THE BIG BOOK OF BAD BAPTIST PREACHERS

For years Jeri Massi has been cataloging the abusers and criminals who have plagued Baptist fundamentalism. She pulls no punches and takes no prisoners either on her blog on in her numerous books.

Her latest book, The Big Book of Bad Baptist Preachers: 100 Cases of Sex Abuse of Children and Exploitation of the Innocent, is a sort of rogues gallery of the worst of offenders from Ralph Lee Aaron to Franklin Wray.

Each entry is a couple pages long starting with a grid like this one:

grid

It’s worth pointing out that Jeri not only keeps tabs on the legal sentence but also catalogs whether the accused was disciplined by his church and whether a public warning was put out to other churches about their crimes This chart is then followed by a narrative with background and details about their particular case.

I’d recommend that any Baptist church out there grab a copy of this and compare the names to the people who may be attending their conferences, running camps their kids attend, or (God forbid) teaching or preaching at their own church. If you’re an abuser, you can run across state lines to a new church but Jeri is trying hard to make sure that you won’t be able to hide the truth for long.

I did get a free copy of this book from Jeri for promotional purposes but the review is my own — so back off, FTC.

119 thoughts on “THE BIG BOOK OF BAD BAPTIST PREACHERS”

  1. West Coaster on Saturday afternoon! Not bad!
    It’s sad such a book needs to exist, but I’m glad that someone cares enough to do the work.

    Go back 35 years. I was in a church that blew up when the pastor was found to be having a affair with another staff member. The second blow up came a decade later when it was found that the youth pastor, who had suddenly moved out of state over the weekend, was accused of abusing kids on his sports teams, some of whom were in the church. No one wanted to press charges, and the laws were different then (I was long gone and out of the area, but heard all about it).

    Both these men got to go on with their lives, and I’m not even sure if they are still alive given what their ages would be now. But, their victims weren’t allowed any recompense or justice. It has always bothered me.

    1. My experiences has left me very suspicious of any pastor/asst pastor/staff who suddenly disappear. (I and other former members started calling it The midnight U-haul.) So many examples of really bad people being allowed to move on to other ministries.

    2. There are so many things that are unjust that I trust that the Judge of all the Universe will bring perfect justice.

      What bothers me more, however, is that evil men such as you describe are allowed to leave the area, and potentially “serve” in other churches and continue their perversion all over again. It seems so many churches have little or no compassion for anyone but their own: (“Well, as long as it isn’t kids in OUR church”). What about the innocent children in other churches??

      1. I’m trying to get out of this cult still. Since I obviously had to leave everyone and everything my struggle is too hard. I was homeschooled went to bible college which is of no earthly value in helping me gain employment. I had three kids with the pastors son, my ex. I got sole custody after son was assaulted. He gained back visitation and son was assaulted a second time by exes sister. They took him out of state so I couldn’t file charges in my state. Kids don’t know where they were. We need help. I got out of the house but not away and my kids still get abused. I’ve been fighting for so long. Eight years. I’ve had my life threatened. I don’t even know how we r still here. I worry my kids might come home in a body bag some day. Just living this life hanging by a thread. Help is no where. Been beat down my whole life. I keep trying to get up and out of this dark pit and save my kids from this hellish nightmare I just woke up in. I literally just woke up and freaked out when I saw the truth of things and had to get out of this cult. I’m not sure the rest of normal society even understands my words or the way we live. ~ broken momma

        1. So sorry to hear what you have been through and what you are going through.

          If you haven’t already, I would contact your state child abuse reporting system. You can just Google “how to report child abuse in …” with the name of your state. There should be an 1 800 number. I would also call local law enforcement. There’s got to be a law somewhere about taking kids across state lines in order to abuse them. Each time something happens, don’t give up but call again. Kind of like the persistent widow in Luke 18. It can be discouraging. I work in the medical field and there have been times that I have had to call and report on the same situation multiple times before DCS would even investigate. If no one will listen to you, ask to talk to their supervisor.

          Get your kids in counseling. A good resource is your local child advocacy center . Another good resource is your children’s pediatrician or family doctor.

