Teens for Christ: Major Red Flags Amidst Accusations of Abuse

This composite made from ten images shows the progression of the Moon during a total lunar eclipse above the Vehicle Assembly Building, Nov. 8, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. One feature of a total lunar eclipse is the Moon’s red hue during totality. The red color occurs because of the refraction, filtering, and scattering of light by Earth’s atmosphere. NASA

“Red flags are moments of hesitation that determine our destination.”  ― Mandy Hale,

There appears to be another abusive ministry on the horizon which I learned about in a call from one of the victims. She told me she was concerned abuse advocates were overlooking this. She’s correct. I spend about one hour a day scanning news items and reading what some groups like the SBC, TGC, and Acts 29 are up to. Somehow this didn’t show up.  think many stories of groups that abuse tends to be exposed by local media.

History of Teens for Christ

This appeared to have started with good intentions back in the 1940s in Allen County, Ohio. According to Wikipedia:

Youth For Christ was formed in the 1940s in Allen County, Ohio. During the 1980s, the local Youth For Christ became Teens For Christ and started to hold chapter meetings in various homes throughout the area. During the 1990s, TFC accepted the mandate to “Turn Teenagers into Fully Committed Followers of Jesus Christ” under the leadership of its current Executive Director, Buck Sutton. From the 90s, with three senior high chapters totaling 30 teens and 8 volunteer leaders, today’s roster encompasses 17 chapters and over 60 volunteers.

The person who called me claimed that things changed when Buck Sexton became the Executive Director. It all sounds so Christian. These teens were going to become “fully committed.”

Turn Teenagers into Fully Committed Followers of Jesus Christ

Red Flag #1 What do they mean by fully committed?

Getting teens to be “fully committed” is a rather difficult goal. Getting mature adults to be fully committed followers of Jesus is a chore since we have all fallen short of the glory of God. Let me ask a question. “What does “fully committed even look like?” It’s kind of like the stated goals of individual churches: “We will change the world for Christ.”  In most circumstances, said churches must be satisfied with changing a few people who show up on their doorstep.

Red Flag #2 The teens must be sent to a difficult quasi-military boot camp.

I have seen a number of churches that send men to boot camps. Their ministries center around the idea that men need to be more manly so they will bond and shoot guns. The Teens for Christ boot camp sounds like a military boot camp. According to Wikipedia:

Teens for Christ hosted an annual summer Boot Camp in Canada where students are physically, mentally, and spiritually pushed through an intense week of training on Treasure Island, a privately owned, 60 acre island located in Ontario, Canada. The camp is modeled on the military idea of boot camp. The kids are divided into platoons. Each platoon has a leadership team consisting of four to five adults. In addition, the teenagers in the platoon are ranked according to how many years they have attended. First years are privates; second years are corporals. Third years are sergeants, and fourth years are staff sergeants.[2]

Red Flad #3 The teens are urged to spend $4,000-10,000 to study at the Young Ministry Institute, which will further isolate them.

Not only do these teens need to sacrifice their summer at a difficult boot camp (I don’t remember Jesus having one of these,) they are urged to spend their time studying or helping out at YMI.I was told that the teens must work very hard and are often sleep-deprived as they try to keep up with the goal of becoming “fully committed.”

In 2009, TFC launched a ministry training school, Young Ministry Institute (YMI). The program required students to attend classes, complete online studies, ministry training, mentorship development, and work in administrative roles during the day while oversee local area chapters during the evenings. The unpaid program cost students $10,000 a year for those pursuing their bachelor’s degree from Biblical Studies from Clarks Summit University or $4000 a year for those completing the YMI certificate program.[4]

Red Flag #4 Teens for Christ began exporting their ministry to other areas and extending the age group of the ministry to include 8th grade, and Sutton started a church.

Again from Wikipedia:

In October 2008, TFC Arkansas was launched in Gentry, Arkansas, led by TFC alumni David Young.[3] In September 2009, the Rockford, Illinois, chapter was launched

…eens for Christ continued to expand their reach by launching an annual conference for grades 8-12, Converge.[5] In 2018, they claimed to be the largest youth conference in Ohio. [6]

…In January 2020, Matt Dungan became the youth ministry director of Teens for Christ. [8] While Buck Sutton remained involved in leadership with Teens for Christ, he started a new church in Lima, Ohio called Living Hope. In 2020, their average attendance was 100 congregants and online viewership of the church livestreams were over 1,800 views a service.[

A letter alleging a number of abuse allegations involving Teens for Christ.

You will find the entire letter at the end of the post. It is lengthy and explicit in the details. In the meantime, the local sheriff is aware of the allegations and is asking for victims to come forward.

In July 2022, this was posted locally in The Delphos Herald: Allen County Sheriff’s Office investigation Teens for Christ allegations.

it was brought to the attention of this office that multiple concerning allegations were recently made on social media regarding a local Teens for Christ branch and a few of its members.

A letter was also found online that made serious allegations against a resident(s) of Allen County, Ohio. Through our research we have found that members of various groups and boards throughout the community affiliated with Teens for Christ locally were likely presented with similar allegations via a letter in recent weeks.

This office is asking for the communities help reaching out to possible victims in this case

This video also speaks to the allegations made in the online letter.

I am hoping to speak with two victims in the near future.

The complete letter found online.

Disclaimer: The information presented and opinions expressed are solely our own.
Teens for Christ
The following document (added below) was anonymously obtained and is pertinent to our project. We believe that The Calhouns are attempting to start a sister cult in Lima, OH with The Suttons. This is a dangerous combination and we are grateful for this whistleblower’s courage and strength. If you have questions or a story you may email us by clicking the button below.
Contact Us

Disclaimer: The information presented and opinions expressed are solely our own.

TRIGGER WARNING: Molestation & Sexual Abuse

We have redacted the names of victims for their safety.

To Whom It May Concern,

This letter is being written with a heavy heart, but these words, no matter how hard they will be to hear, cannot be left unsaid. The timing of this letter comes shortly after Tyler Sutton molested REDACTED in June 2022. What we allow to stay in the dark, Satan has access to. The purpose of this letter is to uncover what has been hidden for so long, and to finally shine the light on the abuse endured by so many.​

I spent 14 years as a part of the Teens For Christ ministry, from 2006-2020, attending and serving in many different fashions. I was a student and intern for 8 years and a volunteer/staff person for 6 years after that, including the Texas chapter. I have been to the center of the ministry, the heart of the core team, and considered myself (and by Buck and Kristin Sutton) one of their inner circle. In those years, I grew in so many areas, including my walk with the Lord and knowledge of ministry. I met some of my closest friends during that time and still consider a couple of them my closest friends to this day. However, due to being in the inner circle of the ministry, I also saw and experienced things that would horrify and disgust any person who considers themselves a Christian.

