What In the World is Going On With the Lawsuit at 10th Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia?


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Honesty I can take. Lies I get upset about. Glen Campbell
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As we enter 2019, 10th Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, finds itself embroiled in a lawsuit. A former deacon of the church, Phil Snyder, accused the church of covering up alleged cases of sexual molestation and/or physical abuse of students in the ministry.

Update 1/1/19   “The young men were students at Philadlephia Biblical University, now Cairn University, where the music minister was an instructor. “

The church’s current senior pastor is Liam Goligher who was preceded by Wheaton College President Phil Ryken. Both feature prominently in this former deacon’s story.

IMPORTANT: At the end of the post I’ve embedded Phil Snyder’s body cam footage. Snyder returned to the public street outside of the church to hand out a flyer documenting his concerns. He claims that the church attempted to tell law enforcement that he was threatening and harassing people coming in and out of the church. If this footage is not doctored, then it appears that Snyder was respectful and quiet. Frankly, the body cam was a great idea. I think more church members should do the same when dealing with difficult churches!

After the video, I have some short comments about why I decided to write this story. As you read this, ask yourself the question “Why would Snyder lie about this?” It clarified a few things for me.

I have changed a few words in Snyder’s account to keep it line with our editorial policy when it comes to legal stuff. For the lawyers-this entire post is alleged.


#tenthpresbyterianchurchtoo

In 2001, the music minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, was alleged to have engaged in naked spankings/beatings of students.  The senior minister, Phil Ryken, now the president of Wheaton College, failed to call the police and covered the incident up, allowing the music minister to be in a position of power and influence over young men for another thirteen years.

In 2014, the music minister was finally fired.  However, the new senior minister, Liam Goligher, did not inform the congregation of this.  Instead, the congregation was told that the music minister was leaving to pursue new opportunities.  In fact, on his last Sunday, on 02/02/14, there was exceptional music, including the concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, David Kim.  The music minister received a standing ovation.  Also, there was a reception given in honor of the music minister.

On 03/16/14, deacon Phil Snyder (the author of this account) spoke out at a congregational meeting, which forced the elders to hold another congregational meeting on 03/30/14, where the congregation was finally told the real reason the music minister left.

In addition to the naked spanking incidents, there was an alleged rape/false imprisonment which occured at a pastor’s house.  The police were not called.  Mr.  Snyder requested to meet with the elders with the victim, witnesses, and someone from the Special Victims Unit, but his request was denied.

On 01/13/13, a woman was allegedly sexually assualted in the catacombs (basement) of the church.  The police were not called and the congregation was not informed of the incident.  The senior minister, Liam Goligher, on 10/10/17, denied he had knowledge of the incident or when it occurred.

Beginning on 01/18/16, Mr. Snyder sent out letters to the congregation detailing these and other incidents.  The elders responded by saying the Mr. Snyder’s letters were “horrible slander” and “utterly false”.  The elders subsequently retracted these allegedly  false statements.

On 10/23/16, the elders excommunicated Mr. Snyder, filed a no trespassing order against him, and threatened to arrest him within 1,000 feet of the church.  Because of this unlawful, allegedly criminal threat (per 18 USC 241 and 242), to arrest him within 1,000 feet of the church, Mr. Snyder filed a lawsuit against the senior minister, Liam Goligher, and the Clerk of Session, George McFarland.  This lawsuit was filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, case number 170102293.  The trial is scheduled for 02/19.

On 09/10/17, in response to the elders’ threat to sue him for libel, and in defiance of their threat to arrest him within 1,000 feet of the church, a violation of his constitutional right to free speech, Mr. Snyder went to Tenth Presbyterian Church and handed out letters from a public sidewalk.  The elders responded by filing an injunction against him to stop him from coming within 1,000 feet of the church or communicating with the congregation.  Unfortunately for them, Mr. Snyder was wearing a body camera which proved that their assertions that he was “harassing, threatening, and disruptive” were slanderous and false, i.e. they committed perjury.

Mr. Snyder is requesting financial assistance to help him defend his right to free speech, in particular in regard to alleged crimes, and to enable him to pursue truth and justice in the face of lies and threats from powerful men who abuse their power in an attempt to intimidate him into not exposing their failure to report alleged crimes and their attempts to cover up alleged crimes, in order to protect their reputation and that of their institution, at the expense of victims.

Here is the body cam footage of his actions outside of 10th Presbyterian Church


So, why did I post this?

  • Having watched a church mishandled a sex abuse situation in a former church, I know how hard it is to do what Snyder is doing. The first thing many churches do, and that appears to be the case with 10th Presbyterian, is to start threatening libel and slander. Been there; been through that. Why would any sane person put themselves through something like this? Most times they do it because child sex abuse is a hill worth dying on.
  • But maybe he’s insane? If so, why did such a careful, Biblical, strict Reformed church, presided over by the best the Reformed movement has to offer, allowed him to become a deacon?
  • Are we not to respect the thoughts of a man who was selected by the leaders to be a deacon? Isn’t that what The Gospel Coalition keeps telling us? Or do we only respect those who do not ask honest questions?
  • At TWW we would never accuse anyone of slander or libel without proving our point. Why do some pastors and church leaders fling the  *slander* and *libel* word without specifically defining what they mean? Is that Biblical or Gospel or whatever the word they are using today? It makes curious person, such as myself, wonder what they are hiding.
  • Why doesn’t the church go through each of Snyder’s claims and refute them without emotionalism?  It would sure shut down things fast unless…unless they unable to do so?
  • Oh, you say 10th Presbyterian Church doesn’t need to say anything? You mean, in this day and age that churches and child sex abuse have been linked by way too many people for very good reasons? Maybe its time that churches open up their windows and doors and let light their light shine?

In 2019, TWW will continue to ask questions of churches who claim they are against sex abuse but might appear to be acting in a contrary fashion…allegedly, that is.


Comments

What In the World is Going On With the Lawsuit at 10th Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia? — 195 Comments

  1. So sad. Tenth Presbyterian has a strong heritage: both Donald Grey Barnhouse and and James Montgomery Boyce each served 30+ years as senior pastor there. I visited a couple of times in 1978 when I was doing doctoral studies at Westminster Seminary.

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  2. If these allegations are true, and it certainly looks like there is a lot of fire to go with the smoke at this point, then it’s a depressing development. I have a lot of respect for both Mr Ryken and Mr Goligher and the church is one I have visited too. The elders need to stop these actions and repent. I would urge them in the strongest language possible to end the legal actions, come clean and take their lumps.
    Being transparent in regard to these crimes is difficult, but justice demands doing what is tough and painful now to cleanse the stench and stain of sin out of the body.

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  3. Is there a link or address for a legal defense fund for Mr. Snyder?

    2 stories within weeks of each other about powerful churches using law suits for what appear to be attempts to suppress valid criticism.

    2019 may be an interesting year.

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  4. And yet ANOTHER of the churches that spearheaded the Calvinist revival of the 80s and 90s, churches whose pastors I looked up to and admired, is falling to scandal.

    And now I must ask a question – a question my old self would not like to have asked, but must be asked even though there is little chance of it being answered…

    What did Jim Boice know, and when did he know it?

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  5. Sigh….. the abuse of power never ends…..
    bad things happen, man up and admit it, deal with it, and move on….why is that so hard for leaders!

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  6. Slightly off topic for this thread but just asking for some assistance. Kevin DeYoung is disgracing us with his presence here in the UK (London) in February and I want to give some info to the church leaders hosting him. Does anyone have any useful links or articles?

    We like to say in England “It’s a free country”. Sadly this means that we have to tolerate Kevin coming over.

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  7. Sounds like folks at Tenth Presbyterian have attended the Bob Malm/Grace Episcopal School of Crisis Management. When someone criticizes you, claim that they have threatened and harassed you. Right down to the whole 1,000 feet away thing.

    Maybe I’ll head to Philly and protest with Mr. Snyder. Mr. Snyder, if you read this, let me know if you want some help! Or happy to help you set up a blog!

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  8. Sigh. Just look at the building and speculate that the tale of Tenth includes an ugly fight over that historic jewel, plus some problem with the role of women. You’d be right on the money.

    From the church website: “We are a church of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), a young denomination founded in 1973. Tenth joined with the PCA in 1982, consistent with our alignment to historical Presbyterian tradition and beliefs.” They switched midway through the 32-year ministry of Rev. Boice. Note the coy omission of their previous denomination.

    From Wikipedia: In 1979, following a denominational ruling by the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America requiring congregations to elect both men and women to the office in ruling elder, Tenth Presbyterian left the UPCUSA in 1980, aligning itself with the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. Three years afterward, that denomination in turn merged with the Presbyterian Church in America, bringing Tenth Church with it.

    After a lengthy property battle the congregation was allowed to leave the denomination while keeping its Byzantine style property.

    A win-win!

    So what offices are women now allowed to hold? From the church website: “At Tenth deaconesses are non-ordained women who assist the Board of Deacons in carrying out its ministry, particularly in areas where it is more appropriate for women than men to serve.”

    And if you’re female but not a non-ordained deaconess? The church website has some mealy-mouthed gobbledygook, plus a silhouetted stock pic of a woman holding her hands up. Hard to tell if she’s praising God or getting robbed. Maybe both.

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  9. Jeffrey J Chalmers:
    Sigh….. the abuse of power never ends…..
    bad things happen, man up and admit it, deal with it, and move on….why is that so hard for leaders!

    I think it is not difficult for true-hearted servants to do this — people whose basic attitude is that “Christ must increase; this might mean that I must decrease”.

    Fallen human “Leaders” of “under the sun” institutions, on the other hand, tend to have difficulty distinguishing their own interests as powerful officers within the institutions from the interests of the institution itself (which, in christian contexts, ought to be aligned with the things that matter to God, things like “the greater matters of the Law, justice, mercy and faithfulness.”)

    Philippians 2:21 comes to mind (NIV): “For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”

    ———-

    The “two witnesses” rule for bringing charges against an ordained elder probably leads to a lot of mischief. If there is only one witness, and in instances of the kind mentioned in the OP, there often is, it must be very tempting to the people in charge to assume that the weaker party is lying. Until mandatory reporting is taken seriously, this is likely to be a means of concealment of abuse within church hierarchies and, as Dee has pointed out, an inducement for abusers to seek church office.

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  10. Looks like Tenth Presbyterian is burying more than just corpses in the catacombs below the church building.

    For the record, Tenth Presbyterian is listed at both TGC and 9Marks.

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  11. ION: Space

    In the last few minutes (at the time of writing), signal has been re-acquired from the New Horizons spacecraft following its flyby of Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule. The acquisition of the data from the flyby is a much longer process – indeed, it will take 20 months in total – but some provisional images should be available in the next couple of days.

    I’ll return to the actual topic of the post shortly.

    IHTIH

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  12. ZechZav,

    To quote Tim Fall -“So for those misguided people who think preserving American values requires making it illegal to say things they don’t like, think again: preserving the values this country was built on requires defending the right of others to say such things. We are to do it as individuals and collectively as a society.
    And for those same misguided people: I disagree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it no matter how wrong you are.”

    Sounds like you would like to deny this to Mr DeYoung although I think it would be true to say that the South East Gospel Partnership group of churches who invited him will still be happy to hear him.

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  13. ZechZav,

    What you are saying is that some church over there is paying for Kevin De Young to have a free trip to the UK. How does he do it. he’s the lead pastor of a large enough church, he is a theology professor, he writes books and post, he attends and speaks at conferences and has a ton of kids who are being homeschooled by his wife. This guy is simply a walking podcast. he cannot do it all and some thing are surely slipping. I bet its his church.

    Here is a link to some of our posts about him. http://thewartburgwatch.com/?s=Kevin+DeYOung&x=0&y=0

    Oh, I almost forgot. he’s a supporter and protector of CJ Mahaney which may indicate his position on sex abuse coverup when it involves his BFFs.

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  14. ZechZav,

    You might remind them of this little chestnut:

    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-we-have-been-silent-about-the-sgm-lawsuit/

    DeYoung co-signed this letter along with Carson and Taylor, attempting to defend C.J. Mahaney by including at least two provably false statements. Oddly enough, DeYoung’s name doesn’t appear at the top of the page — it’s clearly at the bottom, though.

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  15. Lowlandseer,

    I agree with Tim Fall on this when it relates to our secular society. In a church environment, our standard is not “free speech” but Biblical truth. I said that comment about a free country with a bit of deadpan humour which probably did not come across well in a written forum.

    I have no desire to deny free speech to Mr. DeYoung but I do believe that the SEGP should be aware of his teaching/practices. If, after this, they choose to continue to support him (and they probably will) then that is their responsibility. Mark Dever has been hosted in the UK some years ago for a conference on “Growing Healthy Churches” which caused me great concern. Mark Driscoll was also been hosted at conferences and I worry about the lack of discernment.

    Do you think that we should not alert people to the dangers of false teaching?

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  16. Friend: At Tenth deaconesses are non-ordained women who assist the Board of Deacons in carrying out its ministry, particularly in areas where it is more appropriate for women than men to serve.”

    Great history in your comment. I would loooove to know which ministres are *more appropriate* for women.This would give us some insight into what they believe about the role of women.

    I do know that Liam Goligher does NOT support the doctrine of the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS) so he is not as far gone as some.

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  17. dee:
    ZechZav,

    What you are saying is that some church over there is paying for Kevin De Young to have a free trip to the UK. How does he do it. he’s the lead pastor of a large enough church, he is a theology professor, he writes books and post, he attends and speaks at conferences and has a ton of kids who are being homeschooled by his wife. This guy is simply a walking podcast. he cannot do it all and some thing are surely slipping. I bet its his church.

    Here is a link to some of our posts about him. http://thewartburgwatch.com/?s=Kevin+DeYOung&x=0&y=0

    Oh, I almost forgot. he’s a supporter and protector of CJ Mahaney which may indicate his position on sex abuse coverup when it involves his BFFs.

    Thanks Dee. I also wonder how “Crazy Busy” Kevin does it and yes I think it’s his church that probably suffers. Thanks for the information on Mahaney – it disturbs me greatly that he can do this and then be invited to preach at conferences here in the UK.

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  18. Lowlandseer,

    It’s not about denying DeYoung his right to free speech. It’s about informing the leaders and members of these congregations exactly what kind of man he is — one who’s willing to lie in order to protect the “career” of a fellow ManaGAWD. Don’t you think they should know that before spending their hard-earned money to pay him for the privilege of lecturing them about Christian ethics?

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  19. Serving Kids In Japan:
    Lowlandseer,

    It’s not about denying DeYoung his right to free speech.It’s about informing the leaders and members of these congregations exactly what kind of man he is — one who’s willing to lie in order to protect the “career” of a fellow ManaGAWD.Don’t you think they should know that before spending their hard-earned money to pay him for the privilege of lecturing them about Christian ethics?

