Spin: Unpacking the 20/20 Expose of Abuse in IFB Circles


(haven’t seen the video? watch it on ABC or Hulu)

I know many of you were watching along with me Friday night as Elizabeth Vargas and 20/20 took on the stories of abuse in fundamentalism. There will no doubt be a lot of discussion on this so I thought I might start it off with a few observations and impressions that I took away. I actually recorded the episode as I was watching so I can go back and make sure that I actually saw what I thought I saw. Some of the moments were so jaw dropping that they require more than one viewing.

To preface everything that follows, let me say that I’m not a huge fan of the television news magazine style story. They simply lack the ability to present information with the same depth as written stories and rely as much on impressions gained from a quick series of carefully chosen images as on the actual spoken content. That being said, I’m not sure how anybody could watch this production and really call it less than fair.

Tina’s story is familiar to those of us on SFL. I covered it here almost a year ago. It’s admittedly not the usual content I cover here, but her story was so compelling that I couldn’t help but retell it. What I heard tonight on 20/20 was yet another confirmation that Tina’s story is not an isolated incident but rather a single episode among dozens of such stories that have been told and even more that as yet are hidden away by abusive IFB churches with domineering pastors and cowardly members.

I had a few issues with some of the statements made, especially those by Brian Fuller, now pastor of Trinity Baptist in New Hampshire, to whom fell the hapless role of being the solitary apologist for Independent Baptist Fundamentalists everywhere. He was in a bad spot and it was pretty obvious that he knew it and was trying gamely to put his transparency and kindheartedness on display. But as in any intense interview, a few missteps were inevitable and he did indeed make some.

For starters, he plainly stated that IFB churches are “not a network.” I actually laughed out loud when he said that because of how absurd it was. Chuck Phelps, the former pastor who was instrumental in mishandling and covering up Tina’s abuse still sits as vice-chairmen of the FBFI. The networks surrounding schools, large churches, major personalities, and other “camps” are legendary. The idea that every fundy church stands completely alone and separate, completely unaffected by all others is a popular myth, but a myth nonetheless.

When you consider that both Chuck Phelps and Matt Olson made Tina apologize for being raped and then both ended up being Presidents of different Fundamentalist Universities (Phelps at Maranatha, and Olson at Northland) you can see how the influence of these men is not isolated to a single church that is completely disconnected from the rest of the world. Hundreds of preacher boys graduate from those colleges being taught the same kinds of philosophies that these men practice. It’s a little hard to sell a defense based on the notion that thousands of abuse cases are isolated incidents. I can’t say I’m buying it.

When shown clips of Jack Schaap and others advocating child abuse, misogyny and other things, Fuller uneasily attempted to consign these to the “junk drawer” of fundamentalism — even though these types of teachings are rife throughout huge numbers of fundamental baptist churches. And Pastor Fuller’s discomfort grew even stronger when asked whether people in his own congregation were aware that some folks there were convicted sex offenders. He seemed hesitant and unsure of how to answer finally saying vaguely that “that information is available online” but dodging a response about whether or not the church takes it upon itself to warn its members. It was pointed out that a known sex offender (Tina’s step-father) was still singing in the choir in close proximity to minor children until Tina’s story went public.

If we needed any further evidence that this show did not go well for him we need only look at his personal blog. (Edit: the post has since been taken down without comment but you can still see it here)

[T]his gross, broad-brush characterization that all Independent Fundamental churches are filled with arrogant, “going for God” abusers isn’t fair, or true. It is actually dishonest and offensive. As a Dad of four and a pastor who loves his church family, I take protecting our children at Trinity very seriously and so do our people. They don’t look at me like the pope, the “untouchable.” I am accountable to them, financially, morally and spiritually. Our ministry not only has accountability, but we welcome it. Questions are solicited.

I hope what he says about his own church is true. If it is then I’m glad for it. But representing that as typical IFB practice is simply not true. As the victims and other church members who were interviewed repeated again and again, questioning isn’t normally encouraged. In fact, it’s forbidden. As one of the victims interviewed said: “You don’t question the ministry. You don’t question the pastor.” My darker side tends to think that this sputtering is Fuller’s attempt to keep some fundy cred in the face of saying some pretty non-fundy sounding things in the interview. He may truly find himself on the outside without a network if he’s not careful.

But as dubious as some of Fuller’s claims were, the real blood pressure raising moments of this interview were found in the written and spoken statements of Chuck Phelps. Phelps again and again attempted to characterize the relationship of the young teen girl with her rapist as “consensual,” “ongoing,” and even called it a “dating relationship” that “became sexual in nature.”

Now to be fair, the camera was cutting out a good bit so I’m not 100% sure of the context of all of Phelp’s on-camera remarks but he does clearly say “the church has always allowed heinous people under careful guidelines to be part of churches.” But Ernie Willis was not under careful supervision. According to the interviews most of the church didn’t even know that his ‘adultery’ was in fact the rape of a minor. The fact that Phelps is still in the ministry at all blows my mind.

It did not escape me that the Gibbs Law Firm (which is the for-profit side of the Gibbs family business, not the “ministry” of CLA) is who Chuck Phelps is using for his legal counsel according to a picture shot of the letter head. If that’s accurate, that tells me that the Gibbs clan doesn’t think that defending Phelps doesn’t rate “ministry status” but they’re still willing to take his money to give him legal advice. It figures that they would show up at some point.

On the whole I thought the story was sound. The premise was good. The victims were believable. The questions were provocative. What remains to be seen is how fundamentalism as a whole will react. I prognosticate a three pronged response.

1. The victims are all liars being used of Satan to try and tear down great men of God.

2. (as we’ve seen already) These crimes are anomalies and isolated incidents.

3. We’ve already forgotten about it. Let’s not dwell in the past! Hey, did you hear the great sermon our pastor preached last week about how liberals are destroying America?

Only time will tell whether denial and deception will manage to keep the battered sheep in line in fundyland after a little more of the truth has come out for the world to see.

545 thoughts on “Spin: Unpacking the 20/20 Expose of Abuse in IFB Circles”

  1. Revelation 22:4 says that “the leaves of the Tree of Life are for the healing of the nations.”

    And boy do the nations need it, with religious thugs like this around. God help us.

  2. Kudos to 20/20 and Elizabeth Vargas on a job well done.

    I want to commend the young women who bravely stood up to be heard, and I hope all sexual abuse victims of this vile system will be encouraged by this program, to do the same.

    As Tina told her story I was irate, where was a little 14 yr old girl to turn? These powerful (to a 14 yr old child) monsters were continually either abusing her in one fashion or another. Her near-hopeless plight touched my heart.

