Golden State Bible College President on administrative leave over allegations of 'inappropriate conduct'

There are 86 Comments

Darrell Post's picture

Fundamentalism has a problem with cover-ups

Catholicism has a problem with cover-ups

Evangelicalism has a problem with cover-ups

Politics has a problem with cover-ups

Hollywood has a problem with cover-ups

Business world has a problem with cover-ups

News media has a problem with cover-ups

Professional Athletics has a problem with cover-ups

Higher Education has a problem with cover-ups

Medical profession has a problem with cover-ups

 

Wouldn't it just be easier to say, depraved mankind has a problem with cover-ups?

 

 

Ron Bean's picture

I'm saddened at this situation and more than a little angry at another example of churches handling matters like this "in house". I'd suggest you watch the movie "Spotlight" to see how ugly this practice can get.

I was reminded of the rookie pastor who, when an allegation of sexual assault came up against one of his deacons, physically escorted said deacon to the police station and asked them to deal with it. The perp went to jail.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

TylerR's picture

Editor

These incidents (and others) are the compounding result of:

  1. Stupid leadership
  2. Incompetent leadership
  3. Sinful sub-cultural climates
  4. Professional clergy who are insulated from the real world in a Christian bubble (see the sub-culture bit, above), who wrongly or ignorantly fear the attention of the professional, dedicated men and women in criminal and regulatory investigations who are ready, able and willing to handle these matters if they'd only be reported.
  5. A wrong understanding of forgiveness and repentance.

In the end, this is a leadership issue. Some leaders are very, very incompetent. Being a preacher is not the same thing as leadership. There's a difference between being a preaching technician and being a leader. There are very clear leadership implications from the constellation of commands Paul gave Timothy in 2 Timothy.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

Darrell, true as far as it goes and yes, far simpler, but if we want to clean up our mess, we've got to personalize it a bit.  Along those lines, it's worth noting that sometimes you get slightly different reasons for covering things up--for example, no Buddhist or Jew uses 1 Cor. 6 or Matthew 18 as an excuse for doing this.  

In this case, I'm glad Shiflett is speaking up, but given the possibly criminal nature of what's going on, I am cringing at people handling anything inside here.  Just.cringing.  Romans 13, folks. This is especially the case when I consider that people rarely abuse just one minor.  Get it documented by the police.  Even if it's not criminally prosecutable now, it's character witness for the next time he's accused.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Darrell Post's picture

...but for every one of these horrible situations with guilty perpetrator, how many fundamentalist ministries are there that have a leader not guilty of such things? How many ministries when someone is caught, the police are properly called and the perpetrator handled by the authorities? Yes, some fundamentalists have had a problem with cover-ups. When it happens, and they are caught, they are exposed and the headlines make a huge splash. I don't see any evidence that fundamentalism as a whole has a cover-up problem any more than any other group.

In my lifetime I have had knowledge of two situations...the first when I was a kid there was someone who attended the small IFB church that I attended who committed a criminal act against a minor and it was reported to police the same day and the man was arrested and charged. The second is an extended family connection to a well-known situation. Every time it comes to my mind I get angry that the perpetrator was protected by the large org, and the victim was further victimized.

If someone in the given situation wishes to personalize it and raise awareness of a problem that's fine, but we also need to be careful that an unwarranted stereotype is not wrongly attached to fundamentalism as a whole, as though just being a fundamentalist means you are a coverer-up of a rape culture. This would be like suggesting if someone is a professional athlete then he or she must be guilty of covering up steroid abuse.

That was the point of my above post. Any and every societal classification is going to have its horribly bad apples. I wholeheartedly agree that such perpetrators should be exposed and prosecuted, and the victims should be helped. I also agree that no one should aid and help criminals by failing to report their crimes to the police. I am saddened and frustrated whenever I hear of a leader who tried to cover up someone's criminal act whether that leader is a fundamentalist, evangelical or whatever group or classification.

One would think that by now, with the well-publicized accounts from the past that few would ever make this mistake again. But its human nature...Adam said the woman gave it to me, and Eve said the snake deceived me. King David said, Uriah died in battle? That's the way war goes... It is an old problem. By God's grace may we all have the wisdom, integrity and discernment to make the right decisions.

Jay's picture

I'm glad that Pastor Shiflett called it out and made it an issue.  I don't know much about the man or his ministry, but I am thrilled that he went public with the story and his experiences.

If we want to get to the point where accusations of Fundamentalist cover-ups are dismissed on their face - if we truly become 'blameless' in this regard - then we need to make it super abundantly clear that these kinds of crimes will not be tolerated or covered up.  They will be exposed and dealt with.

