“#ChurchToo in the SBC: Reflections on the Houston Chronicle’s ‘Abuse of Faith’ Series”

Image by Ryan Ashton

“We must lay before him what is in us; not what ought to be in us.”—C.S. Lewis

It should not come as a surprise to TWW readers that I’ve known about the research that would culminate in Abuse of Faith: 20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms, for a long time. I submitted stories from this site to Robert Downen and spoke with him about the issues that I’ve seen. So have many other abuse advocates like Amy Smith, Wade Burleson, Julie Anne Smith, Jules Woodson, and Ashely Easter.

That being said. Robert Downen went way beyond what each of us have done in exposing this miserable blight on the SBC and for that I, along with everybody in evangelicalism, should be eternally grateful. This blog got started when I watched Providence (SBC) Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC mishandle a sex abuse situation. I, along with a group of people, were mistreated when we came forward to deal with it. I plan to review some of what happened in subsequent posts When I started down this road, I thought I might be the only one of a few who had experienced something like this. God knew and was calling on a number of writers to begin to document what was happening.

This post will be looking at a few things that I pulled out from Downen’s remarkable article as well as from those SBC leaders now running around acting concerned when they knew this has been going on for a long time. Some assisted in the coverup and marginalization of those who were begging for them to do something. Sadly most of the leadership acted like my former church: kill the messenger and bury the victims.

I am in the midst of trying to deal with three big stories by victims of sex abuse or by those wanting to see justice done. However, I am going to take a break to follow Downen’s history making series. I never thought I would live to see the day when this would happen and am grateful beyond words to Downen and his team at the Houston Chronicle.

A sweet, little girl breaks my heart while the pedophile said he was the victim.

I would ask that you watch this video. It exposes the problem far better than any words I can write. You see a little girl discussing how a man molested her over a period of time. Listen to her sweet voice politely answering those who were getting to the bottom of her story. Have some tissues ready.

Then we get to see a pastor predator in prison. He brags about the 400-500 people he led to Christ. He claims that *all he did was touch her.* He then goes on to say that he was the victim!

This video will stay with me until I die. It should also stay with those attempting to change things in the SBC. Many predators are not interested in learning that they have done something horrible because they don’t believe that they did anything wrong. So when ill-educated church leaders discuss “forgiveness,* they better be ready to find out that they’ve been had.

I cannot embed this video which is in the report but the link will take you directly to the video. It is called The Abuse of Faith. The Destruction of Innocence.

https://www.chron.com/news/media/Abuse-of-Faith-The-destruction-of-innocence-1440798.php?jwsource=cl

Wade Burleson, who has been trying to get an SBC abuse database of years, wonders if the local church autonomy gambit is a ploy.

Wade has been trying to change things in the SBC since long before I met him. He endured ridicule and downright threatening behavior on the part of the IMB which he outlines in his book, Hardball Religion.

Downen had this to say about Wade:

n 2007 and 2018, he asked SBC leaders to study sexual abuse in churches and bring prevention measures to a vote at the SBC’s annual meeting.

Leaders pushed back both times, he said. Some cited local church autonomy; others feared lawsuits if the reforms didn’t prevent abuse.

Burleson couldn’t help but wonder if there have been “ulterior motives” at play.

“There’s a known problem, but it’s too messy to deal with,” he said in a recent interview. “It’s not that we can’t do it as much as we don’t want to do it. … To me, that’s a problem.

I believe that there are ulterior motives on the part of leadership. SBC churches which have hired female pastors get booted. We know that hell would rain down on any church which hired an LGBT affirming pastor. But kicking out a church which has covered up for a known predator is impossible. Why?

Ed Young: Pastor of Houston’s ginormous 2nd Baptist is quite self centered when it comes to sex abuse.

This extremely wealthy pastor who lives in one of Houston’s most beautiful homes has been relentless in his avoidance of dealing with sex abuse, both in his church and on a national level.

1. Heather Schneider molested at 14, dies of an overdose: Young dismisses her mother.

Beautiful Heather was an aspiring model who was molested by a contract employee at Houston’s 2nd Baptist. You can hear her story at this video. You see, this wealthy church hires outside professionals to put on a really big show at Christmas. Gotta keep the $$$$ people happy. One of those contracted people, John Forse, who coordinated church pageants and programs at Second Baptist, molested her. Her life changed and she eventually died of an overdose

When she told her mom what was happening, her mom called the police. Apparently old Ed didn’t take too well to that action. He called her to see if he could be of help and hung up when she said she had notified the police. He never spoke with her again. You can watch the story at this link.

https://www.chron.com/news/media/Abuse-of-Faith-I-need-to-talk-to-you-Mom-1440802.php

According to the Chronicle:

It took months — and the threat of criminal charges — before Forse left his position at the church, according to statements made by Forse’s attorney at the time and Schneider’s responses to questions in a related civil lawsuit.

In August 1994, Forse received deferred adjudication and 10 years’ probation after pleading no contest to two counts of indecency with a child by contact. He remains a registered sex offender and was later convicted of a pornography charge. He is listed in the sex offender registry as transient; he could not be reached for comment.

Church officials declined interview requests. In a statement to the Chronicle, Second Baptist stated that it takes “allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse very seriously and constantly strives to provide and maintain a safe, Christian environment for all employees, church members and guests.”

Ed pled ignorance and expressed fear he would lose his growing television ministry when asked about sex abuse as he served as the SBC president.

They sure know how to pick their presidents. According to the article:

The lawyer, Neil Martin, was writing in response to a lawsuit that accused First Baptist Church of Conroe of continuing to employ Riley Edward Cox Jr. as a youth pastor after a family said that he had molested their child. In a court filing, Cox admitted to molesting three boys in the late 1980s.

Young, SBC president at the time of the lawsuit, was asked to outline the organization’s policies on child sexual abuse as part of the lawsuit. He declined to testify, citing “local church autonomy” and saying in an affidavit that he had “no educational training in the area of sexual abuse or the investigation of sexual abuse claims.”

Young also said he feared testifying could jeopardize his blossoming TV ministry.

Paul Pressler and 2nd Baptist

I have been writing for 10 years. Through those years, I have learned a great deal. For example, I heard about the Paul Pressler problem almost immediately after I began blogging. The folks who informed me would not go on record so I couldn’t write about him. However, I learned that the Pressler problem had been known for years by those in positions of leadership. Not just the old guys but some of the new and improved guys in current SBC leadership.

2nd Baptist claims they report things immediately to law enforcement. Excuse me if I find their protestations of innocence a little hard to take.

Leaders of Second Baptist have been similarly reluctant to release or discuss their policies on sexual abuse in response to two other civil lawsuits related to sexual assault claims filed in the last five years, court records show. Those suits accuse the church of ignoring or concealing abuses committed by youth pastor Chad Foster, who was later convicted.

Another civil lawsuit asserted that Second Baptist helped conceal alleged rapes by Paul Pressler, a former Texas state judge and former SBC vice president. In that suit, brought by a member of Pressler’s youth group, three other men have said in affidavits that Pressler groped them or tried to pressure them into sex. Second Baptist, however, has been dismissed from the suit, and the plaintiff’s sexual abuse claims against Pressler have been dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired.

Pressler has been a prominent member of Second Baptist for much of his adult life.

What did the SBC leaders know? Reporters need to ask them about what they knew about Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Today, the Washington Post published Pure evil: Southern Baptist leaders condemn decades of sexual abuse revealed in investigation.

They interviewed JD Greear who gave his *abuse is evil and we will do something about it now we’re forced to do so*  talk. Then:

Greear also admitted that the church had failed to listen to abuse victims, although it is unclear whether he was indicating he had personally known about any allegations within the Southern Baptist Convention. He added: “We — leaders in the SBC — should have listened to the warnings of those who tried to call attention to this. I am committed to doing everything possible to ensure we never make these mistakes again.”

Hmmmmm. Well, we do know that JD Greear, Al Mohler and a numbest of other SBC types knew about the allegations against Sovereign Grace Ministries years ago. We documented Al Mohler’s incredible defense of CJ Mahaney and the ministry despite numerous complaints and even some conviction of sex abuse this ministry. So Mohler knew.

I happen to know that JD Greear also knew about the problems with Mahaney/SGM, because I wrote him in 2010 and asked him to intervene in the SGM situation since he was a friend. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was uncharitable… He just ignored it because those were the glory days of Mark Driscoll and CJ Mahaney and they could do no harm.

Al Mohler’s daily briefing on 2/11/18: Don’t worry-it’s only a small percentage of churches.

Here is link to Mohler’s briefing.

 

Mohler offers little in the way of solutions. He might be down for a data base so long as it’s done by a 3rd party. This isn’t new. People have been discussing this for years. Why didn’t he do it before this?

Of course he brings up the *problem* of local church autonomy. Could it be that this local autonomy thing was agreed upon because of the ability to pretend there is nothing they can do?

Years ago, some lawyers brought our neighborhood into the state road system. We are a tertiary state road which means two things: 1. We will never get plowed. 2. The City of Raleigh cannot annex us. Their foresight has saved me money.

Could it be the autonomy thing was a way to protect the SBC from lawsuits.

Mohler also claimed that only a small percentage of SBC churches were involved. Do you know there was another church group who said similar things at the beginning? Yep -the Catholic Church. This is only the first stab and I predict there will be more victims coming forward.

In the end, it seems this all comes down to money. Leaders didn’t want to do anything because it could cost too much money which can be lost in lawsuits.

Here is a person at SBC Voices making this point.

Throw the bums out: The Excommunication Solution

Dave Miller at SBC Voices wrote Responding to “Abuse of Faith” and the #Metoo Movement.

I think the SBC has got to come to grips with their unique issues. They all thought that autonomy was the solution to the problem. Unfortunately the solution is now the problem.

HELP! Does anyone know who is serving on the Presidential Study on Sexual Abuse? Is it a secret?

I have read a number of articles on the work of this new group. Go here and start clicking. If I have somehow overlooked the membership list, I apologize. However, ERLC and friends are not making this easy. Is the makeup of the group top secret? If not, the committee makeup should be SBC public knowledge. Maybe they have overlooked this. They have presentee report after report with no names yet claim it is all about diversity of input. I would like to see that diversity.

I am interested in hearing what struck you about this report.


Comments

“#ChurchToo in the SBC: Reflections on the Houston Chronicle’s ‘Abuse of Faith’ Series” — 265 Comments

  1. Lots and lots of important Twitter conversations have been going on the last two days.

    I started one I think will be important to consider:

    https://twitter.com/futuristguy/status/1095070532754497536

    How about we compile a “Survivors Top 10 Litmus-Test Situations for SBC”?

    What do abuse survivors see as systems problems SBC leaders must take concrete, public action on? Kinds of things that–if they don’t take decisive action–serve as clear indicators they won’t fix it?</blockquote?

    So far, some suggestions are about addressing specific system issues, like getting a offender database, others about using SBC influence to get better conformity on reporting laws and statutes of limitation on abuse. And the perennial issues of Sovereign Grace and CJ Mahaney, and potentially excluding from the association any churches that refuse to follow laws and ethics re: abuse.

    These kinds of actions have visible, public impact and can be tracked. If the SBC cannot or will not get it together on these long-standing situations and systems issues, why would we as survivors have any reason to trust them about anything else?

