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

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Joeb's picture

Sorry Steve.  Forgive me.  I was wrong.  As a Former Investigator I look at getting to the truth but also making the case.  My Agency did a lot of bribe cases back in the day.  An after the fact bribe was very hard to prove.  Just like a sex abuse allegation where there’s no physical evidence.  It’s a he said she said situation but the cases can be made. 

This Pastor erred greatly. If the Police got involved and interviewed the victim and developed other victims.  It would only take one victim saying he took even a one  risqué picture of them to get the FBI involved ie child porn.  Next thing you know 10 Federal Agents are at his house and office grabbing all his computer equipment and phones and his wife’s computers if necessary.   

Believe me I have served search warrants on homes for computers and records . We showed up at the home unannounced early in the morning with the locals.  The husband and wife were given copies of the warrants and escorted out of the house.  I spent the whole day in the house tearing it apart.  

I also did a consent search with ATF with my cooperating subject who was trying to prove his honesty.  The guy did not have much of a choice because as soon as he said no I’d say okay all deals are off enjoy jail.  That’s the way Police treat Criminals there not your friend unless they roll over and cooperate 100 % and a true Christian would do that and more.  Especially a man claiming Christ as his Savior even if he faced serious jail time.  

To tell you the truth if it were not for constitutional concerns re privileged communications having a Pastor in on the interview would probably be very advantageous in getting a Christian Perp to cooperate especially if the Perp was another Pastor. 

Steve Newman's picture

I don't intend to write a book on the subject, that's why I didn't say more before, but obviously people are reading into what I wrote. I've been involved in such cases, and honestly, you don't sound like you have. There's a whole lot that goes into it over a period of years. This whole discussion really begins when the offender has already been turned over to the authorities. If so, the repentant person can put the facts of the case out quickly, and if they don't, don't take chances. Obviously, until then, and beyond, you protect the victim. 

That's why a church can move to discipline a person before they will be convicted because it takes months and months. And in the meantime, they may even be out of jail on bond. What if they want to come to your church? Do they show fruit of repentance? That fruit would include confessing this and any other instances of the crime. You may have to manage that. If someone is not truly repentant, and you can often tell the difference, I'm not going to life a finger for them. On the contrary, I'm going to protect the victim in any case.  

If they show fruit of repentance, and the family of the victim is consulted and protected (meaning that you look to their safety first and don't allow the person to come if it is against their wishes), would you want that person to worship in a church body somewhere? It doesn't sound like you know what repentance can or should look like in such a situation. A truly repentant person will have higher standards for themselves than you would have for them. Therefore, they wouldn't be on the internet. They wouldn't be alone with the gender of the people they have violated. 

Also, eventually (and again I'm talking a long time), the victim is going to have to move forward with their life and not live in the pit of terminal victimhood. Let's not get so riled by the short term that we don't see how God can work, heal, forgive and even restore over the long term. These are all things that Christians believe in. However, we can't rush God. But let's not become slaves to short-term and panic thinking. 

I've heard pastors say sex offenders should be put to death, or locked up forever, or they don't want them in their church. Try checking your neighborhood and see how many sex offenders live near you. God may want you to minister to them too. You aren't going to be able to avoid sex offenders, no matter how perfect you try and make your world. Yes, sex offenses are heinous sins, especially for those in leadership positions in the church. But they are still also sins, which mean they can be forgiven by God. Jesus' sacrifice can take away those sins too. Sins that should disqualify the Golden Gate president from vocational ministry for good. 

The results of sin do scar people. But once they are made safe, and the offender is properly dealt with, does that have to dominate and determine their life's direction? It will change them, but it won't keep God from healing them and blessing them over time. 

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I appreciate these thoughts, Steve. Much to think about there.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Bert Perry wrote:

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?  

Bert, they are already public when us distant random internet people find out. I was not referring to "making things public," but to obsessing over things that have already reached the public (as well as obsessing over "taking action," when people closer to the problems -- and who have the responsibility to do so -- are already taking action.) I can't see much point in it.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Joeb's picture

Steve my niece was raped in High School and never told my brother.  The Perp is now in jail for other charges.  It all did not come out until she was at a Christian College. She went through the same things that other victims went through.  My Brother did not know about until she was in college.  She wanted to end it but by the grace of God she got good LICENSED counseling at the college.  She recently came out with it due to the me To Movement.  She did not want to move forward with charges. She praises God and is doing great. Just like the victims should do.  

She came out at College the same time Berg and his buddies of UNLICENSED COUNSELORS were counseling many gals to seek the Lord for their part of the sin and tell the Perp your sorry for being bitter.  Thank God no gals committed sucide.  

YOUR KIND OF PEOPLE WALLY. WALLY the winds a blowin and it’s not in your favor.  As Schflitt said your people WALLY have an epidemic on their hands on and so do the Evangelicals.  It is truly a shared problem. So I’m not just picking on the Fundy Fringe here. Gordon is more guilty then BJU. in my Book. So WALLY why don’t you condemn the Puirty/Patriarch Movement now.  Publicly.  I do. 

