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

Tracking Sexual Predators in the SBC and the Multiple Allegations against Judge Paul Pressler

Paul Pressler's Stained Glass Window at SWBTS Chapel
The Houston Chronicle reported last month that multiple men have filed sexual assault allegations against Judge Paul Pressler.

Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson are the two major architects of the 1979 Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention.

One of the men suing Pressler is Duane Rollins Jr, and the Houston Chronicle reports that Rollins accuses Judge Pressler in the lawsuit of raping him multiple times, beginning when Rollins was 14-years-old.

Normally, one would give an accused man like Judge Paul Pressler the benefit of the doubt.

However, there are three reasons why messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention should be shaken to the core by these allegations against a man whose image is in stained glass at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
1. In 2004, Judge Pressler paid $450,000 in what was to be a "secret settlement" to Duane Rollins. All copies of the settlement were destroyed, except for one copy kept at the law office of Pressler's personal lawyer and former business partner. 
2.  In 2016, a young attorney named Brooks Schott worked in that same law office and was also allegedly "sexually propositioned" by then retired Judge Paul Pressler. Disgusted, the young attorney quit the law firm. The Houston Chronicle reports Brooks Schott accused "Jared Woodfill, Pressler’s longtime law partner and the head of the Harris County Republican Party until 2014, of failing to prevent Pressler’s sexual advances toward him and others, which Schott says were well-known among the firm."  
3. Another man named Toby Twining, now 59 and living in New York, claims in an affidavit that Judge Pressler propositioned him at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston when Twining was a young man.
I would encourage every Southern Baptist to follow closely the excellent reporting of Robert Downen of the Houston Chronicle on this matter. Paige Patterson is also a party to this lawsuit. Duane Rollins claims Patterson had knowledge of the sexual assaults and covered them up.

I have friends who are members of the River Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. I've been told that "it was common knowledge that Pressler had a thing for young men." It was seen by other members in the clubhouse.

Years ago, I also heard that the San Francisco Chronicle was about to release a story on the allegations against Pressler. The editors of the paper reportedly backed down after receiving some phone calls from some very powerful people.

In 1989, after the FBI ran a "background check" on Judge Pressler, his name was "withdrawn" as President George Bush's choice to head the Office of Government Ethics. Public statements at the time declared the withdrawal to be about issues other than allegations of sexually predatory behavior,  but one wonders if there was more to the story.

Because...

In 1978, Judge Pressler was terminated from his position as "youth worker" at Bethel Church in Houston.  Frank Sommerville, pastor at Bethel at the time, confirmed that the church “received information about an alleged incident involving Mr. Pressler in 1978.”
“Upon learning of the alleged incident, the church immediately terminated Mr. Pressler’s involvement with the youth group and its activities,” Sommerville wrote. “The Presslers subsequently left the church sometime in late 1978.”
Judge Pressler shows how easy to is for someone to cover up allegations of sexual misconduct through his personal memoir. In his autobiography, A Hill on Which to Die, Judge Pressler goes into great detail on the timeline of his departure from Bethel Church. 

He doesn't mention "the incident." He doesn't tell that he was "terminated." 

Judge Pressler writes that he and his wife, Nancy, resigned in 1979 after realizing they could not dedicate themselves to work in the Southern Baptist Convention while at Bethel. In fact, the only statement he makes about Bethel was what a pastor told him at the time:
“Are you going to minister to 250 high-school students or 13 million Southern Baptists?”
In light of recent revelations, I think there are about 500 parents who were glad Bethel terminated him. Unfortunately, many Southern Baptists have no clue that the architects of the Conservative Resurgence are parties in a lawsuit that alleges predatory sexual behavior as well as a cover-up.

In 2007, I recommended that the Southern Baptist Convention establish a Sex-Offender Database so that people who are credibly accused or convicted of sexual abuse of children or women could be tracked and not passed off from one church to another by covering-up the allegations of abuse. 

In 2008, the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention denied my motion

One wonders if men with things to hide helped kill that motion.

What is being reported in the Houston Chronicle these last few weeks leads me to ask a very specific question:
"Had a database tracking sexual predators been in place in 1979, would that database have prevented Judge Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson from ever having influence in the Southern Baptist Convention?"
If you don't care, or worse, if you think the good these two did in the SBC rises above any allegations of predatory behavior or alleged cover-up, then you need to look at yourself carefully in the mirror and see if the gospel has indeed made a difference in your own life.

