ABWE’S MUSICAL CHAIRS
THE GOOD OLE BOY’S CLUB
David C. Bennett, D. Min.
1Timothy 1:20 “Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”
2Timothy 2:17 “And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus”.
2Timothy 4:10 “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica…”
3John 1:9 “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.” 10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth…”
God’s men named names as the Scriptures above declare. However, it is surprising to this editor how people defend organizations and men even when it is shown how corrupt they have been. Don’t name names; just get on with the job of preaching the Gospel is the cry of today. That may tickle the ears of some but it isn’t Biblical. So if you do not desire to know what scandalous cover-ups have taken place under the guise of “all for the sake of the Gospel” then you are advised not to read any further for the names of the offenders will be mentioned.
The Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) is an organization composed of men who have done wrong! Two of these men, Russ Ebersole and Don Davis, are still living and still serving on staff with ABWE. Russ Ebersole is promoted as a speaker for ABWE and the other, Don Davis, has been given another position from what he had when the Donn Ketcham affair occurred. The other man is Donn Ketcham who was with ABWE as a missionary doctor until he was dismissed in 1989. Ketcham just recently turned in his medical license in Michigan. The fourth man involved in the Donn Ketcham cover-up was Wendell Kempton, then president of ABWE but now deceased. The last is Russ Lloyd, who is a “Biblical” counselor but was not on the ABWE staff. All of these men are guilty of covering up Donn Ketcham’s pedophilia!
Now, this paper and all the above has been said because some months ago this editor wrote an article concerning “THE ONGOING SAGA OF ABWE”. Some weeks after that article was posted on the internet the following email was received. It said “I personally do not know nor have I ever been in a church that supported Don K. I have read all the articles where ABWE has apologized to everybody but Satan. I fall to see what your treatise does to honor God or further the Gospel of Christ. You have not shown any new light on any of this so I think you should stay out of it (emphasis added by the editor). I am just a layman committed to the furtherance of the gospel.”
Well, I am NOT going to stay out of it. Here are four points answering this email regarding ABWE and the Donn Ketcham cover up.
- How does an organization apologize for an individual’s sin? Donn Ketcham sinned against the poor fourteen year old girl and her family. Wendell Kempton, Russ Ebersole, Russ Lloyd and Don Davis also sinned against the abused girl and her family. Three of these four men are still living and breathing and should be brought to account!
- Are any of the men involved in the Donn Kethcam mishandling still living today? As stated in number one the answer is yes there are men still living who were involved in this tragic affair and they should publically apologize? Instead ABWE plays musical chairs with Russ Ebersole and Don Davis. There doesn’t seem to be any attempt by the ABWE leadership to hold Russ Ebersole and Don Davis accountable for their unconscionable actions taken in protecting Donn Ketcham!!!!
- Does covering the sins of Donn Ketchm for twenty years honour God and further the Gospel? Again consider John the Apostle’s words in 3John 1:9 – 11 “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. 11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.”
Should John have not mentioned Diotrephes simply for the sake of the Gospel? Also consider Paul who rebuked those who had sinned. According to the Bible there is to be no cover up other than the covering and cleansing that comes from confession, 1John 1: 9.
- Hopefully this “treatise” will shed some further light on the sordid cover-up and mishandling of the Donn Ketcham situation plus other aspects of the Good Ole Boy’s Club mentality that is so often promoted within fundamentalism and “new” evangelicalism. It is hard to imagine that if it was not a Good Ole Boy’s Club mentality that ABWE and these four men had at the time it must have then been either a cover-up (1) to protect the name of ABWE or perhaps (note the word perhaps) (2) to protect others involved in the same sort of sins. Harsh language BUT there are a lot of questions yet to be answered by ABWE and these men.
Many who are reading this already know most of the heartrending story behind ABWE’s lack of Biblical management in the Donn Ketcham saga so allow this editor to piece together a chronological diary of the unbelievable sequence of events. A much more detailed outline of events is given elsewhere.
Let us begin with Russ Ebersole’s letter to Donn Ketcham’s supporting churches. Emphasis is added by this editor.
SEPTEMBER 18, 1989
This letter was written by Ebersole who had years earlier served in Bangladesh as a church planter. As a friend of Wendell Kempton’s, Ebersole was appointed as the ABWE Far East Administrator. So in that position he was responsible for the missionaries in Bangladesh.
