20 February 2019

Missing the Point on Sexual Abuse

by Hohn Cho



t has been an eventful week on the topic of sexual abuse and the church, as the Houston Chronicle published a series of articles on the scope of the problem within the Southern Baptist Convention, a problem which has been exacerbated by the relative lack of oversight, information sharing, and accountability within the highly decentralized organization. Highly-ranking SBC leaders have already spoken out, acknowledged the magnitude of the problem, and promised reforms, including and most importantly for the purposes of this piece, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

The statement is a good model for taking ownership and responsibility for one's own past words and actions, and although a few critics have persisted in demanding Mohler's resignation or questioning his sincerity, and others are (perhaps more understandably) adopting a "wait and see" attitude, the general response from interested Christians has been appreciation, and gratitude to God, and this latter group includes internationally-recognized sexual abuse expert and survivor advocate, Rachael Denhollander.

I was honestly somewhat surprised to see criticism of Mohler from the other direction, however, with one commenter Monday calling it a "gratuitous and unnecessary apology" in the midst of an article that missed the point so badly that I can only assume it originates from a massive blind spot. The author, Doug Wilson, is certainly no stranger to either controversy or verbal pugilism (ha!), and yet despite that fact I cannot recall even a single time over the past decade-plus that he's ever actually issued a material apology or owned up to a significant mistake in thinking, so perhaps the blind spot lies somewhere therein. Perhaps more likely, however, is the reality that Wilson's perspective on sexual abuse is so astonishingly wrong-headed that it has led to tragic results in at least two cases which have been documented thoroughly in the public record. If the records are a bit too dry for you, Rod Dreher went into the Sitler case in some detail a few years ago.

Given Scripture's clear admonition to us in Matthew 7:3-5, one might think that perhaps Wilson is not the most appropriate or helpful messenger on the topic of either apologies or sexual abuse, even as Mohler heeds his own conscience in extending his own apology and seeking forgiveness for his own overt statements and actions in support of C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches (formerly known as Sovereign Grace Ministries). And that is precisely where Wilson misses the point. He spills much ink on the concept of the presumption of innocence, despite the fact that aside from some secular Title IX administrators and other radical left wingers, most people are not really contesting that point, certainly not that I've seen within the church.

The point here relates to integrity of speech. Mohler is not apologizing for his presumption of innocence. He is apologizing for going far beyond that in his own past, overt statements of support for Mahaney and Sovereign Grace, which he made without sufficiently investigating the other side of the story per Proverbs 18:13 & 17, and with partiality in judgment per Proverbs 24:23 & 28:21. Obviously, Mohler is personally convicted over these matters, and when one has erred publicly, one ought to make amends publicly as well. As someone in a position of spiritual authority myself, I would be loath to get in the way of a man moved by the Spirit to correct himself, lest he risk grieving the Holy Spirit per Ephesians 4:30 or searing his conscience per 1 Timothy 4:2. And for any Christian minister, we know from 1 Timothy 1:4-5 that maintaining a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith are fundamental to efforts toward loving instruction and advancing the Kingdom of God.

There's another important point to consider here, however, and that is the fact that an elder must be above reproach and have a good reputation with those outside of the church, as clearly stated in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. One need not discard either the presumption of innocence or the requirement in 1 Timothy 5:19 for a charge against an elder to have two or three witnesses in order to note that there exist differing levels of proof, and that the Bible nowhere requires conviction of a crime—which requires "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" under our criminal justice system—in order to establish that an elder is not qualified for the office, as Wilson seems to imply. Indeed, for many matters relating to moral failure, there will never be a criminal conviction, because adultery, to use one example, is simply not enforced as a crime in any US jurisdiction.

Instead, in even the T4G statement itself (since deleted) that Mohler, Mark Dever, and Ligon Duncan released to defend Mahaney and Sovereign Grace, they indicated in an apparent nod to being above reproach and having a good reputation with those outside of the church that "A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry."

What Mohler now seems to acknowledge is that the charges against Mahaney and Sovereign Grace were more serious than he'd initially believed. As a trained attorney, Denhollander has done an admirable job of highlighting precisely why this is, and her devastatingly detailed March 1, 2018 summary not only provides a credible charge with witnesses that has existed for years, for those who took the time to investigate,[*] in my view it basically establishes a prima facie case that demands a substantive response. It is simply light years more substantial than mere gossip, or biased axe grinding, or anonymous complaints.