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  2. So they can disfellowship churches that approve of homosexuality, or, so I have heard, the horrible crime of having a female pastor. But they can do nothing about sexual abuse. Who is buying this? Who would be a part of this, if they knew? From my own experience, I’m guessing most in the pew know nothing of any of this; they just go to church, pay their tithes and check off their ‘good christian’ box.

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  3. From the post: “I am interested in hearing what struck you about this report.”

    ‘Bout time, and it happened outside of the institution (SBC).

    When was it that we last watched Wade Burleson stand up at the convention to propose a Database of offenses/court cases/actions logged within the community? Eyeroll response from the podium.

    However, someone is keeping track. God bless.

    Back in the day, our friends had a Christian rock band but the churches slammed their doors on them with, “No devil dance hall music allowed.” Then DC Talk came to town and played at the Sports Arena to a packed crowd because the churches wouldn’t let them in either.

    Sometimes outside the obvious institution is where God’s Spirit is moving. Jesus dealt with similar issues. No servant is greater than his master.

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  4. “What did the SBC leaders know? Reporters need to ask them about what they knew about Sovereign Grace Ministries.”

    Indeed. I am also hoping that reporters ask TGC leaders what they knew about Mahaney & SGM…

    The victims deserve honest answers.

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  5. My general impressions on the article:

    Good: The Houston Chronicle got the attention the problem deserves and gave human faces to the victims.

    Average: Not much new information about SBC leadership that readers of this blog don’t already know, like Paige Patterson is a sexist dinosaur and Paul Pressler is a creep.

    Bad: I did just a little research on the offender list. Despite the SBC’s emphasis on “racial reconciliation”, most of the churches are very white. I noticed a number of dark faces on the offender list, so I checked 4 names out, 3 African-Americans and one Haitian. Of the 4, I could only verify 2 offenders that were SBC. One was a Missionary Baptist pastor (the church now has a female pastor) and one offender came from a church that is not listed as SBC. I think the Chronicle believes “Baptist” and “SBC” are the same thing. Granted, SBC churches have the vast majority of offenders, but African-American Baptist churches of different flavors deserve some scorn too.

    I will try to write on some real solutions and solutions that will not work tomorrow.

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  6. The little girl talking about Mr Livingston just about made me cry, and I wanted to punch the perpetrator at the end of the video who said he was a victim. Years ago I was part of a group of teachers at a school that were concerned about what appeared to be an untreated medical condition. The first grader had contracted gonorrhea from the male babysitter. I cried then for the real victim, and I’ll continue to cry for all those I meet.

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  7. Dee asks if the autonomy thing is a way to protect the SBC from lawsuits. It may also function that way, but it is not where it comes from.

    Baptist local church autonomy is older than the Southern Baptists. Compare the Conservative Baptists (“We believe that each local church is self-governing in function and must be free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority.”), and the American Baptists (“As early Baptists overcame oppression by establishing a congregational church system emphasizing local church autonomy and separation from state influence, so contemporary American Baptists continue to emphasize both the importance and the responsibility of every church and the individual believer before God.”) which are two of the main branches of the Northern side of the North/South pre-Civil War split among Baptists.

    Baptist churches were originally autonomous, and this goes back to their early days in England, before the American Revolution. See the section “Baptists Organized for Witness” in the page “Baptist Beginnings” at the Baptist History and Heritage Society website: http://www.baptisthistory.org/baptistorigins/baptistbeginnings.html, especially the final two paragraphs thereof.

    So whatever Southern Baptists do about this, they will need to do it differently than those denominations (most) that control either or both the property and staffing of the local churches within that denomination.

    As to what that will or should be, I do not now know. But I am thinking of asking my wife and then the rest of my church elders to make me a messenger to this year’s SBC convention.

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  8. “SBC churches which have hired female pastors get booted. We know that hell would rain down on any church which hired an LGBT affirming pastor. But kicking out a church which has covered up for a known predator is impossible. Why?”–dee
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    simple. “predator” isn’t in the New Testament.

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  9. I wrote on it in my blog, lots of reads, not many comments. However, the messages I did receive, were ” Not as bad as the Catholics.” ” Not as bad as the public schools.”
    In the 70s, I had a friend abused by a church staff member. He ( Yes it was a he) was blamed, the staffer moved to Oklahoma to another, bigger church position. ( Both my friend and the staffer have passed. My friend died in a car accident still in his teens.) But no one told the Oklahoma church what had transpired.
    But I wonder, will the average Baptist pew sitter actually care?

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  10. Ken P.: I noticed a number of dark faces on the offender list, so I checked 4 names out…Of the 4, I could only verify 2 offenders that were SBC

    What are the names of those you’re suggesting the reporters got wrong about being Southern Baptist?

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  11. I wonder how much of the “we don’t want to deal with this” mentality comes from the tons of grief these guys gave the Catholic Church when their abuse scandal broke. “OF COURSE, what do you expect when you force celibacy on your clergy! What do you expect from the Whore of Babylon?” To own up to their own abuse problem now would not only expose them to liability and loss of prestige, it would be a de facto admission of hypocrisy, and an acknowledgement that they are no better than those damned (no pun intended) Catholics. It would also undermine their belief that they are a faithful, loyal church and approved by God. Some things just can’t be borne.

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  12. Reading this story reminds me accounts from WWII when soldiers would take over a city near a Nazi death camp and all the citizens would essentially say, “Gee whiz, we didn’t know there was a death camp here”. Really?!? These guys know and have known about this for some time. Their ‘virtue signaling’ is becoming quite nauseating. The only reason they ‘care’ now is because they are afraid that they will be taken out with the rest of the garbage as this information finally hits the fan with the average “Joe Pew-sitter.”

    And yes, dis-associating churches that don’t report these crimes is a good place to start! However, since churches ARE autonomous, it would be wise for each church to contact their local law enforcement and have them help draft policies to have in place regarding reporting and dealing with these crimes. Baptist churches can’t wait for the head honchos to do something and have it trickle down to the local levels, because that won’t and never has happened. Individual churches need to aggressively tackle this desperately wicked problem on their own, regardless of what the ‘higher-ups’ do!

    James 4:17 immediately comes to mind, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
    ‭‭

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  13. Jerome: What are the names of those you’re suggesting the reporters got wrong about being Southern Baptist?

    Anthony Thibodeaux, Fairfield Missionary Baptist Church, Fairfield, TX.

    Samuel Lee Lyte, Mt. Bethel Baptist Church, Big Spring, TX.

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  14. “I am interested in hearing what struck you about this report.”

    The absence of any reference to SBC leaders who turned a deaf ear to an SBC resolution adopted at the annual conference in 2013 “On Sexual Abuse of Children.” In that resolution:

    “We encourage all denominational leaders and employees of the Southern Baptist Convention to utilize the highest sense of discernment in affiliating with groups and or individuals that possess questionable policies and practices in protecting our children from criminal abuse.”

    Mohler, Moore, Greear, etc. regarding SGM/Mahaney … leading to Mahaney’s affiliation with the SBC in 2015.

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  15. Until the Houston Chronicle addresses the relationships between Al Mohler, Russell Moore, JD Greear, CJ Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Ministries and Southern Seminary, all the handwringing, sackcloth and ashes and talk of serial enablement comes off as contrived and highly selective.

    Guess the HC is incapable of objective reporting. Even when they consult Wade Burleson.

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  16. jyjames: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/southern-baptist-officials-sexually-abused-hundreds-new-reports-reveal

    “The current leadership, current President J.D. Greear as well as Russell Moore who heads the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, they’ve been generally responsive. They definitely see this report as opening a lot of eyes … grateful that this has come to light …” (Robert Downen)

    I would advise Mr. Downen not to be blindsided by current SBC leaders. These men didn’t just show up – they have been Southern Baptist influencers for years, with power in their hands to have made a difference before now. Watchblogs, like TWW, reached out to them years ago in an attempt to open their eyes to view the dark corners of SBC and open their ears to the cries of countless victims. Consider their continued support of Mahaney and SGM. By their complacency, they have been a part of the problem; they were too busy building the New Calvinist kingdom to be distracted.

    Mr. Downen is to be applauded for bringing this awful thing to light in a way that got national attention. I caution him not to be deceived by some of the SBC leaders he is talking to.

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  17. “Youth Pastors” in their 20s …

    An office that should not exist in church, IMHO. Scripture exhorts older men to teach young men; older women to teach young women. Young, immature believers should not have responsibility over young, immature believers … regardless if they have a seminary degree or not. The pastoral care of children and youth should not be entrusted to the young and inexperienced, as a training ground for ministry.

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  18. Max,

    I was teaching high school at 22 years old…….and my students were 17-18 years old….I had more than one ask me out. And I had a structured situation. The door was always open. I had discussions with them in open spaces….. I can’t imagine being alone at 22 years of age with 16, 17, 18 year old females like these “Youth Ministers..”

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  19. K.D.: I wrote on it in my blog, lots of reads, not many comments. However, the messages I did receive, were ” Not as bad as the Catholics.” ” Not as bad as the public schools.”

    i.e. “I THANK THEE, LOOOOOOOOOOOORD, THAT *I* AM NOTHING LIKE THOSE FILTHY ROMISH PAPISTS AND SECULAR HUMANISTS OVER THERE…”

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  20. TS00: From my own experience, I’m guessing most in the pew know nothing of any of this; they just go to church, pay their tithes and check off their ‘good christian’ box.

    Don’t forget the JUICY dopamine surge from HBC’s Worship(TM) Band.
    And JUICY Sermons from Pastor.

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  21. Max: “You shall not spread a false report.” Exodus 23:1 (John Piper, Twitter, 11 Feb 2019)

    I know you mean well, Max, but consider the words of the prophet Aimhaiah:

    “For behold, ye shall not giveth more coverage unto the tweetings of him who art already over-publicised unto the excesseth thereof, saith the LORD, whereunto his writings shouldst increaseth and his fanbase groweth unto perdition.”

    That’s a sheep of semantic height, but it carries authority because it’s in anachronistic language. The eth‘s and thereof‘s mean more than any common sense or logic ever could.

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  22. This is an important topic, but nothing.

    At the same time, I’m aware that the cry on every Wartburger’s lips is: What about the cricket????

    Joe Root was out for 122 early doors on Day 4, and promptly declared (leaving Ben Stokes stranded 2 runs short of a half ton).

    In reply, the Windies are struggling somewhat – chasing an improbable 469, they’re 16-3. Veteran Jimmy Anderson has had a blistering opening spell, returning figures of 5-2-7-3. And yes, you read correctly: 3-7 off 5.

    Unless the threatening skies over St Lucia break, and rain for the next two days, this is England’s, albeit giving the Windies a 2-1 series win.

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  23. Scott
    You have been consistently mean and it is unwarranted. Wade Burleson has been an advocate for the victims of SGM. There are two more articles planned and the future is open as more and more gets reported. Wade, this blog and many advocates have spoken out loud and clear about the disgraced Ergun Caner who was supported by the recently closed blog on which you commented. You can be darn sure SGM was discussed by just about every advocate out there.

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  24. Ishy,

    No one understands Piper, even Piper himself. Piper is on my poop list. He is a huge supporter of CJ Mahaney and has rarely shown any interest in abuse victims. He’s more concerned with women who become law enforcement officers.

