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

Mike Harding's picture

Jared,

We must accept the verdict of the jury. This is the only way a civilized society can survive. Lust brings forth sin and sin when it is finished brings forth death.

Pastor Mike Harding

Jay's picture

I'm just glad it's over.

JMeyering - yes, I think we all should let that go now.

"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

pastorwesh's picture

I am very glad the trial is over. My hope is that this will encorage fellow Pastors to think through how they would handle such situations, should they encounter them. Also, another hope is that others would have learned the folly of "answering a matter" before it was fully borne out.

The few things that I have learned as a Pastor is: even if I'm trying to do the right thing I must not assume; I must document, document, document; and I should "go the extra mile" if I need to report an issue to the Police of CPD.

Serving the Savior, Pastor Wes Helfenbein 2 Cor. 5:17

Rev Karl's picture

With respect, humility, and all due deference to those Godly ones who have expressed some variation of the the thought "I'm glad this is over," really, it's not.

This is not going to be over until the life and ministry of Dr. Phelps has been completely destroyed by the those who have picked up this cause and championed it in public.

This will not be over until every church and/or organization that has ever had anything to do with Dr. Phelps has been completely discredited in the eyes of "the World".

This will not be over until every individual person who has ever had anything to do with Dr. Phelps or any church, school or organization he has ever been associated with has been beaten into submission (figuratively or literally) to the will of the current society.

This is not now, nor has it ever been, solely about justice for Tina Anderson. This is just the first necessary step to destroy Dr. Phelps, what he believes in, what he stands for, and anyone who has ever stood with him.

This is an attempt to destroy the testimony of Jesus Christ, and anyone who believes in the literal, Gospel (only) centered Biblical faith.

This isn't over. This is just beginning.

rogercarlson's picture

Karl,

Sorry, I think you are wrong. As I have said for over a year now. Had Dr. Phelps right been clear that he was wrong and tried reach out to Tina Anderson right away, this outcome would have been different. Instead, he dug in his heals. Also, there were times he contradicted himself and did not even answer questions. Chuck Phelps has not served his cause well in this whole ordeal. Some may want a witch hunt, but many of us just want our leaders held to a Biblical standard. This is a lesson for all of us to make certain we handle these things correctly.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Micheledo M's picture

Because of this case I have been reading everything I can get my hands on (well, in between taking care of four children 5 years and younger, so maybe it isn't that much reading!) about those abused in the church. I have read many personal accounts on blogs and other abuse victim sites. Just from what I have read, I would have to say that abuse in our churches in more prevalent then we want to think. It has made me (hopefully) more sensitive to victims, my husband and I have talked about how we should respond, what we could say or not say, and wondered about the past of our own church. While we don't know of anything, that doesn't mean it has never occurred.

Hopefully because of these events some will waken to the twisted view of consent/rape/relationships that they have. It still makes me ill to think of the statement made in the trial that she laid still so it must have been consensual (or something to that effect). How can ANY person assume that means consent?

Hopefully every church will be VERY careful not to investigate reports of abuse. I have never really thought that seriously about how I would handle someone telling me of abuse. But this whole case has made me think through a much clearer plan. And one thing that stands out is that I am not to investigate. I take it to the police and let them investigate. I need to report what is told to me and not put my own assumptions onto it. And like someone else said, I need to go the extra mile. If it seems like the police are not responding, then I need to go back to them again and again. I need to stand up for the person who has been abused or claims abuse.

So I hope this isn't over or that the effects are not over. I hope it has a profound effect on our churches and our pastors. I hope that we are more diligent to help rather than to wound. To be careful not to make assumptions. To show mercy and grace rather than judgment and condemnation. I am very concerned that many will walk away from this and make no changes. Maybe a few don't need to make changes, but from all the reading I have done, it seems as if the church needs to make some major changes to how they handle things like this.

pastorwesh's picture

Karl,

No offense, but I think your prediction is a little extreme:

Rev Karl wrote:
...This is not going to be over until the life and ministry of Dr. Phelps has been completely destroyed...This will not be over until every church and/or organization that has ever had anything to do with Dr. Phelps has been completely discredited in the eyes of "the World"...This will not be over until every individual person who has ever had anything to do with Dr. Phelps or any church, school or organization he has ever been associated with has been beaten into submission (figuratively or literally)...