To be clear, I was neck-deep, passionately involved with TFC. I spent, what felt like, every minute at the office, at chapters, Saturday night prayer, summer camps, community events, and fundraising banquets. I was fully bought in because I believe in the mission and vision of the ministry. I believe God did call Buck and Kristin to start a teen ministry, to turn teenagers into fully committed followers of Jesus Christ. I believe they love God and have devoted their lives to the ministry. But, I also believe they have gone years allowing sin and abuse to slowly creep into the ministry, under their noses, and have done very little, if nothing, to stop it from happening. In this letter, I am going to be painfully specific and I cannot and will not refrain from naming those who have been accused, time and time again of sexual, mental, emotional, and spiritual abuse.

I have gotten permission from several young men and women to share their stories, however, omitting their names for privacy. Those whose names are not omitted, gave me permission to use their names.

Below are a few examples that have been witnessed and shared by not only the few whose stories are in this letter, but hundreds of students over the years.

Buck would frequently call teenage girls into his office and ask them to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 – based on how they viewed themselves physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Afterwards, he would ask young men, even some interns and staff members who were adults, to come in and rate that teenage girl on a scale from 1 to 10 based on their own opinions. This is emotional abuse – damaging the psyche and emotions of these young girls, especially when these men would rate the girl lower than she would have rated herself.
Buck would choose a teenager/intern to “dissect”. These meetings, called dissections, would put one person on the spot within a group of peers and they would talk about this teen in 3rd person. These meetings were often held at Buck’s home or in his office. Buck would lead the dissections by asking the group several questions. For example, what the group thought their potential was, their weaknesses, trauma and struggles – the goal being to make the teen/intern aware of what others thought, to open their eyes to their own blind spots. Teenagers, whose brains and emotions are still in development and are highly sensitive. There would be noresolve, no further healing or action taken after those meetings from what was said. Thoughts and feelings just left on the table.
Men in the ministry would groom young girls in high school and consider them for dating and

relationships, using their authority and leadership to draw these girls in.
Buck would receive shoulder massages from the young women in the ministry, both students

and interns. Though physical touch was/is Buck’s love language, it is inappropriate to allow a young girl to massage his shoulders, whether in his office or in a group setting.
I firmly believe the downward spiral of the ministry started when Tyler Sutton was elevated to a staff and leadership position in the ministry. As he was Buck and Kristin’s son, I understand they saw the potential in his leadership abilities and talents. They traded integrity, strong moral character, and a Biblical lifestyle with Tyler’s ability to recruit for the ministry, run Converge, and be the next one to shoulder the ministry’s responsibilities. Talent over godliness. All while being put in a position of authority, Tyler was oftentimes drunk behind the scenes. I saw firsthand Tyler drunk on several occasions and have heard countless stories of men and women who were in the presence of Tyler while he was drunk.

Drinking six packs of Redd’s Apple Ale in one sitting at his parents house while they were out of town.
Going to J’s American Pub to drink a large long island iced tea and 10 shots.

I was with Tyler and drank the same amount, but I was fully honest with Buck,Kristin, and Paul the very next day because of the conviction of God. When I arrived at the Sutton’s home to tell Buck and Kristin about what had happened the night before, Tyler greeted me at the door with a smile and insisted we walk to his house (down the street) together. Once we got there, I told him that getting drunk with him was the worst decision I had made and that I was going to come clean to his mom and dad. He laughed and told me that I was overreacting and that I shouldn’t tell his parents. I insisted I was going to regardless. He spoke with them before I had a chance to and his side of the story claimed he wasn’t drunk at all and I was the only one that was drunk that night. We were both pulled from chapter for 2 weeks as a disciplinary action. Several interns were staying in Tyler’s home that night and witnessed both of us coming into the home, stumbling, and very drunk, not just me.
Driving out of town to Cincinnati to visit his cousin in order to get drunk.
Drinking with other interns to the point they blacked out at their home.
Going on a senior trip (Carnival cruise), drinking and smoking until the fumes stuck to him and followed him around.
Waiting around after Allen East chapter to take home all of the alcohol in the fridge at the house in Harrod where I was staying. Audrey had moved in previously and brought that alcohol with her, and gave him permission to take it. As the house in Harrod was a parsonage, owned by Harrod Christian Church, I did not feel alcohol should be in the home.
I am in no way saying that Christians who drink are right or wrong. That is not the argument or point I am trying to make. Tyler was in a position of leadership and authority, over teenagers, in a ministry and consumed alcohol, to the point of becoming drunk, on countless occasions. His parents and employers, Buck and Kristin, were made aware of Tyler’s alcohol problem and still allowed him to be in a position of authority in the ministry.


*Disclaimer – the stories below may be graphic and hard to read.

Unfortunately, excessive drinking wasn’t Tyler’s only issue. Over the course of his time in ministry, he has sexually harassed and molested several young men and women.

Story #1
**This first woman gave me permission to use her name.

Tyler’s relationship with REDACTED hadn’t always been abusive. Growing up together, she adored him and loved being around him. He was talented, funny, loved God, and they would consider each other best friends for years. After Tyler entered the YMI internship, REDACTED started to see certain aspects of his personality change. She was led to believe, by Tyler and his family, that there was a high probability that they would end up married, though his feelings toward her would start to shift. Early on, she found out he was emotionally and physically involved with another young woman. REDACTED confronted him on several occasions, but he would never admit it or be honest about this other woman, though the evidence was obvious. From that point on, his actions toward her became extremely abusive. There were several occasions where she would find evidence on his phone of his blatant lies to her about this other woman. REDACTED was visiting Tyler and Buck and Kristin’s home, where he still lived at the time. She confronted him about what she had found on his phone regarding this other woman and he became very physical with her to get his phone back. After causing her pain, he told REDACTED that his parents were out in the living room and that she was going to walk out of the house and act completely normal. He told her to smile like nothing had happened. One time, he threw her against a wall and choked her in order to get his phone back from her. Out of fear and panic, she started crying as she couldn’t breathe. He let her go, and there was a sudden shift in his face and posture. He hugged her, patted her head, and said it was okay in a calm and soothing voice. Another time, he tackled her to the ground and wrapped a blanket around her head and body and squeezed her as tightly as he could so she would let go of his phone. He would threaten REDACTED, telling her that if she told anyone about the things he did, he would ruin her life. This emotional manipulation and gaslighting happened all the time. She would confront him on the things he was doing and he would turn it around on her, justify it, or act like it didn’t happen.

