An Evaluation of the BJU GRACE Report

“Have you ever told your father that you love him?”

When the gray-haired, glasses-wearing lady sitting across the table from me in the Bob Jones University (BJU) Dining Common spoke these words to me after I had asked her to pray for my dad’s salvation, I felt like jumping across the table and choking her! How dare she expect me to speak such words to the man who had neglected me and treated my mother with such contempt!

At that moment, God convicted me. I still harbored negative feelings toward my father. I thought, “How can I ask people to pray that God would save a man that I don’t care for myself?”

As a seminary student at BJU, I received assurance of my salvation. God’s Spirit showed me that a right standing with God does not come through my own merits and actions, but it is founded solely upon the sacrifice and the righteousness of Christ. As I began to understand the unmerited love and forgiveness that God offers me in Christ, I knew that I needed to love and forgive my father in the same way.

Thankfully, by God’s grace and the help of BJU, I was able to forgive my father and cast off my negative feelings towards him. I know that forgiving my dad back then has enabled me to serve God and enjoy a healthy life today.

Of all the comments that I have read concerning the Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) Report, fellow BJU graduate Michael Edwards best summarizes what is at stake. As an outspoken critic of his alma mater, he notes on the “Truth Seeking Graduates of Bob Jones” Facebook page: “For BJU, the actions are rooted in their theology…. They simply didn’t have wrong actions, they have bad theology in which their actions are rooted and affirmed.”

Edwards understands that the GRACE Report attacks the very culture that has defined BJU since its founding. It also seeks to discredit truths taught at BJU that have set many (including myself) free from the hatred and bitterness that hindered our walk with God.

Did BJU President Stephen Jones do the right thing by hiring GRACE? This question, which many alumni are asking, is pointless. A sovereign God allowed the GRACE Report to be published. Therefore, the best thing we can do is to read it and learn from it. (Go to: http://netgrace.org/wp-content/uploads/Final-Report.pdf)

The Report Contents

Sections

The Report’s Criticisms

Survey Participants

The Report’s Recommendations

A Brief Evaluation

So, what’s in the Report?

Dress Standards

The Report chooses BJU’s dress standard as its first target for criticism. One GRACE Survey participant asserts, “The dress code and the stated philosophy behind it puts the onus of unwanted sexual attraction on the victim—the woman” (48).

Another reported hearing “comments made from chapel platform or other such forums alluding to sexual advances being made because of dress or actions of the victim” (49).

A female participant claimed Freshman Orientation at BJU taught that “if we don’t dress the right way or if we didn’t have the right amount of meekness we would be sinful. It was an aggressive environment and a graphic speech given by men to women” (49).

Another female said, “I just remember coming away from that [orientation] meeting feeling very ashamed for being female. I think there was a lot of blame put on us and a lot of responsibility put on us to keep people around us pure, and if we didn’t change who we were we were sinful” (50).

The GRACE Report concludes,

From the time of the university’s founding, focus upon a woman’s dress has been a point of significant concern. In addition, the university dress code’s stated objective is to ‘teach students to consider the impact of their choices on others, thus living out Jesus’ instruction about loving others as ourselves.’ These reported messages have communicated to some individuals—particularly to female victims of sexual abuse—an underlying sense of responsibility for the man’s lust, which may evoke shame and blame for the occurrence of sexual offenses. (50)

The Report continues,

Communicating that women are the source of lust also contributes to an environment where women are objectified. Because such thinking impacts how women are treated, abuse may occur easily in this environment. (55)

If a dress code encourages men to see women for their bodies—whether they dress modestly or not—then women become objects, and often, mere objects of lust. In effect, the messages about women that are expressed around BJU’s dress code place much of the responsibility of a man’s lust and a victim’s abuse upon the woman and what she was wearing. Any institutional messages that communicate that a victim has some responsibility for sexual abuse not only exonerate perpetrators for their actions, but these messages also fail to demonstrate love and compassion. (56)

GRACE alleges that the BJU Dress Code, which was put in place to protect the virtue of women, actually does the opposite.

Helpful Advice

The Report moves on to give helpful advice for those in ministry about how we should deal with sexual immorality in light of the fact that “one in four females and one in six males will be sexually assaulted by the age of 18” (57).

It says, “If there is no distinction between sexual sin committed by a person and sexual sin perpetrated against a person, then victims will reasonably process their experience as sin for which they are culpable” (57).

We are reminded in the report,

A group of almost any size will have victims of sexual abuse. When sexual sin is addressed, victims desperately need to hear someone make these distinctions with compassion. All BJU employees must clearly articulate with one voice the important distinction between the sinner and the sinned against…. Without this message, an emphasis on sexual purity can be a message of condemnation to abuse victims. (57)

A sexual abuse victim who attended BJU in the 2000s testified, “Virginity was the ultimate ideal. It was praised. It was talked about. And if you had lost it, then you would never be good enough. It was encouraged to the guys that you only marry a girl that is a virgin.” She lamented, “They had something that I would never have. The confusion about sex was so frustrating. I was so angry. Here I was being judged/blamed/torn to shreds for my horrible ‘sin.’ And I had never even had consensual sex” (52).

“The lack of distinction between sexual abuse and consensual sexual sin,” the GRACE Report concludes, “has caused some victims of sexual offenses to feel impure and shamed even though they did not choose the sexual act perpetrated upon them” (52).

How Victims Should Respond

The Report then begins to contrast its views of how victims should deal with sexual abuse with those taught at BJU.

BJU professor Gregory Mazak said in regards to dealing with sexual abuse,

When bad things happen to us, what do we do? We look at them God’s way. We become like Job, we get spiritually transformed. We realize that God has a purpose for things, and He has a way for us to deal with even the bad times. Spiritual transformation. That’s the biblical way of doing things. Realizing we are created in the image of God, realizing that God allows bad things to happen to us because it perfects the image of Christ in us. OK? Count it all joy when you encounter diverse trials. Count it all joy knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience, and more verses we can cite than that. OK? That’s the biblical way of dealing with things. (63)

Berg agreed,

The pressures around us (the unfavorable circumstances, the temptations, and the commands of God to love Him and our neighbor) merely draw out of our heart what is already in it. We cannot blame the hot water for the taste in the cup…. Similarly (like the tea bag in hot water), we cannot shift the blame for any bitterness, anger, despair, deception, cruelty, and so forth that we display when we are under pressure. The pressures merely expose how unlike Christ we really are. (65)

Another leading counselor at BJU, Executive Vice President Emeritus Bob Wood, concurred,

I think that people internally are angry at God for allowing this to happen. So you have to get beyond that and it is a very difficult thing to get beyond because I can’t tell you why something like this happened. I can tell you it did happen but I can’t tell you why it happened or why the Lord allowed it to happen. I assume that there is some reason that this has happened and that you have to work it out within your own mind about why, and it is interesting that in many cases that it really is the root problem. (68)

Counseling Philosophy

The GRACE Report analyzes BJU’s counseling philosophy:

“The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart.” This adage aptly captures a central tenet of discipleship among BJU counselors: Many struggles in people’s everyday Christian walk are rooted in sinful attitudes of the heart that can be remedied by repentance and adjustments in thinking. The application of this discipleship tenet to sexual abuse counseling is fraught with risk for the abuse victim. Misapplication can result in victims being grossly ill-served. Abuse victims will be underserved to the degree the impact of sexual abuse is misconstrued to be an issue of sinful heart attitudes that requires detection and repentance, rather than recognized as evidence of possible psychological trauma requiring skilled assessment. In such a case, the counseling needs of the abuse victim will likely be underestimated. Biblical knowledge rather than trauma expertise will be the primary criteria for counselor selection. Abuse victims will be ill-served to the degree that the misapplication of the “heart problem” tenet adds to their guilt, shame, and self-blame. This is likely if common psychological responses to sexual victimization such as sorrow, grief, and fear are mislabeled as deliberate sinful choices, rather than as pre-wired symptoms of soul injury. (76, 77)

Despite the recognition that medical problems can affect behavior and emotions,” the Report notes, “there seems to be little appreciation among BJU counselors of the substantial scientific evidence that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other trauma-related anxiety and affect conditions are likely to have neurobiological causes. As a result, BJU counselors may not be referring abuse victims for appropriate medical evaluation. (77)

A Survey participant observed, “Everything [at BJU] is a spiritual problem. If you are depressed it is a spiritual problem” (83). A second claimed that BJU teaches that “people did not need outside help except knowing the truth of God” (83).

Mazak defended BJU’s position, “All problems are spiritual. I think it all goes back to presuppositions. If we are all struggling with problems, [then] all problems are spiritual…. There is no problem that does not have a spiritual aspect” (85).

Mazak explained the sin nature,

Maybe what you are asking is: “Are my mental problems the result of my individual sin?” I don’t believe they are. Yet, sin is a part of who I am, and I am struggling with it 24/7—all day. I am a firm believer in total depravity …theologically, everything I do is tainted by sin. (85)

Mazak rebuffed the Report’s criticisms:

Here’s an example that you use, rape. Now when I say it’s a spiritual problem, I don’t mean the girl had a problem in her life and thus she was the victim of rape. That’s ridiculous, that’s not what I’m saying. But dealing with it is a spiritual issue. It is. And every aspect is answered, is dealt with by God in the scripture. (85)

GRACE asked Mazak “how he responds to victims who raise the complaint that he identifies problems associated with abuse as sin” (86). He replied, “I honestly believe that Jesus Christ is great enough to allow me to respond to anything I face; and, ultimately, the answer is getting to know the Lord Jesus Christ more” (86).

