Bob Jones University rehires G.R.A.C.E.

After a boatload of negative publicity, Bob Jones University has re-hired G.R.A.C.E.

The announcement was made by the school this morning.

BJU Reengages GRACE To Complete Independent Review

Greenville, S.C. (February 25, 2014) – Bob Jones University today announced that it has reached agreement with GRACE to complete the independent review of the University’s response to sexual and other abuse.   The independent review was initiated by the University in response to a series of national news stories about abuse at other institutions.  The purpose of the review was to assess past responses by the University in support of victims and identify policies and procedures that could be enhanced.

Bob Jones University suspended the review on January 27, 2014.  Bob Jones University met with GRACE on February 18-19, 2014, to discuss any issues that might stand in the way of GRACE’s completion of thorough, transparent and objective review.  GRACE satisfactorily addressed the University’s concerns and Bob Jones University is confident the review can be completed in a timely and professional manner.  To be clear, GRACE and BJU are united in their commitment to a review that is thorough, transparent and objective.  As the process moves forward, regular updates will be provided.

BJU appreciates our former students and others who participated in the review with GRACE. They demonstrated great courage to share their stories in an effort to help us improve. We appreciate how important this review is to everyone who cares about the University and we apologize for the added anxiety caused by the temporary suspension of the review.

News of the termination of G.R.A.C.E. reached far beyond the evangelical world and local news outlets when the organization was abruptly dumped by BJU  in January, just weeks before it was to release its report on past abuse and how Bob Jones U can improve response.

G.R.A.C.E. will be releasing an announcement on the reinstatement this afternoon.

Update:  G.R.A.C.E.

Late last week, GRACE informed BJU that reinstating the original agreement with modifications was the only way to insure that the independence and integrity of
this process is not compromised. We requested that BJU reinstate the original agreement so that GRACE could immediately move forward and complete this critical process.
GRACE was greatly encouraged this morning to be notified by BJU of its decision to accept our offer to reinstate the original agreement with no changes.

…The events of the past month will significantly postpone the completion of this process.

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Todd recycles

By Rick Hiebert All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

A new e-mail may imply that Todd Bentley’s sabbatical may start out to last at least a couple of months.

He’s staring an e-mail series on “The Father’s House”, as I write. This is about a series of visions that he relates about intimacy with God.

He doesn’t spell it out, but this is quite old. He’s sharing the booklet The Father’s House, which I am guessing is roughly 8-10 years old. (I have a copy of the booklet that I obtained back then and it was one of the first things on his “book table”, if memory serves.) This online cite confirms that The Father’s House is well before Lakeland.

Todd may keep on recycling old material to avoid lapsing into radio silence and having his friends forget about his ongoing needs. No harm in that, perhaps, but I suspect he may be coy about when these revelations were supposed to have happened.

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Crossroads Christian Communications, premier sponsor for US conservative evangelical broadcasting convention

Are Canadian evangelicals paying for this?

nrb crossroads

The National Religious Broadcasters is an association of evangelical religious broadcasters in the US, formed in 1944 to, “…advance biblical truth, promote media excellence, and defend free speech.” The Association started a tv network in 2005 which reaches about 19 million homes in the United States.

Each year, the NRB trade show is held in Nashville. This year The Christian Post (founded by David Jang) is one of the premier sponsors along with Crossroads. The ad above is part of the NRB convention brochure.

Crossroads founder David Mainse, who was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome in 2012, is being given the NRB Individual Achievement Award. I suspect the timing of the award was due to the gravity of his medical condition. Mainse was given about 2 years to live, and he recently said that he believed that he is being healed, “I believe the Lord is healing me, with the co-operation of the medical profession, from MDS acute leukaemia.”

It’s time for my personal testimony of healing! Just last week the cancer specialist, oncologist/hematologist, who had originally diagnosed my MDS acute leukemia said, “Remarkable” and “Jaw dropping!” My latest blood tests showed unusual improvement. One of the tests showed everything in the normal range! From what looked to me in the mirror like a rack of bones last August, I have gained 30 pounds and even my grandsons were impressed to feel grandpa’s muscle. “Remarkable” is the right word. Thanks everyone for your prayers!!! Also, as Isaiah prescribed a human remedy to Hezekiah’s illness (a “poultice” – 38:21), my Doctors (three different ones) prescribed oral medicines, healthy foods, as well as injections, etc. etc. I’m thankful for human knowledge and skill. A bone marrow test was just done at the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton, and I won’t have the report for several days yet. I believe that I may be like Hezekiah and have “15 more years.”

Crossroads Television System (CTS), the Canadian channel of Crossroads Christian Communications Inc., is a member of the NRB.

Crossroads, a Canadian charity, has also had USA charity status since 1978, with the purpose, (according to its latest  form 990) “To propagate by all means and avenues throughout the united states and the world the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and in particular through the purchase of television time.” It’s difficult to ascertain Crossroads current US financial status.