Tyler would push boundaries and see what he could get away with. The stories below are examples of the sexual perversion that went on behind the scenes.

Tyler invited REDACTED over to watch a movie. When she got there, he had pornography playing on the TV. REDACTED made it clear she did not want to be there or watch that. He told her she wasn’t being fun and made her sit on the couch next to him while he masturbated to the pornography on the TV.
Tyler would tell REDACTED that, if she wanted, he could easily get one of their other male friends to have a threesome with them and would bring this up on several occasions.
Tyler would pressure REDACTED to have sex and brought condoms with him, with the intent of doing so. He told her that even if they never got married, he would want to know that he had sex with her before anyone else. He also said that even if they were married to different people, he would still cheat on his wife with her.
He would coerce REDACTED into oral sex, though she didn’t want to. She was fearful of his reaction if she said no.
He would send her pictures of his penis and videos of him masturbating.
6. REDACTED agreed to go see American Sniper with him. When they got to the movies, he had switched it, without telling her, so they would be seeing 50 Shades of Grey. A movie rated R for its “strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior, and graphic nudity.”​

REDACTED went on to marry REDACTED. While pregnant with their first child, Tyler approached her at church, where they were prepping for worship at TFC’s Bootcamp. While Tyler’s wife was in the room, he told REDACTED that he could tell her chest had gotten bigger due to the pregnancy. He told her that, he of course, would know because he had seen her nude on many occasions. Tyler sought to minimize his victims by lying about their experience and then humiliate them behind the scenes by joking about what had happened or making light of what he had done. REDACTED met with Tyler and his parents on many, many occasions. She would tell them about the mind games he would play and the manipulation. They would say Buck acted similarly when he was Tyler’s age. She would tell them, vaguely, that sexual things had happened between the two of them, but was afraid to be fully honest because Tyler vowed to ruin her life if she had told them anything else.

Story #2

This next story is about a young man who was molested by Tyler when he was a minor. Tyler was his assigned “mentor” for him as he was a student in the ministry. This young man confided in Tyler that he had been struggling with pornography and homosexual thoughts. Some time after that, he was invited by Tyler to visit Liberty University with him and a couple of his siblings and his cousin. Tyler had forgotten all of his sleeping gear at home and asked this young man if he could share his sleeping bag on an air mattress with him. Tyler had a history of sharing sleeping bags and beds with his male friends on TFC retreats when they were students, so this request did not seem out of the ordinary. In the middle of the night, he woke up to Tyler grinding on his back side and touching him all over his body, including his genitalia. He felt paralyzed and pretended to be asleep until Tyler had finished. Afterwards, he ran outside and called his parents, who booked him a flight home for that day. His parents confronted Tyler on the matter, and Tyler even cried to the young man’s mother apologizing for what had happened. though, Buck and Kristin, told people Tyler had a sleeping disorder and that what had happened wasn’t intentional.

**He is not the only man who was molested by Tyler as a minor. Tyler sexually abused REDACTED starting in high school and throughout the years.

Story #3

This story is my own. While on staff with Teens For Christ, on several different occasions, Tyler would send me pictures via Snapchat of himself standing in front of his mirror naked. He would often say, “I like being naked” and “I’m confident in my body”. On one occasion, he sent a video of himself masturbating. He would then ask me the next day what I thought about what I had seen. I added my story so the pattern would be clear. Though I was not sexually assaulted like the young men and women in the other stories, Tyler has a clear history of sexual perversion and pushing the limits, crossing the line. Pam Rollan encouraged me, for my own freedom and healing, to tell Kristin about what had happened. In July of 2020, I was as honest as I am here.

Tyler wasn’t the only man in leadership at TFC that has a history of emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse.

*Disclaimer – the stories below may be graphic and hard to read.

Matt Dungan has a history of dating women who are much younger than he is. Two of the women, whose stories are below, were each 19 years old when Matt dated them. He was 27 and 29 at the time.

Story #1

REDACTED entered a relationship with Matt when she was 22 years old. She was a virgin, never kissed anyone, or even held hands with a man. She told him she wanted to save her first kiss for her wedding day. For over a decade, she would be emotionally and psychologically abused by him. When they first got together, he would guilt and shame her into doing sexual things that she didn’t want to do. Over the years, he would coerce her to do sexual things, sent her sexually explicit photos and videos of himself and asking her to do the same, and push far beyond the physical boundaries she set. When lines were crossed, he was never the one to come forward and apologize or repent. REDACTED would always be the one to tell leadership about what was going on. He would ask her to cover up the sin and abuse so he could keep his position at TFC, so he could remain in leadership. Matt would confess his addictions and sins to her, admitting he had an addiction to pornography. When she would tell leadership, little was done to help her or Matt. In 2019, Matt texted REDACTED and said he wanted have sex with her in a hotel room, and told her specifically to keep it a secret and not to tell anyone. REDACTED immediately told her mentor/friend and Buck what he had said. Once Buck found out she hadn’t agreed to it and didn’t actually have sex with him, he considered Matt to be free of charge. He compared it to a thief who had the intent to steal money but didn’t. This instance was one of hundreds throughout their decade long relationship. Within the same amount of time, Buck asked REDACTED about Matt’s character and if he should be considered for a position at TFC/Living Hope. Buck told her she knew Matt more than anyone else and he valued her opinion. She highly discouraged Buck from hiring Matt due to the years of sin and character/integrity issues. Buck hired him anyways, with stipulations that he got counseling. Over the years, he would keep REDACTED on an emotional leash. He would date other women, but then cheat on them with her by sending her pictures/videos of himself or flirting with her. He would say he loved her and that she was his soul mate, but then would never commit to her or pursue a godly relationship with her. At one point toward the end of their relationship, they were having a conversation outside of her vehicle. He put his hands down her pants, and caught off guard, she asked him if he had anything to say about their conversation. He said, “doesn’t this show you how I feel?” This clearly shows a twisted, perverted view of love. REDACTED went to her counselor, Pam Rollan, traumatized and paralyzed with shame and guilt. Pam then told Buck and Kristin what had happened and brought it up several more times after that. And over the course of the next few months, in several conversations, Buck and Kristin tried to convince REDACTED that she loved Matt. That they noticed how she looked at him or that she kept coming back to him – that it was proof of her love for him, even though she had confided in them over the years of his continual abuse. In REDACTED’s last conversation with Buck, as her pastor, she told him about the last two years of sin and abuse that had happened between her and Matt. Buck was disheartened to hear what she had to say and the stories that she shared with him. Buck assured her that he believed her but didn’t want her calling, what had happened to her, abuse. REDACTED said she needed to leave Living Hope, and he insisted she stay. When she asked why Matt was allowed to stay in leadership, despite the sin and abuse, Buck said he had to do what was best for Matt. He ended the conversation by saying Matt has a good heart, despite being informed of the many stories of abuse. REDACTED was a member of Living Hope, crying out for help, and all she received was silence from Buck after that.