    Well put. I agree completely. Also, the Apostle John is very clear that even giving a greeting to a false teacher is to “partake of his evil deeds”. How much more must this apply when they are paying for him to come over, hosting him and selling books.

    We should support free speech in our secular society. Even though I take a non-traditional view on same-sex relationships I support the freedom of churches and Christians to believe, teach and act on their own conscience – which may have included voting against gay marriage. But in a church environment, we have a much higher standard.

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  20. Vinnie,

    Vinnie,

    The music minister was previously exposed on the internet and has since moved to Canada, where, as far as I know, he is not employed by a church or school. Also, there was an investigation conducted by ex-FBI agents (paid for by the church) which found no further victims since the three victims in/around 2001. Also, the young men were not children per say, but were university students.

    Phil

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  21. ZechZav,

    Note on my last post. My comment “we have a much higher standard” means that we have a higher standard than “free speech”. Our standard is truth, justice and love.

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  22. ZechZav: Kevin DeYoung is disgracing us with his presence here in the UK (London) in February and I want to give some info to the church leaders hosting him. Does anyone have any useful links or articles?

    I recommend you do internet searches with his name and various words/phrases such as new calvinism, cj mahaney, 9marks, or abuse. He does not have as much name recognition as someone like John Piper, but he is a prolific writer and speaker, and one of the main pushers of new Calvinism. Al Mohler’s famous quote about “where else are they going to go” was made during a discussion with DeYoung (see https://youtu.be/jscdlO1BUj0). If the church leaders are looking for a new calvinist spokesman DeYoung is an excellent choice.

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  23. Samuel Conner,

    Samuel,

    Mr. Snyder has a gofundme site where you can contribute to his expenses. Search for #tenthpresbyterianchurchtoo or Philip Snyder (Media, PA). Also, there is a link in this article; look for #tenthpresbyterianchurchtoo.

    Phil

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  24. Lowlandseer: Sounds like you would like to deny this to Mr DeYoung although I think it would be true to say that the South East Gospel Partnership group of churches who invited him will still be happy to hear him.

    Let me turn this around. Are you saying that the Gospel Partnership should be exempt from receiving some information from an individual regarding a speaker? Let’s say you found out that DeYoung suddenly supported something that you might find abhorrent like abortion. Wouldn’t you strive to inform such a group about his position?

    For example, does this group think CJ Mahaney is worthy of outspoken support by DeYoung? Do you think this group might be concerned about his views on protection of children who have been harmed in ministries? Do you think this group might question a person who holds a position as a lead pastor, teaches at a seminary, goes to all sorts of conferences, accepts speaking engagement around the world, writes books and blog posts, and still claims to be super involved in the lives of his many kids who are being homeschooled by his wife?

    It is certainly this group’s freedom to accept such a speaker. It is also the freedom of an individual, such as myself or others, to let such a group know about aspects of his life that some might find troubling. Freedom goes both ways.

    As time goes on, however, more groups will find that their choices are questioned by others due to pervasiveness of social media. I think more information is better than sticking our heads in the sand. I also know there are some religious leaders who are *concerned* about all of this as well.

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  25. dee: I would loooove to know which ministres are *more appropriate* for women.This would give us some insight into what they believe about the role of women.

    I’ll wager the ‘ministries’ they have in mind are the fellowship hall kitchen and the nursery.
    Any questions?

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  26. Muff Potter: I’ll wager the ‘ministries’ they have in mind are the fellowship hall kitchen and the nursery.

    Truly, I hope women are able to find growth and satisfaction at Tenth, instead of just rules and limits. Signs are not good, though.

    Tenth is forming a new Women’s Committee, and web entries tie themselves in knots to prove that complementarianism is Da Bomb: Women held a vital role in Jesus’ ministry. Jesus was ministered to by Mary when she anointed him with nard in preparation for his death and burial (John 12:3). After his death, women went home to prepare spices and perfumes (Luke 23:56). After his burial, women were the first to seek Jesus, and a woman was the first to speak to him (Mark 16:9).

    These examples of complementarity of men and women in Bible history serve as reminders of how God intended the church to function “by equipping his people for works of service”…

    Also: …we ackowledge biblical examples of women serving in the church [SIC!!!] alongside leadership including: Miriam (Exodus 15), Huldah (2 Kings 22), Deborah (Judges 4), Esther (Esther 4), Priscilla (Acts 18), and Phoebe (Romans 16)…

    The most recent entry on the church women’s Facebook page is from February 2015: “Tenth Women Speaker Series: ‘Let’s Go Shopping'” (a metaphor, of course). In 2014 they had a conference called “Helper, Not the Help: Reclaiming God’s Original Design for Women.”

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  27. We had a deacon who fixed awesome scrambled eggs and deer sausage every Sunday for the deacons and others serving the body. He is a dude.

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  28. Paul Jones was the organist and music director there during that time frame and then disappeared. I interviewed both he and David Kim, concertmaster at the Philadelphia Orchestra during that time frame. I am sickened by this, which explains why he disappeared. And shame, eternal shame on anyone in that church leadership who covered this up.

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  29. Muff Potter: dee: I would loooove to know which ministres are *more appropriate* for women.This would give us some insight into what they believe about the role of women.

    I’ll wager the ‘ministries’ they have in mind are the fellowship hall kitchen and the nursery.
    Any questions?

    Actually, from my experience, it’s worse than that. They will ‘allow’ women to do the actual work of ministering to other women, in other words, act as deacons, but without the title. They must hide under cover of their husbands, even when, as is so often the case, it is the woman who is advising her husband, the ‘official’ deacon or elder. In my personal experience, the women behind the ‘elders’ were often the true voice of wisdom in the church, with the pastor even sometimes saying ‘Go home and ask your wives what they think’.

    Personally, I care nothing about position or authority. I believe we are all called to love and serve others. I do not believe that elders and deacons were ever meant to be positions of authority, with ‘power’ or control over others, but were always meant to be roles of service. To deny women this God-given right to serve and love others, or undermine their value is just wrong. Why do they tolerate it? Perhaps because they refuse to see these needy women go unserved, or left to the ignorant and/or unsympathetic ministrations of the official male deacons. They have been brainwashed into thinking that this is the biblical way to do things – that, as women, they should remain unseen and unrecognized for what they actually do. In a sense, we are all called to such selfless service; but women are not ‘especially’ called to that so that the men can bask in undeserved ‘glory’.

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  30. Oh my goodness ……. JUST admit that even some of your leaders fail and SIN. Tell the TRUTH. GOD and His People will forgive the sin of any who confesses and THE CREDIBILITY OF YOUR INSTITUTION WILL BE PRESERVED ….. EVEN STRENGTHENED in the eyes of all.

    I’m 39 years at Willow Creek and so dismayed that Bill Hybels and the leadership could not come clean and make things right with the victims and the congregation. Puffs of smoke(accusations, allegations, firings, etc.) usually means there might be a fire = GUILT, SIN, TRUTH to an accusation. TIME WILL TELL ALL, BECAUSE GOD WILL NOT BE MOCKED with deceit by church leaders. HE IS A GOD TO BE FEARED, NOT PLAYED WITH BY deceit and public PR shenanigans. Please …… come clean. Ps 51 should be your prayer.

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  31. Nick Bulbeck: New Horizons spacecraft following its flyby of Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule

    Very good news about our continuing exploration of our solar system. Now for the patience to wait on the flyby data to trickle in.

    I don’t have any first hand experience with the abuse topics that form primary topics for this blog so I feel it is best to not comment on most such things. However, I do believe the Bible is explicit about condemning such things.

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  32. dee,

    Nice to see the season of goodwill to all men is well and truly past. I particularly enjoyed the cameo appearances of 9Marks, CJ Mahaney, John Piper, New Calvinism and Al Mohler.

    As for others’ assessments of Mr DeYoung as a false teacher, lying to protect a ‘managawd’ (copyright HUG) and your own aspersions that because he is a man who is so busy preaching, writing etc he can’t possibly be closely involved in the homeschooling of his children……well, where do you go with that? (I’ve counted 16 of 22 logical fallacies used so far).

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  33. Dr. Boice died in 2000, so it’s possible he never knew the truth about the music minister, if the first allegations surfaced in 2001.

    Phil Ryken and the men who were elders during his tenure are definitely culpable.

    As far as the alleged assault at an unnamed pastor’s house, we don’t have a timeline or any other details yet, so I’m focusing on the others.

    Dr. Goligher was installed as senior pastor in 2011.
    The woman was allegedly assaulted in the church basement in January 2013. The question I have is, do the elders entirely handle something this serious (and on church property, no less) without informing their illustrious senior pastor? I mean I know it’s a big church and all, but that seems like the kind of thing he would have been informed about. I wonder if the woman would have a case if she decided to sue the church leadership.

    I’m really curious as to what finally precipitated the firing in 2014 of the music minister, who (apparently) could have been an acolyte of Theodore McCarrick. I’d be willing to bet my next paycheck they didn’t keep track of who hired him next, and/or warned them of the history of allegations against this guy.

    I know that if we were members of this church and I had been there for the congregational meetings in March 2016, I’d have been left wondering if the place was really safe for our family. I would have certainly had some hard questions for our shepherding elder.

    Mr. Snyder probably can’t do much more than he is already doing, as he is no longer a member of the church. It would take at least one current member, preferably more, to bring the Tenth Presbyterian session up on relevant charges to the Philadelphia presbytery. Should the presbytery rule against them or fail to act, the next step would be a complaint to the Standing Judicial Commission, or SJC. It’s a long, arduous process, and one has to be completely dedicated to seeing it through, on top of the likely social consequences of taking such an action.

    During his sermon series on Esther, Dr. Goligher told any sexual abuse survivors, “you will be believed”. What he didn’t say, as far as I know, was what the church’s policy was on dealing with perpetrators, if they even have any. For all we know, they could have been flying by the seat of their collective pants for years.

    I really appreciated the series on Esther, as well as his opposition to ESS. I hope Goligher does the right thing, whatever that may entail, and encourages others to do likewise.

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  34. Ken P.: Tenth Presbyterian is listed at both TGC and 9Marks.

    It was a ground zero for these guys, pre T4G, via its ‘Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals’ outfit (ran the ‘Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology’).
    The Friendship of Mahaney, Dever, Mohler, Duncan blossomed as they served together (with others, see list) on the Alliance council in the early 2000s:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20061112174438/http://sites.silaspartners.com:80/ace

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  35. Luther, in his exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, has this to say when he comes to the words “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”

    “The others are more subtle. They are those who are offended spiritually by their neighbor. The thing that disturbs them in others is that these do not appeal to them because of their great love (as they imagine it to be) for righteousness and wisdom. These sensitive and tender saints cannot stand sin and folly. In the Scriptures they are called serpents and venomous vermin [Matt. 23:33]. They are so stark blind that they cannot see nor can they be persuaded (as the previous group of coarse sinners can) that they are the ones who do not forgive their neighbor, yes, that they regard their hostile attitude toward their neighbor as a meritorious work. They are recognized by the fact that they talk about, judge, and condemn everything their neighbor does and never conceal anything they know about him. In German these people are called backbiters, in Greek “devils,” in Latin “slanderers,” in Hebrew “Satan.” In brief, they are composed of that accursed rabble that casts suspicion on everybody and scorns and condemns all, but always under the guise of holiness. This satanic, hellish, and accursed plague unfortunately rages in Christendom more devastatingly today than any other pestilence ever did. It poisons almost every tongue, and—may God have mercy!—people neither heed nor worry about this pitiful condition. They are the people who show him who makes a misstep no mercy, do not (as befits Christians) pray for him, instruct him kindly, or chasten him in a brotherly fashion. According to the divine and human law, a transgressor is faced with but one judge, one court, and one accusation, but these hellish and venomous tongues force us to face as many judges, courts, and accusations as there are ears that hear of our misdeeds, even though these number a thousand daily. These are the miserable saints who do not come to forgive or forget their neighbor’s sin. It is in their nature never to be well disposed in their heart toward any person. Thus they not only never become worthy of God’s forgiveness, but God’s displeasure with them will not even let them recognize their sin”

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  36. This is devastating no matter how you look at it. This is devastating for the church that appears to be sweeping under rug sexual abuse and assault and is damaging to their witness. It is devastating for what happened with woman in catacomb and young men. Like all forms of estrangement, Excommunication of Mr. Snyder is devastating for all parties concerned. This lawsuit will bring more to the public fore, and more devastation will follow for all concerned. Looking at tape, some people walked by and courteously took the document. Most just walked by and acted like they didn’t see Mr. Snyder. Mr. Snyder talked to a person in leadership and Mr Snyder informed the leader there are legal issues with talking and giving out the pamphlet to this deacon or elder. Someone nice stopped by to talk to Mr. Snyder, but she was very quick and discrete in her visit because it could cause more trouble. She asked Mr. Snyder to call her later. Mr. Snyder is shunned but not everyone agrees. I don’t see harassment. Mr.Snyder wasn’t accosting church members. He was wise for videoing the whole episode. Hope there is some kind of resolution to this all.

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  37. Ligon Duncan excitedly blogging way back in 2005 about the “new networks” that were “quietly astir in the evangelical and Reformed community today”:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20051214203610/http://www.reformation21.org:80/Reformation_21_Blog/Reformation_21_Blog/58/?vobId=617&pm=114

    “C.J. Mahaney and John MacArthur…they’ve gotten to know one another (through mutual friends like Mark Dever)…they are both colleagues of mine, serving as Council members of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals…together with them, in the Alliance, we are working to spread the humbling, delighting, God-exalting, Christ-centered Gospel of sovereign grace”

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  38. Lowlandseer,

    Lowlander,
    To me, the issues is “are church leaders covering up for perverts that are sexually asulting kids”. If the leaders are, they need to be thrown out. Peroid. There is NO place for leaders that will not “come clean” about perverts under them, or in their organization. It is you that is “diverting” the issue..TWW attempts to keep the victim, and those that defend the victims, the central focus, as they should…
    I have been involved in churches for over 50 years, and have seen the cover up by leaders of perverts under them first hand… and itis just beyond the pale… especially when I listened to these leaders tell me how and to live and what to believe all these years…..

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  39. Jeffrey Chalmers: It is you that is “diverting” the issue.

    Jeff I agree. Dee asked this Lowlandseer this question: Are you saying that the Gospel Partnership should be exempt from receiving some information from an individual regarding a speaker? I asked the same question: Do you think that we should not alert people to the dangers of false teaching?

    We are still awaiting an answer.