I do not deny that there may well indeed be continued actions because of what was brought to light; however, I highly doubt that the prosecutorial powers of New Hampshire rise to level of

Quote:
beating into submission
Quote:
every individual person who has ever had anything to do with Dr. Phelps or any church, school or organization he has ever been associated with
.

I would think its best to leave these type of predictions to Camping and his followers.

Serving the Savior, Pastor Wes Helfenbein 2 Cor. 5:17

Charlie's picture

Rev Karl wrote:

This is an attempt to destroy the testimony of Jesus Christ, and anyone who believes in the literal, Gospel (only) centered Biblical faith.

This isn't over. This is just beginning.

Good call. Most attempts to destroy Christianity begin by putting rapists behind bars.

Yikes.

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Leah Hayes's picture

Standing up for men like Chuck Phelps who was a big part in the injustice Tina suffered does not honor the name of Jesus. Chuck's actions do not line up with out a vigilant shepherd tends to his flock. Standing up and endorsing books like the Thompson brothers wrote, does not bring glory to the name of Jesus. When men in positions of leadership and trust are not good stewards of the trust given to them, Jesus doesn't have a problem bringing that to public light.

You say "Oh REALLY? WHERE DO YOU GET THAT? We need to protect the name of Jesus and keep this stuff quiet." Um no we don't. See the sins of King David publicly confronted--he has a more important position than Chuck Phelps if you want to compare positions-- God not only had David publicly called out--He recorded it in holy writ--the same holy Word that He promised would be preserved and not pass away. See the sins of Jacob. See the sins of Abraham. See the sins of Adam. I mean right from the first chapters of the His holy inspired perfect Word--Jesus the Word Himself has not been about helping people get away with and hide their sin and failures.

Phelps duty as a pastor and shepherd required of him to do more than just to make a police report. It required him to relentlessly seek justice--which he did not do. On the stand, he testified that he knew Ernie was the aggressor. Tina was expelled from school. Ernie kept his position as an usher in the church. The testimony of Chuck Phelps showed no mercy or compassion for Tina, but much compassion and support for Ernie.

Jesus sometimes cleans house when people who are called by His holy name don't act like it. To whom much is given, much is required. Jesus is requiring Chuck Phelps to face the music for his actions. God is sovereign. If God who spoke the world into existence by the very breath of His mouth, God by whom and for whom all things exist, God who is all knowing and all powerful wanted to protect Chuck from this hour, He could do so with no difficulty at all.

Leah Hayes's picture

I see a ton of concern about Chuck Phelps, but not much concern for a 15 year old girl that was raped by a man in her church in a position of trust. Do you guys not see the problem with your focus and what tugs on your heart? What makes you feel outraged and what causes you to worry about the future of the church and Christianity?

rogercarlson's picture

Leah,
I agree. My concern has been with her from the beginning. I have always been disturbed that Ernie was treated with kid gloves and she was treated so much more harshly. Of course, as I said above, there are so many things about this that bother me.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Dan Burrell's picture

Rev Karl wrote:
With respect, humility, and all due deference to those Godly ones who have expressed some variation of the the thought "I'm glad this is over," really, it's not.

This is not going to be over until the life and ministry of Dr. Phelps has been completely destroyed by the those who have picked up this cause and championed it in public.

This will not be over until every church and/or organization that has ever had anything to do with Dr. Phelps has been completely discredited in the eyes of "the World".

This will not be over until every individual person who has ever had anything to do with Dr. Phelps or any church, school or organization he has ever been associated with has been beaten into submission (figuratively or literally) to the will of the current society.

This is not now, nor has it ever been, solely about justice for Tina Anderson. This is just the first necessary step to destroy Dr. Phelps, what he believes in, what he stands for, and anyone who has ever stood with him.