Here is how Wood responds to sexual abuse victims,

Now, the least important part of you has been offended in this sexual act and what have you allowed Satan to do with the offense of your body? What did he do to your imagination? What did he do to your reason? What did he do to your memory? What did he do to your conscience? Ah. It’s only the throw away part that’s offended, but all the important parts of your soul have been destroyed by Satan…. Are you willing to go on the rest of your life with your life destroyed by something that happened to your throw away part, the least important? Are you willing to allow Satan to use your body to destroy your soul? That’s what these people [abuse victims] are doing. (87, 88)

Berg agrees. He explained,

No matter what has happened in your past, working on becoming the most godly person you can be …is like this Styrofoam cup. You go out to the athletic field and you buy some hot apple cider on a winter night here, and you drink the cider and you throw away the cup …because that is not the most important part—the most important part is what is on the inside. I say, “God is going to resurrect our bodies and our bodies are important; they are a part of our personhood. But the condition of our body, whether I lose a leg in an accident or whether you lose your virginity because of your choices or because of somebody else’s choices, the state of your body is not the determining part of your freedom, and your fruitfulness, your joy, your peace. What is going on in the inside is the important part of your soul. God is going to resurrect your body and make it all new at some point” (88)

Disgusted by BJU’s counseling advice on dealing with the effects of sexual abuse, the GRACE Report charges,

The epitome of victim blaming is to tell rape victims that their severe symptoms of PTSD are their own fault. Their debilitating fear, their wildly unpredictable flashbacks, their frequent dissociative blackouts, and their terrifying nightmares would all disappear if only they would: Stop dwelling on the past, forgive and forget, memorize more scripture, and be a better Christian. (89)

GRACE concludes,

The approach taken by Dr. Mazak and Dr. Berg can be heard by an abuse victim as saying that suffering from PTSD is sinful. The stronger the symptoms and the longer they linger, the more evidence that the abuse victim is failing their ‘trial’ or not making enough spiritual effort to know Jesus…. For abuse victims, being blamed for the psychological after-effects of their abuse is the final insult…. Heaping more blame and shame on the abuse survivor because he or she is suffering is both hurtful and counterproductive…. The counselor and the psychology professor both have roles to play in emphasizing God’s tender mercies for the abuse victim rather than suggesting God is displeased with the abuse victim for their response to their trial. (90)

Do sexual abuse victims bear any of the blame for their struggles? Wood observed,

You know what happens to people who are abused or who have serious spiritual or emotional problems? Their every view is inward: ‘Me, me, me, me, me, me. This happened to me. I can’t get over this. I’m mad about me. I’m mad that they did this to me. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been offended.’ …Me is not important. Joy is just like you learned in the primaries: Jesus first, others second, yourself last. You have to get your perspective right. (96)

“You want to stay very mechanical and shallow and robotic in your walk with God?” a chapel speaker at BJU asked. ”Then do this: Keep a bitter spirit against someone who hurt you.” He told of a conversation he had with a girl whose stepfather had sexually abused her:

I said, “Young lady, you have lived a very difficult life, a very hard life. But let’s look at your sin in this situation.” When I said that, she lost it. She said, “My sin? It wasn’t me! My mom, my dad, my step-dad!” I said, “Yea, you allowed the sin of these folks to create such anger and hatred and bitterness in your heart.” I took her to Hebrews 12. You gotta look diligently, and some of you need to do that. You better search your heart to wonder why you just can’t get over this plateau thing and walk with God. (94)

A Survey participant who was present for the aforementioned sermon analyzed it:

I realize that as Christians we are called to forgive from the heart, but I think that comes later. It comes way later after you have walked through a lot of other steps before then. Seriously, if [the speaker] is at camp and a little girl camper is there for one week and she comes to him for help and he says “you need to have forgiveness,” is that seriously all that happens? I really hope to God not. (94)

However, Berg concurs with Wood and the chapel speaker,

The thing that will stop the growth and the process and the change more than anything else is this (holds up clenched fist). “Where was God? He can’t do that. I won’t trust Him. You can’t expect …nobody can expect.” This clenched fist is what stops the growth and stops the change and stops the progress because this clinched fist says, “I will survive my way. I will do it my way. I will live life the way I see it.” We are going to see that coming up again and again and again. Now, the first time I sit down with an abuse victim and she is going through her story, I don’t first of all go, “Well, I know what your problem is. It’s this (puts up clenched fist) right here. Fix it!” But we are going to have to get to that. At some point, we are going to have to get to that because it is at the root of the problems that keeps people from changing. We have got to get back to that at some point. “I will not trust Him, He hurt me. I am going to listen to Satan because he said there is another way to do this, and I don’t have to do it God’s way.” That is a clinched fist. Augustine was the first one to really articulate that. “The problems of men are this clenched fist,” he said. It is never a question of “I cannot.” It is always a question of “I will not.” (104, 105)

The Report disagrees with Wood, Berg, and the chapel speaker,

Jesus understands and shows compassion to the afflicted. He knows the terror of abuse and the agony that forgiveness costs. In the garden of Gethsemane, before He faced the cross’ torture, Jesus asked the Father if there were another way. There was nothing easy about Jesus’ decision to obey His Father’s will and go to the cross so that sinners might be forgiven. Insisting that forgiveness can and must be extended harms victims and cheapens forgiveness….

A message of “move on” shows a lack of understanding and compassion. Without acknowledging the hard process of forgiveness, the righteous anger of victims is invalidated. Several investigative participants mentioned a 2009 sermon where the speaker confronts a sexual abuse victim about her own ‘sin’ because she was ‘allowing the sin of these folks to create such anger and hatred and bitterness in your heart.’ Based on the information provided by the speaker, he did not lament over the crime of the abuser, but instead focused on the sin of the abuse victim. The speaker stated that the girl at the camp had been abused by her step-father, and in light of her suffering, she told the preacher, in effect, “[God], why have you forgotten me?” According to the speaker’s own statements, rather than express outrage at the crime committed against her, sorrow for her personal losses, or compassion for her circumstances, he instead told the victim, “let’s look at your sin in the situation,” and then cautioned the audience against a similar attitude of bitterness. (103)

The Report concludes,

God knows that when faced with abuse and oppression, people need to stop and take the time to acknowledge the depth of the perpetrator’s sin. (104)

Rather than cautions about bitterness and a push to forgive and forget, the most urgent and ongoing need of a victim is to have the community surround the victim with love and cry out to God. (106)

There is a righteous expression to anger. The perfected martyrs in heaven cry out for God to take vengeance upon their murderers and execute justice. God gives his people the words to express these sentiments, ‘How long, O Lord?’ and ‘Why, O LORD, do you stand afar?’ Is this bitterness? Is this an unforgiving spirit? No, this is a godly posture toward great evil. God gave these words to His people in the Psalms so they would have the right words to say in the face of terrible evil like sexual abuse. (107)

Since someone has been sinned against in a sexual abuse case, does the victim have any responsibility, according to Matthew 18:15-17, to confront his or her perpetrator? Mazak said, “I think that as a brother in Christ, you owe it to that person. I think on multiple levels it is the right thing to do. God may use that appeal or rebuke in a number of different ways to bring about change in that person’s life. It may be [that] the Holy Spirit uses that” (111).

Wood agreed: “I am very confrontational. I believe that you need to confront the people as near as possible to the crime and deal with it head on” (111). Berg concurred in principle but qualified his support for confrontation by claiming that “Matthew 18 would not apply to a child or to university students” (116).

GRACE responds,

There are at least two other important factors about sexual abuse that Matthew 18 does not address, but which other biblical passages do address. First, abuse is a particularly horrific degree of sin that involves a power differential between the perpetrator and the victim. Second, abuse is a crime, not just a personal offense…. The sin of sexual abuse is on a scale that simply cannot be adequately addressed by these steps, and Jesus never intended His statement to be misused and misapplied to sexual abuses. (115)

Misapplying the steps of Matthew 18 to cases of abuse is just what an abuser would want. Following Matthew 18 in cases of abuse ignores the power differential and the Bible’s call to intervene on behalf of the vulnerable. Abusers are master manipulators. Having a victim confront the abuser plays right into the perpetrator’s hands. Applying Matthew 18 to sexual abuse allows abuse’s reality to stay hidden and unexposed. Perpetrators can then remain in a position to abuse and avoid any consequences for their offenses. God never intended for Matthew 18 to undermine the clear moral imperative to protect the vulnerable. (116, 117)

Discipline

The GRACE Report then goes after another trademark of BJU: Its disciplinary system.

Discipline has been a hallmark of BJU’s existence from its establishment, and BJU officials highlight discipline as one of the school’s greatest assets. The university’s current Student Life structure, however, invites role conflicts between discipline and counseling because it oversees both functions. (119)

BJU Chancellor Bob Jones, III disagrees with GRACE’s assessment:

I don’t see it as a conflict at all. This is the way we have always operated as the Dean of Students…. Disciplining students is not fun. It is not what we delight in, but at the same time, not disciplining when discipline is needed is not in their best interest either. You can’t grow character by turning your head the other way and pretending something wrong did not happen. So, there is no problem with the Dean of Students also being a disciplinarian when he needs to be; it is just like a parent. What parent who is a decent parent wouldn’t discipline their children when it is needed? The Bible is full of admonitions for parents to discipline their child when they need discipline, but also plenty of admonition to love your children. A parent is both a counselor and disciplinarian. Why shouldn’t the Dean of Students? (121)

Jones, III then explained to GRACE how BJU operates:

We are all there in loco parentis like most schools used to be, like most colleges used to be and now very few are. We are there in loco parentis. So if the Dean of Students acts in loco parentis, he would be a disciplinarian when he needed to be and a counselor when he needed to be just like a parent. (121)

Berg agreed with Jones, III, “In a Biblical model, I don’t see comfort and chastening as conflicting roles. Prophets did both. Isaiah, half of it is comfort and half of it is pretty strong. From a theological standpoint I don’t see conflict in that” (121). “The investigation,” in contrast, “found that this conflict can and does have some negative consequences for the counselee” (122).