    I would love to be a fly on the wall at my old fundy church on Sunday. The King, er I mean Pastor will be sure to tell everyone that “his” err our church is not like that. blah, blah, blah

    So glad to be gone from there.

  3. Denying that it’s a network? That’s exactly what it is! It’s not a formal organization with a board of directors, but all these churches, pastors, schools, and camps ARE interconnected. God desires truth from us, not prevarication. Can’t believe he’d say this. Shame.

    1. No, it’s not a network. It’s not like they have spies out in town, in your church, across the street from your church looking for school parking passes, patrolling the malls, or anything like that. They don’t have pastors calling back the schools during summer break to report student “misconduct.” Not at all!

      1. Good point!

        If it’s not a network, how did Chuck Phelps in NH know of a church in CO to ship Tina Anderson off to?

        If it’s not a network, why did each time my husband looked for a new church, we contacted BJU who sent out our resume and sent us “church profile sheets” to help us connect with churches that were looking for a pastor/youth pastor? That’s networking!!!

        1. If they are not a Network, and they are Not Connected then how did a small town preacher in Washington state know to have me sent to Arcadia, Louisiana to a Home for Teens ran by the Infamous Mack Ford IFB Predator and Leader of Many IFB Preachers??? Just wondering?

      2. If it’s not a network, then why were we able to get a list of BJU-approved churches when we relocated? We, by the way, did not end up at any of them…..although we did visit them all.

      3. It is a network, and each little pool has it’s fundie college head. That’s why the pastor didn’t mind unequivicably saying that Jack Shaap was wrong and should be called to account. He’s not in his college circle so it’s ok to criticise the guys from the other group.

    2. I’m going to have to take a slightly different tack on this. Yes, there are networks of IFB churches/colleges. But those networks often do not interact with each other, and often are antagonistic to each other. As an example, there’s the BJU/Pensacola network. That’s a pretty polarizing group. Either you *are* separated enough to be part of this group or you are not. But there are other IFB churches out there that are more in line with, say, Liberty, and the BJU churches would have nothing to do with them. A high school student going from a Liberty-type church to a BJU-network college will hear plenty of condemnation of their type of church. Another example: the sub-group that follows the abominable teachings of the Pearls. Those members are largely IFB’s also, but they are also heavily Quiverfull and patriarchal. A lot of them won’t even send their kids to college, any college, especially not the girls. My own church, an IFB, was founded by a BJU grad, but our kids go mostly to Word of Life and Liberty, plus a wide variety of secular colleges. Our pastor won’t touch QF, patriarchy, or the Pearls.

      So I have to disagree with referring to “THE” IFB as if it is all one big happy family with members happily colluding with one another. It might be better to say that they are independent “networks” of autonomous churches.

      1. That is a fair point. But I would add these two thought…

        1) Even if the “camps” (BJU, PCC, HAC, etc) are somewhat isolated from each other they are still very, very large in and of themselves and each exerts a pretty good deal of influence on its churches via education and associations. A quick peek at the pastor’s school videos I put up this week will show that.

        2) The networks tend to resemble each other in very key areas. Authoritarian. Low trust. Driven by the unquestioning obedience to certain key figures. They almost all have the hallmarks of a philosophy that creates a perfect environment for abusers to operate.

        No, I’m not saying that all IFB church pastors get a decoder ring and a secret handshake that gets them into the back room where the lessons on “how to abuse people” are taught. But the stories that emerge from these places are far too similar to be mere coincidence. IFB churches simply are not as “independent” as all that. I pointed as much out during Baptist distinctives week.

        1. @grace2live, oh, certainly! I was being general. Yet, since separation is important to the IFB, all the separate camps associate only with each other, but they still network with other churches within their camps, as Darrell said.

          We live in a metro area with lots of IFB churches. The BJU types tend to associate with each other, but not with the HAC ones. But within our circles, we certainly network with each other.

        2. Impressions from the “outside” are so common. I now have a kid at Liberty and a kid doing her master’s degree at BJU, and I’ve been amazed at the things I thought were so, and have now found out are not so.

          There is a good deal of animosity between LU and BJU students. LU’ers are looked down on as full-fledged heathen by BJU’ers. BJU’ers are mocked by LU’ers as being uptight robot nerds. And neither of those assumptions is true.

          BJU’s students aren’t nearly as fundamental as they would have us think. The rules try to make it that way, but all they succeed in doing is making criminals out of the students (I witnessed a girl listening to CCM on YouTube while I was there. When an RA came in the room, her computer screen was switched in an instant. She confided later that she’s gotten really good at switching fast. Good job, BJU.)

          And the students at Liberty are not all heathen who are just looking to get away from the rules. I’m sure the same can be said of PCC.

          The older I get, the more I think “camps” are just wishful thinking by the menagawd who dream them up and their blind followers.

  4. The Cult has now had national exposure, I wonder if this will blow the hatch and let true light and fresh air in? or will they hunker even deeper in the bunkers?

    1. they will hunker down. The cognitive dissonance is kicking in full force as we post. “Liberal media blah blah…Last Days blah blah….Satan goes after the righteous blah blah….

      Wagons are circling, that offering tomorrow will be impressive. You betcha!

  5. I didn’t watch the story, as I don’t have TV, but I can venture a guess how the IFB will respond.

    Leaders will either:
    1. Ignore it as if it didn’t happen.

    2. Attack liberal media for blowing things out of proportion.

    3. Condemn the guilty and separate from them.

  6. I’m already embattled on FB over this. :mrgreen: I’ve gotten comments like, “Conspiracy” and “Read the other side of the story at chuckphelps.com”. The terms forgiveness and bitterness have been thrown around too.

    1. Chuck phelps.com is pure Damage control. I have lived through that type of spin and deflect presentation and chuck’s site smells just like it.

      the term “rape” is not used in rebuttal. A 15 year old and a 30-40 something adult?? that’s rape
      Notice how Chuck and Gibbs insist that she was 16 years old. That puts her at the age of consent, so therefore it was a dating relationship.

      Yeah, Chucky’s site stinks to high heaven on this.

      1. They kept saying she was 16 when she told her mother she was pregnant. Like that somehow releases anyone of responsibility. That DOESN’T mean she was 16 when Ernie first had sex with her. Statutory rape even if she was willing.

        1. Never mind, I did a search and found that it is 16 in NH, unless someone is involved with an adult who is a “caretaker”, like a teacher. Then it’s 18. I also found that my own state used to have 7 as the age of consent. Eeew. 🙁

  7. Un-christian and very shameful behavior by all involved in that church (Why did I even call it a church, I meant C U L T …. Shame on you!!!!

