I Thought He Was Taking Me for Ice Cream: One Woman’s #MeToo Story of Molestation By Her Former Youth Pastor, Andy Savage

“I am sickened by the thought that young adult or teenage girls are expected to be glorified erotic actresses playing the script of their sex hungry boyfriends.” Andy Savage 

Several weeks ago I received an email from Jules Woodson and a phone call from Kenny Stubblefield and Brooks Hansen. Amy Smith of Watch Keep was contacted as well. Jules had reached out to Kenny and Brooks due to a story posted at The Wartburg Watch link and link. It is important to note that both Amy and I have had previous contact with HIghpoint Church Memphis due to those posts.

We all conferenced together via phone, along with Darcy, a friend of Jules who is an important reason that this story is being told. Our subsequent conversations profoundly affected me over the Christmas season when I found myself waking up at all hours of the night, contemplating the pain that Jules has suffered both during the molestation and the many years following that wretched night. Meanwhile, the pastors involved in this story have gone on to success within the Christian world.

The name of the victim is Jules Woodson which is her maiden name. She wishes her name to be known. Darcy is her friend’s actual first name and we have permission to use that name as well.

Amy Smith and I are joint posting this story but we may tell it slightly differently. (Update:1/5/17 10:28 AM) Here is Amy Smith’s post:

Silent no more: a survivor of sexual assault by prominent Memphis pastor Andy Savage shares her story #metoo #churchtoo #silenceisnotspiritual

After our stories are published, I will be contacting the involved pastors and their churches for comment. Amy will be handling the media. There is little doubt in our minds this story is true, as you will see from the narrative.

Trigger Warning: The sexual assault will be described in some detail for just one paragraph, which will be clearly labeled.

A challenge to readers

This is a #metoo #churchtoo story. Many Christian women claim that they want to stand against the sexual abuse of women: #SilenceIsNotSpiritual. This is a story that should attract their support and their attention. However, will the support be offered when it involves a pastor that they like or a church that they attend?

For regular readers, I offer a challenge. See if you can spot predatory grooming tactics in the story and point them out in your comments. Jules hopes that her willingness to tell her story will help others avoid the pain that she has experienced. She also desires that her story might encourage other women and men in the church to come forward to tell their stories of abuse.

The list of involved pastors, churches and organizations

Here is Andy Savage’s bio taken directly from his website.

The unanswered email that Jules Woodson sent to Andy Savage on December 1, 2017

Jules saw the following tweet by Andy Savage.

Here is the email that Jules sent to Andy Savage, Teaching Pastor of Highpoint Memphis.

 

——– Original message ——–

From: Jules Woodson

Date: 12/1/17 9:21 AM (GMT-07:00)

To: andy.savage@highpointmemphis.com

Subject: Do you remember?

Do you remember that night that you were supposed to drive me home from church and instead drove me to a deserted back road and sexually assaulted me?

Do you remember how you acted like you loved me and cared about me in order for me to cooperate in such acts, only to run out of the vehicle later and fall to your knees begging for forgiveness and for me not to tell anyone what had just happened?

Well, I REMEMBER.
#metoo

She received NO response. What prompted this email? Let’s go back in time to the end of 2016.

Darcy reached out to Jules to ask her “What actually happened to you?” We need more women like Darcy in this world.

Darcy had not seen Jules since she left the church to attend college. However, when the Donald Trump infamous tape became public, she began to think back to when she was a member of the high school youth group at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in Texas. It is now known as StoneBridge Church with the same senior pastor, Steve Bradley, as two decades ago.

An incident happened that stuck in her mind. The church never announced that he was being fired. Instead, they had Savage go before the church and say he made a mistake and that was time for him to move on.The rumor was that he had kissed a girl.

People were upset that Savage was let go because he was really well liked. A number of people blamed Jules for him leaving because there was no specific reason given by the pastors for why he left. Rumors were allowed to flourish. This, along with the shaming/blame game, caused her to stop regularly attending church.

In our group conversation, Darcy described Jules as both the most popular and the prettiest girl in the youth group. She remembered Andy Savage paying lots of attention to her. Darcy said all the girls were jealous of the attention that Savage paid to her because he was quite attractive.

Darcy was not close friends with her at the time because she was not part of the *popular* group and was a year ahead of Jules, but she always remembered her and wondered about what had actually happened. She sensed something really bad occurred and felt that the church members were not given the whole story. She was right.

So with great sensitivity, Darcy tracked down Jules and asked her about it. Jules, having kept this bottled up inside of herself for years, opened up and told her the whole story. Darcy’s act of kindness helped Jules to understand that she was the victim in this story and that she finally wanted to deal with it. We need more women like Darcy who bravely seek out the truth.

Some background leading up to the molestation.

Jules was a popular student in the youth group and Savage was well-loved by the students and their parents. A number of the kids would go over to the church after school just to hang out with him. Jules was part of that group.

Over time, Jules began to confide in him. She was going through some difficult trials. Her parents had recently gone through a divorce. Also, she once attended a party and became the subject of unwanted forced sexual activity. It so disturbed her that she confided in Andy because she trusted him as her pastor.

Savage had behavior rules put in place by the church that he was supposed to follow. He was NEVER to be alone with anyone, especially a girl. However, he was a rule breaker. Savage lived with one of the families in the church and had students, including Jules, over to this home. One evening he took Jules to his bedroom, alone, and was tickling her. One of the other adults came to the room and told them they needed to go back and join the group because they should not be alone in a room together.

Jules’s story of molestation and the aftermath told in her own words.

“One evening, in the early Spring of 1998, I was hanging out with my youth minister, Andy Savage, at my church, Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church located at 10801 Falconwing Drive. I was 17 years old at the time and a senior at The Woodlands High School. There had been multiple kids there at the church after school, but as the night got later I was the only student left, alone in the church with Andy. I did not have a vehicle at the church, so Andy offered to take me home to my Mom’s house.

It was dark outside. As he was driving me towards my home, he passed the turn he should have made to go to my house. I asked him where he was going. I don’t remember his exact response, but it was something along the lines of ‘you’ll see’ or ‘it’s a surprise.’ I know for sure he did not tell me where he was taking me. I remember feeling special and excited, as in my mind, he obviously wanted to spend more time with me before taking me home. I assumed we were going to get ice cream.”

Trigger warning: Graphic description of sexual activity. Also, pay particular attention to where this took place. It is important.


He turned onto a dirt road and continued to drive. There were trees all around. I could not see the main road anymore, from which he turned. I asked what was back here. He told me they were building a church. I thought, maybe that’s what this was about, maybe he has some secret to tell me, like perhaps he was moving to another church. We reached a dead end and he turned the truck around before putting it in park. We were stopped, and he turned the headlights off. Suddenly, Andy unzipped his jeans and pulled out his penis. He asked me to suck it. I was scared and embarrassed, but I did it. I remember feeling that this must mean that Andy loved me. He then asked me to unbutton my shirt. I did. He started touching me over my bra and then lifted my bra up and began touching my breasts.

After what I believe to have been about 5 minutes of this going on, he suddenly stopped, got out of the truck and ran around the back and to my side before falling to his knees. I quickly buttoned my shirt back up and got out of the truck. Now I was terrified and ashamed. I remember him pleading, while he was on his knees with his hands up on his head, ‘Oh my god, oh my god. What have I done? Oh my god, I’m so sorry. You can’t tell anyone Jules, please. You have to take this to the grave with you.’  He said that several times. My fear and shame quickly turned to anger. I had just been manipulated and used. I swore to him I wouldn’t tell anyone just to get him to stop. We both got back in the truck. As he drove me home, I don’t remember there being any conversation. I was in shock.

End of graphic description.


“As soon as I got home, I went straight to bed. I couldn’t fall asleep fast enough. “Please God, let this all be a bad dream,” I thought. Yet the hurt I was beginning to feel soon snapped me back into reality. This was no bad dream, this was a living nightmare. The secret quickly began to eat away at my soul. I couldn’t concentrate at school. I couldn’t think about anything else. The fear, shame, anger and hurt consumed me. As embarrassing as it would be for me to tell all the ‘dirty’ details of this horrible secret, I had no other choice. What happened to me was not right nor had it been my fault. I had to report this. Little did I know, the very people I was about to entrust to protect me and help me would not only victimize me all over again but would also engage in a cover up to protect my abuser and the image of the church.”

She reported the incident to Pastor Larry Cotton. She began to blame herself.

“Larry Cotton was the Associate Pastor of Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church at the time. Steve Bradley was the head pastor. I mustered up the courage to go tell them what happened. For some reason, Steve wasn’t available, so I only spoke with Larry. I remember asking him if I could speak privately with him and he said yes. I started out by saying something awful had happened to me. I was already crying. Somehow, I felt brave enough to tell Larry every detail of what had happened with Andy. I was mortified but I thought I was doing the right thing as both Larry and Steve were over Andy in the church and I was way too embarrassed and scared to tell anyone else, especially my own parents.

Just as I had finished telling my story, Larry immediately spoke up and asked me to clarify. He said something to the effect of, ‘So you’re telling me you participated?’ I remember feeling like my heart had just sunk to the floor.  What was he asking? More importantly, what was he trying to imply? This wave of shame came over me, greater than I had ever felt before. I had just gotten done telling him everything that Andy, my youth pastor, asked me to do. I didn’t say that I screamed no, jumped out of the car and ran into the dark forest because I hadn’t. I told him that Andy had asked me to perform oral sex and unbutton my shirt and I did. Every ounce of courage I had gathered to walk in there and tell Larry the truth about what had happened to me left in an instant. Not only did I suddenly feel this immense guilt for doing what Andy had asked me to do but I also started to feel that this was my fault somehow because I didn’t stop him.”

Larry Cotton told her he would tell the head pastor, Steve Bradley, about it and that the church would handle it.

“As you might imagine, I was beyond overwhelmed at the myriad of emotions I was feeling. I remember Larry telling me that he would have to share with Steve all that I had told him. I asked what was going to happen next and he said that him and Steve would be talking to Andy and that the church would be handling the situation. He told me not to speak with Andy and said that he would be telling Andy not to speak with me as well. Through the tears, I told him that I was too embarrassed to tell my Mom what had happened. He said not to worry, that they would talk to my Mother as well. He then told me not mention anything that had happened to anyone else.  It was very clear to me that I was not to say a word to anyone.”

Andy continued in his position and even taught *True Love Waits.”

“As days passed I remember feeling more and more hopeless. I was confused as it seemed that Andy got to go about his day to day life, within the church and outside of it, as though nothing had ever happened. In fact, he led a 2-day event at the church, known as True Love Waits, promoting sexual purity not only in abstinence from intercourse before marriage but also abstinence in any physical contact, actions and thoughts which might lead to sexual arousal. The irony had not been lost on me. Yet, here I was sinking deeper and deeper into this pit of depression. I had no where to go, no one to talk to. After all, I was given one job by the person I had sought help from (Larry,) and that was to keep my mouth shut.”

Jules confided some information in her female discipleship group.

“Not long after, I was meeting at the church with my all female discipleship group. I hadn’t had much interest in even being at church since everything that had happened but, deep down, I think I was just seeking some sort of solace in my faith for all the pain and hurt I was going through. Something came over me that night. I remember feeling disgusted and frustrated. What happened to me was not right! Why were my pastors not listening?! As if a final breath of courage filled my lungs, I opened my mouth and began to share some of what had happened to me. Looking back now, I know without a doubt, it was a cry for help. Tears ran down my cheeks. I remember feeling a slight sense of relief as this was no longer just a secret between myself, Andy, Larry and Steve. However, I too remember feeling as though I had just played my last card. I knew I had broken the rules of silence and that there would be consequences to my actions.”

Andy left the church.

“Word got back to Larry and Steve, almost immediately, that I had shared some things with my discipleship group. Now they had to do something. The youth group had a ski trip coming up and they announced to the families that Andy would not be going. Rumors were starting to spread that something had happened between myself and Andy. People thought/assumed that we had exchanged an ‘innocent’ kiss. The church, however, never came out with an official statement addressing what had happened and/or what was being done about it. Instead, they held a going away reception for Andy at the church in which he was allowed to simply say that he had made a poor decision and that it was time for him to move on from our church. Many people came to love on him, support him and say their goodbyes. There were hugs shared and tears shed. No one truly knew why he was leaving except myself, Andy, Larry and Steve. The gossip amongst my church family only continued to flourish. No one could imagine Andy doing anything bad or immoral, much less illegal, and so, it somehow became my fault that Andy was leaving.”

She later learned that her parents never truly learned the full story of what had happened.

“I couldn’t have been more grateful that it was the spring of my senior year as all I wanted to do was to leave town and get away from everything and everyone. I had basically shut down.  I felt so alone. It wasn’t until much later that I would realize that no matter how far away I moved nor how much I tried to move on with my life, that I could never truly escape what had happened to me. For example, when I found out that the church had contacted my parents, years later, and asked their permission to bring Andy back on staff, it brought back a whirlwind of emotions. Of course, my parents said NO, but even learning of this was traumatizing. I am a grown woman now and although it’s been almost 20 years since everything happened, it still affects me to this day.  There are triggers that take me back to that night, there are nightmares that haunt my dreams.”

Jules’ hope for those who read her story.

“My hope in finally coming forward with my story is not only that I can begin to get closure and healing for all that has happened to me, but more so, that my story might have a positive impact on others and effect positive change in how these types of situations are handled within the church.

To anyone who has suffered from sexual abuse in the church and the subsequent cover up and pressure to remain silent, I want you to know that it is not your fault. Most importantly, I want you to know that you are not alone.”

The subsequent years: The church wanted to bring Savage back on staff!

Jules struggled with anxiety and depression in the following years. She has sought professional counseling to help her make sense of what had happened to her. Meanwhile, Andy Savage, Larry Cotton, and Steve Bradley have gone on to become successful pastors. We asked Jules if any of them had reached out to her to see how she was doing. She has not heard from any of them.

The pastors and the deacons of StoneBridge Church later approached Jules’ parents, asking if they could bring Savage back on staff. The parents said “Absolutely not!” The pastors did not take the opportunity to reach out to Jules and apologize to her. Can you imagine that the pastors still did not get the seriousness of what had happened to Jules? They had been told the details. How could they be so callous?

My concerns about the molestation:

  • Jules had received permission from her mother for Savage to take her to her home from the church that evening. He deliberately ignored her mother wishes, leading me to question whether or not this could be considered an abduction.
  • She asked him where they were going but he did not directly answer her hence her assumption that he was bringing her for ice cream. (This makes me cry every time I think about it.)
  • Jules did not give Andy permission to engage her in sexual activities. Even if she had, she was a minor and he was a member of the clergy, abusing his clergy privilege.
  • Jules was well aware that Savage brought her to a dark, isolated area with no one around who could have heard her scream for help. He is a larger man who could have easily subdued her. There is no question in my mind that fear was a component here. By Jules complying with Andy’s desire, she may have prevented an even worse scenario.
  • It is hard for me to believe that he found such a perfect place to molest Jules at the spur of the moment. It appears to me that he may have planned this in advance.
  • Savage’s order to *take it to her grave* could be perceived as a threat.
  • The pastor, Larry Cotton, appeared to lay some of the blame on her by making her believe that she consented to the act because she participated. Given the particular circumstances of Jules’ trauma, his response could be seen by some as abusive.
  • From what we know, the police were not notified by the pastors of the church.
  • According to his bio (of which we have taken screen shots) Savage went on to be the Pastor of College Students and Young Singles at Germantown Baptist Church. Was Germantown Baptist Church notified of Savage’s behavior?
  • Could there be other victims?

A police report has been submitted by Jules Woodson.

Here are some relevant sections of Texas law.

  1. Note the clergy portion of this law.
Texas Penal Code Chapter 5. (22.011)
Title 5. Offenses against the person.
Chapter 22. Assaultive Offenses.
Sec. 22.011. Sexual assault.
(b) A sexual assault […] is without the consent of the other person if: […] 10) the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser …
Texas Penal Code 22.011(b)(9): “by exploiting [the patient or former patient’s] .  .  . emotional dependency”; and (b)(10) “by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual advisor”
 2. CHAPTER 261. INVESTIGATION OF REPORT OF CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT link

Final thoughts:

-I will be contacting all of the pastors involved in this story as well as their churches. We will print their responses, if any. I will plan a follow up post on Monday.

-We will be watching the comments closely. All comments attempting to victim blame will be deleted and the commenter will be placed on our permanently banned list.

-Finally, special thanks go out to Brooks Hansen and Kenny Stubblefield for getting us all together and helping us in our research. Last year, I remember telling them that someday their story would help another victim. Here is the proof that I was right.

-Dearest Jules,

You are a brave woman who has endured much pain. I have been blessed by our conversations. I have cried a lot, both with and for you. Your story will help many other people. Ask Kenny and Brooks about it. One day, when they are older and can understand, your children will come to know what an awesome mom they have.


Comments

I Thought He Was Taking Me for Ice Cream: One Woman’s #MeToo Story of Molestation By Her Former Youth Pastor, Andy Savage — 1,296 Comments

  1. OK, so I did a Google search on “Andy Savage” and every link was about this Andy Savage and almost every link into the second page of Google hits was about this incident. Funny (not), had to go to the second page of hits before a “Christian” link about the story appeared. The rest of the links preceding it were either news/TV stations or secular blogs and such, such as Huffingtonpost.

    Gee, do you think the readers at HuffPo, for example, are going to give the Church a pass on this one, especially in light of Highpoint’s commitment to protect Andy and ignore Jules?

    Sickening that we (the Church) have to go through yet ANOTHER sexual abuse and misconduct situation, and those who know better still can’t do what is right!

  2. OH, and why does the “world” get it, and the church doesn’t (in regards to helping church abuse victims).

  3. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    I have heard people defend Marc Gafni by stating that Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber support him. But it actually is a silly game they all play because they all defend and support each other. It goes something like this. Patten, Hamilton, Gafni and Wilber support Cohen. Cohen, Wilber, Hamilton and Patten support Gafni. Cohen, Gafni, Hamilton and Patten support Wilber. Wilber and Cohen support Patten and Hamilton. Wilber and Patten support Adi Da….etc. And they all appear on each others integral programs, websites, conferences, book chapters

    Definitely parallels the Evangelical Industrial Complex situation.

    It also reminds me of what my sister told me a long time ago.

    One reason she could not become a Mormon is she noticed in one of their books (the BoM I believe) that all the people at the intro who gave testimonies for how true it supposedly was all shared the same last name as the guy who wrote it.

    That would be like me, Daisy Flower, writing a book with some outlandish claims in it then getting Dad Flower, Sister Flower, Cousin Joe Flower, Cousin Sue Flower, Brother Flower, and Auntie Flower all to say in the book’s foreward how true it all is.

    Same thing with Pastor X, Q, Y, T, W, and Z, and Robert who’s-it of Gateway Church vouching for Driscoll, and of course Driscoll would vouch for X and Q, and Z and Q will always vouch for Driscoll, X, Y, T, etc. etc.

  4. My own mother blamed me for my perverted uncle’s molestation. I wore a swimming suit. We were going swimming. I was not his only victim. Thankfully he is dead now, but his legacy continues in his own offspring. Ugh. So done with big business religion and all it entails. I would feel safer in a room full of rattlesnakes. At least they don’t pretend they don’t bite.

  5. Jack Johnson wrote:

    People and the “victim” need to quit acting like a child was raped or sexually assaulted by an adult “clergy” – it disrespects those evils that are truly done on children by adults.

    How many of you made bad sexual decisions when you were 20 or 17? Are you going to email and call the news twenty years after those decisions and try and blame others for your feelings? Shame on all of you.

    You’re diminishing and watering down what he did.

    Jack, you said,

    “How many of you made bad sexual decisions when you were 20 or 17?”

    I’m still a virgin, and I’m over the age of 40, so I’d say zero, Jack.

    I believed in abstaining until marriage. I’ve never been married.

    There are some people who do actually practice what the Bible says about sexual morality.

    Guys like you and Andy Savage like to pay lip service to following the Bible, but you don’t bother to.

    Under gender complementarian teachings, as I’m sure Jules was probably subjected to in her family or church (I know I was), Christian girls are programmed to be very docile, compliant, and to not say “no” to people, which sets girls and women up to be exploited quite easily by guys such as the 20 year old youth minister who puts the moves on them.

    Christian girls and women are discouraged from having healthy boundaries and from being assertive.

  6. Shannon H. wrote:

    One of the questions on his date night page for couples to ask each other is “What’s the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into in a car?”

    Good catch. I didn’t see that when I visited his site the other day. And that is pretty gross and creepy, considering.

  7. Max wrote:

    I wonder how the discussion went with Mr. Savage when he was being interviewed for his position at Highpoint. Perhaps it went something like this:
    HP Leaders: “Have you ever had a moral failure as a pastor?”
    Savage: “Yes”
    HP Leaders: “What did you do?”
    Savage: “%#@*#++”
    HP Leaders: “Wow! Did you apologize to the young girl and her family?”
    Savage: “Yes”
    HP Leaders: “Are you ever going to do that again?
    Savage: “No”
    HP Leaders: “OK, your hired.”
    Savage: “Thanks”

    Yes, this, a million times.

    That is exactly how I’ve often imagined how churches handle complaints or job interviews with known perverts and known abusers.

    I’m not saying the secular judicial system is perfect, but could you imagine if this played out:

    Judge: Jeffrey Dahmer, are you sorry for mutilating men and having sex with their dead bodies?

    Dahmer: Yes, I’m very sorry.

    Judge: In that case, we can skip the trial, you are free to go. Just don’t do it ever again!

    Dahmer: I won’t, I promise! Bye!

  8. Lydia wrote:

    @ Jack Johnson:
    Sure Jack, parents expect it of youth pastors. Sheesh.

    How many parents would have dropped their teenage daughters off at the nearest frat house for Youth group?

  9. This whole thing is terrible and I believe Jules is telling the truth, but I’m having trouble with the Texas law on clergy abuse. I hope someone here knows the answers:

    * When did the clergy abuse part of the law go into effect? The links given have so many dates and numbers in it that I can’t tell.

    * Has anyone been prosecuted in Texas for violating this law?

  10. @ AbuseCrusher:

    “in many evangelical circles (and among virtually all professional pastor circles), I am considered an enemy of the cross because I believe that the pastorate should be held accountable for…”
    ++++++++++++++++

    what is it that they object to? I want to understand these ‘peculiar-to-the-point-of-nonsense people’.

  11. Steve wrote:

    And now the world will do for the church what it should have done for itself long ago. Abolish children and youth “ministries.” Watch it happen.

    Christianity survived for almost 2000 years without dedicated youth ministry per the current model. But this is truly a third rail now – touch it at your own peril (I have scars to prove it). I think the current model puts youth at risk, but what do I know?

  12. If this is how this church is choosing to respond to this, they are incredibly tone deaf.

    I predict (and if the media stays on this) they will be put under even more pressure in the days or weeks to come to give Savage the boot.

    David wrote:

    Prayers for Jules, “touch her heart, heal her from this sin 20 years ago.”

    I think that may be Christianese code speak for “she’s bitter.”

    Which I don’t think she is – even if she were, I do think at times people are justified in being bitter.

    Conlee speaking (David’s paraphrase):

    Prayers for church to be more committed to love God more and prove Love Works. They worked in the slogan “Love Works” into the prayer.

    God demands justice, not empty slogans.

    And that “Love Works” thing is a marketing strategy and empty slogan which is basically saying,

    “Aw, it was 20 years ago, just let it go, and Savage shouldn’t have to suffer any consequences for his actions.”

    As for uttering “Love Works” in the context of this sexual abuse situation I think this verse is applicable:

    They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. (Jeremiah 6:14)

  13. @ David:

    Summary of Conlee by David:

    Launches into how to appropriately criticize people.

    So, anyone and everyone who is asking for justice for Jules is “criticizing inappropriately”?

    Summary of Conlee by David:

    Repeated says that it’s from 20 years ago.

    (Later in sermon): …. Again brings up the dates it happened.

    That is a popular refrain from Savage’s defenders: “but it happened 20 years ago”

    Irrelevant if if was from 20, 10, 45 years ago.

    The sins of Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, and Jack the Ripper, aren’t lessened because of time.

    I’d like these Highpointers to ask John Walsh if his son’s decapitation in 1981 ceases to be meaningful or have an impact on him?

    ‘Hey, the murder of your son is no big deal, because it happened around 30 years ago.’

    Just because something happened in the past doesn’t make it okay, or always easy to deal with.

  14. @ David:

    Summary of Conlee by David:

    Talks about throwing stones at Andy. Talks about “never healing by hurting others.”

    Seems to be another veiled accusations that anyone asking for justice for Jules is “being bitter” or “being a Pharisee.”

    Nobody is throwing stones at Andy, most of us are asking for -accountability-.

    Accountability is not accomplished by churches allowing Andy to continue being a pastor, speaker at churches, Christian book author, etc.

    Summary of Conlee by David:

    going into the 1st Corinthians about sexual immorality …. states that no one can say they’ve never done that.

    I’m literally a virgin over the age of 40, Conlee, spare me the, “everyone is a sexual sinner, so who are you to judge on this matter” rhetoric.

    Also, what went on between Savage and Jules wasn’t even consensual. Savage manipulated and scared a teen girl in his care into performing sex acts on him.

    Savage and Jules weren’t two hormonal teens making out in a car on date night. Jules was expecting ice cream from savage that night, not sex.

  15. Jack Johnson wrote:

    He was 20 and she was 17

    He was a church youth leader; she was under his care in a church youth group. This wasn’t your usual run-of-the-mill encounter of hormones.

    Jack Johnson wrote:

    How many of you made bad sexual decisions when you were 20 or 17?

    Again, the issue at hand is that of a youth minister taking advantage of a young girl under his watch.

  16. @ David:

    Summary of Conlee by David:

    Defends Andy’s restoration.

    ‘Restoration’ does not include continuing on in any sort of pastoral role, or church staff role, or writing Christian books.

    He’s only qualified now to sit his rear end down in a pew and listen to sermons, nothing more.

    Summary of Conlee by David:

    Brings up Savage’s commitment to healthy families and dating relationships.

