Peter Johnsen Fired from Crossroads Community Church

 

Strong Woman

“It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.”
― C.S. Lewis


 

I got word from a reliable anonymous source that Peter Johnsen was fired yesterday (5/30/19) from Crossroads Community Church. You can read the original post from two days ago at Pastor Daniel Fusco of Crossroads Community Church Expressed Concern for Abuse Victims in USA Today But That’s Not How He Acted When Approached By Mary Fakhoury #churchtoo #metoo

I hope to be able to share further information in the near future. I felt that this should be a stand alone post so people can share their thoughts on the matter.

I am grateful that Johnsen is no longer in a position of influence in the church setting. Things are changing. When I started blogging 10 years ago, many pastors would not have responded to the report of sexual abuse. Now, many church leaders are becoming aware that reports of churches which overlook sexual abuse are judged harshly in the court of public opinion.

So, I want to thank our readers who express their outrage when abuse is overlooked. You are making a difference and I am grateful for each and everyone of you. Please continue to speak out!

Special thanks go out to Mary who bravely shared her story and, in so doing, ad changed thins. #IStandwith Mary

I know people will have interesting takes on this development so I am posting this as a separate article.

#churchtoo

 

 


Comments

Peter Johnsen Fired from Crossroads Community Church — 80 Comments

  1. Roger Bombast – a reliable source of a morning snort-laugh!

    And good for Crossroads and those who took it seriously, even if it took the proverbial “that which is done in secret will be shouted from the housetops” to get there.

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  2. Behold: Cricket

    Well, I sent a day of good conditions upon Pakistan and the Windies today in Nottingham. And they played out a dramatic, if brief, match; some excellent fast-bowling saw Pakistan skittled for just 105. The pick of the bowlers was Oshane Thomas with 4-27, with the Windies wrapping up a 7-wicket victory within 14 overs.

    Best regards,

    God

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  3. May it be that churches who hide predators are beginning to see that such things can no longer be done under wraps. The days of dismissing all victims as liars and crybabies are over. The days of ‘boys will be boys’ are over. The days of ‘touch not my anointed’ and ‘no gossip’ are over. The light has shone in on the darkness, and the cockroaches are scurrying. God will not relent until all that is done in the darkness is exposed and condemned.

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  4. I dream of a world in which a celebrity pastor’s wife and children aren’t a two-sentence afterthought in the final paragraph of his bio page…or at least a world in which a pastor’s wife and children occupy the first two sentences of the first paragraph of the “More About Me” section of his bio page.

    https://danielfusco.com/bio-2/

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  5. While this is a good development I remain cautious considering the actions of similar churches in the past. Let’s see the official announcement, the apology from the people who hired him in the first place, and most importantly, the apology to Mary for their callous, at best, response to her. Let’s see something substantial from the head pastor. I’m talking real grief, real confessional type stuff. Not corporate lawyered up boiler plate tripe.

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  6. God: I sent a day of good conditions upon Pakistan and the Windies today in Nottingham.

    Will You please explain the daily tornadoes over here the past two weeks? Do You eschew baseball, shewing a preference for the pro basketball and hockey finals?

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  7. I was just flipping through the channels on the TV. I came across the show “Daily Blast Live”, they were talking about Ellen Degeners’ talking about her childhood molestation.

    But they then switched their focus on systemized child molestation. They pointed specifically to the churches, Sandusky at Penn State, Michigan State, and the US Gymnastics Team.

    Then they pointed directly to the administrators who buried the information on the molestation, looking the other way, moving the molesters around.

    One of the facts they pointed out was 4 in 1 girls and 6 in 1 boys will be molested by someone they know. That it isn’t some pedophile in the bush.

    It was nice to publicly hear someone get angry about child molestation. It’s not the 1980’s anymore.

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  8. Brian: One of the facts they pointed out was 4 in 1 girls and 6 in 1 boys will be molested by someone they know. That it isn’t some pedophile in the bush.

    Though Stranger Danger “pedo in the bush” is useful for misdirection. Successful abusers of all kinds (not just sexual) have to be masters of camouflage and manipulation, and what better way to misdirect suspicion than dropping hints pointing at some third party who DOES fit the surface description they expect?

