Tina Anderson, Chuck Phelps Take Stand in Willis Trial

Details in the http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/258876/victim-testifies-to-sexual-... ]Concord Monitor

Monitor reporter Maddie Hanna is also tweeting from the trial http://twitter.com/#!/maddiehanna ]here

WMUR-TV is providing live updates http://livewire.wmur.com/Event/Trial_Of_Ernest_Willis_Continues ]here

UPDATE (1:30 EDT)- Chuck Phelps is taking the stand. Live updates at the links above.

2:50 PM EDT- Video footage from WMUR http://youtu.be/RJrebgIKGZI ]here

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There are 218 Comments

Micheledo M's picture

Jay, I went back to edit my previous post and it was too late. I've been thinking about it, and I probably would have. Growing up I was the girl that wanted nothing than to please my parents. I went to summer camp EVERY year. HATED every minute of it. Sobbed through game time, meals, chapels, cried myself to sleep. I spent all my free time in the craft shop making things for my parents while I cried. My parents never knew - until I was an ADULT!! I guess I just assumed they knew, but I also thought they wanted me to go to camp - so I went every year without saying a word or questioning it.

So it makes sense to me that I would probably maintain our 'friend' relationship afterwards. If I hadn't told anyone that happened, I would have based my decision on what I thought my parents would want of me. They wouldn't want me to be unkind or rude all of a sudden. So yes, I probably would have continued with my abuser. Sad Maybe I can understand after all.

Mike Harding's picture

The facts are that after the initial incident (be it sexual touching or intercourse) in the car the plaintiff voluntarily allowed the defendant into her home where the rape occurred (statutory or forcible). The plaintiff admits to not remembering what actually took place in her home. Her own words were, "I blanked out." No one has testified under oath to the use of the term rape by the plaintiff within years of the actual incident. There were no physical signs of forcible rape to the plaintiff; nor were there any signs of forced entry into the home. The plaintiff and defendant have both testified to a subsequent dinner engagement near her 16th birthday which was the age of consent at that time in New Hampshire. The pastor who has an outstanding track record as an honest and godly man promptly reported the incident to the authorities as a statutory rape near the time of the incident. The pastor has the full support of the plaintiff's mother in his sworn testimony. The defendant is certainly guilty of statutory rape and criminal sexual molestation. He deserves to be imprisoned for those crimes and may be guilty of forcible rape. However, the maligning of the pastor's character is not justified. The accusation of moral bankruptcy is itself slanderous and immoral.

Pastor Mike Harding

DavidO's picture

Mike Harding wrote:
There were no physical signs of forcible rape to the plaintiff

She wasn't examined until after finding out she was pregnant! Those signs would likely have healed by then.

Quote:
No one has testified under oath to the use of the term rape by the plaintiff within years of the actual incident.

Doesn't it seem likely or at least possible, in the case of a young and troubled victim, that some level of denial would prevent this?

Quote:
The plaintiff and defendant have both testified to a subsequent dinner engagement near her 16th birthday which was the age of consent at that time in New Hampshire.

What does age of consent have to do with when they had dinner? Again, to a young girl victimized by multiple men in authority over her-- stepdad, family friend-- this surprises? Poor girl from a poor family has a birithday dinner out dangled in front of her and, after her mother has kept an abuser (she may have been told by some authority to forgive) around she's supposed to have the wisdom and fortitude to turn down something that would equate, to a younger child, to a shiny piece of candy from a shady person.

Which brings me to

Quote:
The pastor has the full support of the plaintiff's mother in his sworn testimony.

You say this like it cannot possibly be a liability rather than a credit.

Quote:
However, the maligning of the pastor's character is not justified.

Fair enough. But what about his behavior back then and today? Fair game?

Gabe Franklin's picture

I have not followed this case that closely, and I was wondering if someone could help me out on one issue. I have read through the notes from the trial, and one thing that surprised me was that no one really pursued the police involvement in this. There has been a lot accusations that the church handled this improperly, but I have not read anything about the police failing to follow up. Maybe I just missed it. Anyone???

ppayette's picture

While public defenders are often thought of as "not as good" as private practice attorneys, that is not always the case. In cases such as this, meaning high profile, a PD has an opportunity to have local law firms notice their skills as potential future hires. These two will probably be public defenders for a long time.

