Police Investigating Sexual Assault at 2012 Mount Lebanon Kids Camp Which is Connected to Matt Chandler’s The Village Church

“The investigation is regarding information that has come to light about the 2012 Mount Lebanon Kids Camp that The Village Church attended. The Cedar Hill Police department, under the direction of Detective Michael Hernandez, is investigating a report of sexual assault by an adult against a minor at the camp. Earlier this year, the minor came to a place where it was possible to verbalize the memory of what happened for the first time through ongoing therapy.”

Matt Chandler Addresses The Village Church

https://twitter.com/MattChandler74/status/996768636865011714

Matt Chandler

Last Sunday Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor of The Village Church (TVC), shared some heartbreaking news with his congregation. Here were his opening remarks:

https://thevillagechurch.net/2012-kids-camp-investigation

Here is how he broke the news with those in attendance.

The Village Church has posted this video on its website, along with a transcript. We are grateful that the pastoral staff at The Village Church is being transparent with the congregation regarding this horrendous assault, and we hope and pray there aren’t other victims since there has been only one reported incident (see screen shot below).

https://www.thevillagechurch.net/2012-kids-camp-investigation

The next portion of Chandler’s remarks are very concerning to us. Take a look at the first two sentences in the screen shot below.

https://www.thevillagechurch.net/2012-kids-camp-investigation

So no ‘persons of interest’ in this investigation has access to children at TVC. This begs the question… are the ‘persons of interest’ allowed to attend The Village Church?

Regarding Ministry Safe, here is an overview produced by them.

We are continuing to look into Ministry Safe, which was co-founded by Kimberlee Norris, a sexual assault trial attorney. Ministry Safe’s mission is to train organizations to prevent and monitor for sexual abuse. We first heard about Ministry Safe back in 2015 when our friend Todd Wilhelm wrote about them and their work with Covenant Fellowship Church, a Pennsylvania congregation belonging to Sovereign Grace Churches (formerly Sovereign Grace Ministries).

You might be interested to know that Dee spoke with Detective Hernandez regarding this pedophile. She and I are concerned that not naming this individual may put other children at risk. What do you think?

When Dee sent out this Tweet, she heard from someone whose daughter attended the Kids Camp in 2012. We find it concerning that no one from The Village Church reached out to her with this shocking news (see screen shot of Tweet below).

When more information becomes available, we will be sure to let you know. We hope and pray there are no other victims. In the meantime, this is what the victim’s family had to say in a written statement:

https://www.thevillagechurch.net/2012-kids-camp-investigation

Thoughts?


Comments

Police Investigating Sexual Assault at 2012 Mount Lebanon Kids Camp Which is Connected to Matt Chandler’s The Village Church — 79 Comments

  1. Heartbreaking for sure.

    I think it’s totally wrong to not release the name of the abuser….the victim needs protection, not the abuser…If that abuser doesn’t go to that church, it should be revealed to the public where they do attend.

    The Village Church’s response is weak & ineffective, especially in not following up a credible lead to possible other victims.

    Still more of the Village Church not having a clue as to what to do to be a true help to this victim (s). It appears they learned nothing after the mess they made of a missionary who was also a child abuser….

    What happened to “Do the right thing” and let God take care of the consequences?

    The more I write the angrier I become at this latest in a very long string of pedophiles mattering more to the church than their victims.

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  2. It appears TVC is attempting to deal with this situation in an open and honest manner, but I am only basing this on the Matt Chandler video of what he said in front of his church. You can bet his presentation was vetted by lawyers and public relations specialists. What we are getting is the “institutional response.”

    One comment on this quote from the transcript:

    “Do I need to keep an extra eye on my children at church because the alleged perpetrator is at our church?
    No. The clear and emphatic answer to this question is no. We would not allow anyone who is under investigation for a crime like this be near children at TVC.”

    I would never say this to parents. Rather, I would say “as a church we are doing all we can to keep your children safe, but you need to remain vigilant.”

    Why portray the situation as totally, “emphatically” safe? In my opinion this only encourages parents to let their guard down and this is something I would never do. Sorry to say, churches are soft targets for pedophiles.

    I hope I am wrong, but I believe Chandler may regret making the statement above. At the risk of being labeled a “narcissistic zero” I have saved his page with the video and the transcript to the Wayback Machine.

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  3. “[The Lord] cares deeply for those who carry the false shame that a victim often bears and calls us to cast this false shame at the foot of the cross where he healing love of Christ awaits.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    i have great compassion for this family.

    but what does it mean, “cast this false shame at the foot of the cross?”

    –what does “cast” mean? like what one does with a fishing rod???

    –how does one “cast” a feeling (a powerful one that is a reality)?

    –why the cross? i’m truly perplexed. is there some kind of sin on the part of the victim?

    –why the foot of the cross? i’m totally missing the significance of that.

    –God doesn’t have healing love for a victim of a violent crime unless Jesus dies a brutal death? truly perplexed and bothered.