    I will never take relationship advice from a man who preyed upon a teen-aged girl, who covered it up, and who is refusing to step down from a pastoral or celebrity Christian position.

    I sure would not attend a church or take relationship advice from a church of people such as Conlee who is aiding such a man.

    How *have* I managed to refrain from sex my entire life with never having taken dating advice from Andy Savage, and even though I was engaged to a man for years and sometimes spent time alone with that fiance’?

    Summary of Conlee by David:

    You knew it was coming: Story of the woman caught in adultery. Oh, this is getting bad — states that Pharisees wanted the death penalty.

    The adultery in that actual story was presumably consensual, from what I recall of the account – what Savage did to and with Jules was not.

    Summary of Conlee by David:

    “He who is the first w/o sin.”

    Sorry to be a broken record, but: virgin over 40 here, and, I’ve never groped any one or pressured or manipulated them into performing oral sex on me (or anything else sexual).

    I’d bet that even among the sexual sinners out there, most of it consisted of consensual acts, and not someone manipulating someone else who was in their care into performing sex acts in a creepy tree-lined secluded spot at night.

    Try, try again, pastor Conlee. Your current efforts aren’t working.

  17. Dan from Georgia wrote:

    Sickening that we (the Church) have to go through yet ANOTHER sexual abuse and misconduct situation, and those who know better still can’t do what is right!

    Agreed. And to think that there are others who are called by the name of Christ who don’t get this and are quick to defend a wrong, rather than contend for the right.

  18. @ David:

    Summary of Conlee by David:

    “I am not judged my justice.” The only one qualified to condemn the woman is Jesus.

    In 1 Cor 5, Paul said that the church is to judge church members who fall into sin.

    The Bible doesn’t say only Jesus gets to judge a professing believer. In regards to salvation, that argument might be applicable, but not in church attendance, fellowship, etc, etc.

    Elsewhere in the New Testament are laid out what qualities to look for in church leaders, and when to kick one out.

    According to the New Testament, other believers are to remove Savage from any sort of leader or pastoral positions he has because his behavior disqualifies him from ministry (and IMO also from Celebrity Christian status)

    If Savage is TRULY a follower of Jesus Christ, he will step down from Celebrityhood and being a pastor.

    He can trust Jesus to provide for his family financially by other means. Savage can go back to school and pick up a trade, become a plumber, dentist, drive a cab for awhile, what have you.

  19. Dee,

    FYI – Savage’s LinkedIn profile shows his position was “Youth Pastor, Stone Bridge Church, June 1995 – April 1998.” (You may already be aware of this information, or it may already be posted in the hundreds of comments.)

    I have followed this blog regularly over the past several years. I appreciate you (and Deb) signing light in the darkness that unfortunately seems to cover much of the church in the US.

  20. @ Dan from Georgia:

    “OH, and why does the “world” get it, and the church doesn’t (in regards to helping church abuse victims).”
    +++++++++++++++

    pastors correctly or incorrectly surmise that doing the right and responsible thing would jeopardize money, power, reputation, significance. the risk is too great.

    really, when you boil the brass tacks down, in the bottom of the pot is the actual mission of the church: to perpetuate itself.

    the real point is to keep the money coming in. there is too much investment to do otherwise.

    my feeling is that if pastors were brutally honest with themselves, they would not be able to disagree.

    remove money from the equation and things could be different. rent a facility, take an offering each week to cover the cost, give the rest to a true charity that is doing well at relieving human suffering.

    money does not stay in the church organization. By the end of Sunday, bills paid, check to charity written, zero balance.

  21. Daisy wrote:

    @ David:
    Summary of Conlee by David:
    “I am not judged my justice.” The only one qualified to condemn the woman is Jesus.
    In 1 Cor 5, Paul said that the church is to judge church members who fall into sin.
    The Bible doesn’t say only Jesus gets to judge a professing believer. In regards to salvation, that argument might be applicable, but not in church attendance, fellowship, etc, etc.
    Elsewhere in the New Testament are laid out what qualities to look for in church leaders, and when to kick one out.
    According to the New Testament, other believers are to remove Savage from any sort of leader or pastoral positions he has because his behavior disqualifies him from ministry (and IMO also from Celebrity Christian status)
    If Savage is TRULY a follower of Jesus Christ, he will step down from Celebrityhood and being a pastor.
    He can trust Jesus to provide for his family financially by other means. Savage can go back to school and pick up a trade, become a plumber, dentist, drive a cab for awhile, what have you.

    Yeah, they might want to check Titus 1 regarding elders, with being blameless, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. There’s that whole thing about being under accusation of debauchery too. Like you said, he and others have many options. How about service? I’ve heard there are a few Christian organizations which are full up on teachers, pastors, and advice-givers but needing a hand on the service end of things.

  22. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Dan from Georgia:
    “OH, and why does the “world” get it, and the church doesn’t (in regards to helping church abuse victims).”
    +++++++++++++++
    pastors correctly or incorrectly surmise that doing the right and responsible thing would jeopardize money, power, reputation, significance. the risk is too great.
    really, when you boil the brass tacks down, in the bottom of the pot is the actual mission of the church: to perpetuate itself.
    the real point is to keep the money coming in. there is too much investment to do otherwise.
    my feeling is that if pastors were brutally honest with themselves, they would not be able to disagree.
    remove money from the equation and things could be different. rent a facility, take an offering each week to cover the cost, give the rest to a true charity that is doing well at relieving human suffering.
    money does not stay in the church organization. By the end of Sunday, bills paid, check to charity written, zero balance.

    This 1000 times.

  23. Lydia wrote:

    Loren R Haas wrote:
    It is pretty clear that the goal here is to keep Andy in the pulpit and the money flowing in.
    Nothing to see here people, move along.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    Bingo. Church is voluntary. And those who remain and give money are now complicit in covering over his crime.

    I have a question.

    The Huff Post article I saw said that the church (I took it to mean just the leaders) say they knew beforehand about Savage’s sexual assault of Jules.

    But, did the Average Joe pew potatos know? Did the church muckity mucks ever tell the average pew potatoes about all this before today?

    Or, is today’s “sermon” by Conlee the first they’re becoming aware?

    If I attended that church and was just now finding out today (or in the past week) about all this, especially if I had donated money to these guys before, I would be infuriated about this.

  24. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    How can this blow over when Andy hasn’t admitted he committed a crime?

    Or when Andy keeps making profit peddling Jesus or anything Jesus-related (such as “Christian” marriage advice books, etc)?

  25. Remnant wrote:

    Oh, reminds me – Conlee offered help to anyone hurting from this type of “sin.” I doubt they will be recommending professional counseling to those who might come knocking.

    I can just imagine. Someone goes to see Conlee or some other “pastor” on that staff to say they were sexually assaulted, and Conlee and Crew will no doubt respond by saying stuff like…

    “You’re being bitter, let it go. It happened X number of weeks ago. We’re all sinners! Who are you to judge your sexual abuser? Just move on already. Your sexual abuser is like the woman caught in adultery, so your abuser is a victim too! Forgive him instantly!”

  26. elastigirl wrote:

    the real point is to keep the money coming in. there is too much investment to do otherwise.

    This is why churches are tripping over themselves in creating vibrant youth ministries. If they don’t, the tithers will go to churches that do. Youth ministry requires lots of volunteers, which creates opportunities for predators. Can youth ministry be done well and safely? Perhaps. But is it making enough of a difference to justify both the cost and risk? I think it’s past time to be asking hard questions.

  27. @ Muslin, fka Dee Holmes:
    That isn’t how “consent” is defined in Texas. I tried to explain this above (apparently not very clearly). To show it is without the consent of the victim you need to show either:

    (1) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by the use of physical force, violence, or coercion;

    (2) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against the other person or to cause harm to the other person, and the other person believes that the actor has the present ability to execute the threat;

    there are other ways but those would be what you are referring to in your comment. What happened here was not enough to prove it was without her consent. I guess maybe you could proceed under the coercion theory… then you still have the problem with the statute of limitations which I believe may have run on this case prior to the legislature amending the law to remove the statute of limitations.

    I’m not saying I like the law or in any way supporting him being allowed to stay as pastor. I am giving my opinion, as someone who prosecuted these types of cases for a number for years, that I would be shocked if the DA found a way to move forward on this case.

  28. dee wrote:

    3 “victim blaming/Savage was young and didn’t do anything wrong except have sex” comments not approved.

    Bullcrap.

    Savage was in his early or mid 20s and knew what he was doing.

    Savage even got on his knees a bit afterwards to beg forgiveness and scream “no no no,” which is an early admission of guilt, even if that was just more manipulation to keep Jules quiet.

    I know this view isn’t popular these days, but my take on the Bible is that it forbids even consensual extra-marital sex, so even if he “just had sex” with someone, he was still in the wrong.

    What he did with her was not consensual, though. He had foresight to drive down to a spot he already knew beforehand, that was secluded, behind a bunch of trees.

  29. Daisy wrote:

    I know this view isn’t popular these days, but my take on the Bible is that it forbids even consensual extra-marital sex, so even if he “just had sex” with someone, he was still in the wrong.
    What he did with her was not consensual, though. He had foresight to drive down to a spot he already knew beforehand, that was secluded, behind a bunch of trees.

    Post Script.
    Even supposing it was consensual (though it was not), within a few days after this, Savage taught a sexual purity “True Love Waits” class to some church kids or something or other.

    Savage should have recused himself from teaching a class on sexual purity having fornicated just a few days prior. But, Savage went through with it. That sends a troubling message about his character right there alone.

  30. Avid Reader wrote:
    (Summarazing Conlee):

    “What is the alternative? Does anyone want to attend a place for criticism? Does anyone want to attend a place for condemnation?” (Is that a subtle slam of TWW?)

    Highpoint is condemning sexual assault victims by minimizing what happened to them by saying junk like,

    “but it happened 20 years ago, so who cares,”
    and implying anyone who has been assaulted and brings it up seeking justice at any point afterwards is being bitter (“hasn’t found healing”).

    I’ve found a lot of churches to be condemning or unwelcoming on many an other issue, which is one reason of several I don’t bother going any more. (Most churches don’t recognize or care about never married adults, for instance.)

    Putting aside their dismal treatment of sex assault victims, churches are awful at reaching out to people and being empathetic in general terms.

  31. Daisy wrote:

    According to the New Testament, other believers are to remove Savage from any sort of leader or pastoral positions he has because his behavior disqualifies him from ministry (and IMO also from Celebrity Christian status)

    If Savage is TRULY a follower of Jesus Christ, he will step down from Celebrityhood and being a pastor.

    This is actually what happened around the same time at my college church. The very popular pastor had a consensual extramarital affair and was asked to leave. The church said he was welcome as a member but not a leader. His family actually stayed but he didn’t. It was actually refreshing to see the church walk through a painful phase as transparently as they did.

  32. Daisy wrote:

    Remnant wrote:

    Oh, reminds me – Conlee offered help to anyone hurting from this type of “sin.” I doubt they will be recommending professional counseling to those who might come knocking.

    I can just imagine. Someone goes to see Conlee or some other “pastor” on that staff to say they were sexually assaulted, and Conlee and Crew will no doubt respond by saying stuff like…

    “You’re being bitter, let it go. It happened X number of weeks ago. We’re all sinners! Who are you to judge your sexual abuser? Just move on already. Your sexual abuser is like the woman caught in adultery, so your abuser is a victim too! Forgive him instantly!”

    This happened not long ago at Brentwood (Christian) Academy (Brentwood is an affluent suburb of Nashville).

    A 12-year old boy was sexually assaulted by a number of 8th grade boys at the school. When the boy reported it, the headmaster, Curtis G. Masters, told the young victim to “turn the other cheek” and “everything in God’s kingdom happens for a reason.”

    The school is being sued for $30 mil. I hope the shutter the place!

    http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/williamson/2017/08/09/lawsuit-brentwood-academy-officials-refused-report-repeated-rapes-and-assaults-12-year-old-boy/552578001/

    Is anyone else out there starting to believe that maybe there are no demons in Hell; they are all in church/”Christian” leadership?!?

    Just once, I want to see church leaders do the right thing. Not holding my breath.

  33. Ricco wrote:

    Also, I had never heard the term sin-leveling until reading this blog. I think it is a true concept, and I’d love to hear a thorough explanation. Does anyone have any resources?

    Ricco,

    That’s a great question.

    The heart of God longs to see that victims receive love and compassion while abusers receive justice. That gets flipped upside down when sin leveling happens. Then the victim gets slammed with all the guilt and condemnation while the abuser gets all the mercy and forgiveness.

    That’s what Proverbs 17:15 refers to when it warns us that “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.”

    Sin leveling is when they give the sweetness to the abuser and the bitterness to the victim instead of the other way around which is holding people accountable for their actions according to God’s law of sowing and reaping. “Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows that will he also reap. He that sows to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.”

    Instead the church reverses that and puts sweetness where a bitter taste (meaning being held accountable for their behavior) belongs. The abuser is supposed to be tasting the bitterness of real repentance. Turning away from sin hurts. Meanwhile the victim is supposed to be tasting the sweetness of compassion and understanding from the church.

    This is what the Bible describes as:

    “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
    Isaiah 5:20 (NIV)

    Chris Conlee’s whole sermon today was sinleveling because he kept emphasizing that all of us are sinners just like Andy. So we are NOT!

    The men reading this blog right now are NOT like Andy. They have NOT used a ministry position to hurt others. Yes, we’ve all sinned—but flipping off another driver on the freeway is not the same thing as using the pulpit to abuse a minor in the congregation!

    Men reading this right now have proven their character for years in treating women with respect. They would never do what Andy did because they are NOT like Andy. They are honorable men. Sin leveling puts the label of “wicked” onto the “righteous” and puts the label of “righteous” onto the “wicked.” That’s reversing God’s principle of justice.

    The lie of sin-leveling protects abusers in the church—putting a welcome sign on the church doors because it requires the congregation to give access to any wolves that want to infiltrate the flock. Then it allows wolves to get away with evil because the moment they get caught—they can pretend to repent and get “restored” right back to where they can hurt the flock again. Anyone who tries to question them is silenced with the “we’re all sinners.” That’s actually silencing the discernment of God’s people.

    Sin-leveling is minimizing how much God hates sin. It allows sin to flourish and people to get hurt because it won’t set boundaries to protect people or kick out the wolves.

  34. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Christianity survived for almost 2000 years without dedicated youth ministry … I think the current model puts youth at risk …

    I am particularly concerned about youth ministries at New Calvinist church plants which have a pastor in his 20s-30s and an “elder” team of same age. Kids are running the place! An accident waiting to happen.

  35. Avid Reader wrote:

    So Highpoint Church believes that someone who just admitted to sexual assault is perfectly qualified to pastor their flock but all women ever born are totally disqualified from pastoring because God made them with different parts?

    Don’t forget that within days of the assault, he was teaching at some “True Love Waits” deal, about three years ago, he did a sermon series on sex, and, he’s written books and blog posts about dating, marital intimacy and so on and so forth.

    Hugh Hefner or Larry Flynt may have been more qualified than Andy S. to write such stuff.

  36. DebWill wrote:

    To Andy Savage:

    My first clue in understanding you are clueless about sex (or marriage) are your recent tweets. I am a career woman aging on the high side of the Baby Boomer years. I have adult daughters and granddaughters.

    I am a long-time Christian. Your first tweet about Matt Lauer, and those that followed, indicated you (and likely most of your “male only” church leadership tribe) do NOT understand that the trauma and crime of sexual harassment and assault is about abusive POWER and CONTROL over another.

    You (and your tribe) will do more to lessen future sexual TRAUMAS and CRIMES by dealing with these underlying behaviors of power and control. That and stopping your distortion of submission, silence and forgiveness. Your impact would then be greater than anything you publish, preach, or tweet—like your “sex on our own terms not working” or “honoring God with sex” or “God invented sex.”

    But for you to actually deal with issues of POWER and CONTROL you, and the complicit others, will first need to lay them down at the feet of those you have abused, and those who serve their justice!

    I agree and thought that was worth repeating.

  37. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    1. They are guilty of it, themselves. Been around these guys up close and personal for a long time. They like to act as if this type of sin is completely universal & no big deal, because it absolves them from personal guilt. When speaking with a friend of mine still in ministry (and who has family members in ministry, as well) about these issues. I mentioned that I thought 25% of all people in the ministry were hiding real perverted sexual sickness and deeds; he said that I was vastly underestimating.

    ….(point 2).
    The easier path (and path to profits) is to act as if it is “no big deal.”

    Notice that despite the vast prevalence of these sorts of activities in ministry (just read Wartburg Watch, WatchKeep, or Wondering Eagle for a week), there are NO (ZERO!) “major” Christian pastoral figures calling out their brethren for this wickedness. That kind of unanimity is unheard of in any profession! It is truly wicked.

    Point 1.
    I just read an article a few days ago that interviewed some kind of expert on the topic – who said one reason why the Harvey Weinsteins do what they do is that they assume all other men are horny perverted horn dogs, so, other men will understand or look the other way.

    These pastors who excuse what the Andy Savages of the world may be up to the same things in their personal lives and don’t want to be held accountable.

    Point 2. I remember that Christian network TBN used to have a policy where they would not allow preachers to criticize other preachers on their network.

    Hal Lindsey once got into hot water with TBN around the late 1990s or early 2000s for criticizing some other famous Christian who had a show on TBN. I don’t remember who it was.

    Paul and Jan Crouch (who owned TBN), IIRC, blocked Lindsey’s show for several weeks or months as a consequence. He later apologized, and they broadcast his show once more.

  38. @ elastigirl:

    Brava elastigirl! I too think it’s high time to junk the Medieval model of doing Church and start de-funding the professional-mega-clergy-class that serves nothing but itself.
    The best present day serf’s rebellion would be to stop going to these Chautauquas and shelling out their hard earned dinero.

  39. Ricco,

    Continuing on that same thought:

    According to the Bible—one of the signs of our spiritual maturity is that our senses “have been trained by continuous exercise to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:14 (CJB)

    Sin-leveling turns off our discernment. When we start trying to confront the wolves in the church, sin-leveling muzzles us by saying that we have no right to “criticize” the wolf because we are just as bad of a sinner as this wolf. It labels discernment as “criticism.”

    Chris Conlee today said, “How much criticism is enough?” (that’s labeling discernment as criticism). And Chris asked, “Do you want me to throw this stone at Andy?”

    Well—was the Prophet Nathan “throwing stones” when God sent him to publicly rebuke King David? Nope.

    Was the child Samuel “throwing stones” when God sent him to rebuke the high priest Eli? Nope. In fact, that story is about how much God hates clergy abuse of the congregation. God removed the priesthood from the whole line of Eli because Eli refused to deal with his two sons—Hophni and Phineas who were using their ministry role to take advantage of the women who “assembled” at the tabernacle.

    God sent two different prophets to rebuke Eli for not dealing with his sons. God told him, “Why, Eli, do you honor your sons more than me?” 1Sam 2:29 (GNT)

    Then God told Eli: “I will honor those who honor me, and I will treat with contempt those who despise me.” 1 Sam 2:30 (GNT)

  40. Former Child Abuse Prosecutor wrote:

    The section of the penal code that defines sex between clergy/congregant as without consent is *I think* relatively recent. I feel pretty confident this was not the law 20 years ago. You cannot retroactively make something a crime. Also, in the State of Texas, since she was 17, the DA could not charge it as statutory rape (technically, that isn’t what we call it in Texas) because at 17 you are considered old enough to consent (I am not saying this consensual or anything other than evil – just doing a legal analysis).

    Thank you, this pretty much answers my questions from earlier in the thread. As despicable as Savage’s actions were, I believe there is a good possibility that a crime was not committed.

  41. http://www.highpointmemphis.com/bylaws
    With what I gathered from this, the pastors pretty much control the church. The pew sitters only have very limited say/control in/over church affairs.
    The “finances” link say they’re “an open book”. However, the page does not list pastors’salaries …… hmmmmm.

  42. Another thought:

    Balaam was sin leveling when he tried to blame the donkey for his own willful sin of abusing the donkey. There’s a reason that the Bible pauses long enough to point out that the donkey was the innocent one and Balaam was the sinful one.

  43. Former Child Abuse Prosecutor wrote:

    I’m not saying I like the law or in any way supporting him being allowed to stay as pastor. I am giving my opinion, as someone who prosecuted these types of cases for a number for years, that I would be shocked if the DA found a way to move forward on this case.

    I appreciate your comments, since you have actually prosecuted these types of cases. This occurred in the late 1990s and many states started removing their statute of limitations on sexual assault as a response to the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal that started coming out in 2002. I don’t have access to an annotated Texas Penal Code, so no way to easily tell when the statute was changed in Texas.

    I also am acutely aware that from a criminal law perspective, this case is likely not to go anywhere. I haven’t wanted to mention it, but I don’t hold much hope in the legal system bringing Savage to justice. I would love to be wrong. However, that doesn’t mean pressure cannot be brought to bear upon Savage, Chris Conlee and Highpoint Memphis to do the right thing. Especially after today’s sermon, which pretty much set Andy Savage up as the victim and his victim as his stone-throwing accuser, which is just sick.

  44. CENG1 wrote:

    Dee,
    FYI – Savage’s LinkedIn profile shows his position was “Youth Pastor, Stone Bridge Church, June 1995 – April 1998.” (You may already be aware of this information, or it may already be posted in the hundreds of comments.)

    I think someone may have quoted his employment dates from his LinkedIn page, but not the job titles…

  45. I do wish I didn’t live 2000 miles as this is the kind of thing that deserves a picket. Yes, I’ve scoped out the sidewalks around Highpoint Memphis’ main site on Google Maps and yeah, there are a couple of good spots right in front of the church and across from a main entrance/exit. I’d just show up with the bare truth: “Andy Savage Sexually Assaulted a 17 Year Old. It Was Not A ‘Sexual Incident.'” Maybe someone in Memphis could step up.

  46. I am very impressed by the comments on this thread. Jules is being loved on and many people are adding a lot of insights on this issue.now just sit back and watch what happens when when the secular media gets ahold of it……

  47. Former Child Abuse Prosecutor wrote:

    (1) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by the use of physical force, violence, or coercion;
    (2) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against the other person or to cause harm to the other person, and the other person believes that the actor has the present ability to execute the threat;
    there are other ways but those would be what you are referring to in your comment. What happened here was not enough to prove it was without her consent.

    Knowing what I know about how churches indoctrinate females to be easy prey for sexual predators, Texas needs to change its laws: girls and women can be emotionally manipulated into sex acts, no physical force is necessary.

    In this case, you have a situation where the perv drove her to a secluded spot, instead of driving her straight home, which took her by surprise.

    Perhaps she momentarily wondered if she did not cave in if he would injure her or worse out in the middle of no where with no one to hear her scream.

  48. Former Child Abuse Prosecutor wrote:

    I’m not saying I like the law or in any way supporting him being allowed to stay as pastor. I am giving my opinion, as someone who prosecuted these types of cases for a number for years, that I would be shocked if the DA found a way to move forward on this case.

    Post script.

    If the legal system can’t touch him, I’d at least like for him to face his Just Desserts in the Court of Public Opinion: no more preaching gigs, no more making bank off selling Jesus-related brik-a-brak, such as Christian marriage advice books, etc.

  49. @ AbuseCrusher:
    Yes, this type of response by churches is all very similar.

    It’s like they’re all following the same CYA Memo on how to deal with people who say they went to your church and say the pastor, church janitor, Sunday School teacher, or youth pastor sexually assaulted them.

    Churches all follow the same play book.

  50. Daisy wrote:

    If the legal system can’t touch him, I’d at least like for him to face his Just Desserts in the Court of Public Opinion: no more preaching gigs, no more making bank off selling Jesus-related brik-a-brak, such as Christian marriage advice books, etc.

    Sorry about another P.S. here, but, I don’t think Jules is his first or last victim.

    There are/were probably others, despite the fact he said that was his only lapse. I kind of doubt that.

    If there are other victims out there, and if it spans years (not just the late 1990s, but beyond), and any other victims come forward, maybe he could face a legal penalty?

  51. dee wrote:

    Megan wrote:
    Hope y’all have been forgiven for mistakes in your past and 20 years later you will not be called out publicly with atrocious names
    You do not need t be forgiven for a mistake. You need to be forgiven for a sin and you need to go to the police to receive justice for a crime. Unless you go to one of those churches that says to ignore the law and do what comes natural??If so, bless your heart.

    I hate to drag race into this, but I doubt the “Megan’s” of this world would be as forgiving if this was a 19 yr old black man. Andy is an attractive white charismatic man with a large conservative following. It is not too farfetched to see why he has enough people willing to gloss over his crime, in the name of God of course.

  52. I will admit I am most likely an apostate, maybe even an LGBTQ change agent (I love that one). This comes to mind

    https://youtu.be/nYJm6RawT1c

    I have personally heard and online on many occasions that these young children have the potential to murder their fathers and walk across their father’s dead body and take the shiny watch with no remorse.

    https://youtu.be/mEOqxibhCxU

    Being the degenerate failure I am I have nothing but remorse concerning my father’s passing. I want you to realize Washer would be seen as a liberal with some of the folks I ran with during my Xianity. Of course, I think this is all stupid on steroids but it is still a key role in the true believer crowd. You know when I was booted from what I call my pathetic life ministry, I fell on my sword and let the ministry off the hook. It cost me big time. Leadership, in my personal experience, has never done this, ever not one time ever. I mean never, not once. Ever. Personally, I think if the incarnate Jesus appeared to them, it would still not happen, gravity will fail before that happens. This is why I feel they have no moral authority when it comes to gay marriage or any other hot-button issue. They have no moral authority at all. They sold that along with their Lord for some temporal success. Like I said no good news here. There has never been.

  53. @ AbuseCrusher:

    “Is anyone else out there starting to believe that maybe there are no demons in Hell; they are all in church/”Christian” leadership?!?

    Just once, I want to see church leaders do the right thing. Not holding my breath.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    no, i think the pastors and other church leadership get all the credit for their immaturity, stupidity, self-centeredness, & lack of integrity.

    it’s quite a sight to behold.