This is an attempt to destroy the testimony of Jesus Christ, and anyone who believes in the literal, Gospel (only) centered Biblical faith.

This isn't over. This is just beginning.

And THIS is the mentality that got the IFB where it is today. It is THIS mentality that rationalizes covering crime as if God needs us to protect His reputation and that of His institutions. It is THIS mentality that drives rational people who have compassion for victims of authoritarianism wrapped in the robes of fundamentalist piety to abandon the IFB by the droves.

My goodness....I haven't seen as much drama as was in that post since I taught junior high.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

Rev Karl's picture

I guess what was in my head and in my heart did not make it out through my fingers. If you will, allow me to say this in another way.

My point is this:

  1. I would be shocked to my core if this is the last we hear of this issue. If no other news organization pursues it, 20/20 will almost certainly pursue a follow-on report.
  2. Also, if you have watched the interviews with Tina Anderson and those who have been supporting her throughout this case, it has been stated "in so many words" that one of the goals is for Dr. Phelps to be held accountable for his actions. If I understand correctly, that was not a function of the most recent court case.

    My comments have nothing to do with any IFB leader or church member supporting Dr. Phelps, or not. I am not hear to say that he was right or wrong in anything he has done. Neither is my intent to minimize the wicked things experienced by Tina Anderson (now confirmed in a court of law). I am not speaking to those topics.

    My comments have everything to do with the fact that all of IFB has been portrayed with the same broad brush, with terms that are at least derogatory, and IMHO dangerous. (The term "cult" comes to mind)

    I do want to support the comments that have been made that this has served to help prepare us for the possibility of something like this occuring in our own congregations.

    All I am trying to say is that those who have recently put this into the public arena have said in so many words that they are not friends of independent fundamental Baptists. They have portrayed IFB as a cult that is a danger to our current society. Really, after listening to those who were interviewed, and those who did the interviewing, will *anyone* be surprised if/when we hear about this issue again?

Rev Karl's picture

Dan Burrell wrote:
And THIS is the mentality that got the IFB where it is today. It is THIS mentality that rationalizes covering crime as if God needs us to protect His reputation and that of His institutions. It is THIS mentality that drives rational people who have compassion for victims of authoritarianism wrapped in the robes of fundamentalist piety to abandon the IFB by the droves.

Brother Dan,

If that is what you took away from my comments, then I REALLY failed in my attempt to communicate. And for that, I truly apologize.

Covering a crime - any crime - is wrong, and has negative ramifications for the congregation, the ministry of the church, and the testimony of Christ. That is not something I advocate, and it is truly not what I intended to convey in my comments.

I thank God that He has led me to a church where John 13:35 is the unspoken theme verse. As it happens, the church is an independent Baptist church which holds to the fundamental doctrines of the Bible. But people in our community know we are His followers because we have love one for another. I have spoken to this issue on this website in the past, and (ironically) you and I are in complete agreement on this point of your response.

My comments were specifically in reference to the national news organizations which have taken up this story, and the organizations out there seeking to "rescue" people from the IFB "cult". I think it would be naive of me to think that we will not hear more on this specific case from these organizations in the future.

Again, let me apologize to you for not clearly expressing what was in my mind and my heart, I will try do better in the future.

pastorwesh's picture

Karl,

Thanks for the clarification. Your response was very balanced and helped me understand where you were coming from in relation to the comments you made. While I agree with your concern about the broad brush with which IFB churches were painted, I think the added scrutiny is a good thing.

There was a time in our culture when the Minister in a community was looked up to as a man of unimpeachable character. A man who could be trusted to do right (not just legally, but morally also) every time he was faced with a decision. He was considered a man of honesty, morality, ethics, and of unquestioned stewardship. For many reasons, that pristine image of yester-year's Minister has completely vanished from the minds of our current society.