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  25. grberry,

    I belong to a denomination where churches are also autonomous, but the association urges strong protections in children’s ministry and provides consultation and resources. My own church has strong protections around background checks, drop off and pickup, and reporting procedures for suspected abuse. There is always the possibility something can happen, but as teachers and staff we are told to be vigilant. Reporting is done on any suspected abuse and supported by the church (I’ve made two reports in 20 years of volunteering. No one is immune, but strong safeguards always help.

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  26. dee: Did you ever think of it this way. Piper is guilty of spreading a false report by sticking up for Mahaney/SGM?

    Well, if Piper’s comment has the Houston Chronicles report in mind, so far Mahaney/SGM and the SBC connection has not come up. I suppose the theopolitics at SBC high levels regarding who is sheltered and what is covered is beyond Downen’s investigative scoop.

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  27. Several changes in the SBC over the last 40 years, many directly attributable to the CR (Conservative Resurgence), contribute to an environment where covering up for pastors and staff as seen in the most recent report in the Fort Worth (home of SWBTS) paper (https://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/fort-worth/article225078220.html) as well as the Houston Chronicle reports has become too commonplace:

    Authoritarianism: The CR movement, along with other cultural forces, brought in an era of the Pastor acting as much like a CEO as possible despite congregational government. Pastors are surrounded by “yes” men (and I mean the term in the gender specific sense not the all-inclusive sense) on committees, boards, etc. Pastors are able to make unilateral, ill-advised, decisions as exemplified in the article above.

    Fundamentalism: The SBC has become a haven for formerly Independent Baptists (notoriously fundamental). Just as quickly as they were jettisoning liberals on one side of the ship they were boarding fundamentalists on the other. The toxicity runs high in this crowd. As an example, Seth Dunn posted this in light of the Houston Chronicle article:” I submit that a woman who claims to be a pastor is (theologically) just as a bad as a sex offender who is hired as a pastor.”

    Good old boy system: Paige Patterson – Darrell Gilyard. Need I say more? No, but I will. The entire CR was predicated on a reward system of good old boyism, taking care of their own. It is no wonder that what was taking place on the national main stage is being reenacted at the local level.

    Church Governance: Historically, Southern Baptist churches have been governed by committees with everything running through the deacons, acting as kind of a board of directors. The deacons were the primary filter for most motions coming before the congregation. Their role, in many congregations (think 9 Marks), has been replaced by a much smaller elder board. Deacons could be notorious curmudgeons who reveled in making the pastor’s life difficult. While that characterization is extreme and ungracious, it was sometimes the case. The point, however, is that the deacons could take on an adversarial role if need be. Elders, however, are usually a much smaller group that can be more easily controlled by the pastor, who is also one of them.

    Cult of Personality: As an extension of Authoritarianism, pastors are frequently placed on pedestal in modern church life. There is a belief in some congregations that the success of the church is directly tied to the persona of the one who stands before them each week and that if he fails, the church will not survive. People acquiesce to a single individual as he becomes the essence of the brand.

    Abuse of structural weaknesses within the Denominational structure: Patterson and Pressler rightly identified that there were vulnerabilities in the way the convention was run. Rather than using their efforts for reform that would improve the way the Convention operated, they decided to exploit the weaknesses to their own ends, putting only people that were sympathetic to their cause in positions of influence.

    Decline of the WMU (Women Missionary Union): The WMU had, pre CR, a strong presence in SBC churches. My guess is that a pastor would be partially restrained from making bad judgment calls knowing that they would hold him accountable.

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  28. dee:
    Ishy,

    No one understands Piper, even Piper himself. Piper is on my poop list. He is a huge supporter of CJ Mahaney and has rarely shown any interest in abuse victims. He’s more concerned with women who become law enforcement officers.

    Oh, no doubt, Dee. And who knows what goes through his mind. I still believe he needs a thorough medical evaluation.

    For as much as he talks about what is manly, I’ve seen him in person. He looks like a strong wind could blow him over.

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  29. Max: Al Mohler – C.J. Mahaney

    Wise about Patterson and Pressler?

    As much as they talk about some sins being worse than others, the fact that Paul Pressler was protecting while being a predator of young boys shows me that is all bunk.

    It’s about power and the boys club, and nothing else.

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  30. Thank you so much for this, Dee.

    I am still being told by evangelicals and others, “But you Catholics are still *way* worse.”

    What *is* this — a competition?

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  31. Ishy: It’s about power and the boys club, and nothing else.

    Since the Civil War, the SBC power structure has shifted time and again around the theopolitics of the day. Unspiritual men, by brute force, gain control of the club to wield power. They rise and fall as time goes on. Right now, the New Calvinists are on the throne. That, too, will pass when another more popular movement comes along with a new cast of powermongers. The SBC has become accustomed to such games, while a lost world dies without God or His Son. While the vast majority of SBC’s 45,000+ churches still pray for revival and spiritual awakening, SBC leaders don’t appear to give a big whoop as they focus on the theopolitics of the day … until something big hits the media fan. The hypocrisy is stifling.

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  32. Did anyone catch this odd story from June of last year? At its convention in Dallas, the SBC removed a small church in Georgia for racism. There’s a line going around that SBC churches are removed for female pastors or homosexual members because that’s a specific agreement at the time of a church joining the SBC, and handling child sex abuse cases is not part of the agreement. However, this story seems to indicate that the SBC can remove a church for any reason.

    https://religionnews.com/2018/06/11/georgia-church-expelled-from-southern-baptist-convention-over-racial-discrimination-charges/

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  33. Linn: I wanted to punch the perpetrator at the end of the video who said he was a victim.

    This is a really good lesson in how predators and narcissists act.

    DARVO is a giant red flag. (Particularly the Reverse Victim and Offender bit)

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  34. Pingback: Linkathon! - Phoenix Preacher

  35. Stan: There’s a line going around that SBC churches are removed for female pastors or homosexual members because that’s a specific agreement at the time of a church joining the SBC, and handling child sex abuse cases is not part of the agreement.

    Never heard that one and I don’t believe it’s true.

    The SBC can remove any church, but only by messenger vote at the annual meeting. Local and state associations can remove churches at any time. Particular violations are not necessary in any case.

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  36. Linn: I wanted to punch the perpetrator at the end of the video who said he was a victim

    “If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal … I amount to nothing at all. ” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

    “In ‘that day’ many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we preach in your name … I shall tell them plainly, ‘I have never known you. Go away from me, you have worked on the side of evil!’” (Matthew 7: 22-23)

    “If anyone leads astray one of these little children who believe in me he would be better off thrown into the depths of the sea with a mill-stone hung round his neck!” (Matthew 18:6)

    etc.

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  37. Ishy: I wondered if he was just behind and was posting about MacArthur.

    This is probably the absolute most charitable explanation and its still bad. Why do people listen to this guy again? I need that ‘so you decided to tweet this and here is why you shouldn’t’ pict.

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  38. Linn: I belong to a denomination where churches are also autonomous, but the association urges strong protections in children’s ministry and provides consultation and resources.

    I continue to think a HUGE part of the problem is that people quietly fire these predators and then either refuse to tell the churches why, or the churches hire them anyway. One of the most disturbing things I read was the guy on SBC Voices who said youth pastors were actually told that if they ‘messed up’ with a girl in youth group they’d just find them a different position somewhere else. That’s a much bigger problem than church autonomy, imo. The whole culture around protection of women and children is rotted.

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  39. This was a hard series of articles to read and there’s still one more to drop. As others have mentioned though, there wasn’t much in there that I wasn’t aware of already, thanks largely to this blog and Amy Smith’s work.

    As for solutions, it’s going to be tough, but that’s no excuse. I have a few thoughts, though.

    First, I think excommunicating churches that have done this would be a good start, but I’m skeptical about how much change that will actually bring about. After all, it hurts the convention more than the church, because all it really means is the SBC will no longer accept donations to the cooperative program. Sure, the pastor and any person who has membership at the church will no longer get the “discounted” rate at an SBC seminary (and it may affect the ability of the staff to purchase insurance through Guidestone, but I’m not certain), but by and large it won’t change much in the day to day life of the church. Still, its the right thing for the convention to do, as it will show, publicly, that they care about this more than money. A database, as well, will help.

    Second, what kind of training, if any is required at SBC seminaries regarding sexual abuse and domestic abuse allegations? I’m actually a baptist pastor, but did not attend an SBC seminary, so I’m unaware. They should, at minimum, require students to pass a pre-enrollment background check and another prior to graduation. Furthermore, there needs to be psychological testing to weed out persons with clearly problematic tendencies. Other denominations do this, so we should as well. Also, there needs to be mandatory training built into every Master’s degree program about how to handle allegations of abuse, legal and moral obligations, best practices for safety, etc.

    Third, the convention needs to work with lay committees–what sort of hiring practices need to be implemented, the importance of it, etc. Be public and persistent about this–churches should get info on this regularly, just as we do about curriculum and everything else. Teaching people in the pew how to best protect themselves will not solve everything, but it will help. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship already has such practices and resources available, so the SBC should also.

    Fourth, overlooked in all this is the role of local and state conventions (understandably, given the focus of the articles). Getting local associations to speak on this, work with hiring committees, work with pastors on the importance of proper reporting, safe hiring practices, safe procedures, etc., will help local congregations much more quickly. State conventions are slower to change, but still faster than the SBC.

    Thank you again for all that you do, Dee.

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  40. Eeyore,

    “To own up to their own abuse problem now would not only expose them to liability and loss of prestige, it would be a de facto admission of hypocrisy, and an acknowledgement that they are no better than those damned (no pun intended) Catholics. It would also undermine their belief that they are a faithful, loyal church and approved by God.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    as i see it, church culture has gotten so big —

    (expensive facilities, utility bills, market competition from other churches so have to keep it looking nice with new carpet, paint, landscaping, hefty salaries, other perks, different kinds of insurance…)

    …they have too much to lose.

    in the final analysis, too much to lose to be transparent, 100% honest and forthcoming, 100% moral and ethical.

    oh, the scuzzy things i’ve seen rationalized away as necessary, as smart, as business, as biblical.

    sometimes church leaders don’t even realize — they are just following the model. it’s like the upside down. upside down is normal.

    now, if critical thinking, courage, and eyes wide open were to happen…

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  41. f

    Ken P.: The SBC can remove any church, but only by messenger vote at the annual meeting.

    Huh? This from SBC organ Baptist Press says expulsion of that church was done by the denomination’s Executive Committee ‘ad interim’:

    “Executive Committee disfellowships Georgia church”

    http://www.bpnews.net/51050/ec-disfellowships-ga-church-honors-mohler

    “The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee has disfellowshiped a Georgia church”

    “In disfellowshiping Raleigh White Baptist Church of Albany, Ga., the EC acted ad interim on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention”

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  42. Jerome: Huh? This from SBC organ Baptist Press says expulsion of that church was done by the denomination’s Executive Committee ‘ad interim’:

    I’m not sure what “ad interim” means in this case and I am not going to search the SBC bylaws at this time, but you learn something new every day.

    I do know that Baptist Press is controlled by the EC, so I take everything they say with a grain of salt.