  54. Former Child Abuse Prosecutor wrote:

    … I guess maybe you could proceed under the coercion theory… then you still have the problem with the statute of limitations which I believe may have run on this case prior to the legislature amending the law to remove the statute of limitations.

    Technically, if a limitation is removed then it opens the way to prosecution. My own background includes dealing with cases involving children having been sexually abused, albeit not in the US.

  55. Thankyou Dee. I appreciate your words. This happened several times. I was very young and didn’t know if this was normal. I’ve told no one until now. I didn’t tell my parents. We all have a voice now. Thankyou.
    @ Truthseeker00:

  56. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Youth ministry requires lots of volunteers, which creates opportunities for predators. Can youth ministry be done well and safely? Perhaps. But is it making enough of a difference to justify both the cost and risk? I think it’s past time to be asking hard questions.

    It can be done well & safely because the church I did youth work with for 15 yrs did it that way & continues to do so. Of course part of that may be that many of the Youth Workers that headed up teams were professionals in the Children & Young People’s workforce & had insisted the church update all its policies after a big scandal at a local YMCA. But still, it can be done & a lot of our YP credit this work as a huge influence years later. We also didn’t on the whole go for an entertainment based model of work, but as apart of a church that came out of L’Abri a very low-fi questions-welcome thinking & learning environment developing critical thinking skills & learning to evaluate contemporary culture, christian culture etc. Along with a lot of cake & volleyball.

  57. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):
    You raise interesting questions. I think if some serious study were done, it would find there isn’t much of an impact after they go off to college. On the other hand, some find cultish groups like Cru and become Piper followers. 🙂

    One healthy approach I have seen is from a friend of mine who is youth pastor for a small Presbyterian Church. She encourages their interests and working. One way they support one another is making effort to attend their activities like sports, concerts, eating where they work, etc. She says you can’t overthink it. What they do isn’t practical but it works to build lasting connections.

    Some tried to do the family style church a while back. There was a movement out of SBTS a while back that tried to incorporate that. But that’s just as stifling. It’s the whole social engineering shitck at church that knows what’s best for every individual. People ran into that after the Neo Cals took over. You had to go into your age group SS whether you wanted to or not. Or whatever they decided was best. It’s always chilling how people go along so easily.

    Personally, I am failing to see much point in being a spectator at church. People who are seriously interested in study are doing it themselves with free resources at their fingertips. The fellowship aspect iof it is important, though. At Megas, the activities and entertaining services with manufacturerd emotional appeal is everything. People want emotional experiences. To prove how ignorant I am, I honestly thought most mega churches would be out of business by now as they were a cultural fad. I was very wrong. They manage to reinvent themselves mainly as satellite churches. I know of a mega that is building a small chapel on their huge campus for people who want to do “small church”. Potemkin Villages?

  58. @ Former Child Abuse Prosecutor:
    It’s got nothing to do with consent, it’s about exploiting a position of power.

    10) the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser

  59. @ Daisy:
    There might be another aspect to this. For the last 30 years or so, there has been a whole “don’t think pink” approach to sex taught in youth group. It’s all they talk about. That included, get married young so you don’t burn, etc, For some reason, it did not occur to the gurus that higher and more serious aspirations outside of church might be helpful. They bought into the meme that is all teens are capable of thinking about. .

  60. Lea wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    @ Jack Johnson:
    Sure Jack, parents expect it of youth pastors. Sheesh.
    How many parents would have dropped their teenage daughters off at the nearest frat house for Youth group?

    Bingo. That is why I don’t focus on the age difference in this case. He was her “Youth Pastor”. She trusted him. Her mom trusted him. He was even clever enough to use her for immediate gratification and then beg forgiveness BUT then admit to a LIE to everyone else to cover himself in case she talked. I say, low down rotten deceiver all the way around. What else has he deceived people on using this clever manipulation tactic? To this day, he is counting on that clever lie to cover for him.

    People naively think they can trust leaders at church and frankly, they should be able to. But until churches start taking serious measures and ditch the cheap forgiveness shtick for low down behaviors, I don’t see much hope.

  61. The Catholic Church is a big part of why I became an atheist. I have always struggled with religion and it’s oppression. Religion is so twisted and destructive. To think that an institution where people trusted you more than any other institution is a known place of child rape. Not only that, they totally allowed it…and it has been going on for decades. Do you know of any other institution where this would be allowed and still be able to exist? Why are these churches allowed to remain open when it is clear this behavior continues on? Is it because they are filled with folks who just turn a blind eye? Is it because it didn’t happen to their son or daughter? I don’t get it. My heart goes out to all the victims who have been abused and will continue to be abused until someone stops them. Unfortunately I do not see that happening or it would have happened already. If you’re not outraged now at this behavior you never will be. It’s very Christian like to turn the other way and pretend life in the “church” is good. You want to live free and I mean free…become an atheist. My belief is in humankind…the good will rise above evil. That’s where I put my “faith”.

  62. Sad, beginning to end, sad. Yesterday’s sermon–there is a time to be silent. High point missed an opportunity to be silent. Judging from those who gave accounts of the sermon, surely silence would have been a better option. It is impossible to state how tone deaf, and may I say, stupid, the leadership at Highpoint has chosen to behave during this time. The victim’s name should never have been mentioned in the context of this sermon. The disrespect…….

  63. Lydia wrote:

    People naively think they can trust leaders at church and frankly, they should be able to. But until churches start taking serious measures and ditch the cheap forgiveness shtick for low down behaviors, I don’t see much hope.

    On the first working day after this became such a story, TGC had an opportunity to weigh in. This is how they did it: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/jared-c-wilson/dont-make-pastor-groan/. Just a generic article on the importance of obeying pastors and elders.

  64. I think he sinned, and it sounds like he realised he had sinned. He was young.

    But if the church hadn’t treated her like the culprit, it is highly possible that her trauma would have not been so great. The fact they insinuated things against her and don’t give her the support she needed made it something much harder to put behind her.

  65. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    It is impossible to state how tone deaf, and may I say, stupid, the leadership at Highpoint has chosen to behave during this time. The victim’s name should never have been mentioned in the context of this sermon. The disrespect…….

    Yes, I think their response will be their downfall. It was very stupid.

  66. Sarah
    It seems to me you are giving a pass for a man molesting a teen. As far as I know, very few 22 year old men do not abuse most teens. So, if a 22 year old man breaks into your home and steals stuff, you would say that it is OK? That it is just a sin, forgiven by God. Or would you call the police?

  67. Another lovely member of Highpoint Church using foul language to blame the victim. They are permanently banned. What do they teach people over at that church? Good night!

  68. Cousin of Eutychus wrote:

    Yesterday’s sermon–there is a time to be silent.

    “There is a time to keep silent, and a time to speak” (Ecc. 3:7). Both parties have remained silent for 20 years; it was high time for one of them to speak.

  69. I just contacted Bethany House which is a part of the Baker Publishing Group and asked them to reconsider publishing the book recently written by Savage. I encourage others to do the same.

    http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/contact

    Jules, you have many people who believe you and want to support you in any way that we can.

  70. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):
    Their timing is always interesting. After the big SGM scandal, they wrote generic articles about child safety measures at church. Not a single article about how CJ protected predators. Nothing about the lawsuit. Then they rushed to T4G to hear him speak.

  71. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    People naively think they can trust leaders at church and frankly, they should be able to. But until churches start taking serious measures and ditch the cheap forgiveness shtick for low down behaviors, I don’t see much hope.

    On the first working day after this became such a story, TGC had an opportunity to weigh in. This is how they did it: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/jared-c-wilson/dont-make-pastor-groan/. Just a generic article on the importance of obeying pastors and elders.

    That article is wrong on so many levels. The underlying asption is that your pastor is appointed by God so you MUST submit to evetything he says.

  72. Sarah wrote:

    I think he sinned, and it sounds like he realised he had sinned. He was young.
    But if the church hadn’t treated her like the culprit, it is highly possible that her trauma would have not been so great. The fact they insinuated things against her and don’t give her the support she needed made it something much harder to put behind her.

    Frankly, it sounds like he premeditated his assault for the right time complete with the perfect deceptive strategy to make her complicit. He begs forgiveness then immediately tells the “right people” it was kissing and how horrible he feels about it. He sounds like a very clever deceiver to me. I would not trust him with my family recipe book.

  73. @ Lydia:
    A generic article on pastors being above reproach, the qualification of pastors, the importance of transparency, etc, would have been much more appropriate. Even better would be to address the real problem. TGC always seems to come at this from the perspective that pastors have MUCH more difficult jobs than everyone else. There is always an implicit or explicit call to let pastors off the hook because of how hard things are for them. But the pewpeons should be called to account for every potential sin (even thought sins). One would think that people would be able to see through such an approach. But the gospel groupies seem to love it.

  74. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):
    Don’t get me started on snowflake pastors who whine about their jobs. Most unaccountable position out there these days. At the Megas it was truly amazing if they actually worked except to regurgitate a Willow Creek assoc sermon on weekends from stage. Everything else was a PR op.

  75. Forrest wrote:

    Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:
    Lydia wrote:
    People naively think they can trust leaders at church and frankly, they should be able to. But until churches start taking serious measures and ditch the cheap forgiveness shtick for low down behaviors, I don’t see much hope.
    On the first working day after this became such a story, TGC had an opportunity to weigh in. This is how they did it: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/jared-c-wilson/dont-make-pastor-groan/. Just a generic article on the importance of obeying pastors and elders.
    That article is wrong on so many levels. The underlying asption is that your pastor is appointed by God so you MUST submit to evetything he says.

    Then they trot out OT characters to prove God wants scoundrels in charge!

  76. Forrest wrote:

    The underlying asption is that your pastor is appointed by God

    It’s increasingly clear that those are rare and endangered species in the American church. You don’t usually find them in mega-church; those who make mega-salaries and live in mega-houses are seldom the real deal. There are exceptions, of course, but the mega Christian industry seldom produces men of God … only preacher-boys.

  77. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    One would think that people would be able to see through such an approach. But the gospel groupies seem to love it.

    As Al Mohler used to say “Where else are they going to go?”

  78. I received a fast response from the publisher. Posted the response below, edited out the name of the customer service representative.

    “Carol,
    We would like to inform you we have canceled his publication through Baker Publishing.
    Thank you,
    Customer Service and Order Management
    Baker Publishing Group”

  79. dee wrote:

    Another lovely member of Highpoint Church using foul language …

    A product of lowering the Holy standard in favor of being culturally-relevant. In such atmosphere, the average church goer never rises above the weakest point of his flesh. If you give them what they want, they will come.

  80. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    The “finances” link say they’re “an open book”. However, the page does not list pastors’salaries …… hmmmmm.

    I doubt our pastors salaries would be on the website, but there is a yearly deal where we vote on them, so they aren’t a secret to the congregation. It could be something like that. Or it could all be a dodge. Who knows.

    I did think it was interesting that they listed this under ‘purpose’:

    “The organization’s primary purpose is to reach people with the Christian gospel message and to disciple believers by and through as many methods and means as possible (including but not limited to conduct of public worship; conduct of mission activities; educational activities; creation, sale, and distribution of Christian media;

  81. Lydia wrote:

    Then they trot out OT characters to prove God wants scoundrels in charge!

    “Pastors do more than lay people.”

  82. Carol wrote:

    “Carol,
    We would like to inform you we have canceled his publication through Baker Publishing.
    Thank you,
    Customer Service and Order Management
    Baker Publishing Group”

    Amen.

  83. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    On the first working day after this became such a story, TGC had an opportunity to weigh in. This is how they did it: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/jared-c-wilson/dont-make-pastor-groan/. Just a generic article on the importance of obeying pastors and elders.

    Pastors, open a window and listen carefully this morning. You will hear the Bride of Christ groaning across America. In fact, the very creation is groaning waiting for the sons of God to get it right! You have been entrusted with much – we groan when you fail us.

  84. Lydia wrote:

    That is why I don’t focus on the age difference in this case. He was her “Youth Pastor”. She trusted him. Her mom trusted him.

    Right. The only age thing that would make sense to me is if he had tried to start a relationship (and this is more if he had been 20, which some people say he was 23…is the ’20 years’ thing being conflated with his age? Or his mention of being a college student?). Which would have still been foolish and wrong, but would have been very different in character. Beaker’s explanation is excellent here.

  85. Lydia wrote:

    they trot out OT characters to prove God wants scoundrels in charge!

    That’s because they can’t find any examples in the NT church.

  86. Lydia wrote:

    People naively think they can trust leaders at church and frankly, they should be able to.

    People think that they can trust the youth pastor because he has been vetted by older, wiser men. But the truth is, they ‘like’ him, they don’t trust teenage girls or see them as temptations themselves, and they’re worried about liability. So when something like this happens, the response you would expect from decent, sensible adults goes out the window and you get the opposite. And that is the reason you CANT trust them. What a mess.

  87. Carol wrote:

    I received a fast response from the publisher. Posted the response below, edited out the name of the customer service representative.

    “Carol,
    We would like to inform you we have canceled his publication through Baker Publishing.
    Thank you,
    Customer Service and Order Management
    Baker Publishing Group”

    Thank you, Jesus!

  88. Downline Ministries ran by a prominent Pastor Kennon Vauhgn is hosting a conference in Feb, with big names like Timothy Keller. I have reached out to them urging them not to allow Chris Conlee to be a part of this conference. The message he gave was a support Andy Savage Pep rally. He could have handled the situation by Andy resigning until further notice, giving Jules the time she needs to properly get closure, speak to Andy, and truly find out what he needs to do to have TRUE repentance. Chris’s message should have been about the consequences of sin, Andy has possible ruined the reputations of 3-churches pushing people further away from God by his actions. Chris has a book coming out in February also, I am hoping the publisher will not publish his book as well. Thank you Carol for your hard work, I am a follower of Christ and I truly believe Andy has been forgiven, I do not believe he has ever done this again, but I don’t feel like there were consequences to his actions. He broke the law, and maybe the statue of limitations have passed, but we all can pull together and make sure that he does not profit from the pulpit that he should have resigned from and stayed resigned from for 20years. In no way do I believe he should have been in ministry just two years later after this incident. John Piper a respected Pastor gives good advice below when Pastors fall into Adultery, how much worse is what Andy did to Jules.

    “And very practically I think this is what I would say: A man who commits adultery, say, in the ministry, should immediately resign and look for other work. And he should make no claim on the church at all. He should get another kind of job and go about his life humbly receiving the discipline and sitting and receiving ministry, whether in that church or in another church. And then the church should turn that around if it believes it should, not him.

    There are so many who fall who insert themselves quickly in another kind of ministry. And that’s just, I think, an evidence that they don’t fathom what has happened.

  89. Lydia wrote:

    Sarah wrote:
    I think he sinned, and it sounds like he realised he had sinned. He was young.
    But if the church hadn’t treated her like the culprit, it is highly possible that her trauma would have not been so great. The fact they insinuated things against her and don’t give her the support she needed made it something much harder to put behind her.

    Frankly, it sounds like he premeditated his assault for the right time complete with the perfect deceptive strategy to make her complicit. He begs forgiveness then immediately tells the “right people” it was kissing and how horrible he feels about it. He sounds like a very clever deceiver to me. I would not trust him with my family recipe book.

    I agree with you, Lydia. He used her. That’s more than a mistake and it’s certainly worse than anybody stealing my stuff, which I would forgive after 20 years without much thought.

    But I also agree with Sarah’s point that the leadership at his church botched it. I also think it would have been better for Andy in the long run if people had come down on him like a ton of bricks, instead of being all ‘ooops’ and giving him a warm send-off. Maybe he would have learned enough not do pull this stuff he just did at that sermon. Maybe he would have learned enough true contrition to actually apologize in a non-manipulative way and this would never been coming out 20 years later.

    Or maybe he’s a sociopath and he would never have learned. But it would have been better for all if they had handled this correctly at the beginning. When will churches learn THAT?

  90. Carol wrote:

    “Carol,
    We would like to inform you we have canceled his publication through Baker Publishing.
    Thank you,
    Customer Service and Order Management
    Baker Publishing Group”

    Thanks for contacting the Bethany House/Baker, Carol. Hopefully some details on the publisher’s decision will be available later, but still, their quick and decisive action presents quite a contrast to the non-response responses of David C Cook Publishers with the books of Tullian Tchividjian (which I just checked and they are still available on the DC Cook website) after credible accounts involving multiple instances of grooming and sexual misconduct by him were made public.

    As an FYI, Bethany House (now owned by Baker Publishing Group) is the publisher of *The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse* by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen — first published in 1991. This has become a classic resource for survivors of spiritual abuse.

    Kudos to Bethany House for standing with survivors.

  91. Lea wrote:

    mention of being a college student

    An irrelevant position to take. If you have taken on the office of “youth pastor”, “pastor” becomes the key word. You need to act like one, regardless of age. Too many flesh-babies occupy that office in the American church. If you haven’t matured spiritually enough to control your flesh, you don’t need to be in a leadership role (that goes for both young and old guys in the ministry). There are too many preacher-boys serving as youth pastors who have not proven themselves – those who lay hands on such young men to ordain them for ministry do the church a disservice: “Do not hurry to lay hands on anyone, ordaining and approving someone for ministry or an office in the church” (1 Timothy 5:22).

    Which poses a couple of questions: Where and when was Andy Savage ordained to the gospel ministry? How much did those church leaders know about his moral failure when they ordained him?

  92. The cover-up makes churches as guilty as schools and businesses who cover up wrongdoings.
    Corporate church……all about the Benjamin’s baby!

  93. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Especially after today’s sermon, which pretty much set Andy Savage up as the victim and his victim as his stone-throwing accuser, which is just sick.

    It is really sick. And Conlee, with his entire staff, make me sick with their twisted perspective.

  94. Max wrote:

    Forrest wrote:
    Hopefully, this will lead to some High Point members having their blinkers removed.
    /
    And their pocketbooks closed.

    I’m hoping a large number of people will get up and just walk out of the church next week after the sermon starts.

  95. Ken P. wrote:

    Thank you, this pretty much answers my questions from earlier in the thread. As despicable as Savage’s actions were, I believe there is a good possibility that a crime was not committed.

    This is about clergy abuse. This is not about consent!

  96. ishy wrote:

    I’m hoping a large number of people will get up and just walk out of the church next week after the sermon starts.

    Oh man. If I didn’t have something I have to do sunday I would drive over just to do this.

  97. @ Lea:
    . They seriously botched it, too. I was just focused on how Savage positioned it all to make himself look like a poor repenting sinner when it was much worse. Diabolically clever. That is a serious character flaw from the get go.

  98. Daisy wrote:

    Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:
    I have heard people defend Marc Gafni by stating that Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber support him. But it actually is a silly game they all play because they all defend and support each other. It goes something like this. Patten, Hamilton, Gafni and Wilber support Cohen. Cohen, Wilber, Hamilton and Patten support Gafni. Cohen, Gafni, Hamilton and Patten support Wilber. Wilber and Cohen support Patten and Hamilton. Wilber and Patten support Adi Da….etc. And they all appear on each others integral programs, websites, conferences, book chapters

    Reverend Larry supports Reverend Moe.
    Reverend Moe supports Reverend Curly.
    Reverend Curly supports Reverend Larry.
    Reverend Larry appears on Reverend Moe’s programs, websites, conferences, book chapters, etc.
    Reverend Moe appears on Reverend Curly’s programs, websites, conferences, book chapters, etc.
    Reverend Curly appears on Reverend Larry’s programs, websites, conferences, book chapters, etc.
    NYUK! NYUK! NYUK! YOU STUPID SHEEPLE!

  99. Lydia wrote:

    @ Lea:
    He used his position to use her.

    Which these days has become a Privilege of Pastoral Rank.
    i.e. Massa’s sexual rights over Massa’s animate property.

  100. elastigirl wrote:

    no, i think the pastors and other church leadership get all the credit for their immaturity, stupidity, self-centeredness, & lack of integrity.

    it’s quite a sight to behold.

    A sad sight to behold.

  101. Forrest wrote:

    Hopefully, this will lead to some High Point members having their blinkers removed.

    Or the more common “Double Down AND SCREAM LOUDER!”

  102. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    Then they trot out OT characters to prove God wants scoundrels in charge!
    “Pastors do more than lay people.”

    So do the Pigs of Animal Farm.

  103. Lydia wrote:

    Frankly, it sounds like he premeditated his assault for the right time complete with the perfect deceptive strategy to make her complicit. He begs forgiveness then immediately tells the “right people” it was kissing and how horrible he feels about it. He sounds like a very clever deceiver to me.

    Classic Predator/Sociopath.
    Allies (“right people”) pre-groomed, alibi worked out well in advance.
    All that’s missing is the “rape kit” and the windowless van.

  104. Lydia wrote:

    I think this is one reason he went from “Youth Pastor” to describing himself as ‘college student on staff’. It fits the rest of his deception tactic quite well.

    The lies just continue. Repentant people don’t continue to act like this.

  105. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Forrest wrote:
    Hopefully, this will lead to some High Point members having their blinkers removed.
    Or the more common “Double Down AND SCREAM LOUDER!”

    Where else can you go for a manufactured God “experience” every Sunday?

  106. Daisy wrote:

    Sorry about another P.S. here, but, I don’t think Jules is his first or last victim.
    There are/were probably others, despite the fact he said that was his only lapse. I kind of doubt that.

    What’s the statistical ratio in such cases?
    Ten actual victims for every one that comes forward?
    Twenty? Thirty?

  107. Forrest wrote:

    That article is wrong on so many levels. The underlying asption is that your pastor is appointed by God so you MUST submit to evetything he says.

    That is what Jared C. Wilson wants for every pastor . . . subservience.

  108. Muff Potter wrote:

    @ elastigirl:
    Brava elastigirl! I too think it’s high time to junk the Medieval model of doing Church and start de-funding the professional-mega-clergy-class that serves nothing but itself.

    Wasn’t that what the [reverb] REFORMATION [/reverb] was supposed to be about?

  109. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    TGC always seems to come at this from the perspective that pastors have MUCH more difficult jobs than everyone else. There is always an implicit or explicit call to let pastors off the hook because of how hard things are for them. But the pewpeons should be called to account for every potential sin (even thought sins).

    This is why I no longer attend these places.

  110. Forrest wrote:

    Carol wrote:
    I received a fast response from the publisher. Posted the response below, edited out the name of the customer service representative.
    “Carol,
    We would like to inform you we have canceled his publication through Baker Publishing.
    Thank you,
    Customer Service and Order Management
    Baker Publishing Group”
    Thank you, Jesus!

    Poor pastor Andy is now going to have to hold another conference to make up for the loss of revenue. Perhaps he can get Matt Chandler to show up (again).

  111. Daisy wrote:

    I just read an article a few days ago that interviewed some kind of expert on the topic – who said one reason why the Harvey Weinsteins do what they do is that they assume all other men are horny perverted horn dogs, so, other men will understand or look the other way.

    And up until recently, the Harveys were right.
    (Nudge nudge wink wink know what I mean know what I mean…)

  112. Bridget wrote:

    That is what Jared C. Wilson wants for every pastor . . . subservience.

    In the words of Slaver’s Bay in Game of Thrones, “Pastor Holds the Whip”.

  113. Lydia wrote:

    I think this is one reason he went from “Youth Pastor” to describing himself as ‘college student on staff’. It fits the rest of his deception tactic quite well.

    And/or the advice from his attorney.

  114. Carol wrote:

    Carol,
    We would like to inform you we have canceled his publication through Baker Publishing.
    Thank you,
    Customer Service and Order Management
    Baker Publishing Group”

    Great!

  115. @ Renee:

    ” Why are these churches allowed to remain open when it is clear this behavior continues on? Is it because they are filled with folks who just turn a blind eye? Is it because it didn’t happen to their son or daughter? I don’t get it. ”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    a few things come to mind.

    –people unwittingly put their faith in the institution, not God.

    They believe God’s hands will be tied, so to speak, unless the institution is in operation. They believe that they themselves and everyone else will wither and shrivel up spiritually. They believe the US will become Sodom & Gomorrah, or Amsterdam, unless the institution is in operation.

    –people are sentimental about church.

    it can feel like the family home (one’s childhood bedroom, the dining room where we had all our extended family special occasion meals, the living room where we watched TV all together,…).

    they are sentimental about the music (not unlike the warm feelings people can have when they hear favorite christmas songs).

    they are sentimental about the culture (the routine of how things happen, the dialect, way of relating, the activities).

    people don’t think so much in terms of right and wrong, but godly and ungodly, gospelly and ungospelly. and they mistake sentimentality for these things.

    believe it or not, it is true.

    (well, they mistake a LOT of things for godly/ungodly, gospelly/ungospelly)

    to sum it all up, people can mistake faith in God with faith in Godland and all the window dressing. they don’t want to lose Godland.

  116. Lydia wrote:

    @ Lea:
    He used his position to use her.

    Yes.

    I don’t care about the legalities of it. That is WRONG. Can we not just say that?

  117. Max wrote:

    I am particularly concerned about youth ministries at New Calvinist church plants which have a pastor in his 20s-30s and an “elder” team of same age. Kids are running the place!

    Not “kids”.
    CALVINJUGEND (Calvin Youth).

  118. Bridget wrote:

    Forrest wrote:
    That article is wrong on so many levels. The underlying asption is that your pastor is appointed by God so you MUST submit to evetything he says.

    That is what Jared C. Wilson wants for every pastor . . . subservience.

    Everyone should submit to the pastor. Women should submit to men. Etc.

    But when your youth pastor drives you out into a deserted lot and tells you what to do, suddenly they want to hand wave it because she did.

  119. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    I think this is one reason he went from “Youth Pastor” to describing himself as ‘college student on staff’. It fits the rest of his deception tactic quite well.
    And/or the advice from his attorney.

    I thought so. Or a church image consultant like the A Group that creepy pastor from Nashville went to work for. Those firms are all over the place as church is big business now. . The church statement was very clever in many ways.

  120. Lea wrote:

    Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    The “finances” link say they’re “an open book”. However, the page does not list pastors’salaries …… hmmmmm.

