet this info was not in their welcome packet. Back in 2002! Apparently the “church” is a perp magnet.

    Good Night!!

    The settlement was tentatively approved Monday. It requires the Rev. Wendell Estep, pastor of First Baptist Church in Columbia, to support a state law requiring churches to report child sex abuse and force the 190-year-old church with 5,500 members to create a counseling program for child and adult sex abuse victims.

    Same pastor. This guy has been around the block before with this issue. He has no excuses for not knowing better.

  13. Dee, the statutory minimum statement is just boilerplate. In order to meet the jurisdiction of some courts, you have to plead a statuory minimum or maximum. The actual amount awarded can exceed the statutory minimum.

    Tl;dr: $150K is probably a stautory requirement. Actual damages can be much higher.

  14. First Baptist Church Columbia, South Carolina, Is Being Sued for Failure to Report Sex Abuse of a Minor

    Child molesting with possible coverup by church authorities.
    SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW?

  15. Steve wrote:

    I believe the church’s statement that they had conducted their own investigation is an admission that they knew “something.”

    JMJ/Christian Monist wrote that in the rural Tennessee Baptist church where he grew up, it was an open secret that one of the Elders was a pedophile. The Pillars of the Church would actually steer new members with children to Pastor Pedo so that he would rape THEIR kids, not mine.

  16. Steve wrote:

    “The church conducted its own investigation…” – Wendel Estep

    “I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior…” – Kevin Spacey

    No gentlemen, these are crimes. You don’t investigate and you don’t apologize. You answer questions from the police.

    Re Kevin Spacey, he followed that apology(TM) by coming out as Gay.
    The Gay community out here all facepalmed at that one.

  17. Yep.

    Evangelicals behind Catholics on abuse
    BOB ALLEN | SEPTEMBER 27, 2013

    “A Liberty University law professor and grandson of Billy Graham told reporters Sept. 26 that he thinks evangelicals “are worse” than Catholics when it comes to responding to sexual abuse by clergy.

    “Protestants can be very arrogant when pointing to Catholics,” Boz Tchividjian, executive director of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE), told journalists attending the Religion Newswriters Association conference in Austin, Texas.

    Evangelicals often frown upon transparency and accountability, he said, as many Protestants rely on Scripture more than religious leaders, compared to Catholics. Abusers discourage whistle-blowing by condemning gossip to try to keep people from reporting abuse, he said. Victims are also told to protect the reputation of Jesus.

    Tchividjian said too many Protestant institutions have sacrificed souls in order to protect their institutions. “We’ve got the Gospels backwards,” he said.”

    https://baptistnews.com/article/evangelicals-worse-than-catholics-on-abuse/#.WfiRNEx7E2I

  18. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    The Gay community out here all facepalmed at that one.

    I facepalmed at that one, too! Looking for sympathy is what came across to me. And that is no excuse for what he aledgedly did(.)

  19. @ okrapod:
    Over 40 years ago my mother wasn’t too sure of our youth group supervision. It wasn’t sexual issues, it was just adult/kid ratios on trips. After I came home with some tales about a snow trip (including finding an empty Ripple bottle under the bunk of my sloshed cabin leader), my mom didn’t let me go on c”away”outings. I wasn’t too happy with her, until a 14 year-old drowned in the rive on one of those trips that I didn’t attend. Senior church leadership needs to have safety protocols, of all kinds, and responsible staff reporting procedures for all activities that involve minors.

  20. With respect to the original post….. I just do not “get” the theology/philiosophy/reasoning of church leaders that cover up this stuff…. If a leader is open and honest, and goes to authorities immediately, etc, a wise church leader can use the situation as a learning tool to teach the depravity in mankind, and how it can happen to any of us (in some form), and teach accountabilty with possibilty of restitution/redemption. Correct me if I am wrong, but is not one of the fundamental Christain messages??

    Now, there is a negative/cynical side of me that can “go off” on all of these “church leaders”, but I am really trying to understand if there is some other “thinking” going on that I just do not understand…

  21. I will say that I am currently, technically, a member of First Baptist, having joined while taking classes at USC, but I haven’t physically attended in two to three years. It is not reformed, or I would have never joined.

