Jules Woodson Formally Requests That Germantown Baptist Church Revoke Andy Savage’s Ordination

 


Dee and Jules at For Such a Tome As This Rally at SBC 2019, Birmingham

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”― C.S. Lewis


Yesterday, Jules Woodson contacted John Longworth who is the Pastor of Senior Adults at Germantown Baptist Church in Germantown, TN.  When Jules was 15 years old, she travelled from Texas to this church along with other members and the pastors of her then church, Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church (now known as Stonebridge Church), to watch their new youth pastor, Andy Savage, become ordained in this SBC church which was his home church.

A couple of years later, Savage, then an ordained Southern Baptist youth pastor, would molest Jules on a dark, dirt road.  He moved back to Tennessee and would then return to Germantown Baptist Church to reenter the ministry after a few short months after leaving Texas.

Jules Woodson reviewed her story with Longworth who said he would take the matter under advisement with the. other church leaders. Today, I contacted Germantown Baptist Church and left a message for Pastor Longworth. My message asked if the church was ready to release a formal statement on the matter. I alerted the church that Jules had tweeted her request. This was picked up by local media who are requesting interviews with her.

Jules and her supporters are well aware that Savage can start a church without being ordained. However, this is a way for the church, which endorsed him for the ministry, to say they no longer believe that he is qualified to stand in the pulpit.

Will his former home church stand up for Jules Woodson who was a victim of the newly ordained Andy Savage? We’ll keep you posted.


Comments

Jules Woodson Formally Requests That Germantown Baptist Church Revoke Andy Savage’s Ordination — 62 Comments

  1. This will be interesting. I’ve never heard of an SBC church revoking an ordination, and that is after 25 years of pastoral ministry and working as a state denominational executive.

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  2. Not 1st

    I find the constant flow of horrendous behavior to be utterly nauseating.

    2nd?

    I find the lack of proper response by other “leaders” that seems so rampant even more nauseating.

    Maybe 3rd

    What does God think of “leaders” who give other leaders a pass for behaviour of this nature?

    I would actually say that their responses border on depravity.
    Especially considering that these same leaders also determine far worse punishments which are meted out to pew sitters who don’t sin at nearly the same level of egregiousness.

    Utterly appalling.

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  3. Lois: His license should be revoked. It would be a step in the right direction. However, it’s quite easy to get another ministerial license.

    The SBC does not grant licenses or recognize licenses. Individual churches ordain pastors and deacons if they choose to do ordinations at all. Ordination can mean a lot or nothing, depending on the church. Churches can recognize ordinations from other churches, or not.

    I have never heard of an ordination being rescinded, probably because it means so little.

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  4. Ken P.,

    “I have never heard of an ordination being rescinded, probably because it means so little.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    i have to think the symbolism of such a recission at this moment would mean more than a truckload of ordinations.

    it would demonstrate that christian leaders are capable of being forthright instead of pandering to each other in hypocrisy. (of course women had to explain it to them)

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  5. The SBC commissioned a report, “Christian Ordination Study”, which was published earlier this year and reported in the Baptist Press on 10th May.

    . “Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote on his blog in February that “lackadaisical ordination will produce doctrinally dubious and morally corrupt pastors.”

    That kind of trend “must end and churches must take responsibility for those men they ordain for ministry,” he wrote.”

    That being the case, Germantown needs to act.

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  6. The SBC did not commission any formal study on ordination but should. The reference above is to a private study that compiled data from self-selected respondents. My sense of that article is that it correctly shows the general trend among SBC churches of ordination becoming less rigorous. My summary statement is that some SBC churches would ordain a ham sandwich.

    I know of a few revocations, all for moral failure.

    If a minister’s ordination is revoked he can still serve as pastor, church planter, or any other clergy role. It’s up to the autonomous church, not any denominational body, the state, or anyone else.

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  7. Re: Savage’s attempt to start a new business/church.
    Does he have any official financial backing from the SBC or any of its affiliated state or regional or local associations or churches?
    If he is working without this backing, he will of course ignore any removal of ordination or license.
    If he has backing, then his backers should be named and asked to explain themselves.

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  8. birdoftheair: Off topic here. But a refreshing piece of news about a celebrity pastor’s decision to move to Asia to be a missionary in 2020.

    This isn’t the first time Francis Chan has done this. He resigned from his megachurch in Simi Valley, California, back in 2010. And him going to Asia raises the hair on the back of my neck–he’s on the board of “Gospel For Asia,” which had to settle out of court in a lawsuit with aggrieved contributors who alleged their contributions had been misused. (Warren Throckmorton is all over that!)

    Call me unimpressed.