And that's the way things ought to be in the church of God.  Ephesians 5:3-16 covers this well:

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.  But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

"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

Steve Newman's picture

Having been involved in sexual misconduct cases in churches I have pastored and in churches where pastors refused to properly deal with the sin problems, here are some things to consider:

  1. It is true in most all states that pastors are mandatory reporters of such problems. According to the law, we have to report these problems;
  2. We should investigate. Paul investigated sexual misconduct in Corinth (seeking out "reports"). Church leadership has a responsibility with public sin to understand the facts of the case. We have a responsibility to hear all sides. Supporters of alleged victims can get very angry if you question the stories of the victims in any way, sometimes misunderstanding the need to gather facts. There is always the possibility of false accusations which cannot be discounted. (I appreciated the investigation of Pastor Shiflett).
  3. Support the victims. This is a traumatic event in any event. We should hate the sin that was done to them that they did not ask for. Don't minimize the sin by moving them on to forgiveness right away. It's not that they shouldn't forgive, but that the wounds are so fresh that justice should be the first concern. Paul sought justice for the perp in 1 Cor. 5. The church can bring spiritual justice through discipline quickly, much more so than the authorities. 
  4. We have to do this while also giving perpetrators the opportunity to repent. This can cause great discomfort to a church. Should we keep repentant perpetrators away from church altogether? Or when do we allow them to come back? I've run into churches who have not allowed repentant perpetrators the opportunity to return to church and/or be restored to church membership. We must also manage the congregation. There can be such fear where it becomes irrational (I'm not going to have them around my kid, even if they have repented and have higher standards for themselves than the law or the parents would have!)
  5. Perpetrators can repent. They can even be restored to church membership (though not leadership IMO) but must be carefully monitored. If they end up in the court system, you will have help in monitoring. 
  6. Believe God can bring repentance, salvation, healing and glory to Himself even in situations of high recidivism such as sex crimes. 
Joeb's picture

[quote=Darrell Post]

Fundamentalism has a problem with cover-ups

Catholicism has a problem with cover-ups

Evangelicalism has a problem with cover-ups

Politics has a problem with cover-ups

Hollywood has a problem with cover-ups

Business world has a problem with cover-ups

News media has a problem with cover-ups

Professional Athletics has a problem with cover-ups

Higher Education has a problem with cover-ups

Medical profession has a problem with cover-ups

 

Wouldn't it just be easier to say, depraved mankind has a problem with cover-ups?

 

 

No Darrell because the Fundy/Evangelical Community for years has been pointing their crooked fingers at other Christians and NonChristians for decades and calling them sinners re GAYS ABORTION SHORT SKIRTS DRINKING ALCOHOL WHATEVER.  Calling Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Christians apostates and heretics. Yet in 2016 16,000 Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Christians lost their heads to ISIS for not denying our Lord.  Again Darrell NO.  

The Fundy/Evangelical community needs to own this and dump the Purity Ring Banquets and Patriarchy Movement.  Proof again the gals are not taking it anymore.  This should be a clear message to the FUNDY/EVANGELICAL FRINGE OLD GUARD to cut the crap and do what’s right.  Even the E Mail from the Bible college not mentioning the victim and praying for the alleged Rapist. Give me a break. Just pray for all involved and if the accused is guilty and can be sent to jail so be it.  

Joeb's picture

Steve Newman wrote:

Having been involved in sexual misconduct cases in churches I have pastored and in churches where pastors refused to properly deal with the sin problems, here are some things to consider:    

 

  1. It is true in most all states that pastors are mandatory reporters of such problems. According to the law, we have to report these problems;
  2. We should investigate. Paul investigated sexual misconduct in Corinth (seeking out "reports"). Church leadership has a responsibility with public sin to understand the facts of the case. We have a responsibility to hear all sides. Supporters of alleged victims can get very angry if you question the stories of the victims in any way, sometimes misunderstanding the need to gather facts. There is always the possibility of false accusations which cannot be discounted. (I appreciated the investigation of Pastor Shiflett).
  3. Support the victims. This is a traumatic event in any event. We should hate the sin that was done to them that they did not ask for. Don't minimize the sin by moving them on to forgiveness right away. It's not that they shouldn't forgive, but that the wounds are so fresh that justice should be the first concern. Paul sought justice for the perp in 1 Cor. 5. The church can bring spiritual justice through discipline quickly, much more so than the authorities. 
  4. We have to do this while also giving perpetrators the opportunity to repent. This can cause great discomfort to a church. Should we keep repentant perpetrators away from church altogether? Or when do we allow them to come back? I've run into churches who have not allowed repentant perpetrators the opportunity to return to church and/or be restored to church membership. We must also manage the congregation. There can be such fear where it becomes irrational (I'm not going to have them around my kid, even if they have repented and have higher standards for themselves than the law or the parents would have!)
  5. Perpetrators can repent. They can even be restored to church membership (though not leadership IMO) but must be carefully monitored. If they end up in the court system, you will have help in monitoring. 
  6. Believe God can bring repentance, salvation, healing and glory to Himself even in situations of high recidivism such as sex crimes. 