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  43. The only public response to date from Mark Dever (of SBC church Capital Hill Baptist Church and BFF of C.J. Mahaney of SBC church Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville) has been to tweet a link to Al Mohler’s ‘excellent edition of The Briefing’. Today he’s back to tweeting about historic birthdays…

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  44. Of course, the SBC argues local church autonomy when sex abuse is the issue because the head honchos want to bury their heads in the sand. But they are a top-down authoritarian established denomination when it relates to wifely submission and women pastors. You all may recall the instances of missionaries ordered home from the field and forced to find ministries outside the SBC because husbands/wives refused to affirm male headship and wifely submission. Thanks for all your hard work, Dee.

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  45. Scott Shaver: Wenatchee

    What are you getting at, Scott? So unless they do up an exposé on the power structures and manipulations within the SBC, going into all that stuff (which you could write a series of books on) and include that in the article, rather than the sexual abuse stuff, then it’s all highly contrived and nonsense? That’s just silly. Come on, please!

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  46. Sjon: The only public response to date from Mark Dever … has been to tweet a link to Al Mohler’s ‘excellent edition of The Briefing’.

    The Mohlerites have learned to say “ditto” to whatever the Master says. The party line must be protected.

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  47. From 2015:

    http://www.bpnews.net/44942/ec-affirms-racial-diversity-report

    [scroll down; EC = Executive Committee of the SBC]

    “Alabama church disfellowshipped…Chairman Mike Routt told Baptist Press the EC took action on behalf of the convention rather than recommending that the convention take action during its June 16-17 annual meeting because ‘an issue this important would perhaps take a lot of discussion, a lot of explanation. And we don’t have time carved out to do that’ at the annual meeting.”

    “Weatherly Heights became the fifth church the SBC has disfellowshipped for affirming, approving or endorsing homosexual behavior. The EC acted on behalf of the convention last September to disfellowship New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, Calif.”

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  48. Scott Shaver: … Al Mohler, Russell Moore, JD Greear, CJ Mahaney … objective reporting

    I’ll wait until the series is complete to evaluate that … to see if Mr. Downen ventured far enough to touch the anointed, to turn over all the black stones. He’s certainly done an admirable job reporting the nature and scope of this sin.

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  49. Sjon: The only public response to date from Mark Dever (of SBC church Capital Hill Baptist Church and BFF of C.J. Mahaney of SBC church Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville) has been to tweet a link to Al Mohler’s ‘excellent edition of The Briefing’.

    Max: The Mohlerites have learned to say “ditto”

    The 9Marx Brothers?

    Mohler (Honcho Marx)
    Dever (Ditto Marx)
    Leeman (Echo Marx)
    others (Mumbo Marx, Jumbo Marx, Bunko Marx…)

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  50. Dee, thank you for your persistence over many years in spite of angry retaliation from men in high places. Your work is paying dividends, and I believe some children will be spared mistreatment because of your determination, and some churches will see the light. We’ll never eradicate all evil in this life, but we must fight it. May God bless you!

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  51. Ken P.,

    “The SBC can remove any church, but only by messenger vote at the annual meeting.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    well, it would have to brought up at the annual meeting, then.

    i gather that being able to imagine this happening would take a lot of mental power.

    how much revenue does 2nd baptist houston, TX bring in to the SBC convention?

    perhaps it’s not humanly possible to imagine their removal making it to the floor at an annual meeting.

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  52. Ishy,

    “Well, I also think he’s senile.”
    +++++++++++++++

    or perhaps john piper has a prophet complex.

    he loves attention. which means he enjoys the power of it.

    i suspect his sense of self is so aggrandized that he thinks he’s a prophet. he assumes the silly nonsense of his free association train of thought is inspired.

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  53. Max: They rise and fall as time goes on. Right now, the New Calvinists are on the throne. That, too, will pass when another more popular movement comes along with a new cast of powermongers.

    Like the Hebertists, the Dantonists, the Jacobins, the Thermidorians…

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  54. elastigirl: i suspect his sense of self is so aggrandized that he thinks he’s a prophet. he assumes the silly nonsense of his free association train of thought is inspired.

    My mind works in “free association trains of thought” too, but I never mistook them for Direct Orders from God.

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  55. Headless Unicorn Guy: Remnant:
    You know what JD Greear tweeted about last night?
    A sports commentary.
    Must stick with what’s REALLY Important (and Manly-Man Manly)!

    With all due respect, ACC Basketball (and the UNC Tar Holes in particular) in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area is WAY more important than anyone being abused.*

    *sarcasm, sort of.

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  56. Ishy: As much as they talk about some sins being worse than others,

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t they teach that all sin is the same, and that a jaywalker deserves the same hell as a mass murderer?

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  57. Lee: Fourth, overlooked in all this is the role of local and state conventions (understandably, given the focus of the articles). Getting local associations to speak on this, work with hiring committees, work with pastors on the importance of proper reporting, safe hiring practices, safe procedures, etc., will help local congregations much more quickly. State conventions are slower to change, but still faster than the SBC.

    Lee, I can at least tell you that I learned of the first article through an approving Facebook post by the Baptist Convention of New England, which is the approximation of a state level convention for the six New England states (which are both small and low in Southern Baptists among their Baptists).

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  58. Linn: I belong to a denomination where churches are also autonomous, but the association urges strong protections in children’s ministry and provides consultation and resources.

    Do we collectively know a few sites with good strong resources that could be readily used/pointed to by other groups/denominations. It is the sort of thing that would be good to have prominently available.

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  59. grberry: Do we collectively know a few sites with good strong resources that could be readily used/pointed to by other groups/denominations. It is the sort of thing that would be good to have prominently available.

    Such a site would need to be broader still, since individual predators have been known to prowl in churches, schools, and other settings, and to target family members, babysitters, etc.

    Like others here, I would be concerned about names finding their way into a database without any justification. Churches need to join the real world and have criminal background checks, training, oversight, cameras, etc., but not in a closed system. There are companies that do this for churches.

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  60. Max,

    They (Mohler and Moore) sure didn’t respond to the 2013 resolution by Peter Lumpkins adopted by the SBC at its annual meeting. They continued to enable, support and promote Mahaney in spite of the resolution. JD Greear removed his smiling facebook photos with Mahaney 48 hours before the HC story broke. “Responsive”? Kinda like flipping someone off in an act of road rage is “responsive”?

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  61. dee,

    Mean is in the eye of the beholder Dee. Since you are a crusader for “truth”. Why does an honest question touch you off so? I know you and Wade are tight, but certainly not above questioning. Burleson says not a word about Mohler, Moore, Mahaney or SGM. Wonder why?

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  62. Law Prof,

    Not at all contrived. But live in Houston and have witnessed first-hand what a rag the HC really is. There are so many inaccuracies about small church pastors and their congregations in the 2 of 3 reports, not to mention chronological inconsistencies in fact. The kind of sensationalism needed to boost readership of a struggling organization to the point that poor homeless and destitute people are selling HC’s paper under every overpass and at every intersection in the surrounding Meteopolis. This story draws a bead on pastors and congregations in the trenches while leaving sitting denominational agency heads and seminary presidents who thumbed their noses at concerns virtually unscathed. Seems a “lawyer” might appreciate that angle.

    But then again, readership is the prize, damn the facts.

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  63. Muff Potter: Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t they teach that all sin is the same, and that a jaywalker deserves the same hell as a mass murderer?

    Patterson and Pressler and friends were not New Cals and I don’t think had that belief. I was referring to the practice in the SBC to kick out churches for allowing gay people or female pastors. But that crowd ignored Pressler’s predatory actions.

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  64. “Caesar has to be involved as well as the church … this is a crime … I support a sex registry.” (Russell Moore, CBN News)

    Surprise, surprise, Pastor Burleson … Dr. Moore now supports an SBC sex abuse registration list!

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  65. Scott Shaver: They (Mohler and Moore) sure didn’t respond to the 2013 resolution by Peter Lumpkins adopted by the SBC at its annual meeting.

    Drs. Mohler and Moore weren’t buds with Peter Lumpkins. When he presented the child sex abuse resolution in 2013, he had Mohler’s connection to Mahaney/SGM in mind, although unnamed. For a long season, Brother Lumpkins was a voice crying in the wilderness against Mohler’s various misgivings. I’ve missed Peter’s posts in the blogosphere in recent years (SBC Tomorrow).

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  66. Scott Shaver: This story draws a bead on pastors and congregations in the trenches while leaving sitting denominational agency heads and seminary presidents who thumbed their noses at concerns virtually unscathed.

    That’s sorta how it appeared to me as well. Which is why I can’t help but suspect limited hangout by TPTB. All those bad, bad guys ‘out there’, and conveniently omitting the big fish. Don’t worry, we will ride to the rescue . . . What’s that? Where have we been? And what role do we think male dominance has had in all of this? Move along, nothing here.

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  67. Max,

    Max, you can continue to enjoy Pete’s writing and blogs on his facebook page. E.Peter Frank Lumpkins. Glad you mentioned his resolution. It was watered down by the denominational boys to detract attention away from Mohler, Mahaney and their cronies.

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  68. Scott Shaver,

    Scott, I recognize your name from comments on other blogs. You have a long history with the SBC and provide a perspective on denominational theopolitics that needs to be heard. There are SBC good guys on one end, bad guys on the other, and those who play the middle without crossing too many boundaries for the good of the prevailing theology. Things are not always what they seem with any of them.

    At the end of the day on this issue, there are SBC victims that need to be heard and SBC abusers that need to exposed and dealt with. On a scale of 1-10, getting abusers of women and children out of the church is better than ridding the denomination of purveyors of aberrant theology … unless those folks cover for abusers because they are important to the theological tribe. I doubt that the young reporter at the Houston Chronicles is informed enough to deal with the latter in this series of articles – he just doesn’t have the benefit of knowing what you know and seeing what you see.

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  69. Scott Shaver:
    Law Prof,

    Not at all contrived. But live in Houston and have witnessed first-hand what a rag the HC really is. There are so many inaccuracies about small church pastors and their congregations in the 2 of 3 reports, not to mention chronological inconsistencies in fact. The kind of sensationalism needed to boost readership of a struggling organization to the point that poor homeless and destitute people are selling HC’s paper under every overpass and at every intersection in the surrounding Meteopolis. This story draws a bead on pastors and congregations in the trenches while leaving sitting denominational agency heads and seminary presidents who thumbed their noses at concerns virtually unscathed. Seems a “lawyer” might appreciate that angle.

    But then again, readership is the prize, damn the facts.

    I agree with the notion that the big wigs need to be called on the carpet and in fact tweeted Russell Moore earlier today about this. I think it would be virtually impossible to get the chronology perfect in circumstances such as this. It sounds as if fundamentally they got it right: there’s a massive problem in SBC churches and it has been festering for some time. You speak of “so many inaccuracies”–but I haven’t seen you cite one. I’m sure they’re there.

    In all honesty, you sound like someone with an ax to grind that you’re not being forthcoming about. I’ve been a lawyer for 25 years, this isn’t my first rodeo. So what is it?

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  70. TS00:
    Listened to Mancow’s program http://www.wlsam.com/mancow/, 2nd half of progam covers MacDonald. He does not say where he got these tapes of MacDonald, but they are utterly astounding and disgusting. They prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the man is a fraud.

    Amazes me anyone ever thought he wasn’t. I saw about five minutes of the video he did bragging with Mark Driscoll and somebody (maybe Francis Chan, I can’t remember) years ago, the way he was bragging about his numbers and such, just dripped with arrogance and self satisfaction. It didn’t take more than that. I’ve been fooled by abusers before and flat sucked in, but after you get burned enough, you get a feel for them. The guy screams it to me.

