Highpoint Church Hits a Low Point in the Wake of the Andy Savage Debacle

“It’s not an incident. It’s abuse.”

Ed Stetzer

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=41129&picture=woman-and-teddy-bearWoman and Teddy Bear

Me too, a movement that began 12 years ago, has been gaining momentum since last October when Alyssa Milano encouraged the use of the hashtag #metoo after accusations against Harvey Weinstein surfaced. This social media phenomenon has empowered quite a few women (and men) to come forward and reveal the abuse they have endured, predominantly in the secular world.

It was the growing #metoo chorus that propelled a woman to come forward who had been hurt two decades ago by her youth pastor when she was just 17. He was five years her senior, which we believe to be a BIG age difference at that stage of life.

As we have often observed, it takes years for some who have been abused to come forward and finally reveal what happened. Why so long? Because it takes a great deal of courage to overcome the shame and fear that these victims feel.

A week ago Dee (TWW) and Amy Smith (Watch Keep) shared the testimony of Jules Woodson (see posts below).

I Thought He Was Taking Me for Ice Cream: One Woman’s #MeToo Story of Molestation by her Former Pastor Andy Savage

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

What has occurred in the wake of these two posts has been unprecedented! Jules’ story has been shared by not only the Christian media but by secular news outlets in the U.S. and beyond. Here at TWW we have gotten so much commentary under the above post (and two subsequent posts) that we can’t keep up!

A comment left earlier today on Amy Smith’s blog was especially touching (see screen shot below).

While Jules’ testimony alone was compelling enough to be picked up by the media, it seems the reaction of Andy Savage’s congregation (upon hearing about their pastor’s ‘incident’) is what motivated so many news outlets to call attention to her story.

We believe Ed Stetzer nailed what occurred at Highpoint Church last Sunday in an article published yesterday by Christianity Today. It is aptly named:

Andy Savage’s Standing Ovation Was Heard Round the World. Because It Was Wrong.

Stetzer’s article is definitely worth reading, and he concludes with this (see screen shot below):

http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/january/andy-savages-standing-ovation-was-heard-round-world-because.htmlJonathan Leeman, who is the editorial director at 9Marks and has served as an elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, weighed in on the Savage debacle in an article published in The Washington Post. Jonathan made several important points about forgiving someone in the pastorate; however, he also made this pronouncement:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/01/11/why-repentant-pastors-should-be-forgiven-but-not-restored-to-the-pulpit/?utm_term=.43024368ef76It’s noteworthy that Jonathan Leeman made such a public statement in a secular newspaper. How come? Because 9Marks has close ties with The Gospel Coalition (TGC). Why is that significant? Because in the wake of Jules’ testimony, Highpoint Church is no longer listed in The Gospel Coalition’s church directory. We know it was there because Dee and I saw the church listing around the time Jules’ story was published here at TWW. And if you search the church name along with ‘Gospel Coalition’, there is evidence that it was once listed in TGC’s church directory (see below).

Over at Jesus Creed, guest blogger Becky Castle Miller of the Netherlands wrote an excellent article that was published today. It is entitled: The Jules Woodson Story: #churchtoo

Becky explains that just last September she covered a sexual abuse case at a university in California and that the school put pressure on those speaking out to STOP TALKING! Furthermore, the high profile leaders connected with the university have not faced any consequences whatsoever. We wrote about this situation as well. Then she asks the following question:

What has changed in the past four months?

Becky says it’s being called “The Reckoning”. It seems the #metoo movement is giving more and more victims of sexual abuse the courage to speak up about what happened to them. Jules was empowered to send an email to Andy Savage (as explained in the post featuring her testimony) and then come forward with her story when she got no response from Andy.

Becky goes on to list the repercussions that have occurred during the last seven days (see below):

-Bethany House cancelled publication of Savage’s forthcoming book on marriage.

-Baker Books cancelled publication of a book by Chris Conlee, the current Lead Pastor at HighPoint, the church where Savage is Teaching Pastor. Conlee said in a church statement that he knew about Savage’s choice to have sexual contact with a student in his ministry and still partnered with Savage in their church.

-Austin Stone Church has placed on leave Larry Cotton. He was the Associate Pastor at Woodlands whom Woodson told about her assault when it happened. According to Woodson’s account, Cotton covered up and lied about the abuse instead of reporting it. Austin Stone is hiring a third party investigative firm to look into Cotton’s decisions in that case.

-Savage went on the radio show of his sympathetic friend Ben Ferguson and further shared details of his treatment of Woodson. He only sees it as problematic because he failed to keep his own standard of sexual purity, speaking only about the immorality of his actions and completely missing the unethical and illegal aspects of his choices. He announced that he will be taking a leave of absence from HighPoint while a third party investigates.

Speaking of Ben Ferguson, who interviewed Andy Savage yesterday, he (Ben) was listed as a ‘friend’ on Savage’s website (The Andy Savage Show) until a few days ago. How do we know? Because one of our astute readers sent us a webcache link that shows his name (scroll down near the bottom). Also, we believe Ben had attended Highpoint Church in the past, so the interview was definitely suspect due to this obvious friendship.

There have been other develops this week involving the hiring of third party investigators by Austin Stone Church (where Larry Cotton pastored) and Highpoint Church. We look forward to learning the names of these investigators. Might we make a suggestion? Boz Tchividjian of G.R.A.C.E. Boz is highly qualified and would no doubt be objective.

There will be more to discuss in the coming days, so stay tuned…


Comments

Highpoint Church Hits a Low Point in the Wake of the Andy Savage Debacle — 543 Comments

  1. We can only hope that the Evangelical world is waking up, and that these punishments will last, and are not only temporary PR moves.

  2. When I was a kid (12) I and a friend were accosted by some creep at a park when we were fishing. He came up and propositioned us and became a bit aggressive. I took a few swings at the guy with a brick and tried to bite him, the brick made contact but I did not get a good mouth full of an arm. He ran off. We reported it to police, this is back in the early 70’s. It was not seen as a big deal and was dismissed. Other things happened things I personally witnessed but I am fuzzy on. It was actually far more common than people let on in and out of the church. Back then it was viewed differently. I worked with people with disabilities who were viciously sexually abused by family or care providers or clergy.

    One time I was at a funeral for a priest that passed on the very same day his sister passed, they were both religious. This priest could walk in between the most violent people I have ever met and they would stop and listen to him. I was in awe of this priest, but my evangelical experience taught me that God has a special express bus to hell for Catholics, especially priests. The day after the funeral this headline broke.

    https://www.mercurynews.com/2012/09/12/jesuit-in-bellarmine-abuse-case-also-accused-of-misconduct-at-sacramento-school/

    In my evangelical faith group, it was because Catholics worship Satan and because priests are celibate. I cant tell you how this broke my heart, it should not have but it did. The evangelical machine will prove to be far more complicit in abuse than the RCC ever even dreamed of.

  3. It is clear that the story that is being told now is more about the current mishandling of the situation by Highpoint than about the original abuse. The original abuse was dreadful and the way the church handled it back then was abysmal. The way that some of the Highpoint members are still refusing to see things (even the things admitted by the perpetrator) shows exceptional blindness.

    They accuse those who are seeking to hold pastors accountable of doing the work of Satan. They way things are being exposed seems rather to be the work of the Holy Spirit. So these modern day Pharisees who continue to put the blame on Jules appear to be repeating the gross error of the original Pharisees, who committed what the Lord Himself described as blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, the only unforgivable sin. Now that is a very serious position to put oneself in!

  4. @ brian:
    brian wrote:

    When I was a kid (12) I and a friend were accosted by some creep at a park when we were fishing. He came up and propositioned us and became a bit aggressive. I took a few swings at the guy with a brick and tried to bite him, the brick made contact but I did not get a good mouth full of an arm. He ran off. We reported it to police, this is back in the early 70’s. It was not seen as a big deal and was dismissed. Other things happened things I personally witnessed but I am fuzzy on. It was actually far more common than people let on in and out of the church. Back then it was viewed differently. I worked with people with disabilities who were viciously sexually abused by family or care providers or clergy.
    One time I was at a funeral for a priest that passed on the very same day his sister passed, they were both religious. This priest could walk in between the most violent people I have ever met and they would stop and listen to him. I was in awe of this priest, but my evangelical experience taught me that God has a special express bus to hell for Catholics, especially priests. The day after the funeral this headline broke.
    https://www.mercurynews.com/2012/09/12/jesuit-in-bellarmine-abuse-case-also-accused-of-misconduct-at-sacramento-school/
    In my evangelical faith group, it was because Catholics worship Satan and because priests are celibate. I cant tell you how this broke my heart, it should not have but it did. The evangelical machine will prove to be far more complicit in abuse than the RCC ever even dreamed of.

    Brian, i grew up in the early 70’s as a Catholic kid and i couldn’t agree with you more. It was a very confusing time. The free love of the hippies touched us while we were warned about sex. I had come from a divorced family, my mother staunchly Catholic. When i was 18 and living across the country with friends of relatives(long story) i was introduced to a famous artist in his 50’s. I now understand that he was grooming me. My relatives and the adults with whom i resided encouraged me to go out to dinner with him. I was very naive having been raised as i was. I was assaulted. When i broke off the relationship those same women who encouraged me accused me of being wanton and culpable. They saw him as in the clear. Men will be men, you know. I have not shared that incident with very many people. It has only been in the last several years that i now see what happened and understand it. #metoo.
    I will never darken the door of a Catholic church again. I became a Christian. But i have now faced just how diabolical that church system can be. And so i came out of that one too. Very sad.

  5. I expect a much higher standard from those that profess to be “Christians”. I am personally ashamed at the hypocrisy and the wagon circling. We all sin and when we honestly confess (is there anything God doesn’t know) our sins and ask for forgiveness, it will be given by a just, loving God.

  6. God can bring good out of every situation. All should be praying for Jules healing. If Jules can someday forgive Andy this would be a great sign of God’s healing power to non-Christians and Christians alike. Please everyon continue to pray for Jules as she is obviously still hurting and needs to be loved by all Christians. With God all things are possible.

  7. @ Bryan:

    The thing that I see over and over in situations like this is people equating forgiveness and freedom of consequences. If you forgive “whoever the perpetrator is” then all is well and everyone should continue on like nothing happened. There is still the law that has to be dealt with, not just in this case but many others that we see on this blog and others.

  8. “The thing that I see over and over in situations like this is people equating forgiveness and freedom of consequences.”

    What bothers me more is when they play the “Jesus forgives me” card. No, if you want absolution, you need your victim to forgive you.

  9. Bryan wrote:

    If Jules can someday forgive Andy

    Who says Jules has not forgiven Andy? Or is this code for sweep under the rug the facts of a predatory pastor, a fake, a wolf in sheep’s attire?

    Perhaps it would be better to protect vulnerables rather than protect a lying predator using the church as a hunting ground.

  10. @ Paul D.:
    Yes, God forgives.
    Victims forgive.
    Churches forgive.
    And forgiven predators can be outed and not granted position and privilege to prey again, registered as offenders for the protection of all.

  11. JYJames wrote:

    Bryan wrote:

    If Jules can someday forgive Andy

    Who says Jules has not forgiven Andy? Or is this code for sweep under the rug the facts of a predatory pastor, a fake, a wolf in sheep’s attire?

    Perhaps it would be better to protect vulnerables rather than protect a lying predator using the church as a hunting ground.

    Amen!

  12. I want to give Tarana Burke credit for originally creating the me too movement and credit Hannah Paasch and Emily Joy for starting #churchtoo.

  13. @ Paul D.:

    This, and it starts with real repentance and actual changing of behavior, not a let’s all stand up here and say how wonderful he/she is and is so repentant and all of you just need to stop with the nay saying and not talk about anything that transpired because if you do you are bitter and sinfully seeking vengeance.

  14. Paul D. wrote:

    What bothers me more is when they play the “Jesus forgives me” card. No, if you want absolution, you need your victim to forgive you.

    Yes. I don’t care if Jesus forgives you, that’s between you (although I like the guy on twitter who said you better bring a note!).

    In life, you need forgiveness from the one you wronged. You may or may not get it, and that has a whole lot to do with you. Some things are too big to forgive and sometimes people know you’re not really sorry. Andy only thinks he violated his ‘personal purity’ standards so why do his helpful spamy followers think Jules should forgive him? He won’t accept the gravity of what he did!

    As for all the 20 years people, at the risk of posting in more than one thread, I think Anne Lamott has it right:

    Anne Lamott — ‘You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

  15. Forrest wrote:

    It is clear that the story that is being told now is more about the current mishandling of the situation by Highpoint than about the original abuse. The original abuse was dreadful and the way the church handled it back then was abysmal. The way that some of the Highpoint members are still refusing to see things (even the things admitted by the perpetrator) shows exceptional blindness.

    The way Highpoint leadership handled this including basically endorsing Andy Savage before even doing a thorough investigation has made it more about how they mishandled this now.

    What will be interesting to see is how much attendance and contributions drop off in these following weeks at Highpoint Church. I imagine the only thing that will get the attention of Highpoint leadership is if attendance and contributions drop significantly. But then I imagine it will be lower staff people that are laid off first vs. top leadership.

  16. @deb

    Highpoint Church Hits a Low Point

    The manipulators at Highpoint thoroughly deserve it, but – admit it – you did enjoy writing that heading 😉

  17. Without true repentance (and personally to the victim), there should be no forgiveness.

    And if forgiveness happens, that does not negate consequences.

  18. The aftermath of this sad chapter in the American church also revealed the hearts of some members at Highpoint and others sympathetic to abuser rather than victim. The blogosphere has been full of trash-talking commenters with little understanding of what has occurred here. It’s as if they collectively ask “What’s the big deal about a pastor having a sexual encounter with a member of his youth group?!” They just don’t get it!

    Churches like Highpoint are using every gimmick they can to attract the culture, but don’t seem to be instilling Christian character after they get them there. I suspect there is a Highpoint-like church within reach of everyone reading this. America’s youth are flocking there to “experience” church with all the bells and whistles – cool pastors, cool bands.

    Without getting on a band-wagon about New Calvinism again, this appears to be modus operandi at many reformed church plants around the country. New Calvinist pastors in their 20s-30s and their “elder” teams in their 20s-30s mimic message and method of what is working elsewhere to draw a crowd. It’s time for denominations, like SBC, to seriously consider what is going on as Generations X, Y, and Z seek the genuine among the counterfeit. Will young folks no longer respond to the Gospel if it is not filtered through hype?

  19. Michael Flaherty wrote:

    We all sin and when we honestly confess (is there anything God doesn’t know) our sins and ask for forgiveness, it will be given by a just, loving God.

    Michael, this has never been about forgiveness. The primary concern here is about church leadership covering up and restoring a pastor who has failed morally. TWW commenters are not a cold-hearted bunch; most of us are Christians who just want church leaders to do the right thing. When a young pastor betrays the trust of the Body of Christ, he disqualifies himself from ministry.

  20. Very few New-Calvinists have weighed in on this, which is unfortunate given that Highpoint was a TGC church until after this story broke. Al Mohler came out with this yesterday: https://albertmohler.com/2018/01/12/moralism-not-gospel-many-christians-think/.

    Two thoughts:
    1) Why write something generic about morality instead of specifically addressing this particular issue? It gives the appearance of avoidance.
    2) Mohler’s article can be understood to mean that our behavior does not matter much. This is a form of Gnosticism. From the article:
    “Hell will be highly populated with those who were “raised right.” The citizens of heaven will be those who, by the sheer grace and mercy of God, are there solely because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.”
    This type of thinking can lead to a belief that right behavior is not important as long as right beliefs are in place. This is not the historical teaching of Christianity. And I submit that it results in the type of abuses reported in this post.

  21. Max wrote:

    It’s as if they collectively ask “What’s the big deal about a pastor having a sexual encounter with a member of his youth group?!” They just don’t get it!

    People are literally saying that. Mind boggling!

    When you send your teenagers to church do you consider them fair game for any man that wants them!??!!? Have people thought this all the way through???

  22. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    This type of thinking can lead to a belief that right behavior is not important as long as right beliefs are in place. This is not the historical teaching of Christianity.

    We’ve had an outbreak of just that in the 21st century American church. When the priesthood lost their way in Israel “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

  23. I wonder if we sometimes overfocus on the individuals involved, and fail to see the connections that link into the related institutions. Those connections to inside and outside “commenders” who keep the celebrities’ reputations afloat, and to those who attempt to sink all critics into silence, are what create systems of abuse.

    And what can dismantle the system? Maybe it has to do with bringing them into the light, identifying those protective connectors, and dissolving the connections. Thank the Lord for those who shine the spotlight into the darkness of these abusive systems!

  24. After my hands on experiences with rape/ DV victims and facilitating sexual harassment training in organizations years ago, I have concerns with the #metoo movement— to be honest. I don’t equate how the church operates with how world operates. I still believe in due process and always will. I just think church is held to a higher standard. To me, for example, Savage disqualified himself as a minister no matter how it went down. We don’t need court to understand that. And still, had that law in Tx been in effect, he might be facing jail time. That is how serious it is in the world. The church should be a higher standard. Sadly, the church gurus in charge did not think that way.

    I won’t be jumping on the #metoo movement bandwagon because it lumps in everything from rape to annoying flirting. It will hurt real victims. And many celebs who are pushing it are guilty of looking the other way for years, even though well heeled, and now use it for virtue signaling. Some even refuse to name their abuser now. That sort of thing hurts real “nobody” victims—- in the long run.

    Ducking for cover.

  25. Andy… You are WORTHY….of a different kind of job not in the ministry where you make a heck of a lot of money telling people how to get right with God while you assaulted a young girl!!! You are WORTHY of a career where you sruggle like the rest of us and live a humble life and not exercising spiritual authority over others!!!!

  26. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Very few New-Calvinists have weighed in on this, which is unfortunate given that Highpoint was a TGC church until after this story broke. Al Mohler came out with this yesterday: https://albertmohler.com/2018/01/12/moralism-not-gospel-many-christians-think/.

    Two thoughts:
    1) Why write something generic about morality instead of specifically addressing this particular issue? It gives the appearance of avoidance.
    2) Mohler’s article can be understood to mean that our behavior does not matter much. This is a form of Gnosticism. From the article:
    “Hell will be highly populated with those who were “raised right.” The citizens of heaven will be those who, by the sheer grace and mercy of God, are there solely because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.”
    This type of thinking can lead to a belief that right behavior is not important as long as right beliefs are in place. This is not the historical teaching of Christianity. And I submit that it results in the type of abuses reported in this post.

    There is a danger that we get led down a works-based salvation path here. I tend to think of it more along the lines that our behaviour reflects our salvation. In other words, fruit follows.

  27. Lydia wrote:

    After my hands on experiences with rape/ DV victims and facilitating sexual harassment training in organizations years ago, I have concerns with the #metoo movement— to be honest. I don’t equate how the church operates with how world operates. I still believe in due process and always will. I just think church is held to a higher standard. To me, for example, Savage disqualified himself as a minister no matter how it went down. We don’t need court to understand that. And still, had that law in Tx been in effect, he might be facing jail time. That is how serious it is in the world. The church should be a higher standard. Sadly, the church gurus in charge did not think that way.
    I won’t be jumping on the #metoo movement bandwagon because it lumps in everything from rape to annoying flirting. It will hurt real victims. And many celebs who are pushing it are guilty of looking the other way for years, even though well heeled, and now use it for virtue signaling. Some even refuse to name their abuser now. That sort of thing hurts real “nobody” victims—- in the long run.
    Ducking for cover.

    I agree. Awhile back i thought that given enough time the #metoo waters would be mddied and real victms would lose their voice.

  28. Steve240 wrote:

    What will be interesting to see is how much attendance and contributions drop off in these following weeks at Highpoint Church. I imagine the only thing that will get the attention of Highpoint leadership is if attendance and contributions drop significantly. But then I imagine it will be lower staff people that are laid off first vs. top leadership.

    What concerns me is that the investigation into Andy might be short-circuited by the need to bring him back to the pulpit as soon as possible to keep up the cash flow. Why, the giving units might start getting restless and start looking around for another church in Memphis where they can hear a dynamic speaker and have a rock concert-like experience at 9 am on Sunday morning! And this is not speculation. We know giving at the imploded Mars Hill churches in Seattle dropped off in the summer of 2014 when Driscoll was put on a leave of absence.

    I fully expect that Andy Savage will be back in the pulpit in May, and maybe even sooner.

  29. Shannon H. wrote:

    if forgiveness happens, that does not negate consequences

    Consequences. Some defenders of Mr. Savage keep harping about the age of consent (17) in Texas, without seriously considering ‘who’ Mr. Savage was at the time … a youth pastor! Civil matters aside, he escaped proper church discipline in Texas and has enjoyed a prosperous ministry for the last 20 years. Some question the seriousness of the offense, but how serious a matter is this in the Kingdom of God? Is it too much to ask that ALL pastors – young and old – live more righteously? When they fail our trust, is it too much to ask that they face consequences for their actions? Some of us think that a “time-out” restoration process is not appropriate … disqualification from ministry should be the consequence. There are other places to serve in the Body of Christ for those who confess moral failure and repent of that sin, rather than church leadership.

  30. Shannon H. wrote:

    Without true repentance (and personally to the victim), there should be no forgiveness.

    And if forgiveness happens, that does not negate consequences.

    NAILED IT!
    I believe this to be the clear, Biblical model for forgiveness. We must show love toward our enemies who wronged us but forgiveness is based on repentance. We need to separate these two ideas of love and repentance, because the Bible does.

    As a believer, Jules’ responsibility is to (by the power of the Holy Spirit alone is this possible) begin to have love for Andy. Perhaps this has already begun. But she has no responsibility whatsoever to forgive him until he FULLY repents.

    1. Address everyone involved (All those whom you affected)
    2. Avoid if, but, and maybe (Do not try to excuse your wrongs)
    3. Admit specifically (Both attitudes and actions)
    4. Acknowledge the hurt (Express sorrow for hurting someone)
    5. Accept the consequences (Such as making restitution)
    6. Alter your behavior (Change your attitudes and actions)
    7. Ask for forgiveness
    (see http://peacemaker.net/project/seven-as-of-confession/)

    Personally, I skip step 7 when I apologize as I feel it might put pressure on the other person to forgive me. I let them do that in their own time. But the other 6 steps are VITAL to genuine repentance/confession.

    This is my favorite book on the subject of forgiveness–highly recommended!
    https://www.amazon.com/Unpacking-Forgiveness-Biblical-Answers-Questions/dp/1581349807

  31. Question: Do y’all believe Savage would have “taken a leave of absence” if the story hadn’t exploded on nationwide (maybe even worldwide) secular media?

  32. @ Steve240:
    I would love to see the charter, bylaws, etc to see how the power is distributed. Never forget how Driscoll consolidated power.

    Even then it’s tricky. I saw Kevin Ezell take over a congregational polity church by twisting one line in their bylaws. He interpreted church vote to be physical attendance. That left out many elderly tithers in nursing homes, invalids, etc. He won by only a few votes. These guys are cons and brutes.

  33. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Question: Do y’all believe Savage would have “taken a leave of absence” if the story hadn’t exploded on nationwide (maybe even worldwide) secular media?

    After that standing ovation?! Absolutely not!

  34. Max wrote:

    Shannon H. wrote:
    if forgiveness happens, that does not negate consequences
    Amen.

    ….
    Yes. The thief on the cross, beside Jesus, was forgiven by Jesus, but the thief was not removed from the cross. The thief suffered the consequences of his stealing.

  35. Max wrote:

    Civil matters aside, he escaped proper church discipline in Texas

    This part is not getting enough attention. The leaders who let him get a pass are the root of the problem. Who was discipling him?

  36. @ Lydia:
    Let me add, the people purposely left out of the vote were the same ones that made it a debt free church. Mostly elderly blue collar saints. My blood boils every time I think about it.

  37. @ Mercy:
    ……

    Agree as well.
    Some of these Hollywood people were complicit in their silence. They knew but turned a blind eye….for years.
    And, a few budding starlets and studs, had no issue participating in the casting couch, which further fueled the abusers into accepting their own behavior as, just part and parcel of doing business.

  38. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    the need to bring him back to the pulpit as soon as possible to keep up the cash flow … I fully expect that Andy Savage will be back in the pulpit in May, and maybe even sooner

    Only if they can’t locate another cool dude-bro to move to Memphis ASAP. There are plenty just like him out there in culturally-relevant church. With the pressure on Conlee and the whole world now watching in, I suspect that a pastor search committee may be in the offing.

  39. @ Max:
    Exactly… in fact, despite what TWW critics say, their is a wide diversity of people, and outcomes, that TWW posters hold. But, as the Deebs say, it is a place for those abused to have an advocate to tell their story. After many, many decades I have had to listen to preachers, and leaders, bash various other faith groups, and “secular humanists”, on moral and theological grounds.. Sometimes this bashing is more harsh than anything I have read on TWW. And, these preachers tend lump you into the “enemy” if you only partially agree with the enemy, and not 100% behind the preacher ( see Highpoints Sunday service as an example).

    I, for one, want to see not only a voice for the abused by the church, but demand tranparancy and accountability of church leadership…. While there has been much discussion of Jules, the other young people in the youth group were not presented with a very good role model…… they just knew that something physical happened, but then Andy taught on “purity” before marrage a short period of time later?? To this day, I stuggle with other types of church hypocrisy that i grew up with… I bet some in that youth group are struggling with this whole mess also!

    Finally, I for one, am not advocating a complete ban on Andy Savage being in ministry. I do not have all the facts, nor do I know how effective a well run restoration plan/program can be. BUT, I do know enough to see another cover up, and sin leveling expercise going on, and that violates anyone that calls themselves Christians. Churches should, at minimum, practice what public schools practice with respect to teachers being professional with their students….