The Report gave an example. A sexual abuse victim

revealed to the counselor that she had begun smoking cigarettes at work. According to the university records, the counselor “challenged her to repent and get right with God and her parents.” The Women’s Counselor also told the victim that she needed to report her rules infraction to the Dean of Women. The Dean of Women documented the smoking in a 2013 discipline report that was circulated to BJU administrators…. The university, thus, placed a victim of childhood sexual abuse on probation, who expressed her struggles with the counselor and disclosed this information in a confidential setting. (123)

The conflation of disciplinary and counseling roles places the counselee, the counseling relationship, and the therapeutic process in direct jeopardy. It is critical that victims are able to trust that what they reveal in counseling will not be shared outside the counseling room and will not place them at risk of adverse consequences. (137, 138)

According to the Report, the in loco parentis model that BJU operates under not only creates conflicts of interest for the counselees, but it also led to widespread breaches of confidentiality. The Report says, “Dr. Berg acknowledged that the university’s internal communications about confidential disclosures of abuse had been ‘sloppy’ due to the university’s ‘family’ structure” (128).

Concerning poor confidentiality standards, the Report asserts that “another contributing factor is that BJU includes Resident Counselors as partners in this family dynamic structure and does not view them as ‘professional counselors.’ The university appears to view information sharing as collaboration” (128). Berg understands a student “looking at the climate today and saying, ‘they are breaching confidentiality all over the place’ but from in loco parentis it doesn’t feel that way. It might feel that way to a student or to the public in today’s eyes, but it didn’t feel that way to us here. It was a collaborative effort” (129).

The Report criticizes Berg as unqualified to help sexual abuse victims:

Dr. Berg stated that he had no formal education specific to counseling victims of sexual abuse; however, he gained a fair amount of ‘on-the-job’ training. His training to address sexual abuse came from reading books, articles, and attending a conference. The complexity of sexual abuse counseling does not at all lend itself to such an informal approach to preparation. While some of the knowledge needed to counsel sexual abuses victims can be self-taught, professional judgment is typically learned through competent professional supervision with an experienced counselor. (141)

That being said, “Dr. Berg’s lack of formal training and professional supervision was evident in several judgment errors in the counseling he offered” (142).

The GRACE Report concludes,

Beneficence and non-maleficence are two widely accepted principles for guiding counseling ethics. These principles mean that the counselor should strive to benefit those whom they counsel and take care to do no harm…. The university’s counseling services transgress beneficence and non-maleficence in its conflicts of interest, breaches of confidentiality, and inadequate training. (137)

Spiritual Accountability

Next on the Report’s list of targeted BJU traditions was its process of holding people spiritually accountable. One way BJU does this is through Residence Hall Evaluations (aka, Spiritual Evaluations). The Report explains their purpose:

The university requires that students who live in the residence halls undergo Residence Hall Evaluations each academic year. Though these evaluations have changed through the years, they have generally covered various issues including spiritual life, personal consistence, response to authority, effectiveness in dealing with others, effectiveness in personal performance of duty, personal efficiency, emotional control, social life, and appearance. (144)

The selection process for student spiritual leaders within Student Life has been, in large part, determined by these Residence Hall Evaluations. (145)

GRACE warns that, “Evaluations critiquing various factors such as ‘spiritual life,’ ‘emotional control,’ and ‘appearance’ can have a negative impact upon some already fragile victims of abuse who suffer with other effects commonly associated with abuse” (157)

Berg defended BJU’s system of spiritual accountability,

It would be difficult for a teacher to note any progress and development if she never recorded grades. So our demerit system and these kinds of things were a way to track, are we seeing spiritual development in the student and what they are learning. It is sort of like we have all these academic files and the grades and tests and things that teachers are keeping and then there is a character component going on over here. So we have two huge record-keeping things going on. If we didn’t care about the students and their progress, then none of this would have happened. (146)

The Report provides instances where it thought BJU’s accountability system went too far. One former BJU employee testified that she “confessed to the campus clinic doctor that I thought I might be gay.” As a consequence, she stated that “there was an emergency meeting called and I was fired and kicked out of University housing” (148) In another incident, “The clerk at the drugstore knew [a friend] was a Bob Jones student (pretty obvious given the dress code) and called the administration and turned her in for buying a pregnancy test” (148)

A former student described the atmosphere at BJU:

Expulsion was a constant and real fear. Students “disappeared” all the time, expelled and vanquished from campus without any goodbyes. I can’t really describe it fully. It was like a low cloud always being there over head. Like a “grip” on everything you did or said. It was a real fear with real consequences. It extended to things as simple as cleaning your room and the shoes you wore, but it wasn’t just about physical things, it was about “attitude,” which is where the real meat of the trouble was in my opinion. A wrong “attitude” would get you expelled, or at the very least interrogated. I saw it happen. Grumpiness, sarcasm, skepticism, questioning and even quiet sadness could be seen as “decent” [sic] and could lead to “counseling” or even expulsion if they continued. (149)

The GRACE Report notes,

Some individuals explained that some of the university’s sanctions, including discipline probation and spiritual/character probation, have had a chilling effect upon the disclosure of sexual abuse, and upon the disclosure of symptoms or effects associated with sexual abuse. For example, one victim of sexual abuse explained, “let’s say a student was drinking over the summer and raped by a boyfriend. Or, was making out with a boyfriend and then he ultimately raped her. A student would be way too afraid of revealing those situations, because she could get kicked out of school for the drink/immorality even if the rape component wasn’t her fault.” (150)

Jones, III assured GRACE, “Nobody who is a genuine victim of rape would ever be expelled. She would be dealt with with great compassion and a desire to help her put her life back together. It would not be a discipline matter for the university. She would receive no discipline for that. That would be unheard of” (151).

A BJU student from the mid-2000s had been in a sexual relationship with her pastor since she was 15. She “lied about her whereabouts when she obtained the overnight passes to leave campus” to spend nights with him at a hotel. When she found out that she was expecting a child by him, she packed up her bags and left BJU. “Consequently, she was asked to withdraw at the request of the administration for lying about the overnight passes” (153) Months later, “she called Dr. Berg to ask if she could be allowed to take her final exams since she had been very near the end of the semester. This request was denied” (154).

GRACE suggests that BJU should have handled things differently (this woman is called “777” in the Report):

777 is a tragic example of someone who needed compassion and healing but instead received discipline…. 777’s rules violation needed to be put in its context. She was the victim of a large scale campaign of abuse by a shepherd who preyed on his sheep. She needed compassion and grace but received neither. Though Dr. Berg and Dr. Jones, III each expressed that the situation was “heartbreaking,” sanctioning a victim under these circumstances communicates a concern more for policies than for people. (160)

The GRACE Report concludes,

Instead of feeling safe, some victims reported feeling isolated, scrutinized and shut down” at BJU. (159) “Counselors must remove fear and create a space where the love of God in the gospel casts out any fear of disclosing difficult circumstances. The fear of punishment created by the role of disciplinarian is in direct conflict with this objective. The net result is many students did not receive the counseling they needed. (161)

Should contacting the civil authorities be the first reaction of those who hear about the possibility of sexual abuse? “BJU’s Dean of the Undergraduate School of Religion explained that it is important to report offenses to law enforcement, but he noted that they teach students that it is important to first be confident that an offense occurred before reporting it to law enforcement” (201).

He said,

I realize there are legal things when you are dealing with somebody’s children. We try to caution the students, you do want to be careful, you don’t want to get the Department of Social Services involved needlessly. In other words, you don’t want to be a loose screw, just, oh I bet there is sexual abuse going on here, let’s call them and let them sort out the facts. You don’t want that for sure…. You need to be very careful if you are going to accuse somebody of something that you know what you are talking about and you don’t get unsaved government employees, if you will, involved and as nice as they want to be, you just don’t call them needlessly and say, well they can sort it out. (201)

GRACE did not like the Dean’s answer:

The Dean of the Undergraduate School of Religion explained that they “try to caution the students” to be “sure” that the abuse has occurred before reporting it to “unsaved government employees.” The admission is concerning, because a top faculty member admits training future ministers about sexual abuse reporting standards in a manner inconsistent with the legal requirement to report known information to authorities. All university policies, as well as university administrators and its agents, such as professors, must communicate clearly and unequivocally on this issue. (209)

“Dr. Jones, III stated that the university does not involve the law when it is unnecessary to do so, but will when an issue is ‘deserving of the law’s attention or mandated by the law to do [so]’” (183). The Report replies to Jones, III’s comments,

Dr. Jones, III appears to have taken the position that sexual abuse need not be reported to the police when it is not mandated by law to be reported. Unfortunately, this position has resulted in needless suffering by those who came to university officials for help…. Regardless of whether there is a legal obligation to report, Christians have a sacred and moral obligation when confronted with abuse. (193)

The Report declares, “In cases where university officials did not report abuse or do everything possible to encourage and assist the victim to report the crime, they failed to show victims God’s love” (194).

On a positive note, the Report applauds BJU for its 2014-2015 abuse and neglect policy.

These improvements are highly commendable and signal an increased awareness of mandatory reporting laws. The abuse policy should take the critical step of reporting all known sexual offenders, regardless of the victim’s age and regardless of mandatory reporting obligations unless otherwise prohibited by law. (205)

GRACE also speaks highly of BJU’s new Chief of Public Safety. He “appears to have aided BJU officials in recognizing and reporting sexual crimes quickly” (207).

Pursuit of Excellence

At this point, the Report takes aim at BJU’s pursuit of excellence.

