Violence Against Women

In this video for Youth E.D.G.E. Indy, “Pastor” Nate Utley pretends not only to beat one girl senseless…he does it TWICE.

It’s hardly a surprise to learn that this video was created in the church of none other than Chuck Phelps. Like we needed more evidence that Chuck’s leadership is so deficient that nobody has bothered to tell his own pastoral staff that simulating violence towards women isn’t really funny. At all.

If you would like to call or drop Colonial Hills Baptist Church a note telling them that this isn’t ok, you can do so here.

Update 1: As of this morning the video has now been taken off the youth group Facebook page. It remains to be seen whether an apology will be issued or if Colonial Hills will simply pretend that the video never existed.

Update 2: A copy of the video has been unearthed. A retraction or apology from Colonial Hills has not.

Update 3: People who have contacted Colonial Hills have received the following response:

Yesterday evening, our youth ministry posted a homemade video to its Facebook page that was meant to be a humorous introduction for the incoming 7th graders. It was originally created for a special parent/teen event that evening in which graduating seniors were honored and incoming junior highers were welcomed.

After posting this video online, several folks alerted us to a perspective that we had regretably overlooked. These friends expressed their concern that the video demonstrated a disrespect toward women, a trivializing of abuse, a depreciation of victims, and an undermining of the edifying grace of the gospel. While the video was certainly recorded to be more of a slap-stick spoof, we understand that our lack of discernment may have been hurtful for some and damaging to the cause of Christ.

As followers of Jesus, we firmly believe in the equality and unity of all believers in Christ (Galatians 3:28; 1 Peter 3:7), and so we apologize for the apparent dishonor accorded to women in this video. We furthermore delight in and desire to emulate the character of our Lord who was gentle and compassionate (Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 9:36; 11:28-30), and so we are sorry for thoughtlessly downplaying abuse and belittling its victims. And as those who have been underserving recipients of the kind grace of God, we regret that we have failed to reflect that grace to others (Ephesians 2:7).

Our senior pastor (Pastor Phelps) is currently out of town and has not seen this video, but please know that he will be reviewing this situation with the church staff upon his return and will work to mentor us toward better judgment in this area.

Sincerely in Christ,

Keith

Keith Lewis
Young Adults Pastor
Colonial Hills Baptist Church
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252 thoughts on “Violence Against Women”

    1. That was disturbing.

      It makes me think that that’s what the leadership would LIKE to do to the people who make them mad instead of loving them, like, you know, JESUS told us to do.

      1. now, now …. lets not let Jesus stand in the way of establishing the “AUTHORITY” of the cult leadership. I mean pastoral authority trumps anything someone may have said 2000 years ago… hey-men? And our rules are superior to anything that may have been written 2400 years ago. I mean if you keep our rules then you will automatically be kept from breaking God’s rules… hey-men?
        HEY-MEN! Now that’ll preach right there!

        1. Who is this Jesus character you keep mentioning? I wouldn’t know him by these typical IFB shenanigans.

        2. I think Jesus is that Mexican guy who mows lawns on my street. Has about 12 drinking buddies he hangs out with after work. They have some interesting conversations.

  1. Soooo, according to this video the Administrator can physically assault any kid he deems necessary to whatever degree he wants for rule infractions?
    If they were trying to be funny… they failed miserably.

  2. Amateurish and woefully unaware of its own lack of humor. There is a marked difference between good natured slapstick and gleefully trivializing abuse. This video fails at the former and excels at the latter.

  3. 1. Why does it take six minutes to go over a few basic rules? I understand their desire to explain their rules in a humorous way, but this is TEDIOUS. Some seriously editing was needed and a much faster pace.

    2. Gotta love how RIGHT after the youth pastor throws softballs at students he’s angry at, they state the rule – Respect Others. I kinda think respecting others means you don’t fling softballs at them in anger.

    3. I find it interesting that the youth pastor happily kisses the softballs (an instrument of punishment) but simulates throwing up when he sees a boy who wants to kiss a girl.

