Update 11/10/19: Wes Feltner, Longtime SBC Pastor and Former SBTS Adjunct Professor, Accused of Sexually Abusing Two Women 17 Years Ago

A Pasin STabbed My heart
A Pain Stabbed My Heart: Wikicommons

We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Update:Scroll to the end of the post

‘We are in the midst of a blogsite update. Please bear with us. I will try to keep up with my posts. but they may be posted late or on a different day than usual.


The Wes Feltner situation is evolving rapidly. Therefore, as new statements/ info are released from various entities, I will be updating this post, adding new information at the bottom of the post. This is a long post with much information.

Wes Feltner: a long time SBC Pastor and SBTS instructor credibly accused of sex abuse of two victims.

Here is a  summation of the current situation.

Who is Wes Feltner?

Feltner is a long time SBC Pastor, having served in a number of churches in various positions. He received his PhD from SBTS (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) and is a adjunct professor (well, was until yesterday) at SBTS. Here is his bio from his website:

Two women have come forward and stated that he molested them when he was their youth pastor at First Southern Baptist Church in Evansville, Indiana.

The two victims created a website to tell their story: Brought to the Light. I alerted Megan thay I would be telling their story. She said to reference their website where they told their stories.

Megans’ story

JoAnna’s story

Why did Megan and JoAnna come forward at this time?

Here is their statement from their website.

First Baptist Church of Clarksville, Tennessee was in search of a new lead pastor. When a local resident heard the name of their lead candidate, Wes Feltner, she felt compelled to share her knowledge of his past. Her sister was on a joint youth winter retreat in December 2002 with Joe Donahue’s and Wes Feltner’s youth groups. On the trip, two young women confided in her that they were in relationships with their youth pastor.

Wes Feltner’s candidacy was protested to the search committee, and Joe Donahue’s contact information was provided. The Pastor Search Committee chairman then asked Joe Donahue to reach out to the victims to see if they were willing to speak to the Chairman. Via Facebook, Joe reached out to JoAnna and Megan. Megan immediately deleted the friend request because she remembered Joe was Wes’ best friend in 2002. JoAnna responded, reached out to Megan, and both girls agree to talk with the chairman and submitted written statements to be shared with the committee.

Both JoAnna’s and Megan’s statements were provided to the Pastor Search Committee Chairman for First Baptist Church, Clarksville. Joe, concerned that the information was not being fully share with the entire pastor search committee, also shared the written statements with a committee member directly.

Even with the new information, it seemed as though the chairman was pushing Wes’ approval process forward.

Both women received emails from FBC Clarksville that appear threatening to me.

Frankly, these response by the church are deeply disturbing to me. Perhaps they didn’t attend the Caring Well conference?

Here is the email to JoAnna

Here is the email to Megan

Let me pull out a few statements from the emails

Megan:

Joe Donahue chose to bypass me and circumvent our committee process by sending your information directly to another member of the committee with instructions to send it all to the entire committee.  His intent appears to be to interfere with employment.

…Don’t let anyone, not me and not these others, coax you to share this beyond what you and your husband decide to do.  You have more to lose than any of the rest of us.  In this search process, which is similar to a corporate hiring process, we scour the Internet for details.  You don’t likely want this situation to be what your kids and your future employers find at the top of the search about you, and I fear that Joe’s further publication of it would do just that. In modern day HR, and in society in general, people take sides in stories and there may be as many that point an accusing finger at you, even as inappropriate as that may be.

JoAnna:

It becomes an element of your Internet footprint that Google reveals to your kids and future employment for either of you.  In our scouring the Internet for details on this pastor search, we look for details about the whole family.  Even in corporate HR, everything out there becomes a factor, and the fickle general public will seemingly flip a coin to decide if you are the bad guy or the other side.

I feel responsible that our search might have started this, and I do not want you and your family to pay the price.

Let’s back up: Wes Feltner is currently lead pastor at Berean Baptist Church and is applying from there to be the new lead pastor at FBC Clarksville

Berean Baptist Church

It should be pointed out that Baptist Global’s Bob Allen, in another great article, had this to say in Southern Seminary removes adjunct professor, reviews dissertation, following abuse allegations

Today he is lead pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Burnsville, Minnesota, recognized by Outreach Magazine as one of the fastest-growing churches in the country.

Megan then received what appeared to me to be a call threatening potential legal *stuff.* You can listen to the call on the home page.

His email is believed to have been forwarded to Wes Feltner, because Megan received a voicemail on October 11, 2019 from a personal injury attorney in the Minneapolis area claiming to be “with Berean.” Joe received an email from the same lawyer, but JoAnna was not contacted.

However, they would later learn that this attorney is working for Pastor Feltner, not the church. if this is true, the lawyer should bow his head in shame.

Just a quick reminder about the defamation/libel laws in the US.

Let’s assume, for a second, that Feltner decides to attempt to proceed with legal action. He has a long road ahead of him with almost no chance of prevailing. Folks, defamation lawsuit are usually a waste of time, in my opinion.

  • Feltner would have to prove that the women are lying and
  • Feltner would have to prove that they knowingly lied in order to bring malicious harm to Feltner.

So long as the women believe what they are saying is true, I believe that Feltner ‘s quest would go down in flames just like almost every defamation attempt in the US,

I believe that the lawyers is doing what some lawyers do. He is attempting to scare two brave, honest, and decent women into believing that they will get sued. If it is true that a lawyer misrepresented himself by apparently claiming that he worked for Berean… well ,speak to a lawyer.

When JoAnna’s husband spoke with the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the elder board at the church, they replied that Berean used a law firm but were not aware of any affiliations with the attorney that had previously contacted Megan and Joe.

The victims have also notified other churches in which Feltner served.

Go to the bottom of the home page to see those contacts. However, the one that catches my eye is Berean Baptist Church. Yes, that’s right, Feltner’s current church. Did they do anything in the intervening 5 years? If they did, they kept it on the down low.

Does anyone know why Feltner wants to leave his highly successful church?

Around 2014: Berean Baptist Church, Burnsville, MN: Former Youth under Wes Feltner at First Southern Baptist Church spoke with the Executive Pastor at the time—it is unknown if any investigation was performed.

A disturbing video by Paul Batson, chair of the pastoral search committee at FBC Clarksville

In this video, he calls the women *adversaries.” Note to Batson: Really stupid historical story: Just because a 22 year old guy married a 16 year old girl 180 years ago, doesn’t mean it was a good idea. Remember, lots of Baptists supported owning slaves back then as well. Is this an example of the insight into sexual abuse by the  current leadership at FBC Clarksville?

If this is the example of how this church views sexual abuse, then I would worry about the safety of students in their youth ministry.

In a statement to the Indy Star, Batson makes matters worse by appearing to claim that Feltner was in some sort of dating relationship with the women! From frying pan into fire…

Batson responded in a statement to The Leaf-Chronicle, saying in part: “The intent was not to downplay the events, or sins as we call them in church, except to say that they were in a dating context. … The important thing to know is that if there is any angst at this point in the process, point it at me, not at the church.”

Al Mohler released a statement, calling the charges credible and removing Feltner from his teaching responsibilities.

William Thornton wrote a post at SBC Voices: And now “credible accusations of misconduct” has currency in the SBC because of Al Mohler

Actions that involved SBTS were taken based on the “credible accusations of misconduct”. Neither Mohler nor any other SBC leader can direct any church to take action on the matter. It is significant that the SBC Executive Committee’s enhanced Credentials Committee now has the task to “make inquiries” of a church over their handling of an abuse accusation. The results of the inquiry would lead to a decision about the church being excluded from the national SBC.


Keep watching these actions of behalf of the SBC. I believe that these actions could one day possibly lead to a successful challenge of the autonomy of local churches from the SBC mothership.

For those of you who liked to read dissertations, here is link Feltner’s from 2009 which is available on the SBTS website.

Amy Smith pointed out this response by Berean Baptist on Twitter and wrote a post: The systemic epidemic of sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention: Wes Feltner and passing the trash

Kudos to Tabernacle Baptist Church’s response.

Statement by Tabernacle Baptist Church

Tabernacle Baptist Church is saddened by the reports of pastoral abuse that are being reported by multiple news outlets that involve a former Senior Pastor of our church.  Wesley Feltner served as Senior Pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church from August 2008 to November 2013.

The hiring process of Pastor Feltner in 2008 included third-party criminal background checks and due diligence was used in exploring his moral character through given references with no improprieties being found. Also, our personnel team has no knowledge of any allegations brought against him during his tenure as pastor. 
The leadership of TBC takes abuse of any kind very seriously. We want to help those who have been involved in situations that are damaging physically, emotionally, or sexually. Because of this we have set up an internal hotline for members and attenders of TBC. This hotline will connect people with a female chaplain that can walk them through their situation and assist them to receive the help that they need. 
The leadership of TBC has asked our congregation to specifically pray for all individuals involved in this situation, including the two ladies named in the article, their families, the Feltner family, and both churches named in the article. 

Have any of these churches reported these allegations to law enforcement?

Anna Keith at No Eden Elsewhere wrote a post about this situation She reviews the criminal statutes in Indiana where the two women were abused. Batson should be ashamed of himself. He never once mentioned the possibility of a crime…It’s all just sin and dating game…right?

Here is an updated list of the churches in which Wes Feltner served.

Finally, Feltner calls for resolution and demonstrates that he just doesn’t get it (or maybe he does which worries me more…)

Feltner advocated a Bible-based direct approach to resolving the issue.

“The Bible directs God’s people to take their grievances first to the person accused and, if that person won’t listen, to try again and bring a witness; and if the person still won’t listen, then to take it to the church (Matthew 18:15-17). The group circulating these allegations did not bring them to me, rather, they took them directly to the church and, not being satisfied with the church’s response, they have taken them to the general public.”

Feltner said he has reached out several times to meet with the women, including with a mediator if they wish, but they have declined.

“Meanwhile, not having spoken with me for 17 years, they have organized to destroy my reputation and my career,” he said.

“I remain willing and eager to fully and fairly address the concerns of the two women. I care deeply to resolve them and make any apologies and amends that are necessary anytime they are willing to talk.”

