Is the Victim Guilty?

My private email and comments both here and other places have repeatedly brought up the issue of the victim’s sin. In this post I would like to suggest some thoughts that I think are biblically sound and will clarify why I think the victim’s sin, particularly in this case, is a moot point.

Clear through all the emotionalism and remember that the conflagration is about the public handling of an adult/child relationship that ended up in a pregnancy. The words that are bandied about are “church discipline” and “public confession.”  It is fair to analyze the situation and try to determine where, if ever, there has been an unbiblical mindset about public sin.

Here is the obvious problem. The sin has been made public by God. Pregnancy is the result. Pregnancy is public. Out of fairness to Chuck Phelps we need to remember this obvious fact. At this point, it is no longer an issue of keeping things quiet among as few people as possible. I have experienced having to deal with an illegitimate pregnancy that demands some kind of acknowledgement of the situation or leadership could appear to be ignoring and covering up a matter of immorality. It’s a damned-if-you-do-dammed-if-you-don’t scenario sometimes. I am not among the accusers who think that Chuck Phelps was deliberately covering it up. I think he’s the product of a sub-culture and so vainglorious that he can hardly conceive of the possibility of having failed.

I do not know him or the church well enough to assert that they were absolutely not covering up sin. However, if he was covering up immorality (or so inclined) he would not have ordered up a pregnancy and he certainly could have been a lot more discreet about placing both the victim and the perpetrator on the platform in the same evening. I imagine it was a catastrophic attempt to combine discretion and openness at the same time.  I speak as a fool here because obviously he was put in a place where he had to react to what was being handed to him, but some people pretend as if he was part of a conspiracy. Pregnancy is public. He had to react.

However, I agree with the angry critics because it was the victim, not the perpetrator, that got the short end of the stick and I think it is right to say that she was wrongly treated because of a systemic abuse of victims in fundamentalist circles. I insist on the word “systemic” because I do not think that IFB people consciously scheme about how to make people suffer. They are rightly offended by the rants of some of the angry “survivors” because they know themselves to be sincere, loving, and earnest in their desire to follow the way of Christ. While it is granted that there are some abusive monsters in the sub-culture and that there has not been a conscientious and honest effort by the IFB circles to purge them out, all of them pleading the “autonomy of the local church” to justify their silence, I disagree with the extremely angry survivors that every IFB is a perverted child abuser (or so they imply). But I do agree that abuse is systemic in the culture of IFB. It is systemic because of the general IFB understanding of church, discipline, sin, authority, and the Bible. Thus, I get both sides angry at me.

The pregnancy was obviously the result of sin. The most obvious sin is the sin of an adulterous adult taking advantage of weak minor who obviously had a troubled past. What is not so obvious is whether the victim was complicit or not. Sadly, it seems that many people think that this must be determined or at least admitted before any proper judgment can be made. This is why there is still so much hurt and confusion to this very day and why many more victims will continue to remain in painful silence.

I would suggest that this confusion is the result of fundamental misconceptions that most churches (not just IFB) embrace concerning sin and church discipline and the need for “going public”.

If you think of sin as things that you do or don’t do, you will trick yourself into thinking that you can adjudicate guilt.

IFB, particularly, tend to think of sins, not sin. They tend to think of sin in terms of violations and transgressions or the breaking of rules. Legalistically, they tend to believe that certain sins deserve certain strokes and, as is typical for legalists, buy into the eye-for-an-eye adjudication of faults and sins. Therefore, many church people agonize over whether it is fair to pin 93% of the blame on the adult man when the underaged girl may be actually 28% culpable. They, therefore, struggle to find a way to deal with the sin in a way that “sentences” fairly. They truly try to adjudicate guilt.

What outsiders do not fully understand about the IFB culture is that it is a culture of sentencing. Judges sentence. Judges pronounce what kind of treatment a convicted person is to receive. The girl who wears pants is judged worldly and sentenced to shunning. More gracious persons will not actually shun her, but in their minds will judge themselves to be superior and less worldly. Judges make both negative and positive pronouncements. The IFB judge often judges himself, his church, and his culture to be above reproach and they have such a flawed understanding of sin and the gospel that the admission of sin is a devastating and terrifying thing to avoid. Witness the dogged determination to refuse any hint of error by some.  And so the sentencing continues. . . The person who goes to the movie is judged worldly and sentenced to exclusion from service in the church. The pastor who attends the TGC conference is judged “new evangelical” and sentenced to separation. And so it goes.

Granted, there are many levels and varieties of the judging/sentencing, but it is part and parcel of the IFB culture.

The reason why we are told not to judge is precisely because it puts us in the impossible situation of determining an appropriate sentence. James is clear:

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

I wish I didn’t have to waste everyone’s time by explaining that “not speak evil” does not mean “never say anything negative about a person.” Even Paul spoke negatively of people and groups. This passage is referring directly to slander, the intentional misrepresentation of the truth about an individual that often results in judging and unfair sentencing from all kinds of people who have made themselves judges. There is only one lawgiver and judge. Former IFB who are screaming maniacally for the resignation of Chuck Phelps, for example, and claiming that every IFB pastor is complicit in abuse are no less judgmental than the IFB they deplore. But IFB are foolish to not get past the extreme anger and look at the reality of its culture. It is a culture of sentencing that also promotes male authoritarianism and therefore is very susceptible to decreeing harsh sentences on weaker victims.

(That was a charitable way of putting it.)

The IFB Culture is shaped by determining the rightness and wrongness of a person or group by externals.

Since their whole culture is shaped by determining the rightness and wrongness of a person on externals, many within the movement find themselves wringing their hands over how to punish fairly. Invariably, they become guilty of a blame-the-victim bias that clouds their judgment. Insofar as a church thinks that it must properly adjudicate a punishment or sentencing with exact justice on its sinning members it will never arrive at justice and actually end up perpetrating injustice. This kind of understanding leads to unbelievably inappropriate questions such as the alleged question to the victim: “Did you enjoy it?”

Parenthetically, while I do not want to go on the word of one person about something that dates back so far on what was or was not said, I will affirm that I believe that such a question could have been asked. This is based upon other stories I have been told by victims who sought counseling. The inappropriateness is obscene, I think, but it is rooted in a sincere attempt at truth-finding. The excessive amount of probing and invasive effort of trying to get to the bottom of a thing combined with an unhealthy confidence in the discerning powers of authority (“I see a red flag” statements) is all deemed necessary because the pie must be cut fairly, the sentencing must be precise. If the man was 99% guilty, but the girl had 1% of inclination to dress immodestly, good judges must not let that 1% go unaddressed.

However, there doesn’t need to be any more truth-finding. And this is why Chuck Phelps and the IFB generally are rightly under so much criticism.

Here’s all we need to know about TA: she’s a sinner. As a youthful sinner she would have been prone to youthful desires: security, attention, friendship, sexual, etc. As a sinner, even a redeemed sinner, she would have days when those desires were strong enough to become idols in her heart. As a sinner she could be deluded and deceived. As a sinner she could lie and misrepresent herself and others. It is complete reasonable to assume the remote possibility that she idolatrously thought a man would give comfort instead of the God of the Bible. It’s just irrelevant.

Her defenders may rage at me for suggesting what is simply a theological fact. Some want to paint all victims as if they were the Virgin Mary, pure as the windblown snow. This is simply untrue and not helpful to constructive dialogue. Where I agree with her defenders, however, is that all these theological facts are moot points when dealing with a criminal abuse because we are not judges, a pastor is not a judge, and the church is not a courtroom. Paul said it best: “It is the LORD who judges me. Therefore, do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart” (1 Cor. 4:4-6).

So, how does the Lord judge? In this case, it’s so obvious it should not have to be explained to pastors. In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul told the Corinthians

For though I am absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing (v.3).

Paul could “already” pronounce both judgment (“he’s guilty”) and sentence (v.4), because he was appealing to a higher authority, the authority being God himself, that had “already” made Himself clear on what He thought about such activity. And, and, and, and, the pagans’ opinion on such activity was also “already” known. I would also suggest that there may have been a civil authority in Corinth that also deemed what the man did as wicked because Paul said, “it is a kind that is not tolerated even among the pagans” (v.1). The Corinthians, however, were arrogant because they were handling (or not handling) the situation as an autonomous church! They acted without regard to the higher law of God and — at the very least — the higher moral standard of the society in which it lived.

In the TA case, the law of the land had “already” judged. End of story. Whether EW was prosecuted or not, whether the police failed or not, whether it was consensual sex or not, the law of the land says that sex between an adult and a minor is heinously wrong and intolerable. There is no need for the church and pastor to decide to what extent a person was or was not guilty, and to what extent their desires were or were not engaged, because the church discipline is not about adjudicating fairness, spiritually or legally.