T Howard's picture

Joeb wrote:

So WALLY why don’t you condemn the Puirty/Patriarch Movement now.  Publicly.  I do. 

Perhaps someone can define what is meant by the "purity/patriarch movement." Who are the leading proponents? Is this Gothardism?

Neither idea in itself is necessarily the cause of sexual abuse. But, that is what the #MeToo movement wants us to believe. "Toxic masculinity" is to blame, so we're told. So, Joeb, please define what you mean by these terms.

Bert Perry's picture

What is to be gained, again, is that when the outcry in public gets too loud, ruling boards of organizations like SWBTS are finally shamed into taking action.   Almost all organizations have unwritten rules that members must abide by to remain a member of the group, and that's a big reason why 1 Timothy 3:7 states that an elder must have a good reputation with outsiders.  It is absolutely critical for organizations to listen to what outsiders see about them that they're often not willing to admit to themselves. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

T Howard wrote:

 

Joeb wrote:

 

So WALLY why don’t you condemn the Puirty/Patriarch Movement now.  Publicly.  I do

Perhaps someone can define what is meant by the "purity/patriarch movement." Who are the leading proponents? Is this Gothardism?

Neither idea in itself is necessarily the cause of sexual abuse. But, that is what the #MeToo movement wants us to believe. "Toxic masculinity" is to blame, so we're told. So, Joeb, please define what you mean by these terms.

It does have links to Gothard, but also to guys like Josh Harris of "I kissed dating goodbye."  It's not really one movement, IMO.  

Where I'd suggest many (not all) in that movement go wrong, and for that matter where a lot of us go wrong, is when things are said like "be careful that you don't lead someone astray by how you dress."  Notice that puts the onus on the victim for how the perpetrator behaves.  I would then assert that some portion of men will use attire as an excuse for varying degrees of sexual assault. 

Not the only thing going on there by any means, but for me that's the big one.  I would agree with you fully that "toxic masculinity" is not the only thing going on with sexual assault, and especially if you said that the Duluth Model (primary model for trying to deal with domestic violence) is over simplistic in asserting "patriarchy" as a cause for problems  To draw a picture, exactly who is the patriarch in a lesbian relationship?  They suffer far more domestic assault than do heterosexual married couples, after all.  

But that said, there is a kernel of truth to the allegation that some of how we press issues of modesty and purity can indeed be harmful in that it really doesn't flow from Scripture.  Gothard's work in general is rife with that.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Kevin Miller's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

What is to be gained, again, is that when the outcry in public gets too loud, ruling boards of organizations like SWBTS are finally shamed into taking action.   Almost all organizations have unwritten rules that members must abide by to remain a member of the group, and that's a big reason why 1 Timothy 3:7 states that an elder must have a good reputation with outsiders.  It is absolutely critical for organizations to listen to what outsiders see about them that they're often not willing to admit to themselves. 

Of course, getting shamed while listening to the public outcry is something churches will just have to endure when it comes to theological issues, such as gender identity and homosexuality and even roles within a marriage. The public wants us to throw out the Scriptures as being outdated on those issues. This is why the structure of autonomy is so incredibly important.

Bert Perry's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

Bert Perry wrote:

 

What is to be gained, again, is that when the outcry in public gets too loud, ruling boards of organizations like SWBTS are finally shamed into taking action.   Almost all organizations have unwritten rules that members must abide by to remain a member of the group, and that's a big reason why 1 Timothy 3:7 states that an elder must have a good reputation with outsiders.  It is absolutely critical for organizations to listen to what outsiders see about them that they're often not willing to admit to themselves. 

 

Of course, getting shamed while listening to the public outcry is something churches will just have to endure when it comes to theological issues, such as gender identity and homosexuality and even roles within a marriage. The public wants us to throw out the Scriptures as being outdated on those issues. This is why the structure of autonomy is so incredibly important.

 

I see this objection often, but what it really assumes is that church leadership can't show the difference between failing to get a rape reported (and hiding the records, apparently) and adhering to fairly obvious Biblical teaching.  In that case, maybe....being an elder isn't the role God has for them?   They are called, after all, to be "men of the word" and "apt to teach", and if they cannot appeal to the church's highest authority, the Bible, to make their points in a winsome way, it will not help one iota to appeal to a lesser authority, that of the church.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Kevin Miller's picture

Bert Perry wrote:
I see this objection often, but what it really assumes is that church leadership can't show the difference between failing to get a rape reported (and hiding the records, apparently) and adhering to fairly obvious Biblical teaching. 