    I will be watching the outcome of this case, and praying for the victim. As in all churches there are some great people at FBC, and I will also be praying for them. Since our leaders seem more concerned with reputation than anything else, I pray that our leaders, at FBC and elsewhere, would learn that ultimately it is much more damaging to the church’s reputation to be accused of covering up molestation, than it would be to just report it. Pastor Estep is retiring, sometime next year, his retirement now will have a black cloud over it, that it needn’t have had if the Church had just followed the law. A Columbia Police Officer accompanies him and the other pastors to the pulpit every Sunday morning and sits just to the side, it would not have been difficult to tell him what was going on.

  22. Jarrett Edwards wrote:

    Pastor Estep is retiring, sometime next year, his retirement now will have a black cloud over it, that it needn’t have had if the Church had just followed the law. A Columbia Police Officer accompanies him and the other pastors to the pulpit every Sunday morning and sits just to the side, it would not have been difficult to tell him what was going on.

    Wait, what? What is this about? Have the church/pastors been truly threatened or is this just some way to make people believe they’re being threatened?

    Signed, that fat middle-aged woman who caused Mark Driscoll to spend money on Scottsdale police last year, just to watch her.

  23. GMFS

    Me: There’s been a bit of a contention on Wartburg lately…
    Lesley: I’d be concerned if there wasn’t.

    IHTIH

  24. Jarrett Edwards wrote:

    A Columbia Police Officer accompanies him and the other pastors to the pulpit every Sunday morning and sits just to the side

    Am I the only one who finds this a bit odd?

    It reminds me of our old Bible church, when the pastor used to brag about “packing” at the pulpit.

    Sometimes you just don’t see things clearly until they are in the rear view mirror.

  25. @ Todd Wilhelm:
    Boz teaches at Liberty? I had no idea. Why do people always describe him as Billy Graham’s grandson? I don’t get that. So is Tullian. 🙂

  26. okrapod wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    GMFS
    IHTIH? Not so much, but if I knew what GMFS means, well, perhaps…What is GMFS? FS I might have a guess, but ….?

    Good morning from Scotland!

    IHTIH 😉

  27. @ Bridget:

    Bingo!

    (er – that’s not an acronym, obviously)

    (well, it could be made into one, of course, but it isn’t one there)

  28. Since the UK uses UTC (UTC+1 from March to October), my breakfast-time comments generally appear in the middle of the night from the POV of most Americanish Wartburgers.

  29. Jarrett Edwards wrote:

    A Columbia Police Officer accompanies him and the other pastors to the pulpit every Sunday morning and sits just to the side,

    A show of pompous authority if you ask me. Revolting as well, to see the church and state joining in a show of false spiritual power.

    Jarrett Edwards wrote:

    it would not have been difficult to tell him what was going on.

    I wouldn’t be quick to assume the pastors didn’t share it with the policeman.

  30. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Americanish Wartburgers

    What would a “Wartburger” have on it for toppings?
    Cheese? Obviously not. Onion, Lettuce (free range, of course), Tomato, Spicy Mustard, Pickles? Peppers? Pretzel Bun? Hmmm…. when is lunch?

  31. I have come to find that the members who know of the abuse and do nothing are just as responsible for this carrying on. What I mean by that is if you as a member of any church where child sex abuse has occurred and it is being covered up, swept under the rug, or not dealt with in a way to protect other members you own some responsibility in the abuse of the children and ones that occur later one within that church if you know about it and say nothing! To stay silent and not hold these leaders accountable is up to the body of that particular church to call out the leaders and say NO!!! I understand there are many members who do not know because they are so good at keeping it quiet. However I don’t care if it is one person or 100 you do not have the right to keep that information to yourself. If the leaders will not do what is right we as a body need to do the right thing no matter the cost. Because in the end it costs the lives of our little ones who are so vulnerable and depend on us to protect them and those families depend on the rest of us to offer support when their babies are harmed. I don’t care about gossip or someone losing a church they are a dime a dozen what we can’t afford to lose is our children and the families destroyed over this evil. All it takes is for one person to say something for change to happen. That’s my two cents worth!

