Here in my own city, a Southern Baptist Convention church has hired a convicted pedophile. Not as the janitor. Not as the maintenance man, or even as an adult bible study teacher. As the preacher. He is a confessed, serial adulter in multiple churches, and then he was convicted of having sex with a minor in his church, and sending lewd text messages to others.
So how does the Florida Baptist Convention (FBC), under the leadership of John Sullivan, respond to this? How does John Sullivan and the staff at the FBC respond to the knowledge that women and children are at risk at a church who is Southern Baptist and a member of the Florida Baptist Convention who has hired this man? Below is their official statement, with my commentary.
"A hallmark of Southern Baptist life is the autonomy of the local church. Southern Baptists do not have a hierarchal (sic) system and do not appoint pastors to serve in local churches. The local congregation determines who will serve its church."
OK, this is already known. Obviously no agency appoints pastors to Southern Baptist churches, the congregations pick their pastors. However it is true that if a church selects a female pastor according to their interpretation of scripture, there is a "system" by which that church can be removed from the SBC."The Florida Baptist Convention has taken a proactive stance to encourage all churches to run background checks on employees and volunteers—as we do with every volunteer who works with children and teens in Convention-sponsored events and programs"
How ironic that this is brought up in the context of the Gilyard saga. Had Shiloh Baptist done a background check on Gilyard he would have come out clean back in 1993 - he had no criminal record. But he was KNOWN to be a serial adulter by Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines, and had confessed to having sex with women he had counseled in his churches prior to coming to Shiloh, yet a background check would never have revealed that when Shiloh hired him in the early 1990s. Of course now if we run a background check, he is a convicted sex offender."Christ Tabernacle Baptist Church (sic) in Jacksonville has been affiliated with the Florida Baptist Convention since 1998. During that time, the congregation has not demonstrated cooperation as defined by our Bylaw 2, which includes participating in the Cooperative Program giving and providing statistical information. They have given nothing in the past six years."
Christa Brown and others have called for the Southern Baptist Convention to establish a database to track ministers who have been convicted of crimes, or credibly accused of serious misconduct. The SBC heavies have opposed such a system, and the Gilyard disaster is example #1 of why such a system is required. The FBC statement above painfully points this out.
OK, that is interesting. Glad to know that in addition to hiring a pedophile and kicking the kids out of the church, they also are guilty of the terrible offense of not giving any money to the Cooperative Program. Who really cares that they have given no money to SBC missions, if they are putting a pedophile in the pulpit?"Under Bylaw 2, the Convention affirms the role of the local association as the theological guardian of theology, faith, practice and polity. We affirm the leaders of the Jacksonville Baptist Association in that role."
OK, so they were saying that they would rather have the local association handle this matter. So John Sullivan passes the buck to Rick Wheeler and David Tarkington. Now in the next paragraph, the Florida Baptist Convention does say what is important to them, what DOES cause them to jump to action."Our staff has attempted to contact church leaders of Christ Tabernacle Baptist church even before the appointment of Darrell Gilyard as a preacher to discuss their financial situation. Since the current situation developed, we have made additional attempts to contact church leaders. Yesterday we were able to contact the chairman of the deacons and express our concern about the on-going relationship with the congregation."
Interesting. They just said in the previous paragraph that the matter of one of their own churches hiring a pedophile needs to be handled by the JBA. But by golly, the Florida Baptist Convention wants everyone to know that what is important to them, where they WILL jump to take action is when your church stops giving money to the Cooperative Program.So the matter is put to rest now. We now know: the Florida Baptist Convention will pass the handling of serious matters such as pedophile preachers at churches down to the local associations that really have very few resources as compared to the state association. But when it comes to collecting money from the churches, the Florida Baptist Convention will get involved.
Their statement above does specify the CTMBC offense of not giving money to the Cooperative Program, but doesn't detail the offense of greater importance: putting women and children at risk by hiring a pedophile preacher.
Finally, I do commend Rick Wheeler and David Tarkington for taking the ball from the Florida Baptist Convention and getting Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church to agree to remove their membership from the JBA.
And thank you Rick and David, for getting CTMBC removed from the JBA church website so no one is directed to that church from your database.
Sadly, CTMBC is still as of this morning, showing up on the Florida Baptist Convention Church website.
John Sullivan, can you at least get CTMBC removed from your church database?
At least until they begin contributing money again to the Cooperative Program.
What if they HAD been giving?
Is it just me, or does John Sullivan sound like he's more interested in whether or not a church gives than he is whether or not a church hires a pastor who displays sexual predatory behavior toward females. Again, I could be misunderstanding John. However, I read over this statement twice and I wonder to myself, "John, what in the name of Southern Baptist causes does this church giving (or not giving) money to your state organization have to do with the very important issue of predatory behavior in a pastor of a church that CLAIMS membership in the Flordia Baptist Convention?"
