Is Pastor Robert McCaskill of Weeping Mary Baptist Church Guilty of Sexual Abuse of a Church Member?

“I feel that some people have a hard time with the truths around us, not only the sexual abuse by priests, but all bad things. I call it chosen ignorance. This modified form of ignorance is found in people who, if confronted with certain truths realize that they have to accept them and thereby acknowledge evil, and that scares them. Opening up and letting the truth in might knock them off their perceived center. It is too hard, period.” ―Charles L. Bailey Jr., In the Shadow of the Cross


Josh Sorenson

In order to protect the victims, we’ve agreed to call the husband, Steven J and the wife, Mrs. J. I know their identities and have spoken with both of them in order to get permission for this post.

After speaking with Steven and his wife, I believe their story. However, since a lawsuit is now involved, I say what I always say. Lawyers-put the word *alleged* in front of everything.

I called a deacon from the church, Chris Thomason. He was polite but said he couldn’t talk with me because “a lawsuit is involved.”

What is the Baptist Educational & Missionary Convention of South Carolina?

Since TWW has not covered any stories from this group of churches, I felt a brief history of this important organization would be in order. According to their website:

The Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina was founded in 1877, by a group of black men who came together to enhance the quality of life in their churches and to provide a means of bringing Churches together on a statewide basis to address the educational needs of African Americans of all ages. Dr. Isaac P. Brockenton, organized the Macedonia Baptist Church, Darlington, S.C. under his leadership as pastor and served as the second Moderator of the Historic Gethsemane Association; was the first President of the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention. The Convention of South Carolina (“BEMCSC”) is the largest organization of African Americans in the state.

What are their objectives?

Weeping Mary Baptist Church is a member of this important historical organization. It is located in Bowling Green, South Carolina.

Here is a link to their Facebook page. They appear to be an active congregation.

Mrs. J began to have frequent contact with Pastor McCaskill.

Steven has attended this church since childhood. He and is wife have been active members since their marriage.

We have known Pastor Robert L McCaskill since he became senior pastor in 2009. My wife worked in the children’s ministry.  We both worked in the church as volunteers from 2009 until 2011.

In the Fall 2013, Pastor McCaskill asked Mrs. J. if she would work with social media at the church. They began to talk frequently. However Steven was not aware of the extent of their communication. Mrs. J suffered a miscarriage during this time and reached out to the pastor for spiritual guidance. Most of their interaction was on the phone. Again, Steven was not aware of the extent of the communication.

The emotional devastation of a miscarriage

I want to stop for a minute to point out that miscarriages can, and usually are, emotionally devastating for women. In June 2012, the American Psychological Association presented Miscarriage and Loss:
Losing a pregnancy can affect a woman — and her family — for years, research finds.

Here are some findings from the article:

  • But new research suggests that some women may mourn for much longer than expected, even after the birth of a healthy child, although the range and severity of the symptoms may vary. That’s also true for men, as new studies have found that men grieve over a miscarriage more than once thought.
  • A woman who has a miscarriage is at risk for depression and anxiety symptoms in subsequent years,
  • Another common misunderstanding about miscarriage is that a woman will experience less grief if she loses the baby early in her pregnancy. But most researchers have not been able to find an association between the length of gestation and intensity of grief, anxiety or depression
  • For some women, Diamond says, anxiety after a miscarriage can stem from experiencing a seemingly inexplicable trauma. Women will engage in what she calls “retroactive bargaining” in an effort to feel less out of control.”They will spend enormous amounts of emotional energy trying to explain why it happened,” Diamond says. “They often blame themselves, even when it is inaccurate, to help make sense of it. Women may torment themselves with guilt and blame, rewriting the story, so to speak:

It is vital to understand that a woman who has miscarried is emotionally vulnerable in the aftermath.

In January 2014, Pastor McCaskill attempted to isolate my wife by inviting her into one-on-one conversations and by asking her to check in with him daily to talk about her anxiety over losing the baby.

Was this counseling or grooming?

The answer to this question will quickly become obvious. Things took a drastic in February. The conversations between the pastor and Mrs. J began to be more about how *pretty* she looked.

According to Steven:

Robert McCaskill began to flirt with my wife telling her how she looked nice at church and that she had a pretty smile and that she is a beautiful person.