          If something has just happened and you think there may still be physical evidence, you can take you kids to the ER, preferably at a large hospital that sees a lot of children, such as a university hospital, and as that your child be examined by a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE). Even after the fact, you can ask your kids primary care doctor to do STD testing.

          Child abuse is a horrible thing for anyone to go through, but it’s not the end of the world. Your kids can still have healthy, happy, productive lives. I’m living proof of that. And they will never forget a mom who stood up for them and fought for them.

          Some good sources of online emotional support for me have been the folks at the BJU Grace website (the group that was involved in investigating BJU for not reporting child abuse), Spiritual Sounding Board (a blog for survivors of spiritual abuse), Crying out for Justice with Jeff Crippen and Barbara Robert’s (for victims and survivors of spousal abuse), and Speakin

        2. Melody,

          So sorry to hear what you have been through and what you are going through.

          If you haven’t already, I would contact your state child abuse reporting system. You can just Google “how to report child abuse in …” with the name of your state. There should be an 1 800 number. I would also call local law enforcement. There’s got to be a law somewhere about taking kids across state lines in order to abuse them. Each time something happens, don’t give up but call again. Kind of like the persistent widow in Luke 18. It can be discouraging. I work in the medical field and there have been times that I have had to call and report on the same situation multiple times before DCS would even investigate. If no one will listen to you, ask to talk to their supervisor.

          Get your kids in counseling. A good resource is your local child advocacy center . Another good resource is your children’s pediatrician or family doctor.

          If something has just happened and you think there may still be physical evidence, you can take you kids to the ER, preferably at a large hospital that sees a lot of children, such as a university hospital, and as that your child be examined by a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE). Even after the fact, you can ask your kids primary care doctor to do STD testing. If your kids come back from the visitation with bruises or cuts, take pictures and take them to the ER where the injuries can be documented. Take more pictures as the bruises change color.

          Child abuse is a horrible thing for anyone to go through, but it’s not the end of the world. Your kids can still have healthy, happy, productive lives. I’m living proof of that. And they will never forget a mom who stood up for them and fought for them.

          Some good sources of online emotional support for me have been the folks at the BJU Grace website (the group that was involved in investigating BJU for not reporting child abuse), Spiritual Sounding Board (a blog for survivors of spiritual abuse), Crying out for Justice with Jeff Crippen and Barbara Roberts (for victims and survivors of spousal abuse), and Speaking Truth in Love (by Dale and Faith Ingraham, focused on child abuse and domestic violence, but especially on sexual abuse by clergy, speakingtruthinlove.org). I even attended speaking truth in love’s “shining the light” conference last year, while I was in the process of exiting fundamentalism and also dealing with some really difficult things from my childhood. It was really helpful.

          I hope that at least some of this is helpful. Wishing you and your kids the best. So sorry to hear about the situation you are in.

          WM

        3. Melody, I am so sorry that you’ve had to live like this! For the life of me I can’t figure out why there aren’t more ex-fundy support groups. It is by far the women (and children) who suffer the most- leaving is brutally hard as you’ve been so disempowered your entire life. I recently was so pleased to learn of a friends ex pastors wife, friend who escaped horrible abuse and the judge awarded her the children right off the bat after hearing her story. The tide is turning. In the mean time I pray for a community to come around you and bring true love and support. You are not alone! (I wish I knew of a way to get you connected with others.)

      1. ๐Ÿ™‚ You had me a little where there for a minute. I will give you my butt cushion for your cheerful attitude of gratitude!

      1. That is a good suggestion. My opinion is that one only gets to claim first (and by extension, be granted a butt-cushion) is the first person to say “first” (exclamation point optional). Things like “Good morning”, “priority post” or “I’m not going to do that stupid first thing” don’t count. What say ye?

        1. I agree! Being first and all, today!

          I think it’s fun, and doesn’t hurt anyone (except for those who wish to make a big deal out of it).

      1. I’m beginning to doubt the existence of butt cushions, which may explain my lack of enthusiasm for the game. That and the fact I will never win.

        1. It’s one of the dreams you hold on to…like pixie dust and Santa Claus.

          I’m expecting to get my butt cushion when I head for the nursing home….

