Bob Coy, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, Pedophile, Sex Abuse
Miami New Times investigative reporter, Tim Elfrink, did a stellar job investigating the shocking story of fallen Calvary Chapel megachurch pastor, Bob Coy.
Some long-time readers may remember I posted about Bob Coy’s moral failure in a blog post dated April 8, 2014:
You may have heard of the recent scandal by Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale Pastor Bob Coy. The church elders called a special church meeting on Sunday where it was announced:
“On April 3, 2014, Bob Coy resigned as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church he has led since its founding in 1985.” (Source)
58-yr old Bob Coy with his wife founded Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale nearly 30 years ago. The church reportedly has over 20,000 attendees and a staff of over 1,000 at 10 different campuses.
Michael Newnham at Phoenix Preacher blog reported:
We have confirmed that Coy has admitted to at least two affairs in the past year alone and has had a long standing “problem with pornography”.
To deal with “systemic abuse,” we must understand systems, victimization, and what makes individuals and institutions vulnerable.
Key component in a system of resources on child sexual abuse for policy makers, survivors, educators, and advocates.
Guest post by Brad Sargent, with input from Julie Anne Smith.
Cross-posted at futuristguy.
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Spiritual Sounding Board was invited to participate in the Litfuse “blog tour” for the recently released Child Safeguarding Policy Guide. They asked us to post a one-paragraph summary of our overall response to this resource book, so that could be used as an excerpt on other sites. Here is what I wrote:
How will our church serve those who’ve suffered the harm of childhood sexual abuse, and seek to prevent it from happening to others? On this difficult but foundational issue of human dignity and care, will we choose conscience and compassion – or corrosion and complacency? The Child Safeguarding Policy Guide and the range of other resources from GRACE equip us with clear definitions, well-organized knowledge, and practical skills to follow a right and righteous path on these global problems of violence and abuse.
Available reviews of the Policy Guide share about its concepts and content from a variety of angles. Already posted on Amazon are great summaries, detailed insights from church leaders, poignant personal accounts from survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Litfuse Publicity Group has review excerpts and links to full posts, and New Growth Press, which published this book, has additional endorsements.
In this post, I will give a brief preview of key features from a systems perspective, and list other resources from GRACE and New Growth Press. In a follow-up post, I will add my thoughts on the big picture of systemic abuse, why we’ve needed a set of resources to deal with it, and share some personal perspectives on how the Policy Guide and other books produced by GRACE represent answers to some longstanding prayers. Continue reading
Spiritual Abuse, Pastor Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse in the church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery
Ok, here we go, plowing through Pastor Ken Garret’s dissertation about spiritual abuse. I used the word plowing intentionally. For some of us, it will be work. It is not enjoyable to be reminded about difficult experiences. However, some push that pain under the rug and haven’t been able to process it in a safe environment. If you feel ready to do that, come along and join us. Even if you don’t feel ready, you can still read. And for those who have never experienced spiritual abuse, I’m grateful that you are reading, too. Having compassion and understanding is so important in helping someone who has gone through spiritual abuse.
Just an FYI, Ken has removed his dissertation from his blog because he plans to publish it into a book. Ken has graciously allowed us to continue using his original dissertation for this series. (Thanks, Ken!!!)
Well, let’s dig in. Here is the very meaty paragraph we will start with this week:
Abusive churches, past and present, are primarily characterized by strong, control-oriented leadership. These leaders use guilt, fear, and intimidation to manipulate members and keep them in line. Followers are led to think that there is no other church quite like theirs and that God has singled them out for special purposes.
Other, more traditional evangelical churches are put down. Subjective experience is emphasized and dissent is discouraged. Many areas of members’ lives are subject to scrutiny. Rules and legalism abound. People who do not follow the rules or who threaten exposure are often dealt with harshly.
Excommunication is common. For those who leave, the road back to normalcy is difficult, with seemingly few who understand the phenomena of spiritual abuse.
Church membership, church discipline, Pastor Eric Davis, Cornerstone Church
Church Member Responsibility and Church Discipline According to the Cornerstone Church By-laws
I recently wrote about how Julie Anne and I dared to comment on an article at The Cripplegate which subsequently caused our comments to be deleted and comments to be closed. Pastor Eric Davis provided an entirely too long explanation about how the discussion had run its course, more humbleness in being a part of God’s community was needed, and that there was too much focus on logistics. Let’s not forget that he provided the wonderful 16-point article challenging excuses for not going to church. But who’s focusing on logistics? Continue reading
Pastor Eric Davis of The Cornerstone Church (WY) Decides to Remove Two Comments from Women and Closes Further Commenting
Thanks to Boston Lady, I looked up a blog post that was linked in a comment on this blog’s previous post. Eric Davis wrote, “Reasons We Miss Church (But May Not Need To)” which was posted on The Cripplegate.
This post discusses all of the wrong reasons why someone might miss church. They include:
- “There is no command that says I need to go to church every Sunday.”
- “There aren’t any good churches in my area.”
