Scott Brown, one of the elders at Hope Baptist Church (link no longer active) in Wake Forest, North Carolina, church home to two of the six brothers accused of repeatedly raping their sister over an eight year period, recently shared the reason the Eric Jackson confessed. In a blog post titled Eric Jackson and the Power of the Gospel Brown wrote:
Now, you may have heard that Hope Baptist has two of her members in jail on sex offenses against their sister. The tragic family life of the Jacksons is almost overwhelming. It is a story we will never forget.
But how did this come to light? The reason this story is in the national news right now is because of the power of the gospel. Eric Jackson came to the church, responded to the preaching of the Word of God, recognized that he was a false convert, embraced the true gospel, and was born again. His new heart compelled him want to walk in the light. As a result, he confessed his sin.
He first went to my fellow Hope Baptist pastor, Dan Horn and confessed. We collaborated on the situation and the next day Dan called to report it to the authorities in Elizabeth City. Shortly thereafter Dan went with Eric to the authorities to turn himself in. In that meeting Eric exposed the patterns of evil in his home and his past participation in it. Finally, 18 months later when their investigation was complete, 8 of the 11 family members were indicted by a grand jury and jailed to await trial. The father and the mother, Jon and Nita Jackson are out of jail on bond.
If Jesus had not saved Eric, perhaps the devastating culture of this family could have continued, even to more generations. But the gospel transforms and shines light in dark places. Jesus was the source of light that caused things to be brought into the light, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:4-5
Paul speaks of the transforming power of the gospel to the Corinthian church. He mentions that some of them had a horrible past – adultery, homosexuality… He writes to them of the mercies of God in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
When the gospel has truly been embraced, it makes murderers former murderers. It makes idolaters former idolaters. It even makes child molesters former child molesters who walk in the light. Nothing else has that kind of power. Nothing else can break the patterns of sin that once enslaved those who have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)…
Eric Jackson is now twenty-seven years old. This means, depending on which report you believe about when the rape stopped, Jackson was around fifteen when the rape started and twenty-three to twenty-five when the rape stopped. Ponder that for a moment. He was a teenager when he started violating his sister and a grown ass man who owned a business when he stopped.
One commenter, on my other post on this sordid story, suggested that the brothers were so corrupted by their parents that they didn’t know raping their sister, age four and a half when it started and age twelve to fourteen when it stopped, was wrong. The only proof of this claim is a subjective comment the local sheriff made in an interview. There is no proof that the brothers were so under the influence of their parents that they were powerless to stop raping their sister or didn’t know that it was wrong.
Now we have Scott Brown saying that Eric, the oldest of the molesters, did not know that raping his sister was morally wrong. It wasn’t until Brown, using the mighty power of the Word of God, showed Eric that he was a false Christian, that Eric began to see that raping his sister was wrong. Until the moment that Eric gloriously embraced the gospel of John Calvin, he had no clue that sexually molesting a child was immoral. Until the Calvinistic Holy Spirit gave life to Eric’s dead, darkened, depraved heart, he did not know that what he and his brothers did was wrong.
Those of us who are familiar with fundamentalist Calvinism have heard similar stories. Many of the “new” converts in Calvinistic churches are actually people who were already professing Christians. They were just the “wrong” kind of Christian. Calvinistic pastors are noted for their ability to persuade Christians that their non-doctrines of grace salvation is false. What better way to understand Eric Jackson’s sin and confession than to paint it as a Saul on the Road to Damascus conversion story.
Brown, of course, is an opportunist, and he is using Eric Jackson’s story to promote fundamentalist Calvinism. He even goes so far to suggest “If Jesus had not saved Eric, perhaps the devastating culture of this family could have continued, even to more generations.” If it is the Calvinistic gospel that made the difference, and so far Eric is the only Christian brother to get really, really, really saved, aren’t the rest of the brothers still rapists dead in trespasses and sin? Besides, at least two of the brothers regularly attended Hope Baptist Church. Surely they heard preaching against raping your sister? Surely they heard preaching against sexual immorality? If they heard, are they not accountable?