  2. 4th! As we know, 4 is a most important number so I feel incredibly privileged. Also, putting this book on my list as a bday or xmas present.

  3. So being independent and not connected to any other church has its drawbacks?
    IFB’s seem so proud they are not deceived by denominationalism, but it is at the risk of their own people. Even with the extensive background checks and connection, my own denomination still has people who slip through the cracks. But we have reduced the risk by a decent amount.

      1. Do IFB churches actually use these websites that point out the offenders? Or do they ignore them because they are just out to persecute fundies?
        I agree the church at large needs to hold them accountable but since fundyworld keeps themselves so isolated I wonder what would be the most effective way to hold them accountable.

        1. Most IFB pastors who I have encountered minimize the risk of child molesters and don’t seem to want to know the facts about how many, which churches, etc. My hope is that the accumulation and publication of such damning evidence will equip social pressure on them to change their church policies.

        2. Call the police and report them and the fact that they’re working with children. That’s the quickest way.

    1. “So being independent and not connected to any other church has its drawbacks?”

      I bet many the bad guys in this book are really happy about this complete lack of accountability. This enables them to go from church to church to church. Especially if victims are shamed and convinced not to testify.

  4. This book sounds like a great Christmas gift for any Fundy pastor. I wonder how many will be looking up their own name…eek.

    1. I usually accumulate my mturk earnings to use for christmas presents, but I may have to use them to buy several of these and send them to the multiple IFB pastors in the area, including my dad. That’s a really good idea. Not sure if it would offer any enlightenment or if it would just get thrown away.

      Just to be extra nice, I’ll ensure that the return address is from a different IFB church. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. It would also be a great gift for news media, namely Anderson Cooper and Elizabeth Vargas (both have done shows about abuse in Fundystan).

    1. I agree. It’s sad that it’s needed but I am glad someone is getting the word out. Part of me wants to read it but part of me knows that I would just be infuriated. We’re finally out of the cult and I am not ready to dredge that up again just now.

      1. ready_to_leave, I totally agree.

        I do have one reservation; in her haste to condemn any and all IFB men, I fear that her book may contain listings of men against whom only suspicion or accusations have come. (There used to be a list on her web site, and I noted that several men on the list were assumed by her to be guilty without any substantive proof).

        1. Who was guilty without proof?

          The book cites its sources for each entry. And you have just made an allegation against me without having even read the book.

        2. My comment was that the list on the web site (not the book) cited men against whom accusations have been made. It appeared to me (an outsider) that the men accused were assumed to be guilty because they were associated with HAC or IFB in general.

          For the record, I’m very glad that you have compiled such a list; I was merely expressing a concern that accusations are not proof; my recollection from reading the web site (back in the day) was that there were people on the list against whom only accusations were brought.

          I don’t know if you still have that list on your web site now that the book is out.

        3. Every person on my online list had at least two documented accusers/witnesses who testified of the person’s guilt. I listed acquittals as acquittals, but they are on the list because the criteria of two witnesses had been met, which, from Scripture, demands a church investigation into the matter. And, by the way, I have not only never been sued for that list, I have never had one person on that list ever even confront me over being on that list.

        4. I’m gonna throw out there that if there’s an accusation, unless it’s clearly malicious and COMPLETELY unfounded, I’d still be very hesitant to hire even somebody who’s been accused. Why take that risk?

    2. Christa Brown (who reviewed the book on Amazon) tried for years and years and years to get the SBC to create such a database. One year, there was even some movement on the suggestion only to see the membership shoot it down.

  5. Dear Jeri Massi:

    Thank you and God bless you for continuing your campaign for public justice and for God’s church.

    In my faith perspective, the application of Biblical church discipline is a mark of the church. Without it, a church is not under the rule of Christ and therefore is no true church.

    Christian Socialist

    1. Thank you for your kind words. The book’s thesis is that because these Baptist groups have rejected the Bible’s directives for church discipline, child molesting has become part and parcel of their church culture. The sexual abuse of children is just as integral to the SBC and IFB as homecomings, baptisms, and Sunday School picnics. It sounds too radical to be true, until you read the book and see how these churches reacted with such utter indifference or with outright hostility to the victims of sexual abuse from their own clergy/church officers.

