"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

To Question Our Leaders Is Not Only Morally Right, It Is the Essence of Christian Integrity

Nearly four years ago I wrote a post entitled The Cult of Personality in the SBC where I questioned how a large Southern Baptist Church in Florida could call a man who had repeatedly lied about his past to be their pastor. Steven Flockhart, pastor of FBC West Palm Beach, resigned his post after a secular newspaper revealed the lies he had told the pastor search committee. The resume of "Dr." Flockhart claimed he had several theological degrees, but the newspaper revealed he had fabricated all his educational credentials. Interestingly, in the very last line of Steven Flockhart's resume, there was this statement:
"(I) have been accepted at Liberty University to obtain a second doctorate."
When I initially read about his fabricated resume, I wondered if Pastor Flockhart was also lying about his enrollment at Liberty University. It seems The Palm Beach Post may have had similar questions. A reporter called to question Liberty's registrar's office about Flockhart's enrollment for a "second" doctorate. In an article published on August 26, 2006 The Palm Beach Post reported that the registrar's office initially said that they had never heard of Mr. Flockhart, but then they called the newspaper back later and said they had discovered that Flockhart was enrolled and had paid the registration fees directly to seminary President Ergun Caner. The paper then quoted a Liberty official:
"The pastor (Flockhart) is enrolled and has paid in advance," said Ron Godwin, executive vice president and CEO of Liberty University. He added, "I love those kind of students."
Granted, the Palm Beach Post could have misreported the initial response of Liberty, as well as the words of Ron Godwin, but the newspaper's published report caused many of us to ask several questions about what seemed to be a peculiar financial arrangement. While several of the financial questions were ultimately answered by Dr. Caner himself, there were two main questions that went unanswered at the time:

(1). Was Steven Flockhart enrolled in an actual doctorate program at Liberty University?
(2). If so, what safeguards were in place to prevent Liberty from accepting a doctoral student who had fabricated degrees?

Though questions to our Christian leaders may bring some discomfort, asking them is not a bad thing. It is not attacking someone's character. It is not assuming someone is evil or wicked. It is a legimitate process through which we Christians can hold each other accountable.

For example, Darrell Gilyard was a rising star among Southern Baptists. He preached at Pastors' Conferences, including the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference in Las Vegas, and his eloquence in the pulpit was unmatched. However, it was discovered that his story of growing up homeless, sleeping underneath bridges, and being converted to Christ out of the rough streets of Jacksonville was all a lie. Baptist Press reported that the Dallas Morning News, in an exclusive July 28, 1991 story, reported that:

Gilyard actually was brought up in a comfortable north Florida home by a woman who reared him as if he were her son. The article included an interview with Barbara Davis, the 65-year-old Palatka woman who said she helped to rear Gilyard from age 8 months until he left home at age 19. The paper also reported Gilyard misrepresented his academic background; accepted a $10,000 "love offering" from Falwell's ministry under false pretenses; and lied about repeated traffic offenses and a suspended drivers license in Florida.

Gilyard is now in prison, not for lying, but for multiple sexual crimes. One wonders why Southern Baptists never asked the tough questions of Darrell Gilyard while he was a Southern Baptist and before he became involved in criminal behavior? Why does the secular press have to do what we ourselves seemed unwilling to do?

It's not hard for anyone to find story after story about Baptist pastors who have lied about their past. Baptist youth pastor Randy Lee Morrow lied about being in a biker gang. He lied about serving prison time. He lied about having terminal cancer. "I lied a lot more than I should have," he says. Why was there nobody asking the tough questions of Randy Lee Morrow?

Now some Christians are asking tough questions to Ergun Caner about the representations he has made to others about his past. These questions are not accusations--they are legitimate queries of a Christian brother to ensure accountability and integrity of Christian ministry. To ask them is not to accuse. To not ask them, however, is inexcusable--particularly when the words spoken publicly are those of Dr. Caner himself. There are some bloggers, like Peter Lumpkins, Tim Guthrie, and others who personally blister anyone who asks tough questions of Dr. Caner. One of these days they will learn that attacking the character of those who ask legitimate, tough questions of our leaders will only ultimately backfire on their intended purpose.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

91 comments:

Tom Parker said...

Wade:

It seems for some you simply can not ask questions. They will prepare a comment but you are not allowed to interact with the comment. I just do not think if they were on the other side they would like it one bit at all.