In other words, John Sullivan, quit trying to cover your backside and issue a strong condemnation of the actions of this church.
Wade, it is not just you. To me, the telling part, as Dog pointed out, was the obvious view that this particular association leadership is driven by the amount of money the member church can provide, not the content of their spiritual efforts. It is sad that the irony is probably not even evident to Mr. Sullivan. Clearly, laboring for the cause of Christ is measured in dollars by him, not God's grace. It actually makes me sad that someone claiming to be a Christian leader can be so jaded.
And his cop-out on Baptist church autonomy is such a joke. If this church hired a female pastor, or failed to properly abuse and refuse gay members (sarcasm intended), you can guarantee the message would have been worded much differently and the action would have come far more switly.
Makes me glad I am no longer Southern Baptist, but saddens me as a Christian.
being a female preacher is a far greater offense than being a pedophile preacher
not giving to the cooperative program is a far greater offense than being a pedophile preacher
female and under-age victims are very low on our priority list
I'd say that the state convention has handled publicity on this rather inelegantly.
I know of no state convention that can expel a church without the convention being in session, an annual event. Same for the national SBC.
An association is the place where these things are most efficiently handled but usually requires a meeting of church representatives and a formal vote.
Any leader can certainly issue a strong, concise statement which is what should be done.
What all this tells me is for SBC ... if any ministers sexually abuse women or girls, it is OK. Maybe they should advertise their seminaries for pedophiles and sexual abusers to join their seminaries and be part of SBC.
It is all about the money baby.
The FBC rakes in millions of dollars with very little accountability.
What is John Sullivan's salary?
31.6 million dollar budget...for what?
It is a shame and a sham that the FBC takes in that much money with such terrible results....I would not want to stand before Jesus with that much "talent" buried in the ground doing NOTHING!
John Sullivan is a member of FBCJ and yes he too (like Brunson) has a strong interest in financial giving. And yes, as Brunson, his response in what he wrote is nothing but covering his backside. Double standard in what he wrote! As one posted stated "what if they HAD been giving"?
Hat's off to JBA -they took a stand before John Sullivan did. He's an old man who needs to retire.
Some SBC leaders are so out of touch with reality that it is frightening. Or worse,IMHO, they are just being "politically correct". I wonder if their response would have been any different if Gilyard's offenses had been with underage boys. As for me, I see no difference. Sexual sin is sexual sin, regardless of who it is with.
The bottom line is that Gilyard's new church is not a member of the Florida Baptist Convention nor of the local association so basically, it is none of yours or anyone else's business who they hire as their pastor. They are well aware of his background and still choose to do it so give it a rest. If the members of that church give it their approval that is their business.
The bottom line is MYOB.
I've served on the credentials committee for an association before. This is the committee that examines churches who may join the association and whether or member churches are meeting the definition of a cooperating church. If I had to guess, Sullivan mentioned the Annual Church Profile and Cooperative Program giving because those are the two major factors that show that you desire to continue to be a cooperating church. Looking at the context, he was probably defining the relationship of the church to the association and state convention.
For what it's worth, the JBA has the opportunity to give a strong message about churches hiring men with such a predatory past by disfellowshiping this church.
"The bottom line is MYOB."
It's difficult to believe that a Christian could be this cold and uncaring toward victims of abuse.
Please show me an example where Jesus told someone to "MYOB" when they were concerned about people being abused.
There is no proof that Gilyard is still abusing anyone. Guess you don't believe in forgiveness, cleansing, and grace.
"Guess you don't believe in forgiveness, cleansing, and grace."
Guess you don't understand about the consequences of sin.
Showing grace has nothing to with hiring a known predator who has repeatedly abused the authority and trust that is implicit in the role of pastor.
He does not meet the Scriptural qualifications for elders/deacons and the hiring of this man is a disgrace to the position.
I love it. Yes the FBC and JBA are only concerned with MONEY. Amazing that a known phedophile can stand in the pulpit of an SBC church, is there nothing sacred about the pulpit any more. So loved the way Dr. Lindsay protected the pulpit of FBCJAX. It was sacred, protected, and seen as a privileged egnima within FBCJAX. Unfortunately, it is no longer. Mac Brunson allows anyone or anything to stand in the pulpit.
Shame on John Sullivan for NOT jumping to action on this issue. If the FBC and JBA are hands off of the churches, then what is the need to have them and how much of the cooperative giving is diverted away from true mission work to pay their salaries.
All is good in the church as long as the money flows, staff aren't held accountable, and salaries are untouched and healthy!
Lord come quickly.
If DG were not pastoring and showed up at your church to join (and all knew of his past), what would you do?
"It's difficult to believe that a Christian could be this cold and uncaring toward victims of abuse."