Stained-glass windows at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary may actually be more stained than Southern Baptists realize.

47 comments:

Scott Shaver said...

You had better be sure of convictions or credible substantiated "accusation" lest the cure becomes worse than the disease. Same questions could be raised about Mohler/Mahaney and SGM.

Christiane said...

"In 2007, I recommended that the Southern Baptist Convention establish a Sex-Offender Database so that people who are credibly accused or convicted of sexual abuse of children or women could be tracked and not passed off from one church to another by covering-up the allegations of abuse.

In 2008, the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention denied my motion.

One wonders if men with things to hide helped kill that motion."

This is an eye-opening post, Wade. Do you remember who was on the 'Executive Committee' when it denied your motion?

My Church has seen so much grief and I am very saddened that the people of the SBC Churches have been touched by this nightmare. I am heart-broken for every young person whose life was damaged by a predator in any Christian setting, but the greater sin is always those that KNEW, looked-away, and said nothing, and then prevented others from finding out and doing what was needed to STOP the nightmare. At least, you tried.

How could people live with knowing that they covered up a predator??? I don't understand this.

A-nonymous said...

Scott Shaver, your warning is wise but also a given since the purpose was/is not to spread rumors & allegations but to *protect* unknowing churches and more importantly to prevent any more damages to children and other targets of such predators,and to honor the name if Christ and his bride the Church. Additionally, a witness much more powerful than a million words when the Church if Jesus Christ behaves ethically and morally (if not just morally--laws are in place requiring schools, churches,abd similar institutions and personnel to act in good faith to protect the weak and innocent and to report to authorities when they receive allegations and have credible knowledge). It's a bad witness when Christian groups fight to protect pedophiles, even spending hundreds of millions of dollars to drag out the legal process and in the process dragging out the pain and suffering of victims and their loved ones...and the witness and public confidence in the faith communities as a source of moral clarity and practitioners of what it preaches and proclaim to the world. There was no further evidence and credible allegations needed for men like Darrell Gilyard *after the first time, much less the dozen times and locations after it*, thanks to the consistent protection of his patron and mentor Pope Patterson.

I have a suspicion that the despicable Gilyard case will be used by Attorney Shea, highly trained in theology and ecclesiology, to support the basis for Patterson's guilt in aiding and abetting his best bud in decades of sexual, psychological, and spiritual predation and abuse against a yet to be determined number of young men in youth groups at a large Presbyterian Church and two of the largest, richest,and most powerful SBC's "conservative" churches: Ed Young, Sr's Second B.C. and FBC under the late John Bisagnio.

It seems the church is steps and years, if not decades, behind the larger (mostly secular) society when it comes to very important moral and public issues like prejudice, institutional racism,human rights and dignity, etc.

Scott Shaver said...

Point well taken anonymous. I would take exception, however, with the idea the "the church" is steps and years if not decades behind the larger society on important moral issues.

Even with its warts and human failures, The Holy Spirit has worked through the hearts and lives of men and women throughout the history of the church not only to define but to exemplify "morality" from the perspective of God's unchanging character.

The church and secular society when it comes to "morality" comparisons is like apples and oranges. Two different breeds of cat.

Anonymous said...

A-nonymous and Scott Shaver:

"It seems the church is steps and years, if not decades, behind the larger (mostly secular) society"

Then there is this:

http://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/bud-kennedy/article211206004.html

"A Southern Baptist pastor in South Texas says the church has a problem: too much talk about justice.

Racial justice, social justice, global justice — you name it. He's heard enough.

He's against all this justice. Not only that, but he wants Southern Baptist Convention churches to stop preaching about it"

Scott Shaver said...

Christianne, same question could be posed to some pontiffs and archbishops...right?

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott Shaver said...

I read the shoddy resolution I think you are referring to anonymous#2.

That resolution will never make it to the floor for a host of reasons.

However bizarre and disjointed, the resolution does reflect the author's frustration with glaring differences, goals and agendas of social justice as defined by the world and the social justice which is a byproduct of the operation of The Holy Spirit.