While Ernie Willis is guilty of rape, the level of defense he had was poor. In a trial, the prosecution wants to tell a a story to the jury that is believable. One of the tactics for defense is to disrupt that "story line." Every time the prosecution brought up anything to do with the church, whether it was the incident in front of the church family, or going away to Colorado, the defense should have objected on the grounds of relevance. All of that "story line" had nothing to do with the innocense or guilt of Ernie Willis. This was a matter that occurred outside of the church - not in the church and not by a church deacon or any other authority figure. The church was asked for help. They did not cover it up and whether you agree with how it was handled or not, does not matter in this case.

I do want to get the full transcript of the trial because in speaking with people (one of whom a friend who is a former police chief) who were actually there yesterday, the prosecution became frustrated with Pastor Phelps when he tried to answer the questions but the prosecution cut him off. The judge allowed Pastor Phelps to complete his answers. All WMUR did was type snipits - you don't get the entire picture. The Concord Police, did not look very good.

At one point they asked CPD if Phelps called them and they said yes. But then the police officer said he "phoned" both Phelps and Christine Leaf and never got a return phone call. There are no records of it but even if there were, was that all you'd do. When I was a police officer, I made more effort solving a smashed mailbox.

The 5:00PM headline on WMUR News was "Accused Rapist from strict Baptist church takes the stand". I really wonder what this verdict will be. While I hope that a guilty verdict comes back, I am not 100% sure it will. Could it be that Ernie Willis could get away with no time??? Hope not.

The one telling point was the cross examination of the Concord Police officer when he was asked if Pastor Phelps had contacted both CPD and DCYF - the answer from the officer was "yes".

Mike Harding's picture

Dave,

I don't object to your interpretation or possible explanation of the facts. They can go either way. The nasty thing about facts is that they have to be interpreted and that's why we have an impartial jury who has to decide a verdict of guilt or innocence beyond a "reasonable" doubt based on their corporate interpretation of the facts.

As far as Pastor Phelps is concerned, he would not handle this case today as he handled it fourteen years ago. Hindsight is 20/20 (pardon the pun).

Pastor Mike Harding

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Gabe Franklin wrote:
I have not followed this case that closely, and I was wondering if someone could help me out on one issue. I have read through the notes from the trial, and one thing that surprised me was that no one really pursued the police involvement in this. There has been a lot accusations that the church handled this improperly, but I have not read anything about the police failing to follow up. Maybe I just missed it. Anyone???

That confuses me as well, since a church is not legally able or required to investigate criminal acts. In Ohio, church staff are mandatory reporters, but that is all we can do. We can't investigate, and if no charges are filed, we can't file on the behalf of a victim. Once a report is filed, it is up to the police and district attorney to pursue the case.

There are a few threads around here about church gov't and discipline, and I think those could be very helpful as churches consider how they might handle a similar situation. What was SOP 20 years ago simply does not fly now.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I watched an interview and some commentary on the Elizabeth Smart case last night, and it was jaw-dropping that the defense was asking for a lighter sentence based on the fact that Elizabeth has recovered from her ordeal and told her abductor/rapist "I have a wonderful life now", in spite of what happened to her. It's amazing that her current condition could even be considered, rather than an impartial judgment of the crime itself.

I wondered if the Willis defense would try a similar tactic.

Jay's picture

Official Mod. Note Two

I am temporarily, and on my own initiative, unpublishing a few posts for further review by the rest of the team. Once we have consensus on the posts from the rest of the team, we will either republish or leave hidden.

All involved members will be contacted via PM.

Jay C.

"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

If the defense is as poor as you claim, then can the charges be appealed due to poor representation?

(Not that I want this case to drag on longer...)

"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

Brent Marshall's picture

Jay C. wrote:
If the defense is as poor as you claim, then can the charges be appealed due to poor representation?

(Not that I want this case to drag on longer...)

Yes, a convicted defendant can seek a new trial and appeal based on ineffective assistance of counsel, but as you can probably imagine, the standards are strict. Here is some language from the opinion of the Supreme Court of New Hampshire in State v. Whittaker, which you can find http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/opinions/2009/whitt072.pdf ]here :

Supreme Court of New Hampshire wrote:
To prevail upon a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant must show, first, that counsel’s representation was constitutionally deficient and, second, that counsel’s deficient performance actually prejudiced the outcome of the case. To meet the first prong of this test, the defendant “must show that counsel’s representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness.” To meet the second prong, the defendant “must show that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different. A reasonable probability is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome.” (citations omitted)
For a short two-page opinion showing how the Supreme Court of New Hampshire applied these principles in a simple case, see State v. Kidd http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/3jx/2010/20090453.pdf ]here .