  8. I didn’t watch 20/20 tonight but from reading everything i’ve read I wish I would’ve. Tina’s story is heartbreaking, there is no doubt about that. What her ste-father did to her is horrendous. However, be careful not to lump every IFB into the same category as that man. It’s like saying all Muslims are evil because of those who participated in the 9/11 attacks. The majority of churches in our circles would never tolerate something like that if they were aware if it. And don’t believe everything you see on tv either. I have sat under Jack Schaaps preaching for five years. He does not in any way, shape, or form condone child abuse. And neither have any of my pastors. In my former church we have had two different people get upset and never come back to our church. These people were listed as sex-offenders so my pastor informed the deacons of this and then politely informed these people that they would be watched because we were protecting our children.

    1. “I have sat under Jack Schaaps preaching for five years. He does not in any way, shape, or form condone child abuse.”

      I think BASSENCO may have a few things to say about that.

    2. As I recall, they didn’t say that Jack Schaap condoned sex abuse. They played parts of two of his sermons of his opinions of women. This was a different part of the show as the survivors were talking about women in the IFB, and how they are taught that they are under the authority of men.

      True, not all IFB’s are like that, but I think you’re giving IFB’s too much credit in saying they don’t and wouldn’t think that way.

      People are capable of anything.

    3. “However, be careful not to lump every IFB into the same category as that man. It’s like saying all Muslims are evil because of those who participated in the 9/11 attacks.”

      Actually, indicting all of Christianity for these churches’ crimes would be like blaming all Muslims for 9/11.

      I don’t think anyone’s saying that every individual member of every IFB church is an evil person. However, there have been consistent patterns of abuse in these churches, and it doesn’t do Christians or Christianity any good to sweep them under the rug.

      1. I’ve been reading the FB posts of fundy friends today – they’re sweeping! they’re sweeping! All I can say is “men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.”

      2. “However, there have been consistent patterns of abuse in these churches…” THESE churches? In A LOT of churches of all denominations and “non-denomination.” The Catholic Church is knee deep in it! (Or worse!) You’re kidding yourselves if you think these monstrosities ONLY happen in the IFB churches. Shows like 20/20 aim to put blame on someone or a particular organization. In this case they are aiming to discredit IFB churches so OF COURSE they’re only going to show part of the story. It is the right thing to do for people to stand up and seek justice when, in fact, there is reason to.

        1. @janet. Of course such criminal activity happens in other churches, but the IFB has been shown to consistantly cover it up and allow perps and innocent victims to be shipped off to other like-minded *in their network* churches. The excessive level of submission at many IFB churches sets up the perfect scenario that allows such abuses to flourish. Until the IFB congregations find their lost spines and demand accountability from leadership, this abuse will sadly continue.

        2. I don’t think they happen only in IFB churches. If I comment “Lettuce is green” on a post about lettuce, a reader shouldn’t infer that I don’t know broccoli is also green.

        3. Janet, stop. Nobody said this kind of garbage does not happen in other churches. That’s not the point. The fact is that the IFB not only does not make any effort to police itself, it actively protects rapists and punishes victims. Do some other churches do that? Sure, but there are others with strict policies in place to protect children from abuse and allow offenders to worship but with special restrictions (like no going near the nursery or walking around church unchaperoned). AFA other churches go, we can’t speak about them because we weren’t there. Once we know about one another’s stories, we can support and encourage one another… but we can really only do the housecleaning where we ourselves are (or have been).

      3. “I don’t think anyone’s saying that every individual member of every IFB church is an evil person.”

        Well if you consider it a cult, I don’t think people in general think the people IN a cult are evil, they feel sorry for them and wish they could be rescued. It’s the cult heads that get the condemnation.

  9. LOL. I just got the runaround. “Do you know what that Jocelyn lady stands for? She wants the government to control every area of your life.” LOL

    My reply: “Every area? Even if that is true, and I don’t know that it is, how does that negate the abuses? That’s kinda like saying 20/20 is produced by ABC which is affiliated with Disney who promotes homosexuality and therefore everything mentioned on the 20/20 program is not credible.” 🙄

    1. Ha! The government controlling every area of your life: ungodly.
      The pastor controlling every area of your life: godly.
      The pope being infallible: ungodly.
      The pastor being infallible: godly.
      i’m seeing a pattern here…

      1. Not a fair comparison there, reader mo! The Pope only claims to be infallible when he’s speaking “ex cathedra,” which has been done what? twice? in the history of the Church. the Fundy pastor is infallible ALL THE TIME.

        1. Ex-Cathedra statements have happened far more than twice. The last Pope, John Paul II, made several during his tenure. The majority of other Popes who had many years in office also made at least one each. However, the point that only Ex-Cathedra statements by the Pope are held to be infallible, and that Ex-Cathedra pronouncements are unusual (averaging maybe one per decade or so), is very valid.

        2. Sorry. Should have Googled before I commented. Apparently there’s considerable debate in Catholic circles about exactly what is an ex cathedra statement and how many there have been. The only two everybody seems to agree on are the virginity of Mary and her Assumption into Heaven. I’m not Catholic, so it’s not for me to debate the truth of those.

        3. Well, ex cathedra AND only on matters of faith and morals. Not whether or not women are supposed to wear nylons and what kind of hairstyle the guys have.

        4. It may also be worth noting that the doctrine of Papal Infallibility only dates from 1870, and there are eminent Catholic scholars who disagree with it. See, for example, Garry Wills’ book “Papal Sin.”

    2. Any chance whoever said that knows that who Jocylen Elders is even? Sounds like someone that just found a black name associated with govt, and using govt as a way to conceal dislike of blacks. Who complains about a surgeon general from nearly 20 years ago, who if she controlled your life would presumably be only to get you to engage in some “me time”?

        1. Oh no! Rob! George has *possessed* you! George has gotten inside your head! This is the most dangerous infiltration yet. :mrgreen:

          Sorry for the exhausting weekend. I think most of us can relate.

    1. I got a long private message on fb from an IFB pastor’s wife because she was unhappy with something I posted. She told me, “All churches aren’t like that. Don’t group the IFB together.” I’d like to say, “Lady, I’m older than you are and I KNOW all churches don’t shelter abusers. But a lot have, and this is not the time to be defending your church. You need to grieve for victims and rejoice that God is bringing the light of holiness and justice. May He restore His church.”

  10. I thought it was pretty good. I think there will be many who will call foul and say it was a broad brush. Going through 2 IFBX churches like that I think more people might understand my reasoning for not wanting to comb through the crappy churches just to see if there is one good ifb church in my area. If not, so what, who cares?

