PCA Worship Leader Sentenced to Prison for Child and Adult Porn. SBC Worship Leader, Chuck Hooten, Along With Friends, Go to Court to Support the Predator, Not the Victims

If abusers hold all the power, becoming one of them can, for some, be the only means of survival. However, this doesn’t always work, instead survivors often find ways of regaining their own power and fighting back.”
Laurie Matthew, Who Dares Wins

D. Sharon Pruitt from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, USA
by D. Sharon Pruitt from Hill Air Force Base

With special thanks to Circuit Court Judge Richard “Ric” Howard

Trigger Warning: Some graphic material surrounding child pornography.

This is going to be a wild one, folks. By the end of this post, you all discover:

  • The judge who oversaw the sentencing of a pedophile is compared to Pontius Pilate who oversaw the trial of the innocent Jesus.
  • The child porn loving, convicted predator sent to prison is compared to the innocent Apostle Paul in prison.
  • The *godly* church members came to support and actually stand up (a court room version of the standing ovation) in solidarity with the predator. not the victim.
  • Chuck Hooten saw Jesus in the courtroom, standing with the predator.
  • Hooten didn’t say a word in support or compassion for the victims, and there were lots and lots of victims.
  • Is Hooten an example of what is being taught in seminaries today?

Child pornography…There are little girls crying for their mommies while they are raped for the enjoyment of some monster on the other side of the screen. A monster who believes he/she isn’t doing anything wrong since they are not physically touching them. All they are doing are looking a depictions of an 8 month old baby being molested so they can have some fun with themselves in their downtime. Children are sold into slavery throughout the world. Some of these children will have to live as the 6 year old boy who was raped over and over in an illicit brothel. Those rapes were filmed and made their way to the United States and other countries via the internet so that men can enjoy watching kids being molested.

Possessing and distributing child pornography is a federal crime in the United States. Can you imagine that there are groups out there who want to make the viewing of child pornography legal since they consider it a *First Amendment right?*

Despite some attempts by groups and individuals, child pornography is not protected under First Amendment rights, and the possession of or creation of this type of pornography will be punished harshly. The specific type of charge that one can face will vary depending on the situation, and laws are defined in 18 USC, section 2251, 2252, 2256, and 2260. It is important to note that a child doesn’t have to be depicted in sexual acts in order for an image to be considered child porn. Sexually suggestive photos that include naked children will be considered to be in violation of federal law. Also, despite local or state age of consent laws, no minor under the age of 18 can be depicted in pornographic materials.

Federal law deals with production, distribution, reception, and possession of child pornography. Federal law also deals with international commerce related to child porn – all cases involving the internet will be covered under federal law. States may also file charges against a suspect in addition to the federal charges.

Sadly, there are church leaders and church members who feel sorry when one of their own is convicted and sent to prison because of child pornography and filming women in the bathroom! Last week, an SBC worship leader caused a minor eruption on Twitter when he wrote a post expressing support for his friend who was sent to prison.

The former PCA worship leader for Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church, went to prison because he enjoyed kiddie porn and watching women in the bathroom.

The Citrus County Chronicle reported that Former church leader Chad Robison sentenced to 11 years for possessing illicit pornography, recordings. Notice how many victims this man affected.

Robison’s sentence (11 years) came after he pleaded no contest in July to 48 felony counts ranging from promoting sexual performances by a child and possessing child pornography to transmitting harmful materials and video voyeurism.
Prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Office claim Robison’s crimes date back as far back as 2012.
Howard, who had looked over roughly 220 screen captures and other evidence authorities seized from Robison’s laptop computer, told Robison he was not just appalled by what he saw but also by how Robison was reacting when he interacted with his victims online. 
“It’s enough to make some of these people run for the streets,” Howard said. “The enthusiasm of your sexual deviance, your sexual interests is something that cannot be overlooked.”

Cornell said Robison selected his victims by visiting several video chat websites and searching for girls between the ages of 10 and 15, who he would then ask to undress for him or perform other sexual acts with him online.

Robison also tried to take inappropriate photographs of girls and women in public, Cornell said, adding Robison was able to videotape women as they used his bathroom.

Stop and think about that for a minute. Robison actually interacted with the victims online enthusiastically!

The predator’s church, Seven Rivers Presbyterian (PCA) Church, bravely refused to comment on the sentencing.

Why not state they are glad that justice was done? According to the above news report:

Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church, where Robison produced Christian music as a worship director since 2011, would not comment on the sentencing.

This church is a member of The Gospel Coalition as noted by this screen shot taken at the TGC website. As many readers are aware, The Gospel Coalition has been a fervent supporter of CJ Mahaney. My guess is that TGC won’t really care about this church’s silence. Its a real bummer when one of your own goes to prison.

Friends and family testified on behalf of Robison character(!) according to the Chronicle.

According to these folks, *deep remorse* is a mitigating factor. Also, he was seeking treatment. That’s all it takes to ignore the pain of the victims?! The naive nature of their response is evident to many people.

More of Robison’s friends and family also testified toward Robison’s mental health and deep remorse and efforts to seek treatment.

No, being abused as a child is not a mitigating factor for a predator who hurts children and adults.

Robison was allowed to stand trial which means he understands the law. This also means that Robison knew exactly what he was doing was wrong or he wouldn’t have hidden it from everyone for years and years.

“I’ve never seen a Christian community … although people have been hurt … or disappointed, ask, ‘How can I help?’ … and that’s unprecedented,” Dahlquist (a mitigation expert)said. “There’s been a lot of conflicted feelings on how to support Chad.”

Chuck Hooten: worship leader at Shoreline Church (SBC) touted his post about his friend on Twitter and created a frenzy.

Not only did he post his thoughts on his blog, but decided to tweet about it. He removed his post from view due to the rather negative response (mine included) but Amy Smith made sure it would be available on WayBack. It is vital that we understand the error in his thinking if we are ever going to change the evangelical church when it comes to sex abuse.

Hooten is the worship leader at Shoreline Church in Knoxville, TN.

Let’s see how this BFF of a man convicted on many counts of child and adult pornography views abusive, predatory behavior in his post “Prison as Freedom.”

His buddy is not a *monster.* He is merely a good buddy.

I wonder if he thought about what the kids who were filmed or the women who used the bathroom thought? My guess is that they would have some other descriptions for the man who misused them and brought them such pain, pain that will last a lifetime. Yet Hooten doesn’t mention them. Does he know they exist?

a young district attorney pointed toward the place where my friend sat with his shoulders slumped and head down, and passionately called him a monster… I call him a friend.

That mean, nasty judge-how dare he act like that!

Now, remember what Robison did and think about how Hooten said he was a friend. Now see what he says about the judge. I totally agree with the judge, by the way. I don’t think Hooten or his *godly audience* really thought through what had transpired with Robison’s activities. I know that because they don’t mention the victims.

  • However, what he possessed in intelligence stood in stark contrast to what he lacked in social skills and empathy.
  • He could not come to grips with the fact that so many people had come into his courtroom to show their love for someone who had done what in his mind was unforgivable. He tried over and over again to help those in the audience understand what they were doing. At one moment during the hearing he threw his arms in the air and shouted like a carnival barker at the room, “Do you understand the kind of thing we are dealing with here? Those priests in Boston have punched their tickets straight to hell!!!” He would ask every witness who spoke on my friend’s behalf, “Have you seen the images? Have you read what he has done?”, as if everyone had come into his courtroom in absolute ignorance to the gravity of the crimes being judged.

The church people who supported Robison were godly folks, responding thoughtfully to that bully judge.

  • Person after person would respond in respect and confidence, “Yes your honor I know; he is repentant, he is healing, he is sorry, and he is my friend.”
  • The pastor of the church where my friend’s family has been healing for the past year stood on his behalf, and spoke like only someone who has met Jesus can speak. “Your honor, I know where addiction can take you and what it can do, I have been a recovering addict for 22 years. This man is not a charity case or a mentorship project for me, he is my friend. He has been in my home. He has eaten at my table. He has played with my children. I love him.”
  • Over and over, as men and women stood and spoke on my friend’s behalf, my mind flashed to images of Jesus speaking to the Father on behalf of his church.

The godly people who stood are called the saints. I wonder what they call the victims?

I also caught a vision of the church yesterday. Toward the end of the hearing, after my friend had made an impassioned apology through hot tears of sorrow to those he had wronged, one of his attorneys turned to the gallery and said, “If you are here today in support of the accused would you please stand,” It was not lost on me that the wooden pews in the courtroom sounded exactly like the church sanctuaries of my childhood, when a room full of saints would rise to sing the praises of God together.

Except those people were not godly in how they responded.

Let me ask a question here. Did any of those *godly* people sit on the side of the prosecution as silent witnesses for the children who had been used for Robison’s pleasure?  My guess is that the prosecution would not have had a *godly bunch* stand in defense of the women and children who were despicably used for Robison’s sexual pleasure.

Jesus was the one standing with the children, not with the abuser. I wonder if Hooten was able to see Him over his *godly crowd?* Jesus stood against the abusers. Remember what he said in Matthew 18:6 (NIV)?

“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Hooten attempted to compare the judge, who was doing his job as a government official, to Pilate who sentenced the only sinless man to walk the earth to death!

Hooten takes one more jab at the judge who, in my opinion, was the one acting more like Jesus. Hooten compares the judge to Pilate which means his BFF is like Jesus??

Before sentencing, the judge pointed at my friend and reminded him of what a terrible person he was and why he was going to prison. He ended his sentencing by saying, “No matter where you are, for the rest of your life, you will always be under the thumb of the Florida Department of Corrections.”

…My mind was drawn to the holiness of Jesus standing before Pilate, in my place, as the Roman governor looked at Jesus and exclaimed in his arrogance, “Do you know who I am? Do you know what I can do to you?” The absurdity of that moment still rings through history. A created man, judging an eternal God, boasting of his power and authority. Jesus simply tells Pilate he only has what authority has been given to him by the Father

Then, Hooten does what we have discussed at length, sin-leveling.

Hooten does not seem to understand something vitally important. We are all sinners. But some sins cause terrible harm, much more so than other sins. Murdering the mother of 5 small children affects far more than cussing a driver who cuts one off on the highway. Both are sins. One is worse than another.

The vast majority of Christians, in fact the vast majority of the world, Christian or not, will not stick cameras in the women’s bathroom and that is a very, very good thing. The reason why Hooten and his BFFs don’t go to jail is because they have not broken the law by viewing little girls for their sexual pleasure. (At least I hope they don’t.) They have not tried to get 10 year old kids to perform sexually for their pleasure. Not all sins are the same and that is a blessing for little girls everywhere.

One of the therapists who had spoken on my friend’s behalf looked at me through tears and said, “I don’t understand why some people go to prison and some do not. I have been a recovering alcoholic for 20 years. I have deserved prison in the past and yet here I stand free.” She is right. We all deserve chains. We all stand accused. We all wear a scarlet letter of some kind that marks us as the guilty, and yet through the blood of Jesus we are declared free. The judge could not wrap his brain around why so many were there to stand with my friend and I understand his confusion. If you don’t know Jesus I don’t think you could ever understand what those in that courtroom know to be true. We are all guilty, we have all sinned, and we all stand condemned.

Hooten attempts to compare the freedom that Paul had in prison to the freedom Robison will experience in prison.

Let’s get something straight! Paul did not deserve to be in prison for merely witnessing to the faith. Robison, on the other hand, was a predator of young girls and women. Unlike Paul, he deserves to be in prison. I am grateful that we send such predators to prison. It protects more kids and women from being harmed. I do not believe that our judicial system should be compared to Satan who is trying to lock up an innocent man.Robison is not innocent. He deserves prison and Hooten needs to study the Scripture a bit more diligently.

Paul saw prison as grace because he got to talk about Jesus with the men who were there. I know my friend will spend the next 11 years of his life doing the same. The grace of God is waiting for my friend to arrive at his cell somewhere in Florida. Jesus will be there. The race will continue to be run. The enemy will beat his chest and try to convince anyone who will listen that he holds the keys to freedom and life but his voice will fall on deaf ears as the cloud of witnesses, emboldened by the grace of Christ their king, roars in opposition and truth. In his prison cell my friend will live in freedom.

Next time a man like Robison stands trial, I would love to see some friends of the predator sit on the side of the prosecution to support little girls and women who are have been abused. Too bad Hooten didn’t do so. I guess he was to busy roaring along with his *cloud of witnesses* who were upset that a predator got justly sentenced to 11 years. I wish he had received 25!

It is time for Hotten and his friends to face facts. Robison is an abusive predator who has a psychiatric problem with which he will struggle the rest of his life. He could have sought help earlier. He didn’t because he didn’t want to give up his perversion. He knew this day was coming and he well deserves the prison time.

Two parting shots directed at Chuck Hooten:

  • Never forget that predators are extremely clever and know how to manipulate others, even their best friends. Robison kept this secret from all of you, including his wife, for years. Why do you believe he is telling you the full truth even now?
  • Next time, please think about directing a kind word towards the victims. They could stand your support as well. You seem to have forgotten them in the middle of the roaring cloud of witnesses.

PS I plan to send the judge a thank you note tomorrow morning.

 


Comments

PCA Worship Leader Sentenced to Prison for Child and Adult Porn. SBC Worship Leader, Chuck Hooten, Along With Friends, Go to Court to Support the Predator, Not the Victims — 223 Comments

  1. Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

    WHY?

    Because the wrath of God is going to be SO MUCH WORSE on him than if he had merely offed himself before he OFFENDED on those little ones.