      PS: I hope you buy a dozen or so copies.

  6. Perhaps it could have been titled “The Ponderous Publication of Perverse Predatory Pastors” — except I can’t fit in the Baptist part.

  7. On a serious note, this is a valuable work she has done. I’m beyond sad that such a book is necessary, and I’m ridiculously outraged that people who get all self-righteous over Bible versions or drum sets wink at the most egregious sins.

  8. I was once chairperson of a pastoral search committee. I was careful not to rely only on the character references listed on the applicant’s resume, but to spend time on the phone with references that I developed independently. And one of the questions I always asked was, “Has Brother “Blank” ever been involved in an affair or had moral issues?”

    Some people were surprised that I would ask questions like that. With the advent of the internet and sex offender registries, I would think that the task would be easier.

    1. Most, if not all, dioceses in the Episcopal Church now require a background check by an independent outside agency, whenever there is a move from one diocese to another.

      In addition, each cleric and many lay employees and volunteers must undergo hours of training in both adult conduct, and conduct with minors.

      1. Some Catholic dioceses do that too. Here where I live, the diocese mandates stringent background checks, fingerprint cards, and safety training for all new employees, clerical and lay.

  9. God bless Jeri Massi for doing this important work! But the mere fact that there is a need for such a book literally makes me want to vomit. Can someone please pass the barf bags (you know, the kind they have on airplanes)?

    It’s time for churches to wake up and mourn, call out the predators in their midst, and stop blaming the victims!

    1. Thank you for your kind words! Sadly, there are way more than 100 cases since 2000. I am hoping that sales of this book will finance me to do continue to compile the archive of abusive clergy in the SBC/IFB.

    1. I used to wonder that myself but I was caught up in the lies for many years and I understand now how easy it is to get swept up without even knowing. It’s like the frog in the pot of water who doesn’t realize it’s boiling until it’s too late.

  10. Baptists have regularly castigated the Catholics for the abuse many priests have done to children over the years, and rightly so.

    Except for the fact that abuse among Baptists is also out of control. And not only child abuse, but adultery as well — there seems to be a lot of that going around! There’s the financial shenanigans as well, but a lot of those crimes aren’t able to be prosecuted.

    Thanks, Jeri. This is going to be a great resource. But I wonder how the MoGs will try to attack it? Oh, they might ignore it at first, but sooner or later it will be a thorn too many churches can’t ignore — especially if they’re afraid someone from their church may be your next bio.

  11. This is such a negative way of thinking! Couldn’t they have published instead a “Little Book of GOOD Baptist Preachers”?

    So, is this volume 1…?

    A lot of non-denominational preachers are going to be quietly grateful that they don’t qualify for inclusion!

  12. *RANT ALERT* *TRIGGER ALERT*

    I think there are multiple underlying reasons why baptist churches (and other churches) have so much prevalence, naivety, denial, tolerance, and cover-up of child sexual abuse. One is that people in general (not just religious people) find it hard to stomach the ugly reality that child abuse could happen in *their own* community, school, church, little league team, extended family, immediate family, etc. It’s more psychologically palatable to believe that a child is “lying,” or to believe that young adult is “just bitter” or trying the “slander” someone, than to believe that your own trusted __________ (pastor, boyfriend, neighbor, relative, etc.) would actually abuse an innocent child, and in many cases to believe that you, a caring parent, has allowed your child to spend time with such a person.

    Another problem is the gullibility of many churchgoers. They tend to have a dichotomous view of others: “Christians are good so we can trust them, and non-Christians are wicked so we cannot trust them” seems to be the thinking. But abusers are master manipulators and deceivers. If someone shows up at church 3 times per week, can quote a few verses, goes soul-winning on Saturdays, wears the right clothes, has obedient children, listens to the right music, went to the right Bible College, knows the right people, compliments the pastor, etc., then everybody thinks he’s a great guy and a great Christian. This tendency is even worse in legalistic churches, where following the rules is seen as a sign of godliness. But these are wolves in sheep’s clothing, and the sheep are not particularly smart about figuring them out. People tend to feel safe at church and let their guard down when it comes to protecting themselves and their children. I too used to be naive about the issue of abuse in the church , until a few months ago when the Duggar scandal came out on national news and I began researching.

