59 thoughts on “Sword of the Lord (Finally) Responds to the 20/20 Story on Abuse in Fundamentalism (Update 1)”

  1. “Our churches are not perfect, but we do not tolerate evil.” Oh, really? I know there are some who don’t, but there are some who have been involved in massive coverups of evil.

    1. The Hate on this website is so vehement. I know none of you would ever get falsely accused of anything. I know none of you would ever think you were doing the right thing, but 13 years someone linked everything together that wasn’t even linkable in your life. I know all of you are above the the teaching of logic and critical thinking taught in all upper levels in Universities, because your emotions are so much keener. But one thing I am very sure of, is that you will all be judged the way you are judging this one man, as if he did the raping himself. For sure, you will wake up one day and wonder what hit you. And if you are sensitive (unlike now), you maybe just might, just barely might conclude, hey, the Bible was right, I am reaping what I sowed. Or wow, I am being judged by the judgement I judged.

      If you can bet your life on it, that this man Phelps had an evil heart, then throw the first stone. Go ahead. I feel sorry for all of you. You are nothing but a bunch of spoiled,hate-ridden, bitter people. The attitudes and lynching mentality makes me sick to my stomach.

  2. β€œOur churches are not perfect, but we do not tolerate evil, even if someone in our leadership does it.”

    “IFB churches are not given to the abuse of women and children. To the contrary, we preach and promote their full value and worth. We want them to be treated like royalty.”

    Are they without shame?

    Phelps has not produced any proof he ever reported this crime to the police – but the Sword of the Lord just accepts his unproven statement as fact. The Sword of the Lord totally glossed over the fact that Chuck Phelps made Tina Anderson apologize infront of the church for being raped and the resulting pregnancy.

    So much for being treated like royalty…

    “Independent Baptists by definition are independent. There is no network, and many independent Baptist camps and colleges shy away from other independent camps and colleges.”

    The Sword of the Lord is also wrong about the IFB not being networked. Just because all the different networks do not always get along does not mean they do not exist. Try offending a IFB college president or national speaker and see if you can get employment in his network of churches again…Kiss the right ring and opportunities will open up for you.

    Oh pleeeeeeze. There are many cultic IFB churches.

    The Sword of the Lord article is very self-serving and has little to do with reality.

    I also didn’t see anything mentioned about encouraging compliance with manditory reporting laws…just a rec to get legal counsel…(continued on pg 7, which has not been posted yet)…which will probably suggest David “defend the ministry at all costs” Gibbs at Christian Law Association.

    I can’t help but wonder if Gibbs bought a large ad for this particular issue…

    1. I think Phelps is pretty much a snake, but he *did* report it to the Concord police. I found it last month on the web site for the Concord police–a press release made at the time that they arrested Willis stated that the victim’s pastor had alerted them at the time of the alleged crime, but they had been unable to investigate further. Unfortunately it looks like those press releases are only kept online for so long, ’cause it’s not there now. So, I hate to admit it, but Phelps did alert the police. What he did after that is another story.

      1. Do you have a link to anywhere that verifies this?

        Until I see proof I will be sceptical about Phelp’s claim. Of course I should doubt him – making a rape victim publicly apologize for being attacked shows his abysmal character.

        1. Sorry, the link is gone now. I did post it elsewhere on SFL before. One could always email the Concord Police Department directly, I suppose, and ask for a copy of the press release. If memory serves, it was a press release from last May. I remember it definitely had the name Willis in the title of the press release–that’s why it got my attention. Here’s the link to the Concord Police Department page, anyway: http://www.ci.concord.nh.us/concordv2.asp

      2. Given the police allegedly failed to investigate at the time, how do we know that they are not simply taking Phelps word for it now that he actually did report it before? Lazy then? Or lazy now?

        In any event,
        1. Phelps evidently failed to vigorously pursue the matter with the police. (Can’t help but wonder if there were any senior ploice officers who were church members at the time?)
        2. Phelps himself evidently abused the rape victim through a mockery of church discipline.

        1. Burning question no one has asked: has anyone ever investigated to find out if Willis abused any other kids at that church???