  11. Chuck is sounding more and more like a pimp, passing off a “16 year old” to a 40 something adult likes it alright and he does it all the time. Oh, yeah – right, I forgot!

  12. My fb group is really quiet…not mention at all.

    This is how my former pastor handles things like this:

    “That was really bad. Good think we are nothing like that…”

    They are TOTALLY like that!!!!!! 🙄

    That Kool-Aid is so very strong. 😥

  13. not surprised – as a female who attended an IFB school where I was told at age 12 that my outfits “sent the wrong message to the men of the school,” where nine times out of ten a (mixed group, 6th – 12th grade) chapel message ended up with “colorful,” inappropriate descriptions of pornography and how-to-please-your-husband lessons, clearly SOMETHING was always on their minds…

  14. When Tina described how she had to stand in front of her church, alone, “confessing” to her sin, and when I heard Phelps talk about a “dating” relationship, I was almost physically ill.

    1. The part that made me angriest, the part that made me see red and start foaming at the mouth, was when they asked Phelps why the rapist never stopped coming to the church, and he said something about how all kinds of awful people come to church. But they expelled Tina from the Christian school!! For being raped! The rapist was good enough to continue at the church, but the victim was not good enough to stay in her “Christian” school.

  15. I just finished watching the 20/20 report. The older I get, the more these stories seem to surface. The disturbing thing is that it didn’t hear them first from 20/20. I heard them first from my own family after the actual abuse happened.

  16. This entire thing will go unspoken f in IFB churches so as not to be given any thought by the sheep who attend them. If said manogawd is approached by a sheep with a question or observation on said 20/20 show they will be told not to worry about it, it doesnt go on in our church, it is a few giving all a bad name. Then you can be sure it is alive and well in your church. I have first hand knowledge of this happening in the last IFB church I was a member of. I understand how hard it is for these young girls to come forward especially if they still live around the area and see the people who allowed this to happen. I wish them all the best and only hope that thru Christ they will one day have the victory and never be scared again.

    1. I agree. I don’t think anyone from my old church will even watch it. We were pretty much cut off from all news sources. We weren’t supposed to read the paper, so news from them. We weren’t supposed to watch T.V., so no TV news. We weren’t supposed to go on the internet except for e-mail, so no internet news.

      To be able to talk about the 20/20 video would mean having to admit to either the compromise of watching T.V. or the compromise of going on the net.

  17. I have watched some of it online this morning. I am so sad for Tina. The “well-meaning” people who covered the rapist’s crime are sickening. I graduated from Northland before Matt Olson came so I don’t know him. Sounds like he gave some pretty crappy advice.

    My best friend knows Jocelyn personally. I don’t want to share my opinions of her b/c they aren’t first hand knowledge. But I will say that her affect in the video is odd. She sounds choked up, but there aren’t any tears? ❓

    But like I said, I haven’t watched the whole thing yet, either. Sadly, my kids need food. Every day. 3x’s a day, even. 🙄

      1. I used to think tears were the tell-tale sign of true crying, until I experienced tearless crying myself. Since then, I have been more careful not to suspect someone has murdered his own missing child or killed her own husband, etc., just because s/he doesn’t have tears.

        1. I guess I was taking into consideration what my friend has shared with me about Jocelyn. (And the incidents that she shared are not connected to the abuse Jocelyn reported.) It’s only my personal opinion anyway. 😉

        2. Tears aside. Wasn’t Jocelyn still abused in some way? Does she not run a Facebook page for IFB survivors? Is she not herself a survivor of IFB? Has she not helped other survivors?

          Then, she has my vote.

        1. Tammy – I believe the “whispering campaign” that Camille is referring to is in reference to your previous comment. You are calling into question what Jocelyn has said. Now you have vocalized it in a public forum in a way that is very passive aggressive. If you have a problem with Jocelyn, you should deal with that by speaking to her. What you have done now is caused people to question someones integrity based solely on your second hand information. The fact of the matter is…Jocelyn could have laughed her way through that interview. It wouldn’t have changed a thing. She was wronged by people that were supposed to love her. What a terrible thing to have to endure. Now her “family”, that would be all of us who claim to be followers of Christ, should be embracing her.

          I don’t know you and I don’t know what context Jocelyn came up in your conversation with your friend but I would challenge you to ask yourself if you were engaging in gossip.

        2. “I don’t want to share my opinions of her b/c they aren’t first hand knowledge.”

          I have read things by/about Jocelyn in the past. My best friend knew her. I asked her if these things were true. She told me her opinions. If that’s gossip, then call my pastor and turn me in.

          I won’t comment any further.

        3. Yes, that is gossip. I hope that you make that right with your friend and with Jocelyn.

        4. I haven’t repeated ANYthing my best friend told me, and my conscience is clear before GOD. I don’t owe an apology to anyone. Being informed isn’t gossip.

          But crying “GOSSIP” is a common tool of IFB. Nice try. 🙄

        5. Hun, you are doing something very dangerous here. You are casting shadows on a victim’s testimony without actually saying the accusation, which prevents anyone from responding. There has been a lot of gossip about Jocelyn in the past, as her abusers were trying to ruin her credibility. This is a serious thing you’re doing. Have you considered the possibility that whatever it is you heard is a rumor started by a physically abusive pedophile? How would you feel about spreading *that* around? 🙁

        6. Ok. Let me say it again.

          Since you didn’t bother to read my original statement.

          My best friend isn’t a pedofile. She’s a housewife. She isn’t an IFB pawn. SHE has been in Jocelyn’s home on several occasions. My best friend has sat down and spoken face-to-face with Jocelyn. My best friend is not a gossip. She answered my questions regarding rumors I had heard. My friend does not have a “beef” with her, but gave me her honest, first-hand observations.

          I have read many things Jocelyn has written. I have never met Jocelyn.

          I have NEVER commented on Jocelyn’s site. I have never communicated directly with her. I’m not a troll on this or her site.

          A differing opinion of someone is just that. When no one is allowed to have a differing opinion, isn’t THAT a “cult”?

          If I wanted to be heckled this much, I’d go to church.

          BACK OFF.

          THAT IS ALL I WILL SAY.

        7. Then talk. Tell us what your friend’s opinion is, and what your opinion is, and why. Let your doubts see the light of day, so we can have this conversation like adults, and answer any potential rumors, or find out the truth. It is cowardly to cast aspersions and then retreat under a rock when you get called out.