    Wonder how certain line items are listed in this “open book”…

    For instance, when Highpoint merged with the former Immanuel Baptist Church at Schilling Farms, they did so to acquire the land. In order to facilitate the merger and get the former church to agree to it, they agreed to pay the pastor for a year’s “sabbatical” (essentially. “we’ll pay you a year’s salary not to work if you can facilitate this merger and get us the land we want from you current congregation.”)

    So, the net effect was that they would pay the pastor a sales commission if he could con his flock into merging with Highpoint, so that Highpoint could acquire a coveted piece of land. (Disgusting!)

    Now, Immanual Baptist Church at Schilling Farms had a number of pending claims against it for molesting young boys (and lying about having reported it to the police—as has been covered previously in Wartburg) and knowingly keeping a child molester on staff (also covered in Wartburg). Highpoint later tried to deny the transaction was a “merger” in order to avoid the potential lawsuits stemming from the molestations. Their denial has been disproven, though, as even existing church bulletins from the time clearly (in bold type) celebrate the “merger.” In a number of other legal ways, as well, they did not dot their “i’s” and cross their “t’s”.

    These people are scumbags!

  121. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    Forrest wrote:
    Carol wrote:
    I received a fast response from the publisher. Posted the response below, edited out the name of the customer service representative.
    “Carol,
    We would like to inform you we have canceled his publication through Baker Publishing.
    Thank you,
    Customer Service and Order Management
    Baker Publishing Group”
    Thank you, Jesus!
    Poor pastor Andy is now going to have to hold another conference to make up for the loss of revenue. Perhaps he can get Matt Chandler to show up (again).

    What little I looked into his current situation, I counted three possible income streams off the bat. It never ceases to amaze me his followers never question that. Instead they are usually proud of their celebrity as if it makes them special, too.

  122. Carol wrote:

    I received a fast response from the publisher. Posted the response below, edited out the name of the customer service representative.

    “Carol,
    We would like to inform you we have canceled his publication through Baker Publishing.
    Thank you,
    Customer Service and Order Management
    Baker Publishing Group”

    Yay!! I’m thankful Baker Publishing did the right thing. Thank you too Carol for emailing them.

  123. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Their denial has been disproven, though, as even existing church bulletins from the time clearly (in bold type) celebrate the “merger.” In a number of other legal ways, as well, they did not dot their “i’s” and cross their “t’s”.

    These people are scumbags!

    And clearly not very bright…

  124. •According to his bio (of which we have taken screen shots) Savage went on to be the Pastor of College Students and Young Singles at Germantown Baptist Church. Was Germantown Baptist Church notified of Savage’s behavior?

    Apologies if this has been mentioned, but does anyone know the timeline between being fired for cause and abusing his position, and being hired at Germantown to be over more young people?

  125. Former Child Abuse Prosecutor wrote:

    legislature amending the law to remove the statute of limitations

    There are no statute of limitations in the Kingdom of God. As citizens of His Kingdom, we are subject to the laws of men unless they go contrary to the laws of God. There will be a payday someday for ministers who don’t live holy lives. Unfortunately, we don’t hear many sermons on holiness these days because the pulpit is not holy in far too many places. Instead, we are told to shut-up, don’t gossip, it’s time to be silent, don’t challenge the pastor, etc. when we observe the holy standard slipping away in our churches.

  126. @ ishy:

    “Dee tweeted the response of a former Stonebridge youth group member who told exactly how Stonebridge hid the incident and allowed Jules to take the blame”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    dee starts her tweet:

    “A member of Jules youth group speaks out and corroborates that the impression given by the church was that this was some *kissing.* This is important. Cover up in churches is typical in these circumstances.”

    kissing….. as a first attempt at intimacy with someone, taking your privates out and saying kiss it, cold turkey, is not normal and is not what a novice does.

    Moderation Edit: Changed the explicit wording. Text change is in bold. GBTC

  127. Also, just going through twitter and this tweet from ‘husband of 1 father of 3’ (ugh) just says what’s wrong with his idiot churches entire approach:

    I’m proud of my church for standing for the accuser and accused

    ?! *headdesk*

  128. Bridget wrote:

    Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    TGC always seems to come at this from the perspective that pastors have MUCH more difficult jobs than everyone else. There is always an implicit or explicit call to let pastors off the hook because of how hard things are for them. But the pewpeons should be called to account for every potential sin (even thought sins).

    I have worked in ministry in the past, and I have never met a lazier group of people in my life than those in “full-time” ministry!

    To quote Mark Ottinger, teaching pastor at Fellowship Memphis…”I could never work at a real job!”

  129. Lydia wrote:

    they are usually proud of their celebrity as if it makes them special, too

    The cult of personality has taken over the American church. Group think has replaced critical thinking. If you transported a believer from the 1st century Church to an average 21st century church, he wouldn’t recognize it … not because the form has changed, but because the Name of Jesus is not raised above all names. When Christian celebrities get more recognition than Jesus … when icons of the Christian industrial complex are placed on the mountain where the Cross once stood … we are desperately off-course in Christendom.

  130. Lea wrote:

    Apologies if this has been mentioned, but does anyone know the timeline between being fired for cause and abusing his position, and being hired at Germantown to be over more young people?

    I’d like to hear the answer that, too! I would also like to know when and where Mr. Savage was ordained to the gospel ministry … and what those church leaders knew about his ministry failure in Texas when they ordained him.

  131. Lea wrote:

    Also, just going through twitter and this tweet from ‘husband of 1 father of 3’ (ugh) just says what’s wrong with his idiot churches entire approach:

    I’m proud of my church for standing for the accuser and accused

    ?! *headdesk*

    He drank the koolaid.

  132. Bridget wrote:

    This is about clergy abuse. This is not about consent!

    I agree it is about clergy abuse, but my point is if the clergy abuse law was not on the books in the 90’s, a crime was not committed. Former Child Abuse Prosecutor “thinks” that the clergy abuse part of the law is a recent addition. I still haven’t seen when this was enacted.

    I have no sympathy for Savage, but I don’t want his supporters to be able to say “the crazies at TWW are accusing Pastor Savage of a crime” if that is not so.

  133. Lydia wrote:

    they hire consulting companies to make the case for salaries comparable to local CEO’s

    That’s because “Christianity” has become a big business in America. (Note: Andy had a degree in marketing before he pursued a degree in ministry).

  134. Lydia wrote:

    @ Ken F (aka Tweed):
    Their timing is always interesting. After the big SGM scandal, they wrote generic articles about child safety measures at church. Not a single article about how CJ protected predators. Nothing about the lawsuit. Then they rushed to T4G to hear him speak.

    I want someone to try and prove to me that article is not completely Orwellian. I can’t see anything else. Once you learn and experience to not be distracted by overt religious and spiritual language, you can look at the basics and bare bones of what someone is really saying underneath.

    I know using the term Orwellian is a bit cliche and can lose its meaning when everyone starts to use it, but think it’s still the best quick one word descriptor to picture what’s going on in these kind of writings and groups.

  135. Bridget wrote:

    The problem is that the people are listening to their pastor and NOT thinking for themselves. It is a major problem in the church today. Congregants believing their pastors and not discerning between good and evil for themselves.

    It’s a major problem in church and a major problem in society. They will believe their pastor and they will believe movie stars, sports figures, TV personalities, etc. and not think for themselves.

  136. Max wrote:

    The cult of personality has taken over the American church. Group think has replaced critical thinking.

    The Christian(TM) version of Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll!

  137. Great questions and points being made here. Bet it’s keeping Andy’s Image consultants busy. (Wink)

  138. Max wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    they hire consulting companies to make the case for salaries comparable to local CEO’s

    That’s because “Christianity” has become a big business in America. (Note: Andy had a degree in marketing before he pursued a degree in ministry).

    If you haven’t seen it, John Oliver (on the HBO show, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight) appropriately skewers the American church in this video and shows what a scam it is by starting his own “church”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y1xJAVZxXg

    For those unfamiliar with John Oliver, he was a significant contributor to the old Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

    warning: there are a few instances of salty language.

  139. emily honey wrote:

    I want someone to try and prove to me that article is not completely Orwellian. I can’t see anything else. Once you learn and experience to not be distracted by overt religious and spiritual language, you can look at the basics and bare bones of what someone is really saying underneath.

    Then you will love what Cripplegate posted today: http://thecripplegate.com/clean-slate/#more-219101. Does savage have a connection to The Masters Seminary?

  140. Former Child Abuse Prosecutor wrote:

    The section of the penal code that defines sex between clergy/congregant as without consent is *I think* relatively recent. I feel pretty confident this was not the law 20 years ago. You cannot retroactively make something a crime. Also, in the State of Texas, since she was 17, the DA could not charge it as statutory rape (technically, that isn’t what we call it in Texas) because at 17 you are considered old enough to consent (I am not saying this consensual or anything other than evil – just doing a legal analysis). So, this would leave the DA to prosecute it as sex without consent. However, to prove that this was without consent (if you can’t show she was too young or that it was clergy/congregant) the DA would need to show a use of force or threatened use of force. I think this would be a tough case to win.

    I believe the code in its use of the words “clergy” and “congregant” should have a definition of who would be included or excluded in these categories. For example, would a part time unpaid Sunday school volunteer be considered clergy or is clergy reserved for a position with “pastor” in the title? If clergy is reserved for pastor, then church titles can be reworded to exclude pastor from the title as a way to get around the statute.

  141. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):
    ‘True Christians always forgive/forgiveness is a blank state’.

    Notice how those two things are smooshed together. So wrong.

    There is no such thing as a blank slate. People who focus only on forgiveness never seem to pay attention to repentance. Tell the story of Zacchaeus and its pretty easy to compare and contrast people who are actively making amends with someone just paying lip service to it.

  142. Ken G wrote:

    For example, would a part time unpaid Sunday school volunteer be considered clergy or is clergy reserved for a position with “pastor” in the title?

    They would never consider them clergy, because there might be women teaching sunday school.

    Maybe their tendency to call every man on staff a ‘pastor’ will come back to bite them.

  143. Carol wrote:

    We would like to inform you we have canceled his publication through Baker Publishing.

    I’m skeptical of young pastors who write books these days. There’s a lot of money to be made in Christian publications, given all the gullible followers of Christian celebrities clamoring to buy them … particularly in New Calvinist ranks. Of course, the publishing houses look for popular preachers/writers to back (it makes money for them, too) … good to see Baker doing the right thing here.

  144. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Max wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    they hire consulting companies to make the case for salaries comparable to local CEO’s

    That’s because “Christianity” has become a big business in America. (Note: Andy had a degree in marketing before he pursued a degree in ministry).

    If you haven’t seen it, John Oliver (on the HBO show, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight) appropriately skewers the American church in this video and shows what a scam it is by starting his own “church”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y1xJAVZxXg

    For those unfamiliar with John Oliver, he was a significant contributor to the old Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

    warning: there are a few instances of salty language.

    Sadly, there was little difference between that and the real con-merchants out there.

  145. Lea wrote:

    There is no such thing as a blank slate.

    Exactly. If they really believed that they would not be in such a hurry to discipline church pewpeons. One can forgive an abuser, but forgiveness does not grant a blank slate in terms of things like regaining trust, adhering to civil laws, establishing relationship, or spiritual authority. It does not absolve a person from needing to repent and regain trust. I am glad that you highlighted this.

  146. Although the whole situation makes me sad and angry, I guess I’m too cynical to be shocked that this abuse happened or that it was covered up by church leaders. However, I am stunned by all of the defenders of Savage and Highpoint on social media! If the same situation involved a high school teacher and a student, the teacher would be fired and criminally prosecuted, and many of these same folks would likely be wringing their hands and lamenting the evil in our schools. At age 22 or 23, Andy Savage was old enough to be a teacher working with teens; he should be held at least as high of a standard of sexual ethics.

  147. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Summary: ignore that still, small voice

    Good policy, because God’s word says that the heart is wicked and deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) and cannot be trusted. True Christians also know that the Lord has put pastors and elders in place as overseers to guide us along the narrow path.
    God bless.

  148. I know that it has been discussed before on this blog, but the concept of forgiveness is being so twisted in this case of abuse! It’s not up to me to forgive Andy Savage or any other abusers – it’s up to their victims to do that. (Just like it’s not up to me to forgive a debt that is owed to someone else, or to forgive someone for stealing from my neighbor.) It is really sickening to see the Bible’s words about forgiveness and “judge not” twisted to suit Highpoint’s manipulative spin.

    And for those asking whether this act from 20 years ago should cost a man his career… Our discussion might be different if he were a banker or an engineer, but how can anyone take him seriously in teaching/writing/blogging on marriage and sex and relationships now that he has admitted to this? The fact that it was a long time ago only affirms for me that his “ministry” has been built on lies.

  149. caroline wrote:

    It’s not up to me to forgive Andy Savage or any other abusers – it’s up to their victims to do that.

    Yes.

    the hubris to think you can forgive ANYONE on behalf of someone else!

  150. Lea wrote:

    Apologies if this has been mentioned, but does anyone know the timeline between being fired for cause and abusing his position, and being hired at Germantown to be over more young people?

    It sounds as if there was no time at all. He was fired, went back to Memphis and apparently started working at Germantown right away.

    This from his blog:

    “A native Memphian, Andy is a graduate of Houston High School and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Memphis, followed by a Master’s Degree in Christian Studies from Union University. Andy began his life in ministry after his freshman year of college, serving first as a Youth Pastor at StoneBridge Church in The Woodlands, Texas and then locally as the Pastor of College students and Young Singles at Germantown Baptist Church.

    After starting Metro Bible Study in 2000 – an influential gathering of young singles across the Mid-South – he stepped out in faith in 2002, teaming up with Chris Conlee, to help launch a new and dynamic community of believers in the heart of Memphis: Highpoint Church.”

    http://www.andysavage.com/about/

  151. elastigirl wrote:

    to sum it all up, people can mistake faith in God with faith in Godland and all the window dressing. they don’t want to lose Godland.

    In a perverse sort of way, Karl Marx had it right when he wrote:

    “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”.

  152. For all of these cheap grace, “he should be forgiven without consequence” (when it serves them, personally) ministry nitwits…

    I wonder what would happen if I were walking down the streets in Memphis (as I have occasionally done), saw one of these guys (sexual abusers/apologists from the pulpit), and (hypothetically) punched him in the mouth and loosened a few teeth…do you think they would show me “grace” and not press charges? Hmmm…

    What if I vaguely later said “I’m sorry” without admitting guilt?

  153. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    I wonder what would happen if I were walking down the streets in Memphis (as I have occasionally done), saw one of these guys (sexual abusers/apologists from the pulpit), and (hypothetically) punched him in the mouth and loosened a few teeth…

    I don’t know how they would react, but I hope that there would be hordes of people on Facebook and Twitter questioning their salvation for evening talking about it (/sarcasm).

  154. When are we going to admit that the people we have on the pulpit are wolves? They are not tending to the flock, but are there expressly to feed on it.

    And before you say, “But my pastor is not like that?”, ask yourself if your pastor is personally and publicly calling out these predatory, profiteering degenerates. In not, your pastor is a fellow wolf in the pack and may just not be one of the Alpha wolves visibly leading the massacre.

  155. I Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    Apologies if this has been mentioned, but does anyone know the timeline between being fired for cause and abusing his position, and being hired at Germantown to be over more young people?

    I just looked at Savage’s Linked-In and he lists the following dates of employment:

    Stone Bridge – June 95/April 98

    Germantown Baptist – Jully 99/April 2002

    Highpoint – April 2002/present

  156. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    For all of these cheap grace, “he should be forgiven without consequence” (when it serves them, personally) ministry nitwits…

    Well, and TGC and friends are known for doing the exact opposite to church members (particularly women) for things like just asking questions, much less major sins. They only want cheap grace for pastors/elders and those men who might support those pastors–their members would not receive the same treatment.

  157. caroline wrote:

    I am stunned by all of the defenders of Savage and Highpoint on social media! If the same situation involved a high school teacher and a student, the teacher would be fired and criminally prosecuted, and many of these same folks would likely be wringing their hands and lamenting the evil in our schools. At age 22 or 23, Andy Savage was old enough to be a teacher working with teens; he should be held at least as high of a standard of sexual ethics.

    It would seem that our secular institutions have higher moral and ethical values than the churches do.

  158. Avid Reader wrote:

    Balaam was sin leveling when he tried to blame the donkey for his own willful sin of abusing the donkey. There’s a reason that the Bible pauses long enough to point out that the donkey was the innocent one and Balaam was the sinful one.

    This is the first and last recorded instance in Scripture where God talked out of his ass.

  159. emily honey wrote:

    I want someone to try and prove to me that article is not completely Orwellian.

    Not that Tim Challies speaks for all reformed Christians, but sexual abuse did not make his list of the things reformed Christians should address in 2018: https://www.challies.com/articles/themes-or-challenges-for-reformed-christians-in-2018/. This was posted today. He asks for input on other ideas, but he does not have a comments section on his blog. I’ve tried to contact him a few times but have never gotten a response. Maybe others will be more effective.

  160. ishy wrote:

    AbuseCrusher wrote:

    For all of these cheap grace, “he should be forgiven without consequence” (when it serves them, personally) ministry nitwits…

    Well, and TGC and friends are known for doing the exact opposite to church members (particularly women) for things like just asking questions, much less major sins. They only want cheap grace for pastors/elders and those men who might support those pastors–their members would not receive the same treatment.

    Yep. In Memphis, a woman was kicked out of her long-time, locally-prominent church for offhandedly suggesting that the pastor, Sandy Willson, was/is a narcissist (which I think is empirically provable). They even had a local criminal court judge preside over the kangaroo court hearing and had the news published on the front page of the paper as “local woman found guilty”.

    (Somehow, these pastors are experts in church discipline, but can’t discipline their own “nether regions” nor get their staffs to do so)

    Mind you, that same pastor, Sandy Willson, at 2nd Presbyterian Church, was notified that he had just hired a man, Rick Trotter, to be the music pastor at their church plant, Downtown Pres (now simply “Downtown Church”) after he had recently had to leave his previous job at Fellowship Memphis for taking illicit, clandestine, and voyeuristic videos of unsuspecting women and children in the church bathrooms and elsewhere. Pastor Willson essentially shrugged and kept the man on staff (where he was later arrested for —surprise—taking perverted videos of unknowing women at that church)!

    Why would Willson keep such a man on the payroll? Well, at the time, the predator’s father-in-law (well-known pastor, Crawford Lorrits) served on the Gospel Coalition board with Willson. Crawford was well-aware of his son-on-law’s perversions, but wanted to provide and income stream for his daughter more than he wished to protect innocents.

    Oh, yeah, and Trotter was also working at Chick-Fil-A, where…wait for it…father-in-law Pastor Crawford Lorrits sits on the corporate board (presumably collecting the 100s of thousands of $$$$ customarily paid for this sort of “work”).

    Jesus would SO be turning over the money tables on these condescending pigs!

  161. I am amazed the good old boy network is treating this like an entirely different scenario. I will grant had Jules said nothing for 20 years and then claimed the incident, with him vehemently denying ever being alone with her, and with no tickling incident or any cause to believe one or the other, THEN his church might stand with him in a “he said/she said” situation. I say that ONLY because a dear friend’s child with mental illness is seeing a phantom stalker again, and has accused (proven falsely with undeniable evidence in court) multiple innocent men. And the case can be made there are a few women possibly using the me too movement in a weaponized fashion, getting even with men who either rejected their advances, never noticed them, got the job promotion, etc.

    But in this case the situation came to light years ago, just nothing was done. But how shocked SHOULD we be and who is REALLY to blame when this whole celebrity preacher thing goes sour?

    Let’s see: in the red letters we are told to have no one our spiritual “master” or “father.” Well, blew that one didn’t we? A few books over on in the NT we are told to have only those men meeting certain qualifications in the only two church offices I can see actually established: preacher and deacon. (I know other groups differ here, but the qualifications remain the same.) The qualifications require a bit of age and certainly require a character so high very few can ever qualify. Kinda the point, I believe.

    The main thrust of church leadership throughout the NT is that each of us has access to God, each is a leader, and those in church office must be the cream of the crop. So the issue of young people as leaders was wrong from the get go, and the issue of when to restore a fallen leader to ministry is also wrong from the get go. Of course I freely admit a bit of Old Regular Baptist leaning against a paid ministry anyway. I believe that is the whole foundation that is crumbling under the church.

    So I remind myself to go look in the mirror. Unless I will be willing to stop paying the preacher and to insist on obeying the scripture in both the qualifications for leadership and the actual role of the leadership (proclaimer, not ruler or hand holder or shrink or best buddy or what have you) AND unless I am willing to walk away from celebrity church, the I am just as guilty as anyone else in this whole sad stinking mess.

  162. @ AbuseCrusher:

    “And before you say, “But my pastor is not like that?”, ask yourself if your pastor is personally and publicly calling out these predatory, profiteering degenerates. In not, your pastor is a fellow wolf in the pack and may just not be one of the Alpha wolves visibly leading the massacre.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    Some metaphorical wolves, to be sure. i think most are highly impressionable and have lost the ability to be objective — amazing to me, the lack of awareness.

    i do believe that women in influential leadership roles would have prevented a lot of this mess. plainly, the ability to multi-task (functionally & cognitively) gives women awareness on many levels and of the big picture.

  163. Someone should search out the various churches that this “Andy” guy has worked at see if any pew peons have been “disciplied”…
    It would be interesting to see if there are double standards….l. We know there clearly are at 9 Marks, gospel Collition churches!

  164. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    I Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    Apologies if this has been mentioned, but does anyone know the timeline between being fired for cause and abusing his position, and being hired at Germantown to be over more young people?

    I just looked at Savage’s Linked-In and he lists the following dates of employment:

    Stone Bridge – June 95/April 98

    Germantown Baptist – Jully 99/April 2002

    Highpoint – April 2002/present

    Thanks. So basically he had a ministry job leading his contemporaries and younger by the time he could get moved. Nice ‘biblical’ break there.

  165. Jules, I don’t know if you’re reading comments here, but we were in Chorus together as kids a long time ago. I just want to say that I believe you, and I hate that this guy has been allowed to continue his life and his ministry with no repercussions. You are so brave to come forward. #metoo

  166. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Why would Willson keep such a man on the payroll? Well, at the time, the predator’s father-in-law (well-known pastor, Crawford Lorrits) served on the Gospel Coalition board with Willson. Crawford was well-aware of his son-on-law’s perversions, but wanted to provide and income stream for his daughter more than he wished to protect innocents.

    Dee did a good job of covering that when it happened. And I saw very similar things in Christian college and seminary–lots of nepotism in the Baptist and nondenom worlds. There was even this awestruck reverence for kids of big names and many had jobs promised to them upon graduation even though they may be much less qualified than others.

    I ran far away from those types of churches once I understood how New Calvinism worked and now go to a tiny country Methodist church with a female pastor, who visits the sick almost daily. Big difference.

  167. elastigirl wrote:

    i do believe that women in influential leadership roles would have prevented a lot of this mess. plainly, the ability to multi-task (functionally & cognitively) gives women awareness on many levels and of the big picture.

    Bingo.

  168. elastigirl wrote:

    i do believe that women in influential leadership roles would have prevented a lot of this mess. plainly, the ability to multi-task (functionally & cognitively) gives women awareness on many levels and of the big picture.

    Sadly, many of the women at Highpoint appear to be 100% behind their male leaders. I have no reason to believe that such women would do any better if they were on the staff. Too often we have seen women in such positions support the very systems that keep women in submission.

  169. caroline wrote:

    I know that it has been discussed before on this blog, but the concept of forgiveness is being so twisted in this case of abuse! It’s not up to me to forgive Andy Savage or any other abusers – it’s up to their victims to do that.

    Amen! And abusers should not be restored to ministry if (1) their sins against others have not been publicly confessed to the church, and (2) their sins have not been publicly forgiven by their victim(s). Actually, in my book, pastors who fail morally should never be restored to ministry. They have disqualified themselves from that office by betraying those who trust them. There are no examples in the New Testament of pastors who fail morally being restored to ministry. Forgive them if they repent? Absolutely? Restore them to ministry? NO! There are other places to serve in the Body of Christ, besides church leadership – they have forfeited that privilege.

  170. Forrest wrote:

    I have no reason to believe that such women would do any better if they were on the staff. Too often we have seen women in such positions support the very systems that keep women in submission.

    I think things are very different when women are treated as equal, though.

  171. @ Forrest:

    ” I have no reason to believe that such women would do any better if they were on the staff. Too often we have seen women in such positions support the very systems that keep women in submission.”
    ++++++++++++++

    well, they can bring me on board to sort it all out.

  172. Lea wrote:

    Forrest wrote:

    I have no reason to believe that such women would do any better if they were on the staff. Too often we have seen women in such positions support the very systems that keep women in submission.

    I think things are very different when women are treated as equal, though.

    I don’t see that happening any time soon in evangelicalism or any other fundamental cult system.

  173. Lea wrote:

    ishy wrote:

    I’m hoping a large number of people will get up and just walk out of the church next week after the sermon starts.

    Lea wrote:
    Oh man. If I didn’t have something I have to do sunday I would drive over just to do this.

    I went over to the Highpoint Memphis Facebook page and they’re still going at it, throwing rocks at Jules and protecting Andy. Next weekend is a bank holiday (Martin Luther King Day). I have checked ticket prices and this might be the perfect weekend to pay a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, with a side trip to Highpoint Memphis for a picket.

  174. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Forrest:

    ” I have no reason to believe that such women would do any better if they were on the staff. Too often we have seen women in such positions support the very systems that keep women in submission.”
    ++++++++++++++

    well, they can bring me on board to sort it all out.

    LOL. They wouldn’t know what had hit them.

  175. @ Forrest:

    “I don’t see that happening any time soon in evangelicalism or any other fundamental cult system.”
    +++++++++++

    turning the ship of culture around is a slow process, for sure. but i somehow think it’s been turbo-energized in the last several months.

  176. elastigirl wrote:

    @ AbuseCrusher:

    “And before you say, “But my pastor is not like that?”, ask yourself if your pastor is personally and publicly calling out these predatory, profiteering degenerates. In not, your pastor is a fellow wolf in the pack and may just not be one of the Alpha wolves visibly leading the massacre.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    Some metaphorical wolves, to be sure. i think most are highly impressionable and have lost the ability to be objective — amazing to me, the lack of awareness.

    i do believe that women in influential leadership roles would have prevented a lot of this mess. plainly, the ability to multi-task (functionally & cognitively) gives women awareness on many levels and of the big picture.