He wanted to talk about things that were unrelated to church business or to my wife’s emotional struggle with the lost of our baby.  As they continued to communicate daily he eventually reached a point where he made no reference to how was she doing and how was she coping with the lost her baby.

Then, McCaskill began to discuss his *problems* with his wife who had suffered with breast cancer.

Instead he began to share very personal information to my wife about his relationship with his wife Angel. He told my wife that he was not satisfied in the bedroom and his wife – Angel didn’t want intimacy…that it got worst after her breast cancer, surgery and chemotherapy.  He said that he was upset when his wife – also a minister – would go out of town without him knowing she had had left… He said that he liked to ‘role play’ by looking at and thinking about other women.  He said he didn’t like porn because it was artificial but he preferred to see and think about “real” people.  He said it helped to improve things with his wife in the bedroom.

McCaskill would call Mrs. J early in the morning (5AM) and extremely late at night. He would flatter her by telling her that he could only confide in her.

I believe that McCaskill felt that he could trust Mrs. J for privacy and so he took the relationship to a new level. Caution: Graphic description….

After this had continued for a several weeks my wife said he texted her and told her that he had something that he really needed her to see: My wife replied: ‘what is it?” He then send her a pick of his penis with an erection laying on a white pillow.  He asked her if any woman would have trouble with that.

According to Steven, Mrs. J didn’t know what to say and said no woman would have trouble. McCaskill then began to send pictures of couple in sexual positions, asking her what she preferred.

At the same time, he criticized Steven to Mrs. J.while at the same time complimenting her.

He also became obsessed with questions about me: asking my wife about my personality and why I didn’t not want to continue working with him in the ministries.  My wife tells me that he often criticized me to her by calling me a controlling *********

He would send text messages and asking her what was she wearing.  ‘What color do you have on today?”  He began to ask my wife to send him selfies of herself. “Let me see that pretty smile…”

By this time, the pastor knew he had her and began a long term, sexual relationship with her.

After feeling that he had gained her trust he began to ask her for sexual explicit pictures of herself.  She explained what happened on evening:  After texting about his frustration at home he asked her if she could help him by sending him a picture of herself with no top on…. She complied.   He then asked for a second pic a close up of her from the belly button down….. She complied.

As this inappropriate relationship continued for weeks… then months….. then years.  My wife says that she found herself in a dark place.  Numb to what was happening. She says she did it because of who he was.

Steven discovered the relationship which led to a separation from Mrs. J and a confrontation with McCaskill.

Our marriage suffered as we drifted apart over the years…  she was distant …always distracted and appearing more and more disingenuous to me.

Although our marriage was strained we would both say it was good.  We took a 7-day cruise each year and did all of the traditional things family do … holidays, birthdays, and we attended this church nearly each Sunday while this pastor preached from the pulpit.

January 2017 my wife forgot her phone and I discovered what was going on.  We separated.

He then went with his wife to the pastor’s home.

A week later she accompanied me to this pastor’s home where I had made arrangements for us to meet with him and his wife.  They did not know why we were coming to visit them.

We met. I disclosed to him and his wofe what I had discovered.  He accused me of bring“mess” into his home.  He then dismissed his wife by telling her to go upstairs. She stood up from the table to leave. We stood and left their home.

The church retaliated against the couple and the association refused to help them.

The following day this pastor called a secret meeting of 14 persons he called to attend.  They voted to revoke our membership and barred us from the church property at the threat of being arrested.

During the next several weeks I attempted to contact each board member but they all refused to talk or meet with us.

I reached out the association that my church belongs to ask the moderator to assist.  He tried but the board members would not talk with or meet with him either.

Steven, seeing no reasonable way to deal with this, contacted a law firm.

I contacted a law firm who sent a letter to the church addressed to the board members.  They allowed the accused pastor to contact the law firm on behalf of the church. He denied everything and threatened to sue the law firm for defamation of character.

The church’s insurance company contacted me asking to interview me and my wife. After speaking with us and seeing the evidence (phone records, voice recordings, etc) they advised that they would reach out to the pastor and the church. They eventually terminated the commercial liability policy. Today, the church still has no active insurance coverage.