You have to make a long stretch in what was stated to make such a case. To support someone who has done their time, is not hiding in the shadows, is willing to live by the open label of predator is not the same as being uncaring towards victims of abuse.
God died for each person on each side of the groups you draw. We are called to love all, not just those we think are worth loving.
It is possible there is more than one kind of abuse being talked about or demonstrated in such words of hate.
Does Jesus forgive?
Does Jesus restore?
Ask Paul...Ask Peter...Ask Franklin Graham...Ask Nicky Cruz...Ask Me...Ask Peter...
Ask Darrell Gilyard...
I expect this from the Lost and from the Liberals...
Well...maybe that is where this attack is really coming from anyway?
So MUCH forgiveness for a pedophile. But NOT for a blogger who still has to heed trespass warnings against him and his wife.
All the "Godly" men of these churches are frauds. They invoke God and Mercy when it suits them. When it does not, they withhold mercy as they are Gods.
"There is no proof that Gilyard is still abusing anyone."
You first TROLL. You should send one of your family members to his church on the chance the he doesn't repeat.
There is no proof that Gilyard is still abusing anyone. Guess you don't believe in forgiveness, cleansing, and grace.
"Yes, I do believe in that - but a sexual pervert should not be given the spotlight in a pulpit - besides it was his VICTIMS who spoke up - he was caught, and he will do it again!
Watchdog, I guess I qualify as a robot - took 5 tries before I finally got through - I'm positive you have good reason for your new system, but one has to be persistent if they want to ge through. LOL
Follow-up to Nan Hawkes story:
Anonymous March 7, 2:26: Of course God forgives; of course God restores. That is central to the Gospel message, but you are serving up a heaping helping of cheap grace, not the grace of God through Christ Jesus our Lord. Your logic goes off course, however, when you compare Gilyard to Paul, Peter, Nicky Cruz or Franklin Graham. None of those individuals were preachers, trading on the trust of the innocent, when they were called by God and had their lives turned around. Gilyard, on the other hand, had allegedly been called by God, surrendered to that call and became a preacher BEFORE he violated the trust and the bodies of women and girls. Interestingly, in Matthew 18:6 Jesus tells us what he thinks of folks like Gilliard, and I don't see "forgive" or "restore" there. That is scary stuff if you are a Biblical literalist.
Some of you legalists sure have a dim view of God's grace if you say Gilyard could never change. What would you have done with the Apostle Paul?
It really doesn't even matter what you think about whether Gilyard is worth or not, you are not members of his church and therefore have no say in the matter.
Somehow I doubt that he is reading this blog so we're wasting our time hyperventilating about his sins.
"Some of you legalists sure have a dim view of God's grace if you say Gilyard could never change."
Some of you bleeding heart liberals sure have a dim view of God's righteousness if you think God will overlook sin.
"What would you have done with the Apostle Paul?"
Paul was abusing Christians BEFORE he became a Christian not after. It seems like anyone with average intelligence you would pick up on that. But not our favorite TROLL.
"It really doesn't even matter what you think about whether Gilyard is worth or not, you are not members of his church and therefore have no say in the matter."
Stupid ridiculous argument. Goes against what Paul and Jesus taught in the New Testament.
It's the same argument that liberals use to say you can't comment on something unless you have experienced the same thing personally.
Like I need to be an alcoholic to know that drinking too much is bad for you. Ignorant.
"Somehow I doubt that he is reading this blog so we're wasting our time hyperventilating about his sins."
Gilliard's victims would strongly disagree with you I am sure.
There needs to be an understanding and the women in that church in which Gilyard is in need to be concerned. They can forgive him of his past but he DOES NOT MEET requirements to be placed to any type of elder again, he lied, lied, lied and lied some more and then he bore a false tesitmony toward the women he abused. Please, Florida Baptist Convention step in and talk this out and point this out to their leadership and not just remove him from membership. That is not being responsible enough. I am tired the lack of boldness to confront this head on and merely relying on statements to solve it.
Interesting, the FBCJAX website appears to be down.. Wonder what's up?
"Somehow I doubt that he is reading this blog so we're wasting our time hyperventilating about his sins."
Come on bro. You act if there are more important things we should be thinking on, like billions of lost people dying and going to hell. Stories of salvation are no where as sensational as bashing the real sinners. Get a life.
"Come on bro. You act if there are more important things we should be thinking on, like billions of lost people dying and going to hell."
Yeah, who cares about a few women that were abused at the hands of their pastor. They can get over those emotional scars in the next life. That's not important.
What is important is that the pastor (even a pedophile pastor) must be worshiped at all costs.
Be careful about messing with God's man.
Dr. Gilyard has made a few mistakes...we all have.
Quit picking on Black Preachers.
Racism is ugly.
"You act if there are more important things we should be thinking on"
Because (as everyone knows) you can't deal with more than one issue at the same time.