    4. I understand being funny. But I agree with the post that an adult man pretending to beat a teenage girl to punish her for disobeying the rules is NOT FUNNY.

    5. This video I think reveals the underlying anger underneath a lot of fundies’ spiritual veneer. I’ve known a lot of very angry fundies.

    6. I also think this video reveals how the IFB focuses on obedience and punishment instead of grace. Their message is Dare to Disobey and You’ll Get a Beat-down!!!

    7. To illustrate their lack of understanding of the concept of grace, when the guy comes in with the out-of-dress-code shirt, the pastor says that it “may seem cool . . . but it’s not.” Then he adds, “HE NEEDS TO GO.” Not “He should change.” Not “He needs another shirt.” But “He needs to GO.” Violate their rules and they don’t want you around.

    “But it’s just supposed to be funny!” you say. “Stop reading so much into it.” But I think violence is serious, especially for followers of Christ who are supposed to be meek, gentle, kind, and loving. But who wants to do that when one can whack people with bats?

    1. You are righr, PW. It was supposed to be funny. But it wasn’t. At all. I could understand someone not being amused by some, but this failed in each vignette. Badly.

      This shows how little regard typical Fundy leadership has for the intelligence of the target audience.

    2. PW, I LOVE your way of thinking and your thoughts. I enjoy reading every bit of them. If you were near me I’d hope we could be friends. It is amazing all that you have to offer. You have it with such kindness, love and grace. I find myself still getting too disgruntled about things. I have to get better. I am still in the early stages of shedding the scales that come with such absurd teachings.

      One of the biggest things I have learned is that you canNOT bring a person to do right by guilting them with every sermon you preach. You canNOT beat a person down and expect them to bounce back a better person. If you beat a dog long enough he will turn on you. Humans are crazy to keep taking that garbage.

      I have come to the great realization that God REALLY IS love! I didn’t get that. Now I do and it makes me want to serve Him more and more.

      Thank you so much for your insight and thank you for your kindness you offer here.

      1. Thanks for your kind words!

        The power of love is amazing. It’s sad that the IFB settles for the law, control, authority, and fear instead of love.

    3. I’ve done youth work. I had one rule: Respect. Respect where you are. Respect your adult role models. Respect each other. Respect yourself.

      I think the idea was supposed to be slapstick. People need to know that slapstick requires hours of practice to get right. Lucille Ball practiced in front of a mirror every day to get it right before the cameras rolled.

  4. “Amateurish and woefully unaware of its own lack of humor. ”

    “But I agree with the post that an adult man pretending to beat a teenage girl to punish her for disobeying the rules is NOT FUNNY. ”

    Perhaps the key to all of this is that the kid narrating is not in any way an “adult man.” Oh I’m sure he has an adult man’s urges, and I agree it’s not ok for him to pretend to beat anyone, nor cut off anyone’s hand. But the reason the whole thing looks amateurish to such a painful degree is it was conceived and executed by children. In typical fundy fashion, someone who is still a child himself has clearly been made “youth pastor,” which is letting the inmates run the asylum. On several different levels…

  5. What???? This is absolutely terrible!!! I’m aghast at this. So very wrong on so many levels!! I agree with all of the comments already posted. Pastor’s Wife has it right in her 7 points and comments.

  6. So here’s a list of things that bothered me, in order of their appearance:

    1. Someone 12 years old is leading all these kids into the ditch.
    2. Someone older than 12 has told this 12-year-old that he should call himself “Pastor Nate,” and the title is already going to be kid’s head.
    2. The comedic timing is abysmal.
    3. The comedy is childish.

