Highpoint Church: A TWW Tutorial on How Not to Handle an Andy Savage #metoo Church Service

“The test is this – “If what we have decided is published on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow, we will be proud of what we have done? Or will we be embarrassed’?” Louis at SBC Voices

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Jules Woodson’s story has seen one of the most overwhelming responses we have ever had at at TWW or Watch Keep. As I write this, dealing with a 101 temp, Amy is valiantly handling a sit down interview with CNN with more interviews to follow. Since we last wrote, the story has been picked up by Fox News, CBS Evening News, Newsweek, The Blaze, the Washington Post. Here is a link to Fox News which includes the full video of the Sunday service at Highpoint Church. Please watch it. I will be referring to it in this post. I need to apologize for some formatting issues. (I am using an old computer while my new one gets set up.)

An insider’s glimpse on how CBS Evening News prepares a story-it happen quickly!

I have to admit that I have had a fit of giggles since some guy, obviously upset that we posted about Andy Savage, said that we are amateurish. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, that is what I told Jerika Duncan, the CBS correspondent, who reassured me that we were handling things very well! Here is a quick look behind the scenes. Jules and our support group had a conference call with Ms. Duncan at 2:30 PM on Tuesday. She had reached out to TWW. We did not contact them

She was very professional, asking us a many questions after which she said that she wanted to present the story to the executives for permission to run with it in 4 hours time! She explained that they had do it immediately because that is how news cycles work. She contacted us back around 4 PM and said that they planned to do the story and they needed to Skype with Jules at 5 PM EST. Then a producer contacted me, asking some questions about the story and requesting pictures. Did you notice that the picture on CBS was the one from our post on Monday?

At about 6:20 PM(!), the producer called and asked for the original email that Jules sent to Savage. The show went on the air at 6:30. By 6:45 PM the story was being teased before the hard break. Both the producer and Ms. Duncan(who reported on the story) were very complimentary of Jules. I got a quick text after the segment aired with a kind note hoping that we pleased. All of us were quite satisfied but a bit shell-shocked by the rapidity of the whole experience.

For all of us, this swift news cycle has been quite an eye opener. We may be *amateurish* but we are sure getting our feet wet. Jules is holding up very well although today she is taking a break and is working. Please pray for her stamina and courage. This is emotionally trying.

A tutorial for churches on what not to do when something like this happens to your church: Looking at the Highpoint Church service on Sunday 1/7/18.

I know this may sound a bit naive, but I had hoped for a more sophisticated response from Highpoint Church.This is not the 1950s. Sex abuse has been in the news for the last year and Savage and Conlee frequently commented on the subject

  • Never, ever, ever allow a contrived standing ovation (or any standing ovation for that matter) when someone confesses a sexual sin. 
    There is a hurt victim that has had struggled with this incident for years. There are also unknown and known victims present in the assembly and the church must never lose sight of that fact. What does this say to victims? What does it say to a watching world? In fact, this ovation has been the subject of most of the major new stories about Savage out there. It is shocking to a watching world that a standing ovation was given to an admitted sexual abuser.I predicted that the church would do it on Twitter the day before. This is a typical tactic of churches that are caught in such ha circumstance. Perhaps they think that this helps those who are there to think that everyone who sees this is on their side. Sadly, if this is true, then they are caught in their own little bubble and cannot see themselves as the word see them. Sure, it looks good to those present to have 1000 people standing, hooting and hollering. However, those outside the service were appalled. Just about every major news source has pointed out the standing ovation. Amy Smith just got finished with the CNN interview and the interviewer was astonished at this response. Look at these titles:-

-Memphis pastor gets standing ovation after acknowledging ‘sexual incident’ with teen: Fox News.

-Pastor admits to ‘sexual incident’ with teen, receives standing ovation from congregation:
 NBC News

Pastor gets standing ovation after admitting ‘sexual incident’ with teen: New York Post

-Pastor admits to “sexual incident” with teen 20 years ago, gets standing ovation:
CBS News

-TENNESSEE PASTOR GETS STANDING OVATION AFTER ADMITTING ‘SEXUAL INCIDENT’ WITH TEEN:
Newsweek

A pastor admitted a past ‘sexual incident’ with a teen, saying he was ‘deeply sorry.’ His congregation gave him a standing ovation: Washington Post

Do I need to keep going on(there are more) or have I made my point? Churches, treat the subject matter with the dignity and soberness that it deserves. No standing ovations, no hoots or raucous applause. In fact a sober warning at the beginning of the service is advisable. This was a serious misstep and it has hurt Highpoint Church(and churches like them) in the eyes of the world.

  • Watch out for your church worship team.

    They can make or break the perception of how this subject is being dealt with. Music should be soft, contemplative, and serious. Be careful with the *Jesus paid it all* type music. It could be viewed by outsiders as giving a break for serious sin. Make sure all of the extemporaneous comments are in keeping with the subject matter. It should be sensible and thoughtful.Here is an example of how being lax in this area can be viewed. Jonathan Aigner at Ponder Anew wrote a thoughtful and humorous post: Highpoint Church Worship Leader Either Receives Holy Spirit or Suffers Medical Episode.

    I don’t know this person, so please don’t suggest I’m attacking her personally. But ladies and gentlemen, this is why you don’t give your worship leader a microphone.

  • Always tell  the simple truth so you will not look like you are ducking responsibility.
    In my former church, when a pedophile was exposed and the local news was covering the situation, the head pastor said that the seminary student pedophile “Was only a volunteer. He wasn’t on staff.” This is silly. The guy led a bunch of the Bible studies for the youth and even had a designated desk in the church offices. All that this beating around the bush does is to cause outsiders to believe that the church leadership is not trustworthy.In this instance, Savage claimed that he was simply a college student on the church staff. He appears to be trying to make himself seem less responsible and more innocent than he was. On his own website, Andy Savage.com, he says that he was a Youth Pastor (with capital letters.) If you wear the title; you MUST bear the responsibility. This is especially true in Texas which has strong clergy laws when it comes to exploitation.
  • Stop emphasizing that an incident happened a long time ago (20 years in this case) as if it makes any difference.
    Some crimes and sins have a life long, lasting impact. That is especially true for sexual abuse. Read this story about men in the 50s describing the sexual abuse they experienced as boys in England’s boarding schools. Pastors should educated themselves about the enduring consequences of sex abuse. Sadly, sex abuse that is perpetrated by a revered pastor or priest can destroy faith and interfere with establishment of normal relationships. Never downplay sex abuse, no matter how long ago it happened. No one has the right nor the insight into a person’s soul to judge whether the pain should be gone by some arbitrary amount of time. Most people understand this and any pastor who uses this approach looks poorly educated and hard-hearted.
  • Cut down on the emotional crying over the abuser.
    In the video, Conlee wept when he mentioned Savage but never shed tears when he mentioned Woodson. At least that is how it appeared to me. Jesus always emphasized the pain of the abused and disenfranchised and spent a fair amount of time chastising religious leaders. If one cannot muster up tears for the victim, do not do so for the perp. Also, tears have been used by pastors for generation to emotionally manipulate the congregation. Be very careful here.
  • Conlee misused the biblical admonition about judgement.
    TWW has seen this as a common element in churches which are trying to get out of a dicey situation. Yes, we are to judge the actions of one another. That is why there are lists of sins in the New Testament. They are not there for decoration. One of the problems that I saw with commenters from Highpoint was their common inability to differentiate between a mistake, a sin and a crime.-A mistake is an unintentional. Think of it as unintentional. You gave the wrong change. You forgot a dinner date.
    -A sin is an immoral act that goes against God’s law.
    -A crime is an offense that violates laws put in place by the government.
    A nice lady at church told me I had put my vest on backwards just before i went forward to help with communion. That was a mistake and I had a good laugh about it. If a man at Highpoint suddenly left his wife and kids and shacked up with his honey, I am sure the leaders would tell him he was wrong for doing so. Are the judging him? Of course they are. Christians are supposed to do that when a serious sin is present. The church is commanded in Scripture to follow the laws of the state. All citizens in the US are required to know the law and follow it. Romans 13:3-5 NIV states:

     For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

    The judgement that belongs to God, and God alone, is the judgement of salvation.

    Let me put this another way. Savage committed both a sin and a crime. I know this because the Bible informs me that it is so. It is not unbiblical to state that Savage did something very bad and caused harm to a teen entrusted to his care as a Youth Pastor.

    As Conlee talked, I felt he mixed up some of this terminology which may be why comments by Highpoint members seem so biblically naive. Conlee mentioned that repentance that had taken place and that church discipline had been applied although there were few specifics. For example, he stated Savage had to step down from the church staff and return to Tennessee. However, to outside observers, this could be viewed as a church getting rid of a problem and not fully dealing with it.

    The most glaring error, and most everyone outside of the church bubble could clearly see it, was that Conlee and Savage mentioned sin frequently but never mentioned the obligation of Savage and the church leaders had to the government. They refused to discuss this part of the situation and most of us can figure out why. They apparently avoided the biblical admonition to follow the law which, in this instance, means that they should have been reported this to law enforcement.

  • Conlee said that they would like to help Woodson in any way they could, and after a pause, quickly added, for spiritual healing.They are limiting the hell to spiritual help only? Churches, if you plan to help a victim, do not put caveat on the type of help that is offered.
  • Do not compare the need for healing for the victim to the need for healing of an abuser.
    This statement bothered both Deb and myself. Conlee appeared to say that he hoped that Jules would be able to go along the same path to healing that Savage took. No. No. No. Savage is the one who assaulted Jules. He is the perp. He is not the victim and he is on a very different path than Jules. Jules has been the victim of a sexual assault which has profoundly affected her life. She has not committed a sin or a crime. To even put the two in the same sentence could be misconstrued. Let me show you how. Is Conlee claiming that both Jules and Savage sinned equally in that *sexual incident?* That is what it sounded like to me. Never, ever compare the pain and suffering of the victim to that of the abuser. This sin-leveling at its very worst.
  • A church that has screwed up should not immediately assume that it has become an instrument of healing for those who have been broken by sexual abuse.
    Jules’ story became known two days before the service. Highpoint is in no position to help those who have been abused until they get their act together and get some training. Conlee confessed that he had known about Savage’s *incident* (BTW-abuse should never be downplayed as an incident) and it appears that he never reported it. Then, he asked potential victims to come forward in a service which featured a standing ovation for the man who admitted his sexual sin is rather breathtaking in its naivety. Highpoint has a long way to go before it is ready to be a haven for the abused. I have talked with many victims in my 9 years of writing and I would warn any victim not to go forward for help from a church which handled things in this manner. I am not even sure that they understand that this was no a consensual act.

I am hoping that Highpoint Church and Stonebridge will one day become a place for those who have been harmed by abuse. However, that day is not today.

If any church would ever like to give us a call and ask how to put a service together that would honor the victim, please do so. The fact that such a church is wondering how to do it right is a great first step; a step that Highpoint should have taken.

One man’s view of the church service at Highpoint.

Chase, who lives in Memphis, contacted me on Friday and said that he would like to attend the worship service and write about what he saw. He is a regular reader at TWW. I thought it might be interesting to see the thoughts of someone else who I know cares about abuse victims. I really loved seeing this through his eyes. Pay particular attention to what happened later in the service

Thank you, Chase.


“I arrived at the church not knowing what to expect as I haven’t been there before. It was very much a copycat of Cross Point in Nashville in look and feel. Very much half hipster, part corporate, part people off the street. Stage lights, fog on stage, two screens that played a very cool “This is Memphis” montage that led straight into the praise time. That’s neither here nor there, just a description of the vibe.

I noticed Andy Savage down front to the left of the stage, with several people walking up to him, giving him long hugs and whispering into his ear. I thought that this may be a signal to how this was going to be handled. I had heard online that at first Savage was removed from speaking today, then that he was going to be given the stage. I will explain what happened.

The first song was “Your Love Never Fails” by the Newboys and the worship leader stressed “this isn’t just some song lyric or good idea, this is straight from scripture” several times over.

The second song was “One Thing Remains” by Jesus Culture, which share very similar lyrics with the first song.

The band left and Chris Conlee took the stage. I won’t expound as there is a transcription of him and Andy Savage’s exchange on the stage. However, there were several times Conlee just nodded, looking like he was at times about to cry, etc.

After Savage left to a standing ovation that came quickly and with several shouted amens around me, (I did not stand to applaud), Conlee preached his sermon about “The God way to handle things”. Having a background from an abusive cult, I wondered how this was going to be handled.

To hear Chris Conlee use the victims full name “Jules Woodson” took me aback at first, and he used “Jules” and “Mrs. Woodson” several times; even at a few points staring directly into the camera from the edge of the stage. I was not expecting him to be that personal about it all.

I recorded the entire service from opening video to the dismissal and will make it available to whomever would like it.

There is a transcript of the Conlee/Savage moment online, so I won’t recap that other than the sheer amount of people that supported him was evident. I’m not shocked, Savage has been at this church since the beginning and has built relationships.

As Conlee read from a tablet/iPad of sorts, he was sure to craft a theme of “this is what God says, what God does” that seemed to cement the point he wanted his congregation to know. A point that this “sin” happened 20 years ago. He wanted people to understand Savage took the “correct route of restoration” and stepped away. He emphasized “it was the way God works, taking the unforgivable and making it extraordinary”. It was a sermon of “time has past, Andy paid the price and has been restored”. The only mention of Jules Woodson at this point was “God can do the same for her”.

So I was confused here. Was Conlee saying to Jules that “all it takes is for you to let go, God can heal you and you can get on with your life?” or was it “God can heal you like he did Andy Savage?” Neither felt correct. The audience was oohing and awing and amening the entire time. Lots of head nods. The only concern for the victim of the assault, Jules Woodson, was that “God has a route you need to take, I’m telling you that route and you can be healed of your hurt.” I thought it would have made the room a bit more stale, but it didn’t, the congregation loved what Conlee said.

I wondered to myself if that was a reaction because Jules was an unknown entity to them but Andy Savage was there in flesh? I wondered if there were any abuse victims in the audience? Was I the only person who attended to see how High Point handled a situation like this? The church was full on the main level and about 2 rows into the balcony and as I looked around I saw everyone paying attention and a mom explaining what was happening to her son, but I couldn’t tell how anyone felt.

Conlee went to the salvation call at the end, made a point if there were any people who had experienced something similar and were ready for a breakthrough, that this was the place. That sat wrong with me. He had the congregation bow and close eyes and did the invitation. Then something unusual happened.

The band returned to the stage to sing a few more songs as counselors lined the front of the stage and Conlee sat on the left of the stage, back against the wall watching. The worship band broke into “Jesus Paid it All” by Kristian Stanfill. It hit me that that song, combined with the 2 songs in the beginning of service, felt very crafted to share the theme of Conlees message. But it was the next song where it was super odd…

“Reckless Love” by Bethel Music and about two-thirds of the way through the song, the female praise leader brought the band down and proceeded to address the congregation, with Conlee nodding in the background:

“Has this morning, this weekend caused anyone 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! (said loudly, pointing towards Savage) These are my children! In Malachi 3 He says ‘Test me and see if I will not throw open the flood gates of heaven and pour out so much blessing you will have no idea how – what to do with it! (shouting here) Are you kidding me?! So much love and blessing and abundance from God, you’ll have idea where to put it all! You are worthy! YOU ARE WORTHY ANDY! 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?!!”

That sent another red flag off, things I have seen in the past when scripture is taken out context in the midst of an emotional crowd build up. Psychologists use terms like crowd frenzy, when a large gathering gets together and rallies emotionally about a subject, very similar to what Benny Hinn and other false prophets do. Crowd control type of stuff. It felt very weird in the hype and I couldn’t not let it go. Then it got worse.

Chris Conlee took that stage and said “High Point Church, this is not a point to believe less, this is a moment to believe more (several amens in the crowd) This is not a moment to walk away, this is a moment to lean in. Let’s be the best in the world that proving love works. Let’s be the best in the world, at offering compassion without compromise. God takes our wounds and He never wastes a wound. He always uses our wounds to give us a ministry of healing. A good friend of mine called me this morning. He said God just gave High Point Church a ministry to healing women who’ve been abused in some type of sexual sin. Guess what? We’re going to commit to that (a whoop from someone in the crowd) and give everything we can to help every single person. Thank you for being a people who forgive well, because listen to this, the scripture says ‘when you have been forgiven much, then you love much.’ Thank you for being a people who love well. Would you please, go do everything you possibly can to never say a critical word of anybody but to only speak words of faith, hope and love. We love, thank you, see you later.”

I have no clue yet if that part made it online, but it left me angry. “Don’t speak critically of anyone??” How controlling is that?! It cemented the the thoughts I had early on of “when you control the narrative, you control the outcome” which is common in organizations and churches who want to control outcomes – and people – in their favor.

All I thought of was the High Point Church and Conlee have had to aswer to several sexual abuse cases in the past and this is what they do now?

It was wagon circling and telling the victim “this is what scripture says, DO IT” and you could see the proverbial washing of the hands. I was disgusted. When I thought I would never hear Jules Woodson’s name in the High Point sermon, not only did I, then I was saddened that she was told how to respond and Conlee stood by hiding behind vanities that looked spiritual. Remember “THIS HAPPENED 20 YEARS AGO” and to them that was enough. Memphis has a Church with a failure in leadership. I felt like Jesus was a bit disgusted.”


This quote sums up how to evaluate planning for a service like the one Highpoint had.

The test is this – “If what we have decided is published on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow, we will be proud of what we have done? Or will we be embarrassed?” Louis at SBC Voices

Several formatting and spelling edits by GBCT Jan 11, 2018


Comments

Highpoint Church: A TWW Tutorial on How Not to Handle an Andy Savage #metoo Church Service — 531 Comments

  1. “This quote sums up how to evaluate planning for a service like the one Highpoint had.
    The test is this – “If what we have decided is published on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow, we will be proud of what we have done? Or will we be embarrassed?” Louis at SBC Voices”

    Excellent point!

  2. Dee, Deb and Amy, thank you for the work you’ve done on this story. And Dee, please take care of yourself. Give yourself time to recover, even if that means not blogging or giving interviews for a while.

  3. Dee, hope you’re feeling better soon. The flu season has brutal.

    Thank you to Chase for describing what it was like to be there. Watching it online was a surreal experience. The music was decidedly manipulative, like it was trying to put the impetus of forgiveness on Jules and others who were lied to. The singer at the end — well…yeah. It may surprise people in smaller and/or traditional churches to learn that this kind of extemporaneous stream-of-consciousness thing can be par for the course in some megachurches where big names and big productions are the draw.

    And that sermon. Oh that sermon. When’s the last time someone gave a sermon so bad they lost a major speaking engagement and lost a book deal less than a week afterwards?

    Dee is right – this is a service for the ages. In nothing else, seminaries can study this in detail on how not to respond to abuse allegations.

  4. @ David:
    Look, I am part of a worship team that definitely can go extemporaneous like that. Some of that is just different types of church culture. But under the circumstances ….the whole service was a mistake. Totally unwise.

    I believe God disciplines us for our good. I also believe there is a lot of bad theology or just plain no teaching at all as to how the same God who loves us unconditionally also expects us to conduct ourselves as children of God. He is a Good Father but not a lazy Father. There are going to be some very very painful lessons out of this. But necessary ones.

  5. Dee, take it easy for a few days!
    I caught the flu around Christmas Day, and I ended up with bronchitis, too!

    Now, I’m if I ever down Memhpis way on a Sunday morn, I may just stop by visit Highpoint. I’ll have to run by a grocery store first and get me a whole big sack fulla eggs, though…….. real early, so I can get to church early and get a front row seat ……….. When service starts, I’ll ask Conlee and the choir girl if they would please read the entire chapter of Malachi 3 to the crowd……..Then I’d have me some kinda fun! Start throwin’ those eggs …… Whoosh, crack! Whoosh crack!
    Oh, don’t go fussin’ at me. A girl can dream, can’t she???

    Now, back to reality: Jules, if you are out there somewhere, I hope 2018 is the best year you’ve ever had! A frightened, confused 17 yo girl has morphed into a real POWERHOUSE for what is good and right! Even if this is the only time you ever choose to be in the public eye, you have shaken some thing up. Imagine, had you never mustered the courage ………. But you did!
    If they get all riled about it, I can just tell pastor Conlee which route they need to take to be healed.

  6. I know that all day Sunday my chest was tight. Following it over the weekend, praying for Jules, watching the service… I know i’m not alone. How this must grieve our Lord.
    Dee and Deb, you have walked this road with victims for a long time now on The Wartburg Watch. You have faithfully served those who have been hurt by abuse. Thank you. I agree with others that we are praying for you and hope you get some much needed rest.

  7. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    If they get all riled about it, I can just tell pastor Conlee which route they need to take to be healed.

    Rut roh. This line was suppose to be up in the paragraph about Highpoint, not at the end of my message to Jules. I think I need to go to be now.

  8. This whole service was an epic fail, because their hearts were not right. They were exposed.

  9. “Conlee appeared to say that he hoped that Jules would be able to go along the same path to healing that Savage took.”

    Healing? On the same path as the predator? Say what?

    Regarding Andy Savage, lust/power and a predator masquerading as a pastor doesn’t “heal”.

    Regarding victims, “the same path to healing” that the predator took? Victims need to run as fast as possible in the other direction of an abductor predatory offender, to be safe, to maintain their agency, to protect their personhood – mind, body, spirit – from an out-of-control monster.

    The predator already deceived, abducted, and assaulted the victim. The predator’s pastor throws the victim back into the hands of the predator? Really?

  10. This aplogy/sermon/standing ovation fiasco will live in infamy right alongside Jack Schaap acting out his Polishing the Shaft sermon,

    Hope you feel better soon, Dee.

    Thinking of you, Jules. I’m sure you never in a million years expected your name and story to become national news. Your courage has become a beacon of hope and, hopefully, of change. But for such a time as this, dear girl…

  11. “Highpoint is in no position to help those who have been abused until they get their act together and get some training. ”

    Perhaps they can enlist an ACBC certified counselor from their ranks. Think of the amount of counseling hours members can rack up and move up the pyramid to supervising “fellows”.

  12. I read this quote today which pretty much summed up my feelings on the church service: “As Boz Tchividjian says, we need to be careful to avoid the “dangers of mob forgiveness that finds redemption stories where they don’t exist, while at the same time affirming perpetrators and re-traumatizing victims.”” – Ashley Easter

  13. I’m sorry, girl on the worship team, but your version of that song has haunted me all day. Maybe it’s because of your complete rewrite of Scripture with your added comments. Until you figure out what a worship team is, and who exactly it is that is supposed to be worshiped by the worship team, I humbly suggest you sit yourself down and do a little more soul searching. When church becomes about worshiping people is the day I will take my leave. I’m probably old enough to be your grandmother, and I’m telling you, you need to park it for awhile.

  14. John Pavlovitz:

    https://johnpavlovitz.com/2018/01/10/predatory-pastors-monsters-make/

    “I shudder to think how many Andy Savages there are out there leveraging the trust and power that come with their position in order to satisfy their sickness.
    My heart breaks at the number of young people who find themselves secretly carrying the guilt and shame heaped upon their shoulders by leaders who would victimize them a second time by silencing them.
    My blood boils at professed spiritual leaders, whose ol’ Jesus Boy’s Club still protects predators and deviants and calls it religion.
    I grieve the number of men and women filling churches across this country, who will gladly erase two decades of violence and deception by their leaders—in exchange for what amounts to little more than a self-serving, sanctified Sunday morning photo-op prior to passing a collection plate.”

  15. Re: Worship team / Bethel Redding
    This story has so many elements coming to light.
    I would say the worship team is likely experiencing medical issues, and it’s not a joke. My antidotal experiance with individuals influenced by Bethel, is yes, there are mental and neurological phenomena.

    I believe Bethel is what the Scriptures refer to as pharmakeia. The distinction of Bethel, from a narcotic, is Bethel is more direct. The use of narcotics or other mind alter substances is a less advanced route to the spirit world. Also, narcotics create physical damage to the body that is easily visible. Bethel does not leave external symptoms such as needle tracks or meth scabs.

  16. Re: Worship team / Bethel Redding
    This story has so many elements coming to light.
    I would say the worship team is likely experiencing medical issues, and it’s not a joke. My antidotal experiance with individuals influenced by Bethel, is yes, there are mental and neurological phenomena.

    I believe Bethel is what the Scriptures refer to as pharmakeia. The distinction of Bethel, from a narcotic, is Bethel is more direct. The use of narcotics or other mind altering substances represents a less advanced route to the spirit world. Also, narcotics create physical damage to the body that is easily visible. Bethel does not leave external symptoms such as needle tracks or meth scabs.

  17. I’ve grown so so tired of these young tattoo’d kids with their bare feet given the role as worship leaders in today’s congregations. They don’t have the experience or maturity, and this situation was clearly not one this young lady should’ve been involved in. The song selection and her words were basically saying “We, Highpoint Church, and Andy are victims here. We are worthy of so much more than this.” It was a spiritual flip of the bird to Jules.

    Frankly, while we’re on the subject I’m sick of all the new worship music as well. It’s all the same. These screaming songs with zero melody that never really sing to Jesus. They’re always songs to “us” or about “me”. They’re impossible to sing and always have an obligatory guitar solo that somehow feeds into a spiritual moment that’s supposed to resemble a move of the Holy Spirit. Sorry. It’s not. It was just a guitar solo kids and NOBODY in the congregation is singing along.

    Back when worship songs were sing-able we sang “I love You Lord, and I lift my voice”. We had no fancy lights or video screens. But people would sing, and then start crying. THAT was the Holy Spirit. What the kids do today is arrogant prepackaged showmanship. They have ZERO idea what worship music is.

    Sorry for the rant….I’ve just got too much of the old Maranatha and Vineyard tunes stuck in me and I’m sick of standing there silent on Sunday mornings while these kids put on their church concert with their wood pallets in the background and their smoke machines.

    I’m sorry kids, but your songs don’t hold a candle to “Majesty”.

  18. @ BD:
    Thanks for the Pavlovitz link. It should be noted that he links to groups who can hrlp those suffering from abuse.

  19. Thanks, Dee and Deb and Amy, for all the work you’ve put into this. Kudos, Jules, and may the Lord sustain you through this time and bless you.

    Dee, take care, get as much rest as you can, drink plenty of fluids. The flu that has spread nationwide and overseas is scary.

    Nathan, what you posted went right over my head.

  20. This whole sad story highlights so many problems with evangelical church culture, right the way from their penchant for putting confident, charismatic guys (and it’s always guys, right?) in their early 20’s in positions of significant spiritual authority, through to dealing with sexual abuse internally, treating sexual abuse in the same category as any sexual sin, elevating a leader to a position of respect where he can’t do any wrong…. Lord have mercy.

  21. “arrogant prepackaged showmanship….with their wood pallets in the background and their smoke machines.”

    I’ve been poking around the Internet Archive, and that description sounds just like Savage’s job description from when Highpoint was being launched:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20030419031123fw_/http://highpointmemphis.com:80/staff/staff.html

    “Andy Savage, Pastor of Relevant Environments
    ‘The Smoke and Soul guy.’
    …..
    Andy’s unique nickname, ‘the Smoke and Soul guy’ was given to him by his good friend David Edwards to describe Andy’s passion and giftedness to create Relevant Environments by building creative context or ‘smoke’ (the cool stuff you see on the surface; backdrops, lighting, video, marketing, etc.) to communicate Biblical truths that bring genuine life change or ‘soul’ (the behind the scenes work of leading leaders, vision casting and creative planning). You will find Andy working on the three major ‘Foyers’ of Highpoint; Sunday service, Kidcity and The Loop.”

    Conlee was touted as “a visionary leader” who “brings a high level of accountability to the staff to maintain a staff of character and integrity.”

  22. I saw this story on CNN.com just now. This church is patting themselves on the back? I can’t even get my head around it. Kudos to TWW for supporting Jules and kudos to her for coming forward so courageously, telling her story, kicking butt and naming names.