I believe the stories that the women told. There are virtually no abuse advocates who would advise victims to meet their abuser. Remember, sex abuse is not about sex. It is about exerting power over an individual.

It appears to me that Feltner is misusing the Bible in an attempt to get the women to meet with him. According to Matthew 18, the first step is to go directly to the person to confront him. Then, if it doesn’t work out, one brings more witnesses and then, eventually it gets brought to the church.,

Sadly, Matthew 18 is often used by abusive individuals to silence those they abuse. Of course he wants to meet quietly. If the accusations are to be believed, and I believe them, then this could be used to intimidate those who have already been harmed. Abuse is not a simple sin. Those who abuse often have deeply rooted, profound psychiatric disorders. They need professional intervention. Victims…do not be coerced into such an action by feeling guilty that this is some sort of Biblical mandate. It’s not to be applied in your situation.

He makes claims that these women have organized in order to destroy his reputation and career.” No, Feltner, you did that yourself. You moved on with your life and you now admit in this statement that you never reached out to them in 17 years! You are the one who should have done this. Feltner, you, and you alone, are. responsible for everything that has and everything that will come of this.” Many abusers like to blame others for their abusive behavior. Victims, don’t fall for it.

Dee’s prediction:

  • Wes Feltner is toast. He needs to step down immediately. It’s all over.
  • Both Berean Baptist and FBC Clarksville need to do some soul searching and get new leadership after they’ve apologized to the victims. What are they teaching in these churches?! Good night!
  • All churches and institutions associated with Feltner need to consider reporting what they have learned to law enforcement. Let professionals sort this out. Do NOT do an internal investigation.
  • The SBC has a long way to go if the responses of Berean Baptist and FBC Clarksville are any indication of the depths of the problem.

To Megan and JoAnna: I am so sorry for what you have endured. I believe you. Don’t let some lawyer and his client play a game with you. You are in the right since you have told the truth and they know it.


New updates will be posted here.

11/10/19

Wes Feltner will not be coming to =FBC Clarksville. Today, an apology was read from the pulpit. The pastoral search committee was disbanded and the deacons are now in charge. Questions: Did th search committee go rogue? Why is Paul Batson still around?

Here is a link to the very short video of the statement.

More to come.


Comments

Update 11/10/19: Wes Feltner, Longtime SBC Pastor and Former SBTS Adjunct Professor, Accused of Sexually Abusing Two Women 17 Years Ago — 150 Comments

  1. <Bit of a ramble>

    I’ve been pondering, lately, the topic of “forgiveness” as pushed in churchy circles.

    King David, and his murder of Uriah to cover up his adultery with Bathsheba, is often touted as an example of forgiveness: how a rich and powerful man can commit a gross wrong, but get away with it without losing his wealth or position.

    And yet… leave aside for now the fact that David did not get away with it, but (to borrow language directly from the bible) the sword never departed from his house thereafter. Consider instead the parable told to him by Nathan, and what it tells us about God’s view of David’s sin. Quick summary: a poor man owned a single lamb, that he treasured and cared for as it was his whole wealth. But a rich man, who didn’t want to incur any expense himself, stole and killed the poor man’s lamb to supply one of his dinner parties. He made a brief gesture of generosity to his guests, but at no expense to himself – he made the poor man pay, and pay, moreover, almost everything he had.

    Wind forward…

    A man in a position of power, favour and influence – maybe he’s already a pillar of a local para-church congregation * – sexually assaults a woman or child. Maybe more than once; maybe more than one woman or child. He gets some fun; no big deal, really. But to his target, it bites a huge chunk out of their soul.

    Then, this behaviour comes to light. Enter the church, in some shape or form. They may just revile his target(s) and reflexively declare him innocent, or at least that they don’t give a ****. But suppose they get as far as actually calling his behaviour sinful. Then what? Well, quite often, they’ll make sweeping declarations of grace, mercy and forgiveness. Like a comment some lassie made about James Macdonald – Jesus is the answer. For James; for all of us. How magnanimous; how kind, gentle and godly. Except that it cost her nothing. This forgiveness costs the church nothing. Once again, the victims pay. That kind of church may even have a dig of its own at them. (blah blah blah… BITTER… blah blah… GOSSIP… blah blah blah.)

    I can take the churchy declarations of “forgiveness” much more seriously when the churchy people give something themselves rather than taking credit for free.

    * More commonly, but erroneously, known as “a local church”.

    </Bit of a ramble>

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  2. However, they would later learn that this attorney is working for Pastor Feltner, not the church. if this is true, the lawyer should bow his head in shame.

    “L’Eglise, c’est moi.”
    — Pastor Feltner

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  3. “Two women have come forward and stated that he molested them when he was their youth pastor …”

    I’ve said this before … the SBC needs to reevaluate its youth ministry model. It is common to place a fresh seminary graduate (or seminary student) in a youth pastor position as his first ministry assignment. IMO, it is wrong to put an inexperienced, unproven, young man over a church’s youth … hormones are waiting to happen. This is not the Biblical approach to instructing youth … older saints are to mentor them. In 70+ years of SBC life, it was my observation that most youth “pastors” served up shallow Bible studies, pizza, movie outings, etc. … while attempting to be one of the gang. It’s just not a good approach to discipling young believers. There are too many sad stories of abuse at the hands of youth pastors, who were not pastors at all.

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  4. Ah, Andy Savage on steroids!
    And, just like the Andy Savage saga, the charade of “purity culture” being preached while he was getting his… this time even giving her a rose in front of everyone!!
    45 years ago in my IFB high school, we use to have to listen to chapels about how holding hands leads to murder! (because holding hands leads to sex, pregnancy, and abortion, don’t you know). These kinds of messages were preached with the same emotion as any revival you have ever been to… now, I wonder how many girls these preacher were $%^& on the side..

    10-20 years ago when the whole purity ring stuff was going on, I was internally cringing, bringing back all of those bad memories.. now that we have these cases come to light…. I really wonder…

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  5. Jeffrey Chalmers: 10-20 years ago when the whole purity ring stuff was going on, I was internally cringing, bringing back all of those bad memories.. now that we have these cases come to light…. I really wonder…

    I’m reminded that Andy Savage taught a “True Love Waits” workshop in the later 1990s.

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  6. Jeffrey Chalmers,

    Also, again, it is not just this specific “preacher”, but the whole structure… as I keep saying, not all kids are naive… the “leaders” that covered this stuff up, and allowed the Charade of “purity culture” are more guilty, IMHO, than the actual perps…

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  7. Nick Bulbeck: A man in a position of power, favour and influence – maybe he’s already a pillar of a local para-church congregation * – sexually assaults a woman or child. Maybe more than once; maybe more than one woman or child. He gets some fun; no big deal, really. But to his target, it bites a huge chunk out of their soul.

    Speculation here – not a theologian – perhaps the predator has sold his own soul to evil, plain & simple. And it’s costly – the predator pays the ultimate price for placing himself on the Dark Side.

    Profilers such as Roy Hazelton, John Douglas, and Robert Ressler, as well as Vidocq Society Richard Walter seem to confirm this. Long before a predator commits the crime, they live in a fantasy of predation.

    The Profilers “identified key characteristics of certain criminals, ranging from a personality afflicted with feelings of inadequacy to the tendency by some to indulge in fantasies.”

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  8. Max,

    I agree wholeheartedly, you have children with many struggles, who are vulnerable because they need leadership and answers and they often are lead by a man is isn’t a whole lot older than they are. .
    Why not have a middle aged couple or elderly seasoned couple be there leaders?

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  9. Chuck: I agree wholeheartedly, you have children with many struggles, who are vulnerable because they need leadership and answers and they often are lead by a man is isn’t a whole lot older than they are. .
    Why not have a middle aged couple or elderly seasoned couple be there leaders?

    Makes sense to me…but the thing is, being a youth pastor is seen as part of the vocational path to becoming a lead pastor in SBC churches. Youth pastor > assistant pastor > lead pastor. It’s like the largest SBC churches wanting their pastors to have doctorates. So some of them do have legit seminary doctorates, like this guy from SBTS. But there are more than a few who have sketchy “bible school” doctorates (although their number grows less as the years pass).

    Of course, it’s worth noting that the pastors who go through the seminary system and ultimately end up as lead pastors over churches have spent quite a bit of time as adults where they’ve never had a woman over them in authority. It starts in college and definitely increases in seminary, because no woman is good enough to teach them. Then they graduate with an MDiv and they go to a church and they are automagically over women, all women, no matter their age and experience level because they have the degree and the XY chromosomes. I’ve said for years that these pastors should have to work regular jobs for a few years. You know, overnight at the 7-11 or a lower level job at a bank where it’s very likely the manager is going to be a woman. But that’s just me.

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  10. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: it’s worth noting that the pastors who go through the seminary system and ultimately end up as lead pastors over churches

    There are “lead pastors” at SBC church plants in my area who assumed that role fresh out of seminary. All they have to do is hang out a shingle in a storefront. Some get church planting funds from SBC, parent churches, or supporting “core groups” of members to help them get started. IMO, this is a worse scenario than “youth pastors” who climb the ranks to senior roles … young inexperienced leaders over the whole church from the get-go.

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  11. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: I’ve said for years that these pastors should have to work regular jobs for a few years.

    Ohhh, but that’s why some young men “go into the ministry” … they don’t want to work regular jobs! It’s a much easier go to preach a sermon on Sunday, delegate “ministry” to elders, and tweet your life away through the week at a coffee shop.

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  12. Chuck: Why not have a middle aged couple or elderly seasoned couple be there leaders?

    Agreed, but. At the church where I participated in youth group, we had wet-behind-the-ears seminarians as youth ministers. Backing them up, and presenting the worst ideas ever, were middle-aged couples. They were college educated, but they actively discouraged us from getting higher education (we might study psychology!!!!!!! and lose our faith!!!!!!!). They hyped up that era’s hysteria about demons and sex and cults. Perhaps most ironically, they snowed us into believing that our own parents (their church friends) were headed to eternity Down Below.

    What youth need are calm, mature Christians, not people of a particular age or marital status. Youth ministers need to meet the kids where they are and accept them as precious children of God. They need to learn about the lives of young people instead of reading about the evils of social media and storming into youth group with terrifying mandates against it. Et cetera.