Chuck Phelps is rightly under scrutiny because it is suggested that he did not react as strongly as he should have in compliance with a law of the land that outlaws something that “even the pagans do not tolerate.” It is noted that he notified the police, etc. However, if the police really were negligent (and I do not have the unfailing belief in the police that some of Phelps’ critics have), it was the pastor’s job to be a good citizen and pursue justice with energy because of higher laws with stricter standards than some local churches.

What is beyond dispute is that an adult man slept with a child. If the law will not live up to its own standard, it is incumbent on citizens to live up to that standard. If a man murders a child in our church and we all know it, we will not allow him in our fellowship when he has not asked for forgiveness for precisely what he and we know he was guilty of. And if the law bumbles in the prosecution of said murderer, we will not shrug our shoulders and embrace him back into our community as if he had done nothing. We may start a former-murderers’ bible study, but we will not allow the family of the victim to perceive from us that said murderer should be accepted in the fellowship without due justice. As Christians we are also citizens and as citizens under God’s servant we do everything we can to promote justice. Therefore, we will beat the doors of justice repeatedly because we know that the murderer is guilty by a higher law, the law of the land.

The Corinthians should have dealt swiftly with their particular immorality. A church that does not convey to its people that it is subordinate to the laws of the land or the higher standard of the pagans and does not use the pagans’ own laws to prosecute offenders is a church that is no longer safe. In the Corinthian church there was no need for discussion, a swift excommunication was sufficient.

Church discipline is two part: a/discipline and b/excommunication. In neither part is it about slicing the pie perfectly and assigning the right portion to each person. It is about making disciples and empowering the church to make one simple sentencing. Yes, the local church is sanctioned to make only one sentencing. The excommunication of a person from a church is a sentence:

Said professing brother is persisting in an activity that is already judged by God to be sin. The church has done all that we as a body can do in the spirit of gentleness (Ga. 6:1) and in compliance to our Builder’s prescription (Mt. 18) and because of his none repentance we are now agreeing to treat him as if he were, in fact, not a believer.  We do not know his heart. God has only authorized us to act accordingly in his response to our efforts to restore him.

The sentencing avoids judging the heart. It merely states that the church has done what it can do for biblical fellowship and the sin cannot be covered anymore.

The process of church discipline as given in Matthew 18 is actually about covering sin, not exposing it. Love covers a multitude of sins and Jesus actually gave to the church a means by which they can justly cover sins. If your brother sins against you and you address it and he repents, end of story. If he doesn’t, enlarge the circle. And so on. The sin only gets as public as the person wants it to be by refusing to repent. And 1 Corinthians 5 suggests that it’s more than just the scandalous sex sins that should get the discipline, but greed, etc.

The issue is unrepented sin. Sin that is cherished despite long and patient and increasingly larger exposures may prove a person to be an unbeliever. Excommunication is the formal statement of the church in saying that the person is not behaving, in the church’s estimation, like a believer. But the whole process is a love process to keep the sin covered.

However, there are some sins that cannot be covered up. This would include sins that affect leadership, etc. (I won’t go into all that in depth here), but particularly sins that affect the helpless. God’s servant, the law of the land, is here to punish evildoers (Romans 13) and it is crystal clear what God’s servant (the law of the land) deems as evil. It is therefore the church’s duty to treat the perpetrator as a criminal even if the law is slow about pursuing justice. The church’s autonomy does not give it the right to function toward any of its members in a way that is clearly against the law.

Just because the officers of the law do not prosecute a crime (through inefficiency or negligence) does not mean that we are not accountable. We have a neighborhood watch in our neighborhood. We have no legal power, but we see to it that the law is being obeyed and when it is disobeyed we make the necessary ruckus until the officers and judges enforce the law. In the same way, it is fair to ask whether or not Trinity and Phelps made the necessary “ruckus” for justice. I find it very hard to understand why people cannot at least grasp an understanding of why so many outsiders are scandalized. We may not know all the complicating facts, but cease the belligerent defensiveness that admits no wrongdoing whatsoever and admit that at the very least it appears like the victim suffered more than the perpetrator at the hands of the church.

I believe Tina’s account. But for the sake of illustration, let’s imagine she was a worldly-wise, sultry 15-year-old seductress. (And if you imagine this about Tina, look at her pictures from the time. Hardly.) Let’s say that she seduced EW and was madly in love with him. The issue that the church must decide is not moral culpability  before God, but moral responsibility. And God has a servant assigned by Him specifically for that role: government.

The law of the land has already stated who is morally responsible. The adult is responsible. To say that the church needs to wait until he is arraigned, prosecuted, judged, and sentenced is equivalent to watching a murder and saying that it cannot make a judgment call until the legal system has gone through due process. Even though they witnessed it.

So, our hypothetical nice father of four goes to prison and the sultry skank walks. The seductress needs to be “disciplined” through due process that is long and patient, a loving and spiritual training in morals and satisfaction in God, while the criminal gets summarily excommunicated. She may confess her sin immediately and enjoy the covering of her sin, no public humiliation, no name in the paper, no standing before the church. Why? Because even though the minor may dress like a prostitute, it is next to impossible to know her heart and understand her motives. Since they were alone we have no idea if she might have suddenly felt scared and remorseful. We simply cannot and will never know. Pastors of all people should know that the psychology of a child is fragile, vulnerable, and particularly susceptible; especially those who have abuse in their background already. It seems unconscionable that anyone would allow a minor (even if she said she wanted to) to stand before an assembly. Even if she didn’t realize it then, years later she’d suddenly realize how humiliated she had been and how she was acting naively.

The only thing we know with certainty  and absolutely is that the adult is morally responsible. Because God’s servant said so. Not the preacher man; the law.

I personally do not believe that every immorality has to be brought before the body. If EW had committed adultery with an adult and had confessed privately and the circle of offense was properly enlightened (spouses, etc.), I don’t think adulterers need to be made public examples and told to publicly confess. Public confessions are not usually necessary, not in the Bible, and usually are demanded only of those who have done particular sins, thereby giving them a permanent scarlet letter. In our own church we have adults who have sinned morally and they have confessed it biblically. The whole congregation does not know because they do not need to know.  I do think, however, that even the petty gossip ought to be publicly exposed if he does not repent of his sin even after a long and patient effort to restore him via the process of discipline.

People ask if TA was guilty. My response is that we have every reason to take her at her word. And, assuming that she was guilty, she should have never had to stand before the public. The pregnancy was public and therefore it was the responsibility of the leadership to explain to the congregation the pregnancy and it should have done it with more transparency. Hindsight is 20/20.

They should have honored the morals of the pagans and reacted in such a way that showed that the heinous sin was the adult’s, not the child’s. Instead, a child bore the pregnancy, traveled a different place, experienced placing the baby for adoption, and wore the scarlet letter in her church when she got back, being refused to enter back into the school system. And the perpetrator passed his sin off as adultery and continued life as a member in good standing.

The attempts to sound the depths of the heart of an abused child to find out how much self-love and sin were actually in that immature heart during the time of the alleged crime is to pour salt in the wounds while attempting to do something that only God can do. It is none of our business and it is inappropriate to raise the question as if the answer determines how the thing should have been dealt with.

One does not have to be an expert in human psychology to listen to TA and see her pictures to know that she was not a wily teen seductress. And to attempt to probe her emotional/spiritual state at the time (“purposes of the heart”) is a business that only God is qualified to do. Children are led by adults to their gods. If an evil pervert tricks a child into believing in him as a god of acceptance, safety (because the child is afraid for his/her life), or even pleasure, it is unChristian to stone the child for idolatry.

Is the victim a sinner? Yes. Is she guilty? No. God’s servant has already said who’s guilty. Focus on that and quit asking questions that perpetuate the blame-the-victim ideology.

Will one day the Lord reveal the purposes of every heart? Yes. But that is not our business.

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68 Responses

  1. Good post, Bob. Great post, actually…thanks for putting it out there.

  2. “One does not have to be an expert in human psychology to listen to TA and see her pictures to know that she was not a wily teen seductress. ”

    I think you have to be careful here. I understand the point, but we can’t judge on pictures which females are capable of committing sexual sin and who is not. The woman in the photos here hardly fits the preconceived idea of the sultry seductress:

    I do continue to think it is in some way relevant if she was complicit- not because I think that it would justify how the case was handled (though I think it would help someone understand why it was handled in the way it was), but how we can work to help such things from reoccurring. We aren’t simply dealing with an abuser who needs to come to justice. There are issues that will continue to be problems even if just retribution is served.