Steve a Pastor does not investigate squat.  You don’t talk to the Perp.  You don’t tell him your calling the Police. You don’t say booh to him and your instructions to the victim and their family are the same.  You don’t say booh. 

I don’t care if the accused is your best friend.  Tipping him off immediately damages the integrity of the investigation. You call the cops.  If the Case Investigator asks for your help then and only then do you assist.  I don’t care if you disagree with how the Investigator wants to do his investigation.  The idea is to get to the truth.  A monitored phone call or meeting between the victim and accused may be the quickest way to the truth.  If you contact the accused about the allegation you just destroyed that opportunity ie YOU OBSTRUCTED A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION.  

I don’t care if it happened 15 years ago. A lot of these Sex Perps are into  child pornography. So why not give the Cops to get the guy on another charge. He is predisposed they can use a sting on the Perp.  

Also the Pastor does not have to understand squat about it until after the criminal investigation is done. The Criminal Investigator lets you know when you need to understand.  

Steve unless the Perp spills his guts to the Police Officer your contact with him could be construed as interference   The repenting for the Perp comes after conviction and jail  Any counseling by a Pastor should come from a Pastor totally unconnected to the Church  Representing the Church means representing the victim until the allegation is proven untrue or the Perp is convicted and in jail period  By going and seeing your friend as a Pastor you are being unfair to the victim   If the Perp makes admissions to you it can’t be used against him because your a Pastor   That’s not fair to the victim and you just put yourself in place of siding with the Perp   

Steve are you kidding me you can bring Spiritual  disapline before the authority’s can act  That’s obstruction  Do you hear what your saying  You should stay out of it   This Pastor who did his own Investigation is dead wrong He could be prosecuted   Plus you don’t think this guy dumped his hard drives and phones already   I’m sure their in the San Francisco Bay   CHILD PORN ITS A FEDERAL OFFENSE   IF THIS GUY CALLED THE COPS THE FEDS WOULD  HAVE HANDLED IT AND GOT SEARCH WARRANTS FOR HIS HOME AND OFFICE AND ALL ELECTRONIC DEVISES   Bingo 

Pastors don’t think this is a big deal   Short of murder this is the worst thing one can do   This guy could do 20 plus years maybe more  

 

 

 

WallyMorris's picture

"Calling Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Christians apostates and heretics. Yet in 2016 16,000 Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Christians lost their heads to ISIS for not denying our Lord." - All that proves is that they died for what they believe in. Doesn't mean that the belief is correct. How tragic that many die because of an association with Jesus Christ yet not really believing the gospel.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

 First, never heard of the place.

Second, (adding to what Darrel has said…) the story only proves what we all already knew:

  • Humans sin and commit crimes and try to blame others and cover it up. (Adam and Eve!)
  • Some of those humans claim to be Christians, Bible-believing, fundamental, etc.
  • There are sick organizations where unethical and/or criminal people are leaders and they have enablers who help keep them in power.
  • Some of these sick organizations are churches and ministries that claim to be Christian, Bible-believing, fundamental, etc.

Some other things we all know…

  • Committing sins and crimes and covering them up is not anywhere in the "five fundamentals"
  • Committing sins/crimes and covering them up is not advocated in The Fundamentals writings or any of the later defining documents of the fundamentalist movement
  • (For that matter, endorsing corruption isn't a tenet of any belief system I've ever heard of)
  • Way more sins/crimes/attempted coverups by people who are not leaders of fundamentalist ministries are in the news everyday than are of that particular category. If you doubt this, keep a tally for a few weeks.

There is nothing "fundamentalist" about it.

One more set of things we all know…

  • There ought to be zero Christian/bible-believing/fundamental people and ministries in this category.
  • Lots of things "ought to be" that are not.

And finally a question…

Given what we all already know, how much does pointing out more of these cases accomplish? 