    Now, back to the topic. I think Andy Savage is now at the point where he’s not going to care if he has an ordination. He’ll get some other church planting operation (like ARC) to back him and it’s not going to matter. 🙁

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  9. Savage would likely ignore being defrocked and go on with his own plans, regardless. However, it would make it clear how leadership feels about his moral character, and it would act as a guidepost for the persons who will be defrauded by him in the future.

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  10. William Thornton: My summary statement is that some SBC churches would ordain a ham sandwich.

    Yes, you are right – some SBC churches would ordain a ham sandwich, or “preachers who are pretty hammy . . .”

    There is no SBC standard for the ordination process. In 1973 when I declared my call to ministry my home church “licensed me to preach.” Licensure means nothing, actually, except recogninzing one’s intent to follow God’s call to ministry.

    My home church in Tennessee (which sadly has “died”) would ordain me only after I had completed my M.Div. from a Southern Baptist seminary (SEBTS before the “conservative resurgence”) and that I had received a call from a church to serve as pastor. When this took place, an ordination council was constituted of church members who asked me very direct questions for well over two hours about all kinds of topics, from theology, to pastoral care, to the (then) controversy in the SBC. The ordination council then had to vote to recommend my ordination to the congregation, which it did, and the church voted for my ordination. I remain impressed about my home church’s determination to make ordination important, meaningful, and valid in terms of church practice.

    There used to be a joke (that is not too far off in terms of reality) that A MAN (only) could make a profession of faith in a morning worship service, announce in the evening service that he was “called to preach”, and then be ordained the next Sunday morning. There have been churches that required no theological education for ordination to take place as they considered that “God will give you all you need if you are called.”

    Neither the SBC or the local association of which most SBC churches are members have anything to do with the ordination process. It is fully a local church action.

    I have never known of a church to vote to rescind its ordination of someone it had earlier ordained. It is time for this to become an option that is discussed and considered.

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  11. The only “formal” action the SBC undertakes regarding ordination is printing and selling the certificate through its publishing arm, Lifeway. So I looked online and was shocked to see that the ordination certificate they sell has not changed at all. My “1980 model” looks the same as the one sold today: https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/ordination-for-minister-parchment-P001148551

    I know many of you are thinking my post goofy, and off topic. (That’s okay; I’m often goofy and off topic! 🙂 My point is that if the Convention is still selling the same ordination certificate today that it was 40 years ago, it’s probably a sign that everything related to ordination needs fresh reconsideration.

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  12. birdoftheair: Off topic here. But a refreshing piece of news about a celebrity pastor’s decision to move to Asia to be a missionary in 2020.

    Francis Chan is a white-washed septic tank promoting a the world’s largest financial con-artist and center of his own damned by God cult of personality. That snake is just another self-centered self-promoter of a false gospel. The real one costs you and it requires that each of us pick up our cross and walk with it. I do not see any of the celebrities that we have doing that. Their combined example is abhorrent to the extreme.

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  13. Mr. Jesperson,

    Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    I apologize for being off topic again here. Just wish to see a good example among celebrity ministers. The place he plans to move to is in crisis these days.

    Regarding fund use and gospel content being preached, are Francis Chan’s problems that serious? I did not detect that he was not preaching the real gospel from the specific video of November 6, 2019 which I watched. I did read something about Gospel for Asia’s issues with funds. Has Chan been a board member long?

    I am not trying to defend anyone, just hope things are better in some corners of the church world. And I can leave this topic about Francis Chan alone. May our God of holiness and power cleanse His servants and purify His church! May He shine light into the darkness so evil will not be tolerated.

    3 John verses 1-4 to you all!

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  14. Luckyforward:
    This will be interesting.I’ve never heard of an SBC church revoking an ordination, and that is after 25 years of pastoral ministry and working as a state denominational executive.

    Here’s some questions on that:

    Can one congregation revoke the licensure/ordination of a person licensed/ordained in another church? Or does that step over the boundaries of individual church autonomy? Would they be limited to not recognizing it? (That is also virtually unknown, but would be consistent with individual church autonomy.)

    What if the licensing/ordaining church has disbanded? I know people who were licensed and ordained in my church growing up; that congregation disbanded over 25 years ago?

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  15. Mark R: Here’s some questions on that:

    Can one congregation revoke the licensure/ordination of a person licensed/ordained in another church? Or does that step over the boundaries of individual church autonomy? Would they be limited to not recognizing it? (That is also virtually unknown, but would be consistent with individual church autonomy.)

    What if the licensing/ordaining church has disbanded? I know people who were licensed and ordained in my church growing up; that congregation disbanded over 25 years ago?

    Mark:
    In terms of Baptist polity, it has traditionally been understood that only the church that ordained someone could revoke their ordination.

    Excellent question regarding whether the ordaining church disbands = no idea how that would be handled in Baptist life. At least I haven’t heard of it . . .