This is partly due to the fact that Minsters of the past were regarded too highly by their parishoners/communities. It is also due to Ministers who abused their trusted positions and were found guilty of moral or fidutiary (sp?)(don't have spell-check on my phone) sins. It is also furthered by those modern day Tele-Evangelists who preach and practice a Prosperiety Gospel (making religion into a get-rich-quick-scheme).

While I personally believe that Pastor Phelps did not intentionally do anything malicious, I also believe that he had a duty to do more than he did. I think that our communities should expect Ministers to do more than just the legal minimum. As many say...Pastor Phelps has said on his web-site that things would be done differently now...I can only say, "I hope so."

Even though the verdict is in, there are still many facts about this situation that we don't know. We should welcome the opportunity to constantly conform ourselves into the image of Christ. Sometimes those opportunities are painful, but still needed.

Serving the Savior, Pastor Wes Helfenbein 2 Cor. 5:17

Leah Hayes's picture

Accountability does NOT equal persecution

Phelps to this day, says that it was consensual ---even after the police, the prosecutors office and a jury of eight men and four women have reviewed the testimony and all evidence come to the conclusion that Ernie did rape Tina--twice. Why is it unreasonable for people to question the judgment of a pastor who seems to lack sound judgement? When the wolves are eating the sheep alive and the shepherd sides with the wolf and blames the sheep for its wounds, why is it not reasonable to question whether the shepherd should keep his position?

I think the concern about the motives of the IFB Cult Survivors is misplaced and ill thought out. Let me explain what I mean. First God is sovereign--period. The Scripture is clear that when dealing with Israel, He used both righteous believers and unquestionably heathen people to call His people to repentance and to bring judgement into their lives. Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Isn't Romans 8:28 true in this case or is it not part of the "all things" ?

And for the record, I think most of the people in the IFB Survivors group are believes. They are part of the body of Christ and as important as any other part of the body of Christ. 1Co 12:23 "And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
1Co 12:24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
1Co 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another." What part of the body are they? Maybe they are part of the pain system which every normal healthy body has which screams and cries out when part of the body is hurt? Tina certainly was hurt and this was the part of the body of Christ that called out for her help and healing. And Ernie and Phelps? Well they called out for him to be held accountable for their sin in this whole thing. Is is not just and loving to let people go on in their sin but to call them to repentance.

Justice would not have been served with regard to Ernie being held accountable for raping a child if it had not been for this group. It is always right to hold people accountable for their sin. Had it been left to Phelps, Ernie would not have faced trail. Phelps did do the minimum and report that sex between the two had occurred, but he also added commentary when reporting that it was consensual.

When Phelps had the church discipline session, it is reported by several witnesses that he stated that the two incidents were not related. Let's not go all Bill Clinton here and debate what the meaning of "is" is. To a normal person with a normal command of the English language, such a statement would lead the average person to believe that Ernie "strayed from his marriage vows" with someone other than Tina and that Tina was pregnant with someone other Ernie. The statement that the two incidents are unrelated is a lie---plain and simple it is a lie. If Phelps said that in the church discipline service as widely reported, he lied to his entire congregation and made things to appear other than they really were. What do you think about a pastor who lies in such a serious occasion such as a church discipline service? Do you no think he should be held accountable for lying to his people?

In the trial, Phelps sought to have his notes from several years ago not admitted in to evidence. Phelps also stated several times on his web page and in court that Tina lied to him, but Ernie always told the truth. His testimony sought to give credibility to Ernie and to remove it from Tina. Think about that for a moment. Ernie stated in his recent admission of guilt that he had sex one time with Tina, but no more occasions happened. Tina stated that it happened twice. When Phelps' notes were admitted into evidence, they stated and Phelps testified that Ernie admitted to two occasions of sex unlike that "truthful Ernie" and exactly like what "liar Tina" said. Phelps sees himself and Ernie as a victim. He saw Tina 15 years ago and now as a liar. He recently restated that position in court under oath. His notes also state that Ernie admitted to Phelps that he was the aggressor and imitator of the sex both times. Think about that for a moment. Phelps testified under oath that he knew Ernie was the aggressor and imitator of sex with a child but Phelps has offered more sympathy and support for the adult man than the sexually violated child. Doesn't that bother any of you as a pastor, a man, a father, a husband, a regular person who cares about people and wants to show them the love of Jesus? Doesn't that bother you at all?