    1. And, I didn’t finish. Sorry. Don’t know what happened.

      4. “Pastor” Nate didn’t practice for anything he was going to say or do. Probably much like he doesn’t prepare for his “sermons.”
      5. “Pastor” Nate is so impressed with his own humor that he can barely contain his giggles.
      6. Remembering to “respect your leaders” is the very second rule, before even rules about clothes and such. Obviously someone’s head is so big it’s threatening to fall off the shoulders.
      7. Wildly beating up a girl. And hitting her an awful number of times on the butt.
      8. It’s funny to be dead!
      9. Mocking the preaching of God’s word.
      10. Assaulting people smaller than you.
      11. Delighting in violence
      12. Chopping off a minor’s hand.
      13. Making a mockery of spending time in God’s Word.
      14. Beating up girls a second time.
      15. You know what? It IS your parents’ responsibility to know where you are and track you down. Especially if you’re in this place.
      16. Making an even bigger mockery of God’s Word.
      17. That IS NOT A BASEBALL BAT, YOU IDIOT.

        1. Bju, perhaps. A quick internet search sites his wedding website from last year. But he and the missus had bju.edu emails.

        2. I finished my second masters in one calendar year, thesis included, at a major state land-grant university. It can be done.

          And I lost a lot of weight that year, since I couldn’t work many hours and thus couldn’t afford to eat well.

  7. The whole “unquestionable control” subtext was too cultish.
    It’s not the freaking Marine Corps where instant willing obedience to orders is required in order to save lives and survive combat, this is “Church Camp” for pity sake.
    If the presentation of these rules are indicative of the “preaching” that will be taking place then I would seriously question what they are presenting to Children as the Gospel.

    1. To be fair, the goal of “instant unquestioned obedience” in the military is not about saving lives, and often results in the exact opposite. It is actually necessary for risk assessment. Battle commanders have to know that troops (which even with today’s tech remain largely invisible) are doing as instructed; otherwise strategy would be impossible.

    1. If that is “pastor” Nate, he is married and boasts a masters degree – he doesn’t list the college so it’s probably unaccredited.

  8. I sent the church the following email. I’ll not be holding my breath waiting for a response….

    ————————————

    I…..want to make sure that the pastoral staff is aware of the concern I raised.

    First, let me tell you three things about myself. 1. I am a follower of Christ. 2. I am a husband and a father. 3. I am a child abuse investigator and a law enforcement officer.

    A video was recently posted to your Facebook account in which violence against women and children was displayed in a way that makes a mockery of the seriousness of those topics. Abuse in any form, of anyone, is no laughing matter. I have dealt with literally hundreds of abuse victims, and none of them would appreciate the treatment their victimization was given in that video.

    Also, as a fellow believer in Christ, I implore you to consider how this video will look to the non-believers who will inevitably stumble across this video. Does this video advance the cause of our Saviour? Is it edifying to the saints? Does it further spread the message of the Gospel in a way that will attract non-believers to a faith in God?

    I say not.

    In today’s world of viral videos and world-spanning blogs, please consider that this inane video may do irreparable harm to the name of Christ in the eyes of many. Please, I implore you, remove this video immediately.

    Thank you,

    [Stack]

  9. This is NOT acceptable. Making light of beating a teenage girl with a bat is horrible. Shocking that a church would produce a video making violence toward women seem okay – IT NEVER IS.

    #yesallwomen

  10. I’ve also sent an email. I’ll follow up with their reply. Mine simply read …

    Are you aware that there is a video on the Youth Edge Indy Facebook page in which a pastor either beats a young girl unconscious or to death?

  11. Nate Utley is married and claims to have a (probably unaccredited) bachelor and masters degree. He looks young, he acts pathetically childish, but he doesn’t seem to actually have the excuse of youth to fall back on.

    1. According to his bio he got his masters a year after his bachelors. That seems a bit fast for a real degree. I wonder which Basement Bible College degree mill he attended. Homeschool U?

      1. Hey Tiarali. I left some comments for you under the fugate emergent church thingy. Just in case you don’t see them I just want to apologize to you for how I must have come across. Disrespectful, overbearing, trying to ‘convert people back’, talking down to people. Please forgive me.