  3. [...] In an effort to be fair, he links to the Other Side of the Story and discusses the hows and whys of Blaming the Victim. [...]

  4. Hi Bob,

    Great post and explanation of the flawed cultural underpinnings prevalent in many IBF churches.

    Mr. Greg Linscott, You completely missed the point.

    All the best,

  5. Greg,

    I really don’t understand why you think continuing this line of discussion is in anyway profitable. The reason you give immediately above does not require interaction with this specific case at all. Do you seriously need to speculate as to this particular young woman’s complicity to think of ways to “help such things from reoccuring”? I don’t think so at all, yet you continue to raise it in spite of the fact that many people have questioned the wisdom and propriety of doing so.
    The fact, as well, that your posts have been mostly about complicity and contain very little about positive steps to guard against the molestation and sexual abuse of girls and young ladies gives the impression that you’re building a defense, not advocating for greater care. Nothing of substance hangs on complicity. If the issue was reported, then the right thing was done. If she was not put forward in connection with church discipline, the wisdom of doing so should be questioned, but that’s a different bird than treating her as a guilty party. Continuing to raise the issue of complicity actually calls into question the best defenses that CP might have to offer. IOW, you are not helping his case at all. It is very disturbing to me, as a pastor, that the defense has turned into an effort to call into question the morals of a 15 year old. Please don’t participate in it.

    • As I am reviewing my comments, I can see how my “thinking out loud” might be leaving a distinctly negative impression. To the extent that I have left the impression at all that Tina Anderson is to blame for what Ernie Willis did to her, I was wrong, and I apologize. In my admitted tendency to be overly-analytical, I have demonstrated a lack of compassion and sensitivity for those who have been sinned against. While I still believe that prevention includes educating and preparing potential victims as well as policing potential perpetrators, I have gone about discussing this here in an inappropriate way. To those reading, I ask your forgiveness for my behavior.

  6. I’ve tried to make it very clear that I am not defending how the case was handled. I will say (again) very clearly that I don’t think that Willis is in any way in an excusable situation. I also think that in the best possible case scenario, Phelps has plenty of room to acknowledge mishandling. But as I just mentioned to a friend who email me privately on this, Tina Anderson may be reaping the disproportionate consequences of her own choices. Like a teen who gets behind the wheel after having consumed alcohol for the first time and never makes it home, we make our choices, but we don’t get to always choose our consequences. I believe that if there is a wake-up call to be made in churches like mine, it is not only to be sounded to potential perpetrators like Willis, or even pastors who will get called on to manage the fallout like Phelps. If Tina Anderson had any degree of responsibility in this, those of us looking back can be mindful of how we can be looking out to help those like her who might get into similar vulnerabilities right under our noses. While I may not be outlining in the meta a clear program of how we go about this, I assure you I am giving the matter consideration.

  7. Maybe she got raped because of her parent’s sin.

  8. Bob,

    A hearty amen to:
    “It’s a damned-if-you-do-dammed-if-you-don’t scenario sometimes.”

    I agree with you about the systemic conditions in fundamentalism. Those systemic conditions explain much of the concern with “figuring out” if Tina Anderson was partly to blame for the situation.

    And, I think that your post is overall very thoughtful and contributes productively to the discussion of the day.

    I hope these few additional, but related, thoughts won’t seem out of line. Delete if they do. I have no desire to increase the heat in the discussion of this topic — it’s hot enough already.

    It is clear that Chuck Phelps didn’t handle the situation well. And, as you know, I’m not against offering the ocassional critique of fundamentalism. However, I am not sure I would have handled it well either.

    These kind of shocking situation are a challenge, period. And, even figuring out how to know the law can be a challenge for the beginner. If I told the cops, and they told me, “Nothing we can do,” or “We’ve got it,” I’m not sure I would have known what more to do with the criminal justice system (I’ve had this happen with turning in a drug user).

    I also know that once sin starts doing this kind of damage (and sin always brings damage) it is often difficult for even good and wise actions to be taken that way by an injured, hurting person — whether they are to blame or a victim.

    In short, even the best and wisest mess up, and even when they don’t mess up, they are often misunderstood.

    All that to say, I’m wondering what you think that Chuck Phelps ought to do now? I haven’t seen anything reported that would indicate his behavior was criminal. So, all he can really do is own up to his failings and ask forgiveness, isn’t it? And, couldn’t an honest apology even be something like, “Dear Tina (and church members, etc.) I am so sorry for some of the things I did in addressing this situation (name the things). Additionally, I am sorry that I was not more successful at communicating to those involved — so that they could believe it and be helped by it — the rationale and motivation for those things I did which were not wrong in and of themselves.”

    Again, I am not trying to call Tina Anderson into question at all. I agree with you that she is a victim no matter what else was going on. I am also not trying to defend what’s been done or left undone. I very much agree with the underlying premise of your “adjudicate guilt” argument.

    I’m just asking what you think ought to be done now. Sorry if you’ve already written that somewhere and I missed it.

    Also, am I out of line to think that some of the heatedness in the debate is that some — like Greg Linscott — are using this real-life situation to ask theoretical, abstract questions, while others are asking practical questions that are related to this specific case?

    In other words, if we weren’t dealing with this specific situation, it wouldn’t be wrong — would it — to ask, “What ought to be the age at which a girl can give consent? How can we educate and help our parents to enable their children to feel safe and accepted? How can we help them educate their girls to avoid predatory situations and to seek proper help if a predator abuses them anyway? How can we help girls learn not to use their sexuality inapropriately? Etc?” Those seem like reasonable theoretical questions for pastors, teachers, parents, police, lawyers, physicians, etc. to ask.

    However, many who are discussing this matter on the internet at present are far, far away from the theoretical plane at present. Right? They are discussing, “How should Tina be treated now? What should Phelps do now? What is it about the IFB that could be changed, now, so that we can minimize this kind of thing in the future? And, to them, the theoretical questions seem offensively insensitive and inappropriate (which is part of that IFB systemic).

    Well, enough for now. Again. If this causes needless pain, or you just don’t like it, please delete.


  9. Let me clarify two things. 1) I shouldn’t have posted my comment above. 2) It was intended ironically, not straightforwardly. I was referring to the “this man’s sin or his parents’” passage re: the blind man, which, frankly, is off point anyway.

  10. Keith, I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to say this before, but I appreciated your post. Greg, I appreciate what you are trying to do, too. For some of us, it isn’t about this case at all, but in general what are the lessons for all of us to learn, whether we be fathers, mothers, church leaders, sons, or daughters.


    • Andy,

      Thanks, and I’m not out to lose your appreciation by what I’m about to write.

      However, I want to clarify that I said, ” If we weren’t dealing with this specific situation, it wouldn’t be wrong” to ask theoretical questions. Since a specific situation with very real and very hurting people is on the table at present, I think that it may not be the best time to explore theoretical, philosophical issues related to that issue. At least on the world wide web.

      I would imagine that part of the struggle for people who have gone through tragedy like this one is great and painful anxiety about being objectified and dehumanized. I can also imagine that being used as an illustration for a theoretical discussion that the whole world can see could feel quite objectifying and dehumanizing.

      I am not implying that you or anyone else is intending to do that. I am just clarifying my point.


  11. If you take the time to read through the material posted at the ABWE MK website (painful as it is) particularly the contemporary notes of the pastor who flew to the field, there are great similarities between the way that girl was treated and what Tina claims she experienced. A “confession” was required there as well on the part of the victim of horrible abuse. Some people who are claiming that no pastor (or wife) would ask such questions or say such things should read this documented account from a pastor who did exactly that.

    I just don’t see why it’s so important to so many people to defend that kind of response. Yet it’s happening. All over the place. Perhaps I am judging, but I think it stinks in the nostrils of a Holy God who is Father especially to those who are abandoned and neglected to see them held up for public scrutiny and judgment over what was done to them.

    • Anytime someone willingly comes forward and uses their experience to try and malign an entire religion as a cult, and lends their names to fundraising efforts, you should be scrutinizing.

  12. One thing I find interesting (among many that this situation has brought forward) is the fact some of the churches that are being maligned as cults for believing women shouldn’t wear pants actually don’t even believe that. One church in particular that the “Independent Baptist Cult Survivors” are calling a cult for the “pants” reason has pictures of teens on their website wearing GASP, PANTS!!

    So take all the information that is flooding out from these “cult survivors” with a healthy grain of salt and search out for yourself if what they are saying about a church is true or not.

    As far as Tina Anderson goes, I thought her 20/20 interview showed some signs of deception. They way she shrugged her shoulders and cast her eyes to the side when she claimed she doesn’t remember the rapes.

    But she did sound truthful when she admitted inviting Willis over to her home when no one was home.