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  16. On second thought, if a church had disbanded and the need arose to remove a minister’s ordination, it might involve the local association where the church was a member when it was still “alive.”

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  17. Lowlandseer,

    And this is what Tim Challies thought

    “By the end of Letters to the Church, Chan is concluding that his movement and book may be part of a new reformation. “We’ve always needed reformers and reformations to speak with the voice of the prophet, to call us back to what we were meant to be.” Maybe so. But, in my estimation, he does not convince that the house church model is the key to it.” ( book review, 3 Oct 2018)

    I think Mr Chan may have delusions of grandeur.

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  18. “Never be in a hurry to ordain a man, or you may be making yourself responsible for his sins.” (1 Timothy 5:22)

    On the other hand, churches should be in a hurry to “un-ordain” pastors who have failed their sacred responsibility.

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  19. Mr. Jesperson: Francis Chan is a white-washed septic tank promoting a the world’s largest financial con-artist and center of his own damned by God cult of personality. That snake is just another self-centered self-promoter of a false gospel. The real one costs you and it requires that each of us pick up our cross and walk with it. I do not see any of the celebrities that we have doing that. Their combined example is abhorrent to the extreme.

    These are strong words, but I was pointed to a series of Tweets that seem to indicate Chan may really deserve these strong words. Apparently he’s going to reside in Hong Kong* and fly in to Myanmar, which had been a closed country up until a few years ago. The person tweeting is not impressed:

    https://twitter.com/randallbreanna/status/1193159251469799425

    Her basic thing is that if Chan wants to reach the people in Myanmar, he needs to LIVE THERE. The tweet thread is well worth a read.

    I think this is a problem which affects a lot of churches. Pastors start churches in middle class areas, but live in houses that the average attendee could not afford in a different part of town. One guy here (now retired) had a mansion in the most upscale neighborhood in the city, but his people were definitely living in smaller, older houses or apartments. Oh yeah, and they were huge on tithing.

    Anyway, just to be clear, I think Mr Jesperson’s words are harsh, but they may be deserved. Your Mileage May Vary.

    *Hong Kong is not exactly a safe place at the moment, with an ongoing, bubbling-up quasi-revolution occurring.

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  20. Max,

    That is a good observation – he does indeed. It would be interesting to know why? I always get the impression from the things he does, that he never feels like he does enough. Doing more etc is certainly part of what he preaches. Anyone know anything more?

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  21. Luckyforward:
    On second thought, if a church had disbanded and the need arose to remove a minister’s ordination, it might involve the local association where the church was a member when it was still “alive.”

    However, in the SBC only congregations license and ordain, the associations do nothing (in more ways than one). They might warn their fellow association members, but that may mean nothing.

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  22. Lowlandseer:
    Lowlandseer,

    And this is what Tim Challies thought

    “By the end of Letters to the Church, Chan is concluding that his movement and book may be part of a new reformation. “We’ve always needed reformers and reformations to speak with the voice of the prophet, to call us back to what we were meant to be.” Maybe so. But, in my estimation, he does not convince that the house church model is the key to it.” ( book review, 3 Oct 2018)

    I think Mr Chan may have delusions of grandeur.

    There have always been house churches and always will be. But most of them are either 1) in countries where there is no religious freedom (and any “churches” are simply for show to bluff other countries into thinking there is religious freedom) or 2) a new congregation not yet able to build a building or lease space to meet.

    The house church movement that believes it is the ONLY proper way to meet has been a very small one at that, and I don’t think Chan will do that much to change it.

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  23. Max:
    “Never be in a hurry to ordain a man, or you may be making yourself responsible for his sins.” (1 Timothy 5:22)

    On the other hand, churches should be in a hurry to “un-ordain” pastors who have failed their sacred responsibility.

    I think the only ways they could do it are 1) if they did the ordaining or 2) they have an agreement with an ordained person that they can un-ordain them for cause. (Of course, then those churches would probably do it 9Marks style–that being arbitrarily and maliciously)

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  24. I am ordained by 2 different denominations, one of which I never use when I marry people and fill out the license. ( The SBC ordination)

    That said, if both de-frocked me, I could find another church to ordain me within a month.

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  25. Mark R: I think the only ways they could do it are 1) if they did the ordaining or 2) they have an agreement with an ordained person that they can un-ordain them for cause.

    I was particularly thinking “1) if they did the ordaining” … since 1 Timothy 5:22 indicates the ordaining church bears some responsibility for a wayward minister if they were in too much of a hurry to ordain him in the first place. IMO, there is a multitude of ordained church leaders (pastors, elders, deacons) who are not above reproach.

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  26. Beakerj: I always get the impression from the things he does, that he never feels like he does enough.

    Folks like Chan do not know who they are in Christ, so they keep trying to figure things out in their intellect rather than by the Spirit.