April 25, 2017 – after much debate and lots of soul searching Civil lawsuits were filed: Robert L McCaskill – Alienation of Affection, breach of fiduciary duties and negligence. Weeping Mary Baptist Church – breach of fiduciary duties and negligence. As the claims were being prepared and since Discovery has began last year disturbing evidence has surfaced suggesting financial misappropriation of donations, individual civil suits directed at two church board members, relegation to suggest that the church is unincorporated, rumors of other women that have also been subjected to this pastor’s abuse and evidence of tax reporting violations.

The lawsuits have survived a fury of legal maneuvers aimed at dismissing the claims. We entered into Discovery in late 2017.  Video depositions were taken from Robert McCaskill and my wife June 19, 2018.  I attended and watched him meltdown under the questioning before he initiated a verbal altercation with my attorney.  We have also attended a mediation that was continued until September. The attending board members appeared to be surprised at the allegations and the evidence that was presented to them.  They asked that we continue the mediation at future date so they could gather more information from the insurance company.

It is my understanding that the followup mediation did not result in agreement and that the lawsuit will proceed.

Mrs. J. was admitted to the hospital under suicide watch in January 2017.

She gave me permission to speak about this difficult time. She is now aware how much her miscarriage contributed to her response to the pastor. We talked about the difficulties with hormones and emotions. She is now in a much better place after receiving professional help. She now believes that she was manipulated by the pastor. I told her that he seemed to know exactly what he was doing and she agreed with me.

She currently remains under the care of a therapist , psychiatrist , neurologist and primary care physicians.  She is taking a 8 different medications.  After much improvement last year she slipped back into a  deep depression when we discovered that the pastor had submitted as part of his interrogatory replies a document that he created and claims that my wife sent to him.  It has been confirmed to be a fraudulent document created to look like a Facebook message.

Steven J created a Facebook page in 2017.

Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse at Weeping Mary Baptist Church which has ignited discussions in their community.  Of course, a rival Facebook page, which has since been removed, accused Mr. and Mrs. J  of:

 witchcraft, scamming people out of money, incest, adultery, fraud , etc.

Apparently some people suspect that the pastor was behind it…When Steven mentioned that he was accused of witchcraft, I told him it was a sign that his narrative was believed. Whenever witchcraft is alleged, it is because there is nothing more believable that can be claimed. (Every once in a blue moon, we are referred to as The Wartburg Witches…🙂 )

Steven and his wife are working on their marriage although they are still separated. However, I was impressed how she was willing to speak to me when her husband was in the room. I think there is much to hope for as they walk through this lawsuit.

My thoughts:

  • I believe their story because the trajectory of the relationship between Mrs. J and there pastor seems to follow an unwritten playbook that I have heard time and time again. (“My wife is sick and can’t fulfill my needs.” “Your husband is a problem.”  “You are so pretty.” )
  • I believe that Mrs.J miscarriage led to her being vulnerable to manipulation.
  • I believe the pastor, who is intelligent, might have been aware that she might be susceptible to his advances.
  • How could a husband use his wife’s serious illness to start a relationship with another woman?!
  • Grooming behavior is apparent in the trajectory of the relationship.
  • Any pastor who initiates a sexual relationship with anyone in his congregation should never be allowed in the pulpit again. He has torn up his clergy card. He can repent and be a member of a church but he should never be allowed to step foot in a pulpit again.
  • My heart goes out to Pastor McCaskill’s wife and I pray for her recovery from breast cancer.
  • I call on the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina to provide support to Mr. and Mrs J.
  • I support a lawsuit in this situation since I believe that Mrs. J was taken advantage of by Pastor McCaskill. They should get damages for the hospitalization, counseling and the financial costs of maintaining two households as they work this out.

I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. J for their willingness to talk with me about difficult things. Both are brave as they fight for the truth.

Comments

Is Pastor Robert McCaskill of Weeping Mary Baptist Church Guilty of Sexual Abuse of a Church Member? — 65 Comments

  1. Where do churches come up with pastors and boards like this?
    Seriously.
    I would love to hear about this pastor’s background, education and teaching. There had to have been red flags waving furiously at sometime.
    Who is on this board? Are they all his drinking buddies or what?

  2. Weeping Mary?
    That’s an odd name for a Baptist church in the deep South.
    One would think that it’s too close to Romish Popery in that culture.

  3. Muff Potter: That’s an odd name for a Baptist church in the deep South.
    One would think that it’s too close to Romish Popery in that culture.