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  9. I am glad the church did the right thing and did not let the man stay on as a “pastoral minister”. When I looked at the churches blog a second time I still saw the offenders photo and bio-last night I pondered to my wife that it was interesting his photo was still online and I wondering when it would be taken down. My tweet asked Daniel what was he going to do concerning these serious allegations concerning one of his staff members? I did not expect a personal response but I did get my answer. I do not expect any apologies or repentance from church staff but this is a positive first step. AS Dee said, this response would not have happened even 5 years ago. Honestly, I am not surprised by this outcome as I knew countless others would be contacting the pastor. When Dee contacted the church and pushed back when the person talked about “restoration”, I figured some sparks were soon to fly.

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  10. Firing him is a step in the right direction, but having him charged with a crime would be even better. If they don’t, then he’ll just appear elsewhere where other naive people gather and do it all over again and again. He’s a danger to society and needs to be put away for good!

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  11. Root 66: Firing him is a step in the right direction, but having him charged with a crime would be even better. If they don’t, then he’ll just appear elsewhere where other naive people gather and do it all over again and again. He’s a danger to society and needs to be put away for good!

    I agree completely that Peter Johnsen should never work in a church again. Apparently the police decided not to prosecute this man.

    But Crossroads Community Church and its leaders have a lot to answer for. At this point they are simply getting rid of a bad apple, hopefully to protect other women, but possibly only to cover their arses. What will prove more telling is how they respond to Mary. At this point they have not responded to her well at all, which leaves me believing they are REALLY only interested in their own welfare. Very unfortunate.

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  12. Peter Johnsen will pop up in another church in the future.

    Looking back on the May 29 post, Peter likes younger women, young adults. The tactics for abusing 14 and 16 year olds apply to young adult women also. They still have the same insecurities.

    But, since they are adults, he couldn’t get tagged with statutory rape or any similar charge. Law Prof, if I’m wrong here, let me know. 🙂

    I can’t remember the name of the church where the unrepentant pedophile worked his way into a pastoral position, Peter’s movements seem similar.

    In his bio on Crossroads website, it said he served in three churches and an independent youth ministry. That seems pretty good for being fired from one of them.

    Unless Crossroads does any backdoor notifications about him, he’ll pop up somewhere else.

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  13. SiteSeer,

    John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

    Question to Law Prof: If a church incorporates as a nonprofit, like a proprietorship incorporating to an LLC or ________ (I forgot the other type.), the deacons, elders, or pastors are protected, why aren’t churches more open? The corporate entity may get sued out of existence, but the pastor and elders can dust themselves off and start elsewhere.

    Why are they taking the bigger risk and playing the game “Where’s the Pedophile” with their parishioners and the public at large?

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  14. i left this comment on the previous post, but i’ll put it here.

    with an addendum: it took them 6 months to do anything at all.

    6 months.

    Had their zero response, zero concern not been brought to light right now, i suspect they would still be doing absolutely nothing.

    i suspect they are addressing the situation now because they have no other option. If they truly cared about right and wrong, they would have begun addressing things in November.

    why on God’s beautiful earth does an organization that purports to do what it does in the name of God have to be compelled to start taking (baby) steps toward doing due diligence, doing the responsible thing, doing the right thing???

    crimany, they’re just like the deceitful Goliath company i’m facing.

    I am David with my sling and 1 stone (yes, David is a type of me, a woman), facing the Goliath national company who exploited my elderly father. who refuse to do the mere reasonable thing, let alone the morally right thing, unless compelled to the point of no other options.

    color me unimpressed.

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  15. Friend: Will You please explain the daily tornadoes over here the past two weeks? Do You eschew baseball, shewing a preference for the pro basketball and hockey finals?

    I have no word from the Lord on this, but I give my view anyway because I’m self-important and I have cool facial hair.

    I would imagine God prefers cricket to baseball; it would make no sense the other way around.

    As for tornadoes… I don’t want to joke about such things (and I don’t mean to imply that you were), for all the obvious reasons. But to sum up my understanding of suffering (again, I’m rather extrapolating from what you actually said and this may be nothing to do with what you meant): God himself chooses suffering, and there’s a life after this one in which many who seem to be last now will be first, and vice versa.

