Friday, April 24, 2009

"Probably none"

Last Wednesday in Indiana, Baptist pastor Chester Mulligan was sentenced to one year of probation for felony stalking of an underage girl.

Mulligan pled guilty to the felony stalking charge and admitted that he went to several different addresses “and harassed the victim.” It was a plea bargain; sexual abuse charges against him were dropped.

Originally, Mulligan “was accused of having sex multiple times with a then 14-year-old girl.”

Court records allege Mulligan had sex with the girl numerous times… at the church, church office and church baptistry.”

The probable cause affidavit alleged that, when the girl wanted him to stop, he told her that he would “start using her sister.”

Investigators talked to the sister, and she told them that she too “was fondled by Mulligan.”

Police officers questioned another pastor in whom the girl had confided back in 2001, when she was 18. The pastor said he believed her, “because when he confronted Mulligan about the accusations, Mulligan fled Indiana.”

Mulligan went to Oklahoma, where he got work as a chaplain. Then he “accepted the call” to Miami, and he’s currently the pastor of Grace Baptist Church there.

After charges were finally brought against him in Indiana, Mulligan bragged that he was “a well-known preacher” and that “other pastors throughout the country” were contributing to his defense.

I guess all those “other pastors” did indeed help Mulligan’s defense. Prosecutors first filed the charges in 2003, and the case dragged on for all these years. And now, in 2009, he plea bargains to a felony stalking conviction with no jail time.

When asked what impact Mulligan’s conviction would have on his job as a pastor, Mulligan’s attorney said, “Probably none.”

So there you have it, folks. That’s how low the standards are for Baptist ministers.

If a Baptist minister isn’t literally and physically thrown in jail, he can go right back to a Baptist pulpit. No one will stop him.

Mulligan has a conviction on felony stalking of a 14-year old, but because he wasn’t thrown in jail, the conviction won’t stop him. It’s impact? “Probably none.”

He also settled a civil case with the victim. But obviously, if a criminal conviction won’t take a Baptist minister out of the pulpit, then a civil settlement won’t either. It’s impact? “Probably none.”

The victim’s sister told police that Mulligan had fondled her also. So there was at least a second allegation of abuse. It’s impact? “Probably none.”

If a Baptist minister isn’t in jail, then he’s free to stand in a Baptist pulpit… and free to stalk the young.
____________________

Update 4/26/09: Even after pleading guilty to felony stalking of an underage teen, Mulligan still told the Miami press that "he is no stalker," and he again bad-mouthed the teen-victim, accusing her of seeking "revenge." He doesn't sound very remorseful, does he?

Mulligan said his Miami congregation "was aware of his arrest and pending charges when they hired him." "They've stood behind me," he said.

Read it in The Miami Herald ... and try not to puke.

54 comments:

Junkster said...

Christa,
What this guy did is contemptible, and he deserves to be in jail, and he should never be able to serve in as a pastor again. And Baptists should have means of reporting and tracking guys like this, so that churches would have the opportunity to check them out and hopefully reduce their ability to simply move on to another church that is unaware of their history.

As you have previously stated, it is a misuse of the doctrine of autonomy to say that Baptists can't establish a process to review allegations of abuse and keep a database of the findings. But autonomy does mean that, even if a review process and database were in place, individual churches could chose not to use it, or they could use it and ignore whatever they learned from it, and hire the abuser anyway.

So, in that case, it would still be true that, as you said, "If a Baptist minister isn’t literally and physically thrown in jail, he can go right back to a Baptist pulpit. No one will stop him." No matter what preventative measures are taken, Baptist structure and doctrine don't and won't allow any person or group to compel churches not to hire even a convicted abuser, if the churches so choose.

So, my question is this: what, if anything, do you think can be done to truly "stop" Baptist predators? Is the most we can ever hope for to reduce the problem by making it more difficult for abusers to hide by moving from church to church? If you were to see that take place, would you consider your goals met? Okay, that's three questions, but you get the idea. Just trying to get an idea of what you would see as the ideal outcome.

Christa Brown said...

Junkster:
If Baptists are going to rest power in autonomous congregations, then congregations need the resources, the expertise, and the information with which they might make good decisions. Ironically, I think I probably hold MORE of a belief and trust in the power of ordinary congregants than what I see most Baptist leaders holding in practice. If they believe so strongly in the power of local congregations, then why not give the congregations all the information they need? So yes... I hope that, with a professionally-staffed review board to more objectively assess clergy abuse reports, and to keep records on abuse reports, Baptist congregations would then have a more reliable source of information and would be more inclined to make better decisions.

In addition, the decisions of a denominational review board are something that reporters can write about. This would mean that, even if a congregation still wanted to keep a minister who was determined to be credibly-accused of sexual abuse, the media would be able to report on that review board determination, and the press coverage might put some additional pressure on the congregation. And even if it didn't, at least people in the pews and in the community would have had the opportunity to be warned. I figure you can't MAKE people open their eyes if they're determined to keep them clamped shut, but you can at least give them the possibility of seeing.

Also, if a church decided to keep a minister who was determined to have been credibly-accused of sexual abuse, it's also possible that the church's insurance carrier might put pressure on the church to rethink the decision.

In addition to better protecting others against abuse in the future, I would also hope that a professionally-staffed review board might be a place to which those abused in the past could be received with compassion when they try to report it. For clergy abuse survivors, so much greater damage is done, both spiritually and psychologically, when they are received with such enormous hostility... as they typically are. In effect, I think a review board could also be a possibility for ministering to the wounded by simply hearing them... or at least it might be a small step toward help with healing instead of shoving survivors 30 steps backwards.

Christa Brown said...