Hope this helps.

Things That Matter

As the quantity of communication increases, so does its quality decline; and the most important sign of this is that it is no longer acceptable to say so.--RScruton

ppayette's picture

would be a tough road. Appeals are based upon the "rule of law" so counsel would have had to violate, or ignore, a rule of law that would be beneficial to the defendent. An appeal does not turn on the facts or circumstances of the charges - but how it was handled in court, i.e. evidence admitted or withheld, improper instruction to the jury, comments/testimony allowed by the judge etc. Normally appeals are based on violations of previous state supremem court rulings on similar matters. In some states I believe, the judge can rule as to the ineffectiveness of counsel and declare a mistrial. Not sure there was in this case but I only got snippets like most others. However, guilt is determined based on "reasonable doubt", not "beyond all doubt". While they will probably come back with a conviction, I am not sure as I think defense did manage to raise "reasonable doubt", which I guess is their ultimate goal.

Many of the defense attorneys I know whom you would term as "aggressive" would have objected on a regular basis to the testimony allowed that really had nothing to do with Wilis' innocense or guilt, such as the alleged church discipline, the move to Colorado, etc. It would be a way to interrupt the prosecutions story. Sometimes it backfires as the jury starts to wonder what the defense is hiding. Althought in this case, everything was so well publicized for a year, you would be hard pressed to find a juror who was not familiar with the case.

rogercarlson's picture

I have stayed away but now that the jury is deliberating...here goes.

1. Obviously Willis is the one who committed the crime, he is the biggest sinner in this whole mess. Reading what I read on the livewire, he is in deep trouble. He was trying to be Clinoneske with the facts by saying it only occured one time, then changed his tune when Phelps notes were entered into evidence. If he is lying about that, what else is he lying about??

2. David Gibbs may have acted as a good lawyer, but I don't think he should be in any pulpit. The result of him getting the notes thrown out would have helped a criminal either get away with a crime or made it easier for him to. That is disgusting.

3. Chuck Phelps should have not been investigating, but he did. His testimony showed he was more concerned with Willis' well-being, than Anderson's. He was crying when he was worried about Ernie being suicidal. OK, I have been there as a pastor. But now, we have a man who has committed a crime, that was reported...but now he is suicidal. If someone is a danger to themselves or someone else, they need to be put in a position where they are less likely to hurt themselves. This is reason to be agressive, not handle things things the way he did. Alot of what he says, just does not make sense. And I say this as a a pastor that has had to deal with these issues.

4. As far as why Tina went to dinner with him. People who are assalted by someone who is close to them often act this way. It's easy to say, If I were raped I wouldnt have contact. Well, it is not that simple when you know the person and he is a close, trusted family friend. Her behavior is consistant with other rape victims in this circumstance.

Pastor Harding,

I respect you greatly. Yet, I don't think you are correct. You said Phelps would handle things differently. Where do you get that from? Everything he has said and done indicates the opposite. His arrogance is beyond pale in this whole mess. Tina's mom is no help to him..She shows her self as being a mom with a deep need to be with a preditor no matter what it did to her children. She has no credibility in this.

So much more to say, but I will refrian. I rewrote this more than once...:)

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

ppayette's picture

1. Obviously Willis is the one who committed the crime, he is the biggest sinner in this whole mess. Reading what I read on the livewire, he is in deep trouble. He was trying to be Clinoneske with the facts by saying it only occured one time, then changed his tune when Phelps notes were entered into evidence. If he is lying about that, what else is he lying about??

Please understand I am in no way defending Ernie Willis, but you arrive at a conclusion from facts not in eveidence. Pastor Phelps said there were TWO incidents. He does not, in his notes, explain what ann incident is. Will claims he raped Tina once and had inappropriate conduct on another. He did not change his tune...he stated that only one of the incidents constituted rape.

3. Chuck Phelps should have not been investigating, but he did. His testimony showed he was more concerned with Willis' well-being, than Anderson's. He was crying when he was worried about Ernie being suicidal. OK, I have been there as a pastor. But now, we have a man who has committed a crime, that was reported...but now he is suicidal. If someone is a danger to themselves or someone else, they need to be put in a position where they are less likely to hurt themselves. This is reason to be agressive, not handle things things the way he did. Alot of what he says, just does not make sense. And I say this as a a pastor that has had to deal with these issues.