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  13. Friend: At the church where I participated in youth group, we had wet-behind-the-ears seminarians as youth ministers. Backing them up, and presenting the worst ideas ever, were middle-aged couples … What youth need are calm, mature Christians, not people of a particular age or marital status.

    Agreed. Spiritually immature church members recruit spiritually immature church leaders, as a general rule. The early church had a better balance on old/young, mature/immature, IMO … age typically represented spiritual maturity as children in church grew in faith to adulthood … not the case in 21st century church. I sat in SBC churches for decades with other church members who were faithful to attend, but who didn’t have a working knowledge of the Bible or knew how to walk in Truth during the week. While age does not equal wisdom, it helps. Every church needs the energy of youth coupled with the wisdom of age … young folks to speed things up, old folks to slow it down.

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  14. Dee: bizarre behavior

    Speaking of that, I hate to go off-thread with this comment, but in case you missed it:

    John MacArthur responded to social media reaction of his “Go Home” rant.

    “If you don’t recognize the command of God, we don’t recognize ‘you’.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxtSRfNO5xo

    MacArthur weaves in and out of Scripture during his hour sermon last Sunday. During his closing comments in the last 10 minutes, he essentially called Beth Moore a fraud.

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  15. Max: It’s obvious that several preacher-boys-turned-abusers who were raised in that culture decided that “True Love Waits” was not for them!

    Privilege of Rank, by Divine Right.

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  16. Friend: At the church where I participated in youth group, we had wet-behind-the-ears seminarians as youth ministers. Backing them up, and presenting the worst ideas ever, were middle-aged couples. They were college educated, but they actively discouraged us from getting higher education (we might study psychology!!!!!!! and lose our faith!!!!!!!). They hyped up that era’s hysteria about demons and sex and cults. Perhaps most ironically, they snowed us into believing that our own parents (their church friends) were headed to eternity Down Below.

    Let me guess… 1970s-1980s?
    The heyday of Hal Lindsay then Satanic Panic?
    CULT. CULT. CULT.

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  17. Magistos:
    Numbah 2.
    Mohler’s response bears watching.
    I have a 6 year old puking her guts out, so who knows when I can post again.

    Especially considering that Albert Mohler has accepted a nomination to run for president of the Southern Baptist Convention next year. Kyrie eleison.

    Also, I hope your daughter is feeling better this morning.

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  18. I have to say that, in our experience, our kids have benefitted from having younger, more connected to the age, youth leaders for the youth group. Sometimes the last thing teens want is to listen to someone like their parents.
    Granted, we haven’t had any bad ones (that we know of), and our current main leader is 30-ish, married with kids. The worst thing that happened is one leader didn’t realize my son had fallen asleep in the basement during a meeting when I was outside in the parking lot waiting for him (and she apologized for that, wasn’t a major issue).
    Rather than age, attitude including true desire to serve God and others are more important. And a healthy dollop of common sense!

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  19. Max,

    My stubborn, feisty, blue collar, deceased father liked “truisms”. He always said, look out for what “sin” the preacher is focusing on….. he is probably got a problem with it….

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  20. I struggle with the 17 years of silence? It appears that both these women actually dated Pastor Feltner. He was a youth leader at the time, not a pastor at that time. Not to say that the relationships should have happened but to call it sexual abuse when all were of legal age, parents were aware of the relationships, and all were consenting, etc. seems like there may be alternative motives to this complaint. My question in all this might be to ask if Pastor Feltner was aware of the complaints 17 years ago? If he was anyone else in any other position, would these women be calling it “abuse?” Did Pastor Feltner have intent to abuse and manipulate or is this being twisted to appear as such? Did the church leaders at that time make Pastor Feltner aware of the complaint? There are too many unanswered questions in this situation. Unfortunately, in our world today, one is guilty in such situations until proven innocent and even if proven innocent, the damage is often done because of here say and social media. We must hold our leaders accountable but we must remember that God redeems. I am always suspicious of such allegations when they come out so many years later. How did this relationship end? Was anyone disgruntled? Could there be another motive? The “Me too” movement has empowered many women to stand up against improper treatment by their male counterparts but it also has opened the door for women to vengefully target any male in their life and destroy them with accusations that can not ever really be proven.

    These two women state that they have not had any communication with Pastor Feltner in the past 17 years and just now this comes up? Pastor Feltner wants to talk to these women and address the situation as the bible instructs and he is being ridiculed for this, people stating they think he is trying to sweep things under the rug? Following biblical guidelines, especially when ALL parties profess to be Christian does not mean it is swept under the rug or not in public view. It means that he is trying to go to the source for answers on how to resolve this issue. If the women refuse, I am not sure what else this man is supposed to do. He publicly acknowledges that some of what the women say is true so it is his word against their word. Maybe this is where the investigation needs to be checking into the character of all parties when making their decision on how to deal with this situation. Does the church allow him to continue to Pastor or does the church take the easy way out and strip him of his pastoral title due to the pressure of these two individuals.

    Tough decisions need to be made. We must all remember John 8:7 -……….”Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone……….”

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  21. jojo,

    Or having your picture taken in “compromising” positions? While they are not “explicit”, the pictures of him with the young lady in Vagas are “stupid”!! I am still trying to get my mind around this…… you teach the whole “purity” thing, give your lover a Rose of “purity” in front of everyone, but on the side you take her to Vegas, and have all those pictures taken together?? And he is (was) teaching at seminaries, and a “head pastor”??
    For those that are not familiar with this whole “purity culture” thing, they make you feel lover than dirt if you are not “pure”….

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  22. Bad-boy preachers are passed from church to church thanks to church leaders who cover for them. It appears that a touch of charisma and a gift of gab which can grow a church are more important than the moral integrity of a pastoral candidate. This is the cheap grace Bonhoeffer talked about.

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  23. Jeffrey Chalmers,

    I am also trying to get my mind around this, too. I have read and re-read. When the girlfriends, turned wives, come to realize, accept, and actually do something about the truths they discover about their husbands, they perhaps should feel an obligation (if they are even capable) to tell about their experiences for the purpose of helping other women. I can’t figure out what the girlfriend who became his wife would have told herself about the things she most likely saw going on, but married him so quickly anyway. Pressure from family, the church, longing to be married, wanting children?? I can think of several women I have read about who have been through this and seemingly tolerate it. Why? (I knew a wife like this, but never asked her. She is deceased. Her youth pastor husband is living with his 3rd wife somewhere out there.) I know little about the rose “purity” culture.

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  24. jojo,

    My experiences with the “purity culture” is conflated with “young earth creationism”, authoritarianism, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”, King James is the only TRUE, inspired word of G&d, “I don’t go drink, dance or smoke, or go with girls that do”….. there are more, but I think you get the drift….

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  25. Can someone clarify something for me?

    I read Megan’s story and am very puzzled that her parents and Don Moore would agree to Megan and Feltner’s trip to Vegas. Megan seems to remember the trip almost as something like a honeymoon or a weekend getaway a married couple would go on. Everyone involved knows they’re going to be sleeping together, right? I just don’t get why nobody intervened. Or was this a church that just had a much more open sexual ethic that everyone understood? But it was SBC, right? What am I missing?

    If the simple explanation is that Feltner could manipulate himself into and out of all incriminating situations, I believe it. I’ve been on the receiving end of this type of deception. It’s still shocking.

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  26. Headless Unicorn Guy: Let me guess… 1970s-1980s?

    The church was across the street from a major technology research lab. It was a big church, and most of the fathers had degrees in engineering, medicine, law, or business. Most of the mothers were college educated, and many had master’s degrees, even if they did not work outside the home.

    And yet they tried to turn us away from critical thinking.

    Our parents were all of the Greatest Generation. They lived through the Depression, fought in World War II, went to college on the GI Bill, got their FHA and VA mortgages. Then some of them egged the youth ministers on to teach us to reject the very sources of their prosperity.

    Yeah, there was Communism, there were hippies, a generation gap, all of that. I still don’t get the weird shift toward ignorance, though. Education is always the way up and out.

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  27. Friend,

    The “church” has always had a hard time with “change”… or maybe better to say most/many people have a hard time with “change”…. Further, it is my experience that allot of people in evangelical/fundamentalist churches like everything folded and rapped up in a nice, neat little box that is of their own design. These is especially true as get wealthier and more comfortable in your own little “world”. And, manipulator politicians/preachers/leaders get this an exploit this.
    So, the late 50’s- 70’s was a perfect convergence for all of these factors to come together….. I was born in 1960, raised in the San Francisco bay area, and went to Independent Fundamentalist Baptist high school….. so, lets just say I experienced allot of this!

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  28. Male authority, which is just a combination of receiving virtue by simply existing as male and being more and better performative-y then the lesser males around you of whatever surfacey social norms your group is asking you to dance to, with no indication or valuation or insight into what kind of person you actually are – *it* and all of its poopy junk and abuse needs to be kicked very far away out into the eternal abyss.

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  29. Jeffrey Chalmers: My experiences with the “purity culture” is conflated with “young earth creationism”, authoritarianism, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”, King James is the only TRUE, inspired word of G&d, “I don’t go drink, dance or smoke, or go with girls that do”…..

    Secret Rapture/Hal Lindsay/Left Behind Eschatology?

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  30. Though I was never raised in Christianese Purity Culture (a secularized Nifty Fifties instead), I ended up internalizing most of its tropes for some reason. Including a strong case of Virgin/Whore Dichotomy.

    So I understand a bit about Purity Culture and easily empathize with its survivors.

    My theory is that Purity Culture is partially a Mythic 1950s Culture with “GOD SAITH!” as justification. Grow up somewhat isolated (by culture or just “Growing Up Martian”) in a Mythic Fifties milieu and some of it will affect you. Just when “GOD SAITH!” gets added to the mix, the surrounding culture becomes even more isolated from outside reality.

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  31. Jeffrey Chalmers: For those that are not familiar with this whole “purity culture” thing, they make you feel lover than dirt if you are not “pure”….

    Only if you’re Lowborn.
    God’s Speshul Pets are exempt, to where it’s a Privilege of Pastoral Rank.