I wasn't really making an objection. It was more of a concern that we don't call too strongly for outside voices to pressure us, since we need our autonomy when dealing with theological issues. And i wasn't assuming anything about the failure to report a rape. That's just wrong, and everything that Aaron and others have written about autonomy here have agreed that criminal activity needs to be reported. I would definitely agree that the Bible is the church's highest authority, so I'd be interesting in knowing if you have any other Scriptural supports for your position that outsiders need to be heeded other than the fact that NT authors wrote inspired Scripture (I have a hard time seeing that as a support since we have no people today giving inspired instruction to churches) and that pastoral candidates need to be respected by the world. Granted, I Timothy 3:7 is a strong verse for your position, but I don't know that it would apply for every decision that a church would make. It seems like it is specifically about the choice of a pastor.

Bert Perry's picture

Kevin, part of my vehemence here arrives from the apparent fact that not everybody is agreed that we need to report rape.  Greg pointed to some examples from the college we're discussing here, and failure to report (and hiding evidence) just got Paige Patterson fired.  We're talking some pretty big names in fundagelicalism pretty recently.  See also BJU, New Tribes, ABWE....like it or not, this is in our blood, and if our ecclesiology leads us to repeat the mistakes on the grounds that "it's not big enough to report", there will be Hell to pay.

Regarding the Biblical evidence, we've got all of the prophets, Balaam's donkey, Naaman's servant girl, all of the epistle writers, and also Timothy and Titus as examples of people who meddled in the affairs of local authorities and are commended for it.  Isn't that sufficient?   Isn't it sufficient that Paul not only models this, but also tells us to follow him in this?  Isn't it sufficient that Proverbs tells us about the wisdom of having advisers?  

Put gently, the fact that churches often (but not always) selected their own leaders in the NT (see Acts 14;23, Titus 1:5 for exceptions) does not empower us to take a generally negative view of the testimony of outsiders, describe them as "far away and uninvolved", and the like.  This is especially the case when we consider that the seminaries we're talking about train leaders for 15 million Southern Baptists and millions of other evangelicals and fundamentalists.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Darrell Post's picture

"part of my vehemence here arrives from the apparent fact that not everybody is agreed that we need to report rape"

Bert, I could go back over the entire thread, but I do not recall anyone here arguing that rape need not be reported to the authorities. 

One of the undercurrents of this entire discussion seems to be the desire for simplicity as though all these situations are exactly the same, all have the same answer, fault is always entirely in one place, and the punitive actions that should be taken are always crystal clear. Unfortunately sin is a messy business, and these situations, even for police, require discernment and skill to sort out. Some situations are clearer than others, and we all seem to be in general agreement over situations that seem clear (based on what is publicly known) and were poorly handled. 

From what I have seen on this thread:

1) no one here is saying don't report it

2) no one here is saying perpetrators should be excused.

3. no one here is saying victims should be punished.

I jumped into the discussion because it seemed like some might be suggesting the failure to handle well clear situations was somehow connected to being a fundamentalist--as though poor handling of these problems was instructed in the Five Fundamentals, as Aaron pointed out. 

 

 

 

Kevin Miller's picture

Bert Perry wrote:
like it or not, this is in our blood, and if our ecclesiology leads us to repeat the mistakes on the grounds that "it's not big enough to report", there will be Hell to pay.

But I fail to see how it is "our ecclesiology" that would be to blame, since groups with entirely different ecclesiologies, like the Catholics, also fail to report. The Hollywood industry, which doesn't even have an ecclesiology, has failed to report. You say you don't believe in bishops, so you yourself must be accepting the autonomy of churches, yet you argue against a "mindset" that encompasses other ecclesiologies and then blame it on OUR ecclesiology.

Quote:
Regarding the Biblical evidence, we've got all of the prophets, Balaam's donkey, Naaman's servant girl, all of the epistle writers, and also Timothy and Titus as examples of people who meddled in the affairs of local authorities and are commended for it.  Isn't that sufficient?

Not really. All of the things you mentioned, except for Naaman's servant, were directly affected by God or an actual apostle to give their messages. The prophets got their messages direct from God, the epistle writers were inspired, and God caused the donkey to talk. Do we have prophets or inspired writings or talking animals today? If we don't have those things, then the comparison is useless. How can a useless comparison be sufficient?

   

Quote:
Isn't it sufficient that Paul not only models this, but also tells us to follow him in this?

The Catholic Church uses Paul's command to follow his tradition as a means to add all sorts of traditions. I'd much rather go with actual commands from Scripture.

Quote:
Isn't it sufficient that Proverbs tells us about the wisdom of having advisers?

No one here has denied that listening to advisors can be a wise thing to do as churches make their decisions.  

Quote:
Put gently, the fact that churches often (but not always) selected their own leaders in the NT (see Acts 14;23, Titus 1:5 for exceptions) does not empower us to take a generally negative view of the testimony of outsiders, describe them as "far away and uninvolved", and the like.

But if we are examining actual Bible verses about the interaction with outsiders, don't we have to conclude that I Corinthians 6:1-6 has a generally negative view? Those verses say that people within the church ARE competent enough to make decisions, and that it's shameful to have to go to outsiders for resolution.

