Compromised Christian Leaders

January 10, 2018 at 1:20 PM 1 comment

Warning: This article contains adult language

While I’m not at all impressed with Hollywood’s latest campaign against sexual harassment called #metoo (due to its clear virtue-signaling while living under a shadow of duplicity and hypocrisy by many who have become voices in the industry, who had to have known about Harvey Weinstein’s (WH) sexual harassment of young starlets. It defies belief that these people who now claim to want women to feel empowered to come forward that, because of their own powerful positions in Hollywood, had absolutely no clue as to the true character of WH). However, the movement itself has obviously prompted more individuals to come forward and some of them are accusing known pastors of sexual impropriety.

In an unfolding case of sexual attack going back 20 years, a woman just recently provided details of her own situation wherein a man, because of his position of authority, and the very likelihood that she, as a 17-year-old, looked up to him and quite possibly even felt some attraction to him, succumbed to his suggestion that veered them off the path into illicit and illegal sexuality.

I first heard about this at the Christian Today website, in which some of the details were expressed. There, we learn, that very recently, Teaching Pastor Andy Savage admitted to the congregation at Highpoint Church in Memphis, TN, that he had engaged in some form of sexual liaison with a then 17-year-old. Apparently, it came out due to the fact that this now nearly 40 year-old woman, empowered by the #metoo campaign, contacted Savage via email. In it, she asked Savage if he remembered what had occurred some 20 years prior? She never received a response, but shortly after that, Savage read a letter to his congregation admitting that he had made a mistake and – he said – had done everything he could at the time to make up for it, including apologize to the young woman, her parents, and the congregation of the church at that time (then known as Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church; now Stonebridge Church in The Woodlands, Texas).

The young woman actually went to the pastoral team at the time of the incident and spoke with Larry Cotton, who was associate pastor at Woodlands then. He listened to her and then asked this question, “So you’re telling me you participated?” The hard reality is that even if she fully participated, what Andy Savage did was against all existing laws and had this been reported to the police then he would have been arrested because the woman – Jules Woodson – was underage at the time. There is no question that what occurred broke Texas Penal Code Chapter 5. (22.011), especially as it applies to clergy.

The upshot is that Andy Savage was eventually asked to leave, but according to Woodson, no one at the church really knew why he was leaving. It was simply stated he had made a “poor decision.” According to Savage, he said he did everything he could to correct the situation. Not really, as he did not turn himself over to law enforcement.

This idea that continues to exist that is a variation of “she asked for it,” seems to be at the crux of how this problem was handled. People in positions of leadership, who have authority over young, impressionable people, can often manipulate them into doing many things they do not want to do. In fact, most people alive today fall under the authority of someone, whether it’s a boss, a business partner with a controlling interest, stockholders, teachers, or clergy. It is asinine to believe that this young woman – who again, was only 17 at the time – was fully responsible for her actions and because she “reluctantly” agree, she still agreed, therefore, it’s not Andy Savage’s fault. According to the existing law at the time, it was Savage’s fault completely!

Warning explicit language
He drove her home from church and instead of turning down her street, drove her down a dirt road offering her a “surprise.” When they arrived, he shut his truck off, unzipped his pants and exposed himself, whereby he asked Jules to engage in a sexual act. Woodson then claims that Savage began undoing her bra and fondled her. A few minutes later, he then jumped out of the truck, went over to her side, kneeled down and begged her to tell no one of this incident; to take it to the grave with her.
End of explicit language

She was mortified and did not know what to do and finally told him she would not. Her anger and mortification got the best of her though and she went to the pastoral staff at the church, who essentially offered no help. Even though Savage left the ministry, he ultimately found his way back into the ministry, now working as Teaching Pastor at Highpoint Church in TN. It is there that these revelations have become more public.

To read about the way the pastoral staff at Highpoint handled this recently, makes Andy Savage a hero. “Savage received a standing ovation at church yesterday after making the admission and appealing for forgiveness.” According to the same article from which we took that quote, we learn, “Chris Conlee, the lead pastor of Highpoint Church, said in a statement after Savage admitted the incident which was outlined in a detailed blog post from the victim: ‘This information is not new to me or to our leadership…On behalf of the elders, pastors, staff, and Trustees of Highpoint, I want to affirm that we are 100 per cent committed to Andy…and his continued ministry at Highpoint Church.”

So, the problem was known to church officials – that Savage broke Texas law – and they were fine with it because of what they see as Savage’s character today?

Savage himself makes the following statement regarding the situation (from same article).

This incident was dealt with in Texas 20 years ago, but in the last few days has been presented to a wider audience. I was wrong and I accepted responsibility for my actions. I was sorry then and remain so today. Again, I sincerely ask for forgiveness from her and pray for God’s continued healing for everyone involved.