I can tell you that if I was a 15 year old girl who had a horrible mother who had allowed me to be abused by my step father--who went to jail for abusing her by the way, and I had a pastor read a passage about being thankful we didn't live in Old Testament days and that I ought to be glad they weren't going to stone me to death--I think I would be scared out of my mine and go into survival mode and try to say or do most anything to save my neck.

"Truthful Ernie" did not come forward to confess his sin when he found out "liar Tina" was pregnant. He let her break the news. He really wasn't all that truthful or forth coming was he? He left it to the child he violated to break the hard news. Ernie did not view Tina as an adult with whom he was having an affair. His testimony last week in court stated that he took Tina out for her 16th birthday because he knew that was a big deal to a kid. He viewed himself as an adult and Tina as a kid. He did not view the sex as a consensual relationship with an adult--he clearly by his testimony viewed her as a child both then and now. That makes him a predatory pedophile. He stated in court that he had been saying things to Tina in the weeks before hand which seemed to be an attempt to groom her for his sexual use and pleasure.

And what about the people who follow a shepherd who sides with the wolves and blames the wounded sheep?

rogercarlson's picture

Leah,

I agree with you. I was very disturbed about more sympathy shown for Willis than Anderson. You raise many good points

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Quote:
Had it been left to Phelps, Ernie would not have faced trail.

Phelps is not a law enforcement official. Could he have done more? Yes. Was he responsible for the police not taking action? No. Was his presentation of these events to the church improper? Yes. Phelp's opinion of events had no legal bearing on a case of statutory rape. Law enforcement do not use citizen's opinions to frame their investigations.

So if someone robs a convenience store, and someone says "They did it because they were really poor and very hungry" this DOES NOT impede the investigation.

I think we all agree that Willis is a criminal deserving the consequences of his crimes.

Quote:

I think the concern about the motives of the IFB Cult Survivors is misplaced and ill thought out... And for the record, I think most of the people in the IFB Survivors group are believes.

My problem with the IFB cult survivors group is 1) independent baptist churches are not a cult, so their group from the gate is based on fear-mongering hyperbole 2) their response to those with whom they disagree is to attack the person's character, accuse them of being criminals themselves, and make veiled threats against their family.

My sympathy for them ended when they publicly accused me of abusing my children and had reported me to the authorities- all because I said that it was possible for a young woman of 15 to consent to sex, and that there are ways to reduce one's risk of experiencing sexual assault and violence. The people who sent me threatening emails and messages, and made comments about me online, never even responded to anything I actually said. So much for being concerned about 'the truth' coming out.

Wounded or not, those are not the actions of believers who are allowing the comfort of the Holy Spirit to rule their lives and experiencing victory over sin in Christ.

BTW, the authorities had enough sense, apparently, to not take the accusations against me seriously. So- what about the sheep that have apparently turned into cannibals?

Jay's picture

rogercarlson wrote:
Leah,

I agree with you. I was very disturbed about more sympathy shown for Willis than Anderson. You raise many good points


Roger,

I'd be very interested in ~anyone~ who showed sympathy for Willis on this website. Can you document that?

"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

Leah Hayes's picture

Susan,

If you beat a sweet little dog long enough with a stick, it will eventually turn you out of self preservation and bite anyone who tries to rescue it. It doesn't justify the dog biting others, but it certainly explains a great deal. In that group you have a group of people who have been wounded at the very core of their souls by people that they were supposed to be able to trust. That kind of thing changes a person and haunts them sometimes the rest of their lives. Not imagined hurts, but real honest to goodness hurts as the results of others sinning against them. I don't think I said their actions represented those living a life filled with the Holy Spirit experiencing victory over sin in Christ. I did say they were used by God to bring about justice in this case. And I do think however flawed or perfect they are, most of them are part of the body of Christ.