Bert Perry's picture

Those who would advocate articles like "Publish it not" (Jim's link) need to remember exactly what stories about David's life are preserved for us in Scripture.  No, David's plea to keep the debacle vs. the Philistines private--a plea that the Holy Spirit and the Son of God denied specifically by preserving David's song in Scripture--does not correlate to an overall prescription for keeping these things private.

What is gained when these things become public today?  Same thing as when David's sin with Bathsheba became public, when the debacle with the Philistines was public, and the same thing as when the "lover of his stepmother" became public.  God's people were warned about what could happen, and moreover the regrettable abundance of evidence allows us to see the patterns that lead to disaster; a mis-application of 1 Cor. 6 and Matthew 18:15-17 combined with a neglect of Romans 13, and an insistence on radical autonomy of the local church that seeks to keep these things private.  As Luke 8:17 notes, there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed.  We may as well get used to it.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim's picture

Lest you think that Jim (who posted this) is the salacious type just looking for dirt on fundamentalists. Know this:

  • We could probably do a filing a week on a pastor who failed morally
  • I don't search for ... look for ... or relish posting this stuff (it sickens me!)

What's significant here:

  • The accused is / was a Bible college President
  • His church glossed over his sin(s)
  • His friend testified that this is a systemic problem in fundamentalism
Jim's picture

I personally know of at least whom failed morally and went on to other ministries:

  • A youth pastor at the church where I was saved. He impregnated a teen in our church ... left to serve in another ministry. He disappeared from my life when I was 20-21 ... and I bumped into him at a prophecy conference I attended when I was 28 (he was serving on the staff of a noted speaker)
  • A pastor who committed adultery and went on to serve at Schroon Lake
  • A prominent GARBC pastor from Toledo who went on to serve churches in California (and repeated his sins)
Jay's picture

  • We could probably do a filing a week on a pastor who failed morally

  • I don't search for ... look for ... or relish posting this stuff (it sickens me!)

Yeah, there's a real balancing act between reporting legitimate news and just accumulating a database of men who have failed or worse.  I've seen a couple of calls for the latter on Twitter, but that's nothing that I want to have any part of, although I am sympathetic to the idea since there are plenty of men (like in Jim's example) of a man who impregnates a woman that isn't his wife and then 'shows up' ten years down the road at some other ministry doing the 'work of the Lord'.  Hyles' associates are notorious for this kind of thing, and local church autonomy works against us on this one.

"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

TylerR's picture

Editor

Jay wrote:

and local church autonomy works against us on this one

This is incorrect. Your enemy isn't the form of church government. It's quite clear these scandals occur in churches with all sorts of different ideas of church government. The problem isn't a particular flavor of church government; it's incompetent leadership.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

Local church autonomy--at least in its abuse--matters here for exactly the reasons that are expressed in Aaron's comment here.  You have a general desire to keep matters private, a general willingness to defer to local church leadership, and a general suspicion of outside influences.  

I would argue that that is, to be fair, not what local church autonomy is supposed to be, but it's a tenor that is extremely strong here.  Another picture of the hazards of local church autonomy is that when a suggestion was made to the SBC that the SBC put a list together of men who had been shown the door for sexual sins so that churches could avoid hiring such men, one of the big reasons cited for rejecting the move was because of....drum roll....local church autonomy.  

Apparently on their planet, local church autonomy means the freedom to hire perverts.  Sorry, but among the sane, that one leaves a mark. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

GregH's picture

For an example of how well self-autonomy works can work and how well fundamentalism protects its children, I refer you to the case of Mike Zachary, also of Golden State Baptist College. 

A few years ago, Zachary left Golden State for West Coast Baptist College but was shortly thereafter fired from there (I believe in 2014) because they became aware that there were state investigations into potentially criminal non-consensual relationships with minor boys while he was at Golden State.

While at the time, no charges were ever filed, here is a snippet from a statement from Trieber where he referenced things that Zachary confessed to in the West Coast investigation:

The actions to which Dr. Chappell stated Dr. Zachary confessed were clearly acts of gross immorality and potential criminality. Dr. Zachary's dismissal from a high position of leadership within a Bible college was completely appropriate. We wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Chappell's decision to dismiss Dr. Zachary immediately.

Now, here is where things get interesting. Within a very short time (by the end of 2015), Zachary was hired by a new fundamental Baptist church (Lighthouse Baptist Church in Lemon Grove, CA). For a long time, they had the good sense to not list him on their website but today, I note that they list him as staff.

Is this the way it is supposed to work? Is there really not a place for people to call out Lighthouse Baptist Church in a public way and pressure them to stop the madness? 

Kevin Miller's picture

GregH wrote:

Is this the way it is supposed to work? Is there really not a place for people to call out Lighthouse Baptist Church in a public way and pressure them to stop the madness? 