  32. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Jarrett Edwards wrote:
    Pastor Estep is retiring, sometime next year, his retirement now will have a black cloud over it, that it needn’t have had if the Church had just followed the law. A Columbia Police Officer accompanies him and the other pastors to the pulpit every Sunday morning and sits just to the side, it would not have been difficult to tell him what was going on.

    Wait, what? What is this about? Have the church/pastors been truly threatened or is this just some way to make people believe they’re being threatened?

    Are you sure that “Columbia Police Officer” isn’t off-duty and working for Pastor on the side?
    It’s happened before; Pastors using off-duty cops (who are church members) as their Enforcers.

    Or is this just fear of Machete Man from Mars Hill?
    Showing everyone how Important Pastor Must Be because he has to have police protection against his Enemies?
    Like that Pastor who got bitten by the Devil — shows how Important he had to be that Satan had to bite him personally!

  33. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    Am I the only one who finds this a bit odd?
    It reminds me of our old Bible church, when the pastor used to brag about “packing” at the pulpit.

    First Church of Zardoz?

    “FOR ZARDOZ YOUR GOD GAVE YO THE GIFT OF THE GUN.
    THE GUN IS GOOD!”
    (“The Gun is Good…”)

  34. @ shauna:
    Unfortunately pastors of other churches often cover for sinning pastors. I went to a different pastor in my denomination when I found out about the adulterous ways of my former pastor, who has moved on to a different church. I thought his new church should know about him. I was told to break the chain of gossip, and that I should have Matthew 18ed the former pastor.
    Mind you, the offended husband, with whose wife he had committed adultery, had already divorced her and you could read the details in the local paper…

  35. Yes!!! I agree with you Linn that they do cover for each other and it’s absolutely shameful. I don’t think we should intentionally embarrass or humiliate people some of this could be handled privately. However when children are involved or when someone has done something like that and never dealt with it or it’s been covered up then Houston we got a problem. Now it is up to the body to not just confront that person asking them to step down but also to call out the leadership! I get that it’s not easy but neither is living the Christian life. Never are we to turn a blind eye to abuse and allow abusers of any sort continue. Nor should it be hidden and when it’s placed in secrecy we are to bring it to light. Those who desire forgiveness and are sorry for their sin will be transparent. Abusers need Jesus to! However this doesn’t mean we allow them to have access to kids without boundaries. Unfortunately forgiven or not the propensity to fall into that sin is to high of a risk and it’s not fair to ask children and families to take the risk. Linn wrote:

    @ shauna:
    Unfortunately pastors of other churches often cover for sinning pastors. I went to a different pastor in my denomination when I found out about the adulterous ways of my former pastor, who has moved on to a different church. I thought his new church should know about him. I was told to break the chain of gossip, and that I should have Matthew 18ed the former pastor.
    Mind you, the offended husband, with whose wife he had committed adultery, had already divorced her and you could read the details in the local paper…

  36. @ shauna:
    I live in a state where both child abuse and domestic violence must be reported by all mandated reporters (that includes the clergy). If our pastor did not report, I would have no problem doing it if I Had the information, as I also fall into the mandated reporter category due to my profession. You can also report as “fine upstanding citizen”.

    I am not into random rumor-mongering. My example was only that too many professional clergy cover up for each other, and it has been going on much too long.

  37. Churches keep forgetting that child sexual abuse isn’t just a “sin” to be covered up or dealt with privately….it is also a CRIME.

  38. AWWBA, 28 years ago at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, 96 supporters of Liverpool FC were crushed to death when police ushered thousands of people into the already-overcrowded Leppings Lane stand. Over 700 more were injured in what remains the worst disaster in British sporting history.

    The Hillsborough Disaster was tragically noteworthy, not only for the scale of loss of life, but for the tenacity and zeal with which the authorities responsible for it colluded together to cover up their own responsibility, and to demonise and vilify the victims. These included the bereaved families, and the official line was supported and maintained by major national newspapers who ran stories portraying the dead fans – falsely – as drunken hooligans who got no more than they deserved.