Peter Lumkpkins and TG and others come across as attackers of others just because they question someone they hold near and dear.

It is not unchristian to ask legitimate questions. Will these people ever learn.

Dr. Michael Kear said...

The only way to learn the answers is to ask the questions!

Dr. Michael Kear said...

Also, isn't unquestioning allegiance sort of cultic?

Wade Burleson said...

Tom,

Good point.

Ask the question.

Wait for an answer.

Answer the question.

Thank them for the answer.

Sounds simple.

Dr. Michael Kear said...

And one more brief comment... This post brings up one of the reasons I so appreciate Wade Bulreson. I can publicly question him - my own pastor - and even disagree with his answers, and yet our friendship remains strong and growing. I couldn't really fellowship with a man who could not or would not be reasonably scrutinized, let alone "follow" him. I appreciate leaders who are available and open.

Thanks for being like that, Pastor Wade!

Wade Burleson said...

Michael,

You are welcome. :)

Smile.

And, for anybody who wants to know, Dr. Kear can ask some pretty tough questions!

And I am better for it.

Wade Burleson said...

A rule of thumb in determining good leadership:

Good leaders will create an atmosphere where people are comfortable asking questions. Good leaders are also unafraid to provide specific, direct answers.

Dysfunctional, poor leaders shout down the questioners.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Wade: its very simple. It boils down to accountability. These rock star mega church pastors/celebrities don't want to be accountable to anyone. Only to God.

Ed Young, Jr. - his defense on the airplane is that he is accountable to God, so he will not tell his congregation or the news reporters the terms of the jet lease arrangements. Even John Cross, one of his trustees, and Florida Baptist Convention President defended the jet lease said the same: we pastors are accountable to God to how we spend the money, so you can all stop asking the questions.

Mac Brunson, one of Caner's best friends and coauthor with Caner - doesn't want to be held accountable for his words. He lied about Sheri Klouda's testimony, completely mischaracterizing it, from his pulpit, and he never apologized to Klouda or to his congregation. Brunson calls me a sociopath and mentally unstable in the newspaper, he never apologizes for it: he just quotes scripture and says he is charged with protecting the flock, and he gets a standing ovation from his church. I blogged in 2008 also about how his sermon stories presented as historical facts were very broad and loose stretches of the truth. Just one week before his trustees delivered their famous "Deacon's resolution" condemning my blog, Brunson told his congregation that the way you respond to people who ask questions and cause trouble in the church is to "shut 'em down". They don't like questioners.

So the trustees of their churches don't hold them accountable. Their staff members are no source of accountability - they will be fired if they don't get in line - and when the do get out of line they are required to sign confidentiality agreements in exchange for their severence pay - so no one can say anything after they leave and still find employment in the SBC.

Hence, why these men in the SBC fear bloggers. They can't control the bloggers. They can't shut 'em down. They can't control the message. They can't issue trespass papers to keep them away from their church members.

But apparently Caner overstepped a boundary in the SBC. You can't call someone with the integrity of Jerry Rankin a liar and not have to eat crow. Lie about a seminary professor from the pulpit, call a pesky blogger a sociopath in the media: that's fine. But somebody DID hold Caner accountable apparently. I don't think Caner would have apologized unless his butt was on the line - maybe the trustees at Liberty or Jon Falwell himself. Caner's schtick on the preaching circuit is one of being offensive and offending...but he went too far this time and unbelievably, someone did hold him accountable.

But its all good, as he apologized and the SBC Today gang ate it up and congratulated him for being such a wonderful godly man for apologizing.

Maybe someday Caner will apologize to our black brothers for his offensive remarks in Jacksonville last year about their churches where there take the collection multiple times to get the money they need, their ladies where hats as big as satellite dishes with a curtain rod down the front, and the men who wear suits that match their shoes and their cars.

I doubt it, though.

Just don't offend the likes of Jerry Rankin, and you're ok.

Single and Sane said...

It has been my observation that sometimes questions are asked in the course of a search for church staff members, but their former churches are not always particularly forthcoming. How do we deal with that?

Wade Burleson said...

Single and Sane,

Good question. I think the answer is for churches to be completely honest when they answer questions. It may be easier said than done.

Tom Parker said...

Wade:

Poor little PL bashing everyone for bashing someone else. I'm not sure I understand his tactic.

They are right and others are just wrong.

Wonder why there are problems in the SBC? Get on the wrong side of some and they will not let go until they attempt to shut everyone down.