Story #2

The second woman willing to share her story met Matt while volunteering for the Teens For Christ ministry. She was 19 and he was 27, he was her first boyfriend. Throughout their relationship, he would often tell her that she wasn’t a good or strong enough leader. He was critical and would tear her down, but then text her late at night and ask her to come over for sexual favors. He would teach at TFC chapters about living a godly life and not being entangled with the world, but then text his girlfriend another time saying, “I really want to have sex with you” and telling her how horny he was. The emotional and physical back and forth, depending on the day and how he was feeling, was erratic, unhealthy, and abusive. Even after they broke up, he would message her telling her that he’d made a mistake by leaving her and that if they dated again, he would marry her. Luckily, she was able to cut ties and is actively seeking healing from the abuse.

Story #3

The third woman willing to share her story met Matt while volunteering at Teens For Christ. She was 19 and he was 29 years old. She had no sexual experience with men before meeting and dating Matt. It started off as a long distance dating relationship consisting of texts and phone calls. Flirtatious conversation eventually turned to dirty texts and thoughts and ideas of what they’d do when they were together when Matt began communicating that he wanted her to talk sexually as a way that he needed affection from long distance. Refusal to do so communicated to him that she wasn’t prioritizing his needs and that maybe the relationship needed re-evaluated. She visited Matt in Texas and was told upon arrival that she’d be sleeping at his house in the spare bedroom rather than a friend’s house, which came as a surprise. It didn’t take long for them to become physical and cross a line sexually. They went to a prayer meeting the next day and afterwards she told Matt that she felt convicted and didn’t want to be physical like that going forward. He refused to speak to her for several hours that day and finally confronted her by saying she wasn’t holding up her end of the relationship. Because he had been there for her emotionally, it was only right that she ‘love’ him in the way he needed it too. He insisted she stay in his room for the night, where he went against her conviction, and pressured her physically and verbally until she complied. This was one instance of several. When she was apart from Matt, he would send her pictures of his penis and demanded pictures in return, again saying it was a way for her to show him that she loved him, often causing long verbal fights because she refused. When TFC’s boot camp had started, the students, who had arrived from Texas, were staying at a host home. Everyone was in the basement, including Matt and this young woman. They sat in the back, under a blanket, where he had her give him hand job in a room full of students. She visited Matt again for a second time. After months of Matt pushing boundaries, emotionally manipulating her, and justifying why they did what they did, he was able to coerce further sexually. While penetrating her with his hands, she was crying, telling him it hurt and that she wanted him to stop. He insisted it was her fault because she couldn’t relax and that she needed to bear through the pain. After, she slid off the bed, in the corner of the room, crying. Matt had raped her, going against her wishes to stop.. When they broke up, she went to Buck and told him what had happened. That Matt had abused her and should not be in a position of leadership in the ministry. Buck went and told everything she had said to Matt, who confronted her about it. Matt informed her that no one was listening to her or believed her. She would find out later that Matt had been seeing other women throughout their relationship, which would only add to the abuse endured throughout their relationship. Matt was asked to step down for a while as the leader of the Texas chapters, but was encouraged to be re-instated after only a month or two of being away. I, REDACTED, insisted he take the rest of the year off and get the healing he actually needed. I told him, via text, which I still have, that he needed to get healing after a lifetime of patterns like this one. He did agree to take the rest of the year off, but was then hired by the home office of TFC to join them on their staff in Lima. This young woman endured significant trauma which has impacted her day-to-day life and relationships.

Story #4

Though I was never sexually or physically abused by Matt, I wanted to add an example of my own story in here to show a pattern of learned behavior. The summer Matt moved to Texas, he asked me to pray and fast about possibly dating/marrying him. He said “I need my Kristin Sutton” and implied that I could/would be a good fit for that. I told him that he was probably being emotional due to the fact he just left everything behind he knew and would be starting in Texas not knowing really anyone. He confirmed with a second video call that he was serious about what he’d said and asked me to pray/fast about it over the summer. After a month, I visited my sister in Texas, and spent many hours on several different days with Matt. He never said a word about what he had proposed. The last night I saw him, he hugged me and said, “we’ll talk in Ohio”. In Ohio, I confirmed with REDACTED that he had spent the entire summer sending her pictures of his penis and telling her he wanted to be sexual with her. I confronted him about this and told him that I would not be considering his offer. Buck had told me, throughout my years in the internship, that when the first man paid real attention to me, my knees would buckle and I’d crumble for him. Feeling accomplished that this is not what had happened, I told Buck about what had happened with Matt that summer. He said, “well, if he had ACTUALLY pursued you, it would have been a different story”.

Rest N Him Ministries

Pam Rollan is an ordained deliverance minister, under the leadership of Pastor Michael French of Patria Ministries and Pastor Joe Medina of Daily Bread Ministries, both in Birmingham, Alabama.

Pam and Kristin Sutton would pray at Pam’s home on a bi-weekly basis. Kristin said that there was a possibility Matt would be moving to Lima to be on staff with Teens For Christ, and asked Pam if she would be willing to meet with him for healing and deliverance. Kristin sought Pam out to assist in Matt’s healing and deliverance. Pam informed Kristin that healing was not a fast process and could take months, sometimes years. Pam agreed to meet with Matt. One of the women in the stories above met with Pam and Matt, as she was being pursued by Matt at the time. The first two sessions were hopeful, as he was being honest and repenting for certain things he had done to this young woman. Shortly after that, he was caught in a lie, and started to back away from counseling. Pam saw what was happening and informed Kristin that he should be removed from a leadership position until this was dealt with. Kristin assured Pam it was being handled, but Pam saw the situation getting worse. Matt started to counsel with Nathan Branim, and Pam insisted this young woman Matt was pursuing be a part of those meetings so Nathan could hear both sides of the story. Matt cut off Pam and this young woman and lied about what had happened, refusing to speak with her again or make it right. Pam also informed Buck and Kristin that any employee with alcohol addiction should not be in a position of leadership in a ministry or church. Pam stood up for the women who came to her and were abused by TFC. She was not silent about what she had seen and heard, and for that, she was driven out of the community.