Sadly, from my perspective, the response from Sovereign Grace has been to attack straw men, disingenuously deflect, point to procedural maneuvers as a vindication, and steadfastly refuse to address the issue in an (increasingly vain) effort to move along in the apparent hope that people will just forget about it.[**] They're also eager to tout their relationship with "Ministry Safe" as an apparent talisman against criticism, but given the fact that Ministry Safe has become the go-to organization for many major insular entities when accused of sexual abuse (including Doug Wilson's own denomination, and others such as the United States Olympic Committee, Bob Jones University, and Nazarene Global Ministries), at the risk of seeming jaded, I've become rather skeptical of how strong the safeguards implemented by the husband-and-wife legal team at Ministry Safe truly are.

Regardless, in light of this background, I literally laughed out loud when Wilson scolded, "[Denhollander] has gotten out of her lane." It's a backhanded insult that attempts to define and confine her only in relation to her direct testimony as a survivor, when in fact she has become the best advocate for and expert on sexual abuse reform that I have ever known. She's really a textbook example of what earnest and well-intentioned Christian "social justice" advocates might be able accomplish, were they laser-focused on a real and present issue with tangible and measurable injustices, and proposing specific and effective reforms consistent with biblical principles. Her "lane" is precisely sexual abuse and the law, and despite Wilson's patronizing comment about not being trained to identify ambulance chasers, the legal code of ethics which Denhollander presents and teaches on actually requires lawyers to identify and avoid ambulance chasers.

The comment was so ludicrous, so lacking in self-awareness and situational understanding, that I have to wonder whether any of it stems from discomfort that Denhollander has righteously barged into the lanes of coddlers and enablers of abusers who would vastly prefer that she simply shut up and allow them to remain under cover of darkness, rather than expose them pursuant to Ephesians 5:11.

On that note, as someone who deeply appreciates statistics as a basis of measurement and comparison, especially in relation to demographics, I wanted to challenge Wilson's attempt to dismiss the Houston Chronicle articles. First, the reporters were only able to catalog cases where reporting could be found, so the count necessarily excludes many rural areas that have very limited reporting, and cases that were not considered newsworthy. Second, obviously, the cases fail to include situations where direct or indirect or cultural pressure resulted in no report being made, this number is currently unknown due to a lack of studies on the topic, but investigations into various organizations such as the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, Bob Jones University, Ethnos 360 (formerly known as New Tribes Mission), the Independent Fundamental Baptists, the Southern Baptist Convention as mentioned previously, and Protestants generally all sadly seem to indicate a major problem. Third, it has been known from insurance reports since at least 2007 that the scale of the sexual abuse problem in Protestant churches is arguably at least as large as the one in the Roman Catholic Church, which nearly all observers (including Wilson) agree is a genuine scandal.

Finally, I wanted to say a word about Wilson's concerns regarding the trajectory of "woke" justice and capitulation on biblical principles to the worldly spirit of the age. Candidly, I share a number of his concerns, and have said as much on this blog, many times. I'm well aware that numerous egalitarians are using legitimate concerns over sexual abuse to attack the notion of biblical complementarianism itself, just as certain other social justicians are using a legitimate hatred of the sin of racism to attack a biblical understanding of what it means to regard no one according to the flesh, in true unity, which refuses to elevate the importance of trivial surface distinctions between Jew and Greek.

But whether from the left or the right, pragmatic concerns over trajectory and potential results should never trump basic biblical ethics. Mohler obviously believes that in his prior full-throated defenses of Mahaney and Sovereign Grace, he spoke too soon, with partiality, and without sufficient investigation. It is right and proper that he make equally public amends for that, just as it is right and proper that Mahaney and Sovereign Grace provide a substantive response for their actions in light of Denhollander's prima facie case. The alternative is a cloud of scandal persisting over their ministry as they remain subject to legitimate reproach, and establish and confirm an increasingly poor reputation with those outside (and inside) the church.

An independent investigation, which Denhollander, Mohler, and even all Wilson appear to support, despite the latter's skepticism about the existence of an appropriate organization—and by the way, my understanding is that although Denhollander has spoken well of Boz Tchvidjian's GRACE organization, she has not at all insisted it is the only legitimate organization—would be one way of commencing to clear that cloud. With every passing day of intransigence, however, Mahaney and Sovereign Grace make the dispersal of that cloud more and more difficult, and at this point I do wonder whether they will ever recover any credibility whatsoever. Like Wilson, they've badly missed the point, whether it's their responses to sexual abuse cases, their attitudes and actions toward survivors, or their doubling down on a continuing strategy of stonewalling and diversion after being called on it.