Incidentally, Grace Baptist in Miami is not an SBC church. But of course, the same sort of thing could and has happened in SBC churches.

Anonymous said...

Personally I would appreciate it if you would always let us know if the person you are accusing is a Southern Baptist. Sometimes you stretch even a dog walking down the street into something Southern Baptist.

Christa Brown said...

If Baptists want to know which accused, charged and convicted ministers are Southern Baptist, as opposed to some other type of Baptist, then Baptists themselves need to keep better records. Sometimes it's almost impossible to tell. And just because a man doesn't show up on the SBC's current online listing of ministers doesn't mean he's NOT a Southern Baptist minister. Many of them still are despite not being on the online listing... or they have been SBC in the past. Many of them move from one Baptist group to another.

I had a national network news reporter call me just yesterday asking about the pastor of a Baptist church in California. Even with all the resources and research abilities of a national news network, she couldn't figure out where to turn for more information on the pastor. That's how tough it is. Besides, as I mentioned in my prior posting, I don't think the world at large makes the sorts of small distinctions Baptists themselves make among themselves. The world at large sees the word "Baptist" and lumps them all together... which is all the more reason why ALL Baptists should work cooperatively to ferret out the clergy predators who roam among them.

gmommy said...

I will over correct until something legitimate is done about Baptist predators. I will assume all Baptist clergy are not safe for now.

There is no excuse for not taking the sin and crime of sexual abuse very seriously. No excuse why leadership, ministers, and the people in the pews close their eyes and minds and refuse to protect the innocent. This goes way past ignorance.

Elisabeth said...

I just looked at the church's website. They have to be right and good! They're Fundamentalist Baptist!

I know, sarcasm isn't good. But I think that's one reason many of these guys get away with it. They can act "different from the world" on the surface so people give them a halo and refuse to believe they can do anything as bad as what they did!

Check out the last point of the statement of faith on his church's website:
13. As children of the Lord, we should endeavor, by God’s grace, to live a consistent Christian life and refrain from worldliness in general, to so conduct ourselves that we will not be a stumbling block to anyone (Rom. 12:1-2; Col. 3:1-17).

BTW, Christa, I'm glad you brought this up even though it's not SBC. Not only does the media not make a difference, but the public at large tends not to, and also a lot of people in Baptist churches will go from one Baptist church to another. If you ask people not in Baptist life what's the difference between Southern Baptist and Independant Fundamentalist Baptist, you will get a "Huh?" I think some people in Baptist churches don't really know the difference either!

Jeri said...

Unrepentant and unhindered by men who get upset if a woman wears slacks, Mulligan has gone on his merry way...until Hell opens up under him and provides the ultimate take down. Thank you for the update!

Michelle said...

Oh, this girl deserves support from everyone.

I agree Junkster, what the guy did was contemptible and by not supporting this girl with all their undeniably large amounts of power, the Baptist church is destroying itself spiritually. Those that treat others in such awful ways hold no spiritual authority.

I long to divert all my anger and bitterness and just plain "sick-at-heartness" to do something to help this girl. I guess, as always, I stand up here and say, "I'm completely behind you, I weep for what happened, and IT SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED, EVER."

Be safe. I ache for what happened to this girl and her sister. I get it, the pain of it, and how I wish I could help you more. It makes me cry, it should make everyone cry, that her trust was stolen.

If the Baptist church cared they'd pay for her counseling, punish this 'minister' and be there for her in all spiritual ways.

Michelle said...

And while the Baptist church might not be impacted by the incredible pain this girl has suffered and the horrible evil this pedophile perpetrated (which demonstrates their own spiritual bankruptcy) this girl HAS made an impact in individual lives. The closer we can band together, the more power we have as survivors. So thank you to her, from one survivor of clergy abuse to another. You've shown alot of courage. Shame, shame, shame on the Baptist church for betraying her to such a degree.

John said...

While I try to understand the pain so many of you have gone through I hope some day you will be able to see that "all Baptist pastors" are not perverts. Some of us really tried hard to follow God's Word and His leadership. It really upsets me when a few bad apples ruin the work that so many have worked so hard to accomplish.
I will continue to support and pray for all of you.

Jeri said...

John if you claim to follow God's Word then follow it. Put those men out of church office and warn the church at large. It's that simple.

John said...

Jeri,

Nothing would please me more. Give it time. Yes, I know that time means more victims, but, this power structure has been in place for many many years. Nothing would please me more than to stop tis dreadful problem. Please, let's do what we can together, not put up incorrect bariers.

Jeri said...

Hey John, the minute you step forward to actually do something, you're obedient to the calling that you claim and the allegiance you *say* you have to the Bible. Until then, you're not. It's a rebuke to you that women have to do what you, a man called an elder, refuse to do.

Christa Brown said...

"...this girl HAS made an impact in individual lives.... You've shown alot of courage."

Absolutely! Unequivocally! I hope this girl/woman is forever proud of herself. At enormous cost to herself, she brought to light a piece of the truth about this man, and whether or not people actually do see it, she at least gave them the opportunity to see it. For those who haven't followed this story, Mulligan publicly said awful things about this girl over the past several years... it had to have hurt horribly. And all those other pastors who Mulligan says gave money to help with his defense... where were their voices in sticking up for this girl? Where was her faith community in rallying around HER?

"I hope some day you will be able to see that "all Baptist pastors" are not perverts."

I think most of us already know this: most Baptist pastors are not perverts. But without some Baptist system of accountability and record-keeping, it's almost impossible for people to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys. Knowing that wolves can so easily hide among the shepherds, without the shepherds bothering to unmask them, is enough to make us doubt all shepherds. And personally... I think doubt and caution are healthy. Many of us also wonder greatly about why so many of the non-pervert "good guys" remain so silent. Ultimately, I believe it is the silence of the many that does even greater damage than the dastardly deeds of the few.