  3. The writer is living in la-la land. Almost every IFB church I went to had some major problem or scandal at some time or another – pastor ran away with the secretary, deacon beat his wife, pastor’s wife refused to attend church and forced her husband to leave the church, pastor’s children were hellions… The list goes on and on. As for treating the wife and children like royalty, that is a JOKE. A sick joke. πŸ™„

    1. Tammy you know that had to be an isolated incident. Just like my former ifb church where the pastor tried to molest young men, the pastor after him cheated on the mother of his two little kids. Oh, and don’t forget the “sister” church’s pastor who belittled an older woman for wearing pants (while working on the church’s garden), yet got caught playing doctor with the secretary. Yep, Tammy, your facts are wrong and you must be bitter. πŸ™„

    2. Tammy,
      Maybe you just haven’t got around to attending church in other denominations (non IFB). Try them all, I have. You will find those same opposite-of-what’s-been-taught sins are everywhere. They are everywhere!! I mean everywhere!!!! So for you kiddies that have not gotten around to having experience, you will see that it is not something that is particular to, but rather less in IFB churches. Nevertheless, still disappointing. It is really poor critical thinking, to take the only experience you have had, and lump it together, and make all within that definition guilty. I the other hand, would not respect myself as a woman had it not been for the excellent teaching of respect from this movement. I would not have had men put me on a pedestal had it not been for this movement.

      Let me tell you another thing. All the inexperienced kiddies gather around. When you get in the real world, you will find all the cheating and sexual sins lying and covering up is 100 times worse than that. Sorry to break the news.

  4. Perhaps I shouldn’t comment, having never been part of an IFB church. But the quote from Jeff Arnsbaugh actually puts the problem in a nutshell. “There is no network” he said. If there is no network and no restraining body then no wonder incidents like the ones referred to are spreading. The Baptist Union of Great Britain (one of whose churches I was part of for sixteen years) have their Local Area Superintendents and while that’s a bit of a mouthful it meant there were checks and balances if things went wrong. The God who wrote the Bible has ordained that structures like this be present. Anything less would be like the first-century church would be if it didn’t have Peter, John etc to rein things in when issues like circumcision got out of control.

  5. Point #4 solidifies my belief and concern regarding IFB authoritarian leadership.

    These churches model their leadership structures from secular companies. They are not modeling them from the New Testament.

    These pastors will read how google, Starbucks, and wal-mart runs things, and then try to apply that method to their church. They need to stop that nonsense (as we have all seen).

    The New Testament speaks of a plurality of elders, not one almighty, infallible CEO pastor. Their model is easily susceptible to abuse.

    SFL = running “their” Church like its a mere business.

  6. I am on record saying that I think Phelps and Olson behaved despicably, and I do think that 20/20 was fair in its reporting as far as they went. Indeed, I think they could have been a lot more probing if they wanted to. Imagine if they had shown up at Northland, for instance, asking to speak with Olson. That might have been fun to watch.

    But I must also say that they were wrong about the extent of IFB networks. Yes, we all know that there are a lot of networks in what are supposed to be independent churches. If you offend BJU, you will not get an invitation to a BJ type church, and perhaps not to a HAC type church either. BUT . . . there are a lot of IFB churches out there that are not connected to BJU, HAC, SOTL, etc. I grew up on the west coast and believe me, there are a lot of people in IFB churches out there who have no idea what any of those acronyms stand for. Likewise, how many of you know about Prairie? Or Corban? Those were two of the biggest names in my church growing up. Nobody knew or cared about BJU, except for my family, and we were fish out of water.

    1. The networks on the west coast are related to West Coast Baptist College (Paul Chappell) and Golden State Baptist College (Jack Treiber)

      1. And yet, growing up on the west coast, I didn’t hear of either of those colleges either. Unless you’re thinking of Western Baptist College, which is now Corban. I definitely never heard of Golden State Baptist.

        1. WCBC and GSBC are not all that old. I believe WCBC started in 1995, and GSBC a couple years later.

          But both are networked with hundreds of IFB churches. WCBC even requires their grads to agree to return their diplomas if they, in the future, disagree with their beliefs…similar to an ordination.

  7. It’s Number 6 on Let’s Set the Record Straight that makes my eyes roll. You can come and tell us when you have a problem, but we’ll let you know if it really is or not. You know how people have agendas and all! No matter that the poor church member is having to recount a very painful experience and is coming for help. She or he just has an agenda and a false accusation. πŸ™„ How dare you challenge or question anything or anyone here.

    1. It’s a little weird to talk about false accusations when the cases cited in the ABC report were ones where the pepetrators confessed and/or were convicted in criminal courts.

  8. I’m still waiting for someone in the IFB leadership ranks to denounce Jack Schaap and his kind. When that happens the devil will have an NHL franchise.

  9. “OUR churches are not perfect.”

    “Independent Baptists by definition are independent.”

    Anyone else have a problem with these 2 statements? If the churches are independent, you can’t say OUR churches.