Learning from Mohler's apology, rather than Wilson's defense, would perhaps be the bare beginnings of a start.

Hohn's signature


[*] I was one who failed to do so, instead simply accepting the assurances of people like Dever, Duncan, and Mohler, until a bit under two years ago when a blogpost commenter pointed me to Mahaney's May 22, 2014 statement in which he claimed, "I look forward to the day when I can speak freely. For now, the simple and extraordinarily unsatisfying reality—for myself and others—is that in the face of an ongoing civil lawsuit, I simply cannot speak publicly to the specifics of these events." And yet even after the dismissal of that lawsuit, Mahaney has refused to address any of it substantively, an omission that seems so out of step with his May 22 statement that it again implicates the issue of integrity of speech.

[**] A point-by-point establishment of these patterns I've perceived is beyond the scope of this blogpost, but pick just about any public response by Sovereign Grace over the years, and I'd be happy to break it down and fill out my opinion more specifically.

38 comments:

Jay T said...

Mr. Cho

Doug Wilson has always only been obliquely critical of Mrs. Denhollander. He has continuously praised her as a fine example and Christian witness. One object of his criticism has been the GRACE organization (and Mrs. Denhollander's apparent endorsement of them). However you wouldn't know that GRACE is the primary target of Wilson's criticism from reading your article. You mentioned GRACE briefly in the 13th paragraph.

And I'm not sure Rod Dreher's article supports you. It seemed unfair and unhinged when he wrote it and time hasn't helped.

Can you tell us what specifically Doug Wilson should have done differently? Can you point to specific examples of how sin this horrific and messy is handled well pastorally (after the "call the cops" part which I completely agree with)? I'm not being facetious. Do you know think parents who endanger their children deserve rebuke? What alternative to GRACE would you recommend?

Pastor Macarther's received his share of unfair public criticism in the past so I would expect you to be a little more skeptical of sensational charges lobbed at others.

Respectfully,

Jay

Heather said...

Dear Sir,

I take no issue with people disagreeing with the style or substance of Doug Wilson's writings (Also my father-in-law) but please consider that some of the links you provided with regards to the cases from our church are from blogs that are full of outrageous and foul slander. Please consider revisiting (and removing) these links. The sheer tonnage of lies and slant regarding real sins and tragic situations that a pastor and congregation went through do not make the false allegations on these blogs any more true.

A few links to consider as a short counter to links in the article the above.

First link in each is from the Church's elder minutes.

On the Sitler case,
The Sitler Timeline
An Open Letter from Christ Church on Steven Sitler
The Only Kind of Gospel There Is

On the Greenfield case,
The Greenfield Timeline
Jezehellsbells

While there's much more to be said on the content of your post, I'll sign off here and leave the conversation to others.

Sincerely,
Heather Wilson

Anonymous said...

Denhollender is teamed up with Detwiler who is a liar and a walking representation of Romans 1:28. No credibility.

Al said...

I am not related to Doug Wilson, but I am a pastor in a CREC church. The links to often slanderous material contained in the post undercut the merits of your argument...

No way to treat a man of God.

Al Stout

Hohn C said...

Jay, we'll have to disagree heartily that "GRACE is the primary target of Wilson's criticism." The article he posted covered a number of different topics, one of which was GRACE, which I also addressed, albeit in the manner and to the extent I saw fit. We'll also have to disagree heartily about Dreher's articles. I think they were generally on point, and of the two correspondents in that discussion, I certainly wouldn't characterize Dreher as the more "unfair and unhinged" one.

As for how Wilson handled the situation, I have grave concerns with his letters on behalf of Sitler and Wight (and as a lawyer I can absolutely opine with great confidence that they were indeed letters requesting leniency on behalf of the defendants), his letter to the Greenfield family, his presiding over the marriage, and the way he handled and shepherded those situations in general, which by turns struck me as either heavy-handed or astonishingly naive, the latter of which really surprises me, considering how much of a hard-bitten realist his writing makes him appear.

Heather, I linked to the website because that was the only place I could find readily-available archives of primary source material. I'm not vouching for the entirety of the website, although I note that R. Scott Clark, who I respect greatly, seems quite comfortable with it. The limited portions I've reviewed appear to hew pretty closely to the source material, with summaries and characterizations generally lacking in over-the-top rhetoric. Regardless, you are more than welcome to post your links as well.