I think it is a mistake to view this as a problem of "a few bad apples." People need to begin seeing how the barrel itself facilitates the rot.

Michelle said...

John,

What context are you quoting from when you use quotations around "all Baptist pastors"?

BTW-- So I don't misrepresent myself, I was raised Adventist and abused in the Adventist church, not the Baptist church. I come here because there is a bigger network with Baptist survivors and alot of my family is Baptist, so I understand it better than I understand Catholic survivors. I speak as an Adventist survivor, one who hasn't had to deal with the Baptist beauracracy, but the Adventist Conference. It's similar, and I find help here, hoping to learn from the admirable leaders here so I can bring it back to those within my own ex-denomination.

Christa Brown said...

Michelle,
This is certainly a club that no one would voluntarily choose to be part of, but whatever the religious background, we're glad to have you among us anyway.

john said...

Jeri,

Please understand, I amnot opposing this effort. However, you did say two things that concren me;

1. You imply that I have not done anything to fight this efvil. Jeri, you have no idea what I and members of my family have done and suffered for fighting this battle on the local church level. An example my son dared to bring up a staff member's son on charges of inappropriate behavior with a minor. No laws were broken, no contact was made, but left alone a child was going to get hurt. As a result his entire family had to leave the church because they were viewed as trouble makers. I warned him of this possibility but he wanted to do the right thing. And this is not the only example.

2. I have never expressed my position on the role of women in the chgurch on this or any blog. So how you can come down on me as you did is perplexing.

Jeri, I support what is trying to be done here. I am trully sorry if I offended you or any of the others on this blog. Please forgive.

Jeri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeri said...

How do you support it, John? By coming on to a web site and saying that you do? Or by confronting the leadership of the SBC over their actions? When you get up in the pulpit on Sunday, do you pray for these victims? Do you write to them? Do you learn their accounts and represent them before Christendom? If you even pray for them from the pulpit, you'll be the first Baptist pastor I've ever heard of who did.

The Lord Jesus didn't break a bruised reed or quench smoking flax. So maybe my cynicism is too strong. Then again, James rebuked the Christians who merely bid the poor to be fed and clothed. Standing by and wringing your hands is not sufficient, especially given your office. And if you are taking objectively quantifiable steps to set these matters right, by all means share them. I'd love to drop dead of surprise. What a great way to go.

Lydia said...

One of the problems is that the teaching on women tranports into less respect for women in general. We are seen as objects to serve men by the teaching of most churches.

Now we even have women saying that men have to change this because we are powerless because we cannot be elders, etc.

That is bunk. We do have the power of the Holy Spirit. We do not need man made titles to make a difference. An elder is someone who lives out Matt 5. I know women like that who have much more spiritual influence than many with titles conferred by men.

We can start with teaching girls that ALL true believers are anointed and given gifts by the Holy Spirit. There is no 'male christianity' and 'female Christianity'.

Men and women were made for each other. Mutual submission as Eph 5:21 states. A woman is not a jr associate. She is an ezer. Like God was described as ezer.

Let's start with the basics and stop waiting around for men to do all the heavy lifting. I speak up on this all the time.

Lydia said...

Junk, most of these guys would not get past a pulpit committee if it was known there was a serious accusation. But then, pulpit committees are going out of style. Being replaced with a few men and no women.

Jeri said...

Yes I've done a few things too, Lydia. But there is still a difference between Authority and Power. Granted, Power is better, and I have it, as does any woman in Christ. Then again, we can't pretend that God has not ordained authority. He specifically did. And Authority has its responsibilities. I and II Timothy are not written as qualifications for a woman to become a wife or a mother. They were written to lay out the qualifications for a man to become an elder. And the SBC ignores those qualifications and the due process laid out in Scripture. And that is to their shame, every single one of them who lays claim to that authority.

Christa Brown said...

Actually, these con-men-pastors get past pulpit committees and deacon boards all the time. Why? Because they're con-men. And because they're good at it. And they convince the other men that the accusations they're hearing aren't really "serious accusations." They come up with a gazillion explanations.

And the men on the pulpit committees and deacon boards are like most people in that they want to believe the best about someone who's in front of them, particularly someone who presents himself as a man of God. (And if the man is already in the pulpit, they're also sometimes inclined to view the pastor as the "core asset" of the church, and they think about things like the mortgage on the church building, etc. etc. - so that they often also have financial incentives not to believe the worst.)

That's one of the worst things about con-men-pastors. Many other sorts of con-men prey on the weaknesses of people -- their desire for an easy dollar, etc. But con-men-pastors prey on what is good in people. They escape accountability because they prey on the congregants' and deacons' ordinary and good human desire to see and believe the best in others. And they prey on their young victims' hearts of trust and faith in things uncomprehended.

Elisabeth said...

I've seen a lot of Baptist pastors who care. The problem is they don't have authority on any level above the local church. If their church is large enough they might have some voice in the associational level, but the ones who are really in a position to have a voice at the national level do not care enough to try to do anything about the problem.

And of course the Independent Baptist Churches don't answer to anybody....

Elisabeth said...

Ohh, Christa, that's good! Most con men prey on the weaknesses of people. Con men pastors prey on the good in people. That's so true - and that also makes them worse than most con men.

BloggerT7165 said...

For me the guideline in viewing a church or sect or even religion is that it's love and kindness that define the truly spiritual ones.

For christians, in Galatians 5, Paul writes about this "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."When you have oppression, intolerance, cruelty, collusion, willful blindness, willful ignorance, etc. it is a delusion to think that this is somehow spiritual or "Godly".