  40. It appears that commenters at numerous blogs often neglect the fact this man appointed as a member of the pastoral care staff at the church, serving as the Youth Minister was discovered in a bedroom,…alone with Jules Woodson, engaged in tickling & touching this same 17 year old teenager BEFORE his admitted ‘mutual sexual incident’.

    Corrective actions of some type (verbal or written record) were taken by the pastoral leadership, with Pastor Savage being confronted regarding that dangerously compromising position, and directed to never be alone with another female again. It would safely be presumed, that the actual nature of the physical activity (inappropriate ticking & touching) was equally addressed.

    None of the narrative accounts I have (so far) read, indicate that Pastor Savage alerted anyone upon the realization that all the other Youth Group kids had departed the church premises, and he found himself alone again with Jules, …inadvertently in violation of the explicit disciplinary admonishment and directive against such opposite gender presence.

    If that Youth Group activity was allowed to conclude in the previously described manner,…then it is painfully obvious that Pastor Savage held in low regard, both the persons in authority over him, and their efforts to enforce disciplinary measures that restricted his isolated physical proximity to but one gender, and specifically prohibited such inappropriate ‘intimate activity’ (tickling & touching).

    Religious abusers were the focus of Jesus’ most stinging, recurrent public rebukes to a self-promoting, privileged religious order.

    Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees whom were described in scripture, as “loving money”…made it literally, their business, to erect doctrinal barriers that subverted intended financial relief from an adult child to their parent, by the manipulative binding of one’s conscience, through the declaration of such a would-be gift as; “Corban”.

    This same pampered social class in similar fashion, ‘devoured’ widow’s houses, and transformed the reverential, sacred space of the temple courts, into a lucrative commercial enterprise. So egregious, were the animal sacrifice defect-identification scams, and the predatory exchange rates levied by the currency dealers, as to elicit physically vigorous expressions of righteous indignation by Jesus.

    Drawing attention to themselves with inordinately detailed and costly clerical robes adorned by high-capacity phylacteries as a badge of honor, these hypocrites labored to exhibit their piety in contrived public performance of rehearsed prayer, while expecting segregated seating in public venues and to be addressed by honorific titles of distinction.

    That Jesus would even have to address the proper conduct of such individual practices of fasting or bringing an offering to the temple, without undue notice, is yet another blistering condemnation of the profane showmanship the religious leaders adopted, to benefit only themselves.

    Despite their avarice and privilege seeking, it was rather, the ABUSE of the ‘least of these’, the little ones, the uneducated, orphaned, widowed, foreigner or otherwise vulnerable population, that hold a special place of nurtured protection in our Lord’s heart.

    Any false doctrine or unjust action inflicted upon these ‘little ones’ that would become a stumbling block to their well-being, resulted in the most forceful warning from God incarnate, to anyone whom would seek to deceive, exploit or otherwise make victims of his children.

    That a ‘millstone necktie’ and a watery grave, are declared by Jesus, to be the better fate…is an unmistakable, damning pronouncement of the enormity of such sins by those whom violate the welfare of the vulnerable and dependent.

    In light of this, I do not see how anyone calling themselves a biblically literate, born again believer, could trivialize Pastor Savage’s publicly known history of these incidents, or his attempts to deflect responsibility and escape evaluation of fitness to serve in ministry.

  41. @ Dave:
    This is where a “like” button is needed. Great comment. It’s unfortunate that it even needs to be stated, but it does.

  42. Forrest wrote:

    There is a danger that we get led down a works-based salvation path here. I tend to think of it more along the lines that our behaviour reflects our salvation. In other words, fruit follows.

    It’s the either/or thinking on this that leads to error. Some Gnostics believed that physical matter was evil, so it did not matter what you did with your body. An over-emphasis on belief and grace can have a similar (if unintended) effect. Behavior actually does matter, even if behavior alone does not save.

  43. I agree with Jonathan Leeman’s statement that some pastors shouldn’t be restored to the ministry. (I can only assume he is speaking of Andy Savage since in your quote he doesn’t mention Savage by name.) My question is what standard does Leeman use to determine which pastor should be restored and which pastor should not be restored?

    More to the point, apparently in Leeman’s book sexual assault = no restoration, whereas blackmail, conspiring to cover up the sexual abuse of children and starting a hush fund to keep a pastor from joining a lawsuit against his denomination = restoration.

    I am speaking of course of C.J. Mahaney. Jonathan Leeman’s boss is Mark Dever. Mark Dever has strongly supported C.J. Mahaney in spite of very credible evidence concerning the above mentioned items. Dever has spoken at Mahaney’s run-away church plant, allowed Mahaney to flee church discipline by attending his church and shared the conference stage with him at T4G. (Which he will be doing again in April.)

    In my opinion there are no bigger hypocrites than Dever/Leeman and neither one of them should be advising other churches or publishing editorials on who should or should not be restored to the pastorate.

  44. Highpoint has a young congregation full of people relying on Savage and Conlee to tie their spiritual shoelaces for them.

    One need only listen to the calls to Ferguson’s show after the Savage interview. It was full of truly immature Highpoint attendees saying things like (in Valley girl speak)…”OMG…Andy is just soooo spiritual…we should totally forgive him…ya’ll who are criticizing just need to back off…you don’t know him…he is A-MA-ZING…he performed my sister’s wedding!”

    Mocking the call is done less to humiliate the immaturity, than to put a special onus on Savage & Conlee—these immature believers who are trustingly kissing their feet will one day be called upon to be leaders in their church (whether Highpoint or some other church). How they will react in crisis and failures of the church is being indelibly imprinted on their minds by Conlee and Savage’s selfish mishandling and misrepresentations.

    This is another significant reason these guys should be removed from the pastorate.

    “Let not many of you be teachers…”

  45. A suggestion for the Deebs. If the cowardly Leeman offers a comment on your blog I urge you to block it. You may recall that in September 2016 Leeman had published an article on his 9Marx website which received many negative comments. He removed many of them because of “strong language.” The truth is the comments were well written and well thought out but they disagreed with Leeman’s narrative. I believe The Wartburg Watch called him out on this and I did as well. His response? He ceased allowing comments on any of his articles.

    If you want to read more about this and see the comments he deleted you can check out my article “Jonathan Leeman: Parsing Words and Deleting Comments” here: https://thouarttheman.org/2016/09/24/jonathan-leeman-parsing-words-deleting-comments/

  46. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    I am speaking of course of C.J. Mahaney. Jonathan Leeman’s boss is Mark Dever. Mark Dever has strongly supported C.J. Mahaney in spite of very credible evidence concerning the above mentioned items. Dever has spoken at Mahaney’s run-away church plant, allowed Mahaney to flee church discipline by attending his church and shared the conference stage with him at T4G. (Which he will be doing again in April.)

    In my opinion there are no bigger hypocrites than Dever/Leeman and neither one of them should be advising other churches or publishing editorials on who should or should not be restored to the pastorate.

    FYI…Dever is one of the scheduled speakers at the Downline Ministries summit conference in Memphis in a couple of weeks (http://downlineministries.com/podcast/everything-need-know-downline-summit/). This is the same conference where Conlee was scheduled to speak until Downline dis-invited him because it would look bad in the current media climate.

    I would love to say that Downline dis-invited Conlee due to their strong moral compass, but the guys leading Downline (Kennon Vaughan, John Bryson, Soup Campbell, Hamp Holcomb) are the same ship of fools who knowingly hired profuse child molester, Pete Newman, and brought him to Memphis while he was out on bail, and are the same cretins who conspired to cover for exposed video voyeur, Rick Trotter, and paid him handsomely with unknowing donors’ money long after he was caught clandestinely filming women and children in church bathrooms, etc.

  47. One problem with invited 3rd party investigations is that they generally don’t get to choose what to investigate. From what I understand they will only be investigating the policies of Highpoint, Andy’s ministry and his conduct there. They won’t be investigating the “incident” of abuse.
    So of course they will stand behind him after it’s all done.

  48. On Highpoint Church no longer being in the Gospel Coalition church directory, I actually don’t think that’s a good thing. The church directory only claims to be a list of churches (really pastors) who choose to affirm TGC’s doctrinal statement. If it’s actually an approval of the individual church’s governance, that’s a new development that needs to be publicly announced. If not, they’re just hiding. I know of a “gospel-centered” church where the head pastor fired all the elders who declared him unfit for ministry that’s still in the directory.

    The only thing I can see TGC has been talking about since January 5 is steaming hot takes on politics, “Planting a Church is Lonely”, and “How the Hero of ‘Doctor Who’ Is—and Is Not—Like Jesus”.

  49. Might I suggest that Highpoint changes it’s tagline to “A Perfect Place for Imperfect Sexual Predators” ?

    They should hurry and trademark that, though, before Fellowship Memphis, Bellevue, Germantown Baptist, Downline Ministries, Second Presbyterian, First Evan, Memphis Athletic Ministries, Downtown Church, etc. claim rightful dibs on it!

  50. The Highpoint service just shows us what really hides behind the smiles of the Sunday service. Authoritarianism and obedience. Slavish following of a personality cult in love with power more than the deity they profess faith in.
    There are sins & then there are sins. They are not all equal. Only the victim can forgive & only if it’s to their benefit. That does not mean the event is erased.
    These churches are just pasted together, like the biblical passages they string together completely out of context. Frankenchurch money machines. They kind of look christian but are made up of dead bits.

  51. Max wrote:

    The aftermath of this sad chapter in the American church also revealed the hearts of some members at Highpoint and others sympathetic to abuser rather than victim. The blogosphere has been full of trash-talking commenters with little understanding of what has occurred here. It’s as if they collectively ask “What’s the big deal about a pastor having a sexual encounter with a member of his youth group?!” They just don’t get it!

    Churches like Highpoint are using every gimmick they can to attract the culture, but don’t seem to be instilling Christian character after they get them there. I suspect there is a Highpoint-like church within reach of everyone reading this. America’s youth are flocking there to “experience” church with all the bells and whistles – cool pastors, cool bands.

    Without getting on a band-wagon about New Calvinism again, this appears to be modus operandi at many reformed church plants around the country. New Calvinist pastors in their 20s-30s and their “elder” teams in their 20s-30s mimic message and method of what is working elsewhere to draw a crowd. It’s time for denominations, like SBC, to seriously consider what is going on as Generations X, Y, and Z seek the genuine among the counterfeit. Will young folks no longer respond to the Gospel if it is not filtered through hype?

    We have to be careful to not ascribe the sex abuse to the type of church it is. The church that the pastor sexually abused me in was small, about 60 – people on a typical Sunday, very traditional Baptist, only songs we sang were hymns and the only instruments piano and maybe organ. And the pastor was not Calvinist. Sexual abuse, unfortunately, happens in churches of all styles. #churchtoo

  52. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    FYI…Dever is one of the scheduled speakers at the Downline Ministries summit conference in Memphis in a couple of weeks

    Thanks, I wasn’t aware of that. Not surprised.

    BTW, I was wondering if Ed Stetzer and Jonathan Leeman were in attendance at the last T4G conference when Al Mohler introduced his good friend, C.J. Mahaney? He made some stupid jokes in an attempt to belittle those bloggers who have stood up against C.J. Mahaney in defense of those sexually abused in his denomination. The audience of mostly men laughed with approval.

  53. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):
    I think you are right. My thought is that our behavior matters so much because of how it affects God’s children, the people all around us. Protestants (I am one, I guess) are always arguing the faith/works dichotomy that they miss the simple fact that a life well lived is one that loves all those around us. The Calvinistas would rather build these complex moral systems on “total depravity” and “imputed righteousness” that they miss the simple call of Jesus to live out of his love.

  54. Max wrote:

    Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Question: Do y’all believe Savage would have “taken a leave of absence” if the story hadn’t exploded on nationwide (maybe even worldwide) secular media?

    After that standing ovation?! Absolutely not!

    Let’s be honest…he’s getting a paid vacation!

  55. I listened to the whole three hours of Ben’s show and called in. Mine was the first call taken after the interview. I held on through the entire interview hoping to grill Andy with some tough questions but unfortunately no calls were taken during the interview.

    Ben was tougher on Andy than I thought he would be yet still protective. Andy did exactly as I expected. He minimized his role and responsibility in every aspect. He was a young college kid not a 22 year old youth pastor, not a senior in college pressuring a junior in high school for sex, and definitely not a youth pastor responsible for the welfare of a minor. He was forced to admit that he lied by omission (only admitted to kissing) when he claimed that he confessed to Cotton the day after he took advantage of Jules. Over all I found him unbelievable and felt that he tried to tailor his testimony and triangulate his responses. He admitted that the “going away” party was strange which I think tips us that the whole truth never came out contra Andy’s repeated assertions that he confessed it all to everyone involved. He also admitted that the standing ovation was weird, so there’s a whole lot of strange weirdness associated with Andy and the churches that he has been affiliated with.

    When Ben took my call after the interview had concluded, he prefaced it by saying that he was going to my call first and I’m not sure exactly how he phrased it but it was because I was in an adversarial position to Andy (when the call screener queried me about what I would say, I said “Shame on Andy and shame on Highpoint”). Ben didn’t give me much of a chance to talk and frequently interrupted but I told him that I didn’t believe Andy’s story, especially his account of apologizing to Mr. Woodson, whom he claimed said that he understood the situation and nothing more, kind of like, it was no big deal, which again leads me to conclude that the oral sex wasn’t revealed. Ben then abruptly hung up on me and almost every caller after was a member of Highpoint obsequiously fawning over Andy with almost zero concern for Jules.

    What webs of lies we weave when first we practice to deceive.

  56. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    BTW, I was wondering if Ed Stetzer and Jonathan Leeman were in attendance at the last T4G conference when Al Mohler introduced his good friend, C.J. Mahaney? He made some stupid jokes in an attempt to belittle those bloggers who have stood up against C.J. Mahaney in defense of those sexually abused in his denomination. The audience of mostly men laughed with approval.

    I mentioned this to you on Twitter, but it’s worth mentioning here. T4G is pretty much a male-only space. (From their FAQ: “T4G is designed primarily to encourage pastors and church leaders, but ALL are welcome to attend.” But not really encouraged.) It’s ironic, then that the male pastors they bring forward as leaders are people like C.J. Mahaney, who covered up a sexual abuse scandal at CLC, and his buddies, like Al Mohler, Mark Dever and the rest, who basically gave Mahaney an out when he left CLC and went to Louisville.

    There is a nice sidewalk and plaza in front of the YUM! Center in Louisville. I’ve looked at it several times on Google Street View. I’m seriously considering a visit to Louisville to conveniently coincide with T4G (April 11-13) because I think the young, impressionable pastor wannabes and older pastors need to be confronted with the fact that T4G has supported and promoted CJ Mahaney all these years.

  57. Bryan wrote:

    If Jules can someday forgive Andy this would be a great sign of God’s healing power to non-Christians and Christians alike. Please everyone continue to pray for Jules as she is obviously still hurting…

    Bryan, it sounds like your heart is in the right place, but I believe you’re confused about the nature of forgiveness. Forgiveness is often, and mistakenly, taught as an instant cure for the pain of being abused or betrayed. But that’s not true. Forgiveness doesn’t always take away the pain.

    Imagine that your spine is crushed because you were hit by a drunk driver. Even if you fully forgive the driver, you’re going to live with a lifetime of pain and disability. Your forgiveness won’t lessen the driver’s legal, financial, or social liabilities. He would still be arrested and charged, he would still lose his license, and he would still be liable for monetary damages. It’s just the nature of the physical world: actions have consequences.

    In the same way, emotional wounds can cause pain that never completely goes away. That, too, is a normal consequence, when the injury is severe enough.

    Holding perpetrators accountable is the one of the most important ways we can help a victim heal. You wrote of displaying God’s healing power to Christians and non-Christians. Surely, if we refused to tolerate abuse, shallow repentance, and cover-ups in our own midst, instead of hiding them or (what’s worse) giving them a standing ovation, that would also be a mighty display of God’s power, both to the church and the unbelieving world.

  58. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    “Hell will be highly populated with those who were “raised right

    Even if that is true…that doesn’t mean that good manner and basic decency are bad! That’s nuts!

  59. There will be a response, or should I call it an explosion, coming from Jules in the near future. I will notify this blog as soon as I can. The standing ovation was the absolute worst mistake that the church could have made. The number of famous people who sat up and took notice is larger and growing larger by the minute.
    Jules has been offered opportunities that I never thought I would see in my years in blogging.

    In the meantime, please pray for her strength and for her peace.

  60. In the meantime, when Savage said he has an “organic sexual experience* with Jules, I started coughing so hard I almost choked.I want this to become a meme at TWW. We will call if Savage’s OSM.

  61. Also, if you have a name beginning with the letter *J*. you have been inadvertently going into moderation. Last week, I had to ban a guy who posted as *J*. I sent his info to moderation, never once considering the possibility that the moderation thingy would stop all names starting with *J*.

    It is now fixed. I am sorry.

  62. Forrest wrote:

    There is a danger that we get led down a works-based salvation path here. I tend to think of it more along the lines that our behaviour reflects our salvation. In other words, fruit follows.

    Gotta’ respectfully disagree with you Forrest. Standard Protestant doctrine teaches a one-directional ‘if then’ relationship between faith and works, your (generic your) works are only good if you have prior ‘faith’.
    In other words, your ‘works’ cannot be counted as ‘faith’.

    I see the ‘faith’–‘works’ operands differently. I see them with the bi-directional operator ‘if and only if’,
    you can’t have one without the other, one is a sufficient condition for the other to exist.

  63. Lydia wrote:

    . To me, for example, Savage disqualified himself as a minister no matter how it went down. We don’t need court to understand that.

    Completely agree with this.

    There is no amount of ‘consent’ that would have made his actions acceptable. Period.

  64. If this were not such a $#@@ serious situation, I would be making so many sarcastic comments w/r “organic sexual moment”……. 。

  65. How do I explain things like this to non-Christians…..I mean seriously. I’ve tried for years and I have no answers. My Chinese daughter in law sees people here that call themselves ( In the family) Christian do some of the most horrible things. Racism at the top of the list. The fact a church she visited while here in Houston had a budget larger than the 6 school districts combined surrounding my home?
    Do these people not care? Do pastors see it only as a business now?
    Is the organized church so broken it needs to torn down and started over?
    I have wondered about this since seminary. Is there an answer? Or Is the American church going to exsist much like the one in Europe?

  66. Lea wrote:

    There is no amount of ‘consent’ that would have made his actions acceptable. Period.

    Yea. And even if he would have only taken her out for ice cream, it still would have been wrong because he should not have been alone with her, he should not have been pursuing a relationship because of his pastoral role, and he did not have anyone’s permission to do anything but drive her home (even that should not have been allowed). There is so much wrong with this on so many levels, yet many people are tripping over themselves to justify it. This needs to serve as a wake up call for youth ministers and churches everywhere. It’s not just about Andy, it’s about making sure that appropriate controls are in place in every youth ministry.

  67. Abigailj wrote:

    Andy… You are WORTHY….of a different kind of job not in the ministry where you make a heck of a lot of money telling people how to get right with God while you assaulted a young girl!!! You are WORTHY of a career where you sruggle like the rest of us and live a humble life and not exercising spiritual authority over others!!!!

    I’ll never get over that girl screaming you are worthy to this guy….

  68. Beth Duncan wrote:

    We have to be careful to not ascribe the sex abuse to the type of church it is. The church that the pastor sexually abused me in was small, about 60 – people on a typical Sunday, very traditional Baptist, only songs we sang were hymns and the only instruments piano and maybe organ. And the pastor was not Calvinist. Sexual abuse, unfortunately, happens in churches of all styles. #churchtoo

    Indeed. And across all denominations. I daresay this isn’t even a “Christian” thing.
    The issue is exacerbated by closed communities that are xenophobic, foster a real us vs them mentality. The only accountability is to structure that has been rigged to protect itself and project a smooth face to outsiders (with the intention to draw them in).
    This could apply to Baptists, Catholics, Scientology or Hollywood.

  69. K.D. wrote:

    How do I explain things like this to non-Christians…..I mean seriously. I’ve tried for years and I have no answers. My Chinese daughter in law sees people here that call themselves ( In the family) Christian do some of the most horrible things. Racism at the top of the list. The fact a church she visited while here in Houston had a budget larger than the 6 school districts combined surrounding my home?
    Do these people not care? Do pastors see it only as a business now?
    Is the organized church so broken it needs to torn down and started over?
    I have wondered about this since seminary. Is there an answer? Or Is the American church going to exsist much like the one in Europe?

    that is a great question. I no longer know how to explain things to family of mine who are unbelievers or in doubt. I can’t explain my own doubt about these things. I am sad, sickened, and broken. I can’t put things together anymore. How do I explain to my grandchildren that people outside the church care more about sexual assault than people inside the church do? I am holding on to God and Jesus with everything I have, because people who call themselves “his people” have done so much irreparable damage in my life and the lives of others that my faith is at its lowest point ever.

  70. @ Lydia:
    Thank you. I was not impressed with the me too movement for that same reason. Me too covers a guy whistling as you walk by a construction site and a brutal rape of a child. I felt my attack was trivialized by me too, and did not participate. But I am thankful others felt braver and I completely support victims.

  71. Muff Potter wrote:

    I see the ‘faith’–‘works’ operands differently. I see them with the bi-directional operator ‘if and only if’,
    you can’t have one without the other, one is a sufficient condition for the other to exist.

    And this is also part of the problem. A person should be judged by their actions irrespective of faith. Highpoint Church is using Andy’s faith to justify his exoneration.
    And who defines “faith” anyway? All religions claim their faith as “true”.
    A person’s actions are the only money in the bank, the only tangible measurement we have.

  72. @ Muff Potter:
    The other question we have to ask is what are works? I was taught things like attending church, bible study, and “sharing my faith.” What if works are just living with hearts full of love towards others. When you start questioning what you have been taught, sometimes it strongly resembles a house of cards…

  73. Jack wrote:

    foster a real us vs them mentality.

    I see this is the main problem as well. Once you are “at war,” it is easy to justify all sorts of horrible actions that would never happens in “peacetime.” This happens in actual wars and in the culture war tut evangelicals have been told by people like Al Mohler that we have to fight.

  74. @ Beth Duncan:
    I agree. Not everything is a Calvinist problem, or a youth group problem or a modern service problem. They are human problems of abuse. Some systems do a better job protecting the vulnerable and we should absolutely study that, but all systems can fail when the heart is wrong.

  75. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    If this were not such a $#@@ serious situation, I would be making so many sarcastic comments w/r “organic sexual moment”……. 。

    As a word choice, it’s uncomfortably close to orgasmic too..

  76. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    Finally, I for one, am not advocating a complete ban on Andy Savage being in ministry. I do not have all the facts, nor do I know how effective a well run restoration plan/program can be.

    Really? I disagree because of this:

    Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    BUT, I do know enough to see another cover up, and sin leveling expercise going on, and that violates anyone that calls themselves Christians.

    Andy Savage had been covering up and sin leveling for 20 years. This disqualifies a second time in my book. The first disqualifying act being that night 20 years ago.

  77. “As we have often observed, it takes years for some who have been abused to come forward and finally reveal what happened. Why so long?”
    +++++++++++++++++

    it can be a fog, bewildering, confusing, layers of primary and secondary pain and dysfunctions but you learn to live with it all.

    then all of a sudden: crystal clarity.

    fog vanishes.

  78. dee wrote:

    meantime, when Savage said he has an “organic sexual experience* with Jules, I started coughing so hard I almost choked.I want this to become a meme at TWW. We will call if Savage’s OSM.

    Before I read about Savage’s comment, if someone had asked to to take a wild guess at what an “organic sexual experience” is, I would have thought: maybe when bees pollinate flowering plants?

    Never dreamed I would associate a beehive with the Memphis Borg hive.

  79. Forrest wrote:

    It is clear that the story that is being told now is more about the current mishandling of the situation by Highpoint than about the original abuse. The original abuse was dreadful and the way the church handled it back then was abysmal. The way that some of the Highpoint members are still refusing to see things (even the things admitted by the perpetrator) shows exceptional blindness.

    Exactly! During the radio interview Andy Savage said he knew this family for 3 years!

    After I let that sink in, I became even more angry at how this situation was allowed to be covered up. He was most likely known and trusted to Jules since she was 14 years old! So, those saying that she was 17 and of age, sorry, that just does not fly given the relationship. It’s just creepy.

    This fact should make every single person sincerely question his bizarre account and blame shifting.

  80. Regarding the “it’s 20 years ago!, get over it” tactic.

    Why does law enforcement and the general public care about solving “cold cases”?

    Why are numerous TV shows produced that feature solving cold case crimes that are 20,30, 40 or more years old?

    Because identifying the perpetrator, exposing the facts and bringing some measure of truth, justice or resolution on behalf of a victim is incredibly satisfying and commendable.

    Sometimes the perpetrator has lived for many years getting along with others, acting as if they are a decent person, a pillar of the community. Sometimes there were witnesses that never came forward, due to fear, personal friendship, participation, etc. We still care about decades old rapes, kidnappings, murders. We still care about Nazi war crimes from 75 very long years ago.

    Bringing to light an assault that occurred 20 years ago…has merit; because the truth was not declared and justice was not served at the time it happened.

  81. FW Rez wrote:

    If you figure out who has the power, let me know.

    I don’t need to read it to know it is Conlee and Savage. They started the church.

  82. @ K.D.:
    I finally admitted to my kids when they were younger that I couldn’t explain the “believers” to them after some very hypocritical situations in private Christian school. (Still the academics and learning envirnment was better there than our public system) I have since readjusted my approach to focusing more on what’s good and evil. Deception and betrayal are high on the list of evil behavior because it always starts with deception and ends in betrayal. I mean, if you can’t trust Christians….what’s the point? If everyone, including Christians, perpetually sin against each other,why bother adding the institutional church to your long to do list?