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  2. Chad Robison served under Gospel Coalition council member Harry Reeder at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Alabama and occasionally led worship at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida (very prominent PCA churches):

    https://www.cbs42.com/news/local/former-briarwood-presbyterian-church-employee-to-be-sentenced-in-florida-child-porn-case/1318740870

    “Robison was previously employed at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Ala. for five years…CBS 42 reached out to Briarwood for comment, but at time of publication, have not heard back.”

    http://www.zachicks.com/album-roundup-the-first-half-of-2014/

    Zac Hicks, Coral Ridge worship pastor 2013-2016:

    “Chad is one of my go-to subs when I am not at Coral Ridge on a Sunday. I trust him because he knows Coral Ridge and leads worship with a very similar set of instincts.”

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  3. WOW! Unbelievable! These people have no clue about sexual predators. It is scary how little they understand.

    Chuck Hooton just twisted scripture to fit his narrative. He also assumes the judge is not a Christian when he may well be one. In any event, the judge acted more Christian than Hooten and the church friends.

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  4. dee,

    I am truly, truly sorry that posts like this have to be written. I tend to not read the gritty details of abuse if I can avoid it, but I do desire to stand up for the victims, who often are too traumatized to have a voice. We must not let the vileness of abuse dissuade us from confronting its perpetrators, and demanding justice for their victims.

    We must call out predators, however unpleasant, and demand that they pay the full price for their crimes.

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  5. Is this church a cover up for a pedophile ring? Can’t understand why these people would support this guy unless they’re into it too. I’m being sarcastic here (I hope) cause it is hard to believe people can be so dumb. Still it makes one wonder what is really going on here…

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  6. I was just writing this morning about how misled we have been by religious teachings on what it means to ‘be like Christ’. We are too often led to believe, particularly when the celebrity pastors sin, that it means to look the other way and let bygones be bygones.

    It occurred to me that being ‘like Christ’ has nothing to do with ooey-gooey niceness, but everything to do with standing up for truth and justice. Being angry enough to overturn tables when we see the poor being fleeced is being like Christ. Being furious at pious hypocrites and calling them ugly names is being like Christ. And laying down one’s life to stand between the evil and the ignorant is being like Christ. He payed our debts so that we could be forgiven, and sin no more, not to provide cheap grace so that we could live like the devil.

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  7. What a horror story.

    Where is the fear of God?

    The same book, Romans, that declares that

    “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”

    also declares that

    “the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…”

    and

    “… if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer”

    —-

    It seems that the TT mentality toward “consequences” is widespread.

    God help the churches.

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  8. Oh, boy. You can always spot these guys who grew up on John Piper books, with the melodramatic, over the top prose and all. Just skim through his blog and you can tell who Hooten is writing to impress. Hooten, I hope you’re reading this, just as you hope Piper is reading your blog. Give it up already and quit with the passionate man of letters posturing. Your self-promotion is transparent to everyone.

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  9. I think this quote is appropriate here:

    “As I’ve written elsewhere, ‘if you are interacting with a sex offender who is admitting he or she has harmed someone, and you feel yourself being pulled to feel sorry for this person instead of, or more than, the victim, it is probable that an experienced victim-stancer is manipulating you.’

    “Many well-intentioned people feel sympathy for an offender and advocate for them with the victim and/or the victim’s loved ones. They remind victims that their abusers are created in God’s image no matter what harm they have done. For the victims and their loved ones, this is a bizarre, surreal, and wounding experience because it echoes and reinforces the grooming of the abuser.” – Maureen Farrell Garcia

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  10. Hello, Wartburgers,

    I would covet your prayers for my brother. He is in the hospital tonight with an edema just below his epiglottis and wedged in near the top of his larynx. It is inhibiting his swallowing. This is the second time in the last five days he has been in the hospital; he went in on Thursday with the same problem and got out on Sunday , which was thought to have been resolved, but obviously it’s not.

    Thanks in advance.

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  11. Bridget,

    Your comment about the judge is dead on. That was going through my mind as I read his words. Who ever said the judge wasn’t a Christian?

    The other thing that comes to mind, if the judge is not a Christian, is Paul’s rebuke to the Corinthians: There is sexual immorality among you that’s not even found among the pagans. And you are proud!

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  12. Bless your heart Dee…

    it seems, in so many ways, the behavior in this world is getting more and more bizarre… and so often it seems, the church leadership is guilty of the very opposite of what we are called to do as Christians… grievous and sad…

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  13. Jesus wept, this situation is horrific. Because all that matters in this situation is that we understand God can forgive the worst of sinners, right? Those poor children, their terrible suffering just fodder for the ‘gospel’. Not much good news for them.

    I honestly despair when I read things like this. Those stupid, ignorant, hard-hearted idiots. Their own kids are now at risk & they just don’t give a damn.

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  14. I also caught a vision of the church yesterday. Toward the end of the hearing, after my friend had made an impassioned apology through hot tears of sorrow to those he had wronged, one of his attorneys turned to the gallery and said, “If you are here today in support of the accused would you please stand,” It was not lost on me that the wooden pews in the courtroom sounded exactly like the church sanctuaries of my childhood, when a room full of saints would rise to sing the praises of God together.

    A fitting response from the prosecution

    “ If you are here in support of the victims of the accused, please stand “

    The response from that statement would have been telling

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  15. Todd Wilhelm:
    What in the world is wrong with these individuals who support evil people and twist the Scriptures to do so?

    All I can think of is that they may have been taught all their lives that the world and the government are evil and out to slander and persecute Christians, and the more “Christian” you are the more likely you will be targeted. And who is more “Christian” than a beloved pastor? It may not be a question of justice for “victims” in their minds, but pride in their identity and standing up to the wicked Powers That Be. And that has blinded them to the horrors this man committed.

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  16. Beth74:
    Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

    WHY?

    Because the wrath of God is going to be SO MUCH WORSE on him than if he had merely offed himself before he OFFENDED on those little ones.

    Any entrepeneurs out there? I see a big business opportunity in the millstone industry… 🙁

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  17. The judge showed a lot of grace. Were I the judge, he would have gotten the full sentence allowed for each charge to be served consecutively, not concurrently! It would make his exit from prison a lot later in life. He could serve as an in-prison minister to all the other inmates. However, time is not easy for child molesters, and he might be thought such. Even the convicted criminals of the world do not tolerate child molesters.

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  18. So Hooten thinks his friends is going to be prison minister. Wow. Does he know that men in prisons don’t like men like Robison? I’m sure while in prison Robison will do an extreme amount of praying, just to get thru his life in one piece. Men like Robison totally disgust me. I think the church has been brainwashed to stand for the accused and not the victims. If any of my family or friends did something like this, I would still love them as a friend (hopefully), but in no way would I stand with them. I would pray they got the worst punishment they could get.

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  19. Would Hooten and Robison’s friends and family have been so supportive of him if they, or their children were his victims??

    Would Robison have been so repentant, so tearful, so sorrowful, so remorseful, if he had not been caught, tried, convicted, and sentenced for repeatedly committing felony crimes for at least SIX YEARS???

    If Robison unwillingly becomes some other prisoner’s girlfriend, will Hooten and friends show the same defense and support for the other prisoner that they have shown for Robison??? Really, why shouldn’t they?

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  20. He was facing 30 – 350+ years in prison!

    Hooten’s diary entry looks like a very strange kind of self-soothing – that the end result (justifying his friendship with Robison) has been determined and he has to bend the gospel narrative to fit that result. It is very twisted in thinking. There were 300,000+ images, dozens of felony videos, and he installed a camera to spy on girls using his restroom.

    If anything, I believe Hooten could have drawn a parallel to the justice of God that is experienced on earth and that the VICTIMS are the ones who should get an empathetic diary entry.

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  21. I almost can’t believe what I just read. Obviously there was NOT a “talking to” or a review from his pastor, Jason Hayes. I did a quick search and found none.

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  22. mot: Hooten’s church should remove him from their church Today!

    If I were a member there, I would be very concerned if church elders did not discipline Mr. Hooten promptly. This is a New Calvinist church – they all about discipline; here’s a chance to do it right.

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  23. Things like Hooten’s article just drive me nuts. First off, there’s no such thing as a “porn addiction” from what I can tell – it’s just what church folk like to throw a label on when they look at some porn and feel guilty about it. And looking at some (adult) porn now and then does *not* lead one straight onto a slide towards the creation and consumption of child porn.

    Also, the ‘sin-leveling’ thing is completely nuts from any reasonable human perspective of ethics. We know in our brains that various “immoral” things are vastly vastly different in terms of how wrong they are. But honestly, I think that according to scriptural biblical interpretations, it’s kind of correct. Any ‘sin’ sets one apart from God – hell, even if you don’t actively commit any sins, you’re screwed from the get go because of original sin. But fortunately God created a loophole. In any event, I think that the ‘bible-centered’ view of ethics can lead to a heck of a lot of harm because of specifically this notion. The powerful can always use it to say (after they’ve tried to evade and deny for as long as possible), “Well, of course I did wrong things – we’re all sinners, after all, aren’t we? So, I’m gonna go ask forgiveness, and then we’re all cool.” Better just to cease assigning special importance to the Bible, and just use secular morality instead. No, it’s not simple – but admitting that there are complicated issues is better than trying to pretend it’s all simple and wrapped up in a single ancient text.

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  24. Just curious. With a last name like Robison I wonder if he is related to the Rev. James Robison who is a well known SBC televangelist and book seller.

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  25. “Chuck Hooten saw Jesus in the courtroom, standing with the predator.”

    “Her prophets have smeared whitewash for them, seeing false visions and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God’—when the Lord has not spoken.” (Ezekiel 22:28)

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  26. Todd Wilhelm,

    I believe they read the Bible as a story line into which they can insert themselves, rather than the Word of God. Even though they give lip service to “God’s Holy Word” idea, the way they treat it in their everyday life says something completely different. That is why the judge is Pontius Pilate and the criminal is the persecuted Jesus or Paul figure.

    And I think that is why there is also no category for the victims in their story. They simply do not have room in their personal narrative to fit them into the story they continually tell themselves. Consequently, there is no empathy, no remorse, and no shame.

    How horrible! I am so sorry to hear about these poor children & my heart goes out to them and the people this man deceived, most of whom are still telling themselves the same story they have always told themselves; we are the victims of the evil people who persecute Christians. In doing so they perpetuate the abuse and take part in it.

    What love is this that values the person who did these things over the children? Where is the real Jesus in all of their responses and hand wringing for the perp? It’s not there because there is not any love and there is no Jesus. Period. What’s wrong with these people is that they are not even Christian and their “churches” are only social clubs that are too weak and brain dead to know it.

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  27. Geva Roberts: I think the church has been brainwashed to stand for the accused and not the victims.

    Robison and Hooten come from churches where there is an over-emphasis on “grace” to the point of heresy. Unfortunately, we have seen case after case in such churches where an indoctrinated pew jumps to the defense of the pulpit – supporting the abuser amidst the cries of his victims. Even when a church leader gets around to “repentance”, the pew gives him a standing ovation!

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  28. Noevangelical: there is no Jesus

    In New Calvinist church plants in my area, Jesus gets lost in their preaching and teaching. There is more emphasis on “God”, with little mention of Jesus and hardly a word about the Holy Spirit. Indeed, New Calvinist icons (Piper, etc.) get more press than Jesus in their sermons! At best, Jesus is presented as a subordinate to God – making them feel better about the subordination of their wimmenfolk. New Calvinism is not a healthy spiritual environment.

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  29. In addition to his years at Gospel Coalition council member Harry Reeder’s Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Alabama, Chad Robison moonlighted in Florida at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (as substitute worship leader). Both are very prominent PCA churches.

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  30. Max,

    Agreed. It was not until I started keeping track, literally with tick marks on my bulletin, of how many times Jesus was mentioned in His saving office for me, that I was able to begin the journey out of their system. Very soon I broadened my record keeping to being just the mention of Jesus at all and most times walked away without any tick marks! Forget about the Holy Spirit! Who’s that? Jesus was just a prop in the story, a literary device, and the Holy Spirit let the building long ago.

    Unreal…

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  31. It looks like there might eventually be ways to screen for this (early stage research, but hopeful nonetheless)

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28992273

    key quote from the Abstract:

    ” …brain activation in these areas [referring to a list of specific brain structures] were positively associated with ratings of moral reprehensibility and negatively associated with decision durations, but only in controls. Brain activation, found in key areas related to the broad network of moral judgment, theory of mind and (socio-)moral disgust – point to different moral processing of sexual offenses in pedophilia in general.”

    Evangelical churches are historically strongly committed to a posture of mind/body dualism and research like this (and much other research), which seems to favor the posture of “non-reductive physicalism” is IMO going to present a huge theological challenge in the future (“correlation” is not “causation”, but it seems to me that this kind of research tends to weaken the empirical credibility of dualism in anthropology).

    OTOH, it appears to offer the possibility of identifying people who are at elevated risk of stumbling into grievous behaviors (to prove the prognostic utility of such screens, it would of course be necessary to do long-term studies on populations.) This smacks of “Minority Report”-style “pre-crime” law enforcement, but given the high stakes for potential victims and the serious consequences for potential offenders, I would think that potential offenders would welcome pre-emptive protective measures to protect them from their inclinations.

    More troubling is that it seems that the churches do not have much in the way of help to offer people who experience this kind of temptation. I write this not to criticize but to observe, and to wonder whether that implies that our theologies of ministry, and perhaps even more fundamentally our soteriologies (and perhaps our eschatologies, as they relate to personal destiny) may be flawed in some way.

