More Developments As Well As the Drop the Mic Moments in the Andy Savage/Highpoint Memphis #metoo Situation

“Some breaches of trust cause so much damage, the most redemptive step is to create safe distance. If your marriage has suffered a catastrophic blow of dishonesty, please see a counselor or trusted pastor before making any major decisions like separation or divorce.

May we all take honesty seriously and commit to honesty in our marriages, even when it’s hard. Honesty from this day forward is always the best decision.” Andy Savage in Help, I Married a Liar.


Jules with Andy at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church now Stonebridge

There is so much to discuss that I feel a bit overwhelmed. I shall write all that I can today and then will followup with more posts. I may even plan a short post tomorrow just to keep up. Something incredible is happening this evening and I hope to tell you about it tomorrow.

When we last posted, we were unsure how the story would develop. By Friday evening, local Memphis news was picking up the story. By Saturday evening, one day after the post, the story had reached the UK and Raw Story.That evening, Jules did an interview with Memphis news and handled it admirably! From there it was written about extensively on the Huffington Post and onto the Houston Chronicle, the Christian Post, etc.

We are extremely busy handling the developments behind the scenes. Jules is getting some awesome support. She thanks everyone on this blog for being so kind and encouraging. It has been a hard thing for her to do and the wonderful readers here and on Twitter, as well as on Amy’s site, have been the best!! Love you guys! I cannot thank you enough.

Please keep sending us any articles or mentions that you see. Do not assume that we have seen them. Today, some of our readers spotted things way before we knew about them.

To top it off, my computer crashed yesterday. With the help of my tech guy, I ordered a new Mac Pro with lots and lots of storage, etc. I should get it in tomorrow. I am using my husband’s computer for now.

This post will be a series of disjointed thoughts.

Why Jules was afraid of Savage that night- a picture is worth many words.

I have been shocked by a few people, mostly associated with Highpoint Memphis, who have attempted to tell us that Jules wanted to have oral sex with Savage. They must think he is totally irresistible. Let me quote directly from Jules police report as copied in Friday’s post.

I was scared and embarrassed, but I did it.

What part of scared don’t they get? She was on an isolated, dark, dirt road with no one around to hear an outcry and she was stuck in the car with Savage who apparently thought that his private parts were the object of much desire by a scared teen.

Now, let’s take a look at the picture at the top of this post. Look at how much bigger Savage is than Jules. He is not only taller but much heavier. This is a man (Yes, Highpoint bots, he was 22 years old) who could have easily subdued her. In fact, if a man his size invaded my home in the middle of the night, I would be scared to death.

I sincerely believe that Jules was in danger that dark night so many year ago and I bet that many other people will agree with me. In fact, Friday’s post is over 900 comments and we have only had to ban 5 people, all of whom implied that Jules wanted it. One of them tried to share the *gospel* with her. Can you imagine?

I predicted a standing ovation at Highpoint Church on Sunday.

Do you want to see just how manipulative Chris Conlee, Andy Savage and the leadership is at Highpoint Church? Want me to prove that they use a playbook that many churches have used when leaders are caught in *sex incidents?” Highpoint members, you were played and you fell for it. We have been to this rodeo many times in the 9 years we have been writing.

I want to discuss the church service in depth. One of our readers, Chase, who lives in the area, attended the service and wrote some great comments. I will put them in my next post. Thank you, Chase!!

The statements by Andy Savage and Chris Conlee and the *Drop the Mic *Moments

Jules called me right after the statement was released Friday afternoon. She was terribly upset, saying that Andy lied and hurt her all over again. I reassured her that the statements were poorly thought out and that it would prove to be their undoing.

So, I want you to read the statements first before I point out the *drop the mic* moments. I bet a number of our regulars will spot them.

Andy Savage:

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.

There has never been another situation remotely similar in my life before or after that occurrence. The incident happened before Amanda and I were engaged and I shared every aspect of this situation with her before I asked her to marry me. I further disclosed this incident to Chris Conlee before coming on staff at Highpoint and have shared with key leaders throughout my tenure.

This incident was dealt with in Texas 20 years ago, but in the last few days has been presented to a wider audience. I was wrong and I accepted responsibility for my actions. I was sorry then and remain so today. Again, I sincerely ask for forgiveness from her and pray for God’s continued healing for everyone involved.

A Word from Chris Conlee

This information is not new to me or to our leadership. As one of my closest friends and partners in ministry, I can assure you that I have total confidence in the redemptive process Andy went through under his leadership in Texas. In addition, for more than 16 years, I have watched Andy strive to live a godly life and proactively share what he has learned to help others.

On behalf of the elders, pastors, staff, and Trustees of Highpoint, I want to affirm that we are 100% committed to Andy, Amanda, and their family and his continued ministry at Highpoint Church. We ask for your prayers and support for all involved.

Let me highlight what they said that caused me to *drop the mic* and realize that this story would now be covered extensively by the media.

Andy:

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.

… the church leadership, who informed the congregation. In agreement with wise counsel, I took every step to respond in a biblical way.

Chris Conlee:

This information is not new to me or to our leadership. As one of my closest friends and partners in ministry, I can assure you that I have total confidence in the redemptive process Andy went through under his leadership in Texas.

Did you catch it?

Andy admitted to a *sexual incident.* Yes, I know that it is silly to call it an incident. Did Bernie Madof have a financial incident? LOL. However, the moment I saw this, I knew his goose was cooked. Larry Cotton and Steve Bradley have a similar problem as well. Savage said they knew about it.

He admitted to having sex with a student in his youth group. He did not say it had been reported to the police. He just said his leadership gave him *wise counsel.* No. they didn’t. Wise counsel by men who are concerned about sex abuse and the lives of the students in their ministry would have led everyone down to the local precinct and reported this to the police. It is very sad that they did not. If they had, we would not be here today.

Chris Conlee also admited to being aware of the sex *incident* perpetrated by Savage. If he cared about the safety of the students in his youth ministry, he should have immediately reported this to the police. If he is truly Savage’s BFF, he should have gone with him to the police. We have been hearing from some people that have been in leadership at Highpoint that claim they were told nothing about this. If Conlee had done the right thing, we would not be here today.

We have four people, Savage, Conlee, Cotton and Bradley who knew about this peccadillo and did NOT go to the local law enforcement unless they are hiding something, which I highly doubt.

The moment I saw these statements, I knew that the media would be totally freed up to investigate and report on this situation. I reassured Jules although I knew she had a hard time believing it at that moment. Savage has really hurt this dear woman, both then and now.

Within a couple of hours, Jules received notice that news stations wanted to interview her and planned to report on the incident. That evening, it was being discussed on the air. By Saturday night, Jules was being interviewed and she did great!!!

It was due to these admissions that KLove, Bethany Publishers and others took action.

The other serious discrepancy in Savages statement.

Andy:

I was and remain very remorseful for the incident and deeply regret the pain I caused her

This is easily disproved. He did not answer her heartbreaking email on December 1, 2017. Let’s review it.

——– 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

He decided to bet that she would go away. He lost, big time. In my opinion, he didn’t give a hoot about her years ago and he doesn’t give a hoot today. He is just sorry that he got caught. The first thing Jules said to me was “he didn’t respond to this email.” I knew, at that moment, that I was dealing with a man who stuffed his past in a closet and hoped it would never come to light. However, we victims’ advocates are carrying big spotlights and women are gaining courage to come forward. #metoo

KLove Cruises has dropped Savage from their 2018 lineup.

Apparently, a number of people started contacting KLove immediately after we posted on Friday. He was off the list sometime late on Friday. We are so grateful that they understand the seriousness of the allegations. I am also grateful to all those who called them. I didn’t even suggest it! You guys are wonderful.

Bethany House Publishers drop publication of Savage’s Ridiculously Good Marriage

Here is the statement that someone in our group received today.We thank Bethany House for understanding the difficult nature of this sexual *incident.* As an aside, the book had a large ice cream cone on the cover. You cannot make this stuff up. We were told that Bethany was inundated with phone calls. Folks, this is your victory.

Austin Stone Church removed Larry Cotton from his position until they have a third party group investigate further.

I am impressed with the response of Austin Stone.

Steve Bradley at StoneBridge Church is defiant, for now.

Here is his statement:

“We will be issuing a formal statement but thought that it was important first to discuss this matter with our church family, which I did Sunday during our worship services,” Bradley said. “This happened twenty years ago and though I was not a part of every meeting to suggest that I or anyone else on the staff at Stonebridge Church participated in a conspiracy to cover-up this sexual misconduct is simply not accurate. After Andy Savage confessed and asked for forgiveness from the victim, her parents, her discipleship group, and the church staff, he was terminated. We were heartbroken twenty years ago when this happened, and we remain heartbroken for Jules, her family, and all those impacted.”

I have one question from Steve Bradley, who did not return my phone call, “Did you call the police?  If not, why not?” Note also his plausible deniability? If I were Larry Cotton, I might be a bit concerned.

though I was not a part of every meeting

 Let me leave you with this awesome interview that Jules gave.

There are some really exciting and good things happening behind the scenes and I cannot wait to share some of them with you. Amy and I are so encouraged by so many in the Christian community that are taking this seriously. Thank you all for what you do. Your comments and phone calls mean so much.

Please continue to pray for #justiceforjules. There is no question that God is afoot in this situation. Isn’t she incredible? Love you, Jules

WMC Action News 5 – Memphis, Tennessee


Comments

More Developments As Well As the Drop the Mic Moments in the Andy Savage/Highpoint Memphis #metoo Situation — 520 Comments

  1. “Keep in mind, though, that the most thorough and well-written policy is powerless unless it becomes part of the very DNA of the church community.” – Boz Tchividjian is executive director of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) and co-author of “The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide for Churches and Ministries.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2017/12/08/the-one-best-idea-for-ending-sexual-harassment/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-d%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.2c6b9c93c7af#idea14

  2. Boz Tchividjian @BozT on Twitter… 7 Dec 2017
    “Ending sexual misconduct within the Christian community requires professing Christians to stop distorting Jesus for the purposes of excusing abusive behavior and silencing the abused.”

  3. Nice summary, not disjointed at all.
    Ironically, my insitution is require alll faculty and employees to take online sexual harassement training… and I am in the middle of it right now…. these churches, and individuals have done so many things wrong/incorectly…….

  4. From this TWW post: a quote from Andy Savage himself on his own website:
    “Honesty from this day forward is always the best decision.” Andy Savage in Help, I Married a Liar.

    Further down on Savage’s very own blog about a Liar, Savage says, “Ultimately, lying is image control.”

    Which is exactly what Savage, his pastor colleagues and pew cronies have done for 20 years, even yesterday in his very own church, to the victim, to the public, to the church at large, to the Media, and in the presence of God. Lying for image control.

  5. While it is much better, as are their actions; I find the statement from Austin Stone Church problematic – she was not subject to “sexual sin” – I know here in California, even propositioning a minor without whipping it out is a felony.

    How do I know? When I was 16, I was propositioned by a male stranger when I was delivering the news paper. Now a big difference was I was 5’10” 175 lbs and an athlete so while I found it creepy I was not fearful. He gave me his business card and left – i ripped the card up but then saw a police officer and spoke to him,as it was so creepy. The officer told me it was a felony,even though he never touched me. so I found the card and made a report. Turned out the guy had a record. About a month later, I spoke to a detective and picked the guy out of a photo lineup. Never found out a disposition.

    My point is this – 40 years ago, at least in California, an adult even verbally propositioning a minor was a felony offence – so it shouldn’t be minimized.

  6. It is amazing the swift response of Bethany House Publishers. When I was younger and Bethany House was Independent, I worked for them. I was waiting to see what would happen. I am amazed and profoundly grateful that Austin Stone did the right thing and Klove realized it’s responsibility in this situation. It seems there is a ways to go but things are happening.

  7. Right after I wrote my previous post I realized something. While I thought my experience was creepy it did not have a lasting effect.

    Why? If it came to it I could not only physically defend myself I was probably more of threat, so I had the upper hand, so I politely said not interested. That is a big difference, who has the power in the situation – both in the moment and over the long term.

    What Andy did was not only the “sexual sin” it was a gross abuse of power

  8. I’ve been in contact with a couple of local (or at least “lots more local than Arizona”) people who are thinking about protesting at Highpoint Memphis next Sunday. This makes me happy, and not just because I don’t have to dither about flying out to cold country to protest. People have Jules’ back and are going to remind the leadership of Highpoint about #JusticeforJules.

  9. @ dee:
    Yes, the photo speaks to the the essence and veracity of the narrative: she was youth group innocence looking for guidance to God (God being Love). He was a monster of lust positioned in a youth pastor position. Even to this day, he cannot grasp (by his own admission, his words) what he did and what she experienced (her words and feelings). How they each describe the assault is night and day.

    [Facing the facts of this assault at Austin Stone Community Church in no way paints all men as monsters and all women as innocent. There are 22-year-old women who pursue 17-year-old boys and the women are then incarcerated, and registered as sexual predators.]

  10. I have long had a great distaste for the “celebrity pastor” craze in the evangelical church. However, I was horrified to hear that High Point church gave a standing ovation after hearing that their pastor sexually abused a teen while he was a youth pastor. This makes me feel sick to my stomach. Just common decency and respect for Jules as a human being should prevent that kind of thing. Not to mention that Jesus consistently went out of his way to show compassion to those whom the religious elite of his day wanted to ignore and push aside. And so today I choose to applaud Jules! :-).

  11. JYJames wrote:

    Austin Stone Community Church

    Correction: Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church now Stonebridge – keeping the name straight of where the assault took place.

  12. BD wrote:

    Transcript of the service at High Point Sunday, where Savage gets his standing ovation.

    Phhhhhffffffftt!
    If randy Andy get a standing ovation at his church, I say we give Jules a virtual reality standing O!
    Even I can’t imagine the courage it took for her to stand in front of the news cameras and make her statement.
    Go Jules!

  13. Jules, you rock. Dee/Deb/Amy, way to go. I knew you’d be on the forefront of the Christian #MeToo movement.

    I think this story infuriates me so much for two reasons. One, I’m a little younger than Savage but was still doing teen Bible Studies for a remote missionary church in the US when I was that age. This crap about “he was young”? Look, I was 22/23 and leading Sunday School where the only students were teen girls, and a midweek study with a more mixed group. Guess what? It’s not difficult to do. There are no pictures of me closely hugging girls 5 years younger at that age. No stories of me tickling them in a bedroom. This is not to pat myself on the back for maintaining the basest requirements of being a decent human being. Instead, this is all blindingly obvious stuff, and that people are explaining away his assault as something young men would be tempted to do is even more enraging. Ironically, this line of thinking reminds me of dudebro progressives like Joss Whedon and Derek Webb explaining away their affairs and how hard it is to have pretty girls around when your just so popular and stressed — just stop already. See people as people and not your personal eye candy.

    Second, many women in my life have had #MeToo stories. I will not divulge specific details, but it’s clear that there are problems, and the church has not been exempt. One friend in (Bible) college told me that every woman at our on campus job site had a story, including our female boss. I know guilt was an issue for another person who told me her story, and it angered me to no end that she felt this way. That someone was being shamed by their church and passed off while the offender gets a wrist-slap is a sickening injustice.

    And seeing it happen live on YouTube yesterday morning just reminded me again of what my friend said. And of the girls who kept playing it back in their heads thinking how they should have been stronger. And of the people, regardless of if they “got away with it” or not, who thought they could because of their position…


  14. I have one question from Steve Bradley, who did not return my phone call, “Did you call the police? If not, why not?” Note also his plausible deniability? If I were Larry Cotton, I might be a bit concerned.”

    The other thing he never did was to express any care or support for Jules. What is she, chopped liver?

  15. dee wrote:

    I think that picture lets everyone see just what Jules was up against.

    Considering the size difference, he could sling her around like a rag doll!

  16. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    The other thing he never did was to express any care or support for Jules. What is she, chopped liver?

    She a female – that’s a notch lower than chopped liver to these guys.

  17. I appreciate the obvious lie Savage made by stating he was a just college “staffer” (20 years ago, a long ways away in Texas) in his official statement.

    Savage’s bio on Highpoint’s website reveals a different take…

    “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. ”

    Why minimize your previous job title when it’s so easily disproven by reading the bio at your current job?? Sheesh! I hope the police take this into account.

    Here’s the link
    http://www.highpointmemphis.com/andy-savage

  18. Mary27 wrote:

    Just common decency and respect for Jules as a human being should prevent that kind of thing. Not to mention that Jesus consistently went out of his way to show compassion to those whom the religious elite of his day wanted to ignore and push aside.

    Yes, amen!! I believe this is the heart of the gospel — care and concern for others.

    Savage and the leadership have only presented “laws”… he broke a law, but now he’s fixed it by “obeying” other laws, namely, “confessing his sin” and “repenting” and “being humble”… check; check; and check! See, it’s all ok,now.But all the while, absolutely no regard for Jules experience of that horrid ordeal and for the aftermath that she’s had to endure. That is NOT the heart of Christ and therefore its not the gospel!

  19. When Jesus said “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone” he was speaking to a bunch of hypocritical men who were quite happy to mistreat a woman for their own agenda.

    That’s the opening sentence in my post today at A Cry For Justice. The post discusses why Jesus said that to those men, and how diabolically Chris Conlee distorted Jesus’ meaning to manipulate the Highpoint congregations.

    https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2018/01/08/let-him-who-is-without-sin-cast-the-first-stone-and-how-highpoint-church-memphis-twisted-it-to-defend-andy-savage/

  20. Dee wrote: “I sincerely believe that Jules was in danger that dark night so many year ago and I bet that many other people will agree with me. In fact, Friday’s post is over 900 comments and we have only had to ban 5 people, all of whom implied that Jules wanted it. One of them tried to share the *gospel* with her. Can you imagine?”

    Share the *gospel* ……. Really??
    Has anyone shared I Tim. 3:2, Phil. 2:15, and Tit. 1:6 & 7 with Savage and Conlee. I think there’s some stuff in there about leaders being above reproach …… which, IMO, they are not!

  21. David wrote:

    See people as people and not your personal eye candy*.

    Great testimony, David. #beingadecenthumanbeing #blindinglyobviousstuff

    [*for lust, tithe unit$, power votes]

  22. Interesting that you mentioned that Andy decided to bet that she would go away.

    For a millisecond, when I first read the original story, I wondered if he was really remorseful, when he fell to his knees & begged for forgiveness, but then I realized that was all part of the calculation and manipulation. He was betting that he could manipulate her into taking his assault to the grave. Oral sex was his rape of choice, knowing she wouldn’t get pregnant (very calculated) & I’m sure he enjoyed the idea of manipulating her into doing it. He was very calculated then and remains so today, but he profoundly underestimated Jules both times, then and now. Both times he bet that Jules would not hold him accountable and he was wrong. Jules is a hero! He was fired then and hopefully the clock is ticking for it to happen again. He’s already been fired from the publisher and KLove! If I were a betting person, I think the ice cream on the cover of the book was an intentional, sick inside joke to himself, not realizing that it was all going to thankfully blow up in his face. The fact that his Bachelor’s degree is in Marketing and Master’s is in Christian Studies is not lost on me. Marketing is all about image, branding, and manipulating people to do your bidding and the Master’s in Christian Studies gives him the appearance of credibility/means to con and fleece the sheep. Like all narcissists, he expects his charm and bravado to let him get away with anything.

  23. What kind of church discovers a youth pastor is a pervert who preys on girls in his group — and decides to foist him off on other churches?

    He should have been told, “No, you should not be in pastoral work.”

    To the *defiant* Steve Bradley at StoneBridge Church:
    If you had to discipline this man for misconduct, then turned around and gave this man a good recommendation, YOU are a snake.

    I hope the elders and nominating committees from the other churches let The Wartburg Watch know if they were warned about Andy Savage’s proven and admitted criminal behavior before they hired him.

    And, Steve, why do you protect a guy like this when so many pastors can’t find good jobs?

    Was it Andy’s charm and charisma that made you ignore his little problem with sex offending?

  24. @ Sister:
    Good point about oral sex being Andy’s rape of choice. She couldn’t get pregnant and she was unlikely to tell her parents due to shame.

    I have trouble believing this was his first sexual attack.

    It has so many features that make it seem that he already had a strategy in place and was just waiting for a victim. There was abduction, isolated location, exposing his genitals, demanding that she service him, touching her breasts, demands for forgiveness and for silence.

    A lot of sex offenders are subtle and cautious, but not Andy.

    I wonder if we’ll see other victims.

  25. That was no sexual “incident”, and that was flat out sexual assault which should have been prosecuted and Savage required to be registered as a sex offender.

    I admire Jules for her courage and strength.

  26. Under Barbara Roberts post about Highpoint Church scripture twisting at A Cry for Justice, she links to an excellent piece on Medium. It’s from a devil to Andy Savage with 12 points on how to manage the information getting out and his current situation. It is written by a guy named Wade Mullen. I encourage everyone to take time to read it.

    https://tinyurl.com/y94lz8te

    ie:

    2. Although you were an adult at the time and she was a minor, state that you were a college student and she was a senior in high school. And even though you’ve always described your position in that church as “youth pastor,” say you were “on staff.” I call this blurring.

    3. Whenever you get the opportunity, remind everyone that this occurred a long time ago and in a different state. This is called distancing.

    4. Shift everyone’s attention to the steps you’ve taken to make things right. Use qualifiers like “full” to describe your responsibility and “every” to describe the steps you took.

    5. Related to this, employ a very subtle tactic called polishing.

    6. Even though this is all happening because of the pain you caused another, talk extensively about your own pain. Tell people how remorseful and saddened you are. This is called supplication.

    8. You can’t refute what happened, but you can dilute what happened by diverting attention away from it.

    10. Share about the efforts you took to pursue forgiveness. Make your pursuit of forgiveness more important than the pursuit of examination, justice, and restitution.

    11. Tell everyone that you are on the side of healing for the victim. Don’t ask the victim what is needed for her healing, or engage with her directly, but give people the impression that you are her advocate.

    12. After you’ve made all the statements you need to make, begin the process of burying this.

  27. Mary27 wrote:

    I have long had a great distaste for the “celebrity pastor” craze in the evangelical church. However, I was horrified to hear that High Point church gave a standing ovation after hearing that their pastor sexually abused a teen while he was a youth pastor. This makes me feel sick to my stomach. Just common decency and respect for Jules as a human being should prevent that kind of thing. Not to mention that Jesus consistently went out of his way to show compassion to those whom the religious elite of his day wanted to ignore and push aside. And so today I choose to applaud Jules! :-).

    That standing ovation was just one of the sickening things that took pkace on Sunday. Worse was the way that some Highpointers were attacking Jules and defending their hero online.

  28. I have never understood standing ovations in Worship Services. I believe scripture is clear that only He is worthy of our praise. I cringe when politicians receive the ovations (an unfortunately common occurrence in the DFW area). I cannot even begin to comprehend why one would stand to recognize the way-too-late acknowledgement of a person’s sin against a young girl entrusted to their care.

  29. Posted this also over at Cryingoutforjustice.com

    I also believe the “20 years ago” is one of the deliberate tactics he uses to minimize his horrific actions. When reading the posts on the HighPoint Facebook page, many of his supporters note that “Andy was only 20 years old when this happened, etc.” Has anyone ever seen where Savage has admitted his age at the time of the assault? I haven’t. Yet he continues to harp on the “20 years” and people get confused. That is deliberate in my opinion.

    The fact Savage states it happened many years ago “in Texas” places a geographical distancing tactic as well.

    Savage distances himself from the severity of his actions, i,e, Clergy Abuse, by claiming he was a “college student on staff” versus the truth that he was the Youth Pastor.

    So we can see three ways in which he distances himself from his actions: He distances himself by time, by geography, AND by not admitting the truth that he was her Youth Pastor.
    I’m not sure what restoration can be made for someone so devious and manipulative. He should not be in any pulpit ever again.

  30. @Dee–
    “However, we victims’ advocates are carrying big spotlights and women are gaining courage to come forward. #metoo”

    You too?!?!

    I am so sorry. Me too

  31. #justiceforjules

    I have no words but my body has been reeling since this all broke. THIS is the nail in the coffin and the reason why i will never, ever belong to any church again in my lfetime.

  32. Andy Savage, Larry Cotton, Steve Bradley…

    what a mixture of clueless and calculating they each possess.

    Chris Conlee is all calculation, seems to me.

  33. Austin Stone Church crafted a nice statement, saying all the right things. They are a successful corporation with a large budget and staff. ( https://austinstone.org/about/staff ) I would be surprised if they didn’t have a law firm on retainer. Travis Wussow, a former pastor at Austin Stone is now a top man in ERLC. Wussow was a practicing attorney in Texas.

    All this to say the proof is in the pudding. If Larry Cotton failed to notify Law Enforcement about the sexual assault committed by fellow pastor Andy Strange after he was advised of it by Jules Woodson he should be fired. I have no confidence this will happen.

    Sovereign Grace Ministries also conducted a third party investigation into the sexual abuse and conspiracy to cover it up. The results were predictable. C.J. Mahaney is still preaching and will once again be on the stage at the T4G conference this April.

    One hand washes the other.

  34. @ Todd Wilhelm:

    church and successful corporation, all in the same phrase. sure sounds like Jesus to me. 😐

    & too nice of a statement.

    i hope they realize they are being watched very carefully.

  35. @ JYJames:
    I so wish he had not taken money to help Bob Jones U and ABWE stay in business. It just provided cover for two very evil organizations.

  36. After all of the obvious lies that he has told and even including his part in the church merger, I am not a big fan of former victims meeting with their sexual assaulters for a big kumbaya moment. These people are typically manipulators. I always hope for a legal route even years later.

    When Savage used “sexual incident”, I assumed he would insist that is what they call kissing before married. That was the lie he told everyone at the to time, right? Oh dear.

  37. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    Travis Wussow, a former pastor at Austin Stone is now a top man in ERLC. Wussow was a practicing attorney in Texas.