Some individuals described the spiritual damage experienced at Bob Jones University as resulting from what they termed the showcase mentality, noting, “there is this emphasis on being perfect.” The showcase mentality has been reported to be a cultural attitude at BJU that emphasizes the importance of external appearances. Those who described the showcase mentality explained how this ideal harms victims, enables perpetrators, and distorts their view of God. (210)

“The narrative that BJU is a showcase institution,” proclaims the GRACE Report,

can easily contradict the gospel’s basic principles. Jesus rebuked what could be labeled as showcase Christianity when He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” …This showcase mentality impacts the community as a whole, because it gives the perpetrators of sexual crimes significant freedom to reoffend. A BJU graduate, who is now a counselor, explained how the showcase mentality benefits perpetrators because, “a lot of abuse is covered over because it tarnishes that image of perfection…. I think that breeds abuse and it breeds failure.” (213)

The GRACE Report concludes,

The choice of an idealized showcase culture by BJU has impacted victims of sexual abuse negatively, particularly with regard to their spiritual lives. Ironically, victims see this chosen culture to be more welcoming and supportive of perpetrators. Change in this aspect of life at BJU could make a real positive difference in the lives of many present and future students. (219, 220)

Survey Participants

As we come to the end of the Report, let us ask, “Who are the Survey participants? What do they think about BJU?” The attitude of the majority can be summed up by this participant’s quote: “If I can prevent one family from sending their kid there, that would mean so much” (59).

Here is how some of the Survey participants describe their spirituality:

  • “At this point, I identify as a secular humanist, which is an atheist…. The idea of the concept of God as a father is a weird, scary one for me” (215).
  • “I believe in God. I pray. I just don’t go to church” (215).
  • “When people describe God or Jesus as someone to draw close to like a father, or something like that, I feel physically sick. I feel panic. I want to run and get as far away as I can” (216).
  • “I haven’t been to church in years. I have not met a pastor yet that cares any more about his congregation. He cares about his paycheck…. I am not ready to deal with people that are put in a position of spiritual ‘authority.’ I’m kind of tired of men and their spiritual authority over my life” (217).
  • “I don’t read the KJV. I fact I don’t read the Bible at all” (217).
  • “I don’t read my Bible anymore because I don’t know how to pick it up and read it… I just don’t know what I believe… I don’t want to believe in their God” (217).
  • “I walked away from attending church. But I wouldn’t say I have walked away from God. I have been to church maybe four times in the past three years. When I’m ready, I will go back… I see God as I see man, completely untrustworthy” (217).
  • “Me and God are not on the same page right now” (218).
  • “I found a spiritual home in the Episcopal Church where my faith was nurtured and my gifts flourished” (219).
  • “I have never meditated on the gospel and my abuse. I guess to a degree I have because I thought what if [the perpetrator] got saved before he died, and he is in Heaven. I thought that if he did then that means that Christ died on the cross and paid for my abuser’s sins against me. That makes Christ’s death more brutal and his grace all the more wild” (219).

What does this sampling of spiritual views tell us about the Report? Are the Survey participants competent to counsel BJU in the area of Christian counseling?

GRACE’s Recommendations

In conclusion, the GRACE Report offers recommendations for BJU. They include BJU’s issuing a public apology, making reparation payments to sexual abuse victims, and inviting victims to come to campus so that BJU can listen to their stories, acknowledge its sin, and repent “of its failed response to their disclosures of sexual abuse” (224). Other recommendations include erecting a memorial to sexual abuse victims on campus, engaging “outside child protection and assault prevention experts to review and revise all current BJU policies and procedures related to sexual abuse prevention, response, and reporting,” and giving regular sexual abuse training to BJU employees and board members (225, 226).

The Report constantly praises the Julie Valentine Center and recommends “that BJU refer all counseling for sexual abuse victims attending BJU to outside licensed and trained trauma counseling such as the Julie Valentine Center” (227). It calls on BJU to adopt stricter confidentiality standards, move the Women’s Counselor’s office out of the Administration Building into a “private, relaxed, and accessible place,” discontinue “Resident Hall Evaluations,” hire a “third-party victim advocate who shall be available to assist any and all sexual abuse complaints,” and annually celebrate Sexual Abuse Awareness Week. (228, 229). It advises BJU to “remove…from public access…sermons that include statements that are insensitive or hurtful to sexual abuse victims” (230).

GRACE then strikes at the heart of BJU’s counseling program by demanding that BJU stop selling and remove/prohibit “all endorsements and recommendations by BJU or any of its representatives of any and all counseling related materials, books, teachings, or curriculum associated with Bob Wood, Walter Fremont, and Jim Berg” (230). Furthermore, GRACE expects BJU to

consult an outside expert to review the content of all materials, curriculum, and teachings related to sexual abuse and victimization with the goal of ensuring that curriculum is not harmful to sexual abuse victims [and to] work with outside experts to develop some form of curriculum for seminary, elementary education, nursing, and criminal justice students that properly equips them to understand the various issues and dynamics related to sexual abuse. (230)

Of course, “the expert shall be made in consultation with GRACE” (230).

Last, the GRACE Report calls for “personnel action” to be taken against two individuals: Jones III and Berg.

“Personnel action” includes, but is not limited to, termination, suspension, probation, transfer, remedial education and training, or any other form of corrective action consistent with transforming the employee’s teaching, conduct, or overall disposition regarding sexual abuse matters. (231)

Concerning Jones, III, the Report decrees:

As President of BJU during much of the time that was the subject of this investigation, Dr. Jones, III is ultimately responsible for many of the difficult findings in this investigation. Dr. Jones, III has also repeatedly demonstrated a significant lack of understanding regarding the many painful dynamics associated with sexual abuse. (231)

As for Berg, the Report decrees:

As the most influential member of the BJU community regarding the many issues related to the counseling and discipline of sexual abuse victims, Dr. Berg bears a responsibility for much of the pain caused by BJU’s failure to understand and respond adequately to matters related to sexual abuse. It is recommended that as long as Dr. Berg is employed at BJU, he no longer be authorized to teach on any issue related to sexual abuse or victimization. It is recommended that Dr. Berg also no longer be allowed to provide any counseling and/or discipleship on or off campus. It is also recommended that Dr. Berg not be allowed to speak or consult on any issue related to counseling on or off campus. (231)

A Brief Evaluation

Certainly, the Report contains helpful information. Sexual abuse victims to whom we minster need to understand that God does not judge involuntary sexual activity. Also, we should always follow mandatory reporting laws where we live when we first hear of probable sexual abuse.

However, the Report mainly provides a wonderful opportunity for BJU to defend its Bible-based, Christ-centered counseling techniques. Far from going on the defensive, BJU ought to boldly reply to the criticisms leveled against it. The GRACE Report is the opinion of fallible people based upon the input of mostly dissatisfied acquaintances of BJU. The Report is in no way above criticism.

BJU presents a greater hope for victims than that offered by GRACE. It disagrees with the Report’s assertion that “sexual abuse is a devastating crime that impacts the personal and spiritual lives forevermore” (219, emphasis added).

BJU should not change its current dress code, disciplinary system, spiritual accountability system, or emphasis on excellence. Without these key elements, BJU will lose its niche within evangelicalism and will follow the devastating examples of other fundamentalist institutions that have declined precipitously after lowering their standards.

Do we really believe that “[God’s] divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3)? Do we really believe “that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:28- 29)?

Eternal truths are at stake in this debate, and I pray that BJU will not retreat on the biblical counseling principles that many of its alumni continue to embrace. Those principles radically transformed my life, and I pray they will continue to impact others as well.

43402 reads

There are 75 Comments

Teri Ploski's picture

Barry L. wrote:

Does a victim of abuse have the biblical excuse to be bitter, angry, addicted, etc.?

In the scheme of things it doesn't matter if BJU survives or not. It is a man made institution and man made institutions come and they go throughout time.  However, what is important is that people view their sin from a biblical perspective. I don't see an excuse for sin in the Bible. GRACE seems to imply that there are. I hope I am misinterpreting them, but it sure seems like that their view of counseling is that to not challenge the bitterness, anger, or any other sinfulness the victim may be playing out. It may be an accepted idea in most counseling circles, but it is not biblical.

 

Just addressing this. No, obviously God does not give us a "pass" on sinning because of our background.  But to imply that sexual abuse will NOT have a forever impact on someone's life is unbelievable.  Our past does impact us for the rest of our lives.  We can, however, rise above it, and God can (and will, if we allow Him to) use it.  Someone mentioned Corrie Ten Boom.  To say her past did not have a profound effect on the rest of her life minimizes the ministry she had! 

I was assaulted when I was in junior high school.  I already had a pretty low view of myself (junior high can be a pretty brutal time), and that incident did not help matters much.  It simply added to my opinion that I was pretty insignificant.  Combine that with my divorce, and it took a long time to come to accept that I am not my past.  I am significant.  I have worth.  I have accomplished things.  I am useful to God, and He IS using me.  I am on staff at my church and am actively involved in several ministries. Do I still struggle with feelings of not being worthy? Of course.  I have to fight those feelings constantly.  My past will always be a shadow over my life, but it will not control me any longer. I've given my life to Christ, and I'm living to please Him. I am not bitter or angry about what happened to me some 40+ years ago, but to say that it has not impacted my "personal and spiritual life forevermore" is an insult.   It certainly has, both for the bad, and by God's grace, for the good.

(Oh, horrors - I'm now not able to even speak, since I committed the unforgivable sin in the eyes of many fundamentalists, even though it was NOT my choice, and all fighting it did was to simply line my lawyers' pockets.)  

 

Jay's picture

stephen wrote:

This article is awful, but, to be honest, it is exactly the type of drivel that Sharper Iron is well known for.

Sharper Iron - helping to kill fundamentalism on article at a time!

Well, I suppose you could say that, but we're at least discussing the report.  So that counts for something against those (not saying this is you) who would argue that SI is just covering over the article because of a BJU-bias of some sort, and I'm glad that there is pushback against CD Cathorne's article, even if I do agree with some of what he wrote.