The social justice gospel promoted by guys like Russ Moore and Dwight Mckissic follow more closely a pattern of "thought policing" to enforce conformity as opposed to trust in The Holy Spirit to liberate wrong-minded believers from that which detracts from God's brand of "justice".

RB Kuter said...

See, this is one of the main reasons I continue to read Wade's blog site. I find news that is relative to my interests, not only along the lines of corrupt politics within the Southern Baptist Convention and other places but information regarding religious dogma, doctrinal positions, etc., which is helpful to me. Thanks, Wade.

Scott Shaver said...

Christianne, I suspect that all branches of Christendom have dark corners and dark secrets due to the human condition.

We should confront it with our understanding of God's revealed nature and character while also remembering that the only effective remedy is a work of God and not the social engineering templates of politicians and theologians.

A-nonymous said...

The second sentence should say "legally--" instead of morally. I learned as a 20 y.o. youth minister in the last century and millennium (1980's counts,right?)that I had not just a moral and spiritual duty to report suspected or allegations of neglect or abuse of children *and risk prosecution for failing to do so according to the law*, which indicated how important our society regards protecting our young, weak, and vulnerable "neighbors"(the same "neighbors" and who include "the least of these among you" that Jesus caused a stir by addressing how we should treat them). I know how difficult it is to face: I ended my growing ministry and promising service+"career" path a year later when I made the anguishing but right decision to report a serious allegation of sexual abuse made by a credible middle school girl about her powerful and wealthy father, who had been a rising star as an evangelistic preacher (& one of the most talented/powerful evangelistic preacher I've heard) but somehow quit his ministry and turned his talents and charisma into making a lot of money, and as often the case , a lot of influence and power in that church soon after he and his family joined, through financial support and his charisma--church members "demanded" he fill in ever time the already talented pastor was away from the pulpit.

I want to believe that this young and ambitious pastor was simply doing the right and honorable thing by surprising me with his staunch support for my decisiveness and moral clarity in that specific situation (he was usually aloof toward me & toward youth ministry itself). But in the back of my mind, I suspected that his choosing to take over the handling of the whole disturbing matter, from investigating it by talking to the
young lady's SS teacher & youth workers to eventually contacting law enforcement,was partly driven by his feeling threatened by this man's talent and growing popularity
despite his own talent with a D.Min. that he always attached to his name and a stellar track record as the founding pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in America (his own calm but emphatically delivered sermons that were meticulously prepared--& written out just like in Homoletics classes--was a stark contrast to the old-time evangelistic preaching style and fervor of the accused man that had sound messages/content and just as well prepared but that was delivered in mesmarizing fashion:appearing to be extemperaniously flowing out of his soul and building up into a sonic,emotional, and physical crescendo as the sweat-drenched "preacher" in rolled up sleeves appeared to give his last ounce of energy in making the final passionate appeal to the listeners before practically having to sit down from shear exhaustion). Point being: I wasn't that courageous because I didn't have much ambition or as much to risk for choosing to do the right thing for the young lady (I didn't delve into guilt; just determined from knowing her and consulting with the dedicated SS teacher that she was close to that her report was credible/worthy of investigating out if our live and concern for her and all the young people entrusted to our care)and the name of Christ and his church as the beacon of salvation and safety & support.

People with a lot invested (e.g. years earning the D.Min.,years growing the church, a growing young attractive family, ministerial career and material ambitions--understandable due to living in one of the wealthiest suburbs anywhere full of young, talented, powerful, rich/successful people, many of them members of the church).

I on the hand was just an idealistic starving college student who commuted to the church in my old beat up car that stood out in the church parking lot and on the streets. However, I did make similar tough calls later in my professional roles as a social worker, public school educator, and even as one of those "volunteer church workers."

Anonymous said...

Perfect reasoning to show why “Youth Group” is so dangerous.

Thanks

Glenn

RB Kuter said...

The only way I can imagine that men of such demonic influence are allowed to occupy leadership positions in a Christian religious institution (SBC, seminaries, etc) and influence many other Christian leaders to blindly follow their lead is Satanic power.