    Another problem is the hierarchy, with the subsequent increased value that is placed on a man in a position of spiritual leadership compared to the relative little value that is placed on women and children. Oh, the leadership may say that they value women and children, but they do not truly value their opinions, needs, feelings, future, etc., in the same way that a man’s would be valued. All Christians equal, but some are more equal than others.

    Another problem is what is sometimes called “institutional inertia.” The institution (church, school, charity, etc.) has a life of its own, bigger than the individuals that make up the whole. Preservation of the institution and its leadership team becomes more important than the well-being of the individuals that the institution was designed to serve, particularly its most vulnerable members. I don’t mean to excuse the leadership and membership of responsibility for an institution’s wrongdoings in any way, but institutional self-preservation is a real phenomena, and the more the egos of the men in power and the identity of the laity are wrapped up in the institution, the stronger the phenomena is.

    Another issue is that as human beings we are always looking for scenarios that fit our narrative. For a church that practices cliche “c”hristianity, the “repentant” offender and the victim who is quick to “forgive” fit their narrative. Never mind that the offender later abuses other children, and that the victim is simply bullied into saying she (or he) forgives the offender, or is so hurt that she does not even realize until years later how hurt and angry she is, or simply blames herself for the abuse so thinks there is nothing to forgive. For those who don’t understand the dynamics of abuse, it’s much easier to sit in church and listen to someone say, “I used to be a terrible immoral sinner, but now I’m a changed man, Amen!” then it is sit and weep with the survivor, years after the deed is done, yet she (or he) is still suffering, and you have no answers to her questions as she tries to hold on to the shreds of her faith. That would require weeping with those who weep, and admitting that your pat answers are not a quick-fix to life’s deepest sorrows. If you face the reality of the survivor’s pain, it’s hard to keep wearing the plastic smile and playing church.

    Of course there are many other problems that keep the church from addressing the issue of child abuse: ignorance, lack of training (and unwillingness to learn), spiritual pride, lack of accountability. Plus the fact that those who should be holding offenders accountable may be doing the same things or similar things themselves.

    Sorry for the ranting and the long post. I just needed to get this off my chest, and it’s been therapeutic in a way.

    1. Very good points!

      One thing I might add is fear. I feel that a lot of Christians don’t have much faith in their faith, as it were. It’s like a tender greenhouse plant that must be protected from all challenges. Facing that an ugly situation happened in your church or with the persons you look up to and trust is too threatening. It makes me wonder, is the faith in God or is it in the leaders and church?

      1. Fear! Absolutely.

        The church needs to be resolute about protecting the victims and potential victims, helping survivors heal, and holding offenders accountable. But that would take great courage. Thankfully, there are a few courageous ministries and voices out there who are doing exactly that, but they are few.

    2. Another problem is the hierarchy, with the subsequent increased value that is placed on a man in a position of spiritual leadership compared to the relative little value that is placed on women and children.

      Bingo.

  13. Maybe this should be “Bad Preachers, Volume I: Baptists.” I was just reading up on some Calvary Chapel happenings that deserve their own volume.

  14. After we ran for cover from the second abusive Baptist church we had duped ourselves into attending, we started going to a local unaffiliated Bible church. We didn’t find it to be a welcoming group and moved on. We recently heard from friends who went there that the youth pastor turned out to have been molesting at least one of the girls in the youth group. The members were angry at the girl for telling and shunned her. The pastor and elders kept everything quiet and sent this guy on his way to the next church with no warning to them.

    It’s not just Baptists. It’s a cancer in the whole church.

    I’m glad this book has been written and I thank Jeri Massi! My hope is that eventually we will have a huge searchable online database of information that prospective members of any church could search and find facts (sans rationalizations) at their fingertips.

  15. “The members were angry at the girl for telling and shunned her. The pastor and elders kept everything quiet and sent this guy on his way to the next church with no warning to them. ”

    This is so, so sad, but unfortunately more common than many would like to believe.