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  32. Max: Jeffrey Chalmers: look out for what “sin” the preacher is focusing on….. he is probably got a problem with it….

    Yes, in my long life of doing church in America, I have noted this. For example, Ted Haggard, etc. etc.

    “You know a preacher’s in trouble when he stops preaching about what he’s for and only preaches about what he’s against.”

    I suspect part of this is an attempt at self-medication/self-treatment in secret; the preaching is as much for himself as for anyone else. Unfortunately, everyone else gets taken along for the ride as unpaid extras in the Reality Show.

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  33. Jeffrey Chalmers: most/many people have a hard time with “change”….

    Thanks. The insight helps. The parents in my world had gone through gigantic worldwide change, but they didn’t trust our generation to find our way through adulthood.

    As a parent now, I can relate. A friend of mine was “marveling” that his child is thriving in a college nursing program but unable to microwave her own snacks at home. Every generation of parents seems to think their own kids are uniquely incompetent. Yet we humans keep muddling through, finding our way off planet Earth, discovering new cancer treatments, even coming up with a worthwhile insight or two.

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  34. For all of the Christians saying, “I hope he never does ministry again”. The apostle Paul killed Christians and just a handful of years later established the church. If the allegations are true (which they appear to largely be), he definitely smooth talked two impressionable young women into an inappropriate relationship. Obviously wrong, his church at the time forced him to resign and he likely apologized. I’m sure the church could have better supported the women but what else are we wanting here? This was 17 years ago and I am sure he has grown up considerably. These girls also made a choice to be involved with a man 7 years older that was in a relationship. This is bad but lets have a little perspective here. His ministry and the positive things he has done shouldn’t be squashed because of this.

    MOD: Everyone. If your comment seems to vanish after you click the “Post Comment” button it almost always means it got moderated. Please don’t make multiple posts trying to get one through. It just makes it take longer for us to clear the one and figure out what is a duplicate and what is not. GBTC

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  35. Paul K: If the simple explanation is that Feltner could manipulate himself into and out of all incriminating situations, I believe it. I’ve been on the receiving end of this type of deception. It’s still shocking.

    I think the simple truth is that abusers groom families as well as individuals. Often to get access to an individual, sometimes to get access to several people.

    I do wonder how many more women will come forward now?

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  36. Friend,

    While there was “gigantic worldwide change” in our parents generation, I would argue that they were not the more “personal, culture, values” change that happened after WWII. The great depression was blamed on those rich Wall Street/industrial bastards, and if you are left leaning, a specific political party, and WWII had clear good/evil boundaries….. my father would not buy a “jap car”, especially a mitsubishi ,(mitsubishi made the Zero fighter). In their world blacks and women knew their place…. the Vietnam war was all about stopping commies.. not an internal civil war that we got sucked into, etc, etc..

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  37. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: …because no woman is good enough to teach them.

    It’s worse than that. Regardless of how good she is, any woman is banned by God from teaching them. That mindset can only feed the idea that they are entitled to honour simply by being born.

    I’ve said for years that these pastors should have to work regular jobs for a few years. You know, overnight at the 7-11 or a lower level job at a bank…

    You and me, and many others besides!

    Lesley and I recently read Dale Recinella’s biography – he being a hotshot-corporate-lawyer-turned-prison-visiting-priest. His account of his first few months of devoting himself full time to this developing calling, while his wife continued in paid employment, is both refreshingly honest, and instructive.

    Long story short, he ended up spending most of his time looking after small children with chickenpox… and other, more benign but equally unglamorous, things associated with childhood. In short, he ended up doing what he previously would have regarded as women’s work. He quite candidly admits that while he always had paid lip-service to what an important ministry this was (blah, blah, equal in value different in role, blah blah), he had to learn a hard lesson in humility and service when he had to do the “just-as-important” work himself. And, to be fair, he learned it. But a man who’s only ever been paid handsomely to be applauded in the pulpit never will.

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  38. Elizabeth R: The apostle Paul killed Christians and just a handful of years later established the church

    Part of the point is, the apostle Paul was not a Christian when he did those killings!

    This story is about a (supposed) Christian in ministry who was leading along at least 3 young women at the same time (I’m including his eventual wife), including at least 1 who was in his youth group and should have been off-limits to anyone with a conscience or even common sense. His groomed both the girls and their families; his words and promises to them were lies, and his actions were very premeditated.

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  39. Elizabeth R: This is bad but lets have a little perspective here. His ministry and the positive things he has done shouldn’t be squashed because of this.

    No, just no. Don’t compare the Apostle Paul to this weasel, who entered the ministry and then allegedly groomed and sexually assaulted young girls.

    Note the sequence.

    I cannot believe the standard you are recommending here. It’s now virtuous to let men into the pulpit after they have taken the lives of others, because Paul did it? That’s some epic sin leveling.

    Did the blind Paul merely say “my bad” and receive the reward of the lifelong pulpit?

    Did Paul continue to commit violent crimes after his experience on the road to Damascus?

    Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

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  40. Elizabeth R: This was 17 years ago and I am sure he has grown up considerably. These girls also made a choice to be involved with a man 7 years older that was in a relationship. This is bad but lets have a little perspective here. His ministry and the positive things he has done shouldn’t be squashed because of this.

    He was two-timing (as in SEEING THEM AT THE SAME TIME) these two young women, and when exposed, he went back to his more age-appropriate girlfriend, whom he married. The girls, on the other hand, were told to shut up. Now if this wasn’t such a problem, why were the girls told to shut up, I ask you???

    And you do not have a problem with this? You can’t brush it off with, “well, he wasn’t a pastor but only a youth leader.” You just can’t. You also can’t push responsibility off on the parents. In short, Wes needs to take responsibility for what Wes was doing, and Wes Felton was trawling the church youth group for his next conquest!

    I am tired of women being blamed and men getting a pass. Very tired of it. It didn’t happen once, it happened twice. There’s a word for guys like this, but I’ll spare you.

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  41. Elizabeth R,

    I’m glad you’re here on TWW. This blog and it’s followers exist to challenge perspectives like yours.

    First, as much as it seems like the girls had a choice, they were actually the victims of undue influence. Neither of them were given the facts of Feltner’s other relationships, they were obviously in a “weaker” position hierarchically because of Feltner’s position as the youth pastor, and they were also given false promises (ie, if you’re pregnant I’ll marry you). Much more could be said.

    Second, Feltner’s behavior with the girls is not an example of a “mistake”. His behavior is evidence of a sexual predator. His unwillingness to confess, repent, and face the consequences of his behavior means he has no avenue toward inclusion in the church. It’s a great blessing to the church that he’s been exposed.

    I hope you never cross paths with a person like Feltner. Until you do, it’s hard to imagine people like him exist. But they do. Study psychopathy, sociopathy, or narcissism. Read “Predators” by Salter. This will open you up to a whole new world.

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  42. Friend,

    I get your passion but there is nothing in this story that indicates sexual assault. Sexual assault is a sexual act without consent. This was immoral yes, but again perspective… Maybe this guy should never stand behind a pulpit again, maybe he is a predator, maybe he asked those girls for forgiveness 17 years ago, idk. A third party PI agency is doing an investigation so lets just see how it plays out. All I am saying is Christians sin, and God can still use a sinner.

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  43. Beakerj: I think the simple truth is that abusers groom families as well as individuals. Often to get access to an individual, sometimes to get access to several people.

    Exactly! As a former pastor and current licensed therapist, I have a myriad of client issues regarding those in power grooming those whom they pursue sexually as well as their families. When placed in a spiritual context, it becomes difficult for the victim or their family to dispute the abuser because of the the abusers “authority.”

    It is important to know that sexual abuse has nothing to do with “sex” but everything to do with power and control . . . Think about that in the context of having “power” in ministry . . .

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  44. Paul K: I read Megan’s story and am very puzzled that her parents and Don Moore would agree to Megan and Feltner’s trip to Vegas.

    That had me scratching my head as well. What ‘christian’ parent lets their unmarried teenager take a trip to Vegas with a guy – youth pastor or otherwise? What sort of line could he possibly have used that would pull this off? And yet, my own experience proves that a clever, charismatic pastor can persuade people to believe or do almost anything.

    And why didn’t these parents make a big stink when his deviancy became apparent? Unless, like MacDonald, it was the ruse of getting them involved in the ‘sin’ so that they were guilted (blackmailed) into silence. This guy must be a heckuva conman. It would be almost unbelievable if other victims do not arise. This sort of beast does not change his stripes.

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  45. Elizabeth R: This was 17 years ago and I am sure he has grown up considerably.

    Hi. I am curious why you are sure he has grown up considerably. Do you know the man well? What evidence do you have that he has grown up or changed in any way?

    Reading his response and back and forth to the woman who wrote the blog post about his sermon makes me think he is a devious and controlling man, not to be trusted. I am going by his own words and responses. There was one red flag after another there. I would need some very powerful evidence to prove that he has changed and there doesn’t seem to be any. Years of time don’t automatically change people. I think it’s wrong to read our own hopeful thinking into another person, to give them credit for something they haven’t done. If it led to someone else getting hurt, we would share in the blame for that.

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  46. “Lord willing, we will always be faithful to his life, death and resurrection through loving obedience.”

    Well, Berean, you’re the ones who put this statement in writing, and here’s your chance to prove it.

    “We have engaged outside, neutral and experienced professionals to perform this due diligence.”

    Are the “outside, neutral, experienced professionals” this lawyer that pressured her on the phone with vague legal threats, and the person who sent the threatening emails about information that would be found online about the women if they persisted?

    That lawyer’s phone call was sickening. All those caring, friendly, kindly sounding words used to deliver an ugly threat, to get her to shut up. Shame, shame, shame on him, using the name of Jesus to do this dirty work.

    Wes Feltner was, first and foremost, a liar. A man who could look a girl in the eyes and straight out lie to her, in order to seduce her. A man who could look the girls’ parents straight in the eyes and lie to them, present himself as someone he was not, and continue to play that part like an actor in a play. As Jane Austen would have put it, he ill used these young women, cruelly. By design. Very deliberately.