So many Southern Baptist power players have been under the enchantment of these types of individuals. Reminds me of the power to enchantment possessed by the anti-Christ character in the "Left Behind" fiction series. Wow! We have some very serious heart issues in our Southern Baptist Convention. No wonder God has deterred His blessings upon our vain activities.

Anonymous said...

Wade, while serving in Romania shortly after the fall of communism the BGCT had a partnership with the Romanian Baptist Union. A representative from the BGCT was in the country when the judge, like many high profile Baptists, was visiting the country. We (the missionaries in Romania) were warned to stay clear of the judge lest any of his predatory behavior reflect on us.

Scott Shaver said...

What year? Approximate year.

Anonymous said...

Scott, my memory deteriorates with age...I know that it was after 1988 and before 1994...so, my best estimate would be 1992.

Anonymous said...

When in comes to Pressler, Paige Patterson has no plausible deniability and will not be able to hide behind the "ecclesiastical matters" defense.

Ron said...

I noticed in the Houston Paper article it said he was youth director at Bethel Church in Houston in 1978 and it was a Presbyterian church. How is that one year later in 1979 he is directing a take over of the Southern Baptist Convention. I was at that convention and remember he was a messenger from a small Baptist church he was not a member of. There are enough strange elements to this story to keep a conspiracy theorist busy for years.

Aussie John said...

Wade,

Thank you for your concerns and willingness to deal with them. This is a sad,sad story about Christians dishonoring their Lord and Savior and His Church!

I am reminded that whilst commenting on this story, every one of us need to remember that we Christians, as well as being known,for speaking the truth, are still sinners. It is not a pleasant truth, but while drawing attention the sins of others, AND RIGHTLY SO, the truth is that even though we are in Christ, we still sin.

If we say that we are not sinners, then we are lying as John reminds us in 1 John 1:8, "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

I recently came across the thoughts of C.H.Spurgeon on this matter, with who I fully agree, “Our deceitful heart reveals an almost Satanic shrewdness in self-deception . . . If you say you have no sin you have achieved a fearful success, you have put out your own eyes, and perverted your own reason!”

What a dangerous place we put ourselves in if we believe that whilst we walk this earth we can be sinless. I look forward to the time when we will see Christ as He is. What a glorious truth is 1 John 3:2!


Wade Burleson said...

Ron,

You may not remember, but the Credentials Committee of the SBC opposed the seating of Paul Pressler at the 1979 Convention due to the very issue you raise.

It seems Pressler maintained membership at FBC Houston during the 1970’s, even though he served Bethel as their Youth Pastor.

Bob Cleveland said...

Something just occurred to me: If there is any credibility of reports of abuse, don't many state laws require it be reported to the police? I know that's the case in Alabama.

Wouldn't that solve a lot of the long-term problems?

RB Kuter said...

Aussie John says, " It is not a pleasant truth, but while drawing attention the sins of others, AND RIGHTLY SO, the truth is that even though we are in Christ, we still sin."

I don't get your point.

oscarspaz said...

Christiane,

The info you wanted are in this report
https://www.nashvillescene.com/news/article/13015745/what-would-jesus-say

Christa Brown said...

To give you an idea of how utterly dismissive the SBC Executive Committee was at the time ... even though the 2007 SBC messengers specifically directed the Executive Committee to conduct a study on the feasibility of a database, in accordance with Wade's motion, the Executive Committee never actually budgeted a single dime for conducting such a study. (That's documented in that Nashville Scene article that Oscarspaz cites above.) So to me, even their pretense of conducting a study always seemed like little more than a sham.

Christa Brown said...

Christiane asked: "How could people live with knowing that they covered up a predator??? I don't understand this."

I never understood it either, Christiane. In my own case, eighteen Southern Baptist pastors and leaders in 4 different states were informed about the very prominent SBC pastor who had sexually abused me as a 16 year old and about the fact that another SBC minister had substantiated my allegations because he knew about the abuse at the time when I was a kid (though he characterized it as “consensual”). No one did anything other than to try to silence me, and the man continued in children’s ministry for a very long time until I pretty much drove myself crazy to try to get him out. The gist of my story is here:
http://www.ethicsdaily.com/sbc-to-consider-national-clergy-sex-offender-database-cms-9039
… and it’s more extensively documented in my book and on an old website I kept. When a man can continue in children's ministry even after 18 leaders know, it’s a very dangerous system. It was then and it still is.

