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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Reynaldo Cruz Crespin Sentenced to Prison for Repeatedly Sexually Assaulting His Daughter

reynaldo crispen

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Reynaldo Crispen, pastor of New Horizon Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a school teacher, pleaded guilty to lewdness with a child charges and was sentenced to six to fifteen years in prison.

Earlier this year, Channel 3 reported:

A man who was a Las Vegas schoolteacher and pastor is wanted on suspicion of multiple sex crimes, according to authorities.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Reynaldo Crespin, 59, on 10 counts involving sex assault against a child, lewdness with a child and open and gross lewdness, court records indicate.

Channel 3 also reported:

Las Vegas Metro Police want you to be on the lookout for this man: 59-year-old Reynaldo Crespin.

There’s a warrant for his arrest for nine felony charges, including lewdness with a child and sexual assault against a child.

….

Court documents say police went in there [the church] last Wednesday with a search warrant.

Sunday services have been canceled. And officials posted this letter that reads: “Crespin committed acts of domestic violence, stalking, or aggravated stalking against his wife and minors. Also, Crespin’s daughter allegedly disclosed her father had been inappropriately touching her over the past several years.”

When I went to the church this afternoon, Crespin wasn’t there, but this lady who wouldn’t identify herself was.

“The family would like respect. If you have any respect, we ask that you leave,” said the unidentified woman.

“We didn’t know this was the family’s home. Is this not the church?” asked News 3 Reporter Kay Dimanche.

“It does not matter,” said the unidentified woman before slamming the church door shut.

In addition to being a preacher, police say Crespin was a CCSD teacher.

new horizon christian church las vegas
Found on Crispen’s church’s Facebook page. Evidently, Crispen had a clean Bible.

Crespin was later located and arrested. In May 2022, Crispen pleaded guilty to attempted lewdness with a child. Last Monday, he was sentenced to six to fifteen years in prison. Astoundingly, Crispen’s lawyer asked for probation.

The Midland Daily News reports:

A former Las Vegas elementary school teacher and church pastor has been sentenced to six to 15 years in prison and lifetime supervision as a sex offender after pleading guilty to a child sex crime.

Reynaldo Cruz Crespin, 59, apologized Monday before a Clark County District Court judge who rejected his lawyer’s request for probation.

If there was a case that warranted punishment, I believe this is that case,” Judge Kathleen Delaney said, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

….

Crespin was arrested in February in Albuquerque, New Mexico, more than a week after he was named in a warrant in Las Vegas on multiple charges including sexual assault involving children.

All but one lesser charge were dismissed when Crespin avoided trial and pleaded guilty in May to attempted lewdness with a child under 14.

KLAS-TV in Las Vegas reported that Crespin taught second grade from 2016 until this year and was a pastor at New Horizon Christian Church in northeast Las Vegas. The television station said none of the charges related to his students.

The Review-Journal reported that Crespin and his wife founded the church in 2002. His wife sued in February to take custody of their children.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Dr. David Tee Says Abortion is Wrong, Even for a Pregnant Ten-Year-Old

dr david tee


There is no other answer. Abortion is not for young girls or older women. Rape and incest are sins of the father or mother or both not a sin of the unborn child. They should not be punished for sins they have not committed even if the mother is as young as 5.

— Derrick Thomas Thiessen (AKA Dr. David Tee)

Christian Fundamentalism robs its adherents of the ability to think and reason. When a literalistic interpretation of a book that is believed to be inspired, inerrant, and infallible is the driving force of one’s life, out goes love, kindness, and common sense when it conflicts with “thus saith the Lord.”

One such person is Fake Dr. David Tee, whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen. Tee is known for defending rapists, child molesters, and other miscreants. In the past few years, he has defended Bill Cosby, Ravi Zacharias, Bill Gothard, Bill Hybels, and other Evangelical degenerates. I have yet to read a post where Tee resolutely stands with victims of clergy sexual misconduct. I have long believed he defends such men because of his own scandalous past. Tee hides behind the “grace” of God, the “forgiveness” of Jesus, and the “sanctifying” power of the Holy Ghost.

Just when I think I have heard it all from Tee, he swims farther and deeper into the shit-filled cesspool of Bible literalism. Recently, the news reported a story about a pregnant ten-year-old child. (How she got pregnant remains unknown at this time.) Unable to get an abortion in Ohio, the girl planned to travel to Indiana to have her pregnancy terminated. Tee, of course, is outraged over this girl “murdering” her “baby.” Tee, a forced birther, makes no exceptions, even for rape or incest. Once the egg is fertilized by sperm, it is a human life that must be carried to term regardless of how it was conceived or what harm it may cause to its mother. I found myself saying, what kind of man is so loveless and heartless, that a zygote is more important than the life of a child? A Fundamentalist Christian who values his literalistic interpretation of the Bible more than the life and welfare of a young girl, that’s who.

Here’s what Tee had to say:

We are expanding on a conversation we have been having at the Christian Post under the article- What the Church Must Do Post Roe— The topic is not Dr. brown’s content but about a 10-year-old girl getting pregnant. This discussion is related to the content found in this Fox news article that was published earlier in the week or last week- Gov. Kristi Noem asked if South Dakota will force a 10-year-old to have a baby on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’

For some people, this is a real dilemma and also a good excuse to continue abortion practices.

….

This may sock you and this is where the supposed moral dilemma comes in for some people. This is also where those who are pro-abortion use this scenario to promote the idea that abortion needs to be available and legal.

Should young girls who are raped or had sex at this young age be allowed to have abortions? We already know that most unbelievers will disagree with what we will say here but our view is that age is not permission to kill.

The Bible is very clear when it says thou shalt not kill. There is no age limit on that command and no exceptions are made for children. They are not allowed to kill and their parents cannot make that decision for them.

No matter how old the woman or girl is, abortion is wrong and sin.

….