Would "calling them out" and "pressuring them" accomplish the overruling of their own autonomy to make decisions about what staff they hire? We certainly don't like the decisions they made, but do we want to set up some structure to override local church decisions and cancel them out?

Bert Perry's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

GregH wrote:

 

Is this the way it is supposed to work? Is there really not a place for people to call out Lighthouse Baptist Church in a public way and pressure them to stop the madness? 

 

Would "calling them out" and "pressuring them" accomplish the overruling of their own autonomy to make decisions about what staff they hire? We certainly don't like the decisions they made, but do we want to set up some structure to override local church decisions and cancel them out?

I think you have to keep in mind that in the 1st century, as is documented by the New Testament, God used various people, not just apostles, to call His Church to repentance from outside.  That is the basic structure of the New Testament, and it points to (IMO) a much stronger of the universal (lower case "catholic") church than is typically found among fundamentalists.  That includes Paul telling the Corinthian church to take it easy on the repentant "lover of his stepmother", John's warning of rebuking Diotrephes in person for not hosting itinerant preachers, Paul telling Timothy to put elders in place (presumably not, ahem, by congregational vote), and a lot more.

Now the interesting thing here is that if we reject bishops--and I do--what we have here is not a structure to override local church decisions, but rather a mindset that takes outside input with the same seriousness that the early church seems to have done.  

In the case Greg mentions,  what we're left with is this, as far as I can tell.  In the Hyles orbit, I think, and I would guess I'd get nowhere if I asked them to be forthright about what this guy did so people could make wise decisions.  In a more responsible orbit, I'd hope you'd get some quick action if, say, you told someone at Maranatha or Faith "hey, a guy you kicked out for cheating on his wife is now pastoring at...."   If I had good clear evidence, I just might present it to church leadership there, noting that as long as such a person is employed there, I would actively tell people not to attend there and why.

Good, clear evidence; I am not about to sign up for a libel or slander lawsuit.  But I think we need to stand up against this sort of thing.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Steve Newman's picture

Joeb,

I don't know you, but I am not minimizing the crime, nor the victim's rights. 

First of all, I did write that the number 1 thing is to notify the authorities first. Obviously, if I am cooperating with authorities, I would follow their direction and if they ask me to stay out, I would stay out. Cooperation with the authorities is necessary. Whatever I would do as a pastor is after the authorities have moved ahead and I am cleared to do so. While doing so, I would turn anything I find over as evidence. I am not saying for the cops to stay out of it. On the contrary. 

Joeb's picture

Wally when I was in college I went to an Inter-varsity Christian Fellowship Missions Conference and my worship leader was an Iraq Christian.  I stupidly asked him if he was saved through Missionaries.  Wally he was Eastern Orthodox.  This man’s response was you American Christians think your the only true Christians in the world. This Iraq man said as follows to me:

 He and his family have been serving Christ their Savior faithfully for 500 years.  You Americans think that you can street preach and drop track bombs in a Muslim Country and get people saved.  Evangelization by his family and church is done through personal relationships one at a time and it takes time. It’s done quietly because it is literally deadly to all parties involved.  You Americans have no idea what is to be a Christian in a Muslim ruled and dominated Country  

Mike Pence recognizes them as our brothers in Christ and so does Samaritain’s purse.  Wally you just proved what I said.  You don’t know these people’s hearts.  You automatically judge and that’s what the Fringe is known for.  I’d say they may have teachings that are in error but a lot of them know the Lord and probably have closer walks with our Lord then most American Fundy/Evangelicals. Both the Coptic and Eastern Orthdox Christians know Christ as there savior.  A Coptic priest attended Summit’s Seminary and from talking to people there they had no doubt the guy was saved and preached the gospel.

 So Wally you and your guys have a lot to worry about.  Its the Fringe who are in the dog house with these Sex Scandals. It’s your churches holding the  Puirty Ring Banquets and Patriarchy Teachings that’s brainwashing these young sisters in Christ so they can’t even defend themselves.  It’s your people who counseled a gal raped 1000 times to seek the Lord for her part in the sin.   

Guess what Wally the gals are not going to take it anymore. There not buying into your Puirty Movement. The party is over the young gals have had enough abuse. Like teaching them that there responsible for getting men to sin by their dress ie short skirts tight jeans etc.  That’s what the Muslims teach there women and the stuff Godly Michelle Duggar says about sex is the same thing a brainwashed Muslim Woman would say.  So Wally listen up even the guy who started the Purity Movement with his book now says it’s bad dope.  

Pages