Andy Savage on the Ben Ferguson Show

Transcript Comparison for the Ben Ferguson Show with Andy Savage WREC 600AM
Live on radio Thursday, January 11, 2018 4:00pm CST – fair use for analysis & critique


UPDATE: This post was originally published in the early morning hours of January 15th, 2018.  Later that day, at 1:23 PM, Ben Ferguson tweeted that he asked his producer to upload the interview with Andy Savage again, this time with "all the commercials included."  These newly uploaded files contain the clips that were omitted in the original upload to the 600 WREC site.

Audio of The Ben Ferguson show live on Monday, January 15, 2018 addressing the edited Andy Savage interview:


Two sound files published on web and linked by Highpoint Church Friday, January 12, 2018

*This transcript comparison does not include breaks and the host’s lead-in/lead-out from breaks unless otherwise noted.

BF = Ben Ferguson, host of the Ben Ferguson Show, a friend of Andy Savage

AS = Andy Savage, teaching pastor of Highpoint Church, Memphis, TN, who has admitted to a sexual ‘incident’ with a 17-year old girl in his care in 1998 while on staff as the youth pastor at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church, now known as Stonebridge Church.

FIRST FILE. Published Version is identical to Live Version for the first 10:37

10:29 Last words where transcripts match:

AS: “Reiterated to her the partial confession”

BF: “This is how many hours after the …

AS: “Same day”

BF: “So you’re talking the next day after this happened, you’re meeting with the mom of Jules”

AS: “Yeah”

10:39 Transcript of the Live Version that was edited OUT of the Published Version (0:20) [see omitted clip #1 below]

BF: “All right, welcome back, it is the Ben Ferguson Show, um, Andy Savage, Highpoint Church, who is on with me today, um, and we are talking about, um, this issue, where a young girl in Texas, 17 at the time, um, has come out and said that 1) the church didn’t handle this correctly... ”

10:39 Continues after edit where transcripts match again

BF: “… um, 2) that you guys had an inappropriate relationship, um, it is brought up the bigger issue here with churches and leadership and everything else, Andy is here telling 


Published Version is identical to Live Version for first 15:45*

15:45 Last words where transcripts match:

BF: “…people believe it was still a crime. That, y’know, you were a pastor. Uh, one said he is disqualified from ministry. Um, should you quit? Should you resign? Uh, why are you still in the ministry? Are you gonna leave the ministry because of all this?”

Transcript of the Live Version that was edited OUT (1:23) [see omitted clip #2 below]

AS: “Um, uh, Ben, I did resign, um, when this happened. Twenty years ago, I resigned my position, I stepped away from ministry completely, for a season, um, and I engaged a redemptive process in my life. Uh, I maintained relationships, uh, with key pastors and counselors in my life, I maintained relationships with, uh, transparency, and uh, openness with people, uh, that uh, were trustworthy leaders in my life, uh, and I have rebuilt a life where I have changed, um, to the degree that the lessons I learned through this experience, um, allow me to help people in a way, um, that I-I never would have any other-other way.”

BF: “A lot of people are saying the only reason why you’ve been able to help people, and again, I say this bluntly, because I think it’s important, because you didn’t fully disclose this to the membership at Germantown [Baptist Church] when you were there, the membership at Highpoint [Church] when you were there. That this has been somewhat omitted from your ministry. Is that, is that a fair, way to put it, because a lot of people found out about this, that there was even an incident in Texas, because of a newspaper article, or they came to church on Sunday morning.”

AS: “I have, uh, over the years, been very willing to share, um ...”

16:05 Continues after edit where transcripts match again for just 10 seconds

AS: “… elements of this story, uh, through my sermons, through my teaching, uh, and, in more detail with specific individuals um, uh, as …”

16:15 Transcript of the Live Version that was edited OUT (2:05) [see omitted clip #3 below]

AS: “As opportunity would, uh, would deem helpful. Um, uh, but, but no, I did not, uh, broadcast this information to the entire congregation.”

BF: “Are you sorry for that, to, to the, to – and I say this, forget everybody else, I’m talking about the people at the church, are you sorry that you didn’t be more transparent? Do you feel like you misled them by, by not broadcasting this, as part of your story?”

AS: “No, I believe I was honest and transparent with the leadership at Highpoint, um, and I think that was, uh, the right place for that information to exist.”