  10. “disgruntled church members” is repeated throughout this article. They disregard the victim that was 14. but oh, yeah, she must have been a disgruntled church member. of course they disregard that she never brought this to light, someone else did. uggh. SOTL….nothing but a propaganda machine.

    1. The old “disgruntled” card. I listened to my old IFB pastor’s take on this on-line. He basically said “Some things happened and people got disgruntled. They’re just bitter and probably not even saved”.

    2. Getting raped as a child, and then having the pastor coerce you into apologizing to the rapist in front of the whole church, and then send you out of state to conceal the crime, tend to make one a tad bit disgruntled.

  11. “If someone is being abused, no one in IFB circles would tolerate it.”

    Well, they DID and ARE, dipsh*t. That’s the whole point. This, friends, is what we cal a LIE.

    Go figure.

    1. I think he missed a section in his sentence: “If someone is being abused, AND DARES TO ASK FOR HELP OR REPORT IT TO THE AUTHORITIES, OR OTHERWISE NOT ACCEPT IT WITH GOOD GRACE AND HUMOR, no one in IFB circles would tolerate it.”

  12. The rape trial for Ernie Willis is scheduled to start May 23, 2011. Please visit this blog as it attempts to unpack all the fundy spin. http://chucklestravels.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/phelps-prickly-issues/

    Yes, the concord police press release did say that it had been notified by Phelps. The press release also said that Tina could not be found. Tina was moved shortly after she came forward to Colorado. Westminster, CO is several hundred miles outside of Concord PD’s jurisdiction. If Phelps didn’t know what to do, he should have called his local RAINN hotline. It is 100% confidential and they would have told him what to do.

    Chuck Phelps is a very smart man. Some expect people to *really believe* that Phelps couldn’t have taken both Tina and her mother in his car down to the Concord, PD, but Phelps could allow Tina to stay in his “prophets chamber?” Some people *really believe* that Phelps set up for Tina to go to Colorado to live with friends of HIS, but never knew that Tina’s rapist was paying her airfare to get her out of dodge?

  13. Two quick points. If you really hate abusers, when will you step up and apologize for your support of Bob Gray (now deceased). Secondly, in the “Let’s Set the Record Straight”, is it really more important to put the fact that your member are patriotic on the list at all (point 2)? And if you do feel that you need to, is it really more important then believing in the Bible (point 3)?

    1. I wonder if the Sword of the Lord still offers sermons or books from Bob Gray, child molestor.

      It totally wouldn’t surprise me if they did.

  14. One of the profound doubts that I have about Chuck Phelps’ so-called reporting of the crime is exactly what was said.
    I work in the news industry. I regularly work with the police. How something is reported and the language that is used will make a profound difference in how a case is handled.
    Did Phelps say that it was a “rape” or did he couch his “report” in language that caused the police not to take the report seriously. Based on the police department’s response I tend to believe that he so watered down the account that it was made no priority at all.
    His careful wording of his account, and rather notably what he doesn’t say, make it rather clear that he seemed to believe that there was blame on both sides.
    When an incident is brought to the attention of the authorities in such a way as to make it very unclear if there is even a legal issue at stake then it will not be treated seriously.
    I don’t believe that Phelps reported this crime with all of the facts or even with an accurate account of the allegations that Tina made.

  15. As an ex IFBer and as one who has been sexually abused by an IFB pastor this story has struck a lot of chords with me. When I went to an IFB counselor to tell her what happened to me, I was immediately doubted. This is typical of the IFB. If a child/young adult EVER accuses a respected adult it’s is immediately doubted! A child has to go way above and beyond to prove their innocence. All an adult has to do to prove their innocence is deny it. I actually did confront my perpetrator, and of course, they denied it.

    What really bothers me is Phelps lack of understanding of the Bible, or any of the IFBers. Phelps was so quick to pull out passages from the Old Testament to Tina, but what about the New Testament? What about that passage where Jesus says that if anyone does harm to children to make them stumble it would better that a millstone be hung around their neck.

    In my opinion, the IFB is doing nothing more than hanging a millstone around their necks every time they try to defend themselves or shift blame. Chucky has several around his neck, IMO. Sure…IFBers aren’t gonna like how it was portrayed. GEt over it. Abuse is more prevalent than what these head-burying in the sand IFBers want to admit. And that was the IFB Is doing by trying to defend their individual church….burying their heads in the sand.

  16. Someone probably said this already, but by using this platform to issue a blanket denial of how IFB churches are independent, isn’t SOTL doing the exact same thing it accuses ABC of doing?