 

Joeb's picture

Thanks Bert. My research revealed the modern purity ring movement started in the Southern Baptist Circles and moved out from there.  Josh Harris’ book I kissed Dating Good Bye  pushed the movement  further  It appears mainly Gothard took this further with the Father Daughter Ring Banquets and combining it with the Patriarchy Movement.  The last thing I read Josh  Harris has admitted that the things he pushed in his book  are bad dope 

Michelle Duggar says it all. Very close to the of Islam in fact and very much on the money.  The women is totally responsible for causing the bad behavior of men and that the women is their to be totally dominated by the man sexually.  Michelle Duggar has basically said it’s the women’s fault if the husband goes astray ie She Didn’t Put Out Enough.  

This view was adopted by Fundementalists and Evangelicals. The blame is on the gal.  BJU and other Fundy/Evangelical churches were obsessing with skirt and short length and tight clothes and blaming are Fine Christian Sisters for men going astray  This puts one right in league with Islam.  There is no way one can get around that.  

The thought pattern is totally unbiblical. Hence why wouldn’t one not want to associate with Ring Banquets that  Fundy/Evangelical Victims Of Sex Abuse associate with the thought pattern they see leading to their abuse.  It’s like offering to buy a beer for a Christian Brother who was an alcoholic.

In my opinion it’s just plain wrong to run these Banquets with teaching  that’s clearly unbiblical putting the whole blame for the way a women’s dresses as the root cause for men’s sexual sin.  So Wally I denounce it why don’t you join me denouncing them   

Note: My stand on this does not mean I disagree with the dress codes BJU or any other Bibles Colleges have in their Rule books.  Quite the opposite.  If you don’t like the rules don’t go there. The dress code in an educational setting adds pride to the schools mission and discipline and professionalism.  It’s not the dress code it’s the attitude for its existence.    

Joeb's picture

Although I think he seriously erred not getting Law Enforcement involved at the get go.  You have to have a really love this Pastor he was a victim of sex abuse as a child and was sexually harassed by his Senior Pastor who was a closet gay.

 I highly respect him and he has been where these young ladies have been. No one can question that he does not understand the problem. In fact this Pastor should be raised up and congratulated for his love he exhibited.  I am guilty of having a lockem up and throw away the key attitude which is not always the best.  

Bert Perry's picture

Folks, the simple fact of the matter is that being superficially willing to take advice does not correlate to actually doing so.  For that matter, stating that one must report crimes doesn't necessarily get it done, either.  To get the answers to that, you've got to understand the "corporate culture", and that's where, acknowledging other groups which have gotten into trouble for failure to report and hiding sexual assault, the culture of fundagelicals comes into play.  As quality engineers like myself like to say, "corporate culture eats corporate initiatives for lunch."  I used to work in a company where anybody above 50 years old was still working for "Edgar", who had sold the company 25 years previously and who had been dead for 20 years.  Don't underestimate the power of corporate culture, as it's huge.

Now, Aaron's framing of the issue is really helpful here in understanding our problem.  He acknowledges the obvious, but then states a strong view of congregational autonomy that more or less says that the leadership ought to pick and choose when to listen to outside comment.  That's problem #1.  

Problem #2 is how he describes outsiders, and it's very consistent and pervasive.  He talks about the "madness of crowds", tells us consistently that insiders know better, that it's almost always better to handle things inside, strictly bounds who does and does not qualify as an interested party (basically must be church member), ignores clear evidence that outsiders did indeed achieve good results, and more or less has a consistent "mood" in his writing of "you don't know what you're talking about, let me show you the door."

In other words, while it's theoretically possible to do the right thing, practically speaking any church that follows his lead is going to be conditioned not to do what's right.  That includes, by the way, failure to report criminal actions.  Not everybody knows exactly what violates the law to begin with, and if the strongest thing you believe is autonomy and suspicion of outsiders, you're going to put your finger on the scales when it's clear evidence of a felony.

Even more bluntly, we need to remember that Aaron's argument is almost identical to the justifications that were given in the ABWE, New Tribes, and BJU cases.  You have an assumption of fairly radical autonomy combined with a strong suspicion of outsiders; the only difference is that there is a superficial agreement that we ought to report crimes.  As I've demonstrated above, that's a flimsy difference, especially given that a lot of offenders are stopped when someone deals earnestly with non-criminal behavior.

For example, I helped stop (temporarily I believe) a predator when I reported my (male) babysitter had given my brother and I a sex ed lesson.  My babysitter's father (possibly others) then told him, in effect, that a blanket party was in the offing if he didn't quit his job, leave town, and promise never to work with kids again.  So this stuff is very real to me, and is probably also very real to a lot of others in our churches.

In closing, here's a good article from today's Washington Post detailing some of the issues we fundagelicals indeed have.   Well worth a read.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I remain convinced nobody commenting on this thread is against reporting crimes, or would refuse to listen to outside council and influence, or wouldn't seek advice and guidance from peers in a difficult situation.

