Now it has been revealed that an accused sexual predator was hired by the large and influential Trinity Baptist in Jacksonville.
The predator “took a leave of absence” just before former pastor Dr. Bob Gray was arrested in May of 2006 and charged with sexual child abuse (having at least 21 accusers) and the case is now in the courts.
The first statement Pope Leo X made after being elected to the papacy, according to the Venetian ambassador, was “Now that God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it.” That was the attitude of many Roman Catholic Popes, and on Oct. 31, 1517, Martin Luther picked up his hammer and nail and drove his point into the church door at Wittenberg and into the heart of the Roman Church.
Then began the Reformation although there were stirrings of reform many years earlier with Wycliffe, Tyndale, Knox, Calvin, etc., who responded to Catholic heresy and gross immorality in the priesthood and monastic orders.
Dante wrote his Inferno shortly after 1308 and in the ninth (last) circle of hell he sees leaders who betrayed the trust of those whose care with which they were entrusted. Many priests, popes, and preachers were there. He had reason to abhor the immoral lifestyle of churchmen who betrayed the trust of their followers. In fact, there was so much sexual immorality in the early tenth century that for a period of about 60 years, the papacy was known as “The Pornocracy or Rule of the Harlots.”
Some Popes made their palaces (later the Vatican) little better than elegant whorehouses decorated with religious art and statuary in each room. Pope Benedict IX (who ruled in the 11th century) was the youngest and most immoral pope. A sincere and effective reformer, Peter Damian (who introduced flagellation into monastic life), described Benedict in his Liber Gomorrhianus as “feasting on immorality” and “a demon from hell in the disguise of a priest.” He accused Benedict IX of routine homosexuality and bestiality. Few people will argue with that characterization of Benedict.
Bishop Benno of Placenta accused Benedict of “many vile adulteries and murders,” and Pope Victor III spoke of Benedict’s “rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts. His life as a Pope so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it.” Evidently Benedict was a bad boy.
Pope John XII who ruled from 955 to 963 turned the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano into a brothel and “was accused of adultery, fornication, and incest” according to Patrologia Latina. A basilica was a Roman Catholic Church given ceremonial privileges by the Pope. But surely those “privileges” didn’t include making the church a bordello!
Baptists and Protestants have been very quick to chastise Roman Catholics for past and present sexual sins, yet too often excuse and cover their own. Roman Catholics (and other hierarchical) denominations have an easier time of covering up the sins of erring churchmen: they simply move the ordained moral leper in a clerical collar from Atlanta to Anchorage. Those church groups without a Church Boss have a more difficult time dealing with the sins of offending preachers. Now we have cases of celebrated pastors in Colorado, Texas, Florida, and Missouri who have been accused of sexual misconduct.
When a person walks into a modern church, it is often a roll of the dice between walking into a real church (and there are many out there) and walking into a bordello with an organ playing inspirational hymns. While that statement is an obvious hyperbole, the reality is that there is far too much illicit sexual activity in our churches that is being covered-up in many cases. Before you put out a contract on me, consider the facts: Leadership magazine revealed that their 1992 study showed 37 percent of ministers confessed to having been involved in “inappropriate sexual behavior” with a church member! Please note that that percent was what was admitted! How bad is it in reality?
Now it has been revealed that an accused sexual predator was hired by the large and influential Trinity Baptist in Jacksonville. The predator “took a leave of absence” just before former pastor Dr. Bob Gray was arrested in May of 2006 and charged with sexual child abuse (having at least 21 accusers) and the case is now in the courts. The newly revealed predator is an impressive man who has had numerous accusations against him going back to 1977 in NC where he was the music director in an independent Baptist church. He was very talented and loved by all and was asked to also handle the young people. And handle them he did, especially the girls!
What a travesty when spiritual leaders betray their ordination vows, marriage vows and break criminal laws by taking advantage of innocent victims. Church leaders are to protect the sheep from preying wolves not pay wolves to ravage the sheep. Sexual predators should be in prison, not the pulpit.