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  40. Lowlandseer: Luther, in his exposition of the Lord’s Prayer,

    Did he write this before or after his dialogue with Erasmus on free will? In that dialogue he went against everything that he wrote in the passage you quoted here. What a role model…

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  41. Ken F (aka Tweed): Did he write this before or after his dialogue with Erasmus on free will? In that dialogue he went against everything that he wrote in the passage you quoted here. What a role model…

    Ken,

    Luther wrote some pretty awful things. His debate with Erasmus was one of them and his rantings against the Jews was another (many have credited Luther rhetoric for Hitler’s actions 400 years later). And the Lords Prayer says “as we forgive those who trespass against US”. It means that I forgive those who have wronged me personally but I do not the right nor power to forgive on behalf of someone else. In fact the law of love thy neighbours means that I should should seek justice for them. The Lord did not mean that we just let religious leaders teach false doctrines nor enable abuse (I wonder if that is what Lowlandseer was suggesting?)

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  42. ZechZav,

    The NT does NOT say we are to be “passive” We are to think and question. Great leaders embrace thinking and questioning…. corrupt leaders do not

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  43. It appears Dee does not want us posting the name of the minister. I know who he is and will post it but will wait until told to do so. If the allegations are true, then the 9Marks way would have us all make sure that his current church is brought up to speed on his sin issues and how he did not “leave his old church well”.

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  44. ZechZav: Note on my last post. My comment “we have a much higher standard” means that we have a higher standard than “free speech”. Our standard is truth, justice and love.

    I’m glad you modified the initial post but I’ll still go with freedom of speech. It is difficult enough to achieve truth and justice, it is near impossible in the presence of censorship.

    Even establishing a standard of love can be used as a club to silence objections. Having experienced church authoritarians, they pronounced their critics as having the wrong spirit and exhibiting a lack of love, meanwhile their own bullying continued. Extending their principle, they would judge Christ’s objections to the Pharisee’s as displaying his lack of love.

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  45. Thersites: I’m glad you modified the initial post but I’ll still go with freedom of speech.It is difficult enough to achieve truth and justice, it is near impossible in the presence of censorship.

    Even establishing a standard of love can be used as a club to silence objections.Having experienced church authoritarians, they pronounced their critics as having the wrong spirit and exhibiting a lack of love, meanwhile their own bullying continued.Extending their principle, they would judge Christ’s objections to the Pharisee’s as displaying his lack of love.

    Nobody is talking about censorship. I made a deadpan comment intended in humour which Lowlandseer used to divert the conversation.

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  46. Lowlandseer,

    Given the fact that I’ve been blogging for 10 years come March, I bet you can come up with a book on the logical fallacies of TWW. Keep me abreast with the ever increasing number of fallacies. I’ll post the number front and center so people can be forewarned.

    As for Mahaney, did you go after Rachel Denhollander as well or is she hands off because she’s Reformed? There is more coming out on Mahaney any day now and thankfully it has nothing to do with me. Others with far more resources than I have taken an interest, lo these many years!! It will probably happen while I’m in Israel.

    You keep coming back here. Deep down inside, I suspect you may like me, even with all of my logical delusions. Happy New Year and prayers for a wonderful 2019 for you and yours!

    PS- Remember this a blog that allows ALL to comment. Years ago a woman begged me to not delete comments so people in the evangelical set could see how they are perceived by people who do not have access to a microphone. I never expected more than 20 or 30 people to read this blog and I’m not joking. The fact that so many do is a blessing for those who feel like they haven’t been heard. Take Jules Woodson, as an example. Whether you agree with me or not, I love Jesus and trust Him in how He has directed my path. I dedicate this blog to the silenced ones.

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  47. ZechZav: Nobody is talking about censorship. I made a deadpan comment intended in humour which Lowlandseer used to divert the conversation

    I think there are a number of people who fear an open dialog.They hear things they cannot accept and often fail to see humor because the believe they are *defending the faith* from the riff riff.

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  48. NJ: if we were members of this church and I had been there for the congregational meetings in March 2016, I’d have been left wondering if the place was really safe for our family.

    I am amazed that this grave issue was brought up in a congregational meeting at Tenth Presbyterian, and this alone gives me some hope.

    The church of my childhood had a similar governing structure. As a teen, I attended all congregational meetings. Although we had disputes galore, nobody ever mentioned the predator who had attached himself to our youth group.

    I believe that our clergy naively, arrogantly thought they had stopped the problem, and that they considered the topic too shameful and upsetting for open discussion. They would not have seen themselves as covering up s exual abuse. They would have thought they were protecting the reputations of young victims. Either way, survivors are left to figure things out for themselves, but at our church the clergy did not act out of cynicism. This many years after Spotlight, are any clergy still naive about such matters?

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  49. ZechZav: Nobody is talking about censorship.

    Sorry for the confusion, I didn’t think you were talking about censorship. The realms of freedom of speech and our own motivation do intersect, I was erroring on the side of freedom. Sorry if that was confused with what ever lowlanseer was pursuing.

    On the issue of speech, one of my concerns for Mr Snyder is how quickly the authoritarians diverged from a presentation of relevant facts to an attack on his person.

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  50. My experience, Zech, is that when clergy are in the stand, it doesn’t matter what nonsense they say. As long as they claim to be intimidated, harassed, etc., courts will tend to take their side, no matter how ludicrous their assertions. It’s kind of sad—it’s the same deference that allows so many bad things to happen, including abuse.

    Thersites,

    Thersites: Sorry for the confusion, I didn’t think you were talking about censorship.The realms of freedom of speech and our own motivation do intersect, I was erroring on the side of freedom.Sorry if that was confused with what ever lowlanseer was pursuing.

    On the issue of speech, one of my concerns for Mr Snyder is how quickly the authoritarians diverged from a presentation of relevant facts to an attack on his person.

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  51. ZechZav: Luther wrote some pretty awful things. His debate with Erasmus was one of them and his rantings against the Jews was another (many have credited Luther rhetoric for Hitler’s actions 400 years later).

    I had heard of his anti-semitism but I had not read much of his writings other than his dialogue with Erasmus. What surprises me about his writing on the Lord’s prayer is his blatant hypocrisy in light of what he wrote about Erasmus – he appears to condemn himself. I am looking forward to someone explaining why this is not hypocrisy.

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  52. Eric Bonetti: My experience, Zech, is that when clergy are in the stand, it doesn’t matter what nonsense they say. As long as they claim to be intimidated, harassed, etc., courts will tend to take their side

    I don’t question your experience with clergy as witnesses or parties. My experience does differ. Enough judges are anti-religion that some lawyers warn clients against even inviting clergy into the courtroom for moral support, let alone putting them on the stand. Some judges sincerely do not want to appear partial to clergy. Some of religions other than Christianity have experienced attempts to win their souls. So clergy may enjoy some advantage, but it’s the luck of the draw if the courthouse has an assortment of judges.

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  53. I’m so upset to hear about all this.

    I worshipped at Tenth Presbyterian while I was a student at the Curtis Institute of Music, ’90-’94. This may have been before Paul Jones was serving as music minister. Dr. Boice was the senior minister back then.

    Musical excellence in worship means a great deal to me. But sexual abuse should never, EVER be covered up.

    Dee and Mr. Synder, please keep doing the Lord’s work. Keep exposing the darkness. Ephesians 5:11 comes to mind…

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  54. Eeyore,

    Eeyore,

    Mercifully, Jim Boice died in 2000, before any of the incidents I have knowlege of occurred. So, as far as I know, he was a good man.

    Phil

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  55. Sarah Leitner,

    Sarah,

    The victims have not spoken out, but one of them did request an eccessiastical trial in which the elders of Tenth were found guilty of multiple charges and for which they were disciplined by the Philadelphia Presbytery. I can not ascertain what this discipline was, as no elders were deposed from their position. It is anticipated that victims will testify at the trial on 02/04/19.

    Phil

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  56. Nathan Priddis: I’m curious about your [Lowlandseer’s] name. Are you a seer?

    Well, there is a lot to see in the Lowlands. The majority of Scotland’s human population lives there (the majority of the midge population lives in the Highlands, though admittedly that’s a mathematical abstraction as the midge population is infinity).

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  57. Philip Snyder:
    Eeyore,
    Mercifully, Jim Boice died in 2000, before any of the incidents I have knowlege of occurred.So, as far as I know, he was a good man.

    I *really* want to believe that – just as I *really* wanted to believe Mahaney, Dever, John Yoder, and even Bill Cosby were “good men”. Unfortunately, history has proven that they weren’t. Abuse situations like this are almost always *patterns* – they develop over years. Years. If the first allegations tie back to 2001, it’s very likely the abuse was already ongoing long before that.

    Sadly, I have the feeling that this scandal is just getting started.

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  58. Nick Bulbeck: Well, there is a lot to see in the Lowlands. The majority of the midge population lives in the Highlands, though admittedly that’s a mathematical abstraction as the midge population is infinity.

    The whiskys available in the Highlands make the midges worth fighting through. 🙂

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  59. Jeffrey J Chalmers: Sigh….. the abuse of power never ends…..
    bad things happen, man up and admit it, deal with it, and move on….why is that so hard for leaders!

    Sometimes (not saying in this case, I have no idea what the problem is here) but sometimes the person they ought to report holds compromising information about those who ought to report him. That’s just the way sociopaths tend to work, in general. No idea about this situation, it’s just something I tend to bear in mind when things like this come up.

    Of course, there’s also the embarrassment factor. When you’ve postured yourselves as the salvation of the church and then something like this happens…

    And then there’s the financial incentive – filthy lucre – gotta keep those bills and salaries getting paid.

    So what is with these “Christian” men who want to spank on naked boys? Is this a thing? This is the 3rd case to be made public just recently, isn’t it? Just how often is this going on behind the scenes? And out of this whole big important church, there’s only one man taking a stand against it? Really?

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  60. Lowlandseer: As for others’ assessments of Mr DeYoung as a false teacher, lying to protect a ‘managawd’ (copyright HUG) and your own aspersions that because he is a man who is so busy preaching, writing etc he can’t possibly be closely involved in the homeschooling of his children……well, where do you go with that? (I’ve counted 16 of 22 logical fallacies used so far).

    Oh, really? And which logical fallacies am I guilty of, in particular? How have I misrepresented DeYoung? He willingly signed his name to a letter containing blatant lies, all in order to buttress the reputation of a highly suspicious pastor. And DeYoung hasn’t addressed this in the years since. That’s all I’ve pointed out. Don’t you find that kind of behaviour suspect in a self-professed “man of God”?

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  61. dee: Nobody is talking about censorship. I made a deadpan comment intended in humour…

    I agree your original comment (it seems a long time ago now) didn’t imply censorship – in fact, to my mind it implied the opposite. But free speech is complicated, so it makes for an interesting discussion.

    Accepting that it was only meant as a wryly humorous aside, your comment nevertheless highlighted an important truism: namely, anyone who thinks free speech is all motherhood, apple pie and joy… has not understood free speech.

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  62. Ooooh, now isn’t that a precious quotation? And perfectly worded to silence all criticism of hypocrisy by public figures.

    I was baptised and confirmed in the Lutheran church, and I know that Martin Luther accomplished some good things, but some of his words seriously rub me the wrong way.

    Lowlandseer: They are recognized by the fact that they talk about, judge, and condemn everything their neighbor does and never conceal anything they know about him.

    Why should I conceal this letter by DeYoung and his pals? They certainly weren’t shy about signing it, or posting on TGC’s website. That is, until they started facing criticism about the provable falsehoods contained in it. After that, they took it down, then put it back up unaltered and shut down all comments on it.

    These men have chosen to be public figures, LLS. They need to learn how to put up with public criticism.

    These are the miserable saints who do not come to forgive or forget their neighbor’s sin. It is in their nature never to be well disposed in their heart toward any person.

    What would be the point of forgiving DeYoung et al. for lying in this letter? They’ve never repented for doing so — for that matter, they’ve never so much as acknowledged the falsehoods that they signed their names to. Until they do, I will very gladly remind them of their fault in this matter. I see no reason to forget what kind of men DeYoung, Carson and Taylor are, or to stop reminding other people.

    To bring this back to the topic of the post: Lowlandseer, how do you see the actions of Phil Snyder with respect to Tenth Presbyterian? Is he a “slanderer”, a “devil”, and a “satan” for trying to inform its members and the public about the elders’ actions? He’s right here on this comment board. If that’s how you feel about him, go ahead and tell him directly. If not, then how are his actions fundamentally different from ZachZev’s in trying to educate believers in England about the nature of Kevin DeYoung?

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  63. Eli:
    Musical excellence in worship means a great deal to me.

    “Excellence” of any kind is a reflection of the Creator’s wisdom and His extravagant generosity in the distribution of gifts to His image-bearers.

    But I worry a little at the kinds of excellence that appear to be most important in present-day churches. It’s as if the churches are in a “race to the top” with the secular world in certain areas, in performance arts such as public speaking and music, to the neglect of other areas that arguably are much more important to God and to the internal life of the churches.

    There is no public market for “what is good and what YHWH requires” of us, justice, mercy and humility. There is no competition with the secular world for “the greater matters of the Law”, justice, mercy and faithfulness. The secular world does not value these things highly, and seemingly neither do many of the churches.

    Philip Snyder:

    The victims have not spoken out, but one of them did request an eccessiastical trial in which the elders of Tenth were found guilty of multiple charges and for which they were disciplined by the Philadelphia Presbytery.I can not ascertain what this discipline was, as no elders were deposed from their position.It is anticipated that victims will testify at the trial on 02/04/19.

    What are the constraints on public observation of ecclesiastical trials? Does one need to be a member of the denomination to be present at a trial? I imagine that there may be many opportunities in future for avocational investigative journalists in the Told Wilhelm mold to shine light on hidden things in the hierarchies of the churches.

    One would think that lapses, or worse, of this magnitude would severely damage an officer’s reputation, disqualifying that person from office per Paul’s pastoral specifications. But if someone’s reputation is shown to be deficient in a trial that is not publicized, is the new information actually part of that person’s “reputation”?

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  64. SiteSeer: Sometimes (not saying in this case, I have no idea what the problem is here) but sometimes the person they ought to report holds compromising information about those who ought to report him. That’s just the way sociopaths tend to work, in general. No idea about this situation, it’s just something I tend to bear in mind when things like this come up.

    Of course, there’s also the embarrassment factor. When you’ve postured yourselves as the salvation of the church and then something like this happens…

    And then there’s the financial incentive – filthy lucre – gotta keep those bills and salaries getting paid.

    So what is with these “Christian” men who want to spank on naked boys? Is this a thing? This is the 3rd case to be made public just recently, isn’t it? Just how often is this going on behind the scenes? And out of this whole big important church, there’s only one man taking a stand against it? Really?