We are and God is in our right minds as biblical instruction is very clear. The problem doe snot come from the age of the child but the sinful behavior of the adults around her.

….

Whether these young girls are ready or not to handle the changes their bodies and lives are going through is also due to the fact of the behavior of their parents.

….

It is also immaterial to the discussion. Why, as crimes and other events happen when people are unprepared for them in all aspects of life. This one does not make it special but may be used to draw more sympathy from the readers of that article. The failure of the family and relatives is exposed in these situations.

This is something that needs Christ and Christians to get involved and change. But that is not part of the moral dilemma. What is part of the moral dilemma is should these child mothers carry to term or have an abortion.

….

The lustful actions of the father, the rape they committed, and other things they did to have sex with the child are what make the father guilty and he should be punished. The child should not. Since people already know the risks of a childhood pregnancy, they also know how to care for the expectant mother and the unborn child.

Abortion is not part of that care. It is the easy out for most people and one they can sweep it under the rug and forget about. But the mother will not forget about the rape nor will they forget about the loss of their child.

This will take years for them to get over the trauma which is much worse than any so-called trauma of carrying the baby to term. With the right help, this ‘trauma’ is not really trauma. But rape and abortion are real trauma with the addition of the guilt or other feelings that they committed sin.

That is something no one in their right mind should put a young child through. The comment we got in response to our point about going after the father was not only that trauma issue but the prospects of death for both the mother and the fetus. Their exact words were “the fetus you seem to worship.”

For the first part, death from pregnancy or birth has been a part of this life since the beginning of time. It is a fact of life that even 20 to 40-year-old women must face. It is not a monopoly held by young girls. Death happens and we must be prepared for it.It is the line that we quoted that bothers us as we and every pro-life person are not worshipping the fetus. Trying to protect them and let them be born is not an act of worship but an act to stop people from sinning and killing innocent children.

But that is how unbelievers or believers in abortion will phrase their arguments. It is a moot point that distracts from the topic. The same person came back with the line ‘spoils her childhood’.

We have run into that term n South Korea as one person we disagreed with through newspaper articles, said he wanted his child to ‘a have a childhood.’ Whatever that means. There is no such thing as a childhood as children are born into different circumstances.

Plus, this concept of ‘having a childhood’ is very subjective and defined by people in different ways. There is a hint of hypocrisy to that attitude. These same people only care about ‘a childhood’ when their preferred method of taking care of a bad situation is excluded.

They do not apply that concept to the children of Bangladesh, Africa, or other countries who lost their childhood due to hunger and a lack of food; war, crimes, and so on. it is only selfishly applied by those who want the child to have an abortion.

There is no thought for the child that has yet to be born. Why are they not allowed a childhood? The reason people have a moral dilemma is that their morals are not rooted in God’s word but in their own concept of morality.

We have run into that many times as atheists, unbelievers and nominal Christians think they are greater than God when it comes to moral thinking. Or they think that dying is a punishment robbing them of life. They dismiss heaven and God’s salvation so they have no reward to look forward to.

Thus aborting an unborn child is not a problem for them as long as those women who are alive get to live a little longer or even pursue the accepted goals those people groups have decided are okay.

Having a 10-year-old carry a pregnancy to term is not wrong nor is it sinful. Nor is it a moral dilemma as technology has made so many advances that the care of these child brides is done properly and protects the life of both the mother and the child (forgoing any complications).

The unbelievers believe in technology and medical advances, they should be applying that belief to this subject as well. Instead of heaping lots of trauma on a little girl by forcing them to have an abortion and having them sin.

What Christians and unbelievers should be doing is going after those fathers and their sinful decisions that put the young girl in this position in the first place. That is the cause of all the problems and it is those men or boys who should be punished not the innocent unborn child.

The Bible supports that last point. To solve this problem we do not commit more sins, we fight to get rid of those sins and let Christ redeem those men and lead them to better moral behavior.

There is no other answer. Abortion is not for young girls or older women. Rape and incest are sins of the father or mother or both not a sin of the unborn child. They should not be punished for sins they have not committed even if the mother is as young as 5.

My friend from over the pond, Ben Berwick, took Tee to task for his forced-birth position for children regardless of how conception took place. Here’s what he had to say:

I’ve refrained from commenting directly on a certain conservative Christian’s posts, however their latest post, on the subject of abortion, more or less demands a response.

David’s post relates to this article from Fox News, which discusses the case of a 10-year-old girl from Ohio, who was raped, and fell pregnant as a result. She cannot get an abortion in Ohio (under draconian new laws), and so is hoping to travel to Indiana, where the law would still currently permit her to get an abortion.

David has quite a few things to say on this subject:

Should young girls who are raped or had sex at this young age be allowed to have abortions? We already know that most unbelievers will disagree with what we will say here but our view is that age is not permission to kill.

The Bible is very clear when it says thou shalt not kill. There is no age limit on that command and no exceptions are made for children. They are not allowed to kill and their parents cannot make that decision for them.

Hang on, is David suggesting what I think he is suggesting? Is there absolutely no room in his heart to consider the impact of a rape-derived pregnancy on a child?

Whether these young girls are ready or not to handle the changes their bodies and lives are going through is also due to the fact of the behavior of their parents.

Wait, what?! The behaviour of their parents won’t magically make it safe for a 10-year-old to carry a baby to term! Pregnancy and childbirth kill adults on a regular basis, much less a child’s body, and there is no level of parental preparation that can physically ready a child for all the physical and hormonal chaos of pregnancy. Even assuming that a child is physically capable of birthing a baby, how does a parent prepare their child for the psychological impact of having a baby, especially one born out of rape and abuse?! There seems to be absolutely zero empathy or sympathy in David’s position for children, which is incredibly ironic for a supposed champion of life. It’s very clear that David cares only about forcing birth, not about quality of life (indeed, some recent allegations lend weight to this attitude of his, if they are true).