It might have worked before the Internet, but not now.

Conscience said...

Dr. Kear,
With the right to question, did you question Dr. Burleson yesterday concerning his slander concerning his perceptions of ineptitude in his staff memebrs at the church?

WB said:
"Don't get me started on our "new" website. From our former staff member who couldn't get it done, to our $10,000 outside company who botched it completely, to our current in house multiple staff effort, we are really struggling."

Wade Burleson said...

Tom,

I agree.

I don't know if anyone noticed, but in Peter's attempt to discredit James White, he linked to a blog of James' sister as she agonized over telling James that their father had repeatedly sexually molested her. The pain, the trauma and the emotion of having to reveal such a sordid thing is vividly felt in her writing.

However, in order to seek to discredit James as an "obssessive, misguided and poor man" while linking to his sisters' trauma of sexual abuse at the hands of their father is, for lack of a better term, absolutely disgusting. I am embarrassed for Peter.

Wade Burleson said...

Conscience,

It's not slander if its true, and it's not slander if the same thing has been said to the former staff member.

Smiling,

Wade

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wade Burleson said...

Conscience, reveal thyself or perhaps they Conscience be defiled?

Lydia said...

Also, isn't unquestioning allegiance sort of cultic?

Fri Feb 26, 05:16:00 PM 2010

Bingo! And it is even more cultic if one can claim that asking inconvenient questions is sinful and attacking someone.

Lydia said...

"we pastors are accountable to God to how we spend the money, so you can all stop asking the questions."

Note how this perception presumes they are a mediator between the congregation and Jesus Christ. As if God speaks to them only about the church. Scary stuff. many folks actually buy this. It is nothing less than laziness to follow a pastor a like that.

Bob Cleveland said...

"we pastors are accountable to God to how we spend the money, so you can all stop asking the questions."

Uhh .. congregational church governance, anyone?

Lydia said...

However, in order to seek to discredit James as an "obssessive, misguided and poor man" while linking to his sisters' trauma of sexual abuse at the hands of their father is, for lack of a better term, absolutely disgusting. I am embarrassed for Peter.

Fri Feb 26, 06:21:00 PM 2010

Anyone who has been around these types up close and personal knows how they operate. It is all political and to discredit those asking hard questions they have go all out to destroy them.

This is one reason I would never support the current leadership structure of the SBC. It is like giving money to perpetuate evil because this is how they operate. It is where these guys learned it.

I want no part of that. I know what they do to people. All in the Name of Jesus Christ which mocks our Savior.

Thy Peace said...

Cautionary Note: If anyone clicks on the earlier post by Peter Lumpkins about this episodes, please be careful. Some of the links are infected. Or more accurately one site examinethetruth.com is infected.

Lydia said...

Cautionary Note: If anyone clicks on the earlier post by Peter Lumpkins about this episodes, please be careful. Some of the links are infected. Or more accurately one site examinethetruth.com is infected.

Fri Feb 26, 07:31:00 PM 2010
Thank you!!!@

RazorsKiss said...

Just a word: Dr. White's father, and the rest of his family deny the allegations of abuse.

Dr. White has responded to these allegations publicly, but as it is a distasteful subject, he doesn't address it except when it comes up.

This series of posts is frequently linked to by Romanist apologists, and is used as ammo by them quite frequently - as is the conversion of his sister to Romanism.

I will likely provide links to his responses soon, but I thought that you might want to know that these allegations have been discussed, and denied by the family.

Quite honestly, having to discuss this at all is distasteful, to say the least - but I know it has to be address, as Peter was so utterly, disgracefully libelous.

I hate to say it, but that was an entirely evil thing to do.

Christiane said...

Dear Razors,

"This series of posts is frequently linked to by Romanist apologists, and is used as ammo by them quite frequently - as is the conversion of his sister to Romanism."

Would you mind giving us at least one example of this, documented, please, and name the apologist(s) involved? I would appreciate your response and I thank you in advance.

Rev. said...

I blogged on the Caner situation this week and commented on a few blogs which were doing the same. Interesting how the wagons were circled and it was turned into a "Traditional Baptist vs. Calvinist" issue rather than a matter of integrity. I trust my posting on the matter was fair and balanced, but it didn't seek to side-step the questions which need to be asked and answered.

Good post, Wade.

RazorsKiss said...