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  16. Back to the cricket

    Today sees two matches; New Zealand v Sri Lanka from Cardiff, which is in play the noo, and Australia v Afghanistan which begins at 13:30 local time in Bristol.

    Well, New Zealand won a very important toss and fielded on a very green pitch. Sri Lanka have struggled, collapsing to 68-6 off 16. They may do even worse than Pakistan did yesterday against the West Indian fast bowlers (a phrase that struck fear into the hearts of batsmen everywhere in the 1980’s).

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  17. Latest from Cardiff: New Zealand have bowled Sri Lanka out for 136 inside 30 overs. The Kiwis are strong favourites for this one now; but it’s a funny old game, AWWBA.

    The New Zealand innings begins shortly in Cardiff, while the first innings of Australia vs Afghanistan will begin at roughly the same time not far away in Bristol. I don’t know who’s batting first in that one, but I need to go and mow the lawns now before my post-sandwich blood sugar spikes too much. I’ll keep you posted.

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  18. Nick Bulbeck: God himself chooses suffering, and there’s a life after this one in which many who seem to be last now will be first, and vice versa.

    Thank you, Nick. (And you are gracious to see that my question to “God” was not intended to make fun of suffering.) I hope you and the man upstairs enjoy the cricket today.

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  19. Calamitous start for Afghanistan; they’re 5-2 after only 8 deliveries. Meanwhile, New Zealand are faring rather better in Cardiff; early days, but they’re 16-0 off 3 chasing just 137 for an opening win.

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  20. New Zealand are flying; 50-0 off only 7 overs in what is now the highest opening stand of the World Cup so far (albeit in only the third match… but they can set a benchmark). Can they achieve the illusive 10-wicket victory?

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  21. New Zealand 77-0 off 10; in Bristol, Afghanistan are 37-2 off 10. Contrasting fortunes indeed.

    Martin Guptil has just brought up his 50, and New Zealand’s 100, with a big six over mid-on. The first century partnership of the tournament, I believe. Colin Munro brings up his own half-century in more sedate fashion, with a single. 109-0 off 14, needing only 28 to win.

    Afghanistan have steadied the ship a little, 51-2 off 13.

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  22. Cricket

    Australia have wrapped up an 8-wicket victory against Afghanistan; tomorrow, South Africa take on Bangladesh at the Oval.

    Fitba’

    In less than an hour, Liverpool and Spurs kick off in the final of the Give Us Yer Money Cup.

    If Liverpool lose, I’ll probably be too despondent to provide cricket updates for a while.

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  23. Brian:
    SiteSeer,

    John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

    Question to Law Prof: If a church incorporates as a nonprofit, like a proprietorship incorporating to an LLC or ________ (I forgot the other type.), the deacons, elders, or pastors are protected, why aren’t churches more open? The corporate entity may get sued out of existence, but the pastor and elders can dust themselves off and start elsewhere.

    Why are they taking the bigger risk and playing the game “Where’s the Pedophile” with their parishioners and the public at large?

    There is a concept in the law called “piercing the corporate veil”. It applies to nonprofits as well as for-profits. In many cases, you can be liable for your actions or inactions that harm another. The problem is they run these things like businesses, they listen to lawyers, they listen to all these so-called church consultants who tell them how to limit their liability. In time, preserving the organization and protecting themselves becomes more important that the purpose for which the organization was purportedly formed.

    Of course, I’ve made no secret of my opinion that most of the people who build up megas never had any intentions of serving the Lord, that at best they were deluded and thought that was what they were doing, when in reality they couldn’t pull apart their own desire for fame and fortune and accolades and the pleasure of knowing that each week people will be hanging upon your insightful words for their very eternal salvation, from an honest desire to honor the Lord. At worst, they’re just shameless and conscienceless NPDs who hated God from the start and used the system to more efficiently hurt His people..

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  24. Liverpool are indeed once again the Champions of Europe, and winners of the GiveUsYerMoney Trophy. It was, by all accounts, a terrible game of fitba’, and very much a case of grinding out a result. It was played at a very odd time, three weeks after the rest of the season had finished, and both teams were evidently a bit flat. TBH, when you consider how close we were to coming away from an extraordinary season with nothing, I’m more relieved than anything.