You may have read this letter and thought that I am just another one of those ‘traitors’, ‘defectors’, and ‘liars’ who have ‘come against’ the ministry in the past. Some may even say the enemy is the driving force behind this. When I was deeply involved with the ministry, I would think the same things about people who left the ministry and had something negative to say about it. When they would leave and say it’s a cult, I would defend and stand up for the Sutton family as if they were my own. I was so convinced that anyone who came against the ministry had back-slidden and weren’t able to see what God was doing and they were a fool to not want to be a part of it. A couple of years ago, I looked one of the women (whose story is in this letter) and I said, “What if we just said it all? What if we told them everything, all of this?” Back then, we were fearful. Fearful of losing our friends, our community. Fearful of being exiled, chastised, unheard, ignored. But, not anymore. I am angry and I am saddened over all of the abuse that has been endured over the years. I want to be clear, I want to be honest, and I want to be free. I have been counseling with Pam Rollan (Rest N Him Ministries) for two years and have gotten extensive healing and have forgiven – time and time again – Matt, Tyler, Buck, and others in the ministry who have let this abuse go on. I don’t want anyone to ever wonder why I stepped away from the ministry or the community that surrounds TFC and Living Hope. I am choosing to walk in the light, no matter who is with me, and I pray everyone else does the same. I pray that if you’re reading this letter and you’ve got a story to share, that you would share it.

In Christ,



Teens for Christ: Major Red Flags Amidst Accusations of Abuse — 69 Comments

  1. Thank you for writing about this. I live in Ohio and heard about this at my church from some friends.

  2. Thank you to everyone who shared and are moving forward with Jesus but away from the predators and their Hunting Grounds ministries.

    That being said, as someone beyond a youthful age, as I read these accounts, it seemed boundaries were crossed and red flags were flying high through the air and into the stratosphere very early in each story.

    However, youth don’t see the warning signs while they desire in their hearts to commit to Jesus and to disciple among fellow committed seekers.


    This stuff is way too common among so-called Christian ministries, youth groups, college fellowships, youth camps, and youth missions.

    Power and profit and privilege (vice) flow for the leaders as they leverage the idealism and sincerity and naivete of youth; the predators can get them to do anything in the name of god, then cash in with their greed and perversion and cultleader egos.

    Scientology does this. So did Nxivm. Etc.

    Better use of youth: get an education, find a cure, build a business, invent, innovate, etc. But stay away from old guys that want to lead youth.

    Jesus recruited old guys that had their own jobs , businesses, and professions. Jesus never targeted youth for camp, ministry, mission or missions, conferences, or groups. Jesus was never the old pied piper of kids or youth or young people. Jesus said: Let the young come into God’s Kingdom. But Jesus NEVER
    ever targeted young people.

    All the Strongmen leaders of the world do this throughout history. (Brown shirts, Cultural Revolution, Khmer Rouge, etc.)

    The old guys out there going after youth in the name of god are often sickos and it ends badly.

    Kids can get their education and a job with a sense of who they are personally (and read their Bibles & pray) before radically committing to one of these pied piper “Let’s Get Radical with Extreme Commitment to My Org” entrapments.

    Real preachers would preach against these orgs.

    Since real preachers are few and far between, we read these stories at TWW, along with accounts of pastor planes, pastor steaks, pastor mansions, pastor mistresses, pastors to celebrities, pastors that are celebrities, pastor yachts, and all the other nonsense that NO PASTOR SEEMS TO PREACH ABOUT. (There are also so-called Christian leaders with pool boys.) Duh…

  3. Serious question— would it be better to advocate for suspending youth ministry groups given the widespread abuse that it seems to attract?

  4. Doubtful,

    Teachers and coaches work with youth and for the most part, only do good.

    A teacher or coach who socializes with youth is off the rails and dangerous from the get-go.

    A teacher or coach that demands a life commitment from youth is seriously psycho.

    Safeguards should be in place for any adults working with youth.

    “Christian” adults working with youth get away with this nonsense (evil) because people leave their brains at the door when entering the la-la-land of Christian anything in the USA.

    Oh my, how the perverts LOVE to parade as Christian leaders and go after God-seeking youth. Anyone else see a pattern here in our society, our culture, in our christendom? What happens to our youth in christendom is as predictable as predators hanging around outside bars preying on the vulnerable leaving. It’s a setup and predictable unless safeguards are in place. Just like bars don’t give a rip about their customers leaving, christendom doesn’t care about the vulnerable being preyed upon in their social networks.

  5. What is it in the human psyche that will cause otherwise sane and intelligent people to fork over 4 to 10 grand for mindless indoctrination?
    L. Ron Hubbard would have been proud.

  6. Once prayerless religion had persuaded atheists that children are things / rubbish / animals, prayerless religion noted it had all the more plausible cover to act out.

  7. Doubtful,

    Let me answer it this way. Would it be better to suspend youth sports? Would it be better to suspend schools and have kids homeschooled?

    Wherever kids gather, so do pedophiles and molesters of kids.

  8. dee,

    A related question, which we will probably never get a honest answer: What is the percent of preditors in various youth organizations/programs..
    To me, the bigger issues is that we all need to be diligent, and not let a “bully preacher boy” try to shame any of us into questioning things.. To me, that is the core issue.. to many “preacher boys” know how to manipulate the sheep into protecting themselves through intimidation..

  9. These teens were going to become “fully committed.”

    More Committed than Chairman Mao’s Red Guard?
    More Committed than the Taliban?
    More Committed Than Thou?

    a privately owned, 60 acre island located in Ontario, Canada

    An Island.
    Impossible to escape.

    In addition, the teenagers in the platoon are ranked according to how many years they have attended. First years are privates; second years are corporals. Third years are sergeants, and fourth years are staff sergeants.

    Just like the Russian Army, except the Russian Army uses six-month increments instead of years. NCO ranks are actually titles granted by the draftees’ time-in-service.