I worked all day yesterday, ran home to eat dinner, then spent three hours with a couple at my church, married 20 years, who have an awful marriage and want help fixing it. As I struggled to deal with the avalanche of issues and problems they're bringing forward (yes, my biblical counseling classes have helped immensely, thanks Dr. Meyer at Maranatha!), and I watch both husband and wife collapse into tears of frustration, heartache and (some) repentance, I can't help but chuckle about this entire comment thread.

I'll leave the academic parsing about philosophical distinctions over abstract abuse complaints to the pundits. The takeaway for anybody following these issues is to:

  1. Report abuse allegations to the proper authorities
  2. Study about what forgiveness and repentance looks like
  3. Understand the state and the local church have distinct, complementary roles to play in investigation and punishment of wrongdoers
  4. Be more zealous for the Lord than you are for your local church's (or para-church's) reputation
  5. Be introspective, and consider whether you're part of a sub-cultural climate that demeans women and/or maligns abuse allegations

Take care.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Bert Perry's picture

Tyler, I would agree that nobody is going to admit they are going to suppress allegations of rape, and I would agree that few church leaders are going to admit they plan to ignore outsiders in solving problems.  However, if you have a hard doctrine of local church autonomy and a general suspicion of outsiders, that is exactly the result that you are going to get.  So to add to your list:

0.  Look at church culture to see what unspoken assumptions are going to influence decisions to contradict written policies, laws, moral principles, and direction from church leadership.

I don't see how we can watch the debacle going on in the SBC and conclude anything else.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Kevin Miller's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Tyler, I would agree that nobody is going to admit they are going to suppress allegations of rape, and I would agree that few church leaders are going to admit they plan to ignore outsiders in solving problems.  However, if you have a hard doctrine of local church autonomy and a general suspicion of outsiders, that is exactly the result that you are going to get. 

Based on your posts, I take that you don't think church members (the insiders) are sufficiently unbiased or sufficiently Spirit-led to solve their own problems. You've said the "universal" church should play a role, but what is the mechanism for them to do that, other than the universal church just complaining that something needs to be done? Is it your position that the complaints of the universal church are from people totally without bias and are therefore always to be acted upon without any decision making input from the members of a congregation? If believing that church members can make their own decisions is just a "hard doctrine" that leads to cover-ups, then what is the solution apart from removing that decision making authority?

(I'd still like you to explain your perspective of the statements in I Cor 6:1-6 that talk about the ability of church members to solve their own problems.)

Bert Perry's picture

Kevin, you're making this way too complicated.  It's not a debate over whether insiders or outsiders have more bias, or one does and one does not.  It is all about recognizing what kind of biases are inherent in the system you intend to use.

If you have Aaron's hard doctrine of local church autonomy accompanied by a strong suspicion against the views of outsiders--calling it the madness of crowds, calling them far away and uninvolved, and the like--the institutional tendency is exactly that.  Comments from outside--which may be halfway around the world, in the next town, or simply from a consistent attender or member who isn't in the "power circle"--are going to be ignored, and their makers insulted.

If you've got blind spots--and you know you do--that means that you are pretty much assured that you won't hear those who point them out to you.   See the problem?  Again, that's how Donn Ketcham wreaked havoc at ABWE, how dozens of perpetrators wreaked havoc at BJU, and how in the secular world, Larry Nassar and George Tyndall wrought havoc at MSU and USC.  

And as I've noted before, you would evaluate outside witnesses exactly the same way the Bereans did with Paul, and really all of the early churches did with every itinerant teacher and epistle; by comparing what they said with the Old Testament and the known testimony of the Apostles.  There is no innovation for today.

Regarding 1. Cor. 6, that only prohibits going to pagan judges, not heeding the wisdom of outsiders.  If it prohibited the latter, we would need to excise 1 Tim. 3:7 and a lot of Proverbs from our Bibles, no?   Again, what is required is simply a habit of discernment.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

Based on your posts, I take that you don't think church members (the insiders) are sufficiently unbiased or sufficiently Spirit-led to solve their own problems. You've said the "universal" church should play a role, but what is the mechanism for them to do that, other than the universal church just complaining that something needs to be done? Is it your position that the complaints of the universal church are from people totally without bias and are therefore always to be acted upon without any decision making input from the members of a congregation? If believing that church members can make their own decisions is just a "hard doctrine" that leads to cover-ups, then what is the solution apart from removing that decision making authority?

I'm not going to speak for Bert, but I did want to note one thing here.

