AZ IFB Pastor Nick Minerva

What does a fundamentalist wannabe pedophile pastor do when he’s good and caught with no wiggle room? Evidently this one decided to take the coward’s way out.

AZCentral.com reports:

Minerva, 52, shot himself Thursday after a standoff with Chandler police attempting to serve a warrant on suspicion he was luring a 14-year-old girl into a sexual relationship.

Minerva, who lived in Tempe, was the married father of four children. He had been pastor of the south Phoenix church since 2004, and had a loyal group of followers. Prior to that, he was pastor of First Baptist Church in Bagdad, Ariz. since 2000. Minerva had also at one time been a probation officer, congregants said.

The local Fox channel news site adds this:

Police believe there are victims who have not yet come forward. Anyone with information is asked to call Chandler police.

I can’t find any real records on who Nick Minerva was other than some links to his Wing Chun ministry and a video of what appears to be his son preaching at a camping retreat with none other than the folks from Faithful Word Baptist Church. His church website lists no schools, fellowships, or credentials of any kind. So I’m left to wonder, where did Nick Minerva come from and how did he end up as a pastor? Have their been other victims of his along the way?

I’m sure there’s more to follow on this story as time goes along.

71 thoughts on “AZ IFB Pastor Nick Minerva”

      1. The lid was slammed shut tightly on the whole Greg Baker case. Some have hinted there was a sex scandal about to be disclosed, but so far no victim has come forward…at least that I know of.

        1. Does it matter? Unless you are directly involved with the scandal, is it really any of your business?

        2. And here I’ll resort to Dickens:

          “Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

          In short, yes. It is.

        3. Thanks for clearing that up. I found some verses that might apply to you.

          Proverbs 12:6
          The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them.

          Proverbs 26:20
          Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.

          I’m sure you will find some way to twist what you are doing to make yourself look like the hero, but I looked up “gossip” and, yeah, this particular comment thread (dealing with Greg Baker) would be gossip. But, hey, keep up the good fight. You are really doing a bang-up job helping all the victims. Keeping blogging for awareness!

        4. Yes Jonathan, it does matter to us. We have spotted a very disturbing trend. How can things like this NOT matter?

        5. Jonathan, do you believe โ€œThe Sword of the Lordโ€ or any other fundie rag is going to report this story and ask for other victims possible victims to call the police? HELL NO!!!
          Most institutions, whether religious, corporate or political do a terrible job of policing themselves. Because powerful people care more about the institutions and their power then they do about people.
          ABC news once killed a story about safety issues at Disney World, because Disney owns ABC. Recently NBC News made no mention that their parent company General Electric made $14 billion in profits last year and yet paid no federal taxes.

          Someone needs to watch the watchers.

        6. “Unless you are directly involved with the scandal, is it really any of your business?”

          Abuse was rarely talked about in our circles. It was always hushed up. Now with the internet, it’s harder to sweep things under the rug.

          Is there a pattern going on at IFB churches? I would hope not, but it’s possible that their very independence and lack of accountability and structure built around one man is not particularly biblical nor wise. Maybe as more people become aware of the potential for evil happening in church, things will change to help safe-guard the innocent.

          If you tell people like my parents about abuse happening at a church, their first response is to say that the victim was lying or that the victim asked for it. Then they’ll finally say that it only happened “that one time” as if my having only one example disproves the evil of the crime. It’s good to know that it’s not “just one time.” Evil is within our hearts; it’s not something in the world that we can escape if we just isolate ourselves enough from it. The philosophy underscoring most IFB churches is wrong, and if bringing cases like this to light helps these churches realize that they can’t escape from evil by hiding from it, maybe they’ll stop separating themselves from their communities and step out from behind their walls and start BEING the hands and feet of Jesus in the world.

          Christians need to walk in the light, humbling acknowledging failures, repenting of them where necessary. I see no need for keeping secrets. Transparency, honesty, authenticity – these help give us credibility, not ignoring those who sin but admitting the sin and stating the repugnance we feel toward it and our repudiation of such behavior.

          God’s light of truth is shining. All the hidden deeds of darkness will be revealed. Why call for things to be hidden when God says to come to the light?

        7. From fairly close knowledge of the Baker suicide it was because of an affair. But fundies can never admit to stuff it either has to be dragged out of them in court or suicide seems like a preferable alternative. suicide to them is better than owning their sin. Sucks to be a fundie!!

        8. So Baker’s alleged affair is not commonly known by the congregation/college. They are just skipping right over that information? โ“

        9. My church lost two pastors in less than a year. The seconds pastor left due to an affair with a teen ager. We got a new pastor. Old pastor started attending our church again. It hurt. It hurt a lot of people in our church. I have teen aged girls. I talked to new pastor about my feelings. Aparently I am a sin filled hypocrite who is incapable of forgivness just because it hurts. I have questions. I need to express my hurt. I need to know how to handle this situations. These situations HURT EVERYONE!! And they HURT THE CAUSE OF CHRIST> It is our business.