        8. The fact remains if you can’t prove what you are alleging you shouldn’t have ever said it. It’s pretty vile to go around undermining victims, and you’ve steadfastly refuse to provide anything but innuendo.

        9. By the way, Tammy, Jason Janz just publicly confessed (in church this morning) to sexually abusing Jocelyn.

        10. “I don’t want to share my opinions of her b/c they aren’t first hand knowledge.”

          Why in heavens name did you start something you are unwilling to follow through on? What game are you playing?

        11. PS, if that’s true it makes the name “sharper iron” seem a fairly repugnant (presumably sub conscious) suggestive name.

        12. Tammy, the point is, in civil discourse you can’t just say ominously, “I’ve heard bad things about Mary” (or whomever). If you’re going to bring it up, you have to specify what accusation you heard, and what proof you may be aware of. If you prefer not to state the actual accusation(s), don’t bring up the issue at all.

    1. Ah, Tammy or Sarah Jones or Elizabeth Jameson….I believe you are the one in the same person starting drama w/ Jocelyn on her website yesterday. Same story….no facts, no sources….IFB pawn.

        1. If you are not a troll then who is your source? If they are speaking the truth there is no need to cover or protect anyone. Since you put this in a public forum to question Jocelyn’s intergrity.

  18. I’ve been silent. The stuff I’ve not said that could be exposed. I didn’t fight but shut my mouth. The shunning and fear.
    Last night as I watched 20/20 I began to shake uncontrollably. Jesus brought darkness to light and I feel for the first time validated. Voices were heard. Of course already the comments are flying by the sheeple who refuse to see truth. I am just grateful that for once victims were given a voice. Cannot stop crying.

  19. I was both pleased and felt a sense of surrealness as I watched the teachings of my whole life as a part of a news story. I will tell you, it was dead-on, but only scratched the surface. There’s SO much more to tell.

    I looked at HF and said, “Did you think you’d ever see the day?”… He just shook his head an said no.

    When they played the bits with Jack Schaap, I threw my hands up, clapped, and did a little scream of delight. I had been waiting for his absurdity to be revealed for a long time.

    What was also fun is that, you know my HF is a cop. Well, he’s also trained in watching the body language of people who are lying or telling the truth. He pointed out different body signs from Phelps during his interview. His paleness, aversion of eyes, his voice, etc. And, then you watch Tina who’s confident, calm, and strong.

    I can say so much, but Tina and Jocelyn are SO brave and I’m just amazed that Tina can actually still go to a church after what she’s been through.

    But, again, there’s still SO much to tell.

  20. i am sad to say that this child abuser was a close friend and a teacher/coach at Grace Baptist in Gaylord MI when I was involved in that culf. Jon Junkins knew of this mans crimes and was more worried of the damage it would bring to his ministry that the first thing he did with the family in his office was to call the churches attorney to see what to do, which obviosly was nothing
    http://www.icrimewatch.net/offenderdetails.php?OfndrID=1125374&AgencyID=54487

  21. I would give Brian Fuller at least some credit for willing to be interviewed, but his statement that the IFB is not a network totally blew me away and was one of the most absurd things I heard last night.

      1. Hecwas definitely full of it, but I felt bad for him anyway, got thrown into the middle of a really bad situation he had nothing to do with, and is trying (admittedly badly) to make the most of it. I wouldn’t say any of his sins rise to the despicable level of those committed by Phelps & co back in 97 though.

    1. He allowed a registered sex offender to sing in the choir and doesn’t think he needs to tell anyone about him…the congregation is just supposed to check the sex offender registries for themselves… Pathetic.

      1. This is a tough situation for all pastors/priests/other spiritual leaders to handle, and I’ve seen it be an item of discussion in pastoral publications. First, the pastor has to be aware that someone coming to their church is a registered sex offender. How do you do that? Read through the list on a monthly basis? In our case, our church happens to be in a tri-state area, so there would be three different lists to check regularly. Then, let’s say that you discover that someone in your church is on that list. If they are a member, maybe you can remove them from membership, but legally you cannot tell them not to worship in your church. So what do you do? Do you tell the congregation that this person is in the building? What if their offense occurred many years ago? If they have served their time, then their debt to society is paid, and a pastor is on very thin ice, possibly opening himself up to legal action, if he notifies the congregation and the members start to persecute the person.

  22. What really resounded with me was Tina’s answer to Vargas’s question “Why did you stay in the church?” She said she had been taught that TBC was the only right church, the only church you could attend if you wanted to be right with God. Of course she went to the jail to “forgive” her step-father: she’d been taught she had to to be right with God. Of course she “willingly” (as Phelps’s statement claims) went before the church when she became pregnant: she’d been taught she had to to be right with God. I think most of us can relate to this business of “being right with God” and have done some outlandish things because of it. That’s abuse in itself.

    1. Absolutely. After all, “obedience is the very best way to show that you believe.” If someone doesn’t want to be marked as an unbeliever, they will do what their authority tells them. It doesn’t mean they WANTED to do those things, but they did them because they wanted to be right with God.

        1. @Pastor’s Wife, exactly! Much fundy teaching revolves around being right with other people so that you can be right with God. The problem is, sometimes what they consider “not right with man” is not right.

  23. I read a great point on the FFF last night. If the IFB were doing things the right way the first time, there would have never been a 20/20 story.

  24. I think it’s rather ironic that in those types of circles women have no power except when it comes to sexuality. Then things seem to be considered entirely their fault, even when the are only young girls. How awful. I also laughed out loud at the church leaders’ defense of keeping abusers in their congregation (and forcing the victims to forgive their attackers) by claiming that they preach & practice forgiveness. Yep, they sure showed those girls an awful lot of forgiveness.

  25. Stuff like this (abuse in churches, or abuse in general) just makes my blood boil, so I’m actually glad that I missed the show on TV.

    This is actually Child Abuse Prevention month, and if you’re looking for more information about how to spot / prevent / deal with child abuse, please visit my blog: http://frenchizal.blogspot.com

  26. Wow. The situation they describe sounds just like what happened at my old church.

    Statutory rape, which was described by the pastor only as the perp “falling into sin” with the victim. Victim “repented” of the “sin” and allowed to stay. After the perp was released, was welcomed back with open arms by the pastor. Surprise, surprise, the victim felt uncomfortable and left.