  16. Does anyone have any knowledge of Golden West Christan School in Los Angeles? It was full of abuse, physical, emotional, and sexual. But that was 35 years ago. The school is still in existence. I wonder if anyone else knows anything about it. I don’t know what its affiliation is. I was only five. That school destroyed my sister.

    1. I have not heard of Golden West Christan School before now. I looked up as much information on it as I could. It has between 21-34 students and may serve only 1-6 grade from what the Trulia report said. If so, maybe it is dying a slow death.

  17. One of the things that pushed me finally out of a fundy lite church was that I saw very risky policies and naive and responses to moral failures including one that resulted in jail time since it was a clear CSC crime.

    My current church has an extensive protection program for anyone working with minors even as a volunteer. Training, full background check, and letters/interviews from anyone who has knowledge of your previous work with children (either inside or outside a church setting) and policies that provide not only protection against abuse, but against even the accusation. These days that is just as important since churches have failed so often in this area that you have to have an established and carefully followed system that avoids any situation where one person’s word is not the only evidence.

    It’s not easy to implement or follow, its not cheap, and it does make things operate a little less efficiently at times, but its worth it if you make your ministry a hard target for abusers and you protect your children from abuse and your workers from false accusations. At this point a church that thinks they don’t need to do this are fooling themselves.

  18. This is a needed book. I will definitely check it out. It needs to go online, somehow. As a SBC Pastor, I take the responsibility of checking the national sex offender registry any time someone volunteers or wants to work with the church.

    I do feel the need to clarify something the book is mistakenly assuming.

    First, Churches should, but do NOT call other churches for recommendations of the pastors and staff they hire. My church paid to have a background check done on me, however, they did not call the church I was serving for any information about my work ethic. The pastor there was furious about that, though he did not call and rebuke them. Had I been accused of anything, but not charged, they would have never known. (I wasn’t accused or anything, just for clarification)
    The fact is, churches are lazy. Even if a church fired their pastor, they would probably not call the next church who hired the wacko. Call it laziness, call it apathy, call it what you want, but it almost never happens. If it did, they new church might like him enough to believe those were just disgruntled members who were out to get him, being a fiery, convicting , preacher, of course.
    Second: Southern Baptist Churches are not connected to the Southern Baptist Convention by anything other than missions money. Yes, they get LifeWay material, but they pay the same price as the United Methodists who use it and the IFB churches who use it (You can order it in KJV). The President of the SBC does not have any power to order investigations into churches or have pastors removed or excommunicated. Baptist Churches have total autonomy. They only thing the SBC can do is refuse missions money, which would only reward the pastor with more money to put toward his salary or a new building. The loser there is the missionary who isn’t molesting anyone. That practice is done, I’ve seen it, but it is usually when an entire church is going the opposite direction of the Convention.
    Putting SBC presidents on the website and accusing them of covering up crimes is ludicrous. The fact is, there’s painfully little they can do. They can call, yes. That’s about all they can do. The SBC is not Episcopal or Presbyterian in government, nor is it a unified denomination. It is a Convention. The local church owns the land, pays the preacher, pays it’s own bill, decides where it’s money goes, and who or what to investigate.
    Example: I know a church who has a twice convicted sex offender in their congregation who constantly winds up in the weekly mug shot paper for various forms of brawling. He is obviously unrepentant and dangerous. I have called the pastor, called the deacons, and talked to people about him. The big response was “that’s a rumor, and there’s no evidence. He’s harmless as long as he’s not provoked!” Then I pulled up his picture on the sex offender registry for them. “Well, we are to forgive and we’ll keep an eye on him.” Do they? I doubt it. They have a playground you can’t see from the road or any room, and he shows up at their VBS every year. I called, but that’s all I can do. I love that pastor and those people (some are family), but the fact is, until something bad happens, they won’t listen, even in the face of evidence. Then it’s too late. Then the problem is, when he goes somewhere else, neither church will call the other.
    I am not defending those who did cover up crimes, I am pointing out the misconception of power. SBC is very limited in power, practically powerless.
    I think this book is going to help those who listen. I will definitely check it out. I wish they’d update that website, it said they don’t anymore. This is a problem in ALL denominations, but as a proud Baptist, I felt I needed to clarify that point. Something needs to be done, but figuring out how is the trick. The book is a good start, it just needs to lose the buck shot approach in the introduction. I like how the churches’ responses are included. I hope all of these cases are convictions and not charged-but-proven-innocent or accused with no evidence. Anyone can accuse and ruin a life. Look at Salem.
    I may check for replies next week or whenever I get around a computer again. So any questions or holes in my post won’t be answered or considered immediately. Sorry.