    Every one of these pastors know this is going on (think Weinstein Hollywood circa 10 years ago). We can’t give them a pass simply because they seem more docile.

    “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not the One who weight the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will He not repay everyone according to what they have done?” (Prov. 24:11-12)

    If these guys (and gals) are not capable (whether from willful naivete or lack of moral fortitude) of protecting the flock, they need to be removed from leadership. They don’t understand the role of the shepherd and don’t have “the right stuff.”

    Unfortunately, I believe these beta wolves enjoy their “plausible deniability” in the slaughter while hoping to feed off of the scraps and fruits of the kill left behind by the Alpha wolves leading the destruction. Lots of the benefits, none of the dirty work—and you don’t have to confront the “fearsomely famous” Alpha wolves, who would eat them for breakfast.

    I, like you, would like to believe that women in ministry would be different; however, my experience in Memphis has shown that the women with direct knowledge of the shenanigans protecting predators from the pulpit did exactly the same as the men–they just showed more sadness in their eyes when they explained that they could not challenge the famous pervert protectors for fear of losing their own income and positions. The Christian Industrial Complex chews up women and men, alike, I’m afraid.

    Perhaps it would be different if we did have a critical mass of females in power in the ministry. Possibly it would embolden the female pastors as a class. Maybe we just need a few more Jaels (see Judges).

    Glad we have Dee and Deb!

  177. Forrest wrote:

    many of the women at Highpoint appear to be 100% behind their male leaders

    Complementarian indoctrination at its best.

  178. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Forrest:

    “I don’t see that happening any time soon in evangelicalism or any other fundamental cult system.”
    +++++++++++

    turning the ship of culture around is a slow process, for sure. but i somehow think it’s been turbo-energized in the last several months.

    Yes, indeed! This last episode in particular seems to have escalated things.

  179. @ Forrest:

    kind of feels like a machine, like a vacuum cleaner, that is has encountered a glitch, something unexpected it wasn’t designed for, and the engine is growling & working to process it out, then suddenly whoosh it’s through and the engine is whirring easily again.

    it’s an ancient glitch, though. and i have to wonder if it was ever whirring easily. human equality, in whatever measure, can only be good for the engine of society.

  180. elastigirl wrote:

    kind of feels like a machine, like a vacuum cleaner, that is has encountered a glitch, something unexpected it wasn’t designed for, and the engine is growling & working to process it out, then suddenly whoosh it’s through and the engine is whirring easily again.

    I feel like all the ‘this was 20 years ago’ comments translate to:

    “I thought I got away with this. It’s unfair to bring it up now.”

    elastigirl wrote:

    well, they can bring me on board to sort it all out.

    You tell em. The thing is, in comp cultures, women speaking out. Women telling the men that what they are doing is WRONG will not be received. The ones that do either get run out, or leave in disgust. So all you have left are women who will cheerlead for their supposed ‘leaders’.

  181. 800 comments on this thread. Wow.

    If I were were Executive Pastor Chris Conlee, I would be angry about another church pawning off a sex offender on my church.

    I’ll bet the Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in TX didn’t mention abduction or coerced sex acts during #Highpoint Church’s reference checks.

  182. Ricco wrote:

    Thanks for all the links this morning!

    My morbid curiosity results in me checking out the websites of the usual suspects. It’s pretty depressing.

  183. Janey wrote:

    If I were were Executive Pastor Chris Conlee, I would be angry about another church pawning off a sex offender on my church.

    I’ll bet the Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in TX didn’t mention abduction or coerced sex acts during #Highpoint Church’s reference checks.

    It’s much worse. Conlee’s initial statement said he knew about it from before hiring Savage and he supported Savage.

  184. ishy wrote:

    https://www.rawstory.com/2018/01/watch-memphis-megachurch-gives-standing-ovation-to-pastor-after-apology-for-sex-assault/

    “I am truly sorry more was not done,” Savage said. “Until now, I did not know that there was unfinished business with (the victim), so I say today … I am truly sorry for my actions 20 years ago. I remain committed to cooperate with you toward your forgiveness and healing.”

    Ugh. More done by whom? A passive voice apology is not convincing. And what forgivenss does his victim need??? Why is some kind of cooperation needed??? Sounds like an opportunity for revictimization. Why did he not know until now that more was needed? Did he ever ask? This woukd not have been hard to find out.

  185. elastigirl wrote:

    well, they can bring me on board to sort it all out.

    But, you see, if you are not already the submissive mouse they would not bring you in board to begin with . . .

  186. Just fyi, Andy Savage’s Facebook account appears to be no longer public. I was able to look at it over the weekend, but not today.

  187. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    “I am truly sorry more was not done,” Savage said. “Until now, I did not know that there was unfinished business with (the victim),

    What on earth????

    Hey genius? YOU were the one who did something wrong here. Yes, she has unfinished business with the church (which you CONTRIBUTED TO by lying, or allowing minimizations to be whispered about the church). But she also has unfinished business with YOU.

    I want to write all the forbidden words, but hell. He just picked up and left and continued on with his career. If he had been TRULY repentant, he would have talked to that church. Said he took advantage of someone in under his care and did not deserve their happy going away party. This was not a repentant man, this was someone who got caught and had to move.

  188. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    There is also this from Piper’s site today: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/well-behaved-women-rarely-make-history.

    I only made it to this before I NOPE’d on out of there:
    “Here I must skip over the fact that “well-behaved” Christian women of piety can pursue education and humbly correct wayward church leaders

    Gee thanks dude. Can we ‘humbly’ turn you down for sex? Threesomes? Mention that it might not be awesome to put sexual predators in charge of the youth? Would you listen if we did?

    I can’t handle these people.

  189. Beakerj wrote:

    It can be done well & safely because the church I did youth work with for 15 yrs did it that way & continues to do so

    There are really two overarching questions: 1) can it be done safely, and 2) should it be done at all? I agree that it CAN be done well and safely, but this requires a huge effort and a high level of competence. I am not convinced that most churches do this well or safely. But the bigger question is whether or not it should be done at all. Does it make enough of a difference for all the effort required? Right now it seems like one if the biggest drivers is keeping the tithers coming because if your church doesn’t there are many other churches who do. A lead pastor who would suggest doing something different would be fired on the spot.

  190. Janey wrote:

    800 comments on this thread. Wow.

    If I were were Executive Pastor Chris Conlee, I would be angry about another church pawning off a sex offender on my church.

    I’ll bet the Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in TX didn’t mention abduction or coerced sex acts during #Highpoint Church’s reference checks.

    Normal people would be angry. But know that these guys systematically and knowingly hire perverts.

    Kennon Vaughn (of Downline Ministries and pastor of Harvest Memphis) and the staff of Fellowship Memphis INTENTIONALLY moved admitted Kanakuk child molestor, Pete Newman, to Memphis, set him up with a place to live and hired him to do ministry work WHILE HE WAS OUT ON BAIL awaiting trial!!! Kanakuk & its leader, Joe White, knew darn well what was going on when they passed him on. The elders at Fellowship knew he was an admitted child rapist and HIRED HIM, ANYWAY! (of course they set up no safeguards and didn’t warn their congregants)

    Richard Rieves at Downtown Pres in Memphis KNEW Rick Trotter had been filming women and children in the bathroom at Fellowship Memphis. The staff at Fellowship Memphis passed him along, and Chris Davis, asst. pastor at Downtown Pres (now Downtown Church) KNEW Trotter had done this, because he had been working at Fellowship.

    National radio host and pastor at Fellowship Bible Church–Roswell in Atlanta KNEW his son-in-law took illegal videos of women and children and supported him getting another ministry job through his friend Sandy Willson at 2nd Pres Memphis who KNEW Trotter was a sexual predator.

    I could go on & on with examples, but I think you can see that it is not that these folks are even remotely surprised. I truly believe that the pervasive sexual abuse and cover-ups in the Protestant/Evangelical churches makes the Catholic church pervert-protectors look like rookies!

    The wickedness is beyond comprehension. I really believe the only conclusion a rational Believer could draw is that our churches are under satanic leadership. You couldn’t get 100% of Subway franchise owners to keep a lid on sexual abuse in the stores, but you can with churches (and you can even convince the “customers” to defend it and come back to fund more of the same)!

  191. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    I went over to the Highpoint Memphis Facebook page and they’re still going at it, throwing rocks at Jules and protecting Andy.

    WHY are the pastors and staff at Highpoint allowing this to go on toward Jules!?!?

    The only reason I can think of is that Highpoint wants Jules to continue to be hurt! Highpoint Church and its congregants are disgusting . . .

  192. Lydia wrote:

    There might be another aspect to this. For the last 30 years or so, there has been a whole “don’t think pink” approach to sex taught in youth group. It’s all they talk about.

    That included, get married young so you don’t burn, etc,
    For some reason, it did not occur to the gurus that higher and more serious aspirations outside of church might be helpful. They bought into the meme that is all teens are capable of thinking about. .

    Well, I thought about sex growing up, still sometimes think about it, have always wanted to have it, so I’d say, “just don’t think about sex” isn’t necessary to remaining chaste.

    You can think about it and want to have it but make a choice based on your personal convictions to abstain. That is what it boils down to.

    (To clear up common Christian misconceptions:
    I don’t have a special gift from God to be celibate- I was not “gifted” with it, and God did not remove my libido.)

  193. Renee wrote:

    The Catholic Church is a big part of why I became an atheist. I have always struggled with religion and it’s oppression. Religion is so twisted and destructive.

    To think that an institution where people trusted you more than any other institution is a known place of child rape. Not only that, they totally allowed it

    I’ve said on this blog before that some of the issues they discuss on here have common undercurrents that apply to other venues and issues in life.

    The spiritual abuse I see has a lot in common with bullies and abusers in workplace abuse cases, kid bullies on school yards, domestic violence, and, how the abuse/bullying is improperly dealt with by whomever is in charge…

    Whether it’s a school, church, Human Resources Dept, is all quite similar. All of them victim blame, protect the aggressor, etc.

    I think these sorts of issues can and do extend beyond religious institutions and religious people to anyone anywhere there is power and a hierarchy and things, money, or power to protect.

    This is a recent news story:
    Sick, Dying, and Raped in America’s Nursing Homes
    http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2017/02/health/nursing-home-sex-abuse-investigation/

    Abuse has no limits or boundaries to people groups, political parties, types of employment, etc.

    It’s every where and similarly mishandled every where by folks who practice CYA more than seeking justice.

    I do think, though, that religious types (some of them) mis-use and misquote their religious texts to minimize abuse and avoid holding the guilty accountable.

  194. Lea wrote:

    The ones that do either get run out, or leave in disgust

    There’s one more: so angry we have to leave out of fear that we are about to control and show a mysoginistic deacon or two that girls have mean left hooks, too!

  195. Lydia wrote:

    At the Megas it was truly amazing if they actually worked except to regurgitate a Willow Creek assoc sermon on weekends from stage. Everything else was a PR op.

    Sometimes they are even lazier than that. Some preachers steal other preacher’s sermons. I think I saw examples on “A Little Leaven” blog, or somewhere.

    They even steal the prop ideas of other pastors.
    One example that comes to mind right away was one pastor who gave a sermon about – I think it was making more time for God(?) – and he illustrated this principle by pouring a bunch of marbles or M and M candies into a glass jar.

    His jar was too small, though, so the marbles overfilled it.

    Lo and behold, months later, some other pastor gave the same exact sermon, using the SAME props – marbles (or candy) poured into a glass jar on stage.

    They can’t even be bothered to come up with their own hokey sermons and stage props.

  196. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):
    Very clever. He puts it back on her for forgiveness so she looks mean and hateful for not immediately falling for that shitck so popular in those shallow church circles.

    “I remain committed to cooperate with you toward your forgiveness and healing.”

    Ok. Start he can start with his lies to lot of people about what really happened. He perpetuated a lie for 20 years while seeking to build a cult of Personality ministry based on proper sex and relationships!. Then he can get out of ministry and go get a real job.

  197. Even if Jules had not been a minor, sexual contact between a minister & church member is never appropriate.

  198. Daisy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    At the Megas it was truly amazing if they actually worked except to regurgitate a Willow Creek assoc sermon on weekends from stage. Everything else was a PR op.

    Sometimes they are even lazier than that. Some preachers steal other preacher’s sermons. I think I saw examples on “A Little Leaven” blog, or somewhere.

    They even steal the prop ideas of other pastors.
    One example that comes to mind right away was one pastor who gave a sermon about – I think it was making more time for God(?) – and he illustrated this principle by pouring a bunch of marbles or M and M candies into a glass jar.

    His jar was too small, though, so the marbles overfilled it.

    Lo and behold, months later, some other pastor gave the same exact sermon, using the SAME props – marbles (or candy) poured into a glass jar on stage.

    They can’t even be bothered to come up with their own hokey sermons and stage props.

    At Hope Pres in Memphis, they write the sermons months in advance by committee and then, that service’s teaching pastor just reads the teleprompter. One morning the teleprompter broke and the pastor had no idea what to say, because the sermon was written months before and not by him.

  199. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    The ones that do either get run out, or leave in disgust

    There’s one more: so angry we have to leave out of fear that we are about to control and show a mysoginistic deacon or two that girls have mean left hooks, too!

    Yep!

  200. Janet Mefferd has weighed in on the Andy Savage situation:

    http://janetmefferd.com/

    Look over the home page to the right under where it says Janet Mefferd Live and Facebook (scroll down if Ms. Mefferd has posted anything since this – as of 1:56 PM CST 1-8-18 she has not and this post is only 3 hours old)

  201. Bridget wrote:

    That is what Jared C. Wilson wants for every pastor . . . subservience.

    I wonder if some of those Christian groups will ever arrive to a point where they convince the Pew Potatoes to do things such as strap on suicide vests to detonate around crowds in the name of Jesus?

  202. @ AbuseCrusher:
    Those are horrible stories.

    Okay, you’ve convinced me that some church leaders — out of naivete or personal loyalty to sex offenders — do indeed help them find new jobs in churches. And the congregation is never told. We’re like sitting ducks. Sick, sick, sick.

    Are we church members being duped by our own leadership? Do we need to vet the candidates ourselves? I guess that’s what these stories teach us.

    (Of course, having been on the finance committee at my former church, I already know that churches that brag about their financial transparency can hide large sums of $$$ off the balance sheet, and can misuse funds. Jesus deserves our 100% loyalty. His bride? No, not this side of heaven.)

  203. The Andy Savage Show
    10/9/17
    How to Raise Boys to be Men
    6:45 minute mark

    Andy: But that, that absolutely changes the way we train young men to become husbands. Because if we train them in an environment where husbandry is all about getting your way, then we will raise a generation of men who are selfish, and, and abuse women, mistreat their families and then only contribute to the negative in our society.

    Guest pastor (admitting, NOT condoning): …the number one scripture that men learn is “submit and obey”. We can’t tell you where it is in the bible…but that seems to be the first scripture that husbands learn…

    Andy: Yeah, that works out pretty well for us doesn’t it?
    [laughter] And I think that’s my concern…

    (Note, the guest pastor is sincerely discussing this problem and is in no way responsible for the gross hypocrisy of host Andy Savage.)

    My point of posting the above is this: Sexual assault is the epitome of selfish, abusive mistreatment and forcefully contributes to the negative in our society. So, in his own words, Andy has disqualified himself as a preacher / teacher.

    http://www.andysavage.com/blog/posts/raising-boys-to-men

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  205. Daisy wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    At the Megas it was truly amazing if they actually worked except to regurgitate a Willow Creek assoc sermon on weekends from stage. Everything else was a PR op.

    Sometimes they are even lazier than that. Some preachers steal other preacher’s sermons. I think I saw examples on “A Little Leaven” blog, or somewhere.

    They even steal the prop ideas of other pastors.
    One example that comes to mind right away was one pastor who gave a sermon about – I think it was making more time for God(?) – and he illustrated this principle by pouring a bunch of marbles or M and M candies into a glass jar.

    His jar was too small, though, so the marbles overfilled it.

    Lo and behold, months later, some other pastor gave the same exact sermon, using the SAME props – marbles (or candy) poured into a glass jar on stage.

    They can’t even be bothered to come up with their own hokey sermons and stage props.

    Not to mention the same talk has been on YouTube (a teacher in a secular school to his students) for quite awhile…

  206. To whoever is trying to comment an excerpt from thechristianmail. Please try again and this time don’t put the title of the article as your handle for our site. It breaks things. Put in a handle that you make up or use your real name.

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  207. @ AbuseCrusher:
    Yes, they like to administer their cheap grace and forgiveness shtick the situation didn’t impact them personally.

    I asked some Savage defender on Twitter the other day if she’d be defending him so stridently if it were her daughter, niece, etc, whom he had sexually abused? I didn’t get a reply from her, last I checked that account.

  208. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    And before you say, “But my pastor is not like that?”, ask yourself if your pastor is personally and publicly calling out these predatory, profiteering degenerates. In not, your pastor is a fellow wolf in the pack and may just not be one of the Alpha wolves visibly leading the massacre.

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
    – Edmund Burke

  209. 2 more comments not approved. Crazy lady suggesting that Jules *wanted it.* I am sure she doesn’t understand why events featuring Savage are being changed up. More in my post today

  210. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    There is also this from Piper’s site today: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/well-behaved-women-rarely-make-history. Time to get all the uppity women under control. If they would just be well-behaved all of this would blow over.

    I clicked on your link but the page is not loading for me – either I have a browser problem (which is possible) or there is something wrong with their site.

    So knowing Piper like I do, and looking at the URL you gave (which contains the phrase “well behaved women rarely make history”), I can only guess as to what that page must say.

    And a post I put on my own blog a few weeks ago that might address it:
    …Complementarians Really Seem To Hate These Sorts of Lists
    https://missdaisyflower.wordpress.com/2017/12/05/%E2%80%A2-twitter-trend-historic-bitches-badder-than-taylor-swift-complementarians-and-anti-feminists-really-seem-to-hate-these-sorts-of-lists/

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  212. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    It would seem that our secular institutions have higher moral and ethical values than the churches do.

    I think abuse and abuse cover ups go on beyond churches, but what really makes me want to barf is that churches or self professing Christians use God or God’s name to engage in the abuse (or cover it up).

    I expect more of Christians than I do from ‘Secular Joe Six Pack.’

    I thought the New Testament calls believers to a higher level or more consistent level of good moral behavior than secular society asks of everyone. That is part of what grinds my gears in these church abuse stories.

  213. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):
    Tim Challies is a tool on many subjects, I shall not get into.

    But for one, when he did a book review about how complementarianism plays a role in domestic abuse, he basically ended his review by steering his complementarian readers AWAY from reading the book (written by Ruth Tucker).

    Tucker had written previous books, very scholarly in nature, examining all the “gotcha,” clobber verses comps like to use, but she said in her Domestic Violence book that doing so was not the intent of her DV book.

    I think in that book she may have referred interested readers to her earlier books, if they wanted deep examination of the clobber verses. But that was not the intent of her DV related book.

    In his review, Challies discouraged his readers from reading it because it was not sunny optimistic enough about complementarianism,, that it did not deeply examine the favorite clobber verses, etc.

  214. linda wrote:

    I say that ONLY because a dear friend’s child with mental illness is seeing a phantom stalker again, and has accused (proven falsely with undeniable evidence in court) multiple innocent men. And the case can be made there are a few women possibly using the me too movement in a weaponized fashion, getting even with men who either rejected their advances, never noticed them, got the job promotion, etc.

    It seems to me that for every possible one false claim, there may be 100 or more true ones
    So I’ve never been able to be a worry wart, pearl clutcher over this.

    A lot of people drag up “what about false allegations” and they use it to silence other victims from coming forward. It’s meant to discourage victims.

  215. @ Daisy:
    Take a guess what would happen to me if I, as a Professor, asked one of my student to do what “Andy Savage” asked one of the girls in the group that he was leading( or however they are currently defining his role) to do??
    I am at a secular University… from what I have read, I could probably get away with it at some fundy colleges…

  216. Forrest wrote:

    Sadly, many of the women at Highpoint appear to be 100% behind their male leaders. I have no reason to believe that such women would do any better if they were on the staff. Too often we have seen women in such positions support the very systems that keep women in submission.

    This is not about churches specifically (it may mention evangelical women at one point, if I recall), but it’s pertinent to the point you’re making:

    The Growing Partisan Divide Over Feminism
    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/12/the-partisanship-of-feminism/548423/

  217. dee wrote:

    Crazy lady suggesting that Jules *wanted it.*

    If he thought Jules would be cool with the truth, he wouldn’t have lied about taking her home. He would have been all ‘I’m going to drive you to a field and ask for stuff and not even kiss you, cool?’

    Did he do that? No. I repeat, for like the eighth time, this wasn’t a date.

  218. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    I went over to the Highpoint Memphis Facebook page and they’re still going at it, throwing rocks at Jules and protecting Andy.

    Very interesting since in the sermon just the other day Conlee was saying that nobody should be favoring Jules over Andy or Andy over Jules, or picking sides, or however he put it.

  219. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    … Savage said. “Until now, I did not know that there was unfinished business with (the victim),…

    I’m sure.

    I’m sure he felt he scared and humiliated her well enough initially that she’d never say a peep, ever, but here we are. She spoke up (and good for her for doing so).

  220. linda wrote:

    Unless I will be willing to stop paying the preacher and to insist on obeying the scripture in both the qualifications for leadership and the actual role of the leadership (proclaimer, not ruler or hand holder or shrink or best buddy or what have you) AND unless I am willing to walk away from celebrity church, the I am just as guilty as anyone else in this whole sad stinking mess.

    I’m not going to get into your whole thing about false accusations, because this is clearly not a false accusation, but I’m not sure what you’re saying here. You aren’t ‘as’ guilty as anyone else, if you aren’t doing those things or supporting those things. Not every church is a celebrity church. Mine isn’t. But I detest this conflating or responsibility. This is how you get ‘we support the abuser and abused’ kind of statements. This is how you get ‘women in Hollywood who heard a rumor about Weinstein are just as guilty as he is’. Can we not simply hold people accountable for what they have done, without trying to say everyone else is just as bad? I fully intend to continue to do so.

  221. I have a question. When Andy filled out a job application for ‘college/single pastor’ what did he put down for ‘reason you left your last job’???

    Or is that not how things work in churchyland. I would love to know what went into that churches decision to hire him and vetting process. Because ‘why did you leave your last job’ is pretty much the bare minimum they would do in the hiring process at any job I know of and you know his answers were either lies or an indication that he should have never been hired for that job…(where, according to someone on twitter, he was also allowed to work with teenagers in ‘disciple’ classes!)

  222. Was Mr. Savage a staff member at the time or simply an intern? It does not excuse the behavior, but it would take the clergy issue out of the equation.

  223. @ Daisy:
    Interesting article! Putting it simply, political views and idols often trump the truth. They will dig in when they think their idols are being attacked.

  224. Daisy wrote:

    I clicked on your link but the page is not loading for me – either I have a browser problem (which is possible) or there is something wrong with their site.

    Some things are not either/or. The link works, which means there could be a problem with you browser. AND, there is definetly something wrong with their site – the content.

  225. Pingback: Church Standing Behind Pastor Accused of Past Sexual Assault UNITED STATES

  226. From Andy Savage’s Statement: “I apologized and sought forgiveness from her, her parents, her discipleship group, the church staff, and the church leadership, who informed the congregation…I resigned from ministry and moved back home to Memphis.”

    From Steve Bradley’s Statement: “After Andy Savage confessed and asked for forgiveness from the victim, her parents, her discipleship group, and the Church staff, he was terminated.”

    Coincidence that the statements are nearly identical? I doubt it. I’m amused at where they differ though, each covering their butts/trying to steal the moral high ground in claiming responsibility for his departure. My guess is they’re both a little true & nearly completely false. As in Jules is the one who prompted the departure (not them) when she shared it with her discipleship group, forcing the church then in panic mode to get rid of him which they did not want to do and likely gave Andy the option to resign rather than be fired. i.e. A forced resignation.

  227. Daisy wrote:

    Tim Challies is a tool on many subjects, I shall not get into.

    I agree. The only reason I check out his site is because he updates it daily and he represents one of the extreme forms of New Calvinism. It’s one way to keep a pulse on the movement. Writing seems to be his main (or only?) source of income, which means he has to find ways to attract followers.

  228. Sister wrote:

    From Andy Savage’s Statement: “I apologized and sought forgiveness from her, her parents, her discipleship group, the church staff, and the church leadership, who informed the congregation…I resigned from ministry and moved back home to Memphis.”

    From Steve Bradley’s Statement: “After Andy Savage confessed and asked for forgiveness from the victim, her parents, her discipleship group, and the Church staff, he was terminated.

    Nice catch. I suspect it was the ‘forced resignation’ which allows everybody to save face and nobody has to be brave.

  229. Lea, anyone who is footing the bills for these perps is equally guilty. They don’t get a free pass unless the bill payers give a free pass. And an awful lot of people so in love with their church or pastor DO pay the bills for them.

    I truly hope your church is a great one. But if they are SBC, or utilize celebrity materials for Bible studies, or support KLove if they do not cancel the guy, then inadvertently they are supporting this perp. And if you support monetarily your church, and if it is supporting the SBC, and if they support him, yeah, you would be in it up to your neck.

    We (generic we for all believers)get just exactly the churches we willingly continue to support with our dollar bills. Simple as that.

    And just as painful.

  230. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    At Hope Pres in Memphis, they write the sermons months in advance by committee and then, that service’s teaching pastor just reads the teleprompter.
    One morning the teleprompter broke and the pastor had no idea what to say, because the sermon was written months before and not by him.

    That is pretty bad, LOL. You have one-upped me, I think.

  231. Lea wrote:

    They would never consider them clergy, because there might be women teaching sunday school.

    Maybe their tendency to call every man on staff a ‘pastor’ will come back to bite them.