    So while I do believe Willis is guilty of statutory rape, I suspect that Tina remembers far more than she is admitting.

    The other two women who testified? I completely believed every word of their testimony of being abused.

    • Ken,

      **Fact Correction**
      The 20/20 video is on the web. You can watch it again to verify that my attribution of information to Tina’s words is accurate:

      Tina did not say she invited Willis to come to her home. She says she let him in.

      You appear to only be using the 20/20 show to know the details Tina has given. In one of her comments on her web page, Elizabeth Vargas said 20/20 had to edit for things to fit given the time format.

      You can read word for word what Tina told the police when she was asked to give them a statement after they found her in 2010. The police report is online here:

      Underneath the police report you can leave a comment with your name and e-mail address, and the Foundation can provide you with any additional information you want about it’s non-profit status. Since you’ve linked your blog I can see you’ve done some limited searching.

      Your assertion of reading body language cues for whether or not you believe Tina is not based on facts in evidence and seems really inappropriate and ungracious.

      Would you care to give any information about yourself since you are making some very serious claims here?


      • My claim is to my opinion. It seemed to me that Tina was deceptive in her interview. I do however believe Phelps and Tina’s mother when they state that Tina did not want the rape reported and that Tina sought out contact with Willis. Tina did not deny those things.

        And your group trying to denying those facts doesn’t mean she wasn’t raped, she obviously was. But to pretend like certain events didn’t happen only cheapens your story line and makes it look like you are trying to cover up Tina’s actual involvement. It doesn’t matter if she thinks she fell in love with the guy, he raped her. He deserves whatever the law gives him.

        I stand corrected on one item: Tina did not say she invited him over, she said she let him in when he came over, and this was after he had already raped her once.

        I do believe she is a victim. I do believe she was statutorily raped. As she says in her statement, she was 15 1/2 years old. She was not old enough to give consent.

        I did not find her to appear to be completely truthful in her 20/20 interview. That’s my opinion.

        As to your fundraising activities, I’m sure you’d like for me to send you an email. And while I do not attend an IFB church, I am a Believer. I’d be extremely leery of sending your group any kind of communication especially since your members have voiced with no equivocation that all IFB’s are cultist who abuse children. It seems just a small stretch for you to extend your net to other Christians as well, and if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not get sucked into the plan you guys have to call every state in the Union and report all IFB churches as child molesting havens.

        If you are a legal and registered 501 (c)(3), it seems as if you’d be happy to release that information without trying to get someone’s personal information.

        It seems that you people are becoming what you you say you hated: The judge and jury of all things “righteous.”

      • Ken,

        I posted the link to the police report because it contains information to answer your comment.

        I’m not a part of the foundation. I suggested you could contact them through a comment because you indicated in your blog you’re looking for information.

    • Seriously? You can’t imagine that someone who’s gone through what no one disputes Tina Anderson has gone through might want to forget and might actually have succeeded in blocking out much of the detail? You can’t conceive that a damaged psyche could have similar appearance to “deception”?


  13. Some of you may be interested in reading a letter Tim Anderson, Tina’s husband, sent out a couple of weeks ago–a family update. He gave me permission to post it online.

    Family Update
    by Tim Anderson on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 8:14am

    The past twelve months have been some of the most interesting in my life. My family and I have gone through quite a transformation. It’s been exciting, challenging, thought provoking and very interesting to say the least. I’m sure there are so many more words that could be used to describe the past year and all the events and changes that have gone on in my family’s lives.

    More than a year ago, the abuse that my wife Tina went through years ago as a child was brought to light in the most round-about way and without any prompting on her part. In fact, if it had been up to her, it would have stayed a private matter. I knew about it within the first couple days of our first date. I’m sure that she expected me to run away scared of the scars in her life both physically and emotionally. We connected right away. In fact, we were engaged within three months and married within seven. As most know, we now have three beautiful children.

    One of the biggest changes that we made a year ago was to change churches. We had decided that it was the best option for our family. This was not an easy decision and we didn’t make it foolishly or in haste. A lot of prayer went into our decision and there were many reasons for our decision. I was about to go into those reasons but that is not the purpose of this letter. I know there are a lot of speculations and rumors about us and the reasons we left. I’m sure none of them are correct because we’ve never explained fully “why” we left. I don’t know what rumors are flying around and it does not matter. We have to answer to God for our decision, not man.

    We never stopped going to church. We just found a new one. We spent the summer visiting various churches. I’d say that I attended at least ten different churches in the area. It was great to see the variety of churches and the love that these believers had for God. I even took my family to an all black church in the area. We were the only white people in the crowd. They were friendly and invited us back again and I wanted to but we never made it there again.

    We finally walked into a church that just felt like home. They preach God’s Word and the messages spoke to our hearts and were exactly what we needed. The service is just so uplifting and edifying of God and it’s just an excitement to go there every Sunday. It is so great to walk through church and people being excited to see you, give you a hug, and a genuinely happy with life and serving God.

    They have stretched out their arms and have loved us. They didn’t know our story and it was nice to be able to sit in the audience and not worry about what the latest news article, website, or blog had to say about Tina. We have been very blessed to find a new church home. As time has gone by, we’ve shared our story. Usually, when we’re done they stop and ask if they could pray for us.

    God has multiplied our friends. We made a few friends during the four and a half years that we were at our previous church but even in just the first four months at our new church we developed more friends and a deeper relationship with many of them than we had been able to with others in the past. On numerous occasions we have had people from our new church call us up and say they were thinking of us and felt that we needed prayer. Just the other day, a woman called Tina and when Tina didn’t answer, she just prayed for us and we heard it when she listened to her voicemail. It was very sweet and thoughtful.

    We’ve been able to get involved in women’s Bible studies, men’s Bible studies, community outreach services, children’s programs, nursery, just to name a few. The church is involved in so many things that it’s hard not to get involved in something. The church focuses on reaching the needs of people and getting people involved in meeting those needs.

    Another big change that happened was putting our children into a charter school. Suzanna was about to go into second grade and Haydn into kindergarten but we just couldn’t see where we were going to come up with the tuition. Even though we had help with Suzanna through Tops (which we were very thankful for), we could barely keep up with that and didn’t know how we were going to do it with two kids. Anyway, we chose a charter school based on their high academic quality and have been very pleased with their education. They are both doing so well.

    Aria’s health is so much better. For the first couple years of her life she was always on one antibiotic after another. She was in the hospital four or five times for various reasons. This past year to year and a half she’s been able to go four to six weeks at a time without antibiotics instead of every two weeks. She does get some medicine at night but it’s preventative stuff to help her not get sick. She’s still susceptible to catching everyone’s cold but not as bad as before.

    Haydn’s asthma sometimes kicks in when he’s running around too much but other than that, he’s doing great. Suzanna just got her first pair of glasses. It’s amazing how much a pair of glasses improves concentration and handwriting.

    To sum everything up, we are doing great!! A year ago, we were just kind of coasting through life wondering what is God’s purpose for us. I always told Tina that God was going to use her abuse to minister to others. We never in our wildest dreams ever thought that God would use us this big. This is only the beginning. We are always asking God for His direction in our lives, that His Will be done, and that everything that happens brings glory to Him.

    We never wanted Tina’s story to be public. We always thought that she’d be used in the local church ministering to other abused victims. When called by the police to confirm the report of her being raped, impregnated, put up for church discipline, shipped to Colorado, baby given up for adoption, and kept away from other kids her age, she cooperated. That is all. We still never saw the magnitude of all that has happened over the past year. We’re still in shock at all that has progressed. Everything is being orchestrated by God. We don’t know or understand His ultimate purpose in all of this.

    Now that Tina’s story is out, we pray that it will encourage pastors, churches, schools, universities, and any other organization of believers to examine how they will deal with a situation of abuse when it happens to their children. Unfortunately, Tina’s story is not unique and it’s not the worst. There are too many children who are being raped and beaten by “Christian” parents, pastors, teachers, and church members. Now, here’s the question. Are you going to deal with sin or sweep it under the rug? If you, as a pastor, Christian leader, teacher, layman, or any adult tries to hide it, God will bring it to light. God will deal with you. I believe that is exactly what is happening. Christians, who say they believe the Bible, are not dealing with sin properly, and God is taking care of it.

    As a family, we are happy. We are content. I personally am excited to see what God is going to do in the future. I know that God has a plan for me and my family. I’m excited about the possibilities of God using a horrible situation and turning it into a situation that He can use to His glory.

    How is God working in your life? I know He’s working in mine.
    I want to give Him all the glory and honor and praise His Name, forever and ever.