    Wartburgers will be relieved to know that their cricket coverage will continue uninterrupted. Also I’m making carrot-cake today.

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  25. Friend,

    And thank you also, for realising (as Wartburgers generally do, of course) that – in this VERY specific context – “god” is just a bit of fun.

    I try to avoid putting words in [actual] God’s mouth while commenting here, for equally obvious reasons!

    Just to clear up any possible confusion, “Satan” (who has also just started commenting here) is not me under a different email address; and nor is “satin”. Which is so much the better; there’s room for more than one, after all!

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  26. New every morning: Cricket

    South Africa won the toss and put Bangladesh in at the Oval; Bangladesh have started with intent, though, at 65-1 off 10. South Africa just had a very loud shout for lbw, but technology just shaded the review in favour of the batsman.

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  27. Law Prof,

    In some of these church abuse, malfeasance, corruption cases,etc. I wonder if on the civil or criminal side a strategy of “piercing the corporate veil” has not be used or threatened before.

    I know if it is very difficult to pierce the veil in most states, but I would like to think it has been attempted.

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  28. Law Prof: Of course, I’ve made no secret of my opinion that most of the people who build up megas never had any intentions of serving the Lord

    Not sure I agree with this statement. A local mini mega started as a house church. My understanding is the pastor did intend to serve as they started doing charity work.
    Now the church is big by our city standards. I find them a little on the intolerant side but not a cult.

    It’s gone pretty corporate, they actually have a coffee shop. Folks seem happy with it & God hasn’t issued any communication for or against it.

    To be honest, he doesn’t chime in much in my neck of the woods but what gets me is, if I was a true believer and if God really did lay something on my heart (to use the Christian lingo of my evangelical experience), I’d be as straight as an arrow.

    Anyway the abuse continues unabated but hopefully as more is exposed victims will feel emboldened to come forward.

    I suppose folks would say that’s God at work.

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  29. Don’t worry folks. Ol’ “needs it” Pete will be back after a season of reflection. I’ve seen it when a pastor in my wife’s church had an affair. He was gone for a couple of years and resurfaced as a teaching pastor in another church.

    Now he’s president of an evangelical college. Praise be, indeed.

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  30. Jack: Not sure I agree with this statement. A local mini mega started as a house church. My understanding is the pastor did intend to serve as they started doing charity work.
    Now the church is big by our city standards. I find them a little on the intolerant side but not a cult.

    I think whatever the starting intention, becoming mega ends up corrupting not only the “head” pastor, but everyone around him. And it gets worse if the pastor has a TV or radio ministry. The focus turns from ministry to packing in as many people as possible and getting more and more funds.

    I know one mega pastor personally and watched this process unfold. It wasn’t just the pastor, but everyone around him, and his biggest donors, pushing for higher and higher numbers.

    Thinking back to one time I visited First Baptist Atlanta, most of the church pews except the front were cordoned off to make it look like the church was packed on TV when it was really only about a third full. In essence, they were deceiving their television viewers. I remember Charles Stanley saying something about how they were reaching all these people, and the deception of it all disgusted me.

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  31. ishy: becoming mega ends up corrupting not only the “head” pastor, but everyone around him.

    The Daily Mail published an astounding article based on Lisa Guerrero’s interview with Kenneth Copeland for Inside Edition. The still photos alone are terrifying. This looks like an ambush interview, but Copeland was happy to stick around and display his whole range of behaviors for over 11 minutes. If people want to sample just a bit of the video embedded in the article, I suggest starting around the 3:00 mark and watching till the 3:45 mark.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7094061/Televangelist-Kenneth-Copeland-Inside-Edition-interview-defends-using-THREE-private-jets.html

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  32. Lance,

    I am hoping that the church will make an announcement to the attendees. There is the possibility that he has done this again.

    Also, I do think Daniel Fusco would contact Mary. His lack of response to her (as well as the embarrassingly poor email after she wrote again) deserves a mea culpa to the victim.

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  33. Lance: When Dee contacted the church and pushed back when the person talked about “restoration”, I figured some sparks were soon to fly.

    I always wonder how this “restoration” nonsense works when the victim(s) are ignored. Most victims never even get an apology much less restitution . . . yet offenders get restored. It is a joke.