    It’s quite the circle. I forgot about this.

  38. Mike wrote:

    Right after I wrote my previous post I realized something. While I thought my experience was creepy it did not have a lasting effect.

    Why? If it came to it I could not only physically defend myself I was probably more of threat, so I had the upper hand, so I politely said not interested. That is a big difference, who has the power in the situation – both in the moment and over the long term.

    What Andy did was not only the “sexual sin” it was a gross abuse of power

    I’ve been reading a book by a trauma therapist and highly qualified psychiatrist lately (Dr Bessel van der Kolk). This resonates with something he writes. When we are in a traumatic situation, our bodies are designed to fight or to flee. Either way it is something physical. He has observed, over decades of clinical practice and research, that the people who end up most traumatised, with PTSD and things like that, are the ones who were not able to respond or do anything. So your sense of being able to run or fight, to take on this guy, because you were athletic and fairly strong, would have helped you to manage the situation emotionally as well. Whereas for someone in Jules’ situation, where the victim is smaller or weaker or feels trapped somehow and can’t utiltise the fight or flight response their body is producing, the after effects will be much worse.

  39. I wonder if Mr. Savage’s indication that the “sexual incident” was with a high school senior is an attempt to minimize his culpability. His statement gives the impression that somehow the incident was consensual.
    Why not just come out and say that one night while I was a youth pastor I drove a female high school student from my church to a secluded place and forced her to have oral sex?

  40. Sue wrote:

    And how about the cherry on top? did yall see that too?!!! Its on the top of the Front page.
    @ Sister:

    Ew. I missed that. Good catch.

  41. I noticed at the Christian Post several commenters trotted out the usual “she’s in it for the money” garbage. I see this morning that there are several people there now defending Jules and calling out those doubters/accusers who don’t care about victims.

    Since The Christian Post only allows comments from Facebook users, and I don’t have a Facebook account, I am unable to comment in support of Jules. So I ask people here to overwhelm those doubters/accusers over there.

    Oh, and disgustingly, you’ll notice the article headline says “He Repented Immediately”!

    Here is the link to the article:
    https://www.christianpost.com/news/memphis-megachurch-pastor-andy-savage-admits-to-sexually-assaulting-teen-in-past-says-he-repented-immediately-212974/

  42. Sister wrote:

    For a millisecond, when I first read the original story, I wondered if he was really remorseful, when he fell to his knees & begged for forgiveness, but then I realized that was all part of the calculation and manipulation.

    I think this is really important.

    My immediate reaction when I read something like this apology is to believe it. To believe that things just happened and the moment it was done, Andy regretted it.

    But no. It didn’t just occur to him as he was driving Jules home, that he could miss her turning and go off somewhere together. Think about the planning and forethought that must have gone into this. She had to be alone in the car with him. He deliberately didn’t turn down her street. This isn’t a teenage boy nervously grabbing a kiss from a girl as he drops her off. He went somewhere quiet and unobserved, which must have taken planning to decide on. And then he demanded that she perform a very very intimate sexual act on him. I just can’t imagine being able to do that. To physically expose myself and ask another person to touch or kiss me. That either takes a kind of boldness you have to work yourself up to, or it takes a sense of power and control over the other person so that you’re pretty certain they will comply, or you can make them comply.

    So no, these things don’t just happen, and I seriously doubt Andy is genuinely repentant.

  43. “I further disclosed this incident to Chris Conlee before coming on staff at Highpoint and have shared with key leaders throughout my tenure.”

    I seriously doubt Andy Savage disclosed anything more than the stories he told on the weekend, both about the “incident” and the “redemptive process” he went through.

  44. Dan from Georgia wrote:

    Oh, and disgustingly, you’ll notice the article headline says “He Repented Immediately”!

    This is very much promoted doctrine in many circles to restore people immediately. They either do not understand metanoia for current Christians caught or manipulators. It blows my mind because it’s often devastating to victims (and future ones) in more ways than one. I don’t trust people who teach it. It’s not even common sense.

  45. Whew! Some initial thoughts.

    (1) Obligatory standing ovations: the usual play book will plant folks who initiate the ovation by suddenly rising to their feet with applause; those around them join in by compulsion. Savage has enough dude-bros who would do that for him. Standing ovations are never appropriate in such instances – only heartless groupies do such things.

    (2) KLove, Bethany, and Austin Stone Church (Larry Cotton): They have done the right thing. This is not a time to go on a cruise with Andy, publish a book about his ridiculously good marriage (to do so would be ridiculous), or prop up a former pastor who did not respond properly as a mandated reporter of abuse. Finally, a display of common sense in this matter!

    (3) Steve Bradley: It is customary for job candidates to get references from former employers, for church search committees to vet prospective staff. What did leadership at StoneBridge tell the church at Germantown? Accountability floats up: this mess lies squarely in the lap of Mr. Bradley.

  46. In an introductory Psychology college course I teach, I include a discussion on recognizing and dealing with sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace. One of the things I say is: “Find the adult where you are working. There is a man or woman in a position of authority who will deal with these behaviors, who will not tolerate them, who will do the right thing.” Thankfully, in my own work and church life this has almost always been true.

    As I watched the church service from Sunday, I thought OK, here comes the adult, the person of authority, the senior pastor. Nope, he equivocated, was pretty passive, and often vague. There was no leadership there.

    Leadership, by the way, doesn’t say “my door is open,” or “I am here to help.” That’s passive. A leader would have called the victim himself, told her that a fund has been set up for her counseling, and offered to meet with her if she wanted.

  47. The whole story is more evidence for why it’s criminal to teach girls/women to submit to anything that’s not rquired by law and their own conscience.

    And calling it a “sexual incident” trivializes the assault and is designed to give the impression that it was not abuse of power and authority – just some “hanky-panky” between consenting adults.

    Just to be clear:
    Even if he had not asked her for a sex act performed by her on him, it would have been completely inappropriate.
    Even if he had just driven her to that lonely place to force a kiss on her woild have been inappropriate.
    Even if he had just driven her to this place to tell her that he was in love with her it would have been inappropriate.
    Even if he had gone for some ice cream in a public place in order to tell her that he loved her it would have been totally inappropriate.

    He was there to care for her. In most other professions, abusing a mentoring/caring situation for romance would result in negative cosequences for the person in authority.

    Let’s not even get started about the age difference, her vulnerability for various reasons mentioned in the article.

    Why is it taht evangelicals put so much emphasis on sexual sin, so that almost anything outšide marriage is considered sinful, but sexual assault by one person seems to be no worse than consensual premarital relations between consenting adults with no power difference. Evangelicals really do have completely effed-up priorities.

    Virginity is IM not so HO highly overrated, but consent definitely is not.

  48. Mary27 wrote:

    I was horrified to hear that High Point church gave a standing ovation after hearing that their pastor sexually abused a teen while he was a youth pastor

    Which is the appropriate response upon hearing such news in a church service:

    (1) Stunned, confused and motionless
    (2) Falling to your knees to weep and pray
    (3) Quietly exiting the sanctuary to reflect
    (4) Crying out for justice for the victim
    (5) Standing ovation for the abuser

    Only a cult of personality in a house where celebrities are worshiped would choose (5).

  49. One of the commenters at Cry For Justice linked to a Fox news article about this:

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

    Quote:

    In her blog, Jules said she talked to Larry Cotton, who was the Associate Pastor of Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church. After their conversation, she alleges Cotton told her he would talk to fellow church leadership, along with Andy Savage, and she should “not mention anything that had happened to anyone else.”

    I could be misinterpreting this, but that makes it sound like Savage may have had other victims, which wouldn’t surprise me.

  50. Lydia wrote:

    Dan from Georgia wrote:

    Oh, and disgustingly, you’ll notice the article headline says “He Repented Immediately”!

    This is very much promoted doctrine in many circles to restore people immediately. They either do not understand metanoia for current Christians caught or manipulators. It blows my mind because it’s often devastating to victims (and future ones) in more ways than one. I don’t trust people who teach it. It’s not even common sense.

    Lydia, not sure why The Christian Post decided to put that in their title. But it does seem rather disingenuous and implies that “immediately repented” is all that was needed to make the situation right. And my opinion of The Christian Post in general hasn’t gotten any better with this link…seems like they are slow to catch on to doing the right thing as well…like they continued to reprint articles by Mark Driscoll long after he left Mars Hill and brought his circus to Arizona.

  51. Lydia wrote:

    This is very much promoted doctrine in many circles to restore people immediately.

    Saying “Sorry”, “Forgive me” and other expressions of repentance are not enough to restore a teacher who abuses a child, a coach who abuses a child, a neighbor who abuses a child … and it should not justify restoring a pastor who fails morally. Indeed, they should be (and are) held at a higher standard … they have disqualified themselves from ministry.

  52. @ Amy Smith:
    Wow…. good for Jules…

    maybe getting covered at this level will also knock down the bashing of the Roman Catholic Church by Protestants.. I know my secular colleagues do not see much of a difference..

  53. JYJames wrote:

    “Keep in mind, though, that the most thorough and well-written policy is powerless unless it becomes part of the very DNA of the church community.” – Boz Tchividjian

    Otherwise you have the Constitution of a Third World People’s Democratic Republic.
    Or a legal disclaimer on paper in case of lawsuit.

  54. Janey wrote:

    @ Sister:
    Good point about oral sex being Andy’s rape of choice. She couldn’t get pregnant and she was unlikely to tell her parents due to shame.

    And in the words of attorney William J Clinton, “it isn’t really sex”. (And according to the actions of another attorney (Douggie ESQUIRE), as long as there’s no actual Tab A in Slot B – LOOPHOLE! LOOPHOLE!)

  55. JYJames wrote:

    Even to this day, he cannot grasp (by his own admission, his words) what he did and what she experienced (her words and feelings).

    Only the Christianese for “Want. Take. Simple.”

  56. Juulie Downs wrote:


    I have one question from Steve Bradley, who did not return my phone call, “Did you call the police? If not, why not?” Note also his plausible deniability? If I were Larry Cotton, I might be a bit concerned.”

    The other thing he never did was to express any care or support for Jules. What is she, chopped liver?

    My thought exactly. Thank you.

  57. I was scared and embarrassed, but I did it.

    What part of scared don’t they get?

    I have to say, I didn’t initially read that as scared, meaning scared of him per se? Probably because it was followed by her mentioning thinking he liked her. Only later, after you talked a lot about did I think I maybe read this more as nerves/embarrassed kind of scared, while you and I suppose she meant the other kind of scared. That’s probably because of my own personality, but since you were talking to her, I figured your interpretation was more accurate.

    So I focused more on the things Beaker pointed out, about the way this went on differently from a ‘date’. Meaning that he used her. That speaks to his character, no confusion about it at all.

  58. I had a couple of thoughts about this article.

    The inconsistency I noticed was about Savage’s “restoration progress.” Chris Conlee said that Savage underwent a “restoration process” at the church in Texas. However, Steve Bradley said that after Savage apologized to everyone, the church let him go. So, what exactly was this process? Simply being fired? Or did Conlee know this all along and simply lie about a “restoration process” happening? Also, how did Savage get another job? Did Bradley write him a recommendation?

    My other thought was the similarity between how the church and Hollywood have handled these issues. Hollywood isn’t talking about sexual abuse because they just found out. They have always known. Maybe not each specific example, but the casting couch has existed for decades and all of the movers and shakers in that town were friends with Weinstein. Hollywood is only talking about this now because WE now know what is happening. In the same way, these churches NEVER talk about these issues until they are forced to. These churches allowed a sexual abuser access to innocent church folks for DECADES!! Christians, and I have been guilty of this, like to set ourselves up above the culture and cast judgement on it. What this scandal reveals is not only do people in church commit the same sins/crimes, they also cover up and lie about these sins/crimes in the exact same way. A dose of humility and repentance is in order.

  59. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    Austin Stone Church crafted a nice statement, saying all the right things. They are a successful corporation with a large budget and staff. ( https://austinstone.org/about/staff ) I would be surprised if they didn’t have a law firm on retainer. Travis Wussow, a former pastor at Austin Stone is now a top man in ERLC. Wussow was a practicing attorney in Texas.

    All this to say the proof is in the pudding. If Larry Cotton failed to notify Law Enforcement about the sexual assault committed by fellow pastor Andy Strange after he was advised of it by Jules Woodson he should be fired. I have no confidence this will happen.

    Sovereign Grace Ministries also conducted a third party investigation into the sexual abuse and conspiracy to cover it up. The results were predictable. C.J. Mahaney is still preaching and will once again be on the stage at the T4G conference this April.

    One hand washes the other.

    Since it’s already been established that Savage’s church is part of a much bigger coalition, this cannot be overlooked. Please, bloggers, keep the spotlight on this supposed independent 3rd party investigation, or better yet, show why it can’t be allowed to proceed and demand that law enforcement conduct it. Since Jules filed a police report, and, if I understand correctly, there is no statute of limitations on clergy abuse, why can’t an actual detective perform the investigation? It should not be allowed to be performed by the church; it needs to go to the Texas State authorities. Why do we accept the smooth rhetoric and continually underestimate these foxes? (Fool me once,…etc etc)

    This whole thing is just beyond frustrating.

  60. In agreement with wise counsel

    For starters, his counsel was very, very stupid.

    I resigned from ministry and moved back home to Memphis. I accepted full responsibility for my actions.

    Which is why he almost immediately got another ministry job with a similar vulnerable population?????

    Come off it.

  61. He is just sorry that he got caught. The first thing Jules said to me was “he didn’t respond to this email.” I knew, at that moment, that I was dealing with a man who stuffed his past in a closet and hoped it would never come to light.

    Nailed it.

    They’re mad because they thought they got away with it ’20 years ago’ and shouldn’t have to answer for it now. Sorry folks, that’s not how it works.

  62. JYJames wrote:

    Further down on Savage’s very own blog about a Liar, Savage says, “Ultimately, lying is image control.”
    Which is exactly what Savage, his pastor colleagues and pew cronies have done for 20 years, even yesterday in his very own church, to the victim, to the public, to the church at large, to the Media, and in the presence of God. Lying for image control.

    Well said.

  63. Mike wrote:

    What Andy did was not only the “sexual sin” it was a gross abuse of power

    This is very, very important. Sexual abuse is not about sex. It is about power.

  64. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    I’ve been in contact with a couple of local (or at least “lots more local than Arizona”) people who are thinking about protesting at Highpoint Memphis next Sunday

    Please keep us posted. Some of your group might be able to attend.

  65. I wish I could feel more optimistic about the statement of Austin Stone Church, but I don’t. Time will tell. After all, another Memphis mega-church, Bellevue Baptist, also conducted an investigation after a blog disclosed a clergy child molestation cover-up, and even though the investigation ultimately concluded that senior pastor Steve Gaines had indeed kept quiet about the molestation — in part because the molesting minister had asked forgiveness — Gaines remained as senior pastor. Not only were there no real consequences, but Gaines’ career advanced. He’s now president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

  66. Gus wrote:

    Virginity is IM not so HO highly overrated, but consent definitely is not.

    Yes – this is exactly how I felt about my religious sexual education. Consent was irrelevant.

  67. Max wrote:

    Only a cult of personality in a house where celebrities are worshiped would choose (5).

    In my experience, this is true for most, if not all, standing O’s.

  68. christa wrote:

    …another Memphis mega-church, Bellevue Baptist, also conducted an investigation after a blog disclosed a clergy child molestation cover-up, and even though the investigation ultimately concluded that senior pastor Steve Gaines had indeed kept quiet about the molestation — in part because the molesting minister had asked forgiveness — Gaines remained as senior pastor. Not only were there no real consequences, but Gaines’ career advanced. He’s now president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

    This is exactly my concern. History repeats.

    Please, Jules, be the squeaky wheel with Texas Law Enforcement. Don’t allow them to do it their way.

  69. David wrote:

    This crap about “he was young”? Look, I was 22/23 and leading Sunday School where the only students were teen girls, and a midweek study with a more mixed group. Guess what? It’s not difficult to do.

    It’s called common decency (which as noted is not so common) and professional ethics.

    Even on dates, even in apartments/hotel rooms with teenage men who were clearly interested, NONE OF THEM treated me as poorly as this man did his teenage youth group member. His behavior is appalling.

  70. passerby wrote:

    Don’t allow them to do it their way.

    “Them” being Austin Stone Church.

    And I just noticed that the word “Stone” is in two of these churches’ names. It’s too easy to get them mixed up. Of course the biblical/spiritual subliminal word association isn’t lost on me. It just pisses me off more.

  71. Tracy wrote:

    But all the while, absolutely no regard for Jules experience of that horrid ordeal and for the aftermath that she’s had to endure. That is NOT the heart of Christ and therefore its not the gospel!

    It’s very ‘I apologized and left that job! (while going almost immediately to another). What more do you want?’

    Sometimes ‘sorry’ ain’t enough, folks.

  72. Janey wrote:

    To the *defiant* Steve Bradley at StoneBridge Church:
    If you had to discipline this man for misconduct, then turned around and gave this man a good recommendation, YOU are a snake.

    Exactly.

    Which is why I REALLY want to hear from the church who hired him after this!

  73. This has been triggering for me. I was abused by a pastor almost 30 years ago, when I was 23; he got me to participate by leading me to think that was my only way to God. Once I started talking about it, about 10 years later, people minimized it – even my own in laws. The struggle to get beyond it, and to really find Christ, was incredible.
    I know your pain and confusion, Jules, and it breaks my heart that women still go through this, and that it is still minimized and swept under the rug, often in the name of forgiveness. Minimizing it, sweeping it under the rug, and re-victimizing the victim is not forgiveness, and it is not Godly.

  74. @ dee:
    Completely agree…. and getting a standing ovation when it was presented to the current church proves this is all about power….
    At least some pew peons in the Roman Catholic Church are saying enough of the musical chairs with the pervert priests… I am sure many of the pervert priests had very quick repentance, and the went on to molest again….
    And, it is not normal hormones that leads to purposely taking Jules to a remote place, not romantically exciting her, but do what he did… a normal guy would want the women to be attracted to him, not use power/trickery to get her to do the deed..
    I am trying to see another side to this, but by Andy Savages own admission, not saying that his “romantic emotions” overtook him, and the fact that he had already been CAUGHT alone with Jules ticking her in a bedroom, proves this is no rare act….and a profound lack of good judgement… more likely much worse … like a predator..
    Anyone that tries to defend Andy Savage as this being a normal young guy should be ashamed of themselves… As a parent, we expect that people in leadership at churches to have a track record of proper behavior… and preventing predator from infesting the church…

  75. A lot of people yesterday mentioned the ‘I wasn’t engaged yet’ bit to wonder if he was seeing his current wife at the time…but I’d like to point out how it is completely irrelevant and what it’s purpose was in the statement at all!

    Maybe this is just him saying he may have been abusive, but at least he didn’t cheat?? It felt very out of place.

  76. Lydia wrote:

    After all of the obvious lies that he has told and even including his part in the church merger, I am not a big fan of former victims meeting with their sexual assaulters for a big kumbaya moment. These people are typically manipulators.

    I feel like if someone is really sorry for what they did, feel free to write a very long letter explaining so and promising never to bother me again.

    Of course, that would be putting it in writing, which snakes never want to do.

  77. Liz wrote:

    So no, these things don’t just happen, and I seriously doubt Andy is genuinely repentant.

    If he had only kissed her, I might buy it. This?? No.

    He got what he wanted and then he switched over to damage control. If he said I’m so sorry, I will tell the church immediately? And resign? And report myself to the police??? Maybe. Maybe I would believe it. This is not what he did. True repentance looks different.

  78. Gus wrote:

    Why is it that evangelicals put so much emphasis on sexual sin, so that almost anything outšide marriage is considered sinful, but sexual assault by one person seems to be no worse than consensual premarital relations between consenting adults with no power difference.

    This way of thinking leads to all sorts of errors. This is why I am beginning to loath things being described merely as ‘sin’. No. There is a lot more to it than that.

  79. Sandra wrote:

    I appreciate the obvious lie Savage made by stating he was a just college “staffer” (20 years ago, a long ways away in Texas) in his official statement.

    Savage’s bio on Highpoint’s website reveals a different take…

    “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. ”

    Why minimize your previous job title when it’s so easily disproven by reading the bio at your current job?? Sheesh! I hope the police take this into account.

    Here’s the link
    http://www.highpointmemphis.com/andy-savage

    He also posited in his statement that it was “MORE than 20 years ago”–he is being dishonest (yes), dismissive (yes–it was of so little consequence to him that he can’t bother to pay attention to the dates), &/or is so bad at math that one should question his intelligence (also, yes).

    Andy, the date you assaulted Jules was NOT “more than 20 years ago”. Quit trying to minimize this, stand up, and take your medicine like a man!

    You already have a millstone around your neck for your wicked (and to this day, uncaring) abuse of a young girl in your charge; quit compounding it by misleading your “supporters” and tricking them into the sin of attacking an innocent victim (and thereby putting millstones around their necks).

    If you actually ever entered ministry to bring Christ’s joy, peace, and love to anyone, start by bringing healing to Jules and to your “church”. Openly admit the entirety of your guilt & vociferously denounce anyone who supports your actions in the slightest and criticizes the victim. Take your legal medicine and plead “Guilty” if charges are brought (incidentally, the apostle Paul gladly endured his chains for the sake of Christ when he was doing good work for the Lord—should’t you accept your chains when you were doing destructive things in the name of God?)

    Your “repentance” and “remorse” are not remotely believable until you are ready to humbly accept the consequences of your sexual assault and until your hurt is greater for Jules than it is for yourself.

    Jesus showed He cared more about others than himself. You don’t.

  80. @ Ricco:
    Three actresses that are taking on Weinstein were purposely not invited to the Globes Awards. They have been tweeting about it for 2 days but the media is not picking it up.

  81. Lea wrote:

    He got what he wanted and then he switched over to damage control. If he said I’m so sorry, I will tell the church immediately? And resign? And report myself to the police??? Maybe. Maybe I would believe it. This is not what he did. True repentance looks different.

    Exactly. He plotted, scouted, planned, and acted. Even that night he apologized *after* he got what he wanted! It was all good ……. until Jules went public and everybody knew!

  82. @ Lea:
    Good point. Put it in writing. I had not thought of that immediately but it’s a great point. Obviously, Savage knew better than to email her back. But she still did not go away.

  83. passerby wrote:

    Since it’s already been established that Savage’s church is part of a much bigger coalition,

    C’mon, out with it! That bigger coalition is the SBC; I will say it, and I have been an SBCer all my life. My husband is not a pastor, but he does preach occasionally, while I have stopped attending church mostly because of the attitudes towards women.
    SBC = Southern Boyz Club

  84. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Molly245:

    for that matter, #metoo

    I am so sorry. Hang on to Jesus & remember that God watches over sparrows and “the least of these”

    Hugs

  85. Gus wrote:

    Why is it taht evangelicals put so much emphasis on sexual sin, so that almost anything outšide marriage is considered sinful, but sexual assault by one person seems to be no worse than consensual premarital relations between consenting adults with no power difference. Evangelicals really do have completely effed-up priorities.

    That is precisely why it took me over 10 years to realize what happened to me was sexual assault, not my being a bad girl, even though:
    1) He was my pastor, counseling me on problems I had due to having been raped at 12 years old
    2) I was a fairly new Christian, and he convinced me I was too bad to follow Christ on my own
    3) He was 29 years older than I was; I was 23 and he was 52.

    Too many still put coercion and rape in the same bucket as consensual sexual activity. Nothing can be more different.

  86. Lea wrote:

    A lot of people yesterday mentioned the ‘I wasn’t engaged yet’ bit to wonder if he was seeing his current wife at the time…but I’d like to point out how it is completely irrelevant and what it’s purpose was in the statement at all!

    Maybe this is just him saying he may have been abusive, but at least he didn’t cheat?? It felt very out of place.

    I think it has to do with the mindset you see in some circles, that young men cannot help themselves and so the solution is to marry them off as early as possible to avoid sin. In those same circles, wives are shamed for ever wanting to say “no” to their husband’s “physical needs.”

    See? Problem solved! He gets “it” wherever, whenever, and however he wants. (See Mark Driscoll and Doug Wilson, for starters, for details.)

    It seems more and more that complementarianism is a hiding place for awful things.

  87. Sue wrote:

    I don’t even like to clap after a song for special music.
    We are worshipping God not the musician.

    So how does applauding a musician for a performance well done have equivalence with worshiping said musician?

  88. @ Beth Duncan:
    My jaw just dropped. Horrifying, but unfortunately much too common. I hope he gets (got) his comeuppance, before the Throne if not before the magistrate. Hugs to you, Beth.

  89. refugee wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    A lot of people yesterday mentioned the ‘I wasn’t engaged yet’ bit to wonder if he was seeing his current wife at the time…but I’d like to point out how it is completely irrelevant and what it’s purpose was in the statement at all!

    Maybe this is just him saying he may have been abusive, but at least he didn’t cheat?? It felt very out of place.

    He actually never said he didn’t cheat on his (now) wife–saying (as he did) “we weren’t ‘engaged’ yet” vs “we we weren’t ‘dating’ yet” tells us he was, in fact, sexually abusing a young girl in his charge while dating his wife.

    If he really told his wife all the details before they got engaged, she is culpable in all of this. If she knew all the details, did nothing, married him anyway, and encouraged him to be in ministry even after that, she bears some blame, here, for letting it get this far.

    If, when I was dating my wife–and before we got engaged–she told me that in her capacity as a church youth pastor, she had coerced a 17-year old into performing oral sex on her, there would have been no wedding, no future ministry career together, etc.

    Either Andy is totally lying about his having informed her of all of the details (with his lying being a distinct possibility/probability given his lack of forthrightness in his statements), or she is an enabler.