“September 18, 1989
Dear Supporting Friends of Dr. & Mrs. Donn Ketcham:
Greetings from our office here in Cherry Hill.
Recently you have received word from Dr. Keteham and the pastor of his sending church, Rev. Michael Eleveld. I know that the information contained in those letters was grievous for you to read. Our hearts have been deeply saddened and burdened through this whole experience. Because of an immoral conduct which has disqualified him, the ABWE Board, with deep regret, is terminating the ministry of Dr. Donn Ketcham.
We cannot forget, and are grateful for, the many years of faithful service rendered by Dr. and Mrs. Ketcham at the Memorial Christian Hospital in Bangladesh. And, we thank you for your important part in this ministry through prayer and financial support.
Our hearts and minds have been reminded of the pertinency of God’s Word in Galatians 6:1,2: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
A beloved brother has fallen! May God help us to biblically restore him and to help bear the deep burdens that he and his dear wife, Kitty, carry at this time. In consideration for Mrs. Ketcham, and at your discretion, we suggest that support be continued through November to allow this couple to become settled, find employment and begin counseling.”
- Not once did Ebersole mention pedophilia. In fact this was not the first immoral incident in the life of Donn Ketcham as a missionary!
- Note the words “immoral conduct” and “beloved brother has fallen”. Reading all the information on the MK’s web site one begins to believe there was a conspiracy in the covering-up of this whole ungodly sordid affair.
- There is also the suggestion to the churches “that support be continued through November”. Information from other ABWE missionaries who have desired to leave ABWE on their own were not allowed such privileges. Are only the favoured given such consideration!
- Ebersole has compassion on the pedophile and his family in requesting church support to continue so Ketcham and family might settle in, find employment “and begin counseling”. As will be seen later this is not the first time Ketcham had to have counseling for immorality. Also there have been others who have left ABWE over doctrinal concerns but they were not given such consideration as continued support. So MUST one be an adulterer/pedophile to receive such favours from the ABWE hierarchy, otherwise known as the Good Ole Boy’s Club.
- It is also worth noting that Russ Ebersole has not been dismissed over the handling or mishandling of this Donn Ketcham pedophile situation BUT he has been simply moved to another position! Musical chairs as one blogger put it!
Next in line is this email sent to the then ABWE lawyer, Don Davis. Not surprisingly Davis has been moved to another position within the ABWE hierarchy or better known as the Good Ole Boy’s Club. Again musical chairs! The emphasis in the email has been added by this editor.
THURSDAY, 27 AUSGUST, 2009
It is important to note that this is TWENTY years after Ketcham’s service was concluded.
“Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 8:21 AM
> To: Davis, Don
> Cc: JEWALSH2@cs.com
> Subject: Re: MK Abuse
> Aug 22, 2009”
Dr. Donn Ketcham’s “…misconduct was serious enough early on that he was required to undergo some kind of treatment or counseling for it before he returned to the field. Immediately before he molested , he had an affair for which he was not removed from the field. And the mission claims to have been betrayed? Who was betrayed? The mission or the family? would not have been molested if the mission had removed him from the field after his affair, as it did the woman involved, and would have removed any other missionary. If that wasn’t protecting him and his reputation, I don’t know what is! From what I know and have heard, the pattern of protecting him continued even after he was finally dismissed.”
How do others outside ABWE with a clear conscience just sweep this under the carpet? How many chances does a man get? How many opportunities do a missionary, a preacher get when caught in adultery? It does seem that if you are a medical doctor, a friend or a son of a well-known personality then you receive several chances.
Now move forward to March, 2011and read what the then president, Michael Loftis, of ABWE and the ABWE Board did.
“On March 29, 2011, ABWE President Dr. Michael Loftis requested that the Board authorize an independent investigation of the sexual abuse of missionary children by Donn Ketcham, as well as the administration’s handling of the matter.
On Monday, April 4, the Board of ABWE Ministries, Inc. unanimously decided to appoint an independent, third-party investigator to fully investigate the sexual abuse of missionary children by Donn Ketcham as well as the response to that abuse by the ABWE administration.”
What prompted Loftis to request the Board to have an independent investigation of sexual abuse by Donn Ketcham twenty years after the fact! That brings us to:
APRIL 29, 2011
Perhaps Loftis initiated the investigation due to a blog begun by some ABWE MKs! April 29, 2011 Jesse Eaton sent an email out for Michael Loftis. Only a few paragraphs will be quoted. Again emphasis is added by the editor.