    The church may not consider Sunday school teachers as clergy, but does the statute include them in the definition of clergy? What is important is how the statute or code defines clergy and not how the church views them. This issue can get complicated very quickly, as you have pointed out, if the tendency is to call every man on staff a pastor. Also, because the statute would apply to non-Christian churches and houses of worship as well the roles of individuals in those organizations would need to be examined when developing a definition of clergy.

  232. Song of Joy wrote:

    Andy: But that, that absolutely changes the way we train young men to become husbands

    Aside from everything else wrong, there. Not everyone in life gets married. More and more people are staying single for the entirety of their lives.

    Rather than fixate on training men to be one day husbands, why not teach them to be decent people in general? Or to emulate Jesus Christ?

  233. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    There are really two overarching questions: 1) can it be done safely, and 2) should it be done at all?

    My answers would be, 1) Yes it can, but within reasonable limits. By that I mean that all things that involve looking after young people (any people really) has a measure of what is known as ‘irreducible risk’, because not all risk factors can be recognised or controlled. This would include very very high level paedophilia which has highest level manipulators involved, plus crimes of impulse/first offence etc
    And 2) while we have such a strong youth culture in our secular societies, which is specifically aimed at young people, & not understood, or misunderstood by those older than them plus often parents, there will be a need for young people to learn to understand & deal with the pressures of this, as well as be protected from its many hazards. A good Youth Worker is a bridge between worlds, helping YP navigate what is a difficult world to manage, whilst they go through puberty, without getting eaten up & spat out. I have worked with both church/Christian kids & secular kids & youth culture is in many ways the big Bad Wolf & the smartphone, for kids, is the Eye of Sauron.

  234. caroline wrote:

    If the same situation involved a high school teacher and a student, the teacher would be fired and criminally prosecuted, and many of these same folks would likely be wringing their hands and lamenting the evil in our schools.

    Absolutely right, spot on. There is a direct equivalence here.

  235. @ Max:
    I do not think any of the charges are going to stick, from what I’ve read he was just a 20 year old college intern and not full time staff at the church. Also, as 17 is the age of consent in Texas and there was no “forcing” of the acts, most prosecutors/judges will throw this out. Terrible situation all around.

  236. Lea wrote:

    ‘forced resignation’ which allows everybody to save face and nobody has to be brave

    Too many church leaders when faced with dealing with moral failure by associate pastors and/or church staff consider this the “Christian” way to handle the matter. Just love them and let them go quietly to find another church position elsewhere. When the Christian thing to do – to protect the Body of Christ and integrity of the ministry – would be to fire them and report the matter to civil authorities, while immediately reaching out to the victim(s). We probably don’t want to know how many church leaders are out there who dodged the bullet, nor do we want to know how many leaders have covered their sins rather than deal with them properly.

  237. @ ishy:
    I think you are correct. Many were willing to listen to at least hear both sides. The leadership’s response seemed to be an attempt to manipulate the people with selective scripture choices that do not cover duties of leadership. It is terribly sad that not only is Andy being called out, but now Chris being bashed as a poor deceptive and manipulative leader, as well. Now HP and the universal church body are being torn to pieces due to this situation as far as the UK. A leader should protect its flock but most importantly the reputation of the church as she represents Jesus.

    They are in over their heads. His vague admission and apology could cover absolutely anything being said of him in the media. Unfortunately, they have proven themselves incompetent and untrustworthy and are more concerned with protecting Andy than they are concerned with the hurt they are continuing to place upon Jules, the HP churchbody, and the entire faith. Whether they think he’s redeemed or not, their staunch defense of him is hurting a lot of people including the reputation of believers. They fail to see a bigger picture outside of themselves. They still do not get it. It is truly sad.

    Finally, even should Andy wish us to believe he was young and has changed, one would think at this point in his life, he wouldn’t be referring to the counsel he received from his elders in Texas as “wise.” I am sickened to know how they handled this and that they are still in leadership roles.

    May Jules find peace.

  238. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):

    Read the other two. Will read the Challies article later.

    A theme is providing an analogy or story, and then asserting a lesson or agenda that doesn’t actually logically follow from the example given. There are always a ton of assumptions in their arguments, no dealing with other options and frameworks, and opinion being covertly passed off to the reader as final authority on the subject.

    On the Desiring God article, I wonder if that was written in reference to the Golden Globes last night? Giving a counter and rebuke to the message and representation the celebrity women were advocating, and maybe moreso or also how they were going about it? Oprah’s speeech?

    These articles are often passively criticizing and countering *something*. They usually won’t directly name what they are countering though.

  239. I am so angry the way the church handled this. And I am so sorry Jules that you went through this. #metoo

  240. Ken G wrote:

    The church may not consider Sunday school teachers as clergy, but does the statute include them in the definition of clergy?

    Texas law
    “the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser”

    So I suspect Sunday School volunteer wouldn’t count as clergy.

    However I note a Sunday School teacher usually has authority over minors and there is a whole different section of law dealing with sexual abuse of minors.

  241. Lea wrote:

    From Steve Bradley’s Statement: “After Andy Savage confessed and asked for forgiveness from the victim, her parents, her discipleship group, and the Church staff, he was terminated.

    It sounded like he was given a going-away reception. I never see this in the private world for someone terminated with cause.

  242. caroline wrote:

    Larry Cotton has been placed on leave from Austin Stone Community Church

    Church leaders need to realize the far-reaching extent of the consequences when these matters are not handled properly.

    See my comment at 5:38 PM above, before you posted this news.

  243. emily honey wrote:

    A theme is providing an analogy or story, and then asserting a lesson or agenda that doesn’t actually logically follow from the example given.

    Logic and critical thinking are not their strong points.

  244. CENG1 wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    From Steve Bradley’s Statement: “After Andy Savage confessed and asked for forgiveness from the victim, her parents, her discipleship group, and the Church staff, he was terminated.

    It sounded like he was given a going-away reception. I never see this in the private world for someone terminated with cause.

    That’s because it’s not true. They never told the congregation and they made it look like Savage was just taking a new job.

  245. caroline wrote:

    http://www.fox13memphis.com/top-stories/church-leader-connected-to-sexual-assault-accusation-against-andy-savage-placed-on-leave/679779540

    Not sure how to post links here, but this article states that Larry Cotton has been placed on leave from Austin Stone Community Church.

    From that article:

    We grieve for what happened to Jules Woodson. It was wrong and unjust; we cannot overly express our sadness for what this woman experienced in God’s church. No person should ever be subject to sexual sin from any church leader. Every church should be a safe place for the vulnerable. The trust afforded to any church must be used to care for God’s people, never to harm them.

    I pray that the Spirit of Christ will move this church to reach out to Jules and offer her the help she should have received when she went to Larry Cotton 20 years ago. These are fine words to put out there *publicly* but what really counts is what is happening relationally. The public doesn’t need appeasing; Jules pain needs attending to.

  246. caroline wrote:

    http://www.fox13memphis.com/top-stories/church-leader-connected-to-sexual-assault-accusation-against-andy-savage-placed-on-leave/679779540

    Not sure how to post links here, but this article states that Larry Cotton has been placed on leave from Austin Stone Community Church.

    At least one church appears to be taking some action. Hopefully they are sincere and not a publicity stunt. I would have hoped Highpoint would have done that with Andy Savage and at least done an investigation of Savage before giving a statement that they were fully supporting Savage.

  247. You know, what really amazes me is the gall of these people. They were asked to leave the church, school, etc and then, rather than find another profession, they go right back to the field in which they got into trouble.
    And people sitting in the pews wonder, seriously wonder why the Millennial age folks no long attend church? ( Shoot, all ages, people I know 60+ who attended church all their lives have stopped. Do a devotion at their own home or, I know a couple who camp every weekend in the Spring-Summer-Fall who ask fellow campers to join them in a brief ‘service’ at whatever campground they happen to be at….And they were big SBC, and they finally just couldn’t do it anymore….)

  248. Max wrote:

    As Al Mohler used to say “Where else are they going to go?”

    They’re likely to stay home, Al. Along with their cash. Events like those in Memphis will only accelerate that trend.

  249. The Low Sparrow wrote:

    Thankyou Dee. I appreciate your words. This happened several times. I was very young and didn’t know if this was normal. I’ve told no one until now. I didn’t tell my parents. We all have a voice now. Thankyou.
    @ Truthseeker00:

    I’m so sorry it happened to you. You do have a voice and you fo matter.

  250. @ Max:
    I completely agree with your comments. I am amazed by the public response from Highpoint; it will reflect poorly on that church and its leadership for anyone paying attention.

  251. @ Susan Ormsby:

    “My own mother blamed me for my perverted uncle’s molestation. I wore a swimming suit. We were going swimming. I was not his only victim. Thankfully he is dead now, but his legacy continues in his own offspring. Ugh. So done with big business religion and all it entails. I would feel safer in a room full of rattlesnakes. At least they don’t pretend they don’t bite.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    Susan, i am very sorry for what happened. So wrong. Yes, institutional christian pretense is intolerable.

  252. @ Steve240:

    “…Austin Stone Community Church.

    At least one church appears to be taking some action. Hopefully they are sincere and not a publicity stunt.”
    +++++++++++++++

    yes, i hope it is not just for show.

    from reading their schpiel, i’m skeptical that they truly understand how Jules was deeply harmed by Larry Cotton and Steve Bradley’s responses and actions/inactions, and the false narrative they led the church to believe. and the church’s response to that.

    maybe it’s that experience has taught me to expect pastors to be clueless and stupid.

  253. @ Bridget:
    They asked him to resign likely, pretended like some minor stuff happened, sent him off with a party and tried to get him back when they thought the heat had died down.

    All honorable men…probably called the church Andy moved to in tn and gave him a glowing recommendation. I would really love to hear from that church!

  254. HOLY GUACAMOLE BATMAN !!!
    Just a few comments shy of 900!
    I know I said this thread’s gonna be a barn burner but…

  255. @ Lea:

    In sure they did.

    It’s interesting that Savage says he resigned and Bradley says he was terminated.

    If I remember from Jules story, NOTHING happened until some time later when she shared with her small group and it got back to the leaders.

  256. Highpoint Memphis is putting this phrase on their social media: Compassion without Compromise.

    Are they freaking kidding?!?!?!?!?

    A more truthful motto would be: Compromise without Compassion

  257. Remnant wrote:

    A more truthful motto would be: Compromise without Compassion

    Yes. And they are having no compassion for the real victim.

  258. CENG1 wrote:

    It sounded like he was given a going-away reception. I never see this in the private world for someone terminated with cause.

    No, in that case, they are given a “go away” exit.

  259. Remnant wrote:

    Highpoint Memphis is putting this phrase on their social media: Compassion without Compromise.

    Giving the appearance of taking the high road, but traveling the low road to get there.

  260. Here’s an idea: what if all the tithing units of LowPoint church in Memphis (note I cannot call them High anything) stay home en masse this Sunday, or worship elsewhere, and take their wallets with them?

    I do believe in redemption and grace. John Newton who wrote Amazing Grace had a very sordid past, and it continued on for a time after he came to faith. But I cannot find anything that says he blew it off or excused it.

    If this perp truly took responsibility and cancelled all the lucrative deals and found a new job out of the ministry I might buy into his remorse. Not until.

    But it is easy to wear black in solidarity, easy to look the other way.

    Real solidarity would close the wallets.

  261. My mother blamed me for the molestation by my stepfather because he told her “ you don’t know the whole story” I was 10 years old!! @ Susan Ormsby:

  262. Remnant wrote:

    Highpoint Memphis is putting this phrase on their social media: Compassion without Compromise.
    Are they freaking kidding?!?!?!?!?
    A more truthful motto would be: Compromise without Compassion

    Image consultants

  263. Anon wrote:

    I do not think any of the charges are going to stick, from what I’ve read he was just a 20 year old college intern and not full time staff at the church. Also, as 17 is the age of consent in Texas and there was no “forcing” of the acts, most prosecutors/judges will throw this out. Terrible situation all around.

    Look, people, I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but the crime was the sexual assault. It doesn’t matter her age, it doesn’t matter if he’s a pastor or not. Those are special variables. Again: the crime is sexual assault!

    I think we’re looking for a way to make Jules’ case even more righteous by looking for these exceptions in the law. But for most people who are victims of sexual assault, those exceptions *are not there*. However, they were still assaulted and it’s still a crime under the law.

    I want #JusticeForJules and I think Highpoint Church should snap out of it and clean house.

  264. Anon wrote:

    I do not think any of the charges are going to stick, from what I’ve read he was just a 20 year old college intern and not full time staff at the church. Also, as 17 is the age of consent in Texas and there was no “forcing” of the acts, most prosecutors/judges will throw this out. Terrible situation all around.

    This is also a lie that is being put out and has never been quoted in any major sources. He was 23, employed as a youth pastor (in his own words from his biography and LinkedIn page), and it’s still sexual assault no matter her age, as Mirele said. Along with likely being clergy abuse, which has no statute of limitations, but may have been passed not long after that time.

  265. ishy wrote:

    it’s still sexual assault no matter her age, as Mirele said.

    One key in all this is that he drove her to an isolated area without her or her mother’s permission. While she may have been of the age of consent in Texas, she was still a legal minor. This could be construed as an abduction and a dangerous situation.

  266. From The Christian Post article:
    “The legal age of consent in Texas is 17. But Texas Law also identifies as assault an encounter that involves “a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser.” There is no statute of limitation for prosecution of sexual assault under this circumstance.

    Under Texas law, a sexual assault is typically a second degree felony. It carries a sentence of two to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.”

    The article also mentions the underhanded church “merger.

  267. @ linda:
    Yep. The only thing Highpoint is doing is assigning value while trying to pretend they aren’t with clever slogans and emotional manipulation. Perp over victim.

    Evidently, Highpoint can’t do Jesus without Savage— so that tells me all I need to know.

  268. @ Daisy:
    I agree with you on the point that women in Christianity are taught to not be assertive. I have lived with this throughout my life and it is taking a toll on me in graduate school. I attended a Christian University and had an abusive boyfriend who not only threw things at me and took my keys so I could not leave but also followed me to Europe and everywhere else. He was not only emotionally manipulative but also physically abusive. I had extensive counseling after this but all people at the so-called “Christian” University always took his side. I even had girls telling me they did not see that side of him and they did not believe me. No one helped me when he screamed at me and flipped a table on me in the student center with tons of christian students around. To this day I am still expected at church and to just “get over” it. I dated him two years while isolated from friends and family and the church allowed him to preach.

  269. Lydia wrote:

    Yikes. Piper is not respected by me. At. All. Wonder why he did not have that attitude about CJ Mahaney?

    And Mark Driscoll.

  270. Pingback: Memphis Megachurch Pastor Andy Savage Admits to Sexually Assaulting Teen in Past, Says He Repented Immediately | BCNN1 - Black Christian News Network UNITED STATES

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  272. @ Meg:

    Sounds very difficult, Meg. I’m sorry about it all. I’m sure you deserve better. How much of a non-conformist could you get away with being at your graduate school?

  273. Remnant wrote:

    Highpoint Memphis is putting this phrase on their social media: Compassion without Compromise.

    Are they freaking kidding?!?!?!?!?

    A more truthful motto would be: Compromise without Compassion

    Exactly! They always reverse things in the same way that they attack the victim.

  274. Pingback: Memphis Megachurch Pastor Andy Savage Admits to Sexually Assaulting Teen in Past, Says He Repented Immediately | WGRC

  275. I’m so grateful to you Jules, what a brave young woman you are. It’s taken me 46 years to admit this happened. There seems to be a pattern with youth leaders, most are totally trustworthy but when you are young and innocent and this happens, where do you go? 46 years ago when he gave me a lift home in his mini car I thought the kissing deal in the car park was what I was supposed to do as a Thankyou. He was very clever really, because he thought kissing ( and I don’t mean a peck on the cheek) wasn’t sexual abuse. I remember his name clearly. Googled him after your brave post here. He’s now a massage therapist. He has a very unusual name and he is still in the area I grew up in and I recognised his photo. This happened in England. Dee/ Debs not sure if this all makes sense, I’m just trying to show Jules there a lot of #metoos and her courage encouraged me to speak up @ ljm:
    @ ljm:
    ljm wrote:

    The Low Sparrow wrote:
    Thankyou Dee. I appreciate your words. This happened several times. I was very young and didn’t know if this was normal. I’ve told no one until now. I didn’t tell my parents. We all have a voice now. Thankyou.
    @ Truthseeker00:
    I’m so sorry it happened to you. You do have a voice and you fo matter.

  276. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    crime was the sexual assault. It doesn’t matter her age, it doesn’t matter if he’s a pastor or not. Those are special variables.

    Those ‘special variables’ however, crime or not, make his presence in ministry a terrible idea though!

    He should NEVER have been hired for that next ministry job within a year. That shows plainly that HE didn’t get what he did wrong, no one around him got what he did wrong, and the new church either didn’t get it or wasn’t informed.

  277. ishy wrote:

    One key in all this is that he drove her to an isolated area without her or her mother’s permission.

    It really bothers me that he lied to Jules as well, or at least kept the truth from her. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but planned it out and did it anyway.

    And when he got busted and had to leave, he immediately switched states and found a new job with more young people. That is not remorse. That is not deep understanding.

  278. Meg wrote:

    No one helped me when he screamed at me and flipped a table on me in the student center with tons of christian students around.

    This is just awful.

  279. Lea wrote:

    It really bothers me that he lied to Jules as well, or at least kept the truth from her. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but planned it out and did it anyway.

    Like I commented long above, all that was missing was the windowless van and pre-packaged “rape kit”.

  280. Remnant wrote:

    Highpoint Memphis is putting this phrase on their social media: Compassion without Compromise.

    Just like North Korea and “Democratic Democratic Democratic”.

    P.S. Compassion(TM) is another Mark of a Sociopath.

  281. Muff Potter wrote:

    HOLY GUACAMOLE BATMAN !!!
    Just a few comments shy of 900!
    I know I said this thread’s gonna be a barn burner but…

    Yeah. Usually it takes Homosexuality(TM) or Evolution(TM) to pack a thread like that.

  282. Bridget wrote:

    WHY are the pastors and staff at Highpoint allowing this to go on toward Jules!?!?
    The only reason I can think of is that Highpoint wants Jules to continue to be hurt!

    Because she DARED to Rock the Boat.
    “Stay Sweet… Stay Sweet… Stay Sweet…”

  283. @ elastigirl:

    @ Meg:

    “Sounds very difficult, Meg. I’m sorry about it all. I’m sure you deserve better. How much of a non-conformist could you get away with being at your graduate school?”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    as in, not conforming to the submissive, non-assertive expectation for women?

    it is a straightjacket-like uniform imposed on women. we don’t have to put it on. what kind of consequences for you would there be if you didn’t put it on?

  284. Pingback: A Low Point for High Point | 1st Feline Battalion

  285. Please, please, please do not paint all Pastors and churches with the same, broad brush. My soul goes back and forth between puking and weepind over stories like this — and views of “the rest of us” so many people seem to have.

  286. Jules,
    I’m so sorry for all that you have suffered.
    My husband and I stand with you and know it must have taken great courage to tell your story.
    What you don’t know is our daughter was in your discipleship group and when she told us about what had happened to you,I was furious that the church leadership was trying to act like this was not a big deal. I personally called Larry Cotton to let him know I knew the truth and asked what was he going to do about it. The going away party for Andy was ridiculous and the next thing we knew he was at another church in Memphis with their blessing. The church hid the facts and there was no apology that I know of.

  287. Pingback: Christian Publisher Cancels Marriage Book by Pastor Andy Savage After He Admits to Sexually Assaulting Teen – BCNN1 WP UNITED STATES

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  289. Stephanie wrote:

    My mother blamed me for the molestation by my stepfather because he told her “ you don’t know the whole story” I was 10 years old!!

    Wow, I am unable to comprehend the level of self imposed ignorance and insensibility required to make the claim a 10 year old somehow is responsible for their own abuse. I hope there have been some in your life that have provided the much needed validation that you had no fault, also that you can grab hold of that as a fact.

  290. Lydia wrote:

    People naively think they can trust leaders at church and frankly, they should be able to. But until churches start taking serious measures and ditch the cheap forgiveness shtick for low down behaviors, I don’t see much hope.

    Not a lot of hope if Jack Johnson is representative of more than a very small minority. If someone abuses their relatively small level of trust and authority to such a degree at 22 and without consequence, get ready for more and bigger disasters from them 20 years later.

  291. Memphis resident disgusted by fellow citizens standing by this dirt bag. This story is so wrong on so many levels

  292. Pingback: Christian Publisher Cancels Marriage Book by Pastor Andy Savage After He Admits to Sexually Assaulting Teen | WGRC

  293. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    ishy wrote:

    https://www.rawstory.com/2018/01/watch-memphis-megachurch-gives-standing-ovation-to-pastor-after-apology-for-sex-assault/

    “I am truly sorry more was not done,” Savage said. “Until now, I did not know that there was unfinished business with (the victim), so I say today … I am truly sorry for my actions 20 years ago. I remain committed to cooperate with you toward your forgiveness and healing.”

    If Savage was truly sorry, why did he not respond to the email Jules sent him? That was an opportunity for him to show his sorrow and he didn’t take it.

  294. OK. Everyone watch their language. And understand that clearing moderated comments can take a while. We do eat, sleep, have work to do, etc… at times.

    Also, NO TALKING ABOUT MODERATION. Just don’t do it. It slows everything down as we have to deal with it. If a comment gets moderated we WILL take care of it. Talking about it just makes everything take longer.

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  297. @ Daisy:
    Sorry but Jules said she thought he loved her. She willingly went along with sexual acts and became angry when he saw what he was doing to his chance of becoming a minister in the church. He jumped out of the truck and implored God. He asked her to keep it secret (a sin) so as to be able to continue in the church. By her own admission if he told her he loved her and actually dated her this would be an issue. She was played which is wrong to do but that’s all it was. She consented to sexual acts because she though he was in love with her.

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  300. @ Daisy:
    I wonder if Jules could sue him with a civil case – if it’s not a criminal case. Worth the thought. My biggest comfort is that God will take care of Mr. Savage. He’s not a one-time offender, by any means – is likely recurring even to this date.

  301. The Lord looks to each of us to genuinely repent of our sins. Perhaps Mr. Savage needs to repent of his repentance…seems to have been embarassed, shallow and self-serving…and beg forgiveness of his victim and His Lord.

  302. Just read the 1-10-18 NYT piece, p A11.
    Jules Woodson is my new hero! She is so brave and courageous and I applaud her! She was doubly betrayed. How could her spiritual beliefs not be destroyed by having been sexually assaulted by a trusted representative of the church? Then to have secondarily been ignored and silenced! Cruel and unusual punishment for the victim while the enablers went free…they all should go to jail! TIMES UP!

  303. Pingback: Evangelical congregation gives pastor standing ovation for admitting he raped a high-schooler - Online Info Portal

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  305. Even if you can accept that “these things” happen with people of that age, there is absolutely no place in a church, school, or other place for leaders or mentors who could exhibit this behavior. No place at all. The same goes for those who cover it up.

  306. Craig Rische wrote:

    Even if you can accept that “these things” happen with people of that age, there is absolutely no place in a church, school, or other place for leaders or mentors who could exhibit this behavior. No place at all. The same goes for those who cover it up.

    They don’t happen with DECENT men that age, though. Or of any age. Teenager to older men. No one who respects women (or teenage girls they are supposed to be teaching!!) treats them in this fashion. No one who doesn’t respect women should be in a place of leadership. Nothing about Andy’s actions this week or 20 years ago shows that he understands what he did.

  307. It is really a shame that the statute of limitations has run out on this. It’s also a shame that the pastors of the original church FAILED to bring this to the attention of the police. That makes them guilty of covering it up and ignoring the law.

    The reality is that even if Jules Woodson had completely agreed (and she says she did not), she was only 17-years-old at the time and Texas law fully protected her then. Under Texas law, Andy Savage was the aggressor, the predator. She was the victim.

    There are too many predators in pulpits these days, whether sexual or theological predators who are there for their own self-aggrandizement. They have charisma and gain a following.

    I hope and pray Ms. Woodson finds peace and I also pray that she gains a strong relationship with God.

    Should Andy Savage be forgiven? Certainly, if there is true repentance. Should he continue in MINISTRY? Not according to the apostle Paul who clearly outlines the qualifications of an “overseer” of the flock in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Savage has sidelined himself through his own actions because he was a Christian in leadership position at the time of the assault. He knew better and has spent 20 years running from it. He is not the hero his congregation likes to think of him as.

    Andy Savage should do the right thing and step down from ministry. He should also pull his upcoming book from publication, unless he is willing to include the full details of the incident and provide Jules Woodson with an opportunity to have her say as well. As it is, the life he lives now is based on duplicity and hypocrisy.

    I’ll be printing my own version of this article to help get the word out. Thanks for reporting on it.

  308. @ Daisy:
    Daisy wrote:

    One reason she could not become a Mormon is she noticed in one of their books (the BoM I believe) that all the people at the intro who gave testimonies for how true it supposedly was all shared the same last name as the guy who wrote it.

    I looked it up. The witnesses are listed as follows:
    Oliver Cowdry
    David Whitmer
    Martin Harris
    Christian Whitmer
    David Whitmer
    Peter Whitmer Jr.
    John Whitmer
    Hiram Page
    Joseph Smith Sr. (his father)
    Hyrum Smith (His Brother)
    Samuel Smith (His younger brother I think)

    Not sure in too much validity of your comment about the book of mormon.

  309. @ dee:

    Okay, I pulled up a Texas law site, but if you could direct me to a site that says otherwise, I’d really appreciate it.

    One would think on something like this there really should be NO statue of limitations. Too many victims remain quiet for years and it is clear that Ms. Woodson did NOT do that, though Larry Cotton (who is now on leave and under investigation) was negligent in not following through and notifying police.

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  312. @ Kirk:
    Kirk wrote:

    She willingly went along with sexual acts and became angry when he saw what he was doing to his chance of becoming a minister in the church.

    So, even if your perception is accurate, a man who ‘plays’ a 17 y/o should just get to say ‘sorry!’ and pastor on!?!