    Oh, and the pastor also dismissed any consequences of the criminial record of a convicted megan’s list sex offender member of our church because he said he didn’t do it. That’s it. Just his word. No need to do any church discipline there because clearly he was innocent. 🙄

    This was the #1 reason why I left fundyland. I’m ashamed that I looked the other way for so long without speaking out. Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa. 😥

  27. Don’t believe it’s a network? Try being a Christian School Administrator that inherited a school stooped in “Fundamentalism”! For several years we were a part of the AACS, the American Association of Christian Schools (HUGE Fundy Base). Our teachers were frowned upon because the ladies would wear pants during our free time at their conventions. SO GLAD WE GOT OUT! The Conventions were full of KJV ONLY’ERS who would walk around with KJV 1611 taped on the covers of their Bibles. The preachers would rant and rave about how we were to “stay the course, DON’T CHANGE, KEEP YOUR STANDARDS, etc.” This past fall I called the local AACS leader and told him that I could no longer support the ridiculous, legalistic double-standard of the AACS and the FUNDIE movement. I recently had to fire a teacher (10 year tenure) because she was manipulating the minds of 5 yo’s to think that music, if it has a beat, is of the DEVIL! Of course, these people think that they are a remnant of the faithful. Well, here’s my question for all you fundies… YOU preach that we are not to change, yet change is exactly what the Bible advocates. What part of being molded into the image of Christ do you not understand? The only way for that to happen is for change to take place. What a bunch of biblically illiterate whack jobs!

    1. “Well, here’s my question for all you fundies… YOU preach that we are not to change, yet change is exactly what the Bible advocates. What part of being molded into the image of Christ do you not understand? The only way for that to happen is for change to take place. What a bunch of biblically illiterate whack jobs!”

      Exactly!
      Being unchangeable is NOT a virtue for a Christian!!!

  28. I finished watching the video.

    I am torn here. The IFB is set up in a way that with the MOG there is no accountability to others. Even the deacons/trustees/elders seem to have little sway b/c they want to be his “pets”.

    There are more accounts of physical, financial, emotional, spiritual and sexual abuse – abuse of power – than will ever be reported. I’ve been in a couple of them. However, not every pastor abuses his “power”. Not every church is ruled by someone as twisted as Jack Schaap. I’ve gained weight since having kids at an older age w/severe arthritis in all my joints. If I had been one of those heavier ladies sitting in the choir loft right behind him, I would have gotten up and walked out. Right in the middle of his rant. Jerk.

    Not every pastor attends those conferences where the IFB pastors network. Some pastors are like Brian Fuller – conservative in doctrine and teaching grace and love. (At least that’s how he came across in the clips.) If you are in a church where the pastor abuses his position, LEAVE. Report him to authorities if you need to. Go public with your reports if the authorities do nothing. Make these creeps accountable. I’ve become much more brave and vocal about issues, and I don’t fear retribution. I refuse to be a victim ever again. But I agree that you can’t paint the whole “denomination” with the same broad brush.

    And I am constantly checking to be sure I don’t allow in myself the bitter, nit-picking, critical spirit that infests so many IFBs. I may leave a church, but I won’t leave church. 😉

    JMHO.

    1. Tammy, Brian Fuller is probably a good guy trying to do a tough job. I still don’t think he realizes exactly what the problem is, however.

      And he says these kinds of things don’t happen at Trinity now – baloney. I have a friend whose daughter teaches in their Christian school. Over the last several months, the administrator has been attempting to control who she fellowships with at church, what pew she sits in, and is apparently getting angry and ready to fire her because she won’t “obey”.

      When IFB churches stop acting like the stereotype then they might stop being lumped into the stereotype. Besides, they separate over the silliest things – the fact that they haven’t separated over a crime makes their stand even shakier.

  29. The brush was a bit broad at times, but everything included was believable, and absolutely fit with what I have heard preached in even moderately fundy places. I was amazed that I was familiar with just about every church/institution mentioned, and was surprised they didn’t harp on the college/university angle more. I mean Phelps and Olsen both having been given very influential positions. I was expecting it given Jocelyn’s history with NBBC for sure. Maybe it hit the cutting room floor to make the story more concise and packaged. I was a bit disappointed to hear Jocelyn use the very specific language “the IFB” – I understand why, I get it, but I don’t think even she believes it, and while the networks and controlling organizations exist and have plenty of dark side, Independent does mean that all churches wearing that label can be lumped into one group, and that is something I wouldn’t expect 20/20 to understand, but Jocelyn knows better, even if it feels like a comprehensive system at times. Now if we want to talk about churches that refuse to abandon that label in order to separate themselves from this cesspool in spite of the fact that they would separate from a brother who uses more contemporary music than they do, I am right there with you. None of the churches that don’t act or condone what we saw last night should be using those labels and should be shedding them faster than you can say “consensual dating relationship” I am not really getting on Jocelyn as much as it might seem, I just think the truth could be told clearly and precisely without damaging the overall message that this behavior is all too common and does result from certain characteristics of what is at least a simple majority of churches considered IFB.

    Is the “IFB” a cult? No, but many IFB churches easily fit the description and I think its only fair to treat them individually. I am not sure some of the hyperbole helped, it certainly is a chink in the armor that allows some moderate fundies to excuse an expose like this with “well we aren’t like that” legitimately and they rightly object to being broad brushed. Still, most of those folks were never going to be moved by something like this so perhaps no harm no foul.

    Do I believe that Trinity in Concord is among those ministries? Not in a million years. But Fuller has a opportunity here to kick the network that put him there in the teeth and see if he really is “independent”

    Phelps looked and sounded awful – I wish I could watch the uncut video, I wonder if they were kind or hard on him with their editing. He looked like he wished his lawyer was there. This is really not even the reason I don’t like or respect the guy, but this story is just icing on that particular cupcake

    Ending my rambling review. Overall, I was angered, saddened, and very very happy to see this story aired. Even with the things I thought could have been done better, I think at least ABC did a fairly balanced piece with all the right words “alleged” “the victim claims” etc. so it doesn’t look like a hit piece, but clearly lays out some of the possible connections and philosophies that lead to this behavior or allow it to go on unpunished.

    Kudos to Tina, Jocelyn, and the rest of you who have spoken out! I pray for my friends in the movement regularly who I think have a high opinion of scripture and I think eventually will have to separate from this type of fundamentalism. If they really believe in separation from apostasy they will have to.

    1. The definition of “cult” wasn’t accurate. The Christian Research Institute defines a cult as a group whose beliefs are outside orthodox Christianity. Many IFB churches are “cultic” in nature. Big difference and 20/20 should not have let Jocelyn’s definition of “cult” stand w/o getting a definition from a religion “expert.” I doubt the expert they interviewed would have agreed with the definition she used.

        1. This is the correct def., Susan! There is no monolithic “IFB”, but many of the churches and networks should rightly be called cults.