    I would suggest you are on to something here. There appears to be a major tie in with ‘spanking’ issues and the Tripp brothers, one of whom was/is on staff at Tenth. Was this the same Tripp that was part of the group of three that was sent to investigate Chantry for naked spanking incidents?
    I believe it unlikely that all of this abuse is the random result of ‘too many perverts’ in the cathedral. Rather, as social science has suggested, sexual abuse is often more about power than sex. Is it possible that abuse could be perpetuated by those in power to ‘get something’ on those under them? If so, could this also explain why so often elders refuse to out abusive pastors, or other elders? Abuse also creates trauma in the victims, with trauma being one of the tools that narcissists use to confuse and manipulate others.
    Under this theory, the rampant abuse of powerful people such as Hollywood, political, sports and newsroom top dogs could be attempts to traumatize and control those under them. Not to mention blackmail them into keeping their mouths shut should they know too much. Even decades ago Billy Graham knew to be concerned about hidden cameras and planted sex kittens . . . just sayin.

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  65. TS00,

    I noticed this connection too, but it is not the same person. Paul Tripp was part of the pastoral staff at 10th from about 2007 to about 2011. His brother Tedd Tripp is the person who was part of the “special ARBCA council” that was involved in the initial internal “investigation” of the TJC scandal.

    I have a high regard for Paul Tripp; sat his “Methods of Biblical Change” class at WTS-East/CCEF multiple times in the 1990s-2000s period and found it very helpful at a personal level.

    If I understand the timeline, Tedd Tripp quietly separated from ARBCA in the wake of the flawed process surrounding the ABRCA investigation of the TJC crimes; it’s hard not to intuit a connection (and if there is a connection, one could laud TT for detaching from ARBCA even as one laments his failure to report what he knew). I hope that Paul Tripp did not know of the crimes (alleged to have been) committed at 10th Pres and that his departure from their pastoral staff (to focus on public speaking in church contexts on sanctification / counseling / parenting related subjects) has no connection to that.

    But one worries that it might have.

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  66. TS00: Even decades ago Billy Graham knew to be concerned about hidden cameras and planted sex kittens . . . just sayin.

    For every “planted sex kitten,” there are about ten thousand women who just want to earn an honest wage or fully participate in church activities . . . just sayin.

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  67. “In 2019, TWW will continue to ask questions of churches who claim they are against sex abuse but might appear to be acting in a contrary fashion…allegedly, that is.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Can you also ask questions of christian celebrities who claim they are against sex abuse but might appear to be acting in a contrary fashion…allegedly, that is?

    What a moment for Ed Stetzer (who works at Wheaton).

    Ed Stetzer is inventing a new hat for himself to wear — advocate concerning sexual abuse.

    a clumsy designation, but he’s rather slippery in his message.

    He says it’s terrible and that evangelicals need to do better. he stops short of pointing out that it is the institutions (churches, camps, and schools) where the sexual abuse/assault takes place, followed by calculated cover-up.

    but then again, these institutions and their leaders are his career path.

    he can’t say he’s advocating for survivors because he’s silenced too many of them. (what a silly man).

    but really, and i think we all see this, one cannot be an advocate ‘concerning sexual abuse’ without advocating for survivors. ALL survivors.

    even those who won’t help to promote his career.

    speaking of his career, it’s quite an ironic moment: he’s poised to take off with his book deal as ‘advocate concerning sexual abuse’. he disqualifies himself if he remains silent on Philip Ryken’s alleged cover-up.

    well, he’s already disqualified himself with his silence on James MacDonald’s alleged cover-up.

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  68. TS00: … with trauma being one of the tools that narcissists use to confuse and manipulate others.

    My thought is only tangentially related to the main topic, but might be useful. I have been wondering in recent years whether the Latin/Western tradition churches may have seriously misinterpreted the Bible’s understanding of “the wrath of God” (for example, read the OT and Romans — or even just Romans — with an eye toward a theology of wrath, and you get something that is very different from the current mainstream view).

    If that intuition is sound, a significant component of present-day mainstream evangelical (and RC) theology — and a component that is extremely important to mainstream individual religious motivation — is a kind of gaslighting.
    If that’s right, one should not be surprised if manipulation by other means is also widespread. It might be at the core of the enterprise.

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  69. Friend,

    I was not suggesting that the victims of sexual abuse are ‘fake’, but that public figures were often set up for blackmail in this manner, as far back as the eighties, and probably centuries longer. Some have suggested that fraternities provide the same sort of extortionable events. Some claims of systemic sexual abuse point to it being an attempt to create ‘useful tools’, who are likely severely abused and traumatized persons themselves, often deliberately addicted to drugs. Human trafficking provides such abused and traumatized persons who are used against their will. I am no expert, but merely theorize that sexual abuse is far more rampant and systemic than would be explained by random perverts with out of control sexual impulses. In cases where women, girls or boys are used as extortion bait, it would be my contention that they are most likely also victims of abuse.

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  70. Samuel Conner,

    I too suspect, as has many a scholar, that the ‘wrath of God’ and the theology of hell were long used as tools of fear and manipulation, not to mention excommunication, which was alleged to cast one from the kingdom of God. Sound familiar? Heretics were fiercely attacked, their main ‘crime’ often being the desire to escape the controlling, authoritarian power of the institutional church and worship in peace. Sexual abuse could easily be a similar tool of those seeking to have and maintain power.

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  71. Anyone with an ounce of discernment should be slow to judge based on this irresponsible post. I am not in leadership but am an involved member of Tenth Church and am well aware of the events on which the allegations are based as are most of the church. I have known Phil Snyder for years. He is a brilliant manipulator and purveyor of half truths, distortions and unfounded and hyperbolic accusations at every turn. It’s his pattern. Phil made a totally bizarre accusation against my husband of inappropriately handling and touching a disturbed woman who had entered the church and interrupted the service. She was treated appropriately with respect and compassion (and all of this in front of every person in attendance of the service) and yet Phil made this outrageous allegation. Typical for him. When our son’s cell phone was taken by another child at a youth group event, my husband and I decided we did not law enforcement involved because we wanted to show grace, Phil made outrageous and inaccurate allegations of “cover up” of a crime. Half truths and distortions of truth are lies. Phil knowingly asserts these. Repeatedly. Why would he do that? I hope you are getting the idea that Phil appears to suffer from some very bizarre ‘savior complex’. Only he can save the church! What a hero! Except that every allegation he has made has taken a speck of truth, left out volumes of relevant facts and information, and turned it into a grotesque and bizarre distortion. His portrayal of the leadership during the choir director’s departure? Not accurate. Not even close. Lots of details conveniently left out. For example, at the time of the director’s firing, no victims had yet come forward. He was fired for failing to comply with conditions of employment, NOT for abuse (again, without victims’ testimony, it was only suspected at that point in time.) After victims came forward, the leadership conducted a congregational meeting to inform of the abuse and to call for any other victims to come forward. This prompted a lawsuit for defamation by the abuser and the court has ordered a permanent gag order. Phil did serve as a deacon until he was stripped of that office for making bombastic and accusatory statements (again) in a manner unworthy of the office. He had the recourse of taking his complaints to presbytery, but he chose public disruption instead, because he loves the attention and spotlight. How else can he play the hero? What better way to get people’s attention than to allege sexual molestation? And rightfully so. But how many of you would characterize an adult person having their ankle touched as they passed by a homeless person sitting on the floor as sexual molestation? Was that appropriate? No, but I’ll bet you were imagining something different and far worse, just as Phil would like. The problem is, the ‘crimes’ are fiction. Rape? Come to the trial and find out what he defines as ‘rape’. I’m sure you will be surprised. Sad thing is, he believes his own distortions. There appears to be some serious psychology going on there. This warped perception of events and proclivity for creating drama out of nothing also got him banned from serving in other areas of service in the church. Rightfully so, for his bizarre and overbearing presence was unsettling, actually creepy. Oh, and he wanted everyone to know that he carries a gun. Put all that together and try to use some discernment. Tenth Presbyterian Church is a place that defends the weak. Liam Goligher has put his ministry on the line time and time again to expose and eradicate abuse, not to cover it up. Phil’s campaign against this church is driven by something straight out of hell. And to steal a line from this disastrously deceptive report, for the lawyers, this is all alleged.

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  72. An elected body of individuals would have to change the WCF and the book of church order before extended permission could be given to women in the PCA. What would be the incentive? Are the women of the PCA complaining?

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  73. Samuel Conner,

    All I can say is that it was from Ted Tripp that most people in my parental circles years ago were taught the importance of ‘spanking’, which I now reject. We were never able to apply his methods as directed, nor see our sweet babies as raging monsters from birth. Some will laugh it off as ‘conspiracy’, but I simply see the desire to control and manipulate people as the main tool Satan uses against us; and we get it from all corners of society. I truly believe that the deepest human desire is to live free from manipulation and control, and reject any notions of God as a cruel, controlling manipulator. If one posits that the most perfect and loving Being refrains from coercing mere humans from doing his will – when he is perfectly capable of doing so – one might begin to grasp the extreme value of free, non-coerced choices.

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  74. TS00,

    Years ago when I read TT’s “Shepherding a Child’s Heart”, my view of individual eschatology was still firmly “infernalist.” From that perspective, forceful child discipline could appear to be in the child’s interest since ultimate matters were at stake.

    IMO, things look quite a bit different once one concedes the possibility that “infernalism” might not be as clearly taught in Scripture as is widely believed.

    Perhaps as future centuries and millennia unfold, the churches will discover what does and does not work well in various areas of life. We’ve only been at it for 2000 years, so I suppose patience is warranted.

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  75. TS00: I was not suggesting that the victims of sexual abuse are ‘fake’, but that public figures were often set up for blackmail in this manner

    “Often”? Questionable, but point taken. Language matters, though. Calling someone a “planted sex kitten” is just a wee bit different from calling her a victim of human trafficking.

    Not long ago, newspapers still printed stories about twelve-year-old prostit utes. Not much public sympathy came their way. When kidnapped girls escaped from pim ps, they often had trouble getting the police to listen.

    Re: fraternity parties as “extortionable events,” I would conjecture that most of the mischief is crafted by the hosts. At my college, frat boys would dutifully use a hand stamp on every girl who arrived. The more hand stamps, the more “attention” the girl received. And then there were the pig parties. But that was awhile back. I’m sure the frats are just full of sitting ducks these days. /sarc

    Yes, abuse victims can sometimes be used to harm others, but let’s remember who the villains are. And let’s not feel too sorry for Billy Graham.

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  76. A member,

    Thank you for your comment.

    So, what you are saying is that the church made an error in selecting Phil for being a deacon? It was only after he became a deacon that he became, as you have said, bizarre? Do you know if the church leaders met with him and asked him to get help if he is so bizarre? Or are you saying he is a *brilliant manipulator* and is knowingly doing this to cause disruption because he just likes to do so? Seriously? Give me a good reason. Attention does not explain this level of protest.

    Your next statement is really the crux of the matter and it does concern me.

    ” For example, at the time of the director’s firing, no victims had yet come forward. He was fired for failing to comply with conditions of employment, NOT for abuse (again, without victims’ testimony, it was only suspected at that point in time.)”

    Suspected? So you ware saying the people knew something? Was he given a going away party with a standing ovation despite this knowledge?

    “After victims came forward, the leadership conducted a congregational meeting to inform of the abuse and to call for any other victims to come forward. This prompted a lawsuit for defamation by the abuser and the court has ordered a permanent gag order.”

    Are you also saying that the court will NEVER let anyone discuss a man who has committed sexual abuse? This seems a little weird to me. If this was the case, why hasn’t Phil been sued for defamation by the alleged abuser? Did the church know something in the past and still allow this music guy continue in his position for a number of years?

    You said “But how many of you would characterize an adult person having their ankle touched as they passed by a homeless person sitting on the floor as sexual molestation? Was that appropriate? No, but I’ll bet you were imagining something different and far worse, just as Phil would like”

    Actually, such an act can be considered molestation. What in the world was the guy doing sitting on a floor and “touching ankles?” I sure hope the police were called because homelessness does not automatically lead to unwanted “ankle touching.” I’m sure you have read up on paraphilias. We wrote about a pastor who was convicted of sexual molestation because he rubbed feet. So, I’m not going to give that a pass until I know more. Also, are you denying the charges that the musical pervert was nude spanking young men? Or do you think that isn’t serious abuse?

    Finally, it is not irresponsible for us to reprint something that has already been printed publicly. Your church has a problem. It appears that Phil will continue to protest what happened. Maybe the church can release a statement denying everything that Phil says? You do know people have contributed money to his campaign, right? Maybe the church can prove him wrong. I know it is *yucky* when such things happen but this is what you take on when you are a church.

    Unfortunately, I have no idea who you are. Unlike Phil, you have chosen to remain anonymous. If he is doing what you say he is doing, why not come forward with your name and fight for what you claim to be true? Why not fight for your church? You know my name. Why not tell me yours?

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  77. TS00: I simply see the desire to control and manipulate people as the main tool Satan uses against us; and we get it from all corners of society. I truly believe that the deepest human desire is to live free from manipulation and control, and reject any notions of God as a cruel, controlling manipulator. If one posits that the most perfect and loving Being refrains from coercing mere humans from doing his will – when he is perfectly capable of doing so – one might begin to grasp the extreme value of free, non-coerced choices.

    Great comment. I could never spank babies, either and was shocked wha I saw some nut jobs advocating this as “God’s will.”

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  78. Friend,

    I apologize for careless language use. In my own opinion, the ‘sex kitten’ concept was always a false caricature of abuse victims, although there was a time when I was naively unaware of such things. I’m afraid I have limited trust or sympathy for Graham, or any other wealthy celebrity figure. I also would not assert that being ‘set up’ necessarily infers innocence; compromising photos, texts, etc. always come in handy if you are looking for ways to manipulate people for your own purposes, whatever they might be. I am opposed to all manners of abuse or manipulation.

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  79. So I am going to wade in here. While I am not privy to firsthand information in this matter, I note several things about member’s comments.

    First, I am inherently cautious about any poster who doesn’t want to use her or his real name. Yes, our democracy has a long and honorable tradition of anonymity—a right guaranteed by the Constitution. That said, if the poster is going to go for ad hominem criticisms, why not put her name?

    Second, most of the information in this commenter’s post appears to be ad hominem, and very similar to the dilatory smear tactics two members of my former parish posted here in TWW when my articles were posted. In short, neither unexpected nor terribly original.

    Third, the comments are largely a series of non sequitors. The issue at hand is largely binary: Did Phil harass people within the meaning of the law? Based on the video evidence, it does not appear to me that he has. I welcome any verifiable evidence to the contrary.

