This past week Ernie Willis of Gilford, New Hampshire was found guilty of raping ten 15 year-old Tina Anderson. Both were members of Trinity Baptist Church where Dr. Chuck Phelps was then the pastor. While we will leave the exact details of this trial for the legal experts to interpret and dissect, the focus of this week’s podcast will be the impact this trial has had on the fundamentalist movement. The case has gained national attention through a recent 20/20 segment aired on ABC which has left many wondering about fundamentalism in general. Is there a network in place that seeks to cover up the transgressions of those inside their realm? Should we consider independent fundamental Baptist churches to be a cult?
We will talk about all these things and more with a group who would identify themselves as former fundamentalists. Joining us this week will be Darrell Dow, a graduate from Pensacola Christian College and editor of the Stuff Fundies Like blog. Joshua Caucutt, who graduated from and worked for Maranatha Baptist Bible College, is also joining us for the discussion. Josh operates the Sound Church blog. Of course, our host Kevin Thompson (also a PCC) graduate, would include himself in the former fundamentalist category and has blogged about this case here.
This discussion went much longer than our usual format, so we will break up the discussion in two parts and air part two next week. This week listen in as we discuss such topics as why we left fundamentalism, the dangers of an unaccountable pastor, what went wrong in this particular rape case as it concerns the practice of church discipline, and are the sins of some respected in the movement handled differently than the sins of others?
Understanding Church Discipline – This was a sermon preached by Dr. Phelps that may reference the Anderson case. Darrell made reference to this message during this podcast discussion.