David quotes from elsewhere:

The trauma of what has happened to these girls, many too young to understand what was happening to them and some who had never heard of contraception, is etched on the faces of the mothers (Ibid)
In response, he has this to say:

It is also immaterial to the discussion. Why, as crimes and other events happen when people are unprepared for them in all aspects of life. This one does not make it special but may be used to draw more sympathy from the readers of that article. The failure of the family and relatives is exposed in these situations.


See what I mean? David has no room in his heart for kindness, even to victims of serious, horrific crimes. The young girls in these situations appear to be irrelevant to him; their pain, their suffering… it’s as though he’s shrugged his shoulders and said ‘oh well, bad things happen, now get over it, you’re not the real victim here’.

Our next point in our conversation was the person who should be gone after and dealt with is NOT the unborn child but the person who created this problem in the first place. We are not blaming the pregnant child here.

The lustful actions of the father, the rape they committed, and other things they did to have sex with the child are what make the father guilty and he should be punished. The child should not. Since people already know the risks of a childhood pregnancy, they also know how to care for the expectant mother and the unborn child.

Abortion is not part of that care. It is the easy out for most people and one they can sweep it under the rug and forget about. But the mother will not forget about the rape nor will they forget about the loss of their child.

This will take years for them to get over the trauma which is much worse than any so-called trauma of carrying the baby to term. With the right help, this ‘trauma’ is not really trauma. But rape and abortion are real trauma with the addition of the guilt or other feelings that they committed sin.

How can David possibly believe that forcing a child to proceed with a pregnancy they did not want (and that will physically and emotionally destroy them) is less traumatic than getting an abortion? Children — and this might sound shocking to David — should have a childhood. The child in this situation is a victim and already subjected to more anguish than any child should have to go through, but he would inflict more upon her, because her life matters less than the embryo inside her. David says he’s not blaming the child, and that the child should not be punished, but forcing them to go through with the pregnancy (I wonder if David is aware that globally, the leading killers of girls under 17 are pregnancy and childbirth) would be a punishment. David cannot begin to understand what it would be like, he is not a parent (well, allegations notwithstanding, though if they are true, he abandoned those responsibilities long ago), and he cannot get pregnant, so he will never be at risk from all the complications pregnancy can bring, especially for a child. His lack of any form of compassion for the victim of sexual assault is horrifying, and stands at odds with all his claims of being a good Christian.

There is no other answer. Abortion is not for young girls or older women. Rape and incest are sins of the father or mother or both not a sin of the unborn child. They should not be punished for sins they have not committed even if the mother is as young as 5.

I didn’t include this paragraph in my earlier version of this post, as I did not read to the end (why would I?). Upon further reading, I came across this horrific finale to David’s post. To put it bluntly, fuck the notion of sin. It is used to justify inflicting horrible pain on children, and David is so consumed by how important sin is, that he is no longer capable of any expression of sympathy or empathy, even with victims of abuse.

Updated 9th July: David left a comment here (I have no inclination to share his comments anymore), advising he’d left a response on his post. Here is his response in its entirety:

We did a lot of thinking before approving this comment. MM’s post shows zero empathy and sympathy for the unborn child so he has no moral or responsible argument. His words are moot. It also shows that MM believes 2 wrongs make a right

David is a hypocrite. He cares nothing for the ten-year-old. In a hypothetical scenario, where she stood in front of him, frightened, in pain, already traumatised from the assault against her, what would he say? He’s already hinted at this, earlier in his post. ‘Why, as crimes and other events happen when people are unprepared for them in all aspects of life. This one does not make it special but may be used to draw more sympathy from the readers of that article.’

Emphasis mine. Would he say something like that to the scared child if she were stood in front of him? Why does her life not matter?

— end of Ben’s post —

Tee responded to Ben’s article with a post titled Is it a Moral Dilemma? — Part Two.

Ben wrote another response to Tee’s post, forcing Tee, under the direction of the Holy Spirit and his warped sense of “morality” to respond thusly:

They Do Not Choose Right.

Or they just use bad logic. MM made a short response to our last post and underneath it was this comment:

“After thousands of years, the unbelieving way has not produced any solutions to the problems of this world.” – Yet we’re living in the same world, so that would mean the “believing” way hasn’t produced any solutions either.”

The unbeliever does not see the forest for the trees. Yes, we live in the same world but that does not mean we believers do not have solutions. It means that the unbelieving world, like unbelieving scientists, do not want God a part of their world.

They exercise their free choice and choose wrong.. We know this as they want government to be secular. not Christian. There was a recent article where unbelievers were complaining that some of the Supreme Court justices were praying with other Christians.

The unbelieving world does not want God or Christians bringing the solutions that trouble the world. Instead, they rather follow deceived, lost people and complain about the world’s state and create more laws impeding people’s rights.

They continue to choose the wrong paths because they think they are better and know more than God. We can point, as another example, to how unbelievers try to thwart Christian adoption agencies, universities hamper Christian groups, or how different atheist organizations continue to interfere with Christians being a part of government, or using schools for Christian activities.

If anything, the unbeliever gets in the way of Christians implementing the answers the world needs today. They are too arrogant, stubborn, deceived, and blind to see they are the ones responsible for the way the world is as well as too proud to admit they are wrong and ask God humbly for help.

True Christians have been teaching the answers for millennia and the thanks they get is martyrdom, persecution, (See recent stories about Justice Kavanaugh, the Roe v. Wade protests, threats made against pro-life people, and so on), loss of employment, (see the cases against the different bakers, florists, the coach praying at midfield, and more).

Do not blame the Christian blame the unbelieving for the state of the world.

I commend Ben for trying to thoughtfully respond to Tee. Not that there’s any hope of changing Tee’s mind. He believes God lives inside of him; that he has the mind of Christ; that his words are the same as God’s. When someone has a God complex, there’s not much you can do to reach him. While both Ben and I have refrained from responding to Tee’s nonsense since the start of the year, his words in this instance were so egregious that they required a response.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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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Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Jeffrey Zizz Charged With Sex Crimes Against His Children

arrested

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Jeffrey Zizz, former pastor of Calvary Chapel in North Thurston, Washington, stands accused of first-degree incest, first-degree rape of a child, first-degree child molestation, second-degree rape of a child, second-degree child molestation, third degree-rape of a child, two counts of third-degree child molestation and second-degree attempted rape. Zizz’s alleged victims are his children.

The Olympian reports:

Jeffrey Kian Zizz, a military veteran, turned himself in to Lacey Police on Oct. 21 and vaguely confessed to “sexual misconduct” in his home, according to court documents. He pleaded not guilty to nine specific crimes during his arraignment on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The nine counts include: first-degree incest, first-degree rape of a child, first-degree child molestation, second-degree rape of a child, second-degree child molestation, third degree-rape of a child, two counts of third-degree child molestation and second-degree attempted rape.

On Oct. 22, Thurston County Superior Court Judge John Skinner found probable cause for six of the nine crimes Zizz’s was ultimately charged with and set bail at $250,000. A pretrial services screening of Zizz did not find any prior criminal convictions. Zizz became pastor at Calvary Chapel North Thurston in June 2019, according to a church Facebook post. The church holds services at Northwest Christian Academy in Lacey.

Law enforcement were told church pastors and elders “were aware of the allegations and as a result he is no longer a pastor,” according to court documents. In a statement, current Pastor Sam Christensen at Calvary Chapel North Thurston acknowledged Zizz’s was an employee and confirmed he is no longer affiliated with the church. “We were deeply grieved upon hearing of this news and we seek and pray for healing for the family,” Christensen said. “We are available to law authorities if they have questions, but since the issues involved do not appear to involve the church, and since there is an ongoing investigation, we have no further comment to make.” The alleged crimes described in court documents only involve his children and make no mention of other potential victims. A probable cause statement from the perspective of law enforcement described the events leading up to Zizz’s arrest.

Zizz’s attorney contacted a Lacey police officer on Oct. 12. During the meeting, the attorney told the officer that Zizz wished to turn himself in for numerous sexual assaults he committed “over the years” involving his children. The attorney also informed the officer that Zizz admitted to attempting to sexually assault one of his children while intoxicated a week prior, according to the statement. The incident reportedly prompted Zizz to confess to his attorney. In the days after the meeting, the statement says law enforcement interviewed Zizz’s wife and children about the alleged assaults. The children confirmed graphic details during those interviews, per the statement. On Oct. 21, the statement says Zizz turned himself in at the Lacey Police Department and explained there was “sexual misconduct” in his home involving his children. He reportedly said he wanted his children to tell the truth and believed they would, per the statement.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

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Is Incest a Sin?

cain and abel wives

Most Evangelicals believe that the earth was created 6,023 years ago, and the first two human beings on the planet were Adam and Eve.

Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. It is assumed that Adam and Eve also had daughters who are not mentioned in the Bible. The reason this is assumed is that Cain and Abel had wives and children. The question then that must be asked is this: where did Cain and Abel‘s wives come from? Since there were no people on earth before Adam and Eve, the only answer is that Cain and Abel‘s wives were their sisters.

The Bible is clear: incest is a sin. If God is a moral being, absolute perfection, explain why he used incest to propagate the human race. Doesn’t this mean that God broke his own moral commandments? If God is against homosexuality, fornication, and adultery — sins which lead to eternal damnation and Hell — as Evangelicals say he is, why would God ever condone or use incest as a means to advance his purpose and plan?

When Evangelicals are asked about why God used incest to propagate the human race, they typically give one of three answers:

  • Mystery — we just don’t know.
  • God’s ways are not our ways, and God‘s thoughts are not our thoughts.
  • God used incest for a time, and once the human race was growing, he banned incest, calling it a grievous sin (only to allow it again after the Flood for a time with Noah’s family).
  • God had not yet given the command against incest (or rape, adultery, fornication, bestiality, etc).

Answering the question, “why is incest wrong?” Christian Fundamentalist “Dr.” David Tee (known in real life as David Thiessen) wrote:

Because God decided to make it wrong at the right time when genetic deformities will arise and ruin his creation. This may seem like a flippant answer but it is not. God was protecting his creation from the ills that come from inbreeding.

To illustrate this sexual harassment was recently made illegal but all those who practiced sexual harassment prior to that event did nothing legally wrong. You cannot judge or condemn people (or God) based upon actions after the fact. In other words, the people who did sexual harassment when it was legal, did not commit illegal or wrongful acts. They are still innocent people even though eventually the act was declared illegal.

Tee states, “this may seem like a flippant answer.” Ya, think? Either incest is immoral, or it’s not. Either God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent or he’s not. Supposedly, God is sovereign. He knows everything from beginning to end. If this is so, wouldn’t have God known that there would be genetic birth defects? Couldn’t God have manipulated human DNA to eliminate this problem? Or better yet, couldn’t he have created numerous families, each with unique DNA? Instead, the moral architect of the universe used behavior he says is sinful to propagate the human race.

When you believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and infallible word of God, such questions pose all sorts of problems for you. When you believe the Bible should be read literally, and that the history and science found within its pages are true, you are forced to defend incest and all sorts of immoral behavior. When you believe God’s moral law is absolute, incest committed by Cain and Abel proves to be an insurmountable problem.

I was an Evangelical pastor for 25 years. The incest question bothered me the entire time I spent in the ministry. I could not square incest in the book of Genesis with God‘s commands other places in the Bible. I concluded this was a mystery, and that someday, in Heaven, God would reveal his reasoning for permitting incest for a time. This is a common hermeneutic used by Evangelicals to not answer hard questions.

Are you a former Evangelical? How did you answer the incest question? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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.