    A report, commissioned by Theresa May (when she was Home Secretary) and authored by Bishop James Jones (former Anglican bishop of Liverpool), was published today. Its purpose was specifically to tell the stories of the bereaved families, so that their experience of the Hillsborough Disaster is not repeated.

    The report’s official title is a phrase whose origins Bishop Jones describes thus:

    Over the last two decades as I have listened to what the families have endured, a phrase has formed in my mind to describe what they have come up against whenever they have sought to challenge those in authority – ‘the patronising disposition of unaccountable power’.

    Indeed.

  39. A.Tumbleweed wrote:

    What would a “Wartburger” have on it for toppings?

    Don’t think it hasn’t occurred to me to wonder exactly that.

    I must beg to differ on the cheese; but it would be a proper vintage cheddar, of the sort that repels large hunting dogs. It would also have something like a sweet chilli relish, or maybe even a cheese and lemon sauce (such as goes marvellously well with salmon or smoked fish in general).

    Salad-wise: with you on the general crunchiness of it. No cucumber, incidentally, although I’ll allow a gherkin.

  40. ION: Cake

    So, tonight’s apple and cinnamon sponge on a short pastry base as worked really well. I’d send some into the cloud for Wartburgers to sample, but that action is not supported by any known physics.

  41. It’s at times like this, in fact, that I think we need to come up with some new physics. Like, say, a flat-earth conspiracy theory, only tailored for the present need: a macroscopic quantum tunnelling cake conspiracy theory. I mean, you may think you can’t email a piece of cake. But that’s what They want you to think.

  42. I think the problem with the commenters here is that you’re all looking for the perfect church.

    What I would say is, if you ever find the perfect church, don’t join it – you’ll spoil it.

    Yours sincerely,

    Arnold Smartarse

  43. Bridget wrote:

    Maybe you could get your alter ego, God, to work on that?

    Actually, Nick is My alter ego.

    Well… actually, no. But it is often said about Me that My trouble is that I behave as though I had the same authority as scripture.

    😉

    Best regards,

    God

  44. A wartburger might do will with warmed sauerkraut, sauteed onions and a mildish lightly ground brown mustard. Followed 1/2 hour later with any available antacid.

  45. Somewhat related: Doug Wilson has just weighed in on the Harvey Weinstein (et all.) Scandal…by *blaming the victims.*

    Suhprise, suhprise!

    Linkie later. One of my Calvinist FB friends linked to it approvingly. Gotta run to All Saints Mass now but will look it up when I get back.

  46. Not looking for any church here! I hate the word perfect because I believe it’s used by arrogant pastors men that think they are leaders who use that word to excuse bad behavior. We all know no one is born perfect so why even use the term ” were not a perfect church”? , “we don’t always handle everything perfectly”! (News flash, who does?), or were not perfect!!! That phrase is absolutely over used by so many so called ” church leaders”. Ugh Ugh Ugh!!! I had to say it three time it’s so annoying.

    If I never step into another church again it will be to soon. The only church I would actually like to be a part of is a little ole Baptist church in TN. No agenda there no building just a 75 year old pastor who is filled with the Holy Ghost when he speaks. Or another one around the same age in Florida. No buildings or mass membership just simple Christian men preacher the word. I call them preachers because I now dislike the term pastor. Don’t need any man shepherding me Jesus does just fine. These preachers I will take their words and if it lines up with the King James Version then I’m good with them. Ok said my peace. Arnold Smartarse wrote:

    I think the problem with the commenters here is that you’re all looking for the perfect church.

    What I would say is, if you ever find the perfect church, don’t join it – you’ll spoil it.

    Yours sincerely,

    Arnold Smartarse

  47. Curse you, SpellCheck!! I typed “et al.” and I *meant* “et al.” NOT “et all.”

    I wanna burn SpellCheck at the stake.

  48. God wrote:

    But it is often said about Me that My trouble is that I behave as though I had the same authority as scripture.

    I’ve been meaning to talk with you about that…

  49. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    it would be a proper vintage cheddar, of the sort that repels large hunting dogs.