  83. @ FW Rez:
    Thanks for looking that up. I won’t bother reading since there is someone with the title of President and elders are appointed which I assume are over every satellite campus. . Sigh. We also have the merger situation to consider in all this when looking at the character and integrity of the leaders. And all that paperwork.

  84. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Question: Do y’all believe Savage would have “taken a leave of absence” if the story hadn’t exploded on nationwide (maybe even worldwide) secular media?

    After the emotion manipulation show they put on? No way.

  85. @ The other deb:
    Exactly… and those with tenaged sons and daughters need to really about the whole thing……. further, what kind of long term leagcy does that leave with the other youth group members, and that church?? Finally, how would Highpoint handle a similar situation today? They are a mega church, with lots of people and kids/tenagers, and as defenders of Andy Savage say, “ boys will be boys”, and I guess “girls will be girls”? Are. Ot the parents at Highpoint at least mildly concerned? I think they have a Christain school well. Can the tae hers there have “organic moments” with the students?

  86. @ Jeffrey J Chalmers:
    Oh the word choices. It’s a cool hip thing they did not invent. It goes back to the 80’s when Megas adopted the emerging leadership models in business from groups like Kinsey, Ken Blanchard, Tom Peters and other gurus. It became all the rage to peruse the thesarus and create a tribal language. I was out just as the “DNA” rage got started.

    We could have some fun with it someday. Being as we are so “woke” and all, now. 🙂

  87. Please pass along my prayers and support to Jules. I hurt for her. I am a 40-year old man who was abused by my then-40-year-old pastor when I was 19. He took advantage of the fact that he was my pastor, former campus minister, boss (I was on staff at his church), roommate, landlord, mentor, and confidant about things I was going through in my life at that time. I had no thought in my mind that he was attracted to men (and apparently boys, as he was convicted later for a previous assault on a minor). He even had a “girlfriend” at the time. I was trusting and naive. I have often felt very stupid because I didn’t see what was going on. I have led a mostly happy and fulfilled life (in marriage and ministry specifically) but I have only just now in the past 2-3 years begun to deal with what happened to me and to confide in a few safe people and get help. Looking back, it affected me much more than I had realized. Trump and this whole #metoo #churchtoo movement have given me the comfort of solidarity with other survivors but also great sadness and anger. Jules, we believe you and are behind you. Dee and Deb, thank you for what you do.

  88. I pulled up the Highpoint bylaws and read them – some sections two or three times. Some statements are vague, but I got the distinct impression that Savage and Conlee control the church.

  89. drstevej wrote:

    Page Not Found

    But the donation page is still there. Why does he need donations if he is getting a church salary?

  90. Jack wrote:

    This could apply to Baptists, Catholics, Scientology or Hollywood.

    Ah, Scientology, the gold standard of cults everywhere. Back in 1995, a Scientologist was convicted of molesting his two stepdaughters. The Co$ knew about it, but because this guy had an elite status (I believe he was in “power” at the time, and please don’t ask me to explain it), the mother was told not to report it to the police. It did get reported to the police, and the guy was convicted of child sexual abuse. He got out of prison in 2013 but has to register as a sex offender. That’s neither the first or the last time sex crimes were covered up in Scientology.

  91. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Very few New-Calvinists have weighed in on this, which is unfortunate given that Highpoint was a TGC church until after this story broke. Al Mohler came out with this yesterday: https://albertmohler.com/2018/01/12/moralism-not-gospel-many-christians-think/.

    I looked at article and did write Mr. Mohler urging him to write an article on clergy abuse considering recent events at Highpoint and SGM. I also mentioned “easy grace” and trotting out Calvinistic platitudes instead of dealing with abusive leaders correctly. This is coming from one who has Calvinistic leanings but also understands there are painful consequences for our actions. I wrote to him another time considering another issue but never heard back-this time will be the same. Considering all that has been going on this past year, I have become disillusioned with our evangelical thought leaders, but have also learned to be more discerning.

  92. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    drstevej wrote:

    Page Not Found

    But the donation page is still there. Why does he need donations if he is getting a church salary?

    Part of the ministry racket. These guys have so many simultaneous personal income streams coming in at once, it would spin your head. When added to their personal perks paid for by the church (e.g. gym memberships, meals, personal assistants, travel etc.) and the unique ministry write-offs (e.g their homes as “parsonages”, opting out of social security, etc.), ministry is a very lucrative gig these days.

    BTW…people who work for normal businesses “full-time” are expected to give their FULL TIME to that one organization. Google doesn’t let you moonlight for Facebook or promote your paid speaking gigs for Apple while on the clock.

    The ministry scam is so good, and there is so much reciprocation between pastors (e.g. “I’ll pay you to do a speaking gig at my church, and then you can do the same for me”) that no pastor wants to speak out against evil in the pastorate when they see it; if you insult a club member, you’re out of the club and your wallet thins appreciably.

    Meanwhile, the rest of us do ministry for free. These guys can’t imagine not getting paid handsomely for it! Again, Jesus violently turned the money tables over on these type of people and practices–it is high time we do the same!

  93. I’m curious then.

    I’m assuming Ed Stetzer and Jonathan Leeman are now arms and doors wide open ready to listen to women (and anyone else) about women, abuse, mistreatment, and trauma and how that all manifests and plays out specifically in the SBC.

    No?

    There’s a complex (or not so complex) system of theological thought and practice that allows stories like Jules, and a lot of us have already walked and suffered on the roads and trails to see where it all comes from and how it all connects.

  94. emily honey wrote:

    I’m assuming Ed Stetzer and Jonathan Leeman are now arms and doors wide open ready to listen to women (and anyone else) about women, abuse, mistreatment, and trauma and how that all manifests and plays out specifically in the SBC.

    No?

    Yeah, I totally don’t buy it, either. Both of them are playing political games.

  95. @ Steve240:

    Whenever my church gets recommendations for a new hire, one of the questions is “do you know of anything else that could prevent this candidate from serving effectively in our congregation?” Obviously, you need to depend on the honesty of the reference, but this question prevented a couple of prospective candidates from being hired on the last search committee I served on. It was just the lingering doubts that made us say no.

  96. @ Lea:
    My mom, who has now been gone a few years, used to warn me about youthful preachers and what in her day they called “after meetings.” The starry eyed girls would go back, and often get special, but not appropriate, attention. This was during the large-scale youth rallies of the late 40s, early 50s.

  97. Lance wrote:

    I wrote to him another time considering another issue but never heard back-this time will be the same.

    These guys don’t seem to respond to people outside their bubble. I’ve sent reasonable questions to Mohler, Piper, Challies, Ligon Duncan, and a few others. No replies. The people inside that bubble only seem to communicate inside that bubble. All the rest of us are considered liberal compromisers.

  98. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    The ministry scam is so good,

    And apparently very old. The Didache is a very old Christian writing. Chapter 12 has this:
    1. Let everyone who “comes in the Name of the Lord” be received; but when you have tested him you shall know him, for you shall have understanding of true and false.
    2. If he who comes is a traveller, help him as much as you can, but he shall not remain with you more than two days, or, if need be, three.
    3. And if he wishes to settle among you and has a craft, let him work for his bread.
    4. But if he has no craft provide for him according to your understanding, so that no man shall live among you in idleness because he is a Christian.
    5. But if he will not do so, he is making traffic of Christ; beware of such.

    Beware of those “making traffic of Christ”

  99. Lance wrote:

    Considering all that has been going on this past year, I have become disillusioned with our evangelical thought leaders, but have also learned to be more discerning.

    Yes, discernment! Nothing will change a “thought leader” on abuse, regardless of his or her platform or writing credentials, until he or she understands the intersection between patriarchy (a system of male dominance & control) and abuse.

    In her excellent post, Rebecca Kotz, says: “Patriarchy may take new forms, but the oppression and the system that executes it remain the same. . . . We have a spiritual and moral responsibility to dismantle patriarchy and build a world where women are safe, respected, and treated with dignity. We know our enemy well by now. We will not allow it to deter, silence, or exhaust us in 2018. We persisted in 2017. We will persist again. ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9)'”

    Here’s her post of 1/9/2018 on supporting victims/survivors of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault in 2018:

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

  100. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    If the cowardly Leeman offers a comment on your blog I urge you to block it.

    I usually agree with you but not in this case. First Leeman would not lower himself to comment here but if he were it would only add to understanding, the least of which is highlighting the hypocrisy of not allowing comments on his site.

  101. Lydia wrote:

    After the emotion manipulation show they put on? No way.

    Many times I’ve been disappointed hoping people would come to their senses yet I still hold hope that many at Highpoint will in the coming months have the ability to step back and see they were manipulated into a standing ovation. It likely won’t start with a clear articulation, just a growing level of mistrust. Yes there are always the enforcers and true believers but I have some hope for the rest, else how did I get here.

  102. Highpoint preaches the false gospel of prosperity. Those members simply are not taught the Bible. Even their website blurb on the importance of reading the Bible directs them to buy a book written by Conley on how to read the Bible. Go watch the sermon by Andy from 11-19-2017 and see him put his words, not scripture, up on the screen. Well, he does put Matthew 6:25 up and says that is Jesus giving us a theology of prosperity. This is what churches all over hear every Sunday from these so-called pastors who are being churned out by the thousands from leadership programs that teach how to merchandise this false theology. The reason their church members are defending Andy is because they follow him instead of Jesus.

  103. @ Linn:
    Your mom was one smart lady!
    About back then and now, apparently nothing new under the sun.
    The after-party sounds like youth ministry with benefits.

  104. @ Linn:
    It seems like we didn’t used to shirk from calling these kind of guys ‘cads’ or worse. Remember how Rhett butler in gwtw ‘wasn’t received’?

  105. I wanted to comment on two issues:
    1. Someone accused Dee of “amateurish” writing and she conceded this fact. You do not have to be a “professional” to write with clarity, strength and skill. You do not have to be a “private investigator” to do first rate investigation and perform quality research and reporting. Add to the fact that so many “professionals” obfuscate the truth.
    2. A comment on people saying “the incident” occurred 20 years ago. When one has experienced abuse or abusive behavior one does not forget, even after 50 years. The “sting” may go away but not the memory. You may forgive the perp but may never trust them again nor ever wish to see them in positions of power. The fact of the matter is that many people suffer but will never tell another soul-not even their spouse. I would guess that those who mention the “20 years ago idea” personally know someone who has been abused or has a friend who has never mentioned it to them. Why don’t they go ask a loved one about abuse and see what happens when the say, “Oh, that was 10,15,20,30 years ago, why don’t you just forgive and forget?”

  106. Considering all that has been going on this past year, I have become disillusioned with our evangelical thought leaders, but have also learned to be more discerning.

    after listening to the radio interview again today something struck a nerve and I began to count up how many times Andy Savage says he received “wise counsel”

    He sought “wise counsel” when he confessed.
    He sought “wise counsel” when he says he was told no one else besides a future wife ever needed to be made aware of what happened.
    He sought “wise counsel” after showing his wife the email in which “wise counsel” encouraged him to not respond to
    He sought “wise counsel” and was encouraged to tell his story on the radio

    Definition of “wise counsel” – what your itchy ears want to hear

    This is why so many are disillusioned. Many of these evangelical leaders are in an echo chamber of their own understanding that can be removed of clear, biblical mandates when it does not suit. The danger; they are utterly convinced of their own superior knowledge.

  107. Lance wrote:

    Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Very few New-Calvinists have weighed in on this, which is unfortunate given that Highpoint was a TGC church until after this story broke. Al Mohler came out with this yesterday: https://albertmohler.com/2018/01/12/moralism-not-gospel-many-christians-think/.

    I looked at article and did write Mr. Mohler urging him to write an article on clergy abuse considering recent events at Highpoint and SGM. I also mentioned “easy grace” and trotting out Calvinistic platitudes instead of dealing with abusive leaders correctly. This is coming from one who has Calvinistic leanings but also understands there are painful consequences for our actions. I wrote to him another time considering another issue but never heard back-this time will be the same. Considering all that has been going on this past year, I have become disillusioned with our evangelical thought leaders, but have also learned to be more discerning.

    sorry @lance – I was trying to block quote you in the above.

  108. Donna D. wrote:

    @ Nancy2 (aka Kevlar):

    No way. But once it got out into the secular press, it became harder to control.

    ++++++++++++
    If there is any doubt about whether they’d have covered it up further without extensive media attention (or if there is any “hope” provided by Austin Stone suspending Larry Cotton for his role–pending the vague “3rd party” investigation), check out the recent WatchKeep post (https://twitter.com/watchkeep?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor) from the plea she got from a victim of Austin Stone….

    “Hey, admin. Would you mind contacting me directly? I have a story to tell about an elder at the Austin Stone ignoring me when I reported a rape case. I was victim shamed and the rapist got promoted to being a small group leader. When I emailed the head pastors about it a year ago, I got no reply. I want to share my story. The only reason the Austin Stone removed Cotton is because this story is public. They did not remove the elder who ignored my story on the other hand because it was not public.”
    ++++++++
    In short, these churches NEVER do the right thing for the right reasons. They only do CYA moves when publicly shamed.

  109. @ Linn:
    There’s a today parallel, now that you mention it.
    The Sunday night edgy trending worship service with a coffee bar before & after, at the back:
    – sweet young single Bible study gals, young professionals or college age, on their own, milling about…
    – the past-prime but still primed older in-shape dude-bro single guys (that look just like Andy here BTW – touch of gray, rough-tanned), networking through the gal groups…

    pick-up time for Jesus. Sick.

  110. @ Lance:
    On the 20 years thing also…even if the individuals in question were all forgiven, healed and had done nothing at all wrong since (respectively) it can still be a good idea to talk about how badly everything was handled then, and how impactful this was, and how it should never have happened.

    Because this? It’s not just about Andy and Jules. It’s about proper respectful behavior, decency, choices to support those who’ve been hurt. It’s about being truthful and not blaming the wrong person. It’s about making wise decisions at churches everywhere when things like this happen – because they happen all the time and they are handled wrong all the time.

    It’s about dismantling the good ole boy network that Denys and covers and runs the women out to deal with trauma on their own while the church supports the cause of the trauma with parties and jobs and lies.

    It’s about learning from our mistakes, which we cannot do if we don’t know they are mistakes. Which we will not do if there are no consequences.

  111. Lea wrote:

    it can still be a good idea to talk about how badly everything was handled

    Yes. Things could be handled better.
    http://www.slate.com/authors.ruth_graham.html
    – How the Evangelical Culture of Forgiveness Hurts Victims of Sexual Abuse
    – One Group That Thinks Grown Men “Courting” Teen Girls Is Natural? Fundamentalist Home-Schoolers

  112. Saw this tweet:
    @Julie_rodgers “It’s exhausting to think about the number of youth pastors who publicly pleaded with us girls to ‘save ourselves for our husbands’ and then sexually assaulted us in private. #MeToo #churchToo” 10:20 AM – Jan 10, 2018

    What makes the Andy Savage #MeToo assault different from, for example, Matt Lauer: this is the church, supposedly our moral champion, but beneath the surface it is a fork tongued charade.

  113. Beth Duncan wrote:

    We have to be careful to not ascribe the sex abuse to the type of church it is.

    Agreed. Sex abuse has no denominational/theological affiliation. New Calvinism only has its share of wayward pastors.

  114. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    Churches should, at minimum, practice what public schools practice with respect to teachers being professional with their students….

    There are male school teachers in our local school who are in their 20s. Do you think they would still be teaching if they did this to a high school senior? Would they ever be allowed to teach again?

  115. dee wrote:

    In the meantime, when Savage said he has an “organic sexual experience* with Jules, I started coughing so hard I almost choked.I want this to become a meme at TWW. We will call if Savage’s OSM.

    ….

    YES!

  116. Here is a comment from “Memphian Guest” from the November, 2016 TWW article on Highpoint. It describes the nature of their youth night:

    “Thank you for bravely covering this topic. I would advise anyone in Memphis thinking about attending Highpoint Church to consider this decision carefully. This action by Chris Conlee is not an isolated incident of bad judgment when it comes to kids. A friend of mine volunteered with the youth group at Highpoint called CREW. I attended a few times and what I saw shocked me.

    The youth group pastor and leaders played secular rap and hip-hop music with very nasty lyrics while the kids, who are in junior and senior high (but mostly younger), were crunking and grinding on each other. For those not familiar, this is a form of simulated nasty sex in various positions. They keep the houselights turned off and use party lights during this time and during the worship and they make it pretty clear that the kids are free to treat the church and service as a nightclub. They have occasional game nights where they do stuff like blacklight dodgeball. This involves using rave accessories (the rave culture is based on drugs and sex with strangers) and they mark up their bodies and the kids use the excuse of the darkness and the games to get rather physical with each other, if you know what I mean.

    Both the youth pastors and the worship leaders dress in provocative, sexy, trendy clothing. One of the worship leaders, who was quite handsome, had extremely tight jeans on and accidentally dropped something one night. The young girls were giggling at how hard it was for him to bend down to pick it up. You can see everything in those pants that the leaders wear and they seem to enjoy all the attention that they get from both girls and boys in the crowd. It is sexual attention by the way.

    That’s really the best way to describe the Wednesday night youth groups at Highpoint. It is like a nightclub for junior and senior high kids. Some of the songs use the name of God and the word Jesus comes up a little in the extremely secular speech that is supposed to be a sermon, but is really a bunch of worldly expressions and jokes and street slang that doesn’t belong in the house of the Lord. The entire “service” is more or less a big secular party.

    One year, for Easter, CREW at Highpoint did the theme The Walking Dead for Holy Week. They had the pastors, leaders and students dress up as zombies with very gruesome make-up and costumes. The worship band had the lead singer dress up as Michael Jackson and they did Thriller as their worship song. I hope your readers understand how insulting it is to the crucifixion of Jesus, to use zombies during Holy Week. Zombies are how Satanists and Luciferians mock the resurrection of Christ. A couple parents complained that they didn’t feel this was glorifying God during the most important Christian holiday. The leaders sniped back that it was THAT attitude that was making kids leave the church for good, thus making the parents feel guilty for doing the right thing.

    Last Easter the worship leader at the main service celebrated the resurrection of Christ by doing a bizarre tribal dance where he pounded giant chains on a drum on the floor for a very long time while jumping around like a savage in the dark. It wasn’t part of some passion play. It’s just what he felt like doing to be provocative. The rest of the Easter service was a church made movie. Christ was not honored by this. Highpoint loves being edgy, superficial and provoking their audiences. Unfortunately, those qualities do not help set good examples for the kids they supervise.

    The head of worship is named Josh Maze who seems obsessed with being a “trendy”. He created his own nickname and I don’t mean to be vulgar, but he called himself “J*zz Maze”. He is a young man who wears very tight pants and he publishes his nickname as J*zz (but with the “i” in it). He even had that on his bio for a while and the leadership, including Chris Conlee, thought it was hilarious. J*zz Maze was the guy pounding the drums with chains while jumping around for Easter. Conlee also seems obsessed with all that is worldly and Highpoint maintains a sharp focus on entertaining and using trite expressions that make it clear that Highpoint is a business, first and foremost.

    I think people should also know that Highpoint holds Celebrate Recovery meetings at their church. They even have a Celebrate Recovery pastor on staff. I said I think people should know, because you won’t find Highpoint listing this program as one of their ministries on their website. CR is a program for addiction with a Christian element. Rick Warren’s church created it. What is important to know is that many of the people who attend CR attend for their sex addiction recovery program. Many of the people attending CR have very serious sex addictions including pedophilia. That means pedophiles are on the same campuses that these kids in their sexually charged youth group services are. CR is on Thursday nights, not Wednesday, but it is not inconceivable that there is cross-over between the two groups. My main concern is that no parents with children attending CREW at Highpoint are told that Highpoint has a weekly ministry dedicated to sex addiction which includes programs for every form of sexual deviancy.

    I realize some people will think what I have written is very uptight, but I take the safety of children very seriously and I have personally seen that people in positions of authority at Highpoint do not. Reading what Kenny’s experience was like seems consistent with what I saw at HPC. HPC justifies everything they do using their motto “Love Works”, which is the title of a management book. They think they can stretch the rules by simply declaring “love works” at the end of every misdeed.

    I fear that this misstep with the “merger” is just one of many red flags at this church. The fact that they are willing to parse words and think it matters to the safety of kids whether you call it a merger or an acquisition/lease should speak volumes. They aren’t renting an old grocery store by the way. The old congregation and their beliefs and habits go with this property. It is disingenuous of them to imply otherwise. Semantics don’t change this. It is still sharing resources and it is basically a joint venture. The people are still a blend of both churches, no matter what you call it.

    HPC is using rapidly modified technical syntax to avoid responsibility. They basically got caught with their hands in the cookie jar so they called their lawyers and now they have redefined the meaning of hands, cookies and jar, but they still have crumbs all over their face. In the end, they are either pedophile friendly or pedophile ignorant. Take your pick, just be careful who you trust your kids with.

    Of course, we are talking about a church who calls all of their baptisms “going public” so creating their motto based on a management book not the bible, then thinking calling this a lease not a merger solves their pedophile issues shouldn’t be that unexpected. To use another business term that HPC might relate to “Caveat Emptor” (buyer beware)”

  117. JYJames wrote:

    @Julie_rodgers “It’s exhausting to think about the number of youth pastors who publicly pleaded with us girls to ‘save ourselves for our husbands’ and then sexually assaulted us in private. #MeToo #churchToo” 10:20 AM – Jan 10, 2018

    The rank hypocrisy of this and the true love waits thing have been mentioned in passing but not fully explored.

  118. @ Max:
    My son had a female HS teacher “removed” for an improper, but supposedly non physical relationship with a student….. according to official statements from school….. she has never been seen at the HS again….. obviously more rumors, but no facts…
    I would say for the last several years, every 3-6 months we hear/read about another one in some district near where I live…. whether I think this is best is less important than this seems to be comon, with little push back from what I hear…

  119. This hasn’t been brought out yet – I wander if she was the only 1 he did this too. Could there be others there and in other churches? Will we see more women coming forward in the next few months that he also did things too?

  120. @ Lea:
    Public speak and private lives as polar opposite. Christian? Not even close. The “no one is perfect” crowd defends. So why is this guy a paid pastor? Coffeeshop, construction, salesman – works. Youth pastor? No.

  121. I have read the printed articles here and I am grieved, tears running down my face. And as I cry, millions of tears running down my face, my chest heaving with pain, I am reminded of how religious hypocrites freely forgive their own, but NOT the victim.

    No, NEVER the victim, for she is always the guilty one, as deemed by the religious hypocrites of Jesus’ day, and the GUILTY ONE of our modern day Christian Religious Industrial Complex.

    No, Jules is not the victim here, according to the RELIGIOUS ZEALOTS of our day, but in fact, Andy Savage is, because he is after all, a RELIGIOUS LEADER.

    Yes folks, A RELIGIOUS LEADER. He was, in fact, the leader of a group of younger group of individuals.

    A LEADER. I personally don’t care if he was labeled as a youth pastor, a youth minister, or a youth counselor. He was, in fact, in charge of a group of young people who in fact were not able to vote according to the law of the Constitution, so thus, were not adults according to the Constitution, and therefore, Andy Savage, was in fact, the proposed “adult” in charge of a group of young people.

    Andy Savage was the described “adult” at twenty-two” years of age. Jules as the point of this unlawful crime, was in fact, seventeen years of age.

    I am sickened, in fact, I want to vomit, at the fact that there are those who support the perpetrator here. I want to run to the mountaintop and yell, “Jesus, why are the wicked and evil people who portray themselves as pastors, still stand with pride in front of congregations who applaud the sins of man, who stand as an ovation for the sexual sins of a man who has NOT fully repented of his sins, let alone the wolves in sheep’s clothing who surrounded the wicked and evil youth pastor, in shutting up the poor lamb’s voice – ie. Jules.

    As I follow this story, my heart grieves, my heart cries for Jules. She was literally “groomed” by the sick in the mind youth group leader. His name was printed “Andy Savage” via the church directory. Andy Savage knew exactly what he was doing, this wasn’t a “mistake sin,” nor was it the fault of a teenage “jezebel” who was pursuing this so called “pure leader” within the Christian Industrial Complex.

    No.

    Andy Savage is completely responsible for his own actions……Jules never held a gun to his head and instructed him to pull his penis out of his pants for her to engage. The CIC (Christian Industrial Complex) loves, loves, loves to blame the innocent….especially the women who accept extra-special attention from a pastor, a youth pastor, a music minister pastor, or any other pastor as labeled by the modern church, because their hierarchal leaders never sin…………only the lower laity sheep do……………or at least the lower laity sheep deserve the abuse from the hierarchal religious leaders for they are deemed as “less spiritual,” “the lesser important”, and the “least of these.”

    The “least of these” are far more easily to abuse, especially by the clergy folks, ie., Andy Savage, and his cohorts…..his pastor friends.

    I am a mother of daughters. And I am angered by what Andy Savage did to Jules twenty years ago. And I am angered by pastors, who still to this day, abuse their authority to abuse Jesus’ sheep; young girls who are seeking the LORD through the modern day church system, and women who are seeking the LORD through church leadership.

    Psalm 4:4 still speaks to us today: “Be angry and do not sin…..”

    I am angry. And I am NOT sinning.

    Andy Savage, you do not belong in a leadership position for the sheep of our LORD, for you have freely chosen by your own actions, to disqualify yourself from caring for the innocent sheep of our LORD. You can still be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, however, you have eliminated yourself from the strict qualifications of leadership as specified by God, the Holy Spirit, per the Holy Scriptures.

    Yes, you can be forgiven, BUT, NEVER, ever would I allow my daughters be in the presence of your so called “leadership,” or would I ever allow my daughters or sons for that matter, be allowed to be “alone” with you for “counseling”, unless I was present to DISCERN every word that cometh out of your mouth.