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  34. Bridget: offenders get restored. It is a joke.

    Some churches have legitimate programs for addressing clergy who have gone off the rails. I know just a bit about one such program. The troubled cleric can be compelled to go, and is not guaranteed a return to the pulpit at the end.

    That program is not designed to launder a criminal predator or fraud and return him in repentant glory (complete with an inspirational “I’m Baaack” book). It is intended to help people who might have burned out from long-term stress and overwork, or broken down due to personal hardship such as the death of a spouse. It’s like the difference between a PR firm and a hospital.

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  35. Bridget: I always wonder how this “restoration” nonsense works when the victim(s) are ignored. Most victims never even get an apology much less restitution . . . yet offenders get restored. It is a joke.

    A lot of victims would LOVE to just be ignored. Many of them get abused, slandered, excommunicated, shunned and destroyed.

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  36. Friend: The Daily Mail published an astounding article based on Lisa Guerrero’s interview with Kenneth Copeland for Inside Edition. The still photos alone are terrifying. This looks like an ambush interview, but Copeland was happy to stick around and display his whole range of behaviors for over 11 minutes. If people want to sample just a bit of the video embedded in the article, I suggest starting around the 3:00 mark and watching till the 3:45 mark.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7094061/Televangelist-Kenneth-Copeland-Inside-Edition-interview-defends-using-THREE-private-jets.html

    I think the man is deranged. You hurt so many people for so many years with outright lies, you make yourself a hundred millionaire off the pathetic hope of elderly shut ins, desperate people in trailer parks, it will make you a lunatic.

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  37. Jack: Not sure I agree with this statement. A local mini mega started as a house church. My understanding is the pastor did intend to serve as they started doing charity work.
    Now the church is big by our city standards. I find them a little on the intolerant side but not a cult.

    It’s gone pretty corporate, they actually have a coffee shop. Folks seem happy with it & God hasn’t issued any communication for or against it.

    To be honest, he doesn’t chime in much in my neck of the woods but what gets me is, if I was a true believer and if God really did lay something on my heart (to use the Christian lingo of my evangelical experience), I’d be as straight as an arrow.

    Anyway the abuse continues unabated but hopefully as more is exposed victims will feel emboldened to come forward.

    I suppose folks would say that’s God at work.

    I didn’t say “all”.

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  38. CM:
    Law Prof,

    In some of these church abuse, malfeasance, corruption cases,etc. I wonder if on the civil or criminal side a strategy of “piercing the corporate veil” has not be used or threatened before.

    I know if it is very difficult to pierce the veil in most states, but I would like to think it has been attempted.

    It’s done all the time, but it can be difficult with churches and other religious nonprofits because courts are loathe to intervene in the issues, citing separation of church and state (which is actually an appropriate and correct application of that concept, that is, keeping the state out of the church). That said, I think the tax exempt status of any church that exists to enrich a privileged few, such as HBC, should be revoked.

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  39. Totally agree. I was just wryly pointing out that what I’ve seen happen is typically victims getting re-abused or blamed or gone after and told THEY’RE the problem because they didn’t forgive quickly enough. Some would probably think it would be a relief to only be ignored.

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  40. dee,

    Thanks,

    I think Daniel will reach out if he indeed has a pastor’s heart. It would be helpful if he explains his actions concerning this whole issue (lack of response, restoration, what will happen in the future etc.)

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  41. Lance:
    dee,

    Thanks,

    I think Daniel will reach out if he indeed has a pastor’s heart. It would be helpful if he explains his actions concerning this whole issue (lack of response, restoration, what will happen in the future etc.)

    If he had a Christian’s heart, I kind of think he might have fallen all over himself in the first place to help this young lady out who was obviously hurting, and he would’ve done it many months ago before it ever got to this point. I’m not talking about someone being Wonder Christian or anything, I’m just talking basic Christian decency.

    No, I take it back, basic HUMAN decency, because you don’t have to know Jesus to see that someone sending a letter like that is hurting big time, that it may well be the result of a heinous thing someone on your staff did, and that if the allegations are true, which you have to consider they might be, there is absolutely no way you’re likely to get anything remotely resembling the truth from that person on staff. So I’d think what you’d want to do as a normal decent, non-sociopath, non-NPD is reach out to this person and try to help and listen and learn from them.