    And the most brutal hazing of those with less time-in-service by those with more – boots stamping on faces all the way down.

  10. Ava Aaronson: Real preachers would preach against these orgs.

    “Speak to us pleasant things and smooth words, prophesy deceitful illusions that we will enjoy.” (Isaiah 30:10)

  11. dee: Wherever kids gather, so do pedophiles and molesters of kids.

    This is true. However, I find that churches and Christian organizations as a whole, are less likely to put measures in place to protect children. They are more likely to trust people in authority. They are less likely to believe children who come to them with complaints. They are more likely to believe that “Christians” just wouldn’t do those kinds of things. Christians seem more gullible when it comes to abusers and less likely to speak out when they see something wrong. They are less likely to get police involved as we have seen in many instance here on WW.

  12. I could not read all the post. You see, I have an adopted child with some inherited mental illness. However, the psychiatrists have been clear that child did indeed overcome the abuse in the birth home and would not likely have had a psychotic break in junior high were it not for our then church. It was not SBC, I don’t want to say more. But the new pastor was very into psychology and was indeed a properly licensed therapist. He gave a bit, very little bit, of second hand training and turned the youth group leaders loose. One of their ploys was put one young person at a time “in the hot seat” in the middle of the group. Everyone took turns pointing out that person’s sins and flaws, and insisting on the person giving their explicit total life story so they could sniff out sin in the parent’s lives.

    We were unaware this was happening. Our child “broke” during the ordeal. It launched some heavy ptsd from time with birth and foster parents and abuse suffered. We were painted by the church as being those abusers. Never mind we had not met the child until years later.

    Because of this break, our child dropped out of school and began a life of crime and drugs and satanism. For real. Building an altar, the whole nine yards. Thankfully our child did get good care….in prison…for a time. The right treatment and diagnosis and finally an AS degree in ag, and decent jobs.

    We called it out, reported it to church and state authorities who all did nothing, and left that church. And never trusted another teen to another youth group. Full stop on that.

  13. Max,

    Great Scripture Max!
    Isn’t it amazing how this plays out over and over throughout Judeo-Christian history.

  14. The kids are divided into platoons. Each platoon has a leadership team consisting of four to five adults.

    On “a privately owned, 60 acre island”?
    Just like Jeffrey Epstein’s Island, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

    (Does the island have a private airstrip? Somebody check PastorPlanes for Godly Private Jet traffic.)

  15. Never mind the badly-overused “Fill-in-the-Blanks for Christ”/”Fill-in-the-Blank for Jesus” naming convention.

    Always reminded me of the “Ugh & Argh” names of first-generation FRP games.
    Or the “Ugh: The Argh” names of post-White Wolf Dark Fantasy games.

  16. Wow. Booze, dick pics, older men coercing sexual acts from barely adult women… is this a ministry or a frat out of control?

    Side question: what the heck is an ordained deliverance minister? That’s not a thing in the stolid sort of evangelicalism I grew up with. I have a general impression it’s weird and charismatic and involves people trying to be therapists without any training, but maybe I’ve only heard horror stories. In this case, the minister seems to have been pretty shrewd as to what was going on and stuck up for victims of abuse.

  17. dee,

    That’s a fair way to frame it….still just wondering if it would help many churches avoid these scandals. Don’t get me started on youth sports- different rant for a different day.

  18. My stomach knotted up very badly when reading about the letter and TFC’s training model.

  19. I could just cry after reading that. If those women every gain trust in any leadership again, that would be a miracle. And Linda, I cried reading about your child. So thankful for sites like this that trot this awful stuff out into the light. 1 Corinthians 4:2

  20. linda: indeed a properly licensed therapist … “in the hot seat”

    i – accrediting organisations aren’t always a guarantee over here either.

    ii – building himself a whole “therapy empire”!

    iii – also called a “scrutiny” or a “chapter of faults” and somehow like Hunger Games (see people killed inside) (Martha Nussbaum, Dan Allender, Kindlon & Thompson, and Ted Zeff disapprove). Seeing it done to others one resolves to “outdo” them at least laterally.

    New cohorts every few years (divide and rule; deniability) ensures the lesson isn’t learned, hence this comes back into fashion quickly.

    Headless Unicorn Guy: -in-service


    Headless Unicorn Guy: airstrip

    I bet boats thereabouts are rationed in case the resourcefully survival-skilled youth know how to paddle one, and that the “course” doesn’t include ark building (from ambient timber) either.

    Doubtful: youth sports- different rant

    Part of M Nussbaum’s Citadels of Pride (2021) overlaps with this.

  21. Where were the PARENTS of the teens that got pulled into this nightmare???

    brutal treatment in ‘Christ’s name’ . . . now that is satanic

  22. I’ve been working with kids in churches and schools for over 40 years. It all seems to be having the right safeguards in place, and parents and staff/volunteers willing to speak up when something seems off. My current church has pretty good screening practices, but the current push to have everyone fingerprinted falls under best practices. I was surprised because people have been resisting the move for years, but someone was recently banned from the children’s ministry for something that happened off-campus. My guess is was something illegal, and they want to make sure everyone is who they say they are. I think it’s a move in the right direction.

  23. CMT: ministry or a frat out of control?

    The American church desperately needs to revisit its youth ministry model. Turning a flesh-baby loose in a leadership role over other flesh-babies is an accident waiting to happen. The Biblical model is for older saints to mentor young believers. You will not find the title “Youth Pastor” in Scripture.

  24. Doubtful: Serious question— would it be better to advocate for suspending youth ministry groups given the widespread abuse that it seems to attract?

    Serious answer – the American church needs to stop putting immature, inexperienced, unproven “pastors” over youth. Don’t suspend youth ministry … suspend the office of “Youth Pastor.” Give our youth the best you got … spiritually mature saints, experienced pastors, real-deal followers of Jesus. Minister to youth with the best tools in the toolbox; don’t put them in the hands of other youth.

  25. Bridget: I find that churches and Christian organizations as a whole, are less likely to put measures in place to protect children. They are more likely to trust people in authority.

    This is the 21st century. Watch the nightly news. Folks just simply can’t afford to blindly trust leaders over our children. Sadly, there are wolves in teacher’s clothing, wolves in coach’s clothing … and, yes, wolves in shepherd’s clothing.

  26. Max,

    But those types of leaders are not “cool”… and probably do not look good in skinny jeans

  27. Jeffrey J Chalmers: What is the percent of preditors in various youth organizations/programs..

    IMHO, irrelevant question. It only takes one evil predator in an org to destroy hundreds of lives, while the org and all of the “good people” (polite society, say nothing/do nothing, naïve, don’t listen) serve as camou.