Connect with me on social media:

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

One Man’s Christianity is Another Man’s Cult

christian cult
Cult or Christianity? Who decides? By what standard?

James “Jim” Bellar pastors Dove Outreach Church in Waverly, Ohio, a church considered by many local Christians to be a “cult.” An article in The Athens Messenger, written by Cole Behrens, calls Bellar a “self-proclaimed minister and apostle.” The not-so-subtle implication by Behrens is that Bellar is the wrong kind of Christian, a cultist. Behrens evidently is not aware of the fact that countless Evangelical preachers are “self-proclaimed” ministers. There’s no main Evangelical headquarters, no governing or ruling authority. Anyone can become an Evangelical pastor/apostle/bishop/evangelist/missionary. Anyone can start an Evangelical church. Want to see capitalism and entrepreneurialism at work? Visit an Evangelical church. If giving men and women important-sounding titles is a sure sign a church is a “cult,” then tens of thousands of “Bible-believing,” Jesus-loving, gospel-preaching churches are “cults.”

Apostle Bellar is busy “retranslating” the Bible to a “faithful” rendition of the gospels for English-speaking people. When asked by what (or who’s) authority he was retranslating the Bible, Bellar replied:

God. The Holy Spirit. I don’t have to answer to any man. God. You have to answer to God yourself.

Valerie Trainer, a member of Dove Outreach, said:

He’s doing translations as God gives them to him, to be more perfected by the Lord — praise the Lord — but that’s a good thing. He’s an apostle, yes. Praise the Lord.

Oh my, Bellar is putting his own words into the Bible. Isn’t that exactly what Christians have been doing for 2,000 years? The Bible has always been an evolving book — often radically so — especially when you take into account the individual interpretations of billions of Christian clerics, church leaders, teachers, and run-of-the-mill congregants. If a cultist is someone who puts his own spin on the Bible or changes its words to suit him, why EVERY Christian is a cultist.

Athens Messenger writer Behrens found a cult expert, Stephen Kent, professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, to label Dove Outreach a “cult.” Kent stated the church doesn’t look like a “standard” Christian church. A “standard” church? As opposed to an “automatic” church? (Car joke, for those trying to figure out what I mean.) What, exactly, is a “standard” Christian church? By whose standard are we making this judgment?

Christian sects are, by nature, individualistic. This individualism continues at the congregation level. Sects have official statements of doctrine and practice. Yet, visit any of the churches in said sect, and you will find a diversity of beliefs and practices. There is no such thing as “standard” Christianity. There are endless Christianities. For as many Christians there are, there are Christianities. No two Christians agree on anything.

Kent went on to say:

This group appears to be way off the charts in relation to normative Christianity.

….

One has to be very careful about religious figures who claim unique godly authority because in doing so they place themselves above secular law. When people grant themselves extreme religious authority — then one has to wonder if that person is delusional or narcissistic.”

“Unique Godly authority?” You mean like pastor, deacon, evangelist, missionary, bishop, elder, prophet, priest, or king — all of which are found in the Bible, all of which are found in Christian sects and churches today.

I would think a news reporter and cult expert would know that countless American churches are patriarchal and authoritarian; that Dove Outreach is not special or unique in that regard.

Bellar denies Dove Outreach is a cult:

We are not a cult, I don’t run people’s lives. I preach the truth. And certainly, if I saw anything illegal, it would have been dealt with.

as does Trainer:

As far as I know, it’s a church that believes the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that’s all Jim has preached as long as I’ve gone there. So whatever you’re hearing out there about whatever — it’s not true.

I spent a few minutes today reading Dove Outreach’s official doctrinal statement. Everything in what the church calls The Foundational Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, is believed by American Christians everywhere — with a few quaint oddities concerning baptism. If this is the doctrine of a cult, every Evangelical church in America is a cult.

The church’s website defines “salvation” this way:

Romans 10:8-13
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
KJV

If this statement is cultic, every church I ever attended and pastored was a cult.

Based on my investigation, Dove Outreach promotes Bible literalism. Again, scores of Christians interpret the Bible literally, so such a practice is not unique. Cultic? Nope.

Dove Outreach is a Bellar-owned and operated church. Troubling? Sure, but not unusual. Lots of churches, Evangelical and mainline alike, are controlled by certain families. Sometimes, it’s the pastor’s family that controls a church — often for multiple generations. Other times, it is powerful families within a church that wield control.

Several Dove Outreach church members were recently indicted on sexual and physical abuse charges. According to The Athens Messenger, the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office argued in their indictments “that the font of their alleged behavior may have been “cult”-like beliefs stemming from what was being taught at Dove Outreach Church.

The Daily Mail reports:

An Ohio couple and two of their 19 children, who are adults, have been charged after their daughter who escaped the family came forward with a string of allegations against them.  

Robert Bellar, 54 and his wife Deborah Bellar, 49, face charges in connection with an ongoing sexual abuse investigation concerning their children. Two of their sons Jonathan Levi Bellar, 26, and Josiah Bellar, 24, have also been charged.

That came after one of Robert and Deborah’s daughters told The Athens Messenger she was forced to attend a ‘cult’ church run by her uncle, James Bellar, who would tell them their siblings would have to have children with one another in order to prepare for the apocalypse. 

Serah Bellar said: ‘All the kids would have to go, whether they wanted to or not— even if you were sick, you had to go, it didn’t matter. [sounds like every church I attended or pastored]

‘Anytime he’d say anything, I’d just kind of repeat it in my head, like, how messed up it kind of sounded. He’d always talk about the end of the world and how you’d reproduce with your siblings.’ 

That uncle denied the claims in a statement to Law and Crime, calling it a ‘complete lie’. James Bellar said: ‘I am a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and stand as witness to the Truth. How people react to that is on them.’

….

Serah had been missing since April last year after escaping the alleged abuse; after turning 18-years-old she then posted to Facebook under a fake name detailing all of her allegations. 