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  71. Scott Shaver: Max, you can continue to enjoy Pete’s writing and blogs on his facebook page. E.Peter Frank Lumpkins.

    I don’t have enough friends to be a facebooker. I’m an old guy who is barely tech-literate enough to tune into the blogosphere. I comment here because I’ve found a few kindred spirits who share the same concerns I have about the condition of the American church. I’m done with the SBC, but just haven’t quit yet … I offer my 70-year perspective as a former Southern Baptist … but, I’m getting weary with the misbehavings of a once-great evangelistic denomination – few listen to what an old man has to offer these days. The Houston Chronicles report was just about all I can take. I’m getting close to ending my tenure in cyberspace.

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  72. Max: “Youth Pastors” in their 20s …

    An office that should not exist in church, IMHO. Scripture exhorts older men to teach young men; older women to teach young women. Young, immature believers should not have responsibility over young, immature believers … regardless if they have a seminary degree or not. The pastoral care of children and youth should not be entrusted to the young and inexperienced, as a training ground for ministry.

    Thanks for stating this! It certainly would have saved me a world of hurt if wet-behind-the-ears seminarians had not been in charge of my youth group. However, the older adult volunteers were also quite fanatical. We needed to be more connected to the part of the church that contained our parents and the experienced ministers.

    Our group was theologically isolated and led to believe that most of our parents were going to hell. A betrayal.

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  73. “In the end, it seems this all comes down to money. Leaders didn’t want to do anything because it could cost too much money which can be lost in lawsuits.”

    Applying the plot of a Die Hard movie (first they make you think the villains are up to one thing, when it’s only about the money) to much of the business-drive models of ministry (sic) often may serve as the spot from which to work backwards for gleaning motives.

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  74. Ishy: But that crowd ignored Pressler’s predatory actions

    Has it occurred to anyone here that all these bigshots have creepy illegal dirt on each other?

    It looks like they are all doing it or worse.

    Josh Duggar.
    Bill Gothard.
    Doug Phillips.
    Tom Chantry.
    Jack Schaap.
    Andy Savage.

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  75. Guest: Has it occurred to anyone here that all these bigshots have creepy illegal dirt on each other?

    It has been posited before that is why Mahaney remains in the “in” crowd. I actually think the biggest secrets have a lot more to do with money than sex, though.

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  76. However, you can be just bat crazy and apparently people will still defend you…Julie Roys’ new article on Macdonald’s comments aired by Mancow yesterday. They are really, really bad….
    http://julieroys.com/mancow-airs-shocking-comments-james-macdonald-response/

    There has also been several people on Twitter who have stated that they were having strange things happen to them after they went against Macdonald. One of the former elders, and I couldn’t find his tweet but it’s probably still around, said that he was approached by a prostitute inside his workplace who tried to corner him. Roys also said that there were several fake Twitter accounts threatening her with indecent photos. She reported that to the police. After hearing the things on Mancow’s podcast yesterday, some are saying that JMac and Luke may have done those things themselves.

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  77. Clay Crouch:
    If Greear isn’t EXPLICIT in who he knew, what he knew, when he knew, and how he knew, then it’s just business as usual.And to hell with it.

    I totally agree. I think they will say a lot of stuff that sounds good to some, and do absolutely nothing about it.

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  78. It’s gotten stuck in my mind the last couple of days that Gilyard was allowed to go on way longer than most…years and years and years of abuse. I heard him speak in the 90’s at Balfour Baptist in Hendersonville NC and i’m sure that was way after some of this had come to light, and look how long he went on at Shiloh. Why? Nobody really thinks it was for him, do they? I have gotten stuck in my mind that he had to have had the goods on somebody high up somewhere. What was being covered up? And I, too, think the Houston Chronicle stayed away from the higher ups in this article, and they are the only ones with the power to change this situation. I just feel like there is way more than meets the eye, and way more covering up than we know. I just wonder what is the real story sometimes?

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  79. Ishy: Huh, I didn’t catch that earlier. How do they manage that and why?

    The fundamentalists couldn’t take over the BGCT, like they did with other existing state conventions, so they started their own. A lot of BGCT churches chose to dually aligned with the national Southern Baptist Convention and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

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  80. Ishy:
    MacDonald is out:

    https://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/2019/02/13/february-2019-elder-update-2/

    I was relieved when I finally saw the word ‘terminated’ in their statement. I was afraid he was going to be given some kind of ‘sabbatical’ or ‘extended leave of absence.’ This is definitely a step in the right direction! I am thankful they didn’t continue to uphold their ‘unconditional support’ for such a disgusting and ungodly man!

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  81. Root 66: I was relieved when I finally saw the word ‘terminated’ in their statement.

    Talk about “Abuse of Faith”, it shouldn’t have required Harvestgate tapes to bring MacDonald down! The HBC elders should have acted a long time ago – they knew what kind of man he was. How many more Driscolls, Hybels, and MacDonalds does the American church have to go through before it opts out of personality cults and returns to God?

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  82. Scott Shaver:
    Law Prof,

    Sorry Counselor if I don’t match your triad of numbers on the Enneagram. My “Axe” is perhaps consistent with other “axes” being ground on TWW. 30 years of disgust with the SBC.

    I’m just wondering about your vibe, Scott, because you come across as overly aggressive against Dee and overly aggressive against the article, how it mentions all these pastors and congregations, but not the senior leaders. Can’t you see how many would think (and I still think, in spite of your protestations and use of a $2 word) that your slightly off vibe is a result of a personal ox being gored? Can’t you see why I’d come to that hypothesis?

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  83. FW Rez: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/investigations/article/All-too-often-Southern-Baptist-youth-pastors-13588292.php

    I repeat from an upstream comment:

    “Youth Pastors in their 20s … An office that should not exist in church, IMHO. Scripture exhorts older men to teach young men; older women to teach young women. Young, immature believers should not have responsibility over young, immature believers … regardless if they have a seminary degree or not. The pastoral care of children and youth should not be entrusted to the young and inexperienced, as a training ground for ministry.”

    It’s high time for the SBC to revisit its youth pastor model!

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  84. ishy: However, you can be just bat crazy and apparently people will still defend you…Julie Roys’ new article on Macdonald’s comments aired by Mancow yesterday. They are really, really bad….
    http://julieroys.com/mancow-airs-shocking-comments-james-macdonald-response/

    There has also been several people on Twitter who have stated that they were having strange things happen to them after they went against Macdonald. One of the former elders, and I couldn’t find his tweet but it’s probably still around, said that he was approached by a prostitute inside his workplace who tried to corner him. Roys also said that there were several fake Twitter accounts threatening her with indecent photos. She reported that to the police. After hearing the things on Mancow’s podcast yesterday, some are saying that JMac and Luke may have done those things themselves.

    Such things would not surprise me (much). Listening to MacDonald’s gross talk on Mancow sort of blew even my mind, though. If he talks like this, and folks know and knew it . . . Just take this and apply it to all of the well known and loved ‘religious leaders’. . .

    It doesn’t even have to be all about money, or a vast ‘organized’ conspiracy. It only takes one or two at the top. Some of these guys, like many of JMac’s elders, probably started out well-meaning. But when well-meanings do the bidding of the corrupt, guess what you get? When the naive well-meanings are brainwashed, manipulated or, when they get cold feet, set up for blackmail – which is pretty much what is being suggested – you have a system that serves evil through and through.

    This takes me back to what I have suggested before – coaxing or leading men into compromising actions can serve a purpose. Just taking a look at some of the immaturity shown on videos of JMac’s youth leaders, often led on by his son, is frightening. One can see how such immature, inappropriate and increasingly stupid behaviors could lead to much worse – including bad enough that these guys will ‘keep their mouth’s shut’ when asked to. If they get too risky, plant porn on their devices? Or maybe accuse them of stealing $270K? I would dearly love to hear Jeffery Parham’s side of the story. I suspect he knew too much.

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  85. Cindy Treadway: It’s gotten stuck in my mind the last couple of days that Gilyard was allowed to go on way longer than most…years and years and years of abuse. I heard him speak in the 90’s at Balfour Baptist in Hendersonville NC and i’m sure that was way after some of this had come to light, and look how long he went on at Shiloh. Why? Nobody really thinks it was for him, do they? I have gotten stuck in my mind that he had to have had the goods on somebody high up somewhere. What was being covered up? And I, too, think the Houston Chronicle stayed away from the higher ups in this article, and they are the only ones with the power to change this situation. I just feel like there is way more than meets the eye, and way more covering up than we know. I just wonder what is the real story sometimes?

    Lookin for the ‘Like’ button!

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  86. Cindy Treadway: I just feel like there is way more than meets the eye, and way more covering up than we know. I just wonder what is the real story sometimes?

    I’m very much afraid that the real story is there are SO MANY predators, and all the other men just write women and children off as liars and believe the guys in every situation.

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  87. Max: Talk about “Abuse of Faith”, it shouldn’t have required Harvestgate tapes to bring MacDonald down!The HBC elders should have acted a long time ago – they knew what kind of man he was.How many more Driscolls, Hybels, and MacDonalds does the American church have to go through before it opts out of personality cults and returns to God?

    Yes, it should not have taken this long…but I wonder if a ground-swell from the congregation is going to make any of the elders go ‘bye-bye’ as well. Many (if not all of them) are complicit in much of MacDonald’s funny business! Their hands are no cleaner than his, in my opinion.

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  88. Root 66: https://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/2019/02/13/february-2019-elder-update-2/

    I was relieved when I finally saw the word ‘terminated’ in their statement. I was afraid he was going to be given some kind of ‘sabbatical’ or ‘extended leave of absence.’ This is definitely a step in the right direction! I am thankful they didn’t continue to uphold their ‘unconditional support’ for such a disgusting and ungodly man!

    “Following a lengthy season of review, reflection, and prayerful discussion, the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel had determined that Pastor MacDonald should be removed from his role of Senior Pastor. That timeline accelerated, when on Tuesday morning highly inappropriate recorded comments made by Pastor MacDonald were given to media and reported. Given that and other conduct under consideration, in accordance with the procedures in our Bylaws, Pastor MacDonald was removed as Senior Pastor and as an Elder of the church for engaging in conduct that the Elders believe is contrary and harmful to the best interests of the church. His employment has been terminated from Harvest Bible Chapel, effective today, February 12, 2019. This decision was made with heavy hearts and much time spent in earnest prayer, followed by input from various trusted outside advisors.”

    This is too little, too late. All of these elders need to go. The entire structure needs to go. Note that they said the problem was that these recordings ‘were given to the media and reported’.

    They didn’t dare claim to not know about what was on the tapes. IOW, Mancow forced their hand. He appeared truly shaken that he was being threatened – as was the head of CT on the tape – with having child porn planted on his devices. He claims to have a hundred hours of such talk. Let’s hear anyone claim – or believe – that his elders didn’t know about such junk. This also raises alarm bells about trumped up charges being made to silence elders or junior pastors – could explain why some are not reported?

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  89. Root 66: I wonder if a ground-swell from the congregation is going to make any of the elders go ‘bye-bye’ as well. Many (if not all of them) are complicit in much of MacDonald’s funny business! Their hands are no cleaner than his, in my opinion.

