Does the *Caring Well* SBC Still Ignore Survivors Who Were Ignored By Designated™ Leaders? Tiffany Thigpen, Jerry Vines and The Houston Chronicle.

 


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“(Jerry Vines) He has the rare ability to possess the passion of a prophet and the erudition of a scholar and it’s been a big influence on shaping my own approach to the pulpit.” JD Greear

I will return to 3 more stories of abuse in the UPCI. However, I needed to get Monday’s story and this one out due to time sensitivity.


Designated means someone has to do the designating.

A week ago, there was a bit of a melee on Twitter over the post that I wrote about designated™ survivors. However, those who were concerned did not appear to have read my post SBC Leadership Wants Designated™ Survivors. Why They Need to Hear From Those Who Don’t Make Them Feel Comfortable nor did they seem to fully comprehend the definition of the term.

It appears that some survivors who are going to speaking at the Caring Well conference took umbrage at my terminology believing that I was saying that designated™ survivors were pawns or somehow self-appointed to their speaking role. One person even claimed that she *knew* my post was about her. It wasn’t about any of them.

I was making a point which I believe is important. The word *designated* has a specific meaning, a meaning that I intended. It means to be appointed, deputized, nominated or to be chosen. The person who is designated is not the person who has the authority to designate. Given the fact that I was talking about the SBC, it is patently obvious that the only ones who can do the designating are the male only leadership of the SBC.

In other words, JD Greear, Russell Moore, etc are the ones who get to do the designating at this conference. None of the designated™ survivors were in any position to make themselves designees. My post was intended to raise the question of who got designated and who didn’t get designated.

I was told to change the term. I refuse to do so because it is a helpful word which I will use again in this post to connote those who have been chosen as worthy leaders of the SBC and those who have not. In this particular instanced, Paige Patterson is designated unworthy (and rightfully so as I well know because I called for his resignation in 2009 while some of the present day leaders were hobnobbing and back slapping him back then. You will see a link to that post.) I am going to make the claim that Jerry Vines is a designated™  SBC leader. I could be wrong but I don’t think I’m far from the truth as I will prove.

Today I am going to tell the story of Tiffany Thigpen (known as Tiffany Croft back in those early posts I wrote in 2009.) Tiffany is not a designated™ survivor. She will not be speaking at the Caring Well conference. I have a theory why that might be. She and I have talked recently and I’ve spoken to her about my concerns.

Note to those who thought my previous post was about them. I am not shy. (Stop laughing.) If my post is about a specific person, I will name the person as I have done here.

Darrell Gilyard, Tiffany Thigpen, and the Ignorance of the SBC leadership.

TWW and Wade Burleson wrote about Darrell Gilyard and Tiffany Thigpen two months after the start of TWW. We quoted from Wade Burleson in Revictimizing Victims. (The formatting is odd since we changed blogging platforms and I don’t have time to go back and make it look pretty.)

Walking Where SBC Preachers Fail to Tread
“The sordid case of former Southern Baptist pastor Darrell Gilyard is coming to a just and appropriate end. Gilyard has entered into a plea deal with prosecuters for multiple sex crimes, and will receive his sentencing this Thursday, May 21, 2009 before a media circus in state court. Gilyard is agreeing to his guilt on all charges and to three years incarceration in a state facility and then three years probation. He will also carry a permanent record identifying him as a sexual predator/offender. The court has also mandated periodic psychiatric evaluations and ongoing counseling.

A handful of leaders in our Convention … neglected to fulfill their God-given responsibilities to shut down Gilyard’s ministry and provide help to his victims. Alas, a young Southern Baptist woman, a Gilyard victim herself, approached the unenviable task of bringing Gilyard to justice with the zeal of a modern apostle. Tiffany Croft began her blog with the goal of treading where we Southern Baptist pastors and leaders feared to trod. With all the negative press from official channels in the SBC regarding blogs, it would be great to see someone like Tiffany be given credit using a blog to bring about good in our society.”

Most of the links to the original stories no longer work. However, if you enter Darrell Gilyard into the search field at TWW you will find number of stories written about this man from time to time.

Further history on Gilyard and the SBC boys who loved him.

Darell Gilyard was a Paige Patterson prodigy and was also pushed by Jerry Vines. According to Bob Allen at Baptist News Global in Probation terms altered to permit sex offender pastor to minister to children:

A native of Palatka, Fla., Gilyard rose to fame in the Southern Baptist Convention in the late 1980s under the mentorship of former SBC presidents Jerry Vines and Paige Patterson. Jerry Falwell’s pulpit gave Gilyard a platform to share on national television his dramatic testimony of growing up a homeless orphan who lived under a bridge, a story that was later discredited.

The attention helped Gilyard attain several pastorates, until confidence in him eroded after a series of sex scandals in the early 1990s. The Dallas Morning News published stories in 1991 saying dozens of women had accused Gilyard of sexual misconduct, with some alleging rape.

Gilyard began as pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Community Church in April 1993. He resigned Jan. 4, 2008, after a member of the congregation filed a police report claiming Gilyard sent sexually explicit text messages to her daughter.

Gilyard was arrested Jan. 14, 2008, and charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious conduct. He pleaded guilty May 21, 2009, to molesting one girl and sending lewd text messages to another.

Gilyard completed a three-year prison sentence on Dec. 28, 2011. Four weeks later he took the pulpit at Christ Tabernacle Baptist Church, prompting community protests and a visit from Jacksonville Baptist Association, which resulted in an agreement that the church would “leave the fellowship” of the Southern Baptist Convention regional affiliate.

Paige Patterson received an untold number of complaints about Gilyard which he dismissed. He claimed that every victim needed to bring at least two witnesses to Gilyard’s actions and would also claim that all of these women also contributed to what amounted to a consensual relationship.

I called for Patterson’s resignation in 6/2009.

I quoted the following from Stop Baptist Predators at the time.

First Baptist officials said they knew of the allegations of sexual misconduct, which began as long as four years ago when Mr. Gilyard was removed as assistant pastor of Concord Missionary Baptist Church in Oak Cliff. But they said they did not believe those allegations, and continued to recommend him. “We were dealing with a man of special gifts and talents,’ Dr. Patterson said. “I was unwilling to call anyone guilty until I had demonstratable evidence that these allegations were true.’ Dr. Patterson said that according to Scriptures, action cannot be taken against a minister accused of adultery unless there are two or more witnesses. He also asked for any other proof, such as photographs, videotapes or laboratory tests!”

Then, I wrote the following in that same post.

This travesty is all the more evident as we look at Patterson’s alleged cover up of Darryl Gilyard’s sin.  He knew for years that there were regular complaints about this man.  While Patterson was President of Criswell College, the complaints came in fast and furious!  Let’s hear what this revered “man of the cloth” had to say.  On the excellent stopbaptistpredators.org web site, there is an article from the Dallas Morning News from 1991 on the resignation of this predator from his Texas church due to sexual misconduct.  Ironically, this man would continue to garner excellent recommendations from the likes of Patterson until his eventual arrest in Florida for continued sexual misconduct.  As we detailed yesterday, Gilyard was finally sentenced just last Thursday!