BF: “Let’s talk about the-the real issue, and that is, there are um, people that have started petitions to get you to force you out, to resign. Um, there are people that think that honestly you should be dead, uh, milder than that, there are people think you should be in jail. Um, if I was sitting in, y’know, in the chair you’re in right now, I think there’s a large part of me that would think, ‘Why don’t I just resign, and just go away?’ Um have you thought about resigning in the last week since all this became so public, where it’s on the front pages of literally every newspaper in the country?”

AS: “Yes. On several occasions in the last few days, I have wanted to quit.”

BF: ‘Have you offered your resignation?”

AS: “I did.”

BF: “When?”

AS: “On, uh, Sunday [January 7, 2018], I offered to Chris [Conlee] that I would resign, if that was in the best interest of our church”

BF: “What did he say to you then? I mean, because most people would think that it was a ‘no brainer’ um, you have all this turmoil, and you’re resigning. Yes, I’ll take that resignation and run with it.”

AS: “That would certainly be the easy thing to do. I cannot speak for him. I can speak about him. Uh, Chris [Conlee] and the leadership at our church, uh, believe, uh, what we have said, since we started the church, we believe in a perfect place for imperfect people. Um, we believe, that, um...”

16:15 Continues after edit where transcripts match for the last 7:04.

AS: “… uh, some of our greatest sins and failures, um, all of our greatest sins and failures, can be overcome...”

Omitted Clip #1

Omitted Clip #2

Omitted Clip #3

Full Interview Part 1 (original upload)

Full Interview Part 2 (original upload)

The deletion of the comments discussing Andy's restoration process is significant.

Many readers may not be aware of the process, since it is generally not made public.  It may help church members to understand and ask how has Andy Savage legitimately been restored to ministry?
After a major fall involving sexual misconduct with a flock member some churches will choose to pursue restoration.  Biblically, they should not, because the Pastor can never again be above reproach, but many still do.  But there are high standards before a restoration can take place.  
1) After such a major violation of trust, the restoration process would be both lengthy and rigorous.  Andy could not have gone through it at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church, because he left the Woodlands and returned to Memphis at the conclusion of the investigation.  WPBC had no further spiritual authority over Andy.  They are also 570 miles away from Germantown.  It would be up to Andy's home church of Germantown Baptist (GBC) to oversee his restoration and future conduct. 

2) Andy states that he did not tell anyone at GBC about the "incident".  His excuse was "they never asked".  Regardless of the excuse, Andy's claim is that no one at GBC leadership knew of his sin/crimes.  

3)  Even if someone at WPBC had offered oversight for restoration, this process could not be completed without them speaking to Andy's then current home church, GBC.  It is imperative to the restoration process that the church with the spiritual authority over Andy be in charge of the oversight process.  Having some "mysterious" unnamed wise men speaking into his life is not a restoration process. 

4)  Andy could not have completed his restoration process and have continued to conceal his sin/crimes to GBC while simultaneously becoming a pastor at GBC.  This is an extremely egregious concealment as it gravely endangered the young members of the flock there.  No true wise counselor or godly pastor overseeing Andy's restoration would have ever gone along with this concealment as part of the restoration.  They would have demanded to speak with GBC leadership before Andy returned to ministry, to ensure that safeguards would be in place for the good of all involved. 

5) How could Andy have received spiritual restoration from Chris Conlee,  the one man in Memphis who claims he knew about Andy's sin/crimes upon is return to the city. Chris didn't become a pastor until he planted Highpoint in 2002. Up until then, Chris was pursuing a career in golf.






Anna said…
Thank you for doing the work of comparing these interview files. The omissions were certainly in Andy’s favor. I agree that he is absolutely lying about going through any restorative process whatsoever. He is making vague statements about submitting himself to wise counsel...blah blah blah. Who are these elusive wise men that were ok with Andy remaining in ministry DURING a restorative process? Also, who are these ‘wise men’ that did not tell Andy to submit himself to authorities for the crime of sexual assault? The answer is quite obvious - there were no wise men, no pastors, no oversight - Andy slinked away from Woodlands Parkway with a slap on the wrist and picked up right where he left off at Germantown Baptist. Any version of the story he told to Chris Conlee and his wife was probably the version we all heard on the radio - it was consensual, an ‘organic moment’, she pursued me... His version has always been the sanitized sin-leveling version. The bottom line is that Andy Savage is a hypocrite of the highest order. He has lied & manipulated his way through 20 yrs of ministry, hiding his dirty little secret, all the while believing that it made him a better pastor. I personally believe there are more victims. I believe there are other women out there who were members of the youth groups he pastored that he emotionally and physically manipulated and abused. He loves the power, which is why he is fighting tooth and nail to hold onto it. He is a predator.
Could we maybe also stop calling Jules' assault an "inappropriate relationship"?
Dale Rudiger said…
Do we know who was responsible for editing the linked broadcast? Was it Ben Ferguson, since it is on the radio station website?
Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said…
I listened to the interview live and then again online yesterday. I had noticed online had edited what you have as your clip #2.