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  27. Beakerj: That is a good observation – he does indeed. It would be interesting to know why? I always get the impression from the things he does, that he never feels like he does enough. Doing more etc is certainly part of what he preaches. Anyone know anything more?

    That’s the biggest complaint about “Crazy Love,” is that it basically stresses that if you’re not ALL IN FOR JESUS, you’re lukewarm. Go to church every Sunday is lukewarm for Jesus. I was warned away from the book because I was told it would make me crazy with scrupulosity. That was nearly a decade ago and I’ve changed a lot. I wonder if I wouldn’t just read it and throw it at the wall as not helpful.

    However, I don’t see how living in Hong Kong and flying in to Myanmar to preach is all in for Jesus. I just don’t. But hey, I know I’m a hypocrite. I work for an evil too big to fail bank!

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  28. Max,
    “Chan has been trying to find himself for years … always reinventing his ministry.”

    Beakerj,
    “That is a good observation – he does indeed. It would be interesting to know why? I always get the impression from the things he does, that he never feels like he does enough.”

    Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,
    “However, I don’t see how living in Hong Kong and flying in to Myanmar to preach is all in for Jesus.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    i would hope he’s not interested in one-ups-manship — distinguishing himself as Mr. ChristianIncredible, far and away superior to all his ministry peers. as of to say, “you’ll never catch up to me now!”

    perhaps he’s just sick of how stupid church culture is. perhaps it’s an embarrassing industry to be associated with.

    i’d like to think his new adventure will be a quiet one. that he doesn’t have plans to turn it into a commercial enterprise (which would be revolting). that celebrity will fade into anonymity, obscurity, and he simply gets busy.

    what’s wrong with living in myanmar? comforts of home would cease, but he seems to like that kind of thing. i found many websites about moving to myanmar. it’s not unheard of.

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  29. William Thornton: My sense of that article is that it correctly shows the general trend among SBC churches of ordination becoming less rigorous.

    But the sbc has never treated it the same way as many other denominations anyways. They don’t have requirements aside from what a church wants? I remember as a kid thinking all pastors had to goto seminary read Hebrew and Greek, etc, only to find this was not true in the sbc.

    It’s true where I go now. If the sbc formalized requirements they could properly kick out somebody like andy.

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  30. Luckyforward: I remain impressed about my home church’s determination to make ordination important, meaningful, and valid in terms of church practice.

    Yes, thank you for sharing. It does sound like some churches approached things in a different way. I’m amazed at the number of mega churches pastored by people with training of any kind, although many aren’t sbc.

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  31. Jerome: Crazy Love by Francis Chan. The book is excellent…I would encourage you to read this book” — Pastor Wes [Feltner]

    The new reformers stick together like glue. “Recommended books” is a subtle way of indoctrinating church members.

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  32. Jerome: “While I was gone to the Southern Baptist Convention a few weeks ago I was able to catch up on some reading. One of the books I read was Crazy Love by Francis Chan. The book is excellent…I would encourage you to read this book” — Pastor Wes [Feltner]

    Several years ago, SBC youth pastors in my area were recommending that young folks read “Blue Like Jazz” by Don Miller. It was essentially an introduction to “emergent” church, a movement which turned out to go down some questionable avenues of faith. Rod Bell was one of the movement’s stars (as was Driscoll for a while) … Bell’s views on hell have been considered heresy and he has fallen from popularity. Bottomline: don’t turn your children loose reading recommended books by youth pastors until you do your homework … the days are over when you can blindly trust a church leader.

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  33. Mark R,

    The House Church movement gained popularity in the UK – well, England to be exact – in the early 1970s. I met some of their leaders at an event o. Canterbury Cathedral, including one man from the USA who sat in a high chair and whispered directions into the pastor’s ear in an attempt to drum up hysteria in the audience. We took our youth group out of there very quickly. The movement still exists today, although smaller than it was. No doubt Mr Chan has never heard of it. Original thoughts don’t seem to be his thing.

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  34. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: That’s the biggest complaint about “Crazy Love,” is that it basically stresses that if you’re not ALL IN FOR JESUS, you’re lukewarm.

    And Christ Shall Spew Thee Out Of His Mouth On The Last Day.

    Go over to Internet Monk sometime and search on the phrase “Wretched Urgency”.

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  35. K.D.:
    I am ordained by 2 different denominations, one of which I never use when I marry people and fill out the license. ( The SBC ordination)

    That said, if both de-frocked me, I could find another church to ordain me within a month.

    And if you couldn’t find one, YOU CAN ALWAYS “PLANT” YOUR OWN!

    “Writing for a penny a word is stupid. If you want to make a million dollars, START YOUR OWN RELIGION.”
    — L Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology

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