“The morning after the resignation (in 1991), Dr. Patterson described Mr. Gilyard as one of the “most brilliant men in the pulpit.”
Wow!  No, sorry for my cover up?  How about an apology to the women and teenage girl raped and sucked in by Paige’s boy?  Of course not.  Just think, Patterson mentored this rapist for years!

A Florida judge allowed Gilyard to preach to children after he got out of prison.

Once he got out of jail, and returned to the pulpit in the SBC, he was not allowed to be in the presence of children. But then a judge decided it would be a great idea for him to preach to children… According to the previously quoted Bob Allen post:

A judge in Florida has changed probation terms for a preacher who is a registered sex offender to allow the former Southern Baptist pastor to minister to children in his church.

Darrell Gilyard, 52, began preaching at Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., shortly after his release from prison in December 2011 for sex crimes against two minor girls at his previous church. It made international news when the church barred children from worship, because Gilyard’s probation prohibited him from having contact with minors.

Recently, according to Jacksonville television station WJXT, a judge agreed to modify the probation so Gilyard can “minister to children under the age of 18 as long as the children are supervised by an adult other than the defendant.”

Jerry Vines told a whopper in his autobiography and Tiffany Thigpen successfully gets the story corrected.

Jerry Vines loved his good buddy, Gilyard, and allowed him to preach from time to time at FBC Jacksonville. Baptist News reported

Toward the end of his memoir, Vines details his experience with Gilyard, a charismatic young African-American preacher who he and Patterson helped educate for the ministry in the 1980s. Gilyard went on to resign from five churches due to allegations of sexual misconduct.

“There were rumors,” Vines wrote. “Accusations of moral improprieties began to surface. All of them were denied by Darrell. Dr. Patterson checked them out as best he could. There were inconsistencies and contradictions in the stories. Some were made by church people who had moral failings themselves. One accuser was a member of the KKK. As it turns out the rumors were true. A young person in our FBC, Jacksonville church met with me about a matter of impropriety as well. I didn’t understand it to go beyond some flirtation. They were both single at the time. Perhaps I misunderstood.”

Croft says Vines is referring to her. She says it is true that she was single, because at the time she was a senior in high school and a leader in the youth group at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. Gilyard was 29, married and a pastor from Texas who traveled with her youth group as an evangelist on a mission trip.

…Croft said she contacted LifeWay Christian Resources to set the record straight. LifeWay spokesman Marty King said B&H has removed three sentences from future printings that “upon further reflection, Dr. Vines agrees do not accurately describe the situation.”

Tiffany Croft (now Tiffany Thigpen) had a blog which outlined her interactions with Gilyard and church leaders.

Her blog, Let’s Stop Darrell Gilyard Together is well worth the read to get inside information on Darrell Gilyard. Tiffany’s struggles were not recognized by the SBC leadership then and appears to be mostly forgotten at this point except for one phone call from Heath Lambert at FBC Jacksonville.

Then, the Houston Chronicle/Robert Donwnen stepped in on 8/22/19 and delivered a bombshell in The women are hurting’:“Unearthed tapes, letters show Southern Baptist leaders’ support for pastor who faced sex scandal”

Patterson continued to downplay the claims even after his protégé confessed and resigned from Victory Baptist Church, near Dallas, in July 1991. Speaking to the congregation that night, Patterson called many of the accusations untrue. Others he described as “sins” committed by women who were “not innocent either” and Gilyard, whom Patterson then hailed as a “spokesman of God” and “one of the most brilliant men who has ever stepped into the pulpit.”

Patterson also suggested that Victory members refrain from discussing the allegations publicly so that Gilyard could be rehabilitated — a suggestion he also had offered four years before, when Gilyard was forced out of a different Dallas-area church amid similar allegations, the new information reveals.

Is Jerry Vines a *designated* leader? Is this why Tiffany has been largely ignored by the current SBC leadership?

I believe this next point is crucial in understanding why Tiffany Thigpen has been ignored by current SBC leadership.I call it the the *Jerry Vines factor.* According to the Houston Chronicle:

Vines knew. They met when Gilyard — whose legal name at the time was Darrol Louis Gillard — was a young man and member of Vines’ megachurch in Jacksonville. Though Gilyard had no ministerial training, former members say Vines was enthralled by his charisma and heartwrenching story of growing up orphaned, a tale that was later questioned by reporters.

“Darrell was considered at one time to be the black Dr. Vines,” said Kenny St. John, who worked at Vines’ church. “Dr. Vines has a strong style. … Darrell kind of used the same approach.”

Gilyard would frequently preach from Vines’ pulpit at FBC Jacksonville. A youth leader reported his concerns about Gilyard’s behavior but it didn’t do any good.

tJohn said he objected when church leaders asked if Gilyard could accompany the youth choir on its annual out-of-state tour. They didn’t force the issue, St. John said, and no further action was taken because the concerns weren’t criminal. But St. John said it was clear to him that Gilyard was not suitable for ministry.

“He never really stopped his behavior,” St. John told the Chronicle. “He kind of went under the radar.”

…Gilyard soon was accused of misconduct or affairs by several women, and of threatening them by saying he had Vines and Patterson in his “hip pocket,” according to the 1991 tapes. One woman apparently wrote Gilyard a letter that he shared with Patterson, and a counselor also notified Patterson about phone recordings of Gilyard and one of her patients.

In fact, the year Jerry Vines was elected SBC president, Gilyard preached at the prestigious (at least in the eyes of SBC…) SBC Preacher’s Conference!

June 1989 — and as Simpkins says his phone calls were being ignored by Patterson — Gilyard preached at the SBC’s pastors’ conference, which precedes the group’s annual meeting each year. Vines was elected days later to his second term as SBC president.

According to the Houston Chronicle:

In his 2014 autobiography, Vines briefly discussed his relationship with Gilyard and wrote that he was once approached by a “young” member of his church about what he said was an “impropriety” and “flirtation” between two single people. Gilyard was married and nearing 30; Thigpen was barely 18. She later reached out to the book’s publisher, which retracted the section after finding that Vines hadn’t “accurately” described what happened, according to news reports.

Weeks after Thigpen says she told Vines about the alleged attack, Vines, Gilyard and Patterson each preached again at the SBC’s 1991 pastors’ conference.

…Soon after, Gilyard was called to a meeting near his Dallas church, where Simpkins, Dixius and others confronted him with a half-decade of allegations. His mentors were not there, and Gilyard appeared nervous as he was told why there was a video camera pointed toward him.

“The tape is being done because Dr. Vines would like to be in on this meeting, and Dr. Patterson would like to be in on this meeting, I’m sure,” said Keith Eitel, a Criswell professor at the time who worked for Patterson until recently. “I haven’t spoken with (Patterson) regarding that, but I know Dr. Vines would like to see the tape and he told me he would appreciate having one sent to him.”

Vines was warned but he then claimed he had to *forgive him.* What are they teaching at seminaries these days?

Do these preachers get any practical education whatsoever? A predator is adept at asking for forgiveness. It is unlikely that a predator will ever fully conquer his predilection. A best, with excellent counseling, they can be taught to control their urges. However, make no mistake. They still struggle inside.Yet Vines, according to Downen, quickly forgave him and even had him marry his son!!!!