    Tim Anderson

    • That’s a very encouraging letter. Sounds like grace overcoming the curse. It’s good to be reminded that it happens.


  14. Why would anybody who claims to be a believer get on a public forum and verbally attack a rape victim and their family. How pitifully sad.

    • My opinion is that she showed signs of deception. Being a victim of statutory rape doesn’t give you a free pass.

      In the case of the other two women, I totally believed their stories of abuse. They were totally believable.

      At the same time, I do not personally care for the tactics of one of those women and I heartily disagree with the hate speech and stalkerish tactics they have outlined on their internet websites.

      I’m sorry their fathers abused them, but that doesn’t give anyone a free pass to lie about other things, like saying all Independent Baptist churches are havens and conspirators in molesting children.

      It’s ok to disagree with rape victims. Especially if they say something that is not true.

      I’m afraid all their threats to report every IFB to the FBI have caused some of you to lose your common sense.

      That’s a dangerous place to be, when you all become willing to become the victim to someone else’s witch hunt, just because the persons leading the witch hunt were raped or molested in their youth.

      • Ken,

        I’ve read a few of your posts. You would do well to re-read DMD’s response to Greg Linscott above.

        What relevance do your questions have? Is it really your place to “evaluate” whether she’s being 100% open? Do you personally know her? Are you really in a position to ask those questions and see them answered? Do you really think you can determine the truthfulness of a believer by watching an edited video clip? To what end do you ask these questions and what is the biblical basis for them? Please pin your questions on a biblical premise.

        Please, for the sake of Christ, stop asking vain questions and sharing what “seems to be the case” in your mind, which along with everyone else’s, is flawed in thinking and perception and, for those not directly involved in the case, incomplete in knowledge about the particular case to which you keep referring.

        All the best,

  15. [...] Is the victim guilty? [...]

  16. Bob you once again nailed it. It is very disturbing to me to see people trying to shift blame( even a little bit) to TA. My biggest beef with Chuck was his insistence she was 16 not 15. No preacher of the Word should ever try to imply that it is ok for a 16 year to have a consensual relationship with a 38 year old. I do not care what NH law says, he should know better.

    • Where did Phelps say he thought it was ok? Where has anyone said it was ok?

      • I did not say Chuck said it was ok. I guess the point I was trying to make is that despite NH law stating a 16 has the ability to give consent to a “covert” dating relationship with a 38 year old man, Chuck should know better. By him making the age distinction his number one point on his website, he is implying he would have acted differently if she were 15. I really appreciated this post. Any attempt to shift blame to TA is disingenuous at best. It is like me agonizing over the sin of the woman that poses provocatively on a billboard or magazine that causes me to lust. It is my choice to sin as evidence by the times I choose to look the other way.

  17. Ken,

    Maybe I am simplistic in my ways. A 15 year old has sex with a man in his 30′s: that by law is rape. Whether the 15 year old wants it reported is irrelevant.

    Let’s take the facts out of the church and put them in a public school. A 34 year old teach has sex with a 15 year old student, that is rape. As for the rest of the details, I have no idea. I was not a member, i was not in leadership, and I was not privy to the conversations and communications.

    One thing I will note is that what you hear now about what happened then is filtered through legal representation to make sure their clients avoid civil liability — that includes ABC and Chuck Phelps.

    • Ken, perhaps you mis-read my post. I stated that it was rape, not matter if Tina wanted it reported or not.

      And by all accounts, it was reported.

  18. One final note, to those who decry ABC and 20/20. Why? Because they shed light on the abuse that occurred to a teenager in her church? Because they exposed sin and an injustice? Because those held responsible refused to be interviewed? Or is it that we really enjoyed watching it when the cameras were turned on the Catholic Church and the generalism that priests are molesters, or the generalism that mosques are all hotbeds of terrorism? Then it was fair, but now it is persecution?

    Even if you consider 20/20 and the mainstream media an enemy, sometimes it behooves us to listen to the criticisms levied on us by our enemies. They are after all, the ones most motivated to find and point out our faults. And though lies may at times be mixed in with that criticism, there remains in the criticism elements of truth that should humble us and make us repent of our sins and faults.

  19. Bill, I appreciate the heartfelt tenor of your reply and your desire that I stop asking questions or voicing an opinion. But alas, that can’t happen.

    It’s alarming to me that some of you on the side of smearing every IFB church as a child molesting haven are also the first to try and shut people down when they have a question or opinion.

    I don’t attend an IFB, but I was following a blog written by someone known as Ruth. Her blog is called “Razing Ruth.”

    Ruth was informed in January or thereabouts that someone named Jocelyn Zichterman of the Tina Anderson Foundation was raising money using her name as a supposed beneficiary of the funds they were soliciting.

    But Ruth had never heard of the group, did not give her permission for her name and situation to be used to raise money and she received no funds from the Tina Anderson Foundation.

    So I watched the 20/20 episode with some interest. And I related my opinion. That’s it.

    • Hi Ken,

      It’s not that I want anyone to stop asking questions, I just think you were asking questions you can’t get answers to or voicing opinions you can justifiably defend, unless you are directly involved in the case. You kept insinuating/opining that Tina seems to have had a level of complicity or that she wasn’t being honest, and I doubt you, or most people, are in any kind of position to justifiably conclude that. Thus, I said your questions/assertions are vain.

      Opinions can be helpful, if they are defensible. If you give an opinion, then be as equally ready to see agreement to your opinion as well as ready to see arguments against your opinion. Otherwise, voicing an opinion can be more detrimental than edifying.

      My post was not an attempt to shut you up, but an attempt to get you to justify how and why you are in the position to make the judgments you did. So I would go back to my questions to you:

      1. Is it really your place to “evaluate” whether she’s being 100% open?
      2. Do you personally know her?
      3. Are you really in a position to ask those questions and see them answered?
      4. Do you really think you can determine the truthfulness of a believer by watching an edited video clip on TV?
      5. To what end do you ask these questions and what is the biblical basis for them? Can you pin your questions/opinions on a biblical premise?

      I am not out to defend or smear IFB churches. I go to one. I want to see an objectively biblical and honest discussion that results in the building up of believers and the church and not just a reaffirmation of the status quo when it’s pretty clear the status quo is not altogether holy.

      All the best,

      • Bill asked “1. Is it really your place to “evaluate” whether she’s being 100% open?”

        One would suppose that since she is offering her story for public consumption and I am the public, it is indeed my responsibility to evaluate the information.

        2. Do you personally know her?

        No, I do not. But I feel sympathy for her.

        3. Are you really in a position to ask those questions and see them answered?

        Not sure what questions you mean. But I feel quite sure that asking about a nonprofit status is a perfectly legitimate question.

        4. Do you really think you can determine the truthfulness of a believer by watching an edited video clip on TV?

        I believe I can spot the common signs of deception and voice an opinion on what I observed.

        5. To what end do you ask these questions and what is the biblical basis for them? Can you pin your questions/opinions on a biblical premise?

        I ask these questions about the nonprofit status because someone’s name was used for fundraising by this group without her permission and she received no funds from the group, even though they told people they were raising money for her. (Razing Ruth.)

        Maybe I’m old fashioned, but when I see something irregular like that, it makes me suspicious. So I start listening to what that group is saying. And lo and behold, that same group declares that every fundamentalist Bible believing Baptist church is a haven for child molesters and is in collusion to promote said abuses.

        Now, maybe you agree with what they are saying and their stated plan to report EVERY fundamentalist Bible believing Baptist church to the FBI, and law enforcement and child protective agencies in every state in the Union.

        I however don’t agree with their hate against Christians. As a Believer, I know that what they are trying to do to by malign innocent people is something that will happen in the last days of apostasy. But that doesn’t mean I have to wink at the hate and give it a pat on the head and say “That’s ok, go ahead and lie about decent people. You were raped, that makes all your lies and questionable tactics ok.”

        1 John 4:1  ¶Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

      • Bill,

        “Please, for the sake of Christ, stop asking vain questions and sharing what “seems to be the case” in your mind, which along with everyone else’s, is flawed in thinking and perception and, for those not directly involved in the case, incomplete in knowledge about the particular case to which you keep referring.

        Otherwise, voicing an opinion can be more detrimental than edifying.”

        Isn’t this, by nature, what a blog is? Bob is expressing his opinion and Ken is expressing his opinion. I happen to disagree with Bob on quite a bit of what he is saying and agree with some. Is it really your place to tell people to quit giving their opinion?

      • Hi Matt and Ken,
        I apologize if you think I am trying to squelch the exchange of ideas. That is not my intent at all. I indicated that point in my last post to Ken. Please read above. Though, I could see how you might conclude that by reading all of my post. I love, and strongly encourage, the exchange of ideas whether controversial or not. If anyone likes a controversial discussion, it’s me, within reason. But there is controversial and then there is the inappropriate.