    Folks, be a Berean!

  122. @ Jerome:
    Well, well, well. Guess now we know why the Calvinist dude-bros haven’t been talking about this with any specificity.

  123. Al Mohler’s “joke” about C.J. Mahaney and laughter he got from pastors in the audience at the T4G conference is as bad or worse than the standing ovation given to Mr. Savage. A great big spotlight needs to shine on that. It’s time to turn up the heat on C.J. and friends, and I hope it gets as much publicity as this. @ Todd Wilhelm:

  124. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    More to the point, apparently in Leeman’s book sexual assault = no restoration, whereas blackmail, conspiring to cover up the sexual abuse of children and starting a hush fund to keep a pastor from joining a lawsuit against his denomination = restoration.
    I am speaking of course of C.J. Mahaney. Jonathan Leeman’s boss is Mark Dever. Mark Dever has strongly supported C.J. Mahaney in spite of very credible evidence concerning the above mentioned items. Dever has spoken at Mahaney’s run-away church plant, allowed Mahaney to flee church discipline by attending his church and shared the conference stage with him at T4G. (Which he will be doing again in April.)
    In my opinion there are no bigger hypocrites than Dever/Leeman and neither one of them should be advising other churches or publishing editorials on who should or should not be restored to the pastorate.

    I have to agree with Todd. It is easy to see It clearly when it is 100’s of mile away and someone you don’t know. When it is someone you do know and have respect for but needs you to speak the same truth in his life, well that’s another story, isn’t it?

  125. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    1) Why write something generic about morality instead of specifically addressing this particular issue? It gives the appearance of avoidance.

    I know that you are specifically asking about Mohler, but there are a few voices that have been notably silent or very vague. I can think of a few reasons for this, including the interconnected nature of many of these leaders’ domains, as well as reluctance to favor a woman who challenges a man in leadership. I also think that too many of these ministers may have their own stories, maybe not as the Savage, but possibly as the Conley or the Cotton or the Bradley. (We know that the T4G guys are fine with looking away from Mahaney.) Maybe they are afraid of being called out themselves if they respond too strongly on this?

  126. @ brad/futuristguy:
    Thank you for this comment! It gives me a way to think about abuses in the church on a more systemic level. Many stories on TWW probably make more sense if you consider the connections.

  127. Caroline wrote:

    Maybe they are afraid of being called out themselves if they respond too strongly on this?

    Exaclty. They are all in hiding, waiting for it to blow over. They all have fingerprints on either this or some other very similar case.

  128. Caroline wrote:

    but there are a few voices that have been notably silent or very vague. I can think of a few reasons for this, including the interconnected nature of many of these leaders’ domains, as well as reluctance to favor a woman who challenges a man in leadership. I also think that too many of these ministers may have their own stories, maybe not as the Savage, but possibly as the Conley or the Cotton or the Bradley. (We know that the T4G guys are fine with looking away from Mahaney.) Maybe they are afraid of being called out themselves if they respond too strongly on this?

    Bingo! Same reason that Congress kept a slush fund to pay victims of sexual harassment/abuse by members a secret…the Congressmen don’t want to call it out, because their own culpability/guilt (to whatever degree) will be exposed next. Plus, angering hierarchy in your party (of either major party) by exposing them is a one-way ticket to influence exile and creates a certainty of their party supporting a challenger in the next election cycle. Everybody plays the game (or else).

    The church should be better. God is not pleased with this. Judgment is coming.

  129. I am rather stunned by the description of highpoint offered by Dale. It makes me weep. I am stunned that they call this place a church if they have the young people in a worldly environment and just throw the name Jesus in every now and then. I also am ashamed of parents that would send their kids to that youth group. Have they no desire for holiness?? For what is sacred?? Have they no holy fear of God?? I think the congregation is also at fault here for funding this nonsense. May a revival break out in Memphis!!!

  130. @ Jeffrey J Chalmers:
    We seem to have a similar report in my metro area every few months as well. I think a lot of it goes to the fact that we have really let all the stops out as a society in terms of “if I want it, I’ll get it.” I think the church is as infected as the secular society, but we also believe in forgiveness (wink, wink). I am a teacher of 35 years, and these reports make me ill. I am thankful that I work in private school where we are not allowed to have any contact with students via social media (Facebook, Twitter, et al) until after they graduate. We have e-mail and an internal forum where we contact students, and those are monitored. We are encouraged to have positive, friendly educational relationships, but definitely to uphold our fiduciary responsibility as well.

  131. Caroline wrote:

    I also think that too many of these ministers may have their own stories, maybe not as the Savage, but possibly as the Conley or the Cotton or the Bradley

    I think the later is probably true of way, way too many guys in ministry at this point.

  132. Atticus Finch wrote:

    Al Mohler’s “joke” about C.J. Mahaney and laughter he got from pastors in the audience at the T4G conference is as bad or worse than the standing ovation given to Mr. Savage.

    Absolutely. It was appalling. Not to get too far off topic (don’t get me started on Mohler et al), but if light is going to shine into dark corners of the church, that’s one place to look for sure.

  133. Shannon H. wrote:

    Without true repentance (and personally to the victim), there should be no forgiveness.
    And if forgiveness happens, that does not negate consequences.

    Like sex offender registries.

  134. Abigailj wrote:

    I am rather stunned by the description of highpoint offered by Dale. It makes me weep. I am stunned that they call this place a church if they have the young people in a worldly environment and just throw the name Jesus in every now and then. I also am ashamed of parents that would send their kids to that youth group. Have they no desire for holiness?? For what is sacred?? Have they no holy fear of God?? I think the congregation is also at fault here for funding this nonsense. May a revival break out in Memphis!!!

    Appears that essentially, daycare seeking is an element, as ‘they’re not on the streets.’ Plus, many churches make it very difficult for oversight, so many people just back off and are told it’s fine. Getting told that assuages immediate conscience, money keeps rolling in, the circle continues.

  135. Andy Savage when asked why he didn’t tell the whole truth about what happened with Jules Woodson ‘I was young and it was very embarressing.’

    Andy Savage when asked about how he handled it after the assault ‘I was young and just did what the church leadership told me to do’

    Andy Savage when asked why he didn’t tell Germantown Church about his abusive past: ‘I spoke to an older man at Woodlawn Church (now Stone Bridge Church) , kinda like a father figure, and he said I didn’t have to tell anyone but my future wife about it’

    Andy Savage about why he didn’t tell anyone at High Point Memphis about his abusive past ‘no one asked me’

    Andy Savage about why he didn’t disclose to the congregation at High Point after it became known by Chris Conlee, ‘I was doing what the lead pastor said’

    Andy Savage about why he didn’t answer Jules Woodsons email, ‘I asked an older wiser person and they advised me not to’

    Andy Savage explanation about what is going on now, ‘I am fully submitted to do whatever church leadership tells me to’

    Andy Savage’s defense of himself is always that he was young and has always done whatever church leadership tells him to do.

    When Jules Woodson said she was young and just doing what church leadership-her Youth Group Pastor Andy Savage who was 5 yrs older than Jules Woodson told her to do, Savage’s response is that she knew what she was doing and that she was an adult at 17 under Texas State Law. He implied that it was mutual and consensual and put blame on her, he was just a young guy that couldn’t help himself.

  136. According to news reports, Savage already lost his book deal (a major loss); his family is suffering in God knows how many ways from this unconscionable mob-inspired, bogus (in this instance) #MeToo strife, and he may lose his career — to which by all accounts he was deeply devoted.

    For what? For what the undisputed facts reveal? Are you kidding me?

    Unconscionably vindictive and vengeful. A mob-inspired miscarriage of justice being meted out with terrible thoroughness.

    God help the vengeful.

  137. @ Dave:
    i wish this comment of yours was published in every single christian media outlet in america, all of it.

  138. College Boy wrote:

    According to news reports, Savage already lost his book deal (a major loss); his family is suffering in God knows how many ways from this unconscionable mob-inspired, bogus (in this instance) #MeToo strife, and he may lose his career — to which by all accounts he was deeply devoted.
    For what? For what the undisputed facts reveal? Are you kidding me?
    Unconscionably vindictive and vengeful. A mob-inspired miscarriage of justice being meted out with terrible thoroughness.
    God help the vengeful.

    You’re upset that a pervy pastor who premediated on when and how to prey on a teen girl in his care is being held accountable for that past perviness? Am I understanding your post correctly?

  139. The question of whether Andy Savage “should” continue in the career to which he’s committed his life… should be answered solely by his fully-informed congregation.

    What ‘right’ or ‘standing’ do the rest of us have to banish this man entirely from a particular vocation. Now, if he had “truly assaulted” another human being; or done anything of the like with a “true minor” in the time and place of jurisdiction, then I would agree that he should be held to account with every high standard of recompense.

    No demonstrations toward ‘mob justice,’ nor any other consortium of the opinionated, gets to exercise mastery over the administration of other private organizations. Yes?

    Here in this case, it is illogical, irrational, and wholly unjust that anyone other than Mr. Savage’s informed congregation decide on his pastoral fate.

    Almighty God will judge ALL parties to this and every other situation on earth.

  140. Lydia wrote:

    I won’t be jumping on the #metoo movement bandwagon because it lumps in everything from rape to annoying flirting. It will hurt real victims

    I disagree with that assessment of ‘Me Too.’

    I wrote about it here:
    Anti- ‘Me Too’ Hash Trend Advocates Seeking to Minimize Sexual Harassment Against Women; Tag Was Never About Rape Only – ‘Me Too’ Trend Is Not Suggesting that All Women are Weak, All Men are Sexual Abusers – Me Too Is Not a Witch Hunt
    https://missdaisyflower.wordpress.com/2018/01/14/%E2%80%A2-anti-me-too-hash-trend-advocates-seeking-to-minimize-sexual-harassment-against-women-tag-was-never-about-rape-only-me-too-trend-is-not-suggesting-that-all-women-are-weak-all-men/

    I don’t think that victims of rape are the only “true” victims, or that there is only one type of “real” victim.

    Women who have been forced to endure unwanted male sexual groping, dirty jokes, etc, to the point it breaks them down and they quit a job, etc, are another type of “victim.”

    None of that is to say that groping and the like is as bad as rape, but none of it is acceptable behavior from men, either.

    I don’t think ‘due process’ applies to a job – it’s a legal term that applies in a court of law and police investigations and so on.

    Employers have their own set of rules, criteria, etc, by which to determine an accused’s guilt or innocence in the case of a woman who says “this co worker did X to me.”

  141. Daisy wrote:

    You’re upset that a pervy pastor who premediated on when and how to prey on a teen girl in his care is being held accountable for that past perviness? Am I understanding your post correctly?

    My words speak clearly and civilly for themselves.

    Your words? Sadly, they represent you as well.

  142. Lydia wrote:

    And many celebs who are pushing it are guilty of looking the other way for years, even though well heeled, and now use it for virtue signaling.
    Some even refuse to name their abuser now. That sort of thing hurts real “nobody” victims—- in the long run.

    None of that invalidates anyone, other celebrities, and the many non-celebrities, who have used Me Too to go public with their stories.

    I don’t understand some of the other concerns listed, here, like where you say some of the women speaking publicly are not naming the names of their abusers, are problematic.

    I don’t see how that invalidates the MeToo movement.

    Maybe such women are only ready to a point to go public. They’re just now comfortable saying they were sexually assaulted, but they’re not comfortable with releasing other details.

    I don’t have a problem with that. They get to choose when and how much they share public, or if they want to go public at all.

    A lot of every day people are using “Me Too” to discuss sexual harassment. It was never meant to be a “rape only” or “celebrity only” cause.

    When actress Alyssa Milano re-popularized that hash tag, she was inviting anyone and every one who had experienced sexual harassment to go public by using that tag.

    She was not just directing it at only other actors.

  143. Daisy wrote:

    Women who have been forced to endure unwanted male sexual groping, dirty jokes, etc, to the point it breaks them down and they quit a job, etc, are another type of “victim.”

    None of that is to say that groping and the like is as bad as rape, but none of it is acceptable behavior from men, either.

    You know, you might be the perfect candidate to assist all the female teachers around the country with the epidemic of ‘female adult teacher rape of minor male students.’

    I mean, seeing as how you recognize acceptable behavior so thoughtfully.

  144. College Boy wrote:

    My words speak clearly and civilly for themselves.
    Your words? Sadly, they represent you as well.

    So you’re a sexual abuser apologist. In your world, all a guy has to do out of having coerced a teen girl into sucking his willy is to say he’s sorry. I for one don’t care if he loses his career, his book deal, etc. I am hoping his wife gets some sense and divorces him, too.

  145. Daisy wrote:

    So you’re a sexual abuser apologist. In your world, all a guy has to do out of having coerced a teen girl into sucking his willy is to say he’s sorry. I for one don’t care if he loses his career, his book deal, etc. I am hoping his wife gets some sense and divorces him, too.

    Uh … maybe just consider visiting a therapist for a while. Do it for yourself.

    God bless.

  146. College Boy wrote:

    You know, you might be the perfect candidate to assist all the female teachers around the country with the epidemic of ‘female adult teacher rape of minor male students.’
    I mean, seeing as how you recognize acceptable behavior so thoughtfully.

    Where did I say that females who sexually abuse male students should not be held accountable?
    Unlike you, I don’t make apologies for perverts, regardless of their gender, nor do I weep tears of sorrow for them, when and if they lose their jobs or book deals over being found out about it.

  147. College Boy wrote:

    Daisy wrote:

    So you’re a sexual abuser apologist. In your world, all a guy has to do out of having coerced a teen girl into sucking his willy is to say he’s sorry. I for one don’t care if he loses his career, his book deal, etc. I am hoping his wife gets some sense and divorces him, too.

    I would be willing to consider paying your therapy tab … IF … you calmed down and communicated more civilly.

    Civil discourse. Just consider.

  148. College Boy wrote:

    Uh … maybe just consider visiting a therapist for a while. Do it for yourself.
    God bless.

    You’re defending and showing sorrow for a grown man, who was…

    In the role of pastor, who spent time grooming his intended target, a teen aged girl, then he preyed sexually upon her – and she trusted him – drove her to the middle of no where in the middle of the night (creepy) to do the deed, and he won’t own up to his actions now that he’s in his 40s.

    You’re defending this guy and making excuses for him, or showing pity on him. You may want to see a therapist about all that.

    At this stage, it seems like you’re just trolling, so maybe you’ll find yourself blocked – if not tonight, probably by morning or noon tomorrow.

  149. College Boy wrote:

    I would be willing to consider paying your therapy tab … IF … you calmed down and communicated more civilly.
    Civil discourse. Just consider.

    I also hope Savage’s pet dog runs away from home, leaving him.

    You need to see a therapist and stop being so shrill. I’ve been so civil in my responses to you, but you’re clearly too emotional.

  150. Daisy wrote:

    At this stage, it seems like you’re just trolling, so maybe you’ll find yourself blocked – if not tonight, probably by morning or noon tomorrow.

    Ooohhh. Stop frightening me, grown-up woman.

  151. Daisy wrote:

    I also hope Savage’s pet dog runs away from home, leaving him.

    Clearly, you are well adjusted. My mistake.

    God bless.

  152. College Boy wrote:

    IF … you calmed down and communicated more civilly.

    Says the guy who starts out with “Unconscionably vindictive and vengeful. A mob-inspired miscarriage of justice being meted out with terrible thoroughness.”

    I’m always amazed at who comes out of the woodwork when some big time “pastor” has to face the consequences of their past sins.

  153. Daisy wrote:

    I would be willing to consider paying your therapy tab … IF … you calmed down and communicated more civilly.
    Civil discourse. Just consider.

    I also hope Savage’s pet dog runs away from home, leaving him.

    You need to see a therapist and stop being so shrill. I’ve been so civil in my responses to you, but you’re clearly too emotional.

    You just can’t make this stuff up. Reality beats fiction every time.

  154. Thersites wrote:

    Says the guy who starts out with “Unconscionably vindictive and vengeful. A mob-inspired miscarriage of justice being meted out with terrible thoroughness.”

    I’m always amazed at who comes out of the woodwork when some big time “pastor” has to face the consequences of their past sins.

    Nothing ‘uncivil’ about my words, Einstein. And I’ve never defended a ‘youth minister’ or pastor before.

    Oops. Sorry to correct you, Einstein.

  155. College Boy wrote:

    You just can’t make this stuff up. Reality beats fiction every time.

    You’re referring to Andy the Savage and what he did to Jules, followed my the cover-up by men who profess themselves to be “men of God” here, right???

  156. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    You’re referring to Andy the Savage and what he did to Jules, followed my the cover-up by men who profess themselves to be “men of God” here, right???

    Extraordinarily weak response. Try again.

  157. @College Boy

    I can only assume you are a troll or are someone who might be mentally/mentally/spiritually ill-equipped to handle this issue by virtue of being mis-trained and misled at Highpoint or some shallow church like it…

    However, to keep it simple, so that even the kid on the stool with the pointy labeled hat can understand it…

    Our church leadership is to be “above reproach!” (Titus 1)

    Now, we can debate about what it means to be above reproach, but I think any clear-headed person can say that it probably includes “not sexually assaulting women/children in your charge as minister…ever!” If you can’t understand that, we have a different Jesus.

    The real Jesus would have a millstone tied around the neck of this guy—don’t tie yourself to him. The millstone is there; you just can’t see it.

  158. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    @ AbuseCrusher:
    Birds of a feather, maybe?

    Probably. I suspect the fellas at NAMBLA get pretty protective of each other when you rightfully refer to them as “perverts,” too!

  159. Andy Savage has ALWAYS owned up to HIS participation in that long-ago consensual encounter with Jules Woodson. He has even apologized. Back then, and presently.

    Now! Can you say the same for the high school senior, Jules Woodson; or the 20 years older-now Jules??

    Cricketts!

    See … some people, instead of ‘wallowing in the mire’ of victimhood, move on, seek repentance, and build positive character while acknowledging the imperfections of their humanity.

    Others … accompanied with an ample supply of foolish pride, wallow in the mire of victimhood and hope that mobs of haters rally around them to go out on the attack and seek to destroy stable families — get this — 20 years later.

    Foolish pride, as evidenced my angry mobs seeking to crucify others, comes before destruction.

    God bless and good luck to those spreading hate and ginning up anger. According to the Lord, you’ll need it.

  160. College Boy wrote:

    Here in this case, it is illogical, irrational, and wholly unjust that anyone other than Mr. Savage’s informed congregation decide on his pastoral fate.

    Almighty God will judge ALL parties to this and every other situation on earth.

    I think it’s a travesty that Mr. Savage’s well informed congregation and other well heeled cults like it get a tax free payday. Every single Sunday. Yep, a real bunch of heroes.
    Real “worthy bunch” one might say (or maybe scream out in a sort medical event oops! My bad!… Spiritually inspired event)
    And yes, please sic God on me!
    *hugs*

  161. @ College Boy

    One day, when I stand before the Lord, I’ll know I was on the side of righteousness in standing up for women and children who were sexually victimized by pastors–how about you?

    Our pastors are to be held to a higher standard.

    I have worked in ministry for some time. I have been a youth pastor when I was Andy’s age; the suggestion that it is anything less than sick for a youth pastor to hook up and whip his Johnson out with a high school student under any circumstances makes my stomach churn violently.

    Mentally/emotionally/spiritually healthy people in youth ministry or ministry never have to go to a young girl’s parents to apologize for sexually violating their daughter! Are you dumb enough to suggest that, perhaps, Jules should’ve been required to apologize to Andy’s parents because she was somehow equally culpable? Nonsense!
    Blaming Jules shows you to be a complete idiot.

    Responding to you, I’m reminded of the old saw about arguing with stupid people…it is like playing chess with a pigeon…it shouldn’t be done…the pigeon just knocks all the pieces over, poops all over the board, and then struts around like it won.

  162. Jack wrote:

    Cricketts!

    Nope, when contemplating Highpoint Church, I’m thinking of something a little more parasitic. Bedbugs!
    Or in your vernacular… Bedbuggs!

  163. College Boy wrote:

    God bless and good luck to those spreading hate and ginning up anger. According to the Lord, you’ll need it.

    Must be a that college education or maybe it’s a highpoint thing. How does one gin up anger? Is actual gin involved? Or is it something you guys do when a young lady isn’t so enamoured with your charms?

  164. College Boy accused me of being a man hater on a different thread. No one has mentioned hate at all on these threads except College Boy. College Boy has also made derogatory remarks about several people on these threads. It’s interesting to watch him do what he accuses others of doing.

  165. College Boy wrote:

    All bringing the early morning insults.

    No insults, that’s your department. It’s also not early morning here Parker . . . College Boy?

  166. I have NEVER been witness to anyone more sarcastic and evil in my whole life!

    College Boy needs to be blocked ASAP. His venom is tainting the good people here with such filth that i feel we all need to be decontaminated.

  167. College Boy should just be ignored. “Don’t cast your pearls before swine”. He obviously enjoys the responses he is getting when he twists the knife. Quit playing his little game and he will eventually pick up his marbles and go home.

  168. ___

    [The Way Ahead…]

    Bible 101: “Measuring Up To Biblical Standards, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    In the Christ’s community of devoted dedicated believers, sex is only by biblical standards permissible between two consenting individuals bonded by matrimony.

    Those who wish to be deacons and elders in this christian community must measure up to a strict drawn-up standard set forth in the holy scriptures.

    That message is quite clear.

    Those that can not ascribe to or measure up to this standard are requested directly and indirectly by scripture to aspire to another type of work.

    Holy scripture gives the reasons and necessity for the performance of this standard in several places.

    Adherence to this standard (1) is crucial to the support, sustenance, and continuation of an healthy Christian community. Non-compliance results in great harm to this community.

    Please see your bible for further details.

    *

    “Not a sermon, just a thought…”

    *

    “hum, hum, hum…Little becomes much when you place it into the Master’s hands…” (2)

    ATB

    Sòpy

    (1) https://bible.org/seriespage/2-biblical-qualifications-pastoral-eldership-titus-15-9-1-tim-31-7-1-peter-51-4
    (2) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8tUmXbrgo_Q

    ;~)

    – –

  169. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    I agree with Jonathan Leeman’s statement that some pastors shouldn’t be restored to the ministry. (I can only assume he is speaking of Andy Savage since in your quote he doesn’t mention Savage by name.) My question is what standard does Leeman use to determine which pastor should be restored and which pastor should not be restored?

    More to the point, apparently in Leeman’s book sexual assault = no restoration, whereas blackmail, conspiring to cover up the sexual abuse of children and starting a hush fund to keep a pastor from joining a lawsuit against his denomination = restoration.

    I am speaking of course of C.J. Mahaney. Jonathan Leeman’s boss is Mark Dever. Mark Dever has strongly supported C.J. Mahaney in spite of very credible evidence concerning the above mentioned items. Dever has spoken at Mahaney’s run-away church plant, allowed Mahaney to flee church discipline by attending his church and shared the conference stage with him at T4G. (Which he will be doing again in April.)

    In my opinion there are no bigger hypocrites than Dever/Leeman and neither one of them should be advising other churches or publishing editorials on who should or should not be restored to the pastorate.

    The issue of SGM needs to be revisited in the context of these developments.

    There is no way that Savage and the related parties get this treatment from Mr. Leeman, and the SGM history under the leadership of Mahaney gets not only a pass, but continued adulation.

  170. Doesn’t “college boy” even know that Any Savage 20 years ago first tried to claim what he did with Jules was just a kiss? That was what Andy reportedly said during his recent radio interview.

  171. @ Thersites:
    Hero worship. Possible mixed with mra beliefs as someone else mentioned.

    Nothing related to fiduciary duties Andy had in his role or concept of basic decency he should have had as an adult.

  172. College Boy is a fantastic example of the problem, not the solution. I especially enjoy his picking on other people’s language as a deflection from the substance of their comments. And his personal faux concern for their health as a deflection from the substance of their comments. And his laying down how clergy should be judged as a deflection from the substance of their comments.And…

    Just another sarcastic smart arse apologist for criminal behaviour. Your arguments just don’t cut it with anyone discerning, educated or professional here.

  173. @ Jeffrey J Chalmers @Ken F tweed

    Thank you for your affirming perspectives.

    @ College Boy

    All of us (myself included) can at times, allow our passionate opinions regarding a now-publicized incident that impacts the body of Christ, to result in communication that is unhelpful and needlessly offensive to one another.

    Please understand that for many (but not necessarily, all) of us here, our focus is less on any one particular individual, but more so, the organizational-cultural climate of religious enterprises aka; ‘churches’, and the collateral damage that results from the institutional values and priorities they embody.

    Inflicting wounds in an effort to obtain retribution upon the spouse or children of Pastor Savage, would be equally repulsive, tragically ironic and would absolutely grieve the heart of God. Again, I do not believe that is the intent of the vast majority of commenters here, or on any other discussion boards.

    Crying out for a revolution in the standard order of business from these relig-o-tainment merchants is instead, what I hear from my brothers and sisters. Dee and Deb have taken a lot of heat from the ‘Christian Industrial Complex’, for daring to host a site that encourages the untrained laity, the unsophisticated religious consumer to share and critically evaluate their respective experiences through a biblical lens.

    The terms ‘Hate’ and ‘Discrimination’ have become so effectively stigmatized by post-modernism, that a reflexive knee-jerk reaction is virtually guaranteed to shut down dialogue, whenever either word is used. God DOES however, require us to cling to that which is good, and to hate what is evil…in doing so,…we have successfully discriminated.

    Love and profound appreciation for a Pastor or Teacher is admirable and certainly biblical, however our personal fondness for a particular ministry staffer must never degenerate into a blind loyalty, developed via worldly cult-of-personality attraction, that is no longer subject to scriptural evaluation.