    1. Bob Gray – Trinity Baptist Church
      Chuck Phelps – Trinity Baptist Church
      Nick Minerva – Trinity Baptist Church

      Wonder how many in the congregation will still claim Minerva was really innocent and the underage girl was just being used of the devil. In fundyland that kind of sick defense of a wicked pastor happens often.

      ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

      1. Just for Jonathan’s peace of mind, would you mind answering a question? Are you rejoicing over this man’s suicide? It would seem to *some* that you are. ๐Ÿ™„

        1. Thank you for coming to my aid and getting people to answer the question for me. What would I do without you?

        2. I’m not seeing anthing here that indicates to me that any of us are taking delight in his death. I see consternation over allegations of impropriety, sympathy towards his family (who will continue to have to live with this), and even pity for him as a person.

          The phrase ‘perception is reality’ comes to mind here. If someone is looking for [x], they will tend to see it, even when [x] isn’t really there. I forget the official term for it (something bias, I think), but I remember learning about it in my Psych class.

        3. Yeah, that sounds right. I need to see if I can find my Psych textbook. That class was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. Its fascinating how the brain works.

        4. rejoicing in his suicide? I don’t think that’s what we are left with here. He’s been abusing a child for years, probably more than one child. When caught he took the cowardly way out and locked himself in the church and commited suicide. As Darrell said, it’s the cowardly way out, robbing any sense of closure from the victims.

          Reminds me of the old testament story of the Adonijah thinking that if he clung to the Alter he wouldn’t be killed for his sins.

    2. Come to think of it, I can’t think of a “normal” Trinity Baptist Church. Well, I can think of one that is halfway decent, but it is still IFB.

    1. I feel pity for the fact they were victimized, I feel no pity for them working it out by victimizing others. I simply refuse to believe they don’t have enough self awareness to know they should address the trauma (anyone been through trauma knows there’s a fear of “they wouldn’t understand” or “it’s not that big of a deal”, and just don’t tell anyone attitude all victims feel). Anyway, all that to say this: Once they’ve made the decision to just hide their scars & internalize it so that it comes out as victimizing others, I lose all my sympathy for them.

      1. I agree. I guess “pity” is the wrong word, but it’s the closest one I can come up with to describe my feelings. It’s the same way I feel about Hitler: He was completely insane, and for that I “pity” him; but he ordered the deaths of millions of people, and for that I don’t think there’s a punishment bad enough for him. Not to compare the Holocaust to molestation, but it’s the same idea in regard to what I’m trying to say. Maybe there’s a better word for what I’m describing? Anyway, hope that clears things up. I think we’re on the same page.

  1. one of his kids is at WCBC (Chappell), and the church supports a couple of OBC-grad (Vineyard) missionaries. Must be Revival Fires-type fellowship.
    Very sad…and downright scary…I feel bad for the kids

  2. I’m not sure what the story even is here? The guy was pretty despicable, but I don’t see the church (at least in the news story) doing any kind of cover up or blaming anyone. Seems like they’re handling the publicity they didn’t ask for or want due to a very very flawed person, that it’s hard to imagine they knew about, doing horrific things. I’m not sure what else there is, they can’t prosecute him, it wasn’t his families fault and doesn’t seem to be the churches fault.

    Am curious why there would be any more to the story (even if there are other victimes, it seems like something I don’t really need or want to know about, you know?

    Even if he does have ties to fundy orgs or churches, I find it hard to believe he had some kind of support structure that knew he was up to no good. Possible but seems unlikely in this case. Esp with the up frontness of whoever it was they interviewed on Easter (or Good Friday or whenever that was).

  3. What’s really sad about this story is the fact that you all are taking such delight in the death of someone. I’m not here to defend him or his reprehensible acts, but the fact remains that a woman has lost her husband and four children are now fatherless. Maybe instead of taking such joy in the fact that he killed himself over the accusations, you all should be praying for his family and his church. There are some hurting people in Arizona right now and all you want to do is gloat.

    1. I see that you are continuing your modus operandi of hallucinating that people said things and then vehemently responding to those imaginary statements.

      Either kindly point out who here is “taking such delight” in this man’s death or refrain from making unfounded accusations that lead us to question both your integrity and your apparent emotional stability.

      1. Darrell,

        Your overall tone and your implied desire to dig up more dirt is what I was referring to. Does it really matter where he came from or how he became a pastor? The man committed a crime and killed himself. His family and church are in mourning, but you found it necessary to broadcast this news on your website. And I agree that it was cowardly to kill himself rather than face the charges that were presented to him, but what difference does it make to you?