Art Sippo, Steve Ray, Dave Armstrong. If you're really interested, a cursory search of any of their sites will get there easily. I'm not linking to anything else on the topic. The names should be sufficient. It's also been discussed on the Catholic Answers forums many times.

It's been referenced so often that it's hard to miss in a cursory google search :)

Christiane said...

Dear RAZORS,

Thank your for responding. I did find references to Patty Bonds and her accusations. She insists that the abuse took place, but as you say, the family denies it.

It is a very sad family matter, any way one sees it.

Thanks again for the help.

Caritas Christi,
L's

Wade Burleson said...

Rev. (Dr. Galyon),

I read your blogposts on this issue and appreciated your words and your spirit.

I suggest everyone read Dr. Galyon.

Thy Peace said...

I have debated posting this link. But I shall do so for these reasons. I am not taking side in these issues. But I believe in the story Patricia Ann White Bonds. It is very sad, but Truth must be read and embraced. I am proud of her recovery, healing and acceptance in Catholic faith.

Abba's Little Girl > Out of Darkness ~ The Cross I Carry.

Wade Burleson said...

Thy Peace,

I think all would agree. A very, very sad story--regardless of where the truth lies.

The "evil" mentioned by Razorskiss is linking that blogpost to James White and calling him an "obsessive, misguided and poor man"--as Peter Lumpkins has done.

I happen to agree with Razorksiss.
What does that link have to do with questions for Dr. Caner?

Thy Peace said...

What does that link have to do with questions for Dr. Caner?.

Pastor Wade: None. It is just the story was sad, but filled with hope. I did not take the link to have anything to do with Dr. Caner or even Dr. White. All families have problems. But I found hope in Patricia's post.

Wade Burleson said...

Thy Peace,

I agree.

I was asking the question in relation to Lumpkin's link, not yours.

Were someone like yourself to link to that post and speak of being encouraged by it (as you have), there would be no objection from me at all.

:)

Thy Peace said...

Pastor Wade, I agree. I did not agree with Peter Lumpkins attempt to tarnish Dr. White. I am providing a feedjit tracker link, that shows the originating posts that take you to Patricia's post. From my reading most of the posts "motive" in linking is suspect.

Lydia said...

I believe Patricia's story, too.

But I am not sure what it has to do with whether Caner grew up in Turkey or not. Or what it has to do with the supposed 61 debates he has had but there is no record of anywhere. And other questions that were not really answered by him on his statement.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

This is off topic, but might be a "grace infusion" to the otherwise depressing comment stream. I am so passionate about catechetical instruction that these songs are a joy to me as I hear children learning such great, wonderful and ancient truths:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRcnd9JV9LI

Paul Burleson said...

Wade,

Because you know of my life and ministry well you understand that I've personally seen and worked with families coming through the pain of sexual abuse and it is never a pretty picture. What I'm about to say IS of a general nature NOT in regards to ANY specific situation.

The victims of such are to be supported and that is generally through receiving the truth of it no matter the pain it might cause on facing the hurt another loved one has caused.

The perpetrator.. and any adult who stands by allowing it.. are the guilty ones in such things not the victim.

That said, I've seen the struggle some of those who find out about it late have in believing/accepting that it is truth. This is especially true when the perpetrator is one loved and/or admired for years.

I have found the best policy is to recognize time is needed by all in a family and grace and love are to be extended to, certainly the victims, but also to family members who struggle with the truth of it.

There have been some cases where it was found to be fabricated. Generally however, family members come to grips with the reality of it, albeit late. Sometimes they never do.

I have found this to be one of the more painful times ever for a family. Judgment on the part of outsiders is the LAST thing needed here.

The link on the blog mentioned in your post is certainly graceless if not evil in my opinion. [Maybe graceless and evil are synonymous in the real world.]

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Conscience said...

Except if PL sort permission from Mrs Bonds first.

Byron said...

Wade, good post. I cannot help but often think that some in the SBC are more concerned with image than truth. And with that said, I cannot get out of my mind this article about the Beijing scandal of the incredible singing girl that actually didn't.

Beijing Olympics: Faking scandal over girl who 'sang' in opening ceremony

TheWayofCain said...

From her blog

"Too busy waging war to realize that anyone who takes an honest look at history can see that the Catholic Church IS the Church. That everything else is a perversion of what had always been and what was delivered by mouth to the Apostles. No honest person of integrity and intellect can look at history and not see this."


Looks like I'll have to join James White on this one and plead guilty to being stupid, and having no integrity. Not to mention believing a perversion of the Gospel. There is so much in that post that could be commented on but I'll leave it be. So much irony in comments.

