“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The conga line of disgraced pastors who think that God needs them to counsel the emotionally impoverished evangelical population has now grown longer. Andy Savage has joined the dances, giggling along with the likes of Tullian Tchividjian and Pete Wilson.
In January 2018, I wrote Jules Woodson’s story along with Amy Smith.I was disturbed and angry by what transpired at the hands of Andy Savage and the leaders and members of her former church. During that time, I wrote as a new acquaintance of Jules. Today, I write this as her dear friend. So, if Andy Savage is reading this, he needs to know that not only do I believe her, but I will stand on her side.
As many of you know, Amy Smith, Kenny Stubblefield, Brooks Hanson and I were involved in the initial conversations with Jules. Amy Smith and I both wrote posts on her molestation by Savage which attracted international attention. Then, Savage’s former church vaulted this story further into the public eye when they gave Savage a standing ovation after he admitted that he had a sexual experience with Jules….Well, he actually called it a *mutual organic experience* but most people called it what it was: nonconsensual molestation. (The only thing organic that a youth pastor should share with a student is a salad.)
Andy Savage is disqualified from the pastorate for a number of reasons. He molested Jules Woodson, moved on, forgot about her, and then ignored her 20 years later.
How does one judge another’s character? Perhaps this quote sums it up:
“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”― John Wooden
I think Savage was hoping that if he ignored her, everyone else would. Now let’s fill in some blanks.
He admitted he molested Jules.
He molested Jules Woodson and admitted to the act, although he claims it was consensual. If he had done this in 2019 as opposed to 20 years ago, he would have been arrested. That act is considered clergy abuse along with nonconsensual sexual molestation. Oh, he was a pastor alright. He was ordained in the SBC. A 22 year old man can be arrested for having nonconsensual sexual relations with any woman. I bet many people who defend Savage would call the police if a 22 year old man broke into their home. I bet they would call the police if a 22 year old neighborhood man exposed himself to their high school senior daughter. Here is what a TWW commenter said on the Tullian Tchividjian situation. It is apropros for Savage.
He moved on and never once called or cared for Jules.
He moved on and started again in ministry within months of leaving Jules’ church for allegedly *kissing a student.* For the next 20 years he would become a church leader, reveling in his position as a role model of the faith. I wonder if Jules ever crossed his mind? Did he wonder how her life was going? Did he ever reach out to her? Well, the answer is a resounding, “No.” This man demonstrated that he has no remorse for his actions since remorse is expressed in repentance and in repairing broken relationships. Did he care that she suffered the after effects of his molestation? No! Is this the man who can care for church members who are needy? Would he be there or be more focused on his next invitation to speak somewhere?
- He would not answer Jules when she finally reached out to him.
This one is the clincher for me. Jules shared her email to Andy on the first day we spoke. When I read it, I knew that this would be a major story. My husband remembers me saying “I think there is going to be an uproar when this comes out.” He often repeats that to me even now. Why does this disqualify Andy?( A.) He was denigrating another person (Matt Lauer) for doing exactly what he had done. (B.) He never responded to her. Can you imagine a pastor who doesn’t respond to the pain of those he’s hurt? Is he the type of “two faced, pointing fingers at the world” pastor who ignores a woman whom he hurt? Seems so. Note the dates on the following.
He is no slave of Christ, serving the lost and let down.
Finally, the fact he is starting a new church is the sign of a self absorbed egotist. It’s all about him.he’s the man who should teach you, lead you, and watch over you. I learned something during my trip to Greece to study Paul’s journeys. When I visited the excavations at Philippi, I learned that the word *servant* is better translated as *slave.* Savage should so care for the pain that he caused Jules, as well as the entire evangelical community, that he should step aside and be a slave, not a pastor. He needs to care for those who have been abused. He should work in a rescue mission and give up the microphone. He should be a sacrificial, humble slave, not just another ho hum *teaching* pastor who believes his own press.
Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)link
“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himselfby becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!”
Amy Smith broke the story that Andy Savage is starting a new church in Memphis!
Here are some things that I heard.
- He claims he is a teacher. Was this another prophecy from the IHOP folks?
- He claims he wants to care for people who are struggling. He claims he ignored them in the past.
- He claims he is not out for himself
- He claims this new church is not about him.
- He claims he’s now free from caring about what *you* think. Is this another phrase for sc**w you? Sure sounds like it.
- *Bob on a bike* is holding him accountable.
In this sermon, he showed, once again, why he should not be a pastor.
- He did not rebuke the audience which laughed out loud when he discussed that they could all read about him on Google.
- He also said that we all have gotten our hands on the wrong thing at one time or another. (Stop snickering.) Well, Savage sure did. I bet he didn’t have *Bob on a bike* vet that line.
Savage doesn’t discuss the fact that most youth pastors have never assaulted teens in youth programs.(Although, I’ve recently wonder just how high those stats are.) In fact, few of us have ever assaulted anyone. So don’t try to sin level your molestation onto the backs of the rest of us, Savage.
This story is getting around. I hope Andy Savage is ready *not to care* what the media writes about him. This thing could get big, once again.