TW, I'm afraid you're going to have to substantiate your claim that Denhollander has "teamed up with Detwiler" as I haven't seen that at all. What I've seen is Detwiler praising and supporting Denhollander, but first I can't fault him for that, and second she isn't responsible for who praises and supports her. I have pretty strong convictions about secondary separation in any event, and so I'm not typically interested in separating from someone based on their relationship (if any) with a third party.

Al, please see my reply to Heather above. I'll also appreciatively quote Dreher, who noted something very similar to the dynamic I'm seeing right now, "Lots of email from people in and around Moscow, Idaho, alleging that the anonymous websites I link to above as sources for these documents are run by bad people, and that I shouldn’t link to them. I have no idea who runs these sites, and nobody put me up to anything... The information should be judged on its quality, not its source. I tried to link only to court documents, news reports, and things like that."

Finally, this has been said before and it also ought to be obvious, but for the sake of clarity, my opinions and viewpoints are entirely my own, and should not be attributed to anyone else. Thanks!

Ryan Sather said...

When Wilson is exposed, as you have done fairly and accurately here, his "people" have nothing left but to attempt to discredit the source rather than interact with the information and arguments you have so thoroughly and convincingly laid out.

Keep up the good work.

Heather said...

Mr, Cho,

Thanks for the reply. I will reiterate, however, that you are linking to a site that is more than just court documents. It’s full of outright lies. Slander mixed with truth serves no cause well, no matter how much you disagree with DW.

Ryan Sather said...

Heather, would you please point out 4-5 of the lies? Given the site is filled with slander and lies I'm sure it would only take a moment or two to show those to us. After all, your claim could be considered slanderous and filled with lies if you aren't able to produce evidence supporting your claim.

Jay T said...

Mr. Cho
Thanks for your reply.
I’m more interested in how you’d have dealt with these situations as a pastor, not as a lawyer. It sounds like you don’t think he should have performed the wedding of the (seemingly) repentant child molester. And it also sounds like you think the father of the other victim didn’t deserve any pastoral admonishment for failing to protect his daughter. And that pastors shouldn’t request leniency for (again, seemingly) repentant congregants who commit crimes. Is that fair to say?
Thanks,
Jay
(Apparently one of DW’s “people”)

Susan S. said...

Hon, it seems that you are reacting to the first half of Wilson's blog without seeing his point in writing it. He sees the SBC "teetering on the edge of the wokehole", and Mohler being one left on top who's not ready to be sucked into it. The woke mob is leveraging this current abuse scandal as part of their agenda to neutralize Mohler, forcing him toward yet-another apology (the first being his apology to black students/the woke movement, for the slaveholders who once participated in SBS). I think Wilson is seeing something worth considering, and it might be worth rereading the article with this more in mind. As Wilson forecasts, there will likely be more of this to come.

Hohn C said...

Ryan, thanks for reading, and for your encouragement.

Heather, I don't doubt your sincerity, but you're merely making an assertion, and in light of the bias you have (admirably) disclosed, I'm not prepared to simply accept your assertion, given the very real possibility that you are either interpreting matters in accordance with your bias, or fallibly mistaken. Ryan also makes a good point, which is to say that if you and your fellows are so convinced the website is full of lies, it ought to be a trivial task to maintain a catalog of them, as I imagine discussions of this nature will recur in the future.

Regardless, as I said, I'm not aware of any other repository of primary source material, and neither does it seem that you have proposed any (aside from your own interpretations, which again, I'm happy for you to have linked above), so I'm afraid by necessity the links to the Sitler and Wight archives must remain. I have already admonished readers that I am not vouching for the rest of the website, and that ought to suffice. I will go a step further and say that if you can indeed establish to my satisfaction that the website is "full of outright lies" I will be glad to denounce those portions alongside you.

Jay, you're getting out quite a bit ahead of the discussion with your assumptions. Let's take this step by step... so you agree that Wilson was indeed requesting leniency on behalf of Sitler and Wight? If so, I believe you're even ahead of Wilson, whose denial that he did so was plainly contrary to what any lawyer or even anyone familiar with the courts could plainly see. That denial was one of the things that made me question his forthrightness about the entire matter, and his apparent inability to concede even the barest and most obvious points, choosing instead to double down, is what made me question his self-awareness and ability to discuss the matter objectively.