Vines kept a distance from Gilyard until around 2003, when Gilyard admitted to his “moral failings,” according to Vines’ autobiography. “He assured me he had been clean since coming back to Jacksonville,” Vines wrote. “I had no other option but to forgive him.”

Despite writing that Gilyard should be barred from ministry, Vines soon rekindled his relationship with his former protégé: He preached at least twice at Shiloh, and Vines’ son, Jon, was also married at Gilyard’s church in a 2005 ceremony that Gilyard officiated, according to their marriage certificate.

…Thigpen said Vines has yet to reach out. After 28 years of near-silence, she’s lost faith that he ever will.

JD Greear endorsed Jerry Vines book  in 2018, years after this all came to light.

In 2018, Greear was delighted to endorse  book by Vines. There is no way that a well connected man like Greear hadn’t heard about the infamous Gilyard mess. Jerry Vines published The NKJV, Vines Expository Bible, Cloth over Board, Comfort Print: A Guided Journey Through the Scriptures with Pastor Jerry Vines.   Let’s see what JD Greear said about Vines just one short year ago.

Curiously, the day after the quoted post and the following videos were released by the Houston Chronicle, Russell Moore tweeted. A number of people on Twitter drew my attention to it. It is likely that it was a coincidence but the timing was certainly bad. Especially since Russell Moore’s ERLC group is putting on the Caring Well Conference. I would contend that Caring Well means to be aware that the SBC is once again being called on the carpet and to be careful what one tweets in the immediate aftermath.

Watch the videos

Go to this link to view the videos:  Exclusive videos show confrontation of Baptist pastor accused of sexual misconduct.

More designated nouns to come.

I have an idea and have gotten buy in from a few folks but timing on it is everything. So, we shall return to this subject in the not too distant future.

Note: This post is only about those who have been mentioned. I promise.

Dee “the designated™ editor.”


Comments

Does the *Caring Well* SBC Still Ignore Survivors Who Were Ignored By Designated™ Leaders? Tiffany Thigpen, Jerry Vines and The Houston Chronicle. — 112 Comments

  1. I watched every video. I knew the institutional church was corrupt but to actually see the workings was disgusting and has left me never to trust again. I can’t thank you enough for exposing the working of Satan himself in the so called church.

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  2. Re: “Dr. Patterson described Mr. Gilyard as one of the ‘most brilliant men in the pulpit.'”

    1. People need to be trustworthy before they get anywhere near a pulpit. (You don’t put brilliant bank robbers in charge of the bank.)

    2. The Australian tech company, Atlassian, has redesigned performance reviews to dethrone “brilliant jerks.” https://www.cio.com.au/article/664267/atlassian-revises-performance-reviews-mark-down-brilliant-jerks/

    In an unwise bid to run the church like a business, some folks in the SBC have managed to latch onto the worst business practices, those that are shallow and falling from favor.

    Why don’t they follow the best practices of corporations instead? At least they would improve their ethical and legal standing. And who knows? Maybe they would be more identifiably Christian, too.

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  3. “I was told to change the term.”

    I’m glad you didn’t as I think it makes the point you were trying to make.

    Years ago I read ‘lucky’ which is a book by the author of The Lovely Bones about her own rape and the aftermath. She talks about something I now recognize as ‘the perfect victim’…and how because she fit the criteria she was in a better position to prosecute (which comes to the title of the book where they said she was ‘lucky’).

    This stuck with me and I think maybe it’s kind of a similar thing – they only want people who fit their acceptable criteria, whether it be theology, circumstances, how they’re dealing with it now….but the reality of this stuff is messier. If they can’t listen to/accept all of it they aren’t really listening.

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  4. In all the talk about this, I never heard this part:

    “the church barred children from worship, because Gilyard’s probation prohibited him from having contact with minors.”

    ????!!!! This was their solution? I guess if you are a church that actively hires sex offenders to ministry, you don’t care all that much for kids but this mindboggling. The judge was a mess too, but wow.

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  5. Friend: Why don’t they follow the best practices of corporations instead?

    I think that practices and ethics among institutional leaders have been in decline in recent decades in multiple fields, including education, the non-profit sector, health-care. The churches that are doing these things are not leading the way, just slouching along behind, adapting bad practices to the church context. I think of it as a comprehensive failure of leadership. But then, the “iron law of institutions” and the 4% incidence of sociopathy helps to understand what has happened, though it does not lessen the sorrow.

    As it says in Proverbs, getting understanding will tend to increase grief. But at least you have eyes in your head.

    Here’s an astounding example from across the pond:

    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/education/2019/08/great-university-con-how-british-degree-lost-its-value

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  6. Lea: This was their solution? I guess if you are a church that actively hires sex offenders to ministry, you don’t care all that much for kids but this mindboggling.

    Most of the churches are not ready to concede to the secular psych researchers that paraphilias are (for all practical purposes) incurable. The mentality is that, as Vines put it, one has to forgive. And, unfortunately, “forgiveness” seems to have been conflated with “renewed trust” (I think we can thank “Peacemaker Ministries” for this error, but perhaps it has deeper roots).

    Given the insistence on relatively simplistic readings of the Scriptures (the “two witnesses” rule, for example, or the asserted obligation to forgive those who claim to be repentant), I really don’t think that many of these churches are going to be able to dig themselves out of this hole. Their authority offices will continue to be magnets for sociopaths and predators. Eventually the sheep will wise up and flee.

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  7. 9Marksists are all aTwitter as Mark Dever is anointed ‘Pastoral Leadership’ guru at SBTS:

    https://news.sbts.edu/2019/08/27/mohler-delivers-southern-seminary-fall-convocation-address-announces-mark-dever-hire-faculty/

    [During the ceremony, Mohler announced a ‘key endowed faculty position’…Mark Dever as ‘Professor of Pastoral Leadership’]

    “Said Mohler about the historic appointment: ‘I am thankful to God that the Lord has brought together this provision for a new endowed professorship in this form, and for the service of Dr. Mark Dever…a friend and colleague in this special role’.”

    “Dever…will continue his service as senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C…[and] president of 9Marks Ministries”

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  8. Samuel Conner:

    It’s not even that, but if your job requires you to be in a room with children and you LEGALLY can’t do that (because of your own actions!) you should not be hired. They were making accommodations for HIM like he needed an ADA exemption and not hiring the best for their church. And they were throwing children out of service because of it. That’s bad.

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  9. Lea,

    Agreed. I think that this tells you something about how “gifted” DG was regarded to be as a preacher, and also how important the preached sermon is regarded to be in the “life of the congregation”. Character is a secondary consideration.

    It feels to me like a modern day version of the Romans 1 “wrath of God” dynamic, but landing on the churches rather than on the pagans.

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  10. Jerome,

    Thank you for this comment. As always you find relevant stuff quickly . You sure you don’t want a job?

    Of course Mark Dever will do it all! He is a superman…But he has made no further statement about Mahaney. When last he did, he loved the guy. Also, his 9 Marks buddy’s church never apologized to Todd. I truly believe that 9 Marx is a ministry that easily can lead to abuse of unsuspecting members. due to extreme authoritarianism. Dever and friends are authoritarian hounds. One day maybe they will understand who is really in charge.