  23. Jerome wrote:

    I’ve been poking around the Internet Archive, and that description sounds just like Savage’s job description from when Highpoint was being launched:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20030419031123fw_/http://highpointmemphis.com:80/staff/staff.html

    Uhg. I scrolled down and read. As I suspected, Highpoint is not a church. It’s nothing more than a building where performers, who can’t cut the mustard on a real stage in the real world, do a regularly scheduled show every Sunday. I suspect that the regular attendees are basically slobbering groupies who worship their fallen idols.

  24. @ DC:

    I agree whorlheartedly! All those lights, smoke, amps….. must cost a pretty penny. And don’t even get me started about bare feet. This whole Cme as You Are to Jesus has gone too far, in my opinion.

    Oh how i love that worship song. Being able to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth. This was neither.

  25. @ AbuseCrusher:
    Because you know the hearts of people? I am trying to figure out what TWW really is. I am also trying to figure out what kind of response you people really favor. I am betting it is the one that favors appearances and reputation.

    Maybe like this? The church should have said nothing to the matter, or flat out denied the claims, Andy should have quietly gone on paid leave until “an investigation” in the matter was carried out, all for appearances.

    Do tell me of instances where something like this happens, the preacher comes on stage and admits wrong, knowing that it will not go over well for the church as a whole. This is why he was ovationed. Not because his sin was condoned. But again, the appearances are what matters to you. By the way, he didn’t do this “because he was found out”. He has been talking to the church about this incident for years. Granted not to the level of detail Ms. Woodson has used. Perhaps you guys would have been happy if he had.

    I can’t argue with you if you do not favor contemporary worship. You can stay in wherever mindset you want about that. But don’t tell me you know the hearts of people because of the way they worship. Please.

    One thing remains about this. At no point during his speaking neither pastor placed blame on Jules. At no point Andy said “hey…the facts are inaccurate, Ms. Jules is misrepresenting the facts”. He went directly to address the point of Ms. Jules still being hurt, and issuing an apology, which Ms. Jules refused and had the right to refuse.

    My question remains, what does Ms. Jules need or want to help with her healing? Retribution? I mean, I know that is what all of you people are asking, non-Christian and Christian alike (which baffles me).

    Then you get the press, who it is a given they will twist headlines to sway public opinion. I was there. I know what was said and how it was said. You go on running your one-sided pieces, and accepting only comments that agree with your position. I am sure that what your “open discussion” policy means.

  26. emr wrote:

    I saw this story on CNN.com just now. This church is patting themselves on the back? I can’t even get my head around it. Kudos to TWW for supporting Jules and kudos to her for coming forward so courageously, telling her story, kicking butt and naming names.

    Typical narcissistic abusers. We have read and heard these stories over and over again. Red flags everywhere.

  27. I think everyone who is concerned about predatory behavior in “pastors/church leaders” needs to obtain a copy of and read “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout PhD. While it is a “secular” tome, reading it will make it abundantly clear why narcissistic/sociopathic people tend to “hide” successfully in “professions” such as pastor, politician, etc. Not saying Conlee and/or Savage are sociopaths, only GOD knows if that is true. Further, due to the exceptional “charismatic/communications” skills of most narcissistic personalities, particularly when they are leaders of groups of people, they are able to manipulate their “group” into a state of “cognitive dissonance” (look it up!) – which in turn makes it difficult for group members to reject what is going on. Sadly, in my opinion, I’ve seen this type of situation in “churches” large and small – increasingly frequently – over the past 30 years.

  28. @ BD:
    Excellent link.

    What was missing from the Sunday morning service? Boundaries.

    The predator crossed a boundary when he deceived a girl; instead of ice cream, an assault in his vehicle on an abandoned road, he in lust, she a target of his lust fantasy. Nightmare. Horror, terror. He continued to wreak havoc in insisting on burying the truth – for twenty years.

    In the Sunday service, the church pastor et al, congregation, threw the victim back into the soup with the predator, beseeching her to “join him in his healing”.

    What victim in their right mind would “join” a terrorist, a predator, who uses pastoral authority to prey on innocents? That’s the head pastor’s “solution”? And the congregation agrees? Shame on them.

    No safety for the victim, no boundaries. Even after 20 years. Still targeting the same victim. The predator takes the head pastor and the congregation down his trail of predation and they willingly join him in continuing the victimization masquerading as “truth”, “love”, “godliness”. If that were love, Heaven would be a soup of the powerful preying on the innocent (no boundaries).

    “Hey girl who thought we were going for ice cream, fulfill my lust fantasy because I am your youth pastor who teaches True Love Waits and ya know, this is true love – you an object of my lust and me getting satisfaction. Then take it to your grave. And when I am outed, join me in my healing with a head pastor boss and congregation that again sanctions me as a teaching pastor even though I still label my deception and assault as an ‘incident’. Back then it was an indiscete ‘kiss’.”

    2 Corinthians 5:17: Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. But the Sunday service was not in Christ. It was still in lies or denial, and we know who the father of lies is.

  29. Jerome wrote:

    “Andy Savage, Pastor of Relevant Environments
    ‘The Smoke and Soul guy.’

    They should change his nickname to “The Smoke and Mirrors Guy”.

  30. Divorce Minister wrote:

    I hope Acts 29 and SBC pull their affiliations over this. If not, then that tells us something…

    I could not find Highpoint Church on the Acts 29 list. As for the SBC, that would take a vote of the entire convention, which could not happen until June.

  31. Highpoint is a member of the Mid-South Baptist Association. They could throw them out in short order if the choose. The Tennessee Baptist Convention could remove them too, as they did for Jefferson City FBC for calling a woman to be pastor.

  32. These “hip” churches are one of the reasons, I don’t/won’t attend, the modern church.
    If I had to endure that music, the screaming worship leader, telling me what I should be thinking, I’d rather have a root canal.
    As for the pastor, who can defend anyone sticking up for a man who subjected a teenager to a sexual assault. Never mind then trying to instruct the victim what she should be doing to, “heal”.
    It all turns my stomach. What a mess the modern church has become.

  33. JYJames wrote:

    Still targeting the same victim.

    Congregants still can’t wrap their heads around the fact that their “pastor” is a predator who preyed on an innocent teen. Patriarchy? Or, simply protecting the fact that they hired this guy?

    There are 20-something professional women, teachers or social workers and such, that prey on teen boys and go to jail, so lust and predation is not gender-specific. However, one wonders if in this type of church, patriarchy plays a role in the predator’s deception and the congregation being deceived. Does patriarchy nurture, hide, and protect this type of offender?

  34. Ken P. wrote:

    for calling a woman to be pastor.

    Good grief. They can call, hide, and protect a known male predator but not a woman. Unreal.

  35. You know, the entire affair looks bad. To the media, but especially to non- Christians. Sure ” we” are not perfect, but our actions speak loudly.
    The ” right ” thing would have been for him to apologize to the young lady, the church, and resign…..but that makes sense…..once again we live in that ” Cult of Personality ” in 2018.

  36. JYJames wrote:

    Ken P. wrote:
    for calling a woman to be pastor.
    Good grief. They can call, hide, and protect a known male predator but not a woman. Unreal.

    Come on man, it’s a woman…..Our power might be threatened.

  37. Side bar – Dee I too have the flu. Nasty stuff. Went to see my dad in MO this past weekend. 18 people on his floor in the hospital had it, including him. I think my dad was waiting to see me. He is being sent home with hospice tomorrow. He only has about 3 to 4 days left till he sees Jesus. My dad was a song leader at the church we went to till I was 14. Now he knew how to lead the song service. He also sang solos. What a great voice he had. I can’t stand these “7/11” songs. They sing the same 7 words 11 times. I walked out on a church service years ago because they were being “hyped” up. This is not what I grew up with. Give me the old hymns of the church any time.

  38. “The test is this – “If what we have decided is published on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow, we will be proud of what we have done? Or will we be embarrassed’?” Louis at SBC Voices

    This is good in as far as it goes, but it seems to me that an organization calling itself a church would be first and foremost concerned with whether their actions and words meet with the approval of an all-seeing holy God.

    “You rescue the humble,
    but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them.”
    2 Saumuel 22:28 NLT

  39. Ken P. wrote:

    Divorce Minister wrote:
    I hope Acts 29 and SBC pull their affiliations over this. If not, then that tells us something…
    I could not find Highpoint Church on the Acts 29 list. As for the SBC, that would take a vote of the entire convention, which could not happen until June.

    Unfortunately the SBC loves the big churches like this. Don’t look for anything to happen to them on that level.

  40. I’ve been mulling over the vastly different way these women – Jules, Amy, Dee ‘n Deb – managed this “incident” compared to the way “qualified” men managed this same situation 20 years ago.

    In 20 years, history will look back and honor these courageous ladies (especially Jules).

    Too bad the only applause the men are receiving 20 years on is a standing ovation within the walls of their church.

  41. Remnant wrote:

    I’ve been mulling over the vastly different way these women – Jules, Amy, Dee ‘n Deb – managed this “incident” compared to the way “qualified” men managed this same situation 20 years ago.
    In 20 years, history will look back and honor these courageous ladies (especially Jules).
    Too bad the only applause the men are receiving 20 years on is a standing ovation within the walls of their church.

    This is such a good point!

  42. Ken P. wrote:

    Highpoint is a member of the Mid-South Baptist Association. They could throw them out in short order if the choose. The Tennessee Baptist Convention could remove them too, as they did for Jefferson City FBC for calling a woman to be pastor

    Many Baptist Associations seem to simply be “boys clubs.” A woman pastor is apparently worse than a pastor who should have been prosecuted for sexual assault.

  43. I feel nothing for highpoint church or their adherents. What a sad sack of a church. But this is being dragged into the light.
    You’re right. We outsiders are apalled.

  44. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Jules, if you are out there somewhere, I hope 2018 is the best year you’ve ever had! A frightened, confused 17 yo girl has morphed into a real POWERHOUSE for what is good and right! Even if this is the only time you ever choose to be in the public eye, you have shaken some thing up. Imagine, had you never mustered the courage ………. But you did!
    If they get all riled about it, I can just tell pastor Conlee which route they need to take to be healed.

    THIS!!!! Go Jules! God is using you mightily.

  45. Highpoint went straight to the abusive church playbook to make the whole situation go away. And why not, it’s worked so many times in the past. Only this time the #MeToo movement is shining a light on the places that have allowed sexual predators to flourish and now churches have been added to the list. Publicizing the despicable behavior of these church leaders means that they can no longer control the narrative when it goes beyond their controlled and isolated bubble and the world sees them for the abusers they are.

    Thankls so much to the Deebs, Amy and all the rest for their tireless work in keeping this criminal behavior before the public. My hope is that, from now on, sexual predators and their protectors will no longer be able to sweep their crimes under the rug and maintain the money and power they receive from their isolated world.

  46. Harley wrote:

    Side bar – Dee I too have the flu. Nasty stuff. Went to see my dad in MO this past weekend. 18 people on his floor in the hospital had it, including him. I think my dad was waiting to see me. He is being sent home with hospice tomorrow. He only has about 3 to 4 days left till he sees Jesus.

    I will be praying for your dad and your whole family, Harley. And you and Dee to get better. Like everyone else, I am sick, too. Had a bad cold for three weeks and yesterday the doctor said I had pneumonia. On bed rest for at least a week. Horrible stuff going around.

  47. Conlee: “God takes our wounds and He never wastes a wound. He always uses our wounds to give us a ministry of healing. A good friend of mine called me this morning. He said God just gave High Point Church a ministry to healing women who’ve been abused in some type of sexual sin.”

    What the what? As a survivor of clergy sexual abuse myself, I can say that this is NOT the way a ministry to healing women who have been sexually abused begins! This is the opposite; Jules was hurt again, and I’m sure other abuse survivors were hurt by this church’s actions and how it coddled the offender while throwing the victim under the bus.

  48. I was so afraid that this story would fade away and that we would see Jules silenced or ignored like so many other abuse survivors. I am so thankful for Dee and everyone else who didn’t let that happen.

    Maybe the #metoo movement will help bring some of these stories to light. How sad that entertainers, politicians, and big corporations were ready to take sexual abuse and harassment and misconduct seriously before churches! (I wonder if it makes Al Mohler nervous to wonder how the joke in his introduction of CJ Mahaney at T4G would sound now.)

    As for being “amateurish,” you have been successful in getting this story picked up by practically every major national media outlet. What more do your critics need to see from you? Maybe if you get a fog machine they’ll take you seriously?

  49. K.D. wrote:

    Divorce Minister wrote:

    I hope Acts 29 and SBC pull their affiliations over this. If not, then that tells us something…

    Good luck there.

    Yeah. Let’s see… at Acts 29, would you be asking it’s president, Matt Chandler (who at his church tried to institute church discipline against a woman divorcing her husband for his pedophilia) to issue corrective measures? Perhaps former board member, John Bryson ( whose own Memphis church covered up a video voyeur in its ministry, passed him on to another local church, lied about their involvement, and hired an “investigative/PR” firm to harass the victims into silence–https://www.christianpost.com/news/ex-acts-29-board-member-john-bryson-hires-private-investigator-after-allegations-he-covered-for-voyeur-pastor-168430/) has wisdom to impart?

    Or the SBC, whose president, Steve Gaines, is also the pastor of Memphis megachurch, Bellevue Baptist, where he has employed known child rapists to do church counseling for members…maybe he could weigh in with his moral authority?

    As I have stated before, they are all in on this! Nobody wants to believe it, but it is demonstrably true!

  50. As most have said, this was a well-crafted SHOW that was necessary only because they were caught. From their perspective, the “incident” was dealt with 20 years ago and needed no further probing or apologies. So then why did Conlee apologize for “dishonor” at the start of the service? Because he/they had to create an emotionally manipulative drama to cover up the crime and control the message. I couldn’t even watch much past this part. Sickening.

  51. caroline wrote:

    Maybe if you get a fog machine they’ll take you seriously?

    Maybe U should start a go fund me for an official TWW fog machine?

  52. “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock…”

  53. K.D. wrote:

    Divorce Minister wrote:

    I hope Acts 29 and SBC pull their affiliations over this. If not, then that tells us something…

    Good luck there.

    They have an 11 million dollar budget some of which goes to both these entities no doubt. That kind of money doesn’t get unaffiliated.

  54. BTW…local Memphis conservative radio talk show host, Ben Ferguson, will be hosting Andy Savage for a full hour today at 5pm CST. You may know Ben as a conservative commentator on CNN.

    Was hopeful that, just maybe, he’d hit Andy hard…hopes were dashed when I listened to his promo for the show this morning. Says he’s known Andy for a long time and that we need to hear his perspective. Emphasized the “20 years ago” ridiculous line and talked about the “misleading headlines” about the ovations for Andy at Highpoint (don’t believe your lying eyes, I guess). Tried to intimate that Christianity was (unfairly) under attack in this episode and that it was “sad we live to tear somebody down”.

    To Wartburg readers. let’s not make it political, as each political party is significantly led by self-interested. evil morons and their like-minded spokespeople. Conversely, I think good people of all political stripes want to see justice for Jules and a cleansing of the church. Making this political would only detract from the main point and alienate those who might join a just cause.

    Just wish Ferguson had said “It is so sad that we celebrate people who abuse their power to sexually assault children and then try to tear down the victims to protect the unrepentant.”

    As for the “but it was 20 years ago B.S.”, maybe we should try a little object lesson. Imagine Andy had forced Ben to perform oral sex on him 20 years ago–think Ben would still remember it? Think Ben would think Andy should be leading a ministry?

    Anyway, the ridiculousness will be available on iHeart Radio wherever you are in the country. The channel is WREC radio Memphis 600. It airs at 5pm (CST). Let’s alert the same media that wrote/and broadcast this story thus far–I think these fools (Ben and Andy) are hanging themselves with their own rope.

    Maybe Jules would like to be on to give her perspective? Amy Smith? Dee? Savage should not go unchallenged for an hour of spin. Let’s contact the show’s producers and contact every media outlet we can!

  55. From a tweet by reporter Dave Detling @local24dave:

    Per a press release from Chris Conlee, Andy Savage is being interviewed on the radio at 4 pm CST today on the Ben Ferguson Show, which is on WREG 600 Am and FM 92.1. Andy is supposed to talk about what happened 20 years ago and what is happening now. Chris Conlee’s note also said the church and the community were being misrepresented and more information will come out tomorrow Friday for the church family.

    Way to drag the community and to your nonsense, Chris. East Memphis had nothing to do with what Andy Savage did. And short of resigning and coming clean on the whole thing, there’s nothing else you can do to make it better-the whole nation knows about your standing ovation.

  56. @ AbuseCrusher:

    You sure it’s at 5 pm? The tweet I saw said 4 pm CST. I’d be happy if it was at 5 pm because at 4 pm CST I’m driving home from work.

    OH, can someone record this? If you’re streaming from a computer, you can set up Audacity to record.

  57. Any apology that comes only upon being caught, doesn’t count. Period.

    Churches should put that on the walls.

  58. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    @ AbuseCrusher:

    You sure it’s at 5 pm? The tweet I saw said 4 pm CST. I’d be happy if it was at 5 pm because at 4 pm CST I’m driving home from work.

    OH, can someone record this? If you’re streaming from a computer, you can set up Audacity to record.

    Tweet from Ben Ferguson last night said 5pm.

  59. bkraul wrote:

    I am also trying to figure out what kind of response you people really favor.

    I don’t speak for TWW, as I’m just a reader here, but I favor a response that admits that this type of behavior is sexual assault, is immoral, and disqualifies a person from pastoral ministry. I do not favor an emotionally manipulative response which twists the word of God. I also do not favor silence which minimizes the behavior, fails to alert law enforcement, and gives the offender a going away party and a recommendation to his next ministry position.

  60. Beth Duncan wrote:

    A good friend of mine called me this morning. He said God just gave High Point Church a ministry to healing women who’ve been abused in some type of sexual sin.”

    What abused woman would go to this church for help after what we just witnessed from this churches leadership? 🙁

  61. @ AbuseCrusher:
    I am still trying to get my head around a youth pastor asking a underage girl in his youth group to perform oral sex on him, and 20 later calling it a “sexual incident” in front of a hugh church in which he is a leader? I do not care if the girl was a prostitute (I AM IN NO WAY saying ANYTHING about Jules; I am trying to say I do not need to know anything about her… it is irrelevant)
    So, is Highpoint saying we should change the laws for felony acts if the perp immediately gets on his/her knees and says he/she is sorry?? Are they going to try to change TN laws?

  62. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    Per a press release from Chris Conlee, Andy Savage is being interviewed on the radio at 4 pm CST today on the Ben Ferguson Show, which is on WREG 600 Am and FM 92.1. Andy is supposed to talk about what happened 20 years ago and what is happening now. Chris Conlee’s note also said the church and the community were being misrepresented and more information will come out tomorrow Friday for the church family.

    This just continues the insanity. Savage is going to talk for an hour? That won’t go well for him at all.

    Conlee and Savage are going to great lengths to fix their/churches image. More energy has been put into this than into righting the original wrongs.

  63. Fog machines in a church service? That’s a thing now?

    If Highpoint really thinks they somehow have a ministry toward sexually abused women because of this experience, it shows how disconnected from reality they are.

  64. @ bkraul:
    Simple… truth…. Calling the act of a youth pastor having oral sex with a underage girl in his youth group a “sexual incident” is a vile lie…. that type of act is a felony which gets you labeled and put on a “sexual criminal list”….. as it should… this has nothing to do with God’s forgiveness, which only God can do…. this has everything to do with protecting our children…

  65. About the years ago business.

    So it was 20 years ago?

    Calvary was a couple thousand years ago.

    The event whereby sin entered the world and death by sin..was who knows how long ago.

    ‘In the beginning God…was yet to be determined how many years ago.

    And God, who we think even pre-existed time itself was …ago..what can one say about that.

    It is not about time.

  66. I see Andy is doing a radio interview today.

    m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155734768151638&id=95356211637&_rdr

  67. Dee Parsons wrote:

    caroline wrote:

    Maybe if you get a fog machine they’ll take you seriously?

    Maybe U should start a go fund me for an official TWW fog machine?

    No!!! You can’t do that! Haven’t you learned anything from covering megachurches? You collect tithes and offerings “to reach the lost” or “to do the work of the Lord.” Then you pay for the fog machine and an exotic vacation.

  68. The whole service was like a sort of mob narcissism with a (thin and false) spiritual gloss. It’s all about them, and the abuser. The whole segment talking about how worthy they are was an eye opener. Completely twisted. Whole point of the gospel is that we aren’t worthy. None of us. The whole service and delivery was the polar opposite of true repentance. And presumably this was their *best* attempt, having just gotten caught and knowing the whole world was watching.

    This should have been a time for shame and silence and sobriety and genuine remorse and serious soul searching. They don’t seem capable of any of those.

    The added tragedy is that the world will see this and think the gospel is a load of insincere fluff because that’s these people have to offer.

  69. Does God care how we worship Him? He does. From the Cain and Able incident on the scripture has a lot to say about worship. We may not, and certainly do not, entirely agree on the specific details, but we cannot say that God does not care or that He has not spoken about this in scripture. The issue then is not ‘I will do whatever I want to and nobody better object” but rather I will try to understand what God wants and see how I can get that done.

    I hope we can. We live in difficult times.

  70. @ okrapod:
    When one gets convicted of a felony, that conviction does not go “away” after 20 years….
    a youth pastor asking an underaged girl in his “group” to perform oral sex on him is a felony in many places….. not a “sexual incident” as Highpoint is calling it…
    but, I guess Highpoint church is in a position to rename things as they see fit and tell us in their sermons not to “say anything negative??”

  71. Robert M wrote:

    Fog machines in a church service? That’s a thing now?.

    Hey Robert, lay off the fog machines. Jesus preached outside and I’m sure there were foggy days. All about trying to be authentic [except for that pesky little business of taking twisting Jesus’ heart of love toward the WOMAN who actually was an adulterous as opposed to a MAN who used his position and stature to assault a girl].

  72. As a helpful note, Highpoint Church is listed as “Highpoint Community Church” on the SBC and Mid-South Baptist Association sites. Make no mistake, they are the same church. Much confusion over at SBC Voices.

  73. “Never, ever, ever allow a contrived standing ovation (or any standing ovation for that matter) when someone confesses a sexual sin.”
    How should a “Lead” Pastor handle this: Take charge of the service, jump up & down, wave your arms to make sure the congregation sits down and stops applauding. Say something to shame them for such response.

    I hope the audience (aka congregation) realizes by now what they have done here. If they don’t, they just don’t get it (often the product of such churches). Church leaders like Savage and Conlee would have no stage if it weren’t for an audience who comes for the show. Confession of moral failure by a pastor should not be entertaining, for God’s sake!

    I hope the church elders realize by now what Pastor Conlee has done here. The world is waiting for you to do the right thing. Your church has become a byword and reproach – those responsible need discipline.

    I hope other leaders who serve up this model of doing church across America take note of this mess. If you are truly called to preach the Gospel, preach it – no gimmicks necessary!

  74. Let me show you how. Is Conlee claiming that both Jules and Savage sinned equally in that *sexual incident?* That is what it sounded like to me.

    Yes, that’s what he’s saying. 100%. I think that’s how the church took it too.

    They don’t get it.

  75. Max wrote:

    I hope the church elders realize by now what Pastor Conlee has done here. The world is waiting for you to do the right thing. Your church has become a byword and reproach – those responsible need discipline.

    I’m not sure there are elders with any power to do anything in this church, sadly.

  76. bkraul wrote:

    I know that is what all of you people are asking

    Us people are simply asking church leaders to stop covering for other church leaders who fail morally and enabling them to continue in ministry … Forgive them? Absolutely! Restore them to ministry? NO!

    Us people are asking that church leaders stop propping up abusers and be concerned about victims.

    Us people are asking for you people to take the blinders off and do the right thing in Memphis.

  77. Bridget wrote:

    I’m not sure there are elders with any power to do anything in this church, sadly.

    Then they shouldn’t be church elders!

  78. From Chase’s account:

    A good friend of mine called me this morning. He said God just gave High Point Church a ministry to healing women who’ve been abused in some type of sexual sin.

    Ummm. Is it me or are they pretty clearly conflating ‘abuse’ and ‘sexual sin’?? I guess that’s for Andy’s benefit.

  79. Would you please, go do everything you possibly can to never say a critical word of anybody but to only speak words of faith, hope and love.

    You can be sure this is advice the pastor does not practice in his own life. It is not only bad advice it is dangerous. It is a great system for wolves to operate in, they can devour sheep at their leisure, one at a time.

  80. bunny wrote:

    @ Nathan Priddis:
    Leave Bethel out of this. This is not the time nor the place to discuss that. Right now we are focusing on Jules.

    If there is a significant Bethel influence, it would VERY VERY much be an additional element to the High Point discussion. The standing ovation, and to a far lesser extent, the worship team, are now public and media topics.

    There was something wrong with some members of the worship team. Bethel may be an explanation.

    Bottom line is that the Memphis Melt Down is a perfect storm. It may have involved a nice young girl being assaulted in Texas twenty years ago. It has since exposed additional factors at the core of North American Evangelicalism.

  81. bunny wrote:

    I am part of a worship team that definitely can go extemporaneous like that.

    Yeah, I’ve seen it many times. It’s almost par for the course in a Gateway/non-denominational/pretending to be non-denomination but apparently actually Baptist? kind of church.

    But way, way out of place in this service.

  82. @ Thersites:
    Just like JC never said a single word about the corrupt relgious leaders of his time…. right..
    Oh, reducing the act of making a underage girl in your youth group perform “the duty” on you, when you are the youth pastor, and then call it “a sexual incident”, in front of a hugh church, while you are a pastor, is corruption in my book..

  83. JYJames wrote:

    “Conlee appeared to say that he hoped that Jules would be able to go along the same path to healing that Savage took.”

    Healing? On the same path as the predator? Say what?

    Even more disgusting than the fact that the predator needs to change, not ‘heal’, is the fact that the entire sermon seemed to praise Andy for HEALING BETTER THAN JULES.

    Which makes me want to type all the swear words, ya’ll. Of course it was easier for him, no one abused him and he was the one who church wanted to help, not jules. They probably hooked him up with another job almost immediately and gave him a glowing recommendation! And now he has a whole church fawning over him, and blaming Jules. #alltheswearwords

  84. Max wrote:

    Bridget wrote:

    I’m not sure there are elders with any power to do anything in this church, sadly.

    Then they shouldn’t be church elders!

    Well, I agree.

    What I am really saying is that some of these churches are set up so that there are only 1-3 people named in their by-laws who have power to do anything. And in this case, those people would probably be Conlee and Savage.

  85. cindy treadway wrote:

    I’m sorry, girl on the worship team, but your version of that song has haunted me all day. Maybe it’s because of your complete rewrite of Scripture with your added comments. Until you figure out what a worship team is, and who exactly it is that is supposed to be worshiped by the worship team, I humbly suggest you sit yourself down and do a little more soul searching.

    cindy, it occurs to me that this is the exact kind of church that purposefully moves women off the worship team once they get ‘too old’, i.e. smart enough to know better.

  86. @ Bridget:

    I have not been well. I sustained a back strain, of all places at the dentist’s office, and I have been in awful pain for some two weeks now, spending most of the time in bed. I am better enough now to be up in a chair a bit, so things are progressing in the right direction. Commenting has not been a good idea when one is not thinking well either due to pain or pain meds. Thanks for asking.