I also strongly agree with the recommendation of MacArthur and Mack's book on Counseling.  It was a long overdue correction and is valuable to anyone.

As Greg Long's question regarding the question of why rape over physical violence - because it is more 'empowering', in the mind of someone who is that far gone, to force a woman into a sexual act for the rapist's satisfaction than it would be to beat another person up in, say, a boxing ring.  You have to keep in mind that the rapists' mind is completely warped and they are concerned only with their own gratification or pleasure. The woman (or man) is just an object to be used towards that end, which is why I think that the continued objectification of women by society and culture is so incredibly dangerous. This is also why I favor the death penalty for rapists.  

I don't think that this is about 'eternal truths' or 'what BJU (supposedly) stands for' - although those ideas are involved in other ways.  I think this is about bad practices developed and analyzed by people who do not have significant exposure to mental/social/physical trauma, and I think it's compounded by a faculty and staff that is largely made up of people that have been trained in those bad practices and systems.  It's not nepotism, but it is dangerously inbred.  That's why I am glad that this is being discussed, although I have serious reservations as to the work of G.R.A.C.E. and what their underlying presuppositions are.  A faulty start towards cleanup is much better than no start at all.  What I would REALLY like to see is BJU start hiring some non-BJU grads for their ministries.  Exposure to the school is good, but when you have people in significant positions of leadership who have no significant experience outside of the campus and the affiliated churches/ministries?  That's a recipe for disaster, either intentional or not.  I faulted BJU for it when I was there - especially when they hired people from Mount Calvary Baptist Church for key positions - and I will continue to fault them for it until the practice stops.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

(Oh, horrors - I'm now not able to even speak, since I committed the unforgivable sin in the eyes of many fundamentalists, even though it was NOT my choice, and all fighting it did was to simply line my lawyers' pockets.)  

If that's what they think, then they have no love for the brothers anyway:

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:11-18)

You're better off without their 'input', and we are better off for you taking the time to discuss what happened to you.  Thanks for sharing.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

Barry L. wrote:

Does a victim of abuse have the biblical excuse to be bitter, angry, addicted, etc.?

Full stop, because this is a very important question.

No, they do not have a biblical 'excuse'.  But we need to be very, very careful that questions that result from trauma of any kind - loss of a family member or friend, rape, abuse, divorce, whatever - are not confused for 'bitterness'.  That's why I think that groups like the DoRight groups are attractive and deadly at the same time.  The victims deserve the right to say that they were hurt and to get help from Christians that are serious about helping them work through all of that.  I understand that because I have had to work through a lot of trauma myself.  Where I think those groups are deadly is when they are taken over by 'victims' who want to nothing more to do than flash their victimization card as an badge and who can't move beyond it because being hurt now means so much to who they are as a person. That's bitterness, is incredibly toxic, and is a sin problem that must be addressed in some way.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Bert Perry's picture

I read through the report, and here are some of my thoughts:

1.  I tend to agree that modesty codes can turn into a tool for blaming the victim.  There is a subtle, but very significant, difference between the facts of immodest dress--we are presenting ourselves as available for a wrong relationship--and saying that the person who dresses immodestly is the cause of her rape.  To draw a picture, a woman wears a very low bodice/high hemline to the bar on the chance she might be noticed, but not to work because that notice isn't businesslike--but in neither case is the woman "asking" to be raped.

I'm all for propriety in dress, but you've got to make clear what you are and aren't saying.  And you can say a lot of things about the other rules that BJU is famous for--some of them are actually wise, but you've got to put them in a Gospel/Biblical context.  I don't think most fundamental colleges do that very well.  (which is part of why the rules list gets so long and arguably unBiblical at most schools)

2.  I would agree that the BJU approach to PTSD and related trauma-related syndromes is simplistic. On one side, we are called to forgive (something that GRACE gets wrong at one point in the report if I remember correctly).  On the other, we are also called to heed our responsibility to bring justice to those in the church, and through secular authorities where appropriate.

3.  I am very uneasy at the "credentialism" in the GRACE report, and also at the claim that abusers are somehow uniquely adept at using authority structures.  The fact of the matter is that when sexual abuse turns criminal, which is almost all the time, the matter will go before a group of 12 people "too dumb to get out of jury duty", with two people whose job is to win, not necessarily to present the truth.  Are we really under the impression that men who are "apt to teach" and qualified for eldership/professorship are going to do worse than (for example) the New London CT police department, where excessive intellect disqualifies a man from joining the police force?

(I am not making this up--see http://abcnews.go.com/US/court-oks-barring-high-iqs-cops/story?id=95836 )

At any rate, even if police officers were uniformly MENSA members, that would not remove the church's need to hear victims out.  Romans 13 does not override Matthew 18.  We need to learn how to figure things out well enough to discipline errant church members, no?  That doesn't mean we do Matthew 18 and not Romans 13.  It means that we use our Matthew 18/etc.  counseling responsibility at times to urge people to speak up to governing authorities.  I personally did so over Christmas with my sister-in-law.

And to be frank, as the relative of multiple people with mental illness, substance abuse issues, and such, one of the most powerful things I've learned is that what the person is talking about is generally a symptom, not a cause.  Vodka and coke means they're a drunk, yes (you can't smell it on their breath), but it also means something is going on to get them there.  You need to ask the questions "why are you drinking?", "why are you cutting yourself?", and the like.  You will be surprised what you learn.

One of the big things GRACE gets right, IMO, is that BJU (like a lot of police departments, really--I've been closer to abuse than I'd like) often treated the symptoms (lying to get a pass, smoking, etc..) as the cause.  You've got to be more patient than that.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

Jay's comment triggered (in a good way) something; when someone is hurt very badly in the Bible, they are often referred to as mourning.  I'm thinking of people like Tamar--either one really--living desolate after being raped.  That doesn't excuse every bit of what mourning leads to, but it does suggest that if we are to "weep with those who weep", and if those who mourn are blessed, we'd darned well better stop telling people to "get over it."  There is a Biblical place for weeping at our traumas.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Greg Long wrote:
Susan, if rape is about power, nothing more and nothing less, than why doesn't the man just beat up the woman? 

But that is what rape is, only he uses something other than his fists to attack her. And that's as tactfully as I can say it. If a woman goes to the hospital after a rape, there is evidence of the attack because she will have bruising and tearing. Remember the second word in the phrase sexual assault

I think the disconnect is because some men do experience sexual satisfaction when they brutalize women - but that isn't normal sexual desire, or even an overabundance of normal sexual desire. It's beyond sex and into deviancy, because they aren't gaining satisfaction from a simple sexual act, but from the power and pain they inflict.

In a society where women and children are sexualized nearly every place we look, we need to get our theology on straight. Messages of purity and modesty are being conflated with issues of sexual assault. It is very important IMO to get the right message to young men and women about what normal sexual desire is, and what deviance is. We can't dismiss rape as a guy who's just a little too turned on to stop, or a woman in a tight dress as 'asking for it'. If that's the case, then any person who walks on purpose into an isolated area and is attacked is 'asking for it', because that person placed themselves at risk. 

Bert Perry's picture

Greg Long wrote:

Susan, if rape is about power, nothing more and nothing less, than why doesn't the man just beat up the woman?

Greg, I think it's because of what Teri is getting at.  Bruises heal pretty easily.  Rape's a harder nut to crack.  There are some who enjoy that humiliation.  If you don't get it--and I do not--praise God.  No?

To be honest, though, I think there is a portion of sexual assault that is not about violence--I'm thinking specifically about a good portion of cases of date rape.  Now it could be that there is a big population of really mean drunks out there doing all this, but part of me wonders whether this is just reduced inhibitions and the "Purim" case of not being able to discern the words Haman and Mordecai--or yes and no.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry Nelson's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Jay's comment triggered (in a good way) something; when someone is hurt very badly in the Bible, they are often referred to as mourning.  I'm thinking of people like Tamar--either one really--living desolate after being raped.  That doesn't excuse every bit of what mourning leads to, but it does suggest that if we are to "weep with those who weep", and if those who mourn are blessed, we'd darned well better stop telling people to "get over it."  There is a Biblical place for weeping at our traumas.

Your post somehow reminded me of the biblical passage known to many from a 60's pop song:

Ecclesiates 3:1-8 (ESV)

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

----------------------

Not every one heals from trauma at the same pace.  (I'd claim that to be self-evident.)  Is that bad?  Is it unbiblical?  If one expects Christians to be uniformly "shiny, happy people" (let's see who gets that reference...) at all times, then I would suggest that a false expectation of "image" is what is really paramount in their thinking.

dmyers's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

Though the post is mostly excerpts from the Report, I recommend noticing three things:

  • Most people will not read the Report, and there is value in at least trying to go beyond "reactions to reactions" and draw some to interact with what's actually there.

And later:

Though not not well developed, there are not only propositions here but also supporting arguments. (Keep in mind that the post is 8,000 words long as it is... and it's no easy thing to pull a reasonably representative sampling of material from a 300 page report while retaining enough context to avoid the charge of taking material out of context... and then also evaluate it.) 

So is it possible to provide a fair ("representative") summary or sampling of the long GRACE report, or not?  If not, then have people read the report, as many have, including many of the commenters here (and including me).  If people aren't willing to read the full report, or at least large portions of it, perhaps they shouldn't be discussing it, and certainly not criticizing it.  

If it is possible to provide a fair summary, Cauthorne's patently is not it.  The fact that you don't recognize that, Aaron, is not promising for your upcoming article.  Cauthorn's summary is loaded with hyperbole, motive-attribution, and dismissiveness when introducing or commenting on quotes from GRACE, and nothing but laudatory about the actions, methods, and qualifications of the BJU "counselors."  You don't have to know anything about the GRACE report to spot immediately that Cauthorn has an agenda, and it isn't to inform his audience fairly of the contents and rationale of the report.