    Those things are hard to come to grips with, but are hard truths. We have seen it before. Jerry Sandusky (the notorious Penn State child rapist) was married to a woman who used to turn a blind eye and ear when her husband took young boys in their basement. At Fellowship Memphis, Heather Loritts Trotter (wife of the music minister taking illicit videos of women and children in the church bathroom, their home bathroom, etc.) stayed married to Rick Trotter even after she well-knew what he was doing (in fact, she stayed married to him until he finally got caught again at another church, and it was publicized in the news); sadly, she and Rick had a code word that, if spoken, she would not ask him what he was doing. Truly, partners in crime.

  90. Song of Joy wrote:

    Video of 1/7/18 service (Savage confession and Conlee message) is now disabled.

    It was inevitable. Doesn’t mean they’ve come to their senses. Just that someone persuaded them it looks bad to the public.

  91. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    C’mon, out with it! That bigger coalition is the SBC; I will say it, and I have been an SBCer all my life.

    Not trying to be vague or shy or whatever it is you think I’m doing, Nancy2. Lazy, perhaps, in that going back to the thread featuring 900+ comments to isolate what bigger group someone discovered Savage’s church to be a part of was a feat I wasn’t up to. So, yeah, guilty. And while you are no doubt correct about the SBC affiliation, the coalition I recall went by another name…something like the Gospel Coalition? Furthermore, as my nom de plume indicates, as a “Doner”, I’m merely a passerby as it pertains to the greater who’s who, and what’s what in the chronic disgrace called Church.

  92. refugee wrote:

    Song of Joy wrote:

    Video of 1/7/18 service (Savage confession and Conlee message) is now disabled.

    It was inevitable. Doesn’t mean they’ve come to their senses. Just that someone persuaded them it looks bad to the public.

    I’m sure that their lawyer/PR firm told them to take it down.

    Just think how much of the congregation’s money will be spent in legal/PR fees trying to cover this up for Andy’s personal benefit. With such 6-figure sums, I wonder how many homeless could be fed, single moms could be provided child care, etc. if Andy would simply honorably accept responsibility and step down.

    Again, I call of attendees/members of Highpoint to immediately close their wallets. I would also call on those members who see this as wrong to demand complete financial accounting and check into fraud charges for the misuse of the congregation’s donations for personal enrichment/protection! These guys (Conlee and Savage) are not covering for Highpoint (in fact, they have made Highpoint an object lesson for all of America about the evil problems of Christian group-think), and God can fend for himself without lawyers and PR firms, thank you! It is time to wise up and realize the only people Conlee and Savage care about are Conlee and Savage! #NotOnMyDime

  93. Janey wrote:

    I have trouble believing this was his first sexual attack.
    It has so many features that make it seem that he already had a strategy in place and was just waiting for a victim.

    It’s similar to this guy:

    Evangelist Clayton Jennings Steps Away From Ministry After Multiple Sex Partners Come Forward
    https://www.christianpost.com/news/evangelist-clayton-jennings-steps-away-from-ministry-after-multiple-sex-partners-come-forward-171842/

    Jennings manipulated numerous young, naive, too trusting Christian ladies into sex.

    Regarding the headline: I wouldn’t say they were “sex partners,” more like victims of his con game. When you get sex from women in the way that he did (abusing his status as Christian celeb, preying on their vulnerability and naive natures), I don’t regard it as consensual sex.

  94. Muff Potter wrote:

    Sue wrote:
    I don’t even like to clap after a song for special music.
    We are worshipping God not the musician.

    So how does applauding a musician for a performance well done have equivalence with worshiping said musician?

    I have no problem clapping after a musician, but there are also times when it feels appropriate and times when it does not (we have end of service music, and sometimes a piece is particularly moving and people will clap. But not during service).

    Regardless, clapping at ‘my pastor totally used his former youth group student once’ is beyond the pale.

  95. @ BD:

    It’s interesting seeing that laid out in a list like that. All those points occurred to me as I read blog and news coverage on what happened, but it brings it into sharper focus to see it itemized by someone else.

    You can definitely see how Savage and his church are following all those steps to avoid Savage paying consequences.

  96. Pingback: Linkathon! - PhoenixPreacher UNITED STATES

  97. passerby wrote:

    something like the Gospel Coalition?

    Yeah, that too – TGC. But abuse seems to be rampant in the SBC – has been in some form or fashion for decades. And, after years of doing various tasks in SBC churches, I’m pretty close to being where you are – done.

  98. Where are the female evangelical leaders right now? #Silenceisnotspiritual sounded good-for a minute! Until it might cost them to speak up. Jules, you apparently have more guts and integrity than all these women combined. “Speak up! We’ve got your back!” Right…

    The support you have gotten doesn’t erase the terrible pain you have experienced with the way this is being “handled” the second time around. Why would a woman ever come forward? There is no real protection from the leaders-male or female. THEIR SILENCE DOES NOT SPEAK FOR ME!!! Grace and peace in this ongoing trauma, Jules. You are not alone but you might have to be content with support from the “little people.”

  99. @ Lydia:
    I wasn’t specific enough. Those people are true heroes. What has rubbed me the wrong way about Hollywood is the older men and women who have gained fame and wealth from the Hollywood system jumping on the train only after younger and more vulnerable people stuck their necks out and spoke the truth. Now these people want to jump in and get #metoo accolades when they have known for decades and done nothing. I’m not talking about victims, I’m talking about people who knew there were victims and stayed silent. That is where I see the parallel to how churches too often handle these situations extremely poorly.

  100. Liz wrote:

    That either takes a kind of boldness you have to work yourself up to, or it takes a sense of power and control over the other person so that you’re pretty certain they will comply, or you can make them comply.

    IMO, it also shows he likely did it before her. There are probably other victims. If there are, either before or after Jules, I hope they gather the courage to step forward too.

  101. @ BD:
    Nya Ha Ha, My Dear Wormwood.
    Nowhere do we corrupt so effectively as at the very foot of the Enemy’s altar!

  102. @ Ricco:
    Oh they are snubbing some real victims. Especially the ones who knew. The real Brave ones were not invited. They aren’t following the script.

  103. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    He actually never said he didn’t cheat on his (now) wife–saying (as he did) “we weren’t ‘engaged’ yet” vs “we we weren’t ‘dating’ yet” tells us he was, in fact, sexually abusing a young girl in his charge while dating his wife.

    Don’t forget…
    “I did now Know her in a Biblical sense.”
    — Douggie Phillips ESQUIRE (aka Little LORD Fauntleroy)

  104. DrMike wrote:

    “I further disclosed this incident to Chris Conlee before coming on staff at Highpoint and have shared with key leaders throughout my tenure.”
    I seriously doubt Andy Savage disclosed anything more than the stories he told on the weekend, both about the “incident” and the “redemptive process” he went through.

    You may be completely right there, maybe Savage only gave a watered-down version of what happened, but I wonder.

    I wouldn’t put it past some pastors to hear the full on, gory, true and real version with all the graphic details, and still hire the guy. That is how bad I think some churches are these days.

    I don’t think churches are safe places for people at all, especially not for girls and women.

  105. I have one question for Andy’s church. Why did you give Andy a standing ovation? Why did you clap at all? Please tell me why you would condone this behavior? Clapping and standing at the same time means you are pleased at what you just experienced and heard. If he would of committed another felony, like maybe murder, would you guys of only clapped and not stood? He admitted to doing something against the law. Let’s not even talk about the sin against God that he is guilty of, by his own admission. Where in the gospel does it say that Christians need to become stupid upon being saved?

  106. Lydia wrote:

    This is very much promoted doctrine in many circles to restore people immediately. They either do not understand metanoia for current Christians caught or manipulators. It blows my mind because it’s often devastating to victims (and future ones) in more ways than one. I don’t trust people who teach it. It’s not even common sense.

    Do these types of Christians have two standards in place, one for church people one for non-Christians?

    If they wouldn’t trust a non-Christian alcoholic to be alone with their liquor cabinet, for example, why would they allow a Christian one? Their theology must blind them to the reality of human nature.

  107. refugee wrote:

    I think it has to do with the mindset you see in some circles, that young men cannot help themselves and so the solution is to marry them off as early as possible to avoid sin.

    This is called “a Marriage of Continence”, i.e. a marriage entered into solely to legalize the sex.

    Such marriages do not have a good track record.

    In those same circles, wives are shamed for ever wanting to say “no” to their husband’s “physical needs.”

    Just like in pornography!
    The Man gets it anyway, anytime he gets the urge.

  108. Ricco wrote:

    The inconsistency I noticed was about Savage’s “restoration progress.” Chris Conlee said that Savage underwent a “restoration process” at the church in Texas.

    That anything like Josh Duggar’s?

  109. Lea wrote:

    A lot of people yesterday mentioned the ‘I wasn’t engaged yet’ bit to wonder if he was seeing his current wife at the time…but I’d like to point out how it is completely irrelevant and what it’s purpose was in the statement at all!

    Maybe this is just him saying he may have been abusive, but at least he didn’t cheat?? It felt very out of place.

    If he had consensual oral sex with another woman while exclusively dating his wife, that would still have been cheating. Period. Plenty of relationships are destroyed by this kind of behavior. So, none of this “we weren’t even engaged” stuff.

    So, now that he has essentially admitted to cheating on his now wife… lets get back to the crux of this: He raped a teenager. He is throwing in the “not even adultery” shtick to distract from the fact that he raped a teenager while serving in the capacity of her Bible Teacher. He is also neatly switching out the victim. He has enough sense to not directly switch himself in for the victim, so instead he substitutes his wife. He wants us to think that his wife is the biggest victim here.

  110. Gus wrote:

    Why is it taht evangelicals put so much emphasis on sexual sin, so that almost anything outšide marriage is considered sinful, but sexual assault by one person seems to be no worse than consensual premarital relations between consenting adults with no power difference. Evangelicals really do have completely effed-up priorities.
    Virginity is IM not so HO highly overrated, but consent definitely is not

    Virginity really is not valued among most Christians.

    Many Christians will pay grudging respect of virginity (or celibacy) on pod casts or blogs when asked about it, but they don’t respect it in reality. I’m still a virgin, and I see this disrespect for it all the time.

    The church mocks people like me who are virgins past the age of 25/30. Adult virgins are considered odd balls or as failures, or Christians dismiss us or our existence by saying, “you have the gift of celibacy” (no, I / we don’t).

    As a matter of fact most Christians, even the ones who claim to respect virginity, refuse to believe anyone over 18 or 25 is a virgin. Look at the Highpoint defense of Andy Savage: there was some remark by one of the pastors in the sermon or in the statement defending him that “every one is guilty of sexual sin like this. Come on, we’ve all had pre-marital relations, so who are you to judge poor Andy”.

    As someone who’d like to be having sex but who has refrained well into her 40s, I’m sitting there thinking, “No not all of us have done that pre-marital diddling.”

    I do think to many churches view sexual assault in the right way. They always want to make the victim equally responsible as the abuser.

  111. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    @ Amy Smith:
    Wow…. good for Jules…

    maybe getting covered at this level will also knock down the bashing of the Roman Catholic Church by Protestants.. I know my secular colleagues do not see much of a difference..

    There is very little difference, except the Protestant ministers at the local level have far surpassed their Catholic priest brethren in learning to profiteer from their lustful greed. Not many local parish priests living in million-dollar homes.

    By decentralizing from a Vatican set-up, the Protestant preachers get to keep the vast ministry gold for themselves without commission to the Pope. All they have to do to keep making money is not rat out the other ministers.

  112. Correction. In my last post I said,
    “I do think to many churches view sexual assault in the right way. They always want to make the victim equally responsible as the abuser.”

    I meant, most churches view sexual assault in the WRONG way. (That post is still as of my writing this still sitting in queue, yet to be published.)

    Contrary to Gus’ point above that I was addressing, I was saying that most Christians do not respect sexual abstinence – they may claim to do so, but in practice, they do not. They assume every one is or has in the past engaged in premarital sex.

  113. Daisy wrote:

    I don’t think churches are safe places for people at all, especially not for girls and women.

    I would not trust a complementarian/patriarchal church at this point. Never. Too much wrong thinking going on, that easily leads towards this sort of outcome.

    Other churches will have problems, as does the rest of the world, but at least they haven’t added to it with a belief that women are less important/believable/valuable than men.

  114. NJ wrote:

    I could be misinterpreting this, but that makes it sound like Savage may have had other victims, which wouldn’t surprise me.

    I too think he’s got more than one victim in his past, either pre- or post- Jules. I just hope they also go public.

  115. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    And in the words of attorney William J Clinton, “it isn’t really sex”. (And according to the actions of another attorney (Douggie ESQUIRE), as long as there’s no actual Tab A in Slot B – LOOPHOLE! LOOPHOLE!)

    I’ve seen the same mentality among Non-Christian celebrity men.

    A lot of them think that oral sex does not equate to sex or adultery so it’s okay, morally, in their opinion, for a married guy to give or receive oral sex on someone not their spouse.

  116. ER wrote:

    He is also neatly switching out the victim. He has enough sense to not directly switch himself in for the victim, so instead he substitutes his wife. He wants us to think that his wife is the biggest victim here.

    Good point.

    In these circles, coming to your marriage ‘impure’ is thought to harm the other partner in some fashion. Maybe that is his intent, ‘my poor wife I wasn’t completely innocent when we married, but I didn’t cheat on her because we weren’t engaged – feel sorry for her?’

    Weird.

  117. Lea wrote:

    In these circles, coming to your marriage ‘impure’ is thought to harm the other partner in some fashion.

    Also in the crazy ‘true love waits’ stuff they were apparently pedaling, he would have thought Jules was already ‘broken’ because of previous assault. This is how devaluing this theology is.

    (man am I glad my church/I missed this no kissing nonsense!)

  118. @ Lea:

    I’m not sure why you keep asking about the “type” of fear she was experiencing?

    Or what would the variety of fear she had matter to the gist of the story that a pastor guy took advantage of someone younger who was in his care?

    She was already expecting him to drive her home, but then he turned off down a dark, desolate area when he exposed himself and demanded a certain act. That would probably make a lot of girls and women at least somewhat fearful.

    She was expecting ice cream – not to “service his lollipop.”

  119. Ricco wrote:

    The inconsistency I noticed was about Savage’s “restoration progress.” Chris Conlee said that Savage underwent a “restoration process” at the church in Texas. However, Steve Bradley said that after Savage apologized to everyone, the church let him go.

    On the last thread about this, someone described what that church’s idea of restoration and accountability looked like, I quoted them in a post of my own, and commented on it.

    Here’s a link to that:
    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2018/01/05/i-thought-he-was-taking-me-for-ice-cream-one-womans-metoo-story-of-molestation-by-her-former-youth-pastor-andy-savage/comment-page-2/#comment-352276

  120. Ricco wrote:

    These churches allowed a sexual abuser access to innocent church folks for DECADES!! Christians, and I have been guilty of this, like to set ourselves up above the culture and cast judgement on it. What this scandal reveals is not only do people in church commit the same sins/crimes, they also cover up and lie about these sins/crimes in the exact same way. A dose of humility and repentance is in order.

    This is one thing that makes Christianity look like a fraud or a joke to a lot of Non-Christians, and I think it’s one reason Paul wrote in the New Testament for Christians to spend more time policing their own and not the outside world.

  121. Daisy wrote:

    I’m not sure why you keep asking about the “type” of fear she was experiencing?

    I don’t ‘keep asking’ I was merely explaining that I read it differently the first time than I think it was intended. This new article provides more clarification.

    Obviously if you’ve read my comments on this article, you will realize that I am 100% on her side here and think Andy should never have been rehired in ministry.

  122. Daisy wrote:

    I wouldn’t put it past some pastors to hear the full on, gory, true and real version with all the graphic details, and still hire the guy. That is how bad I think some churches are these days.

    I don’t think churches are safe places for people at all, especially not for girls and women.

    Again, Downline Ministries’ Kennon Vaughan (also pastor at Harvest Memphis) and the morally-challenged idiots at Fellowship Memphis (Pastor John Bryson, Pastor Bryan Loritts, Pastor Ben Parkinson, elder Hamp Holcomb, et al) intentionally moved their buddy, Pete Newman (an admitted child-molester out on bail) to Memphis from Missouri and provided housing and work for him, while giving him unfettered access to the unknowing church and and congregation.

    It is also worth noting that one of the Fellowship elders who knowingly approved of providing for the known child molester was Randy Odom, who is now the CEO & President of Memphis Athletic Ministries ( a YOUTH sports ministry)!

    Memphis Athletic Ministries Mission (as per their website)

    Mission And Vision

    “MAM’s mission is to help build godly youth in under-resourced neighborhoods by teaching them to love God, love others and love themselves. Our vision is to develop youth into Christ-centered, productive adults, positively impacting their families and neighborhoods.”

    These guys flippantly pass child molesters and other sexual predators around between ministries like they were Pez candies! They have no conscience, no judgment, and shouldn’t be allowed to lead a dog, much less a ministry!

  123. passerby wrote:

    Since Jules filed a police report, and, if I understand correctly, there is no statute of limitations on clergy abuse, why can’t an actual detective perform the investigation?

    I’m confused about the legalities of all this.

    I think someone on the previous thread said that he can’t be held liable under CSA type laws because there were not CSA laws on the books at the time in Texas.

  124. Lea wrote:

    Which is why he almost immediately got another ministry job with a similar vulnerable population?????

    “We’re very sorry that Mr. Fox killed some hens in this hen house. Mr. Fox said he’s really sorry he did it, so, we’re going to put him in charge of this other hen house over there. That would be the Christian thing to do.”

  125. Lea wrote:

    They’re mad because they thought they got away with it ’20 years ago’ and shouldn’t have to answer for it now. Sorry folks, that’s not how it works.

    Someone up thread (Dan from Georgia) linked to a Christian Post article about this story and there are a number of lunk heads in the comments box saying stuff like,

    “But it was 20 years ago! It was dealt with 20 years ago. Let it go”

    And, “Why now? Why did she wait 20 years, she waited for him to become rich and famous, she’s after his money!!”

    These people who are defending this guy are deluded and willing to justify his actions and brush over it no matter what. It’s creepy.

    Even in this climate of “me too” where women feel a bit more comfortable coming forward, look at the type of nasty push back they’re receiving.

    People assume they’re lying, or in it for money, that they secretly ‘wanted’ the sexual assault. It’s no wonder so many victims of sexual assaults choose to remain quiet about it.

  126. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    a normal guy would want the women to be attracted to him, not use power/trickery to get her to do the deed..

    A few years ago I read a case about a guy who was charged with raping a woman, or attempted rape, and it turned out that he had been participating on forums and blogs for PUA guys (Pick Up Artist), or similar groups.

    These PUA puke faces teach each other how to drug women or how to lie and manipulate women into getting sex. There’s an entire sub-genre of men out there who do nothing but sit around trying to figure out how to rape women and get away with it.

  127. Lea wrote:

    Daisy wrote:

    I don’t think churches are safe places for people at all, especially not for girls and women.

    I would not trust a complementarian/patriarchal church at this point. Never. Too much wrong thinking going on, that easily leads towards this sort of outcome.

    Other churches will have problems, as does the rest of the world, but at least they haven’t added to it with a belief that women are less important/believable/valuable than men.

    My advice would be to not trust ANY church until the pastor’s at that church get on public record calling out (by name) their the pastor friends & professional acquaintances who are doing participating in these cover-ups in the Pervert Protection Program.

    I’ve had lots of pastors (from complementarian and non-complementarian churches, alike) who, when I detail to them what I have seen and why I am “Done” with the church (tho not done with Jesus), say “Well, you should come to my church–it’s different.”

    My response is always the same…”I will, as long as you realize that if I find out you knowingly put a sexual predator around my family without warning us, I am going to literally knock your teeth out.”

    Never had a pastor agree to that stipulation. They are all guilty to one degree or another. I remain “Done.”

  128. Lea wrote:

    coming to your marriage ‘impure’ is thought to harm the other partner in some fashion.

    Yes. He is betting on all that sexual purity teaching he has been doing paying off in dividends. He gets to move the focus away from his victim to his wife. If his wife is the real victim, then his wife gets to forgive him, and demonstrate reconciliation. And he thinks he has significant control over his wife.

    It is all about swapping out the truth for something lesser that he can control. “We weren’t even engaged” = He swaps out adultery for rape and then defends himself against the adultery charge! Classic abuse technique! Swap out the actual charge for a similar one that you can prove didn’t happen.

    He did NOT commit adultery under the legal interpretation of the word. He wasn’t married, in fact, he wasn’t even engaged! It is an easy defense.

    Problem is, adultery is not the charge. Rape of a minor who he had a teacher’s position over is the charge.

  129. To give credit to where credit is due. I received a message from Ann Voskamp on twitter when I called her out on not responding. She said she had literally only read the story 5 minutes ago but she is already posting and pulling no punches. I appreciate that.

  130. Lydia wrote:

    Three actresses that are taking on Weinstein were purposely not invited to the Globes Awards. They have been tweeting about it for 2 days but the media is not picking it up.

    Much of the mainstream press may be ignoring it (or were the other day), but I have seen a few outlets that specialize in celebrity gossip or Hollywood news have been running stories on it.

    Weinstein Accusers Claim They Weren’t Invited to the Golden Globes
    https://pagesix.com/2018/01/08/weinstein-accusers-claim-they-werent-invited-to-golden-globes/

  131. Daisy wrote:

    I wouldn’t put it past some pastors to hear the full on, gory, true and real version with all the graphic details, and still hire the guy. That is how bad I think some churches are these days.

    Another problem with the Memphis churches and how they handled Savage Andy’s admission of the “incident” in Texas – they NEVER contacted Jules independently nor her parents to learn her side of the story!
    Hello – have they heard of due diligence?

  132. refugee wrote:

    I think it has to do with the mindset you see in some circles, that young men cannot help themselves and so the solution is to marry them off as early as possible to avoid sin.

    And yet, under Complementarianism and The Mike Pence / Billy Graham Rule, usually, women are treated as the sexual temptresses, as being the problem.

    The BGR is supposed to be for the safety of men’s reputations, but I wonder if a reversed BGR is actually needed to protect women and girls from sexual predators.

    Though one component of BGR and Complementarinism is that depending upon who is teaching it, there may be an assumption that all men are too hormonal and are sex beasts who will rape a woman given half the chance.

  133. Song of Joy wrote:

    Video of 1/7/18 service (Savage confession and Conlee message) is now disabled.

    Interesting. As more and more media outlets cover this story, I wonder if their church is getting lots and lots of phone calls and other push back?

  134. Deborah wrote:

    To give credit to where credit is due. I received a message from Ann Voskamp on twitter when I called her out on not responding. She said she had literally only read the story 5 minutes ago but she is already posting and pulling no punches. I appreciate that.

    Great

  135. Raswhiting wrote:

    Daisy wrote:

    I wouldn’t put it past some pastors to hear the full on, gory, true and real version with all the graphic details, and still hire the guy. That is how bad I think some churches are these days.

    Another problem with the Memphis churches and how they handled Savage Andy’s admission of the “incident” in Texas – they NEVER contacted Jules independently nor her parents to learn her side of the story!
    Hello – have they heard of due diligence?

    No. But that have head of “willful ignorance” and “plausible deniability.”

    They should be introduced to the terms “accessory to the crime” and “so broke they can’t afford to pay attention.”

  136. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    If he really told his wife all the details before they got engaged, she is culpable in all of this. If she knew all the details, did nothing, married him anyway, and encouraged him to be in ministry even after that, she bears some blame, here, for letting it get this far.

    I have wondered, when Andy said he told his wife what he did to Jules, if he gave her the G-rated sanitized false version, where he said, “We just kissed once”

    Or, if he went into the full, true version, about driving a 17 year old down a dark road at night and demanded she perform on him?

    I could maybe see a woman marrying a guy in spite of a kiss, but coerced oral sex?

  137. Ann V. on Twitter quoted from the NYT article:

    NYT reports: “She said that a pastor of the church, The Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church, urged her to stay quiet when she told him what had happened.
    Instead of telling her to inform the authorities, he told her that the church would address the episode internally.”

    Regarding: “…he told her that the church would address the episode internally.”

    Christianese translation:
    We’re going to sweep this under the rug and not hold the abuser truly accountable.

    Churches investigate sexual abuse cases the way O. J. Simpson looked for his wife’s killer on the golf course.

  138. Daisy wrote:

    I have wondered, when Andy said he told his wife what he did to Jules, if he gave her the G-rated sanitized false version, where he said, “We just kissed once”

    Or, if he went into the full, true version, about driving a 17 year old down a dark road at night and demanded she perform on him?

    I could maybe see a woman marrying a guy in spite of a kiss, but coerced oral sex?

    He probably did give her the PG version, but his official statement says he shared “every aspect” of the “situation” (smh) with her. So he either did share “every” detail, or he is lying. Given his other lies and shading of the truth in this statement, it should cause his “There has never been another situation remotely similar in my life before or after that occurrence” assertion to be doubted.

    Given the way he groomed Jules, I seriously doubt this statement. Given his blithe shading of the truth in the other sentences, maybe he considers “full intercourse rape” or sexually assaulting little boys or adult women in his past to be different, thereby rendering his statement legally accurate.

    Hate to speculate too much, but he brought this on himself by not being forthright.

  139. Daisy wrote:

    Churches investigate sexual abuse cases the way O. J. Simpson looked for his wife’s killer on the golf course.

    Maybe Savage’s next book could be titled “If I Did It”

  140. Lea wrote:

    I don’t ‘keep asking’ I was merely explaining that I read it differently the first time than I think it was intended. This new article provides more clarification.
    Obviously if you’ve read my comments on this article, you will realize that I am 100% on her side here and think Andy should never have been rehired in ministry.

    You’ve brought it up a few times on this thread (‘asking’ or ‘saying’ or ‘commenting’ – all semantics, there) and I believe you brought it up the last one, and I didn’t see the relevance.

  141. Daisy wrote:

    I’m confused about the legalities of all this.
    I think someone on the previous thread said that he can’t be held liable under CSA type laws because there were not CSA laws on the books at the time in Texas.