Susan, I actually addressed that very point in my third- and fourth- paragraphs counting from the end. If and only if you have the time and interest, I've written numerous articles expressing deep concern about the "woke" movement in Christianity on this blog. Thanks for reading, and for your thoughts on the matter.

Heather said...

Mr. Cho,

There's nothing I can point to that would convince Mr Sather of anything (judging from our past back and forths), and while you may have an open mind, I'd rather leave my words as mere assertions than dignify that site with further engagement.

These were real sins with tragic consequences that presented real pastoral challenges and for me to try and make a case to your satisfaction in the court of the Internet, a decade later, seems a tall order.

Ryan Sather said...

In other words, she can't.

Anonymous said...

Here you go, paragraph 12:

http://www.brentdetwiler.com/brentdetwilercom/christianity-today-interview-with-rachael-denhollander-inclu.html

Jerry said...

TW, I haven't seen evidence that Detwiler is a liar, can you please point me to this evidence? If you're going to make this accusation, it should be easy to point to at least one clear example to substantiate this accusation. I'm not saying he didn't, I just haven't seen it. Secondly, if, as you say, he has lied, it doesn't change the undeniable, documented, court evidence and it is clear that Mahaney does not meet the biblical standard of "above reproach" based on the court evidence that I have seen. Third, simply because she has corresponded with Detwiler and used information that he had documented, doesn't mean that she didn't independently verify the information prior to using it (and she claims that she did). Mahaney should refrain from any position in ministry or as an elder until an independent investigation is performed that either exonerates him or validates the claims of the victims and accusers.

Hohn C said...

Heather, totally your prerogative, thanks for the discussion. As a closing note on the website, I thought this comment yesterday from R. Scott Clark was interesting: "There 2 kinds of people relative to [Wilson]: Those who have taken the time to read and digest the stuff at http://moscowid.net and those who have not or will not. When they attack the source, it only means that they FEAR that there’s something there but don’t want to look." This tweetstorm is also on point.

And finally, regarding your comment about the "court of the Internet, a decade later," I think that's a fair point to raise, but this is where the primary source materials come in especially handy. And speaking as a lawyer, the court filings are extremely meaningful, and at various points quite devastating to Wilson. Even his own CREC denomination which he founded had significant criticisms for him, despite the fact that other observers have argued they did not go far enough.

TW, seriously, that's it? "Rachael contacted me in March 2016 asking for my help. I put her in contact with victims and provided her evidence, both of which I continue to do." First, that's a one-sided account. Second, if you've observed her even casually, you'll know she's a determined and thorough investigator. Asking someone to connect her to other primary sources hardly means she's "teamed up" with that person, as you claimed earlier. As I've been discussing with Heather above, it's easy to attack the source, but typically more challenging to deal with the substance. And here, Detwiler isn't even the source... those would be the people he (allegedly) put her in touch with.

JennGrover said...

@TW - your assertion that Brent is a liar is pretty bold. SGM has been unable to refute one of his charges. As a matter of fact, SGM has never publicly called Brent a liar, because they know they would be putting themselves in a position to have to validate that charge. Yet, if he were actually a liar, they would be completely forsaking their responsibilities as pastors to not warn Believers of this. On a couple, very rare occasions he has been incorrect and has consequently publicly corrected that. As a matter of fact, there are some of his charges that I have had first hand knowledge of and while he probably explains them differently than I would, I have not found them to false. Do you have evidence that he is a liar that you would like to share?

TW - Is this Tim W. Shorey?

Anonymous said...

So like the victim bloggers YOU require proof?? Go read Detwiler’s stuff where he calls his targets hideous names for crimes they have not been convicted of — declaring them guilty of crimes for his goal of attacking CJ Mahaney. His “evidence” includes opinions he advances as facts. Both practices are lies. Watch him long enough and you will see accusation and innuendo become his “facts” — thise are not the actions of someone committed to truth.

As to Denhollender, are you willing to place your confidence in someone inserting herself into cases on the back of her own trauma — isn’t that dangerous? You are impressed by the term “lawyer” — under what bar? What specialty — trust & estates, criminal — under what part of the law does she claim experiential expertise? A lawyer’s job is to manipulate the law for the client, defendant or state.

Go to an investigator to find someone who is obligated to deal in facts. Have some respect for the level of false accusations that are sweeping the country — “advocates” are not interested in nor capable of determining the difference.