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  32. Noevangelical: It was not until I started keeping track, literally with tick marks on my bulletin, of how many times Jesus was mentioned in His saving office for me, that I was able to begin the journey out of their system.

    When SBC-YRR church plants started springing up in my area several years ago, I listened to sermon podcasts by young New Calvinist “lead” pastors. These churches typically had a pastor in his 20s-30s, with his hand-picked “elder” board of same age. I would listen carefully with a notepad in front of me with four columns: God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, New Calvinist Icon. Most check marks fell under the “God” column. Second in line was “New Calvinist Icon”. Sadly, Jesus received few checks and the column for the Holy Spirit was a barren landscape.

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  33. Horrific behavior. I believe and think it’s important to understand how it is based on the particular Calvinist theology they adhere to. That theology doesn’t think of anyone as a victim; it only sees wretched sinners. This idea was the basis of John MacArthur’s recent recent rant against social justice movements (see Warren Throckmorton’s blog for the transcript). He seemed incapable of understanding that people can be both sinners (we all are) and victims who deserve justice and who desperately need restitution, mercy, compassion and love. Indeed, the idea of seeking justice for victims was frowned upon as impossible in this fallen world. This is what happens when you take the doctrine of total depravity to its logical end. This is why these people can act in horrific ways while believing they are godly, good, etc.

    Of course they (probably subconsciously but with remarkable consistency) exclude people in their own group from this categorization. But that is how they view the world.

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  34. IMO, New Calvinism has done a great disservice to the church by releasing a generation of young unproven leaders into pulpits across America … many of which have proven to be flesh babies not men of God.

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  35. roebuck: Any entrepeneurs out there? I see a big business opportunity in the millstone industry…

    Labor costs are way too high here in our first world Elysium. They’re even starting to get too high in China! Who’da thunk huh? Talk to me next week, I’m working on a deal to move operations to Bangladesh…

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  36. Eeyore,

    “All I can think of is that they may have been taught all their lives that the world and the government are evil and out to slander and persecute Christians,

    …It may not be a question of justice for “victims” in their minds, but pride in their identity and standing up to the wicked Powers That Be. ”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    one of the reasons i no longer attend church is because of the us versus them mindset.

    how can christians be at once the poor underdog in the evil scary worldly world and also the elite species on earth?

    whiny, complainy, poor me and poor us is bad enough (with a gospel sweet smile, of course). but add superiority complex to the mix? annoying and irritating just moved into sick.

    but it’s the strangest thing – they have no clue.

    and then they talk about the sanctity of life…

    in the end, this mindset doesn’t recognize the dignity of the human lives of their opponents. human lives are reduced down to either good spiritual unit (us) or bad spiritual unit (them).

    things in a system. since it’s a God-system, we don’t question it. well, we don’t need to since we’re the elite and we win. so that’s all good, right?

    so tired of being philosphically revolted.

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  37. Eeyore: All I can think of is that they may have been taught all their lives that the world and the government are evil and out to slander and persecute Christians, and the more “Christian” you are the more likely you will be targeted. And who is more “Christian” than a beloved pastor? It may not be a question of justice for “victims” in their minds, but pride in their identity and standing up to the wicked Powers That Be. And that has blinded them to the horrors this man committed.

    Was prepared to make this exact comment. “Culture War” thinking makes people stupid and switches them into ends justify the means thinking. The analogy of joining Stalin to fight Hitler is really good. Those are the type of decisions governments make in times of war. When you think you are in a war, you make decisions like that. What ever the cross of Jesus Christ means, it DOESN’T mean defeat your cultural enemies by any means necessary. In fact, I think it means the opposite

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  38. “He would ask every witness who spoke on my friend’s behalf, “Have you seen the images? Have you read what he has done?”, as if everyone had come into his courtroom in absolute ignorance to the gravity of the crimes being judged.”

    The judge isn’t the one who sounds ignorant. Good judge.

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  39. When I read this, I didn’t believe it, and I had to go back and read it again. All I could think of was 1 Cor 5 when Paul calls the church members to the carpet for not dealing with the sinning brother among them. He was to be completely shunned until he repented and left his incestuous relationship. After restoration, the brethren are asked not to be so harsh with him in 2 Cor. as he has repented. He can ow be restored to fellowship. These “friends” need to realize that this guy needs some strict, godly discipline from God, the church, and the authorities that have been ordained by God (Rom. 13). Then, there might be restoration to fellowship through a careful process of teaching, but the consequences would still be valid. And, these are the same kind of church people who probably say that “real” criminals don’t get punished enough.

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  40. John: That theology doesn’t think of anyone as a victim; it only sees wretched sinners.

    Wow, that is a brilliant point. I think I’ve always known that, but never been able to put it into words. Well said!

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  41. “The judge who oversaw the sentencing of a pedophile is compared to Pontius Pilate who oversaw the trial of the innocent Jesus.”

    Chad Robison did NOT receive a prison sentence as persecution for his faith. He will be in jail thanks to a prosecution of justice.

    To those who support abusers while drowning out the cries of victims, you too will cry but not be heard.

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  42. John: That theology doesn’t think of anyone as a victim; it only sees wretched sinners … This is what happens when you take the doctrine of total depravity to its logical end. This is why these people can act in horrific ways while believing they are godly, good, etc.

    False teaching/theology always contains a wrong view of God, man, sin, and salvation. The Hyper-Grace element of New Calvinism is an example … and it’s coming to a church near you!

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  43. Max: Chad Robison did NOT receive a prison sentence as persecution for his faith. He will be in jail thanks to a prosecution of justice.

    Neither will he have a crown of thorns put on his head, be spit upon and smacked around, scourged, and finally crucified. When pretend and pretentious Christians make these kinds of comparisons of their hero with Christ, I want to weep. Right after I throw up.

    How can they be so blind to their blasphemy? But as long as anyone can just call themselves a ‘pastor’, and set up their shingle and call themselves a ‘church’, this stuff is going to happen. As some have pointed out, this was foreseen from the beginning. We live in dreadful times.

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  44. roebuck: When pretend and pretentious Christians make these kinds of comparisons of their hero with Christ, I want to weep.

    It’s increasingly clear that the average New Calvinist does not ‘know’ Jesus.

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  45. I see many commenters here use the word ‘victim’. Sadly I know many prefer to be called survivors. For them, it’s a life sentence. They will most likely never forget. If I ruled the world, abusive organisations, catholic or protestant would be mandated to pay for therapy and other help for those they abused. Sell off buildings, make the pope sell a crown or two. In the UK an official enquiry into child abuse in high places, has taken evidence from over 1000 survivors telling of ruined lives, suicide attempts, self-harm, substance abuse depression etc. I quote one because it is so tragic and so powerful: He said ‘I could be at a party, having the best time of my life, but I could smell something or someone could say something or someone could touch me and I’m right back in the abuse. That isn’t going to change till the day I die.’

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  46. Chad Robison may be off the street, but I’m worried about his supporters who still roam through the church who did not see his offenses as criminal.

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  47. We have to face the fact that church leaders and church goers overwhelmingly identify with and support sexual predators. It happens so often and so consistently, it can’t be ignored. The people are so lacking in empathy and understanding, the victims are non-existent to them, they are invisible. In fact, this is contempt for them. What does this tell us about church people. I guess the biggest thing it tells me is that I’m not one of them. Stories like this make my blood boil. When I read Hooten’s account, I felt ill, physically ill. There’s no way to look at it that can normalize it. I do not want to be one of these people, i do not want anything to do with them. This is sick. Is it even possible for a person who is not also a sexual predator at heart to so thoroughly identity with and excuse this behavior? What is wrong with church that it provides such an accomodating home for sexual predators of children? This is the reality. All the ignorant churchgoers who tramp into courts, time and time again, to support people who commit crimes against children, as though they are doing something brave and good, what is the matter with them, what is wrong with their minds. Are they so blind? I just can’t even anymore…

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  48. Shameful. Absolutely shameful. There are some moral issues that are complex and thorny, but this isn’t one of them.

    Christ is about mercy and justice, and in some people’s worlds whether you get the mercy or the justice depends on one’s standing in the hierarchy. It’s hard to imagine someone who leaves an abusive husband or criticizes a minister getting this kind of outpouring of support.

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  49. SBC Worship Leader, Chuck Hooten, Along With Friends, Go to Court to Support the Predator, Not the Victims

    SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW?

    Boz T is on record that in all his years as a prosecutor specializing in such cases, he had NEVER seen a church support the victim. NEVER. Always “RALLY ROUND THE PEDO, BOYOS! GOD HATH SAID!” ALWAYS.

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  50. Max: It’s increasingly clear that the average New Calvinist does not ‘know’ Jesus.

    Who needs Jesus when you have CALVIN?
    CALVIN Who Has God All Figured Out.

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  51. SiteSeer: What does this tell us about church people.

    That they are more carnal than spiritual. In an age in which there is a waning authority of Christ in organized religion, church folks seem to prefer leaders who look and act like them – it makes them feel better about themselves. Where illegitimate authority resides, there is no spiritual power. The average churchman in America does not have enough Spirit in him to blow the dust off a peanut.

    It is one thing to be uninformed or misinformed, but to be willingly ignorant and to rally around an abuser and not the victim is sin.

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  52. The ludicrousness of comparing such abhorrent acts as using child #### to something like alcoholism is putrid to the core. The Christian community (which I am a part of) is brainwashed to administer FALSE EQUIVALENCIES and lavish warm fuzzy grace on the most grievous situations. For example: Smoothing over a spouse’s years of infidelity/destroying their children’s lives by saying, “Well, I’m not perfect either. I have my own sinful tendencies to get frustrated or procrastinate [etc. etc.]. The ground is level at the foot of the cross” is laughable. How can something like “getting frustrated” be compared to years of homewrecking behavior? It can’t. And how can one compare Robison’s offenses to something like alcoholism? False equivalency at its finest. I’ve considered going to law school just so that I may provide a voice for the opppressed. People, STOP giving warm fuzzy grace to perpetrators. Grace includes consequences! Do you believe in God? Yes, He’s gentle. But read what he would do to oppressors. At times he would wipe out entire communities. Let justice reign for these children!

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  53. SiteSeer,

    I share your thoughts & feelings. And when you try to talk to one of these people about their religion, they declare that subject off limits! They are harder cases than most outright atheists I know.

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  54. Ricco: “Culture War” thinking makes people stupid and switches them into ends justify the means thinking. The analogy of joining Stalin to fight Hitler is really good. Those are the type of decisions governments make in times of war. When you think you are in a war, you make decisions like that.

    This is something both Eagle and Prof. John Fea are documenting. Culture War Uber Alles is another pillar of Church Corruption, and has (at least since the Reagan Era and the Moral Majority) been hand-in-hand with Politics. This means it gets ignored by spiritual abuse blogs who want to Avoid Politics. Doubly so when in the 2016 Election Year it coalesced around an Incarnte Focus — He Who Cannot Be Named but WILL Make (Christian) America Great Again. (The amount of Messiah Politics Projection is incredible.)

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  55. Robert M: There are some moral issues that are complex and thorny, but this isn’t one of them … It’s hard to imagine someone who leaves an abusive husband or criticizes a minister getting this kind of outpouring of support.

    Christian celebrity worship, pure and simple. Don’t forget, Brother Chad is/was a much adored “worship” leader … he even had a couple of CDs! How dare we challenge their idol! He is proof, once again, that talent does not equal spiritual gifting … the Holy Spirit was nowhere near the young man in his ministry; the fruit of his life was not holy.

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  56. John: That theology doesn’t think of anyone as a victim; it only sees wretched sinners.

    “Man sees a Cute Little Baby — GOD SEES AN UTTERLY DEPRAVED SINNER!!!!!”
    — Radio preacher from my time in-country, early-to-mid 1970s; only line I remember 40+ years later

    I do not remember who that preacher with the Real Loud Voice was; he had an accent similar to J Vernon Magee but was definitely NOT him. I have a second snapshot-memory of hearing that exact same voice and delivery at a Sunday service at a Boy Scout summer camp circa 1968-69, except there it seemed obsessed with Christ’s resurrection body being described as Flesh & BONE, not Flesh & Blood.

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  57. Noevangelical: They are harder cases than most outright atheists I know.

    It is tough to penetrate the shell of New Calvinism with Truth … they think in terms of doctrines ‘about’ grace, rather than an experience ‘of’ Grace.

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  58. Max,

    So where are all of the fruit inspectors now? They think nothing of throwing the levers to engage to Reformed Inquisition Machine when it comes to the pewons, but god forbid they should do the same to themselves or their buddies.

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  59. Darlene:
    I wonder if any of these supporters of this criminal would trust him around their children.

    OF COURSE NOT.

    Christian Monist once posted that at the (splinter Baptist?) church where he grew up, it was an open secret among the Godly that their assistant pastor was a Pedo. When a new family with kids started attending, the Pillars of the Church would steer them to Pastor Pedo so he would rape THEIR kids, not mine.

    After hearing that, what else can you think?

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  60. Noevangelical:
    Max,

    So where are all of the fruit inspectors now? They think nothing of throwing the levers to engage to Reformed Inquisition Machine when it comes to the pewons, but god forbid they should do the same to themselves or their buddies.

    “ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
    BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS”
    — George Orwell, Animal Farm

    (And remember his ethnic typecasting of those who Are More Equal…)

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  61. Noevangelical: So where are all of the fruit inspectors now? They think nothing of throwing the levers to engage to Reformed Inquisition Machine when it comes to the pewons, but god forbid they should do the same to themselves or their buddies.