There is no value whatsoever to asking people to interact with the GRACE report if you're going to tilt the discussion-starter.

 

dmyers's picture

Sorry, one final comment:  Are you telling us that this is the most thoughtful response/summary/BJU defense that SI has seen since the report came out five weeks ago?  Yikes.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Bert Perry wrote:
The fact of the matter is that when sexual abuse turns criminal, which is almost all the time, the matter will go before a group of 12 people "too dumb to get out of jury duty", with two people whose job is to win, not necessarily to present the truth.
Berry,

When is sexual abuse not criminal?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

C. D. Cauthorne Jr.'s picture

Dmeyers,

There are many articles on the Internet concerning the GRACE Report that blast BJU. What I have tried to do is present the Report from a different perspective. The lack of any defense for BJU has bothered me.

An article that presents the quotes in the way I did is necessary, IMO, for a discussion which has been decidedly biased against BJU.

The conclusion that I draw from the majority of responses on SI is that BJU's historic position on counseling is indefensible and the GRACE Report's conclusions are mostly right. I disagree.

Mark_Smith's picture

There was previous thread at SI about the GRACE report here.

The problems at BJU and the GRACE report are many.

1- Your summary C D Cauthorne, while I appreciate it, left out the BJ Academy part completely. The academy is where I am concerned that BJU officials have the most criminal liability for not reporting issues. Even though many were minor (touching, for example), school officials DO NOT HAVE THE OPTION to ignore these issues. They need to report to cover themselves.

2- I am not a BJU alumnus. I have never even been on the campus just to be clear, so here goes. BJU's problem is they are the school that time forgot. While I appreciate with Biblical counseling, and agree with it in general, what BJU was apparently doing didn't follow that model very well. In the decades since BJU came into existence with in loco parentis, sexual assault and abuse became a BIG ISSUE to the public and it became a mandatory reporting crime. BJU is at fault, as far as I have read, for not reporting allegations to police. It is as simple as that. This fact has nothing to do with Biblical counseling methodologies, but being aware of and following the laws! BJU officials repeatedly reported that the were ignorant of basic things like this...it is frankly scary to think that that would be true.

I have more to say but it is time to make pancakes!

Andrew Comings's picture

I am not a trained counselor. However, my particular context does not allow me to lateral cases that come to me over to professionals, because said professionals do not exist. Fortunately, in the instances where I have had to specifically deal with cases of abuse, I have benefited from the counsel of godly men with training and experience. 

Having said that, one thing in the GRACE report rings true...there seems to be an overwhelming lack of empathy on the part of Christian leaders, and a disturbing lack of emphasis on God's justice. 

We had the opportunity to minister to a young lady who, as a child, had been abused by a man in ministry. She sought help several times, and received the stock "you need to forgive" answer, while absolutely nothing was done about the perpetrator. Result: a very bitter young lady who was gun-shy and unable to trust anybody--including God. One pastor's wife she talked to told her "When my husband found out who did this it almost ruined his friendship with the man." Almost?

There were many "break-through" moments as we worked with her. One of them was when I told her "I don't know who the guy who did this to you is, but it doesn't matter if he is my best friend...he won't be after this. I believe you, and I'll do what I can to make sure there is some justice done." I let her know that up front before there was any talk of forgiveness.

God brought together many people to help this young lady heal, and we all worked establishing trust and empathy first. Our work was made harder by almost two decades of destroyed trust and lack of empathy on the part of Christian leaders who came at her with the knee-jerk "you just have to forgive" attitude. 

She did need to forgive, but that was not the first thing she needed to hear. Worse--people who could have stopped this guy in his tracks, instead paved the way for him to pastor two other churches.

Today, to the glory of God, there is a sweet young Christian lady who has forgiven, is moving on, and is a blessing to many others. 

Of course this is anecdotal, but it makes the GRACE report ring true for me. 

Post script: when the young lady's church found out, they responded beautifully and even sent a commission to confront the perpetrator, who lived in another city. Legally, there was nothing they could do, but then God took over and the guy is now behind bars for something completely unrelated.

Missionary in Brazil, author of "The Astonishing Adventures of Missionary Max" Online at: http://www.comingstobrazil.com http://cadernoteologico.wordpress.com

rogercarlson's picture

Alot has been said here.  I am a BJU grad that did not have problems there.  I loved my time there.  C.D. is and will always be a friend.  That said, this report is disturbing.  The mandetory report issues are the worst to me.  A close second, is the possible HIPPA violations.  I am a pastor.  But I also work a chaplain and I am a part time firefighter and chaplain of the department.  It is basic that we know that HIPPA cannot be violated.  I know it has not been around all that long, but all of us have had to adjust our ministries to it, I am suprised that BJU never has.

Now as to the modesty issue that was brought up.  The school has a right to have their standards and I will defend their right.  But let me echo what Susan said.  Immodesty does not open a woman up to sexual assault.  The focus should be where the Bible puts it.  Women should dress modestly for God's glory.  Men have no right to lust, nor do they get a pass for lusting because someone dressed immodestly.  But to put any blame on a person who is assaulted is wrong on so many levels.  Too many sermons have laid the blame on women for men's lust.  When we lust, James makes it clear it is because of us, not anyone outside of us.  But again sexual assault and lust (the way we are presenting it) is not the same thing. 

So keep the dress standards if you want.  But present them Biblically - This is where we believe God wants us to have them, this is how we believe modesty is best held up.  That is fine, but I can see how many felt violated by them.  That could have been handled more carefully.

I am sure there is more to say, but I will stop for now Smile

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

J.M.K.V.'s picture

I'm just gonna throw a few things into the pot here for thinking, forgive me if it's hard to follow, I'm posting this on break at work and I'm being rushed...

Though I'm not a BJU student or graduate, I attended many events at BJU growing up. My home church, where I was baptized, in Forest City, NC was planted by BJU (Bruce McAllister was our first pastor), my homeschooling curriculum was mostly BJU Press, and I attended many educational events there. I have several friends who went to BJU and many who grew up in the same BJU circles as I did. In all, I have spent many days on the BJU campus. Later in the 90's, the BJU influence upon our church seemed to slack a little, much of that due to the establishment of a small Bible College (Ambassador Baptist College) just down the road, by evangelist Ron Comfort (a BJU graduate I believe). After that, our church membership widely became ABC students and faculty. Pastor Frank Camp, who taught at ABC, actually baptized me, along with my sister and two close friends (The water heater for the baptismal was out, talk about a cold night).

Some of the folks at the church became dissatisfied with Pastor Camp's preaching style (too much teaching, not enough shouting, hellfire, and brimstone) So he resigned, became pastor of a larger church down the road, where God used him and his church greatly. Several church member left and opted to attend his new church, and a new pastor with a more rural style, out of a small "BJU isn't fundamentalist enough and should be condemned, so come to our school" bible college in SC was elected. I call this period the dark ages of our church. Within a year, most of our original members were gone, and many long time members. Within 2 years, the membership was less than half of what it was when my family first attended. The finances were in the ditch, members seemed to be leaving monthly, support to missionaries was cut, only a few bible college students and 2 or 3 large families remained, when my father couldn't hold his tongue any longer and left as well. 

We drifted from church to church, several independent baptist churches...some were ABC churches, some were very rural, almost backwards fundamentalist churches that reminded me of some pentacostal or free will baptist churches, and some were still stuck in the Lester Roloff days. Being accustomed to the preaching, teaching, and music styles of BJU and ABC, I could hardly handle these later churches.

My point in telling you my background is that I have been exposed to many brands of fundamentalism, and my parents were incredibly strict fundamentalists for a while, more strict than anything I encountered at BJU. 

While attending summer programs at BJU during High school for weeks, in the late 90's-early 2000's, I actually felt liberated. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, I enjoyed my classes and programs, I enjoyed the other youth, and I admired my instructors. Most of us were very aware of the rules (we were required to conduct ourselves in the same manner as the college students, including dress code), and most of us didn't have a problem with it. Most of us were fundamentalist, or at least very conservative evangelicals. We all agreed, for the most part, that some of the views held by BJU were ridiculous. Most of us listened to some secular music, watched some secular TV or movies, and just weren't the old rock ribbed fundamentalist type when it came to separation, though theologically and biblically we mostly agreed with "them".

"Them" or "They" were certain teachers, instructors, faculty, pastors, evangelists, and board members of BJU that kept certain components of fundamentalism deeply embedded within BJU. To many of the youth within BJU circles in my day, "they" were the ones keeping BJU from being the best college ever, with what we considered to be ridiculous standards of separation. We loved the school, loved and respected the faculty, and had a blast...In fact, we took pride in the fact that BJU wasn't as "fundamentalist" as some other bible colleges out there, which we thought were just crazy. Most of the instructors (the same faculty as the college students, with some help from the faculty of the academy), were very warm hearted, very caring, passionate about their work, excellent examples of Christian lifestyles, and were very approachable.

The highlights of my time spent at BJU were standing in front of a packed chapel service to assist the speaker in an illustration, meeting Bob Jones III on the walk back from a chapel service, and he asked me how my week was going, and if I had planned to use what I had learned to further the cause of Christ. He was very kind to us, took interest in us, and though we all know the Jones' are not the most humble people, he was very gracious. I'll always remember it. Another highlight was during a meal in the dining common...we high school students attending summer programs had been corralled into 2 rows of tables by a rather sharp and unpleasant lady. There simply was no where else to sit, but the lady would have none of it. I stood and walked around with my tray, awaiting for someone to finish to that I may have a seat, and I hear a voice behind me say "young man, have you found nowhere to sit" I recognized the voice, from Unusual Films, and turned to see Edward Panosian speaking to me. I replied "No sir, I'm waiting for someone to finish". He responded by motioning to the chair across from him, and his wife, saying "please, sit here". I said "well, sir, we're not allowed to sit anywhere but these two rows". "Oh, I see. Young lady, may he sit here?" She looked at him, then looked at me, hesitated for a moment, then nodded with approval..allowing me to eat dinner across the table from Edward Panosian, who I greatly respected.