    What we are seeing with MacDonald … as with Driscoll … as with Hybels … 100s of SBC pastors … etc. etc., is a fulfillment of Scripture, an eternal law etched in Heaven, that wayward church leaders (pastors, elders, teachers, volunteers) cannot out-run: “BEHOLD, YOUR SIN ‘WILL’ FIND YOU OUT!” Take it to the bank, folks!

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  90. Cindy Treadway: It’s gotten stuck in my mind the last couple of days that Gilyard was allowed to go on way longer than most…years and years and years of abuse. I heard him speak in the 90’s at Balfour Baptist in Hendersonville NC and i’m sure that was way after some of this had come to light, and look how long he went on at Shiloh. Why? Nobody really thinks it was for him, do they? I have gotten stuck in my mind that he had to have had the goods on somebody high up somewhere. What was being covered up? And I, too, think the Houston Chronicle stayed away from the higher ups in this article, and they are the only ones with the power to change this situation. I just feel like there is way more than meets the eye, and way more covering up than we know. I just wonder what is the real story sometimes?

    Lookin for the ‘Like’ button!

    Max: Root 66: I was relieved when I finally saw the word ‘terminated’ in their statement.

    Talk about “Abuse of Faith”, it shouldn’t have required Harvestgate tapes to bring MacDonald down! The HBC elders should have acted a long time ago – they knew what kind of man he was. How many more Driscolls, Hybels, and MacDonalds does the American church have to go through before it opts out of personality cults and returns to God?

    Absolutely! My comments are being ‘slowed’, but this stinks to high heaven. If Mancow has a hundred hours of this kind of incriminating talk, what does that tell us about what these elders knew and kept quiet about? Even if they were all blackmailed.

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  91. TS00,

    Which leads to the obvious question of ‘Who else?’

    Who else uses these kinds of tactics to keep guys in line? Who else ‘gets the goods’ on people in order to keep their mouths shut? Anyone who doesn’t know – such practices are as old as the hills, and account for much of the evil that goes on in this world, in government as well as religious circles.

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  92. TS00: Who else uses these kinds of tactics to keep guys in line?

    Wherever a church is built around a celebrity personality rather than Jesus, coupled with a yes-man elder-rule governance which bows to him. Together, they will snuff out anything that challenges them. You don’t have to look very far across the American landscape to find them, perhaps just down the street from you. They don’t have to be mega; this occurs even in small churches.

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  93. Cindy Treadway: the Houston Chronicle stayed away from the higher ups in this article

    I’m outside everybody’s paywall. However, didn’t the Boston Globe start by writing about local parish priests? If an institution allegedly has a network that covers up crimes, it might be wise to begin by researching nearby known territory and witnesses.

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  94. Max: What we are seeing with MacDonald … as with Driscoll … as with Hybels … 100s of SBC pastors … etc. etc., is a fulfillment of Scripture, an eternal law etched in Heaven, that wayward church leaders (pastors, elders, teachers, volunteers) cannot out-run:“BEHOLD, YOUR SIN ‘WILL’ FIND YOU OUT!”Take it to the bank, folks!

    Yes! And the Bible also talks a lot about “sowing and reaping” as well! Maybe JMac should have paid more attention to his own sermons that everyone else seemed so ‘inspired’ by!

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  95. Max: A gift of gab … nothing more … the HBC masses didn’t have enough spiritual sense to discern that.

    Which is truly sad when you think about it. I worry about the flock not being fed, and led astray waiting for another wolf who takes advantage of them.

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  96. TS00: what does that tell us about what these elders knew and kept quiet about?

    Many of these guys get caught up in the aura of being an “elder” and being allowed to sit next to the King’s throne. The King, of course, takes advantage of this infatuation to use them. The King can do no wrong … after all, look at the Kingdom he has built! “Yes sir, I agree with you sir, whatever you think, whatever you want to do.” To the brave souls who dare to think on their own and who begin to challenge the King’s authority, their photos become targets, they are cursed by the King and his men – they eventually disappear back into obscurity. And the pew ain’t got a clue.

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  97. This is just my personal opinion, but what has been lost at the SBC has nothing to do with all the sins being committed in high places, heinous and sickening as they are.

    What has been lost is the root idea that God is a God of love, and that Jesus personifies that love.

    Before I get burned at the stake: time was those of a more Calvinistic persuasion were not hyper Calvinists, but moderate. Those of an Arminian viewpoint were not hypers, but moderate. Those who were free grace dispy or free grace historic premil were not hyper, but moderate. And those of an evangelical universalist (yes, they existed and do so now, and yes they believe in an awful hell as real, just not eternal but curative) were not hyper, with no punishment ever for any sin, but were moderates. (St Paul and I excel at run on sentences, do we not! lol)

    But today it is only the wrath of God, aimed at whoever “we” disagree with at the moment. We are shown a picture of God that created at least 90% of humanity for the express purpose of endless torture. And we are told someday we will agree with and even enjoy watching that torture, even of our unchosen loved ones.

    If you conceive of God in that sick twisted way, then of course if He can throw people under the bus to build Himself up, so can His anointed minions.

    We have gone from a God Who sets the example by having mercy on Whom He will have mercy while they are yet sinners and alienated from Him, overcoming evil with good, to a parody of God composed of the worst character traits a human can possess. Indeed, making God have an evil character we are forbidden to have and can burn eternally for.

    No, no, a thousand times no! Toss the study Bibles and get a plain text one, with cross references maybe. Get one in a more literal translation (hint hint, despite advertising hype the CSB and ESV tend a bit thought for thought.)

    Please get to know the real, the strong, the ever loving God who simply will never tolerate evil in His universe, though He had to come to the cross to show us what love really is. Let Him wash your minds.

    And throw the angry, hating, raging, everything is about “My Glory” narcissistic personality disordered idol claiming to be God on the Gehenna ash heap. And fire those anointed minions that so distort His image, for they break the commandments against graven images and idols.

    Meet the real One and you just cannot help worshipping and wanting to please Him!

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  98. Magistos: I worry about the flock not being fed, and led astray waiting for another wolf who takes advantage of them.

    I live in rural America. Sheep really aren’t as dumb as some folks say they are. After a while, they learn to look up from feeding and watch for predators. This usually means that they have narrowly escaped from being eaten at some point in their journey and, thus, become more alert.

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  99. dee:
    Update
    James MacDonald has been fired. More later today.

    Now he takes his Brand and $$$$$ to Florida (a pulpit conveniently empty via the Purge of Secrest) and Starts The Comeback Trail.

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  100. Augustine:
    TS00,

    And how does anyone justify this in their minds?

    They “arrange their minds” to See Nothing Wrong, just like Reichsminster Speer.
    Much easier to do if YOU’re one of those who personally benefit from The Way Things Are.

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  101. Muff Potter: Well, giggles (Mahaney) claims to be an apostle, so why not Piper’s prophet fancy?

    Just wait. In the year AD 30,000, archaeologists will dig up Piper’s many books and determine that he is…an early church father.

    May God have mercy on that generation.

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  102. Cindy Treadway: And I, too, think the Houston Chronicle stayed away from the higher ups in this article, and they are the only ones with the power to change this situation. I just feel like there is way more than meets the eye, and way more covering up than we know.

    Friends in High Places.
    Just like that bokor Facilier (“he who gets things done”) in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.

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  103. Magistos,

    if I might be so bold,it seems the idea that people sitting in the Pew are a bunch of sheep that don’t know any better is the very reason leaders like McDonald can flourish. In the past Baptists believed in the priesthood of all believers. Didn’t that mean every believer had the ability to contact God directly and through the dictates of their conscience through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and scripture, to respond appropriately? This idea that we need man with an MDiv in a Pulpit to tell us what the Bible says because we’re too stupid or ignorant to know better is a dangerous idea. No wonder everybody is running around like sheep without a Shepherd. We forgotten that JESUS is our Shepherd!! And that the Holy Spirit indwells every Born Again believer to lead us into all truth.

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  104. Fisher: In the past Baptists believed in the priesthood of all believers.

    Long-standing Southern Baptist doctrines of “soul competency” and “priesthood of ‘the’ believer” have been diminished during the New Calvinist takeover of the SBC. These beliefs were essentially deemphasized in the 2000 revision of the Baptist Faith and Message. But the Truth still stands: every believer has direct access to God; the pulpit does not have corner on that market.

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  105. linda: What has been lost is the root idea that God is a God of love, and that Jesus personifies that love.

    Before I get burned at the stake:

    You’ve put your finger right on the problem. A lot of Christians spend their whole lives trying to redefine love as burning somebody at the stake.

    Fortunately TWW folk are not like that. 🙂

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  106. Fisher,

    Max,

    I agree on all of your points, most strongly. (I grew up SBC, with wonderful teachers, and am now Anglican – ACNA, and definitely in the Evangelical stream of it.)
    In this case though, I’m thinking of those who are/were new to the faith and haven’t been properly taught at all. I worry about them. Yes, they have direct access. I know I should trust in God, and trust in the dwelling of the Holy Spirit but I worry about baby Christians being able to hear that sure prompting.

    Even as I write this, though, I am prompted to remember 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” so perhaps I worry too much.

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  107. linda,

    Beautiful and true. Thank you, Linda. I desire, with you, that all escape from the distortions about who God is that so much of the institutional church has promulgated. It really is not trite to say that he is loving, good, merciful and kind.

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  108. I still think it is very important that someone pursue the money trail. Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear what Parham would say under immunity? We might find out about the real extent of money paid to the MacDonald family and friends, as well as the LLC’s and the tax breaks gained by people ‘donating’ or leasing churches and property. Like the Bartholomew’s Foundation or whichever one of their LLS’s owns the Naples property. Secrest was simply used, called in to set things up for JMac’s escape/retirement then promptly disposed of. My research suggests the Bartholomews were in Chicago, up until a few short years ago. Just like their handy dandy new elders. Wonder how long all these folks have been cookin’ up this scheme.

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  109. As I saw Russell Moore get another national byline in The New York Times today and immediately started seething, I promptly came across this *perfect* article from Stephanie Krehbiel of IntoAccount. She is a real, proven expert and advocate for the sexually abused.

    She’s writing against male leadership of these groups who center themselves as experts and guides when these type of things eventually become public and thus no longer deniable. I pulled out some excerpts from her article below.

    https://intoaccount.org/2019/02/13/godly-men-be-quiet/

    “Patriarchal Christian masculinity is a powerful drug. It makes many church men believe that the world desperately needs their perspective on everything. It makes their followers believe that asking such men to step aside from leadership is somehow tantamount to cruelty. God is always calling these men to lead someone or something, even when what they know about that thing may be approximately two cents less than nothing. Particularly in the evangelical world, the spiritual quality that seems to most define men like this is their ability to imagine that they hear God in the voice of their own ambition.”

    “THESE MEN EXPOUND ON THE NECESSITY OF LISTENING TO SURVIVORS, BUT THEY CAN’T SEEM TO CONCEIVE OF A WORLD IN WHICH PEOPLE AREN’T LISTENING TO THEM.”

    “Let me be as clear as I can: I am not asking men in church leadership positions to do nothing about sexual abuse. I’m asking them to devote themselves to the task of following people who have less social power than they do. That is not doing nothing. That is a lifetime’s worth of action.