    Apparently the rules are different for African-American Baptist congregations.

  4. Mr. and Mrs. J, am so very sorry for these circumstances. i hope for resolution, justice, and peace for you.

  5. This is unbelievable. I hope that standard procedures for hiring and retention of church leaders include an MMPI or whatever psychiatric screening test is used in the secular arena, and a periodic forensic accounting of assets and income. Hopefully church leadership will look less promising to predators, grifters, narcissists and sociopaths.

  6. Janet Varin,

    It certainly seems to be coming to that. I saw a suggestion once that seminaries ought to start doing such screening or requiring the results of it by a neutral 3rd party as a condition of admission. I don’t know how expensive that would be, and I’m generally not in favor of making seminary more costly than it already is, but it seems like we need to start somewhere. Certain kinds of abusers such as skilled narcissists can be very hard to detect at first.

  7. “He then dismissed his wife by telling her to go upstairs. She stood up from the table to leave.”

    I don’t know what this association’s theology of marriage is. Maybe it’s just this particular abuser. But when I hear of a wife being treated like a subordinate or a child, I know she is being mistreated. On top of dealing with breast cancer, too. I hope she is okay or will be.

  8. Janet Varin: psychiatric screening test

    Too bad that church leaders today don’t have the discernment that Peter had to protect the sheep from wolves entering the sheepfold. When Ananias and Sapphira were exposed by Peter for conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord, they dropped dead on the spot and “Great fear seized the whole church” (Acts 5). It would do the church good to see some of these lying prophets vaporized in front of them.

  9. Shame on those Board members, also, for refusing to listen to the facts when they first had the opportunity.
    Regarding personality testing, etc., I think the skilled abusers, sociopaths, etc. will just answer questions in ways that don’t give away their true personalities.

  10. readingalong: skilled abusers, sociopaths, etc. will just answer questions in ways that don’t give away their true personalities

    Exactly. If you are an abuser, sociopath, etc., you will also be a liar … your life is built around deception.

  11. readingalong:
    Shame on those Board members, also, for refusing to listen to the facts when they first had the opportunity.
    Regarding personality testing, etc., I think the skilled abusers, sociopaths, etc. will just answer questions in ways that don’t give away their true personalities.

    Shame? What’s “shame”?
    How can there be “shame” when You Can Do No Wrong?

  12. Just atrocious. I will be praying for Mr. and Mrs. J and hope that this pastor gets the justice he truly deserves.

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  14. Muff Potter:
    Weeping Mary?
    That’s an odd name for a Baptist church in the deep South.
    One would think that it’s too close to Romish Popery in that culture.

    I thought the same thing.

  15. Ken P.,

    I googled weeping mary and north Carolina and south Carolina. Seems a number in Carolinas. Didn’t see any that were Catholic. My dear hubby comes from a town with a Weeping Mary church in it. Unlikely but perhaps he’ll know

  16. Any pastor who initiates a sexual relationship with anyone in his congregation should never be allowed in the pulpit again. He has torn up his clergy card. He can repent and be a member of a church but he should never be allowed to step foot in a pulpit again.

    The situation described here is worse than that; the claim is that a clergyman has abandoned his own marriage and purposely destroyed someone else’s.

    In answer to the question in the post title, I can only answer: I don’t know. The best I can do is trust that people nearer to the evidence than I am will process it competently and honestly, and conclude matters diligently.

  17. The whole story is horribly tragic. Dee, thank you for continuously advocating on behalf of victims.

    Janet Varin,

    I’m an ordained pastor with the PC(USA), one of the more mainline Presbyterian denominations. Every person who is even considering entering the pastorate in the PC(USA) is required to undergo a psychological evaluation prior to becoming a candidate for ordination. For me, this psych eval included the MMPI. While it wasn’t cheap, it also didn’t break the bank—it cost $900, and I paid $300, my home church paid $300, and the denomination paid $300. I’d consider this a more than worthwhile investment in a denomination’s leadership.

    Of course, psych evals alone don’t stop pastoral abuse. We aren’t anywhere close to perfect as a denomination! However, they are effective in identifying red flags early. There were two scores on my evaluation that skewed higher than tended to be healthy, and knowing this tendency about myself has caused me to approach certain situations with much more caution than I would have otherwise.