“Perhaps you are aware of reports about past incidents related to a former ABWE missionary, which I would like to address. On March 15, I was informed by our staff of a blog authored by an ABWE adult MK telling of her abuse by a former ABWE missionary doctor in Bangladesh, Dr. Donn Ketcham. Other MKs have joined the blog to share their own stories of abuse or suspected abuse by the same individual. The pain of these young women and their families is heart wrenching.”
HOWEVER, from his own admission Loftis knew about this sexual abuse by Donn Ketcham in 2002 from the lips of MK’s. He wrote “In 2002, at an MK retreat, Jo Beth and I were approached by several young women who shared their suspicions of abuse by Donn Ketcham. ABWE immediately offered to help these women, including providing financial assistance for counseling and other personal needs. I also made a request for an investigation into the matter. While nothing can wipe away what happened to these women, some women from the 2002 retreat have recently shared that they appreciated the counseling they received, funded by ABWE, and as a result have experienced healing in their lives.”
In the April 29, 2011 email Loftis continued by stating that on the plus side “The sins of one man and their shameful consequences are horrendous. Yet, they do not negate the decades of sacrifice and faithful gospel ministry of thousands of missionaries, churches, and local partners serving Christ around the world (Emphasis added).”
This is the new evangelical cry of the hour, “For the sake of the Gospel”! For the sake of the Gospel?! With this in mind should John have overlooked Diotrephes? For the sake of the Gospel should Paul have not mentioned Hymenaeus and Philetus?
WHAT WAS LOFTIS DOING BETWEEN APRIL AND JUNE, 2011?
What was Loftis considering from April 29, 2011 to June, 2011! Was his mind on the MK’s or his career? The question is only being asked for this editor certainly doesn’t know BUT it is interesting that in June of 2011 Loftis’ tenure as ABWE’s president comes to a close.
JUNE 22, 2011 – ABWE MUSICAL CHAIRS
In June, not quite one month after Loftis’ 29th of April email ABWE announces some leadership changes. The line that the ABWE leadership put out said “…we want to make you aware that Dr. Michael Loftis concluded his faithful service as president of The Association of Baptists for World Evangelism as of June 7, 2011. The Board of ABWE Ministries, Inc., has expressed their appreciation to Dr. Loftis and his wife, Jo Beth, for their 13 years as missionaries in Eastern Europe and 10 years in leading our mission with unquestioned moral and financial integrity (emphasis added).”
“During those 10 years, Dr. Loftis brought great passion and giftedness to the cause of Christ worldwide. However, in view of the present needs of the mission and the board’s concern that a change of leadership was necessary, there was a unanimous decision that it would be best to seek a new president. These decisions have been some of the most difficult we have faced as a board. We want to assure you that these decisions were not rushed or due to any outside pressure. They were made after much prayer, deep discussion, careful analysis, and interviews with ABWE leadership. Our unanimous conclusion was affirmed by Dr. Loftis; all are in agreement that God has led us in this decision. The response of Dr. Loftis has been Christ-like, humble, and affirming (emphasis added).”
WHAT TRANSPIRED IN ABWE LAND THAT ITS NEEDS CHANGED?
Exactly what brought on this new view of ABWE’s that their present NEEDS are now different than they were one or two months earlier! Was it the mishandling of the Donn Ketcham affair?! Was Loftis’ the scapegoat, for Ebersole, Kempton and Russ Lloyd’s incompetence or something worse? This editor is just wondering how all this came about so quickly for it does seem strange a man who was not directly involved in the situation resigns and the two staff members, Russ Ebersole and Don Davis, who were involved, only PLAY MUSICAL CHAIRS!
MAY 3, 2012
My words are in brackets in the following. On the 3rd of May, 2012; ABWE stated that as an organization their “…first step in repentance is to acknowledge one’s failure. We have acknowledged that people in leadership positions made decisions that were unwise and unacceptable (and those who held those leadership positions should now be held accountable). These include:
- the signing of a confession by the first known victim; (A confession was forced out of this 14 year old girl! This fourteen year old girl was kept from her parents during the time of signing this confession! What were Ebersole and Russ Lloyd thinking? Where are they being held accountable now by ABWE or the churches?)