    In the absence of the authority of Christ in a church, a vacuum is created which sucks in the devil.

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  62. Eeyore: All I can think of is that they may have been taught all their lives that the world and the government are evil and out to slander and persecute Christians, and the more “Christian” you are the more likely you will be targeted. And who is more “Christian” than a beloved pastor? It may not be a question of justice for “victims” in their minds, but pride in their identity and standing up to the wicked Powers That Be. And that has blinded them to the horrors this man committed.

    A Thirties labor-union song, with the banjo of Pete Seeger:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK0_6a_zF-Y

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  63. roebuck: When pretend and pretentious Christians make these kinds of comparisons of their hero with Christ, I want to weep. Right after I throw up.
    How can they be so blind to their blasphemy?

    Right?

    If I started making ‘my buddy bob who did fifteen violent crimes is basically Jesus’ analogies I would be looking around for lightning bolts…

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  64. SiteSeer: This is sick.

    Yes. I cannot help but think that these supporters are either blind to the reality of someone’s guilty or utterly lacking in morals and empathy for other people. Blind can be fixed…I don’t know that the other can.

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  65. Max,

    Oh, it’s already here at several churches, including one I used to attend. New young pastors took over, took a hard turn to Calvinism, split the church in half doing so, sold the old building and moved to a new 9 million dollar much smaller one on the outskirts of the safe white suburbs.

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  66. Samuel Conner: This smacks of “Minority Report”-style “pre-crime” law enforcement, but given the high stakes for potential victims and the serious consequences for potential offenders, I would think that potential offenders would welcome pre-emptive protective measures to protect them from their inclinations.

    I would not support such screening, or any other ‘pre-crime’ filter, other than the good old-fashioned ones called reputation, common sense and accountability.

    No doubt ‘science’ can suggest all sorts of possible descriptions of what takes place in the brain, but such can only ever be assertions. Although it is true that we are fleshly in nature, the Spirit of God has been given to us in order to overcome our slavery to the flesh. We do not have to submit to our greatest fleshly desires, but can resist them as we come to the knowledge of how damaging they are to us and others.

    I do not believe that we are a mere composite of chemical reactions, or rather, perhaps we are, but I believe our choices affect and/or control these chemical reactions. Looking at porn no doubt sets off certain physiological reactions; but the individual makes the choice as to whether or not to look at porn. Some studies suggest that lying produces a chemical change that makes one able to lie with less and less ‘guilt’. Again, it is my assertion that these chemical reactions are in response to our freely chosen actions. Morality is not a result of well-ordered chemical reactions, it is a matter of surrendering our fleshly will to the good and perfect will of our Maker.

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  67. Ricco: Was prepared to make this exact comment. “Culture War” thinking makes people stupid and switches them into ends justify the means thinking. The analogy of joining Stalin to fight Hitler is really good. Those are the type of decisions governments make in times of war. When you think you are in a war, you make decisions like that. What ever the cross of Jesus Christ means, it DOESN’T mean defeat your cultural enemies by any means necessary. In fact, I think it means the opposite

    Amen! The Culture War is simply the modern version of Calvinistic determinism, which is simply Judaism 2.0. ‘Us vs Them’ is a tool to manipulate and control people, the chosen people, the elect, or christians are brainwashed into believing that they are elite, superior, in another class from all of the heathen reprobates.

    It is not simply elitist, it destroys one’s empathy, compassion and sensitivity to the need to spread the gospel. Grace morphs into ‘Why we should never condemn our pastor’ rather than ‘How can I tell the world that God loves them and desires to reconcile them to himself?’ People are instructed how to ‘worship’ (sing stupid, repetitive songs), how to ‘honor God’ (do whatever the church authorities say) and how to ‘love others’ (put money in the plate). That’s the modern Institutional Church in a nutshell.

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  68. elastigirl: and then they talk about the sanctity of life…

    Apparently they want to save the babies so they can abuse them???

    My ex-SIL was very active in the anti-abortion movement at one time. Then he had his own baby and had no problem driving like a maniac with her in the car, causing her newborn head to slap back and forth in her car seat.

    I’m all for saving the babies… BUT they need to be treated with TLC and they need people to fight for justice for them when they are abused.

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  69. From Hooten’s blog post:
    “serving his 11 year sentence for digital crimes committed on his laptop”

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    This! Can you think of anything more disgusting to say, more whitewashing, & more bland & vanilla than this statement? Digital crimes? Seriously?!? Oh, they were just “digital crimes”, nothing too serious. Good grief! They don’t even realize how evil that kind of statement is. Unreal.

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  70. Noevangelical: Can you think of anything more disgusting to say, more whitewashing, & more bland & vanilla than this statement? Digital crimes?

    He was coercing ACTUAL CHILDREN into filming themselves for him and filming people without their knowledge, iirc. Digital crimes is very minimizing..

    Also between this guy and the guy in Memphis, makes you never want to use a bathroom. Never know what sick expletive deleted has set up a camera. *shudder*

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  71. Eeyore: All I can think of is that they may have been taught all their lives that the world and the government are evil and out to slander and persecute Christians, and the more “Christian” you are the more likely you will be targeted. And who is more “Christian” than a beloved pastor? It may not be a question of justice for “victims” in their minds, but pride in their identity and standing up to the wicked Powers That Be. And that has blinded them to the horrors this man committed.

    I’m sure that is part of it, but I wonder whether there may be more at work.

    Evangelical conceptions of “zoe ainios” (usually translated “eternal life” but probably better rendered “aeonial life”/”life of the Age to Come”) tend to focus on the idea of “post-mortem eternal futurity” and “escape from post-mortem punishments”.

    While I think that both of those concepts are present (inasmuch as the resurrection life of the blessed will be like that of Jesus, i.e., deathless and incorruptible and therefore unending), this view IMO tends to miss or underemphasize present implications of “aeonial life.” 1 John 5 affirms that his readers (believers in Jesus) “have aeonial life” already, and the way this is phrased in 5:13 seems to indicate that the evidence of their already “having aeonial life” is to be seen in their attitude toward sin and the way they live toward each other, which are diagnostic of their heart posture before God.

    This is in Paul, too, where those who in Christ Jesus have been freed from the bondage of sin ought no longer to walk in it, but rather ought to live toward one another in ways that resemble the love that God manifested in Jesus.

    The defenders of and sympathizers with the accused in this case seem to have completely divorced the futurity of “eternal life” from the present reality of what it ought to look like in those who claim to follow Jesus.

    What they ought to have done, IMO, is to have recoiled in horror that someone they care for stumbled so profoundly, but they also ought to have wondered whether the man really had been freed from bondage to sin, really had been made new in the Spirit. His behavior and dissembling certainly look like forms of continuing bondage.

    Perhaps their failure to do this could be evidence of a form of the antinomian gnostic dualism that Max has suggested may will ultimately prevail in the neo-cal groups.

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  72. John: New young pastors took over, took a hard turn to Calvinism

    Don’t tell me, let me guess: the “lead” pastor wasn’t exactly honest to the pastor search committee about his theological leaning. The church landscape in America is littered with young New Calvinist pastors and their “elder” teams who weren’t ashamed to use stealth and deception to take over churches. They justify such tactics because they feel they have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the “gospel” (= Calvinism) that 90+% of Christendom have rejected for the last 500 years.

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  73. SiteSeer,

    Church leaders, maybe. But not all church *members.* I can tell you with confidence that right now we Catholic laypeople are loaded for bear. I do not know one single Catholic who is not mad as h*ll and determined not to take it any more. Facebook and Twitter are ablaze with the comments of outraged, fed-up Catholics. We want mitered heads to roll — yes, up to and including the pope. It is practically all we have been talking about. There is even a movement afoot to protest outside the US Bishops’ big meeting in Baltimore this November. I am considering attending.

    And of course many of us plan to stop giving to anything sponsored by the USCCB. I am in an excellent diocese, with a wonderful parish priest, but I will not donate beyond my local parish until the boil is lanced and completely drained. This summer has been hell.

    So, no, not all pee peons side with the predators. Some of us have our pitchforks out.

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  74. Max: Don’t tell me, let me guess: the “lead” pastor wasn’t exactly honest to the pastor search committee about his theological leaning.

    He was an assistant pastor before taking over, which was when I was there. He didn’t display any calvinist leanings at the time.

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  75. Max: Christian celebrity worship, pure and simple. Don’t forget, Brother Chad is/was a much adored “worship” leader … he even had a couple of CDs! How dare we challenge their idol! He is proof, once again, that talent does not equal spiritual gifting … the Holy Spirit was nowhere near the young man in his ministry; the fruit of his life was not holy.

    Kevin Spacey is a fine actor who made some good movies. He also molested children, and now that that is known his career is probably over.

    James Gunn made a couple of excellent superhero movies as well as earning respect as a director of small-budget movies. He joked about molesting children, and for that he was fired by Disney.

    If I was a member of one of these churches I should be embarrassed that my church’s moral compass is worse than Hollywood’s.

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  76. roebuck: How can they be so blind to their blasphemy? But as long as anyone can just call themselves a ‘pastor’, and set up their shingle and call themselves a ‘church’, this stuff is going to happen. As some have pointed out, this was foreseen from the beginning.

    And that is the sad, cruel joke that we all seem to have missed.

    Who says that what Constantine organized, legalized and even required was EVER the True Church? Okay, I’ll give ya that it might be the True Church, but what does that have to do with the body of Christ, sincere believers seeking to follow Jesus as commanded?

    What if the answer is NOTHING? Which would mean every other ‘Church’ which shot off from this first ‘Church’ was as false as the original! It eventually became a free for all, and what would stop you, me and every guy on the street from whacking out a few ideas and starting a ‘Church’? Not much, as we can see.

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  77. Hooten’s take on the judge:

    “However, what he possessed in intelligence stood in stark contrast to what he lacked in social skills and empathy.
    …He would ask every witness who spoke on my friend’s behalf, “Have you seen the images? Have you read what he has done?”, as if everyone had come into his courtroom in absolute ignorance to the gravity of the crimes being judged.
    ++++++++++++++++

    chuck hooten, so you did understand the gravity of the crimes, then. how they were exploited, used, violated, some torcherously so. how their lives will never be the same.

    and still no acknowledgement of them. no expression of grief & compassion for them. as if they are invisible to you.

    chuck…. where is your empathy? where are you social skills?

    i suspect you’re too preoccupied with self-congratulations for being the paragon of gracious forgiveness, as you support your friend (that was the point of your blog post, was it not?), for the victims/survivors to enter your sphere of awareness.

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  78. Matilda: ‘I could be at a party, having the best time of my life, but I could smell something or someone could say something or someone could touch me and I’m right back in the abuse. That isn’t going to change till the day I die.’

    This makes me weep. For I can attest that it is true. My abuse was ‘spiritual’ rather than sexual, but it was devastating. I lost all faith in men, and am barely hanging on to faith in God. One song, one bible verse, or just driving by a familiar place can send you spiraling right back into the pain and trauma of those days, however long ago they were.

    Survivor is a good word. You survive. You become stronger. Eventually, you can tell others about what happened without getting emotional – most of the time. And finally, you can stand up against abuse and fight for the protection of the innocent. But I am not sure a person ever fully escapes from what was done to them.

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  79. SiteSeer: We have to face the fact that church leaders and church goers overwhelmingly identify with and support sexual predators. It happens so often and so consistently, it can’t be ignored. The people are so lacking in empathy and understanding, the victims are non-existent to them, they are invisible. In fact, this is contempt for them. What does this tell us about church people. I guess the biggest thing it tells me is that I’m not one of them. Stories like this make my blood boil. When I read Hooten’s account, I felt ill, physically ill. There’s no way to look at it that can normalize it. I do not want to be one of these people, i do not want anything to do with them. This is sick. Is it even possible for a person who is not also a sexual predator at heart to so thoroughly identity with and excuse this behavior? What is wrong with church that it provides such an accomodating home for sexual predators of children? This is the reality. All the ignorant churchgoers who tramp into courts, time and time again, to support people who commit crimes against children, as though they are doing something brave and good, what is the matter with them, what is wrong with their minds. Are they so blind? I just can’t even anymore…

    This!

    And it leaves you look at all this, and it seems as if it must be a dream. I mean, you have always been ‘one of them’, right? A christian, a believer, a churchgoer – and now you find yourself wondering if you can even trust anyone who goes to church. How crazy is that? Who would ever have believed it of you, bastion of the church that you once were. Who would believe anything . . .

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  80. Max: They justify such tactics because they feel they have come into the world for such a time as this

    So did the Young Communists’ League, Chairman Mao’s Red Guard, the Taliban, and ISIS.

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  81. Lea: Right?

    If I started making ‘my buddy bob who did fifteen violent crimes is basically Jesus’ analogies I would be looking around for lightning bolts…

    I’d be looking around for Nice Men in Little White Coats.

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  82. The judge who oversaw the sentencing of a pedophile is compared to Pontius Pilate who oversaw the trial of the innocent Jesus.

    Someone tell preacher-man this ain’t the Jesus from The Big Lebowski.

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  83. TS00: This makes me weep. For I can attest that it is true. My abuse was ‘spiritual’ rather than sexual, but it was devastating. I lost all faith in men, and am barely hanging on to faith in God. One song, one bible verse, or just driving by a familiar place can send you spiraling right back into the pain and trauma of those days, however long ago they were.