    He was a deceiver. A womanizer. This is not just some trivial side issue, this was who he is. This was his character. In my experience, people who have this level of character issue do not just automatically grow out of it. They don’t change without having some kind of a radical experience that would be obvious and known to everyone who knows them, a point in time where everyone would be saying, “wow, Wes is a changed man.” There does not appear to have been any such event in his life. He never made an apology or attempted to make restitution to the women. He seems to have just gotten better at sweeping things under the rug.

    Wes knew that he should have been ‘a dead man’ and ‘his ministry over’, and he should have been. But for some reason, the pastor, this Don Moore, found it necessary to fix things behind the scenes, and be the enabler who would enable him to continue. Why is that? What was Don Moore’s motivation? He thought the church was so important that the girls should shut up about their experience, to protect it, but he did not think the church was important enough to protect from Wes Feltner, the liar and predator. Someone explain this to me, because it makes no sense at all.

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  47. Question for Max and other long time SBC folks… Is it normal for pastors to move around as much as Wes did? Looking at his list of former pastorates it seems they are all under five years. Makes me wonder…

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  48. Mae: I struggle with the 17 years of silence? It appears that both these women actually dated Pastor Feltner. He was a youth leader at the time, not a pastor at that time. Not to say that the relationships should have happened but to call it sexual abuse when all were of legal age, parents were aware of the relationships, and all were consenting, etc. seems like there may be alternative motives to this complaint.

    Mae, what exactly do you think the women’s motives would be?

    Did you read their entire statements? http://www.broughttothelight.org/

    Do you really feel this man is the kind of person God has gifted to pastor his flock?

    I’m kind of perplexed by your comment because you seem ready to give a man a pass who has exhibited extreme character issues, and to be okay with putting him in a position where many will automatically trust in him and turn to him for counseling and the like. Do you not worry that anyone would be hurt? If not, why not? Do you think that pastoring a church is not that big of a deal?

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  49. One of the issues not addressed is where are these men’s wives? These are all (supposedly) monogamous married men, so their wives by their tolerance are *enablers* of this malfeasance. One of the reasons I’m curious is that in college I knew one such young woman who has become such, something I accidentally discovered by tracking down one of the abuse cases highlighted here. Why? How? Would love to see the publisher consider further exploration on this topic.

    Keep up the good work Dee and team.

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  50. Elizabeth R

    I assume there is just one of you. If so then stick to the same email address. If not then one of you needs to pick another handle.

    Let me know which it is VIA AN EMAIL (see the Contacting at the top of each page) and I’ll let your comments through. (Assuming you don’t break any other rules.)

    GBTC

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  51. Mae,

    Mae and Elizabeth R.
    I do not care if it has been 100 years, and to me, the motives of these women is irrelevant. My question is: Is there any accountability? This guy, and the senior pastor “over him” , and any other adult at that church that knows what was going on committed some of the most extreme acts of hypocracy documented here on TWW! Teaching purity culture to kids, giving your lover a ROSE in front of everyone else, all the while juggling two girls ( under age and under your “authority” according to IN law), and a “legit girl friend” them to tell the girls to keep quite, taking one off to Vegas and having pictures taken together including cuddling in a limo ( which itself has sexual implications).

    Where is the accountably to all the kids taught “purity culture”, when it is obviously just BS to the leaders? ??
    Why should anyone listen to ANY thing these leaders teach when the clearly flaunt what they teach???
    Those of you that are trying to level this situations… have you ever experienced this potentially destructive “purity culture” teaching?? The poster boy of this movement has now recanted it all. What other damage was done to the kids that witnessed the girl getting the ROSE, and knowing he was personally flaunting this very act??

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  52. Wes Feltner isn’t toast. He’ll take a season to rewire or re whatever it is pastors do when caught. The churches won’t be contrite. You may as well ask for a unicorn.

    This is such a well travelled road at this point that guaranteed we’re going to hear about another church, another pastor more victims.

    I am so glad that religion in general & church in particular are no longer part of my world.

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  53. Jeffrey Chalmers: Where is the accountably to all the kids taught “purity culture”, when it is obviously just BS to the leaders? ??
    Why should anyone listen to ANY thing these leaders teach when the clearly flaunt what they teach???

    I’m going to be blunt–I think it’s deliberate. “Purity culture” teachings have a hefty dose of self shaming in them. I would suspect that if you’re told you’re supposed to be pure, and a leader takes advantage of you (**keeping in mind that the leader is an adult, and is in authority and SHOULD KNOW BETTER**), you’re going to feel a whole lot of guilt. You’re NOT going to want to report it to authorities, because it’s like confessing that you weren’t pure and virtuous. It takes a LOT OF GUTS to push aside all that teaching and report the abuser. And THEN, even after you report, the leadership will probably tell you (as was done here) to shut up for the sake of the church and “we wouldn’t like this to get out and ruin your reputation.”

    I am pretty sure that “purity culture” has suppressed people from reporting sexual abuse and if there’s a reason to dump purity culture, this is it. It just lets pervs, molesters and abusers cover up their heinous deeds and keep them from the light of day.

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  54. SiteSeer,

    “this Don Moore, found it necessary to fix things behind the scenes, and be the enabler who would enable him to continue. Why is that? What was Don Moore’s motivation? He thought the church was so important that the girls should shut up about their experience, to protect it, but he did not think the church was important enough to protect from Wes Feltner, the liar and predator. Someone explain this to me, because it makes no sense at all.”
    +++++++++++++

    my take – it all came down to what is convenient for him, and didn’t upset his popularity and paycheck.

    i can think many pastors just like him.

    power and money. hiding behind ‘for the glory of God’.

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  55. Elizabeth R:T he apostle Paul killed Christians and just a handful of years later established the church.

    Elizabeth R: his church at the time forced him to resign and he likely apologized

    He *likely* apologized? Seriously? He mighta coulda maybe did apologize? Good night! Prove it! And let’s see if he did and what sort of apology it was

    Elizabeth R: His ministry and the positive things he has done shouldn’t be squashed

    Are you an example of his teaching? Read your Bible. This man did some terrible things as a youth pastor. Anything good that came out of the church during that time and now is due to the intervention of God. or…are you one of the types of people who believe that the celebrity pastor is the one responsible for the ministry?

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  56. Statement on sexual assault and bruising:

    It has been brought to my attention that an ill informed commenter has said that sexual assault always shows bruising. Sexual assault does NOT always involve brushing of the victim unless this person is prepared to say that sexual intercourse, in general, involves bruising and then women and men are walking around with chronic bruising.

    Sexual assault can also involve all methods of sexual activity including oral sex. the use of other body parts, etc.

    Due to my concern that an individual is spreading false, uninformed information due to ignorance or a wish to defend the indefensible, said person is in permanent moderation.

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  57. “Batson responded in a statement to The Leaf-Chronicle, saying in part: “The intent was not to downplay the events, or sins as we call them in church, except to say that they were in a dating context.”

    One was interning for him, and one as being counseled by him, and Batson conflates those with a “dating context”?!? Disturbing and potentially dangerous.

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  58. As far as having a little perspective here, Elizabeth, read 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 — especially the part about pastors being above reproach, as what evidently prompted the women’s revelations was the news that the guy was under consideration to be a lead pastor.

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  59. Important update on this situation for TWW readers:

    I have learned, from an impeccable source, that it is highly likely that whichever church eventually has Feltner for a pastor will be #17 of churches currently under investigation by the SBC Credential Committee.

    I have also learned that the previous interim pastor (not the current one) quit his job when he heard that Feltner was under consideration.

    The church leadership will make an announcement during the service tomorrow at FBC Clarksville.

    Something historic has taken place in this situation and I will write it up in the next day when I have a minute.

    Prediction based on some information: Feltner will NOT be going to Clarksville, and unless he is fired at Berean Baptist, the church will be investigated by the Credentials committee.

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  60. “Feltner said he has reached out several times to meet with the women, including with a mediator if they wish, but they have declined. “Meanwhile, not having spoken with me for 17 years, they have organized to destroy my reputation and my career,” he said.”

    Speak to the charges. The matter of being a lead pastor is not a private one but has strict requirements, including a Biblical reputation check (cuz hirelings, grievous wolves, etc.). Reportedly, one was being counseled by you and one was an intern (and her ex-boyfriend was being counseled by you).

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  61. JDV: Email to Megan: “You have more to lose than any of the rest of us.”

    Email to Joanna: “The reason is that you have more at stake than any of us.”

    And there you have it.

    That’s the sort of thing Scientology does. Imma gonna tell you, when you approach the bad behavior of the gold standard of cults, you better watch out!

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  62. JDV: “Feltner said he has reached out several times to meet with the women, including with a mediator if they wish, but they have declined. “Meanwhile, not having spoken with me for 17 years, they have organized to destroy my reputation and my career,” he said.”

    I would NEVER meet with an abuser and (likely) his/her choice of mediator. Never. Because “Christian” mediators want everything resolved so the church doesn’t look bad. Life doesn’t work out that way. If I had an abuser who wanted to meet, I’d lawyer up.

    Dee–sounds like good news on the Feltner front!

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  63. From Megan’s letter: “Wes told Joe Donahue that ‘he was a dead man,’ and ‘his ministry was over!’ In response to Wes’ behaviors that evening, a few men from the church went to Wes’ house and removed all guns and risk of him hurting himself. Meanwhile, at the church Pastor Don simply dismissed it all, saying that allowing the church to know what had happened and telling the truth would only allow the church body to see myself and JoAnna for the blame we deserve, and that we needed to protect the church. This meant, “what had happened will not be made public, and we should not talk about it.””

    Sounds like it may have moved beyond the initial Matthew 18 threshold and even the two and three witness threshold, despite his appeal to it currently.

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  64. JDV:
    From Megan’s letter: “Wes told Joe Donahue that ‘he was a dead man,’ and ‘his ministry was over!’ In response to Wes’ behaviors that evening, a few men from the church went to Wes’ house and removed all guns and risk of him hurting himself. Meanwhile, at the church Pastor Don simply dismissed it all, saying that allowing the church to know what had happened and telling the truth would only allow the church body to see myself and JoAnna for the blame we deserve, and that we needed to protect the church. This meant, “what had happened will not be made public, and we should not talk about it.””