They center on incidents said to have occurred between 2008 and 2016. Child services are said to have received reports but no formal action was taken. 

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said: ‘There was an absolute systematic failure in handling these accusations. 

‘Serah was turned away by authorities every time she tried to report this abuse.’

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Liz Pepper accused her mother Deborah of ‘refusal to accept the fact that there was sexual abuse going on in the home and the conspiracy she then entered into to conceal that’.

She said she ‘has concealed witnesses…tampered with evidence and…continues a conspiracy to hide sexual abuse that has occurred in her home’.

Robert and Deborah are believed to have 18 biological children and one adopted child. 

They have each been charged with one count of engaging in corrupt activity, and two counts of endangering children, according to Athens County Prosecutor. 

The couple have each pleaded not guilty and were given $1 million bonds.  

Jonathan Levi Bellar is charged with gross sexual imposition. He is being held at the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail. He has pleaded not guilty. 

Josiah Bellar is charged with three counts of rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition. He is yet to be arraigned. 

Again, the “C” word. Readers of this blog would agree with me when I say that beliefs have consequences. Anytime appeals are made to a divine religious text such as the Bible for justification, it’s possible to have bad or harmful outcomes. Apostle Bellar is accused of promoting incest, a charge he denies. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he was. Just read the Bible. Take it literally, and you can easily conclude that God, in some circumstances, approves (demands) incestuous sexual behavior. Evidently, The Athens Messenger reporter has not pondered where Cain and Abel got their wives? Hint . . . they married their sisters. They had children with their sisters. And on and on the incestuous behavior went. If you buy into the Evangelical Adam and Eve story, all of us are products of incest. And then there’s Jesus — the product of the Holy Spirit having forced sex with a teen virgin named Mary. If incest and perverse sexual relations are signs of cultism . . . well, you know where I am going with this.

One man’s Christianity is another man’s cult. Who decides which is which? What is allegedly going on sexually at Dove Outreach is abhorrent. However, as the Black Collar Crime series makes clear, such behavior does not make a sect/church a cult or a pastor a cultist. Bad people, do bad things, and use the Bible to justify their behavior.

I typically do not use the word “cult” in my writing. Sometimes, as I do with Bethel Church in Redding or the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement, I use the word for effect. In the strictest sense, all Christian sects and churches are cults. Whether a church is a cult, or pastor is considered cultic depends on perspective or deviance from a perceived norm. Thus, for the people at The Athens Messenger, the aforementioned cult expert, and the County Prosecutor, Dove Outreach is a cult, but First Baptist Church on the corner of High Street and Main is not.

One website explains the difference between a cult and a religion this way:

*Sigh* Really? I mean, really? Isn’t that Jesus, Abraham, Allah, Moses, Paul, or Buddha standing before worshipful devotees? The Abrahamic religions are, by definition, cults, founded by charismatic men. Apostle Bellar is just one more cult leader in a 2,000+ year line of cultists. To suggest Bellar or his church are unique in any way reveals a shallow, lazy understanding of Christian church history, doctrine, and practice.

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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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Ken Ham Approves of Brothers Having Sex With Sisters

ken ham incest chart

Ken Ham, the CEO of Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum, and Ark Encounter, believes that at the beginning of the world 6,024 years ago, incest was approved by God.

Ham writes:

…Perhaps no woman mentioned in Scripture has caused more confusion among Christians. Despite the fact that we have regularly addressed this issue in numerous books, articles, and presentations, the issue of Cain’s wife is still one of the most common questions we receive. Who was she, and why have so many believers struggled to give a biblical answer to this inquiry?

The simple answer is that Cain married his sister or another close relation, like a niece. This answer may sound revolting for those of us who grew up in societies that have attached a stigma to such an idea, but if we start from Scripture, the answer is clear.

1 Corinthians 15 tells us that Adam was the first man. Genesis 3:20 states that Eve was the mother of all the living.(NASB), and Genesis 5:4 reveals that Adam and Eve had sons and daughters (besides Cain, Abel, and Seth).

There were no other people on earth as some have claimed. God did not create other people groups from which Cain chose a wife, as we are all made of one blood (Acts 17:26). If He had made others, these people would not have been able to be saved from their sins, since only descendants of Adam can be saved—that’s why it was so important for Jesus to be Adam’s descendant.

Doesn’t the Bible forbid marriage between close relations? It does, but the laws against marrying family members were initially given as part of the Mosaic covenant, approximately 2,500 years after God created Adam and Eve. Due in part to genetic mistakes [God made a mistake?], these laws were necessary to help protect offspring from mutations shared by both parents.

But that’s incest! In today’s world, this would be incest. But originally there would have been no problem with it. Looking back through history, the closer we get to Adam and Eve, the fewer genetic mistakes people would have, so it would have been safer for close relatives to marry and have children.

Christians who have a problem with this answer need to remember that Noah’s grandchildren must have married brothers, sisters, or first cousins—there were no other people (1 Peter 3:20, Genesis 7:7). Abraham married his half-sister (Genesis 20:2). Isaac married Rebekah, the daughter of his cousin Bethuel (Genesis 24:15), and Jacob married his cousins Leah and Rachel. Clearly, the Bible does not forbid the marriage of close relatives until the time of Moses…

Ham’s argument is necessary if one reads the Bible literally. In Ham’s world, the earth is 6,024 years old, and evolution is Satan’s lie. However, in the aforementioned post, Ham reveals that he is not really as much of a literalist as he claims to be.

Ham says Cain married his sister or niece. Where does the Bible say this? Where does the Bible say Cain married anyone? Perhaps people didn’t get married in Cain’s day. Perhaps Cain actually had sexual relations with his mother. Why doesn’t Ham mention this as a possibility? Ham repeats the same story when trying to explain where the children of Noah’s grandchildren came from.