        As far as your comments about my integrity and emotional stability, I’ll take them in stride. I understand that you don’t like it when people object to your postings.

        1. One of these days you’re going to man up and tell us who exactly you’re connected to that you feel I’ve insulted on this site.

          The way you wander around here singing the same tune over and over again leads me to believe that you think you’ve suffered some personal affront.

          So fess up. Who did I make fun of that hurt your feelings?

        2. I sing the same tune because I think what you are doing is wrong. I don’t see who made it your responsiblity to “police” fundamentalism or why it is necessary. You had some really funny posts (I especially liked the ones about the 16-passenger van and the Wicked Wizard of Oz), but then you started making it your business to drudge up all kinds of things that really aren’t any of your business.

          But, to “man up” as you put it, here’s who I am. I am a 2003 graduate of PCC. I almost didn’t graduate because I was expelled for going to the movies and getting tattoos. I worked at ABB with your brother David and, if I remember correctly, you were a Computer Science major. I went to Liberty for my M.Ed. and I am currently working on my M.Div at Liberty as well. I attend a Baptist church that is affiliated with the American Baptist Association. I preach and teach from the ESV, but I have no problem with the other translations. I listen to rock music of all sorts and I drink beer from time to time.

          You’ve never done anything to hurt my feelings (other than attack my integrity just a few minutes ago). I personally think we, as Christians, have more important things to do than run down and make fun of others, especially those we don’t agree with.

          I hope I “fessed up” enough for you. Now I have a question: why do you have so much hostility?

        3. “you started making it your business to drudge up all kinds of things that really aren’t any of your business.”

          Ah. I would think that justice and equity and mercy and the protection of the innocent are the business of everybody. Obviously we have a difference of opinion on that score. The golden rule is not “shut up and mind your own business.”

          As for hostility, who’s being hostile?

          Is it hostile to discuss publicly available facts about news that relates to fundamentalism? I gave a brief synopsis. I asked a few questions. If that’s hostility then I’m afraid you and I are using very different dictionaries.

        4. I did x because you did something to provoke it is very much passing the buck. You def should own what you do, regardless of “causation”. A blog post doesn’t “make” you do anything.

        5. Jonathan–Not that I expect you to read this or dignify it with a response–but would you be as indignant and quick to accuse Darrell if this were a blog about the problems with Catholic churches? Somehow, I don’t think so.

        1. Okay…I do recall England is a WCBC person. It will be interesting to see how the new pastor gets selected.

  4. Jonathan, I haven’t read any comments that indicate anyone gloating over this man’s suicide. What he did was despicable and the fact that his widow and four children are left to pick up the pieces is heartbreaking. I don’t think anyone here is taking delight in this.

      1. usedtobefundy’s comment about the investigation of a completely unrelated case somehow proves that folks here are happy about this man’s death?

        You’re not being even a teeny bit logical.

      2. Sorry, Jonathan, but I’m still not seeing the same thing you are. I happen to agree with usedtobefundy. I’ve personally seen similar situations in which the teenage girl was blamed and the grown man was defended. Like Darrell said, it’s not even the same case as this one.

        Regardless, I’m sure if you were to directly ask usedtobefundy, you would be assured that no one is rejoicing in this man’s demise. The problem, though, is that you – as many fundamentalists do – are jumping to your own conclusions without gathering all the facts first. So, to help you out with this, I’ll go back on the comment in question and ask myself. Save you the trouble.

        1. Did I directly call you a fundie? No, I did not. I said, “as many fundamentalists do”. Not “as Jonathan the fundamentalist does”. There you go jumping to conclusions again.

        2. That is an example of what I love about this site. The anti-fundamentalists are never wrong. And while you did not directly call me a fundamentalist, you did imply it with your statement that reads: “The problem, though, is that you – as many fundamentalists do – are jumping to your own conclusions without gathering all the facts first.” So, no, I guess you didn’t directly call me a fundamentalist. I apologize.

        3. The Baptist Trolls have struck again. Forever trying to scrub the internet of dissidence. I still have a some of y’all as FB friends; hats off to you, your vigilance must be exhausting. Don’t y’all have some splits to sew or something?

  5. Thank you. Apology accepted. And you are also right- the implication that you are fundy was there. Not intentionally, by any means.

    Now for my 2-cents worth. I agree with Darrell that if you don’t like what you read here, just stay away. While you may not agree with what Darrell is doing, why do you take it on yourself to cause him grief? Do you do this with everyone you disagree with? Just curious. โ“

  6. Minerva could had used the King David excuse:
    1 Kings, Chapter 1

    1 When King David was old and well advanced in years, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him.
    2 So his servants said to him, โ€œLet us look for a young virgin to attend the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm.โ€

    3 Then they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful girl and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 4The girl was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no intimate relations with her.