A-nonymous said...

Bob Cleveland,

Pretty every state has laws requiring mandatory reporting to appropriate authorities when a person in professional position has reason to suspect neglect or abuse of children, certain disabled and elderly people, and people with mental illness and mental handicap. The penalty for choosing not to report include criminal prosecution.

Of course, each particular professional usually have their own code of professional and ethical conducts with disciplinary repercussions. I recall that the education and social work fields had those codes of conducts but not churches, which is fair because of religious liberty, church autonomy and as Scott Shaver had rightly pointed out,believers would be guided by the power of the Holy Spirit to do what's right. Sadly,we know from too many cases that such confidence and faith don't always work out the way we believe and hope for because it involves sinful fallen human beings.

The tragedy is when those in authority either ignore or cover up (and even protect and thereby enable and embolden more predation and abuse and more damages lives) pretty clear cases of abuse, among all the groups protected by law and among regular people in the church and even on staff (see the tawdry tale of Bill Hybels and his female ministerial staff members).

Scott Shaver,

I don't know about the fine points of comparing "apples to oranges" and a "different breed of cats" except to say that the calling for the individual believer and the faith community/church to "be salt and light" in the world/community is a higher ethical standard that should translate into the faith community taking the lead in moral issues, like past generations regarding slavery (not a large number but the people of faith lead the way)and medical philanthropy,housing the homeless and orphans and feeding the poor, taking in the refugees,etc. However, some moral issues are much easier to take a stand for and lead the way than others (e.g. racial segregation and bigotry/superiority, equal treatment of our female humans, warmongering, and even abuses of various kinds by ecclesiastical & spiritual leaders (e.g. Mark the Bully Driscoll, the spanking Fundamentalist Baptists in Indiana area, the Catholic hierarchy, and the scamming faith healers & prosperity perverts).

Anonymous, "Youth Group/Ministries" have had exponentially more positive impacts than any negative, on the young people, their families, the local church,and the Church because a majority of believers and missionaries and ministers of all kinds trace their spiritual birth, growth and calling while involved in Youth and Student Ministries. In fact, research after research shows that conversion and responses to ministerial calling generally decreases steeply after the middle teenage years.

Finally, it's very interesting to read the pleading by Attorney Shea in the lawsuit against Pressler, Patterson and Co. because he uses his training in historical theology and experience trying to hold his former Church accountable for all the thousands of boys who were abused and the families destroyed, to build a similar foundation for conspiracy and cover up of crimes and sins by powerful people *using their theology as a weapon in forcing their victims to comply and to defend themselves when they're caught and called to accountability*.

oscarspaz said...

This is a 2008 report from Nashville Scene that wrote about SBC's attitude towards sexual abuse.

https://www.nashvillescene.com/news/article/13015745/what-would-jesus-say

Ten years past...nothing done. Not a finger lifted. Today when questioned about predators - same dismissive attitude, same talking points and no action.

Predators continue to be shipped around churches. Not even an endorsement of a crediable 3rd party that provides SBC churches' abuse victims to file reports and to investigate pausable abuses.

All I can think of is the type of religious leaders warned by Jesus in Ma 23. They were the spirituals abusers.

I put on sack cloth and roll in ashes.

A-nonymous said...

Wade Burleson,

I knew the pastor who served many years as the the Youth Minister at FBC Houston. Paul Pressler could have been a volunteer leader in that massive youth ministry that was on the cutting edge in its time and influenced how youth ministry was practiced--as a professional ministerial calling, just like the minister of music, pastor, et al.instead of the common model of the young charismatic volunteer "youth directors" who "will outgrow" it once they become full adults and become "real ministers."

That informal and not properly regarded model of your ministry ("singing, playing, and hanging out with the kids to keep them out of trouble/occupied" was the description of what a youth minister did was used by many church members even in the late 1980's to early 1990's at churches that I had served while in college)-- and thus less resources and attention by church members and leaders--was likely the model that enabled the young lawyer and state legislator Paul Pressler to have his way at the small Bethel Presbyterian Church, which he unsuccessful tried to claim was a Baptist church in order to solidify his Baptist credentials as he emerged as the co-leader of the Insurgency/Resurgency.