If you received threats against you, it is a crime and you should take those seriously and report them to the appropriate authorities. Name calling and personal attacks do not further the argument on either side of the coin and should not be tolerated or returned in kind.

Sexual abuse in society is a giant problem. It is not limited by any means to the unsaved world and it is not kept out of our congregations. Here is some stats on the matter if you care to read them. The screams are so loud and the cries so strong and over the top because it appears society at large and the church in specific are not listening.

http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims

http://www.prevent-abuse-now.com/stats2.htm

Sex abuse is a crime that is on the rise inside and outside the church. When people have been personally hurt by it the tend to scream louder and longer and at the top of their lungs if and when they find their voice. Too many do not find their voice and suffer in silence. Tina didn't find her voice. Someone else stood up and spoke for her. That someone might be a bit brassy and mouthy and over the top, but God bless her, she spoke up the best way she knew how and as a result justice was served. I would agree that lots of those folks are rough around the edges. But they are trying to make a difference to help victims. When you have been decimated by someone sinning against you in such a deep personal and destructive way, most of your life is not only rough around the edges, but a bunch of torn pieces leaving you to struggle to keep it all together. I have compassion for someone like that and pray that God will put those pieces back together in a fashion stronger than they were originally and that they will be used by God to seek out and help restore others to Him that have been hurt in a similar manner.

Sexual assault is the sin that keeps on giving and giving and giving. A few stats from rainn.org link above:

Effects of Rape
Victims of sexual assault are:

3 times more likely to suffer from depression.

6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.

26 times more likely to abuse drugs.

4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

Here is another link with some stats that ought to make your heart sink. And when you go to the store, out to eat, or to church, look around and whether you realize it or not, you are encountering victims every day.
http://www.rainn.org/statistics
15 of 16 rapists will never spend a day in jail. Until recently Ernie was 1 of the 15. Now is in the 1 out of 16 category.

Susan, my sympathy and compassion do not begin and end with how people treat me or respond to me. As a believer, we are to model how Christ offers sympathy and compassion. When I was His enemy, in total rebellion against Him, when I caused Him to die on the cross and suffer unimaginable pain, He loved me. I didn't and couldn't ever give Jesus a single reason to love me. He loves me and shows me compassion---He gives me hope and offers mercy--not because of who I am, but because of who He is. He Is and there is no one like Him.

wkessel1's picture

Maybe not showing sympathy directly for Ernie on this sight, but it is clear that Dr. Phelps did. He said so during his testimony.

"Phelps: Tina said she'd seen him once and it never happened again and she reiterated that over and over again. Phelps: I figured Ernie had far more to lose than Tina by being honest, so I figured Tina was being dishonest.

Read more: http://livewire.wmur.com/Event/Day_3_Of_Ernest_Willis_Trial#ixzz1NxLHRO3l"

I do not have any counselling experience, but I would think that in a situation like that (a 39 year old married man who had raped a previouly abused 15 year girl twice and would have a lot to lose) would be much more likely be dishonest, than a previously abused 15 year old who has really nothing to lose. That just seems like common sense to me.

Leah Hayes's picture

1Ti 3:1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.
1Ti 3:2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
1Ti 3:3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
1Ti 3:4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive,
1Ti 3:5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?
1Ti 3:6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.
1Ti 3:7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
ESV

It is reported that Phelps lied to his congregation and said they were completely different matters. Does this leave him in a position of being blameless and harmless? Is Phelps above reproach in this matter? Is he respectable in how he handled this matter?

How is he thought of by outsiders after his appearance on 20/20 and his testimony in the trail? It seems the defense attorney tried to distance Ernie from how the jury likely felt about Phelps.

Does Phelps categorizing the sex as consensual leave him blameless and harmless?

Does categorizing Tina as a liar and Ernie as being honest leave him blameless and harmless and sober minded when his own notes proved Tina was telling the truth and Ernie was the liar?