    The rest of us–knowing that power never yields without a fight, knowing that we may well wait the rest of our lives for so-called godly men to get a clue, and still be disappointed–can choose to trust only the people who have earned our trust. We can choose to accept leadership only from people who have proven their compassion and expertise. And just as we shouldn’t demand unearned trust from others, we don’t have to extend it. There’s nothing spiritually virtuous about refusing to question authority.”

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  110. Clockwork Angel: Just wait.In the year AD 30,000, archaeologists will dig up Piper’s many books and determine that he is…an early church father.

    May God have mercy on that generation.

    I’ve had similar thoughts about the “Left Behind” novels. Their power on US christian imagination seems pretty powerful (or perhaps they are simply an expression — a profitable one — of a widespread vision of eschatology), sort of like I Enoch during the early Patristic period. 10000 years from now, these books may appear more important is influences on the churches than whatever present-day scholarship will have survived.

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  111. Magistos:
    Fisher,

    Max,

    I agree on all of your points, most strongly. (I grew up SBC, with wonderful teachers, and am now Anglican – ACNA, and definitely in the Evangelical stream of it.)
    In this case though, I’m thinking of those who are/were new to the faith and haven’t been properly taught at all.I worry about them.Yes, they have direct access.I know I should trust in God, and trust in the dwelling of the Holy Spirit but I worry about baby Christians being able to hear that sure prompting.

    Even as I write this, though, I am prompted to remember 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” so perhaps I worry too much.

    Oh, hi! Another fellow traveler in the ACNA! What diocese are you in? I have the very good fortune of being in Todd Hunter’s (also Scott McKnight’s).

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  112. Samuel Conner: I’ve had similar thoughts about the “Left Behind” novels. Their power on US christian imagination seems pretty powerful (or perhaps they are simply an expression — a profitable one — of a widespread vision of eschatology), sort of like I Enoch during the early Patristic period. 10000 years from now, these books may appear more important is influences on the churches than whatever present-day scholarship will have survived.

    Haha! Yeah, those Left Behind novels are going to be heavily debated among historians in thousands of years. I feel sorry for the poor historians/archaeologists who will have to wade through all that sort of muck just to make a living doing what they do. Wouldn’t it be fun to take a TARDIS into the distant future and see what people think about this era of Christianity? It would be a riot!

    To be fair, I read some of the Left Behind series as a teenager, and I found the evil things the antichrist dude did at the end of each book to be quite deliciously evil and nail-biting. But, that was from a teenager’s perspective. So, YMMV. In the end, I realized that those books were mostly just padding. Seriously. The margins on the hardcover books were like 3 inches or something ridiculous. So you thought you were getting this big long read, and you actually got a novella. A boring novella that only picked up at the very end when the antichrist did something so terribly shocking. I ultimately put the series down and moved on to better books.

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  113. Max: I would advise Mr. Downen not to be blindsided by current SBC leaders. These men didn’t just show up – they have been Southern Baptist influencers for years, with power in their hands to have made a difference before now. Watchblogs, like TWW, reached out to them years ago in an attempt to open their eyes to view the dark corners of SBC and open their ears to the cries of countless victims. Consider their continued support of Mahaney and SGM. By their complacency, they have been a part of the problem;

    Yes. Good advice, Max. Complacency = complicity, i.e, part of the problem.

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  114. Ken F (aka Tweed): Founders’ Tom Ascol cares about abuse so much that got in line at the Southern Baptist Convention last year hoping to get a chance to denounce Martin Luther King as a “woman abuser and a serial adulterer”:

    From that article: “Yet, by even the most basic of metrics—the assumption that real Christians attend church regularly—it seems evident that most SBC churches are largely comprised of unregenerate members. ”

    This guy is an idiot. Lots of abusers come to church on sunday and crow about wonderful they are, and/or use it to abuse others.

    This church discipline thing…they have never done any real hard data drill downs to see what’s actually going on. They have no proof any of this is helpful, and I have NO proof that any of them have a clue how to go about deciding who is ‘regenerate’. So. What a bad take this article is.

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  115. Clockwork Angel: Oh, hi!Another fellow traveler in the ACNA!What diocese are you in?I have the very good fortune of being in Todd Hunter’s (also Scott McKnight’s).

    Hello there! C4SO, like you! I’m in the Atlanta Metro and part of a church plant here. 🙂

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  116. Jerome: Founders’ Tom Ascol

    SBC’s “Founders Ministry” headed by Tom Ascol tried for decades to Calvinize the SBC with what they called “A Quiet Revolution”. The New Calvinists are now doing what the old boys could not by a more in-your-face louder approach. Ascol and his band of “Old” Calvinists may not agree with the method and message of the new reformers, but they must be satisfied to see the mission accomplished.

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  117. Samuel Conner: I’ve had similar thoughts about the “Left Behind” novels. Their power on US christian imagination seems pretty powerful (or perhaps they are simply an expression — a profitable one — of a widespread vision of eschatology), sort of like I Enoch during the early Patristic period.

    I’ve heard the Gnostic Gospels described as “ancient Bible fanfic”.

    Just as Left Behind (and Christian Apocalyptic in general) has been described as “Book of Revelation fanfic”.

    And having been immersed in Brony fanfic for a couple years, I can attest that ANY fanfic varies all over the place (including some truly awful stuff).

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  118. Clockwork Angel: To be fair, I read some of the Left Behind series as a teenager, and I found the evil things the antichrist dude did at the end of each book to be quite deliciously evil and nail-biting. But, that was from a teenager’s perspective.

    It would have to be “from a teenager’s perspective”.

    Because their Antichrist — the incarnation of ALL human and diabolic evil — CANNOT be shown doing anything actually Evil. Nothing that could upset the Church Lady gatekeepers of the Christian market (google “Christian Boycott” sometimes and see how many hits you get). It puts a writer in an impossible situation – one of many types of internal censorship in the genre.

    Left Behind also started with one major strategic blunder (which is also characteristic of BAD fanfic): Trying to tell a story of literally Cosmic scope entirely from the POVs of the two Author Self-Inserts. (Above and beyond the usual Christian Apocalyptic problem of characters being nothing more than mobile POVs to be there to witness Event after Event of the End Times Checklist, turn to the reader/viewer, and break the fourth wall to tell the reader/viewer “What we just saw Fulfills Such-and-Such Prophecy Chapter-and-Verse!”) LB tried to get around this by telling a lot of the story with “As You Know…” idiot conversations — over the phone! It became a running joke to everyone except the authors and True Believer fans.

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  119. linda: But today it is only the wrath of God, aimed at whoever “we” disagree with at the moment.

    i.e. God as My Enforcer.
    Both Manly Wade Wellman’s weird fiction and Pennsylvania Dutch lore are full of witch-men/hexerai conjuring and binding familiar spirits and sending them as the witch-man’s personal Enforcers.
    How is this any different?

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  120. Max: Many of these guys get caught up in the aura of being an “elder” and being allowed to sit next to the King’s throne.

    Lewis called this “The Lure of the Inner Ring”.
    And Reichsminister Speer’s memoirs (Inside the Third Reich) testify where it can lead.

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  121. from Religion News Service, Southern Baptist minister list included sex offenders, February 14, 2019:

    “Mohler broke ties in early 2018 with Sovereign Grace Churches after continuing cover-up accusations made it clear to him “that no adequate independent investigation had been done” into abuse allegations related to that ministry and its founder C.J. Mahaney, who he had previously supported.”

    https://religionnews.com/2019/02/14/southern-baptist-minister-list-included-sex-offenders/
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    hmmmm….. how conveniently timely.

    wow, what spin. he makes it sound like new information has come to light. what a crock o’ sh…. (i’ll refrain)

    SGM/CJ Mahaney’s coverup has been plenty well-documented and highly credible for years.

    al mohler chose to promote and enable CJ for years in spite of it.

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  122. Sjon,

    Tweeting historical birthday…indicative of someone who wants to impress others with his # of tweets and yet has nothing of substance to say. I sometimes wonder if these guys are even Christian…isn’t the focus supposed to be Jesus, like, “…fix your eyes on Jesus?” His background photo says clearly, “look at me, look at me, would someone please notice ME!”

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  123. Muff Potter: Catholic Gate-Crasher: I am still being told by evangelicals and others, “But you Catholics are still *way* worse.”

    Seems like I remember Rachael Denhollander saying something along the lines that she believed the problem would eventually be revealed to be even worse in the Protestant/Evangelical church than the Catholic Church.

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  124. elastigirl,

    well, i never heard about it either. it’s either a lie, or else stretching what might have been a consideration over the moon and back.

    what webs he spins. planting narrative seeds for the the courtrooms (of public opinion and the justice system) in the coming months, years.

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  125. elastigirl: hmmmm….. how conveniently timely.

    wow, what spin. he makes it sound like new information has come to light

    Mohler is slick. He has slithered over rougher ground than this and still kept his crown. He is a master at altering his route to a smoother high road when necessary.

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  126. Jerome: elastigirl: from Religion News Service…“Mohler broke ties in early 2018 with Sovereign Grace Churches”

    I don’t recall this happening. How and when did he announce this last year?

    Uhhhh … that would have been BIG news in the blogosphere at the time … as it is now. It didn’t happen, unless it was simply an amicable parting of the way in a phone call between Mohler and Mahaney. As Mohler’s wife used to refer to them, Mahaney was a part of “Al’s little playgroup” … I’m sure this is rough on both them, bless their hearts.

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  127. https://baptistnews.com/article/almohlertoo-did-a-southern-baptist-power-broker-just-get-woke/#.XGbj86JKipo

    In 2013, “Mohler and the other two T4G partners, Southern Baptist pastor and 9Marks ministries founder Mark Dever and Presbyterian educator Ligon Duncan, released a statement sticking up for a friend (Mahaney) facing the spotlight of scandal.”

    In 2018, “While not specifically addressing his past support of Mahaney, Mohler’s statement said the current #MeToo moment” requires the very best of us.””

    In 2019, “Mohler said for the first time publicly that he regrets his embrace of C.J. Mahaney” (Houston Chronicles, 14 Feb. 2019).

    2013 … I will stick with him until the bitter end
    2018 … Hmmm, maybe I won’t stick with him until the bitter end
    2019 … the bitter end?

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  128. Max: In 2019, “Mohler said for the first time publicly that he regrets his embrace of C.J. Mahaney” (Houston Chronicles, 14 Feb. 2019).

    Oh, what a sad Valentine’s card to send to Mahaney. I feel like crying (not).

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  129. Max,

    They say what they have to say to cover themselves. The truth isn’t important. That’s why they are all so scary. If you can’t believe them then what else are they covering? Best to be done with the whole lot and just walk away. Well, nobody can say they weren’t warned.

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  130. But everyone has to follow their own path to the truth. I just would hope these ministers wouldn’t use victims to further their own agendas and say…this side was wrong and we were totally in the right. When that’s just not truth. The truth sure does always get lost in the shuffle somewhere. And use this issue as just another way to slip in faulty theology. It will all prove out in the end. And I still believe there’s a way bigger network of abuse going on, and far is being covered up, just like the Catholic church, than we will ever know. If you want to THINK about what might be going on, I can’t recommend The Keepers on Netflix highly enough.

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  131. ___

    “501c3 SBC Quandary?”

    hmmm…

    If:

    “We believe that each local church is self-governing in function and must be free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority.”

    And if:

    “As early Baptists overcame oppression by establishing a congregational church system emphasizing local church autonomy and separation from state influence, so contemporary American Baptists continue to emphasize both the importance and the responsibility of every church and the individual believer before God.”