    Greg

    1. The SBC can put churches out of fellowship for marrying gay couples and for ordaining women. The idea that they are helpless over child molesting pastors is nonsense.

      And your post merely points up the disobedience of the SBC

      1. Yes. I should have written that more clearly, but I did say they can refuse their money, in other words: disfellowship. However, that is all thy can do. There is a church in our Association that was kicked out of the SBC, but the local Association still accepts their funding. It’s not that big of a deal to be kicked out. Local churches may not even know the church was excommunicated. That’s part of my point. There can be no investegations ordered. Any actual hands-on efforts cannot even legally be done. The loc church has to take the initiative, and the Convention is usually clueless as to what goes on in a church. Not necessarily because of apathy, but because they have no way of keeping tabs on every single congregation that has an accusation brought against them. That’s probably why Paige Patterson said that about the group. There’s nothing meaningful the SBC can do aside from conferences on handling these problems (which they do have). Then it’s strictly up to the local church to implement it. It’s not because he’s a villain covering up for pedophiles, he does what he can, and the rest is out of his hands. Yet he still gets treated as though he’s the pope.

        I didn’t mean they can do absolutely nothing. I meant they can do nothing hands on. Sorry for the lack of clarity there. Hope that helped.

        1. They can defrock ministers who sexually abuse children, and they do not. They can disfellowship churches that retain child molesters on staff, and they do not. They could have instituted a tracking database of sexually offenders in church office, and they refused. You spoke of being a proud Baptist. It’s time to be a humble Baptist. Like any creature before God, you don’t have a thing to be proud of. One more delusion of the SBC.

        2. The SBC cannot defrock a minister.
          They could do a database, but why do that when the Federal government does the same thing?
          They do disfellowship churches that are an embarrassment to them.
          I am a proud Baptist, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Is that a strawman or a red herring? It’s been a while since I’ve used one.
          You know as well as I do that the book is good and a useful tool. I’m just clarifying the wrongful assumption that a Convention can do the policing of a Presbyter or a Bishop. They just do not have the authority in a denomination whose policy is Autonomy of the Local Church.

        3. They certainly can revoke the ordination of ministers. Look, get real, the SBC was formed to give slave owners a pass on owning slaves when the rest of Christendom rejected the practice. They stayed strong and secure by enforcing segregation in churches. The SBC is built on removing accountability from Christianity and replacing it with legalism, a facade. But you cannot cover your ministers sodomizing, raping, and groping children by saying the SBC is helpless or that these cases are random. Shame on all of you for daring to boast of your own virtue while collaborating to protect the men on whom Jesus pronounced the harshest sentence of heaven. The SBC can revoke ordinations, remove churches from the SBC, rebuke child molesting preachers in public, console victims, and implement a national database of child molesting clergy.

    2. Putting SBC presidents on the website and accusing them of covering up crimes is ludicrous. The fact is, thereโ€™s painfully little they can do.
      Sorry, dude; I call complete bullshit on this. And before you ask, I was SBC for years before moving on. If Mohler or Patterson or any “big name” spoke against pastors involved in child abuse, great good could be done, and great evil perhaps diverted. Please don’t make foolish and irresponsible comments like this.

      1. I call bullshit on it too. say something against the pastor, use the wrong bible per-version, or get caught “fellowships hoping with Catholics and there is *plenty* the powers-to-be can do to to make you a persona non grata.

      2. * “get caught fellowshipping with Catholics” (or anyone else outside the True Fold, for that matter. )
        This shows where the priorities lie.
        Jesus did make an irrelevant comment one time, about gnats and camels, but… Never mind….