Has his conduct toward Tina been gentle and hospitable?

Does one need to continue to meet the Biblical qualifications to remain a pastor? Or is it once in always in no matter the sin?

For one who claims to be a fundamentalist, holding to the literal interpretation of the Word, how should one respond to the evidence against Phelps?

JasonR's picture

Leah Hayes wrote:
S
Susan, my sympathy and compassion do not begin and end with how people treat me or respond to me. As a believer, we are to model how Christ offers sympathy and compassion. When I was His enemy, in total rebellion against Him, when I caused Him to die on the cross and suffer unimaginable pain, He loved me. I didn't and couldn't ever give Jesus a single reason to love me. He loves me and shows me compassion---He gives me hope and offers mercy--not because of who I am, but because of who He is. He Is and there is no one like Him.

Will you extend this to Chuck Phelps?

Leah Hayes's picture

JasonR wrote:
Leah Hayes wrote:
S
Susan, my sympathy and compassion do not begin and end with how people treat me or respond to me. As a believer, we are to model how Christ offers sympathy and compassion. When I was His enemy, in total rebellion against Him, when I caused Him to die on the cross and suffer unimaginable pain, He loved me. I didn't and couldn't ever give Jesus a single reason to love me. He loves me and shows me compassion---He gives me hope and offers mercy--not because of who I am, but because of who He is. He Is and there is no one like Him.

Will you extend this to Chuck Phelps?

Sure thing, but that doesn't mean he should not be held accountable for his actions. And just because I show compassion for someone doesn't mean that overrules the Biblical qualifications for someone to be a pastor. Forgiveness doesn't mean that people are not held accountable and forgiveness does not mean that people are freed from the consequence of their sin here on this earth.

rogercarlson's picture

Jay,

Mr. Kessell alluded to what I was speaking of. To know knowledge no one at SI said that. But in Phelps' testimony he certainly implied that.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I don't buy the argument that because someone was once victimized that they are excused in any way from attempting to victimize others. I know many victims of brutal abuse IRL who are living joyful, victorious lives, that do not give in to anger, spite, and vindictive behaviors. I certainly agree that name calling and personal attacks do not help in providing useful information or furthering the conversation or fostering understanding. Please let me know if I ever stoop to such levels.

Also, "sympathy" as I used the term is an affinity, association, or relationship between persons wherein what affects one similarly affects the other; an inclination to think or feel alike; feelings of loyalty. Compassion is an awareness of another's distress together with a desire to alleviate it. I can feel compassion for someone without feeling sympathy.

BTW, the threats were reported to my local branch of the FBI.

I hope Pastor Phelps is held accountable for his actions by those directly involved who know him and his ministry personally. Internet lynch mobs are not a Biblical means of handling church discipline, any more than hauling a little girl before the church was appropriate.

LJ Moody's picture

I was at the trial and am open to accepting questions and/or giving observations if anyone posting here is interested. I have not seen anyone posting here that attended the trial. I offer this only in the interest of truth.

I attended Trinity from June 86 through June 93. My husband began attending in summer of 85 and was on staff from August 85 until we moved to another state in 1993. I posted some comments on Bob Bixby's blog and interacted with a few of you here: http://bobbixby.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/a-former-ifb-trinity-insider-co... That post on Bixby's blog indicates how I knew Tina and her family.

I do have one matter where I would offer a correction. For Pat Payette: there were others at the trial from Trinity you would know. They likely also have observations they could share with you (Lon Siel, Michah Shaw, Peter Whitehouse). Peter was only there for the first half of Chuck Phelp's testimony, but Lon and Micah appeared to be there most of the time that whole week. I did speak to Peter by phone and ask for his impression of Chuck's testimony. I think you should hear it from him instead of second hand through me since you do not know me.

My observation was that Chuck Phelps was not answering the questions as asked by the prosecution. He frequently gave very long answers to yes/no questions without actually answering the question. Whatever frustration you picked up on from the WMUR live news feed or the Concord Monitor live blogging, wasn't that the prosecutor would not let Chuck Phelps answer--it was that he wasn't answering.

