I am going to shock many of you with what I am about to say. But I feel it is the right thing to do. When this is over, I want to walk away from this knowing I did everything the Lord prompted me to do. And that I, in love, not only confronted the sin, but also defended when appropriate. We are not supposed to cast judgement without all of the facts. With DG, there are more than enough facts and allegations (a 20 year background), and biblically I Tim. 5:19-20 says, "Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning." This is talking about elders sin."
Now, my point. There are many things being said about Paige Patterson and Dr. Vines. I have my own personal feelings about what did and did not happen in the past, and even now. However, to blast them on this or any other site only based on what we are being told by the media and the past allegations of cover up, would be wrong. I Tim. 6:11-12,20-21 says, "...pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge...Grace be with you." What we feel was cover up, and what we are reading (I am guilty of this too) is in effect godless chatter and false knowledge. We really don't know what either man said or did outside of what is being reported to us. I know that I wish they had done more at that time and even now (making a statement admitting mistakes) but, we have to remember they may be wishing they had done more, they have to live with that knowledge every day. And no matter what they say publicly right now it can be misconstrued and taken out of context. I do fully believe they were in over their heads with DG back then, and I truly believe they did not know how to properly handle it. They made mistakes, but don't we all? Every day.
I am not defending them fully, but I have had a heart check and as I pray for the purifying of my heart and the correct motives, I must speak this truth out loud especially with so many of you reading and responding. I do not want to be responsible for passing judgement on these men. We know who the real criminal is here.
I do not believe either of these men condoned the behavior of DG, nor did they feel what he did was o.k. If they did, there would have never been an inquiry in 1991 - and I know personally they pursued all of the allegations that were brought to them in June 1991. I can't answer for any of the other times. I know Dr. Vines was sick over it and shocked. I met and talked with him during that time. I am sure they have regrets. If there were allegations overlooked and dismissed by Patterson, he and the victims and the Lord know it.
Do we really know that they did not warn the churches? No we do not. Do we know why Dr. Vines later spoke in DG's church? No, we can only speculate. Do we know why they have chosen not to apologize publicly for making some of these mistakes? No, although we are waiting and it would make us feel better. Should DG have ever had the ability to speak in a pulpit again? Absolutely not, and both of these men told him this to his face, and Paige Patterson stripped him of his seminary license to preach (whatever it is titled) he went on to preach without the license of a Pastor. And the last time DG contacted Patterson (one year ago), he again told him he washed his hands of him and because of his past and his divorce, he biblically was not worthy of Pastoring and he would not talk to him again. And Dr. Vines did not speak with him or associate with him for a number of years until DG came to him and lied saying he had completed treatment for sexual addiction and asked for his forgiveness, Dr. Vines extended him forgiveness but also told him he still should not preach. I know he later spoke in his church, he knows this was a poor choice. But we do not know the full story.
To crucify these two men over the sins and problems of DG would serve no purpose. To challenge these men to stand up now and humbly admit mistakes and ask for forgiveness is, I believe, totally appropriate, especially as they are leaders and called to a high standard. And what I would like to see is for them to now step up and help put an end to this problem within the church.
They cannot stop sin, but we need a system where sexual predators go on the books (especially after more than one allegation) some kind of record accessible by all churches to check before hiring Pastors or other staff. It is not enough to do criminal background checks because many times victims do no more than confront the church, so there is no public record. We need a system available to churches nationwide that prevents this. I know several people have asked for this for years (primarily I know Christa Brown has made this her mission) isn't it time now to make this happen. Such a simple thing really. Who better than two prominent voices like Paige Patterson and Dr. Vines? I am told there is a record within the SBC but it is private and only used by them. That does not help the churches! We cannot stop all of the predators, but what if it were a substantial number? DG would have never made it to Victory or Shiloh or FBC for that matter if this had been in place tears ago. Think of all of the victims who would have been saved - at least 50. That is a shame. That is the REAL issue here. Let's stop this abuse. Let God hold them accountable for their sins, but let's not partake in it by turning our heads. And let's not further the sin by tearing each other apart. I am preaching at myself here to. Christ loved the sinner but hated the sin. Let's focus on the sin and put the devil on the defense He wants this sin to destroy God's house and the families within. Let's make a strong circle in the name of Jesus and make the devil flee. He can only have the power over us that we allow, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." DG was an impostor among us, he was falsely shepherding for his own gain. We need real men of God shepherding. Let's all allow God to make some good out of this, shall we? Who is with me on this? I think it is time for God to be glorified by us all doing the right thing. Thank you for your time as I rambled on, I cannot believe the time - I have chosen every word carefully and had to wait until the house was quiet to think clearly.