    I’m still confused, too. A comment was made by “Former Child Abuse Prosecutor” January 6 at 10:56pm on the Friday, January 5 post. He thought that the CSA part of the law was recent. I would link that comment, but I am a too technologically challenged for that.

  142. @ AbuseCrusher:
    Oh yes, I’ve seen the same or similar stories in the news or on other survivor blogs.

    Steve Furtick’s church, for example, as discussed on the Watchkeep blog, put a known pedophile in charge of their men’s sexual purity classes

    Furtick also had the pedo up on stage in front of the whole church for one service, so Furtick could say what a great guy he is, and how inspirational. I think Furtick even said of the guy, “He is one of my heroes.”

    I thought these churches were supposed to be about “glorifying God.” Instead, they are glorifying Pedos and other sexual abusers, which brings shame on the name of God, not glory.

  143. Forrest wrote:

    “A Memphis megachurch pastor received a standing ovation during a church service on Sunday after he admitted that he had engaged in a “sexual incident” with a high school student 20 years ago in Texas.”

    Comrade Stalin and Baba Saddam also received standing ovations. A lot of standing ovations.

  144. This from Anne V Twitter:

    “Church: Silencing the suffering is never, ever, ever the way of Christ.
    Because when we don’t stand with the suffering?
    *We don’t stand with our suffering Savior, who is always with the suffering.”

    She NAILED it!

  145. @ Daisy:
    I haven’t, I brought it up in the previous thread and I mentioned clarification in this one. Can you drop it, then? I think I’ve explained myself.

  146. Lea wrote:

    I haven’t, I brought it up in the previous thread and I mentioned clarification in this one. Can you drop it, then? I think I’ve explained myself.

    You’re being pretty cranky over this quickly.

    I just defended you on here on another thread about a week ago from some guy who was jumping down your throat over home schooling.

  147. Recall the 7th Commandment: “You shall avoid sexual incidents, lest they become regrettable” (Exodus 20:14). I nominate “sexual incident” for Misleading Euphemism of 2018 Award and, though it’s only January 9, I’m declaring it the winner. If he had said, “I sexually assaulted a teenage girl under my care and supervision,” I might have felt at least a little better about his ‘confession.’

    The Dweebs (is that what the bloggers are called?) mentioned the height and weight difference between the rapist and the young woman. To that we should add the age difference–five years difference in age when people are 25 and under–especially when one is a teen and the other has passed the 20 milestone–is just enormous. So he had a title, size and weight, and “towered over” her in age. He said he apologized to everyone, but he didn’t say how his apology was received. And what did he apologize for exactly? No one (according to the published accounts) had any idea WHY he was forced to leave the church. This seems to have left people thinking that he stole a kiss, not a young, feminine soul.

  148. @ Daisy:
    Daisy, honestly, what is it you want me to say here? I’m not ‘cranky’ I just said what I wanted to say and didn’t want to get off on this sidenote…You were calling me out in some fashion, so obviously it bothered you.

    As I said, I fully support Jules. Period.

  149. Ken P. wrote:

    I’m still confused, too. A comment was made by “Former Child Abuse Prosecutor” January 6 at 10:56pm on the Friday, January 5 post. He thought that the CSA part of the law was recent. I would link that comment, but I am a too technologically challenged for that.

    Discouraging, IF it’s true. Best to consult an attorney in Texas. I’d be delighted to contribute to a legal fund should she take that route.

    And as for the accusers saying she’s in it for the money, I’m stunned. Sorry to resort to graphic language here, but who in their right mind would want a single, ****** dollar from these people? Their $$ is filthy. It’s enough that Savage, Cook et al get removed from their positions and start flipping burgers.

    Moderation edit: Watch the language. GBTC

  150. Serious question for the SBC: I get it that churches are considered autonomous so in theory the convention can do nothing about this perp. But on the other hand, had Highpoint hired a woman for his job and ordained her (not a director) the autonomous convention would no longer consider this a cooperating church and bounce them out the door. Had this been a consensual affair between two adult males they would also bounce the church.

    So will the SBC stand up and refuse to cooperate with this church, or is slavery still alive and well?

  151. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    If he really told his wife all the details

    Has Savage ever admitted “the details” – what he did? His story doesn’t line up even in the numbers (dates, ages), his official job title at the time, etc.

    Like Savage says on his own website: http://www.andysavage.com/blog/posts/helpi-married-a-liar “Ultimately, lying is image control. Lying is a very selfish and reckless way to look less guilty, wrong or foolish or to look more impressive, smart or right.”

  152. Ken P. wrote:

    I’m still confused, too. A comment was made by “Former Child Abuse Prosecutor” January 6 at 10:56pm on the Friday, January 5 post. He thought that the CSA part of the law was recent. I would link that comment, but I am a too technologically challenged for that.

    As best I can recall from research on Prestonwood Baptist church, there were both child sexual abuse laws and clergy mandatory reporting laws already on the books in Texas at the time allegations of sexual abuse of male minors by youth music minister John Langworthy surfaced in June 1989, and he was immediately fired. So they would have been in place in 1998 re: Andy Savage and Pastor Larry Cotton.

    I don’t have time to follow up and confirm details — if you do, check the history of law passage and amendments on Texas Family Code Ann. § 261.101. Perhaps Amy Smith of Watchkeep or someone else can confirm what year clergy mandatory reporting was enacted.

    When I was doing some research on Prestonwood, Amy recommended the following article: “The Attorney as Mandatory Reporter,” by Camille Glasscock DuBose and Cathy O. Morris (March 2005, Texas Bar Journal, pages 208-215). The information is geared to those in the legal profession, but there is relevant information on the history of CSA.

    https://www.texasbar.com/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Texas_Bar_Journal&Template=%2FCM%2FContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=11382

    EXCERPT:

    Texas’ first child abuse and reporting statute was enacted in 1965 and stated that any physician “may” report suspected abuse and neglect of a child. Who may report was broadened in 1969 and mandatory language was added in 1971. The 1971 amendment required mandatory reporting by any person who suspected that a child had been the victim of abuse or neglect, and provided immunity for those persons who reported suspected abuse in good faith.

  153. I read that this crime can still be prosecuted. Is this correct? or the statute of limitation has expired?
    I hope this creep gets punished

  154. @ Daisy:
    I like the boy scout rule. No adult man can be alone with a boy unless it is his own son (obviously). It just requires a little more planning, but it is not really hard to implement… If Andy Savages church had enforced this rule ( to include both boys and girls), especially after Andy Savage was CAUGHT alone, in a bedroom, tickling a girl (Jules?) in the youth group, we could all be writing about some other church abuse… But, know, that church, for some unknown reason did not follow through on removing, or highly supervising Andy Savage….. this is what gets me….. the oral sex situtation was NOT the first instance…. If I caught our youth pastor, alone, in a bedroom, tickling a high school girl, I would have forced the church to do somthing drastic… I do not care if the girl is a local prositute know for seducing men…… (but, then we would have another problem).. key is, Jules behavior is a non issue here, it is about Andy Savage, and really it is about both churches and their leadership, or lack thereof…. the more I think about it, the more my blood boils that anyone would even dare say anything hinting of blaming “Jules”….

  155. In the 1990s, my 15-year-old sister was assaulted by a 45-year-old elder/musician in the church basement. My parents believed her but went to the pastor, who said he would talk to and warn the assailant about his behavior. At a follow-up meeting, he convinced them that they and my sister were scripturally bound to forgive the assailant for showing signs of repentance. The pastor also discouraged them from going to law enforcement because public exposure could ruin the church.

    In 2002, an 11-year-old girl broke down at her private Christian school and said that a man was bothering her at church. It was the same elder/musician. This time, the school went straight to law enforcement. The subsequent investigation revealed that the elder/musician had done this from the 1980s. The pattern was repeated frequently, with the pastor convincing him to repent, urging the victims to forgive, and keeping the scandal out of the press.

    The pervasive problem’s exposure led to the pastor being ousted. The elder went to prison for several years. The statute of limitation had expired for many of his victims and because it was a small, rural Pentecostal church, it managed to stay out of the local newspaper.

    To this day, my parents are spirtually torn and confused about how much they’re supposed to “forgive.” I left the church after I became an adult, as did my sister. In hindsight, it’s horrifying to realize that underage victims continued to be brought to services where they could see this man up on the platform playing music (and occasionally speaking from the pulpit). I can’t fathom their pain and horror.

    Today, this Pentecostal church’s membership has dwindled from 200 members to about 30. A good number left and followed the former pastor to his new church. He’s now deceased, but if this scenario happened today, my hope would be that public exposure could lead to greater understanding and intervention in protecting children from these abusive authority figures – and by extension – parents and church networks of devoted members duped into defending their church from “spiritual attacks.”

    There should be an accounting for why public exposure of these events is somehow more scarier to church members than the actual abuse of children.

  156. dee wrote:

    Deborah wrote:

    To give credit to where credit is due. I received a message from Ann Voskamp on twitter when I called her out on not responding. She said she had literally only read the story 5 minutes ago but she is already posting and pulling no punches. I appreciate that.

    Great

    I just posted comment on today’s blog post by Rebecca Kotz at CBE International here:

    https://www.cbeinternational.org/blogs/support-survivors-and-defy-patriarchy-2018

  157. Gus wrote:

    Why is it taht evangelicals put so much emphasis on sexual sin, so that almost anything outšide marriage is considered sinful, but sexual assault by one person seems to be no worse than consensual premarital relations between consenting adults with no power difference. Evangelicals really do have completely effed-up priorities.

    Good question Gus. I have long wondered the same. If sex was that big of a buggaboo-taboo to the Almighty, he’d have done better by making it no more enjoyable and sought after than getting the wheat and barley crop in.

    I have long advocated that Evangelicals rethink human sexuality in terms of a responsible pragmatism rather than a strict one-size-fitz-all dogma.

  158. Geoff Smith wrote:

    I nominate “sexual incident” for Misleading Euphemism of 2018 Award and, though it’s only January 9, I’m declaring it the winner. If he had said, “I sexually assaulted a teenage girl under my care and supervision,” I might have felt at least a little better about his ‘confession.’

    2nding the nomination.

  159. Daisy wrote:

    I could maybe see a woman marrying a guy in spite of a kiss, but coerced oral sex?

    So… One of the things that I believe comes out of the Sexual Purity movement is women who are extremely sexually naive. At 20, I thought that oral sex was french kissing. And, I was not nearly as naive as many of my friends. By 22 I knew differently, but that is largely a result of a public university education, and an all-consuming major that did not allow me to insulate myself the way most Christians I knew wanted me to.

    I also didn’t really have a strong grasp on consensual versus non consensual sex, so I am not sure that I would have recognized it for what it was. Especially if the perpetrator was putting his spin on things.

    I have since come to the conclusion that this systematic lack of information draws sexual predators to conservative churches because they can have their cake and eat it too. In cases like a pastor that has made a living teaching vociferously on Sexual Purity, who then is exposed for Sexual Predation, I have come to believe that the teaching is intentionally to create their own pool of un-informed victims. Bill Gothard anyone? Can’t tell yet if this is the case with Andy Savage, but I would not rule it out at this time.

  160. Sandra Ford wrote:

    Posted this also over at Cryingoutforjustice.com

    I also believe the “20 years ago” is one of the deliberate tactics he uses to minimize his horrific actions. When reading the posts on the HighPoint Facebook page, many of his supporters note that “Andy was only 20 years old when this happened, etc.” Has anyone ever seen where Savage has admitted his age at the time of the assault? I haven’t. Yet he continues to harp on the “20 years” and people get confused. That is deliberate in my opinion.

    Savage distances himself from the severity of his actions, i,e, Clergy Abuse, by claiming he was a “college student on staff” versus the truth that he was the Youth Pastor.

    .

    CORRECT! I was a “college student on staff” in the 70s. ( Minister of Music as it was called back then)
    I was paid, and was in contact with people of all ages…..He is acting like this was some sort of internship.

  161. Daisy wrote:

    This is one thing that makes Christianity look like a fraud or a joke to a lot of Non-Christians

    Sadly, I suspect that this is why the NY Times was so willing to run the story. I’m glad this is being exposed but sad that those who should have been “exposing the wolves” failed…so the task fell to those hostile to Christ. With glee, probably.

  162. Muzjik wrote:

    Daisy wrote:

    This is one thing that makes Christianity look like a fraud or a joke to a lot of Non-Christians

    Sadly, I suspect that this is why the NY Times was so willing to run the story. I’m glad this is being exposed but sad that those who should have been “exposing the wolves” failed…so the task fell to those hostile to Christ. With glee, probably.

    This is what happens when you don’t take care of your “own business.”

  163. @ brad/futuristguy:

    There has been verbage used in some statements, sermons, and/or by supporters that outright states or otherwise implies that what Andy Savage did was consentual.

    RAINN [Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network] has a State Laws Database that covers Sex Crime Definitions, Consent Laws, Mandatory Reporting, Statutes of Limitations, and more.

    Here’s the RAINN section on CURRENT Texas laws, categories, and definitions on consent. Under CURRENT law, looks like Mr Savage would not be able to claim “she consented/went along with it” as a legal defense.

    You’d have to find out what the 1998 consent laws and any other relevant statutes were, to put his case into historical context. The Texas Code references here give some starting points for doing the historical research to find out when the consent laws were adopted and amended.

    https://apps.rainn.org/policy/policy-crime-definitions.cfm?state=Texas&group=9

    [QUOTE]

    Is consent a defense to sex crimes?

    Answer

    Generally, yes where consent is an element of the crime such as with sexual assault. Texas Code Ann. §22.011(b).

    However, a sexual assault is considered to be without consent where the actor is a public servant, mental health services provider or clergyman. Texas Code Ann. §§22.011(b)(8) – (10).

    [END QUOTE]

  164. @ Max:

    Obligatory standing ovations
    +++++++++++++++++

    is it even possible to have a standing ovation that isn’t obligatory?

    to me, unless it’s a true world hero whose selfless actions have had impact on a world scale, standing ovations don’t mean much more than peer pressure.

  165. Sandra Ford wrote:

    So we can see three ways in which he distances himself from his actions: He distances himself by time, by geography, AND by not admitting the truth that he was her Youth Pastor.

    I was thinking about this, too. And he added the words “in college.” Does knowing that he was a college student when the sex abuse occurred give a different perception of him? I think it does.

  166. Sorry Dee you don’t qualify for the blog prophet award for 2018. It was obvious how the Highpoint congregation would respond. They worship their leaders so any minor indiscretion that they may have done only shows that they have a human side. When the leader apologises it further confirms the leader is worthy of worship.

  167. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Maybe Savage’s next book could be titled “If I Did It”

    No, more like this: “I Did It, But She Was Complicit and Consenting.”

    *barf* I can’t believe I wrote that!

  168. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    @ brad/futuristguy:
    There has been verbage used in some statements, sermons, and/or by supporters that outright states or otherwise implies that what Andy Savage did was consentual.

    Because that is now the Official Story/Party Line.

    If it wasn’t consensual, how can you blame the Woman?

  169. elastigirl wrote:

    to me, unless it’s a true world hero whose selfless actions have had impact on a world scale, standing ovations don’t mean much more than peer pressure.

    Or life-and-death survival — Caesar Nero’s lyre concerts, Comrade Stalin’s & Baba Saddam’s speeches…

  170. “I predicted a standing ovation at Highpoint Church on Sunday” (Dee)

    In churches where the God of Entertainment resides, you will find applause, standing ovations, etc. It’s in their DNA. Those churches have stages where pride can strut its stuff, rather than prayer altars. They come with charismatic preachers, cool bands, praise & worship teams with wild hairdos and tight pants, spotlights, elaborate audio/visuals, and espresso coffee to sip while enjoying the show. I call it Christianity Lite.

  171. K.D. wrote:

    This is what happens when you don’t take care of your “own business.”

    Right. I used to think all the crazy stuff I saw reported that was negative about women and so on was just fringe cult nonsense because it wasn’t my personal experience. (If I had seen this story a few years ago I would have assumed this was a totally fringe response). apparently not.

  172. @ Muslin, fka Dee Holmes:
    Regarding the video of the service where he “apologizes”, problems with that notwithstanding, I am so very tired of this type of lowest common denominator flashy type of “show”… to me its a lot of flash and no substance. Not a real “worship service” in my opinion. One of many reasons I am a “done” and now seek fellowship with like minded believers one on one or in small groups.

  173. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    As best I can recall from research on Prestonwood Baptist church, there were both child sexual abuse laws and clergy mandatory reporting laws already on the books in Texas at the time allegations of sexual abuse of male minors by youth music minister John Langworthy surfaced in June 1989, and he was immediately fired. So they would have been in place in 1998 re: Andy Savage and Pastor Larry Cotton.

    However those aren’t the relevant laws. Texas does not define a 17 year old as a “child” for the purpose of these laws. Instead the relevant law is 22.011 (b)(10) [also (b)(1) but that is harder to prove] when the assailant 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”.

    There is a statute of limitations for that (unless there is probable cause to believe that the accused has done this 5 or more times which is one reason to file a police report even though it appears to be too late). A question is when did the (b)(10) go on the books. It seems to have existed in 2004.

  174. I could only get through about 4 minutes of Conlee on that video before I got the feeling it was well rehearsed for a specific outcome i.e. getting themselves off the hook. And the soft background music… I really don’t like it when “churches” do that, it always feels like it is an attempt to manipulate emotions.

  175. I don’t know if Dee meant to insinuate this or not, but………
    In the title ….. “Drop the Mic Moments” …… Well, there wouldn’t have been any “Drop the Mic Moments” if AS hadn’t dropped his pants!

  176. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    It may be disabled on Highpoint’s website, but they broadcast via YouTube and it’s still available there at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyKdluNR95I

    Some tech person needs to grab this video now, before it goes away.

    I’m still stunned at the disconnect. It sounds so churchy and godly. When it’s actually cold and corporate [as in, it’s a corporation in CYA damage control, struggling to protect their market share.]

  177. GSD [Getting Stuff Done] wrote:

    I’m still stunned at the disconnect. It sounds so churchy and godly. When it’s actually cold and corporate [as in, it’s a corporation in CYA damage control, struggling to protect their market share.]

    I wonder if they had prep coaches who told them what to say and how to present themselves (behave in front of the masses)???

  178. @ Lea:

    “Even on dates, even in apartments/hotel rooms with teenage men who were clearly interested, NONE OF THEM treated me as poorly as this man did his teenage youth group member. His behavior is appalling.”
    ++++++++++

    indeed. who pulls it out, cold turkey, and says do it as a first attempt at intimacy with someone they are interested in?

    it would have been inappropriate with someone mature and experienced, let alone someone young and in years and life experience.

  179. I wonder what would’ve happened if at the church service at Highpoint on Sunday, Andy had said…

    ****THIS IS WHAT ANDY SAVAGE SHOULD HAVE SAID AT THE SERVICE, BUT DIDN’T******

    “Wait. Stop the music and the emotional pleas and orchestrated manipulations for people to feel sorry for me. I, Andy Savage, sinned greatly–against a young girl, my Lord, and multiple ministries by my horrific actions and through my lack of willingness to take responsibility.

    Today, I take full–let me say that again–FULL–responsibility for sexually assaulting a high school student under my care when I was her youth pastor. What I did was reprehensible. She trusted me. I was her picture of God when she was a vulnerable, impressionable youth, and I betrayed her.

    *****(ANDY SAVAGE SHOULD’VE SAID THIS, BUT DIDN’T)**********

    I want to first apologize to Jules. I never did so appropriately. I am sorry that I abused my position, your trust, and treated you like less than a person. I’m sorry that my abuse involved coercing you to do things for my contemptible sexual pleasure; I am sure that night has been the cause of great consternation and spiritual questioning for you over these many years; it should’ve been more so for me, and I am now ashamed I am sorry that this apology is necessary and even more sorry that it is 20 years late in coming. I am sorry that I never humbled myself to apologize to your family for abusing their trust, as well.

    I am sorry that I attempted to sweep my sexual assault on your innocence under the rug for these many years, in hopes that I would not be disqualified from what I wanted to be a lifetime occupation in ministry. I now realize that I wanted all of the perks from the pulpit with none of the responsibilities.

    *******(ANDY SAVAGE SHOULD’VE SAID THIS, BUT DIDN’T)**********

    I do take full responsibility for my wicked actions, now, and if there are legal consequences, so-be-it. If charged, I will plead “guilty”, because I am. I offer no legal defense nor gamesmanship for what I have done. The Apostle Paul spent time in prison for good works; it seems that I should expect no less for the actual evil I have done. I am ready to take what is coming to me. I put aside my thirst for comfort and now thirst only for righteousness.

    I trust God’s care, and, if I end up in prison, I pray that He will make me useful there.

    ****(ANDY SAVAGE SHOULD’VE SAID THIS, BUT DIDN’T)******

    I am stepping down from occupational ministry, effective immediately. I know that I am biblically unqualified to be on the pulpit . Yet, I also know that there are other ways I might be even more effective for the Kingdom’s sake, but they will require a transparency and humility that I have not shown to this point in my life.

    I also call on the people who helped me to cover up my misdeeds to step down from professional ministry. While you did not commit the first sin, you compounded it. Your actions hurt an already suffering young girl, were illegal, and led us to where we are today, with the world looking on in disdain at a dis-functional church that doesn’t seem to be able to delineate right from wrong to people who clearly expect God’s light to shine distinctly from the church over the moral issues of our day. There needs to be renewal, healing, and a restoration of faith in the church as an institution. I am sorry that I put you in a position to sin, and I hate that none of us were courageous enough to do the right thing. Certainly this apology is for may actions alone, but I hope the Spirit of God moves you to bring a revival of healing.

    ***(ANDY SAVAGE SHOULD’VE SAID THIS, BUT DIDN’T)*********

    I am sorry to you, my congregation at Highpoint. I have put you in the position of feeling as if you had to defend the indefensible in me. Because you liked and looked up to me, you stood steadfastly beside me when I truly didn’t deserve it. I like to think I got into ministry to help others, but I have shown no concern for anyone but myself and have led you astray and caused such pain. You need better from a shepherd. But if you will grant me one last bit of “authority”…I beseech you 2 things…1. Do not in any way criticize the victim for my fall from grace. The millstone I wear is just and is mine alone. But, please do not make yourself fitted for millstones by further hurting Jules or showing a cruelty and blind loyalty to the undeserving that might turn others away from Christ. 2. Never let any man be your conduit to God. No man is worthy. No man is necessary. The curtain has been torn. You are literate and know how to read your own Bibles, even without the pithy extra-Biblical exposition you listen to in church or pick up for purchase in your local Christian bookstore.

    ****(ANDY SAVAGE SHOULD’VE SAID THIS, BUT DIDN’T)********

    I have apologized to my Lord and God and to my family. I will keep that private, but know that it is a pain and regret that aches deep in my bones. Unfortunately, my suffering is shared by them, and I have brought my shame upon them, as well. Hard times are ahead, as our lives change drastically, but while I don’t know what the future holds, I do know Who holds the future, and I trust Him.

    Don’t fret for me. I will be fine. Concern yourselves with ministering to those who are hurting, whether it be Jules, the person sitting next to at this service, or the forgotten hungry man on the corner. I’m sorry that I have let you down. Know that God won’t. Don’t applaud me for being late to being honest before you, God, and those I’ve hurt; save your applause for God when you see what He does with this mess after we humble ourselves. Please, go live out the Word, and I will try to do the same.

    HOW MUCH DIFFERENT WOULD THINGS BE, IF ANDY HAD SAID THESE THINGS, INSTEAD OF ISSUING SELF-SERVING SPIN?

    If a PR firm has handled this mess (Caissa?), it should be fired and payment should be cancelled, because honesty and accountability from leadership were all that were necessary to change Highpoint from being a horrible joke of a church into a shining light for God amidst the storm. Blown opportunity.

    Can you imagine how people would’ve flocked to such a church?

    Of course, it would’ve required Savage and Conlee actually caring more about others than themselves. I guess they just didn’t know how to fake that, much less live it. Blown opportunity. Blown lives.

  180. OH, wow! I just happened to catch the tail end of the news preview …….. I think they are going to air at least part of Jules’ interview on the CBS Evening News! I ‘ll let ya know if they do!

  181. Max wrote:

    I call it Christianity Lite.

    The ironic part is churches like this often criticise “high church” traditions because of the “dead rituals.” But they end up replacing them with arguably deader rituals.
    Q: “Do you have any traditions?”
    A: “No, we pretty much so the same thing every week.”
    …Nothing new under the sun.

  182. Well they did. The story went nation wide on CBS.
    The reporter said that Savage was 22 at the time.
    The reporter also said that the church told her that there would be more information later. Makes me wonder what they’re up to…….

  183. CBS did a great job. They scanned the photo of Andy and managed to show him towering in size over Jules. They played Jules saying that what happened to her was against the law. And they narrated the fact that Andy instructed her to keep it secret and take it to her grave,

    They also said Highpoint would have additional comment soon.

  184. Lea wrote:

    Also in the crazy ‘true love waits’ stuff they were apparently pedaling, he would have thought Jules was already ‘broken’ because of previous assault. This is how devaluing this theology is.

    Ever since I read this, I’ve been thinking “Holy s___! That’s probably what my ‘pastor’ thought!” Since I not only was raped as a kid, but also was sexually active once I got close to adulthood, he probably thought it didn’t matter what he did to me. Jules, if you’re reading this, we’re not broken! Those ‘pastors’ are!

  185. Jules did a great job on CBS News! I’m so sorry that this is what it took for what he did to her to be recognized.

    My roommate is a former youth leader and currently does pulpit supply. We watched the segment together and he sat in shock. He was amazed that the church did that service Sunday morning and let him on stage. He facepalmed when I told him they pulled the “He Who is without sin” sermon out that morning and about the “You are worthy Andy!” moments from the off-pitch singer. We ended watching it with him saying that if he were the a pastor Highpoint right now, he would have resigned afterward instead of give that sermon.