According to Ham, a law against incest was not necessary until 2,500 years after God created Adam and Eve. The reason? “Genetic mistakes, these laws were necessary to help protect offspring from mutations shared by both parents.” Again, where does the inspired, inerrant, infallible Bible say this? Shouldn’t Ham follow the mantra: where the Bible speaks we speak, and where the Bible is silent we are silent?

How is a particular human behavior not sinful for 2,500 years, and then, all of a sudden, it becomes sinful? How can an immoral act ever be moral? Does this mean God changed his mind? Does this mean God permitted immorality so he could accomplish a greater good? I thought Jesus (God) was the same yesterday, today, and forever? Doesn’t Ham’s explanation lay waste to this “Biblical truth?”

Sooooo many questions . . .

bruce-gerencser-headshot

Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 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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Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

Lot, the “Righteous” Man

lot fleeing sodom

And [God] delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them [Sodom and Gomorrah], in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) (2 Peter 2:7,8)

The story of Lot begins with him traveling with his uncle, Abram, to the land of Canaan. Both Lot and Abram had sizable herds of livestock, and this led to conflict between the two. The contention reached a level that Abram said to his nephew:

. . . Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. (Genesis 13:8,9)

Lot, whom the Bible calls a “righteous” man:

. . . lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. (Genesis 13:10,11)

We see right away that Lot had a covetous eye. When given a choice, Lot chose the well-watered plains near Sodom and Gomorrah. Abram and Lot lived in a patriarchal culture, one where the elder Abram should have taken the best land. Instead, for whatever reason, Abram deferred to Lot, and his nephew took advantage of him.

Lot likely knew about Sodom and Gomorrah’s reputation, yet he chose to “pitch his tent toward Sodom.” Why is that? Lot was married and had several married and unmarried daughters. Why would be willingly move his family to Sodom? Perhaps covetousness caused him to turn a blind eye to what was best for family. Yet, the Bible calls Lot a “righteous” man.

In Genesis 19, we have a story that reveals a good bit about “righteous” Lot:

And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.

By the time two angels arrive in Sodom to see Lot, he had become quite comfortable with his status and place in Sodom. As the angels arrived at the city gate, Lot arose from his seat and welcomed them. Knowing the sexual proclivities of the men of Sodom, Lot encouraged the angels to come to his home and spend the night with him. At first, the angels said they would spend the night on the streets. Lot, knowing what would happen to them if they did, pleaded with the angels to take him up on his offer. Finally, they relented.

Later that night, the younger and older men of the city surrounded Lot’s home and demanded that he give the angels to them so they could have sex with them. Lot said to the crowd, “I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.” Okay, good so far, right? Just what you would expect a Jesus-loving “righteous” man to do. However, Lot didn’t stop there. Here’s what he said next:

Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. (Genesis 19:8)

Instead of standing his ground against the boys and men at his door, “righteous” Lot attempted to appease them by offering his two virgin daughters to the men. Lot said, “do ye to them as is good in your eyes.” What kind of man and father was Lot? What kind of man offers up his young daughters for sexual gratification? How can Lot be considered a “righteous” man? The men at Lot’s door refused his offer and demanded that he turn over the angels to them. Instead, the angels smote the men with blindness.

In Genesis 19, the Bible tells us that the pro-life God finally had enough with Sodom and Gomorrah and the other cities of the plain, and decided to destroy them — men, women, children, animals, and unborn fetuses. The angels told Lot that it was time for him to gather up his family and leave the city. Lot’s married children refused to leave. The angels grabbed ahold of Lot, his wife, and his two virgin daughters and led them outside of the city. The Lord said to Lot: “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.” (Genesis 19:17)

Righteous Lot didn’t want to leave, so he made a deal with God:

Oh, not so, my Lord: Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. (Genesis 19: 8-20)

Lot and his family fled Sodom and headed for Zoar. God promised that they would be safe in Zoar. Unfortunately, Lot’s wife wasn’t paying attention when the Lord told them not to look behind them as they left. Lot’s wife turned her head to longingly look back at her home, and God smote her dead by turning her into a pillar of salt. In the New Testament, the writer of the gospel of Luke tells readers in 17:32, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Why did the author want readers to remember Lot’s wife? Based on the context found in chapter 17, Lot’s wife was an example of someone who sought to save her life; a person who put self above God.

After “righteous” Lot and his daughters arrived in Zoar, God rained fire and brimstone down on Sodom, Gomorrah, and other cities, killing every living thing. Zoar, “righteous” Lot’s safe haven, was spared punishment, but it was not long before Lot feared for his life and left the city. “Righteous” Lot moved to a mountain cave with his two daughters. One night, righteous Lot’s daughters decided that they wanted to have babies, so they got their father drunk and had sex with him. Both of them were ovulating, and both got pregnant the first time they had incestuous sex with “righteous” Lot. (Genesis 19:31-38)

I ask you, dear readers, what in this story says to you that Lot was a “righteous” man? What I see is a covetous man who valued property and place over family; a man who put his family in harm’s way; a man who violated his daughters, impregnating both of them. Does anyone really believe that Lot was so drunk that he didn’t know he was fucking his daughters? If Lot truly was that drunk, it is unlikely he could even have sex. I suspect the author of Genesis wanted to protect “righteous” Lot’s reputation, so, as men have been doing from time immemorial, he put the blame on the women.

A righteous man is moral and just, yet it is evident from the Bible that Lot was anything but. Why, then, does the Apostle Peter call Lot a “righteous” man? Evangelicals explain away Lot’s profane life by saying that Lot was “righteous” because of the righteousness of Jesus, and not anything good that he had done. This same argument is used to defend adulterous, murderous King David, whom the Bible calls a “man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22)

If religious faith does not result in moral and ethical transformation, what good is it? James seemed to understand this when he said that “faith without works is dead.” What were the works James was talking about? In James 2, the Apostle spoke of doing right by the poor and disadvantaged; that doing so was a sign of true faith. Consider these words:

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Compare these words to the behavior of Trump-loving Evangelicals. Are these lovers of Jesus righteous? Not according to the Bible. In Matthew 25, Jesus purportedly told people what were the marks of being a True Christian®:

  • Feeding the hungry
  • Giving drink to the thirsty
  • Taking in strangers (immigrants?)
  • Clothing the naked
  • Visiting people in prison

Notice that Jesus said nothing about beliefs. True Christianity® is measured by good works, not doctrinal fidelity.