The lawsuit revealed that there is a record showing that Pressler was forced out of Bethel, which is remarkable when we consider that he was a volunteer, very charismatic,and becoming widely respected in Texas politics at a fairly young age. One of his accusers has provided details about his targeting and grooming the young man for sexual exploitation. The two largest Baptist churches in Houston were perfect for Pressler because it burnished his holy war politicking while providing fertile grounds to hunt for young men among their large youth groups.

By the way, a young talented youth minister named Burt Burleson was a close protege of that influential Youth Minister at FBC Houston in the 1970's to early 1980's. Any relations?

Jon L. Estes said...

I am not assigning innocence or guilt to Pressler. God knows what is true here and God knows how deceitful our hearts and behaviors can be. Hopefully, the truth will come out and the courts will do right. I pray it is all a lie.

My question is... How many allegations must be made towards someone before we "wonder" out loud in ways that may influence others in a direction not yet known as truth?

We all have our opinions and sometimes it would seem wise to not share them if they come across as a final judgment when all we have are accusations.

Jacque Truitt said...

Wade, well said. A concise and well organized statement of the problem and the history. If one of these accusations was there it would be more questionable but the history tells a story that is very hard to ignore or disbelieve.

RB Kuter said...

I sense that we are on the brink of a major secular media news break what with our having a "cover-up" conspiracy regarding issues like key leaders being sexual predators over little boys, high ranking leaders intentionally neglecting, even covering up, the offenses.

All the elements are in place for a perfect storm. Southern Baptists are not exactly the "apple of the eye" of the secular world due to our tradition of proclaiming how dogmatic we are in adhering to moral issues as prescribed in Scripture. We have always been a target since we have a reputation for rejecting same-sex marriage, homosexuality, abortion, and the exclusiveness of salvation through Christ.

Now we have what is sure to become a high profile civil suit with apparently indefensible allegations being shot at "The Judge-King",all the while having his Lieutenant, Paige, who in his back pocket and apparently involved in cloaking the entire affair. No telling how many other leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention were involved in this and only God knows how many other nasty affairs.

Yes, unfortunately, this is the kind of fodder that will surely hit the evening news on the networks and social media. Sad, but perhaps that level of embarrassment will be the only thing that will motivate SBC power-players to actually begin a "clean out of The Swamp" maneuver. After all, when an organization chooses the most important leaders based upon their "celebrity and fame" instead of their ability to do the job, then public opinion becomes the only voice they hear.

Too bad they did not begin that clean-up operation years ago due to being motivated by the convicting power of God's Holy Spirit. Seems they are so far out of touch with God that they cannot hear His voice.

RB Kuter said...

We saw this kind of public embarrassment and public outrage in past sexual abuse cases of the Catholic Church. It reached a fervent level to the degree that it forced their Pope to take notice and begin taking some corrective changes.

Unfortunately, it seems that the Pope of the Southern Baptist Convention is the primary offender!

Sallie Borrink said...

That stained glass window is creepy. How much hubris does one need to have in order to think that is a good idea?

Alaskan in Texas said...

I just wanted to highlight the fact that, Daniel Shea, the plaintiff's attorney in this case, is experienced and successful in holding accountable ecclesiastically protected sexual predators. In other words, he knows how to win these sorts of lawsuits. http://www.houstonpress.com/news/the-man-who-sued-the-pope-6575117

RB Kuter said...

The only means of our seeing change in our Southern Baptist Convention that addresses the current corruption, cronyism, and seemingly invincible establishment is for an "outsider" to be elected as the first SBC President bent on initiating corrective change. It would have to be someone with a passion for seeing change take place that would result in the current power-players being uprooted and ousted. That means that such a President would have to be an "outsider"; someone who is currently rejected by the "establishment" of the SBC.

Such a change would require someone with a mindset similar to Wade Burleson. But when we consider how unlikely it would be for Wade Burleson to be elected President of the SBC due to his having been totally outlawed and blacklisted by the "establishment", the situation seems almost hopeless. Wade's reputation for his past "whistleblowing" activity, refusing to submit to the antics of the establishment and his demanding transparency in the manner in which they function, has totally ostracized him from the ranks of power players in control of the SBC and its institutions. (As it turns out, that is to his credit.)