    Sounds like it may have moved beyond the initial Matthew 18 threshold and even the two and three witness threshold, despite his appeal to it currently.

    (And this doesn’t get into whether the verses are applicable, which as we’ve seen too often can be used as irrelevant proof-text exercises as with 1 Cor. 6 as relates to abuse and to criminal activity or as to importer pastoral/leadership/authoritarian conduct.)

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  65. Chuck,

    Remember, all of this is the fault of the two women for not following Matthew 18! ( being sarcastic)
    I still say that the “lead pastor” that this perp was “under” should be also front and center in this scandal. When are these “leaders” going to learn that “covering up” this BS is NOT the way to deal with it??

    I also say, that another class of victims, probably the most “innocent” are the kids that had to “submit” to “purity culture” BS….. just like the kids that Andy Savage taught…. I grew up with this BS, not just purity culture, but all sorts of fundamentalist “stuff”… they are great at laying guilt on you if you do not toe their “line” exactly….. i can tell you first hand that when you find out that they do not follow their teaching, it really screws with your head….

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  66. JDV: beyond the initial Matthew 18 threshold and even the two and three witness threshold

    Assuming that these teenage girls were in a “dating relationship” with their youth pastor, how many people have 2 or 3 witnesses when they’re out on a date?????

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  67. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: hefty dose of self shaming

    My experience happened before the purity movement had a name, a literary canon, and a trinket department (apart from homemade rawhide virgin bracelets). Nevertheless I believed that the assault on me meant I had a boyfriend. I kept silent in my joy and, after accidentally divulging the situation, silent in my shame. I misunderstood. My fault.

    Or so I assumed.

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  68. What I find interesting in using Paul and David as examples for giving someone a pass for egregiously unchristian, unethical and, likely, criminal behavior is they forget to tell the entire story.

    David rent his clothes and grieved his offense against God and Uriah. He also suffered the consequences of his actions the rest of his life.

    I am not an Old Testament scholar by training, but my take on David naming Solomon his heir instead of older sons was an attempt the wrongs done to Bathsheba (a victim of sexual abuse) and Uriah (a victim of the cover up).

    Saul went blind, locked himself in a room, and refused to eat after his encounter with Christ. Again, I’m not a New Testament scholar, but in my opinion, it was through the intervention of the faithful that Saul lived to become Paul.

    What David and Saul did not do was blame the victim. What David and Saul did not say was, “Oh well. That happened, but I’m forgiven the rest of the world has to extend grace and mercy to me.”

    The problem is that church culture has created a structure that puts ministerial staff above the law, as it were. A structure like that encourages arrogance, narcissism, and abuse of power because there are no checks on the desires of the ministerial staff. Any casual reader of history can tell you how that has played out in both the secular and ecclesiastical world of the Middle Ages.

    Christianity is a growth and change faith and spiritual discipline. We are called to become more like Christ and less ourselves. As Paul himself said, and I paraphrase, “For Christ to effectively grow in me, I must wither and die.”

    I haven’t seen a lot of self withering and dying among the big mouthpieces and congregations. I pray for the day that it changes, because then the words Christian and even Baptist won’t be a stench in the world’s nostrils.

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  69. Jeffrey Chalmers,

    I would agree, legalism is a killer in the church. I think that I over protected my children, especially my daughters with many rules that really had no biblical basis, they knew I didn’t trust them and so they rebelled. We think we have a lot more control over our children then we really do. Some of the worst people I meant in the Navy were children of Christians, they just went wild. If I could go back into time and get a do over I would just have a few rules that relied on trust and just love the delights out of them, no performance based love. If your really in love with Jesus a lot of the nonsense of the world holds no appeal to you.

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  70. Chuck,

    “If your really in love with Jesus a lot of the nonsense of the world holds no appeal to you.”
    +++++++++++

    i really appreciated your comment.

    on this part, isn’t it clear that the nonsense is in the church, of the church, and by the church? christianity itself (as wholly separate from Jesus Christ) has generated the nonsense.

    common sense, goodness, kindness, honesty, and even wisdom are easily found in ‘the world’.

    it’s simply not fair and not accurate to frame everything and everyone not sporting the “i’m a christian” sticker on their lapel as inherently bad, evil, foolish, corrupt,…

    especially since stupidity, cruelty, dishonesty, hypocrisy, & corruption are easily found in the christian church.

    thank you for reading. and i really did sincerely appreciate your comment.

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  71. Mae: I struggle with the 17 years of silence?

    You are not educated about the problems surrounding sex abuse and reporting. Many people do not fully comprehend what happened until they are in the 30s and 40s. So, do some reading.

    Would you please go to sources like the NIH and discover for yourself how many of these accusations are eventually proven to be false. The answer is 4-6 %. Since you are poorly educated the matter let me point out something to you. Can you imagine how hard it is for women to come forward and to discuss, in graphic detail, what happened to them. In fact, it is far harder for women to come forward because there are people like Mae sitting out there and giving ill educated, knee jerk opinions and misquoting the Bible to justify their ignorance.

    Grow up, Mae. Actually study the issue. I suggest you stay quiet and learn for awhile.

    Mae: to call it sexual abuse when all were of legal age, parents were aware of the relationships, and all were consenting, etc. seems like there may be alternative motives to this complaint.

    17 years ago, none of the partied involved may have been aware of what constitutes sexual harassment and clergy abuse. Thankfully, this has changed and folks like you are being told to do some reading.

    When there is a power differential, consent is not considered as a given. For example, look at the recent convictions and incarcerations of school teachers. One of the most famous one is when a 21 year old teacher had sex with an 18 year old consenting high school senior. His parents approved of the relationship. The teacher was arrested and will be serving a prison term because the sheriff understand the dynamics since he had been educated, unlike you. She also has lost her teaching license and will never er be able to teach again. Isn’t it odd when the secular environment holds to higher standards than people like you who attend church.

    Mae: Did Pastor Feltner have intent to abuse and manipulate or is this being twisted to appear as such?

    Yes, he did. He knew he should not be involved in such relationships but did it anyway.

    Mae: I am always suspicious of such allegations when they come out so many years later.

    Really? Then you show a profound lack of understanding about sex abuse. A crime committed years ago is no less a crime. Please educate yourself. It is apparent you are running around commenting. without a knowledge base. You end up sounding silly.

    Mae: Pastor Feltner wants to talk to these women and address the situation as the bible instructs and he is being ridiculed for this, people stating they think he is trying to sweep things under the rug? Following biblical guidelines, especially when ALL parties profess to be Christian does not mean it is swept under the rug or not in public view. It means that he is trying to go to the source for answers on how to resolve this issue.

    Once again, you sound naive. A victim should never meet alone with her abuser. Sex abuse is not about sex and everything to do with power. Such a meeting could cause the women harm, especially if he is a predator. Predators are far smarter than you and me. Instead, this should be handled by law enforcement or an independent their party. It is not up to the abused to make you *feel better.* It is up to those who have screwed up in this matter to do so. Please educate yourself.

    Mae: The “Me too” movement has empowered many women to stand up against improper treatment by their male counterparts but it also has opened the door for women to vengefully target any male in their life and destroy them with accusations that can not ever really be proven.

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  72. Hi Elastigirl point well taken , you can be a non believer and be sweeter and kinder, have a better marriage then believers do. I guess what ai am referring to is a lot of what we call Christianity that isn’t in the scriptures. The guilt that is put on believers for not giving enough , not serving enough and all the other things churches put on us. As far as the world, Jesus said you can’t serve 2 masters and when I look at the world system , I see very little good, it’s corrupt because the system is against God. ( it is actually run by Satan as Jesus was offered the world if he would worship and bow to Satan if I understand correctly) so I try not to have the world values, what it says is important be my values, “ love not the world,” which too often I do. Hope that clarifies my thoughts. By the way, when I was going through my divorce, a lot of my non Christian friends were more of a help then Christians in helping me get through the hurt.

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  73. Can’t help but think this situation and many others like it, because of the terrible fallout from them, fulfills Matthew 24:12: “Because of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.” Many will remain but many fragile believers won’t. Mt. 24:13: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Routing the wolves from the flock is essential but strengthening weaker brothers and sisters through it with Biblical truth and compassion must also be a priority. Consider who you know who might be tempted to leave the Church and their faith over this. We do need to sort of circle the wagons.

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  74. Chuck: when I look at the world system , I see very little good, it’s corrupt because the system is against God. ( it is actually run by Satan

    Please reconsider this viewpoint.

    The world is not run by Satan. Your friends, neighbors, and co-workers who don’t follow Jesus are not automatically minions of Satan.

    You are condemning people who don’t share your faith. Your words are dehumanizing.

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  75. Chuck,

    i’m very sorry for the circumstances surrounding your divorce. i don’t doubt christians were…oh, let’s say ‘brats’. (we could say much more)

    for the sake of dialogue (& relaxing on a Saturday), here are more of my thoughts (if you’ll indulge me).

    “I guess what ai am referring to is a lot of what we call Christianity that isn’t in the scriptures. The guilt that is put on believers for not giving enough , not serving enough and all the other things churches put on us.”
    +++++++++++++++

    well, all of it is in the bible. all of these things you mention and more.

    the christians wearing the triangle hats pull a string on their backs which activates their chattering of “it’s biblical! it’s biblical”. then they press their tummy which activates more chattering of a bunch of verses which proves “it’s biblical!”

    meanwhile, the christians wearing the square hats press their noses which activates “that’s not biblical! that’s not biblical!”, then they clap their hands once which turns on the stream of verses to prove “that’s not biblical”. they’ll just keep going until someone else claps their hands to turn them off.

    and then there are the christians with the round hats, the christians with the rectangle hats, the oval hats, the cylinder hats…

    all with their automatic “biblical” and “unbiblical” chatterings, and parrotted arguments to prove it.

    sigh…and ugh…. i think a focus on treating people the way we want to be treated, and we can’t go wrong.
    ———————-

    “As far as the world, Jesus said you can’t serve 2 masters and when I look at the world system , I see very little good, it’s corrupt because the system is against God. ( it is actually run by Satan as Jesus was offered the world if he would worship and bow to Satan if I understand correctly) so I try not to have the world values, what it says is important be my values, “ love not the world,” which too often I do.”
    +++++++++++

    what is the world system? i’ve heard about it my whole life. is it having a bank account? a social security number? is it all those people i saw in my childhood, playing tennis at 10:00 on sunday morning, as we drove to church? is it wearing a bikini instead of a 1-piece?

    could it be that it’s something super scary like “the rag man” who was going to come and get me if i didn’t eat my vegetables? (according to my grandmother)

    chuck, i can see that you earnestly desire what is good and right and true, and i respect you for it. i think those things are uncomplicated, and are as recognizable as the glowing moon against the night sky.