  18. Nick Bulbeck: The situation described here is worse than that; the claim is that a clergyman has abandoned his own marriage and purposely destroyed someone else’s.

    It said they found multiple women he was going after, so he could have been trying to break up multiple marriages. But you are right, it’s worse than the average clergy abuse.

  19. “Any pastor who initiates a sexual relationship with anyone in his congregation should never be allowed in the pulpit again.” (Dee)

    And don’t forget he was continuing to preach from his pulpit while in an immoral relationship! Beyond the human dimension of his adulterous sin, he was committing spiritual adultery before God – a “Pulpit Abuse” of his role as pastor. When a “man of God” steps away from the Spirit to pursue the flesh, he has forfeited his sacred office.

    “He can repent and be a member of a church but he should never be allowed to step foot in a pulpit again.” (Dee)

    If he demonstrates a “Godly sorrow that brings repentance” (2 Corinthians 7:10), he can be restored to fellowship but not to leadership.

    There are no examples in the NT of a pastor who fell into such sin being restored to the pulpit. God takes this stuff seriously!! Where is the fear of God these days?!! I’m not talking about scared-to-death fear of the the almighty, but a reverential respect of Him that causes a pastor to walk the narrow way and be an example of holy living before his flock rather than a stumbling block. When he surrendered to the ministry, he surrendered to a walk that would resist even the beginnings of temptation, IMO.

  20. “Then, McCaskill began to discuss his *problems* with his wife who had suffered with breast cancer.”

    This jumped out at me, since I was reading a stat the other day about how much more likely men are to leave their wives during cancer than the reverse (women leave their husbands). I have seen this in real life too. What a terrible story all around.

    I also wanted to say that I think this is an excellent point: “Whenever witchcraft is alleged, it is because there is nothing more believable that can be claimed.

  21. Loren Haas: Who is on this board? Are they all his drinking buddies or what?

    IF it weren’t for enablers, none of these bad behaviors we see in churches could continue for long.

  22. Max,

    Is it possible / plausible that the overall decline of teaching on the Ten Commandments in our lifetime is a contributing factor to the decline of faithfulness among the Protestant Priesthood and the rise of sexual perversion in evangelicalism?

    As I read the stories about these so-called “pastors” abusing their flocks I find myself mentally ticking off commandments that they are violating. I see this in much of society, in the news, and wherever I turn. One or more of the ten are broken in every event, episode, crime, account, etc. So I am a little puzzled as to how these “Christians” can’t know that they are violating them, and how little of a deterrent the ten must be to people who claim to be following Christ.

    I don’t know what it is like in other denominations / tribes, but in my 30 years of evangelical experience there was never anything on the ten commandments at all. Not even in Sunday school classes. Nothing on the ten, the historic creeds, or anything that Christians have historically focused on.

    It seems like using God’s Law, as a deterrent on themselves, is a completely foreign concept to these people. I understand the concept of false believers, wolves, and tares. And I am sure that the overall lack of Biblical literacy is a huge factor in these cases. But when you look at what content they should be seeing in the Scriptures that would act as a deterrent to this kind of abuse, it seems like there is not even the slightest bit of knowledge, never mind understanding, on the Ten Commandments as a baseline for Christian behavior. I’d like to hear your thoughts on that.

  23. Noevangelical: the overall decline of teaching on the Ten Commandments in our lifetime

    I don’t know where you’re getting this from, but I don’t think teaching that adultery is bad would make it cease to exist. This man knows what he is doing is wrong, he’s just doing it anyway because he doesn’t care. Because he’s selfish.

  24. Lea: This man knows what he is doing is wrong, he’s just doing it anyway because he doesn’t care. Because he’s selfish.

    He’s what the Book of Proverbs describes as a fool without discretion.

  25. Lea: This man knows what he is doing is wrong, he’s just doing it anyway because he doesn’t care.

    Isn’t that one of the definitions of a Sociopath?

    “A Psychopath can’t understand the difference between Right and Wrong. A Sociopath knows but doesn’t care.”