  7. I would like to say that it is very possible that this could go on and no one would ever know. I used to attend this church with my children, and he NEVER acted anything but Godly. He was a wonderful person and helped my family through a very difficult time. His wife is amazing, and his children are full of the Lord, loving, and kind. The people in the church are also true believers of God. Now he is dead. His wife, kids, and congregation have to live with this mess. If anyone is to blame, it is he and he alone… not his leaders, family, or even God. His death was a horrible thing, but I do not feel sorry for him, he is dead. I feel sorry for his wife and children who will live with this the rest of their lives. I pray that there were no other victims. God bless us all and give us the strength to not be taken away with sin, and to carefully watch over the children among us. Amen.

    1. It is truly sad. Maybe it should remind us to “take heed where we stand lest we fall” and to seek for authenticity and accountability in church. I do grieve for those left hurting by this man’s sin.

    2. It is shockingly easy for preditory pastors to fool a congregation. (Bob Gray did so for over 40 years.) What new accountability measures will the church put into place to prevent a new predator from taking charge?

      1. I know, How about we create a special title and call it, lets see, “Pope.” Yes, that is what we can do and then he can over see all the Pastors in every group and tell us who is good and bad. Maybe he can create some unrealistic circumstances for these men like to never marry and to always live around other men. Yes, that is it. We need the Baptist Pope to come and save the day. C’mon people, wake up, sin has been around since the garden. There isn’t a person alive that could not fall into some type of sin. This exasperates the problem because its a Preacher and people some how think that the preacher is exempt from sin. He, just like any other man, must do all he can to protect himself from falling into these types of situations but is it me or does all this seem to get swept under the rug when he’s called a priest. How many sex offenders are living in Rome because the Pope has given them assylum. How many men that were just church members of any given name of churches are in jail because they commited the same crime. Where are the news cameras? Hey Darrell, why don’t you create that website? Maybe you should go sit down with your Pastor and find out how many men in your church are sex offenders that are trying to put their lives back together after making a life changing decisons to fall into sin. I know Darrell, why don’t you make a website dedicated to exposing the family members of church members that have been affected by their Mom or Dads bad decisons. Hey Darrell, why don’t you spend some time exposing the fact that male school teachers that commit this same type of crime get the book thrown at them but female school teachers get a slap on the hand. You know what Darrell? The more I read behind you the more I learn about you and the more I learn the more I think you have some real issues. Your not a truth seeker your a bitter little boy with a big computer key board.

        1. You just spent the last hour replying to posts on a blog that you claim is run by a “bitter little boy”

          And I’m the one with issues?

          Dude.

        2. Ha! Just by the name I knew it was a fundy post!

          I love it how the Baptists love to point fingers at the Catholics, especially when a sex scandal comes up. Hey, MoteandBeam, or Jonathan, or John Keeter or whoever you really are, how’s this for a totally new concept: Baptist preachers who live up to Biblical standards! As George Carlin says, “It might work, God knows it hasn’t been tried yet.”

    1. IMHO if the church provides the pastor with a phone and computer, another elder should be allowed to occasionally audit these devices.

    2. Fundie churches have a long history are requiring little or no education from their leaders. For some fundies, the lack of โ€œbook learninโ€™โ€ is seen as an asset.

  8. As a former youth group student of this man and also family friend I was absolutely shocked by this story. I had known nick minerva for about fifteen years and never in that time knew him a anything other than a spirit filled man of god. Never in all those years did i ever see any sign of this being am ongoing problem. I know from struggles in my own life that sin can get a hold on you if you let it and without being honest with someone (ie. Loved one) it is extremely hard to win that battle. In knowing who this man was and the things he stood for there is no question that he was guilty imho. For this man to be in a situation for suicide to be his only option it totally saddens me. People need to look into their own lives and realize that the power of the sins in their life is held in the secrecy. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and my hope is that people can see that none of us are any better than this man, we are all sinners and have all come short but by the grace of God we can be saved.

  9. As long IFB movement & its leaders continue to embrace an unbiblical philosophy of ministry you can expect to see more and more news coverage with this same kind of content.
    May God use these tragedies as a rebuke to Independent Fundamentalist Baptists to return to biblical authority.

    1 Peter 4:17
    The time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God;

  10. Was perusing old posts and came across this one. I remember this story coming out, but didn’t realize there was discussion about where Minerva came from.

    He attended (and I think was a graduate) of the now-defunct Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College. When the school was shuttered many of their staff/faculty moved to Oklahoma and re-named their group “Heartland Baptist Bible College”.

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