    Jesus critically viewed what was ostensibly, an increasing popularity of his ministry with detached skepticism. He knew WHY the expanding crowd was seeking him,…and he intentionally discriminated between those whose temporal appetites were satiated by a literal meal, and those whom hungered rather, for lasting, spiritual
    sustenance, ‘To whom should we go,…YOU have the words of eternal life?!’

  174. College Boy wrote:

    College Boy wrote:

    Daisy wrote:

    So you’re a sexual abuser apologist. In your world, all a guy has to do out of having coerced a teen girl into sucking his willy is to say he’s sorry. I for one don’t care if he loses his career, his book deal, etc. I am hoping his wife gets some sense and divorces him, too.

    I would be willing to consider paying your therapy tab … IF … you calmed down and communicated more civilly.

    Civil discourse. Just consider.

    College Boy, you need to shut up – you are blatantly trolling here. Deebs, consider this a formal complaint.

  175. College Boy wrote:

    destroy stable families –

    This obsession with his family is interesting. Are you related?

    It sucks when family has to deal with their fathers/husbands misdeeds, sure. But that doesn’t mean any man who goes out and gets himself a family gets a pass either.

    Worst case scenario here is Andy has to get another job. Let’s not be so dramatic.

  176. Lea wrote:

    Worst case scenario here is Andy has to get another job. Let’s not be so dramatic.

    It is a bit funny that they really do consider this a worst case scenario. AHHH!! I MIGHT HAVE TO ACTUALLY DO WORK AT AN AVERAGE PAYING JOB!? No one will write my sermons for me! I will have to actually show up every day! How can I ever support my family! We’ll be RUINED! We won’t even be able to afford our MILLION DOLLAR HOME ANYMORE!

  177. Lea wrote:

    This obsession with his family is interesting. Are you related?

    Is he Savage, or a staff person at Highpoint?

  178. College Boy wrote:

    Now! Can you say the same for the high school senior, Jules Woodson; or the 20 years older-now Jules?? Crickets!

    Oh look! Crickets is now spelt correctly…who’s a clever boy then!

  179. I figure there are multiple College Boys sitting around a lap top in a coffee shop or bar drafting darts to shoot across cyberspace … or perhaps just one living in his mother’s basement. The really sad thing is there is a segment of church in America shouting “Go get ’em College Boy!”

  180. Max wrote:

    I figure there are multiple College Boys sitting around a lap top in a coffee shop or bar drafting darts to shoot across cyberspace … or perhaps just one living in his mother’s basement.

    Well, if this is the kind of person Savage and Conlee are training, then it’s just one more reason neither belong in ministry.

  181. Bill wrote:

    College Boy should just be ignored

    I’m not really sorry. I actually think this clown is sincere. He is what’s behind the mask at Highpoint Church (and probably other churches like it).
    I say, troll away “Friends of Andy” what would we call them? “Frandies”?
    All joking aside, I see no need to play nice. We suffer the actions of these “entitled” christians who sit in their tax free megachurches and sneer and spit on the very society whose constitution gives them right to espouse their feudal take on life.
    So entitled that all they really do is take. Whatever they can get their hands on, your freedom, your money, your time and your children’s childhood (in the worst possible way).
    The only beneficiaries are wanna be big men. Parasites. Bedbugs feasting on the good intentions of gullible congregations.
    College Boy has done a great job laying it out for all to see.

  182. All,
    Let College boy throw his insults!! I have personally had worse ones fired at me doing my regular job! I think he does point out a bigger issue than just the two specific individuals, in a car/truck, on a dark gravel road 20 years ago.
    What standards of behavior should we have for church “leaders”, and how do we handle violations of these standards?
    A distrubing trend I see in churches in America is an erosion of accountabilty of the leaders to the pew peons ( i.e. no independently elected elders, no published/voted on budgets, etc), and in some cases, well documented on this web site ( i.e. the infamous Sovereign grace ministries) cover up of clear abuse that would land people in prison for many years. College boy, as I try to read through his posts, is advocating we have no right to judge Andy based on the consequenses he did recieve, and his actions. Many on this blog think Andy should behave to higher standards, and Andy actions did not recieve a full investigation.
    If “the system” was not so corrupt, and we had faith in the system, we would all not be posting here to start with. Or as I have said before, if Jules were my daughter, with what I know and believe today, we would not be here. I have grown up in the church, from very fundy churches to main line demoniation, attended a christain college, and I can tell you that religious leaders do not intimidate me, nor do they overall impress me. In fact, in general I have less respect for them than pew peons that struggle ever day working out their faith in the “real world”. As has been pointed out many times, the NT does not outline a postion of “professional preacher” that lives off ( makes bank) the gospel.
    So, my challenge to all of us is to focus our energy on demanding church leaders to be transparent and accountable to the pew peons paying the bills. The real sticky part is what standards should we have for them. I for one, think they should be more than what the secular world expects of public school teachers….

  183. ishy wrote:

    Well, if this is the kind of person Savage and Conlee are training, then it’s just one more reason neither belong in ministry.

    Ishy, in its attempt to be culturally-relevant, many “pastors” have forsaken their calling to equip disciples of Christ by training them in righteousness. The result has been a following of folks attracted to a church experience, but not an encounter with Christ. Followers of cults of personality have a passionate following of man and message, and sincerely believe they are on the right track, but do not grow spiritually as they ought. When the weaker elements of any church occupy the majority, they will end up controlling a leader’s approach to doing church – he will lead them in the direction they want to go in order to keep drawing them to the pew (you can find that even in traditional churches). If/when this madness breaks in America, members of churches of this sort will represent a great mission field for the Gospel. I pray that there are men of God in the wilderness right now who will come forth to meet the challenge. Lord knows that the church has experienced enough preacher-boys! We need men of God!!

  184. P.S,
    I speak with personal experience the use of “spirtual intimidation” that these profession preacher like to use on us. We all need to have personal security that was fundamental to the reformation, namely, that we do not need a priest to acess G$d. Questioning behavior of our leaders is NOT rebellion to G$d in basic form. Of course our motives can be selfish, just as much as our leaders motives can be selfish…… that is the messness of our world…. but the “ touch not thine anointed” is one of the biggist lies out there…

  185. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    P.S,
    I speak with personal experience the use of “spirtual intimidation” that these profession preacher like to use on us. We all need to have personal security that was fundamental to the reformation, namely, that we do not need a priest to acess G$d. Questioning behavior of our leaders is NOT rebellion to G$d in basic form. Of course our motives can be selfish, just as much as our leaders motives can be selfish…… that is the messness of our world…. but the “ touch not thine anointed” is one of the biggist lies out there…

    YES! Seems there’s an epidemic of the Touch Not Mine Annointed crowd.

  186. Max wrote:

    culturally-relevant

    Andy Savage once carried the following title at Highpoint “Pastor of Relevant Environments” … his nickname was the “Smoke and Soul Guy” … think about it. In the pursuit of mega, there’s just so much irrelevant about being culturally-relevant! Someday, a young man or two will step into the picture who will not rely on doing church with gimmicks, but will preach the pure Gospel that saves to the uttermost. Men of God, rather than preacher-boys, will draw a crowd – their churches will become mega of the good kind. No relevant environment or smoke and soul necessary. The Name of Jesus will be lifted above all names as the Holy Spirit convicts of sin and repentant souls gather under the banner of the Cross. The early church added to their fellowship daily those who were being saved … do it again, Lord!

  187. College Boy wrote:

    God bless and good luck to those spreading hate and ginning up anger. According to the Lord, you’ll need it.

    Who would have thought that one man’s behavior 20 years ago would cause so many to become unhinged today?

  188. Ken G wrote:

    Who would have thought that one man’s behavior 20 years ago would cause so many to become unhinged today?

    Yes, part of the consequences that are piling up because church leaders in Texas did not do the right thing … followed by church leaders in Memphis not doing the right thing. The Body of Christ – both at Highpoint and worldwide at this point – should not have to deal with this reproach on the church.

  189. Listening to Conlee’s live sermon. I could swear he basically said you could choose to be a victim or victorious. He hinted that victims need to forgive. So he’s basically throwing Jules under the bus again. These people who are assuming that Jules is unforgiving really disgust me. Jules is a victim. Jules has forgiven. They are not incompatible.

  190. ishy wrote:

    Well, if this is the kind of person Savage and Conlee are training, then it’s just one more reason neither belong in ministry.

    Like.

  191. Ken G wrote:

    Who would have thought that one man’s behavior 20 years ago would cause so many to become unhinged today?

    God works in mysterious ways according to many Christians.

  192. ishy wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    Worst case scenario here is Andy has to get another job. Let’s not be so dramatic.

    It is a bit funny that they really do consider this a worst case scenario. AHHH!! I MIGHT HAVE TO ACTUALLY DO WORK AT AN AVERAGE PAYING JOB!? No one will write my sermons for me! I will have to actually show up every day! How can I ever support my family! We’ll be RUINED! We won’t even be able to afford our MILLION DOLLAR HOME ANYMORE!

    I sincerely believe ever single pastor/professional Christian should have a secular trade/job training, period. If it was good enough for the apostle Paul…

    I say that because in the back of my mind I do have concern for the wife and children of a pastor that needs to step down from ministry. I am sure others do as well. In any case sales jobs are an option. And a stint in the *real world* is good for them. Some of the finest pastors I know did their time at UPS. The pastor I have now has a day job. Best pastor I ever had-and I have had some very very good ones and that is a high bar.

  193. College Boy

    It is time for you to say goodbye You will not win this argument because the facts are clear He was 22 years old and old enough to be a teacher nurse a firefighter a soldier She was a typical 17-year-old girl who like every other 17-year-old girls get crushes on cute guys about once every four hours He violated his trust as a youth pastor and a such should never be in the pulpit again You insult every good and decent 22 year old man out there who does for fill the obligations of their job and does so with integrity and dignity Savage did something really bad and most of the watching world gets it.

  194. Mercy wrote:

    Listening to Conlee’s live sermon. I could swear he basically said you could choose to be a victim or victorious. He hinted that victims need to forgive. So he’s basically throwing Jules under the bus again. These people who are assuming that Jules is unforgiving really disgust me. Jules is a victim. Jules has forgiven. They are not incompatible.

    Just finished listening and watching the live feed. No reference to scripture. Just more of their sound-bytes with a feel good story about Conlee’s dad. And yes, victims were shamed once more. What a travesty. No worship. Just a stage performance

  195. College Boy wrote:

    Andy Savage has ALWAYS owned up to HIS participation in that long-ago consensual encounter with Jules Woodson. He has even apologized. Back then, and presently.

    Now! Can you say the same for the high school senior, Jules Woodson; or the 20 years older-now Jules?? Crickets!

    You see … some people, instead of ‘wallowing in the mire’ of victimhood, move on, seek repentance, build positive character, progress in life, and prosper – while acknowledging the imperfections of their humanity.

    Others … accompanied with an ample supply of foolish pride, wallow in the mire of victimhood and hope that mobs of haters (95% of contributors here) rally around them to go out on the attack and seek to destroy stable families – get this – 20 years later. Not kidding. It’s a new millennial sort of ‘hate.’

    Foolish pride, as evidenced by angry mobs (95% of contributors here) seeking to crucify others, comes before destruction.

    God bless and good luck to those spreading hate and ginning up anger (95% of contributors here). According to the Lord, you’ll need it.

    Nah. If he truly was accountable for what he did he would have at the very least stepped down at the time from the pastoral work he had just shown himself to be unqualified for character wise. I do agree the leaders back then failed him for not holding him more accountable at the time. I am not God and I am not his judge but just the fact he went on that radio show shows me he really has no understanding of how this all looks. And I would say that if Jules had been proven to be a wanton slut (Which I do NOT believe, let me make myself clear.) And frankly whether or not Jules forgives him is none of my business and not even relevant, in my mind. I see this whole thing as God giving him a chance to deal with personal issues that he just swept under the rug at the time. This is a time when God is dealing with things and cleaning things up and HE is the final authority, not the leaders at his church and not anyone else. God is not mocked, period. I have not seen any grief from him for what HE did. Let me know when he is done blaming others for what HE did, and I will listen.

    This whole thing is for his good and for the good of the church ultimately but only if he will permit God to deal with him over it. Will he?

  196. Mercy wrote:

    I have NEVER been witness to anyone more sarcastic and evil in my whole life!

    College Boy needs to be blocked ASAP. His venom is tainting the good people here with such filth that i feel we all need to be decontaminated.

    He gives Insight into people and their emotional responses to defend “spiritual” cult of Personality charlatans. He is mainly insulting commenters so who cares. I have seen much worse. In fact, who knew they were sitting next to this at church? That was a huge thing for me. When the masks slipped. Astonishing….at first.

  197. Lea wrote:

    Hero worship. Possible mixed with mra

    On a tangent, if his moniker is to be believed it is yet another indication of the failure of the academy. A number of reasonable psychologists have theorized that the current fashion on campus to indoctrinate social justice warriors will have the opposite effect on just as many, driving them to an opposite extreme. I certainly hope our future is not defined by the likes of college boy and SJWs, they are two sides of the same vulgar coin. Pray for sanity.

  198. Lydia wrote:

    He gives Insight into people and their emotional responses to defend “spiritual” cult of Personality charlatans.

    I’m thinking of the poster over at despair.com with the picture of a sinking ship and a caption that reads:
    “It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others”.

  199. Lydia wrote:

    He gives Insight into people and their emotional responses to defend “spiritual” cult of Personality charlatans.

    As crude as he is, College Boy does provide insight into the sort of disciples produced by cults of personality. His defensive comments about these men and their messages are not uttered from a Christlike spirit. The Body of Christ needs to know what is happening to the church in America.

  200. bunny

    I sincerely believe ever single pastor/professional Christian should have a secular trade/job training, period. If it was good enough for the apostle Paul…
    I say that because in the back of my mind I do have concern for the wife and children of a pastor that needs to step down from ministry. I am sure others do as well. In any case sales jobs are an option. And a stint in the *real world* is good for them. Some of the finest pastors I know did their time at UPS. The pastor I have now has a day job. Best pastor I ever had-and I have had some very very good ones and that is a high bar.

    Pretty much agree.
    Two of the best Pastors we had, also had employment outside the church. Present pastor was a music teacher( just retired after 32 years ) He didn’t go to Seminary until age 40. Was a part time pastor for 10 years, now our full time pastor at age 55.
    Another good Pastor we had, also didn’t go into the ministry/seminary until age 38. Previous to that he owned a barber shop.
    They knew how to work and support their families, apart from depending on coffers of the church.

  201. Max wrote:

    “Pastor of Relevant Environments” … his nickname was the “Smoke and Soul Guy” …

    I keep seeing this image of James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul”, with a Bible in his hand!

  202. Forrest wrote:

    Just finished listening and watching the live feed. No reference to scripture … sound-bytes … feel good story … victims were shamed … No worship … a stage performance

    Typical of an emotion-driven church. Mr. Conlee is attempting to keep everyone at Highpoint on the same page. He’s too close to the situation and too passionate about his defense of past actions. It would be wise for him to have others fill the pulpit right now. Are there no spiritual advisers counseling him in this regard?

  203. bunny wrote:

    I sincerely believe ever single pastor/professional Christian should have a secular trade/job training, period. If it was good enough for the apostle Paul…

    The three pastors in my life that have had the greatest positive impact on me:

    1.). Worked 3rd shift at a factory while he pastored.

    2.) Began preaching while working at a meat processing plant. When he got a full time pastoring job, he quit the plant and began driving a school bus so he could visit sick, ailing, etc. while his wife ran a small daycare out of their home.

    3.). Began preaching while working as a mechanic at my great-uncle’s gas station. He quit work when he got a full time pastoring job with a small salary. But, his wife worked full time as a nurse.

  204. Hi all
    Let me tell you what has been going on with me.

    My computer crashed last week. I bought a new one (with tons and tons of memory, RAM ) but GBTC was going to be out of town until today and he needed set up my computer with certain geek things. My new computer comes to my house late today and I am so relieved.

    I have a serious bronchitis with a high temp and my husband was concerned that I would have to go to the hospital but I refused and have survived but am still not great.

    Add to that, I have been helping Jules and our team wade through all of the offers she is getting from famous groups-trying to figure out how to manage things. The good news is this, her story is going to be told and it won’t be on a local talk show where the guy is a Highpoint attendee and a friendly acquaintance of Savage.

    I plan a post tomorrow to show the dangerous implication of stating that Savage was JUST a 22 year old college boy. This has implications that are far reaching and I am not sure that we want to go there as a society or within the church. Also, I plan to discuss why a 17 year old high school teen still needs to be protected by both the church and our society.

    I will link to the kissy face interview with Ferguson and point out the deeply concerning statement that Savage made. You can listen to it yourself. That interview was poorly thought out. It only raised the eyebrows of a number of well known outlets and individuals.

    Didn’t you all just about die when Savage mentioned he had an *organic sexual experience* with Jules?

    The facts are clear in this situation. The implications are deeply disturbing for all of our daughters in the church and in society.

    Thankfully, college boy’s statements are public, they now belong to us to do with what we please, and they will be shared as an example of the difficulty women have in the church today. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know who he is…?

  205. Ricco wrote:

    @ Ken F (aka Tweed):
    I think you are right. My thought is that our behavior matters so much because of how it affects God’s children, the people all around us. Protestants (I am one, I guess) are always arguing the faith/works dichotomy that they miss the simple fact that a life well lived is one that loves all those around us. The Calvinistas would rather build these complex moral systems on “total depravity” and “imputed righteousness” that they miss the simple call of Jesus to live out of his love.

    Not just that, but I suddenly realized that “all God’s children” takes on a completely different meaning in a calvinist light. Would they see it as “all god’s elect”?

    (Although some have said HP is not calvinist in their theology? In any event, they have taken “Love one another” in a whole new direction.)

  206. Dee Parsons wrote:

    I have a serious bronchitis with a high temp and my husband was concerned that I would have to go to the hospital but I refused and have survived but am still not great.

    You be careful and take care of yourself!
    Dee Parsons wrote:

    I plan a post tomorrow to show the dangerous implication of stating that Savage was JUST a 22 year old college boy. This has

    “JUST a 22 year old college boy.”
    This irks me to no end!
    My husband joined the army at age 19. Two of my 2nd cousins joined the marines at age 18. ……. By age 20, none of those men would never have dreamed of doing what Savage did at age 22!

  207. @ Dee Parsons:

    Dee, you’ve been sick but such a trooper. You are an amazing woman. Thank you.
    Now, i hope you can get over your organic experience quickly. 😉

  208. @ Nancy2 (aka Kevlar):
    I completely agree. I never served in the armed forces, but the idea of “just 22 is stupid.” At 14 I had a full time summer job working on a farm. At 16, my boss took a 3 week family vacation and left me in charge of the whole operation. At 22, I was a high school band director in charge of 350 middle and high school students. Don’t give me this “only 22” crap.

  209. @ refugee:
    Wow, that is a great point. They definitely don’t believe that Jesus died for everyone. When you believe Jesus died for all, you know who everyone is, even if they don’t yet.

  210. Dee Parsons wrote:

    Thankfully, college boy’s statements are public, they now belong to us to do with what we please, and they will be shared as an example of the difficulty women have in the church today. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know who he is…?

    Mark Driscoll used to troll the blogosphere as “William Wallace II” to defend himself (true story). College Boy is probably not a “college boy” at all, but a mature man who is spiritually immature. His moniker is intended to make him appear smarter than the rest of us. Or, he could be a college boy living in his mother’s basement.

    Hope you get to feeling better soon, Dee. You are a real trooper for the Kingdom of God. You have come into the world for such a sad time as this.

  211. sandy c wrote:

    Andy Savage when asked why he didn’t tell the whole truth about what happened with Jules Woodson ‘I was young and it was very embarressing.’ […]

    sandy c, thanks very much for an excellent summary! I hope people didn’t miss this great post among all the College Boy vileness.

    This is exactly what is bugging me about Savage (and Conlee) continuing to insist that he confessed at the time. On the one hand, Savage keeps saying “I immediately confessed what I did and sought forgiveness from [long list of people, including Jules and her parents].” And on the other hand, he is saying that he didn’t tell the whole truth because it was embarrassing, or “wise counsel” told him not to, etc.

    How can you claim to have sought forgiveness when you didn’t fully confess what you did? That’s nonsense, and people need to call him on it. This isn’t a case of he-said/she-said… these are all his words, which don’t form a coherent story.

  212. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Dee Parsons wrote:

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to know who he is…?

    Could college boy be a seminary lad?

    Wouldn’t surprise me if ‘he’ was a bot, a computer program. Repetitive, predicable, boring. I won’t say ‘AI’, because no intelligence.

  213. I’m going to add a couple of things here that I think need to be very clear in this debate about young & very young Youth Workers or Pastors. The first should be obvious, the second may not be.

    1. When you are in any position of leadership over young people, which is recognised as giving you a significantly enhanced ability to influence them, for good or for ill (which is the rationale behind the law) you are subject to a law that says you may not get personally/sexually involved with those Young People under your care. It doesn’t actually matter if someone is 17 or 18, or 19, for the purposes of the law, & your Youth Pastor is 22, if they are known to you via your professional role with them they are totally off limits for sexual involvement & to cross that line is an offence. We all know if Andy had been a school teacher & Jules his pupil, he’d be on the sex-offenders register & barred from teaching.
    Along with that I’d like to emphasise. & I can’t believe that it needs saying (but it clearly does), even if a Young Person from your church or youth project or whatever blatantly comes on to you, attempts to seduce you, or similar they DO NOT FORFEIT THEIR RIGHT TO BE PROTECTED FROM INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL CONTACT WITH ADULTS IN POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY OVER THEM. This is not what happened with Jules, btw, but should underpin all work. In those situations you take that straight to your manager for help, particularly if you think someone is trying to cause you mischief this way. You don’t get to say ‘they were asking for it’ when crossing the line is a crime.

    2. If your Youth Pastor/Youth Worker ‘persona’ depends on your being seen as a rule breaker, a rebel, one who skirts the boundaries & walks on the wild side, as Andy’s was said to be, & this spills into interpersonal relational boundaries, you have no place in youth work. This is because your self-image & self-esteem will gain a huge boost if you break a rule, as it affirms your’identity’, & that will muffle the full effect that an offence should have on your conscience. There will be a psychologically heightened battle between doing what makes you feel affirmed, & what you know is right. I’ve seen this before – workers who convince themselves that their ongoing big failings (drink, drugs, sex, criminality of other kinds) makes then MORE qualified to lead Young People, not less, as they’re so real & authentic & so close to what the Young People go through, etc etc. No, it doesn’t. It smacks of you needing your identity to be propped up by the admiration of teenagers, as pseudo-peer, not you fulfilling your responsibility as a role model. Come back in 10 years when you’ve grown up & we’ll see.
    If you are too young to know appropriate boundaries then your senior worker should be drawing them for you, checking you understand them in your context, requiring you to keep those boundaries & keeping you in a close feedback mechanism.

    All of this stuff is everyday work for anyone in various forms of Youth Work. All of these ifs & buts & ‘incidents’ are ridiculous to one with any proper professional experience as there are tried & tested ways of behaving, & of managing the normal hazards & risks of the profession.

  214. roebuck wrote:

    Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Dee Parsons wrote:

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to know who he is…?

    Could college boy be a seminary lad?

    Wouldn’t surprise me if ‘he’ was a bot, a computer program. Repetitive, predicable, boring. I won’t say ‘AI’, because no intelligence.

    So, is he ‘organic’ or ‘inorganic’?

  215. dee wrote:

    In the meantime, when Savage said he has an “organic sexual experience* with Jules, I started coughing so hard I almost choked.I want this to become a meme at TWW. We will call if Savage’s OSM.

    After pondering this, I wonder if he meant “natural”? As in mutual attraction, and “we simply couldn’t help ourselves” and the “beautiful” sex promised by the free love movement decades ago? If he’s preaching sex as a wonderful gift from god (but that needs to be confined inside hetero marriage for our own protection, kind of like nuclear power, in the words of a sci-if writer I read long ago, is a fantastic promise but a terrible threat, then he could spin it as god’s goodness that got out of hand.

    Or something like that.

    Like that awful movie Blue Lagoon, if I’m remembering right.

    In some sects, women aren’t supposed to like sex. It’s their duty. In others, women are guilted into serving their husbands in this department joyfully. No matter what. Saying “no” for any reason, unless it is a “mutual decision” for the purpose of fasting and praying, is sinful. And they have to enjoy it. Enjoyment is required, can you believe that?

    Another facet of the joyful, instant obedience that is foisted off on the children in those sects. Wives are required to have the same attitude toward husbands as children toward parents, and if they don’t, it’s considered sin.

    I don’t know if that’s Savage’s teaching or not, or if his focus is on what is not “godly” (railing against anything outside hetero married relations). But with his reported flirting, I would be inclined to peg him as a “sex is god’s wonderful gift” guy. With all the implied guilt that goes along with it, not recognizing the diversity in people’s drives and experience and attraction and energy and such.

  216. @ Dave:
    Your remarks are well put. I would also add the word ‘racist’ to the late modern vocabulary. If you do not want to continue or cannot answer legitimate inquiries you will be called a racist. Jesus indeed was skeptical as He knew what was in their hearts.

  217. Ricco wrote:

    @ Muff Potter:
    The other question we have to ask is what are works? I was taught things like attending church, bible study, and “sharing my faith.” What if works are just living with hearts full of love towards others. When you start questioning what you have been taught, sometimes it strongly resembles a house of cards…

    Interesting. The “works” you listed as what you were taught all seem to be self-serving on the church’s part. No wonder it resembles a house of cards.

  218. refugee wrote:

    But with his reported flirting, I would be inclined to peg him as a “sex is god’s wonderful gift” guy. With all the implied guilt that goes along with it, not recognizing the diversity in people’s drives and experience and attraction and energy and such.

