Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Patterson & Vines: Their words raise questions

Recent lewd conduct charges against Florida pastor Darrell Gilyard brought a media spotlight to sex abuse accusations made against him years ago in Texas… and to how Southern Baptist leaders reportedly turned a blind eye. The story implicates two former Southern Baptist presidents, Jerry Vines and Paige Patterson (shown at right). Now they’re both trying to do damage control, but their words raise more questions than answers.

Former Southern Baptist president Jerry Vines now says:

Let the truth be found and let justice be done.”

  • Why wasn’t he more concerned about letting “the truth be found” BEFORE all the media attention?
  • Where was his concern for “the truth” when he lent his own name and credibility to Gilyard by reportedly speaking from the pulpit of Gilyard’s Florida church?
  • Where was his concern about "justice" for Gilyard's prior victims when when he “agreed to forgive” Gilyard for his troubles in Texas?

Former Southern Baptist president Paige Patterson now says:

“Mr. Gilyard is very convincing and he always denied the accusations.”

  • Will Southern Baptist leaders take action only if a clergy-perpetrator admits his deeds?
  • Will a clergyman’s denial trump even dozens of accusations?
  • How safe are kids in Baptist churches if Baptist leaders take action only if a minister actually admits to sexual abuse?

I was neither an investigator nor a judge but the president of a small Bible college. I certainly did not have resources available to me to pursue the case…when allegations concerning Mr. Gilyard were brought to my attention.”

  • This “golly – gee whiz – I didn’t know what to do” attitude of Southern Baptist leaders is wearing thin. Then and now, Paige Patterson was a very influential Southern Baptist leader. Criswell College was connected to what was then the largest Southern Baptist church in the country, First Baptist of Dallas. When someone as powerful as Paige Patterson whines that (gee whiz) he wasn’t “an investigator,” and (gee whiz) he didn’t “have resources,” it provides a good illustration of exactly why Southern Baptists so desperately need the resource of an independent review board to objectively and professionally consider clergy abuse reports. If a high-honcho like Paige Patterson can’t do a better job of handling abuse allegations, why do Southern Baptist officials keep pretending that ordinary pastors in ordinary churches are going to be able to handle things any better when one of their staff ministers is accused?
  • Does the ordinary Baptist church have more resources than Paige Patterson and First Baptist of Dallas? [For Bellevue people, Patterson’s self-exculpatory remark must have brought back memories of pastor Steve Gaines’ “uncharted waters” excuse. That was Gaines' explanation for why he kept quiet about a staff minister’s confession to sexual abuse of a kid. Though Bellevue is a prominent church with more resources than most, Gaines apparently just didn’t know what to do. Gee whiz.]

“I never asked anybody to remain quiet about anything.”

  • In 1991, a woman publicly stated that “Paige Patterson asked me to refrain from speaking to anybody about this.” So who’s telling the truth? With troubling accounts from so many college students and church women, someone should get to the bottom of it, and that’s why SNAP called upon the seminary’s trustees to fully investigate.

The leadership of the [Shiloh] church was fully aware of the fact that all of this had gone on.”

  • Were they really “fully aware” or were they merely aware of the minimized version of events that Patterson publicly described, when he said that Gilyard confessed to “adulterous relationships?”
  • Were they really made “fully aware” that what numerous college students and church women reported was actually sexual abuse and sexual assault?
  • Were they really made “fully aware” of how many people reported Gilyard – 25 at his first church alone?
  • Didn’t it at least send a mixed message to Shiloh when a former Southern Baptist president preached from Gilyard’s pulpit and thereby lent him credibility?
  • If Southern Baptist leaders wanted to make Shiloh “fully aware” of how egregious Gilyard’s conduct was, why did Vines reportedly speak from Gilyard’s pulpit?
  • And why does Patterson now point the finger at Shiloh when, back in 1991, Patterson was making public statements blaming Gilyard’s victims? He said the complaints against Gilyard involved “culpability on the women’s part” and that “it’s amazing how jealousy, frustration and racism can be motives for making accusations.” With public statements like that from a high Baptist leader, is it any wonder why Shiloh people may have been confused?
  • No doubt the leadership of Shiloh bears some blame. But isn’t it also long past the time when Paige Patterson should take a hard look at himself and at how his own failings played a part in this?

I agree with Jerry Vines: “Let the truth be found.”

But the truth needs to be found, not only about Gilyard, but about ALL credibly accused Baptist clergy. That’s exactly why SNAP has been urging Southern Baptist leaders to create an independent review board for receiving and considering clergy abuse reports. If Vines feels any regret for his “poor choice” of speaking in Gilyard’s church, then he should turn his powerful voice toward supporting a review board.

Both Vines and Patterson now have an opportunity. If they choose, they can learn from the mistakes of the past and use those mistakes to make things better for others in the future. Will they? That may be the most important question of all.


gmommy said...

These so called leaders have no integrity!

Christa Brown said...

anonymous wrote:
There is another peacher here in Jacksonville working for the ********** and married (this was years ago)and is fowl. ******** is with a church on the north side of Jacksonville Florida.

Now that things hitting the fan, they trying to save themselves. I agreed, let all the truth come out. Time to clean up.

[I deleted the accused preacher's name and place of employment, and reposted the comment. Anonymous: If you have any published news link on the guy, please email it to me. CB]

Anonymous said...

This was great commentary, Christa! In reading the response of Paige Patterson, I was continually reminded that every part of this issue boils down to one simple course of action: do the right thing. I would like to hear an explanation from Patterson of exactly what resources are required to investigate claims of abuse. It seems fairly simple to me: gather the information, talk to the people, ask the questions, refer it to the authorities. They then take the action requiring resources.