    And that small hunting dogs, like my wee beasties, would give their eye teeth for.

  50. And this whole topic infuriates me – it is very very simple to set up a good & workable child protection system & stick to it. I do it every day at work. People don’t do it because they don’t want to do it due to some secondary benefit from not having it in place, or because they’ve been fooled by someone/ some theology to think they don’t need one. Newflash: Jesus & his ability to bring change to sinful people is not diminished by having child protection polices.

  51. God wrote:

    Well… actually, no. But it is often said about Me that My trouble is that I behave as though I had the same authority as scripture.

    What are you thinking? You best get in line with scripture alone or you may receive a dressing down by pastor . . .

  52. Beakerj wrote:

    Newflash: Jesus & his ability to bring change to sinful people is not diminished by having child protection polices.

    Well, some people obviously think otherwise. I’ve given up trying to figure out why.

  53. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Are you sure that “Columbia Police Officer” isn’t off-duty and working for Pastor on the side?
    It’s happened before; Pastors using off-duty cops (who are church members) as their Enforcers.

    I do not know if they are off duty or not, but they are in uniform. From what I was told by other members, they started having them there, because FBC is a very visible church in SC, having the oldest TV ministry in the state and being a historical landmark(being the location of the first meetings of the SC Secession Convention). Again this is only what other members told me, that there have been threats made in the past due to that visibility. I’ve never heard of the these cops being anything other than for security.

  54. @ Todd Wilhelm:
    “It’s simple really. As I said, I inhabit a world of black and white. In my world those that
    – abuse children,
    – cover-up the abuse of children,
    – enable those who cover-up the abuse of children,
    – share the conference stage with those who cover-up the abuse of children or
    – endorse such a man by speaking at his church are themselves evil men.” – Wilhelm on “Thou Art the Man” blog earlier this fall. [bullet points added to quote]

    Why? Because adult attraction to children is a black and white issue.

    Thanks, TW, for this statement on your site, https://thouarttheman.org/2017/09/06/nashville-statement-zero-credibility/

  55. Jarrett Edwards wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Are you sure that “Columbia Police

    I do not know if they are off duty or not, but they are in uniform. From what I was told by other members, they started having them there, because FBC is a very visible church in SC, having the oldest TV ministry in the state and being a historical landmark(being the location of the first meetings of the SC Secession Convention). Again this is only what other members told me, that there have been threats made in the past due to that visibility. I’ve never heard of the these cops being anything other than for security.

    My Catholic parish in NYC is a large one in a historic building, namely it is visibly prominent. Across the one way street is a well known Jewish museum. When the city is on high terrorism alerts police are posted outside both. I’ve never seen them inside. Why is the police officer sitting up front near the pastor? Sounds more like a weird power move to me. (Given the event Tuesday in lower Manhattan I wonder if there will be police at the doors today.)

  56. DEW wrote:

    Jarrett Edwards wrote:
    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    Are you sure that “Columbia Police
    I do not know if they are off duty or not, but they are in uniform. From what I was told by other members, they started having them there, because FBC is a very visible church in SC, having the oldest TV ministry in the state and being a historical landmark(being the location of the first meetings of the SC Secession Convention). Again this is only what other members told me, that there have been threats made in the past due to that visibility. I’ve never heard of the these cops being anything other than for security.
    My Catholic parish in NYC is a large one in a historic building, namely it is visibly prominent. Across the one way street is a well known Jewish museum. When the city is on high terrorism alerts police are posted outside both. I’ve never seen them inside. Why is the police officer sitting up front near the pastor? Sounds more like a weird power move to me. (Given the event Tuesday in lower Manhattan I wonder if there will be police at the doors today.)

    Given the events of today in Texas, it might seem more apt, for the police to be inside. Again, all I know is what other members have told me. I don’t see it as a power move simply because Pastor Estep often sits in the sanctuary before the service and talks to people and is approachable after the service, and at the church luncheon, as well, though that might have changed now. The officer simply leads in the Pastors as they walk together to the pulpit area at the beginning of the service and then sits over to the side in front of the pews to the left of the pulpit. Really in the three years I attended, I never saw any of the cops do anything, or heard of them doing anything other than sitting there.