We can see similarities with the SBC's leadership structure made dysfunctional by its lost connection with its constituency (and apparently, God) and the US political structure prior to the last election. It seemed totally impossible for any "outsider" of that political system to have a chance for being a serious contender for the US Presidency. But a huge populist movement with a large segment of our society being disgruntled with the ineptness of Washington ultimately resulted in an "outsider" being elected.

But the vast majority of Southern Baptists are clueless about the lethargic Boards of Trustees of their institutions being dysfunctional and totally inept at serving as accountability sources for the leadership of the institutions. Currently, the masses of Southern Baptists are unaware of there even being a "Pope" of the Southern Baptist Convention who was largely responsible for the establishment of this current, corrupt, system. They are equally unaware that this "SBC Pope" currently has serious allegations against him for being a long-time pedophile and sexual predator. Few Southern Baptists are aware that The Pope also has had/does have an entourage of "lieutenants" who have participated in a cover-up conspiracy for his shenanigans for years as well as maintaining a bulwark to protect their control.

It seems apparent that the only way for a significant wave of awareness with resulting protests to take place and for the current level of corruption to be unveiled to the masses of the Southern Baptist Convention is if the secular media forces take note and begin to give priority news coverage to what is taking place.

It is very sad that we have got to this point of desperation in our beloved SBC, yet, here we are.

Aussie John said...

RB Kuter,

I suspect you already know my "point".

To put it simply, after more than six decades of ministry, I have seen in house sins being dealt with on a Biblical basis. On the other hand, I have also seen men and women, because of the offense of the sin being dealt with, being led into angry, vindictive behavior lacking in any evidence of grace, often more representative of proud, self-righteous Pharisees than followers of Christ.

I want to make clear that one reason I read this blog is because I have never seen this in the writings of Wade or his father who both reveal the consciousness of their own ability to fail.

Wade Burleson said...

Aussie John,

Absolutely. I echo your sentiments. Brokenness over sin deserves our unconditional grace and forgiveness.

Ron said...

You mentioned that the San Francisco newspaper was pressured to not publish an article on Pressler concerning this issue several years ago. At the time Pressler was one of the leaders of the Council on National Policy (CNP), a right wing organization with many of the most powerful people in politics and the religious right. It was also heavily funded by Sun Myung Moon. They would have had an important stake in covering up Pressler's alleged activities and the power to do it.

RB Kuter said...

Aussie John, in a case like the current condition of the Southern Baptist Convention's power base, the collective involvement of multiple leaders in unscrupulous behavior that renders it an embarrassment to the Convention and to the Kingdom involvement of Southern Baptists pretty much renders it a matter that only God can handle. I see no other potential for the salvage of this corporate church mechanism than for God Himself to step in as only He can to bring a remedy, if that is His plan.

I do believe the fervent prayer of the millions of Southern Baptists could invoke God's intervention, but as I mentioned, earlier, I honestly do not think that most Southern Baptists are even aware of the huge leak in the sinking Titanic. Unfortunately, a wave of conviction, repentance, fasting and desperate prayer are not likely to take place unless God somehow moves to awaken the masses of Southern Baptists. But, He IS God, after all.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

“Stained-glass windows at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary may actually be more stained than Southern Baptists realize.”

Yes, birds of a feather flock together.

https://www.nashvillescene.com/news/article/13015745/what-would-jesus-say

“In the mid-1980s, Father Thomas Doyle was a canon lawyer at the Vatican Embassy. In a March 2007 letter addressed to SBC president Page Patterson, Doyle warned that “clergy sex abuse is a scourge that knows no bounds of theology, denomination or institutional structure.”

In November 2007, Page told a reporter in Louisville, Ky., that a “national registry is not the way to best protect children. Doyle said he wasn’t surprised by Page being dismissive. He says such reactions are standard for people in church leadership positions, who tend to place the needs of the institution before their Christian obligations.