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  76. Chuck,

    And why not allow single adults to lead in single adult classes? Most churches won’t do this.

    I’ve been to church singles classes as an adult where they get a married guy to lead the class of over- age- 35 singles.

    Churches seem to believe that singles over the age of 35 are no more mature than 12 year olds.

    We older single adults need baby sitters and someone to change our nappies and bottle feed us, that the married people supervision we need, I guess is the thinking. It’s condescending.

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  77. Elizabeth R: Sexual assault is a sexual act without consent.

    You don’t realize that CSA (clergy sexual abuse) is illegal in many states,
    and psychiatrists aren’t supposed to have sex w/ their patients (consensual or not),
    And you’ve never heard of the phrase Statutory Rape?

    Physical violence is not always a component of sexual assault or sexual harassment.

    It’s also illegal for bosses to threaten a woman subordinate, “If you don’t put out, I will fire you.” -no physical threat is necessary for that, either.

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  78. SiteSeer: Hi. I am curious why you are sure he has grown up considerably. Do you know the man well? What evidence do you have that he has grown up or changed in any way?

    Based on what I’ve read, the dude is a sexual predator, so he is not likely to change at any age.
    Maturity or life experience or age is not even a factor in this. He knew what he was doing, and he knows what he’s doing now.

    Even at my more inexperienced or younger age, I knew back as a kid that sexual sin and sexual predation was wrong – I never would’ve sexually taken advantage of someone when I was a kid or in my 20s (or now).

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  79. yes, very curious why the pastoral search committee was disbanded.

    sounds very serious and ominous. it’s not like the pastoral search process was simply taken off the table.

    this Batson character sounds so out of touch socially and morally. one can be a very moral person, yet be so oblivious and unaware.

    oblivious and unaware of the consequences of one’s actions which impact others. to me, this is the definition of christian culture.

    declarations, proclamations, and rules for what is genuine christianity — because we have to biblical. and we have to create the biblical in-groups and unbiblical out-groups ourselves to make sure we are part of the in-group.

    (and we get the limelight when we make such statements, and look like a super, with a big SC emblazoned on one’s chest for Superchristian)

    (and the spandex tights and boots, too. and capes — because such people are oblivious to how unsafe they are)

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  80. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    Actually, he was three-timing. He was conducting relationships with the two from his youth group, secretly; and with his “public” girlfriend (whom he married rather quickly after everything was brought to his Pastor’s attention). He continued to assure both girls that he was breaking up with “public” girlfriend, since she wasn’t ministry material, in order to marry each of them.

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  81. Max: Ohhh, but that’s why some young men “go into the ministry” … they don’t want to work regular jobs!It’s a much easier go to preach a sermon on Sunday, delegate “ministry” to elders, and tweet your life away through the week at a coffee shop.

    Now you’re talking; they can be a “Teaching Pastor” and have care teams (maybe from paid staff, maybe from volunteers who took some counseling classes from what some might deem a pyramid-ish scheme) get hands dirty.

    Bonus points if outreach consists of dinners where people talk vaguely about spiritual things. They can appeal to acting Biblically (dinners with tax collectors etc.), get fed, and control the horizontal and vertical as to much the offense of the Gospel ever emerges. Cover other meals with small group chats, and you’ve got discipleship covered as well as more meals. Drop by the youth pizza parties and grab a slice or two as well. Oh, and Wednesday night potluck not only covers another night but carries the possibility of leftovers.

    That covers dinners, but what about lunch? Being civic-minded and engaging in the community ‘cuz love your neighbor and Good Samaritan opens up any number of lunching ops, whether as a group or one on one, which may be covered under ministry expenses if your brave neo seminary training leads that way ‘cuz not muzzling oxen, worth hire, double honor, etc. Then there are the paid staff lunches: planning sessions, program kickoffs, commemoration events, welcoming a mission/church plant family, etc.

    Don’t forget the needed local, regional, and national events and seminars, parachurch/coalition conferences, retreats, summits, etc. Then there are one’s own speaking events and maybe even book-related jaunts. If one deems their place as the “local church/storehouse” to which amounts of their encouragement and designation are to come or else, how of much of that figures to subsidize all of this right off the top? And people wonder how grievous wolves and hirelings find their way in?

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  82. JDV,

    yes, from my own direct observation this is pretty accurate.

    utterly stupid and ridiculous.

    i mean, built-in perks galore for said ‘pastors’, so it’s smart and calculated for them.

    but the fact that this is considered ‘ministry’ as Jesus’ namesake?? just how many degrees of separation from Jesus Christ is this?

    Christianity, as it has become: playing the game of 1 Million Degrees Of Separation of Jesus Christ.

    part of fuels my contention that christianity, in practice, is a religion of faith in itself.

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  83. elastigirl: i mean, built-in perks galore for said ‘pastors’, so it’s smart and calculated for them.

    Brings to mind Matthew 23:
    “And they tie up burdens heavy and hard to bear and lay them on the shoulders of men; but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. And they do all their deeds in order to be seen by men. For they broaden their phylacteries and enlarge their tassels, and they love the chief place at the banquets, and the first seats in the synagogues, and the greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by men” (Matthew 23:4-7)

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  84. I want to know what happened to the “senior pastor” for which this Wes guy was “under” 17 years ago?? I still can not get my head around what was going on in the church back then! I think the “senior pastor, or lead pastor, or what ever “term” is used, is even more GUILTY of incredible hypocrisy, and criminal behavior if the Indiana law for abuse by clergy was in effect than this Wes guy…
    Did the church continue to teach “purity culture” and give out “ROSES”? Have they covered up for other abuse? Did this “senior pastor” lie and give glowing recommendations for Wes? Does he cover up for other perps etc??

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  85. Sadly, there will be many on staff at Berean as well as those in the pews who are so enamored by this charismatic man that they will continue to ‘worship’ him and refuse to believe he did anything wrong. They will blindly follow him, disregarding his horrendous abuse of these young girls.

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  86. Chuck: Hi Elastigirl point well taken , you can be a non believer and be sweeter and kinder, have a better marriage then believers do. I guess what ai am referring to is a lot of what we call Christianity that isn’t in the scriptures. The guilt that is put on believers for not giving enough , not serving enough and all the other things churches put on us. As far as the world, Jesus said you can’t serve 2 masters and when I look at the world system , I see very little good, it’s corrupt because the system is against God. ( it is actually run by Satan as Jesus was offered the world if he would worship and bow to Satan if I understand correctly) so I try not to have the world values, what it says is important be my values, “ love not the world,” which too often I do. Hope that clarifies my thoughts. By the way, when I was going through my divorce, a lot of my non Christian friends were more of a help then Christians in helping me get through the hurt.

    You may be right but the problem is the dividing line between these two groups is invisible, and you will not find it to correspond to identity as a Christian, church membership or religion. There are good and evil within and without Christianity. So, it’s not really a useful concept. The people that Jesus called sons of the devil were the most religious ones, weren’t they? I, too, have found those outside the church (other than folks here, who most I assume are Christians) to be of the most help and support when I’ve gone through grief and loss. My ultra-Christian friend isn’t speaking to me because I haven’t gone back to happy-happy fast enough after the traumatic loss of my spouse. It’s all about appearances with them, not honesty or just plain kindness.

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  87. Joy: Can’t help but think this situation and many others like it, because of the terrible fallout from them, fulfills Matthew 24:12: “Because of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.” Many will remain but many fragile believers won’t. Mt. 24:13: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Routing the wolves from the flock is essential but strengthening weaker brothers and sisters through it with Biblical truth and compassion must also be a priority. Consider who you know who might be tempted to leave the Church and their faith over this. We do need to sort of circle the wagons.

    The love of many Christians certainly seems to have grown cold in recent years. The things I see them justify shock me. And, as in this post, look at the lack of love for the innocent girls who were used by this shyster.

    I have left the organized church and it’s such a relief, there is so much peace when you come outside those walls and let go of all the cognitive dissonance you were forced to hold onto. I don’t consider myself to have left the faith, though. My faith is much healthier outside the church than it was inside.

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  88. Max: Thom Rainer says the average tenure is three to four years.

    Has it always been that way, Max, or is this a more recent thing? It seems like when I was young, pastors were a lot more permanent than they are now.

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  89. elastigirl: what is the world system? i’ve heard about it my whole life. is it having a bank account? a social security number? is it all those people i saw in my childhood, playing tennis at 10:00 on sunday morning, as we drove to church? is it wearing a bikini instead of a 1-piece?

    My personal opinion is that it is the worship of gain. The love of money, the love of power and the love of position. The system that will do whatever turns a profit & brings power. There is a lot of the ‘world system’ inside of the church.

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  90. Kathy: Actually, he was three-timing. He was conducting relationships with the two from his youth group, secretly; and with his “public” girlfriend (whom he married rather quickly after everything was brought to his Pastor’s attention). He continued to assure both girls that he was breaking up with “public” girlfriend, since she wasn’t ministry material, in order to marry each of them.

    That’s right, and let’s remember that the girls were told not to remain quiet about all of this, and that they obediently did so. So how many others may have been told this same thing? If they don’t decide to stick their neck out and endure all the ‘Elizabeths’ and ‘Maes’ out there, who would ever know there were any? So, there are 3 *that we know of.*

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  91. Jeffrey Chalmers: I want to know what happened to the “senior pastor” for which this Wes guy was “under”

    https://www.courierpress.com/story/opinion/columnists/jon-webb/2019/11/10/evansville-women-who-made-pastoral-abuse-claim-feel-shocked-empowered/2531955001/

    “When Frey and Hendrickson found out about their simultaneous relationships with Feltner, they met with the lead pastor of First Southern at the time, Don Moore, and asked that he reveal everything to the congregation.”