    Fourth, even if everything in “member”’s post is accurate, it still is inappropriate to take a member to court. And if he indeed has engaged in harassment, where are the police charges?

    Fifth, I have been in touch with Phil and he appears eminently reasonable to me. Having been in his shoes, I am prepared to fully support him, including financially. I hope others will do the same.

    A member:
    Anyone with an ounce of discernment should be slow to judge based on this irresponsible post.I am not in leadership but am an involved member of Tenth Church and am well aware of the events on which the allegations are based as are most of the church.I have known Phil Snyder for years.He is a brilliant manipulator and purveyor of half truths, distortions and unfounded and hyperbolic accusations at every turn. It’s his pattern. Phil made a totally bizarre accusation against my husband of inappropriately handling and touching a disturbed woman who had entered the church and interrupted the service.She was treated appropriately with respect and compassion (and all of this in front of every person in attendance of the service) and yet Phil made this outrageous allegation.Typical for him.When our son’s cell phone was taken by another child at a youth group event, my husband and I decidedwe did not law enforcement involved because we wanted to show grace, Phil made outrageous and inaccurate allegations of “cover up” of a crime.Half truths and distortions of truth are lies.Phil knowingly asserts these. Repeatedly.Why would he do that?I hope you are getting the idea that Phil appears to suffer from some very bizarre ‘savior complex’.Only he can save the church!What a hero! Except that every allegation he has made has taken a speck of truth, left out volumes of relevant facts and information, and turned it into a grotesque and bizarre distortion.His portrayal of the leadership during the choir director’s departure?Not accurate.Not even close.Lots of details conveniently left out. For example, at the time of the director’s firing, no victims had yet come forward.He was fired for failing to comply with conditions of employment, NOT for abuse (again, without victims’ testimony, it was only suspected at that point in time.) After victims came forward, the leadership conducted a congregational meeting to inform of the abuse and to call for any other victims to come forward.This prompted a lawsuit for defamation by the abuser and the court has ordered a permanent gag order. Phil did serve as a deacon until he was stripped of that office for making bombastic and accusatory statements (again) in a manner unworthy of the office.He had the recourse of taking his complaints to presbytery, but he chose public disruption instead, because he loves the attention and spotlight. How else can he play the hero? What better way to get people’s attention than to allege sexual molestation?And rightfully so. But how many of you would characterize an adult person having their ankle touched as they passed by a homeless person sitting on the floor as sexual molestation? Was that appropriate? No, but I’ll bet you were imagining something different and far worse, just as Phil would like. The problem is, the ‘crimes’ are fiction. Rape? Come to the trial and find out what he defines as ‘rape’. I’m sure you will be surprised.Sad thing is, he believes his own distortions.There appears to be some serious psychology going on there.This warped perception of events and proclivity for creating drama out of nothing also got him banned from serving in other areas of service in the church.Rightfully so, for his bizarre and overbearing presence was unsettling, actually creepy.Oh, and he wanted everyone to know that he carries a gun.Put all that together and try to use some discernment.Tenth Presbyterian Church is a place that defends the weak. Liam Goligher has put his ministry on the line time and time again to expose and eradicate abuse, not to cover it up.Phil’s campaign against this church is driven by something straight out of hell. And to steal a line from this disastrously deceptive report, for the lawyers, this is all alleged.

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  80. TS00: There appears to be a major tie in with ‘spanking’ issues and the Tripp brothers, one of whom was/is on staff at Tenth.

    That would be Paul (brother Tedd had a part in the ARBCA/Chantry matter).

    Paul Tripp on spanking at Desiring God [40 lashes?!]:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20090517083201/http://www.desiringgod.org:80/Blog/1795_Tripp_on_Using_Threats_and_Rewards_to_Motivate_Obedience

    “I know, because we’re in a service of worship, that I’ve got to take this child out so that we can deal with it and bring him back in. So I say, ‘You need to be quiet. If you’re not quiet, that’s a direct disobedience to Daddy, and we’ll go out, I’ll paddle your little bottom, and we’ll come back in again. And hear me: Daddy is willing to do this forty times, because Daddy won’t lose, because Daddy can’t lose, because Daddy represents Jesus’.”

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  81. The threat of excommunication in these 9Marks “healthy” churches is essentially a way to intimidate and manipulate church members from spilling the beans. Scaring the holy bejeebers out of pew-sitters is unhealthy, but authoritarian pulpits love to do it … for the glory of God, of course.

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  82. Max:
    The threat of excommunication in these 9Marks “healthy” churches is essentially a way to intimidate and manipulate church members from spilling the beans.Scaring the holy bejeebers out of pew-sitters is unhealthy, but authoritarian pulpits love to do it … for the glory of God, of course.

    Max, I agree, BUT, why do people stay under crazy authoritarian leadership as a member that volunteered to join a church/ denomination?

    Is discernment a lost people skill?

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  83. Seriously confused about the allegations and counter allegations here. While I cannot imagine the scenario of nude spanking of men, college students are pretty much adults, grown men, so would it not be consensual? Or did the accused overpower and bind them, or drug them, or what? I would find it hard to believe the position of music minister gave him power over them, perceived if not real, such that they would feel they had to comply.

    As to are women always innocent of entrapping men, of course not, snort. Some women HAVE used their sexuality in manipulating and shameful ways, as have some men.

    So I’m confused about this one particular church. Was there anything remotely happening that normal people just could not say no to? Or is this a case where the accuser has some serious problems?

    I’ve personally witnessed an encounter where woman number one was in conversation with woman number two, two’s husband standing at her side and engaged in conversation with a guy friend nearby. Later woman number one made numerous complaints about that husband’s flirting and coming on to her during that conversation. I was there. He apparently did not even know she talked to his wife, much less spoke to her himself. Woman number one left before the couple and the rest of us. Nothing happened. Yet she accused him. Later it was determined on the basis of many other incidents she had a mental problem caused by a physical disease, now treated.

    Stuff happens. So can anyone give me a concise what really happened here?

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  84. Jerome: “I know, because we’re in a service of worship, that I’ve got to take this child out so that we can deal with it and bring him back in. So I say, ‘You need to be quiet. If you’re not quiet, that’s a direct disobedience to Daddy, and we’ll go out, I’ll paddle your little bottom, and we’ll come back in again. And hear me: Daddy is willing to do this forty times, because Daddy won’t lose, because Daddy can’t lose, because Daddy represents Jesus’.”

    “And Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me. And tell them to come right now. And if they don’t obey instantly, I will hit them. And if they are scared because I hit them and still don’t want to come, I will hit them again. And I will hit them and hit them and hit them, into eternity if they don’t obey instantly because I’m Jesus and I am the Creator of the Universe and my Dad and I require INSTANT OBEDIENCE.” Tedd Tripp’s paraphrase of Matthew 19.

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  85. I just noted that Tenth Pres hosted a conference in the summer of 2018: The Church as a Refuge Conference. I don’t know how to link here but it appears under: tenth.org. Dr. Diane Langburg presented and you can read the transcript there. Diane is on the board of G.R.A.C.E. And one of the pioneer researchers on trauma, working with returning vets in the 70s. Then, during her work with sexual abuse survivors.
    This doesn’t shed light on what happened or who knew in the early 2000s. But it does give some indication on where the church might be now. Hopefully, preventing this from ever happening again. Helping victims come forward, and equipping both the laity and clergy with helping and supporting the survivors.
    Is the trial in February in the Philadelphia court system?

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  86. Benn: why do people stay under crazy authoritarian leadership

    Because they are not in their right (spiritual) minds themselves.

    Benn: Is discernment a lost people skill?

    As we enter 2019, members of the institutional church in America need to pray for a new measure of discernment … there’s some ungodly stuff going on in church ranks. However, beyond “spiritual” discernment, I have found that the ability to judge well is actually just watching and listening, exercising simple observation to sort through what is going on around you. Most church members are too trusting of leadership and fail to deploy even the most simple discernment skills. That’s why we see church members (including at least one commenter on this blog piece) rallying to the side of church leaders, while ignoring the warnings of insiders and cries of victims. So, the blind lead the blind happily forward.

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  87. One other note. I believe Dr. Langburg was on the adjunct faculty at Biblical at the time of these incidents. As readers of this blog already know, even when resources are available, it is incredibly difficult for victims to overcome the confusion and shame of coming forward. And of course they worry about being believed or blamed for the abuse.

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  88. dee: ” For example, at the time of the director’s firing, no victims had yet come forward. He was fired for failing to comply with conditions of employment, NOT for abuse (again, without victims’ testimony, it was only suspected at that point in time.)”

    Suspected? So you ware saying the people knew something? Was he given a going away party with a standing ovation despite this knowledge?

    “After victims came forward, the leadership conducted a congregational meeting to inform of the abuse and to call for any other victims to come forward. This prompted a lawsuit for defamation by the abuser and the court has ordered a permanent gag order.”

    Are you also saying that the court will NEVER let anyone discuss a man who has committed sexual abuse? This seems a little weird to me.

    Glad you spelled out some of the things that bothered me in this comment.

    One can put two and two together to figure out the alleged abuser; if I am correct, he was widely acclaimed in both religious and secular circles for performance, composition and publishing. It is difficult to imagine he was fired because he didn’t put in enough practice hours on the organ, or the like. Add to that Mr. Snyder’s assertion that a presbytery trial took place, and charges were upheld, although he does not provide the details. If this is false, I would like to see the member state so clearly, as it is significant. If it is true, we should be provided all of the details, as it makes the church’s claims that this is all the wild imaginings of a delusional former deacon more questionable. What justifies a ‘permanent’ gag order? Is that commonplace, or only reserved for people with connections?

    It is true that outsiders can only form opinions based on evidence claims presented. I am sure that there exist cases of vindictive persons who make false charges. I believe that innocent people may be, and at times are, falsely condemned. However, what seems far more common is that the more celebrated and well off a religious ‘leader’ is, the more likely he is to have left a trail of disposable people in his wake.

    Blogs like TED can present the charges of countless named accusers who are willing to go on the record, and still be sued for defamation. Somehow, the same well-crafted excuses arise time and time again. Those who expose abuse are always delirious, hungry for attention or money, or both. But how DO they manage to get people to make false charges that not only put their reputations at risk, but often leads to the loss of so much that they value? Too many times we have seen the accused make blanket denials of guilt, only to be removed from their position, or worse, for supposedly ‘trumped up’ charges.

    That does not mean that all accusations of misconduct are to be unquestionably believed, but it does suggest one ought to look at such accusations closely; particularly when more than one alleged victim arises. It would be helpful to know if Mr. Snyder knows of others who have complained of abuse and were forced out, discredited or silenced, as there is usually more than one such person in abusive systems. Perhaps the publication of his claims will reveal such persons, if they exist.

    When these charges arise, many of us wearily say, ‘Oh no, not again’ and wait for all of the evidence to be revealed. I think most would be more than happy to discover that some alleged abuse did not occur as first claimed, and that a trusted teacher genuinely deserves to keep his trust. There is a difference between being a diligent watchman and one who cries ‘wolf’; I think the reputation of those who run this site speaks for itself.

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  89. So many false assumptions . The church took action to remove the music director in whatever way they could legally. Yes, there was suspicion based on heresay information that had only recently been discovered about abuse that was alleged to have occurred at a different institution and many years prior. No victims (they were legal adults) had ever reported their abuse to law enforcement so there was no proof. But the church still took action. Of course what was inflicted upon those individuals was disgusting horrendous abuse, which is exactly why even the second-hand allegations of it prompted the church to seek a way to legally fire him. Which they did. And when the victims came forward to go on record (unfortunately past the statues of limitation for criminal prosecution) the church was willing to make this known publicly despite the risk of legal action for defamation, because it was the right thing to do. As it was, the church leadership was indeed sued and is now legally bound to a gag order. Sad case of the justice system protecting the rights of the abuser over public safety. Did the church handle the situation perfectly? No, and they have acknowledged as much. The church voluntarily hired an independent investigator team whose report was made available to the congregation and the presbytery and invited the censure of the presbytery. No cover up. They did everything necessary and possible to remove and expose the abuser and to seek out victims, despite the legal vulnerability and great cost for that. Now it’s sad that Phil would distort and twist this along with so many other things. All is not as he manipulate you into assuming. You truly have no idea, but all I can do is warn you that you are being deceived.

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  90. Ricco: “And Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me. And tell them to come right now. And if they don’t obey instantly, I will hit them. And if they are scared because I hit them and still don’t want to come, I will hit them again. And I will hit them and hit them and hit them, into eternity if they don’t obey instantly because I’m Jesus and I am the Creator of the Universe and my Dad and I require INSTANT OBEDIENCE.” Tedd Tripp’s paraphrase of Matthew 19.

    Which makes Satan the Greatest Hero of All Time, because he fought back against that Cosmic Monster.

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  91. TS00: Sexual abuse could easily be a similar tool of those seeking to have and maintain power.

    Rape has been a Weapon of Conquest and Subjugation for a LONG time.

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  92. A member,

    I appreciate you providing details, as that is all we have to go on. It is helpful to hear ‘Yes, this happened. And this is how it was dealt with.’ Rather than, ‘This is nobody’s business but ours. Trust us to deal with it. Go away.’ I like to think that fair-minded people do not demand perfection, but simple honesty and transparency. It is evasion and denial that lead people to suspect that abuse, when found, is not being properly dealt with.

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  93. A member: I hope you are getting the idea that Phil appears to suffer from some very bizarre ‘savior complex’

    Not saying that Phil is a prophet or the son of a prophet, but nearly all of God’s prophets and watchmen on the wall were labeled much the same way. Church whistleblowers in modern times have been treated similarly … paint them as weirdos, shun them, excommunicate them. One thing is for sure, the truth always rises to the surface eventually, particularly when the counterfeit tries to silence the genuine … God has a way of doing that.

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  94. Nick Bulbeck: Well, there is a lot to see in the Lowlands. The majority of Scotland’s human population lives there (the majority of the midge population lives in the Highlands, though admittedly that’s a mathematical abstraction as the midge population is infinity).

    Wait. Maybe your on to something with the midges. Could they be the reason Scotland has exported such an angry Protestantism?

    What if this whole time it really wasn’t the Canons of Dort at all.

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  95. Nathan Priddis,

    Well, the midge season is about three months out of twelve, but it’s certainly a tough three months on windless days.

    It’s easy enough to have a paper theology that says midges are all for God’s glory, and when one is being midged, one should thank Him for the glory He will bring to Himself through it. But there’s some truth in the two proverbial phrases:

     “There are no atheists on a battlefield”
     “There are no calvinists in a cloud of midges”

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  96. linda: While I cannot imagine the scenario of nude spanking of men, college students are pretty much adults, grown men, so would it not be consensual?