  26. Noevangelical,

    “it seems like there is not even the slightest bit of knowledge, never mind understanding, on the Ten Commandments as a baseline for Christian behavior. I’d like to hear your thoughts on that.”
    +++++++++++

    well, you didn’t ask for my thoughts, but…

    grew up in church. i had to look up the 10 commandments just now to see what they were. yes, i don’t recall ever hearing about them.

    i think the idea is that it’s all summed up in Jesus’ teachings and commentary, and we can focus on it there, with his spin on it.

    however, these days christian leaders use “Paul” as a baseline for christian behavior. i think it’s easier for sermon material, and for coming up with 4-6 points for how to do such & such (complete with acronym or all starting with the same letter). that’s a sermon these days, in all its cuteness.

    christian behavior is largely about who leads and how to have more control, who follows and how to give up personhood and your voice, and fear of homosexuality.

    …but this old news.

  27. Lea,

    No, I know that. And I agree with you.

    But I do think that removing part of the Word of God from the training of Christians from little on has had a negative effect on the movement as a whole. There really isn’t any wiggle room with the ten commandments. Such a man could be approached by his board like this:
    “The bible says thou shalt not commit adultery. You have committed adultery. Therefore, you are done.”

    Since all of these organizations are Evangelical churches, and claim to say that they accept the Bible as God’s Word, authoritative in all matters of faith and practice, and all that, it seems like the church board could easily get rid of a person like this by appealing to God’s Law. But they all seem ignorant of it. The abusing pastor, the board, and even members who would knowingly sit under his teaching while he was doing wrong. You would think that at some point a light would go on in someone’s mind, like they heard that was wrong somewhere… Some of them must be quenching the flame with a fire hose.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that these people aren’t christian at all, but some claim that they are. I don’t see it.

  28. Sarah Leitner: I googled weeping mary and north Carolina and south Carolina. Seems a number in Carolinas. Didn’t see any that were Catholic. My dear hubby comes from a town with a Weeping Mary church in it. Unlikely but perhaps he’ll know

    I never said that “Weeping Mary” was a Catholic church name. Others thought it sounded too Catholic for the comfort of Baptists. I looked up 5 “Weeping Mary” churches. Interestingly, all were various Baptists and all were predominately African-American.

  29. Noevangelical: But I do think that removing part of the Word of God from the training of Christians

    I mean, It just surprises me that anyone was unaware. I haven’t seen it be removed, but you have a million churches out there doing different things so maybe yours didn’t and elastigirls’ didn’t? I don’t know how widespread it is.

    I do know that ‘lets get the ten commandments back in school/govt’ is a buzzword, to the point that our state erected a statue thing of it, which got immediately knocked down and then put back with more barriers. It all seems really silly to me. It’s basics, don’t steal, lie, kill (obviously those bits are codified into law anyways)…The bible is a big series of books and there is a lot more to it than that.

  30. Noevangelical: But I do think that removing part of the Word of God from the training of Christians

    I haven’t seen it removed, is what I was saying. Maybe some people have, idk.

    I don’t think it has anything to do with knowing right from wrong. (Had a longer reply which disappeared and I don’t feel like rewriting)

  31. elastigirl: however, these days christian leaders use “Paul” as a baseline for christian behavior

    Eh, they selectively read paul to fit whatever they like. Paul wouldn’t be cool with this either.

  32. ION: Garden fires

    We’ve just had a nice cheery wee bonfire on the foundation of what will be the new fireplace, once I’ve built the retaining wall behind it. (Foundation’s in; which, given the state of the ground, was probably the hard part.) Should start bricklaying this weekend; I’m going with Flemish bond.

    IHTIH

  33. Lea,

    yes, selectively. I bit Paul’s not pleased. i wonder if he observes from the hereafter and thinks, “hey, you’re making me look bad!”

    and perhaps “I wasn’t the writer anyway.”

  34. Lea: This just makes me think of Dr. Who’s weeping angels, which is creepy.

    Don’t look away, don’t even blink.

  35. Noevangelical:
    Lea,

    I’ve come to the conclusion that these people aren’t christian at all, but some claim that they are. I don’t see it.

    I don’t think that “christian” versus “not christian” may be the right polar opposition. This looks to me like utter consciencelessness. It looks like “sociopathy.”

    If you have not read Martha Stout’s “The Sociopath Next Door”, you may find it illuminating.

    Stout makes an interesting point that intersects with your observations about the teaching of the Decalogue. In cultures in which there are more external social constraints — in which “what is acceptable and not acceptable” is more explicit (Stout mentions Japan as an example. In general, I guess that this would be true in general in “shame” or “face” forms of social control), sociopathy is less destructive because the external social constraint partially compensates for the lack of functional internal conscience.