I doubt being a premier sponsor of the NRB convention comes cheap. There doesn’t appear to be much movement from the distribution end with Tricord media. The Crossroads push into the US makes for strange bedfellows.

Controversial former Kansas pastor Jerry Johnston, a host on the flagship program 100 Huntley Street and the Executive Director of Crossroads USA, openly brags about his friendship with members of the secretive Council for National Policy. Johnston tends to be a name-dropper, using his twitter account to post pics with all his ‘friends’;  from US CEO’s to mega-church pastors and entertainers. He has a website not directly connected to his current Canadian employer.  He had posted on twitter last summer that Crossroads would be bringing a show into a hundred US markets in the fall of 2013.

Crossroads US

 

That doesn’t appear to have happened. With an American host on 100 Huntley Street and the hiring of an American CEO, Crossroads is signalling to its Canadian donors that it’s a mere matter of time before the focus shifts south. Most of the guests on the downsized flagship show, 100 Huntley Street are from the US, as is a lot of the programming on CTS.

Crossroads hasn’t been controversy free the past few years, with the finding by the Ontario Securities commission that Ron and Reynold Mainse were finders in a multi million dollar cross border ponzi scheme. Ron Mainse paid up and was re-instated to Crossroads, Reynold Mainse briefly lost his ordination, and despite this report from the OSC about being fully delinquent in paying substantial fines for his involvement with Axcess Automation/Axcess Funds, David Mainse noted that Reynold was again licensed as a minister in Ontario. He and the OSC have agreed on a long term payment schedule. Given what Mainse owes, it will be very long term. After being kicked off 100 Huntley Street, he started a photography company, and it appears he is working for Crossroads.  David Mainse: “In the photo below, my son David Reynold, an ordained Minister and our professional photographer…”  It was an odd statement to make, given that few Crossroads fans would care.  Axcess Automation/Funds founder Gordon Driver, a former Crossroads employer, is scheduled to go on trial in the US today. A push into the US market could be lucrative, even though that market is saturated. The evangelical consumer appetite in the US is more ravenous than in Canada.

Prime Minister Steven Harpers recent trip to Israel got attention when it came to light that an unusual number of evangelicals went along for the ride. One was the chairman of the board of Crossroads, Don Simmonds.

There is no border in broadcasting, television is a rapidly changing medium and religious broadcasting in Canada even more so, but I wonder if aging Canadian Crossroads fans are paying for Crossroads expansion into the US market, and given what they’ve seen going on with Crossroads the past few years, would they want to?

Update: Crossroads announced it is launching a ’100 Huntley US show’, Eric Metaxas is one of the hosts, the other is tv actress April Hernandez. The show debuts March 9th.

Canadians following 100 Huntley on FB appeared to be decidedly underwhelmed at the opportunity to see the two US hosts at a free meet and greet at the Burlington studios. The audience was sparse. (:18)

meet and greet US 100 Huntley hosts

The audience for the US taping was sparse. (:18)

Official site 100 Huntley Street US

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Bob Jones dies

By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission

Charisma News is reporting that “prophet” Bob Jones passed away on Valentines Day.

In the Charisma piece. Rick Joyner is quoted as the expert on Jones, as the latter was closely connected to Morningstar in recent years.

Jones was prominent and instrumental in the “Kansas City Prophets”.

Jones was occasionally noted for the vague sort of prophecies that could not be confirmed. In this prophecy about the 2040s and 2050s, for example. Jones could not be personally assessed for his prophetic gifting unless he had lived to be well over 100 years old.

Let Us Reason noted an odd quote by Jones, in which Jones says that the Devil told him that if he would just stay away from fighting abortion and homosexuality, Satan would let Jones do all the “signs and wonders” he wanted to:

Jones relates his concern about the rise of abortion and homosexuality, and a conversation he had with a devil: “He told me the next time that I prophesied and told anybody about it, he would kill me. He said, ‘If you knock that off we’ll move back into all the signs and wonders you want to. You can heal people and you can prophesy day and night if you want to, if you leave these two subjects alone” (Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, Visions and Revelations, 1988, found in Vengeance is Ours by Al Dager)

He was removed from ministry for a time for having women take off their clothes to “stand naked before the Lord”. Jones would then give them a “prophetic word”.

Apologetics Index, which notes that Jones was a promoter of the “Latter Rain” and “Manifest Sons of God” theologies, has a fine rundown of Jones’ aberrant tendencies on their website. This ApostasyWatch piece may also be of interest.”

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Baby baby

By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission

It may be of passing interest that Faytene Grasseschi, a regular subject here, is now letting on that she is pregnant on Facebook. She’s now in her third trimester.

Congratulations and hope all goes well. Cue up the Amy Grant song.

:)

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Bob Jones University shuts down G.R.A.C.E. investigation

Bob Jone U

Really? I doubt this comes as a surprise to anyone involved in holding religious institutions accountable for past and present handling of abuse.
This is the second time G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) has entered into a contract with a US fundamentalist institution, only to be shut down shortly before the report has been released.