The Commercial Appeal
In the recording he says, “It’s not hard to find out what I’ve done wrong. Just Google my name, it’s out there. It’s not hard to figure it out. And here’s the thing, we all have our story. Mine just got national news coverage.”
Reached by phone, Savage did not want to comment.
A website being shared for Grace Valley Church contains a form asking for contact information, family details, prayer requests, comments and questions. According to Google Forms, the form was created inside andysavage.com, Savage’s website.
Woodson said that it almost sounds like Savage makes light of her sexual assault in the audio recording — treating it like a “story” that everyone has.
“Not everybody sexually assaulted a minor under their care,” Woodson said. “Had Andy taught me science instead of religion, he would be in jail and he would never be allowed back in that workplace.”
…The case became an example of the #metoo and #churchtoo movements.
Now, Woodson says that she’s not denying Savage a normal life — nor is she denying him forgiveness and God’s grace.
“It sets a dangerous precedent for him to be back in the pulpit,” Woodson said. “God’s grace is amazing, but God’s grace doesn’t mean you get to be back in ministry.”
The Christian Post/Beth Moore
“Devastating news today. My abuser is back in the pulpit,” Savage’s victim Jules Woodson announced in a tweet Saturday. Her message also shared a tweet from Amy Smith, a sexual abuse survivor advocate, which included a recording of a recent sermon from Savage preaching at his new Grace Valley Church in Memphis, Tennessee. The website for the church is now just collecting information from potential members through a Google form.
Woodson’s tweet attracted support from popular Bible teacher Beth Moore and others.
“Jules, I can’t imagine how devastating that must be. I am so sorry,” Moore tweeted at Woodson’s announcement.
“Thank you Beth. I am heartbroken and angry. Jesus weeps,” Savage’s victim replied. Moore responded: “Yes, He does, Darling.”
The Friendly Atheist
Savage appeals to grace. I say he appeals to cheap grace.
I am a Lutheran and I believe in grace. I also believe that we are all sinners. Luther said it well: “Simul justus et peccator.” Christians are simultaneously sinners and righteous. As another pastor said: We are positionally holy but we are functionally sinners.”
Folks, this means that sins have consequences. Some sins are also crimes. I hear lots of Christians claiming that we should show grace to Savage but few of these same people would ignore the thief who broke into their home and trashed it. They would be in court, asking for the maximum sentence, while claiming they are praying for the thief’s salvation.
What does restoration mean?
Poorly educated Christians who listen to light sermons, like those I think Savage preaches, think it means someone like Andy is forgiven and can jump right back into teaching because he “knows he is a teacher.” No consequences…except, there are always consequences. There are actions that we take in life that will permanently disqualify us from our positions. Counselors:having sex with patients…Teachers: Having sex with students…EMTs: having sex with those they are called in to help.
But far too many people believe Savage should get a pass for molesting Jules. Why? It makes no sense. What does restoration really mean? It means you can now return to church and be a church member. A former pastor doesn’t get to jump from sin to the pastorate. A real pastor who gets this would not try to do so. Grace is costly, not cheap. You must lose something. God can redeem it in a new work. For example, why not become a prison chaplain?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it best
- When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.link
- Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.” link
Why in the world would Andy Savage choose Memphis to start his new church?
I don’t know if this info is true but I heard from 3 sources that Savage may have approached his former church about a job. Could someone confirm or negate this?
If Savage was an example of a true slave of the Christian body, one who willingly humbles himself, he should go somewhere else. I wonder why he claims he is *called to teach* in Memphis as opposed to Niger, the world’s most impoverish country. Why is he returning to the place in which he lost his church? Why is he returning for people to dredge up all the old memories? But, like he says in that sermon, he doesn’t really care what anyone thinks except for maybe *Bob on a bike.* (But if Bob doesn’t play ball, Bob may get pushed off his bike.)
I think he says that he believes he’s a teacher in a rich community because:
- Where else could he con people to actually believe he is a fantastic human being due to grace?
- Where else could he control a group of people with no accountability except *Bob on a bike?*
- Where else could he get people to pay him lots of money so he can live really, really well?
The evil Savage savages are already starting their attacks on Jules with nary a word from Andy or *Bob on a bike.*
Today, I became incensed when a man on Twitter began going after Jules, making claims that she was a party girl when she was a teen. I told him his Jezebel routine was abusive and decided to report his tweet to Twitter. I encouraged others to do so. It appears it worked. His tweet is no longer available. Here is a link to the thread of others who reported it.
Finally, this time around I will watch for each and every cry of slander, King David was forgiven, cheap grace and cheap repentance. These poor people exhibit to me what rotten Bible teachers there are out there. Perhaps one of those rotten teachers is the guy who claims he is *a teacher.*
Andy Savage, go to the poor and be a slave instead of dancing the conga with the rest of the discredited men.
For those of you who are interested in learning about what one Pastor had to say about Tullian Tchividjian and cheap forgiveness, here is a link to Great Stuff – Gottesdienst – Real Sin. Real Forgiveness. Real Faith. Real Fruits of Repentance.
(PS I have some pictures and bios of *Bob on the bike.* I may give him a call before I post them.)