    MMPI is expensive, but not as costly as a bad hire. I have the impression that functional MRI can pretty reliable detect sociopathy. Eventually this kind of evaluation will be “best practice”.

  36. Lea,

    That occurred to me right away too. It’s good to see that there are other Doctor Who enthusiasts in the churches.

  37. Noevangelical: Is it possible / plausible that the overall decline of teaching on the Ten Commandments in our lifetime is a contributing factor to the decline of faithfulness among the Protestant Priesthood and the rise of sexual perversion in evangelicalism?

    Yes, IMO. Christianity Lite has taken over much of the American pulpit. Truth has been diluted with a cheap grace message. The pursuit of holiness by Christians is a foreign thing. The reason we don’t have the pulpit exhorting the pew to holy living is that the preachers aren’t holy themselves. When spiritual things are neglected, the flesh rules … and you can darn near expect anything to happen in the organized church.

    Regarding the Ten Commandments, Andy Stanley’s recent statement on this may be more common thinking among the “Protestant Priesthood” than we want to believe:

    “Participants in the new covenant (that’s Christians) are not required to obey any of the commandments found in the first part of their Bibles. Participants in the new covenant are expected to obey the single command Jesus issued as part of his new covenant: as I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (Andy Stanley)

    Disturbing! Christians don’t need to be so open-minded that their spiritual brains fall out! They don’t need to be so culturally-relevant that they aren’t relevant in the Kingdom of God. The Ten Commandments should still serve as guiding principles for our walk … if you toss them out, the church and the nation sink deeper into moral chaos.

  38. “Whenever witchcraft is alleged, it is because there is nothing more believable that can be claimed.” (Dee)

    That which comes against the people of God falls in one of three categories according to Scripture: the world, the flesh, and the devil. The flesh tripped up Pastor McCaskill, not the devil. It’s a simple case of another pastor not being able to keep his pants on. The devil had nothing to do with it.

  39. Max: The flesh tripped up Pastor McCaskill, not the devil. It’s a simple case of another pastor not being able to keep his pants on. The devil had nothing to do with it.

    I agree.
    The devil has much bigger fish to fry than to supposedly enable a pastor’s bedroom peccadillos.

  40. Max: “Participants in the new covenant (that’s Christians) are not required to obey any of the commandments found in the first part of their Bibles. Participants in the new covenant are expected to obey the single command Jesus issued as part of his new covenant: as I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (Andy Stanley)

    Disturbing!

    I think Stanley’s comment is actually inaccurate. The commandments are all distilled down to love god and love your neighbor. If you love your neighbor, you will not lie to him or cheat him or steal, etc.

  41. Lea: If you love your neighbor, you will not lie to him or cheat him or steal, etc.

    True. If you have an obedience problem, you have a love problem.

  42. Muff Potter: The devil has much bigger fish to fry than to supposedly enable a pastor’s bedroom peccadillos.

    I’ve been a Christian and a churchman for nearly 70 years. I’ve seen the world, the flesh, and the devil come against the Church of the Living God. The world and the flesh have done a fine job disrupting the church, without the devil’s help. You know it when he shows up.

  43. Max: That which comes against the people of God falls in one of three categories according to Scripture: the world, the flesh, and the devil. The flesh tripped up Pastor McCaskill, not the devil.

    Just like it did the guy who wrote the Malleus Maleficarium. Much of that Witch-Hunting Handbook includes the writer’s obvious Demon/Witch Sexual Fetish Fantasies.

  44. Noevangelical: Is it possible / plausible that the overall decline of teaching on the Ten Commandments in our lifetime is a contributing factor to the decline of faithfulness among the Protestant Priesthood and the rise of sexual perversion in evangelicalism?

    (I’m not Max but) no, I don’t think this has anything to do with the commandments not being better known. People who do these type of things are sociopaths. This was not a situation where two people fell in love and betrayed their marriage vows in a moment of passion. This was cold heartedly pre-planned and orchestrated by the man to take advantage of the woman for his sexual conquest.