My take on the situation with BJU is this; It was wrong to neglect and ignore these victims, they should have been nurtured, concern should have been top priority, this is, and forever will be a stain on BJU. Things MUST change. It all goes back to "they". Many of us in our youth recognized that while we loved BJU and had a blast there, and in all, it helped our relationship with Christ, there were just some parts of Fundamentalism that needed to be done away with...much of that old version of Fundamentalism has led up to this. It was only a matter of time. Root it out, embrace a more transparent, humble, compassionate nature. In no way should BJU lower it's theological positions, as far a biblical doctrine is concerned...But as far as many elements of separation, discipline, and a warped theological view of psychological counseling, it must be challenged from within, and it must be changed.

That being said, I think many of us former BJU affiliates feel like most BJU faculty and administration are godly, caring, good Christian people...most of us feel like BJU is still a great school in many respects, most of us hold no ill will towards BJU at all...in fact, I know several folks who have been quite devastated by the entire incident...I can tell you that I have shed more than a few tears in prayer...praying for the victims, praying for the administration, praying for students that I know, who have been shell shocked by this...It breaks their hearts, and my heart, to see a place that we love, go through these trials...it breaks our heart knowing that so many were deeply hurt and scarred by something that we love, and people we respect. I continue to pray that God will heal all, and His greater will shall shine through the darkness. 

My personal recommendations for BJU--

From what I've seen in the past few years, BJU isn't even as strict as it was when I attended programs there 15 years ago...even then, some fundamentalists were condemning BJU over its "loosening". BJU should continue to be an historically fundamentalist/orthodox protestant/baptist college, as far as doctrine is concerned, but should also continue to open up as far as some separation issues and disciplinary issues are concerned. Most younger fundamentalists reject extreme, and even some moderate separation, but demand an orthodox, conservative theology based upon fundamental biblical doctrine. Continue a conservative/classical music approach...I think the last thing any religious organization needs is more contemporary rock star wannabe's...the BJU music program is just phenomenal, and so beautiful...BJU should open to a wider spectrum of conservative Christianity, any who respect the fundamentals of the faith. it would be a great tool to return many elements of the modern church to orthodoxy.

It may be time to consider a name change. The name of Bob Jones Sr. doesn't carry the weight or recognition it once held, it may be wise to consider changing to a name that reflects the commitment to conservative orthodoxy, fundamental doctrine, and Christian principles in higher education.

Update the faculty as far as training is concerned. Don't be shy about hiring teachers from other colleges, particularly accredited colleges, so long as they adhere to a statement of faith. This may also help with accreditation.

Become accredited as quickly as possible (This was a major factor in my opting out of attending BJU, though I definitely wanted to attend).

Work to reconcile with students who have been expelled due to harsh disciplinary actions over offenses that may not seem so serious. 

These are just some ideas of mine, maybe they would help, maybe not. I think we all know that there are droves of people just eagerly waiting to cast stones at BJU for multiple reasons, and that no matter what the university does, it will never be enough. Ever. We understand that. Many of these people have been just leftist activists from the start, trying to see what kind of trouble they can cause. Those of us who have been there also understand how much of what is heard about BJU is widely exaggerated, and sometimes completely false. We shouldn't bother attempting to appease these folks but please, let's not give them any more stones to throw...or reasons to recruit more disgruntled students to their cause...

Thank you all for reading my humble opinion, God bless.

J.M. Kennedy V

Joeb's picture

Tyler R is right on. I like Tyler have a Law Enforcement background. I am a retired Criminal Investigator with the US Treasury Department. TYLER is looking at CDs evaluation objectively as a Criminal Investigator is trained to do. TYLER the 2010 victim in the Grace Report in my mind confirms the 2010 victim in the pathos article Christianity to make Satan Proud which indicates Dr Berg may be criminally liable for his actions. I'm sure the Grace Report is right the baby needs to be thrown out with the bath water. As Tyler pointed out what true Christian would not report the continual rape of a underage girl by an older man immediately to the police. Berg did not per the grace report. So CD wants to keep Berg and his counseling program in place when Berg repeatedly non reported and allegedly protected sex offender. What sane person would agree with this thinking.

Bert Perry's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

Bert Perry wrote:

The fact of the matter is that when sexual abuse turns criminal, which is almost all the time, the matter will go before a group of 12 people "too dumb to get out of jury duty", with two people whose job is to win, not necessarily to present the truth.

Berry,

 

When is sexual abuse not criminal?

Think singles bars, where it's sort of plausibly consensual and adult.  As I read the "exploits" of so-called "pickup artists", I am at a loss to consider this behavior, even while usually legal, anything less than abusive.  One can quibble about the boundaries of the behaviors that one would consider "sexual abuse", of course, but I'd include that.

That said, the main point I was trying to make is that in criminal cases of sexual abuse, churches and colleges ought to be involved because the expertise of a jury ought to be exceeded by that of wise deacons, elders, and administrators, and because the presence of a Romans 13 issue does not dismiss the presence of a Matthew 18 issue.

Regarding that, Andrew posted a wonderful story about how churches ought to address these issues--at least the last church he mentions.  Sending elders to confront a man in another city and open up the issue with another church may have been part of putting a man in jail who belonged there--and not coincidentally, having a chance of bringing him to repentance.  

One other thing I'd like to mention--or perhaps repeat--is that BJU is hardly the only institution, church related or secular, that is coming to grips with this.  If you look back at most institutions over 40 years, you are going to see some cause for repentance in this regard.  I can point to my elementary school, for example--a teacher was molesting boys, including some of my next door neighbors, and the response was simply "get out and don't teach again."  It was dubious at the time whether the perp could be put in jail, but it was clear that my neighbor could inflict some serious pain him if he tried to stay.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

Bert do you here what your saying the pastors and elders should circumvent the Legal system because they know better and bring the person to repentance before letting the Police get involved. For Bert and all the other pastors out their this move is obstruction of justice.  Don't do it.  The pastors college admin are suppose to immediately contact the Police.  Even if that happens the pastors are not suppose to meet with the person as a group before trial.  If perp requests to see one pastor fine.  He has that right.  If what Bert is proposing was done with Jack Schapp Jack would have walked. Some his parishioners were dropping victim off for counseling across state lines.  Bert how dare you attack the jury system in the US.      Your way of doing things is why BJU is in the position it is in. Again how dare you say Christian pastors would know how to handle the situation better. Repentance and forgiveness can be handled after the conviction.   The pastor or the college admin is suppose to report the matter immediately back off unless their assistance is requested by the criminal investigators and the pastor is not suppose to inform all the elders. The criminal investigator tells the pastor who he can contact. The criminal investigator carries the sword of justice for Christ as God intended.  

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Churches and Christian colleges are not the worse offenders when it comes to mishandling abuse cases. Public school officials and teacher's unions make BJU look like Little Red Riding Hood.  

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/school_law/2010/01/district_not_liable_for_passin.html

An Illinois school district that allegedly concealed a teacher's record of sexually abusing students was not liable when the teacher continued to abuse students in another community, a federal appeals court has ruled.

And from http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/03/27/passing-the-trash-deals-allow-bad-teachers-and-coaches-to-become-mobile-molestors/

it’s becoming obvious many school administrators and teacher union officials have known about countless instances of abuse and conspired to cover them up. That allowed an untold number of molesting teachers to quietly leave one school district to repeat their crimes in another.

Just Google "passing the trash" and prepare to be horrified. 

Don't even try to find cases of pedophiles in Hollywood being investigated, losing their jobs, or being shunned - children are passed around like party favors, and nobody seems to mind terribly. Only in the entertainment industry can a guy drug and rape a 13 year old girl and expect to be defended by other celebrities who claim it wasn't really rape. http://newsbusters.org/blogs/lachlan-markay/2009/09/29/views-whoopi-goldberg-polanski-it-wasnt-rape-rape

This is not, IMO, just a BJU issue, but a cultural one. One that has invaded and pervaded every aspect of our lives Of course, churches and Christian colleges should be the last place where a wicked culture has such an impact that crimes of this nature are minimized or swept under the rug.

Bert Perry's picture

Joeb, I'm going to have to suggest you work on your reading comprehension, as what I wrote has no similarity to how you responded.  

What I am saying is very simple. Matthew 18 and Romans 13 are both in the Bible.  Hence pastors ought to heed their responsibilities under both.

Got it?  I have never, and will never, endorse pastors staying in the way of the law.  I have, in the past month, told at least two relatives that they need to take legal action due to things done to them.  So to put it very nicely, I take some serious exception to what you say here.  

And if you want to bring up Jack Schaap, keep in mind that his case came to light because the deacon board did its Matthew 18 duty by firing him just prior to bringing the case to the attention of authorities.  They did exactly what I am suggesting.  Matthew 18 and Romans 13 work well together, even with churches as messed up as 1st Baptist of Hammond.  They investigated the case, found clear evidence of Schaap's guilt, fired him, and then brought the evidence to authorities.

Really, it is as if you are unaware that witnesses are often the ones who (per my example from my own life) point out that what just happened to a victim is not normal, and that people around them are willing to help.  As a rule, people who have been abused need to be persuaded to actually talk to government investigators.  They don't think it's that big of a deal, fear what might happen, and the like.  So it's not "obstruction of justice", as you ignorantly claim, but rather its promotion.

If you're unaware of this, maybe....criminal justice ought not be your career.  