    –how does jesus’ death on the cross relate to someone who was assaulted?

    at face value it all sounds good…. but this formula for healing love makes no sense to me.

    it’s like many other platitudes i have heard over the years in church and in christian culture offered to a desperate person that are impossible to implement and therefore keep them barred and shut off from this elusive ‘healing love’ that apparently everyone else is experiencing.

    an empty promise. (a silly promise.) a false hope. a devastating thing for a desperate person.

    speaking from experience.

    i wish for healing love for the victim and his/her family every day.

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  4. If the suspected perpetrator is attending the church, and the church does not wish to exclude him at present, then a team of several (at least four, better if six) adults should be recruited and organized to ensure that the suspect is never out of the view of one of the members of the team. It does not have to be an interruption to the other activities of the church, but will provide safety for everyone.

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  5. I don’t know exactly what ‘person of interest’ means. I do see sometimes in the news where one previously called a person of interest is eventually charged and sometimes where they are found no longer a person of interest.

    What I do not understand would be what is the both just and safe thing to do in the meantime when somebody is a person of interest.

    And, what we do not know is what the local police have asked the church to do/not do and subsequently whether or not they are doing that. And we do not know the responsibility of the church vs the responsibility of the camp (a different organization) whose facilities and apparently staff they used; and who knows what about which.

    In the meantime, and this is just me, I would keep my kids home unless and until more information is forthcoming. And were I the church I would see if there were more abused kids who need help. The idea of not bringing kids to the meeting is disturbing. Who would need to be alerted to danger more than the kids themselves? Something about let’s not tell the kids just seems wrong based on the information or lack of it available.

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  6. Chandler should have said “We want to clearly state that there are no persons of interest in this investigation who attend The Village Church” … ‘if’ that is indeed the case. Not saying that leaves folks wondering if the pedophile is still lurking in their midst. You would think the pedo would be long gone, but many have become proficient at hiding in plain sight. Not releasing the name also leaves members wondering if the pervert is living in their neighborhood.

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  7. Why could he not say… “the perp is NOT EVEN IN THE BUILDING or CHURCH PROPERTY” ?

    I would like to tread very lightly and with all awareness that the pain and hurt the family did and is going through and with all respect. I’m not really sure what my statement might be like in a circumstance like this. But I’m scratching my head a bit. (I’m biting my hands not to right now)

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  8. Someone should be contacting everyone who attended the camp, although I’m not sure whose responsibility that is. The police probably? The Camp itself? TVC?

    If I had kids attending any camps I would have a very long chat with them before and after.

    Chandlers deal about “no ‘persons of interest’ in this investigation has ‘access’ to children at TVC” includes too many qualifications for comfort.

    Curious about the rumors of a 2nd instance not at the camp that weren’t brought up it appears.

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  9. elastigirl: –why the cross? i’m truly perplexed. is there some kind of sin on the part of the victim?

    It could be more in the spirit of ‘at the cross at the cross where I first saw the light And the burden of my heart rolled away’ but more likely it’s generic christianese and he hasn’t really thought it through.

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  10. okrapod: I don’t know exactly what ‘person of interest’ means. I do see sometimes in the news where one previously called a person of interest is eventually charged and sometimes where they are found no longer a person of interest.

    I think in this context it would be the person accused by the victim. So this is mid investigation.

    In a different crime where there was no witness, there would likely be multiple ‘persons of interest’ many of whom would not be guilty. So a bit different.

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  11. elastigirl: at face value it all sounds good…. but this formula for healing love makes no sense to me.

    You’re way too kind elastigirl, I would have called it out as a steaming pile of horse poo-poo.

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  12. elastigirl,

    I also feel for the victim and the family, and am sorry that the victim had to experience such a life altering event.

    You ask very good questions. The statement from the family gives me the impression that they are struggling to deal with the trauma, and are using the only language that they know, that they have been taught, to try to deal with it.

    The whole false guilt statement, to me, seems like a a bit of a platitude. It’s an internal thing, but sounds like an attempt to move past the trauma asap. They don’t know what they don’t know. They are now in this for the long haul, like it or not.

    It reminds me of the people who forgive the perp at the first tv interview. False and shallow forgiveness is just a cheap covering for what will soon be a struggle in the depth of their soul – the victim’s soul.

    God’s Word connects us to Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection in a very real, tangible way. To remain at the foot of the cross is akin, in my mind, like waiting at the door without ever stepping through it.

    God’s love was demonstrated by His sacrifice. Parents here can show God’s love through their love by making the sacrifice necessary for their child. The church can show their love by doing the same, for this child and other children (hopefully there are none) and all of the children in their care. By making the necessary sacrifices for them and demonstrating to them and the whole world that they are infinitely more important than the perp. Through their action, not just their words.

    If God taught us anything, He taught us that love is a verb. Actions speak louder than words. Prosecution of criminal behavior, trial, conviction, and jail time speak a lot louder than empty Christianese phrases. Let’s see this church put it’s money where it’s mouth is and spare no expense to identify the perp and remove that person from their church. Let’s see them prosecute the perp and throw their financial resources behind that.