Calvinists love to make much of Romans 1-2 and the law of God that is written on the heart of every human. Surely, that law would tell Eric Jackson and his brothers that raping their sister is wrong? If atheists know that the raping a child is morally wrong, shouldn’t people raised in church, raised under the teachings of the Bible, even if they are not a Christian, know that they shouldn’t sexually molest children?
Brown’s blog post is quite “Biblical”, typical Calvinistic drivel. People like Brown are convinced that anyone who is not like them, a regenerated sinner brought into the glorious light by the Calvinistic gospel, is dead in trespasses and sin. We are vile, wicked, enemies of God. It’s a wonder that all of us don’t rape our siblings and children. We are helpless, in bondage to sin and Satan. Or so the Scott Brown’s of the world would have us to believe.
This story continues to sicken me and Brown’s opportunism and explanation only makes it worse. While I am sure that there was tremendous dysfunction in the Jackson home, it does not excuse the brothers for raping their little sister. I don’t believe for a moment that none of them knew what they were doing was wrong. Unless they were raised as feral animals, they had to know that what they were doing is wrong; especially by the time the brothers became adults.
All that matters now is that girl the brothers abused get the help she needs. There are also two other children to consider. Brown says there are 11 people in the Jackson family. The parents, the six brothers who are in jail, and the girl who was molested. This leaves two other children. Nothing has been reported about them, their age, or sex.
I hope in the coming days that investigative reporters will focus on the patriarchal and hierarchical authority structures found in the Jackson home and churches like Hope Baptist Church. This movement deserves to be thoroughly investigated. I am convinced that once this happens, others will be less likely to be sucked into their pernicious, soul killing, damaging beliefs. We now know, thanks to the Doug Phillips’ sex scandal and Bill Gothard’s sex scandal, that these beliefs can and do lead to gross manipulation and abuse of others. These kind of churches give the appearance of being safe places for families and children, but in some cases they are anything but. Behind the manipulation and abuse is a Bible that is used by men to control others.
Four of the six Jackson brothers pleaded guilty to sexually molesting their little sister. Eric and Matthew Jackson each pleaded guilty to first degree sex offense and were sentenced to twelve to fifteen years in prison. Nathaniel and Benjamin Jackson each pleaded guilty to multiple counts of incest and were sentenced to twenty four months in prison. Aaron Jackson, Jon Marc Jackson, and parents John and Nita Jackson, have yet to plead guilty or are awaiting trial.
Four homeschooled brothers pleaded guilty Thursday to molesting their younger sister from the time she was 4 years old until she was almost 15 – and their parents and two other brothers still face charges related to the case.
The oldest brother confessed in December 2012 to molesting the girl after becoming a born-again Christian, and a pastor from the Baptist church in Wake Forest, North Carolina, contacted authorities the following day.
“He confided in his pastor and his pastor told him that was wrong and not the way normal families are,” said Perquimans County Sheriff Eric Tilley.
Eric Jackson, then 25, told authorities that he and all five of his brothers had sexually abused their younger sister for a decade, and authorities say their parents knew but did nothing to stop the abuse.
An elder at Hope Baptist Church, which Jackson and another brother attended, compared the pattern of abuse to other “horrible” sins such as adultery and homosexuality.
“If Jesus had not saved Eric, perhaps the devastating culture of this family could have continued, even to more generations,” wrote elder Scott Brown. “But the gospel transforms and shines light in dark places. Jesus was the source of light that caused things to be brought into the light.”
Eight of the family’s 11 members have been indicted in the case — which bears similarities to newly revealed claims that reality TV stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar may have covered up their eldest son’s molestation of his sisters and other girls.
The victim in the Jackson case told investigators that she believed she would go to hell if she told anyone about the assaults, which she said took place at least twice a week…
…The girl told authorities her mother had witnessed at least one assault and walked away.
After the eldest brother — who was the first to abuse his sister — contacted authorities, the parents fled with the victim to Colorado.
But the family was tracked down, and the girl was taken into custody by the Department of Human Services and confirmed the confessed claims of her brothers.
Tilley, the sheriff, said the family was “bizarre” and the father held “anti-government” and “anti-school” beliefs.
The eldest brother had difficulty writing his own name when he met with investigators.
“The children were home schooled with very limited education,” Tilley said. “They were very private and the whole yard has a fence around it — like a little compound. They’re very different.”