On August 19, 2021 John Griffin, in a plea deal, plead guilty to 20 of the 43 felony counts he was charged with. Griffin was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Griffin, 73, was an elder who ministered to senior adults at Riverbend Community Church, in Ormond Beach Florida. The church is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention and also listed as a 9Marks church on their website.
Griffin was arrested on January 6 after police found more than 200 sexually explicit photos in his home and charged him with 30 felony counts of possessing child pornography. Later, authorities charged Griffin with an additional 13 felony counts when they found Griffin had sent files to other pedophiles.
I have previously written two articles on John Griffin. The first, titled “2 Southern Baptist Leaders Arrested Within 3 Weeks of Each Other For Child Pornography, Social Media to Blame” can be found here.
The second, titled “Update on Florida SBC Pastor and SBC Elder Arrested For Child Porn: A Reminder for the SBC Annual Meeting” can be found here.
I have included three cuts from senior pastor Scott Menez’s address informing the members of the Riverbend Community Church of the arrest of John Griffin.
Note in this first one how Menez immediately attempts damage control. He stresses three times that Griffin is a “non-vocational elder,” not a paid, staff elder. Would someone please do me a favor and refer me to the duties of a “non-vocational elder” as described in the Scriptures?
Menez then trotted out Proverbs 18:17 – you know the verse – I think it goes something like “things look bad for our non-vocational elder, John. Law enforcement have arrested him and charged him with 30 felony counts of child abuse, but wait until we get to examine him – things will look much better.”
And last, but not least – remember social media is baaaad.
This second clip can be summed up as, “don’t gossip – withhold judgment until we know the truth – don’t gossip – we don’t know the truth, but we have removed John from his non-vocational elder job anyway, therefore, don’t gossip.
This last clip vocational elder Menez reminds his giving units that his job is to “protect our church.”
I’m uncertain what he means by this. The pedophile is in jail, so the children are safe from Griffin, but perhaps Menez means he will protect the church from other non-vocational elders, or others who may be pedophiles. Or, maybe he means he will do all he can to protect the revenue stream for his tax exempt 501(c)3 business, thus keeping him and the other vocational elders gainfully employed.
As you can see below, Riverbend Community Church links to all the right neo-cal groups.