And if a religious organization, group, or even indivdual church are not taking active steps to speak up about these issues they are just as much a part of the problem due to their silent acceptance.

Christa - There is an old quote that addresses perfectly the reactions you often get when speaking the truth:

The first reaction to truth is hatred - Tertullian QuoteAnd to borrow from Plato with a twist:

"The price good men pay for indifference to these issus is to be ruled by evil men."

Jeri said...

Christa, with respect, con men will go to the easiest places to access, and in religion, that's Baptist churches. And what makes Baptist churches so easy to infiltrate is 1) a governmental structure that is deeply flawed and unbiblical, and 2)a culture that many Baptists view s being Bible-based, when actually it is a mixture of Dale Carnegie optimism, leftover bits of the Puritan work ethic that have been rearranged way beyond what the Puritans envisioned, and American folklore, all mixed in with Bible passages. As soon as a predator knows how to speak the language of this culture, he's in the door. And I would also add that I think a lot of these con men believe their own lies. I would not at all be surprised if Chester Mulligan views himself as being persecuted for his faith simply because he "slipped up", and the real fault lies with his victims. Let's not forget that extreme narcissism has a role with these predators.

Christa Brown said...

"...con men will go to the easiest places to access, and in religion, that's Baptist churches."

Yes. By refusing to implement effective clergy accountability measures, Baptists are allowing their churches to become a perfect paradise for predators.

Interestingly, former Southern Baptist president Frank Page himself pretty much acknowledged this reality in an off-the-cuff answer to a reporter's question. When a Kentucky reporter asked for his view on whether Baptists should create a database of credibly-accused clergy sex abusers, Page said this:"If we were to have a national registry, what we know happens with true abusers, they just switch to another denomination that doesn't access a denominational database."

So... guess which denomination clergy predators are most likely to switch to? Baptists. Why? Because Baptists don't keep records and because they have less institutionalized oversight mechanisms than just about any other major faith group in the country.

In effect, despite his stated position to the contrary, when caught on his feet, Page put his foot in his mouth and wound up giving the very reason for why Baptists SHOULD create such a database. And it's the same reason Jeri stated: "... con men will go to the easiest places to access."

Lydia said...

"Yes I've done a few things too, Lydia. But there is still a difference between Authority and Power. Granted, Power is better, and I have it, as does any woman in Christ. Then again, we can't pretend that God has not ordained authority. He specifically did. And Authority has its responsibilities. I and II Timothy are not written as qualifications for a woman to become a wife or a mother. They were written to lay out the qualifications for a man to become an elder. And the SBC ignores those qualifications and the due process laid out in Scripture. And that is to their shame, every single one of them who lays claim to that authority.

April 25, 2009 8:29 PM

Sorry Jeri. I have studied this in depth for many years and you are wrong. There are no pink and blue spiritual gifts in the New Covenant. There are too many contradictions in scripture to believe your view. Why would there be a 'new law' in the NC for women that is not in the OC? We have prophetesses in the OC teaching men!

No 'human' has 'authority' in the Body over another human. What you are reading are very bad translations. Mainly translators laboring under a state/church mentality of the king.

All believers have anointing (1 John) and elders look more like Matthew 5 with qualfications in 1 Tim. However, husband of one wife is an idiom that means more like "faithful spouse'.

Elders are 'overseers' who 'model' Christlikeness. They 'stand before' us as mature in the faith. That is not a pink or blue attribute. Sexual organs have nothing to do with it.

If I believed your interpretation then I could not be Christlike because I am female. We both know that is not true. Christlikeness transcends gender.

There is no prohibition from women teaching men. We also know that Junia was a FEMALE apostle (little a).

One reason why women and little children are molested is because of how they are perceived.

If humans have 'authority' over us in the Body, then we are in trouble because all humans are depraved sinners saved by Grace. The authority in the Body is Jesus Christ who works through the Holy Spirit. He often works through those who are not of noble birth, worldly wise, etc. Paul tell us that.

To live in your world is to wait on "men" to do something about evil. If our male pastors are not doing what they should, we should leave. Many are and opting for home church or smaller church where all believers can exercise the gifts given to them by the Holy Spirit.

BTW: To all, I highly recommend The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James.

We have centuries of wrong teaching about women and what they call 'roles' for the genders in the Kingdom.

Christa Brown said...

"To live in your world is to wait on "men" to do something about evil."

Actually... from what I've known of Jeri, she doesn't strike me as the type to wait on men for much of anything. Some of my favorite works of Jeri's are her "Christian art of war" series. She's a 4th degree black belt, and brings some wonderful "fighting" insights to the table. (scan down the left column of her blog)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeri said...

"This blog has turned into nothing but a whine room for disgruntled women."

That's funny, it sounds like the moaning and whimpering of men who haven't got a leg to stand on, to me....

Christa Brown said...

Anon 6:11 - I deleted your comment. Please don't come back to this blog.

This is a civil blog... and you aren't civil. Lots of people who visit this blog have already encountered more than enough of authoritarian, pseudo-religious jerks like you, and they don't need to encounter still more of it here.

And as for your stupid, stupid line of "Why don't we just cut off the anatomies of every Southern Baptist pastor"... I have never ever once heard any Baptist abuse survivor say anything even remotely resembling that. But I've obviously heard that line one too many times from jerks such as you who use it to belittle the thoughts and feelings of survivors when, in reality, it only displays the utter smallness of your own thoughts.

Jeri said...

Lydia, I don't want to fight with you, but lines of authority are laid out very clearly in the New Testament. Paul uses his authority to excommunicate a fornicating young man in I Corinthians and then uses his authority again in II Corinthians to order the church to reinstate him.