    2. Agreed, if you mean in the sense that he could uphold it as an excuse.

      But what concerns me is the matter of maturity, not age. In maturity, Nate is manifestly still a teenage boy. That kind of immaturity should have disqualified him for any leadership role of this type in a church. He should be admonished for his foolishness, and if he truly desires to serve Christ in a pastoral role a wise pastoral staff would work with him directly to help him put away childish things.

      That’s why his mockery of preaching and reading the Word actually concerns me more than anything else on the video, as repugnant as I find both the simulated beating of girls and the chopping off of a boy’s hand. To me that mockery symbolizes the problem at the heart, which is the root of his immaturity and all the other problems.

  12. Does anyone else think the C.H. Baptist Church logo looks perverted?

    p.s. Fundies don’t get that this crap is anything but funny because they don’t get that their world is full of real abuses.

      1. Kind of like a V E R Y naive wife of a SS teacher I once had. She gave a baby bib to a lady at a baby shower that said “Spit Happens”. LOL!! She had NO and I mean NO clue what she had done.

  13. Yikes! That is my cousin. We attended Comunity Baptist Christian school in South Bend, IN together and then he went to Bob Jones. This is totally unacceptable and completely disturbing. I am in shock.

  14. What I find woefully disturbing is the concept that a good youth group has a codified rule book. My kids have always gone to one that reaches out to the local public school. We just graduated a dozen seniors who have a great heart to bring their friends and classmates to their Savior. Part of being evangelistic is meeting people with their rough edges. We would never belabor a rule book. If someone has ever been way out of line, it usually been handled with a minor talk.

    I don’t see this as a culture promoting violence against women, as much as an epic fail at comedy. It happens a lot when the youth leader is barely older than the students. Colonial Hills would do well to develop a rule book for stupid videos.

  15. While I know this was suppose to be done in fun, it is horrendously insensitive to the message they are suppose to be teaching the youth and to any victims of any violence.

    Obviously the mock beating up of women and young people for not living up to the rules is reprehensible.

    I also found the students sneaking behind Pastor Nate with “guns and rifles”, while pointing them at Nate, awful. In light of the school shootings, this is insensitive. But how many children find a gun and play with it, accidentally shooting a friend or a sibling each year? I would think even in a video which is suppose to be humorous, responsible handling of even a toy weapon would be warranted.

    And of course, the entire video from the tennis balls thrown at people, the assaulting of the young ladies, to the cutting off of a hand for stealing someone’s cell phone–are all contrasted by Jesus’ teachings–turn the other cheek, if someone asks for your coat give them your shirt, love your neighbor as yourself.

  16. I wonder if the teens in his youth group found this funny. Sometimes I wonder if my perspective is based only on my experiences with abuse. I showed it to my two high school sons — one is 9th grade, one 11th. Neither found it to be funny at all. Most of it they thought was stupid. The two sections of hitting girls with the padded baseball bat they expressed shock that a church would do a video like this. They found it distasteful and inappropriate.

    As for me, it turned my stomach. I recoiled and instinctively turned my head away when he was hitting her with the bat. As my 15 year old said, “Foam bat or not, that’s just not funny.”

  17. Cutting off hands, “stoning” with tennis balls, beating women, arbitrary dress codes….I’ve thought for a long time that a lot of fundies despise Muslims so much because they are secretly horribly jealous that Muslims can impose Sharia law and fundies cannot.

  18. Wow. As a youth pastor for 12 years I was ready to defend this video. I know how twisted we can be when it comes to stuff like this and trying to find humor when explaining rules. But this video is reprehensible. The youth pastor is clearly immature and the lack of Hoss grace in dealing with the rule infractions is evident.

    Beating the girl twice was terrible (complete with sound effects) the boy hitting on the teenager was sick…

  19. Video has been removed. I sure hope someone saved this or has mad computer skillz and can go fetch a cahed page or somehting like that (not for my enjoyment – to expose the IFB for what they are).

  20. I think that the Indianapolis media should be made aware of this. Not to mention law enforcement and whatever state agency is in charge of protecting minors.

  21. From the Charles Phelps Bio:

    “With five kids of their own (ranging in age from midtwenties to teens), they have “been there and done that” and learned from more than a few mistakes (some comical and some serious).”

  22. I got on SFL to see if there was a new posting, and the video has already been yanked.

    It would be nice if they would post an apology on FB and also apologize to the members of their church.

    1. Considering he hasn’t apologized to Tina Anderson, & he is still hosting documents on his personal website that claim Tina was dishonest and after money (THREE full yrs after Ernie Willis was convicted on all counts including 2 of felony forcible rape), an apology for the video seems unlikely.

  23. The following quote is from a very intersting article related to the Southern Baptist Convention entitled THE CHURCH & VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. I couldn’t find ANYTHING from fundystan:

    “Male violence against women is a real problem in our culture, one the church must address. Our responsibility here is not simply at the level of social justice but at the level of ecclesical justice as well.

    We must teach from our pulpits, our Sunday school classes, and our Vacation Bible Schools that women are to be cherished, honored, and protected by men. This means we teach men to reject American playboy consumerism in light of a Judgment Seat at which they will give account for their care for their families. It means we explicitly tell the women in our congregations, “A man who hits you has surrendered his headship, and that is the business both of the civil state in enacting public justice and of this church in enacting church discipline.””

    http://www.russellmoore.com/2012/11/25/the-church-violence-against-women/

    1. I like “surrender his headship” – in fundyland the wife is just supposed to continually pray for her abusive husband and of course never divorce him. I also like your user name – I did a drawing of him once 🙂

      1. My former IFB dictator/CEO/Authoritarian/mannogid/arrogant SOB/Infallible One/Flawless One/I-Never-Do-Anything-Wrong-Ever-One/gid’s Annointed One/My “Church” is the only light in my community One/Chuch Phelps Supporter/Bob Jones Lover/I’m Job/Everyone hates me One/I hate Obama, I hate Obama, I hate Obama, Obama, I hate Obama, and did I mention in my last sermon, I hate Obama? One/Self-Sermon-Illustrator One/I Love Me One/And did I mention that I never do anything wrong, believe anything wrong, say anything wrong, see anything wrong One?

        Alexander is not a honorable figure in the New Testament. I just find it sickening that some MOGs use this man to describe anyone that doesn’t agree with them in every point. These are very sick men who claim to have God in their back pockets.

        Okay, I feel better. Now I need to go have a cup of Starbuck’s coffee. Oops, they love gay people! I can’t get anything right.

    2. A rather sexist and patriarchal take on the whole question, but at least they come out against violence against women.
      Do they say the same about violence against children?

  24. Didn’t have a chance to watch it – thank God! While it might be too much to ask for, let’s hope this is a teaching moment for young Nate. Physical abuse, emotional abuse, violence against women – these are real problems in our culture, and making light of them does no one any good.

    I understand that humor is often part of a youth pastor’s job. Not always – different pastors have different styles – but it’s no excuse for the kind of mockery of abuse described (to be fair, I haven’t seen it.) But humor usually works better if it’s self-deprecating, or if it kicks upward, at the powerful, rather than down, at the powerless.

  25. I’m shocked, shocked, that they have taken down my critical posts on their Youth EDGE Indy FB page. Wow! Whoda thunk it? Because nothing says it didn’t happen like censoring critical opinions.

  26. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNtQ6YT_zAo
    Funny, by everyone’s descriptions it reminds me of THIS little gem.
    Misogynistic? CHECK!
    Simulated (or implied) violence and or humiliation of women presented as comedy? CHECK!

    Next time someone should make a recording of the posted video from off their screen via cell phone or other camera.

    Remember, this “Church” was the last stop on Bob Jones University President Steve Pettit’s last preaching tour…………..coincidence?

    I think not.

    1. From the You Tube comments, the (most) annoying character in this video is Chad Gleiser. He’s an interesting one to google, with the word “scandal”.

  27. I woke up too late this morning to see the video before it was removed. Based on others’ descriptions, I’m not altogether sorry to miss it.

    When I was a youth, I can imagine myself and my buddies making such a video. But we had adults in charge of our church youth group, who would have stopped us from circulating such ill-considered “humor.” Where was the adult in this group?

  28. Violence in the “name of God” toward anyone is unforgivable; especially toward those who cannot defend themselves. Here’s God’s take on it: The Third Commandment – What it REALLY means!

    “The Third Commandment also has not fared well in English. Lo tissa et shem Ha-Shem Eloheikha la-shav is usually translated as “You shall not TAKE the Lord your God’s name in vain.” Many people think that this means that you have to write God as G-D, or that it is blasphemous to say words such as “god-damn.” Even if these assumptions are correct, it’s still hard to figure out what makes this offense so heinous that it’s included in the document that forbids murdering, stealing, idolatry, and adultery. However, the Hebrew, Lo tessa, literally means “You shall not CARRY [God’s name in vain]”; in other words don’t use God as your justification in selfish causes. The Third commandment is the only one concerning which God says, “for the Lord God will not forgive him who carries His name in vain” (Exodus 20:6-7). The reason now seems to be clear. When a person commits an evil act, he discredits himself. But when a religious person commits an evil act in the name of God, he or she discredits God as well. And since God relies on religious people to bring knowledge of Him into the world, He pronounces this sin unpardonable.” — Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Literacy

      1. Agree. Thanks for pointing that out, RC. I remember long ago reading someone (CS Lewis, I think) explaining the 3rd commandment in a similar way, summarizing the gist of it as taking your own agenda and adding “thus saith the Lord.”

  29. Didn’t get to see the video.

    Violence (even simulated) against females smacks of sexual sadism. Young Nate should be watched. He works with young girls. But it’s Phelps’ church. If Nate molests one of these girls she will probably be compelled to apologize to the church & confess that she seduced him.

    1. Many churches in the BJU circle have fundy-lite tendencies. Remember, even BJU allows girls to wear pants in public now at certain times or places. A couple of the BJU-influenced churches in my area have pics on facebook of youth group events with girls in pants.

    2. Yeah, Northern Fundies especially of the BJU variety have largely abandoned many of the stereotypical fundy memes in favor of more subtle and “discernment” based rules. Its really less and less about being all that different from the rest of the world, but just being separate from it. In fact, the two BJUish churches I was part of at one point or another had youth groups that were far more worldly and evil than than my children’s public school friends, or their youth group at our current church which they view as “entertainment driven” and not “separated enough” But they wore the right clothes, went to the church school, and stuffed most of their behavior far out of sight of any in leadership or their parents. I am familiar with both Colonial and Community South Bend and none of this is a surprise.

      I don’t mean this to defend the guy, but this is clearly supposed to be funny. The fact that its really not will be lost on him and Chuckie I am sure who will just chalk it up to the continuing persecution of their godly stand against CCM, calvinists, and people who won’t separate from Northland.

  30. Remember he is Interim according to the church website. Interesting.

    Point of interest. Phelps son was youth pastor until the church bus accident coming from camp (the wilds) last year that took his life, along with his pregnant life. It was national news for a couple days.

    This man-child Nate was the guy called up from the minor leagues to fill the spot… definitely a rookie.

  31. Great timing! Our church had a guest speaker yesterday who made a joke about punching his wife in the face… crickets.

    We did not return last night.

  32. I got here too late to see the vid, but I’m still appalled.

    I know this kid. Nate was a poster child at Community Baptist South Bend for clinging to faith when your life goes to hell in a hand basket. (For those keeping track of the not-work, Community is pastored by none other than Chuck Phelps’ BFF, Dave Pennington, also a BJU grad.)

    Nate, you may have some unresolved anger issues toward women. See a REAL counselor. Learn why this isn’t funny.

    And once you learn why this isn’t funny, you can tender your resignation to your sorry excuse for a shepherd, Chuck Phelps.

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