I disagree that Chuck Phelps showed more concern ove Ernie Willis than Tina. The testimony that has been printed is partial at best and does not take into account many efforts that Pastor Phelps put forward on Tina's behalf...but that have been taulked about at length. If Pastor Phelps believed Ernie Willis was suicidal, he had limited options under NH Law. I do not believe as a pastor that he could have IEH which is involuntary emergency hospitalization. However, had the police interviewed Ernie Willis, they could have made a determination and either arrested him on charges, IEH'd, or taken into protective custody. The latter not as likely as that is really meant for drunks.

. As far as why Tina went to dinner with him. People who are assalted by someone who is close to them often act this way. It's easy to say, If I were raped I wouldnt have contact. Well, it is not that simple when you know the person and he is a close, trusted family friend. Her behavior is consistant with other rape victims in this circumstance.

While what you say may at times be correct, it is also correct that someone, even a young lady, in a consensual relationship, would act the same way. Tina's going to dinner at what is arguably the most expensive restaurant in the area, shows a lack of fear on the part of Tina. I think you can put your argument forward, but I think the argument on the other side is just as strong, if not stronger.

You said Phelps would handle things differently. Where do you get that from? Everything he has said and done indicates the opposite. His arrogance is beyond pale in this whole mess. Tina's mom is no help to him..She shows her self as being a mom with a deep need to be with a preditor no matter what it did to her children. She has no credibility in this.

You should check out Pastor Phelp's website and you will see where he states he would handle things differently. Claiming arrogance on the part of Pastor Phelps is an opinion you have formed. I am not sure if you know Chuck Phelps personally, but arrogant is about the furthest adjective I would use that would describe him. Tina's mom is nohelp is correct. But she is also a woman who was, at the time of this incident, diagnosed with MS, and her daughter was known to be a rebellious sort. I think she is emotionally weak, but you cannot question her love for her child.

You also state that as a small time pastor you would have been thrown under the bus had this been you. I am not sure what death threats against not only you, but your children away at college is...certainly not a day at the beach. Pastor Phelps is a man of biblical principle and he will stand on those principles. Again, we have another Pastor weighing in, based on partial news reports, snippets of a trial, and not even knowing the people involved.

There were 5-6 disgruntled former church members that have come forward and said it was church discipline. Well there were 150-200 others in attendence that disagree...but that doesn't make the news because it isn't what people, including some who call themselves Christians, apparently want to hear.

I feel very badly for Tina and I place the blame squarely on Ernie Willis not only as a matter of law, but as a matter of common sense. Trinity had another pastor at that time, a very good friend of mine who was also a Watertown Mass Police office prior to accepting the Lord. He knows as well as anyone that had Concord Police done their job in 1997 - none of this would have ever happened...none of it! Yet, Louise and now apparently you have formed an opinion about someone without speaking with him or knowing him.

rogercarlson's picture

Mr. Payette,
So are you saying in 1997 in the state of NH that if a mandatory reporter did not have to get police involved yet again if he believed someone who committed a crime was suicidal? In illinois, if someone is a danger to themselves or someone else, I have to take reasonable action to prevent that. Are you saying a Pastor in 1997 didn't have that obligation or was not allowed to do that?

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Louise Dan's picture

ppayette wrote:

Tina's mom is nohelp is correct. But she is also a woman who was, at the time of this incident, diagnosed with MS, and her daughter was known to be a rebellious sort. I think she is emotionally weak, but you cannot question her love for her child.

You also state that as a small time pastor you would have been thrown under the bus had this been you. I am not sure what death threats against not only you, but your children away at college is...certainly not a day at the beach. Pastor Phelps is a man of biblical principle and he will stand on those principles. Again, we have another Pastor weighing in, based on partial news reports, snippets of a trial, and not even knowing the people involved.

There were 5-6 disgruntled former church members that have come forward and said it was church discipline. Well there were 150-200 others in attendence that disagree...but that doesn't make the news because it isn't what people, including some who call themselves Christians, apparently want to hear.