Lydia said...

Looks like I'll have to join James White on this one and plead guilty to being stupid, and having no integrity. Not to mention believing a perversion of the Gospel. There is so much in that post that could be commented on but I'll leave it be. So much irony in comments.

Sat Feb 27, 09:42:00 PM 2010


My guess is her conversion is less about doctrine than it looks. After listening to victims of sexual molestation who have been hauled before elders and spiritually abused, I am surprised she is not a moonie selling flowers at the airport

Christiane said...

There is a lot of pain in Patricia's religious comment.
The jist of it was 'why can't they understand ?'.
Perhaps she was really directing that question at her family, with regard to their rejection of her as an abuse victim?
I think it was her pain, over not being acknowledged and understood by the family, that must have spilled over into her religious comment.
My opinion only of course, and I am so often more wrong than right.

Paul is right: judgment from outsiders can only add to their pain.

How much better for those of all denominations who care, to pray to the Lord for the healing of this family's suffering?
He alone can heal the wounds that lie too deep even to feel.

Jeff said...

I did not see where SBC Today, and Tim G blistered anyone at their blog. I simply read an explanation from E.G. I did not read the Lumpkins because he gets on my nerves big time, and is quite offensive in his writings.

Jeff said...

Lydia, Why are you assuming she was molested?

Lydia said...

Lydia, Why are you assuming she was molested?

Sun Feb 28, 09:49:00 AM 2010

Why are you assuming she wasn't?

Wade Burleson said...

Jeff,

You wrote: "I did not see where SBC Today, and Tim G blistered anyone at their blog"

I respond: The blog in question is this one and comments on
this one
.

Comments include:

"I am shocked that no one is questioning a Christian using Muslim media and propaganda against another Christian?" Tim Guthrie

"I for one am growing tired of this garbage. It appears that some always highlight the failure of leaders to use Christian conduct and yet they themselves fail to live it." Tim Guthrie

"You as a Pastor should know this type of stuff is beyond the realm of Christian conduct" Tim Guthrie

When those things are said about the person(s) asking questions, then I categorize that as blistering.

Thy Peace said...

Lydia, Why are you assuming she was molested?.

I would encourage anyone to read the whole series Out of Darkness, from the last post to the recent post (bottom to top, and then Newer Posts, and again bottom to top).

I am simply amazed at the Grace of God. Only He can heal anything the world considers hopeless and beyond any remedy.

gmommy said...

Why would a follower of Jesus Christ not have a heart that would respond with compassion and love for someone who has been so wounded?

How do those who are called to teach the Bible forget the most basic teaching of the Bible?

Christiane said...

THY PEACE has spoken truth about the Mystery of Christ:
"I am simply amazed at the Grace of God. Only He can heal anything the world considers hopeless and beyond any remedy.


From the Book of Philippians, Ch. 4:
"The Lord is near.
6 Do not worry about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

So very beautiful.

Christiane said...

Hello THY PEACE,

I took your advice and read Patricia's posts, and although I don't agree with all of her political commentary, when I read what she wrote about some broken people, I did find one very beautiful quote:

"They gave the Lord what was left of their lives."

Ah. I hear that idea both from Catholics and from those of other denominations. Not so long ago, in a sermon, Wade read a poem by one of his congregation. I wish I had a copy of it. It spoke of how God can take the thousands of pieces of the shattered glass of our lives and mend us again. This theme of renewal in Christ is universal among Christian people.
'. . . by His stripes, we are healed.'

Jeff said...

Lydia, Because I assume someone is innocent until they are proven guilty. It's a great ideal try it sometime. A school teacher in my area was accused of sex with a student. Guess what after a year--after she resigned her position. The student was taped saying it never happened.

Wade, Thanks I did not read the comments but I will.

Lydia said...

"Lydia, Because I assume someone is innocent until they are proven guilty."

I agree with that. But it makes it a bit hard when it is daddy, you are 10 and mommy turns a blind eye. How does a 10 year old even get an investigation? Who will believe her? You? Obviously not. (You better rethink that as a pastor. But what does it matter? It is only a female kid. They don't tithe anyway but their daddy might)

By the time they are adults and can deal with it, everyone can say they are delusional.

We found that out the hard way at BBC, didn't we. But ignoring the fact that Gaines kept on a pedophile minister on staff certainly did not put a damper on his speaking engagements or popularity with the SBC leadership, did it?