    I have known a male seminarian who was lured into a home and se xually assaulted by a high-ranking male church official whom he trusted. He dropped out of seminary, and anguished over abandoning his calling from God. Consensual? I’m sure you don’t mean to, but you are almost questioning the existence of se xual assault between men. Yes, men do sometimes attack men, sometimes after grooming or conning or drugging them.

    Some grownups do have fun spanking. But if people don’t want it, it’s assault. If they have been lured into something they find deeply shameful, they might have trouble talking about it.

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  97. Bridget: Tripp brothers come from the same mold when it comes to spanking small children.

    Only a sick and twisted religion would advocate the beating of a baby.
    Only one that has been stripped of its humanity and one that has had its moral compass needle demagnitized.

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  98. Bridget:
    Jerome,

    Tripp brothers come from the same mold when it comes to spanking small children.

    While I have grown skeptical of TT’s ideas about corporal punishment of young children, I think it’s important to place them in context. TT and PT are orthodox in their personal eschatology — lake of fire/ECT the fate of those who pass out of this world without true faith. From that perspective, approaches to dealing with self-will or defiance in children that risk allowing them to grow up into adults who have a defiant attitude toward authority could look deeply unwise and unloving. A child who grows into an adult who is defiant toward the Creator is headed for a terrible ultimate fate.

    I don’t say this to defend the practices they favor, but to note that these practices grow out of the theology.

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  99. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    I think HUG is on to something…… I just recently read how some women in Berlin were trying to get pregnant with any German they could find when the Soviets were closing in on Berlin….. clearly the issue not just of sex, but German women have “Russian babies” was on their mind…

    Given my experience with fundy, and controlling churches, and obsession of fundies, and in current cases, Calvanista’s, I do think sex is more about power/control/domination, than it is about “sex”…

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  100. Samuel Conner: note that these practices grow out of the theology.

    Just one more reason to reject that theology – and they can keep their orthodoxy! So much abuse . . . As if God is a huge control freak, and is determined to beat us all into submission. Isn’t he powerful enough to make us do whatever he wants, if that’s what trips his trigger? Wait, that’s exactly what their theology asserts he does – determines whatsoever comes to pass.

    When I left my ultra conservative Reformed church, it was like being born again, again. The sky was bluer, the birds sang sweeter and people were no longer frightening. Women in pants and low-cut tops barely phased me! I could think my own thoughts and consider new ideas. I never realized how cultish my church was until I ‘escaped’.

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  101. Philip Snyder,

    Sir, are you the one to bring this to light? If so, you are the face I have for the men who advocate for #churchtoo issues. Do you see Ryken as having failed in his duties in this situation? As a Wheaton graduate, this matters to me. I know too much about some of what Wheaton is hiding. I don’t appreciate them hosting a summit while failing to respond well to abuses in the church. I appreciate any perspective you can provide on Ryken specifically.

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  102. Apropos member’s comments about “bizarre savior complexes”:

    Newsflash: Irrelevant to a protective order or injunction. If in fact the church has sought a court order, the ONLY relevant issue is whether Phil has engaged in threatening or harassing behavior such that a reasonable person would be in fear of sexual assault or their physical safety.

    An injunction is not because you don’t like his criticism, because you believe he may have seen pigs flying, because he’s been mean to you, because he said your momma’s ugly and dresses you funny, or because he’s been outside protesting in rainy weather, cold weather, etc. It does not matter that you don’t like him protesting in your neighborhood, think he’s dinshonest, or any other issue. Again, the ONLY relevant issue is if he is engaging in behavior that an objectively reasonable person would find threatening.

    I indeed may show up for the hearing and post what transpires. Based on my own experiences with my former rector, Bob Malm of Grace Episcopal in Alexandria VA repeatedly lying, including falsely claiming that I had violated the preliminary court order, I am all too familiar with the unethical behavior that churches engage in when they want to shut down criticism. I for one am going to do my best to make sure that Tenth Presbyterian doesn’t get away with anything in court—and if it does, I will personally shout it from the rooftops.

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  103. I’d really like to read the court filings because I’m completely gobsmacked that a church would ask for a 1,000 foot keep away zone. I want to see this crazy with my own eyes. In addition to violating one’s First Amendment rights to peaceably seek for redress of grievances from the public sidewalk, the distance is just completely excessive. It makes Scientology look like pikers.

    And yeah, wearing a video camera is smart! This is why I go out with at least my cellphone these days.

    As for Kevin DeYoung, I thought he was still “crazy busy”? I have him on video entering the YUM! Center in L’ville last April for T4G. He apparently has lots of time to do things like T4G or the 2019 national conference of The Gospel Coalition at the beginning of April, where several additional usual suspects (e.g., John Piper, David Platt, Ligon Duncan and R. Albert Mohler, among others) will be speaking.

    And rounding it out with Ed Stetzer, he just needs to SIT DOWN instead of trying to be the #ChurchToo gatekeeper. I know some of those women and they are not going to stand idly by while he gets his book contract to explain away and domesticate #ChurchToo. Part of the “problem” if you will, with #ChurchToo is that many people were pushed out of or left Evangelical churches because of what they experienced and the idea of a guy like Ed Stetzer basically mansplaining irks more than a few.

    All of this is, of course, My Own Personal Opinion, which I have expressed in various places. Indeed, I immortalized the T4G speakers in a pillowcase embroidery explaining how they made their bed with CJ Mahaney, and now had to lie in it. (Yeah, I know, I’m weird but what else is new?)

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  104. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    Yes, my former rector, Bob Malm, and his attorney, Jeffery Chiow of Rogers, Joseph, O’Donnell in DC, also sought a 1,000-foot exclusion zone on the basis that Bob felt threatened. Indeed, in one message Bob told police that his wife viewed my protests as “making good on threats already made,” — a non sequitor if there ever was one.

    My take: Churches and clergy that engage in such behavior show their true colors, and Jesus has no role in their so-called ministries. Avoid at all costs.

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  105. A member: But the church still took action. Of course what was inflicted upon those individuals was disgusting horrendous abuse, which is exactly why even the second-hand allegations of it prompted the church to seek a way to legally fire him.

    So why the standing ovation on his last day and the honor bestowing reception that followed? Do I have my information messed up?

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  106. I have no idea of what member is saying is closer to the truth or not…but calling them out for not revealing their name offends me.

    In all my years in Survivors boards I have chosen to remain anonymous for personal and professional reasons. I have heard way too many posters try to minimize my story by calling me a coward for not using my name.

    Heck….I wrote a guest post here a few years back and only Dee knew my real name.

    Disagree with member or anyone…but please don’t reduce someone’s post because they are anonymous

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  107. TO: A member, (or anyone familiar with PA law).

    Can this permanent gag order be looked up? Does it have a number within the county it was issued (or some such thing). Could you (or someone) find a record of it, copy it and get it to Dee?

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  108. TS00: Personally, I care nothing about position or authority. I believe we are all called to love and serve others. I do not believe that elders and deacons were ever meant to be positions of authority, with ‘power’ or control over others, but were always meant to be roles of service.

    Amen to that! There is actually no basis in Scripture for having a full time pastor, a pastor being paid and there is no basis for “pastoral authority”. Pastors are shepherds and it is only mentioned once alongside several other gifts (Ephesians 4). Why the institutional church has cherry picked just one of those for “ruling authority” and turned into a full time profession is a mystery. There is also no such thing as “an office” for an elder – it simply means someone is more mature and elderly in the faith in relation to another.

    Some of my former friends/associates in a TGC church are appointed as elders by their pastor and maybe voted in by the congregation. This is not Biblical as especially as they are in their 30s (one even in his twenties) and they are actually younger than many in the congregation. And then they say “women cannot be elders because they are not allowed to a have authority” which shows how they view their position. If I knew back then what I knew now, I would have simply told them “You are fraud. You may refuse to recognise a woman as an elder but I don’t recognise YOU as an elder – and neither does God!” As their position is fraudulent, the question on whether on women can be elders or pastors is a moot point.

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  109. Doubtful: calling them out for not revealing their name offends me.

    Doubtful,

    How many times have you heard or seen me do this in the 10 years I’ve been blogging? The number would be virtually nil. So, assuming that I don’t do this on a regular basis (check for yourself)and that I have written extensively on my we have both anonymous posts and anonymous comments (check again) look at the comment by this individual and think about why I may have said this in this particular situation. Hint: remember my commitment to victims (and yo know that) and my concerns about churches which try to shut things down.

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  110. I have received numbers of emails from Snyder over the last 2-3 years. I am not saying he is lying – I don’t have facts and I don’t know. What I do know is that Snyders communiques to me just struck me wrong. He was pushy and he came across as someone I did not trust. All that being said I want to remind everyone that I have spoken out against the ARBCA coverup of convicted child abuser Tom Chantry. So I am willing to stand with these victims. But Snyder – well I just don’t trust him.

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  111. Thersites,

    This individual is denying that anything really happened. Read her/his comment about what constitutes sex abuse.Also, this person is saying that Phil is nuts. If so, then why was he appointed a deacon? Or, if he had some sort of breakdown after he became a deacon, did the church offer psychiatric intervention?

    In November, it appears the church was threatening criminal and civil action. The odd thing about this is that the very public Go Fund me page has been allowed to stand unless there is another lawsuit of which I’m aware.

    I do know that involved attorneys are reviewing this page so I would like to make a suggestion which I doubt they will follow.

    1. Step back from any legal action unless you can prove that other people are actually being harmed by Phil’s actions.
    2. Refute Phil’s claims point by point, offering documentation and post it on the church website.
    3. When Phil is protesting, offer him coffee and donuts and ask if you can pray with him.
    4. If you can prove that he is mentally confused, offer to pay for counseling with a real counselor, not a nouthetic counselor or ACBC

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  112. Samuel Conner: lake of fire/ECT the fate of those who pass out of this world without true faith. From that perspective, approaches to dealing with self-will or defiance in children that risk allowing them to grow up into adults who have a defiant attitude toward authority could look deeply unwise and unloving. A child who grows into an adult who is defiant toward the Creator is headed for a terrible ultimate fate.

    “So what if I rack him ’til he die? For I shall have Saved His Soul.”
    — “The Inquisitor”, Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

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  113. dee: I do know that involved attorneys are reviewing this page so I would like to make a suggestion which I doubt they will follow.
    1. Step back from any legal action unless you can prove that other people are actually being harmed by Phil’s actions.
    2. Refute Phil’s claims point by point, offering documentation and post it on the church website.
    3. When Phil is protesting, offer him coffee and donuts and ask if you can pray with him.
    4. If you can prove that he is mentally confused, offer to pay for counseling with a real counselor, not a nouthetic counselor or ACBC

    But “Make an Example of One and you Silence a Hundred” is easier.

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  114. ___

    Overture Six-4 Clarity’s Sake: “For Such Belong The Kingdom Of God, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Jesus’ rigorousness fortunately still speaks volumes for the rest of us who expeditiously place their trust in Him.

    The only righteous person I know is Jesus, and His brethren had Him nailed to a Roman cross.

    Jesus’ rigorousness fortunately still speaks volumes for the rest of us.

    But there is no righteous person in the earth who only, or who always, doeth good, and never sins.

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think you wish to tangle with certain righteous men of the PCA without just cause. You would do well to contact the PCA presbytery directorate with your sustained questions and valid concerns. A presumptious war with these men is something you can not possibly hope to sustain. Stick to the clearly identifiable facts and draw your conclusions from them. Personal testimony is still available. Do Diligence, Do Justice, seek it out…
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wL6jh9thk8Q

    ;~)

    ***

    OVERTURE Six – “Child Protection in the PCA”

    “Whereas our Lord Jesus demonstrated his righteous anger at his own disciples, rebuking those who would do anything to prevent children from coming unto him, saying “to such belongs the Kingdom of God,” (Mark 10:14)

    and condemning those who would harm children, saying “it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6); and

    Whereas an epidemic of child sexual abuse exists in our culture, with the vast majority of such children being harmed by someone they know and trust, wounding children physically,
    emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually with lifelong ripple effects; and

    Whereas the silence of the church – when we fail to appropriately address “rape, incest, sodomy and all unnatural lusts” (WLC 139) by not reporting disclosures of child sexual abuse, or not caring for those who disclose child sexual abuse, or not proactively taking steps to prevent child sexual abuse – is a fundamental failure of servant leadership, rendering the church complicit and culpable before the Lord, driving people away from the safety, healing and hope of Jesus Christ; and

    Whereas Scripture warns leaders against the “careless exposing, or leaving [those in their care] to wrong, temptation, and danger” (WLC 130), and every jurisdiction acknowledges that child sexual abuse is a serious felony and has its own mandated reporting laws;

    Therefore, be it resolved that we exhort all church leaders to become informed and to take an active stance toward preventing child sexual abuse in the church by screening staff and
    volunteers, training them in child protection, and actively maintaining child protection policies pertaining to our obligations to love our children and protect their rightful interests as God’s image-bearers from the devastating actions of abusers (Matthew 18:5-6; WLC 129-130); and

    Be it further resolved that we remind all churches that the heinous crime of child sexual abuse must be reported to duly appointed proper representatives of the God-ordained civil authorities, in accordance with local laws, and that we must cooperate with those authorities as they “bear the sword” to punish those who do evil “in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered . . . to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever” (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14; WCF 23.3); and

    Be it further resolved that we urge all church leaders to use their influence for the protection of children, by any and all godly means, including preaching and teaching against the heinous sin of child sexual abuse, warning anyone with knowledge of these sins to “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11), and by supporting victims who often suffer in silence and shame without the vocal and compassionate support of the church; and

    Be it further resolved that we direct the Permanent Committees and Agencies of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America to review their policies, procedures and practices in the area of child protection, including their response to child sexual abuse disclosures, their faithfulness in reporting child sexual abuse to duly appointed proper representatives of the God-ordained civil authorities, in accordance with local laws, their care for survivors of child sexual abuse, and their future plans to help educate the PCA on child sexual abuse, and all other areas of response consistent with Scripture and the Constitution of the PCA, and report to the 43rd General Assembly through the Administrative Committee, after it has referred the matter to and received a report from the Cooperative Ministries Committee; and

    Be it finally resolved that the 42nd General Assembly urge all members of the PCA to renew our allegiance to our Lord Jesus by loving our children as he loves our children,

    “for to such belongs the Kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14)

    ***

    2019 : For a level, secure, and safe 501c3 playing field, for the people of God,

    ‘All’ For His glory…

    (perhaps?)