Yes, you CAN question her love for her child. She obviously chose her sexually abusive husband over her daughter. WHO other than Tina's mother says she "was known to be a rebellious sort"? Nobody testified to that and no one has given that testimony elsewhere. Even Tina's mother testified in court that Tina made good grades and didn't give her trouble with boyfriends. Maybe Tina seemed rebellious to her mother because she didn't like living with a step father who sexually molested her and others. That seems reasonable from a middle schooler.

And WHERE ARE THE CHURCH MEMBERS WHO SAY IT WASN'T CHURCH DISCIPLINE? There are none on the public record. NONE.

**edited to clarify that there are no members who were first person witnesses on record that it wasn't church discipline. All of the first person witnesses on record say it was church discipline.

Louise Dan's picture

ppayette wrote:

There were 5-6 disgruntled former church members that have come forward and said it was church discipline. Well there were 150-200 others in attendence that disagree...but that doesn't make the news because it isn't what people, including some who call themselves Christians, apparently want to hear.

PPayette,

I don't know how to say this gently to you, but Pastor Phelps read the statement HE READ for Tina before the church. Did you listen to that portion of his recorded testimony in court? There is no need for anyone else to testify to anything. Unless you have a profoundly different definition you are using for church discipline, there is no denying that is exactly what happened to Tina.

ppayette's picture

you don't have to say it gently...I can take it. No problem. The people you refer to that are not on public record are, for the most part, still members of Trinity. They are taking what I would refer to on this as the high road and looking forward to this ending and not drawing attention to themselves. However, I speak to these people three times a week and to a person they never interpreted it as church discpline. Does it mean that Tina should have gone in front of the church? No - absolutley not and Chuck Phelps has stated that he would not do that again.

I have not said this before, but my own daughter became pregnant out of wedlock. This church embraced her - there was never a shaming. We all have sin, my daughters was just there in front of everyone for everyone to see. Everyone elses just happened to be hidden.

What is your sin Louise? What could we talk about in here to endless lengths for something you have done? How could we make you feel as low as you could feel because of a mistake you made even if your intentions were good? I don't know you and so I will form an opinion of you...much like you have done to others and I have castigated others for. I may be wrong but you come across as an angry woman...probably quick to accuse and point the finger. I picture you picking up a news article and only reading what suits your position. If I am wrong about Patsor Phelps, I will be the first to apologize. But I am also not going to condemen him because he is a man, and subject to the same frailties as all of us. The only difference is that you Louise, get to blast him for all the world to see while hiding behind your computer screen. I feel sorry for you. You have shown disrespect for Pastor Phelps by constantly referring to him by his last name "phelps"...like it or not...that's a sign of disrespect.

Proverbs 18:8
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.

Proverbs 23:15-16
My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right

rogercarlson's picture

Refering to him in third person by his last name is a sign of disrespect? Really? Maybe if she directly adressed him that way, but in the context of third person.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Louise Dan's picture

ppayette wrote:

What is your sin Louise? What could we talk about in here to endless lengths for something you have done? How could we make you feel as low as you could feel because of a mistake you made even if your intentions were good?

I haven't abdicated my responsibilities to widows, or orphans, or my children that I know of. However, if at some point I am accused of not protecting and advocating for the oppressed in my realm of influence, of putting additional shame on a victim instead of vindicating them before their abuser, then please do confront me. And if I choose to defend myself instead of confessing and seeking to reconcile the wrongs I've done, then feel free to bring added pressure on me in a public forum such as this.

ppayette's picture

You just told us everything you haven't done. But in fact I would not want you to tell us because I would not want you to go through what you have put others through. There is not an ounce of compassion in any of your posts...just anger. That's all you have and I feel sorry for you.

rogercarlson's picture

Mr Payette,
Were you at the trial then? Did you see everything? Just curious your thoughts of it if you were there.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Micheledo M's picture

Basically Pastor Phelps is telling the truth.
Tina's mom is the mother, she is probably telling the truth.
Ernie says the same things as the first two, so he is telling the truth.
Tina is to be doubted.

OK, maybe that is a little extreme. But why should those of us who don't know ANY of these people just take Phelps at face value? Why cannot we question his statements?

When I heard about this I started reading everything I could about what happened. I read Chuck Phelps site, I read sites supporting Tina, I read newspaper articles, I heard from people who knew the individuals. Basically I took Phelps, Tina, and her mom at their word. I will admit, I won't trust a single thing that Ernie says. He is a pedophile. He PREYED on a child. He even, finally, admitted in court that he instigated it and asked her to have sex with him (though that is different from Phelps notes). He is a pedophile. Sorry, but I won't even consider his account at the moment.

