- pastors abuse, slander, or denegrate women
- those who seek to reveal the abuse - whether they are the abused or concerned Christians - they are intimidated by church leaders into silence
- the abusers are not held accountable within their own church power structure
- the abusers are not even held accountable by fellow pastors! While local pastors exert church discipline on church members - they do little to nothing to call out and stop the abuse of their fellow pastors
Here are some examples of the poor treatment of women at the hands of conservative, fundamental churches in Jacksonville:
- the church covered up the sexual abuse of their pastor, Bob Gray, for years. This was well documented by TV-12 in Jacksonville through a series of special investigation reports.
- one of the young women who brought the matter of her abuse forward to church leaders in the sat in the congregation as the pastor's sexual abuse was glossed over and mischaracterized as "neither sexual nor immoral", and was then given a standing ovation of support to the disgust of the young woman.
- According to some at the church, their current pastor Tom Messer admitted he knew of Gray's abuse at the time but did nothing to stop it.
- No proper "church discipline" for Bob Gray when accusers came forward - and apparently no church discipline for Tom Messer for not exposing Gray's abuse and recommending Gray for a missionary position knowing Gray was a child molester. Messer still claims there was no cover-up. Was "church discipline" carried out against Tom Messer?
- This church hired Darrel Gilyard in 1993 after he had pastored in Texas and Oklahoma and admitted to have abused his power as pastor in having sexual relations with church members and women coming to him for counseling. Gilyard's abuse was well know to Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines, as they were both Gilyard's biggest supporters and mentors in the 1980s.
- Hiring Gilyard and not warning the church of his past immediately put the women of this church at great risk from a serial sexual abuser. And as anyone could have guessed, Gilyard continued his abuse of women at Shiloh and is awaiting trial for several charges dealing with minors.
- There was one bright spot in that story - a local pastor who knew of Gilyard's past confronted Gilyard back in 1993 when he came to Shiloh, that he was unfit to pastor, and warned several leaders of the church in person and in writing of Gilyard's past. This pastor was "thanked" by having a complaint filed against him by the deacons of the church. If only more pastors were like this pastor - at least as concerned as much about "disciplining" abusing pastors as they are "disciplining" sinners in their churches.
- Dr. Mac Brunson spread a lie about Dr. Sheri Klouda from the pulpit in the summer of 2008, regarding her lawsuit against Paige Patterson and Brunson's alma mater, Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary. This lie was very hurtful to Dr. Klouda particularly considering Brunson was Klouda's pastor in Dallas. To date Brunson has not apologized to his congregation nor Klouda for his hurtful remarks
- The "Discipline Committee" of FBC Jacksonville has issued a Trespass Warning against the wife of a long-time member of the church who the church has accused of creating division in the church through this blog. The woman has served faithfully in the church for many years - and now she is banned from the church property for the sin of "associating" with her husband until she agrees to meet with the church Discipline Committee with her husband. As of this week no one from the church has contacted her, not even the pastor's wife, to discuss the sin of associating with her husband. The church would not even allow her to attend services with her child or to watch her child perform on a Wednesday night unless she agreed to meet with six men of the church.
- In a self-serving move to protect the church from lawsuits that might arise out of misdeeds by the church, FBC Jacksonville trustees have added a provision to their bylaws stating that members waive their rights to file any legal action against the church in a civil court or agency. This was added to the bylaws in 2007 with absolutely no explanation to the church prior to the vote.
- Mac Brunson accused two very famous pastor's wives (wives of Dr. Truett and Dr. Criswell of FBC Dallas) of creating problems in the church by openly opposing pastors. Very unorthodox for a pastor to publicly accuse and denegrate the name of pastor's wives - yet Mac doesn't have any problem doing that.
- now Grace Community comes on the scene as they seek to exert church discipline on a woman at the church who is accused of having an immoral relationship. One can only wonder how they determine which sins are worthy of this action: is it only those accused of sexual sins? What about greed, or gluttony? Those who are drunkards? Any men who have been unethical in their businesses, have they been rung up by the elders of Grace Community and exposed publicly before the church?
- this story has gone national, as it is now picked up by Fox News. Fox has posted a copy of the letter sent to the woman here. One sentence does sound threatening, almost coersion like: "...this third step [of the discipline process] will be carried out publicly on Sunday January 4th, 2008 [sic]. In order to avoid this, you may contact us through the church office, 904-268-8854". So unless she gives in to their demands, they will do something that she would not want them to do, which is make her sin public. Coersion? Sounds like it. I would like the church to produce one such letter with similar intimidating words that has ever been sent to a man in the church.
So that is the trend. When abuse occurs, silence the accusers. Gloss over the accusations. Mischaracterize the abuse and sin of the abusers. Intimidate those who call out the sin. Change the bylaws to take away rights of church members to hold the church civily responsible for their misdeed - but let the church hold members accountable through threatening letters and trespass warnings. Cover for the abusers and slanderers. Don't hold the abusers or the protectors of the abusers accountable. Tell lies about a woman if it helps your buddy at your alma mater. Issue a trespass warning against a woman and keep her from coming to church with her children since her husband is accused of creating division in the church. Send a letter of coercion to a woman that unless she stop her sinful ways the elders will "tell it to the church".
So who is next fundamental church to step up and be a "strong supporter" of the women in Jacksonville?