But thanks, Jeff, for showing your ignorance about the serious problem of sexual molestation and incest. Your compassion is overwhelming.

By the way, if you read the whole series, it says her dad admitted having a unique relationship with her. But the conditions of having a relationship with her parents was to never mention it again.

There were some outside witnesses at least at one confrontation.

Jeff said...

We can't pick choose what sins we want to condemn more than others. I stand by the statement that someone is innocent until proven guilty.

Lydia said...

We can't pick choose what sins we want to condemn more than others. I stand by the statement that someone is innocent until proven guilty.

Sun Feb 28, 06:11:00 PM 2010


Millstone

Lydia said...

Jeff, one more thing, The courts let guilty people go all the time on technicalities. So, OJ was was not guilty because proven innocent, right?

gmommy said...

Jeff,
"We can't pick choose what sins we want to condemn more than others."

SBC Baptist Ministers pick and choose all the time. Drinking alcohol and homosexuality are just two of the favored ones to condemn.

Molesting children and ignoring the wounded are treated as insignificant sins too often.

Thy Peace said...

The Word of God and The Holy Spirit convicts people.

In these cases, it might not help to convict people in a court room. For the tragedy is already felt throughout the whole family.

Just sharing the stories of abuse and recovery to the world would be enough. It awakens in each reader compassion, justice and mercy of God.

Jeff said...

gmommy, I agree, and its a sin. But that does not change the fact that we must be careful about assuming someone's guilt because of the accusation.

Lydia said...

gmommy, I agree, and its a sin. But that does not change the fact that we must be careful about assuming someone's guilt because of the accusation.

Sun Feb 28, 09:38:00 PM 2010

Which is exactly what pedophiles count on and why many end up with so many victims before caught.

But in this case she says her dad admitted he had a unique relationshp with her. Her mom admitted that too.

The irony is she went to the RCC which is known for pedophile priests. The SBC is no better except they hide it better.

Jeff said...

Lydia, I am aware of the problems, more so than you. Perhaps, you judge too quickly with out knowing me. I still stand by the principle that someone is innocent until proven guilty.

Lydia said...

I still stand by the principle that someone is innocent until proven guilty.

Sun Feb 28, 10:57:00 PM 2010

So, only a court decision will work for you in Christendom as a pastor?

I must pray for your congregation and that there are no little girl victims there now who think they might be able to trust you. Or adults who come to you when they are able to deal with the horrors of childhood molestation. I pray they get out of your church asap.

There would be no opportunity for investigation and possible repentance because you only deal with court decisions.

And I will pray that the Lord does not have to teach you compassion the hard way.

Jeff said...

Lydia, I never said it had to be a court decision. You assume way too much about things. You do not know me so refrain from jumping to conclusions. I never said that there should not be investigations. I said I am not going to jump to conclusions because I operate from the position that someone is innocent until proven guilty. I am not going to trust something on a blog. Please refrain from assuming!!!

Christiane said...

Hi JEFF,

May I refer you to the writings of Christa Brown, where you will have an opportunity to understand another perspective?
If you are a pastor, Christa's story may help you to understand many, many things. Give it a try.

stopbaptistpredators.blogspot.com/

Jeff said...

I know about her blog. It doesn't change the principle that I operate by I assumed someone is innocent until proven guilty.

May God guide Christina passion so that it honor Him.

Thy Peace said...

How does one prove incest and sexual predation?

So the predators are free till irrefutable evidence is found. No wonder Darrell Gilyard had it so easy to prey on women and children.

The Sordid and Strange Darrell Gilyard Story and What It Reveals About the SBC.

Walking Where SBC Preachers Fail to Tread.

Christiane said...

Hi JEFF,
What does this mean?
"May God guide Christina passion so that it honor Him."

Jeff said...

How does an innocent person recover their innocence? How does one remove the stain of a false accusation? I never said it was easy, but we must not jump to conclusions.

Forgive the bad grammar from the post about Christina. It is simply a prayer that God would guide her in her ministry. May God direct her passion so that she honors Him.

She is doing a great thing.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gmommy said...

Hey Jeff,
I don't want you to feel judged for having an opinion that you believe is fair. I don't know your heart. I do know the standards for this type of crime/sin have to be different than just someone is innocent until proven guilty.

