Southern Baptists, the ERLC and the "devil-haunted universe"

Man can hardly even recognize the devils of his own creation. Albert Schweitzer 

We held a SNAP media event yesterday outside Second Baptist Church in Houston in support of the victims of two former ministers there.

SNAP is worried about more possible victims of these two former Second Baptist ministers, both accused of crimes.

The first is Chad Foster, a young minister who was sentenced in April to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to raping a 16-year-old girl in 2011 and soliciting another teen online.
The second is Eddie Struble, a music minister who faces no civil or criminal charges but is the subject of a Spring Valley police report accusing him of stalking a boy in 2009.
SNAP says that Struble abused a boy (roughly from ages 14-17) who Struble met at the church.
Struble now helps lead worship at Birchman Baptist church in Fort Worth, TX. He has also taught private voice lessons and worked as a vocal coach at Hits Theatre in Houston
After leaving Second Baptist Church, Struble worked at Humble Area First Baptist Church where he was reportedly asked to leave.
See my original post on concerns about Eddie Struble:
Struble plays an active role in Southern Baptist Convention events. He was the worship leader for the NACBA (National Association of Church Business Administration) National Conference Planning Team in Houston in 2012. page 10
Last July, he led a session on “saving ministry dollars” at NACBA conference in Charlotte.
SNAP believes that church officials have a moral and civic duty, when confronted with proof or credible allegations of wrongdoing, to aggressively seek out victims, witnesses and whistleblowers and beg them to call police and prosecuted so that those who commit or conceal crimes – especially against children – will be charged, convicted and jailed which prevents future crimes and cover ups.

 KUHF News
Members of a child abuse victim support group gathered outside a mega church in Houston today to highlight recent abuse cases involving ministers. The group urges victims of sexual abuse at churches to come forward. 

Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Stop Baptists Predators updated: Will changing of the guard bring any change on clergy sex abuse?
Update 1/10/2014: Now we have yet another indication of how unlikely it is that Moore's leadership will bring any positive change in the SBC's denominational do-nothingness on clergy sex abuse. The ERLC has announced the formation of a "Leadership Network" to join with the ERLC in applying "the gospel of the kingdom to the major cultural issues of our day." Named to the "Leadership Council" for this new network is pastor Greg Belser of Morrison Heights Baptist Church -- a pastor who has been widely reported as having a role in one of the SBC's biggest clergy sex abuse cover-up scandals to date. In Belser's short bio on the ERLC's "Leadership Council" site, he talks about how the ERLC helps him in "resourcing our church for speaking courageously in the culture." In my opinion, Belser could show himself to be a great deal more courageous if he would submit hisown conduct to the review of an independent organization such as GRACE and let that organization speak to the truth of what happened in the Prestonwood/Morrison Heights scandal. In any event, Belser's appointment to the ERLC's "Leadership Council" doesn't bode well for anticipating any improvement in the SBC's blind-eyed nonresponsiveness on clergy sex abuse.

Newly Formed SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission Initiative Is 'About Ministering in the Midst of a Devil-Haunted Universe'

"As we come alongside one another, we'll talk about crucial ethical issues confronting churches and how we can engage the culture with a Gospel-focus. We'll think through issues that aren't yet confronting churches, but will, and how we can best go through the difficulties of life and local church ministry with a joyful warrior kingdom expectancy-marching toward Zion on the triumphant side of history."
How about start with the crucial issues already confronting churches? What about the "devil-haunted universe" of child sex crimes committed by their own Baptist ministers? Or are we really looking at a case of the ERLC picking and choosing "crucial ethical issues" based on selective moral outrage? I can't think of any issue more pressing and damaging to churches and kids within churches today than the ravaging of souls by child sex offenders.

Startling Statistics: Child sexual abuse and what the church can begin doing about it

SNAP urges Baptists to speak out on abuse

John Langworthy's public confession at Morrison Heights Baptist Church


Eddie Struble served at Bellevue Baptist in Memphis, TN and Idlewild Baptist in Tampa, FL for a time in the early '00s. Former Bellevue staff have been quoted as saying they were aware of his "issues" back then, but "no one wanted to report him." Ken Whitten, who has been pastor of Idlewild for many years, was formerly on staff at Bellevue and "senior pastor" at Idlewild during Eddie's tenure there.

Then there's the common thread of Hal Kitchings running through the John Langworthy saga. Kitchings and Langworthy are about the same age and both attended Mississippi College. Kitchings was on staff at Daniel Memorial Baptist in Jackson, MS where Langworthy was hired as a youth pastor. Langworthy moved to Texas and was on staff at Prestonwood Baptist where Jack Graham had recently been hired as "senior pastor." When Langworthy was whisked out of Texas in the middle of the night, who was there to greet him with a staff position but Hal Kitchings, by then the "senior pastor" of Morrison Heights Baptist.

Seems to me someone needs to be asking Ken Whitten and Hal Kitchings some tough questions. We already know Jack Graham and Greg Belser's response to tough questions.

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