    There’s no free-will here.
    -He had authority over her as a pastor. One adult may ‘play’ another, that implies some kind of equality. There’s NO equality.
    -He exploited her vulnerability. He was well aware she had a crush, and he used it to manipulate and assault her.
    -He lied, and drove her to a deserted location, then demands oral sex. Have you seen the picture of the two of them? She’s petite, and he towers over her. Any ‘willingness’ her is tainted by the underlying fear that you can only understand if you’ve been alone, utterly alone with a larger male asking for sex.
    -His language was threatening -Take this to your grave. How else could she hear this but as a threat? Again, try, TRY to feel her risk: alone with a larger male, isolated, he’d already broken every taboo, ever moral boundary between them. Take this to your grave.

    And that’s only if your justification that she was just ‘played’ is accurate.

    It isn’t.

  313. @ Nancy2 (aka Kevlar):

    I’m sorry but the word assault is a little strong… I was molested as a young teen and this is no where close. The section My concerns about the molestation: are so over the top and exaggerated it is sick! In her own words you could tell she liked him… and what freaking 17 year old thinks they are going for ice cream?? Really? Yes! He was wrong but so was she. And it is obvious that she felt rejected not molested afterwards.

    Moderator comment
    Victim blaming is not allowed. Stop it or be banned.
    GBTC

  314. Megan wrote:

    Well now you just had to make me leave one last comment. So since he made a terrible mistake he should not be allowed to be a pastor? Wow y’all must hold your pastors on a higher pedistool than I do

    Then you need to forget the pedestal and simply hold your pastors to a Biblical standard, God’s standard.

    A mistake is forgetting your sermon notes at home.

    Saying you’re driving a 17 y/o girl home, but taking her to a deserted, dark, forbidding location and then demanding oral sex isn’t a mistake.

    It’s predatory, it’s evil, it is a sin against God and the vulnerable child.

    And it’s a crime. It’s rape.

    Not a ‘mistake’

  315. Dee Parsons wrote:

    Thank you. None of us noticed that. You have sharp eyes.

    You should have had a man proofread before you posted it.

    Kidding, of course. 🙂

  316. @ Daisy:
    Tell that to Paul or David. Murder, Adultery. You have no real understanding of restoration, atonement or forgiveness. Since you do not understand grace I cannot point you to an understanding.

    Moderator Comment

    You are NOT putting forth an argument. You are engaging in a personal attack. Stop it or be banned.

    GBTC

  317. Making a sexual decision in one’s youth is quite different from driving someone to a secluded spot where they have no other recourse. In that situation a young girl is likely to feel trapped and choose to participate rather than choose option b which is unknown and scary. @ Daisy:

  318. This is such a disgrace — i feel this guy and this woman were in the awareness of what they were doing and this woman is just a see through evil person — and that dude is human – and all of you are complete brainwashed minions to the system and should never breed for your inability to see into what is real and what is false..

    and by the way that video was the fakest excuse for tears ever pure trash.

    Moderator Notes
    OK This is an example of too much.
    You’re attacking people that you don’t know. Based on your intuition.

    Stop it.

    And everyone else take note, I’m allowing this comment through to show just what is not allowed in general.

    And you didn’t help your opinion by using a commenting name of “Your Mother” while your email address is obviously that of a man. (No, I’ll not reveal it. We don’t do that.)

    And then you put in a website link that goes nowhere. I’ve removed it.

    GBTC

  319. True ‘hate’ and true ‘evil’ lies in the hearts and minds of those who mob-up with a compulsion to decimate and destroy a person forevermore. However horribly misguided the hormone-infused persuasions of the 20-year old youth pastor on that fateful night 20 years ago, his intentions were not seeming to be full of ‘hate’ nor ‘evil.’ I can’t say the same for what seems to be coming through from many of the merciless commenters here.

    Moderator Comments

    Tone it down or go away.

    GBTC

  320. @ Luvabulldawg:
    Luvabulldawg wrote:

    Dee Parsons wrote:
    Thank you. None of us noticed that. You have sharp eyes.
    You should have had a man proofread before you posted it.
    Kidding, of course.

    Isn’t that the same joke that inspired the invention of emasculation?

  321. @ Marie:
    You say ‘demand’ — but that’s your false inversion of the facts. According to Jules, the fellow ‘asked.’ Also, it’s not ‘predatory, evil and sin against God’ simply because you so angrily depict it so. And the undisputed version of events is definitely NOT ‘rape.’ Don’t rewrite and embellish the story to fit your own bitterness, anger, and preferred hateful narrative.

    Moderator Comment

    Tone it down or be banned.

    And to inject an opinion.

    A large strong male asking a much smaller female for sexual favors after taking her to a remote area instead of the requested destination is NOT really a request that can be refused without fear of injury or death.

    GBTC

  322. Kirk wrote:

    @ Daisy:
    Sorry but Jules said she thought he loved her. She willingly went along with sexual acts and became angry when he saw what he was doing to his chance of becoming a minister in the church. He jumped out of the truck and implored God. He asked her to keep it secret (a sin) so as to be able to continue in the church. By her own admission if he told her he loved her and actually dated her this would be an issue. She was played which is wrong to do but that’s all it was. She consented to sexual acts because she though he was in love with her.

    Wow…..a sensible comment
    such herd mentality i have seldom seen…..
    simple story of a lustful young man using a situation to his advantage…..
    “taking advantage of a weak-willed woman”?…SURE..
    sexual assault? mmmm….no…
    He knew she “had a thing” for him, and he used it.
    Was convicted, and repented ( in the middle of things, by all accounts )
    Church leadership though, should be a no-no…
    i agree with Piper.

  323. Pingback: Highpoint Church: How You Know Jesus Has Left Your Church – Red Letter Christians UNITED STATES

  324. Leon wrote:

    Church leadership though, should be a no-no…
    i agree with Piper.

    We don’t need Piper to tell us Andy Savage shouldn’t be a pastor. We can determine that for ourselves by what the 22 year old Youth “Pastor” did to the 17 year old youth.

  325. Parker Dax wrote:

    However horribly misguided the hormone-infused persuasions of the 20-year old youth pastor on that fateful night 20 years ago, his intentions were not seeming to be full of ‘hate’ nor ‘evil.’

    1. He was 22/23.
    2. He was asked to escort Jules home and lied to her and her parents about it.
    3. He USED her…I don’t know what sort of hormone infused ‘persuasions’ (that is an interesting word choice) you are used to, but this is not normal or appropriate behavior even if this had been a date, which is absolutely was not.
    4. His intentions were clearly to use a young women he was supposed to be ‘teaching/guiding/pastoring’ for sex. You do not consider that evil or hateful???? We clearly have different definitions.

  326. Leon wrote:

    simple story of a lustful young man using a situation to his advantage…..

    Men sure do seem to be taking that in stride, don’t they?

    Do they not realize that’s the whole problem???

  327. Lea wrote:

    Leon wrote:

    simple story of a lustful young man using a situation to his advantage…..

    Men sure do seem to be taking that in stride, don’t they?

    Do they not realize that’s the whole problem???

    Leon’s statement should read:

    “lustful “Youth Pastor” using a situation to his
    advantage”

    No, Leon doesn’t realize that’s the whole problem!

  328. Bridget wrote:

    @ Lea:

    No. And it is a society wide issue, unfortunately.

    To add, it is sad that society as a whole is beginning to get it, but I don’t believe the church is beginning to get it at all.

  329. Jules, I’m sorry.
    I know the heartache and pain.
    #metoo #michigan #hesstillpreaching #therearemore #ibecametheblacksheep

  330. Jack Johnson’s comment about a 20 year old and a 17 year old shows his utter lack of understanding of the issues.

    Jack, you’re missing the point of abuse perpetrated by a person in a position of authority. Even an adult woman coerced to perform sexual acts by clergy is considered an act of sexual abuse. In this particular situation age is partly a factor, not even the bulk of the weight of all the grievous aspects of the chain of events.

    Clergy, therapists, physicians, etc are bound by laws and ethics that prohibit them from abusing their position.

    Why is this not obvious?

  331. @ Dan from Georgia:
    I don’t think it’s true that all churches don’t get it. There are many churches who are working hard to protect the vulnerable – there are thousands of churches who have a Plan to Protect in place.

    Obviously, this church didn’t. Obviously, these pastors did not do what they should have done. Obviously, this was not (and probably still isn’t) be handled properly.

    Thank you Jules for sharing your story – your honesty, bravery and courage is inspiring. I pray that by sharing your story others will be inspired to stand up for victims/survivors of abuse. I pray that your story brings light to the darkness and encourages other churches and organizations to prevent abuse, to have a plan in place and to report it properly if it does happen.

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  333. I am curious.
    It seems a 19-20 year old Savage had a flirtatious relationship with the 17 year old victim (tickling, jealousy of other girls of the attention she got, she thought he “loved her” and was “angry” when he freaked out) Words such as “angry” at his repentance and thinking he “loved her” are not typical of a victim BUT!! I can see how this could quickly morph for a young lady into self doubt, fear and loathing of herself over what happened.

    Not saying what happened was ok (I want that up front) Please read through to the end before jumping in….

    But, Savage stopped after 5 minutes, and sounds like he had a moral melt down about what he did (predators do not do this), apologizing on his knees outside the truck. He admitted to everything then and apparently continued to with subsequent church employers.

    He did some sort of church based penance program, and quit his position moving back to Memphis. There has been no other victim(s) coming forward, and with the media attention, I would expect some to speak up if he was a predator.

    Reading through the applicable TX state law, criminal prosecution would have been almost impossible (age of consent being 17 and while Savage was clergy, it seems a defense attorney could illustrate how their relationship was less “psychological” and could appear more “friend/peer” due to respective ages and history.

    And no, the clergy in place at the time did not release the graphic details of what happened, but should they have? They said he did wrong, he admitted it. Legally they could not state the graphic details (did she really want everyone in the church knowing the details when she could not even tell her all female disciple group?)

    So, my question, based solely on logic, what more would she have done at the time?

    He admitted it, apologized, completed a program, left the church, continued to advise his employers of what transpired and it appears never did something such as this again. As a 19-20 year old with a 17 year old in this situation, Criminal prosecution would have been highly unlikely.

    What more could have/should have been done?
    Based on the history, 20 years later, what should happen now?

    I ask this with respect and an honest desire to understand how we can help victims who do not fall into the “traditional” role of battered rape victim. Especially as we see more incidents being reported from so long ago.

  334. Parker Dax wrote:

    his intentions were not seeming to be full of ‘hate’ nor ‘evil

    What is more hateful and evil than for a man, who calls himself a pastor, to fulfill his own selfish sexual desires by coercing, commanding, debasing, humiliating and harming a girl under his influence and care? Then to just go on and to continue to pursue other desires (important career, community status, marriage, etc.) and never, ever look back at the damage that he did to an innocent person?

    Jules was a young, vulnerable teen girl who TRUSTED her “Youth Pastor” Andy Savage to drive her safely home to her waiting mother (who also trusted him). Instead, Jules was blind-sided with a very different scenario of Andy Savage’s choosing.

  335. @ Parker Dax:
    Nothing in my reply was objectively offensive — just an opposing view, strongly and civilly worded. If you can’t handle opposition, ban your opposition. Typical.

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  337. @ HiddenforPrivacy:
    AS A FORGIVEN MAN HE WILLCONTINUE TO PREACH.sorry for what happend to you but everyone deserves forgiveness. i was abuse at age 8,but i forgave and have moved on.

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  339. @ Song of Joy:
    “..commanding, debasing, humiliating and harming ..??” What inflammatory claptrap!

    Jules Woodson’s own words (undisputed facts) describe the scenario better than any mob of haters seeking to destroy a fine — though clearly imperfect as all human beings are — young man:

    “..this must mean Andy loved me.” Then, after a ridiculing depiction (now 20 years later) of his immediate apologies… “My shame turned to anger.”

    So, the same basic script for millions of such liaisons — the boy doesn’t ‘stay in touch,’ or ‘show the same interest,’ or ‘call back in the coming days/weeks, etc.,’ or end up dating or marrying the “consenting sexual partner” — now portrayed as nothing but an abused victim. Nonsense!

    The age-old axiom holds true until the end of time: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

  340. @ Forrest:
    Andy was a pastor, Jules was a school girl under his care. Had Andy’s sin been handled approriately by him and his church at the time then none of this would be happening now. It is their continued poor handling if this that has caused so many to call them out and pull away from them. Most folks get this immediately yet there are still those who insist that Jules is the problem here. Wow!

  341. Parker Dax wrote:

    So, the same basic script for millions of such liaisons — the boy doesn’t ‘stay in touch,’ or ‘show the same interest,’ or ‘call back in the coming days/weeks, etc.,’ or end up dating or marrying the “consenting sexual partner”

    Wow.

    I don’t know what your sexual/relationship encounters have been like, but only the most terrible, awful man would throw you out immediately after getting sex. That is basically what he did.

    If you don’t get this, you don’t care enough about women or doing what is right to get anything.

    That’s without getting into the age different/ position/ lying/ creepy backroads.

  342. @ Parker Dax:
    Around where I live, just about every couple of months a High School teacher, or coach is charged and convicted of messing around with a student….. on the first known offense they are typically fired and lose their liscence to teach… it s not realvent whtether there was some mutual atraction, or wrath from a student “scorned”… the teacher/ coach broke the “rules” and they were fired…. period. Apparently you think being a youth pastor, and now a co-pastor of a big church has less rules than a HS teacher?
    P.s. Andy Savage had been warned to not be alone with girls in the youth group after being caught alone, tickling one of them in a bedroom!

  343. @ Parker Dax:
    So, should teachers that have sex with their students be rehired as teachers? Or, accountants caught embezzling money be rehired as accountants, or pilots flying drunk fired and the rehired as pliots?
    I believe, and the new testiment states, that church leaders should be “above reproach”…. while I personally do not think a preacher is any better than the rest of ( in fact, I have seen enough abuse to think otherwise) I really think that church leaders should be held to stadards at least as high as public school teachers? In fact, youth pastors can be some of the most important, especially with troubled youth…
    You do not?

  344. @ Parker Dax:
    Another example… i have a friend that was a high up supervisor at a major pharmaceutical company. Company rule, no dating between employees that work together, or when one was a supervisor of the other. If caught, immediately fired… Consequently, my friend told me stories of employees requesting transfers so they could date. If the secular world has these kinds of rules, should not churches do the same. If Andy Savage was fired for it, according to several independent reports here, it was never explained to church members…. why the secrecy, and subsequent “stories”….

  345. Parker Dax wrote:

    Thst’s correct, friend. And Andy Savage was fired and left town. He returned to his home and started anew. He’s not supposed to jump off a bridge, despite what many might desire.

    He resigned. The church had going away party for him. The church was not informed and this Youth Pastor could have been arrested and gone to prison if the SOL had not passed. He should never work as a Pastor again or with children. This is WISDOM not foolishness.

  346. Parker Dax wrote:

    Forgiveness and mercy are never compatible with the vindictive.

    Forgiveness does not mean no consequences and wisdom about future pastoring or working with children is not vindictive. It is wise.

  347. Parker Dax wrote:

    So, the same basic script for millions of such liaisons — the boy doesn’t ‘stay in touch,’ or ‘show the same interest,’ or ‘call back in the coming days/weeks, etc.,’ or end up dating or marrying the “consenting sexual partner” — now portrayed as nothing but an abused victim. Nonsense!

    The age-old axiom holds true until the end of time: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

    He was her Youth Pastor, not the boy next door! And you are victim blaming!

  348. Parker Dax,

    Why is there a need to keep Andy in the pulpit?

    There’s hundreds of other highly qualified—but unemployed pastors—out there who have never done what Andy did. They have the real heart for ministry and a clean background but can’t find a job because it seems like these days—churches are more interested in personality than character when choosing a pastor.

  349. People continue to walk in denial. How sad.

    But, look at this number of posts! That tells you that this problem in churches has a life of its own. Hopefully, it has touched people who have not been affected in this way and causes them to think carefully about how they view abuse. We stand by victims. Period. No ifs, ands, or but’s.

  350. Mercy wrote:

    We stand by victims. Period. No ifs, ands, or but’s.

    If that’s true, that you “stand by victims.. period.. No ifs, ands, or but’s,” then stand by people of faith when the vindictive seek to victimize them.

    No single group or category of Americans suffer the virulent attacks of bigotry and hatred more than Christians and Jews. It’s not even a close call.

    If you ‘objectively’ “stand by” victims, you’ll prove it by standing by ‘people of faith’ when they are routinely vilified by secularist (pseudo) progressives.

    The faithful all around the world will pray for, and celebrate, your success.

    God bless!

  351. Parker Dax wrote:

    No – I’m – not. I sense you’re used to bullying your way through conversations, but that doesn’t fly with good men.

    Jules and Andy both have a measure of responsibility here. She was 17, not 13, and could have said: “No, I’d rather not.” But she didn’t. In her own words she concedes that she was enamored with the notion of Andy “loving her” as reason for her participation. Not you, nor anyone else, can rewrite the story of actual events. Facts are facts. That doesn’t mean Andy was ‘right’ or ‘righteous’ in his actions. The facts simply beg the dispassionate appreciation for a sense of fairness and proportion.

    So, consider relaxing your ego and perhaps study-up on mercy and forgiveness. Andy has. And he forgives routinely — you can see, hear and smell that in the way he has lived his life after ‘moving on.’

    ‘Haters’ that want only blood and destruction are the true scourge of humanity. Anyone that lacks the capacity for perspective, mercy, forgiveness, and ‘moving on’ run the risk of losing whatever humanity with which they were blessed.

    Consider self-examination before throwing stones of judgment.

    Personal put downs of people are really in bad order. I have never bullied anyone for your information. I have stated facts which you never mention or acknowledge.

    Bridget wrote:

    this Youth Pastor could have been arrested and gone to prison if the SOL had not passed. He should never work as a Pastor again or with children. This is WISDOM not foolishness.

  352. Parker Dax wrote:

    If you ‘objectively’ “stand by” victims, you’ll prove it by standing by ‘people of faith’ when they are routinely vilified by secularist (pseudo) progressives.

    This is about Andy Savage, a Youth Pastor, who took sexual advantage of a girl he was supposed to be leading. It is not about your opinion of Christians and Jews being vilified.

  353. Parker Dax wrote:

    Haters’ that want only blood and destruction are the true scourge of humanity. Anyone that lacks the capacity for perspective, mercy, forgiveness, and ‘moving on’ run the risk of losing whatever humanity with which they were blessed.

    No one here is a hater.

    Is Jesus a hater? He showed mercy and forgiveness to the murderer on the cross next to him. But Jesus did not release the murderer from the cross to walk free.

  354. Bridget wrote:

    Personal put downs of people are really in bad order. I have never bullied anyone for your information. I have stated facts which you never mention or acknowledge.

    You — stated plainly that I was “victim blaming.” That charge was/is the act of a ‘bully’ and bullying — particularly since untrue. You used that cowardly device hoping to silence or censor me. I had never once stated that any one party was wholly at fault or to blame. At all. Still, you made the fallacious statement that I was “victim blaming.”

    You don’t get to define me, my intentions or my thoughts, simply because you are losing a debate. You should lose debates, when you revert to false interpretations of another person’s position or argument.

    Nothing in the event involving Jules and Andy 20 years ago compares to the audacity of trying to broad-brush the opinions of others, and efforts to suppress their speech and ideas. Nevertheless, that is what you do.

    20 years ago in Texas, one of those two young people put a voluntary ‘quick apologetic stop’ to the ill-advised sexual behavior upon which they had both agreed. And one of those two people, by her own admission, became “angry” after, and because of, the ‘stop.’

    Facts, not nuance. You probably prefer nuance; I prefer facts.

    Mostly, aside from defending victims of mob-style bullies, I prefer … candor, understanding, mercy, and forgiveness.

    I forgive your ‘bullying’ attempts to ‘brand’ me or my statements in the way YOU would like to classify them. My words, like those of Jules Woodson, speak volumes for themselves.

    Because of all of you, Andy Savage has become the far more significant victim. Unfortunately for the vindictive lynch-mob crowd, he’ll always have ample support from the mature and faithful.

    God bless — and healing to you.

  355. Parker Dax wrote:

    Mercy wrote:
    We stand by victims. Period. No ifs, ands, or but’s.
    If that’s true, that you “stand by victims.. period.. No ifs, ands, or but’s,” then stand by people of faith when the vindictive seek to victimize them.
    No single group or category of Americans suffer the virulent attacks of bigotry and hatred more than Christians and Jews. It’s not even a close call.
    If you ‘objectively’ “stand by” victims, you’ll prove it by standing by ‘people of faith’ when they are routinely vilified by secularist (pseudo) progressives.
    The faithful all around the world will pray for, and celebrate, your success.
    God bless!

    Keep drinking that Kool Aid!

  356. Parker Dax wrote:

    Mercy wrote:

    We stand by victims. Period. No ifs, ands, or but’s.

    If that’s true, that you “stand by victims.. period.. No ifs, ands, or but’s,” then stand by people of faith when the vindictive seek to victimize them.

    No single group or category of Americans suffer the virulent attacks of bigotry and hatred more than Christians and Jews. It’s not even a close call.

    If you ‘objectively’ “stand by” victims, you’ll prove it by standing by ‘people of faith’ when they are routinely vilified by secularist (pseudo) progressives.

    The faithful all around the world will pray for, and celebrate, your success.

    God bless!

    There are many Christians posting here, including Highpoint church members, who are appalled at how the HP church leadership has handled this. Please do not try to play the ‘persecution’ card. It doesn’t wash.

  357. What we are seeing is a text book Abuser/victim scenario where the minions rally around the abuser to minimise, deflect, victim blame, level the field etc. Classic. Haven’t we been seeing this happen over and over again? These new minions haven’t figured out that they are now examples of what happens. They have confirmed it. If it weren’t so serious it would be laughable. We have sexual abuse now followed by spiritual abuse. Waiting for some Nouthetic counsellor to weigh in now…..

  358. Parker Dax wrote:

    Mercy, forgiveness, and ‘moving forward.’

    He forgave himself and according to his new interview, hid the truth when he immediately moved into another job working with young people. After abusing a young person he worked with.

    This shows he didn’t get it.

  359. Parker Dax wrote:

    So, consider relaxing your ego and perhaps study-up on mercy and forgiveness. Andy has

    He forgave himself! Do you actually think that’s how forgiveness works?

    I ran someone over yesterday but I forgave myself so it’s cool?

  360. @ Parker Dax:
    She became angry because she realized Andy was using her. And when he got what he wanted he tried to keep her quiet. These are not the actions of a good man.

  361. Len wrote:

    Please, please, please do not paint all Pastors and churches with the same, broad brush. My soul goes back and forth between puking and weepind over stories like this — and views of “the rest of us” so many people seem to have.

    I hear what you’re saying. But it’s extremely difficult to NOT use that broad brush when you keep hearing the same song, second, third, fourth, fifth verse.

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  363. You’re pretty short on grace and forgiveness, aren’t you? I must say, however, you score a perfect 10 on judgment. It’s so great that you’re perfect and never been in need of forgiveness. I agree with you…anyone who’s ever sinned should not be fit for ministry. They should lock them up (along with their sin) and throw away the key.

    This is definitely the message of the Gospel. Thanks for sharing.

    @ Daisy:

  364. Forrest wrote:

    @ Parker Dax:
    Talk about calling good evil and evil good. Wow!

    It’s interesting what he addresses — and doesn’t address in his responses and spends most of his time accusing me of being a bully because I said he was blaming the victim. If that is bullying to him then I’d hate for him to come across a real bully.

    He never acknowledges that Andy Savage could have been prosecuted for what he did as a Youth Pastor if the SOL had not run out. He does not acknowledge that Savage moved on to another job without any consequence for his actions other than moving back home and having to get another job.

    He talks about mercy and forgiveness but he apparently does not understand justice. He does not address the murderer on the cross next to Jesus.

    Mercy is Savage not ending up in jail, forgiveness is his family around him, justice At this point would be not making bank off of Jesus and not being in a place of leadership or working with young people.

    The justice system would have had a far worse outcome for Savage. Look at what happens to a teacher who interacts with a student the way Savage did with Jules.

    Andy Savage is not the victim here no matter what Parker Dax believes. Andy Savage could male a living doing anything. He doesn’t need to be teaching in a church.

  365. Tina wrote:

    But it’s extremely difficult to NOT use that broad brush when you keep hearing the same song, second, third, fourth, fifth verse.

    There are multiple pastors involved in this issue. At least 4. How many did the right thing?

    Certainly there are good ones, no one doubts that. But there are a lot of either bad, or terribly mislead ones. And that needs correcting.

  366. Len wrote:

    Please, please, please do not paint all Pastors and churches with the same, broad brush.

    The silence of the gospelly bloggers is stunning. I agree with you that not all pastors should be painted with the same brush. But by their silence they are now the ones doing the painting. If the pastors don’t speak up then they (and we) will have to live with the consequences of their silence.

    Note: Jonathan Leeman from 9Marx appears to be the only gospelly blogger to weigh in on this so far. This is unacceptable since HP was a gospelly coalition church until earlier this week.

  367. So let’s get this right, and as reporters it’s your job to ask the tough questions. Was Jules forced to give the youth minister a BJ? Sounds to me based on all the articles being reported this was consensual at the time and total regret afterwards. I’d also advise you to look up the law in regards to sexual assault.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if Jules went after The youth minister wanting money.
    I’d also add just watch how fast Jules falls.

  368. Parker Dax,

    The church as a whole has dropped the ball on teaching how much God actually hates clergy sex abuse. That’s what you’re not understanding in this discussion. So since you are a person of faith—here’s some reading for you on what God thinks about all this:

    Point #1) Study Hopni and Phineas in the 1Samuel 2-3. They were two ministers who used their position to take advantage of the women that “assembled” at the tabernacle. God got so upset that He reversed His previous promise and took away the priesthood from their entire family line.

    Then just in case anyone missed the whole point—God made it very clear “I will honor those who honor me, and I will treat with contempt those who despise me.” 1Samuel 2:30 (GNT)

    Point #2) Read how upset God gets at pastors who abuse the flock in Ezekiel 34:

    God gets upset because:
    1) “You have not taken care of the weak ones
    2) Healed the ones that are sick
    3) Bandaged the ones that are hurt,
    4) Brought back the ones that wandered off,
    5) Or looked for the ones that were lost.