    Isn’t he the one that goes on about ‘atheistic sex’ or similar, by which he clearly means having a sex life that is not subject to Biblical values, as he sees them? So I would say your assessment is spot on – their version of sex is always so regimented & prescribed & imposed upon people, as though mankind was made for sex, not sex for mankind.

  219. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    If “the system” was not so corrupt, and we had faith in the system, we would all not be posting here to start with

    Yep.

    If churches handled things correctly this blog probably would not exist.

  220. bunny wrote:

    . I have not seen any grief from him for what HE did.

    Indeed. A true and real apology followed by a change in behavior and maybe this would have stayed in the past.

  221. @ Jeffrey J Chalmers:
    Unfortunately,
    You cannot take college baby (boy, infant etc.) seriously. Do not be offended by his one-sided viewpoint. It is often nearly impossible to take oneself out of the ‘culture’ one has been brought up in. We also would never wish ill on a fallen pastor’s family. The pain they are going through is an unfortunate by-product of what was done in the present and 20 years ago. I do hope they have strong support and a qualified counselor outside of the church to help them through this great trial. Andy would do well to get a regular job and make friends with true, biblical, wise men who can show him the ‘tough love’ that he needs. I am not saying this flippantly as we all need to have some accountability to those who have our best interests in mind, not want we want to hear.

  222. bunny wrote:

    I say that because in the back of my mind I do have concern for the wife and children of a pastor that needs to step down from ministry.

    No need to worry about their financial well-being, as their buddies in the profit machine that is Highpoint and the Ministry Industrial Complex will assuredly pay them handsomely in any event. Shoot, Rick Trotter (the caught video voyeur Worship Pastor at Fellowship) was given a substantial amount of cash for not working, a place to live in a ministry-owned home, money used to pay for his wife’s boob job, a new ministry position at another local church, etc., so you don’t need to worry about his family’s finances–I’ve seen this play out too many times before. Plus, even if you think for 1 second that Conlee would cut off the financial spigot, all Savage has to do to encourage a greater payout is to threaten Conlee that if he or his family gets even a little hungry, he might have to tell the full truth about this episode and the other things they have buried at Highpoint. Trust me, Savage has great financial security!

    We worry too much about financial comfort, as well, in this country and in the ministry; I am more worried that Savage’s kids have parents who don’t know right from wrong and can’t identify real victims in a situation.

    My wife grew up as 1 of 10 kids in a house a fraction the size of ours, today. Her dad died from cancer when she was 7 and the mom (who had been a traditional housewife) had to learn a trade and support the family. I’m quite sure times were very lean, but each kid turned out well and each loves the Lord. None of them talk about those difficult times of sharing small amounts of food with anything but fondness. The speak of God’s provision, they laugh, and they are thankful for a mother with deep character and resilience. Not a single one of them laments that they didn’t live in a multi-story home, like Savage.

    I worry that Savage’s kids have to grow up with parents who dishonor the family and are incapable of teaching them the values of responsibility and hard work with integrity. Rather than using his horrendous sin of abuse of a young girl as an opportunity to teach his kids to own up to mistakes with full honesty, a willingness to accept consequences, and a trust that God’s forgiveness can overcome even the worst of our sins (though, again, not necessarily without consequence), Andy Savage has blown an incredible opportunity. But, it is clear that Andy cares about no one more than Andy. That is the real tragedy for Savage’s kids.

    I am reminded of an Army-Navy football game many years ago. As Navy positioned itself for the winning chip-shot field goal as time expired on a wet, sloppy field, the kicker missed in the biggest game of his life. Afterward, he did not hide in the showers or select only friendly media, but he faced the entire press corp.

    Press: Did the pressure get to you? Is that why you missed?

    Midshipman: I missed the kick, Sir.

    Press: Was it the mud on the field?

    Midshipman: I missed the kick, Sir.

    Press: If the snap & hold had been better, do you think you’d have made it?

    Midshipman: I missed the kick, Sir.

    No excuses. No: “The miss was ‘organic’ and really contributed to by the long-snapper and holder, in addition to a muddy field. ‘Wise counsel’ told me to hook left. Plus, I know the laws of the game call for me to get the ball through the uprights in order to score, but I really don’t think I should be accountable to those rules and should be awarded the 3 points anyway and live happily ever after.”

    Nope. He took simple and full responsibility. He has honor. If only Savage had the same…

  223. Matthew 7:15-20 The Message

    “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.
    Matthew 7:15 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Matthew%207:15&version=MSG

  224. Mercy wrote:

    @ refugee:
    Same here.

    That makes me feel a little better. I thought the guy made good points (from what I remember) and liked and may even have retweeted a few, but now I suspect I’m not seeing his tweets at all. I do see a few “content unavailable” messages in my feed. So much for my first week of using Twitter!

  225. @ refugee:
    I signed up last week primarily to keep up with all of this. I liked his posts too, which is why this is strange. He must have his reasons. I doubt it is anthing personal as our twitter accounts are sepaate from TWW.

  226. Mercy wrote:

    @ refugee:
    I signed up last week primarily to keep up with all of this. I liked his posts too, which is why this is strange. He must have his reasons. I doubt it is anthing personal as our twitter accounts are sepaate from TWW.

    I signed up for Twitter quite awhile ago but have mostly ignored it since then and only started Tweeting last week. I still don’t completely grasp how it works.

  227. Mercy wrote:

    I signed up last week primarily to keep up with all of this. I liked his posts too, which is why this is strange. He must have his reasons. I doubt it is anthing personal as our twitter accounts are sepaate from TWW.

    His profile either has been deleted, is on private, or Twitter received complaints about his posts and haven’t investigated yet. I’m guessing it’s the latter, since the Highpoint people did the same sort of thing on Facebook with all the news about Savage.

  228. JYJames wrote:

    @ Lea:
    Public speak and private lives as polar opposite. Christian? Not even close. The “no one is perfect” crowd defends. So why is this guy a paid pastor? Coffeeshop, construction, salesman – works. Youth pastor? No.

    Hah. And flirting can be an asset in a barista.

  229. Abigailj wrote:

    I am rather stunned by the description of highpoint offered by Dale. It makes me weep. I am stunned that they call this place a church if they have the young people in a worldly environment and just throw the name Jesus in every now and then. I also am ashamed of parents that would send their kids to that youth group. Have they no desire for holiness?? For what is sacred?? Have they no holy fear of God?? I think the congregation is also at fault here for funding this nonsense. May a revival break out in Memphis!!!

    I used to have a vinyl record containing a scathing song sung by Michael Omartian with the theme “They’ll see Jesus in my guitar.” You can find it on YouTube if you google “Big Time” and Michael Omartian.

  230. ishy wrote:

    Mercy wrote:

    I signed up last week primarily to keep up with all of this. I liked his posts too, which is why this is strange. He must have his reasons. I doubt it is anthing personal as our twitter accounts are sepaate from TWW.

    His profile either has been deleted, is on private, or Twitter received complaints about his posts and haven’t investigated yet. I’m guessing it’s the latter, since the Highpoint people did the same sort of thing on Facebook with all the news about Savage.

    Oh, that makes sense. Thank you for the explanation.

  231. Beakerj wrote:

    their version of sex is always so regimented & prescribed & imposed upon people, as though mankind was made for sex, not sex for mankind.

    One of the best and most illuminating comments on the Evangelical sex ethos I’ve heard in quite awhile. Makes me think of Jesus and his friends picking grain on the Sabbath.

  232. No, apparently this commenter (who is sounding more trolling with every comment) is an apologist only for male sexual abusers. Or so it appears. From his comments, he seems to view “victims” as self-deluded at best and evil at worst.
    Daisy wrote:

    College Boy wrote:

    My words speak clearly and civilly for themselves.
    Your words? Sadly, they represent you as well.

    So you’re a sexual abuser apologist. In your world, all a guy has to do out of having coerced a teen girl into sucking his willy is to say he’s sorry. I for one don’t care if he loses his career, his book deal, etc. I am hoping his wife gets some sense and divorces him, too.

  233. College Boy wrote:

    College Boy wrote:

    Daisy wrote:

    So you’re a sexual abuser apologist. In your world, all a guy has to do out of having coerced a teen girl into sucking his willy is to say he’s sorry. I for one don’t care if he loses his career, his book deal, etc. I am hoping his wife gets some sense and divorces him, too.

    I would be willing to consider paying your therapy tab … IF … you calmed down and communicated more civilly.

    Civil discourse. Just consider.

    Which logical fallacy is being employed here? Classic technique.

  234. @ refugee:
    Never mind. Reading on, it became crystal clear that the commenter was a troll. I am sure as I continue to read through the comments that I will come across the notice that the troll was banned. Thank you very much, powers-that-be on this blog, for making this a safer place than many.

  235. @ Jack:
    You know, since coming out of an abusive church I have given a lot of thought to the matter, and I don’t think any church should have 501c3 status. If they run a charitable ministry (soup kitchen, food bank, homeless shelter, community closet, respite for caregivers) then, yes, the ministry could conceivably fit the 501c3 guidelines. I wish there were a stipulation that to fit that category, more than 80% of donations would have to go directly to benefit the ones needing those services.

  236. How much college boy (he does not deserve capital letters) reminds me of my ex – always sliding around the question, dodging a direct answer by throwing it back on the other writer, demeaning, blaming and blame-shifting, knows what others should do and think, and has all the pat, often smart-alek, answers. And the cherry on the top (like Andy Savage), trying to look oh-so-spiritual – finishing with “God bless”. All too familiar. Might he be a narcissist?

  237. refugee wrote:

    @ ishy:
    So that will still show up as my being blocked by the user? Still trying to figure Twitter out.

    It depends on the app. For me, on desktop Chrome browser, it says “Page not found.”

    Twitter has a couple different ways of handling bans, so we’ll just have to wait it out a bit.

  238. College Boy wrote:

    The question of whether Andy Savage “should” continue in the career to which he’s committed his life… should be answered solely by his fully-informed congregation.

    What ‘right’ or ‘standing’ do the rest of us have to banish this man entirely from a particular vocation. Now, if he had “truly assaulted” another human being; or done anything of the like with a “true minor” in the time and place of jurisdiction, then I would agree that he should be held to account with every high standard of recompense.

    No demonstrations toward ‘mob justice,’ nor any other consortium of the opinionated, gets to exercise mastery over the administration of other private organizations. Yes?

    Here in this case, it is illogical, irrational, and wholly unjust that anyone other than Mr. Savage’s informed congregation decide on his pastoral fate.

    Almighty God will judge ALL parties to this and every other situation on earth.

    I work for an amoral, evil too big to fail bank. At my job, if an Andy Savage type were to offer a female coworker a ride home because, say, her car wasn’t starting, and then he took her down a deserted highway and then ordered her to fellate him, what would happen is that he wouldn’t be keeping his job. Not only would he lose his job (because we don’t put up with sexual assault at the bank), but we’d lose no time in reporting him to law enforcement.

    Now if a greedy BANK will do this, why not a church?

  239. refugee wrote:

    You know, since coming out of an abusive church I have given a lot of thought to the matter, and I don’t think any church should have 501c3 status.

    At the very least they should have to abide by the same rules and have to submit to the same reporting standards. That a “church” can collect considerable funds and potentially use it to pay huge salaries is illegitimate, that they can do it legally without requirements to even report it to their doners is shameful.

  240. refugee wrote:

    College Boy wrote: Civil discourse. Just consider.

    reffugee wrote:
    Which logical fallacy is being employed here?

    Good point refugee, I believe CB’s fallacious debate tactic fell under the “Argument To The Man” category. These can usually be identified when the attack is mounted against the other person and not against their argument.

  241. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2018/01/14/andy-savage-search-truth-road-justice/1029330001/

    Quoting from the story:

    But other women have criticized Savage in the wake of Woodson’s story, though not charging sexual misconduct.

    “He (Savage) was one of the college youth leaders at my church while I was in high school,” Rachel Cox tweeted. “He flirted with me and I told the main leader. Nothing was done, of course.”

    Cue in to the “nothing was done” part. Nothing was done. NOTHING WAS DONE. They told Andy Savage to stay away from the girls, but you know, he flirted with them and tickled Jules in a back bedroom. *shakes head.*

  242. ishy wrote:

    refugee wrote:

    @ ishy:
    So that will still show up as my being blocked by the user? Still trying to figure Twitter out.

    It depends on the app. For me, on desktop Chrome browser, it says “Page not found.”

    Twitter has a couple different ways of handling bans, so we’ll just have to wait it out a bit.

    I got “This account doesn’t exist”.

  243. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Dee Parsons wrote:

    I have a serious bronchitis with a high temp and my husband was concerned that I would have to go to the hospital but I refused and have survived but am still not great.

    You be careful and take care of yourself!
    Dee Parsons wrote:

    I plan a post tomorrow to show the dangerous implication of stating that Savage was JUST a 22 year old college boy. This has

    “JUST a 22 year old college boy.”
    This irks me to no end!
    My husband joined the army at age 19. Two of my 2nd cousins joined the marines at age 18. ……. By age 20, none of those men would never have dreamed of doing what Savage did at age 22!

    My 18yo nephew would be sickened and incensed to be told Savage’s behavior was in any way normal or to be expected.

  244. Beakerj wrote:

    1. When you are in any position of leadership over young people, which is recognised as giving you a significantly enhanced ability to influence them, for good or for ill (which is the rationale behind the law) you are subject to a law that says you may not get personally/sexually involved with those Young People under your care. It doesn’t actually matter if someone is 17 or 18, or 19, for the purposes of the law, & your Youth Pastor is 22, if they are known to you via your professional role with them they are totally off limits for sexual involvement & to cross that line is an offence. We all know if Andy had been a school teacher & Jules his pupil, he’d be on the sex-offenders register & barred from teaching.

    I had a 16 year old child who worked at the YMCA. Said child did extensive abuse training before starting the job. If said 16 year old had abused an 11 year old child (5 year difference) while employed you can bet your life said child would have been arrested and charged. Neither were of consenting age, but the 16 year old would be held accountable.

    It is absurd that College Boy thinks that a 22 year old Youth Pastor should not be held accountable for abuse of a 17 year old he oversaw.

  245. FYI…Amy Smith (Watchkeep on Twitter) is reporting that the Ferguson interview as posted on the Highpoint website appears to have been EDITED!

    “More
    I’ve been told that the recording that’s been released of @benfergusonshow Andy Savage interview seems to have been edited. About 3.5 minutes appear to be missing that contain comments unfavorable to Andy and @hpmemphis. Transcripts are being worked on. #metoo #justiceforjules”

    ++++++
    But really, these guys at Highpoint are just good men committed to the truth, right?

    #kickthem2thecurb #shameless

  246. Anonymous Grandma wrote:

    College Boy wrote:

    I’ll pray for you.

    I wonder if he really will.

    He doesn’t come across as someone with much of a prayer life.

    And his “god bless” sounded more like a curse.

    One good thing… his abusive comments brought out some insightful, thoughtfully written responses. I kind of wondered if he stopped posting because he failed to goad people into being reckless and angry, but achieved the opposite effect, throwing him in to ever-worsening contrast.

  247. Max wrote:

    Dee Parsons wrote:

    Thankfully, college boy’s statements are public, they now belong to us to do with what we please, and they will be shared as an example of the difficulty women have in the church today. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know who he is…?

    Mark Driscoll used to troll the blogosphere as “William Wallace II” to defend himself (true story). College Boy is probably not a “college boy” at all, but a mature man who is spiritually immature. His moniker is intended to make him appear smarter than the rest of us. Or, he could be a college boy living in his mother’s basement.

    Hope you get to feeling better soon, Dee. You are a real trooper for the Kingdom of God. You have come into the world for such a sad time as this.

    Or someone who was a college boy a couple of decades ago.

  248. After @memphisnews story revealing Andy Savage marriage book page redirects to “drive thru dating” marriage manual, that page has since been removed.

    That, of course, is the manual that encouraged dating questions, such as “What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into in a car?”

    You can’t even make this stuff up!

    Why aren’t all of the Highpoint cult members protesting the interview edits and the removing of select (damning) Savage references on their website?!?!? I thought there was nothing to be ashamed of here that occurred less than 20 years ago (?!?!?)

  249. BTW…turns out the interview post on the Highpoint website has been highly edited!!

    They really need to fire their PR firm, as well as mssrs. Conlee and Savage! Some supposedly “wise counsel” needs to be under the next bus leaving, too.

  250. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Because …………
    His parents failed to keep him on a short leash when he was ……… 22???

    Right? I mean, I was living a thousand miles away from my parents at 22 and seemed to manage not to molest any teenagers but ok.

  251. @ Thersites:

    Despair.com was a training resource for me so I am biased. In a world of meaningless Orwellian slogans and platitudes it was a humorous balm in Gilead. :7

  252. Gaga wrote:

    Wartburg Watch has finally “jumped the shark”.

    Yes, focusing on abuse in the church is way off topic for TWW…

  253. Anonymous Grandma wrote:

    College Boy wrote:
    I’ll pray for you.
    I wonder if he really will.
    He doesn’t come across as someone with much of a prayer life.

    Imprecatory prayers, maybe?

  254. dee wrote:

    I am now on my new computer!!!!! Time to get back in the saddle.

    Yay!
    Don’t overdo, though. Stay well, rest as much as you can, drink lots of fluids. Bronchitis is a (female dog).

  255. @ dee:
    Good question… having partially grown up in fundy world, I was constantly being told, and singing “Stand up, Stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the Lord”,
    I am now asking, am I a “ soldier for the Lord” by denanding accountability, or am I an unforgiving, crusty old fart….

  256. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    I am now asking, am I a “ soldier for the Lord” by denanding accountability, or am I an unforgiving, crusty old fart….

    If you are a crusty old fart, so am I!

  257. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Gaga wrote:
    Wartburg Watch has finally “jumped the shark”.
    Yes, focusing on abuse in the church is way off topic for TWW…

    And everybody knows that the DEEBS have been diligently working for years to protect abusive pastors! (Snort, snort, snort???)

  258. Lydia wrote:

    Anonymous Grandma wrote:

    College Boy wrote:
    I’ll pray for you.
    I wonder if he really will.
    He doesn’t come across as someone with much of a prayer life.

    Imprecatory prayers, maybe?

    “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and destroy them?” But He turned and rebuked them and He said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are” (Luke 9:54-55)

  259. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    I should add: If you see a TWW commentor who’s name you do not recognize, PUT THE SWEET TEA DOWN before you read the comment!

    I’m not a sweer tea fan (I live I’m the South but did not grow up in the south). Does it taste better coming out the nose?

  260. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    I’m not a sweer tea fan (I live I’m the South but did not grow up in the south). Does it taste better coming out the nose?

    NEVER! Most certainly not when one is still suffering the after effect of flu and bronchitis!

  261. FYI…Amy Smith (Watchkeep on Twitter) is reporting that the Ferguson interview as posted on the Highpoint website appears to have been EDITED!
    “More
    I’ve been told that the recording that’s been released of @benfergusonshow Andy Savage interview seems to have been edited. About 3.5 minutes appear to be missing that contain comments unfavorable to Andy and @hpmemphis. Transcripts are being worked on. #metoo #justiceforjules”

    I have been following this story from across the pond in the U.K. (thanks to TWW) and wanted to hear Andy Savage’s radio interview for myself. The first thing that struck me as odd was that the link provided by Highpoint provided access to the recording but it was split into two parts of just over 20 Minutes each, when the radio interview was supposedly an hour in length. I wondered if there were several minutes of recorded conversation that were missing, and would appreciate it if there was a full written transcript, or if someone who actually listened to the whole show might recognise that there is something missing from the recorded version.

    It has also struck me as peculiar how celebrity pastors in the US refer to having “wise counsel” from those who advise them in times of trouble. I first encountered this with the Mars Hill implosion…and look where that took Mark Driscoll?…to a new church with new “wise counsel”… who also make up the majority of his new church’s Governing Board! How can that not fail to work in the celebrity pastor’s favour every time?

    So when Andy Savage referred on several occasions to his “wise counsel”, but admitted as many times that their advise was poor, it does beg the question: has and is Chris Conlee one of Andy Savage’s “wise counsel”? Because if he is, the current circumstances, and last Sunday’s appalling public performance at Highpoint, in which he seemed to be the authority figure in control and aware of what was planned for the service, suggest very strongly that he too may need to take a very long leave of absence from pastoral ministry. He has implicated himself on several accounts as being unsuitable to handle a situation of abuse in the church, and the poor decisions he has made historically and currently appear to be more wounding than healing for Jules Woodson.

    I watch from afar and am staggered at the shameful way the institutional churches involved in this abuse situation are reacting. Non-Christians and the secular media in the US are coming across far more concerned for victims of sexual abuse in the church than the church itself. As someone who has faithfully followed Christ for over 40 years, who is theologically trained, and currently involved in Christian ministry, l am deeply saddened by the “independent mega-church industry” which is so prevalent in the media in the US for its sinful and unbiblical conduct.

    #kickthem2thecurb #shameless

  262. Gaga wrote:

    Wartburg Watch has finally “jumped the shark”. Hat tip Happy Days

    So late nineties! Guess that’s the last time your pastor let you read anything not related to his worldview.
    Hat tip goes to some guy named John Gein (I think anyways) who popularized the phrase when talking about Happy Days. Look it up before the pastor calls to stop you looking at the internet. You’re courting church discipline though…tut tut.
    Don’t worry…just yell some “you’re worthies” at him next Sunday. It’ll be cool.

  263. Thank you. To reassure everyone, we have the original transcript and recording and will be doing a comparison. More tomorrow.

  264. Jack wrote:

    I see no need to play nice.

    Nor do I.
    Being nice to people who need a sincere wake up call is not doing them any favors.

  265. @ Jack:
    Weird especially because it is a cultural reference that doesn’t even make sense. A story you shared went viral, to the point of being picked up by major newspapers and television in a way that is unprecedented as far as I know for this site, and that’s jumping the shark? No. Try again.

  266. Gaga wrote:

    Wartburg Watch has finally “jumped the shark”

    We can actually determine if this assertion has validity. The colloquialism is used to describe something that is past its prime, when it starts using something for publicity that does not warrant the attention. So two points,

    1) Is TWW readership down? I haven’t heard such a contention, does Gaga have documentation to support the implication?

    2) Does this story warrant the attention given by TWW? Do an internet search on the story and you will see this story has been been picked up by a lot of news organizations both foreign and domestic. Does Gaga claim a better understanding of what constitutes news than actual news organizations?

    Methinks the organization that might be past its prime is the subject of this thread and not TWW.

  267. refugee wrote:

    Not just that, but I suddenly realized that “all God’s children” takes on a completely different meaning in a calvinist light. Would they see it as “all god’s elect”?

    Piper answered your question this evening (see: https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/does-god-love-the-non-elect)

    He does have a different love — an electing love, a saving love — for some and not all.

    Just for the record, I reject Calvinism. I could be wrong, but I don’t see how a Calvinist can argue that all people are God’s children in the same sort of way.

  268. @ Beakerj:
    My church tends to hire youth pastors who are about 30, married, and seminary trained. They are responsible to train their staff, but they also have another senior staff over them. Young adults also don’t meet on the same night the jr high/high school to keep relationships in the right circles. Nothing is foolproof, but the church does seem to take an interest in having adults involved in the youth ministry. I’ve been impressed with the two youth pastors we’ve had in the 20 years I’ve attended. I say this because I was in a couple churches where the teen supervision was terrible, including the church I grew up in. My mom didn’t let me go on the river trip because she didn’t think there was enough supervision. A young boy drowned on that trip, and I didn’t question her about her permission to attend an event ever again (even back in 1972, churches were sued, and they had to pay).

  269. Linn wrote:

    My church tends to hire youth pastors who are about 30, married, and seminary trained. They are responsible to train their staff, but they also have another senior staff over them. Young adults also don’t meet on the same night the jr high/high school to keep relationships in the right circles. Nothing is foolproof, but the church does seem to take an interest in having adults involved in the youth ministry.

    Did your church ever have a single never married adult about 30 in a responsible position, such as youth pastor / worker, or is being married a necessary qualification? If singles are excluded, then the message is that we don’t trust you and you are not really welcome here, but we’ll take your money.

  270. @ dee:
    That’ll be interesting. Telling and compelling. What they want known and not – what lies beneath or gets shoved back under the rug. However, like in forensics, you already photographed the scene, before it was “staged”.

    Mike Sloan Retweeted Highpoint Memphis
    “Excellent case study in manipulative tactics” [regarding the interview]

  271. @ Gary Boswell:
    In addition to “wise counsel”, “consensual” (as opposed to coercion) was also a major point of the interview.

    Here’s a tweet thread that puts that issue front and center:
    by @MorganJerkins

    “I don’t think a lot of people understand that if a woman agrees to any kind of sexual activity out of assumed obligation, that’s not consent. It’s hard to stomach because innumerable amounts of women have done this and thought it was normal. I’m one of them.

    … [she explains her experience]…
    “So I just want to let people know out there because I wish someone would’ve told me: if you feel pressured at all to do something and you do that thing because of pressure, that’s not consent.

    “And let me be clear on what I mean by obligation: I mean that, in this case, a man is letting you know how much his physical needs need to be sated. There’s no conversation about how comfortable you are. It’s either his way or detachment.

    “Coercion is not consent. Write that down. And if you need to defend that it is, either you have had nonconsensual experiences or you have inadvertently put someone in that position.

    “Either way, you have to reckon with that.”

  272. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    refugee wrote:

    Not just that, but I suddenly realized that “all God’s children” takes on a completely different meaning in a calvinist light. Would they see it as “all god’s elect”?

    Piper answered your question this evening (see: https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/does-god-love-the-non-elect)

    He does have a different love — an electing love, a saving love — for some and not all.