    What you do if you don’t care about this human being in their pain is ignore them. Then, when they write back after no response months later, have your assistant send a terse little non-response, then ignore it all over again until finally it hits social media and then finally you fire the guy, when he becomes toxic because of bad publicity—not because he likely was toxic all along.

    No, I think it’s safe to say that Daniel does NOT have a pastor’s heart. TI’m having a hard time squaring his behavior with Christian at all.

    I guess the question is does he have the heart of a normal human being who does not follow Jesus but at least has some functioning conscience and has not completely obliterated the image of God in which he was made—or does he have the heart of one given completely over to self-serving evil? That last one, those are the options before us, based on the evidence as I perceive it.

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  42. First, I hope no Pipeites were harmed in the posting of the strong woman picture.

    Second, about the CC authoritarian model, I had a friend who would drop in on a NE Florida CC evening study. He said one time, someone asked for specifics regarding salaries and was immediately physically escorted from the property. Accordingly, my friend didn’t hitch his wagon to their operation.

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  43. elastigirl: why on God’s beautiful earth does an organization that purports to do what it does in the name of God have to be compelled to start taking (baby) steps toward doing due diligence, doing the responsible thing, doing the right thing???

    Business/hireling priorities in large measure, which can seep into views of everything including Scripture. Autocrats gonna autocrat, rinse, repeat.

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  44. JDV: Second, about the CC authoritarian model, I had a friend who would drop in on a NE Florida CC evening study. He said one time, someone asked for specifics regarding salaries and was immediately physically escorted from the property. Accordingly, my friend didn’t hitch his wagon to their operation.

    Wow. It’s amazing that people could watch that happen and keep coming back. No wonder power goes to the heads of the leaders.

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  45. SiteSeer: Wow. It’s amazing that people could watch that happen and keep coming back. No wonder power goes to the heads of the leaders.

    “I kill my own mother and still they cheer me!”
    — Caesar Nero, from Paul Maier’s historical novel Flames of Rome

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  46. Crossroads Community Church hired Peter knowing what he had done, that’s why they hired him as the Director of Children’s Ministry. One Daniel deemed he was “restored” they changed Peter’s title from Director to Pastor. This is the first had truth.

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  47. GreekEpigraph,

    Absolutely. And we also know that people who are pastors will be judged more harshly by God. I always thought about that in a more large/broad sense. Of course someone who is a leader, who believes they are called by God to direct people to Jesus, to disciple us. But power, and sadly it had obviously been true in churches as well as in other places where someone has power – to affect a job or whatever is being held over the person who is NOT in power – can really corrupt some folks. It truly breaks my heart that the place I immediately ran to after I was raped is a place where others have found the opposite.
    I’m so sad for everyone who has been hurt in this way. We can forgive, which isn’t the same as “Hey, that’s ok, no worries” , but we also do need to remove predators. And help those who have been doubly harmed. 🙁

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  48. I went through the exact same mental abuse, working with Peter for a year.

    He would tell me, “you know people tell me I should just give up on you.” Making me feel like no one wanted me at the Church, just him. Only he believed in me.

    Tell me that I was immature, unequipped, not ready to serve. But he believed in me, and would say, “you can do it.” He would hold ministry over my head and threaten to pull me out of everything if I didn’t submit to his rules, even if they weren’t biblical principals. And he did do it to me twice. Humiliated me by putting me back into leadership, announcing it in front of everyone, and pulling me back out 2 days later for breaking a “rule” that was never spoken, let alone it wasn’t even a sin or wrong. Just what he thought. Never giving me a game plan just telling me I was “in restoration.”

    Now that he is gone, all the pastor’s have pulled me back in and have me serving in a lot of places. I’m so thankful to see that it wasn’t just “how Peter operated” or “he just does things differently.” Causing me to feel crazy at times, but that I was infact being manipulated and phycologically abused by him.

    I didn’t type this up to join in and try and talk poorly about him, but I’ve never got to really voice this and now reading those words, gave me peace to know I wasn’t crazy, I wasn’t doing things wrong, it was something wrong with him.

    I wish him well, and pray for Him.

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