    And this is part of the abuse that continued 20 years later. Yes, the assault happened in 1998, but the lying and enabling continues today. What Andy Savage did was illegal and horrible, but what Conlee said Sunday morning demonstrates that he is also unqualified to be running a church for now.

  186. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    As a parent, we expect that people in leadership at churches to have a track record of proper behavior… and preventing predator from infesting the church…

    As a parent, I want a youth leader that sets a good example for my boys as well as a healthy respect for the girls. Implying that this behavior is somehow passable is as bad for the boys as the girls.

  187. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    HOW MUCH DIFFERENT WOULD THINGS BE, IF ANDY HAD SAID THESE THINGS, INSTEAD OF ISSUING SELF-SERVING SPIN?

    This approach would probably be the safest for him, even if he did not believe it, because it would likely disarm much of is opposition. But sound thinking is not a strength of the gospel gliteratti. I do agree with you about this approach, but I don’t think we’ll see it actually happen.

  188. I watched the CBS news piece and grieved. The world uses situations like this to look at Christianity in America and conclude there is nothing to it. In their minds, they now have additional justification to reject the gospel message and its messengers. There is certainly the human tragedy in the lives of both victim and abuser, but the precious name of Jesus is tread underfoot and the church becomes a byword and reproach. This is what happens when church leaders fail to do the right thing.

  189. @ Beth Duncan:
    The pastors are broken! Their hearts are warped and cold, to take advantage and use women as they do. Or to excuse it.

    To quote terry crews, nobody gets a pass.

  190. Muzjik wrote:

    Sadly, I suspect that this is why the NY Times was so willing to run the story. I’m glad this is being exposed but sad that those who should have been “exposing the wolves” failed…so the task fell to those hostile to Christ. With glee, probably.

    I’m a Christian and I’m happy they are exposing this, too. I’m sure there are some Christians who work for the Times who are not hostile to Christ.

  191. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    AbuseCrusher wrote:

    HOW MUCH DIFFERENT WOULD THINGS BE, IF ANDY HAD SAID THESE THINGS, INSTEAD OF ISSUING SELF-SERVING SPIN?

    This approach would probably be the safest for him, even if he did not believe it, because it would likely disarm much of is opposition. But sound thinking is not a strength of the gospel gliteratti. I do agree with you about this approach, but I don’t think we’ll see it actually happen.

    I do think this approach would be disarmingly effective (and transformational for the church & those involved, if sincere), but it requires these profiteers on the pulpit to be willing to give up their golden goose. Won’t happen, unfortunately. These guys don’t love God; they love power, money, & niche fame–they’ll do anything (and trample over anybody) to keep it. Sad.

  192. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Thanks for the correctives and info, Erp — much appreciated and hopefully the details will be helpful in sorting out the situation.

    It might be possible that he could have been charged also with child abuse (child here does include 17 year olds I think): “specific acts or omissions by a person responsible for a child’s care, custody or welfare”. The question is whether he was a person responsible for her care, custody or welfare as defined by Texas law (it does include employees and volunteers in child care facilities). However that would be for a lawyer to know (and again there is the statute of limitations).

  193. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    However, a sexual assault is considered to be without consent where the actor is a public servant, mental health services provider or clergyman. Texas Code Ann. §§22.011(b)(8) – (10).

    A friend who is working to pass a clergy sex abuse law in our state has told me that the Clergy amendment to this law was signed into law by then Gov. George W. Bush. He served from 1995 to the November 2000 election for President. So the “clergy abuse” crime question depends on when the new law was signed and when Savage Andy assaulted Jules.
    Now child sex abuse laws and sexual assault laws have been on the books much longer than that in Texas and every state.

  194. I was at the church when this happened. Jules is spinning a very different story from what I heard as my husband was one of the people he confessed and asked forgiveness from, as he should, but it was not assault. I’m sure you won’t publish this as I’m not “pro Jules”. I love her and knew her 20 years ago and I’m actually saddened by her actions. The truth will come out.

  195. One thing that really stands out to me on the CBS segment was when Conlee said “It saddens us that Ms. Woodson has not been on the same road to healing,” That is bull crap, that is victim blaming, and that not showing an ounce of compassion. Please. I can’t even. #churchtoo

  196. The standing ovation is really eerie. I think it shows that Christians are no longer shocked by much.

    The other thing…. there is a pretty big age difference between 22 and 17. This is not the same as high school sweethearts where one of them turns 18 first.

    That would be a twisted thing to do on a first date between two 22 year olds…. it is hard to believe that it was the only time he pulled something like that.

    I struggle with lust like many guys… but the utter disrespect for a young lady and the reckless disregard for THE LAW shows he is sick. It was illegal!

  197. Why in all of this are accused rather than the accuser believed? And why is the women or man viewed as somehow to blame or the scorned person in these sexual assault cases? And if the woman or man accuses the abuser years after the event, why are they is viewed as a liar? Sounds like people who have been sexually assaulted can’t win for talking or remaining silent, at least in the court of public opinion. This is a good reason for many but the brave person to remain silent.

  198. @ raswhiting:

    Thanks for that info, @raswhiting.

    A time or two I’ve had to do some historical research work on state statutes, and it is intense and tedious to make sure it gets done correctly. Start with the current relevant statutes, and then work your way backward through all the footnoted amendments — when they were passed by the state legislature AND when they were posted as going into effect, etc., until you reach the year you’re looking for and you’ve deconstructed all the amendments between now and that earlier point to get to what was in effect (or not, or in what version) for the year in question. Or, sometimes you find an earlier version of the law and work your way forward.

    It typically yields important information, but wowzers — what a process …

  199. Deb wrote:

    thought Jules did a fantastic job!

    I thought she did a great job, too!
    I hope that making everything public knowledge (and having so many of us behind her) helps her heal and dries those tears. She’s such a beautiful lady.

    Conlee’s comment makes me spittin’ angry ….. arrrrgh……. he hopes the wounded will heal just like the one who inflicted the wound???? Is he to stupid to realize that there is a huge difference between the wolf and it’s prey …. or are his words just part of the circus show?

  200. I don’t think I can ever look at an ice cream cone the same way again…. 🙁

    Jules, you are a brave, brave woman! We all stand behind you! You are not alone! We hear you! I wish I had even half your courage. God bless you!

  201. Lea wrote:

    The pastors are broken

    They are not pastors; they are merely wolves with pastoral “credentials”.

  202. Just saw the story on CBS Evening News.
    Supposededly the church is going to be saying more in the coming days.
    And apparently Savage has apologized to her.
    But really burn at at the down play of this my Savage’s new church- an “incident”, I was a “staffer”, and the requisite standing ovation by the clapping seals.

  203. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    The ironic part is churches like this often criticise “high church” traditions because of the “dead rituals.” But they end up replacing them with arguably deader rituals.

    Great comment Ken, and yeah the irony is rich. Fundagelicals have nothing positive to say about high liturgy in the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox traditions.

    Over the years I’ve heard them harp endlessly on how it’s all about a “relationship” with Jesus, and by implication, it’s not likely that you (generic you) can have a genuine relationship with Christ in the old liturgical traditions.

  204. “However, we victims’ advocates are carrying big spotlights”. That phrase struck me…. because I never ever knew that such a thing existed. How different things might have been if there had been a “victim’s advocate” for someone like me…I hope that Jules finds what she needs to recover and I hope that the Risen Christ has pity on Andrew Savage and helps him get in touch with his own core feelings enough that he realizes what he has done to “a sister in Christ” when she was still “a child”. There is forgiveness for that when there is the willingness to “repent for real”… May our God have pity and provide mercy for both victim and “perpetrator” (don’t slam me for the brackets, do remember I am a true survivor of a “most repulsive crime” and please trust my gut. All I want is for “the crooked things to be made straight”, which is what every “true” victim of this type of abuse ultimately wants. What was broken to not hurt our kids or spouses and what was twisted by evil to be made straight again by good. Godspeed to you Jules, and may our Risen Christ give you the ability to forgive something that in our mortal beings no one of us could ever forgive or “get over”.

  205. @ken F. yea, you would know, since you have been kind enough to be married for over 25 years to one of those “previously chewed gums” {not that I could prevent it…}. I am only posting this in case there is another “chewed gum” who needs encouragement. Trust me, God does not deal in “chewed gum” only precious brothers and sisters in Christ, ergo, absolutely essential Children!
    Y’all, please don’t listen to these {demonic} lies !

  206. so I posted that my husband has been kind enough to stay married to me for over 25 years even though I am another piece of chewed gum. My comment is in moderation but honor to the man who has loved me in spite of what a vicious twisted human being chose to do to me when I was a child and was away from my parents….
    Hopefully my comment makes it out of moderation. I am not very good at navigating this site and I usually prefer to lurk….

  207. Muff Potter wrote:

    it’s not likely that you (generic you) can have a genuine relationship with Christ in the old liturgical traditions.

    Hog wash is what I say to the fundies on this one.

  208. The Gang of Four went straight to pastor-as-sexual predator playbook:

    1- Minimize your sexual crime as an ‘incident’.
    2- Silence the victim.
    3- Offer no apology to and express no concern for the victim but lie and say you did.
    4- When the truth finally comes to light, offer a crocodile-tear disingenuous apology and ‘repentence’ to the congregation, and claim redemption and ask forgiveness.
    5- After you receive a standing ovation, head to a bunker and wait for the storm to blow over.
    6- After the storm blows over, act as if nothing has happened and go on exercising your power over and collecting your fat paycheck from all those who have been duped.

    Hopefully, this time this Mos Eisley church will not be able to ride this one out and justice will be done.

  209. As to the above comments. I was at the church Jules attended during this time and the congregation was not told the truth and there was NO apology to Jules discipleship group. My daughter was in that group and I know for a fact he never apologized. The church had a going away party for Andy..

  210. Donna D wrote:

    Supposededly the church is going to be saying more in the coming days.

    They would be wise to put forward another spokesman besides Mr. Conlee.

  211. Muff Potter wrote:

    Wolves? More like Pennywise the clown from novelist Stephen King.

    (Giggle!)
    No, Pennywise doesn’t work for me. When I think about Pennywise, I think about Tim Curry (who played Pennywise in the tv miniseries) and that automatically makes me think about The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Apparently, Pennywise triggers a different reactions in me.

  212. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    I wonder if they had prep coaches who told them what to say and how to present themselves (behave in front of the masses)???

    Maybe, if legal counsel thought they needed to call in experts. Depends on the lawyers, and their skills. Also, the clients here are professional performers [AKA celebrity pastors], and experts at spin in their own right, so they may just have the lawyers reviewing the messages, making sure the right words are used and the wrong words are avoided. Whatever the case, somebody is racking up some billable hours this week, and there will be a bunch more.

    I visited Highpoint’s Facebook page. Man, they are getting hammered.

  213. The CBS story is titled: “Pastor admits to “sexual incident” with teen 20 years ago, gets standing ovation.”

    I’m not ashamed of the gospel, or of Jesus. But this, in His name? Yeah, I don’t want to be associated with any of this nonsense.

  214. I’m glad the video is still up on YouTube. It was disabled on all the FB pages.

    I wanted to listen again to the end of the service during the worship team music, because I noticed that they also had a script to support Andy. Instead of trying to explain, I’ll just provide a transcript of what I thought was the worst part (in CAPS).

    Time at 1:11:34

    Worship singer/leader (female):

    Has this morning this weekend caused anybody to look inward?

    And see how unworthy we are. But still His love is proud to be seen with us. So proud to be seen with us, UNASHAMED. THAT IS *MY* SON [meaning Andy, see below], these are my children.

    In Malachi 3 He says test me and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing you will have no idea how, what to do with it!

    Are you kidding me? So much blessing and love and abundance from God you have no idea where to put it all.

    “You are worthy!”

    “YOU ARE WORTHY, ANDY!” (1:12:32)

    “You are worthy, Highpoint!”

    There is no shadow, no mountain, no wall and NO LIE THAT HE CANNOT GET RID OF to get to you. Do you understand that?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyKdluNR95I

  215. Lydia wrote:

    I am not a big fan of former victims meeting with their sexual assaulters for a big kumbaya moment.

    Even if this were necessary, why does the victim need to present herself on the pastors turf? Why can’t the assailant come by himself to a place of the victim’s choosing with just her supporters present? Why does the female victim have to demonstrate courage instead of the male perpetrator? So much for kumbaya.

  216. Liz wrote:

    To physically expose myself and ask another person to touch or kiss me. That either takes a kind of boldness you have to work yourself up to, or it takes a sense of power and control over the other person so that you’re pretty certain they will comply, or you can make them comply.

    It also raises a question of how many times this was done.

  217. Thersites wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    I am not a big fan of former victims meeting with their sexual assaulters for a big kumbaya moment.
    Even if this were necessary, why does the victim need to present herself on the pastors turf? Why can’t the assailant come by himself to a place of the victim’s choosing with just her supporters present? Why does the female victim have to demonstrate courage instead of the male perpetrator? So much for kumbaya.

    Memphis police headquarters sounds like a mighty fine place for them to meet!

  218. Lydia wrote:

    Three actresses that are taking on Weinstein were purposely not invited to the Globes Awards. They have been tweeting about it for 2 days but the media is not picking it up.

    The original meaning of hypocrite is an actor wearing a mask, so who better to play the part in real life.

  219. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Comrade Stalin and Baba Saddam also received standing ovations. A lot of standing ovations.

    The commissars take notice of those who lack enthusiasm, don’t be the first to stop cheering.

  220. Thersites wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Comrade Stalin and Baba Saddam also received standing ovations. A lot of standing ovations.

    The commissars take notice of those who lack enthusiasm, don’t be the first to stop cheering.

    The interesting thing is that if you stop feeding the pulpit commissars with cheers and donations, they disappear into nothingness.

  221. Muff Potter wrote:

    Over the years I’ve heard them harp endlessly on how it’s all about a “relationship” with Jesus

    I’ve mentioned it before so excuse the repetition. Agreed, there is a lot of emphasis on a “relationship with Jesus” but my experience is a 30 year old “pastor” with a few years of seminary trumps all the “relationship” experience of a dozen believers in their 60s. It is just another example of those who preach one thing but live the opposite.

  222. Song of Joy wrote:

    I’m glad the video is still up on YouTube. It was disabled on all the FB pages.

    I wanted to listen again to the end of the service during the worship team music, because I noticed that they also had a script to support Andy. Instead of trying to explain, I’ll just provide a transcript of what I thought was the worst part (in CAPS).

    Time at 1:11:34

    Worship singer/leader (female):

    Has this morning this weekend caused anybody to look inward?

    And see how unworthy we are. But still His love is proud to be seen with us. So proud to be seen with us, UNASHAMED. THAT IS *MY* SON [meaning Andy, see below], these are my children.

    In Malachi 3 He says test me and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing you will have no idea how, what to do with it!

    Are you kidding me? So much blessing and love and abundance from God you have no idea where to put it all.

    “You are worthy!”

    “YOU ARE WORTHY, ANDY!” (1:12:32)

    “You are worthy, Highpoint!”

    There is no shadow, no mountain, no wall and NO LIE THAT HE CANNOT GET RID OF to get to you. Do you understand that?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyKdluNR95I

    I watched it. What? you are worthy…I’ve heard a song talking about He is worthy…you know…Jesus? not andy savage or any of US…what is that? there is no shadow, no mountain no wall and no lie that He cannot get rid of to get to you…including the lies you’ve told to yourself? maybe? people worship or God worship? You decide. He’s not proud of this…I assure you singer up there…God is not proud of this…I am actually completely mind blown with that…we are all sinners…and it’s not in any way a moment to take pride in…I just got a real creepy vibe off that…

  223. GSD [Getting Stuff Done] wrote:

    The CBS story is titled: “Pastor admits to “sexual incident” with teen 20 years ago, gets standing ovation.”
    I’m not ashamed of the gospel, or of Jesus. But this, in His name? Yeah, I don’t want to be associated with any of this nonsense.

    Romans 2:24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.

  224. I think so too. It completely minimises the truth. That’s what those who support him are doing. And the lemmings have zero discernment and even lack common sense. @ Julie Anne:

  225. I haven’t read all the comments here yet so someone may have mentioned this already. If Andy Savage had his way from the get-go, no one would have known about this “incident” (as he calls it), because he begged Jules to be quiet, and take it to the grave with her. So, he played the pastors back then, and they were all too willing to fall for it because who wants to expose a youth pastor that was given a responsible position as an actual pervert? Might make those pastors look bad and hurt the reputation of the church. And now 20 years later, Andy Savage is playing the people at Highpoint Church and they’re falling for it. Fake remorse both times. Both times because he was exposed by Jules, not because he was sorry and wanted to repent. He had a chance the first time 20 years ago to deal with this situation in the right way, and instead he hoped Jules would be silenced into fear. He had a chance to deal with this situation in the right way after receiving Jule’s email, but instead hope she would remain silent. If Savage’s deeds had never been reported by Jules, no one would have known about the sexual assault but Savage and Jules. From the get-go, Savage was about hiding his sin (crime).

  226. Sandra wrote:

    I appreciate the obvious lie Savage made by stating he was a just college “staffer” (20 years ago, a long ways away in Texas) in his official statement.

    Savage’s bio on Highpoint’s website reveals a different take…

    “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. ”

    Why minimize your previous job title when it’s so easily disproven by reading the bio at your current job?? Sheesh! I hope the police take this into account.

    Here’s the link
    http://www.highpointmemphis.com/andy-savage

    Someone had better take a screenshot. That might just disappear.

  227. Song of Joy wrote:

    I’m glad the video is still up on YouTube. It was disabled on all the FB pages.

    I wanted to listen again to the end of the service during the worship team music, because I noticed that they also had a script to support Andy. Instead of trying to explain, I’ll just provide a transcript of what I thought was the worst part (in CAPS).

    Time at 1:11:34

    Worship singer/leader (female):

    Has this morning this weekend caused anybody to look inward?

    And see how unworthy we are. But still His love is proud to be seen with us. So proud to be seen with us, UNASHAMED. THAT IS *MY* SON [meaning Andy, see below], these are my children.

    In Malachi 3 He says test me and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing you will have no idea how, what to do with it!

    Are you kidding me? So much blessing and love and abundance from God you have no idea where to put it all.

    “You are worthy!”

    “YOU ARE WORTHY, ANDY!” (1:12:32)

    “You are worthy, Highpoint!”

    There is no shadow, no mountain, no wall and NO LIE THAT HE CANNOT GET RID OF to get to you. Do you understand that?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyKdluNR95I

    That poor deceived girl! Does she not know that The Lord is grieved over what they have done? Does she not know that this exposure of sin is of God, not of Satan?

  228. As i follow this story i am beginning to be convinced that perhaps the division is taking place between the wheat and the tares. Just watching the Highpoint service and the blindness of those present makes me see what is happening. They quote Malachi 3 and expect God’s blessing upon Andy yet refuse to acknowledge our wonderful Lord grieving over one of His sheep bring preyed upon by a wolf. It boggles the mind and touches our spirits. Open our eyes, Lord, that we may see as You see.

  229. @ cindy treadway:
    At the end of the service Chris says that Highpoint is committed to helping every single women who has been hurt by sexual sin. But all of his emphasis is on forgiveness and never saying a negative word about anyone. So just how does he plan on helping these women?

  230. Patti wrote:

    @ cindy treadway:
    At the end of the service Chris says that Highpoint is committed to helping every single women who has been hurt by sexual sin. But all of his emphasis is on forgiveness and never saying a negative word about anyone. So just how does he plan on helping these women?

    Presumably with Biblical (Nouthetic) Counselling.

  231. @ Max:

    “I watched the CBS news piece and grieved. The world uses situations like this to look at Christianity in America and conclude there is nothing to it. …but the precious name of Jesus is tread underfoot and the church becomes a byword and reproach. This is what happens when church leaders fail to do the right thing.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    yes, christianity. that would be christianity, inc. i feel that right now people are rightly disgusted with the products of christian culture. i think Jesus is in agreement.

    thankfully, God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit are bigger than the tower humans have built called the institution.

  232. @ Muzjik:

    “Sadly, I suspect that this is why the NY Times was so willing to run the story. I’m glad this is being exposed but sad that those who should have been “exposing the wolves” failed…so the task fell to those hostile to Christ. With glee, probably.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    the reporters for the NY Times are hostile to Christ? what a presumption.

    if anything, they are hostile to hypocrisy, abuses of power, and other sordid things which just so happen to be observable in the organization that calls itself the christian church.

    i join the NY Times in the collective sigh of relief — not glee — that accountability is beginning to happen for powerful men who invoke the name of God in refusing to hold themselves and each other accountable for their crimes against the laws of what is right, good, honest, true, and noble.

  233. elastigirl wrote:

    indeed. who pulls it out, cold turkey, and says do it as a first attempt at intimacy with someone they are interested in?

    it would have been inappropriate with someone mature and experienced, let alone someone young and in years and life experience.

    Absolutely.

    And all this labelling it ‘an incident’…hmmm, I wonder if 17yr old Andy, having been driven to a remote location by an older woman with power over him, & instructed to do the same to her, would have considered it an incident? What if he had been driven to the same location at 17 by a 22 yr old man, who asked the same he had asked of Jules, & he’d done it through fear, would it be considered an ‘incident’ then? Would the ‘apology’ given (aka damage limitation) have been enough?

  234. @ Beakerj
    :my questions also….and do not forget, Andy had previuosly been caught, alone tickling a high school girl in a bedroom ….

  235. @ Mercy:
    Precisely….. and think of the parable of the shepherd leaving the 99 to find the one lost….. for some reason, I think the 1 lost is the victim, not the perp?

  236. The way that Andy Savage has recently tried to minimize what he did shows that I am sure Savage also did the same thing 20 years ago.

    Savage calls it an “incident” when it was sexual assault. Apparently Savage is trying to lead people to believe it was something consensual between adults when he did this to an underage girl.

    Savage says he was on church staff though other places he says he was a youth pastor.

    Savage uses the wording that he was a college student to again try and down play his action. Also no where does he state his age when he did this.

    Thus I have no doubt he did a similar minimize the sin and hide it 20 years ago right after

    Again I have no doubt that Savage did something similar 20 years ago vs. accepting the consequences of his actions and sadly even allowing Jules to take blame.

  237. At the end of the article posted here, Dee noted:

    I have one question from Steve Bradley, who did not return my phone call, “Did you call the police? If not, why not?” Note also his plausible deniability? If I were Larry Cotton, I might be a bit concerned.

    though I was not a part of every meeting

    I re-read Steve Bradley’s statement, which includes a few details from his version of what went on in 1998. I was struck by the implication that the church leaders held multiple meetings about this. And yet, apparently no one reported the assault to the police.

    This is why I’ve fumbled around with trying to find out what the specifics of relevant Texas laws that were in force in 1998 — because I thought that could help illuminate potential issues of responsibility, accountability, complicity.

    According to CURRENT Texas statutes, mandatory reporters are required to report within 48 hours to law enforcement or other designated state agencies.

    So, if that specific deadline also happened to be what was in force in 1998, what’s with all these church leader meetings? But still no reporting to authorities? Isn’t the person who finds out about, or suspects, abuse or assault has occurred required to report?

    But they had meetings …

    Doesn’t that fact actually implicate every/all persons who heard ANY details, who discussed the situation AT ALL, and yet who did not carry out their mandatory duty to report known/suspected sexual assault of a minor?

    Beside asking Mr Bradley if he called the police, perhaps he should be asked for a list of all who were at any meetings where any information about what Andy Savage did was spoken. And then each and every one of them be asked if he/she reported it to law enforcement.

    https://apps.rainn.org/policy/policy-state-laws.cfm?state=Texas&group=4

  238. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    The story is on the msn web site….

    It seems that lots of articles are directing attention to the fact that the couch gave an abuser a standing O, not to mention the fact that Jules’ story had gained world wide attention.
    Hats off to the DEEBS, Smith, and others involved for their dedication to speaking truth to power. A special hats off to Jules for mustering the tremendous courage to share here story.
    Hey Jules, I know the media attention is probably surprising, as well as stressful in some ways. But, I do hope and pray that coming forward and exposing the truth helps you. You are a courageous, beautiful hero.

  239. Jen wrote:

    SBCVOICES just posted on this! Supportive of Jules and critical of how it is/was handled.

    And William Thornton complemented TWW is a comment!

  240. Susan Jones wrote:

    Jules is spinning a very different story from what I heard as my husband was one of the people he confessed and asked forgiveness from, as he should, but it was not assault.

    That just sounds like your husband got his story, not hers.

  241. Deb wrote:

    @ Jen:
    Thanks for the link. Great post by Adam Blosser. He gets it.

    And it’s so encouraging to see that at SBC Voices! Some of the defense of Savage and Highpoint on social media this weekend was appalling and shows how much work there is to do (and why there is such a need for TWW). I’m so excited to see responses from people who get it!

  242. D Thomas wrote:

    I was at the church Jules attended during this time and the congregation was not told the truth and there was NO apology to Jules discipleship group.

    Thanks. That sounds more like reality than the spin we’ve heard lately.

  243. Susan Jones wrote:

    I was at the church when this happened. Jules is spinning a very different story from what I heard as my husband was one of the people he confessed and asked forgiveness from, as he should, but it was not assault. I’m sure you won’t publish this as I’m not “pro Jules”. I love her and knew her 20 years ago and I’m actually saddened by her actions. The truth will come out.

    Why do you believe Jules is spinning the story, but you believe Andy’s story as told to you by your husband?

    Why did Andy Savage ask forgiveness from your husband when Jules was the other person involved?

    How do you know it was not sexual assault? Were you there? Did you speak to Jules yourself? Did you help Jules? Did you seek her out to understand what she went through or to even near her story?

  244. Ken F’s wife wrote:

    @ken F. yea, you would know, since you have been kind enough to be married for over 25 years to one of those “previously chewed gums” {not that I could prevent it…}. I am only posting this in case there is another “chewed gum” who needs encouragement. Trust me, God does not deal in “chewed gum” only precious brothers and sisters in Christ, ergo, absolutely essential Children!

    Glad to see that you put “chewed gum” in quotation marks. That indicates to me that you darn well know that you are not “chewed gum”.
    “God does not deal in “chewed gum” only precious brothers and sisters in Christ,”: AMEN, sister, amen.

  245. elastigirl wrote:

    christianity, inc. i feel that right now people are rightly disgusted with the products of christian culture. i think Jesus is in agreement

    Attempts for the church to be culturally-relevant are resulting in a diluted gospel and a diminished Jesus. The Trinity has very little to do with Christianity Inc. in America. Jesus came to redeem and work through individuals, not institutions. The institution we call church is OK if it is reaching souls for Christ, equipping them to do the work of the ministry, and engaging them in the Great Commission. Anything less than that is doing church without God. “Less than that” examples continue to flood the blogosphere and secular media.

  246. Lea wrote:

    Susan Jones wrote:
    Jules is spinning a very different story from what I heard as my husband was one of the people he confessed and asked forgiveness from, as he should, but it was not assault.

    Then it sounds like he lied to your husband, too, if he let him think it was a “kiss”. Andy admitted it was a sexual “incident”.
    That’s more than a kiss!

  247. @ Beakerj:
    Beaker I wish everyone would read your detailed breakdown in the last thread of how terrible this was as a human interaction, even beyond all the other issues. I would be angry if this happened on a date as a grown woman, at 17 I have no idea how I would have reacted.

    What is true, though, is that men know better. Even teenagers. All this talk about him being ‘so young’ is bunk.

  248. Jen wrote:

    SBCVOICES just posted on this! Supportive of Jules and critical of how it is/was handled.

    As they should be! The New Calvinists over there typically stick by their guys, until the potato gets too hot to handle.

  249. GSD [Getting Stuff Done] wrote:

    I don’t want to be associated with any of this nonsense

    I feel a rumbling across America – perhaps even within New Calvinist ranks – that the church in America is desperately off-track. Maybe, just maybe, we will now have a new breed of pastors (the real deal) step out of the wilderness and raise the name of Jesus above all other names in both belief and practice. Could it be that the Christian industrial complex with all its bells, whistles, and celebrities is about to end in favor of preaching the pure Gospel message again?!

  250. Lea wrote:

    What is true, though, is that men know better. Even teenagers. All this talk about him being ‘so young’ is bunk.

    Yup. If someone pulled this stunt on me now (50 later this year, have been married), I would be absolutely incensed & would react with a straight ‘In your dreams, sunshine!’ (polite version). Unless of course we were in a remote location, & I was afraid. I hope I’d still say the same thing then, & get out of the car, but you just don’t know until that happens.

  251. @ Lea:
    Yes! This was not a date!
    But even if someone is skeptical of the details (I’m not) or doesn’t think that this was assault (I do), how can you take this guy seriously as a minister? He went directly from this to teaching “True Loves Waits” and built a career on preaching about marriage and sex. He has no credibility now.

  252. Lea wrote:

    Susan Jones wrote:

    Jules is spinning a very different story from what I heard as my husband was one of the people he confessed and asked forgiveness from, as he should, but it was not assault.

    That just sounds like your husband got his story, not hers.

    …or that your husband is not being honest with you about what he really knows. Having been in meetings with (male) church leaders defending glad-handing treatment of child-molesters and other perverts they like, I find it hard to believe that they really go home and tell their wives the real, full story about what is said and what they know.

    Plus, if your husband was in church leadership then, potentially admitting he knew would be admitting that he broke the law by not reporting to police.

    At best, these guys don’t want to know.

  253. Max wrote:

    Jen wrote:

    SBCVOICES just posted on this! Supportive of Jules and critical of how it is/was handled.

    As they should be! The New Calvinists over there typically stick by their guys, until the potato gets too hot to handle.

    Would be more encouraged if the Southern Baptist Convention’s President weren’t Steve Gaines. Steve Gaines is the pastor of Memphis mega-church, Bellevue Baptist. Steve has been caught having known child molesters on staff, including one whose duties included providing counseling.

    I’m afraid every one of our churches needs to be bulldozed, and we need to start over with volunteer pastors who earn a real living (tent-making) & do ministry out of love.

  254. @ Susan Jones:
    Susan,
    Is the story correct that Andy Savage got caught, alone in a bedroom tickling a girl in the youth group (Jules?) prior to the “sexual incident”? This is also very relevant to the story.. Do you think that is proper for a youth pastor, or whatever his title is evolving to??

  255. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    I’m afraid every one of our churches needs to be bulldozed

    I don’t think that is necessary. Most SBC churches are full of salt-of-the-earth people and pastors.

    As for the seminaries and the other SBC entities, the bulldozer is probably appropriate.

  256. Deb wrote:

    Great post by Adam Blosser

    This was an excellent point:

    Conlee’s message smacks of a guy defending a friend. It’s really exhibit A in what not to do when someone in your church is accused of sexual assault.

    It’s called the good ole boys network, it’s been going on forever, and it needs to stop.

  257. @ Jeffrey J Chalmers:
    Yes! When my son was a Scout his dad went along to summer camp as one of the adult leaders. I would never have allowed him to attend camp any other way.

    I am sick of the leadership in churches that feed the vulnerable to the wolves.

  258. Beakerj wrote:

    Unless of course we were in a remote location, & I was afraid. I hope I’d still say the same thing then, & get out of the car, but you just don’t know until that happens.

    And in such a situation, god forbid, I would go with my instincts as to whether it was truly dangerous or merely appalling.

    Either way, this man was not minister material and should never have been hired for that next job after what he pulled.

  259. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Max wrote:

    Jen wrote:

    SBCVOICES just posted on this! Supportive of Jules and critical of how it is/was handled.

    As they should be! The New Calvinists over there typically stick by their guys, until the potato gets too hot to handle.

    Would be more encouraged if the Southern Baptist Convention’s President weren’t Steve Gaines. Steve Gaines is the pastor of Memphis mega-church, Bellevue Baptist. Steve has been caught having known child molesters on staff, including one whose duties included providing counseling.

    I’m afraid every one of our churches needs to be bulldozed, and we need to start over with volunteer pastors who earn a real living (tent-making) & do ministry out of love.

    I agree. Perhaps I’m getting jaded.

  260. Caroline wrote:

    He went directly from this to teaching “True Loves Waits”

    He jumped right into that without even blinking, and we are supposed to believe his ‘repentance’? Hypocrite. Liar.

  261. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    we need to start over with volunteer pastors who earn a real living (tent-making) & do ministry out of love

    Hmmmm … that would be too “New Testament” for modern preacher-boys! I doubt that any 1st century church pastors made six-figure salaries and lived in million dollar mansions (even adjusted for the currency of that day). Why don’t 21st century church folks realize this and stop supporting the mega-mess?! When celebrity pastors make as much as Hollywood stars, it should be obvious to all that the God of Entertainment is on the throne in far too many churches, not Jesus.

  262. Ken P. wrote:

    AbuseCrusher wrote:

    I’m afraid every one of our churches needs to be bulldozed

    I don’t think that is necessary. Most SBC churches are full of salt-of-the-earth people and pastors.

    As for the seminaries and the other SBC entities, the bulldozer is probably appropriate.

    Would love to agree with you, Ken, but why do they elect known pedophile protector/enabler, Steve Gaines, to lead the entire SBC?!?

    Where are the SBC pastors taking a stand against these predators and the pastors who enable them?!? Where are the SBC “salt-of-the-earth members demanding that their pastor take a stand?!?

    Our churches have become little more than comfortable country clubs (although I suspect country clubs would kick out pedophiles).

  263. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jacksonwu/2018/01/10/seek-justice-church-loses-face-andy-savage/

    This is an interesting article. I want to be mad at him for this part about Chris being a ‘godly’ man (see below). IMO, a godly man would not have heard the details of that ‘incident’ and seen it as ho-hum, even if he did misunderstand from her words that she had given consent. Andy clearly violated the rules and his behavior was terribly wrong, even if it had been an upfront date, instead of sneaky, lying sidetrip to an empty lot that she had been uninformed about.

    Larry is a godly man of tremendous integrity. Knowing him as I do, I am certain he never intended to shame Jules into silence. I’m confident Larry grossly misjudged her comments when he asked her, “So you’re telling me you participated?” Without question, he made an error in judgment. This however does not warrant the accusations being leveled against Larry.

    I also didn’t like him throwing that ‘do not admit a charge against an elder’ thing out. Because ugh. That said, he makes a lot of good points. And his view of the incident confirms Jules and everyone else’s point that the truth of the matter was NOT clearly communicated. It was left vague, purposefully so. Which means that Andy, this week, lied. Ya’ll. That’s a problem.

  264. The story was on the front page of the Washington Poet’s website this morning.

    A pastor admitted a past ‘sexual incident’ with a teen. His congregation gave him a standing ovation.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/01/10/a-pastor-admitted-a-past-sexual-incident-with-a-teen-his-congregation-gave-him-a-standing-ovation/?hpid=hp_mhp-morning-mix_mm-pastor%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.7c5216ca844e

    The comments are utterly scathing.

  265. This link that someone posted:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jacksonwu/2018/01/10/seek-justice-church-loses-face-andy-savage/

    Has an incriminating account by someone who was around when the initial Savage act occurred. This person is quoted as saying:

    I was a member of this youth group and distinctly remember the incident and subsequent going away part for Andy. I was a high school senior. The church was definitely led to believe it was an “innocent kiss” – and consensual as well. At the time I remember thinking Andy made and(sic) incredibly stupid decision, but I don’t anyone could have imagined how horrific his actions actually were. I am incredibly disappointed in Larry Cotton and Steve Bradley, who I knew well and looked up to at the same time. I am disgusted by Andy’s actions….

    Thus what the church members in TX were led to believe happened and what really occurred according to Jules account are certainly 2 different things. Apparently Andy never really took care of this issue 20 years ago but along with the church leaders down there what Andy Savage did was white washed.

  266. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    but why do they elect known pedophile protector/enabler, Steve Gaines, to lead the entire SBC?!?

    I am no Gaines fan and I wish a better candidate had won. There as many reasons, but the short answer to you question unfortunately comes down to pragmatism and politics. The last 2 candidates standing were Gaines and J.D. Greear, the neo-cals’ darling. That was similar to another election held in 2016.

  267. Lea wrote:

    Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jacksonwu/2018/01/10/seek-justice-church-loses-face-andy-savage/
    This is an interesting article. I want to be mad at him for this part about Chris being a ‘godly’ man (see below). IMO, a godly man would not have heard the details of that ‘incident’ and seen it as ho-hum, even if he did misunderstand from her words that she had given consent. Andy clearly violated the rules and his behavior was terribly wrong, even if it had been an upfront date, instead of sneaky, lying sidetrip to an empty lot that she had been uninformed about.
    Larry is a godly man of tremendous integrity. Knowing him as I do, I am certain he never intended to shame Jules into silence. I’m confident Larry grossly misjudged her comments when he asked her, “So you’re telling me you participated?” Without question, he made an error in judgment. This however does not warrant the accusations being leveled against Larry.

    Jackson Wu wants to desperately believe that his mentor Larry Cotton “is a godly man of tremendous integrity”, “never intended to shame Jules into silence” and he only “misjudged her comments”….the testimony of D Thomas on the other thread contradicts this. What follows is a quote from the other thread, I don’t think I can get it into italics:

    Thomas UNITED STATES on Tue Jan 09, 2018 at 09:24 PM said:
    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.

  268. Just to be clear, the following was a quote from the Jackson Wu article (these replies with quotes sometimes get muddled):

    Song of Joy wrote:

    Larry is a godly man of tremendous integrity. Knowing him as I do, I am certain he never intended to shame Jules into silence. I’m confident Larry grossly misjudged her comments when he asked her, “So you’re telling me you participated?” Without question, he made an error in judgment. This however does not warrant the accusations being leveled against Larry.

  269. Song of Joy wrote:

    Jackson Wu wants to desperately believe that his mentor Larry Cotton “is a godly man of tremendous integrity”, “never intended to shame Jules into silence” and he only “misjudged her comments”

    He saw that Conlee was defending his friend…he doesn’t see that he is doing the same.
    Song of Joy wrote:

    and the next thing we knew he was at another church in Memphis with their blessing.

    Oooh, I missed that part ‘with their blessing’. This is what I want to hear more of. This is where the ‘restoration’ talk is nonsense. He should never have been hired by another church, but definitely not that soon and definitely not to work with more younger people!!!

  270. Daisy wrote:

    The church mocks people like me who are virgins past the age of 25/30. Adult virgins are considered odd balls or as failures, or Christians dismiss us or our existence by saying, “you have the gift of celibacy” (no, I / we don’t).

    That’s because the church is based on a business model which markets to the married with children. If an individual doesn’t fit that paradigm (married with children) by a certain age, the church has little or no use for you because they can’t market their product to you.

  271. Jen wrote:

    SBCVOICES just posted on this! Supportive of Jules and critical of how it is/was handled.

    http://sbcvoices.com/andy-savage-sexual-assault-and-the-church/

    Here is link.

    Sorry, I don’t know how to post a link that is accessible here.

    (I’ve tried to post this twice and keep getting told my IP address is SPAM. I’ve switched servers…I hope this goes through.)

    I might beg to differ with the author’s assertion that “only the church has the answer to a culture that lacks any concept of sexual morality.” One concept in the culture that seems to be growing is the idea of consent. The church is not driving the idea, either; parts of the church do not even recognize the concept (the branches, for example, where the wife is implied to have given her consent the minute she said “I do” and where the people believe there is no such thing as marital rape). Every person I have talked to outside the church expresses firm convictions that children are “off limits” from adults (there are abusers in the culture as well as in the church, true, and they are also despised — maybe the abusers within the church are more despised, though, because they preach morality at everyone else).

    In any case, I find believers to be naive at best to think that only the church offers a moral code.

  272. Patti wrote:

    @ cindy treadway:
    At the end of the service Chris says that Highpoint is committed to helping every single women who has been hurt by sexual sin. But all of his emphasis is on forgiveness and never saying a negative word about anyone. So just how does he plan on helping these women?

    There is a difference between sexual sin and a crime. And he can say they are committed to women hurt by sexual “sin” but when he then allows that singer to get up there and sing that ridiculous song in the wake of what has taken place, it sounds like Highpoint is committed to the perpetrator of the “sin” and not to any victims of “sin”. Lets face it, they are (currently) committed to andy savage and that’s it. I predict that is about to change, however. It’s just a feeling I have. Nobody cares too much about the victims of “sexual sin” in the church or out, except to make them go away. Look at what happened at the Golden Globes this week when actresses who accused Harvey Weinstein weren’t invited. I think that song will stick with me forever. I have never heard anything so completely inappropriate in a situation. I don’t know, it makes me sick.

  273. Ken P. wrote:

    AbuseCrusher wrote:

    but why do they elect known pedophile protector/enabler, Steve Gaines, to lead the entire SBC?!?

    I am no Gaines fan and I wish a better candidate had won. There as many reasons, but the short answer to you question unfortunately comes down to pragmatism and politics. The last 2 candidates standing were Gaines and J.D. Greear, the neo-cals’ darling. That was similar to another election held in 2016.

    How was a known pedophile employer/protector in the church even one of the final 2 candidates?!? Good people in an organization that is actually dedicated to serving God don’t let that happen and quietly resign themselves to the results.

    Essentially what is being said is, “Well, sure, we elected a guy who hires pedophiles to do church member counseling, but at least we didn’t elect the guy who believes in predestination/the exaltation of Mary/(whatever debatable theological interpretation I disagree with).”

    My 11-yr old son is better qualified to lead than these nitwits. I’m not sure about his deep understanding of the ins and outs soteriology and hermanuetics, but I know he is wise enough not to hire known pedophiles and sexual predators in the church.

  274. Lea wrote:

    Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jacksonwu/2018/01/10/seek-justice-church-loses-face-andy-savage/

    This is an interesting article. I want to be mad at him for this part about Chris being a ‘godly’ man (see below). IMO, a godly man would not have heard the details of that ‘incident’ and seen it as ho-hum, even if he did misunderstand from her words that she had given consent. Andy clearly violated the rules and his behavior was terribly wrong, even if it had been an upfront date, instead of sneaky, lying sidetrip to an empty lot that she had been uninformed about.

    Larry is a godly man of tremendous integrity. Knowing him as I do, I am certain he never intended to shame Jules into silence. I’m confident Larry grossly misjudged her comments when he asked her, “So you’re telling me you participated?” Without question, he made an error in judgment. This however does not warrant the accusations being leveled against Larry.

    I also didn’t like him throwing that ‘do not admit a charge against an elder’ thing out. Because ugh. That said, he makes a lot of good points. And his view of the incident confirms Jules and everyone else’s point that the truth of the matter was NOT clearly communicated. It was left vague, purposefully so. Which means that Andy, this week, lied. Ya’ll. That’s a problem.

    I had the exact same thoughts reading that article.

  275. Ken P. wrote:

    I don’t think that is necessary. Most SBC churches are full of salt-of-the-earth people and pastors.

    Who are either uniformed and insulated or have selective hearing. And, they ignore women and tell us to sit down, shut up, and stay out of church business because ……. well, we are women. At least that’s how it is in my area of the country. I know. I’ve been an SBC female for over 40 years.

  276. cindy treadway wrote:

    I watched it. What? you are worthy…I’ve heard a song talking about He is worthy

    Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, not the wolves who plunder and profit off his sacrifice.

  277. Forrest wrote:

    Patti wrote:

    @ cindy treadway:
    At the end of the service Chris says that Highpoint is committed to helping every single women who has been hurt by sexual sin. But all of his emphasis is on forgiveness and never saying a negative word about anyone. So just how does he plan on helping these women?

    Presumably with Biblical (Nouthetic) Counselling.

    And when something is criminal, if you never say a word and forgive, there will be more victims. There are “sins” and then there are criminal acts that need to be reported to the law. Where does this situation fall…I’m not sure. It was never handled correctly, that’s for sure. It was handled in a way that opened up the possibility of more victims. It’s a question I had in counseling as well. Sin and crime. Which one is it. If it was a “sexual sin” then why did he ask her to “take it to the grave”. Even he knew it was that severe. Right? So she didn’t take it to the grave.

  278. cindy treadway wrote:

    It’s a question I had in counseling as well. Sin and crime. Which one is it.

    If something is criminal it may or may not be prosecuted, but I think the problem is that there are things between criminal and generic ‘sin’ that are still very serious. Where your ‘sin’ impacts someone else, seriously, that should be addressed. This is a good example of that.

    He didn’t just ‘sin sexually’, he USED her without regard for her as a person. I know I sound like a broken record but it’s the thing that jumps out at me. Many non-criminal sexual behavior is deeply damaging when women are treated as playthings. That is something Christian culture needs to address more seriously, and the entire culture that praises purity, and puts all of this on women, and tells men they just can’t help themselves the dears, makes that nearly impossible. The overemphasis of differences (real or imagined) between women and men leads to too much minimization of women as real people, who are ‘worthy’ (to use crazy andy’s terrible worship song’s language) of better treatment all around than they are getting.

    Sure, pursue the legal aspect, but lets not pretend that legal/illegal is the only moral/immoral line. It’s not.

  279. cindy treadway wrote:

    If it was a “sexual sin” then why did he ask her to “take it to the grave”. Even he knew it was that severe. Right?

    Of course he knew it was severe, good point. It might have affected *him* if it got out! /sarcasm/

    “Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.”

  280. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Ken P. wrote:

    I don’t think that is necessary. Most SBC churches are full of salt-of-the-earth people and pastors.

    Who are either uniformed and insulated or have selective hearing. And, they ignore women and tell us to sit down, shut up, and stay out of church business because ……. well, we are women. At least that’s how it is in my area of the country. I know. I’ve been an SBC female for over 40 years.

    Nancy2, you are correct. Women are second class people in most SBC Churches. Do not tell me otherwise. It is part of the reason I am ‘ done’.And don’t tell me find another denomination. The nearest Methodist Church is 28 miles away. Nearest Lutheran? 29 miles. Nearest Episcopal? ( My choice)33 miles. I am surrounded by SBC, Pentecostals, and non-denoms,which are either Baptist or Pentecostal in their leaning…

  281. cindy treadway wrote:

    Lets face it, they are (currently) committed to andy savage and that’s it. I predict that is about to change, however. It’s just a feeling I have. Nobody cares too much about the victims of “sexual sin” in the church or out, except to make them go away.

    I imagine it will only change if they sense that people in the church will start voting with their feet and especially if this means that contribution$s will be going down. In other words if the the top leadership thinks it might affect their salary then maybe change will happen IMO. So far I am not sure that the church members have been that vocal so if change does happen it may be a little while.

  282. Deebs, getting to the end of this thread, I feel so frustrated. I want a way to shout “AMEN!” to many of these posts. YES! TRUTH! Preach it! At least a “like” button…. please?

  283. Bill wrote:

    Regarding the video of the service where he “apologizes”, problems with that notwithstanding, I am so very tired of this type of lowest common denominator flashy type of “show”… to me its a lot of flash and no substance. Not a real “worship service” in my opinion. One of many reasons I am a “done” and now seek fellowship with like minded believers one on one or in small groups.

    RE: the Highpoint member who commented on the last post about the “experience” of Highpoint proving God was with them–all this has further reinforced to me that church leaders and worship teams can manufacture and manipulate the emotions of members to make them think God is working.

    Andy Savage minimized what he did and has flat out lied about it. Chris Conlee manipulated the Highpoint members into minimizing the horrific actions of one of their pastors, even to giving that pastor a standing ovation. Conlee said he knew about it and whether or not Savage told him the whole truth before he was hired, Conlee is fully supporting him anyway after the truth came out.

    I think emotions and experiences can have their place but I don’t think that we should for one second believe that others can’t manipulate us with them. When I read the gospels, I don’t see Jesus doing this at all to people. He just quietly spoke the truth and let people decide. And often when He did, His words were not easy to follow.

  284. K.D. wrote:

    I am surrounded by SBC, Pentecostals, and non-denoms,which are either Baptist or Pentecostal in their leaning…

    Same here ….. + Church of Christ, Catholic, and an LDS church 11 miles away: There is a church that calls itself “Methodist” and a Nazarene church in the same town. But, I know several of the members and I have visited there. Please, they’re just as baptist as the rest. They just aren’t SBC.

  285. Juulie Downs wrote:

    Deebs, getting to the end of this thread, I feel so frustrated. I want a way to shout “AMEN!” to many of these posts. YES! TRUTH! Preach it! At least a “like” button…. please?

    LIKE 🙂

  286. Brother of a victim wrote:

    The pattern was repeated frequently, with the pastor convincing him to repent, urging the victims to forgive, and keeping the scandal out of the press.

    I’m so sorry for your family, and all the other victims, who were victims not just of the elder but of the churches policy.

  287. Susan Jones wrote:

    I was at the church when this happened. Jules is spinning a very different story from what I heard as my husband was one of the people he confessed and asked forgiveness from, as he should, but it was not assault. I’m sure you won’t publish this as I’m not “pro Jules”. I love her and knew her 20 years ago and I’m actually saddened by her actions. The truth will come out.

    The fact that you only have information from your husband actually is exactly the point all these articles are making. You weren’t told by the church. That means everything Jules and the other members of Stonebridge who have posted that nobody was told really happened is true. You just proved it to us.

  288. @ ishy:
    Susan Jones’ last sentence made me think of Jack Nicholson’s line in “A Few Good Men”: You can’t handle the truth!

  289. ishy wrote:

    You just proved it to us.

    Like. Lots of confirmation of this showing up in comments from former members. Which disproves what Andy is saying *now*, which ought to give people like Susan pause.

  290. Lea wrote:

    Like. Lots of confirmation of this showing up in comments from former members. Which disproves what Andy is saying *now*, which ought to give people like Susan pause.

    Even Cotton said Savage did not resign, but was fired. Savage keeps claiming he told “full responsibility” and resigned. That clearly means one of them is a liar.

  291. Susan Jones wrote:

    I was at the church when this happened. Jules is spinning a very different story from what I heard as my husband was one of the people he confessed and asked forgiveness from, as he should, but it was not assault. I’m sure you won’t publish this as I’m not “pro Jules”. I love her and knew her 20 years ago and I’m actually saddened by her actions. The truth will come out.

    But you didn’t hear from Jules 20 years ago nor does it seem did your husband instead you heard only one side, Savage, second hand through your husband. I note that a D Thomas in the previous post reports her daughter was in the discipleship group that Jules told some of the story.

    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. …

    In other words someone who heard Jules’ story (again secondhand through her daughter) 20 years ago is standing by Jules’ version.

  292. “The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked make themselves a stench and bring shame on themselves.” -Proverbs 13:5

    Stinky liars!

  293. Juulie Downs wrote:

    Deebs, getting to the end of this thread, I feel so frustrated. I want a way to shout “AMEN!” to many of these posts. YES! TRUTH! Preach it! At least a “like” button…. please?

    Yes, pretty please!!! I don’t always have much to say or add to what’s already been said, but I do want to show support. I’ve been following this blog and Julie Anne’s for a few years now and I do appreciate what they and this community are doing to speak up and speak out. There are some great commenters here!

  294. Susan Jones wrote:

    I was at the church when this happened. Jules is spinning a very different story from what I heard as my husband was one of the people he confessed and asked forgiveness from, as he should, but it was not assault. I’m sure you won’t publish this as I’m not “pro Jules”. I love her and knew her 20 years ago and I’m actually saddened by her actions. The truth will come out.

    Gotta be honest. Susan, there has been no “denial” of the story by Savage. Even if was (and I don’t believe for 1 second that is was) “just a kiss”, Savage should have been prosecuted, and he should never have worked in ministry again.

    But we know that he has admitted to it (even in his whimpy, minimized “I had a sexual incident” fashion). If it had been less than what Jules detailed, he would have said so.

    If it were me (and it most certainly would not have been) and I had “just” kissed her, I would have shouted from the rooftops that my johnson was never out of my pants, nor exposed to her! This guy is guilty, although I’m sure that the story will be changing (hence, his wiggle-room “confession”)

    Please, don’t be an apologist for evil. Your husband was either a knowing or naive part of a cover-up. Happens every, single time. Needs to stop.

  295. @ K.D.:
    I gave up on churches 20 years ago. Still love the Lord, just gave up on the church part. Too much underhanded stuff going on and too much demand to give more money. The last church wanted us to give the equivalent of one house payment as an offering above the tithe. And, they started taking credit cards for your offering. So much for teaching financial responsibility.

  296. Also in the Washington Post:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/01/10/a-pastor-admitted-a-past-sexual-incident-with-a-teen-his-congregation-gave-him-a-standing-ovation/

    There are some interesting quotes in this article. Showing these below:

    But Savage’s situation tracks with a larger tendency within the evangelical community, according to Christa Brown, an expert on church abuse scandals and coverups. “Religious leaders use forgiveness theology as a cover, and as an avoidance, of accountability,” Brown told The Washington Post. “And it’s a way of further shaming victims. ‘What a bad girl you are, you aren’t forgiving.’”

    “Faith can be a very powerful thing, and power without accountability is a dangerous thing,” church abuse expert Brown told The Post. “While evangelicals profess great faith, I think they are also effectively dismissive of their faith’s power because, if they actually recognized the power that they afford to their faith leaders, they would demand the implementation of accountability structures. It’s what responsible organizations do.”

    Good point about “forgiveness theology” as well as the need for accountability structures.

  297. BTW…Conlee needs to be fired, too. The escalation of this is his fault.

    But he and Savage started this church. I’m sure they see it as their own “company” (after all, they started it, and negotiated the underhanded merger, while “deftly” keeping the kids who were molested at the merged church from being able to sue), their own “piggy bank”, and their own “retirement” golden goose.

    They will not fire each other, of course. Perhaps, they will put him on paid leave, and they can do for him what Memphis megachurch, Hope Presbyterian, did for its founding pastor, Craig Strickland—they simply paid him a very lucrative amount of money to be an absentee “Pastor Emeritus” and bought him a ridiculously expensive luxury vacation condo in New York.

    The pastor class is the most entitled group of people you’ll find. Hold tight to your wallets, folks!

  298. ishy wrote:

    Even Cotton said Savage did not resign, but was fired. Savage keeps claiming he told “full responsibility” and resigned. That clearly means one of them is a liar.

    The problem is if you are fired, why do you then get a going away party? Doesn’t make sense unless the party was a big cover up for what really went down?

  299. Steve White wrote:

    @ K.D.:
    I gave up on churches 20 years ago. Still love the Lord, just gave up on the church part. Too much underhanded stuff going on and too much demand to give more money. The last church wanted us to give the equivalent of one house payment as an offering above the tithe. And, they started taking credit cards for your offering. So much for teaching financial responsibility.

    Well, you could’ve just used one of the ATM machines in the lobbies of so many of our churches. smh

    A fellow “Done”

  300. Susan Jones wrote:

    I was at the church when this happened. Jules is spinning a very different story from what I heard as my husband was one of the people he confessed and asked forgiveness from, as he should, but it was not assault. I’m sure you won’t publish this as I’m not “pro Jules”. I love her and knew her 20 years ago and I’m actually saddened by her actions. The truth will come out.

    You mentioned that the truth will come out. If the “facts” are in dispute (Jules spinning a different story from what you heard from your husband) how are we to ascertain the truth? I think Jules and Andy need to prepare a written statement which presents the “facts” they both agree are true. Without such a statement, comments about this situation are merely conjecture.

  301. Bridget wrote:

    The problem is if you are fired, why do you then get a going away party? Doesn’t make sense unless the party was a big cover up for what really went down?

    Oh, I know. It doesn’t make sense. Either one or both of them is not telling the whole story and I’m guessing it’s because they both know they screwed up.

  302. Ken G wrote:

    I think Jules and Andy need to prepare a written statement which presents the “facts” they both agree are true.

    Do you really expect Jules to sit down and write a statement of facts with a man who abused her as a teen? I hope you are not serious.

  303. Bridget wrote:

    Ken G wrote:

    I think Jules and Andy need to prepare a written statement which presents the “facts” they both agree are true.

    Do you really expect Jules to sit down and write a statement of facts with a man who abused her as a teen? I hope you are not serious.

    Too bad this now-acknowledged sexual violation was not properly reported to law officials in 1998 as apparently required by then-current Texas clergy mandatory reporting laws, because then appropriate individuals (such as judge and/or jury) could have taken those *sworn depositions* and figured out how the evidence should be collated, contrasted, and interpreted.

    Because of failures to report back then, the “court” of public opinion is playing that role now.

    Yet another practical reason why Christian leaders obeying the laws of the land is an important protective/preserving force for good and for justice.

  304. Bridget wrote:

    Do you really expect Jules to sit down and write a statement of facts with a man who abused her as a teen? I hope you are not serious.

    Yes, I am serious, very serious. Jules would accomplish this through an attorney. I assume there is an attorney who would provide such service pro bono. Otherwise, what do we have – just conjecture.

  305. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    This is finally being reported on Baptist News Global. They give credit and links to TWW and WatchKeep.
    https://baptistnews.com/article/metoo-spotlight-turns-southern-baptist-megachurch/#.WlZ9DetOKrV

    Baptist News Global is an independent organization but has close ties with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. I would have expected BNG to report the story.

    Now, if The Baptist Press (owned by the SBC) reports it, I’ll be impressed.

  306. Ken G wrote:

    Otherwise, what do we have – just conjecture.

    No. We have Jules statement. Believe it or not, but it isn’t ‘conjecture’.

  307. @ Ken G:
    Andy is the one being vague here btw. (Except for things that are probably lies, like ‘I apologized to her disciple group’). Probably because the truth makes him sound awful and he doesn’t want to be that blatant about it. But he hasn’t disputed her facts about the actual ‘incident’ either.

  308. Ken G wrote:

    Yes, I am serious, very serious. Jules would accomplish this through an attorney. I assume there is an attorney who would provide such service pro bono. Otherwise, what do we have – just conjecture.

    I just don’t see why Jules now should have to do this. Her church at the time didn’t report the assault and she was told to keep quiet about it. But she should now try to work out the facts with a man who never wanted the facts exposed. Seems like a futile effort up against the likes of Savage and all the men who have cover over his “incident.”

  309. Ken G wrote:

    I think Jules and Andy need to prepare a written statement which presents the “facts” they both agree are true. Without such a statement, comments about this situation are merely conjecture.

    I think you may as well ask for a unicorn.

    When looking at these situations, you have to ask “cui bono”? Who benefits?

    I don’t Jules benefitted, nor do i think she will benefit.

    The power differential is to great. He’s getting a standing ovation.

    Highpoint Church is a terrible place. But a terrible place with deep pockets.

  310. brad/futuristguy wrote:

    Because of failures to report back then, the “court” of public opinion is playing that role now.

    Yet another practical reason why Christian leaders obeying the laws of the land is an important protective/preserving force for good and for justice.

    So true. I wish the pastors who didn’t report then could be prosecuted now. Maybe that would help get pastors up to speed with the laws of the land.

  311. Wow. Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro mentioned how ridiculous Andy Savage’s apology was on his podcast today. Shapiro said that forgiveness is only between the abuser and the abusee. According to Shapiro, third party forgiveness is pointless. He also said that the standing ovation is a terrible look for the church, which is of course true.

    It is unbelievable the reach this story has. Jules, your bravery is making an enormous impact on the world. More and more people are going to be woken up to the kinds of things the Deebs have been covering here for a very long time.

  312. Susan Jones wrote:

    …my husband was one of the people he confessed and asked forgiveness from, as he should, but it was not assault.

    Susan, with all due respect, how can you possibly know whether or not Andy was completely honest with your husband?

    During his public confession, Andy used language to minimize and distance himself from the incident/assault/whatever-you-wish-to-call-it. Can you know for certain that he didn’t also downplay the event when he spoke to your husband?

  313. Bridget wrote:

    Ken G wrote:

    I think Jules and Andy need to prepare a written statement which presents the “facts” they both agree are true.

    Do you really expect Jules to sit down and write a statement of facts with a man who abused her as a teen? I hope you are not serious.

    I agree, Bridget. That would be entitely inappropriate, especially where there is a potential court case.

  314. Jack wrote:

    Highpoint Church is a terrible place. But a terrible place with deep pockets.

    In the interests of openness and honesty, perhaps they should rename it ‘Hellpoint Church’.

  315. Ken G wrote:

    If the “facts” are in dispute (Jules spinning a different story from what you heard from your husband) how are we to ascertain the truth? I think Jules and Andy need to prepare a written statement which presents the “facts” they both agree are true. Without such a statement, comments about this situation are merely conjecture.

    She made a police report. That means there’s a statement.

  316. Susan Jones wrote:

    I was at the church when this happened. Jules is spinning a very different story from what I heard as my husband was one of the people he confessed and asked forgiveness from, as he should, but it was not assault. I’m sure you won’t publish this as I’m not “pro Jules”. I love her and knew her 20 years ago and I’m actually saddened by her actions. The truth will come out.

    Susan,

    Why would you assume that your comment wouldn’t be published?

    We are definitely truth seekers here at TWW, and we agree with your last statement –

    THE TRUTH WILL COME OUT.

  317. Ed J. wrote:

    @ AbuseCrusher:
    What happened with Craig Strickland? I thought he just decided to retire. Was there more to the story?

    Not that I’m aware of. Don’t mean to intimate that he was abusing anyone, specifically. Do know they’ve had some problems over there, and do know he got an incredible golden parachute. He does love the condo in NY that the congregants (unknowingly) paid for, I’m told, because people there “don’t know him as a pastor,” and he can just “flip people off” without judgment. Lovely people for whom we church folks (and fmr church folks) have provided lavish lifestyles, eh?

  318. Fired… Resigned…
    +++++++++++++++++

    the way i see it, the situation was too dangerous (for church and pastor reputation and to not lose giving units, that is) for Andy to stick around. He had to go.

    The kind of a situation where the higher up asks the underling to submit their resignation and they both know it has to happen. Effectively being fired, but for various reasons each party seems to have a reason to appear to be the initiator. (or appear as not being the initiator)

    I don’t know enough about the human resources world.

  319. Ricco wrote:

    Wow. Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro mentioned how ridiculous Andy Savage’s apology was on his podcast today. Shapiro said that forgiveness is only between the abuser and the abusee. According to Shapiro, third party forgiveness is pointless. He also said that the standing ovation is a terrible look for the church, which is of course true.

    It is unbelievable the reach this story has. Jules, your bravery is making an enormous impact on the world. More and more people are going to be woken up to the kinds of things the Deebs have been covering here for a very long time.

    I appreciate Shapiro’s logical approach to issues. I was hoping that he would weigh in on this. Glad to hear he brought it up in his podcast. Now I’m hoping he’ll write about it too.

  320. I just checked The Gospel Coalition church finder and could not find a listing for Highpoint Church. Does anyone know if Highpoint Church is a TGC church or if they have been scrubbed from the TGC site?

  321. Mary27 wrote:

    However, I was horrified to hear that High Point church gave a standing ovation after hearing that their pastor sexually abused a teen while he was a youth pastor

    You and me both!!! Just disgustingly wrong, wrong, and wrong. This is just unbelievable to me, and is emblematic of just how broken the evangelical church has become. It’s become cults of personality, us vs. them, a team sport.

  322. And now for something completely different:

    Don’t be surprised when I go silent over the next several days, as I will be out-of-town and largely out of communication.

  323. dee wrote:

    Mike wrote:

    What Andy did was not only the “sexual sin” it was a gross abuse of power

    This is very, very important. Sexual abuse is not about sex. It is about power.

    Well, I agree and disagree. It’s a primate thing – (a)buse of power to obtain sex. It’s a blurry line.

  324. DebWill wrote:

    Here is an excellent response to Andy Savage’s “apology”, posted at Christians for Biblical Equality International(CBE). Thank you to Ashley Easter, founder of The Courage Conference:

    https://www.cbeinternational.org/blogs/4-problems-andy-savages-apology?platform=hootsuite

    I commend Ashley Easter for this excellent post. This part especially caught my attention: “The speaker who follows Andy Savage encourages the congregation to support Savage and asserts that, “I know when you support Andy in that way, you are also supporting Ms. Woodson. You are supporting her healing.”

    Church leaders should not conflate supporting a perpetrator with doing a service to the victim.”

    Indeed.

  325. @ raswhiting:
    The part that jumped out at me is that what made Jules speak up, both the second time at church (after pastors tried to bury it), and now, 20 years later, was the simple, sheer hypocrisy of Andy savage! If he had not had the gall to teach a ‘true love waits’ class and blithely condemn celebrities for their misdeeds while conveniently forgetting his own, he may have still gotten away with it.

  326. Ken P. wrote:

    Does anyone know if Highpoint Church is a TGC church or if they have been scrubbed from the TGC site?

    I recall a commenter in the first post on Mr. Savage mentioning that HP was affiliated with TGC. You might search for that.

  327. An excellent FB post by author and missionary Dalaina May about this:
    https://www.facebook.com/DalainaMay/posts/1093305770812361

    Partial quote: “Look, it’s okay if hundreds or thousands of leaders are permanently removed from their pulpits and positions because their actions of predation and violence against women and children come to light. We can weather this storm. We must. It’s not about throwing the book or being unforgiving; it’s about setting a new standard for the sexual ethics of leaders and what counts as a disqualifying behavior. Sexual abusers and child molesters should not ever be allowed in a place of power in our churches, especially when they have used that very role as the launch pad of their abuse.”

  328. Downline Ministries of Memphis (who lists Conlee and Savage as contributing teachers) has felt the pressure and posted this on Twitter…

    Downline Ministries

    @dlministries
    6h6 hours ago
    In light of the seriousness of the accusations made by Jules Woodson against Andy Savage, we have removed Chris Conlee as a speaker at the upcoming Downline Summit. We are praying for healing for Ms Woodson, and for truth and justice for everyone involved.

    *********************************************
    Glad to see them do the right thing, even if under duress.

    It is interesting that they now (appropriately) disqualify Conlee for supporting Savage, but Downline chief Kennon Vaughan doesn’t disqualify himself for bringing his admitted child-molester buddy, Pete Newman, to Memphis to do “ministry.”

    He also doesn’t disqualify his board member. Soup Campbell (of Eikon Ministries), nor staff member and co-profiteer, Pastor John Bryson of Fellowship Memphis who oversaw Pete Newman coming to town (and provided ministry work and housing for him) and who covered up video voyeur Rick Trotter’s nefarious recordings at Fellowship & provided housing for him owned by Downline AFTER he was caught.

    Would love to see him call out Downline founding board member, Hamp Holcomb, who was responsible for both episodes, as well. Will his disavow and dis-invite Pastor Bryan Loritts, who (with his father, Pastor Crawford Loritts) covered for these evil deeds, also?

    We’ve got to keep the pressure on, because these moral dolts only do what is right when they are afraid they’ll end up on the cover of Newsweek Magazine for their wicked misdeeds!
    #justiceiscoming

  329. Ken P. wrote:

    I just checked The Gospel Coalition church finder and could not find a listing for Highpoint Church. Does anyone know if Highpoint Church is a TGC church or if they have been scrubbed from the TGC site?

    It was there a few days ago. Does not seem to be there now.

  330. Tracy wrote:

    I appreciate Shapiro’s logical approach to issues. I was hoping that he would weigh in on this. Glad to hear he brought it up in his podcast. Now I’m hoping he’ll write about it too.

    I agree.

  331. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Steve White wrote:
    @ K.D.:
    I gave up on churches 20 years ago. Still love the Lord, just gave up on the church part. Too much underhanded stuff going on and too much demand to give more money. The last church wanted us to give the equivalent of one house payment as an offering above the tithe. And, they started taking credit cards for your offering. So much for teaching financial responsibility.
    Well, you could’ve just used one of the ATM machines in the lobbies of so many of our churches. smh
    A fellow “Done”

    The money is amazing. My Chinese daughter in law ( yes, from China) was amazed at the budget of a church in the Houston area.( SBC Church) She wondered who was benefiting from the millions of dollars? Jesus or the church staff? She was just amazed. Coffee shop. Cafeteria. Their own basketball, volleyball, leagues…

  332. roebuck wrote:

    Well, I agree and disagree. It’s a primate thing – (a)buse of power to obtain sex. It’s a blurry line.

    Yes, it can be a blurry line, indeed. It also can be a kind of infatuation situation similar to the kind teenagers can have with rock singers or actresses. Those that are the subject of such adoration can take advantage and abuse their position to obtain sex. So it is about sex and not about power.

  333. The gospelly coalition crowd is very silent on this. I’ve yet to find any gospelly commentary on this one way or another. Wouldn’t this be a great opportunity for them to weigh in? But I guess they have…

  334. The question has been discussed several times here, Was this a crime in texas at the time? And the related question should it have been reported to law enforcement? Sometimes the discussion has bogged down in the details of laws that might apply to the case.

    I suggest that if someone is a victim of an assault, or the parent or friend of a victim, or a church leader receiving the allegation, they should not deliberate, investigate, or research the legal details. Just report the suspicion or the allegation to law enforcement. Then the law officers will investigate, take statements, confer with prosecutors, and decide how to proceed. Let those trained to interview, to investigate, and to prosecute do this work.

  335. Max wrote:

    The stupid standing ovation is making things worse for Savage.

    It makes a great headline. The church was so stupid here.

  336. Muff Potter wrote:

    Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    The ironic part is churches like this often criticise “high church” traditions because of the “dead rituals.” But they end up replacing them with arguably deader rituals.

    Great comment Ken, and yeah the irony is rich. Fundagelicals have nothing positive to say about high liturgy in the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox traditions.

    Over the years I’ve heard them harp endlessly on how it’s all about a “relationship” with Jesus, and by implication, it’s not likely that you (generic you) can have a genuine relationship with Christ in the old liturgical traditions.

    Well, I’m going to say something controversial here, but here goes. I watched that “service” at Highpoint Church, and it appeared to be an entertainment show of the poorest quality. Their worship boils down to a Rock Concert and a Pep Talk. I don’t call that worship. There. I said it.

  337. raswhiting wrote:

    Partial quote: “Look, it’s okay if hundreds or thousands of leaders are permanently removed from their pulpits and positions

    Can I say amen.

    Are we going to run out of pastors if we get rid of all the sexual predators and their defenders?? Maybe that should be a wake up call then. Plus there are a whole lot of women whom I’m sure could fill the slots if necessary…

  338. Ken G wrote:

    roebuck wrote:

    Well, I agree and disagree. It’s a primate thing – (a)buse of power to obtain sex. It’s a blurry line.

    Yes, it can be a blurry line, indeed. It also can be a kind of infatuation situation similar to the kind teenagers can have with rock singers or actresses. Those that are the subject of such adoration can take advantage and abuse their position to obtain sex. So it is about sex and not about power.

    Sex and power, power and sex. I wouldn’t say it’s about sex and not about power. I would say that humans are primates, and sex and power really go along together, and PC bromides about “It’s just about power, not about sex” are not particularly helpful to anyone. The two are so intertwined, and understanding that might just help address the issue more cogently.

  339. Darlene wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:

    Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    The ironic part is churches like this often criticise “high church” traditions because of the “dead rituals.” But they end up replacing them with arguably deader rituals.

    Great comment Ken, and yeah the irony is rich. Fundagelicals have nothing positive to say about high liturgy in the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox traditions.

    Over the years I’ve heard them harp endlessly on how it’s all about a “relationship” with Jesus, and by implication, it’s not likely that you (generic you) can have a genuine relationship with Christ in the old liturgical traditions.

    Well, I’m going to say something controversial here, but here goes. I watched that “service” at Highpoint Church, and it appeared to be an entertainment show of the poorest quality. Their worship boils down to a Rock Concert and a Pep Talk. I don’t call that worship. There. I said it.

    Oh, and that young woman moaning through the microphone at the end. I call that creepy and strange.

  340. Darlene wrote:

    Oh, and that young woman moaning through the microphone at the end. I call that creepy and strange.

    That was beyond creepy and strange. This is not a Christian church service.

  341. Lea wrote:

    raswhiting wrote:
    Partial quote: “Look, it’s okay if hundreds or thousands of leaders are permanently removed from their pulpits and positions
    Can I say amen.
    Are we going to run out of pastors if we get rid of all the sexual predators and their defenders?? Maybe that should be a wake up call then. Plus there are a whole lot of women whom I’m sure could fill the slots if necessary…

    Men replaced as pastors by women? I can see SBC leadership’s heads exploding.

  342. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    The gospelly coalition crowd is very silent on this. I’ve yet to find any gospelly commentary on this one way or another. Wouldn’t this be a great opportunity for them to weigh in? But I guess they have…

    I hear ya Ken, but here’s the way I see it. Contrary to what others have said here, Highpoint Church is not a New Calvinist church. I watched that entire service and at the end, the pastor had what is typically called an altar call, i.e. – “With all heads bowed and eyes closed”, etc. Calvinists don’t do that sort of thing in their services. So, TGC wouldn’t see any need to address the Andy Savage debacle. I’d see them wanting to distance themselves from this mess. Now, I’m not saying they’re right about this at all. Just offering a possible explanation as to why they are silent.

  343. Lea wrote:

    Plus there are a whole lot of women whom I’m sure could fill the slots if necessary…

    Excellent point. Dalaina agrees I am sure.

  344. Darlene wrote:

    So, TGC wouldn’t see any need to address the Andy Savage debacle. I’d see them wanting to distance themselves from this mess. Now, I’m not saying they’re right about this at all. Just offering a possible explanation as to why they are silent.

    I checked a couple of days ago and they were listed on both TGC and SBC church directories (but not 9Marks). I can no longer find them on TGC. Maybe that’s TGC’s way to wiggle out of this. But I think they should still have to answer for why that church was listed on their search directory.

  345. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    The gospelly coalition crowd is very silent on this. I’ve yet to find any gospelly commentary on this one way or another. Wouldn’t this be a great opportunity for them to weigh in? But I guess they have…

    These guys are guilty of this stuff, themselves. They don’t want to do what moron Savage did with the Matt Lauer tweet & open up their own can of worms.

    Many of the TGC board members are speaking at the Downline conference in Memphis in a few weeks. Some of them, like pastor Crawford Loritts and fmr TGC board member Sandy Willson actively participated in covering up sexual crimes at churches in Memphis.

    This group couldn’t be more creepy if they all drove around in a van with darkened windows trying to lure kids with candy.

  346. This one’s really taking off.
    Around 1500 comments on both Andy Savage threads.

  347. Bill wrote:

    I could only get through about 4 minutes of Conlee on that video before I got the feeling it was well rehearsed for a specific outcome i.e. getting themselves off the hook. And the soft background music… I really don’t like it when “churches” do that, it always feels like it is an attempt to manipulate emotions.

    That entire service was an attempt to manipulate people’s emotions. Pure Entertainment. Or I should say Impure Entertainment.

  348. Lea wrote:

    Are we going to run out of pastors if we get rid of all the sexual predators and their defenders??

    Starting to look like it…

  349. Max wrote:

    Darlene wrote:

    … altar call … Calvinists don’t do that sort of thing in their services

    Moderate (4-Point) Calvinists do.

    Whatever the case, Highpoint Church is not a New Calvinist church. They’re more like a generic, non-denominational hodge-podge church.

  350. Darlene wrote:

    They’re more like a generic, non-denominational hodge-podge church.

    Just like so many ‘evangelical’ churches. Anything goes! Whatever makes the pew-sitters feel good! It really is a joke, a bad joke.

  351. Darlene wrote:

    Contrary to what others have said here, Highpoint Church is not a New Calvinist church.

    Highpoint Church was (is?) affiliated with The Gospel Coalition according to commenter Ken F. He saw their listing a few days ago on TGC’s website. The Gospel Coalition = The Calvinist Coalition. TGC’s leadership council are the who’s-who in New Calvinism.

    If you enter “Highpoint Church Memphis The Gospel Coalition” on a Google search, you will be directed to TGC’s Church Directory … which is strangely a blank page today re: info on Highpoint.

  352. Darlene wrote:

    They’re more like a generic, non-denominational hodge-podge church.

    Highpoint is a Southern Baptist church. Within SBC ranks, a church can lean Calvinist or non-Calvinist as long as they adhere to the Baptist Faith and Message (BFM) … and there is plenty of theological wiggle room in the BFM2000 revision, making room under the big SBC tent for New Calvinists.

  353. Max wrote:

    Darlene wrote:

    They’re more like a generic, non-denominational hodge-podge church.

    Highpoint is a Southern Baptist church. Within SBC ranks, a church can lean Calvinist or non-Calvinist as long as they adhere to the Baptist Faith and Message (BFM) … and there is plenty of theological wiggle room in the BFM2000 revision, making room under the big SBC tent for New Calvinists.

    Max, you can try to paint them as New Calvinists all you want. I’m convinced otherwise since looking at their website and watching that sermon. Not being New Calvinists doesn’t make Andy Savage’s and Chris Conlee’s actions any less repugnant. Sin is sin no matter what denomination the person belongs to.

  354. Darlene wrote:

    Sin is sin no matter what denomination the person belongs to.

    Agreed. It matters not what theological flavor you choose.

  355. @ JYJames:
    Are you saying that these men have been doing these things all these years and lying and pretending to be holy and are privately immoral?

  356. @ Darlene:
    So his remorseful behavior and chaste life (I am assuming this for conversation) isn’t enough to prove his regret? What about Saul/Paul? What about David?

  357. @ cindy treadway:
    But did he not stop? Did he not stop in the middle of the sexual incident? Seriously-what MAN does THAT? Then repents and confesses- this is a WITCH HUNT in my opinion from what we have been told to date…if ANDY SAVAGE has lived an exemplary life all these years then he has repented if not-he needs to be out of leadership within a church.

  358. @ Lea:
    DO you honestly not know what repentance is? Confessing your sins-admitting what you are doing is wrong, HE told everyone in authority-he confessed his sin did he not? I am glad you are not God.

  359. Darlene wrote:

    Max, you can try to paint them as New Calvinists all you want. I’m convinced otherwise since looking at their website and watching that sermon. Not being New Calvinists doesn’t make Andy Savage’s and Chris Conlee’s actions any less repugnant. Sin is sin no matter what denomination the person belongs to.

    New Cal leaders often masquerade as other things to get approval or their numbers up before they pull a bait and switch. I’ve seen that kind of behavior first-hand.

    I’m not convinced they are New Calvinist, but they were affiliated with TGC just a few days ago and I have a hard time believing the pastors didn’t know TGC’s theology. I also looked and found them there, but someone on the other thread mentioned finding a button to report churches for bad behavior, so they may have done so.

  360. Cheryl wrote:

    DO you honestly not know what repentance is? Confessing your sins-admitting what you are doing is wrong, HE told everyone in authority-he confessed his sin did he not? I am glad you are not God.

    That is incorrect. That is not what it means. The word “repentance” in Greek literally means to turn around and go the other way. While confession is often considered the first step in that, it really means to radically change your life. It’s much harder than just saying sorry and the church should be ashamed of itself to be defining repentance as a bunch of words without living a life to back them up. This is why when Jesus often spoke to people about what it really means to have faith, like the rich man, they just turned around and left because they thought it was too hard.

    And he did not tell everyone in authority, because he didn’t tell the police. The church is not the legal authority in these types of cases.

  361. Seems to me he kinda brought this problem on himself. If after this incident he chose to stay out of the limelight and just be a manager at Walmart hardly anyone would know about this problem!

  362. Darlene wrote:

    Well, I’m going to say something controversial here, but here goes. I watched that “service” at Highpoint Church, and it appeared to be an entertainment show of the poorest quality. Their worship boils down to a Rock Concert and a Pep Talk. I don’t call that worship. There. I said it.

    Not controversial at all Darlene. Let me assure you, you’re not alone in your sentiments. If I ever darken the door of a Church again, it will be one that still does one of the the ancient Liturgies.

  363. Ken G wrote:

    Yes, I am serious, very serious. Jules would accomplish this through an attorney. I assume there is an attorney who would provide such service pro bono. Otherwise, what do we have – just conjecture.

    Why on earth would Jules do that? Seriously, WHY? At this point in time, it’s very clear that Andy Savage is spinning what happened by using the phrase “sexual incident.” That tends to hint at the possibility Jules was consenting and complicit. You can’t work with that, you just can’t.

    And for legal reasons, I’d tell Jules to stay the heck away from Andy and anyone from Highpoint. If she doesn’t have legal counsel on call to deal with them, she should seriously think about it. Especially since she’s filed a police report.

  364. Max wrote:

    If you enter “Highpoint Church Memphis The Gospel Coalition” on a Google search, you will be directed to TGC’s Church Directory … which is strangely a blank page today re: info on Highpoint.

    But thanks to cache…
    http://cc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=Highpoint+Church+Memphis+The+Gospel+Coalition&d=4503932140257743&mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US&w=CcOwgCOqsfcAJo_ggQ9ezDDxkuoQYTNZ

    But, as someone pointed out up-thread, there is a “report this church” button so maybe that is the reason the listing was removed.

  365. ishy wrote:

    they were affiliated with TGC just a few days ago

    Ishy, perhaps you know this about TGC. Do they have non-Calvinist churches in their membership? It’s clear that New Calvinist celebrities and their churches identify with TGC, but what about non-Calvinist members?

  366. Memphis wrote:

    Found this earlier from a member of the congregation and for your reading pleasure……

    I tried to read this blog but was unable to …
    This reminds me of Bill Gothard and his admirers …although God did speak through an ass in the OT!

  367. Max wrote:

    Ishy, perhaps you know this about TGC. Do they have non-Calvinist churches in their membership? It’s clear that New Calvinist celebrities and their churches identify with TGC, but what about non-Calvinist members?

    I don’t know. They do seem eager to convert everyone, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they do to wiggle their way in. But I’ve also seen their leaders and newbie pastors come into churches and just flat out lie about what they believe.

    Like FW said, they don’t make it a secret what they believe. And I’ve seen a couple Highpointers on SBC Voices and elsewhere indignant that they would be considered an SBC church, because apparently Conlee has told them they are not, but they are.

    I think it would be unwise to take anything for granted.

  368. Cheryl wrote:

    What about Saul/Paul? What about David?

    Hey Cheryl, try reading the bee eye bee elle eee every now and then.
    Saul/Paul spent 3 years in the desert wilderness after he converted.
    David’s son conceived in sin died and the sword never departed house of David because of his act.

  369. ishy wrote:

    Like FW said, they don’t make it a secret what they believe. And I’ve seen a couple Highpointers on SBC Voices and elsewhere indignant that they would be considered an SBC church, because apparently Conlee has told them they are not, but they are.

    Someone on Pravda said Highpoint was not an SBC church, but 2 people (our Max being one of them) called him out it. ……. Then came the litany of excuse ……. well, the SBC is a loose confederation, yada, yada ….

  370. Local Houston news (The Woodlands is a Master Planned community north of Houston & is located in Sourh Montgomery County) reported this 2 days ago:
    ***

    According to the Montgomery County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office, the statute of limitations in the case has passed.

    Precinct 3 released a statement that read:

    “Pastor Andy Savage sexual assault from 1998: We want to confirm with the media that this case has been brought to Montgomery County Constable’s Office Precinct 3 attention yesterday. A case was opened and the complainant in the case was interviewed by a Detective. During the process of collecting initial information from the complainant we have been working with the District Attorney’s office on possible charges in the case. Montgomery County District Attorney’s office has researched the law that would have applied in 1998 for the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations has passed and no charges would be able to be filed. Using the current statute we would have some possible options but we are limited to the law as it was at the time of the offense in 1998. As a result we are unable to investigate and seek justice to the full extent of what would we normally would in such a case.”
    ***

    https://www.click2houston.com/news/pastor-accused-of-sexual-assault-asks-for-forgiveness-at-sundays-church-event

  371. Boyd wrote:

    Local Houston news (The Woodlands is a Master Planned community north of Houston & is located in Sourh Montgomery County) reported this 2 days ago:
    ***

    According to the Montgomery County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office, the statute of limitations in the case has passed.

    Precinct 3 released a statement that read:

    “Pastor Andy Savage sexual assault from 1998: We want to confirm with the media that this case has been brought to Montgomery County Constable’s Office Precinct 3 attention yesterday. A case was opened and the complainant in the case was interviewed by a Detective. During the process of collecting initial information from the complainant we have been working with the District Attorney’s office on possible charges in the case. Montgomery County District Attorney’s office has researched the law that would have applied in 1998 for the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations has passed and no charges would be able to be filed. Using the current statute we would have some possible options but we are limited to the law as it was at the time of the offense in 1998. As a result we are unable to investigate and seek justice to the full extent of what would we normally would in such a case.”
    ***

    https://www.click2houston.com/news/pastor-accused-of-sexual-assault-asks-for-forgiveness-at-sundays-church-event

    Is that statute of limitations concerning Savage’s illegal sex act or for the non-reporting as required by law for pastors Larry Cotton and Steve Bradley?

    At least they have apparently confirmed that it is obvious a crime took place. (And for you Savage defenders, he has admitted sexual contact & therefor, a crime).

  372. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Susan Jones wrote:
    I was at the church when this happened. Jules is spinning a very different story from what I heard as my husband was one of the people he confessed and asked forgiveness from, as he should, but it was not assault. I’m sure you won’t publish this as I’m not “pro Jules”. I love her and knew her 20 years ago and I’m actually saddened by her actions. The truth will come out.

    i think what we have here is a public admission that Susan Jones also knew of the sexual molestation and didnt report it.

  373. @ Cheryl:
    Step 1. coercion to service lust – telling a girl to serve his manly privates
    Step 2. coercion to falsify his reputation – telling the same girl to take it to the grave
    Step 3. coercion for others, within days, to laud him as pastor leader (True Love Waits)
    Step 4. coercion for congregation to believe it was a kiss (so testify then congregants)
    Step 5. coercion for another church to hire him, as it was a one-off “incident”
    etc.
    On and on – one masquerade after another? When has the assailant come clean?

  374. roebuck wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    Oh, and that young woman moaning through the microphone at the end. I call that creepy and strange.
    That was beyond creepy and strange. This is not a Christian church service.

    The songs creeped me out as well. I got a good vibe from literally none of it.

  375. @ Jenn Riegel:
    Jenn,
    Your post is so very well written. Thank you.
    Excerpt: “20 years later is not too late to speak and be heard, and it’s not too late to listen, when we finally have our mouths to ourselves and are brave enough to try to speak after having been silenced and spoken for. That big table, where there’s room enough but we haven’t been welcome, unless we’re serving coffee or recording minutes, it’s time to turn the table over. That table where decisions are made in our silence, it’s getting turned over.”

  376. Max wrote:

    If you enter “Highpoint Church Memphis The Gospel Coalition” on a Google search, you will be directed to TGC’s Church Directory … which is strangely a blank page today re: info on Highpoint.

    I, for one, reported Highpoint Church to TGC. I wrote as my reason that they be removed: “Minimizing the rape of a teenager by one of its pastors.” They responded: “Thank you for getting in touch with us about one of the church listings on the Gospel Coalition Church Directory! We want to ensure that the information is up to date, so your corrections are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again! Grace be with you.
    Alen Andrews”

  377. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Cheryl wrote:

    But did he not stop? Did he not stop in the middle of the sexual incident?

    This makes it ok?!?!?

    I’ve seen this a couple times so maybe it’s the skin. They aren’t reading carefully enough. He got what he wanted (oral) and then he was touching her for a while and then he got out and pulled his ‘take it to the grave’ stuff (which is NOT repentance but damage control!)

    He doesn’t get points for that!

  378. JYJames wrote:

    Step 1.

    There were other previous steps:
    – telling the girl he had a “surprise” (she images ice cream) while he is in lust.
    – driving past her house and down a dirt road – abduction after his lie of a “surprise”. It was an ambush.
    – even before all this, his images of fulfilling his lust with an innocent, probably fed with a habit of looking at photos/film. Roy Hazelwood, FBI profiler, said it’s all about the images they feed their minds. Predators are driven by their fantasies. They fulfill a fantasy when they attack.

  379. @ JYJames:
    I really am concerned that all the ‘he was just a young guy’ people are not seeing how completely out of line this would have been even on a date!

    Which it was not. The lying alone is a problem.

  380. I really believe you have the correct view of repentence. “To turn and go the other way” living a life of true repentance. He stated there has never been an incident before or after this, the after this is they key. Of course he will teach about sexual purity because of the lessons he learned from the aweful sin he committed. At 20-23 I’m sure I would have listened to my church leadership, men older and wiser than myself at the time. They made a huge mistake and Andy stated that he understands the situation could have been handled better. If you’ve lived a life that’s true to your repentece what more can people expect? He also stated I did not know that the issue was not resolved to Jules until that email, well again if the church told him NOT to contact her as well as her parents which this is very logical, have no contact with the victim any longer, he complied. So now he is trying to make amends by contacting her and apologizing and offering what she needs. If the statue of limitations have passed and in 1998 this was not a crime if the age of consent was 17, was it a abuse of authority, heck yes but even if he turned himself in to the police and nothing happened then what? I believe God is sovereign so his hand is in this situation, there are consequences to sin but we can’t judge those consequences, he’s married with 5 sons, his legacy alone is ruined because of 5-minutes that’s a HUGE consequence. At this point what do we honestly expect this man to do? In 16 years of his current ministry he hasn’t had a mishap, have changed lives and again lived a life of continued repentance. I do think when this story broke he should have resigned because of the situating he put his lead pastor and congregation in. My heart breaks for Jules and the consequences that his actions caused her, the dog and pony PR stunt Sunday by the Church was distasteful and a HORRIBLE way to handle this situation. I hate that hang him and burn him mob mentality and I hate the she was 17 she knew what she was doing mentality. What can we learn from this? We learn that God WILL NOT be mocked, our sin has far reaching consequences even though we are forgiven, we learn that we need to do a better job at protecting our young women, and when that protection fails we need to pursue the laws of this country because that is our authority. I have committed adultery and lied, but I’m not a liar and a cheater, that doesn’t define me for life, I know how God tells me that he views me, but 20 years from now if my daughter where to ask me if I’ve always been faithful to her mother I would have to say no. Her response thereafter could be one of grace and compassion or one of anger and disappointment, either way 20 years from now my sin has long lasting consequences. Jules I love you and I’m praying that you have peace and joy in the midst of this situation, I pray that you get the best possible outcome so that you can finally have the closure you need. I don’t have to be for Andy or Jules but I do have to love them both because I’m a Christian and my heart breaks for all involved.

  381. It has taken me days to muster up the courage to watch the news clips on this. I understood the situation through this blog and Amy’s blog, but to hear Andy’s voice in that sham of a “confession” followed by applause was more than I could bear. I am utterly revolted. This was no confession driven by the Holy Spirit, it was a classic CYA move. He is not sorry. He is only sorry the truth has been revealed. Jules, you are my hero!

  382. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    non-reporting as required by law for pastors Larry Cotton and Steve Bradley

    If evangelicalism in America stands a chance of bringing to a halt the cover up of sexual abuse by church leaders, then folks like Larry Cotton, Steve Bradley, Chris Conlee and others along the way who enabled Andy Savage to advance in ministry need to be disciplined – certainly by their churches as well as civil authorities where appropriate. A firm message needs to be sent to church leaders across America that enough is enough!

  383. Mercy wrote:

    seeker friendly

    “Seeker-friendly” essentially means tell me what you want and we will serve it up … tell me which way you want to go and I’ll get out in front to lead. Seeker-friendly / culturally-relevant / cult of personality / Christianity Lite in America has darn near destroyed the church.

  384. Cheryl wrote:

    But did he not stop? Did he not stop in the middle of the sexual incident? Seriously-what MAN does THAT?

    ROFL. Is this what your proof is?

  385. @ dee:
    I said above, I think this is the new SPIN. As if he should be commended, which would be ridiculous even if it were true, which it is not.

    He stopped AFTER he got what he wanted. He stopped in the ‘middle’ of fondling her, which is not the way they are portraying it.

    These people…

  386. Susan Jones wrote:

    I was at the church when this happened. Jules is spinning a very different story from what I heard as my husband was one of the people he confessed and asked forgiveness from, as he should, but it was not assault. I’m sure you won’t publish this as I’m not “pro Jules”. I love her and knew her 20 years ago and I’m actually saddened by her actions. The truth will come out.

    First: could you tell us when you filed a police report? You should have done so. I’m sure a law abiding citizen would have done so.
    Second: You believe Andy. Of course you do. You can’t imagine being had.
    Third: This is a warning. If you and some other bots attempt to paint Jules as a modern day teen Jezebel/Elvira you will be scorned by a watching nation.
    Fourth: No you don’t love Jules. Your comment and threat prove this. Shame on you.

  387. Andrew wrote:

    So now he is trying to make amends by contacting her and apologizing and offering what she needs.

    Your thoughts here don’t take into account that Jules reached out to him via email and he did not reply. Had he replied with something reasonable, it sounds like she would not have gone to the press. What is your explanation for his lack of response?

  388. Andrew wrote:

    If the statue of limitations have passed and in 1998 this was not a crime if the age of consent was 17

    The statute of limitation have passed/this was not a crime???

    Do you see the problem there?

    How truly repentant was he if he didn’t confess until caught, definitely didn’t go to the police, excepted a happy go lucky going away party, taught ‘true love waits’ without shame, and kept it a secret at his next job? REALLY think about what you’re saying here.

  389. Andrew wrote:

    his legacy alone is ruined because of 5-minutes that’s a HUGE consequence

    Because he got CAUGHT. boo-hoo, your sins found you out. Is that what you think? Poor Andy? Yep.

    If he had been open and honest from the beginning, his reputation would not have been ruined. Why is this so difficult to understand?

  390. Susan Jones wrote:

    my husband was one of the people he confessed and asked forgiveness from

    Confessing to a men’s accountability group doesn’t cut it. This was a crime. There are churchmen all across this nation confessing their ongoing sins to other men, but still don’t seem to get a grip on overcoming those sins and living more holy lives. Years later, there are remnants of accountability groups spawned by the Promise Keepers movement – they didn’t get it then and they don’t get it now.

  391. @ Forrest:

    It seems that this is very much the congregations mindset. “Well there are two sides to every story. And we’ve never met this woman. We know Andy and even though he has not offered any rebuttal and basically acknowledged that what this woman is saying is true we have picked his side because she doesn’t have a relationship with us.”

    Very sad and stupid reasoning.

  392. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    Excellent response….. Americans want a quick, easy fix to everthing.

    As you’ve probably noticed, the catch-phrase “real quick…” has been embedded in the American vernacular for say a decade?

    I’m wondering here if there’s a casual or even a causal relationship with the drop in American attention spans.

    How would a scientist go about such an investigation?

  393. Lea wrote:

    @ dee:
    I said above, I think this is the new SPIN. As if he should be commended, which would be ridiculous even if it were true, which it is not.

    He stopped AFTER he got what he wanted. He stopped in the ‘middle’ of fondling her, which is not the way they are portraying it.

    These people…

    Is he supposed to get bonus points for what is essentially, “I could’ve assaulted her longer and with more vigor, but I didn’t. Hooray for me!”

  394. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    David’s son conceived in sin died and the sword never departed house of David because of his act.

    Karma and her sister Comeuppance are relentless. They cannot be reasoned with, nor will they stop until Themis’ balances are restored. They are like terminators from the future.

  395. Lea wrote:

    Andrew wrote:

    If the statue of limitations have passed and in 1998 this was not a crime if the age of consent was 17

    The statute of limitation have passed/this was not a crime???

    Do you see the problem there?

    How truly repentant was he if he didn’t confess until caught, definitely didn’t go to the police, excepted a happy go lucky going away party, taught ‘true love waits’ without shame, and kept it a secret at his next job? REALLY think about what you’re saying here.

    I have heard others talk this way; they read this as a first-time offense, that he may have planned it and led up to it but then was horrified by the reality, and that’s why he threw himself into preaching about “biblical sexuality.” It was his own personal temptation, so he became known as the “sex preacher” or something like that. Kind of like the pastor who was famous for denouncing homosexuality, until he got caught using male escorts.

    I don’t know if these people read it as such because they’ve fought similar temptation and managed to resist?

    The commenters on Twitter who have seemed to maintain that this was “normal” left me shaken until I read beakerj’s excellent and very helpful discussion of what “healthy” should look like.

  396. Muff Potter wrote:

    Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    Excellent response….. Americans want a quick, easy fix to everthing.

    As you’ve probably noticed, the catch-phrase “real quick…” has been embedded in the American vernacular for say a decade?

    I’m wondering here if there’s a casual or even a causal relationship with the drop in American attention spans.

    How would a scientist go about such an investigation?

    And now you can order from Amazon or a local store and receive your order in an hour or less, in some places. And Amazon is investigating drone delivery.

  397. I’ve read the Highpoint member’s blog post which basically boiled down to “I believe Andy” and I think it really sets up what I think is the problem with the whole response to this.

    Did Andy Savage take a girl to a remote location under false pretenses? Did he ask for oral sex after doing so? Did he do this while in a position of authority over her, and not as someone who was in any kind of emotional relationship with her? Did she have any reason to feel coerced into performing the act?

    Jules says that he did, but to my knowledge Andy Savage has neither admitted to the details, nor has he denied that they happened. So sure I can believe Andy that he did something bad, but unless he admits how bad his action was, it doesn’t mean anything as a confession. Do the people who gave him a standing ovation believe that he abducted a girl that was under his pastoral care and unzipped his pants? Or do they just believe that they were together and things went a little too far? It’s a classic strategy in politics and elsewhere to confess to a less serious offense and try to make the story all about that, but we should have more integrity than that here.

    What it comes down to for me, though, is let’s say we give Andy Savage the benefit of the doubt — that since that incident he has changed his ways, he has truly repented, and that he would never, ever, abuse his pastoral authority again. I still want to know why it is so important for him to continue as a professional pastor. I’m not smart enough to know whether someone should ever be restored to ministry after such an act, but I think if it were me I would want to choose a profession where I would not face such temptations again, at least for a period of time. Why is it considered a punishment to be an ordinary church member instead of one with authority?

    (And yes, I know the answer is most likely money, but I would hope we could consider what is best for the flock rather than what is best for Andy Savage.)

  398. refugee wrote:

    The commenters on Twitter who have seemed to maintain that this was “normal” left me shaken until I read beakerj’s excellent and very helpful discussion of what “healthy” should look like.

    I really think her comment should be turned into an entire post. It was excellent.

    This is NOT NORMAL. Even for unattached, sexually active, teenagers/young men. Girls should know they shouldn’t be treated that way.

  399. @ dee:
    Dee,
    I am so relieved that you addressed Susan Jones. It threw me into such a PTSD #me too moment that I began writing a long comment. I typed and deleted, typed and deleted. Now I am crying with relief that I can leave it alone. As ugly and as triggering that this specific comment is, it is very important to show how these perpetrators are allowed to continue in power positions. If anyone lets comments like that alter their opinion of Jules, they must examine the comment. It says nothing about Jules. Nothing. How awful for this commenter to pass on what she claims that she “heard” third hand.

  400. Lea wrote:

    Girls should know they shouldn’t be treated that way.

    Also, boys and grown men should apparently know that too, since they seem to be all over the place talking about how it’s totally normal.

    It. Is. Not.

  401. Cheryl wrote:

    @ cindy treadway:
    Did he not stop in the middle of the sexual incident?

    Nope. He didn’t stop in the middle. He got a minor into his truck under false pretenses, took her to a secluded area, and got his jollies. Then, and only then, he stopped.

  402. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    ishy wrote:

    Like FW said, they don’t make it a secret what they believe. And I’ve seen a couple Highpointers on SBC Voices and elsewhere indignant that they would be considered an SBC church, because apparently Conlee has told them they are not, but they are.

    Someone on Pravda said Highpoint was not an SBC church, but 2 people (our Max being one of them) called him out it. ……. Then came the litany of excuse ……. well, the SBC is a loose confederation, yada, yada ….

    I can confirm this. I have been going to HP for 6 years, and I had no idea that we are a SBC church until last night. I asked my wife if she knew, and she said, “No it’s not; it’s non-denominational,” so at least there are two of us that had no idea. I’ve since scoured the website and couldn’t find even a vague reference to being Baptist anywhere. I don’t know how to fell about that. I do know that I’ve always thought the liturgy is very Baptist, what with the full immersion Baptisms (which they do not refer to as Baptism; they call it “Going Public” FWIW) and the invitation at the end of every service.

    I don’t have a problem with any of that, but it bothers me that they would keep the SBC affiliation such a secret.

  403. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Nope. He didn’t stop in the middle.

    He stopped only later after he was fondling her for a while. Maddening that people that gives him some sort of points. How pathetic do you have to be to think any of this is ok?

  404. @ Patti:
    I second Patti’s comments.
    A Fifth point is “Sexual contact between a youth minister and underage girl under that ministers care is wrong, and should always be, a crime.” It does not matter one bit what the behavior/intent of the girl was, period. They fire teachers around her all the time for teachers messing with students… and they should… Anyone that attacks Jules “intentions” is a sicko in my mind.. Or, alternatively, we should ask these sickos attacking Jules character: Is it fine to have a ministry to prostitutes, or “loose women” (using the old fashion term), and get a little “action” on the side? Of course it is not OK, yet it is fine for defenders of “Andy” to say Jules wanted it??

  405. I am completely disgusted by my community (Memphis) and the rape culture many residents are displaying with regards to this story. The minimization of Jules age (She was almost 18!) I keep reading, and the outright lies about Andy’s age (I have read him to be anywhere between 19 to 21 in news media comments.) is disgusting. Frankly, the people defending Andy are disgusting to me. I have an 18 year old daughter. I am going to arm her with scissors, and inform her if anyone whips out a penis at her when she is unaware and it is unwelcome, to just go ahead and snip it off. Maybe then we won’t have stories like this in the future.

  406. I agree with most of the points and seriousness and gravity of the issues, but consider the accusation from lack of response to the first email from Jules to Savage to be way off the boat. His best response was no response. Its impossible to draw any meaningful conclusions from that.

  407. @ Lea:

    refugee wrote: The commenters on Twitter who have seemed to maintain that this was “normal” left me shaken until I read beakerj’s excellent and very helpful discussion of what “healthy” should look like.”

    Leah wrote: “I really think her comment should be turned into an entire post. It was excellent.

    This is NOT NORMAL. Even for unattached, sexually active, teenagers/young men. Girls should know they shouldn’t be treated that way.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i think time spent in church culture makes a person more and more leery of “the world” — everyone outside the church bubble.

    a lore has developed, about everyone outside the bubble — all the evil, hateful, immoral, unconscionable things that everyone is doing who is “not one of us”. the world.

    it is entirely false. entirely untrue.

    the most outstanding human beings are outside the church bubble.

    men of all persuasions and on all points of the faith spectrum (from no faith to enthusiastic faith) in whatever deity know that actions such as Andy took are totally inappropriate and wrong and would never consider such a thing.

    christians are totally messed up and confused where this is concerned.

    (well, some christians, at least)

  408. Peter Hyatt at statement.analysis.blogspot.com just reprinted Jules’ statement and asked his readers/followers to have a go at it.