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Dr. David Tee Continues to Defend Preachers Who Commit Sex Crimes

david thiessen
David Tee/Derrick Thomas Thiessen is the tall man in the back

I know some of you are tired of me mentioning Dr. David Tee (whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen) on this site. I’m sick of mentioning him too. However, I can’t and won’t ignore his defense of clerics who commit sex crimes. I’ve met thousands of Christians over the years. I’ve never known a Christian with such callous disregard for the pain, suffering, and heartache of others. Whether out of some sort of misguided understanding of justice and forgiveness or a need to cover up past misconduct in his own life, Thiessen refuses to accept how offensive (and immoral) his words really are.

What follows is an excerpt from Thiessen’s latest post, @MeChurch 3, and my response to it. Please see @Me Church 2, and @MeChurch to read Thiessen’s other defenses of Evangelical preachers who molest children. All spelling, grammar, punctuation, and irrationality in the original.

How many people have had their lives and careers, not to mention their faith, ruined because Christians and others demand their pound of flesh far above what God demands? In this specific case, we can understand these moves better if Mr. Morris had not repented and lived a life that continually practiced this sin.

Mr. Morris is Evangelical megachurch pastor Robert Morris, who recently resigned after he was exposed for sexually assaulting a twelve-year-old church girl in the 1980s. The abuse continued for several years. Morris admitted assaulting the girl, acknowledging that his church knew about his crime — and yes, he committed a crime — at the time it happened. Morris briefly stepped away from preaching, then returned to the pulpit as if nothing happened. Ain’t God good, right? (Please see What Are We to Make of an Evangelical Preacher Who Defends a Pastor Who Sexually Assaulted a Twelve-Year-Old Girl?)

Morris committed a crime — a felony sex crime. What the Bible says doesn’t matter. Thiessen thinks he has intimate knowledge of God’s thoughts, but he doesn’t. And what God “thinks” on the matter doesn’t matter either. We are a nation of laws, and those laws consider Morris’ actions a crime. The only reason he is not in jail is that he can no longer be prosecuted for what he did almost 40 years ago.

Thiessen can’t possibly know if this was a one-off or whether Morris “repented” — as if repentance wipes his slate clean. Thiessen thinks saying “my bad” to God is a get-out-of-jail-free card.

But he had dealt with it, he took his spiritual punishment and paid the price for his actions. No more should be required of him. God promises to forget our sins when we honestly repent and turn from our wicked ways. 

How does Thiessen know Morris “dealt with it” — “it” being sexually assaulting a church girl for several years? He demands evidence from me for all sorts of things, but when it comes to Morris molesting a young girl, Thiessen takes his word for it. Why is that?

Christians are not better than God and they should do the same thing when the person has truly repented. Keep in mind that we do not know the exact nature of his repentance or experience with God at that time. We are not judging that part of this story as we do not know what God did at that time.

Thiessen says he is not judging Morris, but he most certainly is. He has judged him forgiven. Based on what, exactly? That he said he repented? Child, please.

What we are discussing is the attitude of those Christians and others who think they need to do more than God to make a person pay for the sins they have committed. People outside of those involved do not have the criminal or spiritual authority to demand more than those who have jurisdiction put in place.

People often forget their place and think they can add more to punishment or make the crime more severe than it is for whatever reason they may use to justify their vigilante and kangaroo court justice.

If God has forgiven his sin with that young girl, then no one has the right to hold it over the person’s head forever. Nor do they have the right to add more punishment or destroy the man’s life.

No one is adding more punishment to Morris’ life or trying to destroy him. He did that to himself. What his victim demands is accountability. What people like me demand is that men like Morris are never allowed around children again; that he never pastors a church again. He has forfeited the right to be a pastor.

This brings us to the second possible alternative title of this piece. Is this what it all boils down to? Is a man’s or woman’s life reduced to one sin or crime that will not be forgiven or forgotten by the people?

One sin or crime? Morris committed multiple sins and crimes, and it remains to be seen if other victims come forward. Sadly, Thiessen makes no distinction between filching a grape at the grocery and sexually assaulting a young girl. Both are sins that God can and will forgive if the sinner confesses his sin and repents. Awesome, right? No matter what you do, forgiveness is but a prayer away.