Those are words. How has Savage fully accepted responsibility for his actions? He was never arrested. He initially told Woodson to take knowledge of the event to her grave. The staff at that church where he was youth director at the time told them they could not talk to each other. No one at the church actually knew the details (according to Woodson).

I realize that this article will cause some – especially those who support Savage and Highpoint – to think that all I’m doing is judging someone, which is absolutely not true. Should Savage be forgiven? Of course, if there is actual repentance. According to Woodson, Savage’s remarks about having done all he could to repair damage is simply not true. Who to believe? If you’d like all the details, see this article at this link.

It is also helpful to note that Highpoint Church has a bit of a problem with sexual predators, with at least one other situation in the past, in which it appears they allegedly covered up a situation regarding another staff member.

Highpoint Memphis and Andy Savage – if you’ll recall – is the same church that was in the forefront of the news in Memphis in November 2016 for their role in the cover-up of sexual abuse by former church youth leader Chris Carwile. We subsequently uncovered that Highpoint allowed a convicted sex offender in a position of leadership at the church.

This type of thing proves that there are too many predators in our pulpits today. Whether those leaders are sexual predators or theological predators in which lies are deliberately preached to unknowing and trusting congregations, the result is often the same, leaving people broken and confused.

Some will say, “Hey look, this happened twenty years ago. The young woman should have gone to the police then, She didn’t. He repented and has said he has never done anything like this since, so he should be forgiven. It’s what Jesus would want.”

I’m not arguing that he should not be forgiven. I’m also not arguing that Woodson should have gone to the police when it happened. I’m arguing that because Savage was a Christian at the time (and he admits the event actually happened), he has disqualified himself from ministry, period. There is no getting around this and Paul the apostle makes this very clear to anyone who cares to read and understand what he says.

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, 2 sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:1-7 ESV; emphasis added)

I’ve placed certain text in bold to show that what Andy Savage did was neither above reproach, sober-minded, or self-controlled. There are many who do not “think well” of him either. Yet, in spite of these lapses, he is the Teaching Pastor at Highpoint.

Lest anyone think I’m enjoying highlighting Savage’s problems, please note that this same Andy Savage specializes in helping young people look forward to marriage and having good marriages (he was unmarried at the time of the incident). It is also interesting that he has tweeted out several comments regarding the fallen Matt Lauer and others, who were forced out due to their own sexual predatory problems. See linked articles for screen shots of those tweets.

I’m sure Andy Savage has learned his lesson. However, it also appears that the only reason he decided to make his current congregation aware of the problem was because, as he admits, Jules Woodson’s version of events (which he does not deny), has been publicly told.

Does any of this disqualify Andy Savage from being a Christian? Absolutely not. Romans 8 says nothing can separate us from God’s love. Nothing can take us out of God’s hand and for that, we should all be tremendously thankful. Not one of us (myself included), would gain or keep salvation if not for the powerfully, protective hand of God in the matter.

However, there are some things that will become off-limits to us as Christians because of the choices we make in our life. Andy Savage cannot look back at this event and claim he was not a Christian at the time. He was not only a Christian, but was in a position of Christian leadership, giving him authority over impressionable young people. He took advantage of that situation at least one time with a 17-year-old Jules Woodson. Savage says there were no other times. If that is true (and it is certainly hoped to be true), the one time is bad enough.

It’s interesting that Andy Savage is seen now as a hero by many. He says he apologized years ago to the girl and to her parents and the church. Interesting, if true, though Woodson says otherwise. According to Texas law, the statute of limitations ran out on this incident three years after the victim turned 18.

Savage has kept this hidden for 20 years from the public, for his own protection. It was hypocritical and duplicitous. He used his position of authority to overcome a weak-willed woman who looked up to him (2 Timothy 3:6). By his own actions, he has disqualified himself from further professional ministry and should do the right thing.

He lacks integrity. He is not qualified or fit for ministry.

UPDATE: Please note, there is more to the story with several things occurring regarding Larry Cotton and Andy Savage’s book being dropped by Bethany House Publishers. For more information, please click on this link.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, Emotional virtue, eternity, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism. Tags: , , .

Delighting in God’s Word Judge Not? Don’t Throw Stones?

1 Comment

  • 1. Judge Not? Don’t Throw Stones? | Study - Grow - Know  |  January 11, 2018 at 10:02 AM

    […] Paul also spends a great deal of time space helping pastors understand how to deal with people and their specific sins. He does this in numerous epistles. In 1 & 2 Timothy as well as Titus, he spends time discussing the high qualifications for anyone who wants to become an elder or “overseer.” We went over some of these in our last article. […]


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