I believe Thy Peace and L's had a similar reaction to your thinking in this area that I share.
Sexual molesters rarely allow witnesses when they prey on the innocent,the emotionally vulnerable,or adults who have been previously wounded.
Children rarely have the emotional or verbal skills to understand, explain, or defend themselves. The longer they are ignored and not nurtured and protected... the harder the recovery can be. Sexual trauma can "freeze" development in so many areas of a person's life.

A sexual predator on the other hand is usually a practiced liar and master manipulator. The longer he gets by with his sin the bolder and more confident he becomes.
Wouldn't you want to err on the side of protecting a victim rather than enabling a seasoned predator???
Don't you think he is more capable of protecting himself than the victim is??
Do you think a victims gets something out of telling the horrible, degrading, things they have been thru???
It's so much more comfortable to believe that "pastor" or "deacon" is what he claims to be than it is to hear and see the pain of someone who has been violated, wounded, and degraded.
It's sad the "unchurched" respond to victims in a more loving and nonjudgemental way than Christians do. I've experienced that myself.

And Jeff...you say you know Christa's story of abuse b/c you know about her blog.I think your heart would break if you knew more about what she endured at the hands of her own minister. But she takes the hits over and over from people who want to defend and protect "the ministry" b/c she cares more about protecting the innocent than she does about her own comfort.

One victim many people have heard about had a baby with the same DNA as her pastor but even that wasn't "proof" enough for the people of the church. He continued to preach and didn't attempt to help with supporting his child until the victim finally petitioned the court.He only did what he had to do and what he was forced to be accountable for.
So do we really put ALL the burden of proof on the one who has been wounded??
I've witnesses one of the "investigations" you speak about also. The predator is suspended with pay and given free council while victims are treated like the criminal. The innocent are not innocent in the eyes of those who judge them.

Conscience said...

Isaac Barrow, "Avoid controversy at any cost," he says. "The truth contended for is not worth the passion expended upon it. The benefits of the victory do not atone for the prejudices aroused in the combat. Goodness and virtue may often consist with ignorance and error, seldom with strife and discord."

Richard Baxter, "Another fatal hindrance," he said, "to a heavenly walk and conversation is our too frequent disputes. A disputatious spirit is a sure sign of an unsanctified spirit. They are usually men least acquainted with the heavenly life who are the most violent disputers about the circumstantiality of religion. Yea, though you were sure that your opinions were true, yet when the chiefest of your zeal is turned to these things, the life of grace soon decays within. The least controverted truths are usually the most weighty and of most necessary and frequent use to our souls."

James Hunt said...

Back to the point of the original post:

In my, perhaps faulty, opinion, if the leadership superstardom culture in the SBC was struck down we'd be a whole lot better for it. No one is above scrutiny...or at least they shouldn't be. Ask Governors of certain states if they are above accountability to the watchful public. How much more should spiritual leaders be held accountable for what they say, what they do, what they teach, etc.?

We don't need a good 'ol boy culture that slides pooh under the carpet. We need a gracious but truthful culture of righteousness.

Jeff said...

James, We don't need a witch hunt either, which is what most of this is today. People who are mad because their side didn't win.

Wade Burleson said...

Jeff,

Gently, and with grace, disagree. It's not a matter about "winning" or "losing." That doesn't even enter the picture. I am an inerrantist and make no apology for believing in an inspired, infallible text that is without error.

This is about integrity for our leaders.

Blessings,

Wade

Jeff said...

Wade, I wasn't even thinking of you. Jeff

Wade Burleson said...

Okay.

Sorry.

Jeff said...

Off topic question for Wade:

When are you going to allow us to subscribe via podcast to your weekly sermons?

New BBC Open Forum said...

"I still stand by the principle that someone is innocent until proven guilty."

Please define "proof." Seems I've heard this before.... Oh, right. Paige Patterson re Darrell Gilyard. You've learned from the master!

Lydia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia said...

Lydia, I never said it had to be a court decision. You assume way too much about things. You do not know me so refrain from jumping to conclusions. I never said that there should not be investigations. I said I am not going to jump to conclusions because I operate from the position that someone is innocent until proven guilty. I am not going to trust something on a blog. Please refrain from assuming!!!

Sun Feb 28, 11:30:00 PM 2010


Sorry Jeff. I can only go by your drive by sound bite answers to a very complicated issue. I can only assume that is your view by what you write.

Funny how in salvation we are guilty until made "innocent" by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

James Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Hunt said...