    Yes, indeed, you ask very good questions.

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  13. I believe that Ministry Safe does not exist to protect the victim. They are there to protect the church. There is a twitter discussion ongoing over this. I do not suggest that any victim/victim family speak to Ministry Safe without their own personal attorney present. I would not be surprised if Ministry Safe refused to meet with the victim’s family in that instance.

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  14. Max: Chandler should have said “We want to clearly state that there are no persons of interest in this investigation who attend The Village Church” …

    That’s quite the defensive ruffle considering the fact that they (the village church) were the ones who put a woman under heavy “church discipline” for ditching her kiddie-porn addicted hubby.

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  15. A Texas Attorney:
    If the suspected perpetrator is attending the church, and the church does not wish to exclude him at present, then a team of several (at least four, better if six) adults should be recruited and organized to ensure that the suspect is never out of the view of one of the members of the team.It does not have to be an interruption to the other activities of the church, but will provide safety for everyone.

    Chandler’s words do not give any reassurance as to the presence of the perp in the church. he/she must NOT be allowed in the church until this investigation is completed.

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  16. Noevangelical: If God taught us anything, He taught us that love is a verb. Actions speak louder than words … identify the perp and remove that person from their church

    Indeed! “Speak the truth in love”(Eph. 4:15) while you are showing them to the door to protect the flock that you should also love.

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  17. Molly245: The more I write the angrier I become at this latest in a very long string of pedophiles mattering more to the church than their victims.

    Don’t you know Pedophilia has become a Privilege of Pastoral Rank?

    Roman Paterfamilias has absolute sexual rights over all his Inferiors, you know.

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  18. Max: A.Stacy: Why could he not say… “the perp is NOT EVEN IN THE BUILDING or CHURCH PROPERTY” ?
    So, is the pedo on staff?

    Again, Privilege of Pastoral Rank.

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  19. Noevangelical: If God taught us anything, He taught us that love is a verb. Actions speak louder than words. Prosecution of criminal behavior, trial, conviction, and jail time speak a lot louder than empty Christianese phrases.

    But Empty Christianese Phrases sound So PIOUS and SPIRITUAL (and are so much easier than actually doing something).

    “You have a saying: ‘Knowledge is a three-edged sword’.
    We too have a saying: ‘PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS!'”
    — Babylon-5

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  20. Chandler says “I preach to men”, while calling female members at TVC “our girls.” While subordinating women, he will stand by their men until the bitter end. “If” the perp is still attending TVC while the criminal investigation proceeds, Chandler and other church leaders share in his crime, IMO.

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  21. dee: Chandler’s words do not give any reassurance as to the presence of the perp in the church. he/she must NOT be allowed in the church until this investigation is completed.

    Agreed, although Dodge is in Kansas, a bunch of Texas cowboys understand the meaning of “Get the hell out of Dodge!” TVC elders need to visit the perp and deliver that message. While they are at it, they should also advise him of Jesus’ words “Repent or else!”

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  22. The discussion here and in Chandler’s announcement seems to be about the (known/being investigated) 2012 perp having ongoing access to TVC kids now — which is certainly important.

    But isn’t it equally important to know what else may have happened in the past at that camp — other victims that they don’t even know about yet? I didn’t listen to the video, but did Chandler say anything like encouraging parents to open a dialogue with their kids, try to make a safe space for other victims to come forward, if (heaven forbid) there are any? It would be unwise to just assume it was only one.

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  23. Matt Chandler is President of Acts 29 …”the” group to be affiliated with if you are serious about New Calvinism. There are over 600 Acts 29 churches on six continents. I suspect they are watching Chandler to see how he handles this … in their “cheap grace” world, they will all undoubtedly face the same thing sooner or later – peodphiles find such churches easy places to hide in.

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  24. bendeni,

    Good idea. And even if their child answers no to the question of abuse, that does not mean that they weren’t abused. Many victims will deny the abuse even when they were, in fact, abused. They do this for a variety of reasons. Parents need to be willing to take the long road and invest themselves in their child if they suspect they were abused, instead of just accepting at face value a denial. That is very important. There are signs…

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  25. Max: Matt Chandler is President of Acts 29

    By the way, there ain’t no Acts 29! The New Calvinists are writing their own chapter and it’s not going to end well.

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  26. A Ministry Safe employee, Lacey Kessler, came onto Twitter yesterday, excoriating Amy Smith and me for speaking the simply truth about Ministry Safe-that it s a leadership focused organization. Except, she didn’t tell us that she was affiliated with them. She said some very unkind things about us on Twitter. However, thanks to a TWW reader, we found out about her affiliation.

    Here is what she said about TWW

    “Ummm-ok?? Thanks for chiming in. Hey! Maybe you could blog about this and file it under “opinions with no proof or vague sources” Kinda catchy.”

    Here is what she said about Amy.

    “Surely, if they’re “leading” in anything, they wouldn’t be using you as a mouthpiece to express their opinions.”