    Instead, you treated them cruelly.”

    Did God keep them in the pulpit? Nope.

    Point #3) Look at what Jesus said in the NT: Better for someone to have a millstone put around their neck and thrown into the deepest sea than to hurt one of the littlest ones.

    Any questions?

  369. @ Mark:
    Andy is the one who has spent the last 20 years profiting on jesus and you blame Jules of wanting money?

    If you read the story, what struck her was his utter hypocrisy in condemning public figures, compared to his personal behavior.

  370. Pingback: Pastor Andy Savage Won’t Face Charges for Sexual Assault; Janet Mefferd Says He Shouldn’t Be Pastor | WGRC

  371. Great, I go to bed and the vipers show up. Parker Dax is banned. When he gets the Guy Behind the Curtain irritated, he has gone too far,

    Parker, I am sorry for your mother and your sister. You do not get sex abuse and you should be ashamed of yourself. And your IP? Seriously?

  372. Mark wrote:

    So let’s get this right, and as reporters it’s your job to ask the tough questions. Was Jules forced to give the youth minister a BJ? Sounds to me based on all the articles being reported this was consensual at the time and total regret afterwards. I’d also advise you to look up the law in regards to sexual assault.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if Jules went after The youth minister wanting money.
    I’d also add just watch how fast Jules falls.

    So not only are you condemning Jules for what happened, you are also judging and condemning her for the reasons you think she has gone public AND for her future sins that you seem certain that she will commit in the very near future? Wow! It is this sort of thing that brings Christianity into disrepute.

  373. @ Forrest:
    As far as I know, Jules has not asked for a dime, and yet all sorts of people blaming her for wanting money?

    Meanwhile Andy is making bank off Jesus…

  374. Mark wrote:

    Sounds to me based on all the articles being reported this was consensual at the time and total regret afterwards.

    You completely miss the point. It does not matter at all whether or not it was consensual. It was illegal and immoral. Period. He should own what he did, not try to excuse it as if he was the helpless victim on an overpowering 17 year old girl. How weak is that?

  375. Mark,

    The subconscious mind is a powerful thing. The church spends so much time pressuring women to be submissive and obedient, to be led by others. To turn off their own discernment because they are so much more easily deceived. Then when women automatically react in a submissive way—the church blames them for being too submissive. For not using their discernment.

    That’s a catch-22.

    The church needs to teach women what it really means to be Godly women. God wants powerful women who know how to resist evil. How have exercised their sense to recognize the difference between good and evil. (Heb 5:14)

  376. Sorry for the typo—it’s early in the morning here on the West Coast.

    Meant “Who have exercised their sense to recognize the difference between good and evil. (Heb 5:14)”

    Gotta run to work now……

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  378. Pingback: Pastor Andy Savage Won't Face Charges for Sexual Assault; Janet Mefferd Says He Shouldn't Be Pastor - Urban Christian News UNITED STATES

  379. @ dee:
    Dee, the scary thing is that there are a multitude of church folks like this commenter who just don’t get it … 21st century church has provided a comfortable place for them to roost. They are not challenged to think differently than the world. They feel better about themselves if their preachers live like them. They just don’t view moral failure by the pulpit as a big deal. These are strange days for the American church.

  380. Pingback: Pastor Andy Savage Won’t Face Charges for Sexual Assault; Janet Mefferd Says He Shouldn’t Be Pastor | BCNN1 - Black Christian News Network UNITED STATES

  381. Cin
    What part of this don’t you get? Yes, we have all watched the ridiculous church service on Sunday. Good night! You guys are causing an entire nation to question your church worship. Dumb!

    He says he had a sexual incident with a 17 y o teen. He says there was no crime even though he did not report it to the police at the time and it is now past the statute of limitations. He doesn’t know. He was a pastor and it doesn’t matter that he was *only* 22 although my son would never do that to a teen under his care and guidance. He was supposed to be a role model of Christian manhood. He abused his office as a youth pastor and should not be in the pulpit.

  382. I am curious why the first person who assaulted Jules Woodson has not been named?No journalism that. The witch hunt and blasting the church is more fun media. The misinformation that your posters display shows they dont do their own research. One has only to view the confession at High Point to see the transparency regarding Jules Woodson. While, I agree that the public confession at church made me cringe and the congregations standing O to show their support of Andy SAvage, his confession, his plea for forgiveness was a really bad idea. This was not a Clinton/Lewinsky deal. While was the “youth pastor”, he was 20. Did the church, IN HOUSTON, handle this wrong, absolutely. The outrage and supposition of the global church is wrong. The biggotry is stunning.

  383. @ Cin:
    Your anger is misplaced. Don’t paint me as someone who defends what he did. I simply said, he owned what he did. Be dramatic with other people. While your son may be an outstanding person with no sin or character flaws- real people sometimes do stupid things.

  384. Cin wrote:

    @ Cin:
    Your anger is misplaced. Don’t paint me as someone who defends what he did. I simply said, he owned what he did. Be dramatic with other people. While your son may be an outstanding person with no sin or character flaws- real people sometimes do stupid things.

    I didn’t detect any anger in Dee’s response but it does seem like you are painting a clear self-portrait.

  385. Cin wrote:

    I dont see where he is not owning it.

    He did not call it illegal or abusive (which it was because of status as a pastor), he passed it off as mere kissing, he did not answer her email, he continued in ministry as if it never happened, and now he is trying to make it sound like she wanted it and he is the helpless victim (even if she had wanted it, it was still illegal and immoral), he kept changing the story and his bio, etc. This is not taking ownership. I understand that you will probably never see it the way I do. Meanwhile, the world is watching.

  386. Pingback: Memphis Pastor Andy Savage Insists Sex With Teen Was ‘Consensual’ as He Takes Leave of Absence | WGRC

  387. Pingback: Pastor Andy Savage Has Been Placed on a Leave of Absence Following Sexual Abuse Revelations - RELEVANT Magazine

  388. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):
    @ @ Ken F (aka Tweed):
    Part of the transcript as it relates to the things you are sayin. “As a college student on staff at a church in Texas more than 20 years ago, I regretfully had a sexual incident with a female high school senior in the church. I apologized and sought forgiveness from her, her parents, her discipleship group, the church staff, and the church leadership, who informed the congregation. In agreement with wise counsel, I took every step to respond in a biblical way.

    I resigned from ministry and moved back home to Memphis. I accepted full responsibility for my actions. I was and remain very remorseful for the incident and deeply regret the pain I caused her and her family, as well as the pain I caused the church and God’s Kingdom.”
    While he did not call it abusive or illegal, he did not pass it off as just kissing and where is he now trying to make it sound like she wanted it and he’s a victim? and I see it for exactly what it is…Its why I wanted Bill Clinton found guilty. He was in his 50’s, Lewinsky was in her 20’s.She was an intern and he was an authority…Yes, I get that. I still am curious why the writers didnt call out the first person who sexually assaulted this woman though? Why do you suppose that is?

  389. Cin wrote:

    @ Cin:
    While your son may be an outstanding person with no sin or character flaws- real people sometimes do stupid things.

    That is not what she said at all. Those are your words.

    Andy Savage did not simply do stupid things. He did illegal and immoral things to someone he was supposed to be leading. He has, however, done sinful and stupid things in the way he has handled himself since the abuse.

  390. I wonder how the public would have responded had Andy Savage been a 22 year old Catholic priest who had “organic sexual incident” with 17 year old Jules Woodson. I’m betting most people would be calling for his dismissal as well as charges by local law enforcement.

  391. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    even if she had wanted it, it was still illegal and immoral

    A lot has been written mentioning that what he did was illegal. I prefer that the emphasis be placed on immoral and illegal take second place. The reason being that what he did could possibly not be illegal in another State depending on the laws. It’s kind of like when I was driving in MA going 65 mph (legal speed limit) and the road crossed the state line into RI where the speed limit immediately decreased to 55 mph. The road didn’t change at all, but now I’m guilty of speeding until I slow done to 55 mph.

  392. He HAS owned what he did. He has apologized earnestly to every stakeholder in his purview. The only thing he has refused to do is give up on himself, his family, and his faith. The dastardly sick desire to burn this good man at the stake is appalling.

  393. This blog heavily depends on the “she said” side of this story. The Ben Ferguson interview of Savage on 1/11/18 on WREC Memphis should be taken into account by anyone aiming for true justice.

  394. David Haynes

    You mean The Ben ferguson who attends Highpoint and is BFFs with Andy? Wow, That is really serious…

  395. Ken G wrote:

    I prefer that the emphasis be placed on immoral and illegal take second place. The reason being that what he did could possibly not be illegal in another State depending on the laws.

    That sounds like wanting to minimize the abuse? What difference does it make if it is not illegal in another state.

  396. dee wrote:

    David Haynes

    You mean The Ben ferguson who attends Highpoint and is BFFs with Andy? Wow, That is really serious…

    Yup! That would be the one. The one who is a member of Andy’s fan club.

  397. Cin wrote:

    where is he now trying to make it sound like she wanted it and he’s a victim?

    You need to get caught up. He did a radio interview where he she was ‘flirtatious’ and it was legal and all he violated was his personal purity standards.

  398. Bridget wrote:

    Ken G wrote:
    I prefer that the emphasis be placed on immoral and illegal take second place. The reason being that what he did could possibly not be illegal in another State depending on the laws.

    That sounds like wanting to minimize the abuse? What difference does it make if it is not illegal in another state.

    I think what he did is awful regardless of legality, so I kind of disagreee with you there. People who hide behind ‘it’s legal’ defenses when they’ve crossed boundaries and been terrible people don’t get a pass. (Leaving aside whether it was actually legal or not for now)

  399. To that end, we are engaging a qualified, independent, third party organization to do a full audit of our church processes and Andy’s ministry.

    “Further, it has been mutually agreed upon that Andy will take a leave of absence effective immediately. While this audit is being completed, we will continue to support Andy and his family. Please continue to pray for all involved.”

    Now, Ms Jules Woodson should civilly sue him for damages.

  400. College Boy wrote:

    The only thing he has refused to do is give up on himself, his family, and his faith.

    Bwah!

    What he refused to give up on is his dreams of making a living off Christianity. Which is why he was in another ‘ministry’ position with young people wishing 4 months of abusing someone under his care. Smdh.

  401. @ Cin:
    His answers have been all over the map. 20 years ago he let it be describes as kissing. On Sunday he called it a sexual incident. On Thursday he made or sound like a mutual hormonal thing where he was not really responsible. Has he ever admitted that it was illegal and abusive? Has he ever admitted that he did it while in a pastoral role?

  402. dee wrote:

    Great, I go to bed and the vipers show up. Parker Dax is banned. When he gets the Guy Behind the Curtain irritated, he has gone too far,
    Parker, I am sorry for your mother and your sister. You do not get sex abuse and you should be ashamed of yourself. And your IP? Seriously?

    Suppress opposing views because you’re “irritated?” And personal attacks involving someone’s family members?

    And Andy Savage is society’s big problem??

    Do you like what you see in the mirror? Do you see deep into the tunnel of appreciating exclusively your own framework of viewpoints?

    You’re welcome… for the mirror being propped up in front of your eyes. As you may begin to see, cynicism, ridicule, and single-mindedness are not attractive at all.

    “Self-examination.” Try it. Much more productive than living life “on the attack” and trying to ruin other’s lives and those of their family members.

    There’s nothing “justice” about that.

  403. Lea wrote:

    He did a radio interview where he she was ‘flirtatious’ and it was legal and all he violated was his personal purity standards.

    How did he explain how a pastor can legally have a sexual relationship with a parishoner?

  404. Cin wrote:

    To that end, we are engaging a qualified, independent, third party organization to do a full audit of our church processes and Andy’s ministry.

    What is the organizarion? Who is on the team? What are their credentials? When do they start? When will the report be available? Who will get to see it?

    I don’t expect you to have the answers. In fact, I’m guessing that this review, if it happens at all, will not be very independent. I also do not expect there to be any public results. I hope to be proven wrong.

  405. I too, was in youth ministry with my husband. Anyone called “by God” has a tremendous responsibility for the spiritual welfare of those God has given to them to minister to and for. Our society today has two extremes. Conduct that is hidden and conduct broadly sharing what church leadership did not address before God on any issue.
    Several facts are missing for me in this story. How old was this man? Was he married? Did he understand the weight of the position he was taking on?
    Holy men of God, called to serve his flock are given several admonitions in Timothy, Titus, Peter to name a few. From what I read they were accountable for their conduct, even more so than others. I hope you will find that passage and read it for yourself.
    As a man, taking a virgin (even if consentual) he would have to pay the dowry for the virgin and take her to wife, or provide for her…Why? because virginity was her personal gift to her husband to be. If that seems unfair, talk to God. Today it seems everyone must “try it out” and it’s innocent and fun. God does not take this lightly. Can you imagine if a man, or couple, were required to tell the girl’s father? It is the same to go before a Holy God with the act.
    Do sinners need forgiveness? We all do. Is there a price and consequence? God says there is. Look at Romans 1. God speaks directly about . Christians try to point out what is wrong (LGBT) without owning the problems within the church and leadership.
    In my time of ministry, a certain young man would sit at the back of the bus and wave girls to sit by him. While we traveled, he would fondle the girl. Several complaints came to our attention and we decided to take this to his father, the head deacon. He reprimanded us harshly and said he did the same thing when he was a boy. Please understand that I was just as concerned with the young man’s heart as the girl’s. This shocked me to my core because he was a leader and someone I trusted in ministry. In two weeks my husband was called to meet with the deacons. One week after that we received a call that they accepted my husband’s resignation. He did not give one. He tried to renounce it, but the head deacon said the motion to dismiss was from the deacons and could not be renounced. Very discouraging and disheartening. Oppression.
    Another church, a young married man in this late 20s with three children had intercourse with a 16 y-o and was sentenced to one year in jail. I talked with the pastor because I had a teenage boy at this time in the youth group. I was concerned that there were overseers for the young pastors and help for them to grow and walk close to the Lord. His comment was that there was no way to screen for this activity and to let the law handle it. I found a church that believed in accountability in love.
    Spiritual leadership is not just about fleshly desires and sins but about the whole man. Men today are looking for honorable men to pattern their life after. What does that kind of support look like? Where are the spiritual brothers to pray with, lead with, share burdens with?
    Women need the same. When a traumatic event is revealed, are we ready with support or just show emotion? Traumatic events have far-reaching influence that quite often we do not see. Help! Pray! Cover in love!
    Here is a song that has brought much healing to me and others
    See all the wounded, hear all their desperate cries for help,
    Pleading for shelter and for peace.
    Our comrades are suffering, come let us meet them at their need
    Don’t let another wounded soldier die…..
    Come let us pour the oil, come let us bind the hurt,
    let’s cover them with a blanket of His love.
    Come let us break the bread< come let us give them rest.
    Let’s minister healing to them.
    Don’t let another wounded soldier die….

  406. College Boy wrote:

    Suppress opposing views because you’re “irritated?” And personal attacks involving someone’s family members?
    And Andy Savage is society’s big problem??

    It wasn’t a personal attack for your family and you sound foolish. Since you are a sweet young thing, still in college, let me give you a big boy lesson.

    I have been posting for 9 years. We are one of the only blogs that allow your absolutely adorable blog queens to be called all sorts of names. You only care about one thing-Savage- so you didn’t do your homework and study this blog so that I would take you seriously.

    We have a thing called a Prime Directive -yes i am a fan of Star Trek. This directive states that you are allowed to critique your humble blog editors but you may never, ever, ever criticize a victim. You violated that directive.

    Secondly, and even more embarrassing for you, I checked over at the Highpoint Facebook page and do not see you chastising your celebrity pastors for doing exactly the same thing and that even includes comments that were not half as bad as some of you have left over here.

    Finally, since you are still a *boy* by your own account, here is a lesson in economics. I pay for this blog. I do not take and ads or advertise for money like your pastor, Savage does. I do not take kickbacks even from Amazon when I recommend a book over here.

    I do this because I actually care about people who have been deeply hurt in churches. This is a labor of love for me. Do you think I like listening to whiny commenters like you who think they are giving me a lesson on *understanding different perspective* when I know you haven’t read anything more than just your limited reading? Seriously?

    It is my blog and I get to run it the way I see fit. And you have not been particularly gracious, to boot. So, go back to your fog machines and your Highpoint one sided FacveBook and complain how one sided we are over here and that this is an attack from Stan (or Satan if you can spell.)

    Bye Bye.

  407. dee wrote:

    The men screaming *Jezebel* are out in full force tonight.

    You mean the very mature college boys?

  408. @ dee:
    There’s obviously another spirit at work within the hearts of some Highpoint members … and it’s not holy.

  409. @ College Boy:
    Hey college boys..
    I am a 57 year old man, and I put my name to what I write…. unlike you…
    if a youth pastor messed around with my daughter, ESPECIALLY while “on duty”, and especially if he had been previously caught alone in a bedroom tickling her, and was told to not be alone with her after that..
    … there would be HELL TO PAY…

    I really do not care what her “role” in it was. …it is the youth pastors job to be “professional”. There are plenty of examples of teachers where I live being fired for messing with students, and the published accounts make it clear the student actively participated. Guess what, the students role is irrelevant, and I do give a rat’s $@@ …
    Youth pastors/ministers/teachers/councilors DO not mess around with the people under them, period….

    Given the pathetic interview Andy Savage did the other day, he is a big problem, given his status at HighPoint..
    .. a 40 year old man still blaming a17 year old girl like he did ….. his comment make sick….It is too bad you are banned, I would like to see your response….

  410. Pingback: It Is a Good Idea for Pastor Andy Savage to Sit Down for a While. As He Leaves He Says Sex With Teen Was Consensual. This Whole Thing Is a Tragedy | BCNN1 - Black Christian News Network UNITED STATES

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  412. Pingback: Megachurch pastor receives standing ovation for admitting to 'sexual incident' with teen girl - Viral Newspaper | Viral Newspaper UNITED STATES

  413. Dee,

    Soon as College Boy’s showed up—I couldn’t wait to see your response. That was GREAT!

  414. Pingback: It Is a Good Idea for Pastor Andy Savage to Sit Down for a While. As He Leaves He Says Sex With Teen Was Consensual. This Whole Thing Is a Tragedy – BCNN1 WP UNITED STATES

  415. Oops, sorry, more typos! Well, it’s been a long week for all of us.

    These Andy supporter comments seem to share the same sin leveling logic—because no one is perfect therefore no one can hold Andy accountable for his behavior.

  416. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    .It is too bad you are banned, I would like to see your response….

    Here’s my response:

    You, 57 year old man, are foolish and gullible. You are like a ‘hungry fish’ consuming the bait of group-think haters interested solely in ‘the attack.’

    At 57, you still have a lot of psychological growing to do. To escape from that box.

    Good luck.

  417. Bridget wrote:

    You mean the very mature college boys?

    It’s a nickname, dopey man-hater. Stick to losing the debate — on the issues — and your inability to justify your pseudo-feminist simmering ‘hate.’

  418. dee wrote:

    The men screaming *Jezebel* are out in full force tonight.

    Impossible for many men to take responsibility for their own actions. And apparently they cannot handle the idea of other men taking responsibility for theirs either! How strange.

  419. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    I really do not care what her “role” in it was. …it is the youth pastors job to be “professional”.

    There is something very wrong when this basic fact cannot be accepted in some quarters.

  420. College Boy wrote:

    pseudo-feminist simmering ‘hate.’

    You know, you silly man children have convinced many women previously uninterested in the label feminist to claim it.

    If we are picking sides, we should be on the side that has respect for each other as humans.

  421. Lea wrote:

    I really do not care what her “role” in it was. …it is the youth pastors job to be “professional”.

    There is something very wrong when this basic fact cannot be accepted in some quarters.

    She was a senior in high school, he was only a few years older. That doesn’t mean he gets a total ‘pass’ (being the youth minister), and he did NOT get a pass.

    20 years after two kids were consensual, there is so much bitterness just because the guy moved on and is prospering.

    Haters — heal thy selves.

  422. And Dee —

    When you sign your “irritated” diatribes with “Bye bye” — you really have no station to infer one iota about objectivity, confidence in your positions, or maturity. Nada.

  423. @ College Boy:
    By any chance, do you know Roger Bombast. He comments here from time to time and you two seem to have a similar POV. Roger often provides much needed input to the various conversations.

  424. College Boy wrote:

    Haters

    There are six things the lord hates…one is a lying tongue. Andy knows something about that, according to his own admission.

  425. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    By any chance, do you know Roger Bombast. He comments here from time to time and you two seem to have a similar POV. Roger often provides much needed input to the various conversations.

    I do not. I had no familiarity with this blog prior to yesterday.

  426. @ College Boy@ College Boy:

    Did you honestly listen to Andy Savages interview? You lose the privilege to lead when you violate that responsibilty. Andy Savages response shows he STILL does not get this, in fact it was quite pathetic and it alone disqualifies him from teaching. A real man takes responsibilty for his actions, and knows to keep his Johnson in his pants when he is in leadership role, not winning about how she lead me on…..
    I have not been personally, physically abused, but I have seen enough that I am willing to stand up and say enough is enough. So, I am gulliable and foolish to stand up for the abused, and stand up to leaders that do not have the #$$& to admit that they are solely responsible for their actions ? You sound like the Roman Catholic leaders that kept protecting the pedo priests…..

  427. Daisy wrote:

    Correct me if I’m wrong here, any one, but weren’t life expectancies shorter in a lot of countries for hundreds to thousands of years, until the last few centuries?

    Like, age 40 was considered to be like the age 80 of its day. Most people died around age 40 hundreds of years ago.(?)

    No. The average lifespan was shorter, but it’s because the average was dragged down by child mortality and death of mothers in childbirth. Quite a few people lived into old age. Not as many as in a modern wealthy nation with good income equality, but the phrase “threescore years and ten, or eighty if we are strong” is not a modern one.

    Another thing I sometimes reflect upon is how I don’t think a 16 year old of today is at the same level of maturity or intelligence as 16 year olds of even two hundred years ago.

    Today we know far more about the brain and how long it takes to mature, which it does not do entirely until the mid-20s. We know that the 17-year-olds of yesteryear were expected to comprehend all their schoolwork (at least, the white boys who had access to such an education), be effective on the battlefield, and raise children. That does not mean all of them succeeded, not by a long shot. And since there was still a lot of manual labor to be found, graduating from school (if they even had schools to attend) was not a hardcore requirement for finding work and supporting a family.

    In the modern age, there are still plenty of kids being used as cannon fodder, or working menial jobs to make ends meet. They do not get discussed in our corporatist media. As for “Pajama Boy,” I am more than happy with any media image of young men being allowed to be sensitive and vulnerable. We have enough toxic masculinity out there as is. And plenty of us grown adults cried over the election because we understood the horrific ramifications.

  428. Hi College Boy,

    Your rudeness is not going to get you very far in life. Do yourself a favor and learn how to be respectful of others.

  429. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    We have not heard from Roger recently. You should stick around and look for his comments.

    Not too much longer for me, friend. I moved my elderly into my home two years ago and need to be more judicious with my time.

    This is not an evenhanded forum here; I know how fair platforms look and feel. This is clearly a ‘gathering’ for those who think very much alike and fancy themselves socio-cultural engineers. A bit like a ‘cult.’ Not much patience for opposing views, and an awful lot of anger toward anyone calling for understanding, ‘moving on,’ and forgiveness.

    It’s like… you suggest the notion that 20 years later, what productive end can there be to effecting the ruination of this young man’s life, and the lives, perhaps, of his family members. And the replies are akin to: “No, you shut up. She’s the victim here. He should’ve this, shouldn’t have that. Can we still get him prosecuted and imprisoned? Get him, get him. Grrrr.”

    * So, while deploring true instances of ANY abuse, I’m so glad I have exactly NONE of the mindset I see far too much of here. Nor, incidentally, does my compassionate mother.

  430. College Boy wrote:

    This is clearly a ‘gathering’ for those who think very much alike and fancy themselves socio-cultural engineers. A bit like a ‘cult.’

    You don’t know this site very well if that is your assessment. Just to fill you in, the commenters here consist of people from wildly different political and religious backgrounds. “for those who think very much alike” is probably the LAST way that any regular followers of this site would describe it. I have personally found the diversity of opinions and backgrounds very helpful and stimulating. Perhaps you should keep an eye on some of the other threads – they end up covering quite a few topics. But be careful – exposing yourself to such a wide variety of thought could challenge your current assumptions and conclusions. Stay thirsty my friend.

  431. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    But be careful – exposing yourself to such a wide variety of thought could challenge your current assumptions and conclusions. Stay thirsty my friend.

    I’ll take your advice. Cheers!

  432. College Boy wrote:

    It’s a nickname, dopey man-hater. Stick to losing the debate — on the issues — and your inability to justify your pseudo-feminist simmering ‘hate.’

    Wow! You sound very much like Parker Dax. Calling this conversation a debate again as well.

    You know nothing about me. But you sure know how to make assumptions. I’m no man hater. I’ve been happily married for 30 years. Have six brothers

    I must take back my kind words of calling you mature. After reading your many recent comments you come across as quite immature with all your name calling.

  433. I am an older millennial, so I’m just slightly younger than this victim. I feel very sorry for what she went through and I hope she can find peace in Christ. Regardless of age, no one in the ministry should take advantage of one of their flock.

    One of the things that struck me about her story is how Savage immediately ran out of the truck and fell to his knee’s asking for God’s forgiveness, which shows he knew he did something wrong, though I do not know if it was the fact he assaulted her or the fact that he engaged in oral sex, that he felt guilty about. But, I would like to warn readers about something I discovered about five years ago, when I was very close friends with a Youth Pastor, and was exposed to his group of evangelical friends, who were spread out over South Carolina and beyond. They almost all claimed to be virgins who believed that “True Love Waits” however almost none of them believed that oral sex is really sex(i.e. Bill Clinton) and is not prohibited by the Bible, and they all engaged in the activity quite regularly, and the youth pastor