I I Corinthians chapter 11, Paul uses his authority to expressly order that women worship with their heads covered. And he further orders that anybody who disagrees with this practice is to be told in short order that there is no divergence from it in the entire church at large (I Cor 11:6).

In II Thessalonians 3:14, Paul orders the entire church at Thessalonica to obey his epistle, and he orders that if any man not obey, the church shall excommunicate that person.

The writer of Hebrews orders obedience to church authority, clearly spelling out that he is talking about those who care for the souls of the readers of hsi epistles (so he's not talking about secular authority). Check Hebrews 13:17.

Jude speaks in reference to the authority of elders to cast out apostates. John also orders one man to step aside from the matter of Diotrephes (who was abusing power) in order to let John deal with it.

We can't throw out the Biblical realities of authority, even in a day when that authority is being abused. And while I realize that some of the orders given by Paul are recognized, even by him, as being customs and not moral laws, there is still evidence that the headship of the entire church at large in the New Testament, made and enforced decisions regarding doctrine and behavior.

Yes, there is a difference between authority and power. Women can be very powerful, but authority int he new Testament (anyway, authority over doctrine and conduct) is given to men. It is also limited in several ways to specify what type of men are allowed to hold authority.

We can argue about custom vs lasting commandments, but the idea that there is no authority or that nobody has rule over anybody in the church is spurious. There is such a thing as church authority, and it is laid out in the New Testament.

And while there is evidence of women deacons in the NT church, there is no evidence of women apostles. Though a Junia is mentioned as being of note, or prominent among the apostles, the text is just as valid to be read as saying that Junia was somebody highly esteemed by the apostles, who worked closely with them. Certainly, there is no record, apart from this one cryptic reference, to an apostle named Junia: no school of thought, no epistles, no missionary work, nothing. And since Paul expressly says that he does not allow women to teach, I think we can safely conclude that he did not allow women to teach (I Timothy 2:12). And furthermore, that he had the authority to prohibit them.

It's actually a frail and weak thing to have to cling to authority. After all, this is the downfall of all these little dictators in their pulpits who cover for each other. If we have Christ, we can have power, but not by denying the realities of what the Bible says, nor by seeking to abrogate it.

Christ gained power by submission to the Father, and received power from Him. Christ conquered sin by dying and being raised by the Father. The power of Christianity is given to the meek, the contrite, the lowly. God afflicted Paul to keep him humble and thus make him a better carrier of God's power. It's a very different paradigm to be a Christian. Our source and means of accessing power is not the world's way of accessing power, and we don't have to battle for crowns or thrones or formalized leadership.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John said...

Jeri,

Very well stated! Thanks

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lydia said...

Jeri, I went and read your series and also the series on women, elder, etc.

Some very good stuff but also come clear contradictions. I don't want to fight either but truth is important and since this is a secondary salvic issue, we must be careful not to err on the side of legalism that muzzles over half of all Christians. Satan is delighted with that strategy. He is also delighted that we think we have to 'follow' and 'obey' earthly authorities in the Body instead of Christ.

"Lydia, I don't want to fight with you, but lines of authority are laid out very clearly in the New Testament. Paul uses his authority to excommunicate a fornicating young man in I Corinthians and then uses his authority again in II Corinthians to order the church to reinstate him."

No. Paul gives instruction for the church to do it. There is NO NT scriptures at this time. Only the letters circulating which are inspired by the HOLY SPIRIT. Paul does NOT do the excommunicating. He is answering questions from 'Chloe's people' and giving counsel.

"
"I Corinthians chapter 11, Paul uses his authority to expressly order that women worship with their heads covered. And he further orders that anybody who disagrees with this practice is to be told in short order that there is no divergence from it in the entire church at large (I Cor 11:6)."

A lie from the very pit of hell. In verse 10 the words 'symbol of' were added by translators. Check for yourself. And check well.

Paul is actually teaching that the
woman HAS authority over her own head. That is why he added: Because of the Angels. You will find the answer in 1 Corin 6! Because SHE will also be judging the Angels.

There is a lot more to this very very badly translated passage for a good reason. It is the most abused passage out there for not only this legalism but to affirm the heresy of ESS.

If I agreed with you then I would have to believe that short hair for women is a sin (some do think that) and that long hair for men is a sin. (Paul grew his hair long for a Nazerite vow and of course Samson)

This passage had to do with a cultural situation. Without that context it makes no sense to Western eyes except to make it a legalistic practice that is down right silly. Here is how Paul finished this up because uncovering for women in worship was very hard in that culture. Prostitutes uncovered. And women could be divorced for uncovering...especially if their husbands were not believers. YOu need to study this verse in an interlinear and do a study on Household codes before you subject women to such silliness.

Here is Paul full circle on this issue: He is saying they can judge for themselves. That nature has given a woman 'covering' with her hair. (the part about long hair a sin for men is added by translators. Nature teaches us that ALL hair grows the same. Men and women.

He says the church has no such custom of mandating covering.


For those reading who want to see an exegesis on this visit here:
http://strivetoenter.com/wim/category/1-corinthians-11/

there are a ton of posts exegeting this passage.

"n II Thessalonians 3:14, Paul orders the entire church at Thessalonica to obey his epistle, and he orders that if any man not obey, the church shall excommunicate that person."

Jeri, Paul is an Apostle. They did not have the NT. YOu are transporting the inspired Word of God to a person in this day and time with a title conferred by men
in the church today. We OBEY the WORD. Not man. The only authority any human has in the Body today is rightly dividing the WORD.