    “A little more longer, a little more bright…”

    ATB

    Sòpwith

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pisnHD_JuJM

    ;~)

    – –

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  115. TS00,

    “When I left my ultra conservative Reformed church, it was like being born again, again. The sky was bluer, the birds sang sweeter and people were no longer frightening. Women in pants and low-cut tops barely phased me! I could think my own thoughts…”
    +++++++++++++

    being tangential & responding to this.

    i grew up i the 70s and 80s in what was very typical, garden variety christian culture. backless halter tops/dresses and low-cut designs for hot days, tube tops, bikinis, short shorts and skirts were totally mundane. it was hot, it looked cute, it was fashionable, that was that. plus, it was comfortable.

    the church i grew up in did baptisms at a local lake — these wer church picnics, everyone came. we also had ‘all-church retreats’ for a summer week end, will pool and other outdoor activities. women and girls wore these kinds of clothes and it was a total non-issue. seeing bodies was a totally matter-of-fact thing. it was normal.

    when people are afraid of the human body, they cover it up. of course, their goal is not think about it. but what happens is they spend a great deal of energy thinking about it.

    these cultures/environments are highly sexualized.

    the more casual, easy-going approach of the general christian culture of my youth has been replaced with a growing religious fundamentalism. i’m sure a sociologist could explain why these things happen, and it would be interesting to learn.

    i think turning christianity into a business has something to do with it.

    the market value of each ‘corporation’ (TGC, SBC, AOG, etc) and ‘company’ (church) and ‘sole proprietorship’ (speaker, publishing contract-holder) is dependent on “new!”, “new and improved!”, a “secret sauce” to stay viable.

    they have to look for things to talk about, new angles, new things to do. since the raw materials of religion are human lives, the christian industry workers create new ‘contraptions’ for processing human lives. ideological contraptions.

    anyone remember the game “Mousetrap” from the 70s/80s? in order to keep the revenue flowing, the christian industry constantly needs to be constantly building this moustrap, so to speak. To tweak it. to add to it. to reinvent it.

    when all along the ‘cheese’ was right there and free for the taking. with gratitude.

    growing up christian in the 70s and 80s, i don’t remember any such ideological contraptions. the issues were simply kindness, generosity, and honesty. it was uncomplicated.

    it was healthier. and i miss it.

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  116. dee,

    As a former lawyer, I realize that attornies often forget that the best solution to such situations is rarely a legal one. Indeed, going to court has no upside for the church, even if it prevails. One has only to look at my very similar case to predict what will transpire:

    1) Phil will be seriously ticked off, perhaps so much so that reconciliation is impossible. As a result, the church will cement the current conflict in place.
    2) Being unable to speak directly with Phil will prevent any further attempt at resolution.
    3) Phil and others will take to cyberspace, resulting in tremendous damage to the church’s reputation.
    4) Phil’s protests move right down the street, and continue unabated, and others will join him, me included.
    5) Tenth Presbyterian will gain a reputation as unhealthy, and unable to resolve conflict in a healthy way.
    6) As has been the case at my former church, attendance will drop, as well as giving. (Average Sunday attendance at my church is down 17%, and it has lost roughly 1/3 of its pledging units at a time when it faces massive unfunded capital expenses.)
    7) Assistant pastors and others will avoid working at a church mired in conflict and whose reputation may reflect badly upon them.
    8) As frustration rises, the church will make stupid, unethical decisions, like lying in court about what transpired, and resorting to inflammatory rhetoric. In my case, the church’s attorney foolishly referred to the situation as one of “domestic terrorism.”
    9) Denominational officials, who otherwise would serve as serve as a brake on stupid conduct at the church level, will sit on their hands, saying that they can’t get involved in a court case. As a result, the whole situation will be exacerbated and reflect poorly on the denomination.
    10) Phil eventually will hire an attorney on a contingency fee basis and pursue claims for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, abuse of process, defamation and invasion of privacy. Discovery will reveal dozens of unsavory comments and emails by church employees and members, all of which will eventually get to cyberspace, and those involved will come out looking ugly, manipulative, and hypocritical.
    11) Referring to Phil as mentally ill, the favorite smear tactic of churches called on the carpet, will simply solidify his resolve to stand up for himself, and rightly so.
    12) At some point, once they realize they’ve painted themselves in a corner, folks at the church will try to settle, but they’ll take a litigation-based approach, including a confidentiality clause. No one who’s been through what Phil has endured would say yes, and he will reject the offer outright.

    So, just ask the the Rev. Bob Malm of Grace Episcopal in Alexandria VA how all this will turn out if you don’t believe me. But if they choose to proceed, the good Christians of Tenth Presbyterian can’t say they weren’t warned. They will end up causing themselves lasting and possibly irreparable reputational harm.

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  117. Eeyore:
    And yet ANOTHER of the churches that spearheaded the Calvinist revival of the 80s and 90s, churches whose pastors I looked up to and admired, is falling to scandal.

    And now I must ask a question – a question my old self would not like to have asked, but must be asked even though there is little chance of it being answered…

    What did Jim Boice know, and when did he know it?

    I had the same question. Not sure of the timeline. Did the abuser come in after his death in mid-2000?

    My first thought was that he’d be rolling over in his grave. My second was, sadly, did he know (and all that is implied in that thought)?

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  118. PS And, if Tenth Presbyterian is as foolish as Bob Malm, and no point will it have answered in the affirmative the perfectly obvious question, “Did you ever sit down, forget about who’s right and who’s wrong, put aside your concerns about winning, and simply ask Phil, ‘What would it take to resolve your concerns?’” In other words, act like the Christians you profess to be.

    If Tenth Presbyterian were smart, which I doubt, it would do exactly this, and follow up with real action, including writing to Phil and saying, “You are always welcome here. We understand that we’ve behaved badly, and we are deeply sorry. If you ever do wish to again be involved in our church, please know that we will do everything possible to ensure that you are welcome. In the meantime, we would like to keep in touch with you to do whatever we can to support you in your life in Christ and promote healing.”

    That would actually be a Christ-like response that would make detractors, myself included, sit up and say, “Wow, these folks really are serious about making this right.” But I have yet to run into a church in this situation, my own former church included, that has the backbone to offer the “radical Christian welcome” that so many profess, and so few offer.

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  119. Eric Bonetti,

    “But I have yet to run into a church in this situation, my own former church included, that has the backbone to offer the “radical Christian welcome” that so many profess, and so few offer.”
    +++++++++++++

    seems to me they have too much to lose (money and power/prestige). to actually do the right thing. to even begin to consider what the right thing is.

    backbone would require willingness to sacrifice money, power, possessions if necessary in order to do what is right.

    seems to me they are too scared and afraid of losing those things.

    is it fair to say that their hill to die on is made of money and power?

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  120. Serving Kids In Japan:
    Lowlandseer,

    It’s not about denying DeYoung his right to free speech.It’s about informing the leaders and members of these congregations exactly what kind of man he is — one who’s willing to lie in order to protect the “career” of a fellow ManaGAWD.Don’t you think they should know that before spending their hard-earned money to pay him for the privilege of lecturing them about Christian ethics?

    But… but… he has the “right” theology!

    (I don’t know if that was Lowlandseer’s point or if it was something else. I’m ill with the latest crud, so I may well be missing nuances.)

    /sarcasm

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  121. refugee: But… but… he has the “right” theology!

    (I don’t know if that was Lowlandseer’s point or if it was something else. I’m ill with the latest crud, so I may well be missing nuances.)

    /sarcasm

    Apologies to Lowlandseer. After reading “logical fallacies” comment, I see some of the nuances I missed earlier.

    I am also severely prejudiced against Calvinism after being immersed in it for 3 decades, so I realize we do not see eye to eye on theology at this point in time.

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  122. ZechZav: Jeff I agree.Dee asked this Lowlandseer this question: Are you saying that the Gospel Partnership should be exempt from receiving some information from an individual regarding a speaker? I asked the same question: Do you think that we should not alert people to the dangers of false teaching?

    We are still awaiting an answer.

    Excellent points.

    And maybe in my earlier comment, when I said “Calvinist”, maybe I should have said “reformed”. I see Lowlandseer has quoted Luther extensively of late. I thought perhaps the commenter was confronting Dee by doing so, but perhaps the commenter is actually enamored of Luther’s theology, and I missed it. In any case, I’m not that thrilled with aspects of Luther’s theological writings, either, even though he was not crammed down our throats the way Calvin was over the last few decades. Reformed theology shipwrecked my faith. I used to believe in a loving God. Reformed theology re-formed the God I thought I could trust into a whimsical, untrustworthy monster.

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  123. Serving Kids In Japan: Oh, really?And which logical fallacies am I guilty of, in particular?How have I misrepresented DeYoung?He willingly signed his name to a letter containing blatant lies, all in order to buttress the reputation of a highly suspicious pastor.And DeYoung hasn’t addressed this in the years since.That’s all I’ve pointed out. Don’t you find that kind of behaviour suspect in a self-professed “man of God”?

    What were the lies? Could you please summarize or post (or re-post) a link, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble? My brain is mush today. Probably lack of oxygen from coughing. Bleh.

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  124. elastigirl,

    Yup. And Tenth Presbyterian has a mega-firm representing it, so it will be particularly prone to following a scorched earth strategy in court. In doing so, it will forget, as Grace has, that good news travels by foot, while bad news travels by horse, so it will tick off people it doesn’t even realize are watching. And when it does discover this, Tenth Presby will claim it is all Phil’s doing, because that’s the only concept that fits with their notion that all criticism is “straight out of Hell.”

    #clueless

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  125. TS00:
    Friend,

    I was not suggesting that the victims of sexual abuse are ‘fake’, but that public figures were often set up for blackmailin this manner, as far back as the eighties, and probably centuries longer. Some have suggested that fraternities provide the same sort of extortionable events. Some claims of systemic sexual abusepoint to it being an attempt to create ‘useful tools’, who are likely severely abused and traumatized persons themselves, often deliberately addicted to drugs. Human trafficking provides such abused and traumatized persons who are used against their will. I am no expert, but merely theorize that sexual abuse is far more rampant and systemic than would be explained by random perverts with out of control sexual impulses. In cases where women, girls or boys are used as extortion bait, it would be my contention that they are most likely also victims of abuse.

    Jerome: That would be Paul (brother Tedd had a part in the ARBCA/Chantry matter).

    Paul Tripp on spanking at Desiring God [40 lashes?!]:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20090517083201/http://www.desiringgod.org:80/Blog/1795_Tripp_on_Using_Threats_and_Rewards_to_Motivate_Obedience

    “I know, because we’re in a service of worship, that I’ve got to take this child out so that we can deal with it and bring him back in. So I say, ‘You need to be quiet. If you’re not quiet, that’s a direct disobedience to Daddy, and we’ll go out, I’ll paddle your little bottom, and we’ll come back in again. And hear me: Daddy is willing to do this forty times, because Daddy won’t lose, because Daddy can’t lose, because Daddy represents Jesus’.”

    …and Jesus was well-known for spanking the little children over and over until they surrendered their will. Why, he even told his disciples to spank a disobedient child seventy times seven… no, wait, that rather had to do with forgiveness…

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  126. refugee: And maybe in my earlier comment, when I said “Calvinist”, maybe I should have said “reformed”. I see Lowlandseer has quoted Luther extensively of late. I thought perhaps the commenter was confronting Dee by doing so, but perhaps the commenter is actually enamored of Luther’s theology, and I missed it. In any case, I’m not that thrilled with aspects of Luther’s theological writings, either, even though he was not crammed down our throats the way Calvin was over the last few decades. Reformed theology shipwrecked my faith. I used to believe in a loving God. Reformed theology re-formed the God I thought I could trust into a whimsical, untrustworthy monster.

    Right there with you. And in my decade plus on the plantation, I saw the same thing happen to many others. Reformed Theology is fine for many, as long as you don’t study to understand its full meaning or try to actually apply it consistently. But if you truly study what it says about God, and his supposedly limited love and salvation, and you take on that monster, you are in for some rough seas.

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  127. dee,

    I don’t doubt it for a minute. It just seemed out of character and it hit a nerve. Just not sure why their anonymous post bugged you?

    Respectfully….

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  128. TS00: Reformed Theology is fine for many, as long as you don’t study to understand its full meaning or try to actually apply it consistently.

    Ah_well_thats_because_youve_misunderstood_what_Reformed_Theology_really_is.

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  129. Dee,
    The ‘gag order’ would most likely be part of the settlement agreement. It’s unlikely that the agreement itself would have been filed with the court but the parties would have filed a notice that they reached an agreement before the case was decided.

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  130. Nick Bulbeck: Ah_well_thats_because_youve_misunderstood_what_Reformed_Theology_really_is.

    The New Calvinists really need to come up with another line in 2019. The attitude that “We are smarter and more spiritual than you” is getting old. I was young and now am old … and I’ve never encountered a more arrogant and unloving bunch of church folks than the new reformers.

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  131. elastigirl: when people are afraid of the human body, they cover it up. of course, their goal is not think about it. but what happens is they spend a great deal of energy thinking about it.

    ===================================================================================
    …10“I heard Your voice in the garden,” he replied, “and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” 11“Who told you that you were naked?” asked the LORD God. “Have you eaten of the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?” 12And the man answered, “The woman whom You gave me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”…
    ===================================================================================

    See, it’s all the woman’s fault for enticing man.
    The Bible sez so!

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  132. BTW, smart money says Tenth Presby’s lawyers are going to try to get this post pulled down, never realizing that only exacerbates the situation.

    In the meantime, I encourage other TWW denizens to give Phil and Dee a hand by retweeting, reposting, etc. Enough already with church bullies and their attorneys!

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  133. Deborah,

    Deborah,

    Yes, I see Phil Ryken as having failed in his duties in this situation. I do not think he should be a leader in any institution and should resign immediately.

    If you have knowledge of things that Wheaton is hiding or sexual abuse that has been mishandled, I urge you to let someone know, like the author of this blog, Dee, or a reporter, or Rachel Denhollander. You can remain anonymous in this.

    I totally agree that the summit at Wheaton on sexual abuse was offensive. This was what led to my story being on this blog, because I contacted Dee to let her know about Phil Ryken.

    Phil

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  134. Elizabeth,

    Elizabeth,

    The trial is scheduled for 02/04/19 in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, City Hall Courtroom 625, Judge Shelley Robins-New presiding, begining at 9am. If you are planning on coming, please confirm first, as this is subject to change.

    Regarding the conference at Tenth on sexual abuse, do not be deceived into thinking that Tenth actually cares about victims. What they care about is their reputation and your perception of them so that they can continue to have wealth and power. You have fallen into their trap. If you like, I can refer you to numberous articles on this topic.

    Phil

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  135. Sòpwith: An elected body of individuals would have to change the WCF and the book of church order before extended permission could be given to women in the PCA. What would be the incentive? Are the women of the PCA complaining?