    I find some stories of leaving CHBC amusing. Some folks have shared with me their tactics on how to do it and avoid church discipline. I wish I could post some of them.

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  11. “(Jerry Vines) He has the rare ability to possess the passion of a prophet and the erudition of a scholar and it’s been a big influence on shaping my own approach to the pulpit.” (JD Greear)

    Jerry Vines (Non-Calvinist) is in a different camp than J.D. Greear (New Calvinist). Anything positive the new reformers have to say about traditional SBC leaders is done tongue-in-cheek, with a strategy to flatter and patronize the old boys while they continue to Calvinize the SBC without opposition. And it’s working for them.

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  12. “Jerry Vines … a big influence on shaping my own approach to the pulpit.” (JD Greear)

    Baloney! Close observers of the New Calvinist movement know that Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald influenced Greear’s ministry style, not Vines.

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  13. dee,

    In general, in some cases, could it be the pride? To proud to admit they backed a pedophile or predator and didn’t know about it in the beginning? Also the lack of humility, not wanting to admit they were about the person they were backing?

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  14. Jerome: [During the ceremony, Mohler announced a ‘key endowed faculty position’…Mark Dever as ‘Professor of Pastoral Leadership’]

    That anything like “Commander of Great Feathers” in the “Airplane Game” pyramid scheme?

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  15. Brian: In general, in some cases, could it be the pride? To proud to admit they backed a pedophile or predator and didn’t know about it in the beginning? Also the lack of humility, not wanting to admit they were about the person they were backing?

    Pride is an enormous problem in churches today. It afflicts most leaders to more or less degree. Their sheep can’t see it in their leaders because they have just as much of it. Humility is a fruit of the Spirit and a best practice of the orthopraxis life. We all need to watch out for it in others and most of all ourselves, because it always precedes a fall. Everyone who has fallen or who soon will, including the names Dee has blogged about, has been guilty of it. The more humble we get the more clearly it is to see it all over the place. That has been my observation and experience.

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  16. mot: I wonder what these SBC leaders are going to say to God on judgment day?

    Well, I’m not a big fan of “The Message” Bible version, but I like the way it addresses such church leaders:

    “I can see it now — at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to Me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use Me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’” (Matthew 7:22)

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  17. HUG, you’ll love this analogy, which has truth to it.

    The Caring Well conference sounds like the reverse of Stalin’s show trials. The SBC seems to be wanting to control the narrative. So that it will fit the outcome they have already decided upon.

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  18. Brian:
    Brian,

    “…they were wrong about…”

    Not sure that they even think they were wrong. David, the man after God’s own heart, got to stay on the throne until the end of his days. Why wouldn’t a predator pastor who was a “gifted” (by the Holy Spirit, implicitly) preacher be allowed to continue in the pulpit?

    The problem is grudgingly admitted and “addressed” only after the glare of public attention becomes intolerable.

    That’s not communicating a particularly wholesome vision of “who the God is” that these men claim to worship, however. And perhaps YHWH will have something to say about it, as His name is blasphemed on account of them.

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  19. To keep the true narrative in the spotlight, has any organization held rallys in public parks, abuse survivors speaking about their abuse, regardless if it happened in a school, church, or family setting?

    It’s hard to blow off someone if their there in person. The public would also be allowed to read the speaker’s body language.

    In northern Colorado they held walk/run to raise money to help abuse victims/survivors and their immediate family.

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  20. Samuel Conner: Most of the churches are not ready to concede to the secular psych researchers that paraphilias are (for all practical purposes) incurable. The mentality is that, as Vines put it, one has to forgive.

    Hmm…it occurs to me that if they accepted this, then they might have to accept the same for same sex attraction. And that they cannot do…

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  21. dee:
    Lea,

    Agreed! The judge and church are totally creepy. I always have to wonder if someone is hiding something in their background and feels the need to protect likeminded individuals.

    Not saying it’s true in every case, but in my personal experience, this is exactly what they were (are) doing. Abusers cover for each other and like attracts like. The platform/leadership of my former church is one ugly mess…

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  22. Samuel Conner,

    “The mentality is that, as Vines put it, one has to forgive. And, unfortunately, “forgiveness” seems to have been conflated with “renewed trust” (I think we can thank “Peacemaker Ministries” for this error, but perhaps it has deeper roots).”
    ++++++++++++++++

    “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” psalm 103

    “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3

    “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6
    .
    .
    .
    perhaps mr. vines’ view is that for forgiveness to be biblical, it must be on par with the description of how God forgives us: as if it never happened.

    (and of course he was obligated to do this if he wanted his own sins forgiven)

    why in the world does biblical have to mean stupid?

    why in the world is biblical all that matters?

    (the consequences for others? eh, not that big a deal. God works all things out for good, anyway. what a great insurance policy! problem solved.)

    😐

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  23. Darrell Gilyard, in my opinion, should have spent the rest of his life in prison. Paige Patterson, from what I’ve heard, has a pattern of covering for abuse. Jerry Vines, on the other hand, had a ministry for 20 years at FBC Jax, wasn’t personally accused of anything abusive, and I know for a fact did not handle every case of abuse in this manner. (I have a relative at that church now so I have heard some things). I have NO idea why they (patterson and vines) excused Gilyard. They didn’t treat Tiffany Thigpen correctly. Gilyard has MULTIPLE MULTIPLE victims. NONE of them were treated in the correct manner by any church involved, and there are bad bad stories out there. Tiffany Thigpen hasn’t been treated correctly by Jerry Vines. Do I think a 20 yr ministry should be thrown out the window of Jerry Vines? No. Do I think Dr. Brunson’s ministry should have been thrown out the window? No. Have they been? Yes. At this point. Did either one of them participate in abuse that I know of? NO. SO where is the emphasis on Gilyard? The man was the worst kind of criminal. I’m telling you, he should have been in jail for the rest of his life. It’s a matter of, do you throw the whole ministry out of the window of the men who did not commit the actual crime? I don’t think so. Paige Patterson…well…I’m not so sure what was going on cause I don’t live in texas. I live in Jax. It’s very easy to use “victims” for your own personal gain as well, as in, sympathizing when it’s in your best interest. That’s why only certain people are being picked out as designated victims. I find that behavior sickening. I know everybody wants to hear that Dr. Vines is no good, but I don’t believe that, sorry. And I don’t say this lightly. I guess, at some point, it’s the decision of the victim when it’s time to stop the story…and they have to make their own decision on that.

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  24. cindy: It’s a matter of, do you throw the whole ministry out of the window of the men who did not commit the actual crime?

    Well, I dont know vines so i have no personal attachment.

    However, for starters, i think ‘throwing the whole ministry out’ is hyperbolic. I dont know what people want from Vines. Maybe they want him to do better. Maybe they want him to admit fault. Maybe they want something else. Whatever was valuable about the ministry itself may still have been valuable. If you spend 20 years working with, say, the homeless and you change jobs or can’t volunteer anymore, would anyone say those 20 years were thrown away? No.