    For example, #9 on p. 7 repeatedly states “we,” as if speaking for the entirety of the IFB network.

  17. “We will not enable predators or perpetrators. We will neither shield them nor defend them.”

    And yet, that is exactly what they have done, as well as punishing the victims.

    The fact that the “zero tolerance policy” is point 10 while “accusations… handled with care” is point 6 is the whole problem.

    Of course there will be offenders in IFB churches; human nature still exists.

    MOG like Phelps are reluctant to believe the accusations, quick to victimize the innocent, and ready to protect the guilty in an attempt save their own image. When they get caught, or when Fundyland attempts to spin away from the mistakes, they do more damage than any network or reporter could.

  18. #11 “you will never be treated w/more respect than at an IFB church.” That has not been my and many other’s experience. How would they know anyway since they do not associate w/anyone outside of IFB?

    #12 A lie. Members who leave are blacklisted.

    Furthermore, they are supporting Phelps. He’s the one who got a “raw deal”? That statement is typical of the support given to any minister in IFB whenever they are exposed for any “indiscrepancy.” It happened in my former church, and I’m well aware of it happening @ FB Hammond. My former pastor supported Hyles during his time of attack. I wonder how many of these ministers will be surprised when they hear Jesus say, “depart from me, I never knew you.”

  19. Doesn’t it seem very inconsistent for Smith to say that IFB churches are loosely connected and then provide a very definitive list of what IFB churches do and don’t do?

  20. #11 “IFB churches are…characterized by loving, caring, compassionate….You will not find any place on the planet where everybody is treated with more respect than in an IFB church.” ????!!!! Since when? If this is true, we should all commit suicide and save a lifetime of pain.

    #12 “IFB churches have no high walls… we love you and want you to stay,,, you can leave whenever you want…We will try to talk you out of leaving..the door is always ajar…” What a complete load of crap! Anyone who believes any of this nonsense needs their head examined. There doesn’t have to be literal bars on the doors and windows for people to be trapped and abused inside. The door is always open if you want to leave, but we want you to stay? Make up your mind! What a bunch of double speaking half lies and truths…typical of the IFB crowd controllers/pastors I have known.

    Wan to hear of a very recent and personal example of just exact thing this guys says doesn’t happen in the IFB? Yeah, it happens a lot and in every location the IFB crowd migrates to. With love like that, who needs enemies? Even unsaved folks have better manners and a better grasp of reality than most IFB pastors.

  21. Yes, Phelps did report the incident to police back in 1997 but the police report (link on this page http://chucklestravels.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/phelps-prickly-issues/) states that they could not continue the investigation because they could not locate or contact the victim.

    Phelps said that “it is regrettable that the law enforcement community failed to follow up” and that “had the law enforcement community worked to provide justice for Tina in 1997 there would be no story or confusion in 2011.” I doubt this approach would be satisfactory for Phelps if Willis raped HIS daughter.

    I find it repulsive how Smith says Willis was “accused of a sexual crime” when the fact is he pleaded guilty to to raping a minor twice.

    Whats funny is in the “let’s set the record straight!” section he keeps referring in IFB churches as “we.” Who’s we? I thought IFB churches are not interconnected and are completely independent of one another? I guess he’s speaking on behalf of thousands of IFB churches that are “not connected or part of any network.” LMFAO

  22. More spin to cover up the evil they have to hide within the network that is not a network. It must be kept hidden. The victims of abuse must be intimidated to keep their mouths shut. Locked away in spiritual bondage and a prison of the heart and soul. Keep the victims in bondage. Keep them in submission. If that fails, keep them intimidated and alone; shun them; separate from them; hate them; slander them; hurt them and go on hurting them as much as possible for as long as possible. That all of this is being exhibited by those who call themselves ‘christians’ it makes any true Christian ashamed to claim the title lest we be viewed by the world as they are. We must show forth what true Christianity really is!

  23. What happen to Tina Anderson could the subject of a movie (as long as it’s not on Lifetime)
    At least it could be the basis for an episode of β€œJustified”. Raylan could kick Dr Phelps butt.

  24. I wonder if he has re-evaluated his piece after the trial…since even the statement he made to the SOW turns out – according to his own notes and testimony at trial – to be inaccurate. I’m guessing no. Truth, evidence and facts just seem to get in the way.

  25. As a Christian attending a Baptist church I appologize that the conduct the named people causes bitterness and resentment. I want to say that I am with you and please forgive them as we are all not perfect. Let us rather focus on a true message of Christ is to love one another, and live selfless life. I love you!

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