    Q. Then why are some in this group of churches apparently not policing themselves?

    —> There will be an answer?

    Hell is freezing over?

    ;~)

    Intermission:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oPVyWLZJXos

    – –

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  132. Cindy Treadway: They say what they have to say to cover themselves.

    Mohler posted a link to his comments/apology in the Houston Chronicles article on his Twitter page … he then moved on to other topics. In his mind, it’s over and he can go back to business as usual. It remains to be seen whether SBTS trustees and millions of mainline Southern Baptists will let him do that.

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  133. “I am grateful that these statements are coming out from SBC leaders, but it makes me question if they would have come out had the Houston Chronicle not released their SBC sex abuse series. Why did they only take the C.J. Mahaney/SGM sex abuse scandal seriously when the sex abuse in their own camp came to light?”
    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2019/02/14/sbts-president-albert-mohler-apologizes-for-supporting-c-j-mahaney/

    A question that every Southern Baptist should be asking … but I have a feeling that most of them are more concerned if the winter weather will impact their monthly potluck dinner at the church.

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  134. Max: Why did they only take the C.J. Mahaney/SGM sex abuse scandal seriously when the sex abuse in their own camp came to light? (Spiritual Sounding Board)

    C.J. Mahaney is now in the SBC camp … yep, he became a Southern Baptist in 2015 after Al Mohler paved the way for him in Louisville.

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  135. “Christa Brown, who has advocated for reforms in Baptist Churches and ran the website, Stop Baptist Predators, questioned the timing of Mohler’s apology, noting it came on the heels of “massive media coverage of sexual abuse and cover-ups.”

    And she said if it is sincere, he should return money that Mahaney gave the seminary or donate it to an organization that helps victims.

    The Courier Journal reported in 2011 that Mahaney and Sovereign Grace each had donated at least $100,000 to the seminary.”

    https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/2019/02/15/mohler-issues-apology-for-embracing-c-j-mahaney/2880505002/

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  136. The Chairman of SBTS’s trustee board is Matt Schmucker who runs Mohler’s ‘Together 4 the Gospel’ operation!

    from 2018-2019 SBTS Academic Catalog:

    “Board of Trustees CHAIRMAN: Mr. Matt Schmucker”

    “[Trustee] FOR DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA F. Matthew (Matt) Schmucker, Executive Director, Together for the Gospel, District of Columbia”

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  137. Max: A question that every Southern Baptist should be asking … but I have a feeling that most of them are more concerned if the winter weather will impact their monthly potluck dinner at the church.

    Remember Esau and the Mess of Pottage?

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  138. Max: C.J. Mahaney is now in the SBC camp … yep, he became a Southern Baptist in 2015 after Al Mohler paved the way for him in Louisville.

    Entering preceded by liveried Armorbearers blowing long trumpets before him to announce how HUMBLE He is.

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  139. elastigirl: what webs he spins. planting narrative seeds for the the courtrooms (of public opinion and the justice system) in the coming months, years.

    Twenty chess moves ahead of everyone else.
    That’s why their kind always WINS.

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  140. Max: Jerome: elastigirl: from Religion News Service…“Mohler broke ties in early 2018 with Sovereign Grace Churches”

    I don’t recall this happening. How and when did he announce this last year?

    Uhhhh … that would have been BIG news in the blogosphere at the time … as it is now. It didn’t happen, unless it was simply an amicable parting of the way in a phone call between Mohler and Mahaney. As Mohler’s wife used to refer to them, Mahaney was a part of “Al’s little playgroup” … I’m sure this is rough on both them, bless their hearts.

    Ah, that’s what it was – he cancelled the weekly play date!

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  141. Cindy Treadway: But everyone has to follow their own path to the truth. I just would hope these ministers wouldn’t use victims to further their own agendas and say…this side was wrong and we were totally in the right. When that’s just not truth. The truth sure does always get lost in the shuffle somewhere. And use this issue as just another way to slip in faulty theology. It will all prove out in the end. And I still believe there’s a way bigger network of abuse going on, and far is being covered up, just like the Catholic church, than we will ever know. If you want to THINK about what might be going on, I can’t recommend The Keepers on Netflix highly enough.

    ‘Like’.

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  142. Jerome: The Chairman of SBTS’s trustee board is Matt Schmucker who runs Mohler’s ‘Together 4 the Gospel’ operation!

    Mr. Schmucker was also the founder of the “Center for Church Reform” … later named (get this) 9Marks.

    For an interesting (I was going to use another word) glimpse of how 9Marks came to be, check out the following video. Lots of tidbits of info I wasn’t aware of (e.g. SBC’s Founders Ministry funded their early publications). The “Founders” are a group of classical Calvinists who have worked behind the scenes for decades in their “Quiet Revolution” to reform (Calvinize) the SBC. They couldn’t do it until the New Calvinists came along (or perhaps they did vicariously!).

    The plot thickens …

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VNz714D6kw

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  143. Also, @ 0:35 into the video, a creepy exchange between Dever, Leeman, and Schmucker where they don’t seem to want say outright that Schmucker now runs T4G for Mahaney, Mohler, Dever and Duncan:

    LEEMAN: Can I say what your job is? Matt, what’s your job?
    DEVER: Is it a secret job? We’re in DC a lot of guys have secret jobs.
    LEEMAN: Who do you work for? I can’t say-
    SCHMUCKER: The CIA. Um, I quietly support various ministries.
    DEVER: It sounds like the old Internationtal Foundation.(chuckles) Is this tied into Rockefeller money somehow? (chuckles)

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  144. Jerome: DEVER: It sounds like the old International Foundation.(chuckles) Is this tied into Rockefeller money somehow? (chuckles)

    I’m glad these New Calvinists are having such a good time restoring the “gospel” that the rest of the church lost somewhere along the line. That 9Marks healthy church thing is such a blast!

    They chuckled; Jesus wept.

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  145. Statements of regret… big whoop. They are a matter of public relations.

    While it’s nice to hear a change in tune from tinny party line of double standards and duplicity, Al Moher’s and Danny Akin’s statements have everything to do with them and are expressly for their benefit.

    Restitution is in order.

    (more to come!)

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  146. (based on some nifty tweets i saw)

    Restitution. Productive restitution.

    Al Mohler, Danny Akin, JD Greear, Russell Moore, YOU pay for the independent 3rd party investigation into SGM and CJ Mahaney.

    Rally your enabling friends & pay for it out of your own personal wealth.

    You used your influence to champion CJ Mahaney so he would maintain his celebrity status in the evangelical marketplace. I have no doubt he has profited significantly from your promotion and endorsement. In all your symbiotic networks, you have profited. And you know it, too.

    but now CJ is a liability, isn’t he. and now we are treated to your statement of regret.

    it’s not entirely correct to say the victims got nothing. you threw sand in their eyes by your glib comments.

    you through acid on them by what you did, what you said. by what you didn’t do. by what you didn’t say. All of which benefitted you.

    YOU pay for the independent 3rd party investigation into SGM and CJ Mahaney.

    Not from the coffers of the organizations you run. From your own personal wealth.

    YOU make it right.

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  147. Restitution. Productive restitution.

    J.D. Greear, rally the white-collared professional christians in SBC leadership past & present & pay for reforms by docking your salaries and golden parachutes.

    I’m sure Frank Page’s retirement fund paid for by donations is generous enough to use for a deserved purpose.

    Don’t fund your incompetence and duplicity on the backs of those who sacrificially gave and continue to give out of their hard-earned donations.

    i guarantee you this is not what they had in mind. they thought the gospel was going to be spread.

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  148. TS00: Which leads to the obvious question of ‘Who else?’

    Who else uses these kinds of tactics to keep guys in line? Who else ‘gets the goods’ on people in order to keep their mouths shut? Anyone who doesn’t know – such practices are as old as the hills, and account for much of the evil that goes on in this world, in government as well as religious circles.

    Several years ago, I went to a small church where the pastor was fairly recently out of seminary. This pastor let those close to him in on a secret: he kept a file on church members with information he could use against them if they should ever challenge him. Any time he met people who knew anyone in the church, he would dig a little and see if he came up with anything that might be compromising or controversial, then jot it in his little file. When this revelation was met with shock, he chuckled knowingly and explained, “Listen, I know how to ‘do church.’ I know how it all works.”

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  149. Max: What we are seeing with MacDonald … as with Driscoll … as with Hybels … 100s of SBC pastors … etc. etc., is a fulfillment of Scripture, an eternal law etched in Heaven, that wayward church leaders (pastors, elders, teachers, volunteers) cannot out-run: “BEHOLD, YOUR SIN ‘WILL’ FIND YOU OUT!” Take it to the bank, folks!

    But in the meantime, so many people are harmed. And I think that most often we do not see the resolution in this world. “The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after.”

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  150. Max: “Youth Pastors in their 20s … An office that should not exist in church, IMHO. Scripture exhorts older men to teach young men; older women to teach young women. Young, immature believers should not have responsibility over young, immature believers … regardless if they have a seminary degree or not. The pastoral care of children and youth should not be entrusted to the young and inexperienced, as a training ground for ministry.”

    It’s high time for the SBC to revisit its youth pastor model!

    We left our final church, which began as a very nice small church, after a young man, a recent convert with a fiery personality, was put in charge of the men’s ministry and began one of those manliness video programs. It was so odd to have him teaching older, mature men. One of the older men suggested, ‘if we want to get together one night a week for a men’s ministry, why don’t we spend the time doing work for the needy in the congregation together?’ That didn’t go over. Oh, and at the same time, the church signed on to doing the ‘vertical church’ model. We tried to warn them about MacDonald but, you know, he’s famous and we’re not, so…

    I’m done now and I watch it all from the outside, looking on- the most comfortable position I’ve been in since I became a Christian and started going to church over 40 years ago. Maybe I went to all the wrong churches? But I got tired of trying to make it work and finally realized, it’s not me, it’s them.

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  151. Max: “In ‘that day’ many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we preach in your name … I shall tell them plainly, ‘I have never known you. Go away from me, you have worked on the side of evil!’” (Matthew 7: 22-23)

    “If anyone leads astray one of these little children who believe in me he would be better off thrown into the depths of the sea with a mill-stone hung round his neck!” (Matthew 18:6)

    etc.

    Ecclesiastes 8:11
    When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.

    Psalm 50:21
    When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you.

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  152. SiteSeer: One of the older men suggested, ‘if we want to get together one night a week for a men’s ministry, why don’t we spend the time doing work for the needy in the congregation together?’ That didn’t go over.

    Oh no, these young whippersnappers don’t do stuff like that. And they don’t visit the sick, go to nursing homes, preach funerals … but, they find plenty of time to tweet their lives away at the coffee shop.

    SiteSeer: at the same time, the church signed on to doing the ‘vertical church’ model. We tried to warn them about MacDonald but, you know, he’s famous and we’re not, so…

    Well, he’s infamous now! What the heck is he going to do with his Vertical Church tattoo?!

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  153. elastigirl: Al Mohler, Danny Akin, JD Greear, Russell Moore, YOU pay for the independent 3rd party investigation into SGM and CJ Mahaney.

    Now that’s a thought. No need to tap the hard-earned tithes of the Southern Baptist family which you have deceived. You knew what you were doing with Mahaney when you covered for him; they didn’t.

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