If they have spent 10, 20, or 40 years of excellent service for God or humanity, is that all lost because someone does not like an ancient sin that was dealt with at the time? When did one sin or a previous sinful life overrule what took place after repentance?

Ancient sin? How ancient is Morris’ crime (not a sin or mistake, a CRIME) in the mind of his victim? Thiessen seems clueless to the fact that sexual abuse leaves lifelong scars, often requiring extensive therapy to come to terms with. Note what Thiessen says here: sex crimes committed ten years ago are ancient history. Truth be told, he likely thinks that crimes committed immediately before the act of repentance are “ancient” crimes too.

What good is Christ’s redemption if Christians and others ignore the redemption and faithful life and refuse to restore someone who committed a sin? If anyone takes the attitude ‘God forgives but I won’t’ they are committing a sin just like the person they won’t forgive.

Pay careful attention to what Thiessen is doing. He is blaming the victim. She needs to forgive Morris and move on. He demands sexual abuse victims forgive their abusers, even if they don’t want to. And if they don’t, they are every bit as much of a sinner as their abusers. In other words, in Thiessen’s mind, refusing to forgive is the same in God’s book as sexually abusing children.

OMG, how dare we trample underfoot Jesus’ blood, demanding that sexual predators be held accountable for their crimes. Give me a pair of waders. I plan to keep on stomping on Jesus’ magical blood if it means abuse victims are seen and heard, and their abusers are held accountable for their crimes.

If they want forgiveness then they need to forgive those they refuse to. The Bible says if one wants forgiveness from God they must forgive others who wronged them. We are not speaking out of personal ideology here.

The victim in question does not want forgiveness. Forgiveness is cheap, a bandaid over a gaping wound. What victims generally want is justice and accountability.

God has covered sins and forgiveness throughout the Bible. We must adhere to those words if we want to be an example to others and make an impact for Christ. Jesus said to forgive 7 x 70 and so far we have not seen 1 x 1 for people like Mr. Morris or Mr. Ravi Zacharias.

What we have seen is exacting a pound of flesh for a sin that did not affect anyone who is canceling Mr. Morris. Justice is not up to the victim to decide. God has already determined what is justice and it is best that we learn what it is and implement it properly if we want to truly restore sinning Christians to the church body.

Actually, in a secular society, it is the legal system that determines just punishment, not God, the church, or the Bible. Morris would be in jail now if it weren’t for the expiring statute of limitations.

In our view, a dealt-with sin is no match for a restored, redeemed life that obeys God’s word correctly. Despite what unbelievers want or say, the sin, once dealt with, should be forgotten. Coming back 40+ years later is not a Christian act. It is not biblical teaching and Christians must abide by God’s instructions correctly.

In other words, one aw-shit doesn’t cancel out ten atta-boys. Thiessen desperately wants to think that doing good cancels out sexual misconduct; that if a serial rapist asks Jesus to forgive him, all his victims should forgive him too.

Now I need to go take a shower.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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9 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Kathy Hughes

    I too felt like I needed a shower after reading Tee’s defense of Morris. Apparently to Tee, pastors exist on some exalted plain above the rest of us unwashed lay folk. The woman Morris abused when she was a girl did say her father was opposed to having Morris ever serve as a pastor again. Unfortunately, I fear that he probably preyed on other young girls, because these predators usually do.

  2. Avatar
    velovixen

    Forget a shower. I need immersion in a primeval spring.

    Bruce, you showed more empathy in a couple of sentences than Tee has shown in his entire life. He would characterize my sexual abuse at the hands of a priest—and my friend being raped by a deacon—as “ancient history.” Neither man has ever had to deal with the consequences of his actions (oh, wait, God took care of it, according to Tee) but I have had a lifetime—more than half a century—of nightmares, addiction, suicide attempts, failed relationships and missed (or messed up) educational and career opportunities. Some would say that my friend hasn’t suffered as much, but that is only because she was in her 20s when she was assaulted. (I was 9-10 years old.)

    If people want to forgive those who damage them, that should be their choice. We should not be bullied into it by the likes of Tee, his God or any ecclesiastical or secular authority.