Jeff,

We do not need a "witch hunt" - rather, we need a deep spiritual cleansing the result of which causes us to honor integrity above personality...and revere Scripture over the messengers.

Jeff said...

Yeah, we are guilty as sinners, but one the other hand we are God so we do not have perfect knowledge.

Jeff said...

James, I can't argue with you there, but sadly many prefer witch hunts. I wonder in asking questions do people follow the most God exalting means in asking questions.

James Hunt said...

Jeff,

You're right, of course. We do need to be gracious when keeping fellow brothers and sisters accountable. We should also not entertain an accusation against an elder unless done so according to biblical guidelines...HOWEVER, if an accusation is found to be a reality (that is, the presence of grevious sin) then that elder is supposed to be sharply rebuked in the presence of all.

In other words, there comes a time for sharpness of voice...of direct questioning, etc.

Lydia said...

Yeah, we are guilty as sinners, but one the other hand we are God so we do not have perfect knowledge.

Mon Mar 01, 05:22:00 PM 2010

I have no idea what that means in relation to the issue we were discussing. Since we are not God we should not listen to victims who claim they have been molested unless they can provide proof? Is that what you mean.

BTW: Who gets to decide if how questions are asked are God exhalting or not? The person being asked?

Jeff said...

Lydia, You really have a problem of assuming more than I write. I never said that we should not listen to them. I think it is impossible to discuss this with you.

I would listen to someone who claim that they were molested, but I wouldn't stand up in the pulpit and say so and so told me that so and so molested them without looking into the matter.

Please calm down, and read what I say without adding to my words.

My reference to God was that He alone has perfect knowledge. My knowledge is limited so I must be careful not to judge a matter before I have talk to both sides.

Proverbs 18:17---The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him. (NASB95)

Lydia said...

"My reference to God was that He alone has perfect knowledge. My knowledge is limited so I must be careful not to judge a matter before I have talk to both sides."


Much better. It not so hard when one takes the time to make their point clearly. We are not mind readers.

Let us just hope both sides are willing to be honest.

briann said...

I personally dont get it, from day one it was drilled into my head, you never and I do mean never question leadership. You will, and I mean always will get the left foot of fellowship. So questioning is not, and never has been an option. A few other points try asking questions such as origins, literal / figurative aspects of scripture and you will also get the boot. The basic concept is to just not say anything. I mean we have so many clowns that cast out demons, heal the sick who then die, ask us to sow seeds of faith, and drone on about other complete tripe. The problem is that it wounds real people, who do not matter, but it does. It makes me weep, it should not but it does.

Joseph P. Mathews, OSL said...

Accountability -- on a host of issues -- is something that drew me toward a connectional/episcopal church governance (and that's different than being driven away from congregationalism). Now that I'm in The Episcopal Church, I have no desire to go back to congregationalism, regardless of its form because there is no guaranteed oversight or accountability. Each church does its own thing which means that a pastor can be in a position to run the show.

And oversight and accountability systems aren't always perfect or fail proof. I'd argue that Catholicism isn't known so much for abusive priests inasmuch as a failure of the oversight to do oversight. In The Episcopal Church we deposed a bishop who covered up that his brother was a sexual abuser.

I'd encourage people to look into series along the lines of "Safeguarding God's Children" which was put out by Church Pension Group, but there are similar counterparts in other denominations.

thegrandverbalizer19 said...

With the name of God, Peace be unto you. On the matter with Patricia Ann White Bonds she is a very amazing woman who is very brave and she is a sign of God. Many people will ask why did God allow this, but for Patricia she is still a believer! This is strong testimony.

Has anyone ever thought of the theological implications for James White that he would have to wrestle with as a Calvinist who believes in regeneration before faith if he accepts what Patricia says?

What does this say about his father and his eternal salvation? Would someone who was 'In Christ' before the foundation of the world be used as a tool to bring such evil to sister Patricia?

James has had to wrestle with it and not only it effecting his ministry (mind you the guy doesn't have any education besides Christian theological degrees). I mean if his ministry for example went down hill where would he work? Who employs a person with a Th.D these days?

These are the points people don't take into consideration.

Turretinfan said...

I would like to challenge those who are supporters, friends, or even fans of Ergun Caner to outdo my defense of him, as can be found in the top four posts here: (link).

Notice the difference, of course, between defense of Caner and attack of the critics of Caner. Lumpkins in the latter category, trying to attack the critics, rather than trying to defend the man who is being criticized.