"he writer of Hebrews orders obedience to church authority, clearly spelling out that he is talking about those who care for the souls of the readers of hsi epistles (so he's not talking about secular authority). Check Hebrews 13:17."

The word "offices" was added by the translators. There are NO offices in the Body. Only functions.

My cousin and I have a whole series on this passage. I studied it in depth. Your KJV translators were laboring under a state church mentality. A king. I would advise looking at many translations on this and doing a study of the Greek before you start obeying humans instead of God.

Here is a link to that series on the right hand side bar titled: Elders, rulers or servants?

http://coffeetradernews.blogspot.com/

"ude speaks in reference to the authority of elders to cast out apostates. John also orders one man to step aside from the matter of Diotrephes (who was abusing power) in order to let John deal with it."

John did NOT order this done to Diotrephes. You are reading into it what is not there. John even said IF...IF he comes...look at different translations:

NASB

9I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.

"10For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.

11Beloved, o not imitate what is evil, but what is good The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God."

Hmm...IF he comes he will
call attention' to his deeds. Where do you see a command authority in this?

Ever wonder why ALL the Epistles were not written to only the 'elders'?

"e can't throw out the Biblical realities of authority, even in a day when that authority is being abused. And while I realize that some of the orders given by Paul are recognized, even by him, as being customs and not moral laws, there is still evidence that the headship of the entire church at large in the New Testament, made and enforced decisions regarding doctrine and behavior. "

Here is a huge problem with your thinking. There are NO laymen in the NC. We are all 'ministers'. WE are a Holy Priesthood. We have secular authority but the authority in the Body is the Word. Elders are overseers who 'stand before us' as imitators of Christ. The 'church' excommunicates'.

If I follow your logic then what do I do with a Jim Jones? What is his authority? Or was it just a man made title conferred by men?

Seems we are back to square one. We must have wisdom, discernment and know the Word not to follow Apostates.


"es, there is a difference between authority and power. Women can be very powerful, but authority int he new Testament (anyway, authority over doctrine and conduct) is given to men. It is also limited in several ways to specify what type of men are allowed to hold authority."

We will have to disagree. Women taught men in the OC. They were not priests but then we do not have priests anymore. Jesus Christ is now our High Priest. We do not have laymen in the Body. All believers have anointing and are ministers. Women, too.

2 John...the most beautiful verse in scripture for believers:

26I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him

I cannot find your authority in the Body in scrpture except for very bad translations that protected kings in a state church.

"nd while there is evidence of women deacons in the NT church, there is no evidence of women apostles. Though a Junia is mentioned as being of note, or prominent among the apostles, the text is just as valid to be read as saying that Junia was somebody highly esteemed by the apostles, who worked closely with them. Certainly, there is no record, apart from this one cryptic reference, to an apostle named Junia: no school of thought, no epistles, no missionary work, nothing. And since Paul expressly says that he does not allow women to teach, I think we can safely conclude that he did not allow women to teach (I Timothy 2:12). And furthermore, that he had the authority to prohibit them."

John Chrysotom who was much closer to the 1st Century that I am referred to Junia as an apostle. And he was a misogynist! He raved about her being called of noteamong the apostles. There is a ton of scholarship on this. Her name was changed to Junias in one of the translations trying to make her sound like a man.

In order to believe that women cannot teach men, you will have to provide me with definite proof that authenteo means authority over. There isn't any. The Holy Spirit could very well have provided clear Greek words for authority over that He inspired in other passages. Here The Holy Spirit uses this word ONCE in all the scriptures. Scholarship finds that this word means dominate or murder, kill. Jerome translated it as dominaire in the Vulgate.

Also the grammar in 1 Tim 2 is definitly singular. One woman. A specific situation (she was deceived like Eve). There is much more but this is too long as it is.

"hrist gained power by submission to the Father, and received power from Him. Christ conquered sin by dying and being raised by the Father."

Christ GAVE UP His Glory. (Phil 2) This is badly misundertood by those who want authority over others and use the Trinity to teach such things. It is heresy and devalues Christ and His sacrfice on the Cross.

Jesus Christ was Lord of Hosts in the OC. He will be bringing His 'Hosts' when HE comes back. The Pharisees understood Jesus being totally equal with God. Check out John 5:18. Be careful about teleporting Incarnation verses to eternity past and future and using them to prop up earthly authorites.

BTW: There are verses in scripture that say that Jesus said HE would raise Himself up, The Holy Spirit would raise Him from the dead in addition to the Father raising Him from the dead. Check it out.


"he power of Christianity is given to the meek, the contrite, the lowly. God afflicted Paul to keep him humble and thus make him a better carrier of God's power. It's a very different paradigm to be a Christian. Our source and means of accessing power is not the world's way of accessing power, and we don't have to battle for crowns or thrones or formalized leadership."

I totally agree with this. Which is why much of what you are teaching is contradictory.

Christa Brown said...

Personally... I'm no theologian and can't even pretend to be. But I know what I see happening in actual practice.

I grew up in Girls' Auxiliary thinking that the "priesthood of the believer" was a fundamental core concept of Baptist belief. And hey... I even reached the highest rank - a Queen Regent in Service. ;-)

But now I learn that, in 1988, Southern Baptists passed a resolution that essentially degraded the priesthood of the believer doctrine and elevated strong pastoral authority.

I suppose this might be part of why we see pastors dealing with conflict Mac-Brunson-style and also pastors issuing Borgian statements like, "There has to be submission and authority." Those were the words of a pastor at Two Rivers, the prominent Nashville church that is the church-home for many of the Southern Baptist Convention's leaders and bureaucrats -- i.e., the guys with the $200 million in annual revenues (oops.. I mean offerings) and the billions in denominational assets who are running things in Nashville.

