Tom Chantry Guilty

I’ve been following the case of ARBCA leader and pastor Tom Chantry for a little over two years. (ARBCA is the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches in America. It is a hub of NeoCalvinism, and Tom Chantry has been a mover and shaker in those ranks. Many ARBCA leaders are either family or friends of Chantry.)

Chantry was on trial for multiple counts of abuse, to include child molestation. Last year, he was convicted on two counts of aggravated assault, while the jury deadlocked on a child molestation charge. This year, he was retried, charged with four counts of child molestation.

Yesterday, the jury found him guilty on all four charges.
The jury also determined that there indeed were “aggravating circumstances”, so Chantry will be facing a hard sentence on July 19.

(HT to Todd Wilhelm of Thou Art The Man, who attended the trial and provided down-to-the-minute reporting via Twitter.)

Two years ago, as Chantry awaited trial, I wrote the following:

The case of Tom Chantry, a Reformed Baptist leader who has been indicted on multiple criminal charges, including child molestation and aggravated assault, is not simply about Tom Chantry.

If the evidence supports the charges against Chantry–which are damning–then Chantry is far from the only culpable party here.

That is because, if Chantry is guilty, then his abuses were enabled by a culture that, in spite of ostensible proclamation of Scripture regarding sexual matters, knowingly coddled leaders who were sexually licentious and who abused children.

And if that is true, then every one of those leaders would be better off taking a long swim with a millstone around his neck.

In Chantry’s previous trial last year, the judge–weighing in–noted the damnable evidence that implicated ARBCA leaders in covering up abuse. He said that, if ARBCA were on trial, that they would likely be convicted.

ARBCA leaders should be very nervous right now, as Chantry–a leader whom they have defended and covered for years–now has SIX felony child abuse convictions, with the “aggravating circumstances” tag to boot. And he still faces an additional nine charges later this year.

The larger issue is the rampant abuse and coverup culture in the Church, which encompasses both Catholic and Protestant/Evangelical ranks.

Big Evangelical has been rocked badly, as major leaders–Mark Driscoll, Tullian Tchividjian, C.J. Mahaney, Joshua Harris, Bill Hybels, James MacDonald, Perry Noble, Paige Patterson, Andy Savage, and Ravi Zacharias–have either been nailed for (a) heavyhanded, malevolent leadership, (b) gross financial malfeasance, (c) sexual abuse, (d) coverup of abuse, or (e) some combination of all the above.*

Even worse, entire denominations–from ARBCA to the Independent Fundamental Baptists to the Southern Baptist Convention–have aided and abetted this culture.

To some of us, this is no surprise. While this culture is not restricted to Church circles, the fact that it is pervasive in Church circles ought to be alarming as, among all institutions in the world, the Church ought to be setting the example and leading the fight against this culture.

The silver lining in this: this immolation in Big Evangelical is a good thing, as this should force Christians to rethink their entire Church paradigm that recruits, rewards, and promotes leaders who are narcissistic, Machiavellian, sociopathic wolves with the best-looking sheepskins.

We are in need of a Great Awakening, and this can be the foundation for it.

May we not squander this opportunity.

*And those are just some of the “high profile” names. The ranks of abusers in the lower-tier clergy are voluminous.

5 thoughts on “Tom Chantry Guilty

  1. Judgment begins at the house of God. Justice be done. And the guilty pay with due penance. Thanks be to God.

  2. Regarding Big Evangelical: I’m afraid it might take at least another major crisis or two before we finally see necessary change come to the institutional evangelical church. The Southern Baptist Convention hasn’t yet demonstrated a serious willingness to change, although I hope next month’s annual SBC meeting will prove me wrong. Sovereign Grace Ministries is a shell of its former self, yet the leadership continues to resist calls for an independent investigation. With the notable exception of Joshua Harris, the leaders you mentioned have either gone into hiding or are desperately seeking to reinvent themselves without demonstrating significant evidence of true repentance. And while Harris is off to a good start by reevaluating courtship theology and discontinuing the publication of I Kissed Dating Goodbye he needs to come clean about some other matters, such as what he knew regarding the SGM sex abuse coverup scandal.

    • It will be more than two major crises. But the conflagration is in progress.

      In the past few years, many Big Evangelical leaders have taken a pounding:

      C.J. Mahaney
      Joshua Harris
      Tullian Tchividjian
      Perry Noble
      Bill Hybels
      Andy Savage
      Larry Cotton
      Chris Conlee
      James MacDonald
      Mark Driscoll
      Ravi Zacharias
      Paige Patterson
      Eddie Long
      Tom Chantry
      Mark Aderholt

      And those are just the BIG fish.

      We know of at least one seminary professor–at SBTS–who was forced to resign due to #churchtoo-related offenses. Many lower-tier pastors, youth ministers, and missionaries have been fired, forced to resign, charged/convicted of sex crimes in the last 5 years. The new charges and convictions are voluminous; they show up on my Twitter feed on a daily basis.

      The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Houston Chronicle have blown the lid on a large number of sexual abuse scandals and coverups, and those are the tip of the iceberg.

      Big Evangelical is not far from a major implosion. It will take a few more crises, but those dominoes are going to fall.

      • The self appointed thought police can only cover up so much before one wonders where the good guys went. Before the sheep get an inkling of what their tithes have been used to buy and cover up.

        • “The self appointed thought police can only cover up so much before one wonders where the good guys went. Before the sheep get an inkling of what their tithes have been used to buy and cover up.”

          Since this is coming out and those responsible are getting their just discipline or that the false shepherds are being flushed out. God is doing this. Praise God for his work.

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