    Think: Larry Nassar. It doesn’t take a village of predators to destroy an org. It only takes one hiding in plain sight. Only one predator destroys a whole village.

    Better: put in the safeguards, accountability, and truth telling (and listening, and then taking action) in the orgs. Weed out the predators. Shine light. Make noise.

  28. Max: Give our youth the best you got … spiritually mature saints, experienced pastors, real-deal followers of Jesus. Minister to youth with the best tools in the toolbox; don’t put them in the hands of other youth.

    Not palsies. Not control freaks. Not pied pipers. Not too cool to be true blue. No rock stars or celebrities. No gurus.

  29. Max,

    You speak sound wisdom Max.
    But they (the great they, herds of lemmings) don’t wanna’ hear it.

  30. Question. How many times was Buck put in “the hot seat” or had his appearance or character “dissected”?

    As a former teenage girl and as a mother of daughters, this makes me want to do violence.

  31. linda,

    I also wish to express my sorrow to you, and my continued outrage at so my “preacher boys” that destroy people in the “name of Christ”….

  32. Jeffrey Chalmers: those types of leaders are not “cool”

    No one ever accused Jesus of being cool … the Apostles weren’t cool … real-deal saints of God aren’t cool. It’s better to wade out into the deep with the righteous than to swim in shallow water with flesh-babies. Being old does not always equal wisdom, but it helps.

  33. Ava Aaronson: Not palsies. Not control freaks. Not pied pipers. Not too cool to be true blue. No rock stars or celebrities. No gurus.

    IMO, the majority of churchgoers in America wouldn’t know how to act without that type of leadership. We’ve drifted so far from true North, we may never find our way back to the shore.

  34. linda,

    Linda, I have no words to explain my anger after reading your story. I’m having trouble being angry and sinning not right now as I search for the right words. In the name of God, this type of leadership in the church has to stop!!

  35. This is all beyond horrible. Thank you to the brave and honest person who shared.

    Does anyone know:

    How did Clarks Summit University get involved…was there an in-house connection? Is there still a connection?

    Thank you.

  36. CMT: Side question: what the heck is an ordained deliverance minister?

    Non-Papist name for Exorcist.
    Or (given Spiritual warfare attitudes) Witchfinder-General.

  37. CMT: Wow. Booze, dick pics, older men coercing sexual acts from barely adult women… is this a ministry or a frat out of control?

    These days, MINISTRY.

    P.S. I wonder how much $$$$$$$ the parents paid to send their kids to Teens for Christ’s Epstein Island?

  38. I’m so very sorry for these circumstances described, in the post and in the comments.

    I think we Americans have a tendency to take ourselves too seriously. (my friends/extended family in Europe observe it, sort of marveling at the spectacle of it, with a kind of macabre, cynical humor.)

    add God to the mix, and American christians take it to feverish, obsessive levels.

    where living out one’s faith is concerned, as i see it, the best practice is to hold it all loosely.

  39. Headless Unicorn Guy: Teens for Christ’s Epstein Island

    Whoa. Sobering description. Makes me think of Kanakuk Camp Epstein Island, Boy Scouts of America Epstein Island, Native American Boarding School Epstein Island, and all the church camps across America where children have been abused. Epstein’s sins pale in comparison.

  40. Michael in UK: Once prayerless religion had persuaded atheists that children are things / rubbish / animals, prayerless religion noted it had all the more plausible cover to act out.

    I don’t see a single atheist mentioned anywhere in this story. This is all going on in the name of Christ and Christianity. However, the story made me so livid that I might have missed something. Did I?

  41. Thanks to all for the kind comments! Things got better over time, but it was h e double hockey sticks for years. And dangerous for our child and all in contact with the child.

    But while I hate to be cynical, no other child or grandchild of ours did youth group. The risks are just too high!

  42. Friend: This is all going on in the name of Christ and Christianity.

    To which Jesus will reply at the Judgement:

    “In ‘that day’ many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we preach in your name … and do many great things in your name?’ Then I shall tell them plainly, ‘I have never known you. Go away from me, you have worked on the side of evil!’” (Matthew 7:22-23)

    And may they also receive their “reward” on this side of eternity.

  43. linda: no other child or grandchild of ours did youth group. The risks are just too high!

    I was a faithful churchgoer for 70+ years. I never observed a “youth pastor” who had any spiritual depth, nor a youth group which made a difference for the Kingdom of God on earth in the here and now. I suppose they are out there (and Praise God if they are), but most youth pastors offer only fun and games, and, as we’ve learned, are abusive in some places. To put a child under immature, illegitimate authority is indeed risky with few benefits to learning how to live in the Kingdom of God. Our children deserve better … we should disciple them ourselves, talking and walking faith before them.

  44. Jeffrey Chalmers: those types of leaders are not “cool”

    When our grandson was 5 years old, he struck up a conversation with a lady in the line at Dairy Queen. He introduced us “This is my Papaw and Gramma. They are cool!” I suppose it was the possibility that he was getting ready to order whatever he wanted … and, of course, we let him. 🙂

    Cool church with cool pastors offering cool worship is highly overrated. You get what you pay for.

  45. Wild Honey,

    Buck did not need to be! He above all the other pew peons… he is Man of Gawwd

    On a different note, and can not even comprehend being involved in such a org…

  46. Max: Makes me think of Kanakuk Camp

    I keep thinking of the headline from that Simpson’s episode “Krisis at Kamp Krusty”.
    Or in this case, “Krisis at Kamp Kanakuk”.

    A hundred years ago, both those spellings would have been a coded message that the Kamp was owned and run by the Ku Klux Klan.

  47. Friend,

    Because the kind of people we criticise normalised those standards to gain camouflage, instead of helping and salting the world. Dragging their environs down to their level whilst laughing it off saying they aren’t pretending to be better than anyone else, and telling the children what they offer is better than what anyone else offers.

    After all, the people we criticise (whose interpretation of “kingdom” or of “changing the world / nation / city” is spiritualised theocracy / hypnosis) are at one and the same time forked tongued about whether they are influencing the world or not. Is advertising supposed to be sophisticated obscurantism / distraction techniques? Ask some agencies and parachurches.