    Second, as for the actual crime…that’s not what we’re talking about here. We are talking about HIS actions, which apparently including ‘forgiving’ someone for his crimes against others – which he cannot reasonably do. And it sounds like he was lying about the victim to make Gillard look better in his auto biography as well. And giving an apparent predator repeated access to potential victims. We can certainly hold him accountable for these things, which are his OWN actions, imo. Whatever accountable means here, I cannot say, but it’s certainly not unreasonable for actions to have consequences even if they are only in the court of public opinion.

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  25. cindy: wants to hear that Dr. Vines is no good,

    For me the concern is more that the Scriptures are simplistically applied, on the assumption that we understand them well enough to rely on our understanding when that transgresses common sense. Vines’ sense that the Scriptures obligate him to forgive someone who claims to have repented suggests that there is in him a heart that wants to live in conformity to the word of Christ. But it seems to me really unwise to accept the word of a person with DG’s history.

    Jesus commanded to be “harmless as doves,” and perhaps Dr Vines is like that.

    Jesus also commanded to be “wise as serpents.”

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  26. Samuel Conner: Jesus commanded to be “harmless as doves,” and perhaps Dr Vines is like that.

    Jesus also commanded to be “wise as serpents.”

    All too often, Christians end up wise as guinea pigs and harmless as black mambas.

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  27. Brian:
    HUG, you’ll love this analogy, which has truth to it.

    The Caring Well conference sounds like the reverse of Stalin’s show trials. The SBC seems to be wanting to control the narrative. So that it will fit the outcome they have already decided upon.

    Like they tried to control the narrative after Chernobyl blew?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cG3PlcSiLA
    (Standing Ovation and all!)

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  28. Samuel Conner: Most of the churches are not ready to concede to the secular psych researchers that paraphilias are (for all practical purposes) incurable.

    And since Christianese Purity Culture tends to increase the chance and intensity of paraphilias (beyond the usual chance of our erotically-saturated society), the best you can hope for is that your paraphilia is only embarrassing and not actually destructive.

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  29. Headless Unicorn Guy: end up wise as guinea pigs and harmless as black mambas.

    I suspect that the great majority of the “harmless as vipers” people were like that long before they confessed Christ.

    As to “wise as guinea pigs”, I worry that a lot of present-day practical piety has the effect of placing “faith” into opposition with “wisdom”. I don’t think that the Spirit can be pleased to see OT and NT visions of “how to live pleasing to God” placed into such conflict.

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  30. Jeanette–I’m not understanding your statement that they cannot accept that paraphilias are unchangeable since that would make them have to accept it about same sex attraction? One can accept both as unchangeable and still not approve of them, still call out the behavior as abnormal, and not accept it. So why can they not accept it? One can accept the idea a person cannot change their behavior and still hold that the behavior cannot be allowed, right?

    Otherwise my brain damaged by alcohol before birth by his birth mom, then brain damaged through abuse and by genetics is gonna get a free pass for a whole lot of criminal behavior. Right now our culture accepts that he “was born that way” and “cannot change” but you better believe still holds him accountable NOT to do the behavior.

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  31. Jeannette Altes: Hmm…it occurs to me that if they accepted this, then they might have to accept the same for same sex attraction. And that they cannot do…

    No they cannot.
    Same sex relationships are theeeee absolute worst thing there is in fundagelical culture, with hetero-sexual liaisons running a close second.

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  32. Some of these churches, you speak of here at The Wartburg Watch Blog, are spiritually insolvent; i.e. God simply does not involve Himself. So please understand, it is not only paedophilia you need to worry about in a strict sense, —as an iceberg places most of its imperiling mass below the surface.

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  33. cindy: Do I think Dr. Brunson’s ministry should have been thrown out the window? No.

    Brunson has done a whole host of other things for which I believe makes him unqualified, including sending a police officer he hired to investigate a blogger for questioning Brunson’s rather large salary, whom he then issued a ban from the church. That alone disqualifies him in my book. But he’s still in ministry, which kind of calls into question some of the “facts” you give in your post. You admit your knowledge is secondhand, but you don’t even know the whole history of the people you are talking about.

    Furthermore, every single one of these guys has a huge problem with nepotism and buddy buddy syndrome. And I’ve met both Vines and Brunson in person and know that’s true. In my book, this desire for church celebrities with huge salaries promoting each other has been the worst thing possible for American church culture, and all these people are right in the center of that. We see over and over again that even if people seem to start out with good intentions, this culture warps it into something evil. And I don’t think Vines and Brunson are any different since they went along with protecting a child molester. Even if Vines was purely naive, he can’t be trusted to make wise decisions anymore.

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  34. ishy: Furthermore, every single one of these guys has a huge problem with nepotism and buddy buddy syndrome.

    More like these guys could give the Saudi Royal Family AND the Kims of North Korea lessons on nepotism.

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  35. __

    “Cleaving To The Shadows?”

    Many 501c3 pastors are reportably apparently now abusing the very ones they were expressly sent to comfort. —What we would call malicious shepherds?

    hmmm…

    What ever happened to the assistance of comfort?

    “— that they who are strong should spend their labor in assisting the weak, and that they who have made the greatest advances should bear with the more ignorant?”

    “— that the ampler the grace which they have received from the Lord, the more bound they are to help their neighbors.”

    Moral:

    *Beware of 501c3 wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    – –

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  36. cindy:
    I guess, at some point, it’s the decision of the victim when it’s time to stop the story…and they have to make their own decision on that.

    Could you please clarify what you meant in the last sentence of your post?

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  37. Ishy: when did Dr. Brunson ever protect a child molester? The watchdog blog was a years long attempt to discredit Dr. Brunson and his family in every way, not a simple “questioning” of his salary. You are being very simplistic. So do you think you can find me a squeaky clean pastor somewhere in the Southern Baptist convention or in any other denomination that you can hold up as an example of how to do ministry correctly? I wish you luck. You won’t succeed. When you pick apart ministries, you better be darn sure your hands are squeaky clean, right, ESPECIALLY if you are another minister. Right, Al Mohler and the calvinist crew? You better be far beyond the ability to criticize, “perfect” in every way. My understanding of the Houston Chronicle article is that Jerry Vines won’t be speaking anymore at FBC Jax, and I know Mac Brunson won’t be, either. I cannot understand why Gilyard ever got beyond Texas without going to prison. THE biggest lesson out of all these stories, to me, is…NEVER go to anyone but the POLICE when these things happen to you so they can arrest these men and put them in jail. Don’t ever trust a church to stop anyone from breaking the law if someone breaks the law against YOU. I feel terrible for Gilyards victims. I know they won’t ever recover. There is no way to go back and make things different. Trust yourself and GOD…NO ONE ELSE.

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  38. cindy: So do you think you can find me a squeaky clean pastor somewhere in the Southern Baptist convention or in any other denomination that you can hold up as an example of how to do ministry correctly?

    Yes. I have known dozens of ordained persons I would trust to run a Sunday school or summer camp. I know a good, solid, Southern Baptist preacher who runs a traditional and excellent church; it is a jewel in our community. I know Catholic and Protestant clergy who give a good sermon and don’t assault or steal. These men and women have been well educated, trained, investigated, and counseled. They have undergone psychological evaluations before ordination. Most of them serve in settings that proactively work to reduce the likelihood of abuse—settings with transparent processes as well as transparent windows in office doors.