        Ken stated –
        “ I did not find her to appear to be completely truthful in her 20/20 interview. That’s my opinion.”
        “ It seemed to me that Tina was deceptive in her interview.”
        “So while I do believe Willis is guilty of statutory rape, I suspect that Tina remembers far more than she is admitting.”
        “But to pretend like certain events didn’t happen only cheapens your story line and makes it look like you are trying to cover up Tina’s actual involvement.” See above for full context.

        Not all opinions are created equal. Some opinions are a bit weightier than others. The opinion that I asked Ken not to pursue was his apparent accusation that Tina Anderson was deceitful (i.e. lied) and insinuated she was probably complicit in her rape (even though the very nature of rape is the lack of complicity). IOW, he accused her of sin. He did not deny it when I articulated what I thought he was saying.

        Maybe it’s just me, and it very well could just be me, but accusing someone of sin isn’t just another “opinion.” It’s a severe assertion about the integrity of another person, in this case, a sister in Christ. It is what nailed Christ to the cross.

        I was attempting to dissuade Ken from continuing down that path because it is both unprofitable and presumptuous on his part because of the incomplete fact pattern. It also engenders an environment that I, along with many others I’m sure, have detested over the years – an environment of judging without confirming the facts, or judging based on a false premise. So yes, it is my place, as it is any Christian’s place, to dissuade such conversations.

        Christ commands us not to think evil of each other, to believe all things as it relates to brothers and sisters in Christ. Does that mean we ignore sin or signs of it or walk into things blindly? Absolutely not! But I find it extremely hard to believe that Ken is in any kind of position to justifiably determine Tina has actually sinned. If he’s not, what is the point of speculating and what will be the outcome of such speculations? Most of us are not in a position to determine the validity of her statements.

        I’m sure one could argue this is just Ken’s perception. That may very well be the case. Just remember perceptions are more often wrong than right, especially when the media is involved. I have found that Christians, along with the rest of the world, like to use their perceptions as an excuse not to investigate a matter objectively and diligently. Such is how rumors get started and how persons’s view of others is distorted, in a sinful way.

        Christians should be the last ones to accuse someone of sin based on perception and not based on fact. Biblically, that’s inappropriate.

        For my part, I should have asked Ken exactly what he meant by those statements, but they did seem pretty clear. I could have been wrong, and if I was, I apologize. Ken’s posts came across very accusatory. Again, he did not deny when I articulated what it was i thought he was saying. I asked him to justify his accusation and pin his assertion on a biblical premise. He pinned his premise on a passage of scripture that commands us to determine whether someone is preaching a false gospel or not. Forgive me if I think that is a bit less than contextually appropriate.

        There was also a lack of clarity on my part, obviously, as part of his response had to do with “Razin Ruth,” which I was not at all referring to.

        Lastly, it could be I am a bit overly sensitive to such unproven accusations of sin since I’ve seen so many of them over the years and the divisions and damage they cause to the Church of Christ. Hopefully that helps explain my posts a bit more.

        All the best,

      • I completely understand, Bill, I just think it is easy to fault someone for their strong opinion when you disagree with them. I look at Ken and Bob as doing the exact same thing. (which I’m not sure if either of it is profitable) They are both commenting regarding how they viewed the 20/20 program. Frankly, nobody knows other than the people invovled so it is all speculation.

    • I want to thank Jocelyn and the Tina Anderson Foundation for giving my teenage daughters each $100. gift cards. It was such a blessing. I made friends with Jocelyn and she knows what my daughters have gone through and has been such a blessing to us. You should of seen the smiles and tears when they got them. Not because of things but because of the love that was shown to them. It really brightened our daughters day and outlook on who God’s people are after being so traumatized by people who said they are of God. Thank You to all who gave and Jocelyn for wanting to help my children who had almost given up on God. Thank you Tina for being so brave <3 <3

  20. Ken,
    If you really follow Razing Ruth, you would have known that the matter was openly discussed and settled on her blog. The comments explain clearly what happened.

    • “If?” If I “really” follow Razing Ruth???

      I really read that blog. And I really read that Jocelyn used Ruth’s name to solicit monetary donations on Facebook. And I really read that Ruth never received any of the money. And I read that after someone notified Ruth, and she wrote about it on her blog, Jocelyn left a post on Ruth’s blog trying to justify why Ruth never received any of the money, money that was raised in part by using Ruth’s name.

      Do you think that makes it ok? Do you think that means it never happened?

      Trying to justify wrong doing after the fact sure doesn’t make it right and it sure doesn’t change the facts.

      • Ken, I read your comment last night and didn’t respond. I won’t analyze why I didn’t respond, except that I’m trying to not comment on blogs in general. Though I’m not doing a very good job. But your comment is irresponsible and just plain wrong. It really demands a response.

        There was an obvious explanation to the misunderstanding that both parties accepted. There was no “wrong” to justify after the fact. And your allegations that there was something “wrong” are, again, irresponsible and wrong.

  21. Wendy – the fact that Ruth’s name was used in a fundraising drive by Jocelyn without Ruth’s permission or knowledge, and the fact that Ruth never received any of the money that was raised in her name is wrong no matter how you slice it.

    You seem to have the common IFB problem of not being able to admit when something was done wrong. And that was.

    The people posting at the Facebook page for that group have also stated several things I know to be completely false.

    So this is what I am telling you: The fact that someone was molested or raped doesn’t give them a free pass to grow up and mistreat other people, whether by lying, omission of facts or being callous.

    • Ken,
      Here’s the link to where Jocelyn apologized for the mistake.

      She did not raise money by using Razing Ruth’s name. Here’s the original post:
      Yay!! Finally Done! So I can’t hold it back until my kids get to school…I just can’t!
      Here’s what we’ve been working on: Take a look at the new “Tina Anderson Foundation.”
      Going into the holidays we’d like to “love with shoes on” some of the victims who’ve come out of the IFB and this is the place you can donate to now (tax deductible–non-profit 501c3)

      Another reference here:
      We are getting ready to make an announcement in the next day or two…so I wanted to get all your heads together to start thinking about what all of us can do this holiday season.
      We have specifically decided to help about 6 different families/abuse victims who have left the IFB and are in very specific need. We know that finances are tight for everyone, but we are hoping that we can all come together to do *a little something* for each family this holiday season.
      We want to love with shoes on!
      Even if you can only give $10 or $20 dollars to the cause, we know it will make a big difference. For those who give, we will share with you the details behind each need…so you know exactly where your money is going and to whom.
      Please consider this today and tomorrow: What/how much could you give to support a victim of abuse????

      Last one here:
      If you’d like to make any last minute contributions, please do so. I’m heading to the post office tomorrow morning. A few people have shared with me that they are planning to give monthly support. That is so awesome!

      The only time Razing Ruth’s name was mentioned was to the one person Jocelyn thought could communicate with Razing Ruth–mentioned in this post here:

      Your repeated insinuations that Jocelyn used Razing Ruth’s name to raise money is simply false. I’ll partially quote you: The fact that you don’t like the views of someone else or how they express those views doesn’t give you a free pass to mistreat other people, whether by lying, omission of facts or being callous. You have presented the information in such a way that you occluded the facts. That is dishonest.

      I have offered corrections to you several other times. You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to creating the facts.

      Switching from fact to opinion myself here–I find it hard to believe that you are who you say you are. You make harsh assertions but won’t back them up with proof. For instance, you said here: that “Tina was 16, she did continue to seek Ernie Willis’ company (even contacting him from CO) and vehemently objected to reporting what happened to the police.”

      I pointed out to you that 1. this is your opinion based on Chuck Phelps’ word and her mother–who repeated brought a convicted child abuser and convicted child sexual offender into the home without providing supervision or protection for Tina or Tom. 2. you follow Phelps’ example of deflecting the age issue. Documents provided to the DA in NH verify Tina’s age at the time of the rape was 15. 3. I also said that Tina denies your assertion of contacting Ernie from CO. So, where is your evidence for this “opinion” that you stated as fact? You’d have to be Ernie Willis or in the same room with him when such a call was made, or in the room with Tina when such a call was made, or in possession of phone records. Tina was under the complete supervision of an adult for every phone call. 4. I pointed out that this was a new claim–not available in any sources publicly available. I asked you to document it.

      Another opinion of mine. You say you aren’t IFB and that you don’t know Chuck Phelps. I think that is unlikely based on your tone when you are challenged and your persistent disregard for logic. In my opinion you probably aren’t even using your real name. Maybe you are a friend of Chad Phelps? Your “opinions” sound personal. I don’t think your persistent attacks on Tina’s character make sense if you are what you present yourself to be. You started the blog just recently–didn’t even link to it the first few times you posted here.

