“Credibility? None left. Not a shred of it, if ever there was.” Rod Dreher
Thumbing through the Council Agenda Supplementary Materials, I noticed that the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches has changed, or is proposing to change, their written exam for ministerial candidates. Starting on page 28, they list the questions for the written exam, which includes these two new questions (among many others) on page 31:
- What steps should one take to avoid plagiarism in ministry?
- What steps would you take if you discovered that an 18-year old person or older in your congregation engaged in sexual activity with a person under 18 years old.
Question 107 creates the impression that the CREC opposes plagiarism or thinks it something to be avoided. The average reader would not know that the Presiding Minister of the CREC and the now-former Presiding Minister Pro Tem of the CREC are serial plagiarists and that the CREC winked at their theft.
Former Presiding Minister Pro Tem Randy Booth had to resign his pro tem office when he was discovered. But he did not have to resign from the ministry, which suggests he quit denominational leadership for appearance’ sake — not because the CREC believes he did wrong. And Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, plagiarizes like a kleptomaniac, though I suspect he steals words to assert defiance. Doug Wilson used to believe that plagiarism disqualifies a man from the ministry. Now he believes pastors should “avoid plagiarism in ministry,” which is a significant shift. He’s retroactively changing the standard to accommodate his well–documented record.
But plagiarism in the ministry is not the CREC’s problem; it’s a symptom of the problem. Frauds sit in the CREC’s highest offices and they pull all the levers. Rod Dreher demonstrated how the game works:
Rachel Miller presents a lot of evidence that the controversial Calvinist pastor Doug Wilson has engaged in serious plagiarism in his new book. I looked at the side-by-side comparisons of pages from Wilson’s book, co-written with Randy Booth, and pages from the works of other writers. It’s astonishing. She’s nailed them. . . . In 2004, Wilson and a different co-author were busted in another plagiarism scandal, in which Canon Press (which is owned by Wilson’s church son) had to withdraw the book.
Randy Booth, the co-author of A Justice Primer, is the man Wilson appointed to investigate the way he and his church handled accusations of sexual abuse within the church. Credibility? None left. Not a shred of it, if ever there was. (The American Conservative, Doug Wilson & Serial Plagiarism, December 10, 2015, strike original)
One thief appoints another thief to exonerate him. And when the exonerating thief stepped down, seven other thieves waited to fill his shoes. Corruption in the CREC is systemic.
Question 108 echoes the rhetoric that Doug Wilson used to describe Jamin Wight’s felonies — “sexual activity”1 — and the question frames a similar scenario:
“What steps would you take if you discovered that an 18-year old person or older in your congregation engaged in sexual activity with a person under 18 years old.”
It’s a similar scenario to the one that Doug Wilson fabricated, but it’s not identical. In Idaho a 24-year-old man violating a 14-year-old girl is called Sexual Abuse of a Child Under the Age of Sixteen (Idaho Code 18-1506) or Lewd and Lascivious Conduct with a Child Under Sixteen Years of Age (Idaho Code 18-1508). Idaho code does not contemplate “sexual activity” as a crime; neither does it recognize “a species of statutory rape” as a crime, contra Doug Wilson. However the CREC now blurs the precise terminology that distinguishes these crimes, lumping them all together as “sexual activity,” ostensibly to conform to Doug Wilson’s standards in the Jamin Wight case.2
Doug Wilson specializes in this. He corrupts everyone in his sphere of influence by eroding their sense of right & wrong. He used to call plagiarism “a species of theft”; now it should be avoided (unless he does it — in which case it’s not plagiarism). And an “18-year old person or older in your congregation engaged in sexual activity with a person under 18 years old” is doing just that — “sexual activity,” or “sexual behavior.” Ages of the perp or the victim do not matter. The clear line between good & evil hazes away. And after time your denomination affirms the fatherhood of serial pedophiles, like it’s perfectly normal.
Because the highest priority for pastors in the CREC is to protect Douglas Wilson.
2 The CREC Review Committee grossly misrepresented the truth in the Presiding Ministers’ Report on the Sitler and Wight Sex Abuse Cases, when they wrote,
Prosecutor Bill Thompson indicated that there were technical reasons why he charged Wight with “L and L,” instead of statutory rape, which would ordinarily be the more specific crime applicable to Wight. (PMR page 9)
The so-called “technical reasons” were that Natalie was 14-years old, which gave the State no choice but to prosecute Mr. Wight with Lewd & Lascivious Conduct, contra the Presiding Ministers’ false implication. Unlike the CREC, the state of Idaho does not tailor its criminal statutes to fit Doug Wilson’s whims.