For instance, when the prosecutor asked if Linda Phelps asked Tina if she "liked" what Willis did, Chuck cried and said that was so out of character for his loving wife (still not answering the question). When the prosecutor asked if Chuck said Tina was lucky not to live in OT times when people were stoned, Chuck said we're all lucky not to be living in those times (again--not an answer).

Pat, you mentioned "disgruntled" former members in one of your posts on this topics. I asked the former members of Trinity at the trial to support Tina--easily a dozen or more--about you since you came after I left Trinity. None of them had anything at all unkind to say about you. I just wanted you to know that from my perspective, these people had a principled disagreement with Chuck Phelps and how he handled the situation between Tina and Willis. Several of them confronted Chuck and Linda one on one--to their faces--about the situation. By their own testimony, they were given the same answer. That answer is one that ended up coming out on the witness stand--Chuck and Linda were more concerned about the effects of the fallout on Willis and his family than he was on Tina.

Please do not misrepresent their concerns as those of disgruntled former members. They tried to approach the situation with Chuck and Linda back in 1997 and did not receive any kind of willingness at all to revisit the decisions made, nor were they permitted to know where Tina was or to communicate with her. There were very loving families that wanted to help Tina and they were not permitted to do so.

When Tina came back from CO in 1998, Sue Cappucci helped her with completing her homeschooling. Sue and her husband Jeff state that the details Tina gave Detective DeAngelis in the spring of 2010 when he called her, unsolicited, to ask if she would be willing to talk about what happened and cooperate with an investigation, were exactly the same as those Tina gave them back in 1998. Sue remembers vividly an essay Tina wrote back then telling the story of what happened.

I encourage you to get the transcript as soon as it is available. I plan to do so.

I have finally found time to read through all of the WMUR live feed comments. I did not see any substantial factual errors in them related to testimony. The only thing I noticed is that one of the comments asking about the teal color many of the supporters of Tina were wearing--the reporter said rape survivor instead of rape awareness. That said, there were two of us that answered the question: I said rape awareness, and other supporter that was herself a survivor of childhood rape answered rape survivor. That is a pretty small difference, but I note it here for full disclosure. I have not read the Concord Monitor live blog comments yet.

Laurie Moody

John Brown's picture

I have bided my time on this issue until the verdict was rendered while seeing some here do somersaults in the face of pretty substantial evidence to seemingly go beyond giving Phelps the benefit of the doubt in this sad affair. But instead of speaking out many have chosen silence. That silence is deafening. What will be your response? Will the various fundamentalist conferences and congresses gather to pass resolutions now on this issue like they have on Billy Graham or Rick Warren, CCM, and separation? After all, this is an issue that may actually result in changes instead of tilting at windmills outside of the movement. It is time to stand with good men like Michael Durning and say enough to the culture of abuse that has and is occurring in the movement due IMO to the nature of Baptist autonomy. I'm all for the latter but if you are to speak against others you are against than it's high time you shine the light in your houses. Granted, abuse takes place in every form of institution but some more than others. And whether you like it or not, Catholicism and IFB's share much alike in the guilt category that keeps victims quiet. Sites like SI make me hopeful at times for a return to "thinking fundamentalism". Don't lose this opportunity.

John

Greg Linscott's picture

I am not defending how Chuck Phelps handled this. I am wondering, however- if the Concord PD had run with the ball like they should have when this was initially reported, would Chuck still be vilified as being part of the "culture of cover-up" like he is by many? If today's verdict had been arrived at in a matter of days or months after the crime was committed rather than 14 years later, would there still be the level of outrage directed toward him that there appears to be today?

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Joshua Caucutt's picture

Greg, I'm sure that the level of outrage would be far less. However, since we are playing "whatif?", a better question might be, what if the girl involved had been Dr. Phelps' own daughter (heaven forbid) Would only a single phone call had been made to the police?

formerly known as Coach C

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