The Rev. Wade Burleson made the motion for the database study at last year’s convention. These messengers requested that the SBC executive committee conduct “a feasibility study concerning the development of a database of Southern Baptist clergy and staff who have been credibly accused of, personally confessed to, or legally been convicted of sexual harassment or abuse,”

In his book Pedophiles and Priests, Pennsylvania State University professor Philip Jenkins determined that between .2 and 1.7 percent of Catholic priests are pedophiles. Among Protestant clergy—a group in which Southern Baptists are the largest denomination—that figure ranges from 2 to 3 percent.
In a 1993 survey by the Journal of Pastoral Care, 14 percent of Southern Baptist ministers admitted to engaging in “inappropriate sexual behavior,” and 70 percent said they knew a minister who had such contact with a parishioner.”

“Darrel Gilyard’s mentor, former SBC president Paige Patterson, dubbed him one of the “most brilliant men in the pulpit.”

Gilyard had been forced out of a Dallas Baptist church in 1987 amid accusations of sexual impropriety. Several women said Gilyard sexually abused them, in their homes, the church, even at the base of the pulpit. They came to Patterson with the allegations. Patterson refused to help them. In press accounts, Patterson said, he was dealing with a man of special gifts and talents and that he was unwilling to call anyone guilty until evidence prove the allegations were true.

https://www.wordandway.org/index.php/item/2349-clergy-sex-offender-released-from-prison

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (ABP) -- An African-American preacher once popular in preaching circuits of the Southern Baptist Convention completed his three-year prison sentence for sex crimes with two girls in his congregation and is now a registered sex offender on probation in Jacksonville, Fla. Darrell Gilyard, 49, pleaded guilty May 21, 2009, to molesting a 15-year-old girl and sending lewd text messages to another. He was arrested Jan. 14, 2008, on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct. Gilyard resigned Jan. 4, 2008, after 15 years as pastor of Jacksonville’s Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, a 7,000-member predominantly African-American congregation. As a young minister in the 1980s, he was mentored by prominent Southern Baptist Convention leaders including Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines. Gilyard's relationship with SBC leaders soured in 1991, when he resigned under pressure after admitting to several adulterous affairs with women he was counseling while pastor of a multi-racial SBC church in Richardson, Texas.
Over the years Gilyard resigned from a total of five churches over charges of sexual misconduct. Many SBC leaders disbelieved the accusations, and continued to support him until the Dallas Morning News published stories in 1991 saying dozens of women had accused him of sexual misconduct, with some alleging rape.

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray; very sad stuff. We need a reformation.

Scott Shaver said...

Jon, you've certainly not refrained from sharing your own opinions. Guess the advice applies only to others.

Wade Burleson said...

Jon Estes,

The $450,000 payment by Judge Pressler in 2004 in a “secret settlement” (made public last year) to a man accusing Pressler of rape in a very public lawsuit that is about to go to jury trial - is all a matter of PUBLIC record.

If you were the chairperson of a Search Committee at your church, would you take your own advice and NOT draw an opinion of the man you bring before the church as your pastor, and urge your congregation NOT to draw a judgement of the man - though it’s PUBLIC record that he paid $450,000 to a man accusing him of rape?

Jon, with all due respect, I think you may be the one with an agenda, yet you pose as if you have none and other people do.

The only other explanation I could give for your advice of “not drawing an opinion” on a $450,000 payment to a man accusing Pressler of rape is stupidity. And I don’t think you are stupid.





Debbie Kaufman said...

Tiffany Killigan shared this article which lists the five inidicators of an Evil heart. She found them accurate and she should know having dealt with the powers that be, but I believe it to be accurate of some of the powers that be then and now and relevant to this and other posts on this site and others. It is written on Crosswalk.com which I believe is a Southern Baptist based site and writers. I know it used to be and think it still is, which makes this article even more interesting.

https://www.crosswalk.com/slideshows/5-indicators-of-an-evil-heart.html?p=5

Rex Ray said...

Debbie,

I believe “Five indicators of an Evil heart” can be seen in the words of Darrell Gilyard (guilty of raping women and children) when he was released from prison: “I’m glad that part of my life is over.” It seemed he had no remorse for what he had done…just a journey through life. SICK

Scott Shaver said...

Bob, all I will say is that the term "social justice" can be as misleading these days as the cereal named "Grape Nuts". They're neither grapes or nuts and a lot of this tripe served up as "social justice" is neither social or just.

Scott Shaver said...

"Creepy" with regard to tbe glass menagerie at SWBTS is a classic understatement.

Hubris Maximus