Lydia said...

Christa, Let me explain why I am so dogmatic on this issue. I want you to know that I can have fellowship with Jeri but I do believe her teachings are part of the problem we see in the church not only with authority issues but with how women are viewed. They are objects to serve men. The Holy Spirit does NOT illuminate truth to them that they can share with men, etc.

What Jeri is advocating is a professional class of Christians. But we have no layers between us and Christ or the Holy Spirit who teaches us through the Word.

You are right they wanted to take Priesthood of the believer OUT of the BFM. But a compromise was made to add an 's'. This is significant. It goes to the fact that there are many who do not believe anyindividual believer is competent before the Lord. They must have an earthly authority. It is a way to subtly teach that God only communicates or works through 'appointed leaders'.

(BTW: Appointed means 'handstretching' in the Greek as in voting)

Many folks can pass the 1 Tim 2 qualifications and not even be saved! One of my athiest bosses would have passed perfectly. He was a wonderful man. An unbeliever.

Paul was speaking to believers. An elder would pass the 1 Tim test but also look like Matt 5 if he/she were really saved. An elder is mature in the faith.

Lydia said...

Another question becomes this:

Who do these 'authorities' submit to? A tight circle of carefully chosen people who agree with them. they do not think they are accountable to the whole Body because of a title conferred by mere men.

Yes authority/ submission is very popular these days. It has been elevated to a primary salvic doctrine in our churches.

It helped the Hyles do great damage to people and we are headed that way in the SBC. It creates wolves and charlatans. Those who go along are just as guilty.

BTW: I submit to godly humble elders because I know they really care about my soul. I do not submit to a title conferred by men.

REAL elders are obvious because they look like Matt 5. They just are not usually rich and powerful. It might be the janitor or the widow. Their power comes from the Holy Spirit. Their authority from rightly dividing the Word of God.

Let's face it. Our 'institutional' organizations that call themselves 'churches' look nothing like we see in the NT.

Anonymous said...

There is no Biblical basis to back up this "congregational rule" concept. Everyone is responsible to God the Father and we are all to be in submission to Him or it isn't going to work.

The Biblical view of church authority is "THEOCRACY". That means the church belongs to the Lord and He knows how to run it. We just need to listen to His directions.

Jeri said...

Lydia, you have neglected the entire Book of Acts in your lengthy reply. In Acts, titles of authority were conferred upon men in the church at tis very formative stage: Apostle, elder, deacon. THey are all there. Those titles were not something that formed after the Scripture was codified but before.

Before Paul had even been converted, the apostles and elders were making doctrinal decisions in Jerusalem and sending their decisions out to the growing churches, and the deacons were serving, and some were martyred. All of that was in place BEFORE Paul was converted.

Paul expressly wrote this:

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

I Corinthians 5:1-5

There is no reference to "Chloe's people," nor is Paul making a suggestion. He is explicitly giving a command: He has judged, and he is acting as though he were present. He declares this authority for himself, and he makes his judgment, and clearly, they followed it. In II Cor 2:10, he opens a clause in his judgment to allow the church to receive back the young man, now repentant: "To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;" Clearly, Paul is speaking in terms of his authority. He grants them a new clause.

Lydia, the rest of your response goes on and on but is not anchored in the text of Scripture. You just keep saying the translators changed it. and my belief is anchored in the text of Scripture, which I can and have produced as my evidence.

You simply blame the translations when they do not suit you, and you want them to say what you demand that they say.

But this is a verifiable truth from Scripture: power does not come from wresting power or claiming power but from living in the Spirit. ANd living in the Spirit is not a matter of how we feel or the emotions that tell us we are living in the Spirit. Those who live in the Spirit can feel quite weak and frail in the flesh. We can even be placed in circumstances where by the world's reckoning we have little power. But living in the Spirit is a daily, even a moment by moment renunciation of the appearances of this world and its thinking and a constant turning to the Lord in weakness, in confession of sin, and in confession of need. And from this comes the power of the Christian.

If I were weak, I would be swayed by you. BUt as I am strong and have come to strength by human weakness and frailty, I do not believe you, and I see my beliefs vindicaetd in the text of Scripture. By Jesus Christ I have no authority, but I have power. Men in authority dread and fear what I have to say. That is power enough. But they are in roles of authority, and they are responsible, by those very roles, to repent of their negligence and sin and cleanse the corruption in the churches.

As for the hair issue: Paul never uses the word "sin" but rather "shame": a spectacle. No, nobody who actually beleives the Scripture believes that Paul is saying short hair is a sin on women, btu rather, if they pray or prophecy in church with their heads uncovered, they are making spectacles of themselves. I'm sure that back then it was true. And the covering for the woman stipulated by Paul was a veil. Her hair was natural veil, which he teaches is grounds for using a cloth veil. And no, translators didn't add to that passage.

You cannot keep updating the Scripture to suit you by saying the translators added stuff. There's just no evidence of that. The Scripture says what it says, and it offends the flesh but gives life and strength to the spirit.

And we see in Galatians that Paul rebuked Peter, another apostle and an elder. Paul's right to do this was the oligarchical nature of eldership. From the grass roots up, church members could bring grievances forward against elders. (Paul references this in his epistle to Timothy.) No elder was to hold a monopoly on power, and any elder could be put out, as John hints regarding Diotrephes.

Lydia, you're just going to have to do better than insisting that every point you don't like came from a translator adding it in.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Thy Peace said...

Off Topic:

Jacksonville Times-Union > Blogger sues after Jacksonville cops out him to First Baptist.

A Jacksonville blogger filed a lawsuit Monday claiming police and state prosecutors violated his constitutional rights to anonymity and free speech in a 2008 criminal case “fabricated” solely to uncover his identity for First Baptist Church.