Andy couldn't have gone through a complete restorative process without his church leadership being involved. He had left TX and lived far away, so they couldn't have helped the process be complete. He didn't tell his new church (Germantown) when he started interning for them 4 months after he left TX. Without Germantown being involved heavily with that process, it was incomplete.
Anonymous said…
If it was just the first bit that had been left out I could have believed it was unintentional.

Oh, wait...

AS: Um, I was 22, she was 17, which is a, a, a legal adult in the state of Texas, a consenting adult, and we had a spontaneous, physical moment that was, uh, that, that was out of bounds for my, my commitment to sexual purity, but I did not commit a crime.

BF: Um, you say you didn’t commit a crime and I want people to understand the law at the time, um, so they understand why, why, legally, and I think it’s important that people at least know what the law said at the time. You’re, you’re saying I didn’t break the, I, I, I’m not a criminal because we were two consenting, I, I would use the word, very young adults. She was a very young adult, 17, uh the age of consent at the time in Texas at the time from what I understand was 16. Seventeen would obviously be under that. Um, you’re young, and that’s the reason why you believe that you did not break the law when it comes to, at least the law in Texas.

AS: That’s correct.

Unknown said…
Thanks for this post Amy
May I make some suggestions to help it be even more clear?
No need to publish this comment if you don't want to.

1. The audios you have labelled "Full Interview Part 1" and "Full Interview Part 2" -- it wasn't clear to me whether they are the ones were published online some time after the show was aired, or whether they are the ones that were broadcast live. Maybe you might want to label them to make it more clear.

2. If thing the comment by Anonymous on this thread was very clarifyig about why the first omission is significant. Maybe you might like to update your post by putting her comment into your post. Many people don't bother reading comments, they just read the post itself.

Her comment began with these words: "If it was just the first bit that had been left out I could have believed it was unintentional."

3. Ben Ferguson seems to be contradicting himself where he says: "... the age of consent at the time in Texas at the time from what I understand was 16. Seventeen would obviously be under that."

a) Has Anonymous transcribed those words of Ben's correctly?
b) If she has, then Ben definitely contradicted himself -- spoke nonsense -- at that point in the interview. Seventeen if OVER 16, not under 16!
... so you might like to point that out in your post.

4. I wish you hadn't put the song clip at the end. It will put some folks off the post, or put them off sharing the post. I'm one of those folks. I will share the post because your documentation is good, but I am concerned that folks who see me sharing it might think I believe it's just fine for women to wear beards and bounce their bosom around before a big audience like that lead singer did.

love and hugs to you
First of all, to say that this would have been handled if you just made a phone call is very disingenuous. I feel like nothing would have been done. The pressure from the public questioning (for a public broadcast) was what caused the change.

Secondly, all of this was handled very unprofessionally by Ben Ferguson. I deal with problems and issues every week as part of my job. My initial response is always "I don't think that's true, but let me check into it." Then, if a mistake was made I say "it looks like we did make an error, you are correct, etc." I would never, ever, say it was a staff person over and over, and "it wasn't me."
Anonymous said…
Ben Ferguson, as the head of his own show, is ultimately responsible for the covert edits done to the clips that were uploaded. That he SCREAMED on Twitter denying that fact, and then backtracked blaming it on an anonymous producer, qualifying, excusing and minimizing the changes… I think he really embarrassed himself professionally.