The same goes for juries.  Sorry, Joeb, but if you really have a "law enforcement background" and are unaware of the fact that defense lawyers often work to keep professionals (engineers, lawyers) off juries because they're not as receptive to histrionics (think OJ, Simpson dream team) by defense lawyers, maybe you need to choose a career more in keeping with your knowledge and abilities.  The reason we have a jury system is not because 12 people are better qualified than others to judge the merits of the case.  It is because we do not trust judges employed by the government to judge fairly--we distrust their bias more than we distrust the inexperience of 12 voters off the street.

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

BERT if I am wrong I stand to be corrected.   BERT I  have already had a successful 271/2 career as a criminal investigator with the U.S. Treasury Department so Im no longer looking to pursue that career.  It is my understanding that the person that found Schapp's cell phone went straight to the Police and that when it became public the elder board fired him and said is was a moral failure and they did not think it was criminal.    Additionally, members of the church were bringing the young lady over state lines for Schapp,s so called counseling sessions. You again attack the Judges in our system which is the best imperfect system man kind has ever come up with so I kind to have to believe that you do not trust Police or government authorities.   I have one question for you which is a case in point.  Do you think Chuck Phelps as a pastor handled the TINA ANDERSON matter correctly? Yes or No.   Remember the counseling PHELPS  practiced was most likely taught to him by BERG and the actions by PHELPS were similar to the methods brought up by the other BJU complainants.  This is the crux of the whole GR and why they want BERG and JONES III gone. PS if you remember JONES III fought to keep PHELPS on the board.

mmartin's picture

1.  BJU's chickens are coming home to roost.  BJU's own insular, arrogant thinking is catching up with them.  As someone else said above, BJU didn't change because they felt it was us, the people that send them our children, that needed to change.  BJU's lack of grace and humility about themselves and how they interact with people is now biting them in their behind.

2.  III and Berg are now toxic to BJU.  They have to go.  I know that won't be popular with a lot of people, but if BJU truly wants to distance themselves from their past and not be seen as circling their wagons, then III and Berg have to go.  For the foreseeable future anytime you hear of III or Berg it is human nature to think of the GRACE report - and the negative things brought to light.  Not good!

3.  I believe how BJU responds to the GRACE report and how they conduct themselves within the next short years will determine their sustainability.  People are watching.  If BJU fails to respond to many of the recommendations by GRACE, i.e. III & Berg, you might as well consider BJU dead - because they will be if they don't.  Whether we like it or not it is about perception & PR. 

4.  I believe Pettit is the right man to lead BJU out of the mess of their own making.  He definitely needs our prayers.

5.  I want BJU to succeed, but they must change into a kinder, gentler version starting with not seeing themselves as the be-all, end-all of the world.

Bert Perry's picture

Here's a link to timelines, Joeb.  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Baptist_Church_(Hammond,_Indiana)

Referring Schaap to authorities was done by the church officials after they fired him.  No obstruction of justice, but rather enablement of justice from a church that (see other links) was credibly accused of obstruction of justice in a series of cases involving Jack Hyles, his son, and others earlier.

I don't much like the Hyles/1st Baptist mode, but in that case, they got it right.  You are wrong.

You got it wrong regarding the police and I as well; I simply recognize the limitations of the system we have, e.g. the Simpson case, the Nifong case, and the like.  Why would I tell my sister-in-law to take things to the police if I inherently didn't trust them?  

For a supposed investigator, you're not reading very carefully, Joeb.

And Phelps?  Weird case, but to his credit, he did report it to the police a few times, according to court documents.  Forcing her to apologize.  Ewww.  Allowing the perp to remain in fellowship.  Double Ewww...  But the most egregious failure appears to be that the police did not expend much energy to find her at the time--it was only 20 years later that someone in the department read a posting and did the work to contact her, and there is no record that either Phelps or the girl's mother were ever asked about her whereabouts at the time she went to CO.

Triscadecatuple Ewww.....

Making the case that BJU was at fault for that......is going to be difficult, my friend, and it points out that, as we would guess from God's Word, that the church does indeed have a valid role investigating these things.  Sometimes it works well, and sometimes the ball gets dropped.  But in either case--Schaap or Phelps--it turned out that the police were better informed after the church had done the investigation.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

I agree to disagree with you.  In court it was shown that PHELPS only reported the matter as a consensual relationship ie what BERG and JONES thought about the matter they failed to report.  The Police repeatedly tried to contact PHELPS and the mother about the matter and they did not respond.  PHELPS backs up his side of the story with the mother who is still residing with the man who also raped and abused TINA ANDERSON.  The mothers creditability is useless.  CHUCK PHELPS married another sex offender to a woman while he was in the halfway house for being a sex offender and this man ended up raping her daughter.   This mother was more worried about her husband going to jail than her daughter.  CHUCK PHELPS creditability is zero.  Again how PHELPS handled the above and how BERG handles similar matters is the whole crux of the GR and thats why they want BERG and JONES III gone from counseling.  I guess your answer to my questions was YES.  This will be my last word on the matter.   

Bert Perry's picture

Joeb, it does not matter whether Phelps reported it as consensual or not; the police would have had access to school records and medical records (NH and CO both require homeschool intent letters) that would have shown it to be at least statutory rape. Moreover, police records contain no record of whether the church would have helped find the girl.

Translation; they probably weren't asked.  This is a huge EWWW for the Concord police department.  Zippo record of any investigation at the time.  Barney Fife would have done better.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/alleged-rape-victim-accuses-tr...

And you would again be wrong about me supporting Phelps--what on earth do you think it means when I respond to something he did with "ewww" and characterize the case as "weird"?  You really need to work on your reading comprehension--it is as if you're trying to prove me right when I suggest that any competent board of deacons, elders, or professors ought to do a better job than the police in investigating crimes.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

You said he reported it which he reported only a consensual relationship and then shipped her out the next day.  Eww for a couple things and the saying he reported the matter then say the Police. Dropped the ball when even the article said they were considering obstruction charges against Phelps says you support him.  Tina says Phelps covered it up and during the trial the detective said he made numerous attempts to contact Phelps and the mother who never responded does not sound like cooperation to me.  Also you clearly indicated that the church leadership would do s better job at getting the truth than jurors. I don't have a reading problem and in my career I had numerous  commendations and had successful career so I don't need to prove anything to you.  The fact is Phelps did something wrong and so did Berg and Jones III.  What am I suppose to think of your position when you defend Phelps and blame the Police.  

Bert Perry's picture

Joeb, either you can't read very well, or you're lying.  I'm sorry, but when I say "ewww" to what Phelps did, that is not a compliment.  Pointing out the behavior of the police was worse--no documented contacts to find the girl--is not equivalent to supporting Phelps.  A so-called "seasoned, decorated investigator" ought to know this. 

And your claim that the detective made  a lot of calls, but failed to document or follow up on a "pound sand" response?  Made no inquiries about whether there was clergy privilege when clergy had notified police that something had occurred?  No inquiries documented with the local school board about the age of the child?  No indictment--remember that Phelps had indeed given the name of the perpetrator.  It should have taken about 30 minutes for a detective to establish and document that statutory rape was in play--and another day or to to indict the perp.

Since none of that is documented, I have to assume that no serious investigation occurred.  That, in turn, is why there was no indictment of Chuck Phelps for obstruction of justice--you can't obstruct an investigation that didn't occur in any meaningful way.  It's also why the perp walked free for over a decade--sorry, but half an hour with the schools would have established a crime and allowed an indictment.

And that's the ugly truth, Joeb.   Another ugly truth is that those involved in criminal justice ought to be able to point out what is wrong with their own, and not just blame others.  In a nutshell, you are circling the wagons around "your" camp in exactly the same way you're accusing BJU and Phelps of doing.  

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

The only reason Phelps  was not charged was because there is only a one year of time to charge Phelps in NH for non reporting.  When you ship the victim out of town after you have already destroyed the crime scene and corrupted the witnesses by interviewing  not only the victim and the perpetrator it is hard to pursue a prosecution of Phelps.  Anything Phelps says does not hold water and that is the point of the report regarding BERG and JONES III and their handling these matters. Tina Anderson's testimony and Phelps own notes, which he wanted withheld, sent Ernie Willis to prison for twenty years to life.  Tina Anderson points her finger at PHELPS for covering it up. Anyone with any common sense can see this.  Common sense was not used by BERG and JONES III in these type matters. This rings true even through out  some IFB churches yet thank the Lord not all. When Golden State Baptist Bible College puts a convicted Sex offender on there website as the alumni of the week because he is now working at Schapps former church who you claimed had great elders obviously commonsense is not being used.  When the pastor, who made these arrangements was accused of trying to protect this individual, arranges for him to go Schapps former  church obviously commonsense does not rule.  When this Pastor's son who works for the church, is allegedly under criminal investigation for sexual abuse of underage girls that doesn't seem to make any common senense that the father would protect his son if he is guilty  Commonsense would say he would encourage his son to confess his sin fall on his sword and if he goes to jail so be it.  Additionally, the Grace report probably did not include those incidents that could still be prosecuted because Law Enforcement would not want any one interviewed lest any statement to the Grace investigators be thrown out ie allegation that law enforcement was controlling the interviews. Bert I am the real deal and I  find myself as a Christian having a righteous anger and being very offended by people who protect child abusers  and or abuse the victims  All this being said I do truly believe that BJU administrators and President Petit are very courageous and that they are on the right path.  President Petitt appears to be the real deal and someone with commonsense. BJU has a great reputation for academic excellence.  My brotherinlaw who is a real "Dr" at a baptist bible college even pointed this out to me.  So if BJU continues to do the right thing there should be no reason they can't prosper after this.  I will believe the Lord will abundantly bless them.  There is not many Christian colleges today who stand fast to God's word and thats what our country needs.  

Pages

Help keep SI’s server humming. A few bucks makes a difference.