As some of you may know, the church that Rachael and JJ Denhollander left over the issue with having CJ Mahaney speak came out and admitted who they were and made a public confession of their sin this week.  Since many people here are far more sanguine with church leadership taking a lead on this than Bert or I, allow me to cite what the leadership said:

However, delight was not our only reaction. During Rachael’s impact statement she lamented, “My advocacy for sexual assault victims, something I cherished, cost me my church.” As the pastors of Immanuel Baptist Church, we knew that we were that church. After years of membership at Immanuel, Rachael and her husband Jacob had left our church voluntarily just weeks before the Nassar trial began. This departure is why ‘delight’ was not our only reaction to Rachael’s testimony. Instead, we felt confusion, sadness, frustration, introspection, fear, and had a host of other thoughts and emotions. Fortunately, because of Rachael’s decision not to name our church publicly, we were able to enter into a season of deep self-examination without the scrutiny of the outside world.

The weeks that followed produced a flurry of questions, conversations, and clarifications. We read every article, talked to hundreds of our church members, solicited advice from multiple church leaders, met with the Denhollanders personally, spent hours meeting as pastors, and, finally, met with our entire church family. By the time we met with our church family, we saw we had sin to confess. We had come to see that there were ways we had failed to serve the church we love, and we had failed to care adequately for the Denhollanders in a time of deep need.

Our particular failures did not stem from discouraging the Denhollanders to pursue justice in the Larry Nassar case. We did not discourage them in their pursuit of justice; in fact, we applaud those efforts. Rather, our failures stemmed from not listening to and properly understanding Rachael’s concerns about our invitation to have Sovereign Grace Church leaders preach to our church. We simply did not have the categories to fully discern what Rachael was saying at the time. This misunderstanding then played a role in our seeing the Denhollanders’ articulation of these concerns as divisive instead of informative. Finally, the poor pastoral care that resulted from these assumptions led the Denhollanders (understandably) to choose a new church.

As we interacted with the Denhollanders over their departure from Immanuel, we expressed things which we now deeply regret. In hindsight, we see we were sinfully unloving. We have since thoroughly repented to the Denhollanders and to the church we serve, seeking to confess every known sin. In return, the Denhollanders and our church family have been very gracious and forgiving.

So to recap:

  1. Rachael, a victim of sexual abuse herself, flagged Mahaney's presentation as problematic.
  2. The church, by it's own admission, 'did not have the categories' to understand the problems she raised.
  3. Furthermore, the legitimate concern that Rachael and her family held were looked on as 'divisive', quite possibly initiating discussions about a church discipline situation.
  4. Now, several years later, the church admits they were wrong in how they assessed the situation.

If the leadership of Immanuel didn't believe the word of someone who had first hand experience with abuse, how many of our churches would believe an allegation like it from someone who doesn't?  Especially if the accused is an elder/deacon/teacher/pillar of the community? Paige Patterson went on record (in writing, no less) telling some of the staff at SEBTS that he wasn't going to report an allegation of rape as rape and that he wanted to meet with her to "break her down" and that he wanted no other officials present when he met with her.

And we're supposed to just assume that the leadership of Fundamental Independent Bible Church in Anytown, USA is automatically going to know what to do and how to handle these things rightly?  I know Tyler talks about a failure in leadership, but there's more than one way to fail, and many of those mistakes are made when we read a situation incorrectly, not because we were mislead or because of malice.

Brothers, this stuff matters.  How you approach it matters.  How you interpret the facts matter.  What kind of input you get and receive matters.  Don't be naive enough to assume that the leadership will get it right, especially with serious issues like this.  And certainly don't assume that Joe in the pew will necessarily have the right tools to do it for you either.  How many more women have to go through the bad counseling of places like BJU before we realize that we don't always know what we're doing and we need to do better?

TL;DR - Maybe George Lucas put it best in Return of the Jedi...

"Luke: Your overconfidence is your weakness.
The Emperor: Your faith in your friends is yours!"

"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

But, Jay, Luke was right about the Emperor's over-confidence ...

The church's decision to have Mahaney speak was extraordinarily foolish. This was a leadership issue. I suspect this is due to an echo-chamber mindset among the leaders; their own comments support this interpretation. The pastor bubble is a real thing. I am glad I am bi-vocational.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Bert Perry's picture

Read the link Jay provides about Patterson.  It illustrates hideously what I'm getting at about corporate culture even crossing lines into criminal behavior.  Patterson, according to a number of women who worked for and with him, fostered a fairly hostile work environment for women, which is one level of bad, and according to the documents provided to SWBTS, that rose to the level of not only suppressing rape allegations, but of deliberate cruelty to a woman who had been forcibly raped.

And it was after a number of years that this came out; people who received that email decided, for the sake of their position in the organization, to not raise their voices in protest.  It came out only when (a) some of those who knew no longer had to worry about their position in the organization and (b) when sufficient voices had protested the operation of that organization already.

THAT is what is gained when outsiders start raising a ruckus about the matter.  People whose voices were previously suppressed by various factors decided to speak up because they perceived it as safe.  If you consistently defer to leadership, no matter how wise and Godly, you are setting up a corporate culture that is going to suppress these things.

And God help you when you get a creep in positions of authority!