The lawsuit also claims the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and State Attorney’s Office violated the First Amendment’s establishment clause by disclosing the blogger’s name to the downtown megachurch. Doing so amounted to taking sides in a religious dispute between the blogger, Thomas Rich, and the church, according the suit.

The suit does not name First Baptist as a defendant because only government agencies can be held accountable for the violation of citizens’ free speech rights, said Rich’s attorney, Michael Roberts.

The suit seeks damages of at least $15,000 — the minimum required to file a case in Duval County — for what it describes as the ongoing “emotional anguish, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life” as a result of Rich and his wife being barred from the church they had attended for 20 years. The couple joined another Southern Baptist church as a result.

Rich launched his blog in August 2007. In it, Rich chastised Pastor Mac Brunson and other First Baptist Church leaders on everything from salary and housing to fundraising priorities and ministry objectives.

Rich said Monday he wanted to remain anonymous partly to keep the focus on the issues and he feared retribution.
The suit rejects police’s assertion the investigation was meant to protect the congregation’s safety.

“The criminal investigation was fabricated to create the illusion of legitimacy but was, in fact, a mere pretext for the disclosure” of Rich’s identity to the church, the lawsuit says.

Church officials could not be reached Monday. But its top administrator, the Rev. John Blount, has told the Times-Union he called Detective Robert Hinson last fall to report increasing vitriol on Rich’s then-anonymous blog, FBCJaxWatchdog.blogspot.com.

Blount said he also told Hinson, a church member, that mail had been stolen from Brunson’s home and that a stalker had taken photos of Brunson’s wife. Although police reports were never filed on those incidents, the church wanted to know if the blog, letters and photographs were connected, Blount said.

The investigation, which lasted from Sept. 29 to Nov. 13, ended with no criminal findings
.

My thanks to Nass (New BBC Open Forum):
New BBC Open Forum > We want to minister to everybody...
... except those who ask questions we don't want to answer
.

Christa Brown said...

Thanks for the update on the FBC-Jax case, Thy Peace. And for anyone wanting a laugh, be sure to check out the video on the New BBC blog.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elena said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Christa Brown said...

Elena said...
The man plead guilty to STALKING – o.k. let’s see what THAT means. According to the website http://womenscenter.virginia.edu/sdvs/stalking/definition.htm for abused women it states the following:
“Behavior wherein an individual willfully and repeatedly engages in a knowing course of harassing conduct directed at another person which reasonably and seriously alarms, torments, or terrorizes that person. Stalking involves one person's obsessive behavior toward another person. Initially, stalking will usually take the form of annoying, threatening, or obscene telephone calls, emails or letters. The calls may start with one or two a day but can quickly increase in frequency. Stalkers may conduct covert surveillance of the victim, following every move his target makes. Even the victims home may be staked out.”

Did he “threaten” the girl? Well, I guess you might call it that if he finally kicked her out of the church. Wouldn’t it be interesting to poll high school teachers and principals around our great nation and ask THEM if they EVER “threatened” any student. That would be interesting information to find out – I believe we’d be SHOCKED to find out how many of these trusted leaders “threatened” your student! You see, we all would LOVE to believe that the AVERAGE 14 year old girl (or boy, for that matter) is some sweet, innocent child; and that your average church leader is some pervert! Wake up AMERICA!

*********
The FACT is that the pastor plead NOT GUILTY to EVER TOUCHING THIS GIRL – He plead guilty (after many years in the court system) to stalking, which according to the definition of the word, could mean what your average Middle or High School teacher is doing across America. I (and my family) have the PRIVILEGE of being a member of Grace Baptist Church and sitting under the leadership of this godly man. Of course now a days a great deal of pastors “tip toe through the Bible” leaving out the part that says that the “unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers…and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire” (Revelation 21:8). I am so thankful there is still such a man as Pastor Mulligan that is more worried about offending a Holy God than being “politically correct” in the eyes of man!

Note from CB: I deleted the middle paragraph of Elena's original comment and reposted the rest above. I'm not going to let anyone tag a 14-year-old girl with the words Elena did, not on this blog. And Elena, the fact that you say your harsh language is biblical doesn't mean a hill of beans to me. To the contrary, I think your comment just made my point. Unless a Baptist pastor is literally thrown in jail, the impact of serious accusations, multiple accusations, and substantiated accusations will be "probably none."

Jeri said...

Oh dear, could Elena be Fullcourt/Blessed Union from the FFF, or are there two such mindsets walking around?

So how many sociopaths does it take to uphold a wicked Baptist pastor?

Anonymous said...

If he plead guilty to stalking and he did not stalk her then is he a liar? He either stalked or he is a liar. Either way, he is no longer qualified to Pastor (I Tim. 3). I know him very well and godly is not a word that comes to mind when describing him. He has a horrible temper, he flirts with women constantly and he leads by intimidation. That's not godly.

Anonymous said...

I'm a day late and a dollar short, but then I don't look up ol' Chester very often. I've known Chester for a long time and knew of him long before that. He was always a pig - even way before he was a pastor. He was famous in Canada for his "womanizing". I can not believe that Kelly has stayed with him all of this time. I certainly hope that his sons do not follow in their father's footsteps, and hope above all hope that Hailey does not end up brainwashed and subservient to her husband when she gets married. Don't be surprised if this happens again - Chester really can't help himself. The last time I saw him he was a "devoted baptist", married with 4 kids, and that didn't stop him from trying stuff with me. He really believes that it doesn't matter what he does, all he has to do is ask God for forgiveness and then he's working from a clean slate yet again.