    To be clear, I am a survivor of sexual abuse in a church setting, so I have a clue.

    You have a low standard indeed if you think we must all put up with nepotism, conflict of interest, financial impropriety, adultery, and child rape at church.

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  39. ishy: Brunson has done a whole host of other things for which I believe makes him unqualified, including sending a police officer he hired to investigate a blogger for questioning Brunson’s rather large salary, whom he then issued a ban from the church.

    It always raises the much larger question:

    How are these guys able to maintain such a strangle hold on the rank-and-file pew serfs who bankroll them?
    How do they do it?

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  40. cindy: Tiffany Thigpen hasn’t been treated correctly by Jerry Vines

    Shouldn’t Dr. Jerry Vine and other leaders reach out to the victims and offer personal apologies?

    Read this example of doing the right thing by First Baptist of Athens who did not believe Bill Hybels’ victims. They are not the abuser but they “participate in the systems of the world that grind up people.”(from their own words)

    https://churchleaders.com/news/349745-church-makes-full-throated-apology-to-hybels-victims.html

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  41. cindy: So do you think you can find me a squeaky clean pastor somewhere in the Southern Baptist convention or in any other denomination that you can hold up as an example of how to do ministry correctly?

    Actually, I married an SBC pastor shortly after he left the pastorate. He was, unfortunately, a survivor of spiritual abuse going the other direction, perpetrated by some congregation members. Which is part of what made our later encounters with authoritarian/abusive leadership in two other denominations so frustrating, that our questions were not part of some evil takeover plan but coming from a place of genuine concern for both members AND leaders.

    cindy: Trust yourself and GOD…NO ONE ELSE.

    I’m sorry you’ve arrived here. It sounds like a painful road, and a lonely place to be.

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  42. cindy: Did either one of them participate in abuse that I know of? NO. SO where is the emphasis on Gilyard?

    Do you not think it is abusive to lie about Gilyard’s victims and continue to promote him even when you know he is a womanizer?

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  43. linda: Jeanette–I’m not understanding your statement that they cannot accept that paraphilias are unchangeable since that would make them have to accept it about same sex attraction? One can accept both as unchangeable and still not approve of them, still call out the behavior as abnormal, and not accept it. So why can they not accept it? One can accept the idea a person cannot change their behavior and still hold that the behavior cannot be allowed, right?

    They seem to have accepted that Gilyard couldn’t help his behavior and given him a pass on it.

    Here is a question I have on this whole thing- even if it had been true that the victims were brazen hussies, as they were implying, even if it was true that Gilyard was having ‘consensual relationships’ with numerous ‘single women’ as they tried to spin it – shouldn’t that have *still* have disqualified him from ministry? ??

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  44. elastigirl: perhaps mr. vines’ view is that for forgiveness to be biblical, it must be on par with the description of how God forgives us: as if it never happened.

    The thing is, God does not forgive without turning (repentance – an acknowledgement of the need for it). To demand we forgive when there is no repentance or turning, is actually demanding we forgive on a higher level than God. There is a difference between true forgiveness and letting go, turning their consequences over to God.

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  45. __

    “Lost in A 501c3 Masquerade, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    “Are we really happy here
    With this lonely 501c3 game we play
    Looking for the words to say
    Searching but not finding
    Understanding anywhere…” -George Benson. (adapted.)

    huh?

    In a general social media sense, 501c3 church pastoral staff across the board —through out the U.S. have now been statistically documentally made a potential detrimental faith undermining a proverbial laughing stock. Suggestion: Use discretion, might wanna leave your wallets at home, perview a boycott, watch this proverbial abusive circus bleed…

    What?

    Q. Ask yourself: Do you really think this is Jesus’ church?

    bump.

    SKreeeeeeeeetch!

    If you don’t find transparency in finance, a comprehensive strictness in biblical leadership standards, and above all, a generous amount sincere faith based compassion, — RUN!

    Are you lost in a 501c3 ‘Church Masquerade’ ™ ?

    KRunch!

    Could b.

    (sadface)

    Sòpy

    Intermission:
    “This Masquerade” (Remastered Version) -by George Benson
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=j9W0g3NGSj4

    ;~)§

    – –

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  46. Jeannette Altes: The thing is, God does not forgive without turning (repentance – an acknowledgement of the need for it). To demand we forgive when there is no repentance or turning, is actually demanding we forgive on a higher level than God.

    Yes, I agree. Repentance almost always gets left out of the process when churches try to deal with sin. There is also usually a denial of consequences of actions, which I don’t see God do in Scripture. But I think the biggest mistake is rushing to cover up sin, which really means that they don’t care all that much about forgiveness at all, just pretending like sin doesn’t happen.

    I will also venture to say that the New Calvinists, at least, often heavily discipline minor “sins” like questioning the pastor in members while ignoring patterns of sin and ongoing lifestyle choices of male pastors. I believe the whole theology is set up not to be “biblical”, but to create a caste system where a few men can do whatever they want while everyone else exists to serve them. It’s about as unbiblical as you can get.

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  47. SiteSeer: shouldn’t that have *still* have disqualified him from ministry?

    One would certainly think so, at least by modern standards of conduct in secular professional settings (standards which, it must be admitted, are not always upheld).

    PP’s remarks in defense of DG, not to mention other evidences of his attitude on the matter, suggests something of an OT ethos, that it is normal for powerful men to have a “stable” of females. King David did, of course, and that in itself didn’t disqualify him from his kingly office. And even rape (Bathsheba) and murder (Uriah), he was not forced from office.

    PP at least seems to have had a “boys will be boys — get over it” attitude, and the fact that this can be so obvious in someone who reached the highest levels of authority in his association suggests that it could be a widespread attitude.

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  48. ishy: It’s about as unbiblical as you can get.

    for certain definitions of “unbiblical” — it looks a great deal like the privilege of kings on the OT.

    Jesus said that His kingdom was not like the kingdoms of the world. I’m sure that was true at the moment He uttered the words. Granting the judgment of charity that the churches we are discussing are indeed part of Jesus’ kingdom, it is no longer true.

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  49. ishy: But I think the biggest mistake is rushing to cover up sin, which really means that they don’t care all that much about forgiveness at all, just pretending like sin doesn’t happen.

    Agreed. If you are covering it up, and not protecting people, and if the sinner in question is STILL hurting people, what are you even talking about with forgiveness? You’re not, you’re talking about saving face and protecting your friends over the people they’ve hurt. There is nothing biblical in that.

    And as I mentioned earlier, I can’t forgive someone for something they did to you. That’s just nonsense. It means nothing at all.

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  50. cindy: Trust yourself and GOD…NO ONE ELSE.

    I think one can trust people whom one knows well from long observation of their conduct — people who have proved their trustworthiness. It is definitely unwise to “impute” trustworthiness to people. (This is highly relevant to the processes by which modern churches qualify candidates for office — these processes generally amount to a kind of “imputation of trustworthiness”)

    This “cri de coeur” reminds me of Jesus’ own attitude when faced with a group of people who evidently became His followers because they wanted to use Him for their own purposes (Jn 2:23-25).