      3. Al Mohler goes on a public rant about commercial, storefront yoga being pagan and never says a word about SBC churches retaining child molesters or letting them slip out a back door. Yes, it’s bullshit.

        1. Those who say they cannot hold others to account only do so because they do not want to hold others to account.

          They will write to their congressmen about a bill they don’t like. They will preach in their pulpit against the bad doctrine of Seventh Day Adventism and Mormonism. They will rail against the evils of Socialism and shame those on food stamps. They will go protest abortion clinics. They will tell their people to pray against the evils of society and pray for God’s judgment upon gay people.

          But they are powerless to hold to account men in the ministry who are sexual abusers? That doesn’t pass the smell test.

        2. Not to mention the fact that some Christians condemn other Christians when they dare to use words like “bullshit” and “pissed off”. The people who complain seem to hear words but don’t hear what is being said…. ๐Ÿ™

        3. Sigh. Understood. If my wife or daughter hears me say the word “damn” all chance of reasonable discourse goes out the window. I’m swearing so I must be the unreasonable one. Communication with them is iffy at best at times.

        4. “The people who complain seem to hear words but don’t hear what is being said….”

          That’s an excellent observation, Paul, and bullshit like that really pisses me off!

        5. I personally don’t use such words often. Only for effect,when I’m trying to make a point. Over-use tend to diminish the effect. Not to mention, i find a constant stream of obscenity irritating and depressing

        1. A registered sex offender showing up anywhere around children is committing a crime, whether or not you are a mandatory reporter. If nobody reports him, he won’t be caught. But he is violating a condition of his sentence

  19. Greg, since you are a SBC pastor, I would suggest that more than checking the national Sex Offender registry is needed.

    If someone wants to volunteer or be hired, that person should be subject to a background check that includes conversation with previous leaders and employers. Nothing should happen until that is completed.

    Besides sexual offenses, there needs to be a check on the person’s criminal record and financial irregularities.

    1. We do have a service that brings up all types of offenses. I just go that extra step personally because I have come into close contact with sex offenders. A church close to my heart dealt with it and as a result I’m a little on the paranoid side.

  20. The Episcopal Church uses Oxford Documents, a firm that specializes in this kind of background check.

    The Church Insurance Corporation insists on both training and documentation.

  21. Within Baptist circles there are a few tragedies but this is the greatest. These animals prey upon the innocent, vulnerable and unsuspecting using the church, a supposed place of safety and comfort, as a hunting ground. The leadership all knows it goes on; some of them are predators while some of them help hide the activities by helping to move those that get caught to different churches in other states. The rest of the leadership simply ignores it and when asked about it hide behind the idea of “independent” to try to sidestep responsibility and culpability. Finally the CLA collects millions of dollars a year (about 10 million) and spends a significant amount of time assisting pastors/churches that have been caught and run interference for them.

    Jeri I applaud you for taking a stand and making these things known. I keep a personal list and perform my own investigation from time to time. I do wonder how you know if a church has taken any type of discipline? They tend to keep those things pretty quiet.

    Sadly I doubt things will ever change. Sexual assault has been going on for thousands of years and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. Fathers that assault their daughters tend to get a lesser sentence than an unknown rapist which is exactly backwards from what it should be. Colleges continue to handle sexual assault internally, hiding it from police, and blaming the victims. Date rape is still seen as “she was probably asking for it”. Churches continue to believe and support the pastor/deacon/teacher in the face of overwhelming evidence saying “the devil is attacking the MoG”. It seems to be human nature which makes me question…are we really created in the image of God or are we really just animals?

  22. It is going to become more difficult for churches to claim they had no way of knowing their employee had a bad history of abusing others with all this information available online and now in Jeri’s book. Pleading willful ignorance will not be a good strategy to use in court.

    IMHO, it will take the loss of money and (very public) reputation for these types of pastors/churches to start taking sexual abuse seriously. When a pastor has to testify about why he failed to check references or look up an applicant’s name on a public sex offender website (and especially after he and/or his church get hit with a large judgment) it will all become very real to them. Pulpit committees need to heed this warning too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *