What Jeri Massi has here is very much worth the read. I will elaborate more on this later, as there are several factors that I wish to address.
I don’t know if I should drink a beer in honor of the authorities who busted these guys, or excoriate them for their tactics.
While their ethics might be questionable here, I cannot say that I lament the demise of these pedophiles.
Prison is too soft for them.
Lise, writing in TWW in a firsthand account of an abuse situation handled very badly at Providence Baptist Church, makes a very salient point:
People called Doug Goodrich a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I call the Pastors who knew and did nothing the shitty shepherds who let the wolf in.
Everyone should read Lise’s story. Sadly, her account underscores some key points I have made from here on many occasions:
(1) Pedophiles and molesters will flock to churches for the same reason (that’s where the kids are) that armed robbers hit banks (that’s where the money is).
If your church has a substantial children’s and/or youth ministry, you should expect that someone who is sexually-attracted to kids or teens will be trying to get a foot in the door. Don’t ever think that because (a) your children’s minister is a respected seminary graduate, or (b) you run background checks on everyone, or (c) that your people are of sterling character, that “that would never happen here.”
(2) Pedophiles generally don’t look evil or creepy. In fact, they are often the most trusted people you’ll meet. They will be “cool”, they will have charisma, they will be good with people, they will often be married and have kids.
When someone accuses them of wrongdoing, you won’t want to believe it!
(3) But what YOU do when an accusation is made is the difference.
Are you going to dismiss the accusations and even malign the accusers?
Are you going to “do your own investigation”, and intimidate the accusers into recanting?
Are you going to ignore the accusation altogether?
Or are you going to report the matter to law enforcement and allow them to investigate?
At Providence Baptist Church, leaders allowed Goodrich to skate: they dismissed and maligned accusers, they ignored obvious red flags, they even tried to cover up the truth when it became crystal clear that Goodrich was very guilty of heinous abuses.
Even worse, the pastor showed no sense of gravity of the situation. While I get that he was on sabbatical, there comes a point when one must show up for battle–ready to “bring it”–when a wolf shows up.
It’s time to say to Hell with the vacation. If you don’t understand that, then you aren’t worthy to be the shepherd.
In the case of Providence Baptist Church, it wasn’t about David Goodrich, who was a wolf in sheep’s clothing; it was about, as Lise puts it, the “shitty shepherds” who gave him an executive pass.
Deb at TWW reports on the case of Steve Jesmer, pastor of what was The Dialogue Church, who raped a 13-year-old girl in his church office.
One more reason you ought to be skeptical of anyone who has charisma.
To their credit, church leaders who became aware of the incident were prompt in getting to authorities. And by all accounts, the church was cooperative in the investigation.
The Deebs are pounding on a “church” that desperately needs a serious pounding or ten. Keep hammering them, and don’t be charitable.
It appears that the AP report has drawn the interest of both American and Brazilian governments.
This is bad. People are going to be heading to jail for a substantial amount of time.
The whole Word of Faith movement–long having proven themselves to be heretical at best–can’t get a black enough eye.
As I read this story, all I could think was, “You’ve GOT to be kidding me!”
He was a “church counselor” at the time, all while he was clearly living in a fashion that reflected mental illness if not outright demonic possession?
This is why I am very skeptical of youth ministers, children’s ministers, and even music ministers.
HT to Amy Smith of Watch Keep, who linked to this story on FB.
I saw this on the Charlotte Observer yesterday in my news feed. Amy Smith followed up on that with a tweet, and now Deb at TWW has followed up on it. This is not the first time TWW has given Word of Faith Fellowship of Spindale, NC a well-deserved kick.
As far as I am concerned, the ministerial staff at WOFF has provided a good case for why we need to bring back burning at the stake.
Or better yet, let Pilgrim and myself have their leaders for a weekend in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky…
If this story has traction–and since there is an audiotape of the exchange, it appears to have legs–there could be a major shakeup of the Kentucky political apparatus.
Julian Carroll (D), a former Governor, has enjoyed a very secure position in the Kentucky Senate. His level of influence in the Democratic Party in Kentucky is not far-removed from that of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for Kentucky Republicans.
If this were simply about Carroll’s offenses, that would be bad enough.
But the larger issue here is the political apparatus that has swept offenses like these under the rug.
Hat tip to Dee at TWW. This is nothing short of reprehensible.
Make no mistake:
(1) Heads need to roll, and at every level.
(2) Seminaries need to be completely upended.
(3) Every ordained minister and parachurch leader needs to be put under investigation.
Those found guilty need to be imprisoned for life.
Oh, and don’t think for one second that this isn’t almost as rampant in the Baptist/congregational world.