  87. Muslin fka Deana Holmes wrote:

    From a tweet by reporter Dave Detling @local24dave:
    Per a press release from Chris Conlee, Andy Savage is being interviewed on the radio at 4 pm CST today on the Ben Ferguson Show, which is on WREG 600 Am and FM 92.1. Andy is supposed to talk about what happened 20 years ago and what is happening now. Chris Conlee’s note also said the church and the community were being misrepresented and more information will come out tomorrow Friday for the church family.
    Way to drag the community and to your nonsense, Chris. East Memphis had nothing to do with what Andy Savage did. And short of resigning and coming clean on the whole thing, there’s nothing else you can do to make it better-the whole nation knows about your standing ovation.

    Give them enough rope.

    That the “pastor” articulated her name at all — let alone — repeatedly in his congregational presentation remains stunning to me. Everything on top of that speaks for itself.

  88. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    @ okrapod:
    When one gets convicted of a felony, that conviction does not go “away” after 20 years….
    a youth pastor asking an underaged girl in his “group” to perform oral sex on him is a felony in many places….. not a “sexual incident” as Highpoint is calling it…
    but, I guess Highpoint church is in a position to rename things as they see fit and tell us in their sermons not to “say anything negative??”

    Yes, how critical of anyone to dare bring up realities for someone in church leadership writing books on Christian marriage.

  89. Lea wrote:

    JYJames wrote:

    “Conlee appeared to say that he hoped that Jules would be able to go along the same path to healing that Savage took.”

    ********

    If it had to be the “same path”, I had kinda hoped that the converse would be true…that Savage would be able to go along the same path of healing that Jules took…

    Savage could go to jail for his crime, make close friends and allies with a prison guard (authority figure) with whom he shared his vulnerability…and then that prison guard could use his power and manipulation to force Andy to commit acts for his perverse pleasure…and then, one day when the guard’s job was at stake for the wickedness he committed, he would simply apologize for the “incident”, keep his job, and go on to be a well-paid and respected speaker about prison guard ethics on the lecture circuit…

    While I actually DO NOT wish that for anyone, I do hope it shows how absurd these dirtbags and their apologists are!

  90. okrapod wrote:

    @ Bridget:
    I have not been well. I sustained a back strain, of all places at the dentist’s office, and I have been in awful pain for some two weeks now, spending most of the time in bed. I am better enough now to be up in a chair a bit, so things are progressing in the right direction. Commenting has not been a good idea when one is not thinking well either due to pain or pain meds. Thanks for asking.

    ……..

    I’ve not been here much either (bad cold) to notice you were among the missing. Glad you’re feeling well enough to post, and hoping the healing of your back is complete soon

  91. Bridget wrote:

    What I am really saying is that some of these churches are set up so that there are only 1-3 people named in their by-laws who have power to do anything. And in this case, those people would probably be Conlee and Savage.

    Someone posted quotes from their bylaws on Twitter and Dee retweeted them. They are clearly New Calvinist in their setup. Pastors and elders hold all power.

  92. bkraul wrote:

    @ AbuseCrusher:
    Because you know the hearts of people?

    I’ve actually got a pretty good line on the hearts of these particular people…

    1. I know them.

    2. I have seen how they tried to pull a dastardly trick of a “merger” accounting to avoid boys who’d been molested (and had the acts suppressed from authorities) by the church they were merging with from having their day in court. (in short, they wanted all of the benefits with none of the obligations). Wicked.

    3. I know the crowd they run with daily and that those folks have committed multiple unconscionable acts to intentionally hide child-molesters and sexual predators on the church payroll.

    4. I know that someone who cared about Jules’ pain doesn’t ignore her email for a month until he is exposed on the news.

    5. I know someone deeply repentant does not refer to his sexual assault of someone in his flock as a pastor as merely an “incident”

    6. I know that someone repentant and who loved Jesus more than himself, would step down vs. bringing such shame on his church and causing his little ones to stumble.

    7. I know someone repentant sees the sin as ugly as it truly is and doesn’t try to minimize the circumstances by saying “I was just a staffer” (when all of his promotional material refers to him as “Youth Pastor”) or “I was just a college student” (when, at 22 or 23, he was old enough to be a college grad & moreover, was in a position of church authority). He also wouldn’t refer to it as having happened “before my wife and I were engaged”, but as “I was cheating on my wife (whom I was dating) when I coerced a vulnerable 17 year old to perform fellatio on me.” The weasel words and phrasing show a lack of repentance; it’s as if he tied to apologize for breaking into your house and stealing for tv set by saying “When I was too young to know any better, I mis-borrowed an item from you, but I expect you to show grace and not press any charges for such and ‘incident’ if such an ‘incident’ occurred in my past. And don’t be rude enough to ask me to return said item. Now, celebrate my virtue and ‘worthiness!'”

    8. He’d exercise B.S. church discipline on members of Highpoint who took action to have him removed from leadership, but exercise no discipline on those who viciously attack his victim.

    9. He’s shameless enough to teach a “True Love Waits” seminar days after sexually assaulting a young girl. He is shameless enough to do this again in order to peddle his wares and increase his personal coffers.

    10. He is thoughtless enough to not inform his publisher or the folks at K-love promoting his headlining of a cruise that there is a skeleton in the closet (sexual assault of a young girl) that could damage their respective reputations, and the girl has recently emailed him for response to his deeds. Andy cares about no one but Andy.

    So, yeah, I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of where Savage’s heart is. Conlee, for protecting him, is in some ways worse!

  93. A headline in the Christian Post reads: “Memphis Megachurch Pastor Andy Savage Admits to Sexually Assaulting Teen in Past, Says He Repented Immediately.” This made me curious–did Savage change his plea from ‘sexual incident’ to ‘sexual assault’? Alas, no. There was nothing at all new in the story, which included Savage’s [ironic name by the way] statement, familiar to TWW readers. One tiny ray of sunshine in the Post’s story: TWW gets quite a bit of attention, cited as the source for Jules’s side of the story.

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

  94. okrapod wrote:

    About the years ago business.

    So it was 20 years ago?

    Calvary was a couple thousand years ago.

    The event whereby sin entered the world and death by sin..was who knows how long ago.

    ‘In the beginning God…was yet to be determined how many years ago.

    And God, who we think even pre-existed time itself was …ago..what can one say about that.

    It is not about time.

    Yes. God, who is outside of time and space, sees the incident as though it happened today.

  95. okrapod wrote:

    It is not about time.

    No it isn’t. Many things about this are important, time is not one of them.

    And nice to see you.

  96. JYJames wrote:

    Good grief. They can call, hide, and protect a known male predator but not a woman. Unreal.

    Uh huh. Welcome to baptist land.

  97. K.D. wrote:

    Come on man, it’s a woman…..Our power might be threatened.

    Well, if y’all think women are threats, then you never had any real power to begin with. Did ya? ; )

  98. Harley wrote:

    e only has about 3 to 4 days left till he sees Jesus

    Sorry to hear that, Harley ……. but so glad that you have such a wonderful father who will give you joyful memories to share for years to come.

  99. Ken A wrote:

    Unfortunately the SBC loves the big churches like this. Don’t look for anything to happen to them on that level.

    Money and fame.

  100. JDV wrote:

    That the “pastor” articulated her name at all — let alone — repeatedly in his congregational presentation remains stunning to me. Everything on top of that speaks for itself.

    The only appropriate way to address her would have been abject apologies. No denials. No minimizing. Period.

    Obviously, that’s not what she got.

  101. Bridget wrote:

    What I am really saying is that some of these churches are set up so that there are only 1-3 people named in their by-laws who have power to do anything. And in this case, those people would probably be Conlee and Savage.

    Yes, that’s probably the case. In “traditional” SBC churches, congregational polity keeps the leaders in check. In a growing number of SBC New Calvinist churches, church governance is elder-rule making it darn near impossible to correct and/or terminate church leaders.

  102. Nathan Priddis wrote:

    Bottom line is that the Memphis Melt Down is a perfect storm. It may have involved a nice young girl being assaulted in Texas twenty years ago. It has since exposed additional factors at the core of North American Evangelicalism.

    Agreed. It’s time to take the axe to the root of the tree. The underbelly of a system that protects and enables those who should not be in ministry is being exposed. I suspect that God’s hand is involved in this.

  103. Ken A wrote:

    Unfortunately the SBC loves the big churches like this.

    “If” this is a New Calvinist church, they might be dodging support of the SBC such as Cooperative Program giving – in which case, SBC would not “love” them no matter how mega they are. “If” this is a New Calvinist church, leaders probably don’t say anything about being affiliated with the SBC … I doubt that the average member there knows they are Southern Baptist.

  104. Bridget wrote:

    What abused woman would go to this church for help after what we just witnessed from this churches leadership?

    Hopefully none.

  105. @ Max:
    I’m actually curious about this; I’m not writing this question out of a hidden agenda. Is third party forgiveness important. If A hurts B, is person C’s forgiveness important? From my experience in the past couple years and my reading on TWW and other sites, the church’s teaching on forgiveness and sin has been totally screwed up for a long time. I’m questioning a lot of things I always “knew” were true.

  106. Lea wrote:

    Even more disgusting than the fact that the predator needs to change, not ‘heal’, is the fact that the entire sermon seemed to praise Andy for HEALING BETTER THAN JULES.
    Which makes me want to type all the swear words, ya’ll. Of course it was easier for him, no one abused him and he was the one who church wanted to help, not jules. They probably hooked him up with another job almost immediately and gave him a glowing recommendation! And now he has a whole church fawning over him, and blaming Jules. #alltheswearwords

    Yeah. me too!!!
    In Dee’s first post concerning Jules, she wrote that Jules was struggling with the fact that she had been forced into some sort of sexual act (sorry, can’t remember the exact words) before the “incident” with Andy the Savage. And, that Jules had privately shares that fact with him, as her pastor. Jules needed guidance and “healing” then!

    It appears to me that Andy the Savage simply took advantage of young Jukes already being in an injured, weakened, confused state and used her for his own self gratification.

  107. Lea wrote:

    The only appropriate way to address her would have been abject apologies. No denials. No minimizing. Period.

    Obviously, that’s not what she got.

    And nothing addressed to her in a public forum that had not already been handled individually.

  108. Max wrote:

    “If” this is a New Calvinist church, leaders probably don’t say anything about being affiliated with the SBC … I doubt that the average member there knows they are Southern Baptist.

    Wasn’t Highpoint originally a church plant? If so, could some of there start-up funding have come from the NAMB? Is there any way to know for sure, considering the way the SBC operates?

  109. “In ‘traditional’ SBC churches, congregational polity keeps the leaders in check. In a growing number of SBC New Calvinist churches, church governance is elder-rule making it darn near impossible to correct and/or terminate church leaders.”

    Yes, between Stonebridge and Highpoint, Savage served under Sam Shaw at Germantown Baptist Church. Shaw was a big advocate for elder rule, and was featured with Tom Chantry’s father Walt at the 2003 Founders conference:

    http://www.southwoodsbc.org/midsouthfounders/

  110. Is third party forgiveness important. If A hurts B, is person C’s forgiveness important?

    Normally I would say ‘no’, but in this case Andy was employed in an official position by the church did violate the church’s trust and standards, in addition to violating Jules. The original church, not the currently employing church.

  111. Lea wrote:

    From Chase’s account:

    A good friend of mine called me this morning. He said God just gave High Point Church a ministry to healing women who’ve been abused in some type of sexual sin.

    Ummm. Is it me or are they pretty clearly conflating ‘abuse’ and ‘sexual sin’?? I guess that’s for Andy’s benefit.

    I guess I assumed he was saying she was abused and he did a sexual sin, not that she did a sexual sin. (Not all sexual abuse from pastor to congregant is a crime in all states, unfortunately, but all sexual abuse is a sin whether a crime or not.) Maybe I was being too charitable in my assumption. He better not have been saying a woman who was abused was committing a sexual sin! Saying High Point obtained a healing ministry for women who have been sexually abused because one of their pastors was the abuser is bad enough!

  112. FW Rez wrote:

    And nothing addressed to her in a public forum that had not already been handled individually.

    Yes.
    readingalong wrote:

    Is third party forgiveness important. If A hurts B, is person C’s forgiveness important?

    Normally I would say ‘no’, but in this case Andy was employed in an official position by the church did violate the church’s trust and standards, in addition to violating Jules. The original church, not the currently employing church.

    Third party forgiveness means nothing, imo.

    In this situation, though, he may have hurt other people than Jules. If he asks the church to forgive him for *what he did TO the church* that’s fine. They can do that. They can’t forgive him for what he did to *Jules* though.

  113. Ricco wrote:

    I’m actually curious about this; I’m not writing this question out of a hidden agenda. Is third party forgiveness important. If A hurts B, is person C’s forgiveness important? From my experience in the past couple years and my reading on TWW and other sites, the church’s teaching on forgiveness and sin has been totally screwed up for a long time. I’m questioning a lot of things I always “knew” were true.

    I think focusing on seeking forgiveness from others is the wrong tactic entirely. If you have done wrong or sinned against someone, you should be seeking repentance–turning your life around. And that includes taking responsibility for your actions and facing the worst of the consequences. If you’ve done something very wrong, making it public through confession and asking forgiveness are steps, but there should be no expectation from the other person.

    Now, I don’t think the sinned against person forgiving the person is unimportant, I just think it should be irrelevant to how the sinner responds and in their discussion of the topic. I agree with Shapiro that the sinner doesn’t get to make that choice, but there still is an expectation that the person hurt have to publicly forgive the person, and I don’t think that needs to be the case.

    However, asking forgiveness and demanding someone instantly give it to you without repentance seems much easier in the short term. It turns the sinned against person into the sinner if they don’t automatically comply and takes the focus off your own change of heart.

  114. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:
    <

    It appears to me that Andy the Savage simply took advantage of young Jules already being in an injured, weakened, confused state and used her for his own self gratification.

    That is what predators do.

  115. Beth Duncan wrote:

    He better not have been saying a woman who was abused was committing a sexual sin!

    I think that language was very dicey. And churches (particularly the ones obsessed with ‘purity’) tend to be pretty bad at turning every sexual related pain into ‘sin’. As if the problem is merely sex, rather than abuse.

  116. Nathan Priddis wrote:

    bunny wrote:

    @ Nathan Priddis:
    Leave Bethel out of this. This is not the time nor the place to discuss that. Right now we are focusing on Jules.

    If there is a significant Bethel influence, it would VERY VERY much be an additional element to the High Point discussion. The standing ovation, and to a far lesser extent, the worship team, are now public and media topics.

    There was something wrong with some members of the worship team. Bethel may be an explanation.

    Bottom line is that the Memphis Melt Down is a perfect storm. It may have involved a nice young girl being assaulted in Texas twenty years ago. It has since exposed additional factors at the core of North American Evangelicalism.

    Bethel is a charismatic church. I am a charismatic. Unless I am mistaken, the church we are discussing today is Baptist. I think this is, excuse the expression, a rabbit trail that would distract from the very important topic of how abuse is handled in the American church world. That topic applies to all denominations.

  117. Ricco wrote:

    If A hurts B, is person C’s forgiveness important? From my experience in the past couple years and my reading on TWW and other sites, the church’s teaching on forgiveness and sin has been totally screwed up for a long time.

    IMO, If A hurts B, it is B’s forgiveness that is most important. If A’s transgression against B is such that C is also impacted, then C’s forgiveness becomes important, too. Of course all this forgiving must be on the other side of genuine confession and repentance on the part of A. If A = Pastor, B = Church Member, and C = Other Church Members, then A’s sin against one member essentially affects the whole church and perhaps the whole Body of Christ … pastoral trust has been betrayed.

    I agree that “the church’s teaching on forgiveness and sin has been totally screwed up for a long time.” We have drifted from core Biblical teaching on sin, repentance, and forgiveness in favor of psychological approaches to dealing with iniquity. “We all sin” and “Don’t throw rocks” have been overworked and stretched out of bounds in an easy-believism church culture which is too quick to forgive and restore church leaders, who often fail again. Forgive them (if they repent)? Absolutely! Restore them to ministry? NO!

    I’m not a fan of 9Marks, but I do agree with Leeman when he says: “So yes, forgive the repentant pastor. Who of us is without sin? But to love him, love those he has hurt, love the church, love our watching neighbors and love God, please don’t rush to restore him. Some just shouldn’t be restored.”

  118. The church at-large also has the right to protect itself from wolves and the church is all Christians, not just a single church. New Calvinist churches disagree that members should have that power, which is why Highpoint and other New Calvinist structured churches say that only the pastors and elders can decide who belongs in the church, in the pastorate, and otherwise (and it does say that in Highpoint’ bylaws as those on Twitter have been pointing out). I think it’s because they are a cult of wolves preying on the naive.

  119. caroline wrote:

    No!!! You can’t do that! Haven’t you learned anything from covering megachurches? You collect tithes and offerings “to reach the lost” or “to do the work of the Lord.” Then you pay for the fog machine and an exotic vacation.

    Ironic choice of words when you (generic you) consider just how cloaked in fog the operation of mega-fundagelicalism is.

  120. Lea wrote:

    bunny wrote:

    I am part of a worship team that definitely can go extemporaneous like that.

    Yeah, I’ve seen it many times. It’s almost par for the course in a Gateway/non-denominational/pretending to be non-denomination but apparently actually Baptist? kind of church.

    But way, way out of place in this service.

    I agree with you.

  121. Ricco wrote:

    Is third party forgiveness important. If A hurts B, is person C’s forgiveness important?

    sorry that should have highlighted that quote was from ricco

  122. This isn’t the first time someone from HP has been in some form of trouble due to sexual assault. Wartburg has stuff in here from November 2016 in the archives about a youth leader(Chris Carwile) who was forced to tell Conlee after he was being accused of taking advantage of younger boys at his house in the late 90’s and Conlee was in the middle of that as well. Carwile since lost his job and the boys he molested have gone to great lengths to try and do more but the statue of limitations won’t allow it. HP has also had a sex offender employed in their Collierville Church. This place is filled with sexual predator leadership.

  123. I’ve never commented here before, but trust me, this blog has played a part in changing my life over the past 5 years. So thank you for that. I just wanted to throw this into the mix: If I were a congregant in this church, I would be staging an immediate coup against the pastorate. I’d be doing this for several reasons, many of which are readily apparent. Primarily, I would not want to leave my church family, at least not right away, but I would not want to be represented by these people one minute longer. They’ve made fools of us all and dragged us into the mud with them in a way that couldn’t possibly be more public. I would follow the bylaws inasmuch as I could but I would make it happen.

  124. readingalong wrote:

    Is third party forgiveness important. If A hurts B, is person C’s forgiveness important?

    Normally I would say ‘no’, but in this case Andy was employed in an official position by the church did violate the church’s trust and standards, in addition to violating Jules. The original church, not the currently employing church.

    Then Andy should seek forgiveness from his church for duping them rather than for violating Jules. He sinned against both in different ways.

  125. Lea wrote:

    From Chase’s account:
    A good friend of mine called me this morning. He said God just gave High Point Church a ministry to healing women who’ve been abused in some type of sexual sin.
    Ummm. Is it me or are they pretty clearly conflating ‘abuse’ and ‘sexual sin’?? I guess that’s for Andy’s benefit.

    ROFL. God did that while they had a standing ovation for Savage? Yeah, right.

  126. About a decade ago in another church service-
    Our pastors and elders called a special evening service to discuss something important. That was all we knew. Our lead pastor, with all of all the other pastors/board on the stage, announced, very sadly, that one of the leadership had been caught in sexual sin. Worse, it had been going on for years, but this was the first time he had been caught. The church discipline procedures were explained in a grave tone of voice. The leader had responded to discipline, and he was present, but he did not say anything. The congregation was admonished to love the sinner, hate the sin, and understand the grave consequences of the sin. Careful instruction was given by the lead pastor to a) remember to extend great grace to all, but especially to the victims (his wife and family), b) understand that we all can sin, c) pray for the congregation during this time. We prayed, both corporately, in small groups, and individually. We were then instructed to leave quietly, as this was a time of mourning for our church. That couple is still together, and they continue to heal. Our church has carried on, and our leaders are more accountable to each other and to us.

    That is the huge opportunity that HIghPoint lost this past Sunday in their sham circus performance.

  127. Jerome wrote:

    Yes, between Stonebridge and Highpoint, Savage served under Sam Shaw at Germantown Baptist Church. Shaw was a big advocate for elder rule, and was featured with Tom Chantry’s father Walt at the 2003 Founders conference:
    http://www.southwoodsbc.org/midsouthfounders/

    Oh, wow! This is quite interesting to me. Cathy’s trial has been postponed again until April. Rumor is if had something to do with cancer but we don’t know who has the cancer.

  128. Ken P. wrote:

    As a helpful note, Highpoint Church is listed as “Highpoint Community Church” on the SBC and Mid-South Baptist Association sites. Make no mistake, they are the same church. Much confusion over at SBC Voices.

    Maybe it is part of the *obfuscate* strategy.

  129. @ Linn:
    Thanks Linn. Evidence that some church leaders and their church members get it. A better model on how to handle these situations, than that provided at Highpoint.

  130. John wrote:

    The whole service was like a sort of mob narcissism with a (thin and false) spiritual gloss. It’s all about them, and the abuser. The whole segment talking about how worthy they are was an eye opener. Completely twisted.

    Good comment.

  131. Robert M wrote:

    Fog machines in a church service? That’s a thing now?

    Did you know a few months ago, I posted a link to a article that the most frequent request for new equipment was not for the Bible, etc. It was for fog machines. There is an analogy in this somewhere…

  132. @ Todd Wilhelm:

    Who else but the Deebs and Amy could unite the voices of Ann Voskamp and Ben Shapiro?

    Here’s what I find obnoxious about this situation. If an ordinary young couple drove a car somewhere and had perfectly consensual oral sex and people find out, would that issue be over with after the guy said he messed up, has a dealt with it, and he’s sorry? If Highpoint is like its “gospel-centered”/CGM counterparts here, he would be the one who “struggles with lust and needs accountability” for a long time.

  133. bkraul wrote:

    He has been talking to the church about this incident for years. Granted not to the level of detail Ms. Woodson has used. Perhaps you guys would have been happy if he had.

    Actually, how do you know he has been talking to the church about this for years? What you are saying is that you believe him, right? Oh, I do know that Conlee knew about something. So, in some respects, you are correct, Savage and Conlee are the church-not the members.

    Savage should have gone to the police when it happened. Conlee should have gone to the police where he reported what he was told. That is the root of the problem, spelled out, plain and simple. There is no pastor in Christendom who has the right to ignore the law and handle it internally. The outcome of this situation is the reason why.

    Had this been handled year ago, this would never have happened. Savage would never have been your pastor and the church could have developed in other ways. Woodson would have had justice under the law- a law put in place by God if you believe the Bible.

  134. Lea wrote:

    Even more disgusting than the fact that the predator needs to change, not ‘heal’, is the fact that the entire sermon seemed to praise Andy for HEALING BETTER THAN JULES.

    I think you’re exactly right & it’s an old theme isn’t it? Oh, how churches love a ‘repentant’ abuser who is instantly in the position to crow about forgiveness while the naughty wicked victim is traumatised, damaged & unable to forgive at the drop of a hat. Clearly the abuser is more spiritual than the victim & a much better witness to Jesus…

    I’m sick of that stuff.

    This church clearly has no ministry to sexually abused women until they get this equation right – no matter what they say with their mouths about wanting to see people healed, unless this is matched by their actual behaviour, which can only come from a much deeper & more educated understanding about the dynamics & results of sexual abuse they have precisely nothing to give. They will continue, as several people in other thread have mentioned, to put what should be the task & burden of the abuser – to do some hard work of heart & behaviour change, step back from the spiritual limelight, prove their repentance via their actions, suffer the consequences of their actions wherever that takes them – onto the victim who in their scenario ends up being not only hurt, & sinned against, but a bad sport, spiritually speaking. The victim ends up with a huge ‘spiritual’ task they must do to prove themselves spiritually worthy, rather than be allowed a normal healing trajectory which is normally long, messy & not for public consumption. It’s a double whammy for victims.

    The simple answer for churches is growth in wisdom – really really looking at the messages inherent in what they do, such as in this God-awful ‘service’, & finally seeing that they are turning the whole situation upside down, & Christ is mocked, not glorified by them.

  135. bkraul wrote:

    I can’t argue with you if you do not favor contemporary worship.

    You do not know what you are talking about and that is why your comment will not have the impact that yo wish.You know nothing about us. All of the churches that I have attended, including now, have contemporary worship. However, they also have Biblically sound worship leaders who are carefully trained by the clergy You cannot state that the nonsense that I put on this blog from Highpoint is excellent, biblically based worship. In fact, it looks a bit bizarre and that is coming from me who endured Ed Young Jr’s church for a few years.

  136. bkraul wrote:

    At no point during his speaking neither pastor placed blame on Jules.

    Perhaps you only hear it if they say the words specifically. In fact, and I pointed this out in my post, they said that Jules needed to go on the same path of healing that Andy has been on.

    Let me make sure you get this straight. A victim has a far more difficult path than the guy who did the deed. I would suggest you take some time and study about the life long consequences of sexual molestation.

  137. Quote from Chris Conlee: “A good friend of mine called me this morning. He said God just gave High Point Church a ministry to healing women who’ve been abused in some type of sexual sin.”

    And that ministry would express itself in what way? By turning future confessions from other offenders into joyful celebrations of the perp’s life and ministry, just as they did for Andy Savage?

  138. On the question of whether or not Highpoint is Elder led, I read the bylaws and I’m still not sure. It doesn’t really explain how someone becomes an Elder to begin with. My best guess is that the “Elders” are the Leadership Team of seven pastors on their Meet The Staff page.

    My cynical understanding is that, in addition to be being “President” of the corporation, there is enough ambiguity and there are enough loopholes in the bylaws that the Lead Pastor can pretty much do what he pleases with a few exceptions carved out for the membership, i.e. approving an annual budget.

    http://www.highpointmemphis.com/bylaws

  139. No, this did not “happen 20 years ago”. It happened EVERY SINGLE DAY for 20 years. Every day, for 20 years, Jules had to bear the burden of silence, the torment of her experience, and the horror of knowing her rapist was still out there, possibly raping even more young women. Every day, Jules suffered alone, ostracized and neglected, while her rapist walked free.

    Twenty years of suffering. All swept under the rug.

    So, no, it didn’t happen just 20 years ago. It’s happening even today for Jules as she has to endure more victim blaming.

  140. I have said this before. IMO if nothing else it was quite premature for Conlee and the rest of High Point Leadership to decide they wanted to fully support Savage. When Conlee gave his sermon this past Sunday it was only a few days after this issue had been made public. Shouldn’t High Point have done some type of due diligence including contacting as many involved as possible about this situation before showing all this support for Conlee? If the leadership had done this then they would have been more sure what Andy Savage was stating was true.

    This early show of support including for Savage to remain on staff as the teaching pastor at Highpoint so early after this had just been brought up shows such extreme bias including Highpoint leadership apparently not wanting to check the facts. Shouldn’t Highpoint at least withheld full support and indicate that they were going to try have some type of investigation done especially when there are two different stories being told and presented?

    Yes they should have said something on Sunday and even let Andy Savage make a statement but to show full support without doing any research and trying to confirm what Andy Savage’s claims happened shows extreme bias. Was Highpoint Leadership that naive or ignorant to see the major discrepancies in what Andy Savage said vs. Jules has indicated? It is not that hard to find differences in these two accounts. I am sure even most PR firms would have told them it would have been wiser to not be so quick to show full support.

    This is just so sad. Then again this shows IMO their bias toward Andy Savage and perhaps not wanting to even research the facts. If they did try and do some research they might not get the answers they want.

  141. @ Todd Wilhelm:
    Good find. Shapiro gave a synopsis of his Jewish understanding of forgiveness —which i don’t think changed that much with Jesus Christ.

  142. dee wrote:

    Perhaps you only hear it if they say the words specifically. In fact, and I pointed this out in my post, they said that Jules needed to go on the same path of healing that Andy has been on.

    What on earth does Andy even have to heal over? That’s like saying that someone who stabs someone else needs to go to the hospital to heal, and that we hope the stabbing victim heals just like the stabber. What the…? I am so SICK of the sickos being treated like victims. It’s a disgrace!