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  51. Lea: And as I mentioned earlier, I can’t forgive someone for something they did to you. That’s just nonsense. It means nothing at all.

    I think that this posture might actually mean something highly significant — it means that the one claiming this authority is placing himself in the position of God, who alone can forgive the guilt of sins.

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  52. Fisher: I keep asking myself, “Don’t these men fear God? ” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

    It’s increasingly clear that the 21st century church – in both pulpit and pew – have lost the fear of the Lord. There may be a measure of religious knowledge, but lean on wisdom, and a widespread lack of spiritual understanding about the things of God. There is little respect and reverence for God. In our attempt to be culturally-relevant, we have substituted crowd appeal for faithfulness to Him. Thus, preachers won’t preach the fear of the Lord, it’s just too messy … in many places, they want you to fear them so they can manipulate, intimidate and dominate you. The organized church in many corners is so far off-track that it has lost its way … the Main Thing is not the main thing.

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  53. Samuel Conner: it means that the one claiming this authority is placing himself in the position of God, who alone can forgive the guilt of sins.

    Certainly Pastor A cannot forgive Pastor B for assaulting a child whom they both ignore. The assailant needs to seek the victim’s forgiveness and God’s. But there are other forms of forgiveness, too, beyond the small circle of the victim and the confessing sinner.

    A wife might forgive her husband for stealing from his boss and getting fired. A father might forgive his daughter for being cruel towards her little brother. Whole extended families might have to forgive one another for ugliness about the choice of Grandma’s nursing home. All of these sinners need to make amends with those directly harmed, but the people around them can strengthen them by graciously teaching better ways.

    People can also forgive without ever speaking to the sinner. A husband might slowly forgive his wife’s dead father, whom she dearly loved even though he was an abusive drunk. A woman might forgive a toxic ex-boyfriend, without taking the risk of speaking to him. I might silently forgive an infuriating neighbor. This type of forgiveness is about developing wisdom, and finding peace within.

    When unhealthy churches sweep problems under the rug, they prevent the more difficult types of forgiveness. They might expel/shun someone (often the victim), and/or insistently heap praise on someone (often the villain). This actively spreads the harm, instead of promoting insight and allowing wisdom and grace to grow.

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  54. Friend,

    In regards to Samuel Conner’s reference to Matthew 10:16 and to Friend’s post:

    My stepfather, who died suddenly in his late 40’s, almost 25 years ago I forgave him for what he did to me. It released his influence over me for the most part. But, if he were still alive today and I saw him in public, I would warn the parents that there is a pedophile in their midst.

    I’m trying to tie this in with the overall topic if Dee’s post. I just don’t have the words yet.

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  55. Brian:
    Friend,

    In regards to Samuel Conner’s reference to Matthew 10:16 and to Friend’s post:

    My stepfather, who died suddenly in his late 40’s, almost 25 years ago I forgave him for what he did to me. It released his influence over me for the most part. But, if he were still alive today and I saw him in public, I would warn the parents that there is a pedophile in their midst.

    I’m trying to tie this in with the overall topic if Dee’s post. I just don’t have the words yet.

    In regards to Friend’s comment alone, when a felon gets out of prison, minus those felons put on the sex crimes registry, the idea is for them to start over with a clean slate. But, family members, employers, etc will use the felon’s past to not hire them, shun them, etc.

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  56. Brian,

    I look forward to your further insights. 🙂

    Identifying a designated survivor disrupts human forgiveness as well as confession and absolution. The designated survivor might be a token or a “perfect victim:” a demure lady who never drank a drop but who was assaulted anyway (as opposed to a woman in a short skirt who flirted in a bar).

    Cynical leaders use good Christians to prop up their ministries.

    A huge part of the problem: all those nice families who stick around for the greater good, never giving a thought to the greater harm.

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  57. cindy,

    “I know everybody wants to hear that Dr. Vines is no good, but I don’t believe that, sorry.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    i think people want to hear mr. vines and company taking responsibility for egregious behavior that had devastating consequences for others.

    and to see every effort to make things right regardless of the cost to reputation, wealth, significance, legacy, power….

    all the things which, by sheer observation, are the chief guiding principles of the professional christian.

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  58. Samuel Conner: Jesus said that His kingdom was not like the kingdoms of the world. I’m sure that was true at the moment He uttered the words. Granting the judgment of charity that the churches we are discussing are indeed part of Jesus’ kingdom, it is no longer true.

    Individual members of institutional churches may belong to God’s kingdom (individually between God and the person in question) but that does not mean the institution is part of God’s kingdom. And….just being a part of God’s kingdom does not mean any given individual is operating as a fair representative of that kingdom. I know I certainly have behaved, at times, as though I did not belong to God’s kingdom.

    All that to say that even granting charitable judgment to individuals does not negate Jesus’ statement. You can be ‘saved’ functionally and still operate in the manner of the worldly kingdoms ‘practically.’

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  59. Brian: Could you please clarify what you meant in the last sentence of your post?

    Yes, I’ll clarify. There comes a point in a life experience where either you have to move on, for yourself and your own good, or you have to decide what you think still needs to be done to rectify a situation. I don’t know what Gilyards victims want done at this point to rectify a situaiton. Gilyard went to jail. (not for anywhere near long enough) Jerry Vines and Paige Patterson: Patterson is ruined. Vines is no longer able?(i don’t know that for a fact) to preach in a church he gave the majority of his life to. (FBC Jax) If people didn’t know the story previous to this, they do now. (I don’t know, i’ve known the story over 10 years or more). Gilyard committed the crimes, so to me, if you want further restitution you go after him. Please remember, the vast majority of rape victims never see the perpetrator ever go to jail. Never see anyone who covered anything up pay at all. So, I just ask…if you keep going after Vines and Patterson and whoever else you decide to charge with cover-up, what do you want the end result to be? Don’t all of you, in your life, have people who got away with absolute destruction in your life and they walked away scot free? I have more people who did that to me than I can fit on one hand…Just what do you all want the end result to be of everything? And, sometimes, while you are still in the trees…you can’t see the real story of the forest right in front of you. Texas. You need to start there, Mr. Reporter, and ask yourself…how did Gilyard get out of Texas without criminal punishment…how did he get people in his “hip pocket” so to speak? Who can stop criminal punishment? Im not speaking lightly either, you have no idea what the people writing on these comments have experienced in their own life….including myself. You have no idea what they have had to forgive or walk away from in order to preserve a tiny bit of life that’s left. Really.

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  60. Cindy,
    Thank you for responding. 🙂

    It isn’t always about financial restitution.

    Jerry Vines tried to change the narrative, in his own book, when he mentioned having looked into Tiffany T’s. claims. He called it consensual sex when she was trying to report rape. That’s cover-up. Like many victims, they just want the apology from the institution for not taking them seriously or ignoring them.

    As of today, has Jerry Vines apologized? With his thought process, could there be more victims?

    If a person wants the top position, they also have to take the responsibility that goes with it.

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  61. Cindy: you have no idea what the people writing on these comments have experienced in their own life….including myself.

    First, I am sorry for what you endured, and wish you peace and healing.

    I still belong to a church despite some horrendous experiences earlier in life. Everyone I deal with at church knows I spend time studying abuse in church settings.

    This is my deal with God: in exchange for the privilege of worshiping freely, I will try to keep my little corner of the Kingdom safe.

    If I can’t do that, I don’t deserve my church, and vice versa.

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  62. Cindy,

    You ask what we (I assume you mean the collective group here know as Wartburgers) want. It’s pretty simple, really. Of all places on earth, the safest places should be groups of believers (churches). We want the light of truth to shine on and expose the “dark underbelly” (as my mom termed it) of ‘ministry. We want the systems that foster abuse in all its forms (sexual, physical, emotional, spiritual) to be exposed as the unchristian, illegitimate, destructive cons they are…

    …well, at least that is what some of us want. I shouldn’t speak for everyone…

    …and the only way to effectively accomplish that is by spotlighting individual examples, over and over and over and over again, so that more and more people begin to see the truth. And ministries cease to be safe havens for abusers to hide and hunt and become safe havens for those seeking to follow Christ.

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  63. mot,

    to clarify, i was responding to that idea. my idea was:

    “i think people want to hear mr. vines and company taking responsibility for egregious behavior that had devastating consequences for others.”

    (plus more fascinating tidbits)

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  64. Cindy,

    Thank you, this clarification is helpful. For myself, and perhaps for others here, an end goal is to see institutional change where processes and procedures and institution-wide attitudes (whether because of pride or ignorance) contribute to and enable abuse that then harms individuals. I think Dee’s post above highlights how institutional-level problems (because leaders are, at the end of the day, individuals representing institutions, like a president is an individual who represents the institution of a country) are not yet adequately being addressed in the SBC specifically because the institutional leaders are not yet addressing an entire classification of abuse survivors or apologizing for how their processes and attitudes enabled repeat offenders to continue abusing.

    Just speaking personally, it’s one thing for me to “get over” something done to me. It’s a whole different ballgame to see that individual continue doing it to others with no consequences.

    Sorry for the analytical tone, I don’t mean to sound cold with this. I think it important to also remember that survivors are not just a statistic or classification, but each is an individual with hopes, fears, unique experiences and stories, and unique ways to contribute to the broader “kingdom” community (whatever that might mean to you). I think another danger the institutional leaders can find themselves in is being so far removed from the individuals “lower down” that they cannot see the trees for the forest, per se. And, at least in my readings of the gospels, Jesus clearly sees the trees as well as the forest.

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  65. linda,

    My point was not clear. They make a big deal out of ssme sex attraction being a choice and use that frank work to bully. If they accept pedophilia as unchangeable. They would have to change their rhetoric on the other, too. This is regardless of the abnormality of either or both or whether they think it is wrong or not. It would chage the way they have to view things.

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  66. linda,

    To continue….

    Accepting the possibilty that these things are hard-wired dies not give anyone a free pass on harming others. Period. Whether it is fetal alcohol syndrome, paraphilias, whatever it may be, it is still required that you do not harm other. This applies to serial killers, psychopaths, sociopaths, whatever – does not give a free pass, it just gives insight.

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  67. In a general social media sense, 501c3 church various pastoral staff across the board —through-out the U.S. have now been statistically documentally made a potential detrimental faith undermining, exactly —a proverbial laughing stock. Respecting Christian values, if you don’t find transparency in finance, a comprehensive strictness in biblical leadership standards, and above all, a generous amount sincere faith based compassion, — RUN!

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  68. Jeannette Altes,

    And as you’ve adroitly stated in a previous comment, that they will not do.
    So long as everything is dumped in the same tub together, they have full control over their ideology and how it applies across the board to everything, and of course under the full auspice of God himself.

    Once you buy into it, you (generic you) can solemnly declare that a jay-walker deserves the same hell as a mass murderer.

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  69. Muff Potter: Once you buy into it, you (generic you) can solemnly declare that a jay-walker deserves the same hell as a mass murderer.

    Yeah. I did the worship portion for an outreach to the local juvenile detention facility when I was still in the cult church. The man who preached taught thi. When a young girl asked if her stealing a piece of bubble gum was the same as murder, the man told her, “to God yes.” That didn’t set well even when I was neck deep in the bs. Sadly, I assumed the problem was me, as I was trained from little to do, and kept my mouth shut. It was, after all, what was subtly taught in the circles I grew up in. Sigh.

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  70. Samuel Conner: I think one can trust people whom one knows well from long observation of their conduct — people who have proved their trustworthiness.

    I like to think of it as ‘trust, but verify’. In spite of my experience being devastated by a pastor I once trusted, I do not want to become a person who never trusts anyone. But I will admit that my antennae is up now.

    I have done research on narcissists and abusers, which, again, can lead one to doubt almost everyone; but I’m not sure that is wise or helpful. The problem is in trusting anyone blindly, without question, simply based on their position or officially reported history. If things a person says or does send up red flags, it is a good sign that some careful examination is needed; talking with others who have had experience with the individual may help as well.

    I believe we can seek to have a basic trust for people, unless they prove themselves unworthy of such trust. The first time a young gal told me her sob story outside of a store I frequent, I somewhat doubtfully gave her some money. Three years later, she is still giving the same story on the same corner, week in and week out. She doesn’t get anymore of my money.

    We also must not be fooled by the false claim that anyone who is a pastor, elder or so-called christian is automatically deemed trustworthy. View each individual the same – someone you have to learn about – and grant them the trust their conduct deserves.

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  71. Jeannette Altes,

    In medicine, in business, in all sort of organization we look critically at places where the system has failed in order to try to fix it in the future. If you won’t admit the problem look at it honestly and fix what is wrong you will just do the same thing over and over again.

    There are a ton of things that surgeons do every surgery to try to prevent wrong site surgeries because it happened enough they changed the procedures to try to make it happen less.

    People like Cindy are looking at this purely as punitive…and although these people absolutely deserve punishment in most cases what I really want is for the problem to be fixed. Because the past cannot be undone.

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  72. Wild Honey,

    did you try sarcasm?

    …every church i’ve gone to is like going to a foreign country. you have to learn all the ways not to offend people and discredit yourself. except with church, it’s all a complete mystery. you find out after it’s too late.

    good grief…. at my last and final church, i made a sarcastic remark about something to the pastor. he looked like he’d just been punched.

    i made the mistake of wearing a tank top in 103 degree weather. the looks i got.

    ridiculous.

    who needs it.

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  73. Samuel Conner: As to “wise as guinea pigs”, I worry that a lot of present-day practical piety has the effect of placing “faith” into opposition with “wisdom”.

    I call that “Holy Nincompoop Syndrome” where the stupider you act, the more Godly you must be.

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  74. Muff Potter: Once you buy into it, you (generic you) can solemnly declare that a jay-walker deserves the same hell as a mass murderer.

    Sin-levelling Up.

    “FOR GOD HATES SIN WITH SUCH A PERFECT HATRED…”
    — some tract/booklet that messed me up during my time in-country, most likely “The Calvary Road”

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