    Even after what I have experienced, I will say that I am fortunate in this way: I haven’t had to (and probably never will) meet him in person. I have met pure-and-simple sociopaths and mindlessly violent people in my time. Somehow I feel that any one of them has more of a shred of humanity than “Tee.”

    (He would probably take that as a
    compliment, as he really hates humanity and thinks only his bullying psychopath of a God is worthwhile.

  3. Avatar
    Dave

    No doubt he also believes that if a child in such a situation rejects the god that the perpetrator worships she will be sent to hell and eternal punishment. Endless insult and injury to the victims that an omnipotent god could not be bothered to protect and eternal bliss for the sexual predators. What a horrible belief system.

  4. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    Isn’t it convenient how certain Christians will hold strong to the concept that if a Christian who breaks the law asks forgiveness from God, then it’s all good? In the legal justice system, there is an investigation by a group of third party professionals (police, detectives, etc) who turn over evidence to a prosecuting attorney representing the government/society and to a defense attorney who represents the accused. The attorneys oresent the evidence to a judge who decides whether the evidence is weighty enough to be examined and argued further before a selected jury (agreed upon by the 2 attorneys and judge). If a jury trial is indicated, both attorneys present their cases, the jury decide together whether the evidence indicates guilt or not, and if the jury declares guilt, the judge will determine an appropriate penalty/consequence. The defendant even has opportunity to appeal if they feel the judgment was incorrect. After the convicted person serves their term or pays their penalty, then they can return to general society. If they perpetrate a crime ahain, then thsy go through the process relevant to that infraction. This is the US system of justice. It’s necessary for keeping order. It may not be perfect, but it’s what we have, and in theory it’s fair.

    What Tee proposes is NOT fair. It basically allows an accused person to say,”My bad, I just asked forgiveness from God, he gave it to me, now you need to forgive me too and let me go about my business. If you don’t forgive me, you’re in the wrong because True Christians have to forgive each other if God forgives them. How do we know God forgives them? Because we’re True Christians and we say so.” That’s no system of justice.

  5. Avatar
    George

    What gores my ox is that this jerk and others like him are exporting Christianity to the Philippines and other countries, making brain-dead zombies out of them (admittedly just as I was). The music is beautiful, but the message is, “Please don’t hurt me, Lord. I’ll worship you. I really will. I promise. Please, please don’t hurt me.”

  6. Avatar
    The Watcher

    When men blame victims for sex assaults that tells me that the man has probably sexually assaulted someone himself. So I strongly suspect Thiessen is a rapist and may have raped girls in his church or even his own daughters if he has any. He is the type of man I wouldn’t want to sit in the same room with.

  7. Avatar
    ... Zoe ~

    Tee said: “But he had dealt with it, he took his spiritual punishment and paid the price for his actions. No more should be required of him. God promises to forget our sins when we honestly repent and turn from our wicked ways.”

    Zoe: Common verbiage and excuses in the church.

    Who do you think you are Tee? I asked this question already.

    Do you think you are your God? You have no idea if he dealt with it. No idea at all.

    Spiritual punishment? Paid the price? Like you have been punished and paid the price Tee? Is this an analogy of how you see your own sin(s). How special for you to just wave your arms aside under the blood of Christ and those you have wounded because hallelujah Jesus saves.

    Honesty? Honesty? You honestly think you have turned from your wicked ways? Have you made amends for your sins Tee? Have you gone and asked forgiveness to those your sinned against? Oh, I see, you don’t have too. You just “do God” and all is well with your soul.

    Perhaps your God will have mercy on your soul and that of Morris. I mean you certainly are proclaiming it is done. Too bad your God didn’t have mercy on the souls of those you sinned against and the 12 year old girl Morris sinned against.

    Yes, yes, you are so special Tee.

  8. Avatar
    TheDutchGuy

    Mixed feelings about this one. I wouldn’t like to answer for my unruly behavior when I was in my teens, nor would any purpose be served by my doing so. Nearly everyone alive at the time is dead. That being said, my behavior was nothing similar to what Morris did. Not to suggest time equals absolution for crimes. Forgiveness is not what statutes of limitations are about. They are about the difficulty of defending stale accusations after a long passage of time has obscured facts, destroyed evidence and faded memories. Morris won’t go to jail but he’s paying a price.

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