  143. One other thought on sin and forgiveness and how it relates to High Point

    By all indications, the story of the woman caught in adultery is about a consensual affair, not about rape. We don’t know all the details, but the concept of rape is found in the bible. This story isn’t about a crime and the punishment of that crime, it is about someone breaking with sexual morality. Also, the stones were not metaphorical, they were actually going to kill her. No one is threatening to stone Andy Savage. At worst, it seems like, he could loose his job and his reputation. Applying this to not criticizing Andy Savage is just stupid. He is accused of being a sexual criminal, not violating sexual morality.

    I don’t give a wink and a nod to sexual morality. My family was destroyed by my father’s affairs. However, all of society shouldn’t sit in judgement of people’s sexual lives. Only the people involved and effected should be judging. In the case of crimes, all of society is effected. That is why we have a civil government: to bring to justice to those people whose crimes threaten the society at large. The church does no one any favors by making crimes and sexual immorality the same thing. They are two different things that must be handled differently.

    This might seem like a radical statement, but if two single, adults engage in consensual action, I don’t believe I have any right to judge what they do.

  144. Thank you for sharing this. A church service like this is always hard. Nothing, no right song, no right words, no perfect musical bridge could have made this very very hard situation much better. This is hard on everyone, Jules, all sexual abuse victims, Pastor Andy, his wife, his 5 sons (one special need) each church member, Pastor Chris, all the leaders at both churches and all members, all who have relationship with Pastor Andy the life in his city- or his radio/podcasts etc. Instead of people casting stones, or critiquing, how about we all get on our faces and weep and pray for a miracle healing over the entire body of Christ.

  145. I have to seriously wonder if the radio show host will toss softball questions to Andy Savage. Will there be questions that don’t allow for wiggle room? Will he be asked, “When speaking to her parents, did you say that you had taken their daughter to a deserted area?” Will Andy be asked, “Did you tell her parents exactly what occurred or did you leave things kind of vague? If you didn’t say exactly what occurred, do you really believe that you were actually confessing?” Or even this: “Andy, did you explain IN DETAIL, what occurred when asked by prospective employers, or were you vague?”

    Hoping the radio host realizes that HIS questions are going to be looked at by a watching world, too.

  146. David wrote:

    Thank you to Chase for describing what it was like to be there. Watching it online was a surreal experience. The music was decidedly manipulative, like it was trying to put the impetus of forgiveness on Jules and others who were lied to. The singer at the end — well…yeah. It may surprise people in smaller and/or traditional churches to learn that this kind of extemporaneous stream-of-consciousness thing can be par for the course in some megachurches where big names and big productions are the draw.

    The entire service was a manipulative entertainment show. Jonathan Aigner at Patheos got it right in his article, ‘Today at Highpoint Church: When a Worship Song is Blasphemous. How anyone’s stomach couldn’t have been turned, how anyone couldn’t have been repulsed by such disregard for a victim of sexual assault is beyond me. This c’hurch will reap what it has sown. They have brought scandal upon the name of Jesus Christ.

  147. Stan wrote:

    f an ordinary young couple drove a car somewhere and had perfectly consensual oral sex and people find out, would that issue be over with after the guy said he messed up, has a dealt with it, and he’s sorry? If Highpoint is like its “gospel-centered”/CGM counterparts here, he would be the one who “struggles with lust and needs accountability” for a long time.

    That’s a great point. I’m really interested in how certain church teachings actually make abusive situations more likely to occur. For example, if you teach one group (women, laypersons) that they must always submit to the authority of another group (men, clergy), won’t that be a set-up for abuse? Also, it has been mentioned on a recent thread that purity culture leads to very naive young adults. Does this make them easy prey? Throw in some extreme sin-leveling, so that a guy thinks that kissing and touching with a willing partner his own age is an equal sin to rape, and what do we expect? I know that the focus needs to be victims first, but I’d love to better understand what makes an abuser offend, especially within the church.

  148. bunny wrote:

    @ David:
    Look, I am part of a worship team that definitely can go extemporaneous like that. Some of that is just different types of church culture. But under the circumstances ….the whole service was a mistake.

    I’d call that Going Rogue! Those ‘worship’ leader was attempting to manipulate the crowd to respond the way she thought. And the Andy accolades boil down to adoration and worship of a man who refuses to own up to his sinful and criminal behavior.

  149. Muff Potter wrote:

    Ironic choice of words when you (generic you) consider just how cloaked in fog the operation of mega-fundagelicalism is.

    It is interesting to think about that in light of the fact that apparently some of Highpoint’s congregation didn’t know that the church was affiliated with the SBC, or even that they were Baptist at all. But you can bet that the SBC is counting the members, baptisms, $$$, etc as its own.

  150. Darlene wrote:

    I’d call that Going Rogue! Those ‘worship’ leader was attempting to manipulate the crowd to respond the way she thought.

    Well…if one is going to “go rogue”, she should control her emotional frenzy just enough to insure she will be able to sing on-key when she “un-rogues”.
    That was painful and embarrassing.

  151. bkraul wrote:

    I can’t argue with you if you do not favor contemporary worship.

    I’m an old guy. I have no problem with contemporary worship … after all, Jesus is the eternal contemporary! No, I’ve never had a real problem with form, as long as there is some substance to it. But the dog & pony show last Sunday, with congregants cheering on a failed pastor had no substance to it.

  152. dee wrote:

    Savage should have gone to the police when it happened. Conlee should have gone to the police where he reported what he was told. That is the root of the problem, spelled out, plain and simple. There is no pastor in Christendom who has the right to ignore the law and handle it internally. The outcome of this situation is the reason why.

    Had this been handled year ago, this would never have happened. Savage would never have been your pastor and the church could have developed in other ways. Woodson would have had justice under the law – a law put in place by God if you believe the Bible.

    Dee, this is the black & white of the sad matter. Anyone who would argue otherwise sees gray. Gray is a shade of black.

  153. dee wrote:

    Actually, how do you know he has been talking to the church about this for years? What you are saying is that you believe him, right? Oh, I do know that Conlee knew about something. So, in some respects, you are correct, Savage and Conlee are the church-not the members.

    Because I have been a member of the church for over a year, some instances of this are even documented on the church’s archived media site.

    Do I believe what he has said over the years? Sure, nothing in what he has said so far contradicts it. Has it been the explicit story that Ms. Woodson has presented? No. But I bet you that if it had been so, Andy would be crucified for sharing such horrendous details about someone else.

    Again, do I say Andy is innocent of all charges? No, I can’t say that, not with the information that has been presented, which is where you people seem to believe yourselves experts on the law and other disciplines. Which by the way, from the recent news on Texas authorities determining statute of limitations passing, I guess you are not. But even this blog and other outlets pressure you into doing so. I do not throw out Ms. Woodson’s account by any means, but that is “HER” account. Even on a court of law, both defendant and plantiff have the opportunity and the right to tell their side.

    Do I believe he has the right to not self-incriminate? Absolutely? Andy’s statement was deemed appropriate by Him and church leaders in the sense that the intention was to make it known to Ms. Jules and public opinion that Andy is not hiding in silence and is truly sorry for what happened. He did not say that is all I am going to say. There is more coming.

    But what remains, is that no matter what Andy says, no one here and on social media will be satisfied. I don’t buy it for a second that had he and Highpoint said exactly word for word how some people here said they should have done, it would have had any effect. You want his head. You want the “rock and roll church” to close doors, because their biblical views do not align perfectly with yours. Points can be made to the argument that he should no longer be in ministry, and I respect that. Based on how this is going, I see that as the end result. But most comments here from people who have no clue, are meant to destroy.

    Again, from the world, I understand the response, that he was and will forever be a sexual predator. From Christians…well…I guess it depends on what kind of “Christian” you believe you are. Andy’s work with the church and the way he has conducted himself through the years, attest to his character.

  154. FW Rez wrote:

    On the question of whether or not Highpoint is Elder led, I read the bylaws and I’m still not sure.

    Dee explained it best on Twitter: “Once again, my formula holds true. The pastors rule and the trustees drool.”

  155. dee wrote:

    You do not know what you are talking about and that is why your comment will not have the impact that yo wish.You know nothing about us. All of the churches that I have attended, including now, have contemporary worship. However, they also have Biblically sound worship leaders who are carefully trained by the clergy You cannot state that the nonsense that I put on this blog from Highpoint is excellent, biblically based worship. In fact, it looks a bit bizarre and that is coming from me who endured Ed Young Jr’s church for a few years.

    Do explain to me how, listening to 1 (one) special service design to acknowledge the situation makes you an expert on the Biblically-based worship validity of Highpoint church. I am not seeking to sway your opinions, I do not have that power. I am making a comment, hoping that this “open forum” would allow me to voice my opinion. If I am being perceived as disrespectful, I sincerely apologize, for it is not my intention. I am actually surprised my comments have actually made this page.

  156. Remnant wrote:

    This aplogy/sermon/standing ovation fiasco will live in infamy right alongside Jack Schaap acting out his Polishing the Shaft sermon,

    Two sermons that will live in infamy!

  157. Robert M wrote:

    Fog machines in a church service? That’s a thing now?

    Robert, you need to get out more! Church as entertainment is the theme of the day! Fog machines, strobe lights, black lights, laser lights, bubbles, sound effects, projection systems, whining guitars, drum enclosures, cheerleader worship leaders, TV crews, production teams … Yep, you need to experience one of these church services – they offer awesome, well-constructed, highly entertaining concerts every Sunday for free! Worship? Well now, that would have to be up to you. Guess I’m an old fuddy-duddy, but I think silence is worship, too.

  158. bkraul wrote:

    Do I believe what he has said over the years? Sure, nothing in what he has said so far contradicts it. Has it been the explicit story that Ms. Woodson has presented? No. But I bet you that if it had been so, Andy would be crucified for sharing such horrendous details about someone else.

    So you don’t thing that “sexual assault” and “sexual incident” are conflicting terms? Do you think these to things are the same thing?
    bkraul wrote:

    Which by the way, from the recent news on Texas authorities determining statute of limitations passing, I guess you are not. But even this blog and other outlets pressure you into doing so. I do not throw out Ms. Woodson’s account by any means, but that is “HER” account. Even on a court of law, both defendant and plantiff have the opportunity and the right to tell their side.

    Just because someone the law is unable to prosecute someone, does that mean they are innocent? After reading Jules’ story, would you let Andy Savage drive your teenage daughter home?
    bkraul wrote:

    Do I believe he has the right to not self-incriminate? Absolutely? Andy’s statement was deemed appropriate by Him and church leaders in the sense that the intention was to make it known to Ms. Jules and public opinion that Andy is not hiding in silence and is truly sorry for what happened. He did not say that is all I am going to say. There is more coming.

    Of course he has the right not to self incriminate, but is that your standard for a pastor? Do you expect any more than the minimum standard? Would there ever be an instance where a pastor could do something that, while legal, would disqualify him from ministry?
    bkraul wrote:

    You want the “rock and roll church” to close doors, because their biblical views do not align perfectly with yours. Points can be made to the argument that he should no longer be in ministry, and I respect that. Based on how this is going, I see that as the end result. But most comments here from people who have no clue, are meant to destroy.

    Just for your information, this site is the most eclectic collection of theological positions you will ever find on the internet. I’m sure there are megachurch attenders who comment here regularly. What we don’t like is spiritual abuse and sin-leveling. We also don’t like people who have been accused of sexual assault and haven’t answered those questions to be allowed to be pastors. He has not addressed Jules’ account. He has not said whether he believes she was truthful or not. We are left wondering, and his vague statements have allowed this issue to polarize.
    bkraul wrote:

    Again, from the world, I understand the response, that he was and will forever be a sexual predator. From Christians…well…I guess it depends on what kind of “Christian” you believe you are. Andy’s work with the church and the way he has conducted himself through the years, attest to his character.

    I believe this comment shows a misunderstanding of forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean pretending like it never happens. Again, would you allow a pedophile to babysit your kids? Would you attend a church with a known spiritual abuser? Forgiveness does not restore relationship. No one is entitled to be a pastor. What you are saying here is an “ends justify the means” argument. “Maybe Andy did it, but look at all the good he has done.” No. No amount of human performance can justify lies that oppress. He should speak clearly, truly, and completely, and leave the outcome in the hands of God. Your implication is people who defend Jules aren’t good Christians because we aren’t forgiving enough of Andy. If that is how you define Christian, then I don’t want to be one.

  159. bkraul wrote:

    dee wrote:

    You do not know what you are talking about and that is why your comment will not have the impact that yo wish.You know nothing about us. All of the churches that I have attended, including now, have contemporary worship. However, they also have Biblically sound worship leaders who are carefully trained by the clergy You cannot state that the nonsense that I put on this blog from Highpoint is excellent, biblically based worship. In fact, it looks a bit bizarre and that is coming from me who endured Ed Young Jr’s church for a few years.

    Do explain to me how, listening to 1 (one) special service design to acknowledge the situation makes you an expert on the Biblically-based worship validity of Highpoint church. I am not seeking to sway your opinions, I do not have that power. I am making a comment, hoping that this “open forum” would allow me to voice my opinion. If I am being perceived as disrespectful, I sincerely apologize, for it is not my intention. I am actually surprised my comments have actually made this page.

    If I want to go to a rock concert, I’ll go to an actual Rock Concert, not some cheap imitation of evangelical ‘worship.’

  160. bkraul wrote:

    But what remains, is that no matter what Andy says, no one here and on social media will be satisfied.

    Wow! You know what we all think. Wrong! I am aware that the SOL has run out. I would be satisfied if he apologized as Jules Woodson sees fit, and if he resigned and never worked in a church or with children again. That is not unreasonable at all for a man who as a Youth Pastor sexually abused someone in his care and then minimized it throughout his career.

  161. caroline wrote:

    bkraul wrote:

    I am also trying to figure out what kind of response you people really favor.

    I don’t speak for TWW, as I’m just a reader here, but I favor a response that admits that this type of behavior is sexual assault, is immoral, and disqualifies a person from pastoral ministry. I do not favor an emotionally manipulative response which twists the word of God. I also do not favor silence which minimizes the behavior, fails to alert law enforcement, and gives the offender a going away party and a recommendation to his next ministry position.

    Bravo.

    Also just a reader here but my thoughts exactly!

  162. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Wasn’t Highpoint originally a church plant? If so, could some of there start-up funding have come from the NAMB? Is there any way to know for sure, considering the way the SBC operates?

    Undoubtedly there was Baptist $$$ of some sort; I doubt Highpoint had an unsaved neighbor bankrolling it like 9Marks did when it opened for business.

  163. bkraul wrote:

    You want his head.

    He has proven himself to be unfit for ministry. His days in ministry should have ended when someone had to tell him to not be alone in his bedroom tickling one of the youth from the church.

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

    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/

  164. I am listening to the interview. Personally I don’t believe him. It seems to me that he is putting the blame on Jules already by saying “the atmosphere was flirtatious” and “she didn’t want to go home right away so we drove around”. As if it was her idea that started it all off. I could of course be wrong, its just my opinion, but I don’t believe him.

  165. Max wrote:

    Robert M wrote:

    Fog machines in a church service? That’s a thing now?

    Robert, you need to get out more! Church as entertainment is the theme of the day! Fog machines, strobe lights, black lights, laser lights, bubbles, sound effects, projection systems, whining guitars, drum enclosures, cheerleader worship leaders, TV crews, production teams … Yep, you need to experience one of these church services – they offer awesome, well-constructed, highly entertaining concerts every Sunday for free! Worship? Well now, that would have to be up to you. Guess I’m an old fuddy-duddy, but I think silence is worship, too.

    Max, it’s called Performance Art. And the better the performer on stage, the more easily the audience can be manipulated by their emotions. Groan a little with contrived sincerity, touch those guitar strings in just the right way so they exude a ZING throughout the building, view the Close Up faces of the worship team on the HUGE t.v. screens, turn the volume UP, UP, UP, do everything possible to make this a SPECTACULAR worship event! It’s all about the presentation, don’t you know?

  166. Bill wrote:

    I am listening to the interview. Personally I don’t believe him. It seems to me that he is putting the blame on Jules already by saying “the atmosphere was flirtatious” and “she didn’t want to go home right away so we drove around”. As if it was her idea that started it all off. I could of course be wrong, its just my opinion, but I don’t believe him.

    Which interview are you referring to?

  167. Lea wrote:

    From Chase’s account:

    A good friend of mine called me this morning. He said God just gave High Point Church a ministry to healing women who’ve been abused in some type of sexual sin.

    Ummm. Is it me or are they pretty clearly conflating ‘abuse’ and ‘sexual sin’?? I guess that’s for Andy’s benefit.

    Great observation.

  168. Bridget wrote:

    bkraul wrote:

    But what remains, is that no matter what Andy says, no one here and on social media will be satisfied.

    Wow! You know what we all think. Wrong! I am aware that the SOL has run out. I would be satisfied if he apologized as Jules Woodson sees fit, and if he resigned and never worked in a church or with children again. That is not unreasonable at all for a man who as a Youth Pastor sexually abused someone in his care and then minimized it throughout his career.

    And minimized it in his “confession” this past Sunday when he had the chance to make it right instead of calling it an “incident” rather than sexual assault. The man just doesn’t want to own up to his deeds.

  169. Listening now. I need a shower.

    Somehow one of the many (many) things glossed over is that he knew Jules for three years by this point. This means he knew her when she was 14: middle schooler.

    And now I need another shower.

  170. @ bkraul:
    You’ve expressed your opinion.

    Maybe somewhere down the road, you’ll understand what Christians are objecting to about Highpoint Church.

    As for me, I’ll continue to object to predators being in church leadership. As you have stated there are two sides to an issue.

  171. @al organic moment”. David:
    I think he glossed over so very much. Now at the end of the interview he’s claiming that she was a consenting adult. He says he did not break the law which technically may be true. He claims he did not force her or ask her for anything. He says it was a “mutual organic moment” between them, unplanned.

  172. I wasn’t able to catch Ben Ferguson’s interview of Andy Savage this afternoon. Might anyone know where I might listen online to a recording?

  173. Max wrote:

    Yep, you need to experience one of these church services…

    Actually, they often call them “experiences” instead of “services.” As in, “Welcome to the 10 o’clock Experience at Hipster Church!” Very common in ARC churches, and Highpoint seems to be some sort of ARC-Lite.

    Regarding the young worship leader… I heard somewhere that you have to watch out for worship leaders who are frustrated preachers, and who will use the mike to scratch their preaching “itch.” It can also be a way to get attention. She picked a really bad Sunday to practice her preaching.

  174. Bill wrote:

    I am listening to the interview. Personally I don’t believe him. It seems to me that he is putting the blame on Jules already by saying “the atmosphere was flirtatious” and “she didn’t want to go home right away so we drove around”. As if it was her idea that started it all off. I could of course be wrong, its just my opinion, but I don’t believe him.

    Bill wrote:

    @al organic moment”. David:
    I think he glossed over so very much. Now at the end of the interview he’s claiming that she was a consenting adult. He says he did not break the law which technically may be true. He claims he did not force her or ask her for anything. He says it was a “mutual organic moment” between them, unplanned.

    Y’know, even if his version were true, he had no business driving her around _or_ allowing a “mutual organic moment” to go forward! It puts him in a very bad light.

    Who was the adult in the car?

  175. Bill wrote:

    It seems to me that he is putting the blame on Jules already by saying “the atmosphere was flirtatious” and “she didn’t want to go home right away so we drove around”.

    Y’know…I don’t doubt that this is true. You have a 17-year-old girl who is being given special attention by an older guy; a guy with the added appeal of “pastor-aura”. He’s considered a confidant, a trusted advisor and friend. It’s completely understandable that she might like him some; that she’d flirt a little to see if he’d flirt back. That she’d want to spend time with the older guy who she admires and seems to like her.

    But HE was the adult in the room (or car), not her. HE was the one with restrictions on his behavior grounded in his staff position. HE was the one who should have been controlling the tone of their interactions, not her.

  176. @ Remnant:
    My guess is it will get archived on either the WREC or Ferguson web sites. I’d check there tomorrow and see. Its worth listening to… but my reaction was it was an hours worth of blame deflection.

  177. bkraul wrote:

    hoping that this “open forum” would allow me to voice my opinion. If I am being perceived as disrespectful, I sincerely apologize, for it is not my intention. I am actually surprised my comments have actually made this page.

    You shouldn’t be. This blog has a robust policy & history of letting people have their say. You will, however, get an educated, adult response from those here, not just a bunch of Christianised fake politeness.

  178. refugee wrote:

    Y’know,

    Who was the adult in the car?

    Ha! Refugee – looks like we were thinking the same thing and the same time.

  179. bkraul wrote:

    Biblically-based worship validity of Highpoint church. I

    LOL! To someone who doesn’t go to and isn’t part of the “Christian” culture, if a standing ovation for a clown who used his position of power to drive a young girl down a dark with a dark plan in mind and the worship leader “medical event” is biblically based then you can keep it. I see a cult.

  180. @ David:
    @ Beakerj:
    I have a friend who tried to defend her sex-registered brother by saying that the 15-Year old came on to him in the group home where he worked. No excuses if you’re the adult!

  181. I’m still shaking my head after listening to that broadcast with Andy Savage. I don’t have the gift of discernment that Dee has, but I have to think that ridiculous mess he spewed is going to backfire. He quickly moved away from the fact that he lied, well, only told the “partial truth”. So, he is taking a leave and will undergo an evaluation. I can say from personal experience with the “3rd party evaluation”…SGM = enough said. Sadly, they will not come to any determination other than what they are paid to. It will blow over and those at Highpoint that don’t agree will have no other option than to vote with their feet and leave.

  182. Jack wrote:

    young girl down a dark with a dark plan in mind

    Whoops should have been “down a dark road with a dark plan…” But the key word is “dark” which is the vibe I get from Highpoint Church. A dark place filled with dark people.

  183. @ Muzjik:
    And HE was the one that had been previously caught alone, in a bedroom, tickling a girl (Allegedly Jules). I did not, as the old saying goes, just “fall off a turnip truck”. The issue is not Jules, and whether she “liked” him…. The issue is the responsibility of of his position, his actions, and how they have been handled since the “incident”. At least around here, if a high school teacher gets caught/ convicted messing around with a high school student, they are gone. While I can not prove they are banned from ever teaching again, that is the implication. But I guess working for a church is different???

  184. Muzjik wrote:

    Y’know…I don’t doubt that this is true. You have a 17-year-old girl who is being given special attention by an older guy; a guy with the added appeal of “pastor-aura”. He’s considered a confidant, a trusted advisor and friend. It’s completely understandable that she might like him some; that she’d flirt a little to see if he’d flirt back. That she’d want to spend time with the older guy who she admires and seems to like her.

    I can easily doubt it.

    I avoided my assaulter like the plague for a long time before he assaulted me because he was a creepy guy. Me telling him to leave me alone and avoiding him had no effect on his stalking me whatsoever. After he assaulted me (by sneaking up behind me while I was on the phone), I confronted him, in front of a number of people, and his sincerely puzzled repose was, “But you really wanted it.”

    Some people are just delusional.

  185. @ bkraul:
    Apparently God would rather put His finger on this. If it had been properly dealt with to start with, or if he cared more about his victim than his reputation….you get the drift. No amount of good deeds make up for undealt with sin.

  186. Max wrote:

    Is Highpoint an Acts 29 church?

    It is an Acts 20:29 church:

    I know that after my departure, SAVAGE wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. (Acts 20:29)

  187. Linn wrote:

    I have a friend who tried to defend her sex-registered brother by saying that the 15-Year old came on to him in the group home where he worked. No excuses if you’re the adult!

    Adult who is mentally competent and not under coercion. One presumes that Savage was mentally competent given he was a youth pastor and one also assumes she didn’t hold a gun on him and order him to expose himself. He was the one in charge in all possible ways (youth pastor, driver of the car, actual size) and therefore responsible.

  188. Steve240 wrote:

    http://wreg.com/2018/01/11/highpoint-pastor-andy-savage-announces-leave-of-absence-following-sexual-assault-allegation/

    Perhaps it is too much to hope that this is a lengthy, unpaid leave…

    Another thought, the legal statute of limitation in Texas has expired so he can’t be prosecuted and put on the sex offender registry. However, someone here pointed out that God has no such SOL. I propose that the “repentant” #SavageAndy voluntarily place himself under a covenant to live as though he is registered as a sex offender, said covenant to be monitored by an independent board of Christians who understand sex offenders and who will protect the innocent and who would widely publicize any violations of the covenant by #SavageAndy. Being on this covenant sex offender list would bar him from any leadership in ministry and bar him from contact with children, excepting perhaps his own.

  189. ishy wrote:

    I avoided my assaulter like the plague for a long time before he assaulted me

    Yes…you obviously didn’t view him as a confidant, a trusted advisor and friend. So different situation.

  190. My take on the thing – he was 23 and she was 17. If he was a public school teacher (which at that age, he could have been) and he had a sexual relationship with his 17 year old student, he would have been charged, lost his teaching credentials and been put on the sex offender registry so that he could not hold this kind of position again. We hold clergy to a LESSER standard than public school teachers?!! If “Caesar (the government)” requires this, then our Lord was quite specific that we are to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” – I’m pretty sure that no one would say an authority figure/child relationship is a God thing, so dealing with this would not fit under the “render unto God that which is God’s”.

  191. GreekEpigraph wrote:

    My take on the thing – he was 23 and she was 17. If he was a public school teacher (which at that age, he could have been) and he had a sexual relationship with his 17 year old student, he would have been charged, lost his teaching credentials and been put on the sex offender registry so that he could not hold this kind of position again. We hold clergy to a LESSER standard than public school teachers?!! If “Caesar (the government)” requires this, then our Lord was quite specific that we are to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” – I’m pretty sure that no one would say an authority figure/child relationship is a God thing, so dealing with this would not fit under the “render unto God that which is God’s”.

    This is really the crux of the matter. The secular world handles this type of thing way better than some churches.

  192. Bill wrote:

    @al organic moment”. David:
    I think he glossed over so very much. Now at the end of the interview he’s claiming that she was a consenting adult. He says he did not break the law which technically may be true. He claims he did not force her or ask her for anything. He says it was a “mutual organic moment” between them, unplanned.

    Okay, that was all true in my situation, but my pastor still took advantage of my vulnerability, as Andy did Jules’. The main point is he was still a pastor, still the one with the power, and still the one who was supposed to lead people to Christ, not prey upon them! Even if the person is over the age of consent, no force is used, and no law is broken (and with a pastor that depends on the state), the situation is still abuse, the pastor is still a predator, and he is still teaching the woman false and blasphemous things about God.

  193. Muzjik wrote:

    Yes…you obviously didn’t view him as a confidant, a trusted advisor and friend. So different situation.

    No, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t imagine her feelings for him. The story he has just told on the radio is all about how she tempted him and what she said happened wasn’t true because she was really the aggressor. “It was all consensual.”

    Except–he said he was driving. He said he was alone with her, which was against the rules of his position. He was already caught alone tickling her, again, against the rules. And warned not to do it.

    He was in control, even in his own words on the radio just now. He controlled her location at that moment. He had power over her, physically, whether or not it was emotional for her.

    Whether she had feelings for him is irrelevant to his actions because he still controlled the situation.

  194. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    @ AbuseCrusher:
    I am still trying to get my head around a youth pastor asking a underage girl in his youth group to perform oral sex on him, and 20 later calling it a “sexual incident” in front of a hugh church in which he is a leader? I do not care if the girl was a prostitute (I AM IN NO WAY saying ANYTHING about Jules; I am trying to say I do not need to know anything about her… it is irrelevant)

    So, is Highpoint saying we should change the laws for felony acts if the perp immediately gets on his/her knees and says he/she is sorry?? Are they going to try to change TN laws?