    In ancient times, Tenth left the United Presbyterian Church, which was already ordaining women as deacons, elders, and clergy. Tenth formally removed the opportunity for women to serve in those roles. This link suggests an interesting pattern:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyterian_Church_in_America

    Here’s what happens in some places. A church in Denomination A decides to shut women out of leadership positions. (Members fight and leave. New people join.) Church joins Denomination B, which has all-male leadership. (Members fight/leave/join.) Sometime later, Denomination B starts to ordain women, and the church has to decide whether to join denomination C or D with all-male leadership. (Members fight/leave/join.) Alternatively, the church discovers that Denomination B is a heckscape and has to flee, perhaps backwards. (Members fight/leave/join.)

    Throughout, members are subjected to unpleasant meetings, legal disputes, evictions from their own houses of worship, newly introduced beliefs, etc.

    I don’t know who in Presbyterianism might be complaining that women should be allowed to serve as deacons, elders, and pastors… maybe some women who feel called to serve in this way? Churches don’t go from Presbyterian to Catholic; they stay within their broad doctrinal lines. They’re on the same merry-go-round, with some horses up and some horses down.

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  136. A member,

    To a member, or should I call you Mrs. Bennett?

    If so, I remember you as being a lovely, friendly woman, and your husband, if possible, as being even nicer than you. I can not blame you for being decieved by Liam, as I was myself for years. He is rather charming and quite funny you know.

    However, your claim to know me seems excessive, as you live in New Jersey and I live in Pennsylvania and I have never served with you, though your husband and I were both deacons.

    You seem to harbour some resentment against me for being critical of your husbands handling of the mentally unstable woman who disrupted the service on 12/15/13. I merely stated that in such a situation no one should touch such a person in any way. Dr. David Apple, the director of the Mercy Ministry quite agreed with me you know. Do you resent him as well?

    Regarding the theft at a youth group event on 01/18/14, you fail to mention that multiple electronic devices were stolen from multiple people. I found fault that no one from the church called the police to the church (the crime scene), in direct violation of of Liam Goligher’s directive to all church officers on 01/20/13, in the wake of the alleged sexual assault, that “when the law of the land is broken, the authorities are to be notified”. Liam is not wholly bad you know. Anyway, not everyone shares your since of grace, since the police were called to another location at another time (when the thieves powered up the cell phones).

    Regarding my mental instablility, I hope you are wrong, becuase besides being a deacon, I worked in the nursery, was a Sunday school teacher, worked with a special needs child, worked in the children’s music ministry, sang in the choirs, etc., so if you are right, the leadership was guilty of gross negligence and incompetence to allow me to do those things for years. Incidentally, I was not forced to stop these activities (except for being a deacon), I voluntarily stepped down so I could focus on dealing with the elders.

    As to the reason the music minister was fired, I did not say why. I did not even know he had been fired until the injunction hearing on 10/10/17, which is the point. The congregation was not told the music minister had been fired at all, they were told he was leaving to pursue new opportunities, which is why he received a standing ovation when he left.

    The congregational meeting held on 03/30/14, where the congregation was told the real reasons behind the music director’s departure was not planned, but was held because I spoke up at the congregational meeting on 03/16/14, which forced them to tell the congregation the truth.

    As to the “bombastic” statements regarding a certain pastor which led to me being removed from being a deacon, in private, Liam told me that he agreed with me and that this pastor would manage and bury things, and that the elders’ made a mistake trusting him.

    As for the Presbytery, they discredited themselves by ruling against me before I had even finished my testimony. The Presbytery is made up of friends of the accused and is designed to silence people by giving the illusion that jusitce has been served. Think about it, how well do the police investigate the police?

    As for the term “sexual molestation”, I do not recall ever using that term to describe any of the events. What I said was alleged sexual assault, which is the term which the elder/district attorney used and many others in leadership in emails to one another.

    As for the alleged rape, I did not say there was a rape, I said there was an accusation of rape which should have been investigated by the police. Since the police did not investigate this matter, and likely never will, we will probably will never know whether or not there was or was not a rape. Also, very importantly, you forgot to mention the part about the false imprisonment. If the alleged perpetrator had not taken the cell phone away from the alleged victim at the time of the incident, she likely would have called the police then and there and we would not be having this conversation.

    Regarding the issues of me and my gun, consider the following. I was an armed security professional for five years and graduated from a police academy. I felt it was my duty to protect the congregation from the negligence and gross incompetence of the elders, who endangered the lives, bodies, and property of everyone at Tenth by their lack of security, which I and others warned them about. Specifically, at a security meeting held on 01/27/13, after the alleged sexual assault, I made numerous recommendations, including the presence of a police officer on Sundays, which were ignored for years. Ironically, they finally had police on Sundays after I was excommunicated and served with a no tresspassing order on 10/23/16, ostensibly to protect the congregation from me! I think events have proven my point, such as the killing of 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagoue in Pittsburg on 10/27/18, the killing of 26 people at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas on 11/05/17, and the killing of 9 people in South Caroloina on 06/17/15, not to mention Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (17), Las Vegas (58), the Pulse Night Club (49), Sandy Hook (20), etc. I now attend a little country church with maybe 50 people in the service. These guys have multiple armed congregrants on duty, cameras inside and out, and they lock down the church so no one gets in and out unless they come in the front door and are let in by an assigned person. In short, they are doing everything I recommended to Tenth.

    As far as Liam goes, I know that he appears to be an angel of light to those who do not really know him like I do. I know that he has repeatedly lied, including under oath, which is perjury, which I can prove. Just look at the injunction transcript and then the evidence in my affidavit. I am not talking about a little white lie, a half-truth, or whatever, I am talking about a total denial of reality in the face of overwhelming evidence. Also, do not forget about his confession to bearing false witness against me and lying to the congregation, in an email to the congregation on 02/14/16. In addition to being a confessed liar, Liam is a bully and abuser of power. Consider what he has done to try to silence me: excommunication, no trespassing order, threat to arrest within 1,000 fett of the church, attempt to get an injunction, threaten to sue (twice), threaten civil and criminal action, and attempt to have my lawsuit thrown out so he does not have to face me in court. Ask yourself, if I am a liar, and he is innocent, why would he do that? Would not he welcome a trial so he could exonerate his good name? Well we shall in Fehruary. But I must caution that it is very difficult to prove defamation, especially considering I had none of my questions answered or documents handed over in the discovery process, so just because I loose does not mean he is innocent. Win or loose we will know more than before because I am interested in pursing the truth, not because Liam is interested in suppressing and silencing the truth.

    Phil

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  137. Jeff Crippen,

    Jeff,

    I am sorry if I come across as pushy, but if you had been through what I have gone through, you might be pushy too. Fortunately, neither you or anyone else needs to trust me. There should be a trial in February where everyone can examine the evidence and make up their own minds.

    Phil

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  138. Hello Everyone,

    I find it interesting that two more lawyers from team Liam quit on 02/01/19, bringing the total to four I believe. It is like they are fleeing a sinking ship.

    Here are the directions for accessing the court documents so you can check it out yourself, especially my affidavit and exhibits, submitted on 10/31/18.

    1) Type in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
    2) Go to Search Court Records
    3) Click on Search Trial Division-Civil Dockets**
    4) Click on Accept (Disclaimer)
    5) Click on Display Civil Docket Report
    6) Enter Case ID Number 170102293
    7) Enter Pass Code (This may take several attempts)

    Phil

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  139. Philip Snyder,

    I’m sympathetic to Phil’s plight. More than one person has said they question my approach to my conflict, including saying that my tenacity is a bit weird. So be it. I’d rather people think I’m weird than knuckle under to a bully. And if people say, “I don’t want to attend Grace Episcopal because that weirdo Eric went there,” that’s okay too. That’s what the rector gets for calling me a “domestic terrorist.”

    As long as it’s ethical and within the bounds of the law — both of which appear to be the case here — Phil just needs to do whatever is needed to find health and wholeness. If nothing else, the world needs more people who stand their ground in the face of what appears to be clergy bullying.

    My hope is that we can offer Phil as much love and support as possible. Hopefully his story will have happier ending than mine has had thus far.

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  140. Philip Snyder: There should be a trial in February where everyone can examine the evidence and make up their own minds.

    I have hope that the trial will lead to a good resolution. The stories we read at TWW have similarities, but each is unique. Truth does often come out, and people learn and adjust.

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  141. Eric Bonetti: I realize that attornies often forget that the best solution to such situations is rarely a legal one.

    Your list of subsequent developments sounds entirely plausible and I hope the church is listening.

    Unfortunately resolving this dispute outside of court would not likely yield the same amount of legal fees to the lawyers involved. The attorneys may give excellent legal advice but should they be the sole advisor on whether to pursue redress within the courts? Rather than just prosper the lawyers, maybe the church should step back and determine if they really want to bankrupt themselves financially and morally.

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  142. TS00: I believe I might have heard that once . . . or twice . . . or . . .

    I think we all have! 🙂 (Which is why I wrote it using the <code> tag.)

    In fact, I wondered about putting it in the form of a code-fragment, along the lines of:


    public static String dismissObjection() {
       String patAnswer="
    Ah_well_thats_because_youve_misunderstood_what_Reformed_Theology_really_is.";
       return patAnswer;
    }

    You get the idea…

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  143. linda: Seriously confused about the allegations and counter allegations here. While I cannot imagine the scenario of nude spanking of men, college students are pretty much adults, grown men, so would it not be consensual?

    I can’t answer your question, not knowing this situation or how it transpired, but are you aware of grooming and how it works?

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  144. TS00: But don’t know how you get that other font . . .

    You do it thus…

    <code>Typing exactly this line…</code>

    ... will be formatted like this line.

    Apologies if you’re familiar already with html tags, in which case the above explanation will have more detail than you needed!

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  145. The details sound all too familiar, Phil. In my case, Bob Malm, previously utterly indifferent to matters of church security, develop led a sudden passion for active shooter training, having “single-button emergency transmitters at the ready,” during church service ms, and more. Concurrently, the face Bob shows the parish is guileless and charming, yet he repeatedly lied under oath.

    My advice: Read all you can about the “dark triad,” in psychology, and see if you think the description of narcissistic personality disorder sounds like it may apply. And, as a wise individual in my parish once said, remember, “It’s Bob — not you.”

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  146. Jeff Crippen,

    Jeff

    You may not trust him. That is your right. I happen to know some of the back story from others. Just because you don’t like someone’s presentation doesn’t mean that the person isn’t telling the truth. There is more to this story…lots more but I am not at liberty to explain at this time.

    Remember style and emotions that do not make us feel good are not the final word on what is true.

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  147. dee,

    I’d add that whistleblowers like Phil often come forward reluctantly, but with full knowledge of the risks they are taking. Nor is a whistleblower’s story diminished by her or his delivery, or by virtue of the fact that they may not have direct knowledge of all the salient facts. Many a criminal has been busted, for example, when “something just didn’t seem right.”

    Knowing how very ugly churches can be once you part the “stained glass curtain,” I wish that every church had at least one Phil…two would be even better!

    Phil, more power to you, brother! Keep up the good fight. And shame on 10th Presby for not knowing a good thing when they see it.

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  148. linda,

    Wow-well your one anecdote proves everything. I suggest you read more on grooming and power differentials. See how predators are able to pick on people who are going through, or have experienced, trauma and are vulnerable because their emotional reserves are used up.

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  149. Nick Bulbeck,

    Whoa! If that code were to be introduced into the blogosphere there is no end to the infinite loops it could generate – enough to bring the internet to its knees…

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  150. Eric Bonetti,

    “Knowing how very ugly churches can be once you part the “stained glass curtain,”…
    ++++++++++

    i wonder to what degree the senior pastor(s) “keeps his hands clean” / “keeps his nose clean” / stays “blameless” by purposely staying out of the know and letting elders manage things, and letting the lawyers do what they do without informing him. keeping him out of the loop.

    a whole team of Fix-it guys.

    a sort of pastor is to Donald Trump what elders/lawyers are to Michael Cohen.

    of course, pastor is far from clean and blameless. the buck stops with pastor, yes?

    you know, sort of rationalizing away all those prerequisites & high standards for elders the NT talks about. and your basic christ-likeness that i thought was so important.

    (like i’ve seen many a christian leader do, with quite the display of righteousness)

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  151. Jeff Crippen,

    “What I do know is that Snyders communiques to me just struck me wrong. He was pushy and he came across as someone I did not trust.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    kind of reminds me of “she has mean eyes!”, so she can’t be part of the club.

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  152. refugee: What were the lies? Could you please summarize or post (or re-post) a link, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble?

    Hi, refugee. Sorry I haven’t responded before now, but my attention has been on other articles the past few days.

    The link to DeYoung and company’s online letter is: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-we-have-been-silent-about-the-sgm-lawsuit/

    The lies that I have noticed in it are 1) that the lawsuit against SGM was dismissed because the evidence of conspiracy was lacking; and 2) that Mahaney was accused of nothing more than having founded and led SGM.

    Both of these are demonstrably false. The lawsuit was dismissed due to statute of limitations, and nothing more. And Mahaney was accused of multiple misdeeds, which DeYoung and his friends would have realized if they’d bothered to actually read the second amended complaint. Thanks for asking.

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  153. Mary G
    I have no idea what you are talking about. I do not endorse allowing dangerous homeless people to run around a church ad lib. This post is discussing the allegations that Phil Snyder is making in a public setting. If you wish to write me privately, please email me privately. I am in Isreal for two weeks so my response time may be extra slow.

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  154. Ending the year how we started, going after churches which are alleged to have mishandled sex abuse.

    “OBI-WAN. THE CIRCLE IS NOW COMPLETE.”

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  155. Serving Kids In Japan: The lies that I have noticed in it are 1) that the lawsuit against SGM was dismissed because the evidence of conspiracy was lacking; and 2) that Mahaney was accused of nothing more than having founded and led SGM.

    But that is The Official Story, The Party Line.

    “Remember… It’s not a lie if YOU believe it.”
    Seinfeld

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  156. elastigirl: i wonder to what degree the senior pastor(s) “keeps his hands clean” / “keeps his nose clean” / stays “blameless” by purposely staying out of the know and letting elders manage things, and letting the lawyers do what they do without informing him. keeping him out of the loop.

    MAINTAIN PLAUSBLE DENIABILITY.
    Just like Russian/Soviet Bureaucratic Tradition.

    Ever heard of “The Sociopath in Two Bodies”?
    * One body Was Only Following Orders.
    * The other didn’t do anything; Just Implied What Needed To Be Dne, and The Matter Was Dealt With.
    And both have Clean Hands.

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