Susan S. said...

Thanks Hon, and I'm entirely aware of your concerns regarding the woke movement, and it is I who interacted with you a couple of times on the blogs written by MacArthur on that subject...in agreement! (conversations with the woke pastor/MS grad at the church in Bellflower). I am now a regular attender of GC! It is a place of true worship and PEACE for me, after having experienced much 'spiritual abuse" as I attempted to alert the senior pastor and elders about false teaching coming into the church via materials being used in many small groups (multiple streams of false teaching which continue).
One of these days I hope to meet you. I had a good conversation with MacArthur about the above. It's incredible to finally be at a church where I know I can trust the pastors and elders, and well-worth the long drive.
Regarding Mohler, I'm not aware of the things you've mentioned regarding his hearty support for CJM, so perhaps his apology was appropriate. I was initially interested in Wilson'r article because James White recommended it on the DL, commenting that Wilson (whom he disagrees with on some things) has "a unique ability to cut through the fog" on certain issues. I agree, and I think his article gives a broader picture of what's at play, and as he concluded, we should be praying for Mohler. It must make his heart ache to see much of what is happening in the SBC. Praying that he will be steadfast in proclaiming the TRUTH in all things!

Lance Roberts said...

It's sad to see you using slanderblogger material as source. Pyromaniacs has sure descended a long way down the rabbit hole.

Ryan Sather said...

Court records are slander blogger material?

JennGrover said...

Ah, so TW does not have actual proof of Brent lying. I did not think he did. Easy to scream, "Liar!" so that you can bury your head in the sand.

SGM has never been able to refute any of the accusations brought against them. Not one. CJ's blackmailing of Larry Tomczack (there is a tape) ought to have been enough. His childish behavior when confronted ought to have been enough. That e way he ran away from CLC like a child, ought to have been enough. Yet, all those pale in comparison to how CJ and SGM have respo ded to the victims' families. CJ was the senior Pastor when Nathan Morales was reported to be abusing boys. CJ met with victims families and stood by the pastors while the pastors sided with the perpetrator. These are all well documented and there are more grevious claims which need to be investigated. Instead of humbly yielding to such an investigation, he resists. He resisted at CLC and he has now resisted his new friends.

Get a hold of yourself, TW. You are now slandering Rachel Denholla der who has never been found to make a factual error in the case of Larry Nasser or SGM. She spent hours speaking with the victims. Have you even bothered to read their stories?

Unknown said...

And FWIW, your characterization of Denhollander is not only patronizing, it is insulting to any thinking person. Your argument (which is likely the inside SGM talking point) is so completely shallow and without merit, that you should immediately apologize to her. It completely reflects the improper view of women that SGM taught and modeled for so many years.

JennGrover said...

And, FYI, she holds a JD in law and is a member of the CA BAR, the state where she attended law school. Maybe you would like to read more about how capable she is and to what degree she is recognized for her expertise: http://www.veritas.org/person/rachael-denhollander/

Meanwhile, neither CJ or Mark Prater hold degrees from any institutions.What are their qualifications to evaluate the victims' stories?

A. Roberts said...

Hi!

I just wanted to write in and note how much I appreciate the well-written, highly researched quality of this blog. I must have spent close to two hours reading the hyperlinks Hohn provided, and I am grateful as to how respectfully he has handled the material.

A great deal of my family is outside the mainstream Christian belief system, so they are often coming at me with headlines and reports of Christendom madness. The Gospel and its thousands of theological variances are often forgotten in the wake of scandal, which is why it is so helpful when our leaders really take the time to research and cordially address these issues--as not to add more fuel to the flames. I don't sense any malevolence in Hohn's writing, only solid objectivity in holding Doug Wilson accountable to his words and phrasing.

We need more of this. Thank you, Hohn, for taking the time and having the courage and kindness to address these issues in the manner you have done.

Anonymous said...

Stating allegations as “facts” is indeed lying. It is a Detwiler trademark.

Questioning the propriety of “advocate” movement tactics and heros is slander?

That won’t fly too far....

L6 guy said...

Mr. Cho,

One of your links re: Doug Wilson appears to be an extension of "The Truth about Moscow" site.
This is a site whose purpose is to be hostile and critical of Wilson and Christ Church.
This is the site I think Heather Wilson objects to, for its' bias and dishonesty.