      What you say just doesn’t add up to me. Your tone when you are challenged doesn’t say “disconnected third party” to me. Just saying.

      • No, I am not associated with the Phelps at all, none of them, and have never met them or had never even heard of them before this.

        But I remember where the last witch hunt led.

        Now, on to Jocelyn supposedly not using Ruth’s name in fundraising without permission: You have a big problem. You’ve posted some links to places where she indeed did not mention Ruth’s name.

        But you have also posted a link to a place where Jocelyn APOLOGIZES for doing just that and then “explains” that she wasn’t sending Ruth any of the money because she was never able to get in touch with her.

        So you have created quite a conundrum for yourself with this faux paux.

        Moving on to others objections you have, I gathered my information and opinions from reading all of the documents online, that Tina DID contact Willis. That doesn’t mean he didn’t rape her. Like she said, she was only 15 1/2. She was not able to consent.

        But you’re pretending like Tina didn’t try and contact Willis is bizarre and only makes it look like your group is trying to cover something up.


  22. “I’m sorry their fathers abused them, but that doesn’t give anyone a free pass to lie about other things, like saying all Independent Baptist churches are havens and conspirators in molesting children.”

    But. . . I really believe you are missing the point. . .

    What we are seeing (not just in 20/20, not just among these women, but among MANY people who are able to finally brave speaking up), is that there HAS been a pattern of abuse and a pattern of dealing poorly with abuse among IFB churches. Are all IFB churches havens of abuse? No one is saying that. Are IFB churches the only ones with this problem? Not in the least.

    What is being said is that patterns of abuse and dealing with it poorly (who are pastors/elders getting their counsel from? Themselves or other IFB churches…) And this is a HUGE red warning flag for those of us who call ourselves Christians.

    We are not immune to sin in our midst. We are not immune to abuse, cover-ups, rape, incest, beatings, lying, protecting abusers, persecuting victims. . .

    I oh-so-wish churches were completely safe places. But since they are not, we need to LEARN from these problems. . .

    We need to REPENT (all of us, not just pastors of a few churches) for not being more active, more pro-active in protecting people from abuse, from blowing the whistle on abuse.

    And in light of all this, Ken, your words simply sound like excuse-making, minimizing the horror of abuse in the church, and blame-shifting.

    We all need to man up, require more of our churches and leaders, and protect the least of these.

    I find great resources available at

    • The biggest problems IFB’s have is a one man rulership over the church. Until that changes, you can expect things to happen in IFBdom just like it happens in the world.

      And let it be exposed and let it bring the guilty down and let God’s church be purged. I’m all for it.

      But when you have a woman who will use other people’s life and story to raise money without that person’s permission, and money that is completely unaccounted for, you don’t have someone is doing anything except vomiting out her vengeance on the group that she holds responsible for what her own father did to her.

      • Ken, I personally agree that a lack of a plurality of elders is part of the problem here, like you indicate. (hmmm… maybe one reason why I’m Presbyterian rather than IFB.)

        And, I’d say that the issue related to Ruth/Jocelyn has been addressed and isn’t pertinent to this conversation anymore.

        “Vomiting out vengeance” is pretty harsh. . .

  23. I’d like to know what Razing Ruth has to do with Tina Anderson’s story? RR and Jocelyn Zichterman worked out any tiff (if indeed there was one). So, why bring it up now. JZ and The Tina Anderson Foundation thought RR might want some money for things like keeping her blog up and running or to pay some bills. RR wants to maintain her privacy by not revealing any contact information. Could this be a classic Fundyland deflection technique? The reality is the 20/20 story was extremely fair. Brian Fuller got as much or more airtime than anyone else in the piece. Maybe the IFB came off looking bad because they totally mishandled a situation. What happened to Tina was awful – it was a crime. And pastors in the IFB helped a pedophile rapist stay out of prison.

    • I originally asked the question about the legal status of the “Tina Anderson Foundation” because Ruth’s name and situation were used publicly by Jocelyn to solicit cash. This was done without Ruth’s knowledge or permission. And Ruth NEVER received any funds from Jocelyn.

      I’ve also caught several other lies being told by this group and here’s my point” It is not ok to use people, lie about people and be callous to others just because your father abused you somewhere in the past.

      I do not attend an IFB church, but I can tell you this, when this group on their witch hunt decides and declares that EVERY IFB church in the USA is a haven for child molesters and is actively involved in a conspiracy to cover up and promote the sexual molestation of children, you had better believe that I am going to be checking EVERYTHING ELSE THEY SAY, because people with that kind of rabid hate can not be trusted not to hurt innocent people.

      So yes, when Jocelyn “thinks” her cause is more important than following the law where non-profit solicitation for money is involved, that tells me that truth my not be her ally or strong point.

      • Ken, you remain wrong in your analysis, and your cry of wrongdoing is completely out of line with actual standards of right and wrong. In life, we call what happened between JZ and RR a misunderstanding. Not sin. They talked and got it worked out. If you want to pick an issue to take apart the survivors group, THIS is not the one.

        More importantly, WHY do you need to take apart this group? Is your take away from the 20/20 episode that you need to bring down Jocelyn Zichterman? If so, that is really disturbing.

  24. Wendy, you remain wrong. Your willingness to wink at sin when it happens in YOUR GROUP isn’t right.

    That’s the same problem the IFB has.

    It is not a “misunderstanding” to use someone’s name and situation as a fundraising tactic without their permission and then NEVER give them any of the money.

    You think trying to apologize for it after being EXPOSED makes it ok to operate that way?

    That’s just like IFBism at it’s very worst and by trying to excuse the sin, and cover it up, you are making things much worse for your group. You are acting just like the IFB’s you claim to hate.

    And that isn’t the only lie being told on your Facebook group page.

    You folks would do well to learn the lesson of complete honesty.

    And I am completely immune to your witch hunt tactics and threats. I am not in an IFB church. And I am not afraid to speak out when I see your group lying.

  25. Ken,

    I’ve not read any of the stuff you’re referring to. (I don’t have time to do my own witch hunt), so I’m not really interested in getting into the facts of the issue at this point.

    Suffice it to say, not all sins or mistakes are equal. An honest mistake may result in a slightly discolored but still edible cookie. An equally honest mistake (at least in honesty) may result in catastrophic death. It’s the same with sin. Not all sins are equal.

    Should your charges at JZ be factually accurate, I personally would not have any problem admitting it. She probably would admit the same. No one claims sinless perfection and mistake-less performances. But were it to be true (and again I do not assert anything here because I do not know or care), the ill-effect of her mistake (or “sin” as you are certain of it) is not near as damaging as the sin of abuse and she, as the supposed offender, is not to be as strictly judged as a teacher (James 3:1).

    What strikes me more as a witch hunt is the all out effort to demonize a flubbed charity effort. You repeatedly say that you are not in the IFB, but you apparently want to be their champion defender. Too many of them are smart enough to know that if they need a defender, they’d prefer having one who grasps the basic commonsensical notions of proportion.

    I’ve worked enough with benevolent organizations and people to know that sometimes missteps take place that look far worse than they really are (consider the naive Americans who were accused of kidnapping from Haiti in February 2010). Sometimes it’s naive zeal, unfettered passion, bad communication, inexperienced management, etc. Other times, it’s actually sinful behavior. But from what I read on this site alone (again, I have no inside knowledge of anything and I don’t have the time to research), the worst case scenario that you conjure up about the Tina Anderson Foundation is still not one that wrecks people and leaves scars for life.

    Abuse and abuse mismanagement in the church does, in fact, wreck for life. You’re saying people can’t pursue the just punishment of Saddam Hussein because they got a ticket for speeding.

    • If I don’t answer your riposte it is not because I’m blowing it off. I have a huge week ahead of me and very little time to read. Also, I do not read most of the comments on here.. just peruse them quickly, so their may be pertinent information I have missed.

    • Bob, certainly no one sees Jocelyn’s abuse of Ruth’s story to raise money as equal to a 15 year old girl being raped. There is no comparison. While both are sinful, certainly one carries harsher and deeper pain and repercussions, as it should.

      The point is not to equalize sins. The point is that any time a group that is trading in hate and reporting EVERY IFB CHURCH in the USA to the FBI as a haven for, and a conspirator in child molesting, it BEHOOVES everyone one of us to careful analyze what the hate group is saying.

      And when said group is found to be posting lies, and using the personal story of someone else to raise money (without that person’s knowledge or permission) it should be pointed out what the group is doing.