    “Moore, who now serves as the pastor of Creekside Baptist Church, admitted on Friday that he refused to do that. He said he wanted to protect the girls, as well as the reputation of the church. That left Frey and Hendrickson feeling like they hadn’t been listened to.”

    “‘I was very sympathetic to their situation’, Moore said. ‘I’m not the bad guy here’…As soon as he found out, he said he fired Feltner and gave him a few weeks worth of salary to put toward counseling.”

    “Both Frey and Hendrickson are still critical of the way Moore handled their meeting. ‘The way he handled it was very poor’…Moore said it was never his intention to hurt anyone. ‘I’m extremely sorry if she felt that way’.”

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  92. http://media.sbhla.org.s3.amazonaws.com/6635,29-Jul-1988.pdf

    (p. 5)

    “INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–Mark Coppenger…executive director-treasurer of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana effective Sept. 1”

    “Don Moore, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Evansville, Ind., and chairman of bothvthe executive board and the search committee which selected Coppenger, told Baptist Press: “We have waited a long time looking for what we felt was the Lord’s will and the Lord’s person…we believe Mark Coppenger is a healer.”

    Coppenger went on to become MBTS’s president (briefly) in the late 1990s:

    http://www.bpnews.net/245/midwestern-seminary-trustees-fire-mark-t-coppenger-as-president

    “trustees of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary voted to fire President Mark T. Coppenger …concluding that Coppenger’s expressions of anger have ‘irreparably damaged his ability to lead this seminary.’ His dismissal was effective immediately.”

    [Coppenger was a Founders favorite, ended up being brought on as a professor at SBTS by Mohler!]

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  93. SiteSeer: Has it always been that way, Max, or is this a more recent thing? It seems like when I was young, pastors were a lot more permanent than they are now.

    Well, I would have to go back several decades … but, yes, SBC pastors were more permanent in the last century. The young whippersnappers now use churches as stepping stones to bigger and better things. On the other hand, there are (what is known as) “preacher eater” churches, where ungodly church members keep running good pastors off in search of someone they can control – those churches are usually known to have a board of “Demon Deacons” with the word circulating in the SBC pastoral community to steer clear of them.

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  94. Jerome: https://www.courierpress.com/story/opinion/columnists/jon-webb/2019/11/10/evansville-women-who-made-pastoral-abuse-claim-feel-shocked-empowered/2531955001/

    “When Frey and Hendrickson found out about their simultaneous relationships with Feltner, they met with the lead pastor of First Southern at the time, Don Moore, and asked that he reveal everything to the congregation. Moore, who now serves as the pastor of Creekside Baptist Church, admitted on Friday that he refused to do that. He said he wanted to protect the girls, as well as the reputation of the church.”

    And there you have it. On and on we hear about things having to be handled Biblically, and such a situation was served up, per 1 Timothy 5:19-20: “Do not receive an accusation against an elder, except upon two or three witnesses. But those sinning, rebuke before all, so that the rest might have fear as well.” You can’t tell me that there wasn’t a way to “protect the girls” and yet do the necessary rebuke before all of someone in authority not being above reproach.

    Instead, the guy apparently reveals that he not only did not rebuke before all but after finding out, gave the guy extra $$$ for counseling, ironically) as he went out the door, and permitted him to do so apparently without an official word of warning to anyone — which allows him to set up shop whoever he chose as a pastor with no reproach. And why? Because of “the reputation of the church”!!!!! How many times do we see the wrong priorities upheld in these situations (personal, financial, etc.), ones that lean towards keeping up appearances so people keep coming and giving rather than having hard but necessary conversations and actions?

    Also, when there’s uncertainty as far as how to handle a given situation involving undue influence and abuse potential, the time for one guy autocratically acting to silence the entire matter on his say-so alone needs to experience a reality check. How many seminars on leadership and practical aspects of ministry (or revitalizing the church, as noted in recent comments) can these church leaders have without having a meaningful baseline for addressing these issues (especially in this case someone who served as president of a state convention)?

    For example, what is appropriate action when people are of legal age but activity happened in the context of counseling or a superior/subordinate dynamic? If you don’t know, having legit entities as resources with standards that at minimum reflect stands of legal professional conduct would be a great asset. Church leaders being able to utilize such resources could help decrease autocratic moves to silence ‘cuz church rep etc. Easier said than done (especially if you don’t let the aggrieved and their ideas into your convention space for conversation), but at least we may be spared some of the “mistakes were made, long time ago, let’s move on” song and dance routine that can prevail as those that should know better plead oopise.

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  95. SiteSeer: My ultra-Christian friend isn’t speaking to me because I haven’t gone back to happy-happy fast enough after the traumatic loss of my spouse.

    I am sorry for what you are going through. You deserve to heal at your own pace, and on your own terms, to the extent that bereaved people have control over the experience.

    Your ultra-Christian friend is very wrong to pressure you to be happy. Alas, this expectation is not unique to super Christians. However, churches do host funerals, and one of the boasts of the church is seeing people through the whole of life. Church folks ought to be sensitive to grief, instead of going overboard with celebrations of life, homegoings, etc.

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  96. JDV: “When Frey and Hendrickson found out about their simultaneous relationships with Feltner, they met with the lead pastor of First Southern at the time, Don Moore, and asked that he reveal everything to the congregation. Moore, who now serves as the pastor of Creekside Baptist Church, admitted on Friday that he refused to do that. He said he wanted to protect the girls, as well as the reputation of the church.”

    And there you have it. On and on we hear about things having to be handled Biblically, and such a situation was served up, per 1 Timothy 5:19-20: “Do not receive an accusation against an elder, except upon two or three witnesses. But those sinning, rebuke before all, so that the rest might have fear as well.” You can’t tell me that there wasn’t a way to “protect the girls” and yet do the necessary rebuke before all of someone in authority not being above reproach.

    “That left Frey and Hendrickson feeling like they hadn’t been listened to. “They have misread that altogether. I was very sympathetic to their situation,” Moore said. “I’m not the bad guy here. I hurt for them.””

    So he reportedly didn’t rebuke Feltner before all, paid him extra going out the door and evidently raised insufficient red flags going forward for a guy continuing in ministry (sic) whose activities were known regarding a subordinate and a counselee, did so reportedly because of church reputation, and then actually indicates THEY have misread things? Then he compounds this by speaking of his sympathies and hurts and makes the remarkable statement that he’s not the bad guy? Really?

    “”I don’t think he was trying to directly hurt us, but he did,” Hendrickson said. “The way he handled it was very poor.” When told about Hendrickson’s comment, Moore said it was never his intention to hurt anyone. “I’m extremely sorry if she felt that way. I had no intent of hurting her,” he said. “… I pray for their healing. I can’t imagine what they’re going through now.””

    Absent further context, the reply sadly brings to mind the “if somebody felt hurt/was offended/misunderstood” non-apologies seen often here, this after the comment concerning their supposed misread of his listening to them before. I wonder how his previous and current congregations feel about the notion of unilateral acts done behind closed doors for the sake of church reputations…

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  97. SiteSeer: My ultra-Christian friend isn’t speaking to me because I haven’t gone back to happy-happy fast enough after the traumatic loss of my spouse.

    Happy-happy ultra-Christians can’t identify with traumatic-anything until they walk through the valley themselves and experience how real Christians comfort them. Only then will they understand how to genuinely comfort those who experience grief: “For he gives us comfort in our trials so that we in turn may be able to give the same sort of strong sympathy to others in theirs.” (2 Cor 1:3-5).

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  98. Friend: Just once I’d like to read about good members running ungodly preachers off…

    TWW keeps exhorting good folks to consider that. “Touch not mine anointed” doesn’t apply to bad-boy preachers who demonstrate no anointing in their lives.

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  99. SiteSeer,

    “My ultra-Christian friend isn’t speaking to me because I haven’t gone back to happy-happy fast enough after the traumatic loss of my spouse. It’s all about appearances with them, not honesty or just plain kindness.”
    ++++++++++++

    i am very sorry, too, SiteSeer, for what you’ve gone through. for your loss, and the unconscionably cruddy treatment.

    it’s so amazing to me — how the more seriously one pursues ‘being a christian’ the more obnoxious and cruel they become.

    the ‘narrow road’ metaphor in Jesus’ sermon on the mount is sort of ambiguous, abstract…
    but it communicates just enough.

    it’s problematic when people thousands of years later start dissecting it — and all they see is more ambiguity, so they start filling it in with all sorts of things. mandates and lists of requirements and step-by-step instructions.

    it’s funny. religions are based on a certain amount of ambiguity. “God”, “gods”, “a higher power”, “forces”, “we need rain and a higher power is controlling the rain”…

    …but religious people have great difficulty with ambiguity. it’s intolerable.

    so they come up with as much concrete stuff as they can.

    but they only like their concrete stuff because other people’s concrete stuff conflicts with their stuff, which sets up a new round of ambiguity panic. (and the proposition that they are wrong is too uncomfortable to entertain.)

    i think metaphors mean the most when interpretive possibilities are allowed to just ‘be’.

    when they are seen from a distance. like a forest, versus the bugs on the leaf on the twig on the branch amongst many branches on the trunk of one tree amongst many trees in the forest.

    the big idea of a forest is no longer a consideration. big ideas aren’t necessarily comprised of right and wrong answers so much as they are vehicles for deeper understanding.

    and i think the big ideas of religion have fewer right and wrong answers than one might assume. including christianity.

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  100. elastigirl,

    “it’s problematic when people thousands of years later start dissecting it — and all they see is more ambiguity, so they start filling it in with all sorts of things. mandates and lists of requirements and step-by-step instructions.”
    +++++++++++++

    ha… they start filling it in with ‘Paul’

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  101. The “Staff” page on Berean Baptist’s web site is returning an error. It was working on October 20th the last time archive.org (the Internet “Wayback Machine”) copied it, and you can still see it there. I imagine they’re getting a lot of inquiries… probably they decided to stealth it.

    The “Who We Are” page has a link to “Elders” that looks like it has never worked.

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