I am also fairly dumbfounded that it seems impossible for people like Patterson to understand that, when minors are involved, they are legally required to report instances of suspected abuse to the legal authorities. I cannot fathom why such "educated" men, who rage at the thought of a believer having a drink and at the long overdue rise of women to positions of leadership in our churches, cannot bring themselves to read and comprehend the written law. What happened to the understanding that there is a Biblical directive to obey the civil authorities? Further, what happened to the understanding that an adult exploiting a child is wrong in they eyes of the law and of God?

Paige Patterson has been so comfortable with having his way that he has become anesthetized to the effects of his actions (or he simply does not care). This is another example of Patterson and other SBC power brokers forcing their agenda on a denomination of over 14 million people.

Jerry Vines should have to answer for his role in this mess, but I hope that he is sincere, and join him in saying "let the truth be found."

Danni said...

Dead on once again! I've linked and made some comments on my blog too. Thanks for all you do!

-- Danni

Anonymous said...

Right on the mark! Leaders, this is your chance to do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

BUSTED is right! Christa, I am so glad that you can finally write all you did without fear of retaliation from those men themselves. The truth has been spoken. Now, how will they deal with it? It will be very interesting to see. The is the time that Jerry Vines and Paige Patterson can show themselves to be true men of God. Or it is the time that their true colors will be shown and people will see how deceit and lies are what this deonomination is all about. The ball is definitely in their court.


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

jeri said:
BTW, a few years ago, when I was informed by more than one source that notorious adulterer, pornographer, and primse suspect in the mysterious death of Brent Stevens, *********, started attending First Baptist (while Vines was pastor), I sent Jerry Vines an information packet detailing his incredibly sordid and destructive history in Baptist churches. Vines' assistant, "Jacki" dealt with me and eventually stopped taking my calls. to this day, ************, after having been expelled from three different churches Miller Road Baptist, Pinellas Park Baptist, and Berean Baptist of Orange Park) for adultery and still the prime suspect in the death of Brent Stevens, is in that church. The congregation has NEVER been told of his history of domestic violence, pornography, and adultery; and he has NEVER been brought before the congregation for church discipline.

You can't even total the lives *********** has ruined. But Vines never subjected him to biblical church discipline.

[Sorry jeri...I reposted your comment with deletion of the accused preacher's name. I hate doing that, and I know the story you're talking about is dreadful and beyond dreadful...but I don't think I've got a published news link for the allegations against the guy. Can you send me one? CB]

Jeri said...

Easiest link to send is the news documentary, "Preying from the Pulpit," produced by a Detroit Michigan news team, (May 1993 by WJBK of Detroit, Michigan, Anchor Vince Wade) which details the entire Hyles dynasty and its corruptions up to that point (1993). Here is the audio series from my own blog:

Christa Brown said...

Thank you Jeri! Jeri's audio documentaries are revealing of how clergy-predators accomplish their ends through twisted biblical blasphemy, fear, humiliation, and absolute control.

I find it fascinating to now learn that Jeri tried to bring this to light with Jerry Vines...only to be ignored, as her prior comment reflects.

Jeri said...

So, (and this is a serious question) now can we name him? The man in question is Dave Hyles. I'm not trying to break your rules, and I apologize if I am coming on too strong, but I hope any FBC-JAX members will consider the example of Gilyard and go back to FBC-JAX and demand an investigation into the history of Dave Hyles. If the church elders investigate and report to the congregation that they are satisfied, fine. Then at least THEY are accountable if Dave harms anybody else. But right now, a man with a scarlet history is sitting comfortably in that church, with nobody the wiser.

I won't be upset if you delete this, and I'm not trying to get around your rules for credible reporting, but if I have met your criteria for allowing his name, please allow it.

Anonymous said...

Jeri - is Dave Hyles currently a member at FBC Jax? Or is he just a person who attends? Can you point us concerned FBC Jax members to a picture of Dave Hyles so we might be able to identify him?

Jeri said...

I don't know if Dave is an attender or member. (He should not be there with the congregation unwarned in either case, of course.) I regret that I do not have a picture of him. He is of medium height, no taller than 5 foot 8 or 9, and his hair, which was blond-brown when he was young, has thinned a good deal. He would be about 55 now.

He is incredibly charming and likable to talk to. He knows a lot about restoring furniture. You would never talk to him and think he is the man who has caused so much suffering to so many vulnerable people. His wife's name is Brenda, and the two children that he acknowledges are two girls, high school age now. Last I heard, one of them was regularly dating the son of one of the pillar families of the church. I may learn more Sunday when I talk to a contact down there. I will post more info then.

Dave has an incredible ability to sense when the winds are shifting, and I don't doubt that the good ol' boy network has already equipped itself to deny charges of letting predators into the church, and probably warning Dave out. So Dave may be making himself scarce right now.

Christa Brown said...

Info about Jack Hyles, with various links, is in Wikipedia. And if you scan down to "controversy and criticism," you'll also find some of the allegations and questions surrounding David Hyles.

New BBC Open Forum said...

This is interesting, too.

Anonymous said...

I am dumbfounded. I came across this blog a couple of weeks ago. I know Patterson was great about confronting Clinton's antics at the SBC several years ago. To let Gilyard go on like this...bizzare to say the least. Prayers for you Mrs. Brown.

Anonymous said...

Hello Christa...I know the man you speak of...for he mollested my then girl friend while he was paster at Miller Road. This dude destroyed our future.and unfortunatly has warped this girls mind in such a way that she thinks it is all her fault.She turne her back on me in 1986,and did not tell me why.I am recently putting bits and pieces together and finaly figured it outI have not seen the girl since 1986..but i still love her with all of my heart, we do stay in contact and she still sees a shrink but oh how i miss her...Thats how this dirt bag has destroyed our future..