Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Difficult Topic Deftly Addressed

The Dallas Morning News is providing online a video clip of Dr. Jack Graham addressing Prestonwood Baptist Church last night. Earlier this week a member of Prestonwood's pastoral staff was arrested for online solicitation of sex with what he believed to be a thirteen-year-old girl. A moment like that will test all of your gifts as a pastor. I appreciate that Pastor Graham dealt directly with the issues, promised that the church would take responsibility for all of its obligations in the ongoing investigation, announced the immediate termination ("resignation"...yeah, right) of the offender, acknowledged the negative effect this sort of thing has upon the trust that people invest in their pastors, and pointed the congregation toward a positive future that will prevail against the gates of Hell.

Go look carefully at the video. May it never be that you have to give such an address to your church, but if you should, careful analysis of this statement would be a good bit of preparation.

I think we might all pray for the folks at Prestonwood, too.

28 comments:

Dave Miller said...

Classy response.

Tim Guthrie said...

Bart,
This may be one of the best responses yet. He handled it with grace, conviction, and leadership!

Les Puryear said...

When I was living in Dallas, I was a member of Prestonwood Baptist. The current situation grieves my heart and my prayers are with the entire church. Dr. Graham is a great man of God and has handled this situation wisely.

Les

sbcghostrecon said...

Dr. Graham did a excellent job of dealing with a difficult situation.

Quinn Hooks

Charles Page said...

Thank God for a police department who rescued a Church from it's own minister. Why couldn't it have been handled by spiritual revelation? Wouldn't it be better if the Holy Spirit got the credit rather than the police? Acts 5

Charles Page
Collierville, Tennessee

volfan007 said...

Charles,

What?

David

TedE said...

Perhaps the Holy Spirit used a police department - Romans 13:4.

Charles said...

probally easier to use the police rather than the church!

He's looking for availability.

volfan007 said...

Charles,

Again....what?

I dont think that anyone can read other people's minds...do you?


David

Bart Barber said...

Charles,

It has been suggested that perhaps I should remove your comments, but I see no reason not to let you shame yourself publicly if you so desire.

WatchingHISstory said...

David
nope, but the Holy Spirit can.

Dave Miller said...

David,

Charles is best ignored. If you ask him to clarify, he might do it.

Bart Barber said...

No...let Charles go on. He hasn't gotten to the part yet about how, unless you affirm Limited Atonement, you inexorably become a child molester.

WatchingHISstory said...

unless you affirm Limited Atonement, you inexorably become a child molester.

It is not that simple but he gets you there by degrees.

Charles

Bart Barber said...

Like fish in a barrel...too easy to be fun.

WatchingHISstory said...

Bart

Limited Atonement is the reason that our children can sing "Jesus loves even me". "Jesus loves everbody" just waters down His love to the point that it becomes trite.

I doubt that Joe Barron knew personally that Jesus loved him. I'm sure he knew full well that Jesus loves everyone.

Charles

Strider said...

Allow me to go out on a limb and take Charles seriously. The question was why did not anyone in the church know their minister was struggling with what he was struggling with. Presumably the Holy Spirit did know and wouldn't it have been great if he could have used some men to speak into his life? But sadly, too often we are alone in our walks. No one knows who we really are and we do not really love one another the way the scripture commands. I am not taking shots at Prestonwood I am refering to Western Christianity in general. Yes, it was a classy response but if our churches were other than they are- clubs we go to on the weekends- could this man have been rescued before it was too late? For all I know Prestonwood had all the accountability he needed available and he just flat out rebelled but in too many of our churches a guy like this would never be discovered until the police come calling and so I will repeat Charles' question, why is that?
Oh, and maybe I missed it but one thing the response could have included but I didn't hear it, are they ministering to the broken man and his broken family? I hope they are but I would like to have heard that in the message.

Dave Miller said...

I marvel at your verbal acuity, Bart. I just kept deleting his comments. You accurately predict them.

I suspect you have a private prayer language.

Bart Barber said...

Dave,

I do.

It is English.

I use it in private prayer every day.

Luke said...

Strider,
The question you ask is difficult to answer. It cannot be broad brushed. Here, in my own community, we had something very,"eerily" similar happen. In a smaller church in a smaller community, everyone wanted to know, how did we, everyone, not know this? The answer? Some people are quite adept at living a dual life until, like in this event, it is revealed for what it is. With equal reasonableness we could question how 11 disciples did not discern Judas. But the only thing these questions truly reveal is our utter need for dependence upon God AND a realization of the fact that only God truly knows the condition of ANYONE'S heart.

I too join you in praying that the broken family is being ministered to as well. After all, isn't the Gospel about restoration?

Bart Barber said...

Strider,

The ministry that Barron needs is described in 1 Corinthians 5 and Romans 13:4.

As for his family, I'm confident that Prestonwood is being faithful in that regard.

Charles said...

strider

Couldn't have been said better!

Charles

WatchingHISstory said...

also Hebrews 10:26 and I john 5:16 should be considered.

Charles

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Strider,

When you began your comments, I thought I may be able to agree. But as you finished I could tell that we were not even close. Did you read the DMN article? It said specifically that Prestonwood had filters on their computers that do not allow anyone to be in chat rooms. That is huge. Therefore, in order for the minister to communicate was through TM on his cell, or at his home computer. While relationship and accountability is important it is a reciprocal responsibility. Yours, along with Brother Charles', comments appear to be placing the blame on the church.

I honestly am at a loss as to what else you two believe could have been done.

Blessings,
Tim

WatchingHISstory said...

Tim

(not speaking for Strider) The Holy Spirit can do wonders in a Church if He is allowed. But sadly we are not in the first century and we are in America. Self-determination has taken His position. Rugged individualistic theology prevails. As Steve Gaines says we have hung a "do not distrub sign on our bedroom doors"
No thanks, Holy Spirit we can manage without you. Just be in the sanctuary when we worship "Jesus". "We can use you then."

Charles

I Mitchell said...

Charles Page,

I can see that your name is missing from our list of the Baptist Identity People. We will have to add your name to our list of those who display so much Love for The Lord and Fellow Believers in Jesus Christ.

Thanks Bart for letting these kind of comments to speak for themselves.

Wayne Smith

WatchingHISstory said...

Mrs. Smith

Thanks for your warm comments. Add me tro you list.

Charles

Quinn Hooks said...

Bart,
I just wish to offer the suggestion that we remember what you said in your original post. This situation requires a great deal of prayer for everyone impacted.