    I’m no expert but in my experience, normal people do not fall into this sort of behavior, this is the behavior of a sociopath, a person who does not have a working conscience. Sociopaths don’t respond to commandments, shame, entreaties, or other things that control normal peoples’ behavior. If you have a conscience, you are already sensitive to right and wrong and want to do right, you feel bad when you fail, you feel shame. If you don’t have a conscience, you don’t experience these things and you can’t be made to feel them. You could care less what any commandments say. You do what you will. Your degree of sneakiness is all that is affected. You learn how to mimic and fit in and how to fool the naive into thinking you’re just like them. You may find that the best cover is in promoting the ten commandments enthusiastically- no one would suspect, would they?

    The age of the internet has changed so much in that people can connect with each other and talk about these things which used to be swept firmly under the carpet. It’s not new behavior but it’s new that people can get it out in the open. You can look up stories of many of the popular Christian leaders of the past and find out about some of the shenanigans they were up to behind the scenes. Here’s one http://www.biblicalevangelist.org/jack_hyles_chapter3.php

    Yes, the Bible calls them wolves in sheep’s clothing. They’re not sheep that lost their way, they’re wolves. My opinion.

  45. Max: “Participants in the new covenant (that’s Christians) are not required to obey any of the commandments found in the first part of their Bibles. Participants in the new covenant are expected to obey the single command Jesus issued as part of his new covenant: as I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (Andy Stanley)

    Well, it’s 6 of one and half a dozen of the other, if you ask me. Do you follow the list of rules that say don’t covet, don’t lie, don’t steal, or do you love your neighbor as yourself, which obviously precludes coveting, lying and stealing from him?

    And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”

    Now, if it was all about following the commandments wouldn’t you think he’d have listed them when he was asked directly? Yet which is harder to do? Follow the commandments or love your neighbor? As you know, the lawyer went on to ask Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” and he found out that his neighbor was every human being, even foreigners that he looked down on. I think it is possible for a person to believe they have followed all of the ten commandments yet have failed to love. Yet, could you love your neighbor as yourself and disregard all the commandments? I don’t see how.

    So, I guess I’m saying the two may look the same but they would come from a different mindset. And maybe the neighbor would feel the difference.

  46. SiteSeer: I think it is possible for a person to believe they have followed all of the ten commandments yet have failed to love. Yet, could you love your neighbor as yourself and disregard all the commandments? I don’t see how.

    Agreed. Without love, we are nothing (1 Cor. 13:2). True love springing from a heart that knows Christ causes us to obey the commandments. If we have an obedience problem, we have a love problem … breaking the greatest commandment to love would be to break the sum of the commandments. “The commandments are summed up in this word: love” (Romans 13:9).

    At its core, Stanley’s statement has some truth in it. But he stretches it beyond its bounds by saying that Christians “are not required to obey any of the commandments found in the first part of their Bibles.” Jesus sets him straight on that, teaching that obedience to those commandments are wrapped up in love. It is not wise for 21st century Christians to toss out the first part of their Bibles. Love supersedes law, but only agape love enables us to not live lawlessly.

  47. SiteSeer: If you don’t have a conscience, you don’t experience these things and you can’t be made to feel them. You could care less what any commandments say. You do what you will. Your degree of sneakiness is all that is affected. You learn how to mimic and fit in and how to fool the naive into thinking you’re just like them. You may find that the best cover is in promoting the ten commandments enthusiastically- no one would suspect, would they?

    “Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:2)

    TWW continues to report the acts of wayward “pastors” with dead consciences, fried with a hot iron. Only those whose own consciences have lost all feeling would rally to the side of “Christian” leaders when they fail morally. When a church comes alongside an abuser and turns deaf ears to the cries of his victim, they cease to be a church.

  48. Max: “Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:2)

    I have always thought that St Paul was describing a Psychopath/Sociopath in the terminology of his day.

    And in Christian demonology, Demons/Fallen Angels are basically angelic psychopaths.

    Isn’t “clergy” one of the Top Ten professions where you find Sociopaths?

  49. Noevangelical,

    The problem is that abuse statistics indicate that people in positions of power, be it religious or secular power, are likely to abuse that power,

    The Ten Commandments aren’t the issue. I know of churches which do teach them, and still have problems like this one.

  50. I hope that the Wartburg Witches keep on witching! You ladies rock.

    We had a miscarriage, and yes, it was totally devastating for both of us. Took us a while to come out of it. We learned after 25% or more of pregnancies miscarry, many before the woman knows she is pregnant. Knowing that helped a bit.