    She has given me serious concerns about Ministry Safe and how they represent themselves.

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  27. bendeni: But isn’t it equally important to know what else may have happened in the past at that camp — other victims that they don’t even know about yet?

    Honestly I’m wondering if there is no general or even legal requirement for a form of ‘institutional disclosure’ to everyone potentially affected by something like this. There must not be, because no one ever seems to make an effort to contact everyone who potentially could be affected.

    We do this in health care all the time, right? Something might be wrong so we send letters to everyone on the list who may have been impacted.

    Is that a law? If not it should be.

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  28. dee: A Ministry Safe employee … came onto Twitter yesterday, excoriating Amy Smith and me for speaking the simply truth …

    Such behavior doesn’t make my ministry feel safe! TWW and those who comment on it to inform/warn the church at large provide a valuable ministry in the Kingdom.

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  29. Molly245:
    Heartbreaking for sure.

    I think it’s totally wrong to not release the name of the abuser….the victim needs protection, not the abuser…If that abuser doesn’t go to that church, it should be revealed to the public where they do attend.

    The Village Church’s response is weak & ineffective, especially in not following up a credible lead to possible other victims.

    Still more of the Village Church not having a clue as to what to do to be a true help to this victim (s).It appears they learned nothing after the mess they made of a missionary who was also a child abuser….

    What happened to “Do the right thing” and let God take care of the consequences?

    The more I write the angrier I become at this latest in a very long string of pedophiles mattering more to the church than their victims.

    If they release the name of the abuser before he/she can be charged:
    1. The person may try to flee justice. (We do not know who the person is, but DFW has many people who are not legally in this country, and it isn’t too hard to imagine that a church organization would accept unquestioningly whatever “documentation” was presented to verify name and SSN. That person easily can hide back in the shadows of the underground economy, or flee to their homeland.

    2. You could be charged with interfering an investigation.

    Also you could be sued for defamation of character; all the accused has to do is state that they were the subject of a criminal investigation which turned up nothing. Almost any jury will award damages.

    Let the investigation conclude. Then if the conclusion is we have a crime to prosecute and we have a name, spread it wide and far to bring the person to justice.

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  30. Mark R: If they release the name of the abuser before he/she can be charged:
    1. The person may try to flee justice.

    I think they released enough detail that the perpetrator knows it’s about them, so I don’t think this excuse will wash. [I suspect if it has gotten so far as the church disclosure, the person has already been interviewed and is in the process of being investigated as well]

    They may be concerned about liability or something, though.

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  31. Lea: I think they released enough detail that the perpetrator knows it’s about them, so I don’t think this excuse will wash. [I suspect if it has gotten so far as the church disclosure, the person has already been interviewed and is in the process of being investigated as well]

    They may be concerned about liability or something, though.

    Something else to consider as others on this thread have said, is that it’s very possible the police have given instructions not to release the identity of the alleged perpetrator. It is still an ongoing investigation and TVC is working with the police department in how to deal with the situation.

    I think the truth will come out soon enough just as it did in the Karen Hinckley situation. In the meantime, let’s keep the victim and the family of the victim in our prayers. I hope this victim is getting professional counseling. And by that I don’t mean *Biblical* counseling. That kind of counseling can only do more damage and will not help in healing the deep wounds this victim has suffered.

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  32. It’s a shame to hear this about MinistrySafe. My own egalitarian diocese in the ACNA uses their materials to train clergy. Very disturbing.

    I’d raise the issue with them, but right now I’m just trying to get a response from my diocese regarding the status of domestic violence training materials for clergy that some months ago they promised me would be rolled for October (DV Awareness month). I’m starting to feel like I’m getting the silent treatment.

    Alas, I’m learning very quickly that just because they have women pastors, doesn’t mean they aren’t just virtue signaling. But I will reserve my final opinion of their intentions after a few weeks to wait and see what their response is, if any.

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  33. Darlene: I hope this victim is getting professional counseling.

    IIRC, this came up in counseling to began with. Although I’ll echo you in hoping it’s good healthy properly licensed counseling by someone well versed in this area.

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  34. Lea: I think they released enough detail that the perpetrator knows it’s about them, so I don’t think this excuse will wash.

    Actually, it’s usually the police who don’t want the name released until they have a warrant/arrest. They may have asked TVC to cooperate until that time.

    That being said, it would have been better if TVC could have said that the suspect is not attending the church, although he us still loose in the community. . . .

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  35. It seems to me that Ministry Safe should do one thing or the other, safety training or legal consultation, but not both.

    https://ministrysafe.com/legaladvice/

    According to the website, they will do the reporting for you if that needs to happen. Again, how many adults need to be informed before the discovery adult just plain reports??? It seems Ministry Safe wants to vet the information first . . . ?

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  36. Wonder who Love and Norris get all their referrals from . . . Ministry Safe. And now the discovery person knows, the church knows, Ministry Safe is involved and Love and Norris is getting paid all before the police are informed! This is revolting.

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  37. Bridget:
    It seems to me that Ministry Safe should do one thing or the other, safety training or legal consultation, but not both.

    https://ministrysafe.com/legaladvice/

    According to the website, they will do the reporting for you if that needs to happen. Again, how many adults need to be informed before the discovery adult just plain reports??? It seems Ministry Safe wants to vet the information first . . . ?

    Isn’t that a conflict of interests? I find it interesting that the name of their organization is *Ministry* Safe. If their objective is to protect children, why that kind of name? Why not *Children* Safe. Or some kind of name that indicates children are their main concern.

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  38. Darlene: Why not *Children* Safe. Or some kind of name that indicates children are their main concern.

    Well, because it is not only about the children. And children don’t pay. Ministries pay.

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  39. This is the same church that wanted a woman to return to her child-porn loving husband. Maybe this situation will drive home to the leadership why that wasn’t possible.

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  40. dee: A Ministry Safe employee, Lacey Kessler, came onto Twitter yesterday, excoriating Amy Smith and me for speaking the simply truth about Ministry Safe-that it s a leadership focused organization. Except, she didn’t tell us that she was affiliated with them. She said some very unkind things about us on Twitter. However, thanks to a TWW reader, we found out about her affiliation.

    Here is what she said about TWW

    “Ummm-ok?? Thanks for chiming in. Hey! Maybe you could blog about this and file it under “opinions with no proof or vague sources” Kinda catchy.”

    Here is what she said about Amy.

    “Surely, if they’re “leading” in anything, they wouldn’t be using you as a mouthpiece to express their opinions.”

    She has given me serious concerns about Ministry Safe and how they represent themselves.

    If they are legitimately trying to do the right thing, why would they be so defensive. In my experience, when someone comes right out of the gate with a nasty attitude like that, they’ve got something to hide. The best defense is a strong offense, you know.

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  41. I’m betting a Wendy’s Chicken Salad of choice… there is going to be a twist/circumstance/person that is going show up in this story.

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  42. A person one of my kids knows from on the job, a smart woman of many years of teaching public high school as well as married with kids as well as being a PK said something which was relayed to me as I struggled with trying to understand something. She said, in my words but as close as possible:

    *I am pretty smart. When I have something which does not seem right, which bothers me, but I can’t figure out what is the problem, I conclude that there is a missing piece of the puzzle (editorial comment from me: yeah, so?) and I then think that somebody is deliberately hiding the missing puzzle piece.*

    Operative word: deliberately.

    Personally, I do not often enough think that people are being deliberately deceptive. I tend to think that they just don’t know or just don’t care or can be made to focus better or such. Nope. Jesus called Satan the father of lies, not the father of good but somewhat inadequate thinking.

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  43. okrapod,

    Since writing that I have had a recurring thought, not new but something I need to hear more often.

    Jesus was ferocious. We tend to focus on ‘love’ and ‘grace’ and ‘gentle shepherd’ and such, all of which are true, but there is also the fact that he was obviously a brilliant thinker, utterly self disciplined, not fooled by anybody or anything and ferocious. Still is.

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  44. okrapod: *I am pretty smart. When I have something which does not seem right, which bothers me, but I can’t figure out what is the problem, I conclude that there is a missing piece of the puzzle (editorial comment from me: yeah, so?) and I then think that somebody is deliberately hiding the missing puzzle piece.*

    Bingo. That’s a great way to put it. I think this is a big chunk of what ‘intuition’ is and why it’s so hard for you to pin it down when people try to quiz you on it. This doesn’t *feel* right, and there is probably a reason. Sometimes (in real life) it’s body language too.

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  45. okrapod: Personally, I do not often enough think that people are being deliberately deceptive.

    I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. At first. But I’ve stopped giving some categories of people the benefit of the doubt I guess(like cheaters and abusers). I’m assuming what they’ve said are lies until proven otherwise because I’m going with the odds.

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  46. okrapod: Jesus was ferocious. We tend to focus on ‘love’ and ‘grace’ and ‘gentle shepherd’ and such, all of which are true, but there is also the fact that he was obviously a brilliant thinker, utterly self disciplined, not fooled by anybody or anything and ferocious. Still is

    Maybe. The cynic in me sees a lot of his followers calling for action but God/Jesus/Holy Spirit seems to be dialing it in. Often when the pain of abuse is occurring there are only three present, the abuser, the abused and ostensibly the Trinity (so I guess that makes it 6). This is the challenge, the amazing/fantastic occurred in the 1st century, according to some churches the amazing/fantastic is occurring today (heard a missionary in my wife’s church claim that there are resurrections happening in India due to his crusades…yep he’s mightily involved there!).

    It kind of kills things when we talk amazing/fantastic about God and I can’t help but think why can’t these victims have some amazing/fantastic? Maybe since God is whispering to all sorts, he can kind of whisper to the perp that abusing isn’t a really great idea…or at least make a cosmic call to 911 to advise of abuse in progress.

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  47. Jack: three present, the abuser, the abused and ostensibly the Trinity (so I guess that makes it 6).

    Ok so I need remedial math, 2 +3=5. Oh what the heck, toss Satan in the room too. He seems to be responsible as well. 6 it is.

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  48. Jack,

    Yeah, we live in a society that has forgotten God and basically told Him to shove it, and then complain when He doesn’t intervene.

    Except He DID intervene and people just don’t like the way that he did it. They still thumb their nose at God. Or worse.

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  49. Noevangelical: we live in a society that has forgotten God and basically told Him to shove it, and then complain when He doesn’t intervene

    “… Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands … when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God … If you ever forget the Lord your God, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 8)

    America … and sadly, the American church. We have forgotten and forsaken God. IF My People, THEN Will I … but will we?

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  50. ___

    “Discerning WatchIndividuals On The Social Media Wall, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    The Wartburg Watch blog (TWW) and many of those of their abounding comment community; —informing and seeking to warn the 501c3 Christian church at large on various matters effecting it, certainly provide a valuable service. Furthermore, it is amazingly done at no financial cost to the body of Christ. All reasonable individuals with something to say have historically been allowed to voice their concerns, and lively participate in the ongoing cornucopia discussion(s).

    Many 501c3 church abuse victims have been aided at no cost to date.

    May their fruitful assistance of the Christian community continue unabated with graceful results…

    Remember, Jesus’ kingdom shall have no end… ♥️

    Whew!

    Faithful is He who has called you, faithful is He to bring it to pass…

    Watch for it!

    ATB

    Sòpy

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GBaHPND2QJg
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mrEk06XXaAw
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1F74gOxUNeA
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=q3cpOrB1GW8

    ;~)

    – –

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  51. Matt Chandler has already proven he is pro-pedophile the way he took Karen Hinkley’s husband’s side over hers. Anyone who isn’t a pervert sicko would not want to live in the same house with or be married to a pedophile. Most people do not even want a pedophile living on the same street as them. Matt Chandler is a stupid evil man.

    I am sorry this poor kid has parents that would involve themselves with Matt Chandler. The child is in a horrible situation. I wonder if a pastor is telling the parents to make their kid get over it and forgive and to not demand the harshest punishment. I also wonder if someone from The Village checked the letter the parents posted before they posted it. I feel extremely sorry for this child. It is sad when a sexually abused child has parents that care more about what the preacher wants and how the preacher feels than the sexually abused child.

    “Matt Chandler is President of Acts 29” Of course he is. Acts 29 is a cult.

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2015/05/21/insidious-behavior-at-the-village-church-regarding-a-pedophile-and-his-former-wife/

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  52. One thought I had – perhaps a reason why the name has not been released…most camps employ rather young staff members. I worked at a camp while still in high school and again as a college student. While most names hitting the scandal headlines these days are of pastoral staff in their 30’s and up, some even well past their prime – it very well could be that the “person of interest” in this case is quite young; a teenager, even. Not to say that what they did is any less wrong, evil or criminal. Just a thought I had. In fact, it could complicate things even more. I recall working at a high school camp when I was a college kid…the lines, although crystal clear, were uncomfortable and awkward at times as some of us were maybe only a year apart (freshman in college vs senior in HS). This situation was less a problem when working at junior (elementary) camp.

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  53. elastigirl,

    I hear you, Elastigirl. Even the most well-meaning of Christians have yet to shed the platitudes they have learned and parroted all their Christian lives. I had cognitive dissonance at reading your referred reference. Now you have given me the answer to it. Thank you. I also bristled at “. . . and pray there are no more victims in this.” I certainly hope, as Deb does, that there are no others, but what does it mean to pray that something has not occurred if indeed it already has occurred? I mean no ill critique to you personally Deb, but these are things that go through my mind, and I have said many Christianeze things myself over the years that others questioned and made sense when they brought it up. Taking it personally, when I have been a victim and a Christian prays that there are no more victims in my particular case(s), causes me to stifle coming forward lest I disappoint somebody who hoped and prayed that it would not be true. Another one, that my mother has always said to me when I have had an issue, is “the Lord knows.” I would tell her that that was not comforting to me in any way because the Lord wasn’t or didn’t stop it. Well, now my poor mother is in the last stages of horrible Lewy Body Dementia. Her anxiety is through the roof. I no longer hear from her all the wonderful things she used to say that made me believe in her strong faith, nor the not so pleasant cleches. Because I know how the Christianese platitudes could hurt me so when I was already hurting so, I am biting my lips, tongue, arms, etc. not to say to her in her misery, “the Lord knows.”

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  54. SiteSeer: If they are legitimately trying to do the right thing, why would they be so defensive.

    Why would they be so defensive about what they are all about when their website itself is all about what they are about–serving institutions. If that’s negative, then maybe they should have a sister corporation that serves the victims. Oh wait, that doesn’t pay the bills.

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  55. Patti,

    “Even the most well-meaning of Christians…”
    +++++++++++

    thanks for the interaction.

    (not that you were implying the contrary –) i am all for this family, and my critique is not toward them at all, but to the ideas expressed.

    and wondering where, how such ideas come to be. and continue to proliferate & live one.

    makes me think that perhaps it’s a matter of ‘faith unchecked’; or ‘faith gone berserk’.

    faith in christianese language, faith in christian idioms, faith in whatever the christian person of influence says, faith in whatever the christian song lyrics are, faith in christian platitudes that are spoken and which decorate christian mugs and daily tear-off calendars and framed cross-stitch and those stretchy rubber bracelates (…that i see christian men wear 😮

    that the actual truth of the content of these things may be totally unfounded doesn’t enter the equation.

    it’s weird. it’s like… faith in christian culture.

    well, if faith is the evidence of things unseen and the substance of things hoped for, christians can end up having faith in just about anything dished out to them (as long as it’s in christianese, which therefore makes it true).

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  56. okrapod,

    “Jesus was ferocious. We tend to focus on ‘love’ and ‘grace’ and ‘gentle shepherd’ and such…”
    ++++++++++++++

    we can thank christian art for that.

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  57. SiteSeer,

    “If they are legitimately trying to do the right thing, why would they be so defensive. In my experience, when someone comes right out of the gate with a nasty attitude like that, they’ve got something to hide.”
    ++++++++++++

    or perhaps they are accustomed to being lauded (ministrysafe, that is), and to positive speech only. and negative speech and being plain-spoken and direct is not christian.

    only the enemy would do that. and we fight back at the enemy. (or so they are used to thinking, perhaps)

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  58. okrapod: *I am pretty smart. When I have something which does not seem right, which bothers me, but I can’t figure out what is the problem, I conclude that there is a missing piece of the puzzle (editorial comment from me: yeah, so?) and I then think that somebody is deliberately hiding the missing puzzle piece.*

    This is, in my opinion, the Spirit of God at work, whether one calls it ‘intuition’, ‘instinct’ or, as I often do ‘my gut’. And yes, I believe he provides this sort of insight to all people.

    I have always had a very strong sense of intuition, and can not think of a time when it has failed me. As the quote states, that does not mean that I always understand what is up, but my ‘gut’ always tells me when I need to pay attention.

    When I was in country with the Reformed I was essentially urged to ignore my gut and put my trust in my ‘ruling elders’. Anything else was considered ‘rebellion’ against my ‘God-given authorities’. Right. Only now do I understand that they were essentially usurping the role of the Holy Spirit in my life. This is why authoritarian leadership is always evil. It is a very dangerous thing to trust men over God. As strong-minded and committed to God as I am, I allowed this to happen, and it was only when I felt that a loved one was threatened that the inner voice began to make itself heard again. Once the spell was broken, I began to re-examine the many red flags I had convinced myself to ignore, and I was stunned that I could have been so blind. So many treated like disposable people, ‘in’ as long as they towed the party line, and disciplined ‘out’ if they dared to ask questions. Marriages destroyed, families ruptured, and wounded people blaming God for their abuse. And they dared to call this ‘Church’.

    Never allow anyone to convince you to trust him or them over your God-given, Spirit-led instinct. That does not make you arrogant or rebellious, but simply means that you trust the Spirit of God to lead you exactly as promised by Jesus.

    And never allow anyone to persuade you that it is ‘crazy’ to believe that people conspire to deceive, individually or institutionally. That is, as you said, what Satan is all about, and he will just as readily use deliberate deceivers as useful idiots. Too many in The Church refuse to believe that evil can ever be caused by deliberate deceivers; which is why there is such rampant abuse.

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  59. It is inexcusable that Chandler has given no assurance that the accused has been removed from the church. Not serving with children is inadequate. Even if the name can’t be provided yet, the church can and must remove this individual.

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  60. Marie: It is inexcusable that Chandler has given no assurance that the accused has been removed from the church.

    The man just doesn’t handle these things very well. A shepherd protects his sheep; they shouldn’t have to wonder if a wolf is in the pen with them.

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  61. Lea: It could be more in the spirit of ‘at the cross at the cross where I first saw the light And the burden of my heart rolled away’ but more likely it’s generic christianese and he hasn’t really thought it through.

    I’m sure he doesn’t know that composition, too old fashioned. But, even in context of that song, he would be backwards, in that it wouldn’t be the victim’s responsibility to lay their shame at the cross. It is the responsibility of the perpetrator and those coupable in his sin to lay those burdens at the foot of the cross and follow the commands of God in how to rectify their sins.