The letter sent to G.R.A.C.E. by Bob Jones U President Steven Jones and Board Chair explaining the termination of the investigation agreement is something else. I don’t believe for a nano second  BJU leadership wants what would be in that report made public. Transparency, openness and truth are not words I’d put in the same sentence with American independent fundamentalist baptists – but hey, they’ll pay their bill:

Bob Jones

G.R.A.C.E. received the termination notice the end of January. There has been discussion, this was a contract, and G.R.A.C.E. employs lawyers, investigators and professionals bound by law, contracts and integrity. When up against people who are masters at protecting their institutional reputation, wedded to their ideologies and hell-bent on maintaining power and control, I wonder how any discussion is between equals? The report was to have been released in March, if the fundies hadn’t done their end run around the investigators. And what an end run it is – despite discussion G.R.A.C.E. is in the dark:

discussion BJU GRACE

Remaining open sounds a lot like discussion has ended. The G.R.A.C.E. response was released yesterday. 10 days of discussion, and another opportunity for an institution to bury sins, avoid accountability and repentance and justice.
Really?

As always the victims of abuse in the 86 year old controversial school, who believed this time things would be different are left knowing better. Again.
Sure, Bob Jones University had to clean up some of it’s act, state laws have tightened, independence from accreditation has left BJU re-thinking policies and its ‘separation’ from ‘the world.’ Rival Liberty U, started by Jerry Fawell has left BJU in the dust.

Bob Jones University’s reputation is well earned.  Known world wide for its past racism, misogynist, manipulative, controlling, and repressive bullying – what has changed? Little.  With the termination of the independent investigation BJU has had to at least appear to adhere to the letter of the laws in South Carolina. Leadership, ruled by the Jones family for four generations has to appear to care about the trail of broken students, shamed and shunned because of crimes committed against them by men who do not fear repercussion. This is the height of hubris from an institution blinded by it’s pride. From the BJU announcement G.R.A.C.E had been hired:

It is our prayer that this partnership with GRACE—operated with complete autonomy from Bob Jones University—will create an atmosphere of trust and complete honesty, allowing Bob Jones University to identify any cases in which we need to exercise authentic repentance and demonstrate biblical love to those we have always desired to serve to the best of our ability for the Lord’s sake.

Really? From the termination BJU pr:

BJU independently implemented a number of initiatives to raise awareness of sexual abuse. BJU provided live Sexual Abuse Awareness Training to all 3000+ students and 1000+ faculty/staff members—unprecedented in institutions of higher education…

That bar BJU claims to have raised is just another stumbling block. BJU has been nothing if not unprecedented in the morally bankrupt and putrid swamp of American independent fundamentalism.

I’m going to end with words penned by John Shore:

The heart of anyone familiar with how the Independent Fundamental Baptists threatens its own will quicken at that final sentence of the BJU statement. Our prayer for the abused is that God will be their refuge and strength is a veiled threat, a blow expertly administered to leave no visible bruise. What it is ominously reminding those attuned to its message is that it is always dangerously ludicrous to turn anywhere but toward God for help, justice, or comfort. And no one conversant in the language of the IFB or Bob Jones University doubts that by “God” the men who crafted this message mean themselves.

A great many students and former students of Bob Jones University will not be sleeping tonight. Or tomorrow night either. They will be too afraid to.

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Big news about to break with Todd Bentley?

By Rick Hiebert All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission.

I should have first realized that something may have been about to break in regards to Todd Bentley when I saw this in my inbox this morning.

He’s selling everything on his own Sound of Fire website–not fresh Fire–for 50 per cent off for the month of February.

It’s priced to move! As confirmed by this notice on Facebook.

Sound of Fire USA

 

And so is Todd? Seems he needs access to potential money that only he himself would have access to. And he needs it NOW.

At the very least, he needs a quick influx of cash to keep the wolf from the door of his ministry, as Todd Bentley is taking another “sabbatical.”

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How responsible is the International House of Prayer for the death of Bethany Deaton?

By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission

100_1012[1]
Rolling Stone has a sordid tale of cruelty and death in its January 30, 2014 issue. And the International House of Prayer hypercharismatic movement, I suspect, is hoping that you won’t read it.

Following the death of Bethany Deaton in 2012, the issue has been simmering in US papers and their blogosphere, But surely the prominent attention that Rolling Stone magazine is drawing to this will bring it all to a rolling boil.

It’s a gripping tale. The Rolling Stone feature reports on a small group of twentysomething Americans who began to gather together in recent years at Southwestern University in Texas. The informal leader, Tyler Deaton, led the about 20 people–who lived together communally and had worship gatherings together– towards the International House of Prayer (IHOP) movement in Kansas City, Missouri. Tyler Deaton, who studied at and graduated from the IHOP “university” married Bethany, one of the members of the group.

It perhaps started innocently, but didn’t end that way.

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