      Just as it should be pointed out when pastors or others in the IFB are lying.

      Or in any church.

      But perhaps it will take a knock on your door from the FBI before you start to see the harm in unchecked vengeance.

      “Remember Waco.”

  26. I don’t know about this charity effort by Jocelyn and Tina Anderson et al. so I can’t speak to it. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say it was a misunderstanding, etc.

    However, the basic premise of what Ken is saying is that JZ’s FB pages are full of slanderous and outrageous accusations about any and everybody she deems beneath her. She/they routinely make misleading and half-truth statements at best and outright lies at worst. I’m not talking about legitimate and valid situations of abuse (however broad that term is being abused), I’m talking about things that have nothing to do with abuse or slandering people she has absolutely no proof or hint of abuse – it is just based on her/their warped, insolated, and isolated world. She/They DO NOT want to talk or listen to the other side. She/They say directly on their FB pages/website that they DO NOT want to see any comments trying to reason with them. Any comments like that WILL be deleted.
    So, JZ, Laurie, & Dan Keller get frustrated when people like Ken and others challenge them on their statements, “facts,” and accusations. Seems to me that Ken is right, that they have become what they hate. They HATE the IFB because in their mind the IFB WILL NOT listen to reason and open their eyes to their problems. But doesn’t that sound like this “Freedom from Abuse” group too? They seem to think that just because they think, feel, or “know” something that it is indeed a fact and that everyone else should just jump to their tune.
    So I have no problem with Ken calling them out on some things. If they are false and outrageous in much of what they say/claim, then their credibility is in question. If this charity issue with JZ and the Tina Anderson foundation is a simple misunderstanding, so be it. But, it isn’t entirely unreasonable for Ken to question it considering their credibility in other areas.

    I can think of numerous ways they could pursue their passion but in a more constructive way. I’d go on record and say I’d even give them money to help them in their efforts.

    The IFB most definitely has problems – it needs to change, it is changing, and will continue to change. Yes, they should be able to pursue just punishment, but a scorched earth or carpet bombing “solution” is just as bad and as wrong as the original problem. Sure, pursuing just punishment of Saddam is right, but is doing it while claiming EVERY Iraqi is a heinous murderer and wanting to report EVERY Iraqi to INTERPOL a way to take care of the problem? But what about all of the innocent Iraqis in prison with their reputations harmed or destroyed.

  27. “More importantly, WHY do you need to take apart this group? Is your take away from the 20/20 episode that you need to bring down Jocelyn Zichterman? If so, that is really disturbing.”

    Let me make something clear to you Wendy. I don’t trade in hate and vengeance. I don’t need to “bring anyone down.” And unlike your group, I am not obsessed with bringing anyone “down.”

    You need to check your hyperbole at the door.

  28. As a father and a grandfather, I am sorry Tina and Jocelyn. Sorry for how you were treated by those who were to protect your innocence as children. Sorry for the men who spread gossip and discord now about you as women. Is this what you men do? Slander a rape victim, fabricate lies about a charity started by one of them to give gift cards for Christmas to needy individuals? That was what this was about! Not money to be given out, but gift cards for Christmas! This was not a grant, these were gift cards. “Razing Ruth” was never given one, someone passed on some gossip about how she did and never said “thank you.” Now Ken, and others like him, are perpetuating that gossip all these months later. For what? To draw attention away from the actual crime of rape? May God have mercy on your soul. Your God is a malicious one, isn’t he?

    • @Ed Tozar. You hit the nail right on the head. Perfect!!!!!!!!

    • Bless your heart Ed. Really, bless your heart, because I sense you have some damage there, and I’m sorry for you.

      I don’t trade in hate and vengeance, as I said before, and I sure don’t trade on lies.

      I’ll forgive you for lying about me, but let me make this clear for anyone else who may happen to read this:

      It isn’t gossip to state the fact that Jocelyn used Ruth’s name to raise money without Ruth’s permission or knowledge. It isn’t gossip to state the fact that Ruth never received any of the funds that were raised, whether that be by a gift card or a check.

      When Jocelyn tries to excuse herself on Ruth’s blog, she used the term “funds.” So do I.

      Can’t imagine your pour out so much hate and vitriol over my using the term Jocelyn did, but hey, I’ve discovered that how you folks roll.

      And guess what Ed? You are just like the IFB you hate so much, just like them. You want to wink at things your group does wrong and viciously lie about and attack anyone who’d DARE bring those things up.

      But your lies and vicious attacks can’t touch me. Your threats to call the FBI are empty and hollow. You are just a sounding brass, trying to attack people for speaking the truth.

      Like I said before, being raped, being involved in incest, being abused as a kid doesn’t mean you have a free pass to do whatever you want later in life, if it’s wrong.

      Two wrongs are never going to make a right, no matter how much your try and make that happen.

      You hide and watch what I tell you. All this mess about soliciting money and using people’s names without their permission and being about money instead of just looking out for justice will be the downfall.

      Because greed always is.

      • “I’ll forgive you for lying about me, but let me make this clear for anyone else who may happen to read this:”

        You don’t need to forgive me. God has forgiven me. I will stand and answer to Him. So will you, and Jocelyn Maybe you need to forgive yourself. You sound a bitter there son?

        “It isn’t gossip to state the fact that Jocelyn used Ruth’s name to raise money without Ruth’s permission or knowledge. It isn’t gossip to state the fact that Ruth never received any of the funds that were raised, whether that be by a gift card or a check.
        When Jocelyn tries to excuse herself on Ruth’s blog, she used the term “funds.” So do I.”

        Funny how you take that out of context. It was for gift card for Christmas. That is the truth.

        “And guess what Ed? You are just like the IFB you hate so much, just like them. You want to wink at things your group does wrong and viciously lie about and attack anyone who’d DARE bring those things up.”

        Who says I hate the IFB? You know me? Do you? I don’t hate the IFB. I dislike people who use things like this to draw attention away from CRIMES. Rape is a crime.

        “Bless your heart Ed. Really, bless your heart, because I sense you have some damage there, and I’m sorry for you.”

        You always talk like that to people you don’t know, there son? Bless your heart. I don’t even know what that mean, other that I am told, if a person from the South says it, it may be a put down.

  29. I saw this article today:

    Reminded me of some of the comments here and elsewhere. . .

  30. No put down Ed, just a sincere bless your heart and hopes that you stop being hateful towards people who ask honest questions and don’t get honest replies.

    “Funny how you take that out of context. It was for gift card for Christmas. That is the truth.”

    Ruth’s blogging name and situation were used to solicit FUNDS without her permission and knowledge. Ruth NEVER received any of those FUNDS whether in the form of a “gift card” or any thing else.

    Jocelyn wasn’t asking people to send her “gift cards” to send to other people. She requested MONEY.

    She also tried to solicit money again recently by urging people to give, give, give to her “foundation” (reason unknown.)

    You seem to know so much much about the money. Can you supply the nonprofit status?

  31. Ken Smith

    You don’t want the truth. Tammy Moyer one of the gift card recipients above answered you. Laurie Moody answered you. I have attempted to answer you. You are all about put downs. No truth will make any difference to you.

    I bid farewell! Flame away in your cesspool of misrepresentations.

    • Flame? Speaking the truth is never a flame unless you are trying to hide or cover up something.

      Here are the facts: Jocelyn requested MONEY and used Ruth’s name and situation to ask for MONEY without securing Ruth’s permission first.

      When it was all said and done, you’d like to EXCUSE that away by saying it was alright for Jocelyn to do that because she bought gift cards with the money for some other people.

      And she’s still asking for money and using Tina Anderson’s name to do it, without explaining what she wants this money for.

      All I’ve asked for was an explanation and the true nonprofit status as MANY PEOPLE have not been able to find the Tina Anderson Foundation registered with the IRS or the state of Washington.

      It may be registered. Maybe it’s registered in Hawaii or Oregon, I don’t know.

      But it seems like a simple enough question that ought to be answered.

    • Ed, may I offer you a deal? I’ll admit that it is wrong to blame the victim (Tina Anderson or whoever).

      Will you consider admitting that Jocelyn and MANY in the “IFB Survivor” group bring upon themselves criticism by grossly overstating their case and being borderline out of balance?

      Yes, it is definitely wrong to blame the victim; especially someone who was 15 at the time of the crime. No reason – no excuse whatsoever to blame the victim.

      But, it is also wrong for this “survivor” group to make outrageous & asinine blanket comments, half-truths, and outright lies about the entirety of the IFB and threaten to call the FBI to turn in every single IFB church and doing it with the same attitude that is just like the people they hate.

      Both are wrong! Can we agree on that point?

      I’ll admit to the first point. What say you about the second?

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