Based on this standard, how many Americans are truly Christians? From my seat in the atheist pew, what I see is a form of Christianity that focuses on right beliefs; that Lot and David are considered “righteous,” not because of their behavior, but because of what they believed. All that matters is having beliefs deemed orthodox. Is this the kind of Christianity Jesus envisioned?

Did you ever hear sermons about Lot? How did your pastors explain the Bible calling Lot a “righteous” man? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 62, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 41 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Incest Caused by “Immodest” Dress

gerald collingsworth

The entire eighteenth chapter of Leviticus is on nakedness. Although most Christians still consider bestiality as being wrong, they no longer consider homosexuality as being wrong or dressing improperly as being wrong. Many see nothing wrong with dressing scantily. Many see nothing wrong with mixed bathing, yet God calls it an abomination. How many cases of incest have taken place in homes where passions have been inflamed by immodesty among family members? How many boys and girls have been raised in homes that practiced immodest dress and now live lives of promiscuity?

— Gerald B. Collingsworth, Independent Baptist, Right Living is Not Legalism, May 18, 2019

Gerald Collingsworth is the pastor of Heritage Baptist Church (an IFB congregation) in Mogadore, Ohio

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor Mike Holloway Denies He Knew Anything About Woman’s Sex Abuse Claim

pastor mike holloway

Please read Black Collar Crime: Woman Claims Evangelical Pastor Mike Holloway Knew She Had Been Sexually Abused and Did Nothing to provide context for what follows.

Mike Holloway, pastor of Temple Baptist Church of Kokomo, Indiana issued a statement today denying Dawn Price’s claim that he knew about Price’s father molesting her and did nothing to stop it. Deven Zimmerman, a writer for The Kokomo Perspective, reports:

After declining to speak at length with the Kokomo Perspective prior to last week’s publication, Temple Baptist Church spoke out via social media last week in response to the story published concerning allegations made by former member Dawn Price.

In a statement on the church’s Facebook page, the church addressed the allegations leveled at it by various sources, including Dawn Price and her ex-fiancé, Andy Thornton. The church confirmed that an altercation occurred in 1991 just prior to Thornton and Price’s wedding. However, the church argued that no confession was made by Dawn’s father, Don Croddy, in regards to the accusation of his sexual abuse of her in front of Temple Baptist Church Pastor Mike Holloway.

“I first became aware of a potential family problem in 1990 when Dawn and her father were interviewed by Child Protective Services (CPS), though I was not informed of the topics being discussed at that time,” read the statement said to be authored by Temple Baptist Church Pastor Mike Holloway. “The authorities chose not to pursue any legal actions as a result of that investigation.

“My first knowledge of Dawn’s molestation accusation came in 1991, when Don, Dawn, and her then-fiancé, Andy Thornton, came to me five days before Dawn and Andy were to be married. In this meeting, I was informed of the alleged event that had occurred 14 years earlier. While no confession was made by Don, I immediately sought legal counsel, turning over all information to the Christian Law Association (CLA) [CLA is operated by David Gibbs and is widely known as the cleaner — someone who makes things go away — for  IFB churches and pastors.] I was encouraged by the CLA to take the precautionary measure of restricting Don from all children and youth programs in our church, which I did. Since that decision and up to this present time, I have received no information indicating concern about Don’s behavior.”

The church also confirmed that its leadership became aware Dawn’s YouTube video, which she posted in February 2017 as a confessional of her alleged abuse at the hands of her father.

“In February 2017, Dawn posted a video to Facebook making additional accusations against her father, claiming Don had admitted his behavior to me during the 1991 meeting,” said Holloway. “This accusation is completely false and an attack on both the truth and my character. Given the allegations made in Dawn’s video, I sat down with Don and our church deacons for an in-depth discussion. After this discussion, I asked that he resign as a member of our church.”

Price, however, stuck to her claim about that meeting in 1991.

“The incident five days before my wedding was to take place happened exactly as my then-fiancé, Andy Thornton, and I said,” said Price. “I am simply stating the truth as Andy Thornton and I know it. Andy asked Holloway why he was allowing an admitted pedophile to remain in the church, and Holloway said that my dad had repented, so therefore no action was required, and there was no reason to tell anyone. Why he would seek legal counsel and not report to the police is just mind blowing to me and the actions of a guilty man. He never once asked me if I was OK or needed anything.”

Additionally, Price shed light on Holloway’s comment on the CPS call made to the Croddy household.

“While attending Temple Christian Academy, CPS was called,” said Price. “I have always been forthcoming with this. While CPS was called, Mike Holloway also called my dad, Don Croddy. I was terrified of my dad. Try to put yourself in my position. While my abuse was sexual, my brother’s was physical, severely physical,” said Price. “While I was in one room being questioned by CPS, my dad made a commanding presence right outside the door. I lied to the CPS worker. I was a child. I didn’t want to be beat like my brother, I was in self-preservation mode.

“I had to go home with this man if they didn’t believe me, and I didn’t know what to do. So I did the safest thing I knew to do, especially with him being the commanding person he was; I lied. The authorities didn’t pursue legal action because I was a child who was terrified and had those around me who failed me. The system failed me. Follow-ups should have been made. Questions should have been more pointed. My dad shouldn’t have been allowed to be there. My pastor failed me. I do not believe that Mike Holloway didn’t know what topics CPS were called about that day.”

 

Bruce Gerencser