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

There is more to come folks. As Pastor Schifflet has talked about these monsters the Rats are scurrying for cover.  As the Church To Movement moves along your going to get more abused women speaking up.  Soon these young ladies in cult like Christian Schools are going to rebel.  They are not going to except your blaming them for Fundy/Evangelical Men and Boys Criminal actions  The Jack Schapp  defense is going going gone  

The Old Fringe guard be put on notice Your controlled world created in your image instead of Christ is going to come tumbling down.  Your Purity/Patriarchy False Gospel bordering on satanic treatment of young gals and women is ending.  Your self Righteous empires and obsessions with SEX and blaming the gals for your uncontrolled sexual appetites and  covering for your buddies is coming to an end. There is no doubt the Lord is behind this Me To and Church To Movement.  I praise God for it and it’s going to flush these Creeps coddled and protected by the old guard out of their holes. 

The half backed Confessions I only did it once to my sister to their congregations to save their jobs are going by the wayside. The truth is just once a week for a couple of years.  When witnesses against daddy include two daughters and a number of granddaughters people in power at Bible Colleges today even Presidents Of Bible Colleges will pay the price for backing the Sex Perp father and trying to discredit the accuser writing a book.  Those days are gone old guard your days are numbered. Sooner or later that gal is going to go to a good Pastor and tell her story and your done. The good Pastor like the one running the IFB Church by me not like the one just North of me that produced those Two  alleged BJU Grad Monsters in Australia.   

Lets be honest guys they are Monsters. They only stop being Monsters when they come completely clean and repent.  

No halfbacked I’m sorry like the BJU Grad Missionary who refuses to come home and face criminal charges and his mission Agency protects this Monster because HE REPENTED.  Plus a large IFB church refuses to withdraw their support to force him home.  The same church that Godly Josh Duggar got his sex addiction treatment.  Birds of a feather flock together. How do you defend that Church Autonomy Aaron  

So I say to you know Fringe Old Guard who caused all the problems  at BJU ABWE New Tribes and the Southern Baptists will you change before your Lord and do the right thing.  

Kevin Miller's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Kevin, you're making this way too complicated.  It's not a debate over whether insiders or outsiders have more bias, or one does and one does not.  It is all about recognizing what kind of biases are inherent in the system you intend to use.

If you have Aaron's hard doctrine of local church autonomy accompanied by a strong suspicion against the views of outsiders--calling it the madness of crowds, calling them far away and uninvolved, and the like--the institutional tendency is exactly that.  Comments from outside--which may be halfway around the world, in the next town, or simply from a consistent attender or member who isn't in the "power circle"--are going to be ignored, and their makers insulted.

If you've got blind spots--and you know you do--that means that you are pretty much assured that you won't hear those who point them out to you.   See the problem?  Again, that's how Donn Ketcham wreaked havoc at ABWE, how dozens of perpetrators wreaked havoc at BJU, and how in the secular world, Larry Nassar and George Tyndall wrought havoc at MSU and USC.  

And as I've noted before, you would evaluate outside witnesses exactly the same way the Bereans did with Paul, and really all of the early churches did with every itinerant teacher and epistle; by comparing what they said with the Old Testament and the known testimony of the Apostles.  There is no innovation for today.

Regarding 1. Cor. 6, that only prohibits going to pagan judges, not heeding the wisdom of outsiders.  If it prohibited the latter, we would need to excise 1 Tim. 3:7 and a lot of Proverbs from our Bibles, no?   Again, what is required is simply a habit of discernment.  

I guess the reason why it seems I am being over complicated is because I am sincerely trying to understand your objections to Aaron description of church autonomy. In the course of our interaction with each other, you have told me that it is not the structure of autonomy you disagree with, but it's the mindset. Yet when Aaron posted his Biblical framework of the structure, you immediately criticized it, which I took as meaning that you thought the structure itself produced the mindset. So I was asking you if you would change anything about the structure. You have told me here in this post that "There is no new innovation for today" and "you evaluate outside witnesses" and "what is required is simply a habit of discernment." This sounds EXACTLY like what Aaron was saying about listening to outsiders - you evaluate what they have to contribute on a case by case basis. Yet even though Aaron has made it clear we should evaluate the input from outsiders, you still accuse him of having "an insistence on radical autonomy of the local church that seeks to keep these things private." (18th post of this thread) So what is it about his view of autonomy that is seeking to keep things private? After all, he says outside advice needs to be be evaluated . . .  As you say as well. (I don't think I'm the one making things complicated here.)

Also, you criticize Aaron for saying outsiders can be far away, and then you say in this post that they "may be half way around the world." How is that not far away? Doesn't part of the evaluation of outsiders have to concern the amount of actual information they have about the situation?