    Survivor is a good word. You survive. You become stronger. Eventually, you can tell others about what happened without getting emotional – most of the time. And finally, you can stand up against abuse and fight for the protection of the innocent. But I am not sure a person ever fully escapes from what was done to them.

    I would call what you describe a victor……. battle scars, yes …….. but victorious, nonetheless.

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  84. TS00: And that is the sad, cruel joke that we all seem to have missed.

    Who says that what Constantine organized, legalized and even required was EVER the True Church? Okay, I’ll give ya that it might be the True Church, but what does that have to do with the body of Christ, sincere believers seeking to follow Jesus as commanded?

    What if the answer is NOTHING? Which would mean every other ‘Church’ which shot off from this first ‘Church’ was as false as the original! It eventually became a free for all, and what would stop you, me and every guy on the street from whacking out a few ideas and starting a ‘Church’? Not much, as we can see.

    I’d like to think that the institutional structures that have arisen through the ages might (charitably) be thought of as kind of visible “clothing” that “the Church” has worn from time to time and in some places (not all times and not all places). Like ordinary clothing for one’s physical embodiment, the “institutional clothing” that “the Church” has worn at various times and places has not always been very well fitted, and at times has impaired function. Increasingly I suspect that this ill-fittedness and functional impairment may have been “at most times and places”.

    On this view it’s a mistake to think that the institutions ARE “the Church”. That would be like confusing a person’s clothing with the person who is clothed.

    Granting that the institutions have not served the churches well through time, I am tempted to wonder whether institutions in principle even can. I think if one could ensure that those who “rise high” in them were people who genuinely resemble Jesus, they could. OTOH, it seems that in real life it is hard to design institutions so that the “fruit of the Spirit” is the sine qua non of advancement within the institution. It doesn’t happen in the world at large and it seems to not happen in the churches either.

    This leaves us longing for the Age to Come, the beatific vision and our transformation into the likeness of Jesus.

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  85. As I continue to reflect on the OP, I continue to realize the importance of the “Prime Directive” of the TWW, namely support the victims.
    I see all around me, and over my lifetime, the typical reaction to “slut shame” the victim, (and I use the word “slut” very generally here, if you intellectual question many religious leaders you are a “intellectual slut). In some ways I am really surprised, and then in some ways I am not surprised, how it seems human nature is to “protect the leader”…. without even knowing all the facts!!

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  86. TS00: Survivor is a good word. You survive. You become stronger. Eventually, you can tell others about what happened without getting emotional – most of the time. And finally, you can stand up against abuse and fight for the protection of the innocent. But I am not sure a person ever fully escapes from what was done to them.

    I like the word survivor, but I feel like it’s a word for them to use (speaking as someone who’s been sexually assaulted). I believe victim is the correct legal term and what people should use to discuss these issues about others.

    I also think “survivor”, though accurate, doesn’t always convey what sexual assault, molestation, domestic violence, and other types of abuse really means. They are crimes perpetrated by criminals, not just bad things that happen to us. I am a survivor of two major earthquakes. I’m a cancer survivor. But I am a victim of sexual assault. I have battled through it, but someone did that crime to me on purpose.

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  87. To all the leaders lamenting why people are leaving churches, Evangelical, Catholic, Mainline, etc… I would propose that it isn’t because of secularism, humanism, worship style, or even theology, it is because of things like this. If people cannot trust the Church, to protect the most innocent, as commanded by Christ, then people lose faith in the Church and in God. I would also mention that even though Christ bestowed Grace on us, the New Testament is still clear that their will be a day of Judgment, so these leaders need to think about how God will judge them for leading people away from Him, rather than to Him.

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  88. Jarrett Edwards,

    I completely agree…. not just lack of protecting the “little ones”, but the massive hypocrisy/ inconsistency of much of the current “church”
    With respect to the OP, one of the major issues that TWW is teaching me is the concept of “slut shaming”….. which the church does just as well as the “world”. In this context, I am using “slut shaming” in a very general sence…. to include any type of personal attack on victims, or people that just raise honest questions… For example, YEC are very quick to attack the “spirtual devotion” of anyone that questions the party line in YEC…..

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  89. Samuel Conner,

    Eeyore: “It may not be a question of justice for “victims” in their minds, but pride in their identity and standing up to the wicked Powers That Be. And that has blinded them to the horrors this man committed.”

    Samuel: “I’m sure that is part of it, but I wonder whether there may be more at work.

    Evangelical conceptions of “zoe ainios” (usually translated “eternal life” but probably better rendered “aeonial life”/”life of the Age to Come”) tend to focus on the idea of “post-mortem eternal futurity” and “escape from post-mortem punishments…

    …What they ought to have done, IMO, is to have recoiled in horror that someone they care for stumbled so profoundly, but they also ought to have wondered whether the man really had been freed from bondage to sin, really had been made new in the Spirit.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    much too complicated.

    i think they should have made the victims their focus.

    perpetrator can wait.

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  90. Headless Unicorn Guy: He Who Cannot Be Named but WILL Make (Christian) America Great Again. (The amount of Messiah Politics Projection is incredible.)

    Greatness is earned.
    It cannot be seized by venal men whose only virtue is cupidity.

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  91. Over the years at churches I was a member of, there would be the occasional “sin issue”. We all assumed that it was sexual sin and there were a couple times where the offense became public either because of unrepentance or out of necessity to aid with the restoration. There were a couple times where the sin was grievous, threatened to tear the family(s) apart, and much work and prayer was required.

    I did have a couple acquaintances go through the ordeal of committing adultery, and then travel the long road of restoration. It was clear who was at fault, and we knew that the wife and children needed tons of love, support, and time. There were good days and bad.

    In one case the marriage survived, and in the other case it did not. In both cases however, the men really did realize, more each day, what they had done. They really carried this but I thought it was good that the Lord dealt with them in this way. I think their heavy hearts were signs of true repentance. Neither returned to ministry but the one that stayed married did eventually teach an adult Sunday School class. I think it was more than ten years after his affair that he finally got back to teaching as a lay-person. After the affair he immediately got a sales job and retired from that company after 20 years there.

    I say all this because as I watched bioth these men in the years following their affairs, I did feel bad for them. I felt bad because I just imagined how they played those mistakes over and over in their heads and wished they could get a “do-over”.

    I think what we are seeing in a lot of the stories on this blog is a legitimate “falling away”. Like someone said in the comments above, there is no other response than to hope that Jesus returns soon. The people in these stories are so for removed from reality and have so twisted grace that it is hard to imagine they are born again…. I know that I cannot know that for sure but their actions and ignorance speak volumes and point to an absence of the Spirit in their lives.

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  92. George,

    I would be much more willing to extend grace to these men, who indeed sinned, but in a different manner than those who, while claiming to be godly teachers were serially grooming and abusing others, or sucking the souls out of countless people with their authoritarian tyranny. This is not ‘falling into sin’ but deceptively preying upon the innocent in the name of God. This is the worse sort of taking the name of God in vain.

    I don’t think people would suggest that there is no grace for the repentant sinner, but that we are done being manipulated and abused by false wolves who prey upon the naive by shouting ‘grace!’ like its base in a children’s game of tag. I have no room for men who are enriching themselves, abusing women and children and creating celebrity franchises by selling the Word of God to starving people.

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  93. George,

    “I think what we are seeing in a lot of the stories on this blog is a legitimate “falling away”. Like someone said in the comments above, there is no other response than to hope that Jesus returns soon.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    a falling away? concerning christian schmucks? or people opting out of church? or both?

    i don’t think this kind of schmuck behavior is anything new. there’s just more exposure of it, and people are more able to freely dialogue about it with wide audiences.

    just like news in general… horrible things have always happened. we just have technology these days that informs us of all of it everywhere every minute of every day.

    similarly, good things have always happened. unfortunately, they’re only newsworthy on a slow news day, so we don’t hear about them. there are tons of beauty and goodness on planet earth.

    Jesus coming back is the only hope left? no one really knows what all that means — but what about productivity-empowered-by-God that mitigates pain, suffering, pollution, injustice one day at a time? i have great hope in that.

    as for people opting out of church, they are no less productive as citizens of earth (including on a spiritual level) than while they were still in church. in fact, i suspect a good many have newfound energy and joy in being productive citizens.
    ————————-

    “The people in these stories are so for removed from reality and have so twisted grace that it is hard to imagine they are born again…. I know that I cannot know that for sure but their actions and ignorance speak volumes and point to an absence of the Spirit in their lives.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    is born again like ‘abracadabra’? like “poof”, with the wave and flourish of the wand, a puff of smoke, & the rabbit turns into a dove?

    some spiritual experiences indeed have instant impact, but they are not cure-alls. all of us still ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling’ — walk the long and winding road that leads to God’s door.

    i prefer not to spiritualize people and things — i think it hinders the ability to see things objectively. the people described here in this story seem to me to be very confused and mixed up. brainwashed with stupid ideas sold to them by invoking God and calling them ‘biblical’.

    what they need is not a spiritual assessment but a long snort on “the smelling salts of common sense”.

    …and thank you for reading my monologue.

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  94. “These are the type of people who need a test before being allowed to have children!”

    This!!!

    If you do not hate child sexual abuse and hate child sexual abusers you do not deserve to have children.

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  95. When someone makes up excuses for perverts and sexual abusers I always conclude they are a closet pervert also. And in my experience women can be sexually sadistic too. For example
    Allison Mack and Debi Pearl.

    “He has been in my home. He has eaten at my table. He has played with my children. I love him.””

    So many Christians simply do not hate child rape. And so many Christians do not love their own children or see their children as real human beings. They see their children as subhuman. These bad parent pervs do not even comprehend that the number one job of a parent is to protect your child.

    Chuck Hooten, you are a vile sicko. You are obviously too stupid and evil to know how miserable and life-ruining sexual abuse is. You can be on the side of sexually abused children or on the side of those who sexually abuse children and you chose the side of child sexual abusers.

    The number one reason that started my atheism is how Christians treat raped children and how Christians treat rapist. Raped children are told to get over it, forgive, and never mention it again. Child rapist are babied, coddled, pitied, and pampered. Rape victims are treated like the evil ones and condemned; while rapist are treated like the victims and rallied for. Most likely because the children are not being humble and submissive to men. In my conservative Christian family, it is worse to say, “I was raped” than to rape a child.

    It looks like so many Christians hate unmarried adults having consensual sex, but a man sexually abusing a child is no big deal. I believe it is because Christianity is about manpower and rape is about manpower. So it is easy for many Christians to get on board with child sexual abuse.

    A large group of Christians minimize, minimize, minimize child sexual abuse.

    Nothing is worse than child sexual abuse. Of course, dumb perverts want to promote things as being worse. Pedophiles, child molesters, and child rapist deserve to go to prison for the rest of their lives.

    “This church is a member of The Gospel Coalition as noted by this screen shot taken at the TGC website. As many readers are aware, The Gospel Coalition has been a fervent supporter of CJ Mahaney.”

    Gross. I would not be at all surprised if this group of Christians doesn’t start promoting child rape as being the manly thing to do.

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  96. TS00,

    I am sorry to read of your trauma. Some things don’t go away, prayer may sustain, but the damage is so deep. You are right. I got into a discussion where someone said they were told, when their baby died, that they’d one day ‘get over their grief’, but now 50 years on, she was still affected by the trauma. Another person said a Polish man they knew, aged 70, always had a huge stock of food in pantry and freezer because, up to age 11, he nearly starved in Poland. His parents emigrated the USA then, and he’s never been short of food since, but the terrible memories of hunger still haunt his mind. Some things, especially those of childhood traumas do indeed ruin lives.

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  97. ishy:
    I like the word survivor, but I feel like it’s a word for them to use (speaking as someone who’s been sexually assaulted). I believe victim is the correct legal term and what people should use to discuss these issues about others.

    It’s a bit hairy too because you also have people talking about someone ‘playing the victim’ when in actuality they have simply been victimized. Survivor makes sense in some situations and other words make sense in others and when talking about yourself you should choose what you prefer and fits best.

    But when someone has been a victim of a crime, as in this case, it does not lessen anyone to say so. We tend to only act as if victim is a bad word when dealing with sexual crimes and I think that’s what’s wrong.

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  98. elastigirl: i think they should have made the victims their focus.
    perpetrator can wait.

    If we thought in terms of triage we would be much better off in these situations.

    Step one, Stop the harm from happening right now and in the future. Keep perpetrators away from the innocent. (call the police, firing someone, etc)
    Step two, try to deal with the aftermath – hurting children who have been victimized and will need extra care, therapy, etc.
    [Step one and Two will hopefully happen concurrently]

    That stuff should be done before we start worrying about the violent criminals repentance and whether it is genuine/what it means for the future.

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  99. George: I think what we are seeing in a lot of the stories on this blog is a legitimate “falling away”. Like someone said in the comments above, there is no other response than to hope that Jesus returns soon. The people in these stories are so for removed from reality and have so twisted grace that it is hard to imagine they are born again…. I know that I cannot know that for sure but their actions and ignorance speak volumes and point to an absence of the Spirit in their lives.

    George,
    Men have to be saved before they can fall away. Jesus told us that we would know “them” by their fruit. These are the false teachers, false Christians, the tares that have infiltrated the church. The concept of the false believer is largely ignored in most, if not all, churches. Except for the churches where they use inquisition tactics to root out anyone who does not toe the line, which is another kettle of fish altogether.

    Action like these can be used to make a judgement on the spiritual status of the perpetrators of these crimes. That they are not seen as heinous crimes by their supporters is equally appalling, and those actions to cover for the perps make them accessories to the crimes, imo.

    When you witness a wholesale disregard for the victims, sin leveling behavior by their supporters, people who re-offend and re-abuse by their callous disregard for the victims, who are CHILDREN btw, Then I believe it is perfectly acceptable and normal to make a value judgment about those people and to reject them and their teaching, what ever it is, out of hand.

    Hopefully people will see how bankrupt their theology is because of these actual crimes. It may be semantics, but the word “stories” just doesn’t cut it. This is factual reporting on serious crimes. It is nothing less. I believe that we should respect the victims by labeling these crimes as what they are, actual, real crimes against real children, and not minimize in any way the seriousness of these crimes.

    And the appropriate response by people of faith is to overwhelmingly support the victims, heavily outweighed by the thoughts and feelings directed in support of the perps.

    That the alleged “People of God” would support the perps at all is the best advertising for an anti-Christ witness to those we are trying to reach with the Gospel. I have seen this first hand. The door closes and is often locked because some fool “weeps” and is “heart broken” for his or her perp friend and says absolutely nothing about the children who will have to live with trauma for the rest of their lives.

    We do not need these fools in the church, period.

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  100. Lydia,

    “Pope Francis is accused of ignoring evidence that McCarrick abused seminarians, instead rescinding an order from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that McCarrick be stripped of duties and bound at home, to live a life of “prayer and penance.” ”

    If he rescinded an order that’s very strange. The line after this was full of conspiracy but it’s hard not to think ‘protecting abusers’ fits. We know many in the catholic church were. I don’t know what to think of Francis.

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  101. Lea: If he rescinded an order that’s very strange. The line after this was full of conspiracy but it’s hard not to think ‘protecting abusers’ fits. We know many in the catholic church were. I don’t know what to think of Francis.

    Local morning drive-time radio has canonized Francis as another “Patron Saint of Child Molesters” along with JP2.

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  102. Noevangelical: Men have to be saved before they can fall away. Jesus told us that we would know “them” by their fruit. These are the false teachers, false Christians, the tares that have infiltrated the church. The concept of the false believer is largely ignored in most, if not all, churches.

    Problem is, in practice the definition of “false believer” is “Thee, NOT Me!”

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  103. Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Local morning drive-time radio has canonized Francis as another “Patron Saint of Child Molesters” along with JP2.

    I was always suspicious about the Pope in the middle who left before dying, and it sounds like his order was the one Francis rescinded. Was he better on this? Why did he leave?

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  104. elastigirl: is born again like ‘abracadabra’? like “poof”, with the wave and flourish of the wand, a puff of smoke, & the rabbit turns into a dove?

    some spiritual experiences indeed have instant impact, but they are not cure-alls. all of us still ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling’ — walk the long and winding road that leads to God’s door.

    i prefer not to spiritualize people and things — i think it hinders the ability to see things objectively. the people described here in this story seem to me to be very confused and mixed up. brainwashed with stupid ideas sold to them by invoking God and calling them ‘biblical’.

    I love your monologues!

    The ‘born again’ or Easy Believism movement, brought to us by Billy Graham (grandfather of celebrity pervert Tullian Tchividjian) and reinforced by Jimmy Carter and Chuck Colson, was one of the tools for ‘brainwashing with stupid ideas’ you mention.

    It is indeed an ‘abracadabra’ kind of religion, in which you simply say a prayer, or, in more ‘serious’ groups, adopt the correct set of doctrines. Apparently, acquiring salvation is somewhat like catching the common cold. I increasingly suspect both were cooked up somewhere in a dark room.

    What you suggest is simply common sense living. Sure, most people have to be ‘born again’, or awakened from the virtual reality, sloganized life we were brought up in into the real world – one in which we have to make real choices everyday, which affect us, others and the world we all live in. If you believe in God, in goodness, truth and justice, then live like it.

    Which do you think makes the most difference: the gal who goes weekly to her megachurch and ‘worships’ with all her heart, or the crunchy Mama who gives her neighbors some of her extra veggies, or helps her neighbor clean out her basement after a flood? People do not want – or need – the Four Spiritual Laws or a slick flyer announcing the next ‘show’.

    Most people just want to know that others know we exist, and care enough to lend a hand when we need it. We need people who will stand in the gap for us when we are not able to do it all, whether due to illness, injury or financial setback. Or maybe spiritual abuse.

    I’m not sure weekly attendance at a local church is going to help much – unless you can find one of the rare remaining churches that is more about looking after its members needs than taking their dollars.

    Sounds cynical, I guess; but I hope it is less bitterness than sad realization. I was snookered, brainwashed and foolish enough to go along with churchianity for so many years. Any small ‘good’ I might have done in this world has been through loving others one small act at a time.

    Do we really need some pretty boy celebrity, or professional shouter, to tell us what the bible says and means? Do we need to pay professional ‘people lovers’ (missionaries) to do what every one of us is called to do? Which is love our neighbors as ourselves. Just helping someone shovel their driveway proclaims the gospel far better than Billy Graham or Billy Hybels ever did.

    For months I was discouraged because I couldn’t find a ‘good church’. I finally realized, church or no, I could make the choice to live my life all about me, or trying to make my corner of the world a slightly better place; one choice at a time.

    Virtual reality did not begin with modern technology – we have been sold a false reality for a really long time, and The Church has too often been the one peddling it.

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  105. Lea: I don’t know what to think of Francis.

    Does ‘who am I to judge’ not offer a sliver of light on the subject? Some folks replied ‘you are the pope, it is your job’. It was all over the news, both what he said and the fact that some objected to what he said.

    I am thinking that ‘who am I to judge’ while perhaps limited to a specific topic when he said it, none the less shows a certain mind set about his willingness to just leave some things be and not step up to bat on some things. It would be pertinent to know what all he believes himself not the one to adjudicate which issues.

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  106. TS00,

    “Which do you think makes the most difference: the gal who goes weekly to her megachurch and ‘worships’ with all her heart, or the crunchy Mama who gives her neighbors some of her extra veggies, or helps her neighbor clean out her basement after a flood?”
    ++++++++++

    I’ll take “Crunchy Mama” for 350, Truth’.

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  107. TS00,

    “Sounds cynical, I guess; but I hope it is less bitterness than sad realization.”
    +++++++++++

    it is realistic.

    when it doesn’t fit the dogma of the christian party line christian culture people spiritualize it into cynical or bitter. they have made ‘you’ the problem and their biblical equation remains solved and happy.

    (they wouldn’t know what to do with different variables anyway, because someone else solved it for them and just gave them the answer — ‘biblical’)

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  108. TS00:
    The ‘born again’ or Easy Believism movement, brought to us by Billy Graham (grandfather of celebrity pervert Tullian Tchividjian) and reinforced by Jimmy Carter and Chuck Colson, was one of the tools for ‘brainwashing with stupid ideas’ you mention.

    It is indeed an ‘abracadabra’ kind of religion, in which you simply say a prayer, or, in more ‘serious’ groups, adopt the correct set of doctrines. Apparently, acquiring salvation is somewhat like catching the common cold. I increasingly suspect both were cooked up somewhere in a dark room.

    This brings to mind a guy who “got saved” around the time I did in the same church. He had been into drugs and the church called it a miraculous healing. He even gave a little tour of churches in the area to give his testimony only a month or so after he said he got saved. They really made a big deal of him. I don’t think they did any real discipleship with him.

    I wasn’t so sure, because not long after he was introduced to the church, he cornered me and tried to sell me Amway.

    Not even six months later, he was proclaiming himself the reincarnated Jesus and was trying to start his own cult. The guy was short on both brains and charisma, so his cult failed, but I heard he got back into drugs. Never heard about him after that.

    That church went dead silent on the issue and people got mad if you talked about him at all. Clearly, they were very embarrassed about his “miraculous healing”, but it wasn’t long before they were proclaiming that about other people. I was just this baby Christian, and I was completely baffled by their response.

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  109. Guest,

    Guest, I had the same thought about Hooten. How can one have so much misplaced empathy for these crimes, if one doesn’t have similar proclivities?!? People want to forgive and offer grace? Good! But be sure to administer consequences, or the perpetrators could be harming your family next. Sick to the core!

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  110. The comment stream here on this post makes me most thankful for real old fashioned holiness preaching. Yes, there was a call to a born again salvation BUT with the understanding first you had realize the depth of your own sin, own it, and begin calling out to God for salvation. It took time. It wasn’t a decision you made, but something you waited for God to do. When He did you testified to the fact and then the church and community waited to see fruit. When you finally realized you could not produce fruit on your own, you began seeking the experience of heart cleansing. Again, while you waited you prayed, lived it out best you could, and continually sought for God to remove the dirt from your soul. And if eventually you received that blessing, you began to live it out. But at any point along the way choosing to live in sin in any manner could result in the instant loss of salvation or cleansing.

    Not easy believism at all, even though it was all to be received through faith from God’s grace.

    We need again that conviction that we need to fall on our face before Almighty God, not excusing our sin but seeking forgiveness and cleansing from it. Not cleansing from the consequences of our sin, but actually a cleared ledger (forgiveness) and a cleansed heart (holiness.)

    Did not matter if you “born that way” whatever it might be, such as a propensity to alcoholism. Did not matter if you acquired from a rough childhood. Did not matter if it was pure cussed personal choice.

    You admitted it was sin, sought forgiveness and cleansing, and fought against it with all your might and by every means for the rest of your life.

    Oh for that sort of revival again!

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  111. TS00:

    The ‘born again’ or Easy Believism movement, brought to us by Billy Graham (grandfather of celebrity pervert Tullian Tchividjian) and reinforced by Jimmy Carter and Chuck Colson, was one of the tools for ‘brainwashing with stupid ideas’ you mention.

    It is indeed an ‘abracadabra’ kind of religion, in which you simply say a prayer, or, in more ‘serious’ groups, adopt the correct set of doctrines.

    The problem is that, that is what people have made it into, the Sinner’s prayer, asking Jesus into your heart, walking the sawdust trail, etc… was never meant to be an “abracadabra” thing, but just the first step on your new journey. Also, while I believe that one can be saved in this manner, it is NOT about saying certain words like an incantation, it is about the sincerity and belief with which one says the words

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  112. TS00: It is indeed an ‘abracadabra’ kind of religion, in which you simply say a prayer, or, in more ‘serious’ groups, adopt the correct set of doctrines. Apparently, acquiring salvation is somewhat like catching the common cold.

    You DO know the origin of the word “Abracadabra”?
    Turns out there’s no definite origin, but a lot of folk histories.
    The one I heard was that it started out as slurred Aramaic for “I Speak And IT IS SO!”

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  113. Guest: When someone makes up excuses for perverts and sexual abusers I always conclude they are a closet pervert also.

    I came to a similar conclusion regarding Pastors and their Pet Pedos.
    Pastor’s a closet pedo himself but doesn’t dare Do The Deed himself.
    So he counsels his Pet Pedo and lets the JUICY “confession” massage the Urrges in His Arreas.

    Parker & Stone (South Park) also did this in one of their episodes, the “Children of the Corn” parody where the kids all falsely accuse their parents of molesting them so they don’t have parents to interfere any more. (Yes, it’s South Park. It’s supposed to be over-the-top.) It’s the scene where the parents are being “counseled” in a Federal prison; the “counselor” pushing the parents to Confess all the JUICY details is heavily implied to be a closet pedo fishing for those JUICY details.

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  114. Guest: When someone makes up excuses for perverts and sexual abusers I always conclude they are a closet pervert also.

    Well … now that you bring it up. I’m an old guy; I’ve been around “church” for 70 years. I’ve lost count of the number of “worship leaders” in the American church who have ended up in court for child abuse. The “music ministry” and “youth ministry” seem to attract most of the offenders. In the case of Mr. Robison, we should all be concerned with the grandstand of supporters he had in the courtroom representing the “ministry.”

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  115. okrapod: Does ‘who am I to judge’ not offer a sliver of light on the subject? Some folks replied ‘you are the pope, it is your job’.

    I would agree with the later group, obviously. If not even for moral reason, simply because the church is hierarchical and that seems like it would make the pope ‘the boss’ and responsible for what the men down the line are doing on this. He should be setting standards on behavior. But then, I’m not catholic so maybe it doesn’t work that way.

    The most disturbing thing about all of these stories is when you really start thinking about how many people have been victimized, how many are abusers, and how many of those are high up the various chains – not just churches either. I know it isn’t the majority, but it seems to be a much higher number of people than we really want to acknowledge or accept. I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist, but when you see people who seem to have got molester and abusers backs consistently, it isn’t unreasonable to wonder if this is a quid pro quo situation.

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  116. Max: The “music ministry” and “youth ministry” seem to attract most of the offenders.

    Youth ministry makes sense – any preferential offenders are going to go where the prey is.

    Music, idk. Maybe they just let anybody do that without really needing credentials beyond ability to play a guitar and sing credibly?

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  117. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    “You DO know the origin of the word “Abracadabra”?
    Turns out there’s no definite origin, but a lot of folk histories.
    The one I heard was that it started out as slurred Aramaic for “I Speak And IT IS SO!””
    ++++++++++

    blimey

    tell me about alakazam.

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  118. Lea,
    I agree, it does seem to be the Pop’e’s job..
    A friend of a friend that is a devoted/serious RC said to my friend, “ Don’t be offended with me, but these scandals in the RC church hirarcy makes me wonder if I need to be, or am Protestant”… See, to the RC, the sacraments need to be given to the pew peon by a proper priest. If the preist is a monster, and the various higher levels are, or are complicit in covering this all up, that seems to invalidate the holyness of the sacraments??? So, are all the sacraments of the RC hirarcy invalid, to a devote RC, because now even the Pope’s appears to complicit on covering up a predator?? This seems much more than just, does priests sin, but if the whole hierarchy is complicit in massive covering up for predators, it seems they all should be imposters? Since we Protestants at least use to claim “priesthood of the believer”, (some of us still do), we do not have this “corporate” “issue”?

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  119. Jarrett Edwards,

    “while I believe that one can be saved in this manner, it is NOT about saying certain words like an incantation, it is about the sincerity and belief with which one says the words”
    ++++++++++

    or no words. much happens internally.

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  120. okrapod,

    Very interesting thank you.

    Although now I’m musing about why a priest doesn’t have to be free of mortal sin because Christ is the one who does the work, but cannot possibly be a woman…

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  121. Lea,

    Or, as In the current case, a high up was removed from “service” and told to be in prayer and repentance, and then the next Pope restores him… yet their is no public accounting, ot guarantee of stopping the predatory behavior ..

    The article listed by Okrapod talks of “common sence”… “Commn sence” tells me that the priest and his supperiors , if they know and ACTIVELY cover up predatory behavior have forsaken their “authority” to give the sacraments….
    heck, women and lay people can not adminster the sacraments, how can someone that is part of a conspiracy to cover up MASSIVE number of felonoious, Pedo practices, have the “authority” to give the sacraments???

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  122. Jarrett Edwards: The problem is that, that is what people have made it into, the Sinner’s prayer, asking Jesus into your heart, walking the sawdust trail, etc… was never meant to be an “abracadabra” thing, but just the first step on your new journey. Also, while I believe that one can be saved in this manner, it is NOT about saying certain words like an incantation, it is about the sincerity and belief with which one says the words

    But it’s the salvation numbers that fill seats and coffers. I don’t even know how many churches I’ve been to that pretty much forgot about you once you got saved or joined the church, unless you were some big tither or had lots of connections.

    A certain Christian university I graduated from that was affiliated with a megachurch used to cheat their church enrollment by adding all the university students to their rolls. I wouldn’t be surprised if they cheated their salvation numbers with similar tactics.

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  123. ishy,

    When you evaluate professional “performance” in a quantitaive way, like many “professional” christain organizations do, you eventually resort to a numbers game… heck, I saw it in campus crusade 35 years ago, and it was not at all surprising given Bill Bright was a “business man” when he started CC….

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  124. ishy: I don’t even know how many churches I’ve been to that pretty much forgot about you once you got saved or joined the church, unless you were some big tither or had lots of connections.

    This is something I have seen and have experienced often.

    The church brand or ministry identity becomes central after a person is in the door and properly assimilated. After that, most people are no longer seen and known as individuals. Instead they become enmeshed, blurry groups of faces separated under general categories and labels. Easily interchangeable and thus more easily manipulated, and if necessary, easily discarded. Most people aren’t truly known or seen.

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  125. Jeffrey J Chalmers: heck, women and lay people can not adminster the sacraments

    Lay people, both men and women, can baptize if the situation is an emergency and there is no priest available. I saw the nurses baptize dead or dying severely premature babies at a catholic hospital when I was an intern.

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  126. ishy: A certain Christian university I graduated from that was affiliated with a megachurch used to cheat their church enrollment by adding all the university students to their rolls.

    Was that under watch care, or were these students double counted, once at their home church and once at Thomas Road? What did they do about non-Baptist students; I believe you said all students? Did any non-Baptist students challenge that procedure? Did they have different ‘levels’ of membership? I have not heard of that among Baptists, but we have different levels of membership.

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  127. Lea: Maybe they just let anybody do that without really needing credentials beyond ability to play a guitar and sing credibly?

    In the cool New Calvinist churches, the most important ministry position is the worship leader, rather than the pastor. The praise band attracts folks from Generation X, Y and Z … a good one will make you mega in no time! Team a good worship guy with some whiny guitars, drums, and back-up singers in tight pants and the young folks will swarm to the hive. The young ladies idolize charismatic music leaders, making them easy targets for a worship guy who doesn’t have worship in mind.

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  128. Jeffrey J Chalmers: A friend of a friend that is a devoted/serious RC said to my friend, “ Don’t be offended with me, but these scandals in the RC church hirarcy makes me wonder if I need to be, or am Protestant”… See, to the RC, the sacraments need to be given to the pew peon by a proper priest. If the preist is a monster, and the various higher levels are, or are complicit in covering this all up, that seems to invalidate the holyness of the sacraments??? So, are all the sacraments of the RC hirarcy invalid, to a devote RC, because now even the Pope’s appears to complicit on covering up a predator?? This seems much more than just, does priests sin, but if the whole hierarchy is complicit in massive covering up for predators, it seems they all should be imposters? Since we Protestants at least use to claim “priesthood of the believer”, (some of us still do), we do not have this “corporate” “issue”?

    Actually, the early church had this argument about the holiness of the sacraments administered by a sinful priest during the early 4th century persecution. The belief is called Donatism but also fed into an earlier movement called Novitianism. Basically, some Christians believed the church was only made up of saints, not sinners, and if you gave up your scriptures to the local governor to get him off your back during a persecution, you were considered a traditore, which is where we get the word traitor from. Donatism was most popular in North Africa and was something Augustine battled with.

    I do not know if Protestants have ever given much thought as to the validity of sacraments. Most Protestant churches generally recognize only two sacraments (the Lord’s Supper and baptism). I cannot ever recall hearing an argument that someone’s baptism was invalid because Brother So-and-so was a notorious sinner, but I could be completely wrong on that.

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  129. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Over the years I have had mixed feelings about Francis. Now I just want him gone. Along with Cupich, Wuerl, McElroy, and the rest of that crew. Lance the boil. Drain the swamp. Cardinal Sarah for pope.

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  130. okrapod: Was that under watch care, or were these students double counted, once at their home church and once at Thomas Road?

    They told us it was “watch care”, but they did not tell that to the public or their TV ministry fans.

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  131. okrapod: What did they do about non-Baptist students; I believe you said all students?Did any non-Baptist students challenge that procedure?Did they have different ‘levels’ of membership?

    It was all students. Now that TRBC is under different leadership, I don’t know if they still do that. I don’t think they made a big effort to separate everyone or even put their names on rolls. I do think they just double-counted by numbers and announced the false numbers publicly.

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  132. It was honestly a very poorly protected secret, but many of their followers were the same people that were devoted to the 700 Club, so probably didn’t even bother to question it.

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  133. Not a RC but I sincerely hope the current Pope is not involved in any way whatsoever with the current revelations concerning abuses by priest within the church over many years. I have followed the new Pope closely since he was elected and he seems to be a devoted believer and very able church leader.If it comes out that he knew and did nothing then the Catholic Church is in real trouble.

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  134. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: Most Protestant churches generally recognize only two sacraments (the Lord’s Supper and baptism).

    The Baptist do not believe in sacraments-none. They do not think that anything is a ‘means’ of grace. It is rather a big issue actually. They have ‘ordinances’ but not sacraments. To complicate matters, the catholic church will accept protestant baptism, even Baptist baptism, provided it was done specifically in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, aka the trinitarian formula. The fact that Baptists do not practice apostolic succession nor do they have bishops-all part of the interrelated ideas-that does not seem to be a hindrance to the acceptance of Baptist baptism. Lack of use of the trinitarian formula is however an issue.

    When I was considering converting to catholicism I had to obtain a copy of my baptismal certificate (I had none) or submit a statement from the current pastor of the church where I was baptized that the trinitarian formula was used. He was not there, but he wrote that the common practice was to use the trinitarian formula so he assumed they had. This satisfied the catholics relative to my possible conversion. They just totally are not nearly as strict about some things as some protestant groups are.

    And as to divorce and remarriage, marriage ideally being a sacrament in catholicism, a protestant who marries a protestant and then converts to catholicism is not entitled to an automatic finding of nullity on the basis that the marriage was not sacramental. However, the priest told me that my divorce was not a hindrance to reception into the church and receiving of the eucharist, but a remarriage would be.

    I think, and I am not a catholic, that in just a lot of ways the catholic church is a lot more people friendly that some strains of protestantism, my opinion being based on my time as a fundamentalist Baptist back when.

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  135. Max: The young ladies idolize charismatic music leaders, making them easy targets for a worship guy who doesn’t have worship in mind.

    My 24 year old granddaughter is being considered for Worship leader at a mega in Northern California. She has been an assistant leader for a few years, she’s young, cute blonde and single and talented. Very much the Carrie Underwood style. I wonder if they are trying to rope in the young guys. Come to think of it, it does seem unusual that she is even being considered for a leadership position.

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  136. Max: The young ladies idolize charismatic music leaders, making them easy targets for a worship guy who doesn’t have worship in mind.

    Just like Rock Stars & Groupies, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

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  137. ishy: I do think they just double-counted by numbers and announced the false numbers publicly.

    Isn’t that like Scientology’s official membership numbers?

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  138. Jeffrey J Chalmers: heck, I saw it in campus crusade 35 years ago, and it was not at all surprising given Bill Bright was a “business man” when he started CC….

    Not just “businessman”, I heard he was a SALESMAN.
    At which point, the resemblance between CC’s “multiplying ministry” and a pyramid scheme makes a whole lotta sense.

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  139. ishy: But it’s the salvation numbers that fill seats and coffers. I don’t even know how many churches I’ve been to that pretty much forgot about you once you got saved or joined the church, unless you were some big tither or had lots of connections.

    “Butts in Seats”, same reason as all the pro wrestling gimmicks cataloged at Wrestlecrap.com.

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  140. okrapod,

    I think the Baptist do practice their own form of apostolic succession. I doubt that you will find any Baptist preacher that would sat they did not receive a call to preach. Now that call usually means a certain personal message from God for them to become preachers of the gospel. Tell me exactly what is the difference between the Baptist preachers call and the Roman Catholics call to be a priest.

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  141. I don’t go to church, and don’t plan on changing that anytime soon. My youngest children were baptized a few months ago in a SBC church, but they do not attend often. I hated to tell them no, even though I was less than thrilled. I stalled for a year on that. I dread letting them go because of things like this.
    I grew up Old German Baptist Brethren and I saw stuff like this more often than I care to remember. I had a friend was sexually abused as a child by her father (and possibly brothers). She got tired of it (Imagine that) and finally went to the police. The church disfellowshipped her for going to the police. They believe in “non resistance” and “turning the other cheek” as well as “do not repay anyone evil for evil.” I am so over “Christianity.” Nothing like this even surprises me anymore. It is just wash, rinse, repeat.

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  142. Leslie,

    Leslie, from my observations of New Calvinist church plants and mega churches in my area, they recruit the young, beautiful and talented to staff their praise and worship teams. IMO, they ‘use’ these young folks to draw a crowd. If it weren’t for the cool music at these churches, many of them wouldn’t exist. Music is the attractor, not the preaching … very little discipling of the saints goes on at these places; entertainment is the primary focus. Stage performance – money spent on equipping the stage, with the finest instruments, audio and sound equipment, smoke machines, laser lights, etc. – is the single biggest budget item at most of these churches. It’s all about being “culturally-relevant” … giving Generations X, Y, and Z what they want in a church experience, rather than what they need to equip them spiritually. Christianity Lite – a river one mile wide and one inch deep … but, boy, is the music good!

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  143. Max:
    Leslie,

    Leslie, from my observations of New Calvinist church plants and mega churches in my area, they recruit the young, beautiful and talented to staff their praise and worship teams.IMO, they ‘use’ these young folks to draw a crowd.If it weren’t for the cool music at these churches, many of them wouldn’t exist.Music is the attractor, not the preaching … very little discipling of the saints goes on at these places; entertainment is the primary focus.Stage performance – money spent on equipping the stage, with the finest instruments, audio and sound equipment, smoke machines, laser lights, etc. – is the single biggest budget item at most of these churches.It’s all about being “culturally-relevant” … giving Generations X, Y, and Z what they want in a church experience, rather than what they need to equip them spiritually.Christianity Lite – a river one mile wide and one inch deep … but, boy, is the music good!

    Max, I totally agree with you.. I have gone to a few of the “performances” to be a supportive Grandma, and have not liked what I have seen or heard. loud repetitive music. Not much of a message. Very few gray hairs in the congregation. My daughter and son in law seem more interested in showcasing their children than grounding them in the Truth. There is a definite chill in the air at family dinners.

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  144. Max,

    “It’s all about being “culturally-relevant” … giving Generations X, Y, and Z what they want in a church experience, rather than what they need to equip them spiritually.”
    +++++++++++

    totally honest question:

    how can a church service give me/anyone what they need to equip them spiritually? i mean, for reals.

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  145. Bill: Tell me exactly what is the difference between the Baptist preachers call and the Roman Catholics call to be a priest.

    First if you would go look up just exactly what the term ‘apostolic succession’ means then we can talk. It is a system, not a personal and subjective urge. It really is quite interesting when you see over time some of the issues involved and not some of the current issues also.

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  146. Bill:
    I have read what the term apostolic succession means and it really is not as complicated to understand as you seem to make it out to be.

    Okay, so you understand why and how anglicans recognize the roman succession and why the romans do not recognize the anglican succession, even though both have kept the records. You understand how the orthodox can have valid succession but do not recognize the authority of the pope. And you understand who ordains whom and you understand why protestant ordination is not recognized by rome.

    Meanwhile in our system (episcopal) a person may feel ‘called’ to the priesthood but that does not make it solely his choice. The bottom line is that the church calls people to holy orders; people do not call themselves. It is an issue about authority. The church vs the individual. So someone may say that God called them, but unless and until the church calls them they are not admitted to holy orders.

    To me, the theologies between the two are exact opposites. No baptist clergy are going to rightly say that they do something based on the authority of the church, or on the authority of christ as administered by the church, since in that system the church does not claim that sort of authority for the church.

    So in what way were you saying that baptist clergy and roman clergy are comparable? What am I missing here about what you were saying?

    FWIW as I see it, people may be called and gifted to preach/teach but that does not require ordination, but to administer certain roman sacraments one must be ordained in order to act on the authority of the church. That is a non issue in the baptist traditions since there are no ‘sacraments’ in that tradition.

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  147. You know what, I don’t think it matters if it’s reformed or charismatic or Catholic or whatever it is. They are all full of these freaks, every one of them.

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  148. SiteSeer: You know what, I don’t think it matters if it’s reformed or charismatic or Catholic or whatever it is. They are all full of these freaks, every one of them.

    Amen to that.

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  149. okrapod,

    And further more, regardless of which side of the aisle one sits on in DC, and regardless of what social and political and economic and/ and/ and theories one espouses, there is rot enough to go around; this has to stop.

    We live in crucial times in which perhaps Mr. Lincoln’s idea about whether this nation or any like it will survive is a legitimate question, just as it is legitimate to ask how long God will withhold judgment from the church.

    I need some Tums. Now. Badly.

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  150. Max: The young ladies idolize charismatic music leaders, making them easy targets for a worship guy who doesn’t have worship in mind.

    Max, I feel this is far too flippant. The subject of this post went after children! Many ‘worship leaders’ have been predatory in ways that do not involve ‘young ladies idolizing’ them. Like setting up cameras in the bathroom.

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  151. elastigirl: how can a church service give me/anyone what they need to equip them spiritually?

    Much of the organized church is operating on mis-truth and half-truth as it delivers information through theological grids in comfortable church formats of one sort or another. IMO, to equip a believer spiritually to know and fulfil his/her spiritual destiny, we need two things in operation when we gather as a people of God: (1) the proclamation of undiluted Truth, and (2) the presence of the Holy Spirit. Truth + the Spirit of Truth = Revealed Truth. Only revealed Truth entering the mind and spirit of an individual can work a spiritual change within them … not teachings of men, not doctrines about truth, but Truth.

    But here’s the problem … we have few preachers in the American church who are anointed to proclaim undiluted Truth under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Most have just not surrendered themselves in this way to be of much use to you spiritually. If you were to lift the Holy Spirit out of most church gatherings, most of the stuff would still go on … the institution
    would still function, the church machinery would still move, preachers would still proclaim cute sermons, happy church members would still come. We have grieved and quenched the Holy Spirit to the point that He has been relegated to the back pew and not involved in the teaching and equipping ministry of believers; we don’t need Him nor miss Him.

    Thus, to answer your question more directly. You won’t find many church services in the American church which will give you/anyone what they need to equip you spiritually. You must get alone with God with the Word of God and pray in earnest that the Holy Spirit will guide you into all Truth. This will equip you spiritually; you must dig your own well.

    God bless the few churches here and there which are engaged in the right stuff, where the Main Thing is the main thing … unfortunately, they are like finding a needle in a haystack as you look across the American landscape.

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  152. SiteSeer:
    You know what, I don’t think it matters if it’s reformed or charismatic or Catholic or whatever it is. They are all full of these freaks, every one of them.

    Yep!

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  153. Lea: I feel this is far too flippant … Many ‘worship leaders’ have been predatory in ways that do not involve ‘young ladies idolizing’ them.

    I certainly didn’t mean to come across as flippant! Sorry. The point I was trying to make is that a church leader’s talent, good looks, and charisma could provide them predatory access to trusting souls if they were so inclined. As you note, however, an abuser can invent various ways of preying on the unsuspecting without becoming an idol to them. Putting a camera in the bathroom is a sick example.

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  154. Max: Stage performance – money spent on equipping the stage, with the finest instruments, audio and sound equipment, smoke machines, laser lights, etc. – is the single biggest budget item at most of these churches.

    Not for nothing, but do you have any idea what a good organ costs???

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  155. What’s with some organ? People do not need an organ to clean up their worship act. It goes to intent. Some organist who thinks he is God’s gift to church going humanity and is condescending at best, plays stuff which the people do not understand or appreciate and thinks that the music department runs the church is just as bad as some skinny jean spiky haired tatted up guitar player who thinks the same things only about himself. They just represent different cultures.

    Church people and the church itself are not salt and leaven and light in a culture if all they do is imitate the culture.

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  156. okrapod: People do not need an organ to clean up their worship act.

    Of course not. I love a good organ, but my point is that just because the band sounds ‘modern’ and is expensive doesn’t mean that a church is less moral or Christian or whatever. Organs are sort of ‘old school’ and they are also crazy expensive. Mostly I’m saying this because I learned what it costs to replace an organ in the last year and it blew my mind.

    Music is important to a lot of people’s expression of worship, though, and although I’m not a big fan of the modern stuff, I don’t think cost of the sound system is the main problem.

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  157. okrapod: Some organist who thinks he is God’s gift to church going humanity and is condescending at best, plays stuff which the people do not understand or appreciate and thinks that the music department runs the church is just as bad as some skinny jean spiky haired tatted up guitar player who thinks the same things only about himself.

    Agreed. Hence the old aphorism: “Skillet, meet Kettle.”

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  158. okrapod: Church people and the church itself are not salt and leaven and light in a culture if all they do is imitate the culture.

    Great words!!

    Okrapod, I think we might be about the same “vintage.” As a seasoned veteran of life, I’m old enough to remember that the Church of the Living God was once counter-culture to the world; now it is a sub-culture of it in far too many places. Instead of being in the world but not of it, it has become it … adopting a non-Christian cultural worldview in which being “culturally-relevant” supersedes being Christlike.

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  159. The tawdry, degenerate praise band music so commonly heard in fundie churches nowadays, often at ear-splitting volume levels, is the sonic equivalent of same-sex marriage, casual abortion, and, yes, pedophilia.

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  160. okrapod: And further more, regardless of which side of the aisle one sits on in DC, and regardless of what social and political and economic and/ and/ and theories one espouses, there is rot enough to go around; this has to stop.

    We live in crucial times in which perhaps Mr. Lincoln’s idea about whether this nation or any like it will survive is a legitimate question, just as it is legitimate to ask how long God will withhold judgment from the church.

    I need some Tums. Now. Badly.

    I’m sorry. I know the feeling. Almost every night I find myself fighting the sinking feeling that there is nothing I can do to help this sinking ship, and I do not even know why I am here. Not sure I can do anything about friends and loved ones who are still loyal to the organization, and fear how devastated they will be if and when it all comes crashing down. I tend to think it is this fear that leads otherwise ‘good’ people to be loyal to the abusers; they don’t want to see what is going on. I don’t even have any dreams for the future any more. I don’t even want my kids to have children. I just want the evil to stop. Now.

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  161. TS00,

    T500
    We are here to shine light on the covered up evil! If one takes the long view of human history, thing cirrently are neceaasrily any “worse” than other times. In fact, with the internet, we are now just more effective at shining light… which is a good thing…. The big picture view of the Bible tells us that man is fallen, and I have read of some pretty great evil done by mankind throught history….. so why would it be any different during our lifetime?

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  162. Max: Along with 7 word songs, repeated forever.

    “A girl with a ukulele and six guys who now and then shout “HEY!”
    — Family Guy example of a Millenial-hot band

    “Today’s lyrics:
    BARBARA STREISAND
    WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO
    WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO
    WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO
    WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO
    (continue for three minutes)”
    — Thoughty2 YouTube video on “why today’s music sucks”

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  163. Headless Unicorn Guy: — Thoughty2 YouTube video on “why today’s music sucks”

    Watched the you tube vid. Yeah, it pretty much states the case and adds more credence to some pundits who say that we’re entering a new dark age.

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  164. How long,Oh Lord?
    It is hard to even know how to pray when people are so calloused and minimize serious sin.
    I pray the PCA, SBC, and any churches guilty of this behavior will either profoundly repent or that Jesus will remove their lamp stands (see the letters to churches in Revelation).

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  165. Marie: I pray the PCA, SBC, and any churches guilty of this behavior will either profoundly repent or that Jesus will remove their lamp stands (see the letters to churches in Revelation).

    PCA, SBC and otherwise … the American church is not a city on a hill.

    “You are the light of Christ to the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and recognize and honor and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 AMP)

    Light of Christ? Moral excellence? Honor and glorify the Father? Who would accuse the American church of that?! Certainly there are some genuine lights of Christ across the American landscape (Praise God for them!), but the genuine is becoming harder to find amongst the counterfeit. The lamp stands have already been removed in many places.

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  166. Marie: I pray the PCA, SBC, and any churches guilty of this behavior will either profoundly repent or that Jesus will remove their lamp stands (see the letters to churches in Revelation).

    A shout from Heaven rings through the American church for those who have ears to hear: “Repent or else!”

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  167. To the Wartburg Watch and its providers of commentaries: In your understandable, even justifiable zeal to point out serious misdeeds in fundie churches and fundie denominations, please do not lose sight of the reality that the same misdeeds happen in liberal churches. The Vienna (Virginia) Presbyterian Church, a PCUSA (mainline) church less than ten miles from my residence, had a major scandal a few years ago when its youth pastor was revealed to have committed sexual offenses against teenage children at the church. When the evidence started appearing, the church brass demonized the victims. Then when the evidence became overwhelming that the youth pastor was a totally nefarious cad, the church brass issued crocodile apologies. “We’re sorry it happened.” No, they were just sorry that they and their waterwalking youth pastor got caught.

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  168. deprofundisclamavi: they were just sorry that they and their waterwalking youth pastor got caught

    The American church desperately needs to reevaluate its youth ministry model. We are putting too many unproven and unspiritual flesh babies in charge of our children.

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  169. elastigirl,

    Good friend is an Episcopal priest, and once rode in an airliner beside an evangelist preacher. Of course they got into shop talk, which was odd because the structures of the Episcopal church are so different from the evangelists.

    My friend is an employee of her diocese, has insurance, a pension, a board of deacons to actually approve the annual budget (I’m not Episcopal, not churched at all, so I may be off on the nomenclature here). She also knows Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. She was puzzled at first when her traveling companion minister asked her “So, what’s your take on Sundays?”

    So she and I learned that evangelistic preachers make a share of the collection on a Sunday service, not a wage as an employee of the church. I don’t recall what the evangelist’s take was as a percentage of the collection, adequate, I’m sure.

    This kind of points to a big part of the problem with these “religions” — the ministers, their leaders, are closer to car salesmen than to holy workers. They work their audience for profit, to make a good living, not to help them with moral ambiguities and moral failures. Their goal is to get another private jet, not to save souls for god. Despicable rats in my book.

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  170. okrapod,

    Stuck-up organists who think they run the church are extremely rare if they exist at all. Most church organists are quiet, unassuming types.

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  171. J R in WV: So she and I learned that evangelistic preachers make a share of the collection on a Sunday service, not a wage as an employee of the church. I don’t recall what the evangelist’s take was as a percentage of the collection, adequate, I’m sure.

    This kind of points to a big part of the problem with these “religions” — the ministers, their leaders, are closer to car salesmen than to holy workers. They work their audience for profit, to make a good living, not to help them with moral ambiguities and moral failures. Their goal is to get another private jet, not to save souls for god. Despicable rats in my book.

    Reminds me of the film, “Marjoe,” when they were counting the money after service.

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  172. J R in WV: So she and I learned that evangelistic preachers make a share of the collection on a Sunday service, not a wage as an employee of the church.

    Good night, that sounds like when a traveling preacher comes and takes up an ‘offering’ not a regular church. That is interesting.

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  173. Max,

    Total depravity is selective humanism. “Everyone is totally depraved except me and my cronies, hahahahaha!” The total depravity fetishists always make an exception for themselves. They consider themselves the greatest items since sliced bread, while all outside their in-group are Untermenschen.

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  174. One small, but oft quoted, detail from this saga has been swept under the rug since the whole sordid affair came to light…”Church staff discovered these thousands of images on Chad Robison’s laptop when they attempted to play a prank on him…” Now really, how many people open up someone else’s laptop and search around? I may not be a millennial, but in ANYONE’S BOOK this is akin to looking into someone’s purse! It is JUST NOT DONE, no matter how good a friend you are with said person! Citrus County, where the crime took place, has a highly efficient and effective cyber crimes unit that has been quite successful in infiltrating internet porn crime. One wonders if Chad was not first “busted” by this unit, and this large, wealthy, influential church (and school) were powerful enough to kill the story by creating a more favorable scenario? After all, inconvenient press like this “messes with their brand.” In a Florida county only 3 places from the bottom in income level and with one of the highest unemployment figures in the state, SRPC (and school) has managed to build a multi-million dollar campus “in the middle of a cow pasture”, a cash-cow that might dry up with news such as this. No one but the Lord will ever know the answer to this question, ……until Judgement Day. Whether they are Neo-Calvinist or not, is immaterial. This is par for the course in an insititutional church bent on preserving the status quo at the expense of ….. Christ-likeness.

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