- the insistence the victim ask forgiveness of the perpetrator; (A 14 year old girl was forced to seek the forgiveness of her abuser! How does ABWE continue and how do people still defend them? Some have even suggested this 14 year old girl was as guilty as the doctor!)
- the failure to investigate fully the first reported incident to determine if there were other victims; (Why would this not have occurred? Did Ebersole, Lloyd and Kempton have something to hide themselves? How did these men continue in leadership having made such terrible decisions in this Donn Ketcham affair?)
- the failure to fully inform the sending and supporting churches of the specific nature of Donn Ketcham’s sin; (Why was this not done? Was Ketcham continuing to receive special treatment from the hierarchy (Good Ole Boy’s Club) of ABWE?)
- the failure to fully investigate when MKs informed ABWE of additional victims; (Was this the real reason Loftis’ positon as President was concluded? Was Loftis the scapegoat? Was Loftis promised another position (ministry) elsewhere if he would just quietly leave? Was this just another Good Ole Boy’s Club Way of playing the game of Musical Chairs to keep the heat out of the kitchen and perhaps the heat would eventually die down?)
- lack of notification of all appropriate authorities; (Were the proper authorities not notified in Michigan so Ketcham could continue to practice medicine and support his family? Was this just another we will watch out for one of our own! All of this smacks of protecting the guilty.)
- by using the phrase moral failure, we failed to clearly identify the sin as child abuse (this lack of using appropriate words to describe the sin and crime that Donn Ketcham committed makes it look like there was a cover up for several reasons that only those in leadership know); and
- the inadequate response to those MKs who sought help from ABWE (Ah, is this the real reason for Loftis concluding his “faithful service as president”?).”
Here again is ABWE, an organization, repenting of the sins of those who are still alive. However, to this editor the words of ABWE come across as HOLLOW! Where is the personal admission and repentance of Ebersole, Davis and Lloyd? Kempton is dead but Ebersole, Davis and Lloyd are not!
The MK’s who began all this are waiting on the report by G.R.A.C.E. It took these females to get the attention of ABWE that all was not right in ABWE land. Before going too far ahead it should be pointed out that Donn Ketcham relinquishing his medical license is not a POINT scored for ABWE! NOTE, Ketcham would still be practicing medicine if it had not been for the tenacity of these former MK females!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WHERE HAS MICHAEL LOFTIS GONE?
Well, Michael Loftis has been gone from ABWE for some time now but where has he gone? Was his departure from ABWE really of his own free choice or was he perhaps asked to leave? Only those in the know; know. But again the question is asked where has Loftis gone?
Well, in the Good Ole Boy’s Club there is always a job (ministry) waiting! It always pays to know someone who knows someone, or so it seems. Well, Loftis knows a lot of people and these are people of influence in “new” evangelical circles. Being on the board of schools or mission agencies is always a help as Michael Loftis knows for he “…serves on the board of Cedarville University and is a trusted advisor to ministry leaders and organizations in the USA and around the world.”
According to Paul Dixon, Chancellor of Cedarville University, Michael Loftis has been “a trustee at Cedarville University for the past 8 years.” This editor doesn’t know what other boards Loftis is a part of but be assured Loftis didn’t stand in the unemployment line long. In October, 2011 he came on board as the Executive Director of the DNA Global Network in Lewisberry, PA. Loftis’ relationship to the DNA Global Network also identifies him as a co-speaker with another who is a “…popular national speaker at men’s events such as…Promise Keepers.” But there again this will not cause a stir in most churches today.
DNA Global Network is a new one to this editor but consider this, if a man is known by the company he keeps perhaps he is also known by the company that endorses him.
DR. JOSEPH STOWELL III, PRESIDENT OF CORNERSTONE UNIVERSITY
Dr. Joseph M. Stowell III, is President of Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, MI. Joseph Stowell III comes from a General Association of Regular Baptists Churches (GARBC) pedigree. His deceased father was once the National Representative for the GARBC and a long time ABWE Board member. Therefore the Stowell name is a very familiar one in the GARBC circle.
Joe the III however didn’t follow in the steps of his father, for young Joe parted company with the GARBC some years ago. Joe’s bio says he “…serves on the Board of The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Wheaton College. He is a graduate of Cedarville University and Dallas Theological Seminary and was honored with a doctor of divinity degree from The Master’s College in 1987.”