    Tim Gloege has noted in Guaranteed Pure that one of the early Moody Institute officials was high up in the Quaker Oats of his time and borrowed the model of “premium product” i,e use of trade mark to imply the real ordinary thing (loose oats brought to the normal market by farmers) was inferior, and applied it to his gospel.

    We townies were always used to brand names for ordinary things but the origin and effect of the phenomenon is worth dissecting. In this case the trendy idea of eternal subordination of the minds of children (Jesuitry) as superior to nurturing their soul competency and their agency respectfully.

    Self-dubbed “atheists” will always be around but when a critical mass of high profile religious establishments are sincere and prayerful the atmosphere in society helps them relax towards everybody as it helps everybody. God will blame bad religion pushers (the real atheists) for misleading “atheists”, most of whom are agnostics of goodwill by default. The fathers (churchy hegemonists) ate sour grapes, and the children’s teeth were set on edge, throughout society.

  48. Michael in UK: God will blame bad religion pushers (the real atheists) for misleading “atheists”, most of whom are agnostics of goodwill by default. The fathers (churchy hegemonists)

    Actual atheists live harmlessly among us and encounter a huge amount of prejudice.

    Abuse in the church does not signal atheism. This line of thinking is too close to the usual claim, “I wasn’t a real Christian when I cheated on my wife.”

    Contrarily, if a bad guy calls himself a Christian, who am I to say he is wrong? My job is to ask why the church tolerates his behavior—not to say he is mislabeling himself. That’s way too easy.

  49. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    one wonders how deeply wounding early influences by groups like the KKK and the John Birch Society and other extremist groups can be on the young in their formative years and how even though these are ‘good kids’ in the end, something remains in their psyche that affects them life-long in their perspectives. I can only hope that God’s grace helps them heal from the early attempts by some to influence them towards an extremism that would not have been in their natures if that early exposure had not occurred. . . May God have mercy on all of our young people as the influences out there affect them so much more in their formative years and THIS is where good Christian formation can offer some sanctuary for these young people, IF it is from a place of authentic Christianity.

    It’s God’s Grace draws the humble to Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    So much for the influence of torch parades of the KKK, and the hate rallies of trumpism.

  50. Friend,

    Yes, yet at the same time it is the absence of real belief that grounds him in his bad conduct and sin levelling, and us in our confusion as to how to discern.

    When we detach from the entire system and structure we can begin to use our own degrees of inference (our soul competency) and not that of an organisation. Then we can stay ahead of the crimes and offences instead of getting distracted by them after the event.

    The real God only wants us to guard the integrity of those smaller than us, in supplicating for them and trusting Holy Spirit (Jesus’ twin) in them. God doesn’t set store by the fashionable generic “theism” as such.

  51. Friend: line of thinking is too close to the usual claim, “I wasn’t a real Christian when I cheated on my wife

    I’m not endorsing excuse making after the event. This has to be a lesson to others before they greatly misstep.

    The Bible doesn’t define christian BTW. I was also taught at one time what hoops would make me their concept of christian but now I’m interested in degrees of Holy Spirit believing by us instead.

    “The youth are the truth” (unattributed).

  52. Michael in UK: I was also taught at one time what hoops would make me their concept of christian but now I’m interested in degrees of Holy Spirit believing by us instead.

    Be careful you’re plugged in to the right Holy Spirit.
    For the past six years, the one out here in the States has consistently mistaken Donald Trump for Jesus Christ.
    And “Just Me and the Holy Spirit” without a reality check can take you down some really weird and destructive paths – what one of the Father Brown Mysteries called “down Queer Street”. I mean, just look at NAR. Kat Kerr. Greg Locke, Holy Laughing Hyenas, and my SIL’s Spiritual Warfare Advisor./guru.

  53. Friend: Abuse in the church does not signal atheism. This line of thinking is too close to the usual claim, “I wasn’t a real Christian when I cheated on my wife.”

    No it does not necessarily do so. Some are agnostic internally, only wanting to leverage what others think about God in order to manipulate them. Some may actually believe that God is for their own narcissism and that narcissists will be ruling in heaven like they do here on earth. But none believe in what is written that there is a final judgment and that what the scriptures plainly state are the criteria for that actually exist. If they believed that and actually followed Christ which is the simplest meaning of the term Christian, they would not abuse others and would show an active conscience in such matters.

    For me what a Christian is as someone who love Jesus Christ by following and practicing His commandments is so very simple. You either make this a priority or your a poser claiming to be a rocket scientist when you have never passed the 101 Physics class. That class kills half of the Engineer wannabees.

  54. Mr. Jesperson: actually followed Christ

    In my 70+ year journey through the American church, this has been an issue for me as I’ve looked at pew sitters … who show up on Sunday, with little evidence through the week that they know and follow Christ. I think of the deacon at a local church who prays over the offering on Sunday and cusses out subcontractors to his business through the week (including my daughter once).

    What is the percentage of members of the institutional church who actually follow Christ? How many church leaders are His disciples? How many in both pulpit and pew truly conform their actions, conduct, and lives to those of the Savior? How many acquire the virtues as outlined in Scripture to be recognized as a Christian? How many are genuine disciples of Jesus Christ?

    Is it any wonder why the American church is in such a mess when few follow Christ?

  55. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Yes. By “by us” I mean by me, potential pew sitter, not church bosses. I’ve been down all those Queer Streets and more (I love two and three timing to fit more in).

    Mr. Jesperson: agnostic internally, only wanting to leverage what others think about God … that narcissists will be ruling in heaven like they do here on earth. But none believe in what is written that there is a final judgment and that what the scriptures plainly state are the criteria for that actually exist. If they believed that and actually followed Christ which is the simplest meaning of the term Christian, they would not abuse others and would show an active conscience in such matters

    Thank you, so clearly put and this is why I distinguish those of us that are “not so sure about what is being pushed”. Codependent church leaders are looking for more codependents to possess and promote. Codependency = to limit one’s own outlook by somebody else’s, craving to do them an unreal favour thereby.

  56. Friend:
    Sincere belief does not prevent sin. I am not sure it even prevents serious crime.

    But it sure promotes Virtue Signalling.

  57. Michael in UK: Mr. Jesperson: agnostic internally, only wanting to leverage what others think about God

    A.k.a “mental reservation”

    Not sure whether this is Pennsylvania Dutch folk beliefs, Appalachian folk beliefs, generic western occultism, or fictionalizations of same, but there’s this idea that if you witness or are present at a black magickal working and make no objection (including a mental reservation), you have participated the working and given the powers behind it power over you.