    Just for the record, I reject Calvinism. I could be wrong, but I don’t see how a Calvinist can argue that all people are God’s children in the same sort of way.

    This is so sad. Does that mean he thinks that only the elect are made in the image of god, and the rest are golems?

  273. Regarding “20 years ago”:

    – 20 years ago someone degraded another person, physically and emotionally, in his charge, to sate his lust
    – In the recent interview the same someone degraded the same other person, morally, to preserve his power: “it was consensual” as if the high schooler desired to do this act
    – Degradation of the other person continues, via gaslighting (she is not “willing to be healed” – code for sweep this under the rug to prop up the improper pastor), to secure $$$ or desired income, reputation (although publishers, for example, have decided to not participate)

    The trifecta of power, sex, and money as opposed to repentance and the fruit thereof.

  274. @ JYJames:
    “A particularly eye-opening 2011 study found that people in leadership often pick up phantom sexual signals from subordinates that aren’t really there.”

    Thus, it was “consensual” and “organic”.

  275. Did I see correctly, and Dee gave College Dude the ban hammer at some point on Sunday afternoon?
    I think I saw that. Oh College Guy, I hardly knew ye.
    Would it be crummy for me to tell him, “I told you so” ? 🙂

  276. Ken G wrote:

    Did your church ever have a single never married adult about 30 in a responsible position, such as youth pastor / worker, or is being married a necessary qualification? If singles are excluded, then the message is that we don’t trust you and you are not really welcome here, but we’ll take your money.

    Churches are masters at overlooking singles who have aged out of Singles College classes. If you’re 30 and older, you don’t exist.

    A lot of singles deal with the marginalization by just dropping out of church.

    Then you do have churches that notice that there are tons of never marrieds over age 30, but their only “solution” to that is to shame us for having not married, to assume all of us intentionally chose life long singleness, etc.

  277. I tried to listen to Savage’s interview on whatever that pod cast was (with some guy named Ben??) but it wouldn’t work in my browser.
    I hope it’s available in another format that can work for me or someone types up a transcript.

  278. dee wrote:

    Thank you. To reassure everyone, we have the original transcript and recording and will be doing a comparison. More tomorrow.

    I await that with interest, Dee.

  279. Forrest wrote:

    dee wrote:
    Thank you. To reassure everyone, we have the original transcript and recording and will be doing a comparison. More tomorrow.
    I await that with interest, Dee.

    Yes, what is left out will be as interesting, if not more, than what is left in, I should think.

  280. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Question: Do y’all believe Savage would have “taken a leave of absence” if the story hadn’t exploded on nationwide (maybe even worldwide) secular media?

    Not even slightly. He would have carried on as usual if the media hadn’t picked up on this, if he hadn’t been exposed. That alone tells me he is not repentant.

  281. K.D. wrote:

    Is the organized church so broken it needs to torn down and started over?

    I tend to think yes, on that one. At the very least, I am seeing denominations having to radically shake up the way they do things. God has been speaking to our church about “pushing out the walls”, ie remembering that church is the people, and so long as you have a group of people gathered to worship and pray and share life together, it is a church. I see many people who are interested in Jesus, but have nothing but disdain for the institution of the church, because they see it as irrelevant at best, and harmful at worst.

  282. @ Linn:
    Those are certainly steps in the right direction aren’t they? I have no issue with having younger Youth Workers, but there are extra risks that come with that.

    These days I’m very leery of anyone who is ‘down with the kids’, supercool in youth culture terms etc, dudebros are very unlikely to make it even to interview. Experience is a great teacher!

  283. @ Gary Boswell:
    The appeal to “wise counsel” from my viewpoint is supposed to be an appeal to some perceived authority. It’s comes close to blaming or passing the buck. (You will see it used quite a bit here with many groups. I first saw it as an appeal to authority from Neo Cal groups. But it’s spread since then. Back in the good old days, leaders could hide stuff better but if caught, it was on them)

    But the appeal as explanation for their response to perverse behavior only works within their cult of personality.

    Never forget that what has worked in their own cult of personality venue can sound silly or nefarious to people outside. But it’s how they think and it has worked until it needs to also work outside the group. Groupthink.

    I can hear the followers of Andy without being there, “But they just don’t know Andy”. The irony? Neither do his followers. They know a stage persona. What they don’t know is churches like that are big business. I do know quite well.

    I don’t like to say things like this but this is where I think such churches end up, sadly, tragically:

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

  284. Lance wrote:

    2. A comment on people saying “the incident” occurred 20 years ago. When one has experienced abuse or abusive behavior one does not forget, even after 50 years. The “sting” may go away but not the memory

    Plus it is a medical/ psychological truth that people who have experience serious trauma don’t just remember it. Their brain responds to the memory of it as if it were happening right now. So Jules and other like her don’t just have a bad memory of something that happened a long time ago, they are reliving that horrible experience over and over and over.

  285. JYJames wrote:

    @ JYJames:
    “A particularly eye-opening 2011 study found that people in leadership often pick up phantom sexual signals from subordinates that aren’t really there.”

    Thus, it was “consensual” and “organic”.

    There was a study recently that suggested women in general were less likely to see interest in small things than men. I think this is probably along the same lines. Woman smiles, man sees interest. Man smiles, woman sees man smiling.

  286. Beakerj wrote:

    ? I have no issue with having younger Youth Workers, but there are extra risks that come with that.

    I think if you have truly younger people (especially college students!) they need more adult supervision. They need clear boundaries to be taught and enforced and if they are caught crossing them they need to be put down, hard.

    None of that happened here.

  287. Lydia wrote:

    The appeal to “wise counsel” from my viewpoint is supposed to be an appeal to some perceived authority. It’s comes close to blaming or passing the buck

    It is pretty sad that everything he did, his answer was basically ‘somebody else said this was a good plan’. Uh huh.

    To look back with the wisdom of age and still call them ‘wise’ means Andy is pretty stupid. (Or worse really)

  288. Liz wrote:

    K.D. wrote:
    Is the organized church so broken it needs to torn down and started over?
    I tend to think yes, on that one. At the very least, I am seeing denominations having to radically shake up the way they do things. God has been speaking to our church about “pushing out the walls”, ie remembering that church is the people, and so long as you have a group of people gathered to worship and pray and share life together, it is a church. I see many people who are interested in Jesus, but have nothing but disdain for the institution of the church, because they see it as irrelevant at best, and harmful at worst.

    I happen to believe that the orgaized church became broken during the time of the apostles. What we are witnessing today is a man made institution. I agree with everything you have stated. So, my husband and i are the church in our location. We know of no others who wish to gather with us. It is a bit sad but we are convinced that the Lord is with us. This is more authentic that going along to another group that is not right.

  289. Lea wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    The appeal to “wise counsel” from my viewpoint is supposed to be an appeal to some perceived authority. It’s comes close to blaming or passing the buck

    It is pretty sad that everything he did, his answer was basically ‘somebody else said this was a good plan’. Uh huh.

    To look back with the wisdom of age and still call them ‘wise’ means Andy is pretty stupid. (Or worse really)

    He was blame-shifting all the way through, only owning up to things that were unavoidable but even then still minimising them.

    So, getting in first and controlling the narrative – it was a mutual kiss. When Jules then told Cotton what happened, he had to admit to more but it was now somehow her fault. Cotton agreed and Andy is now blaming his ‘wise counsel’ for how it was dealt with then – Andy continues to portray himself as the spiritual guy who wants to do things God’s way (even though he had completely ignored earlier instructions to avoid such situations). Andy has continued to operate exactly the same way throughout – minimise and then blame shift and minimise.

  290. Liz wrote:

    Lance wrote:
    2. A comment on people saying “the incident” occurred 20 years ago. When one has experienced abuse or abusive behavior one does not forget, even after 50 years. The “sting” may go away but not the memory
    Plus it is a medical/ psychological truth that people who have experience serious trauma don’t just remember it. Their brain responds to the memory of it as if it were happening right now. So Jules and other like her don’t just have a bad memory of something that happened a long time ago, they are reliving that horrible experience over and over and over.

    This is a problem I have with statement analysis. I was listening to someone recently fired who went through a shocking and traumatic situation in his career with people he had trusted. During the hour entire interview he kept referring to them as “we”. He kept referring to the situation as it ‘had been’ while talking about what happened and then amalgamating that with use of pronouns. It’s hard to explain but when one has put their total trust in someone or an institution and have had good experiences with it until the blindsided “bad”, there is a sort of cognitive dissonance that comes with that. Add in frontal cortex development for even more of it.

    Victims desperately need good advocates.

  291. @ Ken G:
    Yes, we currently have three singles on staff in children’s ministry and young adult ministry and at one time we had a youth pastor who was engaged. I should have put the emphasis on age and education. They seem to hire folks who are more mature for true staffing positions.

    By the way, I’m a senior, always been single and I have found plenty of ministry opportunities in my church- meaningful ministry where I can use my giftings and talents.

  292. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Steve240 wrote:

    What will be interesting to see is how much attendance and contributions drop off in these following weeks at Highpoint Church. I imagine the only thing that will get the attention of Highpoint leadership is if attendance and contributions drop significantly. But then I imagine it will be lower staff people that are laid off first vs. top leadership.

    What concerns me is that the investigation into Andy might be short-circuited by the need to bring him back to the pulpit as soon as possible to keep up the cash flow. Why, the giving units might start getting restless and start looking around for another church in Memphis where they can hear a dynamic speaker and have a rock concert-like experience at 9 am on Sunday morning! And this is not speculation. We know giving at the imploded Mars Hill churches in Seattle dropped off in the summer of 2014 when Driscoll was put on a leave of absence.

    I fully expect that Andy Savage will be back in the pulpit in May, and maybe even sooner.

    I have no doubt that the answer they want with Andy Savage is to have him back as their speaking pastor. I am sure Highpoint leadership will do what they can to have the “independent” investigation show that Andy should come back. I am sure the leadership is just playing the politics they were forced to deal with regarding Andy.

    From what I have seen they aren’t the smartest politically. Most churches even when they want to keep a leader would have played the suspension card immediately vs. the cast the first stone message that was give the 1st Sunday after what Andy did became public. Thus even if they weren’t serious about looking in Andy’s sin they would have at least given the appearance.

  293. Daisy wrote:

    Ken G wrote:

    Did your church ever have a single never married adult about 30 in a responsible position, such as youth pastor / worker, or is being married a necessary qualification? If singles are excluded, then the message is that we don’t trust you and you are not really welcome here, but we’ll take your money.

    Churches are masters at overlooking singles who have aged out of Singles College classes. If you’re 30 and older, you don’t exist.

    A lot of singles deal with the marginalization by just dropping out of church.

    Then you do have churches that notice that there are tons of never marrieds over age 30, but their only “solution” to that is to shame us for having not married, to assume all of us intentionally chose life long singleness, etc.

    Having worked in ministry, I can tell you that there are 2 primary reasons that singles age 30+ are overlooked for youth pastor-type positions:

    1. Follow the money trail. Churches like young married folks (and really only couples that have stay-at-home wives) because they are trying to get 2 employees for the price of one. They expect the wife to do ministry for free. They particularly prefer childless couples, because then, they don’t have other obligations that keep them from spending all of their extra time with the youth group kids. Also, to them, a married man is less likely to be homosexual, so they can cross that off their “worry list.”

    2. You are right in that they have contempt for the singles (particularly older singles). In their haughtiness, they assume that because someone deemed them (the pastors) “marriage-worthy,” they are somehow better than those God has not called to that (yet or at all). Most pastors are terribly insecure and are (by normal standards outside of ministry) socially awkward; their insecurity manifests itself in a spiritual narcissism.

    A wildly-popular pastor I used to work for in my youth believed in “election” and pre-destination” (concepts open for theological debate in a different thread, but germane here only for what follows next). His term (in his private ministry circles) for the older singles in his congregation was “The Frozen Chosen.” Now, of course, his callous dismissal & derision of these men and women (equally valued by God) did not keep him from accepting their donations/tithes to the ministry or from asking them to do many labors (for free) for the church.

    In short, it is not simply that the modern church leadership doesn’t care about the congregants, it has actual disdain for them.

  294. Mercy wrote:

    What we are witnessing today is a man made institution.

    Oh, no doubt about it. But that has been occurring for a long time. There are some 30,000 Christian denominations and organizations worldwide. Most (if not all) began when a good man here and there decided to launch his own thing, convinced that he had a corner on the truth unlike all the other choices on the menu.

    Mercy wrote:

    my husband and i are the church in our location … more authentic than going along to another group that is not right

    More and more believers are struggling to fit in the organized church … from traditional to contemporary, things are just not good. But in the midst of all the religious noise, you can still find the Church within the church holding on. Some elect to stay in the institution and try to make a difference (often a frustrating exercise); others come out from among it to be the Church rather than go to church. IMO, there’s nothing wrong with either avenue – as long as the Lord is leading you.

    There’s a lot of hype about contemporary culturally-relevant church representing an authentic expression of faith, but authentic can only be found where the Great Commission is genuinely taking place and that represents a small percentage of Christendom as we walk further into the 21st century. After all, it’s about relationship not religion. Jesus came to redeem individuals, not institutions. The institution we call church is OK if it reaching lost souls for Christ, discipling and equipping them to do the work of the ministry, and engaging them in the Great Commission. Whose job is the ministry? Every believer has a part!

    So what should you do as institutional madness proliferates? Henry Blackaby put it this way “Look for where God is working and join Him there.” It “might” be in your local church or it could be in your family, workplace, school, or neighborhood. Be faithful to your calling.

  295. Mercy wrote:

    So, my husband and i are the church in our location. We know of no others who wish to gather with us.

    Maybe you just need a fog machine? 🙂

  296. Gary Boswell wrote:

    Amy Smith (Watchkeep on Twitter) is reporting that the Ferguson interview as posted on the Highpoint website appears to have been EDITED!

    This sad chapter in the American church has been “edited” for the last 20 years.

    JYJames wrote:

    “wise counsel”

    Editors.

    Steve240 wrote:

    “independent” investigation

    More editors.

  297. @ Max:
    Mercy wrote:

    What we are witnessing today is a man made institution.

    Oh, no doubt about it. But that has been occurring for a long time. There are some 30,000 Christian denominations and organizations worldwide. Most (if not all) began when a good man here and there decided to launch his own thing, convinced that he had a corner on the truth unlike all the other choices on the menu.
    This “30,000” is a made up number. They used every separate church to make it up.

  298. Max wrote:

    it’s about relationship not religion.

    Be faithful to your calling.

    This is excellent, Max – perfect for staying close to Christ in this eye-opening time.

  299. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Mercy wrote:
    So, my husband and i are the church in our location. We know of no others who wish to gather with us.
    Maybe you just need a fog machine?

    Maybe…..

  300. Ken A wrote:

    This “30,000” is a made up number. They used every separate church to make it up.

    According to Christianity Today, “an estimated 30,000 congregations shut their doors in the United States from 2006 to 2012” … while the number of American congregations still meeting “leveled off at 384,000 in 2012.” http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/september/how-many-churches-in-america-us-nones-nondenominational.html

    The oft-quoted number of 30,000 Christian organizations worldwide includes not only individual denominations, but a large host (thousands) of para-church institutions. IMO, many para-church groups come closer to the real deal than mainline denominations in reaching souls for Christ and ministering to their needs. For example, churches have closed their doors during natural disasters in my area, while the Salvation Army hit the street to find, feed and shelter hurting people.

  301. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    the older singles in his congregation was “The Frozen Chosen.”

    like Gladys Aylward in China?
    Amy Wilson Carmichael in India?
    the ten Boom sisters in Holland and beyond?
    John the Baptist in the Bible?

    With the “wildly popular pastor” – the gates were down and the lights were flashing, but the train never came.

  302. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Mercy wrote:

    So, my husband and i are the church in our location. We know of no others who wish to gather with us.

    Maybe you just need a fog machine?

    LOL

  303. @ AbuseCrusher:

    “In short, it is not simply that the modern church leadership doesn’t care about the congregants, it has actual disdain for them.”

    I can attest to this first hand from my mega consulting days. It’s the strangest thing, too. They know they are dependent on bottoms in seats (that is where the bulk of money comes from not tithing) but they resent it and think themselves above the plebes. That could very well be the case in any stage/media profession where numbers of followers are the goal.

  304. Steve240 wrote:

    I have no doubt that the answer they want with Andy Savage is to have him back as their speaking pastor. I am sure Highpoint leadership will do what they can to have the “independent” investigation show that Andy should come back. I am sure the leadership is just playing the politics they were forced to deal with regarding Andy.

    From what I have seen they aren’t the smartest politically. Most churches even when they want to keep a leader would have played the suspension card immediately vs. the cast the first stone message that was give the 1st Sunday after what Andy did became public. Thus even if they weren’t serious about looking in Andy’s sin they would have at least given the appearance.

    I think we can all see that the problem is with the model. “Elders” and/or “pastors” running everything and thinking their authority is supreme. As Dee and Deb have shown over and over, this model is very flawed. It can’t be right. They set themselves up as demi-gods. They can’t understand when they try the same thing in these situation where they try and bully there way through like they do on everything else. They are totally shocked that it doesn’t work!

  305. Ken A wrote:

    the problem is with the model. “Elders” and/or “pastors” running everything and thinking their authority is supreme. As Dee and Deb have shown over and over, this model is very flawed. It can’t be right. They set themselves up as demi-gods.

    “In recent years, a growing body of research has shown how power warps one’s perception of others and alters people’s behavior.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/12/20/what-makes-some-men-sexual-harassers-science-tries-to-explain-the-harvey-weinsteins-of-the-world/?utm_term=.7bb87ece83a1

  306. FYI—the actual transcript of the Andy Savage interview on the Ben Ferguson show is being displayed on the Net now and being contrasted with the (unacknowledged) edited interview being posted by Highpoint. Highpoint (in another buffoonish attempt to play CYA) has heavily removed significant portions of the interview in order to mislead listeners & visitors.

    How much fraud are these guys willing to commit on their members and the public?

  307. @ Deb:
    But that is a secular article. Don’t you trust the sufficiency of scripture rather than some article written by unregenerate, worldly people? /sarc

  308. I admit to having fits of goggles ands coughing (due to my bronchitis.) College Boy is have a great conversation with himself in moderation.

    He provided us a service. Savage complained about the awful people who have been commenting on him. Time for his to grow up. You should see some of the stuff said about us about this situation. If Savage continues to complain, I will show him some things his own people have said to us.

    Turn the other cheek, HIghpoint! Please act like Jesus who went to the death asking for God to forgive those who persecuted Him and He did NOT have an organic sexual experience with someone following him. He was innocent.

  309. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Check out the REAL Andy Savage interview transcript (vs. the notably redacted one offered on the Highpoint website) here….

    http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2018/01/andy-savage-on-ben-ferguson-show.html

    Highpoint is an absolute fraud, and anybody who was previously defending the leadership should see clearly that Truth is not their aim. Conlee and Savage are professional deceivers!

    Why would they do this?!? This further undermines credibility of everyone at Highpoint and is so easily proven. Surely they know by now how many eyes are on them regarding their response to Savage and every inconsistency will be exposed.

  310. @ dee:
    College Boy is Savage?

    dee wrote:

    Savage complained about the awful people who have been commenting on him.

    Awful comments supporting him, in his defense? Yes, seen those.

  311. Ken A wrote:

    the number “30,000” is a lie

    True or not, thousands of Protestant denominations (whether it be 1,000 or 30,000) is not a good thing. Some argue that there is one true church in various manifestations … but finding where it is hiding out is getting tougher by the day!

  312. Ken A wrote:

    I think we can all see that the problem is with the model.

    On a new blog in support of Jules Woodson’s account, I put a similar comment, with questions about how “church” is structured. The comment was deleted and never cleared moderation. My guess is that the admin seeks to fix and not address structural issues in the institution.

    In the erased comment, I wondered if the model is similar to how we believe in Santa Claus until our eyes are opened and we see that our parents and family put the gifts under the tree. We grow up and out of the fantasy.

  313. Russell Smith wrote:

    In case you haven’t seen it – here’s a post from a Memphis area pastor about this

    https://edspastorblog.blogspot.com/2018/01/thoughts-on-my-fellow-memphis-area.html#.Wly1fSOZMgp

    Thank you Russell. Pastor Eubanks has articulated what many on this blog have been saying. At the root of the problem has been the mishandling of this sad matter by church leaders for the past 20 years. There is a systemic problem in some religious circles which shelters failed pastors, while failing to minister to those who have been impacted by their sins. I will refer others to this article – Pastor Eubanks provides wise counsel.

  314. Max wrote:

    Ken A wrote:

    the number “30,000” is a lie

    True or not, thousands of Protestant denominations (whether it be 1,000 or 30,000) is not a good thing. Some argue that there is one true church in various manifestations … but finding where it is hiding out is getting tougher by the day!

    So why quote “30,000” if it may not be correct? We could get into a debate about why there are any denominations in Protestantism. But to quote a number that is demonstrably false is being disingenuous.

  315. Forrest wrote:

    Andy has continued to operate exactly the same way throughout – minimise and then blame shift and minimise.

    I mentioned this last week. I’m not understanding why all his “wise counsel” do not see it. It’s possible they don’t want to see it.

  316. Max wrote:

    JYJames wrote:
    College Boy is Savage?

    William Wallace II was Mark Driscoll.

    Who never realized Braveheart was HEAVILY fictionalized.

  317. Max wrote:

    There is a systemic problem in some religious circles which shelters failed pastors, while failing to minister to those who have been impacted by their sins.

    Rank Hath Its Privileges.
    Especially when conferred by Divine Right.

  318. Caroline wrote:

    Why would they do this?!? This further undermines credibility of everyone at Highpoint and is so easily proven. Surely they know by now how many eyes are on them regarding their response to Savage and every inconsistency will be exposed.

    Standard response of The Righteous.
    Double Down AND SCREAM LOUDER!

  319. Ricco wrote:

    @ Deb:
    But that is a secular article. Don’t you trust the sufficiency of scripture rather than some article written by unregenerate, worldly people? /sarc

    I have found that secular articles on secular subjects (which can apply equally in a church setting) often are very helpful. Same way that I would seek advice from my doctor about a physical symptom instead of asking a pastor.

  320. @ Bridget:

    Apparently some folks get it, in the pews but not the pulpit.

    Tweet – Andy Savage Should Resign @MichaelHansen Jan 12
    “On a serious note, that Metro bible study Andy started for “young singles” at GBC was a breeding ground for hookup culture. Funny considering Andy talks so much about ‘sexual purity.’ And why is he so obsessed with youth and sex? It’s been his entire ministry.”

  321. Ricco wrote:

    @ Deb:
    But that is a secular article.

    AKA FAKE NEWS(TM).

    (Aside: Ever since the 2016 elections — and the later election circus around Roy Moore — I have been puzzled by American Evangelicals’ backing of Trump. I’m starting to come to an explanation, but still need some thinking it over. The basic idea is that the behavior, attitudes, and tropes of American Evangelicalism set up its members for “Trumpism” which fulfilled a lot of their expectations (from pulpits and MenaGAWD) for Godliness. Their loyalty just transferred over from their pulpits.)

    Don’t you trust the sufficiency of scripture rather than some article written by unregenerate, worldly people? /sarc

    SCRIPTURE(TM) should be capitalized. (It is when they say it.)

  322. Max wrote:

    Editors.

    The edits and wise counsel should have happened before the act:

    20 years ago
    Holy Spirit: Do NOT drive this teen in your car alone.
    Holy Spirit: Do NOT lie about where you are really going, abducting her into your machiavellian plan, etc.

    Today and ever since:
    Holy Spirit: Come clean, own your lust, schemes, arrogance, lies, pride, deceit. Take it to the Cross. Find another trade.
    Instead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64oT3EYvi3Q

  323. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    In short, it is not simply that the modern church leadership doesn’t care about the congregants, it has actual disdain for them.

    Yet another similarity to politicians

  324. Lydia wrote:

    I can hear the followers of Andy without being there, “But they just don’t know Andy”. The irony? Neither do his followers. They know a stage persona.

    Worthy of repetition

  325. @ Max:
    I admire you two for keeping it classy, and there are many demoninations, true.

    [sidenote: your discourse brought this to mind: https://dan.hersam.com/lists/trivia.html

    #18. 65% of statistics are made up.

    Of course, how Dan Hersam comes up with this, and the rest of his list? He doesn’t explain, so made up? LOL]

  326. dee wrote:

    Savage complained about the awful people who have been commenting on him. Time for his to grow up. You should see some of the stuff said about us about this situation. If Savage continues to complain, I will show him some things his own people have said to us.

    Considering they allowed the Highpoint people to say horrible things about Jules and anyone was behind her on their Facebook page without moderation, but moderated anyone who questioned them, I don’t think they really care about doing the right thing. It’s just a way to convince the followers not to honestly read the other side.

  327. I’m still tracking down when the bit in Texas law about clergy and sexual assault was added. It certainly predates 1998.

    see SB 542, 75th Regular Session (1997) which is amending an adjacent section of the law but includes the clergyman bit for context
    Acts 1997, 75th R.S.,ch. 1031, General and Special Laws of Texas
    http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legis/BillSearch/text.cfm?legSession=75-0&billtypeDetail=SB&billNumberDetail=542&billSuffixDetail=&startRow=1&IDlist=&unClicklist=&number=101

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

  328. Redactions recorded by Watch Keep: http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2018/01/andy-savage-on-ben-ferguson-show.html

    One of the omissions from the Highpoint version of the Ben Ferguson interview:

    Andy Savage: “On, uh, Sunday [January 7, 2018], I offered to Chris [Conlee] that I would resign, IF THAT WAS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF OUR CHURCH” [emphasis mine].

    In other words, he offers a passive, conditional resignation. He claims no responsibility. He lays the burden on Chris Conlee.

