Actually, as Dr. Doran points out, Pastor Phelps makes contradictory statements that undermine the assertion he’s made that she was not brought up for church discipline but just for support.
Tina’s mom is married to a pedophile who spent time in jail for molesting a minor. Tina’s mom was also in Tina’s life when she was molested by her step father. She seems a tragic figure in this, but not a trustworthy one.
I am not an apologist in any way for Pastor Phelps. I have only met the man one time and I do have some serious theological differences with him.
Those are valid points that you bring up as well. Oh what a mess sin makes in lives. I am a pastor and face it every day–in others and myself as well. I agree with Joel T’s post of yesterday that this is why a plurality of elders is a necessity–not that that will cure all, but I do believe it would help. I am a missionary and our goal is to get to that point. Even though we do not have any elders yet, I do try to include different men who are growing in Christ in the decision making of the church.
It is a very difficult thing to deal with people whose hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Even as Christians, we all have a tendency to not tell the whole truth in a situation, or just to tell parts of the truth that will put us in the best light possible. Only our Lord judges with perfect truth. If I am trying to help a situation, it is so frustrating to be in the middle of two people who will not tell the truth. It’s impossible to make a righteous judgment. I’m not saying anyone is lying here–it’s just difficult to know who to believe.
I have a couple of observations, perhaps questions:
1. It appears from my limited exposure to these types of things (obviously I can’t speak for all of fundamentalism, just where I’ve come from), that throughout the past several decades, many have not known how to handle this type of situation in a church. That does come from being sinners ourselves, and at the same time, not following perfectly what Scripture says about the matter. This whole discussion will help when similar situations, unfortunately, will arise in the future in our churches. Some who criticize those who have acted wrong, are being prepared to act rightly in the future, but they may not have had all the answers then either.
2. It’s hard to tell from the 20/20 video if the three or four girls, all ladies now, were single cases in these churches, or were one of many cases in these churches. One case is too many–BUT, that is the nature of sin. It’s horrible and terrible that this happens. However, in these several churches mentioned on 20/20, if it’s only one or two cases, (and I’m not saying that to minimize anyone’s sin or suffering at all) how much more is this happening in the IFB’s than in other christian/evangelical churches? I would say that yes, there are probably some places where this has happened and definitely been covered up–in a group the size of the IFB’s, I’m sure you could find cases like that. I’m just wondering about the “rampantness” of this in the IFB’s compared to other Christian church groups, etc. Is it really more? Less? The same?
3. A lack of true Biblical Christlike leadership will lead to the thought process that the “Authority is always right.” Hence, the “cult-like” attitudes and strong responses against it. True leaders are servants. At the same time, elders do rule (howbeit imperfectly because of sin again.) There appears to be a trend today of real rebellion against any type of authority when Hebrews 13:17 does command: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Obviously if there is an abuse of authority, people will respond as we have seen throughout the middle east in recent days. May all of us who are in the position of leadership genuinely examine ourselves in the light of God’s Word to see if we are servant leading or heavy-handed leading.
4. Indisputably, there are thousands of born-again people in IFB churches– As well as in other groups. It is amazing how God continues to save anyone in spite of imperfect selves, churches and efforts. May we pray for each other and for Christ’s name to be glorified.
Mike, about your question of the “rampantness” of this in the IFB’s, Jocelyn Z. says it IS in EVERY IFB church according to her FB page.
Just saw Elizabeth Vargas’ latest update on her wall. You can’t get more fair and balanced then that. But – I’ll go on record saying this IS every single IFB church. This is what they’ve been taught their entire life — so it’s rampant.
Tuesday at 8:19pm via Mobile Web.”
Someone is going to take that comment and all the good that she has tried to do will absolutely be obliterated by making that “all” statement. she would have to be in EVERY IFB church to be able to make that statement unequivocally AND be omniscient God at the same time. Better be careful on that.
‘Course, hard to be careful now that she said it and it’s out there. That doesn’t bode well.
[...] an effort to be fair, he links to the Other Side of the Story and discusses the hows and whys of Blaming the [...]