      1. I’ve seen so many definitions of what is or is not a “cult” (as opposed to a “normal” religious group) that I’ve decided the only one you can apply consistently is: A cult is a religion or a religious group or movement that the person who’s speaking or writing does not approve of.

        That’s not to say that you shouldn’t critique religious movements; I just don’t find “cult” to be a useful term for describing them.

  30. I have never heard anyone mention (or even speculate)if the agreement between Phelps and MBBC concerning his resignation from the office president, had anything to do with the possibility that this story was soon going to be made public. The statements from the board and from Phleps mentioned a difference in philosophy without indicating what that difference in philosophy was.

    1. My understanding is that they were completely unrelated. All I can think is that MBBC is breathing a huge sigh of relief that he was gone before this hit the fan.

      1. That is accurate from what I have heard. You are right though. I am sure there was some serious sighing with relief when that came out and they had already parted ways

  31. It is amazing once again the News takes something and doesn’t fully report the whole story. Then instead of dealing with the story they have all these side issues to paint a picture that is far from the truth. Very few people know the whole story and if there was really a cover up. If there was, shame on them, but what about the police as well.

    But to say that IFB Churches are cults is crazy, because we take the Bible for what the Bible says. Are there those that are extreme and go overboard yes, but they are not just in a Baptist Church.

    How dear we saw that Children should obey right away. How dear we saw that women should dress modest. How dear we saw that if we love God we keep his commandments.

    What I saw last night from the two the story was about was bitterness. Bitterness is a tool the Devil uses to destroy families, Churches, and lives. The Bible does teach forgiveness. We are to forgive one another doesn’t mean we say what they did was OK or pretend it never happen. I am so Glad that my loving Lord showed me forgiveness even though I didn’t deserve it.

    I am so sad how this report has a negative report against my Lord. The God of the Bible is a loving God who loves you and is full of compassion, Grace, Mercy, and Love. He sent His son to this earth to Die for you and rise again the third day. It is only by faith in Him can we have our sins forgiven and a home in Heaven. God is SO GOOD.

    1. I don’t get it. Is bitterness the only negative emotion that non-Fundies are allowed to have? Is it the only negative emotion Fundies recognize? Why is anyone reporting on Fundie faults seen as bitter? Not angry, or upset, or horrified; just bitter?

      I agree with you that God is good; it’s people who screw up.

    2. “What I saw last night from the two the story was about was bitterness. Bitterness is a tool the Devil uses to destroy families, Churches, and lives.”

      ACK! There’s that OLD, TIRED, WASHED-UP WORD. Bitterness. You would think by now that the “bitter” tag would have went the way of the phrases “get over it”, “forgive and forget” or “it wasn’t that bad”. Some people are slow learners, I guess.

    3. Ugh.. First of all you are trying to say DARE, not DEAR.

      Bitterness, really? The problem is not that grown men raped and abused woman, but that the VICTIMS were bitter!?!?

      How does that Kool-Aid taste?

      1. I agree wholeheartedly friend. Bitter is all anyone sees much of the time. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told not to let the situation make me bitter. Like I said in my other post on bitter-people can throw that “bitter” card out there if they want to, but unless they’ve walked in my shoes, they better be careful about it. Angry and hurt for sure, bitter maybe but why like you say, can’t they see anything but bitter in those of us who have experienced this stuff?

    4. Perhaps bitterness is not always a bad thing. Perhaps bitterness can move us in the right direction, like seeking justice for a terrible wrong.

      Yes, Jesus forgives us of our sins but we must seek out that forgivness. Did any of Tina Anderson’s abusers seek out her forgivness? Sometimes we can not forgive someone because they do not place a high value on our forgivness. Forgiveness is a gift, but like all other gifts if the person does not accept it or accepts it begrudgidly then there is not much we can do.

      What Tina Anderson should have heard from her pastor, her mother and her new pastor in Denver is “What happened to you is terrible and you have every right to be upset!”

      Be sure your sin will find you out.

    5. What I heard last night were voices of victims now having a voice.
      I am praising Jesus that wounded victims were validated and darkness was brought to the light.
      This is not the place to bring your “bitterness” koolaid…thank you Jesus that He fights for His beloved.

      1. Thank you for telling them that this isn’t the place to bring the bitterness card. I like what you said about bitterness not always being a bad thing. I am glad that these girls came forward. Hurting so much and crying much.

      1. Exactly.

        If you don’t believe us PJ, just try to leave your church and see what happens to you.

        Also PJ, many fundies don’t take the Bible for what the Bible says…they take it for what their MOG claims it says.

        You can make the Scriptures say whatever you want and unfortunately, many fundies blindly trust their interpretation of it to an authoritarian ego-maniac who never took a proper theology course (because that is what they were trained to do).

    6. So sad that people throw out the “bitter” card when someone is hurting. I for one know what these ladies have endured as I’ve been a victim myself. I think people need to realize that there are many other emotions out there and rather than throwing out that “bitter” card, look at the situation and the people involved. And so what if these girls are bitter? I for one am hurting, angry, and saddened that this stuff has been covered up for year. My situation wasn’t covered up totally as my step-father went to jail but only for 30 days for a decade of sexual molesting me. What justice is that? You can throw the “bitter” card at me if you want to but until you live in my shoes, you better think twice about it. I’m 44 years old and at 3 years old it started. And to top it off, he said “GOD” wanted him to do this to me, that “GOD” wanted him to teach me to be a wife. Bitter??? Maybe, ANGRY!! YES!! Hurting and more, definitely. You know I can’t even read a textbook and understand it because I can’t retain and comprehend because my step-father destroyed my reading the day I discovered that letters make words??? I was 6 years old when that happened. Think what you will about me, I don’t care, but throwing out the “BITTER” card really angers me!

    7. Oh, wow, PJ. How dare you? either we weren’t watching the same show, or you weren’t paying attention.

      Just so you know, it was about children being abused and even raped. Not your silly and transparent attempt to throw the “bitter” card. It was about parents, pastors, and others covering up a a sin and a crime against teenaged girls. You think that’s OK? You think it glorifies your God? I would hope not, but your response… ehhh.

      You think exposing the sin of these men, either the violence itself or the cover-ups, is negative against Christ? You’ve missed the point. Those evil men were already giving a negative report of Christ with each molestation, each rape, each excuse, to those young girls. Or do they not matter to you? No, let these men sin freely, only make their victims suffer in silence? How sick can such an attitude be?

      If anything, these ladies are calling the IFB church to repentance, if that is still even possible. They are also calling out others who have been violated and letting them know that there is hope and healing, but only outside the IFB prison and in the real Christ. To place more blame on these ladies when their abusers are the ones who are truly deserving is perverse and sick.