Ben lost his cool, he lost his competent credibility. Andy agreed to the interview. Andy participated in the interview. A professional radio host who values his career and his public audience would not edit out unfavorable statements from the interview, because (1) it is a testament to his skill in drawing out revealing info from his guest and (2) it is what his audience deserves, an honest show.

posted by Song of Joy
Anonymous said…
Hi Barbara,

You can listen for yourself—go to Amy's "BFS Andy Savage Part 2" above and start at 09:56, where Ben asks Andy "do you feel you broke the law?"

In response Andy states that a 17-year-old is a "legal adult in the state of Texas, a consenting adult."

No, and no. Unless the age of majority in Texas has changed since 1998 (there is no state where it is currently under 18), Jules at 17 was a legal minor. She had reached the age of consent, but she was NOT a legal adult, or a consenting adult.

Ben could have corrected Andy on this point, but he reinforced it. "I would use the word very young adults, you were very young adults. She was a very young adult, 17."

In the deleted intro Ben describes Jules as a "young girl in Texas, 17 at the time." This is problematic, side-by-side with "you were very young adults, she was a very young adult."

In answer to Ben, who ends his taped apology above by saying:

“Normal, level-headed people would say that me omitting—, or my staff member, not getting the break right and taking the “all right, welcome back to the Ben Ferguson Show” part of the program, I don’t think that anybody would think that that is malicious intent.”

I would answer, I don't think this edit was malicious, however, it does look intentional.

Anonymous said…
... And I'm still pondering on the apparent ability that charismatic Andy Savage has to manipulate someone like Ben Ferguson into falling on his career sword in embarrassment, while trying to protect Andy from himself.

If Ben Ferguson is a buddy to Andy Savage, and wanted to do him a favor...

Wasn't it enough to give Andy lots of time to talk about his ever-changing version of events? Wasn't it enough that Ben conducted the interview in a sympathetic and friendly manner? Shouldn't that have been enough of a favor?

But no. Andy then proceeded to hang himself with some of his answers... well why isn't that on Andy alone? Why did Ben have to compromise his own stated professional standards to intervene?

It just goes to show how much influence someone like Andy has, influence to get folks to do the wrong thing in order to protect their image. Because I can't imagine that Ben gained anything from doing that except to get egg all over his face.

posted by Song of Joy
Unknown said…
^ Good point, Songofjoy/ Anonymous :)
Unknown said…
And thanks for replying to my four-point comment, Song of Joy. :)
Soliloquy said…
It's all about him. Savage views this as his story. He seems either unwilling or unable to realize that this is not about his story of redemption. It's about her story and he's the villain.
Anonymous said…
Hi Barbara! (from Song of Joy)
Just wanted to let you know the credit of the 4-pt reply actually belongs to another "Anonymous" whose post got wedged in between my two posts. We must have been typing and posting at the exact same time, LOL. I just didn't want to get credit for a comment someone else did. Always love your stuff Barbara. Thank you for being active in defense of abuse victims.

And Amy, your efforts to support victims are wonderful. I thank you for the courage to help Jules and expose the darkness.
Anonymous said…
Hi Amy,

Another place to check--it starts at 14:23 in your second interview segment, and the time stamps below are from the WREC footage. (The numbers in [x] refer to the segment).

[3]16:18 Andy: I don’t know [sigh] I don’t know what’s going to happen,


[3]16:21 Andy: …in the days ahead, to be honest. It’s been, uh, a pretty wild last few days.

[3]16:21 Ben: Let’s not rush this, because I don’t want to rush this, um it’s unfair, I think, ta, ta, ta, to rush this. I said I was going to have you on for another hour, I think you need to talk a little bit longer, you good with that?

[3]16:34 Andy: Sure.

[3]16:35 Ben: Alright, we’ll take a quick break, we’ll come back, and I’ll ask, we, we’ll answer this question, should, should you be in the ministry. And do the people directly—[CUTS OFF HERE]


[4]00:31 Alright, hour three Ben Ferguson Show, with me is Andy Savage, um, uh, he is the Pastor at Highpoint Church, one of the pastors at Highpoint church, we are talking about an issue that has, um, been covered all over, I mean every major news company in the country has, has covered this, um, issue.


[4]00:31 Ben: I also want to make it very clear that, and this is for context if you understand, I think it would be unfair if I had Andy on and did not offer the same opportunity to, to, to Jules...
Anonymous said…
I made a mistake in transcribing, in the previous post at 16:21 Ben says to Andy "I said I was going to have you on for an hour" (not another hour). At this point they are about 53 minutes into the show.

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