Regarding I Cor 6, You said it "only prohibits going to pagan judges." Well, I see more than just a prohibition there. I see the reason WHY they didn't need to go to pagan judges. It's because the Lord's people are competent enough themselves. Outside testimony may certainly be applicable as they are making decisions. Outside testimony is certainly not prohibited, but the decision making authority resides with the people who will be judging the world and judging angels. That's the Biblical structure. If certain people develop a mindset to cover things up, then that can't be blamed on the structure but on their own sinfulness. Unless you DO think there is something about the Biblical structure that leads to the mindset, which Is why I am asking these overly complicated questions Smile

Joeb's picture

Kevin if you look at the Pastor Savage Situation, the Giovoni Situation and the Patterson situation it was the maddening crowds or the threat of the maddening crowds that made the  institutions and/or church do the right thing. If you look back it was the maddening crowds that forced BJU and ABWE to do the right thing or at least try to do the right thing.  UNot much support came from churches related to BJU or ABWE  

ABWE lied over and over again they slithered and slathered like a snake even with the pressure of the maddening crowds, which did not exactly come real strongly from the Churches in the GARBC.  My source tells me their still lying and holding names of male sex perps  that escaped prison sentences and were only retired or terminated. Yet the churches in the GARBC and other related institutions going on supporting them. Not one ounce of righteous indignation except from individuals like Jim and BERT and others.  

So this does not speak well to Church Automony and competent leadership.  You don’t need to recite scriptures in these clear sinful criminal activity by the perps and the Pastors/Leadership covering it up. No we did not understand it then. That’s baloney and a cop out.

 ILL SAY REAL CLEARLY HERE YOU HAVE MEN CLAIMING TO BE GODLY WITH M DIV’S DDs WHATEVER TRYING TO FIND ANYWAY THEY CAN BOTH IN PATTERSON’S SITUATION AND GIOVONI’S NOT TO FIRE PUNISH AND/OR DESTROY  THE OFFENDER’S REPUTATIONS.   WHEN A CIRCUS CHIMP COULD FIGURE IT OUT   

As far as I’m concerned the churches institutions are bankrupt when the weasel and wiggle on these issues   Aaron Your wrong at this point the Maddening Crowd overwhelmingly out does the local church in these matters hands down  Yet certain local churches would be the first to blast a liberal institution or the Catholic Church   Hey Aaron most Christian Bloggers agree the Fundy/Evangelical Church and Institutions has the Catholic Church beat  hands down in these sex scandals because their are so many more victims  

You WALLY not willing to publically denounce the Puirty Ring Banquets or the whole Puirty/Patriarchy Movement.   You say I’m making assumptions just because you say something. Come on Wally right now go on the record where do YOU stand on this Purity/Patriarchy Movement that clearly has lead to so many of these gals being sexually abused and abused in marriages.  

NOTE: HEY WALLY THE EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH HAS HAD NO SEX SCANDALS AND CORRUPT LEADERSHIP ANYTHING CLOSE TO WHAT YOUR CLAN HAS HAD. YOUR REAL QUICK TO CONDEMN THEM TO HELL.  Oh that’s right you can see into men’s hearts. 

Bert Perry's picture

Kevin, the answer is really simple; I object first of all because Aaron's argument is merely descriptive, not prescriptive, and because there are a number of descriptive passages and examples that work against it.  That alone ought to put the kibosh on the theory; if there is any evidence that elders were chosen by anything but congregational vote (Titus 1:5, Acts 14:23), or that churches made a strong practice of heeding outside wisdom and did not have the negative view of outsiders that Aaron shows (entire New Testament body of epistles), then the theory falls.  And it does.

Moreover, you have to consider the practical outworkings of a rather isolationist, clannish theology.  When you exclude outsiders, you simultaneously empower "big men" who really need the criticism of those who do not require their approval to remain a member of the group.  That is exactly what the problem was at SWBTS, SEBTS, BJU, ABWE, New Tribes, SGM, 1st Baptist of Hammond, and a whole bunch more.

Really, any serious look at the Biblical evidence and practical outworkings of the theology should leave us terrified of the thought of it being implemented.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Kevin Miller's picture

Joeb wrote:

So this does not speak well to Church Automony and competent leadership.  You don’t need to recite scriptures in these clear sinful criminal activity by the perps and the Pastors/Leadership covering it up. No we did not understand it then. That’s baloney and a cop out. 

I'm not sure why you have a problem when people "recite Scripture" to show the Biblical foundation for church government. What do we have to base it on besides Scripture? Do we just copy earthly government? Politicians are no stranger to cover-up, so that wouldn't help. Do we just do whatever the maddening crowds tell the church to do? I don't care for that idea. Bert just mentioned that we evaluate outsiders the same way the Bereans did, by using Scripture.  I agree with him. Aaron had said the same thing.

You mentioned that the Eastern Orthodox Church doesn't have any sex scandals. Bert has said that he doesn't think the church should have bishops, but i don't remember hearing your view on that form of church government. Do you think there should be some sort of denominational control, like that demonstrated by bishops, over fundamentalist or evangelical churches?

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