Below is an excerpt from that site, where the poster makes the same false allegation that you do, which is that Wilson "never admits mistakes or apologizes".

Wilson of course corrected you in his response to your post, noting that the "controversy library" section of his site, enumerates apologies and errors Wilson has made, and his formal, public correction of them.

Then, Ryan Sather, states that Heather Wilson "can't" enumerate any lies, presumably from "the truth about Moscow" site.

I just enumerated one, and could easily do the requested 4 or 5, but the point about the sites' bias is proven by the one item I have shown to be a lie.

I'll leave you with this thought:

Matthew 5:11
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

This happened to Stephen, Paul and many more Godly people.
Is the same happening to you? Is the same happening to Wilson?
Did all men speak well of Stephen and Paul. No, yet they were still godly men.

"Today’s letter to the editor strikes me as suspicious, but I’ll waive that to demonstrate a larger point. The writer claims that Douglas Wilson “admitted” he made a “mistake” in the matter of Jamin Wight’s felonious behavior and that he (Wilson) “has learned from it and taken steps to prevent anything similar from ever happening again.”

Both of these statements are demonstrably false, as witnessed by the 16 April 2016 Moscow-Pullman Daily News, which you can read here. I contemplate the article here.

Douglas Wilson not only didn’t admit mistakes or learn anything — he doubled down, which is his standard operating procedure. You’ll have to search long & far to discover an occasion where Doug Wilson admitted making a mistake and you’ll have to search farther to see him concede that he took corrective measures. NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN. He even told his hand-picked acolytes to blow their suck-up counsel out their feckweasel cheeks."

Unknown said...

Phil and Hohn, I heartly disagree with your thoughts on this matter. Does sexual impropriety need to be addressed? Yes. Is it good to be tried on the internet by those who don't know what is really going on? No.

Hohn linked to the attack web site Truth About Moscow. I'm not linking to it because it is full of false information that chumps online think is really true when it is in fact a compilation of somewhat true and lots of lies so that in the Proverbial manner it provides tasty chunks going to the belly.

Ryan Sather asks if court records are slander material? Yes, when the documents which tell a different story are not presented, it is slander. Yes, it is then a lie because it is only telling a part of the story and that is what The Truth About Moscow is good at -- lying.

That web site posted the copyrighted video of the Sitler wedding and then when the copyright owner asked them to take it down, the Truth laughed. It is not remotely a Christian web site nor is it truthful.

Hohn said that he linked to it because it had the court documents readily available but didn't realize that there are more unsealed court documents available. Only five individuals have read the unsealed documents in the courthouse. One was the CREC investigator, three were individuals grinding their axes sharply against Wilson and the other was me.

Several individuals commented on how well researched this thread was, when in fact, it is just like the other blogs that used false information to continue building a fire among brothers. That if you remember is also a Proverbial no no. That is not a Matthew 8 comment, but rather one on blogging when we don't know the facts.

When Rod Dreher broke his story, I asked him which little blue bird flew in his window and sang its song. He refused to say. I asked his publisher to put a sidebar with the article including all the unsealed court documents for readers to view and was refused. It didn't go along with the narrative. Christians are to seek the truth; however, in what happened in Moscow, the truth is flogged over and over by well meaning individuals who don't have a clue about what really happened.

Phil and Hohn, if you want the full set of court documents, on Steve Sitler just say so. Really it is time to put these lies to bed and move on. Scripture tells us that one sounds right until another comes forward. You can read Wilson's blog for the straight skinny on some of the sordid points. Sorry for the long post.

Ryan Sather said...

My favorite part of the nonsense above by yet another unknown/anonymous fanboy is the part where he shakes a finger at the author of this post for "building a fire among brothers."
That's all DW does is build fires amongst brothers.
Sad.
Keep up the good work Hohn, thankful for your willingness to call out this evil!

JennGrover said...

The only reason Mahaney is even a topic for discussion on the web is because he has been running from accountability since 2011. Mohler realized he was wrong in his fairly blind support of him and his support hurt real victims. None of that describes an Intenet trial, it describes a man who refuses to be accoubtable. Would it be better for Mohler to remain stiff necked just because of the source of the criticism. The neo-reformed movement has been marked by men who insist you play by their rules or they do not listen to you. They assume their rules are Biblical and have not been open to reconsidering any of these things. Mohler statement is a step in the right direction.

JennGrover said...