Oh, how times have changed; or rather is it the men have changed!? However, sometimes this editor wonders if all the talk about separation in days gone by was more personality rather than conviction drawn from the Word of God? Whatever, here is a once GARBC approved school (formerly known as Grand Rapids Baptist College) led by the son of a former GARBC National Representative serving on the Board of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the Board at Wheaton! Who has changed or really has anything changed?
THE MASTER’S COLLEGE
Then there is Joe the III’s honorary doctorate from the Master’s College. The Master’s College was once an approved school of the GARBC known as the Los Angeles Baptist College. When this change took place there was a mighty ruckus within the GARBC. Nevertheless, the dust has now settled and it seems like all is forgotten. What has changed?
THE MANHATTAN DECLARATION
Then there is the matter of Joseph Stowell III being a signatory to the Manhattan Declaration. It seems to be a part of human nature, howbeit the fallen nature; that man desires to be a part of something no matter what that something may be.
For Joe Stowell III the Manhattan Declaration says a lot about him and the other signatories. This ecumenical Declaration says in part that “We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians, have gathered…to make the following declaration, which we sign as individuals, not on behalf of our organizations, but speaking to and from our communities.” Does signing this as an individual rather than for their organization make it alright?
SADLY SOME WILL NOT BE BOTHERED BY ANY OF THIS!
Oh, again we ask, have the times changed or have the men? Sadly it will not be troublesome to some who read this that the former president of ABWE, Michael Loftis, is now endorsed by a man who serves on the Board of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Wheaton College, and personally signed the Manhattan Declaration along with Roman Catholics!
Then there is:
Dr. Paul Dixon, Chancellor, Cedarville University
Dixon is a product of Tennessee Temple University and spent many years as an evangelist. However, “Dixon…began holding evangelistic meetings in Southern Baptist churches years before he became Cedarville’s president…” Dixon “often says, ‘God is not honored by a narrow view of the Kingdom.’ He lived out that perspective as he sought to create and solidify relationships with conservative elements of many groups, including the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).”
It is amazing that with all this getting together and the nothing really matters attitude, why do any of these groups; (SBC, GARBC, BBF, ABWE, etc.) still exist? Is there any difference? Not surprisingly, the Cedarville University Trustee Board now has both Southern Baptists and GARBC men on it. They are:
Dr. Jack Kwok
Executive Director and Treasurer State Convention of Baptists in Ohio
Dr. Dave Warren
State Representative for Ohio Association of Regular Baptist Churches
Is this editor missing something here? A school that was once an approved school of the GARBC now has a GARBC and SBC man on the Trustee Board! Is or has there ever been a difference doctrinally between these two groups? There must not be enough difference now or these two men could not work together on the same board. Or perhaps there are differences but those differences are set aside all for the sake of the Gospel!
After several years of viewing this cross-over it has been very hard for this editor to understand why any man would pastor a church in the GARBC when he could pastor a church in the much larger and more influential SBC, especially, if there is no real doctrinal distinction between the two!
Larry M. Brown, Chairman/CEO NTM USA – New Tribes Mission
Just as ABWE has a lot to answer for in the appalling abuse of MK’s by Donn Ketcham it almost pales into significance to what has taken place at New Tribes Mission (NTM). After reading about the abuse of New Tribes MKs one would think no one would seek the endorsement of anyone associated with New Tribes Mission! For instance “Investigators claim to have found more than 6,000 pictures and 250 video clips of child pornography on the computer of NTM Member Joel Price.” But if you were the Chief of an organization like ABWE which also was composed of Indians that overlooked sin as NTM did, why not?
Yes, the Good Ole Boy’s Club has long arms for none other than the CEO of NTM, Larry M. Brown, gives a glowing endorsement for Michael Loftis. Believe it or not!!!! One wonders why the people in the pew are not speaking out against these organisations and the men responsible for the cover-up and protection of adulterers and child molesters over the years!
Reading the tragic stories of those abused by New Tribes Missionaries it comes down to this, the Chiefs and Indians simply overlook the abuse of MK’s all for the SAKE OF THE GOSPEL!!!! The Good Ole Boy’s Club is alive and well.
Psalm 55:14 “We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.”
These were men that others trusted. These were men that others believed would make right decisions for were they not ministers, men of God. Weren’t these men that we went to church with? Were these not men that spoke from our pulpits and proclaimed the Word of God? Did we not trust them as we met together? Their counsel was to be trusted, was it not?