    Savage has taken a passive approach with “the church” since the “incident” happened twenty years ago. There has never been any true repentance on his part. Everything that he has done has been designed to cover up his sin/crime. And he has been aided and abetted by his “wise counsel” all along the way.

    A conditional offer is not a firm offer. By providing Conlee a conditional resignation he is saying, “I am not guilty. But if you think it best, I will resign.”

    What a weasel!

  329. @ Max:
    Regarding abuse survivors in our present discussion, stats, and numbers, this is why corroboration is key. Andy Savage has a 20-year trail (of deceit, etc.). Every time the “20 years ago” is brought up by himself and his defenders, they are actually gesturing to his unfortunate path. 20 years is a pattern and pattern denotes character. It’s all there.

    A case study leads to discourse which inevitably brings many witnesses to the foreground, which leads to a class, and class action.

    Holocaust scholar Terrence Des Pres looked at 4,000+ holocaust documents to write his phenomenal The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps. https://www.amazon.com/Survivor-Anatomy-Life-Death-Camps/dp/0195027035/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1516038368&sr=1-1&keywords=9780195027037

  330. Another thing I just noticed from reading my post. In speaking with Chris Conlee, he calls Highpoint “our church.” Our church. We started it. We own it. It’s ours to do with as we please.

  331. @ Max:
    “Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 97:10 NIV

    Great song!

  332. dee wrote:

    I admit to having fits of goggles ands coughing (due to my bronchitis.) College Boy is have a great conversation with himself in moderation.

    Can you share with the rest of the class? I could use a good laugh today. college boy is certainly entertaining, especially if he could be Savage.

  333. JYJames wrote:

    The edits and wise counsel should have happened before the act:

    20 years ago
    Holy Spirit: Do NOT drive this teen in your car alone.

    Exactly. In fact, this is precisely what happened. After the tickling incident, Andy was counseled–ordered, actually–never to be alone with Jules again. By driving Jules home that night, he was not only ignoring wise counsel (the only truly wise counsel he received in this whole debacle) but willfully defying orders from a superior. He defied social norms; he defied his boss; he defied the Holy Spirit. It was a rebellious act from start to finish.

  334. Erp wrote:

    I’m still tracking down when the bit in Texas law about clergy and sexual assault was added. It certainly predates 1998.

    It sure looks like the law was enacted in April, 1997.

  335. Dale Rudiger wrote:

    Erp wrote:

    I’m still tracking down when the bit in Texas law about clergy and sexual assault was added. It certainly predates 1998.

    It sure looks like the law was enacted in April, 1997.

    Do you have the bill number for when clergy were added? This particular law became effective on Sept 1, 1997 (signed on June 19, 1997) but the section on clergy already existed.

  336. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    Highpoint is an absolute fraud, and anybody who was previously defending the leadership should see clearly that Truth is not their aim. Conlee and Savage are professional deceivers!

    The more Highpoint leadership reacts/explains, the more they reveal their true identity.

  337. dee wrote:

    I admit to having fits of goggles ands coughing (due to my bronchitis.) College Boy is have a great conversation with himself in moderation.

    That is very bizarre! Does he not realize he is moderated? I’m wondering about his mental health now.

  338. Erp wrote:

    Do you have the bill number for when clergy were added? This particular law became effective on Sept 1, 1997 (signed on June 19, 1997) but the section on clergy already existed.

    The bill as originally written in 1997 included “clergyman.” There were amendments to the bill that added certain provisions related to health care professionals. But the clergy reference was in this bill.

    Clearly if it were not for the statute of limitations, Andy Savage could be subject to prosecution based on this 1997 law.

  339. Dale Rudiger wrote:

    he calls Highpoint “our church.” Our church.

    There’s too much love for “our” church and not enough concern about “His” Church in America. When “Us” becomes more important than “Him”, we will fail to do the right thing.

  340. Erp wrote:

    Dale Rudiger wrote:

    Erp wrote:

    I’m still tracking down when the bit in Texas law about clergy and sexual assault was added. It certainly predates 1998.

    It sure looks like the law was enacted in April, 1997.

    Do you have the bill number for when clergy were added? This particular law became effective on Sept 1, 1997 (signed on June 19, 1997) but the section on clergy already existed.

    If this is the case, why did the DA let Savage go?

  341. Max wrote:

    Dale Rudiger wrote:

    he calls Highpoint “our church.” Our church.

    There’s too much love for “our” church and not enough concern about “His” Church in America. When “Us” becomes more important than “Him”, we will fail to do the right thing.

    Excellent point. Worth repeating.

  342. Lydia wrote:

    The appeal to “wise counsel” from my viewpoint is supposed to be an appeal to some perceived authority. It’s comes close to blaming or passing the buck.

    The appeal to “wise counsel” is the same as consulting with experts or reading authoritative opinions before making a decision. As a society we do this all the time whether it involves preparing income tax returns using expert software, reading reviews of automobiles before making a purchase, consulting with a doctor and being told you need to lose weight, etc.

    At the time, “wise counsel” may seem wise, but using 20/20 hindsight the “wise counsel” may not have been so wise. Think about the medical treatments recommended about 100+ years ago for common childhood ailments. If they were implemented today, parents would be accused of child abuse and doctors would lose their license.

  343. @ Dale Rudiger:

    The statute being amended already had clergyman in it. This bill modified the adjacent clause on mental health professional. I’m just wondering when the clergyman clause was added. I agree that Savage could have been prosecuted as a clergyman who abused his authority.

  344. I have tried to determine the statute of limitations that would apply in Texas regarding sex crimes against a minor by clergy:

    Current law: Art. 12.01. FELONIES. Except as provided in Article 12.03, felony indictments may be presented within these limits, and not afterward:

    No limitation:

    (B) sexual assault under Section 22.011(a)(2), Penal Code, or aggravated sexual assault under Section 22.021(a)(1)(B), Penal Code; [this applies to a child under the age of 17]

    Ten years from the date of the commission of the offense:

    (E) sexual assault, except as provided by Subdivision (1); [age 17 and older]

    Dates of changes to the statute of limitations:

    1997 H.B. 921 amended Art. 12.01(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, by providing a limitations period of 10 years from the 18th birthday of a victim of indecency with a child under §21.11(a)(1) of the Penal Code (had been 10 years from the date of the offense), sexual assault under §22.011(a)(2) of the Penal Code (had been 10 years from the date of the offense), and aggravated sexual assault under §22.021(a)(1)(B) of the Penal Code (had been five years from the date of the offense).

    2005 The 80th Texas Legislature passed H.B. 8 (“the Jessica Lunsford Act”). The law: 

    4) eliminated the statute of limitations for indecency with a child by contact or exposure, sexual assault of a child, aggravated sexual assault of a child, and continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children;

  345. Bridget wrote:

    dee wrote:

    I admit to having fits of goggles ands coughing (due to my bronchitis.) College Boy is have a great conversation with himself in moderation.

    That is very bizarre! Does he not realize he is moderated? I’m wondering about his mental health now.

    For some, even knowing the moderation staff have to read it is enough for them.

  346. @ Erp:

    Not sure I understand your question. The section regarding the clergy was part of this 1997 bill. I don’t think there was any provision to carve out clergy as an excepted class prior to this bill.

  347. @ Forrest:
    Boz removes the smoke and mirrors “environment”:

    1 – Redefine Narrative: from assault to “incident”
    2 – Shift the Blame Narrative: from presenting his johnson for sating lust to “organic” moment
    3 – False Empathy Narrative: from owning up to wishing the young lady would join him in “healing”. [Note: she’s not the one with the disease.]

    1, 2, 3, – they (Andy and the entire cohort) did it all.

  348. Russell Smith wrote:

    In case you haven’t seen it – here’s a post from a Memphis area pastor about this

    https://edspastorblog.blogspot.com/2018/01/thoughts-on-my-fellow-memphis-area.html#.Wly1fSOZMgp

    The post from the Memphis area pastor raises some serious questions. He wrote, “I too was a young youth minister while finishing college, and I remember (sometimes with an accompanying facepalm) plenty of foolish mistakes and times when I sinned against those in my youth group or congregation. Throughout my adult life I’ve also faced my share of temptations toward sexual sin and other sins, and have failed in succumbing to those temptations more times than I wish were true. And, again thinking back to my late teens and early 20s, I remember times when, even as a Christian, I was inappropriately physical with women I was dating….But the situation with Andy Savage is different.”

    I think you need to fully explain why your sins as a youth pastor and again as an adult pastor are a different situation. I didn’t see that explanation or whether or not you betrayed the trust placed in you as a youth and as an adult pastor.

  349. Uppity Bimbo wrote:

    If this is the case, why did the DA let Savage go?

    As others have pointed out the statute of limitations has long ago run out. I think the clause was added between 1987 and 1997 so it was likely the pastors (at least the older ones) at the church would have been aware of it. Dale Rudiger wrote:

    @ Erp:

    Not sure I understand your question. The section regarding the clergy was part of this 1997 bill. I don’t think there was any provision to carve out clergy as an excepted class prior to this bill.

    Read the digest for the bill. It was to extend the clause on Mental Health provider to include all physicians. The only thing it changed is the bit underlined; the rest already existed and is there for context. However the statute in 1987 did not contain the clergyman clause.

  350. JYJames wrote:

    Aylward in China?
    Amy Wilson Carmichael in India?
    the ten Boom sisters in Holland and beyond?
    John the Baptist in the Bible?

    Then there’s the apostle Paul, Lottie Moon, and some dude that got nailed to an old rugged cross!

  351. @ Lea:
    The phantom signals seen by leadership types could be either gender, although it is a fact there are more men in leadership, but more women teachers and more women nurses. (Patriarchy in the church probably plays a big part in skewing the data.) Phantom signals awareness is good.

    Example of a phantom signal by a woman subordinate: a grown women married with kids was in grad school and her professor put his hand on her shoulder, in public, no big deal. Suddenly she was madly in love and wanted to run off with him, though the gesture had been completely innocent. As her friends, we all had to explain to her how out of line this was and to work on her marriage and negate the fantasy. Fortunately, she negated the fantasy and moved on.

  352. @ Ricco:
    Secular article, yes.

    Innumerable discoveries are made and benefit mankind, no matter the discoverer. Science. God is the One behind Science even if the discoverer is in some ways a dope. (And I get the sarc part, LOL.)

  353. @ AbuseCrusher:
    We’ll, now! Aren’t AS’s answers and statements in that interview just chocked full of “uhms” and “uhs”. I hope the same guy that analyzed Jule’s statement analyzes this!

  354. @ Ken G:
    I see what you are saying, but in the evangelical context, “wise counsel” often means “ask a church leader.” If those people are corrupt, you are going to get poor advice. Also, I have heard at my church that you can only get wise counsel from Christians. That would disqualify any “secular” source from giving a Christian “wise counsel.” That seems like a silly position, but that is the way “wise counsel” has been presented in the evangelical churches I have attended

  355. @ Forrest:
    Yup. I meant that post VERY sarcastically. I’m really sick of Christians thinking the “secular world” has nothing to offer

  356. Ricco wrote:

    @ Forrest:
    Yup. I meant that post VERY sarcastically. I’m really sick of Christians thinking the “secular world” has nothing to offer

    🙂

  357. Here is a timeline of events as I perceive they have unfolded over the past 10 days:

    Fri 5 Jan. Jules Woodson releases her account of sexual assault by her Youth Pastor, Andy Savage, in 1998.

    Sun 7 Jan. Andy Savage informs Chris Conlee that he is willing to resign from his pastoral position.
    Chris Conlee admits that what Andy Savage is about to confess, he has known about for a lot longer than just the past few days.
    Andy Savage confesses to a “sexual incident” during the Sunday worship service at Highpoint (and receives a standing ovation), but no announcement by Conlee/Savage of resignation or even leave of absence. (Would there have been the same reaction if there had been a disciplinary announcement commensurate with the gravity of the moral failure?)

    Thur 11 Jan Andy Savage is interview by Ben Ferguson on radio. Savage announces that he will be taking a leave of absence. (Normally this would first be made public by the church leadership, not the individual under discipline, especially as it was suggested by Savage it was for the purposes of an investigation into his suitability to remain in ministry…unless it was not really about disciplinary procedures, but just a pastor announcing he is going to be taking a long paid holiday?)

    Sat 13 Jan Highpoint make recordings of the radio interview available.

    Sun 14 Jan Claims that the recorded version of the Savage interview have been edited.

    Mon 15 Jan Full transcript of the interview revealed, but not by Highpoint. Redacted sections reveal that Highpoint leadership refused to accept Savage’s resignation, and chose to edit the interview to remove Andy Savage’s testimony which revealed the history of failure by pastors/leadership of Woodlands, Germantown and Highpoint churches, and the fact that they had enabled Savage to return and benefit from pastoral ministry for the past 20 years without him ever facing the full consequences of his immoral and illegal behaviour.

    I will leave it up to each to now decide whether Highpoint and its leadership has any integrity or spiritual authority. This is very much about NOT doing anything more that brings dishonour to the name of Jesus Christ and his true church.

  358. ___

    Q. “How Deep Does This Proverbial Memphis Mega-Church Rabbit Hole Go?”

    hmmm…

    IMHO Conlee and Savage have intentionally and fraudulently mislead their congregants and the public in more than just what concerns Jules Woodson. Apparently other sexual abuse victims are coming forward and posting their stories online of pastoral sexual abuse, and apparent cover-up as well. (1) (2) (3)

    (sadface)

    Sòpy


    (1) https://medium.com/@michael_hansen/how-the-church-conspired-to-cover-up-my-sexual-abuse-f748638e5c56

    (2) https://www.change.org/p/megachurch-pastor-receives-standing-ovation-after-admitting-to-sexual-assault-resign

    (3) https://edspastorblog.blogspot.com/2018/01/thoughts-on-my-fellow-memphis-area.html#.Wly1fSOZMgp

    🙁
    – –

  359. The issue of money as well as whether A. Savage was continuing to receive a salary were mentioned in earlier posts. According to the Shelby County Tax Assessor’s Website, both Andy Savage and C. Conlee live in Eads, TN, a suburb approximately 17 miles from Memphis. A. Savage’s Home is valued at $408,000.00; C. Conlee’s Home at $335,000.00; well above the mean property value of homes in Shelby County, which is $135,000.00.
    Income of Head Pastors in large churches is an issue. Second Presby’s previous head pastor’s salary was at least $500,000.00.

  360. @ Erp:
    I suspect the courts would look less favorably on a pastor abusing a teenager, above the age of consent or not. (Sidenote, a legal adult is still 18, just because she was over the age of consent doesn’t mean she is not still a minor).

  361. @ Ken G:
    Wise council in this situation, even 20 years ago, would have been that such a lack of basic wisdom and self control as a youth pastor in a position of trust automatically disqualified him from ministry. Period.

  362. Lydia wrote:

    @ Ken G:
    Wise council in this situation, even 20 years ago, would have been that such a lack of basic wisdom and self control as a youth pastor in a position of trust automatically disqualified him from ministry. Period.

    Like.

  363. Gary Boswell wrote:

    I will leave it up to each to now decide whether Highpoint and its leadership has any integrity or spiritual authority.

    IMO, if they submit to any spiritual authority, it is an evil spirit!

  364. @ ishy:

    Yes, the law was in effect. But the statute of limitations for prosecution was only five years at the time of the assault (I think). It is now ten years under current law. If the assault victim is under age 17, then there is no statute of limitations (under current law).

  365. Lea wrote:

    @ Erp:
    I suspect the courts would look less favorably on a pastor abusing a teenager, above the age of consent or not. (Sidenote, a legal adult is still 18, just because she was over the age of consent doesn’t mean she is not still a minor).

    True but that is more in the sentencing rather than the conviction. The judge might also when sentencing have considered his youth as extenuating circumstances especially if he had several pastors vouching for his character. Note also that he and others have downplayed that he was clergy during his time at her church.

    There is the question of whether he was clergy as defined by Texas law (which can be different from whether he was clergy by his church’s view). If his role was offering spiritual advice and counseling youth, then I suspect the answer is yes.

  366. Dale Rudiger wrote:

    Yes, the law was in effect. But the statute of limitations for prosecution was only five years at the time of the assault (I think). It is now ten years under current law. If the assault victim is under age 17, then there is no statute of limitations (under current law).

    Ah, I see. Thanks

  367. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    “Hell will be highly populated with those who were “raised right.” The citizens of heaven will be those who, by the sheer grace and mercy of God, are there solely because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.”

    This quote from Mohler reveals what is wrong with New Calvinism – they have utterly distorted the gospel.

    This false theology – that what you do doesn’t matter as long as you have the imputed righteousness of Christ – is what leads to a great deal of the abuse in the Institutional Church. Augustine, Luther and Calvin created this false system under which they could commit fornication a thousand times a day, according to Luther – all in the name of ‘saved by faith’. This is what you call ‘perversion’. The genuine meaning of righteousness by faith is essentially that God judges man’s heart, motivations and intentions, rather than demanding a sinless perfection that mortal man is incapable of. It does not mean God overlooks any and all sin as long as you recite the proper creeds.

  368. Ben Ferguson vehemently claims that Amy Smith at Watch Keep slandered him by inferring that the Andy Savage interview was redacted. Now the link from Highpoint’s facebook page to the interview no longer works.

    Yikes!

  369. ishy wrote:

    It still was against the law at the time, though, which is something Savage has been claiming was not the case.

    And everyone else who has been chiming in on his behalf has been claiming this as well.

  370. Can somebody help me figure out how being the Pastor of Biblical Maturity at the largest Southern Baptist church in Ohio in 2000 fits into the narratives Conlee has given of his life?:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20100304065221/http://myprioritytime.com:80/about/

    “In the midst of his collegiate golf career, Chris had a crisis of belief that led him to abandon his dream of golf and to relentlessly pursue the heart of God. After completing his bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis and his Master of Divinity from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, Chris followed God’s direction to plant a church that would be a perfect place for imperfect people.”

    http://www.highpointmemphis.com/chris-conlee

    “Just over 20 years ago, the idea of pastoring a church wasn’t even on Chris Conlee’s radar. After graduating from the University of Memphis with a degree in Communications, he was busy pursuing a career in golf. However, God had other plans…A turning point came in October 2000 when God led Chris to abandon his dream and relentlessly pursue Him. For the first time, Chris realized life wasn’t about chasing his own dreams, but rather how he would serve the Lord’s purposes. It wasn’t about being a better person or living a happier life; it was about pouring God’s love into the lives of those around him. Chris had a total paradigm shift that shaped the journey he would soon embark upon. He started to see people through the lens of God’s perspective, and he began to pursue the Lord’s call on his life with the exact same passion with which he’d pursued his golfing career. Shortly after receiving his Masters of Divinity from the Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, God spoke directly to Chris out of Exodus 3 and challenged him to act upon what God had been stirring in his heart: to plant a church.”

  371. So in October 2000 Conlee had an epiphany and left golf for God, and by December the recent college grad was “Pastor of Christian Maturity” at the largest Southern Baptist church in Ohio?

  372. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    (Aside: Ever since the 2016 elections — and the later election circus around Roy Moore — I have been puzzled by American Evangelicals’ backing of Trump. I’m starting to come to an explanation, but still need some thinking it over. The basic idea is that the behavior, attitudes, and tropes of American Evangelicalism set up its members for “Trumpism” which fulfilled a lot of their expectations (from pulpits and MenaGAWD) for Godliness. Their loyalty just transferred over from their pulpits.)

    And are we to conclude that you are NOT puzzled by individuals who identify as Christians and back Clinton? I will guess you are not puzzled and completely understand why such Christians support her.

  373. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    “Hell will be highly populated with those who were “raised right.” The citizens of heaven will be those who, by the sheer grace and mercy of God, are there solely because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.”

    Imagine there’s no heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people living for today…

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one…

    — John Lennon —

    Lennon’s not the only dreamer here, I keep having the same dream.

  374. A similar scenario to that at Highpoint played out at Far Hills Baptist several years after Conlee returned to Memphis:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20061116134715/http://www.wdtn.com/dsp_story.cfm?storyid=64042&RequestTimeout=500

    “He was supposed to be a role model for a Miami Valley’s mega-church. But just days ago, John Jackson, Pastor of the Far Hills Community Church resigned after having apparently admitting to an unnamed sin.”

    “Jackson is still revered by many at the church, even though he resigned under a cloud of improper behavior, or as one member told told 2News, ‘he built the well and he can’t get a stinking drink.’ The Jackson loyalist blasted as absolutely untrue a report by another Dayton television station that his pastor had a problem with pornography.”

    “One church elder said Jackson confessed, repented, and fully submitted himself to the authority of the church leadership, whose unanimous decision was to restore him to his position. Then several months into the process, disagreements began to surface about whether he should return, and those who disagreed went public.”

  375. Ken G wrote:

    I think you need to fully explain why your sins as a youth pastor and again as an adult pastor are a different situation. I didn’t see that explanation or whether or not you betrayed the trust placed in you as a youth and as an adult pastor.

    I believe this is treading on shaky ground. This is one of the problems with making a public comment, do you have to give a detailed account of your own personal transgressions, I think no. I thank Ed Eubanks for his thoughtful post and am willing to concede his situation is different and leave it at that. Turning around and focusing on Eubanks sounds awfully close to a general inquisition.

  376. Truthseeker00 wrote:

    The genuine meaning of righteousness by faith … does not mean God overlooks any and all sin as long as you recite the proper creeds.

    Bonhoeffer called that “Cheap Grace”

    “Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares … Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship)

  377. Lydia wrote:

    Wise council in this situation, even 20 years ago, would have been that such a lack of basic wisdom and self control as a youth pastor in a position of trust automatically disqualified him from ministry. Period.

    Yes, that’s the bottom-line. Wisdom would not pass the young man up the line.

  378. Jerome wrote:

    “Andy Savage: Teaching Pastor & Creative Thinker

    Things I love: My wife’s legs…”

    Everything about this is gross.

  379. anonymous wrote:

    Second Presby’s previous head pastor’s salary was at least $500,000.00.

    And he. Sandy Willson at Second Presbyterian of Memphis. was another one knowingly putting sexual predators on the worship stage for adulation. When notified that he had hired a known video voyeur, Rick Trotter (who had preyed on his previous congregation at Fellowship Memphis), to be the Worship Pastor at his church plant, Downtown Pres (now Downtown Church) in Memphis, he essentially shrugged.

    You see, he served on the Gospel Coalition’s board with Crawford Loritts, the pervert voyeur’s father-in-law. One hand washes the other…

  380. That whole “wise counsel” thing is such a dodge. Mark Driscoll’s church in Scottsdale has a page called “wise counsel” and it includes such luminaries as Jimmy Evans and Robert Morris of DFW’s Gateway Church. The young earth creationist and convicted felon Kent Hovind went to 15 pastors–“wise counsel”–to see if it was ok for him to remarry after his wife of 43 years divorced him in 2016. And yes, it was ok (but the woman he married in September 2016 has since moved from Alabama to South Carolina for unknown reasons).

    Based on those two examples, plus now the Andy Savage example, I’m convinced that “wise counsel” is just a dodge to avoid responsibility if things go pear-shaped.

    “My ‘wise counsel’ told me this would be OK to do!”

  381. Thersites wrote:

    Turning around and focusing on Eubanks sounds awfully close to a general inquisition.

    I don’t need all his details but he worded it in a super vague way…that basically invites comment.

    I’m not sure if he had similar issues or is just trying to be all ‘I get it, I’m also not perfect’.

  382. Thersites wrote:

    I believe this is treading on shaky ground. This is one of the problems with making a public comment, do you have to give a detailed account of your own personal transgressions, I think no.

    The pastor made a definitive statement that his situation is different. For those like me who would like to understand his reasoning, I think it is a very fair question. He doesn’t need to give a detailed account of all his transgressions because that my not be of any help. In general, professionals are very willing to explain their position or how they arrived at a certain conclusion. I would feel very uncomfortable and begin looking elsewhere if a professional was unwilling or unable to share an explanation and pastors should not be given a pass.

  383. Dale Rudiger wrote:

    Ben Ferguson vehemently claims that Amy Smith at Watch Keep slandered him by inferring that the Andy Savage interview was redacted. Now the link from Highpoint’s facebook page to the interview no longer works.

    Yikes!

    Ben Ferguson addressed the edits on his show today in the first few minutes. After viciously attaching Amy Smith at Watchkeep as a “liar” over the weekend (IN ALL CAPS, NO LESS), he reluctantly admitted there had been some edits done by a producer, who he says he reprimanded. Now, he claimed these edits were merely quick statements up against commercial bumpers and intros, but the transcripts tell a different story.

    http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2018/01/andy-savage-on-ben-ferguson-show.html

    Ben apologized to Amy for these “minimal” edits he misleadingly described, and said that he would not be making the apology on Twitter–Is that because his multi-tweet screed will be seen by more people than listened to the first few minutes of his show? To onlookers, the screaming defense (that he later had to apologize for) may leave the impression that it was he (Ben), instead of Amy, who was slandered/libeled.

    Hope he’ll correct this on Twitter for the record, and will quit being a stooge/accomplice of Savage and Conlee–it is terribly unbecoming!

    Also, putting the full blame on someone else (a producer in this case) seems to be the modus operandi of all of these “leaders,” doesn’t it? Was there no “wise counsel” nor 17-year-old girl to blame this time?

  384. Parker Dax and College Boy are one and the same and his comments are not allowed.
    Miss Girl Bye is banned as well. So, I will not longer be posting their comments. But they can have fun trying get me to respond.

  385. dee wrote:

    Parker Dax and College Boy are one and the same and his comments are not allowed.

    No surprise there.

    dee wrote:

    Miss Girl Bye is banned as well. So, I will not longer be posting their comments. But they can have fun trying get me to respond.

    Wonder if she is related to the boys?