    8. PJ, please don’t blame the victims. Calling them bitter and unforgiving is a slap in their face. Put yourself in their shoes. I think they have a right to speak out and be angry, because they sure as hell weren’t given many rights when they were being abused.

    9. PJ. Wow! Did you grab you speech from a pastor’s handbook they give you in bible college? I have heard the EXACT SAME speech many times applied to different situations when women speak up.

      Please learn to think for yourself and don’t let the IFB blinders shut off that mind God has given you.

    10. It certainly did not attack God or put Him in a bad light. Tina made it clear that her faith in God is in tact and she still goes to church, just not an IFB church. No one in the story expressed any bitterness in God, just the church.

  32. I have many random thoughts:
    1 – I’m glad I’m out of the IFB. Have been for 30 years. It’s nice out here.
    2 – ABC did have a lot more information they chose not to use this time regarding the school connections to these churches. I’m ready for a sequel.
    3 – If my father were a deacon at Colonial Hills Baptist Church, there would have been a deacon meeting this morning and a church vote tomorrow. That’s called how accountability is supposed to work in these churches.
    4 – Chuck Phelps is a coward.
    5 – Tina Anderson, Rachel Stima Griffiths, Jocelyn Zichterman, Camille Lewis, Matt Barnhart, Fran Earle and Sue Capucci are very brave people.
    6 – God is where ever truth is.
    7 – “We made it through and God is so good.” ~ Tina Anderson

    1. “God is wherever truth is.”

      Amen to that. That is one of the first things He showed me when I left fundamentalism. May this show shine the light of truth on IFB churches, so that more innocent lambs can find their way out.

  33. One major critism of the power elite in the USA (the press, Hollywood, the ruling class) is that they all live in The Hamptons, Manhatten, Washington DC, Aspen/Vale Co and Malibu Ca and the rest of America is “fly over country”. The reporters calling IFB ‘a small relgious group few have heard of’, show how out of the touch many in the press are about America. In many parts of the county, IFB churches are almost the local and state religion. They are all over the place. There are sometimes IFB churches of the same block.
    IFB pastors and their followers are always trying impose their “morals” on other people.
    Ms Vargas needs to rent a car a drive around the country.

    1. Not sure I agree, Mark. Growing up in the military, I lived in nine states and went to countless churches after every move trying to find one. We found plenty of whacky churches, to be sure, but I only remember one “IFB” church in those 18 years of my life. Rather, the IFB thing was sprung like a trap on me in college, which is a story for another thread…

  34. And this is a discussion from a FB Fundy is an Ambassador grad and family are church planters. Can’t get over the fact Fundy is calling names (“Stupid People”). That’s awfully Godly, eh? 😕

    Fundy: I absolutely love how people can say that the media is slanted and biased until something happens or something is said that fits their agenda and suddenly the media is correct and how dare we contradict the media…I love stupid people

    Friend1: Wait.. which side are you on? 🙂

    Fundy: the side that knows more than was represented last night

    Friend1: Care to elaborate?

    Fundy: in an inbox later…I don’t really want to create a fire storm 🙂 plus I’m leaving for CA in a few minutes…

    Friend1: And I have no illusions that the media is slanted, and I stated such multiple times. What many are ignoring is what the girls actually said, not just how ABC spun it.

    Fundy: and I wasn’t speaking to you…I have a couple of friends who have believed what was said hook line and sinker

    1. Woo-hoo! I got quoted on Stufffundieslike! 🙂 I have to know who you are! Haha!

      Although I’ve been out of that world for a LONG time, so I may not even know who you are! 🙂

      And I’ve been going back and forth with crazy fundies all day and night on Facebook. 👿

  35. One thing that’s really refreshing to see reflected in these comments is that nobody is suggesting that ABC or Elizabeth Vargas was unfair or unbalanced. She/They did a great job on this, even if leading off with the more sexual elements might have sensationalized the piece.

    I’d love to see the e-mail in-box in Brian Fuller’s computer today. I personally don’t think for a minute he will be shopping for a new denomination or a new job. I think he’s IFB’s new employee of the month; a poster boy for helping the group relate to the average American. My bet is that they delegate future PR issues to him.

    1. yeah, thats what I liked most about it. It was very restrained compared to what I was expecting, and really they did give plenty of opportunity for Phelps or anyone else to defend themselves. Fuller was the only one who took it on and his success at it was mixed. Phelps just made himself look guilty, basically hiding behind his lawyers and being very non-responsive

    2. I do have information that the IFB bigwigs had a secret meeting in Boston where they decided what the spin would be and who would present the case on TV. They chose Fuller because he’s younger and looks “more relatable” than the other old farts.

  36. At the IFB church where I grew up, one of the frequent “charges” filed against members brought up for church discipline was “failure to heed pastoral counseling”, IOW not doing as you were told. This included a young mother who discovered that her husband was sexually abusing their two year old daughter and told not to divorce him because the Bible forbade divorce. The God I serve forbids child abuse. Shame on all churches and pastors who twist Christianity into a horrifying maze of dogma and legalism. We are called to be “light and salt”, things that clarify and enhance, not conceal and cause division.

  37. I am so glad this aired!!! Now, I can just email the link to many still stuck in the IFB church who don’t know better. Hopefully this will open their eyes.

    I wonder how all the IFB mogs out there plan to cover up this major national news story?

  38. 1. By now people should know that if your pastors last name is Phelps, something is probably wrong

    2. As a victim of abuse myself who is now a pastor I have to say that all of these concerns are real. I am often discouraged by the chosen ignorance of men in the ministry who refuse to see abuse right under their nose.

    3. These are not simple issues. To deal with them simplistically is to cause more damage. I truly pray that pastors will begin to search long and hard on how to work with both victims and abusers.

  39. How it must grieve the heavenly Father when people use His name to commit crime and cover it up. Kudos to those brave enough to stand up and demand justice.

  40. Its a ploy. Let’s throw “Independent” in there and no one will question the crazy glue like grip that the big institutions have on us. The power of the paradox and The Big Lie. Clean Water Act, anyone?

    1. It’s what they always do. They name something they’re the complete opposite of – all the time. They call themselves orthodox, when really they peddle a 2nd rate gospel like a snake-oil salesman. They’re about morality, not about Gospel. I’ll stop calling them a cult when they start preaching Gospel.

      1. Morality if you define morality solely as the music you don’t listen to, the movies you don’t attend/watch, the beverages you don’t consume, and the words you don’t say. Any other definition of morality they fail at as well.

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