    When I used to work with young children they had an expression which seems apropos: Sorry doesn’t cut it. You know who else says sorry? The husband or boy friend after he beats his wife or girlfriend, giving her a black eye and bruises all over her body. Sometimes he even buys a bouquet of flowers as a peace offering. A temporary peace offering, that is.

  195. Muzjik wrote:

    Darlene wrote:

    I’d call that Going Rogue! Those ‘worship’ leader was attempting to manipulate the crowd to respond the way she thought.

    Well…if one is going to “go rogue”, she should control her emotional frenzy just enough to insure she will be able to sing on-key when she “un-rogues”.
    That was painful and embarrassing.

    I can assure you that there is no such thing as “going rogue” in that setting unless they want to get fired or at a minimum severely reprimanded.

  196. ishy wrote:

    ishy UNITED STATES on Thu Jan 11, 2018 at 08:48 PM said:

    I think at this point you are responding to things I never said and that couldn’t be surmised from my comments…so there is no reason to attach my name or address me.

  197. bkraul wrote:

    Do I believe he has the right to not self-incriminate? Absolutely? Andy’s statement was deemed appropriate by Him and church leaders in the sense that the intention was to make it known to Ms. Jules and public opinion that Andy is not hiding in silence and is truly sorry for what happened. He did not say that is all I am going to say. There is more coming.

    “Not self-incriminate” – ie. refuse to repent? Repentance is not nicey, nicey words. Repentance is action – acknowledging the deep horror of what you have done, refusing to sugar-coat it, refusing to call it a “sexual incident” rather than admitting it is a “vile base-motive betrayal of trust of a child and a church who put you in leadership”. Repentance IS accepting all the consequences of what you did, being honest and open, pleading guilty and taking your lumps, even if the “law” can no longer come after you. There’s no repentance yet – just anger and whining, “something happened 20 years ago”, poor little old me, whine, whine.

    But what remains, is that no matter what Andy says, no one here and on social media will be satisfied.

    Really? Matt Chandler and The Village Church averted a very high-profile lawsuit by apologizing for their abusive handling of a church discipline issue.

    Again, from the world, I understand the response, that he was and will forever be a sexual predator. From Christians…well…I guess it depends on what kind of “Christian” you believe you are. Andy’s work with the church and the way he has conducted himself through the years, attest to his character.

    You may wish to review a previous article set on a very high profile pastor with the initials IC. The gentleman wrote many books, pastored for many years, was very highly regarded – until his house of cards fell down when his multiple, ongoing affairs were revealed and he took his own life. The fact of life is that a parishioner such as yourself is looking at the outward appearance. The ACTIONS of Mr Savage, in basely using one of his charges for his own gratification, then running like a little weasel instead of manning up and taking the lumps he deserved, THEN minimizing his actions, blame shifting (as per his interview – “consensual”? “chemistry”? bleah! NO responsibility taken for the position and his duties) and continuing to focus the issue on Andy, Andy’s ministry, Andy’s family, Andy, Andy, Andy. Sorry, Andy MURDERED a child’s innocence and continues to take no responsibility for it.

    When I see true, feet-on-ground repentance, then maybe there can be discussion of future ministry. Right now? He’s unrepentant, refusing to take his lumps and refusing to face the magnitude of the damage he has done, damage that is for life in his victim. The “world” has it right, sorry.

  198. Clockwork Angel wrote:

    dee wrote:
    Perhaps you only hear it if they say the words specifically. In fact, and I pointed this out in my post, they said that Jules needed to go on the same path of healing that Andy has been on.
    What on earth does Andy even have to heal over? That’s like saying that someone who stabs someone else needs to go to the hospital to heal, and that we hope the stabbing victim heals just like the stabber. What the…? I am so SICK of the sickos being treated like victims. It’s a disgrace!

    It’s all meangless flowery spiritualized platitudes that are pretty much standard fare in that world. If you strip it down it’s a clever moral equivalency positioning tactic. And such works as you could see by the standing ovation.

  199. bkraul wrote:

    I am actually surprised my comments have actually made this page.

    I would actually be very interested in what he did tell the church

    (albeit not as interested as I am in the particulars of how he got hired at that other church within a year or so to work with college students which is where I think this whole ‘restoration’ business got off the rails as that never should have happened but definitely not that soon).

  200. Muzjik wrote:

    ishy wrote:
    I think at this point you are responding to things I never said and that couldn’t be surmised from my comments…so there is no reason to attach my name or address me.

    You did say he was the adult and didn’t have to respond the way he did, but before that you made a statement that you didn’t doubt she was flirtatious based only on Savage’s comments, not Jules’.

    I take issue with that because I believe you don’t get to make that kind of statement for her. That is victim blaming. Savage basically hinted that “She asked for it.”

  201. Muzjik wrote:

    refugee wrote:

    Y’know,

    Who was the adult in the car?

    Ha! Refugee – looks like we were thinking the same thing and the same time.

    Let’s see. When I was 17 years old I lived with my parents and they supported me. I knew nothing about being responsible for another person nor did I understand what it was like to have the obligations of working a full-time job. Fast-forward to when I was 22 years old. I was married and had given birth to our first child. I also was familiar with the responsibility of having a full-time job and no longer being dependent upon my parents to support me. As a 22 year old, I looked at 17 year olds as kids who were under the protection of their parents.

    There’s a big chasm between the world of a 17 year old and a 22 year old. A big difference in the way a person thinks and views the world.

  202. @ Darlene:
    I very much dislike modern ‘contemporary’ for a lot of reasons mostly musical that I won’t go into. Which is not a big deal, I just picked a church with hymns. That respects women.

  203. Lydia wrote:

    Clockwork Angel wrote:

    dee wrote:
    Perhaps you only hear it if they say the words specifically. In fact, and I pointed this out in my post, they said that Jules needed to go on the same path of healing that Andy has been on.
    What on earth does Andy even have to heal over? That’s like saying that someone who stabs someone else needs to go to the hospital to heal, and that we hope the stabbing victim heals just like the stabber. What the…? I am so SICK of the sickos being treated like victims. It’s a disgrace!

    It’s all meangless flowery spiritualized platitudes that are pretty much standard fare in that world. If you strip it down it’s a clever moral equivalency positioning tactic. And such works as you could see by the standing ovation.

    Ah yes, moral equivalency. Because we all sin. That’s the kind of theology I’m sure Jack Schaap preferred as well.

  204. Max wrote:

    Steve240 wrote:

    So now Andy Savage is going to take a leave of absence.

    And now the world waits for a word from Lead Pastor Conlee.

    And within a year Savage, just like Tullian Tchividjian, can come back with a book talking all about forgiveness and healing and hope to make a buck off of it.

  205. David wrote:

    Listening now. I need a shower.

    Somehow one of the many (many) things glossed over is that he knew Jules for three years by this point. This means he knew her when she was 14: middle schooler.

    And now I need another shower.

    Can we talk, yet again, about how hiring a college freshman (although timeline wise I guess he had to be old by the point he met Jules) to ‘pastor’ (apparently unsupervised) 14 year old girls was a terrible idea on the part of the church???

    Because that blows my mind.

  206. Andy the Savage’s interview was advertised on the Highpoint FB. That makes me wonder who requested the interview!

  207. @ refugee:
    “Organic moment”? I am a chemical engineer; organic to me means “carbon” based…. such as carbon based materials… like living matter, or crude oil, which can from living matter…. are their “silicone moments”? Or mabye iron or aluminum “ moments”

  208. David wrote:

    Ya know, “She’s 17, it’s legal” is a really weak campaign slogan to get back into the pastor/cruise/conference circuit.

    (comment lifted from Veronica Mars, obviously not a 1:1 metaphor – https://youtu.be/-ufZEteEM_A?t=49s)

    Points for the Veronica mars reference. Which also involved an older man using a younger woman, at least in the first season.

    But, the church should have higher standards than ‘its legal’.

  209. refugee wrote:

    Bill wrote:

    Y’know, even if his version were true, he had no business driving her around _or_ allowing a “mutual organic moment” to go forward! It puts him in a very bad light.

    Who was the adult in the car?

    Yup. It’s his JOB to say, “Nope, you go home now.” Or better yet, send her in a cab.

  210. Linn wrote:

    @ David:
    @ Beakerj:
    I have a friend who tried to defend her sex-registered brother by saying that the 15-Year old came on to him in the group home where he worked. No excuses if you’re the adult!

    Particular when you are working with a vulnerable population!

    Like a young woman who told you, in your capacity as a supposed pastor, that she had been previously abused.

  211. @ ishy:
    Shahida Arabi, the writer of the article you posted, is excellent. I read her articles and ordered one of her books from the library. Thanks for sharing.

  212. @ Caroline:

    Hey thanks!

    If John Piper’s understanding of “purity” be trusted as an accurate representation of common evangelical belief,

    https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-far-is-too-far

    That is, don’t put yourself in a situation where there is an awakening of the desire to go further and further. So my principle would be: Avoid sexually awakening touching and kissing. They are designed as foreplay, not play.

    I would plead with men. Be strong here, and set a pure and holy pattern. Don’t make her be the one to bring it up or to put on the brakes. Lead her in purity. She will love you for it.

    According to this, where all men are obliged to “lead her in purity”, a mutual organic moment is still very bad!

    No one really understands human sexuality, so I don’t put a lot of stock in definitive opinions on how purity teachings affect people. I agree that it keeps young Christians naive, and I think any suggestion that once you start you can’t stop is damaging. If a hormonal boy thinks that all is lost at “first base”, he may just think the normal thing to do is to go for broke.

  213. ishy wrote:

    The story he has just told on the radio is all about how she tempted him and what she said happened wasn’t true because she was really the aggressor.

    To me that’s just proof he is NOT repentant. How could he be when he doesn’t even understand what he did?

    I fully believe he thinks he checks the ‘consent’ box despite all the issues and that makes it ok.

    He’s wrong, though.

  214. Stan wrote:

    If a hormonal boy thinks that all is lost at “first base”, he may just think the normal thing to do is to go for broke.

    The normal thing is not to skip first base. (Unless maybe you are heavily influenced by stuff you shouldn’t be watching) Did he talk about that in his interview??? That description of how it went down bothers me as much as anything else because it shows no respect for her. And all the dudes defending Andy as if this is just ‘normal’ for guys are infuriating.

  215. Lea wrote:

    I fully believe he thinks he checks the ‘consent’ box despite all the issues and that makes it ok.
    He’s wrong, though.

    Exactly my point. I think he either imagined it and forced the situation, or he’s just flat out lying.

  216. Lea wrote:

    @ ishy:
    There is no amount of consent that would have made his actions ok. Flat out.

    No. But, just now, going through everything he’s said this week, I think it’s actually more likely that he’s a liar. Could even be trying to get revenge on Jules for making it public. But I do know a number of really delusional people, many of them in ministry.

    Neither liars nor delusional people should be in ministry.

  217. 4 comments not approved.

    1. Screaming all caps posts are into conducive to discussion
    2. I will no longer approve comments that claim Savage was 19. He was 22 so game over.
    3. No gross sexual comments.
    4. IThere will be no victim blaming.

  218. ishy wrote:

    Could even be trying to get revenge on Jules for making it public.

    There is definitely a ‘it’s been 20 years just let it go’ vibe to this.

    I don’t know him so I can’t say, but he doesn’t sound like he has realized the error of his ways with all this time to think about it.

  219. @ Nathan Priddis:

    “I believe Bethel is what the Scriptures refer to as pharmakeia.”
    +++++++++++++++

    what would you call OT David getting lost in praising God for how marvelous God is & dancing about it and shedding his clothes and dancing some more?

    (i personally wouldn’t recommend it, nor the choices of the Highpoint leader, but i don’t see how anyone can propose laws against freedom of expression in praising God. it’s simply a cultural thing.)

  220. @The_MRF1 on Twitter just pointed out that in the service this weekend, Conlee and Savage talked about it as sexual abuse and Highpoint was going to start a ministry for victims of sexual abuse. Now Savage is saying it was consensual and not his fault. Caught in another lie.

  221. Stan wrote:

    If a hormonal boy thinks that all is lost at “first base”, he may just think the normal thing to do is to go for broke.

    Andy Savage skipped first base and went straight from the dugout (as a coach) to third base!

  222. @ DC:

    “Back when worship songs were sing-able we sang “I love You Lord, and I lift my voice”. We had no fancy lights or video screens. But people would sing, and then start crying. THAT was the Holy Spirit.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    was it? how do you know?

    you think the holy spirit is too fussy for ska? holy spirit only responds stylistically to circa 1982? that was about the time my grandparents said that holy spirit only responded stylistically to circa 1851.

  223. Lea wrote:

    all the dudes defending Andy as if this is just ‘normal’

    Lust. Definitely not love. God is love. This has nothing to do with God.

    Youth pastor projects: “our” hormones were raging; 17-year-old church youth group flirty girl wanted/asked for this says 23-year-old church hired & sanctioned & paid youth pastor (supervisors and congregants who pay his salary agree, applaud), “consensual”. Then he goes and teaches, “True Love Waits”.

    Concerning church leaders and congregations who condone or excuse or explain away or use code words regarding this youth pastor activity with a youth group girl –

    Look at the heirarchy in a community secular institution:

    – community
    – school board
    – superintendent
    – principal
    – department head
    – teacher, could be 22/23 years old, male/female, paid, trained, professional, licensed

    … and then there are students, male/female, perhaps 17-year-olds… (hormones? wanting attention? flirting? friendly? staying after class? needing help with homework? troubles at home? relationship troubles?)

    Who are the adults here? Who are responsible in any & all adult to student interactions? If the teacher fails, what do the administrators do? the board? and so on up the line? What’s the difference between this hierarchy and other community members who market girls for lust purposes?

  224. ishy wrote:

    The story he has just told on the radio is all about how she tempted him and what she said happened wasn’t true because she was really the aggressor. “It was all consensual.”

    Maybe he is a porn addict. That would explain why he is so delusional about women.

  225. Jules, I believe YOU.

    I don’t believe Andy “Orgasmic” Savage. Oh, excuse me! I meant to say “organic”.

  226. @ bkraul:
    I get to comment on your special™ church service because I have been doing this for 9 year. Here’s the deal. You jump up and down to get people to visit your perfect church for imperfect people (a really imperfect meme). So, when they visit, even for one service, they get to say what they saw and you don’t get to tell them they can’t say that. If you play in the public eye, reach out to the public, then you get to listen to what the public saw. And sadly for you, I am now an experienced observer and saw a lot!

    bkraul wrote:

    . You want his head. You want the “rock and roll church” to close doors, because their biblical views do not align perfectly with yours.

    Codswallop! This has nothing to do with *rock n roll*. It has to do with music and worship done badly, really badly. Somehow you lead me to wonder if you are a member of the *worship* team. That was a rather embarrassing performance (Not worship- a performance) on Sunday and I am about the 100th person to say that. Have you been reading twitter and Patheos? Good night!

    Now, you are obviously ill-informed since you do not know what sort of music i like and you think this has something to do with rock and roll (how weird is that). Because of that you are going into moderation. Polite people ask what sort of music i like before jumping to conclusions.

    You are a seriously poor commenter. You cannot make statements on what a person, whom you do not know, likes or doesn’t like since you have no idea.Surely you have enough good sense to understand that? I am placing you into slow moderation. It is slow because I have a fever and am planning on going to bed forthwith.

  227. Stan wrote:

    I think any suggestion that once you start you can’t stop is damaging. If a hormonal boy thinks that all is lost at “first base”, he may just think the normal thing to do is to go for broke.

    A male (I hesitate to call people like this “men”) can always stop simply by making a choice. Example: girl’s father walks into room carrying shotgun would certainly cause said male to choose to stop. There is never any excuse for disrespecting and abusing a woman. NEVER. No matter how attractive or flirtatious she might seem to him (which could be completely in his imagination).

  228. JYJames wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    Youth pastor projects: “our” hormones were raging; 17-year-old church youth group flirty girl wanted/asked for this says 23-year-old church hired & sanctioned & paid youth pastor (supervisors and congregants who pay his salary agree, applaud), “consensual”. Then he goes and teaches, “True Love Waits”.
    Concerning church leaders and congregations who condone or excuse or explain away or use code words regarding this youth pastor activity with a youth group girl –

    Would this dog hunt??? :

    Senior pastor projects: “our” hormones were raging; 35 year-old church ladies’ group flirty woman wanted/asked for this says 40 year-old church hired & sanctioned & paid senior pastor (supervisors and congregants who pay his salary agree, applaud), “consensual”. Then he goes and teaches, “True Love waits ”.
    Concerning church leaders and congregations who condone or excuse or explain away or use code words regarding this senior pastor activity with a ladies’ group woman –

  229. ishy wrote:

    The story he has just told on the radio is all about how she tempted him and what she said happened wasn’t true because she was really the aggressor.

    Maybe everyone should run with this excuse to its logical conclusion. It means he is a very weak man completely unfit for any position of trust or responsibility. It means that he has no self control whatsoever. If he could not defend himself against a young woman when he was in a position of complete control, then no one can trust him to lead or minister.

    Note: I absolutely do not believe that Jules was the aggressor. For him to claim this means he is the weakest kind of man.

  230. There are several comments addressing Andy’s claim that the “incident” was mutual. I don’t understand why he thinks this is actually a defense.

    1) I have been a 20-something who discovered a high-schooler had developed a puppy crush on her. It is absolutely flattering, but even with that, my first thought was how to navigate that to treat him kindly, but also put firm boundaries in place. It really wasn’t hard, because the boundaries were already there. I don’t care if she had a crush on him, or if she thought he was cute. I don’t care if she came onto him (she pretty clearly did not), he was the responsible adult and it was his responsibility to demonstrate appropriate WORKPLACE interactions with the opposite sex. As her youth pastor, he was literally being paid to do that. ANYTHING else was so out of line, it is indefensible.

    2) I know someone who married her former Young Life leader. She was my Junior High Bible study leader. She told us that she and all her friends had crushes on him when they were in high-school and he was in college. But it never crossed any of their minds that anything would come of it, and he didn’t give any of them the impression it would. Then, when she was substantially into her college education, their paths crossed again, and the rest is history. I know someone who married his former 12th grade English teacher – but they started dating after he graduated COLLEGE and they moved to the same area and their paths crossed. In both these situations, there had been NOTHING going on when the younger partner was still in High School.

    All that to say, Jules could have had a crush. She could have flirted. She specifically describes enjoying the special attention that going out for ice-cream would have been. But that doesn’t change a thing in regard to Andy’s culpability. Let me be very clear about the following: I do not believe that Jules did anything other than be excited about ice-cream with a special person.

    3) ANYONE who works with kids should be ALARMED if a teenager is seriously coming onto them with anything much beyond a puppy crush. They should be alarmed for the well-being of that teenager who may be exhibiting signs that they need help, or that they are or have experienced sexual trauma. Inappropriate sexual behavior is a well known symptom of sexual trauma. Andy is busy trying to claim that she was pursuing him… So basically, from HIS story, he took advantage of her sexually traumatic acting out. And instead of getting her the help she supposedly clearly needed, he had sex with her. AND this is his DEFENSE! I don’t believe him, but even if I did, that doesn’t make him look better and it doesn’t make him look any less culpable!

  231. dee wrote:

    A victim has a far more difficult path than the guy who did the deed.

    Completely different paths, yes. Two opposite directions: the perpetrator brought down, the victim raised up. Perpetrators violate boundaries and should be deemed unwelcome where they do not respect boundaries.

    God or Love brings the victim to personal safety. Lust, though, is spiritual demise.

    Psalm 75:7 But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another.

    The interview again was the perpetrator in violation of the victim’s boundaries; declaring the act consensual, etc. Twenty years later, still violating others.

    A predator said that night, “Do this to me,” and remains to this day in charge, but no love. The interview was not love. Self in command at the expense of others.

  232. @ Lea:

    “But, the church should have higher standards than ‘its legal’.”
    ++++++++++++++

    entirely. but then they couldn’t do all the things they do that make them want to keep their budget opaque if not unavailable.

  233. bkraul wrote:

    Andy’s work with the church and the way he has conducted himself through the years, attest to his character.

    Well, that can be understood in completely opposite ways. Which years shall we say best attest to his character? This is the problem with the savage defenders – nothing is ever stated clearly and unambiguously.

  234. Ed Stetzer and Christianity Today chime in. Spoiler Alert: They aren’t fans of how the church and Savage handled this. As opposed to Savage and Conlee who indirectly compared Jules to the Pharisees, CT indirectly compares her to the Time Women of the Year. Nice.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/january/andy-savages-standing-ovation-was-heard-round-world-because.html

    On the other end of the spectrum, check out Phil Cooke’s recent blog post that co-insides with the fallout — we’re too much of a mob! He wrote in the Ponder Anew comments section that people are rushing to judgment in believing Jules and churches didn’t know how to handle an abuser back then. My money’s on him being the guy having to do the audit/damage control for Highpoint.

  235. ishy wrote:

    You did say

    No, I didn’t.
    So please stop persisting with arguing with me about what you think I said or meant, because you are wrong. Ok?
    Move along please.

  236. ER wrote:

    All that to say, Jules could have had a crush. She could have flirted. She specifically describes enjoying the special attention that going out for ice-cream would have been. But that doesn’t change a thing in regard to Andy’s culpability. Let me be very clear about the following: I do not believe that Jules did anything other than be excited about ice-cream with a special person.
    3) ANYONE who works with kids should be ALARMED if a teenager is seriously coming onto them with anything much beyond a puppy crush. They should be alarmed for the well-being of that teenager who may be exhibiting signs that they need help, or that they are or have experienced sexual trauma. Inappropriate sexual behavior is a well known symptom of sexual trauma. Andy is busy trying to claim that she was pursuing him… So basically, from HIS story, he took advantage of her sexually traumatic acting out. And instead of getting her the help she supposedly clearly needed, he had sex with her. AND this is his DEFENSE! I don’t believe him, but even if I did, that doesn’t make him look better and it doesn’t make him look any less culpable!

    This is so good. I’m about Jules’ age, was heavily involved in youth group in the 90’s and very committed to True Love Waits (begged my parent’s for a purity ring as a birthday gift…they were like, “OK, weirdo!” 🙂 ) All that to say, you had to be either a moron or lying to think that there wasn’t an understanding of abuse issues and what was appropriate or not for a youth pastor at that time. Even as teenagers, working at summer camp as 15 and 16 year old junior and senior counselors, often the kids and young teens at camp would get crushes on older counselors. No one, absolutely no one, thought it was ok to take advantage of that. So, as a teen even in the 90’s we all got what was right and what was not. If Andy Savage didn’t, then he’s either too stupid to work a toaster (let alone be a pastor) or he’s lying. It wasn’t that much of a “different time”.

    Furthermore, I still can’t get past the fact that he abducted, yes abducted, Jules. The fact that she was looking forward to possibly getting ice cream as a treat shows how innocent her thought process was. She trusted him and enjoyed his attention and he abused her.

    And tonight in the interview he painted her as the aggressor, that she was flirting with him. A big red flag popped up in my mind over that. I’ve seen and experienced many guys who are so sexually focused, it doesn’t matter what you say or do, they think that you are coming onto them and seducing them. I found this to be the case working in retail a lot, where it is your JOB to smile at people and be nice. And some men were like, “Yeah, she wants me.” And once when I was on a date with a man who I did like (who was in seminary at the time, I shudder to think what kind of minister he is now) who kept amping up the sex talk and twisting everything I said and did to be sexual. I was finally like, “I just want to get to know you and see if there’s potential for a relationship.” and he freaked out and began accusing me of being desperate and pursuing him and how could I have the idea that he was interested. It’s funny to me now, but I remember the confusion I felt at the time, being painted as the aggressor and pursuer when everything was him (a good lesson for me about gaslighting). I’m getting that same vibe with Horny Andy, the whole: SHE came after ME! It was a consensual ADULT thing that just got out of hand!

    Such complete crap, it makes me crazy.

    Jules, thank you for speaking up and exposing the garbage. You are so brave.

  237. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    @ refugee:
    “Organic moment”? I am a chemical engineer; organic to me means “carbon” based…. such as carbon based materials… like living matter, or crude oil, which can from living matter…. are their “silicone moments”? Or mabye iron or aluminum “ moments”

    This comment is hilarious. “A silicone moment”.

    I am not a chemical engineer but suspect he looked for a woke descriptor to match their worship show that would make it sound like what it most certainly wasn’t. At all.

    “Organic” really bothered me from another angle. More moral equivalency. He sounds more and more like a guy who could always wordsmith his way toward anything he wants.

    He would do well to stop talking at this point.

  238. Commercial Appeal:
    http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2018/01/11/andy-savage-speak-out-sexual-assault-case-texas-authorities-confirm-no-charges/1023403001/
    Savage said the day after the incident, he made a “partial confession” to Woodlands Park Baptist Church Associate Pastor Larry Cotton, saying only that he had kissed Woodson. He said Cotton quickly arranged a meeting that day with Woodson’s mother, where he apologized to her.

    Earlier this week, Cotton was placed on a leave of absence by his current church in Austin, Texas, while it evaluates his role in the case through a third party, similar to what Savage described.

    Savage said he didn’t respond to an email from Woodson in December, before she went public, because he was “shocked” and advised by a “trusted friend” not to respond. In retrospect, he said he wished he had responded.

    Other comments from the interview:

    When Savage lost his job at Woodlands Park and returned to Memphis, he felt like he was “starting over.” He did intern work at Germantown Baptist, where he was not asked about what happened in Texas and did not volunteer the information. “I was embarrassed,” Savage said.
    Even though he doesn’t believe he broke the law, he did feel he was out of bounds in terms of his personal standards of sexual purity because of a “spontaneous physical moment.”
    He feels he was “honest and transparent” with Highpoint leadership, which has stood behind Savage. He said he offered his resignation to Conlee last Sunday before addressing the Highpoint congregation, which gave him a standing ovation afterwards.

    …In the letter to church members Thursday evening, Conlee said the church will continue to support Savage and his family during the leave and investigation.

    Moderation note. We don’t allow shortened URLs in comments. There is too much of a SPAM risk. I edited the one in this comment to put in the full URL. Please no more.

    GBTC

  239. I can’t believe my eyes! Andy’s early job description proclaiming his “smoke and soul” expertise lists his title as : wait for it….
    Director of Relevant Environments. (Link below)
    What in the world???!!! “Relevant?” I mean, are there irrelevant environments in the church? I’ve gone to a southern Methodist Mega “McChurch” my entire life with an army of staff and multiple styles of worship and I’ve never heard of such. How about an environment that’s centered on Christ? A church should be a Holy place. The relevance is understood, not contrived. How about an environment where there’s no abuse of power or manipulation for your own self-promotion? It grieves my heart. It scares me, actually. I feel like my age group is so easily led astray and we confuse what looks good and feels good over sound biblical truth. So here’s an easy hint: any church who has to fancy-up a creative title signals ego. Where is the outrage from this congregation? The scriptures are clear on leadership. Sorry the truth escapes the environment of this church. Forgiveness and denial are very separate things and I’m heartbroken for the victim to have her name repeated in a sermon that implies she’s not Jesus seeking enough or she’d be over this 20 year ago “incident.” I’m praying God will awaken us and use this for His Glory. May Jules be surrounded and protected and find healing and peace through the Holy Spirit. May she desire a relationship with Christ and not let this forever harden her heart. May this become a testimony and ministry for healing that is of and for God. Perhaps God allowed Andy’s ministry to prosper so that Jules bravery could create a “relevant environment” for more women to speak their truth and heal their hearts.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20030419031123fw_/http://highpointmemphis.com:80/staff/staff.html

  240. @ ER:
    5-Star makes a point: actions speak louder than words.

    Another reviewer noted the ice cream cone cover: “You can’t make this stuff up.”

  241. Muzjik wrote:

    Bill wrote:

    It seems to me that he is putting the blame on Jules already by saying “the atmosphere was flirtatious” and “she didn’t want to go home right away so we drove around”.

    Y’know…I don’t doubt that this is true. You have a 17-year-old girl who is being given special attention by an older guy; a guy with the added appeal of “pastor-aura”. He’s considered a confidant, a trusted advisor and friend. It’s completely understandable that she might like him some; that she’d flirt a little to see if he’d flirt back. That she’d want to spend time with the older guy who she admires and seems to like her.

    But HE was the adult in the room (or car), not her. HE was the one with restrictions on his behavior grounded in his staff position. HE was the one who should have been controlling the tone of their interactions, not her.

    But instead, he whips it out and says “let’s get down to business.” That’s not a *mutual* organic moment, that’s exploitation.

  242. Let me say this first.

    I believe that Andy was completely out of line, his actions as a Christian, youth pastor and a young man do not demonstrate the Christlike example our leaders are expected to believe, follow and display.

    I also believe that his and the churches response to the issue was inappropriate and poorly thought out in both cases.

    I believe that because of his actions earlier and recently he should lose the responsibility and gift of being the teaching pastor at Highpoint.

    But I also believe that some people are celebrating his failure. I believe that there are Christians celebrating the failure . . . because it justifies their own beliefs that a denomination, a group of believers or someone they see as different is somehow less of a believer or Christian.

    I’ve read this blog/forum for years. But this time some of the responses really concern me and make question if what I’m reading is constructive and instructive or just self-affirming.

    I believe Ms. Woodston and I believe she was the victim. I believe that action needs to be taken. I just question the tone of some of the comments. And it starts with a response like “first” on a topic as serious as this one.

  243. JeffT wrote:

    Steve240 wrote:

    http://wreg.com/2018/01/11/highpoint-pastor-andy-savage-announces-leave-of-absence-following-sexual-assault-allegation/

    Another classic dodge- take a ‘leave of absence’ to hide in a bunker, answer no more questions, and wait for the storm to blow over.

    Here’s an important question- is this a paid or unpaid ‘leave’? My money’s on him still getting paid by the ‘church’

    Conlee did say in that announcement that they were fully supporting Andy and his wife. I took that to imply financially.

  244. @ ER:
    Very good insight.@ David:
    Yes. Who is this third party?@ dee:
    Dee, this was an awful worship service, no doubt. Not that this is the least bit important, but I do just want to note that most of their services are very high production with a very talented group of musicians. Some professional outside of those walls. I was not there Sunday but watched online, and I don’t know if the sound was off or what, but from the inside, they usually sound fantastic. Which I am sure is part of the draw for many. As for theology? Yeah, the music may sound great, but not any spiritual meat about it. I hate even getting off topic, but for the sake of objectivity. I also expect some of these people to leave soon enough. Once the shock and emotion wear off, reason will set in. Not for all, but more than Chris and Andy are counting on.

  245. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Andy the Savage’s interview was advertised on the Highpoint FB. That makes me wonder who requested the interview!

    Highpoint was clear there would be only one interview. It would be unsurprising if Highpoint both requested the interview and pre-screened the questions.

  246. I got very sick today I made the mistake of listening to the interview with Savage. I get protecting the machine is paramount, in fact, it should be the only thing that is done in faith groups. I get all that. People are irrelevant on a good day. It broke my heart. It should not have, but it did. I wont go into it because its irrelevant but sexual abuse does stay with you over a lifetime.

  247. Props to the author of this article. This is the most organized, well put piece yet. I am hoping once the emotions and shock wear off the people in the HP community, reason will prevail and articles like this serve to make that happen. I am of the opinion that Andy disqualified himself from ministry long ago for abusing his influence and assaulting a young woman he was supposed to lead. The way they have handled this has not done anything to help. They continue to put themselves before Jules, the HP community that they have failed to lead properly, they have hurt the reputation of God’s church as a whole. Andy needs to step down. Chris needs to step down as well as his leadership failed. He has allowed his emotions to rule and put his friend before his flock. He is also putting his friend before the Scripture that teaches us Andy disqualified himself from that position due double honor when he hurt Jules. And he did hurt Jules and continues to hurt her and the universal church. Not fit to lead.

  248. @ brian:
    Brian, I am sorry to hear you are hurting from this, as well. May peace come to you.

    Dis you listen live or is there a place to stream It? Or even read a transcript?

  249. JOAN wrote:

    @ brian:
    Brian, I am sorry to hear you are hurting from this, as well. May peace come to you.

    Dis you listen live or is there a place to stream It? Or even read a transcript?

    I am one who didn’t listen live. Too triggering. Several people on Twitter live-tweeted the radio show, and that was bad enough.

  250. JOAN wrote:

    @ Lydia:
    From a PR perspective, he should have apologized and disappeared immediately.

    But people like Andy can’t control themselves. They MUST control the narrative, even if it leads to their downfall.

  251. @ bkraul:

    I cannot fathom the support. I am incensed by the character assassination that has now begun to turn to Jules, who was seventeen at the time.

    What does God think? What does Jesus think? Has anyone at Highpoint bother to read 1Timothy 3:2? It would appear not lately.

    I would suggest that Andy Savage is guilty. But in addition, each pastor who minimized or ignored it should be removed from office.

    To end with this:

    1Timothy3:7. “ and he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the Devil. “

    The world sees him as slime now…..

  252. JOAN wrote:

    @ Lydia:
    From a PR perspective, he should have apologized and disappeared immediately.

    This is just my opinion but he might be thinking of potential marketing of the story once the initial shock wears off. It will wear off that is a fact more sure than gravity (in the evangelical realm). I have seen this in the development of other niche markets. He has a lot of skin in the religion business. He also needs to protect his downline for future revenue perspective. These are critical issues, in fact, they are the only issues. I find that sad, typical, but sad.

  253. Be patient with me because I have 1,000 thoughts flooding my brain at once. Something I haven’t seen addressed is the fact that Conlee said he knew everything from the beginning and still chose to partner (or hire) Savage anyway! The leadership failed from the very beginning. Although I haven’t personally witnessed sexual assault of a minor by a pastor, my experience of church leadership being above God’s Word is starting to ring as commonplace in my area of the country and it truly saddens and sickens me.

    I live here in Memphis. I was in my very own cult for 7 years. During that 7 years, I paid thousands of dollars to participate in a year long internship where I was basically a slave for the church. I moved up in leadership, which also gave me insight on a lot of the inner workings. I have a list of things I witnessed that eventually led me to walk away. Before I list a few of those, it’s worth mentioning that several people who knew the real reasons of why I left, told me I should go check out Highpoint. I was constantly told they were probably the only other church in the area almost exactly like the church I left except they were “definitely in the right headspace spiritually”. Wow. What nativity is running rampant in my neck of the woods!!

    A few reasons that finally pushed me out of the Rockstar Church Coma I was in for so long:
    * My pastor was one of the founding members of ARC. That meant he was also one of the voting members of the board who decided to keep Rizzo on the payroll at Healing Place, as well as pay him to counsel pastors part time at ARC headquarters. I’m not exactly sure how long it was, but it seemed like Rizzo was back preaching after about 6 months or so. Who cares that the original press release stated he had to do at least a year of intensive counseling. I know this because I scheduled teams and directed services for our youth on Wednesday nights and he came to speak at our yearly conference where we host about 1,000 teenagers for a week.
    * When we first joined the church there was a charismatic married youth pastor the kids really liked. One day, out of nowhere, he disappeared. I found out (only through church gossip) he had been having an affair with a church member. A few years later he suddenly reappeared. That in and of itself was no big deal, except he moved quickly and quietly right back into a youth leadership role.
    * Being at the church almost 5 days a week for a couple of years, really gave me insight on just how “untouchable” my pastor was. We were told at one point, not to stop him and start a conversation if he happened to walk by because he was very busy and if we needed anything we could make an appointment with one of the service pastors.
    * I was awestruck and probably a little jealous at just how often the top pastors traveled. And I’m not just talking about trips over to Texas…They we’re constantly traveling to South Africa, South America, Europe. ALL. THE. TIME.
    * The final straw was finding out my pastor built a 10,000 square foot home costing $2 MILLION…

    I’m shocked I’ve never seen or heard of The Life Church or John Siebeling in the news. How has he stayed under the radar? Oh wait…ARC spends big money on employing tons of tech savvy hipsters who can wipe him clean from Google search engines…

  254. “When a group influences its members to trust in the leaders and discourages criticism of the leadership, it creates a lethal combination! Errors can be overlooked and leaders can get away with almost anything.”

    “Twisted Scriptures: Breaking Free From Churches That Abuse”
    by Mary Alice Chrnalogar, page 57

    Great book!

  255. ‘A good friend of mine called me this morning. He said God just gave High Point Church a ministry to healing women who’ve been abused in some type of sexual sin’.

    This prophesy is not from God. God would not give a church that is caught up in a sexual abuse scandal a ministry to healing women who’ve been abused in some type of sexual sin’. What goes on in that church is frightening.

  256. This link has some interesting information

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2018/01/11/andy-savage-speak-out-sexual-assault-case-texas-authorities-confirm-no-charges/1023403001/

    Savage said the day after the incident, he made a “partial confession” to Woodlands Park Baptist Church Associate Pastor Larry Cotton, saying only that he had kissed Woodson. He said Cotton quickly arranged a meeting that day with Woodson’s mother, where he apologized to her.

    What Savage is quoted as saying above sure sounds like the cover up we have been reading about such as members in the TX church not being aware of what Savage really did to Jules. People have said they were led to believe it was just kissing when it was much worse.

    So much for Savage fully taking care of things in TX 20 years ago.

  257. Rhondajeannie wrote:

    ‘A good friend of mine called me this morning. He said God just gave High Point Church a ministry to healing women who’ve been abused in some type of sexual sin’.
    This prophesy is not from God. God would not give a church that is caught up in a sexual abuse scandal a ministry to healing women who’ve been abused in some type of sexual sin’. What goes on in that church is frightening.

    Trust me, “prophecies” like that are quite normal in this type of church setting 🙁

  258. Bill wrote:

    @al organic moment”. David:
    I think he glossed over so very much. Now at the end of the interview he’s claiming that she was a consenting adult. He says he did not break the law which technically may be true. He claims he did not force her or ask her for anything. He says it was a “mutual organic moment” between them, unplanned.

    ” mutual organic moment” oh my, is that a cop out of terms or what?
    He is co blaming a seventeen year old high schooler, who maybe had a crush on a 22 year old college student/youth pastor.
    Who was driving the car around, who didn’t take the girl home? The adult in the car, Mr. Youth Pastor, manipulated/ coerced the teenage girl into fulfilling his lust. And to further cement his authority of her, he begged her to not tell anyone. Instead, he , Mr. Youth Pastor, passed off his ” incident” as some errant kissing…..hmmm, some errant kissing.

  259. ER wrote:

    ANYONE who works with kids should be ALARMED if a teenager is seriously coming onto them with anything much beyond a puppy crush.

    He was supposed to be taking her home. That was literally all he had to do! He was driving the car.

  260. Sarah K wrote:

    And tonight in the interview he painted her as the aggressor, that she was flirting with him. A big red flag popped up in my mind over that. I’ve seen and experienced many guys who are so sexually focused, it doesn’t matter what you say or do, they think that you are coming onto them and seducing them.

    Flirting is pretty far from seduction, excellent point.

    Maybe she was flirting. I was 17, that’s just what you do. Cute guy, flirting. It doesn’t mean you want to be used for sex.

  261. Lea wrote:

    bunny wrote:

    I am part of a worship team that definitely can go extemporaneous like that.

    Yeah, I’ve seen it many times. It’s almost par for the course in a Gateway/non-denominational/pretending to be non-denomination but apparently actually Baptist? kind of church.

    But way, way out of place in this service.

    It’s normal in my church as well. But not in a situation like this. When the guy with the guitar was speaking, he said something about God exposing lies, and I was almost interested. That could have gone in a good direction, with the Holy Spirit bringing conviction of sin to Andy and others, and genuinely breaking this open. But no, it was taken in a different direction which should have been shut down. This church’s leadership clearly knows nothing about abuse or this who show would never have happened.

  262. BD wrote:

    He did intern work at Germantown Baptist, where he was not asked about what happened in Texas and did not volunteer the information. “

    That sounds about right. And his church didn’t volunteer it I’ll bet when (if) they called for references. Because no big deal? Sheesh!

    He should never have taken that job and he should have been open about why he lost his last one.

    I’m also wondering if cotton believed it was just a kiss over what Jules told him, and if not why he let Andy get away with not telling the whole truth? And this is where the just a kiss rumor apparently started. Minimizing. Not taking responsibility. Totally different things.

  263. @ Mae:
    Please understand I was only quoting what he said in the interview as I was listening to it. I did not and do not agree with him.

  264. Pam wrote:

    Instead of people casting stones, or critiquing, how about we all get on our faces and weep and pray for a miracle healing over the entire body of Christ.

    The trouble is, what do you mean by that? I wonder if Conlee and Savage would call what happened at the service a “miracle healing”.

    The trouble is, the church has lost its understanding of what true repentance looks like. A person who has done something absolutely appalling, traumatising, despicable, all they have to do is say they’re sorry and they can carry on as normal. That is not biblical repentance.

    Look at the story of Zaccheus. What did he say? Here and now I give half my possessions to the poor. And I will pay back four times the amount to everyone I cheated. Now think about what that would actually have taken to put into effect. So yes, as soon as he repented there, he was forgiven. But the evidence that his repentance was genuine was the fact that presumbly he went and did what he said he would.

    If Andy was truly repentant, I would expect him to write a letter or email to Jules, admitting to the reality of what he has done and telling her he is sorry. I would expect him to understand that nothing he can do can actually make up for this. At the same time, I would expect him to acknowledge her pain, and offer to do whatever it takes to help her find peace and healing. Such as paying for counselling. If he had been “immediately repentant” as he claimed, I would have expected him to turn himself in to the authorities. I would expect him to want to never be in a position where something like this could happen again. He should admit not only the assault, but the issues with lust, power, control, manipulation etc that lie behind it, and he should determine that he will get help for them and not allow himself to be in a position where he could hurt someone again. Ie not in ministry, not a CEO, nothing like that. He should take a leaf out of John Profumo’s book.

    I agree that we need to pray for everyone in this situation. But it is not “critique” or “throwing stones” to say what people here have said. It is discernment, and God’s church is called to practice that. The church is commanded to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves, and that does not fit anyone involved in this scandal, except Jules herself. Was Peter casting stones or being judgmental or gossiping when he spoke with Ananias and Sapphira?

  265. Bill wrote:

    I am listening to the interview. Personally I don’t believe him. It seems to me that he is putting the blame on Jules already by saying “the atmosphere was flirtatious” and “she didn’t want to go home right away so we drove around”. As if it was her idea that started it all off. I could of course be wrong, its just my opinion, but I don’t believe him.

    As a) the Youth Pastor, and b) an adult man, that should have been his cue to shut it down. As in, make it clear to her that he was not there for romantic relationships, not respond to any flirting, take her home immediately, and make sure he didn’t spend time alone with her. Okay, she doesn’t want to go home right away, so what. Apologise that you have to get back to your own place right away, drop her off, suggest that she call a friend if she needs to talk. So many ways that “the situation was flirtatious” is a nonsense excuse for his predatory behaviour.

  266. Bill wrote:

    @al organic moment”. David:
    I think he glossed over so very much. Now at the end of the interview he’s claiming that she was a consenting adult. He says he did not break the law which technically may be true. He claims he did not force her or ask her for anything. He says it was a “mutual organic moment” between them, unplanned.

    An “organic moment. “ What the heck is that?

  267. ER wrote:

    3) ANYONE who works with kids should be ALARMED if a teenager is seriously coming onto them with anything much beyond a puppy crush. They should be alarmed for the well-being of that teenager who may be exhibiting signs that they need help, or that they are or have experienced sexual trauma. Inappropriate sexual behavior is a well known symptom of sexual trauma.

    This is a really really good point, and one that shows how a random college student with no training is completely inappropriate for a youth pastor. At the very least anyone working with kids should have training in what things are danger signals or red flags in a young person’s behaviour, and they should have a place they know they can report it.

  268. @ Mercy:
    Again, I am just quoting what Savage said. I do NOT agree with him. To me, his claiming it was an “organic moment” is just a slick attempt at trying to blame Jules. Blame deflection. He was the adult there and he should have known better.

  269. Liz wrote:

    a random college student with no training is completely inappropriate for a youth pastor.

    That should have been obvious.

    But even as a grown man with perspective he seems to think the only problem here was that he violated his ‘personal purity standards’. Sigh.

  270. Lea wrote:

    But even as a grown man with perspective he seems to think the only problem here was that he violated his ‘personal purity standards’. Sigh.

    If he believes that (and I don’t think he does) then he should be profusely apologizing for his hypocrisy for teaching about sexual purity. His most recent version of the story disqualifies him from that type of ministry. Probably the best path ahead is to keep him talking because he is digging a deeper and deeper hole for himself.

  271. @ Doug:

    “But I also believe that some people are celebrating his failure. I believe that there are Christians celebrating the failure . . . because it justifies their own beliefs that a denomination, a group of believers or someone they see as different is somehow less of a believer or Christian.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    it is not celebration.

    it is a collective sigh that accountability seems to be beginning to happen for powerful men who invoke the name of God to build their brand in the acquisition of money and power. They invoke the name of God to give themselves and each other a pass on accountability.

    They refuse to hold themselves and each other accountable in order to protect their brand, money, and power. These men, and a relative few women, are too entangled with each other in mutual benefit (if not sheer investment) to jeopardize it all.

    make no mistake — this occurs in many different groups and denominations. no one is celebrating a win for our team and loss for theirs.

    do you feel outrage that people cloak themselves with the cloth in order to use God for self-enrichment, and use God to harm others for the purpose of protecting their assets? protecting their brand? (even generic “church”, “God”, “Jesus”, and “Christian” are brands. Brands that generate careers and paychecks.)

    you should. And you should feel relief when correction happens. it is the natural, normal, and healthy response.

  272. Liz wrote:

    If he had been “immediately repentant” as he claimed, I would have expected him to turn himself in to the authorities. I would expect him to want to never be in a position where something like this could happen again.

    I am still trying to understand how Andy Savage could say he immediately repented but then in his radio interview first claimed it was a kiss but later on claimed he told the rest of the story. He did try and hide this for a period of time.

  273. Andy’s defenders just amaze me. Why will you not understand. This happened in a church setting. A youth pastor or minister abused his position to get self gratification from someone in the youth group! This is a major breech of trust. This kind of thing should never happened at all, but much less in a church, ever happen. We parents send our children to youth groups never considering that anything like this would ever happen. We believe that the authority figures go through great lengths to vet people who have access to our children. This is awful!!! Andy can not just say “Gee, I’m sorry”. The fiasco of a church service to try and do damage control with a standing ovation for Andy was just terrible and beyond belief that no one in authority would make sure that and ovation did not take place. In my opinion all the “pastors” and/or “elders” and anyone in authority who didn’t speak up should be fired. They don’t understand what they are doing and have no compassion. As to the worship leader, she should be fire and never given a recommendation. She needs to be as far as possible from ever having a role in any way in church leadership. Or after years and years of proven repentance, maybe she could come back. It is unbelievable that these people in leadership and defenders of any of this are even able to consider themselves at all qualified to be anywhere near leadership in a church!

  274. Pam wrote:

    . Instead of people casting stones, or critiquing, how about we all get on our faces and weep and pray for a miracle healing over the entire body of Christ.

    Absolutely! Because that’s worked so well up to this point. Rather than any attempt at culpability, we’ll just wait for Jesus to arrive in a golden chariot.
    I notice that pastor andy gets primary mention.
    Pastor Andy’s statement was read verbatim because it was probably vetted by a legal team.
    Highpoint Church epitomizes everything wrong with the blind worship of authority combined with cult of personality.
    Highpoint and churches like it have substituted god for power.
    And power with no balance is just another money making cult.

  275. Pam wrote:

    Instead of people casting stones, or critiquing, how about we all get on our faces and weep and pray for a miracle healing over the entire body of Christ.

    Have you considered the possibility that the exposure of this story is an answer to that kind of prayer?

    Or to ask a different question, what should the answer to that prayer look like? How should it unfold in a real world?

  276. ___

    “The Ridiculously Good Pastorship: 5 Essentials to Start Right and Stay Strong…”

    hmmm…

    “These qualifications: (Titus 1:5-9, 1 Tim. 3:1-7, 1 Peter 5:1-4) can help the local church stop an unfit man from becoming an elder or remove an unfit man from the eldership.” (1)

    “How can a pastorship work when we appoint spiritually unfit, unqualified elders? It can’t work if we don’t follow God’s manual for eldership. And the first point is elders must be biblically qualified for eldership to work.” (1)

    It is important for pastoral candidates to:

    1. Due diligence in examining themselves in the light of scripture.
    Do they match the biblical qualifications for pastoral eldership (Titus 1:5-9, 1 Tim. 3:1-7, 1 Peter 5:1-4)
    2. Identify the quality of their character and
    3. identify their weaknesses before undergoing the ordination process.
    4. Improving your character and identify weaknesses that need work.
    5. Be mindful that selfishness, dishonesty and poor character sinks pastorships and brings much distress to a congregation.

    Due to lack of due diligence 501(c)3 Christian pastoral cosmology is collapsing.

    Therefore, each member of Christ’s body must be mindful of its good health.

    (before it is too late…)

    ATB

    Sòpy

    (1) https://bible.org/seriespage/2-biblical-qualifications-pastoral-eldership-titus-15-9-1-tim-31-7-1-peter-51-4

    ;~)

    – –

  277. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    But even as a grown man with perspective he seems to think the only problem here was that he violated his ‘personal purity standards’. Sigh.

    If he believes that (and I don’t think he does)

    That is my understanding of his perspective from the things he said in his interview. It certainly tracks with that travesty of a church service. If you see something that indicates he thinks otherwise, by all means share it.

  278. elastigirl wrote:

    it is a collective sigh that accountability seems to be beginning to happen for powerful men who invoke the name of God to build their brand in the acquisition of money and power. They invoke the name of God to give themselves and each other a pass on accountability.

    The guy in the other thread just keeps saying Andy is ‘forgiven’. As far as I can see he forgave himself!

    The truth here, is if Jules had only told her pastors what happened, Andy would never have been let go. It was only making it public that caused any action on that 20 years ago. It is only making it public that will cause anyone to think about it now. That is sad and should not be. But it is true.

  279. @ elastigirl:
    Excellent comment… as parents, we trust the church to vet and supervise what transpires with Church sponsored activities, and we expect them to be truthful with us when something negative happens…. I sure do not trust what come out of Andy Savage’s mouth, HighPoint Church, and the previous churches. If SBC does not do something, I will not trust them either. Protecting children through teens should be #1

  280. Lea wrote:

    If you see something that indicates he thinks otherwise, by all means share it.

    What I meant by that is I believe that he knows he blew it, but he is now lying to others (and perhaps to himself by now) because he has too much to lose by telling the truth. The fact that his story keeps changing proves this. If he really thought he was telling the truth his story would remain consistent.

  281. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):
    I honestly don’t know if he’s lying or really believes it. It would track with what I understand of the views on ‘purity’ that go along with stuff like true love waits…and with the statements about personal sin and healing, rather than abuse of power.

  282. I didn’t listen to the interview of Andy by the talk show host. But if these reports are true, we are looking at nothing more than charlatan. To in any way try to blame Jules is just unconscionable. To abuse his authority position to get her alone and do what he did, then to in anyway try to blame her for what happened makes me question if he is a Christian at all. I don’t care if she did flirt with him, which I doubt. Most abusers look for young women who don’t have a defender. I think it was stated her parents were going through or had divorced. Andy should be no where near church leadership or have authority in any way at a church. True repentance would never try to blame her for any of this. If that was what he did, I don’t think he is repentant at all.

  283. Lea wrote:

    I honestly don’t know if he’s lying or really believes it.

    By now I don’t believe anything he says. His story is way too inconsistent and seems way too managed by incompetent lawyers. It looks to me like he is looking for hooks to get him off the hook. But I write that from the perspective of a guy who actually respects women. I don’t have sympathy for his excuses. I do agree with you that the purity cult is a big part of the problem.

  284. Ken A wrote:

    ervice. If you see something that indicates he thinks otherwise, by all means

    Don’t say any of this to Parker Dax on the old thread. He actually believes Andy Savage is the bigger victim now. I’d be curious to know where his IP address leads to.

  285. After that interview, I feel even more strongly that Andy Savage is disqualified from ministry. He still doesn’t get it and is not repentant. Even if we take his word for everything, we still have a 22 yo Youth Pastor in a car on a dark road getting a bj from a teenage girl in his youth group, then going to teach True Love Waits. “Flirtatious atmosphere” and “organic moment” notwithstanding, this would be illegal if occurred now in TX, or if it occurred between a school teacher and student. I feel like everyone defending him or staying silent about this is basically saying to me, as a parent of youth group age kids, that the church may exploit our children, but only within the limits of the law.

  286. Ken A wrote:

    Andy’s defenders just amaze me. Why will you not understand.

    Ken. This attitude is a product of the cult of personality sweeping through the American church. Followers are not confronted with a holy standard of living expected in both pulpit and pew – they are fed soothing things to attract them and keep them.

  287. Lea wrote:

    Liz wrote:

    a random college student with no training is completely inappropriate for a youth pastor.

    Do you know how many pastors in rural East Texas, Pentecostal, Baptist, non-denominational only have high school training? Many, not even that? And have 100-200+ people every Sunday? ( And I am sure it is all over America)

  288. @ bkraul:
    If you compare the survivor’s path with the perp’s path, yes, you are putting the survivor down. Their paths are nothing alike. And if you have a standing ovation for a perpetrator for whatever reason, it makes you look like a hypocrite. They/you should have quietly acknowledged it. And pray tell, how can the church even feel good about the “he’s been talking about his behaviour for years? Why did they do nothing? Why did they not report him? All the actions and non-actions in this case are just another form of victim shaming and nothing else. I don’t care however you put it, all of this is egg on the face of this church. And btw, I am a survivor of sexual abuse and yes, this makes me angry. Keep protecting your sexual abuser pastor and turn your head the other way. Hopefully, it won’t explode into your faces one of these days.

  289. Many of Savage’s defenders have also stated or implied that other than this brief “incident”, he has been an upstanding person and minister, and I think we have some evidence that that’s untrue.
    He was also involved in the cover-up of Chris Carwile’s abuse of teenage boys in Memphis in order to push through a church merger. It’s been a while since I’ve read about that, but he was certainly not a champion of survivors of abuse in that situation. We are also hearing from long-time attendees and members of Highpoint that they never knew that the church was affiliated with the SBC or TGC. That’s pretty shady and certainly doesn’t speak to his honesty or transparency as a church leader. I think that he’s a person who is very good at projecting the right image or using the right words to accomplish the goals if the moment.

  290. caroline wrote:

    He still doesn’t get it

    This.

    And no one around him gets it either. His pastors 20 years ago didn’t get.

    For all the talk of how mean everyone is being for bringing this up 20 years later, how else will anyone began to understand? It would be nice, and good for the entire church, for people to start listening. For once. To women like Jules, to women in general, and to the few sensible men in positions of power who actually do get it.

    Reading recaps of the interview, it sounds like the ‘story’ he gave initially to his pastors was a softened one. ‘Kissing’. And it sounds to me like, despite all of his CLEAR lapses in judgment, they believed him and not Jules. And they only dealt with it when a few sensible people in her group heard a closer version of the truth and made them deal with it. THIS is why people are talking about this, because it still happens, and it’s still traumatizing and it still needs to change.

  291. caroline wrote:

    I feel like everyone defending him or staying silent about this is basically saying to me, as a parent of youth group age kids, that the church may exploit our children, but only within the limits of the law.

    She was 18, whoops sorry I mean 17, it’s legal.

    Great church slogan!

  292. Jamie A. wrote:

    Andy’s early job description proclaiming his “smoke and soul” expertise lists his title as : wait for it….
    Director of Relevant Environments. (Link below)
    What in the world???!!! “Relevant?”

    It’s the whole being “culturally-relevant” nonsense taking over the church. Another title they love is “NextGen Pastor” focusing on giving young generations (X, Y and Z) what they want in the way of a church experience (cool pastors and bands, etc.), rather than what they need in the way of exhortation to godly living. That’s why these churches are packed with 20s-40s – it has very little to do with making disciples of Christ.

  293. caroline wrote:

    Even if we take his word for everything, we still have a 22 yo Youth Pastor in a car on a dark road getting a bj from a teenage girl in his youth group, then going to teach True Love Waits.

    And no one is talking about the utter, disgusting hypocrisy of that act and what it says about Andy, and his capacity to lie convincingly ‘for Jesus’.

  294. Bill wrote:

    @ Mercy:
    Again, I am just quoting what Savage said. I do NOT agree with him. To me, his claiming it was an “organic moment” is just a slick attempt at trying to blame Jules. Blame deflection. He was the adult there and he should have known better.

    Thanks, Bll. I understood your intention. The words creeped me out. Total assassination of her character seems to be well under way.

  295. Savage knew Jules for three years prior to the “sexual incident”. ……. then, there was the “tickling incident”……. I can’t help but wonder, was he grooming Jules while he waited for he to reach the age of consent?

  296. Lea wrote:

    @ caroline:
    (sorry for quoting pretty much everything you wrote. I suppose I could have just said ‘like’ and let it go

    It’s fine. Thanks for indulging my rants! This story just gets to me so much… Reading some of the comments on social media supporting him this week have just made me come undone at times.
    It enrages me as a parent. I don’t think I have to explain that to anyone who is (or has ever been) a parent of a teenager. One piece of evidence for me that the full story was not known in TX 20 years ago is that her parents didn’t push for stronger action against him.
    Also, as a Christian, I feel that this is just such a disgrace to the Church (with a capital C). I am the same age as Andy. In my early 20s I briefly was the “Assistant Youth Director” in an SBC church. From that experience, I know that for this to happen, and for them to even be in that car on a dark road, so many lines were crossed and trust was broken in so many ways. This required many bad decisions and conscious choices on his part. And all of the “professional” Christians around him know that too. There is no way that a pastor (Conlee, Cotton, Bradley, etc) can really believe that this was not a big deal. They are covering for another member of their club, plain and simple.

  297. Max wrote:

    Jamie A. wrote:

    Andy’s early job description proclaiming his “smoke and soul” expertise lists his title as : wait for it….
    Director of Relevant Environments. (Link below)
    What in the world???!!! “Relevant?”

    It’s the whole being “culturally-relevant” nonsense taking over the church. Another title they love is “NextGen Pastor” focusing on giving young generations (X, Y and Z) what they want in the way of a church experience (cool pastors and bands, etc.), rather than what they need in the way of exhortation to godly living. That’s why these churches are packed with 20s-40s – it has very little to do with making disciples of Christ.

    My children (in that demographic) and their friends did NOT like that at all from what they tell me. One factor in my son converting to Eastern Orthodoxy.

  298. http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/12/us/tennessee-pastor-leave/index.html

    [quote:]
    “Please know that we support Andy as a leader of our church, but we also understand this has been a difficult season not only for Andy and his family, but for our congregation as well,” Conlee said in his statement.
    “We want to maintain trust in both Andy and our church leadership that we are not only doing things right, but we are doing right things.”
    Conlee said that when the audit is finished, “we will continue to support Andy and his family.”

    They Still. Do. Not. Get. It.

    Look at who Conlee expresses concern for: Savage, and their congregation. Notice anyone missing? Does Conlee think this hasn’t been a difficult season for Jules?

    This could have been so different. Savage could have said: “Let me be clear: I take 100% of the responsibility for what happened that night. I was wrong to do what I did, and I’m sorry I did it, and I’m sorry I wasn’t immediately forthcoming to her parents about what I did, and I’m so sorry that Jules has had to live with this for 20 years.” He isn’t qualified for ministry, but at least we could have supported his integrity and character in giving a real apology and taking responsibility for his inappropriate actions.

    Instead we get “sexual incident” and “organic moment” and “flirtatious atmosphere” and a bunch of statements about what he confessed to whom and when, which now clearly are not consistent with other things he said (e.g. in the interview), let alone with Jules’ statement. He did not tell the whole story then, and kept it as quiet as he could in the hopes it would never come out. I, for one, have no sympathy for Savage going through a “difficult season” now, or the media exposure this is getting.

  299. caroline wrote:

    One piece of evidence for me that the full story was not known in TX 20 years ago is that her parents didn’t push for stronger action against him.

    Indeed. And I completely get her being embarrassed to talk to her parents! I would have been, absolutely. I don’t know if I’d talk to them now.

    I am so close in age to Jules, and I was ridiculously innocent at 17, so all this talk of her ‘flirting’ bothers me a great deal. It goes along with this ‘girls are asking for it’ this. I am with you, some of the comments are quite enraging.

    I think where things after the incident went totally off the rails is him going to another church and basically working with a similar, but slightly older age group. According to his radio interview, he never told that church what happened and I’m betting his old church didn’t either. In a sensible world, he would never have gotten that job. If he were repentant, he would not have kept it a secret. Why did he go back to working in a church? Why did he go back to working with young people? He could have gotten a regular job. He didn’t.

  300. Lea wrote:

    Why did he go back to working in a church? Why did he go back to working with young people? He could have gotten a regular job. He didn’t.

    And that makes me wonder if there are more stories out there. If there are others, and they are witnessing the current circus around him, I can’t blame them for staying quiet.

  301. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Pam wrote:
    Instead of people casting stones, or critiquing, how about we all get on our faces and weep and pray for a miracle healing over the entire body of Christ.
    Have you considered the possibility that the exposure of this story is an answer to that kind of prayer?
    Or to ask a different question, what should the answer to that prayer look like? How should it unfold in a real world?

    Excellent! But that would require thinking in the light of the day instead of a manufactured emotional “experience” show with flowery spiritualized platitudes that are meaningless.

    The seeker mega church world produced this sort of platitudinal talk by the ton. It’s a form of spiritualized manipulation. I doubt the commenter even realizes that as it’s a group cultural response in many cases . I was also wondering exactly who or what we are to weep about on our faces as it was vague. But it’s not PC to ask specifics in those places.

    The pew people might just be surprised to learn that it’s nothing like that when it comes to the business of the church and counting the money.

  302. Bridget wrote:

    Ken A wrote:

    ervice. If you see something that indicates he thinks otherwise, by all means

    Don’t say any of this to Parker Dax on the old thread. He actually believes Andy Savage is the bigger victim now. I’d be curious to know where his IP address leads to.

    GBTC Ken A didn’t write what attributed to him here.

  303. Ok-I have banned two more people. One who has already commented and one who came on to say that Jules wanted it. Gosh, what kind of people follow the Highpoint gang.

    Sorry bk-the music was specially bad during that service and the message of the worship™ team was beyond silly. It wasn’t even good, what did you call it, rock and roll! Screaming “You are worthy” in a service that has just discussed Savage’s peccadillo is ridiculous. Someone needs to rein the kids in.

  304. @ bendeni:
    Oh, they get it. My take: Andy is the draw for Highpoint. He is the “brand”. They have a problem. How to keep the seats filled, money flowing while managing this long term. I have not seen the charter or even the by laws and I know nothing about their governing structure but I would look there. Anyone remember Driscoll?

    Highpoint is just another church in a long line of them built on cult of personality. The business of that is a whole other topic that gets very complicated.

  305. Jerome wrote:

    Cache of Andy Savage podcast website lists Ben Ferguson as one of the “Friends of the Andy Savage Show”

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:KONIqm78Qz4J:www.andysavage.com/radiopodcast+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    Sometime between Monday and today ‘Friend Ben’ disappeared from the friends list:

    http://www.andysavage.com/radiopodcast

    Why do you suppose Andy removed the interviewer’s name from his “friends list” before he went on the radio?

  306. Lydia wrote:

    I have not seen the charter or even the by laws and I know nothing about their governing structure but I would look there.

    Someone on twitter linked some bylaw changes from a few years back related to the church being ‘too big’ for staffing and such to be voted on by the church and trustees and elders. I don’t know how the details shake out, though.

  307. @ Lea:
    I think my comment came out muddled, but it was something about trustees needing to be voted on by people who are at church every day, or something?

  308. Ken A wrote:

    GBTC Ken A didn’t write what attributed to him here.

    I don’t know what crazy went on there. If you click your name in my comment it goes to your comment that I was intending quote. I don’t know why the system quoted a different comment.

  309. Deb wrote:

    @ MadMphs:
    Wow! Another testimony that needs to be shared…

    I’d be glad to. I’m tired of not talking about things I saw and reasons I left. It breaks my heart to see really good people so brainwashed.

  310. Lea wrote:

    He was supposed to be taking her home. That was literally all he had to do! He was driving the car.

    Oh, I agree with you totally! He is the one who is claiming that she was coming on to him. And my whole point is, that if that was really happening, then his JOB demanded that he take her home and tell her parents so that they could get her into appropriate counseling. The idea that her “coming on to him” was ANY defense is mind blowing.

  311. Bridget wrote:

    Ken A wrote:

    GBTC Ken A didn’t write what attributed to him here.

    I don’t know what crazy went on there. If you click your name in my comment it goes to your comment that I was intending quote. I don’t know why the system quoted a different comment.

    I believe you. Thanks

  312. @ MadMphs:
    Everyone from Highpoint needs to read your comment. While it may not be to the degree of your experience with ARC, I can promise the basic operational Foundation is there. Same ingredients. The stage personas in these churches are nothing like the real people on Monday. It’s all manufactured. It’s like putting on a performance every weekend.

    I had to laugh at your description of not bothering the big guy when he walked by. I know one mega that fixed that problem. Private keyed elevator to an office far away and above staff with an electronic keypad to enter before you even see one of his assistants.

    This is church for a lot of people.

  313. ER wrote:

    Oh, I agree with you totally! He is the one who is claiming that she was coming on to him. And my whole point is, that if that was really happening, then his JOB demanded that he take her home and tell her parents so that they could get her into appropriate counseling. The idea that her “coming on to him” was ANY defense is mind blowing.

    Basically, he came up with a very childish, “But it’s not my fault! She started it!”

  314. Lea wrote:

    I don’t know how the details shake out, though.

    They took the congregation out of the loop for nominating Trustees, who act as the Board of Directors. The congregation still gets to vote but the “Nominees for Trustees will be made by the Lead Pastor, the Elders, and/or the Trustees.” This allows the existing power structure to further it’s influence by only permitting “Yes” men into their inner-circle.

    One interesting caveat: the Lead Pastor is also the “President of the corporation”. The bylaws do not stipulate what decision making that empowers him with. I think the intent is that there be enough ambiguity that at the end of the day, the Lead Pastor acts as kind of limited monarchy with a few carve outs for the subjects, uh, sorry, I mean members.

    http://www.highpointmemphis.com/bylaws

  315. @ JeffT:
    FW Rez wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    I don’t know how the details shake out, though.

    They took the congregation out of the loop for nominating Trustees, who act as the Board of Directors. The congregation still gets to vote but the “Nominees for Trustees will be made by the Lead Pastor, the Elders, and/or the Trustees.” This allows the existing power structure to further it’s influence by only permitting “Yes” men into their inner-circle.

    One interesting caveat: the Lead Pastor is also the “President of the corporation”. The bylaws do not stipulate what decision making that empowers him with. I think the intent is that there be enough ambiguity that at the end of the day, the Lead Pastor acts as kind of limited monarchy with a few carve outs for the subjects, uh, sorry, I mean members.

    http://www.highpointmemphis.com/bylaws

    That is my biggest question at this point. If he is still getting paid during his leave of absence, that equates to being rewarded with a free vacation.

  316. I am finding the current developments in this situation infuriating. Andy Savage has gone from trying to distract from Jules and direct people to think of his wife as the victim, to straight up reversing the victim and the offender.

    He had literally been following the abusive handbook on how to get away with it: DARVO

    Deny: It was just a kiss!

    Attack: She hasn’t been on the road to healing like I have been!

    Reverse Victim and Offender: SHE came on to ME!!!!

    It makes me further believe Jules and further distrust Savage.

    It reminds me of the time my grandfather got into a car accident and was indignant that got a ticket for reckless driving “BUT HE HIT MEEEEEE!!!!” was his cry with clenched fists and stomped feet. Well, yes, Grandfather, his front bumper hit your driver’s side door… After you pulled out in front of him giving him no time to stop. The fact that you made it far enough into the intersection that he hit your door, rather than you hitting his door, is irrelevant.

    Savage is running around basically saying “SHE did it!” Well, yeah, after HE drove her to a secluded location, whipped it out and demanded that she do it, she complied (under duress, I might add). She never would have done it, if he had not isolated her, and demanded it of her. The culpability still lies with him.

    I am going to say it again: If a high-schooler offers you, an adult, a sexual favor, the proper response is to a) refuse to spend any alone time with said high-schooler and b) get them appropriate help. It is NEVER appropriate to accept the favor.

  317. “not bothering the big guy”

    Pastors who don’t pastor?

    https://web.archive.org/web/20021231034341fw_/http://www.highpointmemphis.com:80/ministries/comm_group.html

    “Success at Highpoint is defined by how effectively our ministries move people from our large environments into Community Groups…there will never be a way for the staff or elders to personally minister to everyone who attends our church”

    “Attending a Connecting Point is the first step to join a Community Group. Each of our Connecting Points has specific leaders, called Assimilators, who are available to help you move into a Community Group.”

  318. Jerome wrote:

    Each of our Connecting Points has specific leaders, called Assimilators, who are available to help you move into a Community Group.”

    “Assimilators” — gagh!

  319. Jerome wrote:

    Each of our Connecting Points has specific leaders, called Assimilators, who are available to help you move into a Community Group.”

    We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

  320. Jerome wrote:

    “Attending a Connecting Point is the first step to join a Community Group. Each of our Connecting Points has specific leaders, called Assimilators, who are available to help you move into a Community Group.”

    What the… I mean, really, WHAT THE…?????

    They don’t even trust their attendees to pick their own community group? How hard is it to provide a list of locations, dates, and times and let people choose for themselves?

    And then they call these intermediaries “Assimilators”??? As in “You will be Assimilated?”

    What the?

  321. CENG1 wrote:

    Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Andy the Savage’s interview was advertised on the Highpoint FB. That makes me wonder who requested the interview!

    Highpoint was clear there would be only one interview. It would be unsurprising if Highpoint both requested the interview and pre-screened the questions.

    It should also be noted that the interviewer, Ben Ferguson, is a long-time attendee of Highpoint. He was also listed on a special “Friends of Andy” on Andy Savage’s podcast page until the scandal broke, when his name was removed for the sake of appearances.

    Almost every call accepted on air by Ferguson’s after the interview was from someone at Highpoint (and marveling at how fantastic Andy is). Ferguson said the calls were coming in “too fast for them to screen”–sure, that happens a lot on professional talk shows!

  322. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Ben Ferguson, is a long-time attendee of Highpoint. He was also listed on a special “Friends of Andy” on Andy Savage’s podcast page until the scandal broke, when his name was removed for the sake of appearances.

    So he is just another shill.

  323. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    It should also be noted that the interviewer, Ben Ferguson, is a long-time attendee of Highpoint … a special “Friends of Andy” on Andy Savage’s podcast page

    Uhhhh … shouldn’t Andy have declined that interview?

  324. Bridget wrote:

    Jerome wrote:
    Each of our Connecting Points has specific leaders, called Assimilators, who are available to help you move into a Community Group.”

    “Assimilators” — gagh!

    Right? Wow.

    I mean, I hate janky titles in general, but that one is particularly bad.

  325. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Almost every call accepted on air by Ferguson’s after the interview was from someone at Highpoint

    I noticed that in the twitter recap…

  326. Lydia wrote:

    Andy is the draw for Highpoint. He is the “brand”.

    My initial take on this, as well. Conlee teamed with Andy because he knew he would draw a crowd. Conlee needs him to save the brand – that’s why he will carry the potato until it gets too hot.

    Lydia wrote:

    Anyone remember Driscoll?

    How can anyone forget the potty-mouth preacher from Seattle?! Mars Hill and Acts 29 carried that potato for years because Driscoll was their identity. But when his liabilities exceeded his assets, they dropped him. Highpoint doesn’t have a good backup plan – so send Andy on a leave of absence to buy them time to locate a suitable replacement.

  327. Lea wrote:

    Bridget wrote:
    Jerome wrote:
    Each of our Connecting Points has specific leaders, called Assimilators, who are available to help you move into a Community Group.”
    “Assimilators” — gagh!
    Right? Wow.
    I mean, I hate janky titles in general, but that one is particularly bad.

    “Assimilators” just makes me think of Borg:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZEJ4OJTgg8
    “Resistance is futile. Your life as it has been is over.”

  328. Max wrote:

    How can anyone forget the potty-mouth preacher from Seattle?! Mars Hill and Acts 29 carried that potato for years because Driscoll was their identity. But when his liabilities exceeded his assets, they dropped him. Highpoint doesn’t have a good backup plan – so send Andy on a leave of absence to buy them time to locate a suitable replacement.

    For the sake of those who have already been assimilated, as well as those who are susceptible to assimilation, may Highpoint go the way of Mars Hill.

  329. Lea wrote:

    Liz wrote:

    a random college student with no training is completely inappropriate for a youth pastor.

    That should have been obvious.

    But even as a grown man with perspective he seems to think the only problem here was that he violated his ‘personal purity standards’. Sigh.

    What about how he violated _her_ personal purity standards? Isn’t his church culture all about men leading women?

  330. ER wrote:

    I am going to say it again: If a high-schooler offers you, an adult, a sexual favor, the proper response is to a) refuse to spend any alone time with said high-schooler and b) get them appropriate help. It is NEVER appropriate to accept the favor.

    Here is the bad part. I have been offered a favor, went through correct administrative channels to get the kid help, report the incident….it is scary because “you” can quickly be blamed.

  331. Lea wrote:

    Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    But even as a grown man with perspective he seems to think the only problem here was that he violated his ‘personal purity standards’. Sigh.

    If he believes that (and I don’t think he does)

    That is my understanding of his perspective from the things he said in his interview. It certainly tracks with that travesty of a church service. If you see something that indicates he thinks otherwise, by all means share it.

    I can see where Ken F is coming from. I get the impression he doesn’t even have any personal purity standards to violate. It’s a feel-good phrase in that crowd that makes them oooh and aaaah at his “self awareness” and “openness” and “vulnerability”. It’s “fine” to fail so long as you do it with the “right” style.

    Actually, he reminds me strongly at the moment of the adulterous woman who wipes her mouth and says, “I have done nothing wrong.” I forget the exact verse, but I think it’s in Proverbs.

  332. refugee wrote:

    Isn’t his church culture all about men leading women?

    Unless they are teenage ‘flirtatious’ seductresses, apparently. And then even pastors (especially) are helpless and incapable of not taking advantage in ways that others would be ashamed of.

  333. refugee wrote:

    I get the impression he doesn’t even have any personal purity standards to violate.

    He ‘wasn’t engaged yet’. So you know, all good. /sarcasm

  334. Max wrote:

    AbuseCrusher wrote:

    It should also be noted that the interviewer, Ben Ferguson, is a long-time attendee of Highpoint … a special “Friends of Andy” on Andy Savage’s podcast page

    Uhhhh … shouldn’t Andy have declined that interview?

    Why would he? He wanted a “friendly” to clear his name. This is also why he is declining all other interviewers–they may be less accommodating to a sexual predator.

    I understand Savage’s wicked desire to save his own bacon and preserve his million-dollar lifestyle afforded by pulpitry, but shouldn’t Ferguson’s “journalistic integrity” demanded that he either decline the interview or lead off every question with : “Full disclosure: I have not only known Andy for years, but I am listed as a special “Friend of Andy’ on his podcast and have attended Highpoint for many years.” ??

    There is no one committed to the Truth involved in Highpoint, or else you would see them make sure the handling of this is above reproach.

    A truly repentant (much less, “innocent”) man would have no problem being interviewed by Richard Dawkins or Gloria Allred on the matter. These guys are evil cowards committed only to self-preservation!

  335. Max wrote:

    Ben Ferguson, is a long-time attendee of Highpoint. He was also listed on a special “Friends of Andy” on Andy Savage’s podcast page until the scandal broke, when his name was removed for the sake of appearances.

    Maybe this information should appear on Ben Ferguson’s Twitter Page because Chris Conlee is going to be interviewed shortly (unless it’s already happened)

    https://mobile.twitter.com/chrisconlee

  336. Lea wrote:

    caroline wrote:

    I feel like everyone defending him or staying silent about this is basically saying to me, as a parent of youth group age kids, that the church may exploit our children, but only within the limits of the law.

    She was 18, whoops sorry I mean 17, it’s legal.

    Great church slogan!

    “She was 18, whoops sorry 17, and he was 19, whoops sorry 22 — so 18 and 19 — what’s the big deal?”

    They make me sick. Along with the others I’ve seen on Twitter who insist “she wanted it and what’s the big deal”?

    Aargh. I need to step away and take a few deep breaths. What I’d really like to do is take all the “what’s the big deal people” and dump them on an unpopulated island far from civilization where they’ll be limited to abusing each other and not have access to the lambs.

  337. @ Max:
    It’s hard for many people to realize there is nothing spiritual involved. It’s pure crisis management using Jesus lipstick.

  338. caroline wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    Why did he go back to working in a church? Why did he go back to working with young people? He could have gotten a regular job. He didn’t.

    And that makes me wonder if there are more stories out there. If there are others, and they are witnessing the current circus around him, I can’t blame them for staying quiet.

    And that could well be one of the reasons for the current circus. To intimidate anyone else who has evidence against him/then but so far has remained silent.

  339. Lydia wrote:

    It’s hard for many people to realize there is nothing spiritual involved.

    There’s just something about “pastors” who get a communication degree (Conlee) and marketing degree (Savage) before they pursue ministry. Folks who get those degrees usually go into business … oh wait a minute, they did!

  340. Lowlandseer wrote:

    Max wrote:

    Ben Ferguson, is a long-time attendee of Highpoint. He was also listed on a special “Friends of Andy” on Andy Savage’s podcast page until the scandal broke, when his name was removed for the sake of appearances.

    Maybe this information should appear on Ben Ferguson’s Twitter Page because Chris Conlee is going to be interviewed shortly (unless it’s already happened)

    https://mobile.twitter.com/chrisconlee

    You sure? I think Conlee’s tweet was merely promoting Savage’s appearance on the show yesterday.

  341. refugee wrote:

    @ MadMphs:
    Thanks for telling your experience. Wow. I hope you’re in a healthier place (at least headspace) now.

    Thanks! A better mindset, probably…Jaded about organized religion, definitely

  342. Jerome wrote:

    “not bothering the big guy”

    Pastors who don’t pastor?

    https://web.archive.org/web/20021231034341fw_/http://www.highpointmemphis.com:80/ministries/comm_group.html

    “Success at Highpoint is defined by how effectively our ministries move people from our large environments into Community Groups…there will never be a way for the staff or elders to personally minister to everyone who attends our church”

    “Attending a Connecting Point is the first step to join a Community Group. Each of our Connecting Points has specific leaders, called Assimilators, who are available to help you move into a Community Group.”

    Wow. They admitted to being the Borg. “Resistance is futile. Prepare to be assimilated.”

  343. Max wrote:

    AbuseCrusher wrote:
    It should also be noted that the interviewer, Ben Ferguson, is a long-time attendee of Highpoint … a special “Friends of Andy” on Andy Savage’s podcast page
    Uhhhh … shouldn’t Andy have declined that interview?

    This escalated so quickly they lost control. When it went out to secular media (I was stunned at how many picked up the story) it changed the game. If they could have kept it within the churchianity world (including news/blogs) it would go much differently. It’s then an internecine fight with its own rules. When it gets out in the real world to this extent , It quickly gets outside of their wheel house of tactics and strategy. They don’t work.

    They know the drill. Now members have to defend Highpoint out in the real world. That eventually becomes a death blow except for the rabid devotees who are really more embarrassing than helpful.

    Andy had to get off stage. Now Andy has to wait until it dies down. He also has to worry if he is worth the trouble because being off stage means many people who attend those places can just as easily fall in love with another personality. Its what those places are built on. And the interesting part of these people being so phony is they are eventually phony to each other. They will say, Andy, love you bro. Behind you all the way…..then….we’ll you know….

  344. refugee wrote:

    And that could well be one of the reasons for the current circus. To intimidate anyone else who has evidence against him/then but so far has remained silent.

    And it could be that because Jules had COURAGE enough (that, for all the ‘biblical roles’ dudes, I might add the men involved did not) to report him, and he actually faced *some* consequences, albeit not as much as he should of, he was scared into not repeating his mistakes. That would be good. I hope it is the case.

    Others from his original church were reporting that he was ‘flirtatious’ with them too until somebody shut him down, so it sounds like he was boundary crossing all over the place there, but I haven’t heard that from his second church. (although of course, stories may still come out).

  345. Lydia wrote:

    They will say, Andy, love you bro. Behind you all the way…..then….

    Yes, we saw this when the Driscoll bubble broke at Mars Hill and Acts 29. The New Calvinist elites who once adored him (he was critical to the movement), then distanced themselves when the row became too rough to hoe with him … “Driscoll who?” This time next year: “Andy who?”

  346. Max wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    It’s hard for many people to realize there is nothing spiritual involved.

    There’s just something about “pastors” who get a communication degree (Conlee) and marketing degree (Savage) before they pursue ministry. Folks who get those degrees usually go into business … oh wait a minute, they did!

    Pretty much!

  347. Lea wrote:

    Others from his original church were reporting that he was ‘flirtatious’ with them too until somebody shut him down

    Speaking of, I wonder how many mild boundary violations were reported, and ignored, before this thing went down. I’ve seen at least two (Jules initially, and someone on twitter).

    If (comparatively) mild things were taken more seriously, this thing may never have happened.

  348. FW Rez wrote:

    the Lead Pastor is also the “President of the corporation”

    That’s because church becomes a business when it reaches mega-status as a “non-prophet” organization. As noted earlier, Conlee got a communications degree and Savage a marketing degree before they pursued ministry. Folks who get those degrees usually go into business, rather than using their business savvy to “do church” for mega-income.

  349. Lea wrote:

    @ Lea:
    I think my comment came out muddled, but it was something about trustees needing to be voted on by people who are at church every day, or something?

    Bill wrote:

    @ Mae:
    Please understand I was only quoting what he said in the interview as I was listening to it. I did not and do not agree with him.

    ……

    Oh, I got that. Sorry if my post seemed to suggest you were agreeing.

  350. bkraul wrote:

    I am also trying to figure out what kind of response you people really favor. I am betting it is the one that favors appearances and reputation.
    Maybe like this? The church should have said nothing to the matter, or flat out denied the claims, Andy should have quietly gone on paid leave until “an investigation” in the matter was carried out, all for appearances.

    The response I as an individual would have favored would have been for Mr Savage to immediately resign his position and find a new career. Believe it or not, having to get a job outside of “ministry” is in no way similar to losing one’s head or being crucified. Ask John the Baptist or Jesus.
    As it worked out, Andy and other leaders eventually and “mutually” chose the paid leave and investigation option. Whether for appearances or not may never be known. But it’s likely too late after prior statements and Sunday’s service. You can expect to see a steady increase in empty seats over the next few months. The organization might not survive and more jobs than Andy’s may be lost.

  351. Lydia wrote:

    They will say, Andy, love you bro. Behind you all the way…..then….we’ll you know….

    Et tu, Brute?

  352. Max wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    Andy is the draw for Highpoint. He is the “brand”.

    My initial take on this, as well. Conlee teamed with Andy because he knew he would draw a crowd. Conlee needs him to save the brand – that’s why he will carry the potato until it gets too hot.

    Lydia wrote:

    Anyone remember Driscoll?

    How can anyone forget the potty-mouth preacher from Seattle?! Mars Hill and Acts 29 carried that potato for years because Driscoll was their identity. But when his liabilities exceeded his assets, they dropped him. Highpoint doesn’t have a good backup plan – so send Andy on a leave of absence to buy them time to locate a suitable replacement.

    Regarding Driscoll, he went quiet for awhile, reinvented himself, moved to Arizona, and opened a new church. Lots of questions surrounding that resurrection. That’s what these guys do! The only comfort I get is in knowing that God sees and knows.

  353. Dave A A wrote:

    You can expect to see a steady increase in empty seats over the next few months. The organization might not survive and more jobs than Andy’s may be lost.

    And/or there may be some folks added to the congregation from among those who want to hear that sin is really not all that bad after all.

  354. ORGANIC MOMENTS

    For all you young men considering a church career, please please get your organic moments out of your system before going into the ministry!! The Body of Christ would truly appreciate that! Or better yet, take a moment right now and make a decision in your spirit not to go organic until you get married. Stay humble and pure – God will bless you for your faithfulness.

  355. Lea wrote:

    refugee wrote:

    Isn’t his church culture all about men leading women?

    Unless they are teenage ‘flirtatious’ seductresses, apparently. And then even pastors (especially) are helpless and incapable of not taking advantage in ways that others would be ashamed of.

    Apparently none of them have done a good reading of Genesis 39 lately and seen what Joseph did in the face of a “flirtatious” woman.

  356. bkraul wrote:

    or flat out denied the claims

    From a Cover Your Assets perspective, a flat out denial tends not to “work.” But a 2-Part vague denial works incredibly well. First, have the PR folks post something like this:
    “At Highpoint, it has come to our attention that a number of false assertions regarding the character, actions, and accomplishments of Andy Savage have been circulating online in recent days. It grieves our team to see how the egregious claims and destructive slander of a few individuals have been amplified by wider networks, particularly on social media.
    “As Andy is currently traveling and many of our team members are still to return from the holidays, we will respond in greater detail to the false accusations as soon as possible. Thank you for praying for us and standing with Highpoint as we commend the gospel message in the public square around the world.”
    Then a week or two later, Andy can finally make a statement like: “I have learned a difficult and painful lesson through this ordeal. I failed to exercise wise caution and to protect myself from even the appearance of impropriety, and for that I am profoundly sorry. I have acknowledged this to my Lord, my wife, to whom I was not yet engaged at the time, my hungry children, our ministry board, and my colleagues.”
    Never specify just which allegations are false. Donors will soon be comparing the alleged victim to Potiphar’s wife.

  357. K.D. wrote:

    ER wrote:

    I am going to say it again: If a high-schooler offers you, an adult, a sexual favor, the proper response is to a) refuse to spend any alone time with said high-schooler and b) get them appropriate help. It is NEVER appropriate to accept the favor.

    Here is the bad part. I have been offered a favor, went through correct administrative channels to get the kid help, report the incident….it is scary because “you” can quickly be blamed.

    Who remembers what happened when Jules reported the incident?

    SHE got blamed!

  358. Dave A A wrote:

    I have learned a difficult and painful lesson through this ordeal … I have acknowledged this to my Lord, my wife, to whom I was not yet engaged at the time, my hungry children, our ministry board, and my colleagues.” (Andy Savage)

    Note the subtle (humorous?) drop “my hungry children” to generate sympathy from his followers … comes across as a bit cocky from a young preacher who has not yet “learned a difficult and painful lesson through this ordeal.” The difficult and painful lesson should be disqualification from ministry. I truly feel sorry for his wife and sons – this is indeed a difficult and painful ordeal for them.

  359. @ Max:
    Of course I threw in the “hungry” part for a little fun. But I believe Tullian T pulled something like this to get hired immediately after being fired and defrocked. A guy whose family is very wealthy and likely was still getting severance pay.

  360. Dave A A wrote:

    I threw in the “hungry” part

    Oh, then I apologize to my readers … I thought that was an actual Andy Savage quote you provided.

  361. @ Dave A A:
    Finally something to make me laugh in all this. Did RZ just get to skate off into the sunset with no consequences? Nothing seems to touch these guys!

  362. Whatever else Andy Savage is, he’s clueless when it comes to managing his public image. Why, oh why, did he agree to an interview where he apparently* undid his carefully scripted, remorseful, “I take full responsibility” act the previous Sunday? Who thought it was a good idea to let him speak without a script? Andy’s friends were not looking out for him. He needed wiser counsel.

    Also, does anyone realize how hard it is to put a sex offender in prison? Twenty years ago, Andy could have been completely honest. He could have told Jules and her parents that if they wanted to press charges, he’d cooperate instead of putting her through the trauma of a trial. Then he would almost certainly have been allowed to plead down to some innocuous lesser charge (first-time offender, obviously repentant, good future ahead of him that the prosecutor doesn’t want to ruin, and all that). He would have received a slap-on-the-wrist sentence, probably just a few hours of community service. Jules would have been granted a measure of justice, and Andy would have been able to put all this behind him forever. Instead, he was advised to high-tail it out of Texas. Andy’s friends were not looking out for his long-term interests. He needed wiser counsel.

    Andy and his supporters cared deeply about their public image. They didn’t care about the truth, and they didn’t care about Jules. Those priorities have come back to bite them.

    *I wasn’t able to listen, so I’m going by what others on this forum have said about the interview.

  363. Tina wrote:

    K.D. wrote:

    ER wrote:

    I am going to say it again: If a high-schooler offers you, an adult, a sexual favor, the proper response is to a) refuse to spend any alone time with said high-schooler and b) get them appropriate help. It is NEVER appropriate to accept the favor.

    Here is the bad part. I have been offered a favor, went through correct administrative channels to get the kid help, report the incident….it is scary because “you” can quickly be blamed.

    Who remembers what happened when Jules reported the incident?

    SHE got blamed!

    Yup – so we have a culture that blames the kid when the kid is the victim and has the potential to blame the adult when the adult is the victim. We really need to do something about this culture (and not just the church, our culture at large).

  364. Max wrote:

    ORGANIC MOMENTS

    And I guess he included the term “mutual”. But for these guys who don’t want to “know” the woman or girl in the “Biblical” way (a la Doug Phillips, because they don’t want to get her pregnant, because THAT would be bad) the organic moments tend not to be mutual.

  365. okrapod wrote:

    And/or there may be some folks added to the congregation from among those who want to hear that sin is really not all that bad after all.

    Wait until they find out that only the men in power in the church get the mulligans for sins. The sheeple get ‘church discipline’ for real and imagined ‘sins’.

  366. okrapod wrote:

    Dave A A wrote:

    You can expect to see a steady increase in empty seats over the next few months. The organization might not survive and more jobs than Andy’s may be lost.

    And/or there may be some folks added to the congregation from among those who want to hear that sin is really not all that bad after all.

    They may as well put a flashing sign out front that reads “Sexual Predators Welcome Here!”

  367. JeffT wrote:

    Wait until they find out that only the men in power in the church get the mulligans for sins. The sheeple get ‘church discipline’ for real and imagined ‘sins’.

    Of course, the greatest “sin” requiring “church discipline” is suggesting that the pastors & elders be honest, moral, and obey the law.

  368. Max wrote:

    Dave A A wrote:
    I threw in the “hungry” part
    Oh, then I apologize to my readers … I thought that was an actual Andy Savage quote you provided.

    An actual Ravi Zacharias quote with “to whom I was not yet engaged at the time” and “hungry” added.
    And several giving units in that case really did compare the woman to Potiphar’s wife and Ravi to Joseph.
    And he’s now back to business as usual.

  369. Max wrote:

    Ken A wrote:
    Unfortunately the SBC loves the big churches like this.
    “If” this is a New Calvinist church, they might be dodging support of the SBC such as Cooperative Program giving – in which case, SBC would not “love” them no matter how mega they are. “If” this is a New Calvinist church, leaders probably don’t say anything about being affiliated with the SBC … I doubt that the average member there knows they are Southern Baptist.

    If you ever want to laugh till you cry — or cry till you laugh, take a look at the seemingly stealth transition of McLean Bible in NOVA to an SBC church. I’ll never forget reading that McLean — shortly after Platt’s involvement, IIRC, was suddenly called in one of the Christian news outlets the hub of NAMB in the region, yet I found nothing on the website indicating the church was at that time affiliated in any way. I recall that being covered initiallly by an oblique reference in the article to McLean Bible as being aligned with sbc values, and by some ipso facto transference I guess, were somehow affiliated.

  370. ER wrote:

    Tina wrote:

    K.D. wrote:

    ER wrote:

    I am going to say it again: If a high-schooler offers you, an adult, a sexual favor, the proper response is to a) refuse to spend any alone time with said high-schooler and b) get them appropriate help. It is NEVER appropriate to accept the favor.

    Here is the bad part. I have been offered a favor, went through correct administrative channels to get the kid help, report the incident….it is scary because “you” can quickly be blamed.

    Who remembers what happened when Jules reported the incident?

    SHE got blamed!

    Yup – so we have a culture that blames the kid when the kid is the victim and has the potential to blame the adult when the adult is the victim. We really need to do something about this culture (and not just the church, our culture at large).

    I find it interesting that on the one hand, we encourage people to report abuse . . . and then, on the other hand, we tell people not to tattle or snitch on other people.

  371. Just wondering who this “3rd party” is that Highpoint will hire to give their wicked ministry a clean bill of health? The PR/investigator team at Caissa who helped Fellowship Memphis, Downtown Church, and 2nd Pres hide their sexual predators? Or maybe they’ll hire their friends at Downline, who cleverly hid the hiring of a prolific child molester and provided a home for known predatory video voyeur, Rick Trotter?

    If they really want to make changes, they ought to hire a real independent group–maybe the Deebs? I’d be glad to help, too! We’d clean up that place in no time!

    Unfortunately, they have no desire to have any real investigation that might conclude that the leadership needs to be fired. The Highpoint smoke show continues.

  372. caroline wrote:

    I feel like everyone defending him or staying silent about this is basically saying to me, as a parent of youth group age kids, that the church may exploit our children, but only within the limits of the law.

    Spot on Bullseye hit the 10 ring and win the cigar. That is exactly the message they are sending even if they do not realize it.

  373. Peter Hyatt is a Statement Analyst and instructor who teaches statement analysis and analytical interviewing to law enforcement and corporate America. He is a nationally recognized expert in deception detection and leads an elite team of professional investigators from across the nation in solving both live and cold cases.

    See http://statement-analysis.blogspot.com/?m=0 for his analysis of the Andy Savage/Jules Woodson assault.

  374. Mitch wrote:

    caroline wrote:

    I feel like everyone defending him or staying silent about this is basically saying to me, as a parent of youth group age kids, that the church may exploit our children, but only within the limits of the law.

    Spot on Bullseye hit the 10 ring and win the cigar. That is exactly the message they are sending even if they do not realize it.

    Agreed, EXCEPT they do not even respect the “limits of the law”; in this case they are merely paying lip service to it. When Fellowship Memphis hired child-molester, Pete Newman (while he was out on bail), they didn’t warn the congregation nor pay heed to the fact that Newman was not to be within many, many yards of distance in proximity to children,; none-the-less, they gave him unfettered access. Mike Conlee didn’t obey the law and report Savage. Pastor Bryan Loritts didn’t report to police his worship pastor bro-in-law, who was caught taking videos of women and children in the church bathrooms at Fellowship Memphis (and ultimately, Second Pres church plant, Downtown Church).

    These buffoons have zero intention of following the law, lest it disturb their gravy train of income. And when they don’t report to police and work to ensure prosecution, the predators have no criminal record and can pass a background check to be around the next group of women and kids at whatever church to which they are passed.

    Having seen this at so many churches (and parachurch groups), I am happy to be a “Done.”

    I would feel safer watching my young son learn to juggle knives than leaving him in the care of a pastor at a church; the wounds of knife juggling will likely be temporary.

  375. Way to spend your lives!!! Progressing Gods kingdom on earth….. or is it gossip and slander you care only for one side the side that furthers your agenda and gives you meaning. Right or wrong your witch hunt will continue with the next available story line! Doing nothing to contribute to the lives of those use for a blog! @ Mitch:

  376. bunny wrote:

    My children (in that demographic) and their friends did NOT like that at all from what they tell me. One factor in my son converting to Eastern Orthodoxy.

    Neither do my (adult) daughters or (teen) granddaughters in those demographics–one of many factors in their transition from an evangelical church to a small Episcopal church (no band, no youth group, no fog). Oh, yeah–those teen granddaughters? They are sometimes up front and center in the church–assisting the priest in liturgical worship, Scripture reading, and Eucharist.

  377. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Having seen this at so many churches (and parachurch groups), I am happy to be a “Done.”

    I would feel safer watching my young son learn to juggle knives than leaving him in the care of a pastor at a church; the wounds of knife juggling will likely be temporary.

    I am right there with you, and this coming from someone who has served as a pastor and almost finished seminary at an SBC school. I just cant do it anymore!

  378. Re: Ferguson interview with Savage

    “Some listeners of the radio also were upset that Savage chose what they perceived as a friendly source to make his only comments, outside of church. Ferguson said before the interview that he has known Savage for several years, and Ferguson has attended church at Highpoint. Ferguson said he has also reached out to Woodson to appear for a one-on-one interview.” http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2018/01/12/andy-savage-radio-interview-draws-some-support-lots-anger/1028412001/

    Uhhhh … how unbiased would a Ferguson/Woodson interview be?!

    I suppose TWW has a prejudice in favor of victims of clergy abuse – where the abused find a friendly source to share their awful stories – but what the heck is wrong with that?!

    Who is providing a better service to the Body of Christ in this matter … dude-bros or watchmen on the wall?

    Savage didn’t call for an interview with Ferguson 20 years ago to confess his sin, before he used the pulpit again to prosper. Woodson agonized for 20 years before she had the courage to seek someone who could help draw attention to the dark corner of church in America.

  379. ER wrote:

    I am going to say it again: If a high-schooler offers you, an adult, a sexual favor, the proper response is to a) refuse to spend any alone time with said high-schooler and b) get them appropriate help. It is NEVER appropriate to accept the favor.

    Absolutely – & Andy should have had people he could go to & get advice on how to handle stuff. When this comes up in my work, at whatever level, we deal with it as a team. They all know to come to me, or each other, to get help, then it must be reported to me.

    And I don’t care if someone underage turns up naked & asks you to do sexual stuff with them, you are the adult, you recognise it as inappropriate & potentially disordered behaviour & you nope out of there.

    In a well run environment that ‘tickling’ incident would have been Andy’s ticket out of youth ministry.

  380. bendeni wrote:

    Conlee said that when the audit is finished, “we will continue to support Andy and his family.”

    They Still. Do. Not. Get. It.

    I guess I should buy my tickets for May in Memphis now? I could work in a trip to the Civil Rights Museum too.

  381. If Andy Savage were to put the well being of the Highpoint church ahead of his own self-interests, his moral compass would have immediately informed him that he needed to step aside when all this came to light. If he had a truly pastoral heart toward the people he is supposed to serve, he would have resigned and allowed them to move on rather than put them in the position of embarrassing themselves on the national stage. Of course, if Andy Savage were that kind of person, he would have never gone down a deserted road with a high schooler he was intended to shepherd.

  382. Max wrote:

    Dave A A wrote:
    I have learned a difficult and painful lesson through this ordeal … I have acknowledged this to my Lord, my wife, to whom I was not yet engaged at the time, my hungry children, our ministry board, and my colleagues.” (Andy Savage)
    Note the subtle (humorous?) drop “my hungry children” to generate sympathy from his followers … comes across as a bit cocky from a young preacher who has not yet “learned a difficult and painful lesson through this ordeal.” The difficult and painful lesson should be disqualification from ministry. I truly feel sorry for his wife and sons – this is indeed a difficult and painful ordeal for them.

    Thought his leave of absence was a paid one? How many victims get paid absence?
    Anyway, with Savage only copping to ,an “incident” of an “organic” nature, I seriously doubt his heart has been touched by remorse, repentance. An honest life would best help his wife and children, and part of that honest life would not include ministry or authoring books.

  383. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    If they really want to make changes, they ought to hire a real independent group

    This has been a sore spot for me for a long time. As a Southern Baptist church, Highpoint should be subject to a review by the denomination, which should take the lead to refer the matter to a true independent source. Unfortunately, within SBC ranks, all churches operate autonomously – they can darn near do what they want as long as they conform to the spirit of the denomination’s Baptist Faith & Message statement.

  384. Mae wrote:

    “incident”

    For God’s sake, the church needs to get this right! It was not an incident, it was abuse!

    A shooting “incident” in my area yesterday left two men dead. Clergy “abuse” in Woodlands, Texas 20 years ago left a young woman scarred for life.

  385. 3 more comments not allowed. They blame the victim and said that your absolutely adorable blog queens are lower than dirt.

  386. Here is my comment about statement analysis: There is a reason that it is not allowed in a court of law. It has not been subject to careful scrutiny for proof that it is accurate. I stopped reading statement analysis’ about a year ago because i felt they were subjective.

  387. Yesterday, when Savage was interviewed by his BFF, Ben Ferguson, Savage made some comments about all of the threats he has gotten. Well, back at you Savage. What interesting imperfect people with limited vocabulary attend your church and then comment on social media.

  388. @ dee:
    I saw that but I’m not sure how statement analysis works with a prepared statement anyway.

    Plus with the radio interview we can fill in more holes. More interested in that.

  389. dee wrote:

    They blame the victim and said that your absolutely adorable blog queens are lower than dirt.

    Some of those Highpoint members need to be more like Jesus. I’m sure they are just talking out of frustration, concerned that their cool pastor is going into exile. Who’s going to coordinate all the relevant stuff now for their church experience?

  390. Max wrote:

    dee wrote:

    They blame the victim and said that your absolutely adorable blog queens are lower than dirt.

    Some of those Highpoint members need to be more like Jesus. I’m sure they are just talking out of frustration, concerned that their cool pastor is going into exile. Who’s going to coordinate all the relevant stuff now for their church experience?

    Not sure old “Smoke and Soul” Savage doesn’t most need to worry about spending eternity known as Ole Smokin’ Soul, Director of Roasting Environments.

    Andy, it is not too late to repent fully, but the pulpit has been forfeited.

  391. Max wrote:

    subject to a review

    Doesn’t Boz Tchividjian’s non-profit do this type of review or audit?

    “Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment is a Virginia 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed by Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian to assist evangelical groups in confronting sexual abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, within their organizations.”

  392. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    hire a real independent group

    Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment is a Virginia 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed by Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian to assist evangelical groups in confronting sexual abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, within their organizations.

  393. Mitch wrote:

    AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Having seen this at so many churches (and parachurch groups), I am happy to be a “Done.”

    I would feel safer watching my young son learn to juggle knives than leaving him in the care of a pastor at a church; the wounds of knife juggling will likely be temporary.

    I am right there with you, and this coming from someone who has served as a pastor and almost finished seminary at an SBC school. I just cant do it anymore!

    Mitch, Lydia, I couldn’t either……and I too am an alumni of a SBC seminary….

  394. We have seen recently how the secular world has led in standing up against sexual harassment and abuse. They have served as an example to the Church in their determination to deal with it effectively. Here is a report of a sincere self examining apology of a man who apparently is not a Christian. I note that it is a startling example of repentance which the Church could use as a model and certainly Andy Savage.

    https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/1/11/16879702/dan-harmon-apology-megan-ganz-community

  395. dee wrote:

    said that your absolutely adorable blog queens are lower than dirt.

    Those blaggards, rogues, knaves & snakes. * shakes fist *

  396. ___

    “501(c)3 Business As Usual, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    By the time this is all over, the victim, who has come forward, with their abuse story, will be declared, in these ‘offended’ churches, as ‘lower than dirt’…

    They’ll be singing, “there ain’t no way to hide your lying eyes…”

    (sadface)

    Sòpy

    🙁

    – –

  397. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    @ dee:
    Isn’t dirt, uhm, “organic”?

    Lolololol. I think you need to ask Mr. Chambers the chemical engineer who comments here. I was wondering….fungus is organic? Diamonds? Surely we choose our “organic” aspirations?

    That was seriously a stupid and sick descriptor word to use for that evil act and lack of self control.

  398. @ AbuseCrusher:
    Exactly…. and the more I reflect on this, it is a good thing Andy Savage did not do to my 14 year old daughter what he did to Jules……. There would be Hell to pay to the whole authority structure at that church… especially after Andy Savage had been previous caught tickling her alone in a bedroom and told to not be alone with her…
    i am old enough, and seen enough BS done by “christain leaders” through my life, there is no way in @#$$ that they would have cover it up if I i knew about it….

    As many of you have pointed out, Andy Savage’s recent interview was pathetic…. he still can not take responsibilty for his own actions…. his responsiblty was to professional with the students under him, PEROID. There is no “other” side.

  399. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Of course, the greatest “sin” requiring “church discipline” is suggesting that the pastors & elders be honest, moral, and obey the law.

    The next greatest sin is questioning the need for dedicated youth ministry. Try questioning that paradigm and you will walk away with scars. However, if there were no dedicated youth ministry there would be fewer cases of youth getting abused like this.

  400. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Jerome wrote:
    Each of our Connecting Points has specific leaders, called Assimilators, who are available to help you move into a Community Group.”
    We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

    Exactly what I thought when I read that. I think that was a Freudian slip on their part.

  401. @ Lydia:
    Anything living, yes fungus, and bacteria and viruses are “organic”…… unless burned in a really hot fire, dirt is very “organic”
    “Organic momement” must be some stupid “hipster” term that makes them feel “what ever we use to cool”. To be, it just shows how uneducated/ignorant they are…..

  402. Sòpwith wrote:

    They’ll be singing, “there ain’t no way to hide your lying eyes…”

    But, let’s hope that Jules has “a peaceful easy feelin'”, and most of her troubles are “already gone” because she really did “take it to the limit” in a good way …. probably above and beyond what she ever imagined.

  403. Max wrote:

    There’s just something about “pastors” who get a communication degree (Conlee) and marketing degree (Savage) before they pursue ministry.

    John Calvin had a law degree, and we see where that went. Yes, the type of degree makes a difference.

  404. It was amusing/pathetic to me that early in the interview with Ferguson, Andy Savage was asked (and I am closely paraphrasing, as I don’t have the interview transcript in front of me) “Why didn’t you respond to Jules email to you in December?

    His answer? “Well, I sought wise counsel who told me not to respond.”

    Ferguson: “Looking back, do you think that was a mistake?”

    Savage: “Yes, I do.”

    Befuddled that this “amazing”, “Godly” pastor had to seek “Wise counsel” to know whether he should respond, not just to someone clearly hurting, but to someone who he, himself, hurt!?!?

    Who is this “wise counsel”? (quite probably an attorney, I presume)

    Why is the fallback of these moral degenerates some vague “wise counsel”?

    And if said counsel gave you (admittedly) horrible advice, isn’t that person an immoral idiot? Would love to see Savage say, “Yeah, I thought he was “wise counsel,” but he turned out to be even more incompetent than I am. In fact, he is an absolute fool. I strongly recommend that no one ever go to advice from this guy again. He made this even worse than it was by magnitudes. Avoid him at all costs.”

    Maybe he went to Conlee for counsel. Maybe he went to the same moron attorney in Memphis who told Fellowship church leadership to destroy the evidence of their crimes. Hmmm…

  405. JeffT wrote:

    Exactly what I thought when I read that. I think that was a Freudian slip on their part.

    Perhaps there are some Trekkies in the Highpoint leadership.

  406. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Befuddled that this “amazing”, “Godly” pastor had to seek “Wise counsel” to know whether he should respond, not just to someone clearly hurting, but to someone who he, himself, hurt!?!?

    Savage is teaching pastor at a mega church, yet he had to seek “wise counsel” about an immoral, and probably illegal, “incident”.
    Yet another indicator that he has no business pastoring a church.

  407. @ JeffT:
    Same with me…… in my world, being assimulated, and the borg, are not “positive” concepts..

  408. ___

    “Took The Long Way Home?”

    hmmm…

    “When you look through the years and see what you could have been
    Oh, what you might have been
    if you’d play’d by the rules…”

    “When you’re up on the stage it’s so unbelievable
    Oh, unforgettable how they adore… you”

    “There are times that you’ve felt you’re part of the prosperous church scenery
    Yet now all the greenery is comin’ down boy”

    “Pastor, who’s to blame if you’re not around?
    You took the long way home…”

    ;-(

    – –

  409. ROFL Here is what college boy said behind the scenes, after explaining to me he was a real man.

    “Time’s up” for juvenile pseudo feminists filled with bitterness and resentment.

  410. @ dee:
    Well, as I posted on the other thread…. I am a 57 year old man, not a “pseudo” or “real” feminist, (but I am not against many of the feminist causes) and I support standing up for those abused by the church…..

    And I think Andy Savages interview is pathetic…. is this what “christian teachers, and leadership is coming to?

    and he is lucky I was not the father of Jules…….

  411. And, real men know how to keep their Johnsons in their pants when they are in a leadership/responsibility role, real men do not defend men that can’t keep their Johnson in their pants, and real men take responsibility for their actions….. they do not whine about how a 17 year old girl made me do it…

  412. @ Jeffrey J Chalmers:
    5 or 6 years is not a big difference when you’re in your 30s and 40s…17 to 22 though is a huge gap in life experience. All the minimizing in the world doesn’t change that.

  413. ___

    “Already Gone, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    “Well, I heard some people talkin’ just the other day
    And they said you had used me and put me on a shelf
    But let me tell you I got some ‘news’ for you
    And everyone will soon find out it’s true
    And then you’ll have to pulpit pound all by yourself
    ‘Cause I’m already gone
    And I’m feelin’ quite strong
    I will sing this vict’ry song, woo, hoo,hoo,woo,hoo,hoo

    The letter that I wrote you made you stop and wonder why
    But I guess I felt like I had to set things straight
    Just remember this, my boy, when you look up in the sky
    You can see the stars and still not see the ‘light’ (that’s right)

    And I’m already gone
    And I’m feelin’ quite strong
    I will sing this vict’ry song, woo, hoo,hoo,woo, hoo,hoo

    Well I now know it was you who held me down
    Heaven knows it isn’t you who’ll set me free
    So often times it happens that abuse victims live their lives in chains
    But now they know they have the key(s)

    But for me, I’m already gone
    And I’m feelin’ quite strong
    I will sing this vict’ry song
    ‘Cause I’m already gone
    All right, good-night!”

    ;~)

    – –

  414. @ Jeffrey J Chalmers:
    Exactly. Who drove a truck down a dirt road into the woods? hands on the wheel – man with a plan?

    10 Indisputables that deniers obscure:

    – 5 year age gap of a teen (17) and an official youth pastor (22)
    – official title of youth pastor, paid position, professional
    – he was/is church-hired and sanctioned by the church leaders, board, members
    – salary paid for by tithers, church members
    – he drove the truck, in control of where they were going
    – he called it a “surprise” so she had no idea what was going to happen
    – the act [he asked for] was to pleasure the male, she was a tool for this
    – he admitted this was wrong after he asked for and got what he desired
    – told the teen to “take it to her grave” – “you must”
    – within a week taught “True Love Waits”

    What else is indisputable that deniers obscure?

  415. dee wrote:

    ROFL Here is what college boy said behind the scenes, after explaining to me he was a real man.

    “Time’s up” for juvenile pseudo feminists filled with bitterness and resentment.

    He actually sounds more like someone of high school age.