Tina says she was raped, that she was terrified, ashamed, humiliated, etc. She even admits to letting him in her house, to meeting him at a restaurant, continuing to babysit for him. Based on what is know about abuse victims, there is really nothing out of the ordinary in her actions.

Tina's mother allowed an abuser of her children back in the home. She says that Tina was defiant (and she was also being abused by her stepfather at the time - so that seems understandable). She also stated in court that Tina did not say she was raped and she did not say it was consensual. Tina's mom ASSUMED it was.

Pastor Phelps read his notes. Ernie said it occurred TWICE and that he was the aggressor. Phelps read that Ernie said Tina was still and did nothing so he assumed it was consensual. So Phelps assumed too, that it was consensual. (I don't even want to get into how messed up that is. A young girl is silent while a grown Christian man has sex with her - so it must have been consensual?? And Phelps chose to believe the man who admitted to being a pedophile and preying on a child!?) I really see no reason, at this point, to think that Pastor Phelps is lying, however his notes and statements and website give me a glimpse of what his view of rape is or a consensual relationship is.

And Tina - who admits to letting him in her house, admits to meeting him for lunch, admits much of these things - yet her perspective is that it was RAPE. That she was embarrassed, afraid, and felt guilty. What reason does she had to lie about what happened? She wasn't even the one who brought this up again. She just answered the phone when the police called her and asked about it.

Why is it okay to assume Tina is lying and not Pastor Phelps? Tina is our sister in Christ, just as Phelps is our brother in Christ.

Like I already mentioned, I (at this point) see no need to say people are being deceitful. I think a lot of assumptions were made by the adults in Tina's life (and several of them admitted that on the stand). I have heard of teen girls that had relationships with adults, and they are very vocal about their love for them, their desire to be with them, etc. But in this situation, not a single adult has stated that Tina SAID it was consensual. It was all assumed. Now we have a young lady saying, "I was raped." Sounds like at the time she was to fearful or ashamed to speak out that clearly in the past. When she told people what had happened, she was telling them that she was raped (in different words, apparently) and what they heard and assumed was that she wanted to be with the man.

rogercarlson's picture

Micheledo,
Your last post was excellent!

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Mike Harding's picture

Roger,

Thanks for your input. I respect your viewpoint. I have spoken with Pastor Phelps several times about this issue. Therefore, I know he would handle things differently. Most pastors at some point have to deal with these situations. They are difficult to say the least and very complicated from a moral, ethical, legal, and pastoral viewpoint---all of which have to be simultaneously dealt with. In addition, it can be very difficult or sometimes impossible to know when someone is telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. One has to guard against false accusation as well as naive credulity. In this case we now have the advantage of hindsight and fuller disclosure.

Regarding total depravity, a regenerated believer is no longer totally depraved. He or she is a new creature in Christ, a new man or new woman possessing a new nature. The old man died with Christ on the cross and we are to consider this to be true because it actually is true. This new nature is a complex of divine attributes given the believer by the Holy Spirit at regeneration. Though the new man still possesses the flesh, a complex of sinful attributes, the new man is no longer ruled, dominated, and surrendered in servitude to the flesh. He may temporally act in a carnal fashion; however, the regenerated man is no longer the natural man. Instead, he is the Spirit-man. One can strongly disagree with the way Pastor Phelps handled this situation. Nevertheless, charges of moral bankruptcy better fit those listed in Roman 1:18ff. Even among the unregenerate there are different levels of morality based on their response to common grace. All unbelievers are totally depraved, but they are not all equally corrupt.

Pastor Mike Harding

Jmeyering's picture

He has been found guilty of forcible rape.

Now the million dollar question. Does this conviction change anyone's mind regarding the circumstances surrounding this case? Can we let the issue of was it Forced/Consensual rest now?

rogercarlson's picture

I am not suprised. I am glad that justice was done! I am praying for Tina and her family. I am still praying Ernie that he will now show genuine repentance. I am also praying for his exwife and his children. What a mess sin does.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Jay's picture

Two more posts have had to be hidden because they were related to a previous, now unpublished, accusation against Dr. Phelps. The parties involved have been PM'd as well.

"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

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