- “Family/friends are in from out of town.”
- “The preacher/teacher I like is not preaching/teaching.”
- “I can watch the/another gathering online, or listen to a message online.”
- “Recent birth of a child.”
- “Gatherings are too long.”
- “It conflicts with the kids’/family’s schedule/sleep/sports/stuff.”
- “Church is far away.”
- “I work during the church gatherings.”
- “I am traveling.”
- “Some hard things have happened and I need space.”
- “I’m tired.”
- “The church isn’t a location or an event, but people, so I don’t need to be there.”
- “My spouse/significant other/roommate is staying home so I will too.”
- “I know all of these reasons, but you just don’t understand my situation.”
As noted by Boston Lady, the ever eloquent A. Amos Love had left some comments on there, so I decided to chime in as well.
Ex-Wife of a pedophile shares from her heart about mishandling of sex abuse cases at The Village Church and Josh Duggar
Horrific story of spiritual abuse, mishandling of sex abuse, church membership, Matt Chandler, The Village Church, Jordan Root, pedophile, child pornography
Church Membership, Pastor Kevin DeYoung, Making Vows, The Gospel Coalition, here we go again!
Church Membership is being pushed in The Gospel Coalition’s recent article. Whose rights are protected?
Christina Holcomb, litigation counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, wrote an article for The Gospel Coalition (TGC), 5 Actions Churches Should Take in a Changing Legal Culture, which was published today.
I can’t help but perk up and take notice when I read about churches and legal counsel after having been sued by my former pastor, Chuck O’Neal, and the church, Beaverton Grace Bible Church. Please note that both my former pastor and the church were plaintiffs named in the lawsuit. Here are a couple of screenshots from this lovely document that altered the course of my life:
Ms. Holcomb summarizes the new threats she sees in our current culture as it relates to religious rights and freedoms:
These new political, cultural, and legal realities directly affect the church’s freedom to live out its faith. While most church decisions about internal governance or doctrine currently enjoy constitutional protection, churches cannot assume that these protections will stand indefinitely. Maintaining a gospel-centered witness in today’s culture requires not only standing firm on the truths of Scripture, but also taking affirmative steps to protect the church’s freedom to continue peacefully teach and live out its faith.
She gave a brief paragraph for the following points:
1. Adopt a written statement of faith about marriage.
2. Establish religious employment criteria.
3. Create a facility use policy.
4. Establish a written marriage policy.
It is the last point, “Adopt a written membership policy,” where I would like to focus. Here is what she wrote:
5. Adopt a written membership policy.
Only those persons who “unite” with the church have consented to the church’s authority over them. As a result, churches with formal members have greater legal protection when it becomes necessary to exercise church discipline. Churches are encouraged to adopt a written membership policy that explains the procedure for becoming a church member, procedures for member discipline, and procedures for rescinding church membership.
Of course, this recommendation does not mean that a church should adopt a form of church government to which it does not subscribe. Churches can still have designated members who affirm they are committed to and part of a church body, even if there is no voting or say in church practices.
Okie-dokie, I have a couple of thoughts:
Notice in the first sentence: Only those persons who “unite” with the church have consented to the church’s authority over them
When you become a member, you are agreeing/consenting to the church’s authority over you.
Ok, now take a look at the second sentence: As a result, churches with formal members have greater legal protection when it becomes necessary to exercise church discipline.
Look again closely. Who has the protection? The member or the church?
Also please note that she’s encouraging all churches to adopt a written membership policy.
Christiana Holcomb lays it out for us pretty clearly. She says the church must protect themselves first.
But when abusive church leadership has the law on their side and they don’t agree with you, a covenant-signed church member, you could be hosed.
I was sued without being a church member (despite the fabrications you read elsewhere by Chuck O’Neal). We never signed any documentation, never went before the church body to say we were formally agreeing to be members. I have a copy of the bylaws and know what membership entails and we were not official members, but my daughter and I were still sued.
Imagine, however, being in an abusive church in which your church membership is hung over your head and you are reminded that you signed the dotted line. You may have forfeited some of your legal rights. Please think very carefully about church membership. It is not a biblical mandate. It is a modern cultural trend.
Edited to add: It looks like Dee at The Wartburg Watch blog also had a strong reaction to this article and wrote a blog post. There are some real practical helps here: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/04/09/further-proof-you-are-signing-a-legal-contract-not-a-membership-covenant-courtesy-of-the-gospel-coalition/
Mark Dever, 9Marks, and other pastors using language to control and coerce members to not engage in outside activities without church endorsement
Vision Forum’s fallen patriarchal leader, Doug Phillips, has become a member of another church without obtaining the required “letter of transfer” from the church he established and formerly led, Boerne Christian Assembly
What is the responsibility of pastors for those they deem have “gone astray?” Do pastoral confidentiality rules apply even when someone resigns their church membership?
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Learn to discern church websites, church discipline procedures, membership rules and accountability, attendance, and tithe requirements before joining a new church. A lot of information can be found on church websites.
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