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  62. I personally know this victim and family, it is my family. My parents are rooted in Christ and have been extremely gracious and yet wouldn’t back down in all this. I can assure you that they are pursuing a criminal case through the justice system. The case is filed. They are waiting for the case to be accepted by the DA’s office. Because real “law and order” doesn’t happen in a hour but takes time. Once accepted the name will be released. I know my parents check the website daily. I can tell you clearly they will not be backing down. They aren’t naive or making my sibling forgive and move on, they have a righteous anger or if that sounds to “christian” they are ticked, pissed, frustrated, and angered. It is because of how they believed and advocated on behalf of my sibling and not backed down that it is where it is today. My sibling has a voice now and is already being used to speak to peers about the things that often tag along with a sexual assault like major depression, harming etc.. and no doubt it will be used in the future to speak up for the oppressed, hurting, abused etc. My sibling isn’t bandaging with Christian lingo and feel good verses. Our family has been through hell fighting in this. My sibling did nothing wrong nor has my family. We bare no shame, the perp can have that. They mentioned to me the other day, “had suicide been successful we wouldn’t be standing where we are today with justice coming for the perpetuator we’d be grieving the loss of a child.” They mentioned not getting distracted with all the side shows but staying focused on the perp getting prosecuted and brought to justice for his crime. There will be time to deal with all the other stuff.

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  63. Z,

    So sorry to hear about your family’s and sibling’s pain, and hoping for both healing and justice. This community is here to support families like yours.

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  64. Z,

    So sorry for all you and your family have been through. I think some of here have been manipulated by those speaking ‘Christianese’ for so long that we are a little uncomfortable to hear it being spoken, even when genuine. I also believe that real children of God do receive encouragement, wisdom, strength and comfort from God, and I pray that you and yours continue to receive it in bountiful measure as you move forward in difficult circumstances. Thank you for not quietly going away, when it would be so much easier to do so. Many will benefit from you courage to confront evil.

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  65. Z,

    thank you, Z, for sharing your comment. i am so very sorry for your circumstances. i appreciate your honesty.

    to echo what TS00 said, pat answers and platitudes from well-intentioned christians have compounded the suffering of past devastating circumstances that took years to climb out of.

    now, on the other side, i scrutinize what i hear. (i doubt i can turn off the scrutiny-reflex — it’s a matter of survival, i think)

    it can make for a prickly outter personna, but know that inside i have nothing but heart-break, compassion, and hope for your family. i am crying for you and cheering for you, too.

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  66. I don’t think the church is being defensive?
    He apologized for possibly missing someone and said all that he could say. It is an ongoing investigation… When there is an ongoing investigation, you cannot say too much. It can utterly ruin an investigation. Before you issue a statement, it needs to be vetted by the detective. So if it sounds like something is missing… It’s because it probably is! I’m sure it’s for legal reasons, because he said person of interest, not suspect.

    And when he says to cast the false shame at the foot of the cross.. He means to give it to the Lord, and leave it there.. To stop carrying it around because it’s not yours! The Bible says to cast your cares upon the Lord, for he cares for you. He doesn’t want you walking around burdened with things that aren’t yours, I.e. tomorrow’s problems, feelings of worthlessness and especially false shame!

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  67. I just read Your comment Z.
    I am, and will continue to pray for your family. You and your family’s bravery is inspiring! I pray that Justice is served and healing prevails.

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  68. TS00: When I was in country with the Reformed I was essentially urged to ignore my gut and put my trust in my ‘ruling elders’. Anything else was considered ‘rebellion’ against my ‘God-given authorities’.

    Isn’t that the sign of a CULT?

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  69. TS00: So sorry for all you and your family have been through. I think some of here have been manipulated by those speaking ‘Christianese’ for so long that we are a little uncomfortable to hear it being spoken, even when genuine.

    Even when genuine, it can still be unclear to those who do not know the specialized jargon.

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  70. elastigirl: or perhaps they are accustomed to being lauded (ministrysafe, that is), and to positive speech only. and negative speech and being plain-spoken and direct is not christian.

    NO DOUBT but ye are the People—your throne is above the King’s.
    Whoso speaks in your presence must say acceptable things:
    Bowing the head in worship, bending the knee in fear—
    Bringing the word well smoothen—such as a King should hear.

    — Rudyard Kipling, “The Islanders”, 1902

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  71. Todd Wilhelm: I hope I am wrong, but I believe Chandler may regret making the statement above. At the risk of being labeled a “narcissistic zero” I have saved his page with the video and the transcript to the Wayback Machine.

    Good idea.

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  72. Look you guys, it’s my family member who is the victim and having to hear the victim crying in anger about all the crap some of you are writing is very heartbreaking, we are so so thankful for the church and how they are handleing this situation with our family, I will not release the name of my family member obviously, but don’t try to talk about how you think the victim feels if you don’t know & haven’t been walking along side us this whole way. Stop saying the church isn’t doing there job because they took action right away & no our parents are not making my sibling “forgive” seriously y’all just look so stupid to us and the victim. (Who read this before it was posted) my sibling is a strong believer in Christ. And a strong person overall, the victim is not being forced to do anything, the church has asked us for consent in everything they have announced so far, yes the victim agreed to the statement & helpped write our family statement. They can not legally release any of the suspects name because they have NOT been charge with anything. Maybe look into some laws if you gonna try and shame the church because of that. There following the law.

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