Nope. Just because you think it is lying dies not make it so. If Brent believes he is telling the truth, he is not lying. Lying involves intent to deceive. Furthermore, you do not know what Brent knows. Perhaps he has more detail than he has shares. But then again, there is no room for Brent being correct in your mind.

I find it ironic that you are hung up with Brent's lies but are OK with the SGM lies. Mark Prater betrayed confidence and misrepresented a leader's testimony to the board. He dropped names that he believed would change my view. He repeated this to my brother and the SGM board in Cleveland. We confronted him and he did not believe he had done anything wrong. Aron Osbourne who was in the room and heard the same testimony as Mark, confirmed that Mark had knowingly betrayed a confidence and had misrepresented the person's testimony. Rachel Denhollander, now, independently, reports the same has happened to her. Tell me, who has the credibility problem? SGM has the credibility problem.

TW, you can vote nothing to refute the allegations against CJ and SGM. Why are you more concerned with Brent than you are with the truth? Mark Prater promised that the truth would all come out, back in 2011. It never came from them. CJ said he would speak after the lawsuit. He never did. These are the real lies.

Anonymous said...

And there it is for all to see: the raging hatred of CJ that consumes so many.

“Holy rage” does not make lying right and stating allegations as facts, thus branding your target, is deceit — lying.

Thus the Romans 1:28 reference.

Too many have allowed this sickness to rule their lives. Looks like Detwiler is not the only one.

Hohn C said...

Greetings, thanks for your comments. Discussion will continue, for those interested, in the comments to my latest reply. For our loyal Wilson supporters, I'd be glad to resume our fine civil discourse over there, but for various reasons I'd appreciate it if you were to first affirm that you've actually read my entire reply that I've linked above. If you decline to so affirm, as is your right, then I will decline to reply to you, as is my right. Also, here's a reminder about our site rules. Thanks!

Debbie Kaufman said...

C Hohn: Thank you for this piece and you are right on target. I am a Southern Baptist, a messenger this past June who voted to pass all that we did along with my husband. I also have been involved in either writing about, commenting or reading these abuse cases and so have known about most of them for 12 years, along with Christa Brown and Tiffany Thingcroft Kilgannon who was raped by Darrel Gilyard along with over 25 other women.

I would first have your commenters look up the stats of the % of false reports. It is very low, in the single digits. Rape by clergy is tantamount to murder. It murders who they really are. It murders their innocence as a child. These commenters sound like many in SBC leadership for many years. They were wrong. 700 plus victims, over 300 church leaders convicted of sexual child abuse.
This is the reality of sexual abuse on children. https://twitter.com/BethMooreLPM/status/1094720702190678016

Debbie Kaufman said...

For those who choose not to look up the statistics, about 3 in every 1,000 reported would be false reports. 3 of 1,000.

Debbie Kaufman said...

The Wartburg Watch, Brett, Rachel, Amy etc. all involved along with the Houston Chronicle team did a fantastic job in information. Accurate information. Whether you like them or not doesn't matter, they have helped in getting justice and healing for many hundreds, probably thousands of victims, as this is only the tip of the iceberg. You can know there are many more. Children, young teens, who have been subjected to this type of horrendous abuse.

You will see this as more come forward. The church is to be a safe place, a balm, but it isn't. This needed to be done so it can be that and more. As it was meant to be.

Jerry said...

Debbie, while I think this is an excellent piece, it doesn't do assault victims any favor to continue to quote that statistic. There is no real data or study to back up that claim, that I can find, and even if it were true, it's a logical fallacy to conclude that if .003% are proven to be false, that 99.997% are proven to be true, which is just not the case. The vast majority are she said/he said and are not resolved. Here is a quote from Michelle Malkin's piece she wrote on the subject:

"Based on their review of decades of scientific literature, Turvey and his colleagues explode the “2 percent myth” peddled by politicians, victims’ advocates, and journalists “claiming that the nationwide false report rape for rape and sexual assault is nonexistent.” In fact, the statistic was traced to an unverified citation in a 1975 book by feminist author Susan Brownmiller."

Here is the link, (https://bit.ly/2U48cAh) which of course isn't necessarily definitive either, but it's just not helpful to promote a number that has no known, statistical basis, at least that I've seen.

Sam Nelson said...

It has become obvious that the celebrity conference Christian culture is a cesspool which promotes so much vile garbage from the social justice gospel to sexual predation. Garbage. We must quit caring what mega church pastors and celebrity Christians, "reformedish" or otherwise, peddle.