As a matter of fact, we should ignore all sin because their is a world that is dying and going to hell.
We should ignore female pastors because of the dying world.
We should ignore homosexual priests because of the dying world.
But most importantly, we should ignore recalcitrant bloggers because of the dying world.
"a world that is dying and going to hell."
And what are you doing about it?
Maybe we can ask Obama if Gillyard can be classified as a terrorist? Clearly to the abuse victims (past and future one's), Gillyard is a terrorist. Maybe this is a new trend in the War on Terror. How soon will it be before we see drones above Jacksonville? Or Maybe the FBI will act on it?.
"Be careful about messing with God's man."
How did you come to the conclusion that Gilyard is God's man?
Certainly not by his actions.
"Dr. Gilyard has made a few mistakes...we all have."
You mean he accidentally abused those women while counseling them?
How did he accidentally abuse them?
"Quit picking on Black Preachers."
Since WD has reported on the abuse of power by both white and black pastors, are you saying that only white pastors can be critiqued?
"Racism is ugly."
So is idolatry.
Learn the difference.
Pulling out the race card is a sign of complete and utter desperation.
Grow up TROLL.
I am definitely for dismissing this church immediately on all levels. Dismissing a church is not a violation of church autonomy it is rather a confirmation of it. Conventions and associations are made up of autonomous churches who have a right to decide with whom they will fellowship.
Just found this post.
I am in favor of the disfellowshipping of this church at all levels of the SBC. Indeed, I will not stand still to tolerate anything less. I'll make the motion in NOLA myself if they haven't already made clear their withdrawal from the SBC by that time.
However, I think you inadvertently misconstrue John Sullivan. I took his statements about the Cooperative Program giving of the church to be an indication that the church ALREADY is disfellowshipped from the Florida Baptist Convention for their failure to cooperate financially. This would be relevant, because it would be difficult to disfellowship a church that is not actually in your fellowship to begin with.
I think that the Florida Baptist Convention should act anyway, to remove all doubt and to give a clear witness to the community. Nevertheless, when you talk about kicking a church out of the Florida Baptist Convention, it IS INDEED RELEVANT to clarify whether the church is in the convention to begin with for you to be able to kick them out.
Such technicalities are indeed relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things—juxtaposed against the pain inflicted upon so many victims by Gilyard—but when it comes to actions like booting a church out of the convention, which is a bureaucratic and legal maneuver, you can't get it done without people who can pay attention to the technicalities and use them to set things in motion.
March 8, 2:33, I read your response, along with many others and just shook my head. Started not to respon at all, but could not let your "hands off God's man" nonsense go unchallenged. IF DARRYL GILYARD IS "GOD'S MAN," BALAAM'S ASS WAS A RACE HORSE. When Gilliard takes out a full-page add in the Times-Union, fully confesses his sin and begs forgiveness from every women and girl he abused, from the churches he used as hunting grounds, and the parade of preachers he deceived, he will have taken the first step on a long road to reconciliation and restoration. Until then, we'd all be better off listening to the donkey.
"When Gilliard takes out a full-page add in the Times-Union, fully confesses his sin and begs forgiveness from every women and girl he abused, from the churches he used as hunting grounds, and the parade of preachers he deceived, he will have taken the first step on a long road to reconciliation and restoration. "
Whose conditions for beginning a possibility of being accepted are these?
What DG did was evil, pure and simple. What He did was no less evil than what we did or have done to Jesus and His list of to do's for forgiveness and restoration is much, much shorter. Whose list do you think is the most God honoring?
I don't trust DG but I do trust God.
"What DG did was evil, pure and simple. What He did was no less evil than what we did or have done to Jesus and His list of to do's for forgiveness and restoration is much, much shorter. Whose list do you think is the most God honoring?"
You don't understand the first thing about Biblical forgiveness my friend.
Biblical forgiveness is designed to help restore a broken relationship. In order to do that, the offender must first be willing to admit guilt (as in not pleading not guilty in court) and then to humbly and sincerely ask forgiveness from the offended party.
At that point, the offended party offers forgiveness and the relationship is restored.
The sinner is now forgiven but there are consequences to his sin. Read about the life of David in the Bible. He lived in constant turmoil after his sin and the sword never left his house.
When DG gets into that universe let me know.
I read your article and a lot of the comments. What I can't understand is why everyone is focused on John Sullivan and the SBC when you have a congregation of believers who acted irresponsibly and willingly allowed this to happen. Where were the elders and deacons and why weren't they speaking out? How did fathers and mothers allow this to happen? I am a leader of a faith-based boarding school and I am currently facing an issue in which a sex offender is attempting to buy land next to our property. I am not waiting for my cooperate office to address the issue because it is my duty to protect my students. I don't want the guy next to our campus but they allowed this guy in their pulpit.
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