  57. JYJames wrote:

    A driver running their car into a pedestrian may quickly drive away. The damage is done, left in their wake, and it is illegal to run away like that.

    Excellent point!

  58. Steve wrote:

    would like for First Baptist Church to become the state’s leader regarding safety issues of children.” – Wendel Estep, 2002, following the John Hubner settlement

    This makes them even more culpable because they had cases of abuse before and didnt take preventative action to make sure it didnt happen again.

  59. “Joel Doe and his parents are also requesting the unsealing of previous sex abuse cases involving First Baptist Church of Columbia and Estep, documented in the court system, to be used as evidence in their claim.” i want to say that cases like these should never be sealed without it being a request of the minor child/parents. Even then an unsealed report with no minor child named would be great. Hollywood has shown us that to win a case against a celebrity many women have to agree to a non disclosure statement. This means abusers just pay and it is all hushed up until someone finally refuses and gets nothing for what they went through except for the honor of being the one that went thru all kinds of public abuse on top of the abuse suffered, to show that anuser has been buying their way out for decades.

  60. shauna wrote:

    . All it takes is for one person to say something for change to happen. That’s my two cents worth!

    Thank you for this! I went to an AA meeting several years ago and the “greeter” said to me that i should be aware that the group was a public group and had convicted pedophiles attending and that i should be aware and supervise my kids if they ever attended with me. That made me have more respect, not less for the group and i didnt bring kids with me. Why does the world get it while the church doesnt?!

  61. Jarrett Edwards wrote:

    A Columbia Police Officer accompanies him and the other pastors to the pulpit every Sunday morning and sits just to the side, it would not have been difficult to tell him what was going on.

    Maybe he truly needs this…i think i remember reading about a grief stricken father that beat to a bloody pulp the man that had abused his daughter.the police and courts decided not to charge the distraught father with anything. I do not condone violence but know what it is like to be pushed too far by injustice to children! Message to pastors: turn accused abusers over to the police promptly lest upset parents say ENOUGH!

  62. Catholic Gate-Crasher wrote:

    Somewhat related: Doug Wilson has just weighed in on the Harvey Weinstein (et all.) Scandal…by *blaming the victims.*

    Suhprise, suhprise!

    Linkie later. One of my Calvinist FB friends linked to it approvingly. Gotta run to All Saints Mass now but will look it up when I get back.

    I am so thankful you crash the gate! Re: doug wilson AAAArgh!

  63. Beakerj wrote:

    Newflash: Jesus & his ability to bring change to sinful people is not diminished by having child protection polices.

    Well said!!!

  64. Beakerj wrote:

    Newflash: Jesus & his ability to bring change to sinful people is not diminished by having child protection polices.

    I was reading the comments here and was thinking about how Jesus was upset about people that made His Fathers house a den of robbers, so upset that He made a whip and cleared out the temple! And then i wished He were here now because i remember reading that He had even more dire warnings for people that offend little children that believe in Him, i wished that He was here and would clear the temple of nowdays of pedophiles and then i remembered that He is here now- in the hearts of His followers! Jesus didnt kill or assault anyone while He was on earth and we need to remember that and act the same, but i believe we are to cleanse His Fathers house, by speaking up with a voice that refuses to be silenced.

  65. On why the church took down their public statement? Plaintiff is charging they knew of abuse and failed to report- their statement clearly shows they knew, investigated, found evidence which caused them to get rid of the guy- and LE can confirm they never reported!! They are a lawyers nightmare…great job saving that screenshot Dee & Deb!!

  66. P.S. thanks wartburgwatch and commenters, this site is great therapy for me, helps me recover from the mindgames i suffered while trying to get justice for my own and my childrens abuse years ago.

  67. sandy c wrote:

    I was reading the comments here and was thinking about how Jesus was upset about people that made His Fathers house a den of robbers, so upset that He made a whip and cleared out the temple!

    “When somebody asks ‘WWJD?’, remind them that flipping out and throwing tables around is a viable option.”

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