Psalm 55:12 “For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him.”
These men (Russ Ebersole and Russ Lloyd) were not an enemy so thought the poor fourteen year old girl who had reported her abuse by Donn Ketcham to her pastor. Now at fourteen years old she found herself alone on a plane sitting between Russ Ebersole and Russ Lloyd, flying back to Bangladesh.
These men were not thought to be the enemy when the fourteen year old girl was coerced to sign a declaration of guilt for participation in Donn Ketcham’s sin. These men were not thought to be the enemy when they coerced the fourteen year old girl to seek forgiveness from her abuser! These men, Russ Ebersole and Russ Lloyd, were not believed to be the enemy but how wrong that belief was!
Psalm 55:21 “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.”
The enemy uses smooth words! Cream rises to the top so it is said and most of these men supposedly are the cream of the crop! They rose from the ranks to positions of leadership and trust. They knew how and when to use “smooth” words. They were not negative but positive.
Sadly, Ebersole continues to be an advertised speaker for ABWE. Why? Is it because his words are smooth? But the Psalmist says there were not only smooth buttery words but WAR in the heart. What Ebersole says in the churches is opposite to what he did to that fourteen year old girl.
Ebersole declared WAR on her as he sought to protect his friend, Donn Ketcham. Ebersole declared WAR on the fourteen year old, her family and anyone who opposed his friend, Donn Ketcham. Harsh words but that seems to be the evidence revealed in this SAD SAGA!
Ah, there is so much that could be said but the GOOD OLE BOY’S CLUB whether in the fundamentalist or the new evangelical circle is alive and well! But here is a QUESTION to ponder, now that Loftis is gone what should happen to ABWE?
WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN TO ABWE NOW?
It is most certainly not going to happen, but and if ABWE really does desire to do right, as they say they do, ABWE should sell its assets and close its doors! That is what should happen.
However, ABWE will not do this so then what? Here are a few suggestions.
FIRSTLY, Russ Ebersole and Don Davis as ABWE staff should make a public confession of their sins of cover up and protection of this adulterer/paedophile, Donn Ketcham! Surely these two men realize by now that they did wrong to the fourteen year old girl, her family and others!
Secondly Russ Ebersole and Don Davis should be unceremoniously dismissed without any financial payout. Oh, by the way, how much do you think ABWE paid Loftis before his departure for his years of good and “faithful” service? Good luck if you can find out!
Thirdly the money that has been given by churches and individuals for the Wendell Kempton Hospital should be given back to the donors OR the name of the hospital be changed. This name change should be given over to the girls who were the impetus in getting ABWE to admit there was sin in the camp! The name for the hospital would be whatever these former MK girls decide upon.
Hear the outcry?
There are some who will read this and will be literally incensed at such a suggestion. Nevertheless, consider why the hospital in Africa should not be named after Wendell Kempton.
Firstly the hospital should not bear the name of THE man who was THE CHIEF and in charge of the mission INDIANS when this sordid Donn Ketcham sexual abuse of a fourteen year old girl was mishandled through cover up, lies and deceit.
It cannot be emphasized enough that Wendell Kempton as Chief of these Indians (Russ Ebersole, Don Davis) knew exactly what was going on and that Kempton MUST have approved the whole cover-up/protection of this adulterer/paedophile. Be assured; NOTHING in ABWE LAND happened without Wendell Kempton knowing it was happening! He was the Big Man at Cherry Hill during the time of Ketcham’s adultery/paedophilia cover up and therefore a multi-million dollar hospital should not bear his name.
Thirdly, some years before Donn Ketcham began abusing the 12 year old girl, Ketcham was committing adultery. Ketcham’s adultery would have certainly been known by Kempton! Instead of doing what was right and Biblical, the Chief (Kempton) and the Indian (Russ Ebersole) just relocated Ketcham and family for a time while the nurse he had the adulterous affair with was sent home! Figure that! If all this doesn’t get one’s blood boiling nothing will!!!!
WAIT AND SEE
Nevertheless the reality is; it is a wait and see situation as to what the final G.R.A.C.E. report says. For as G.R.A.C.E recently said “an investigation of this magnitude, spanning over 20 years and involving dozens of individuals, is not one that can be completed in as short a time as most would wish.”
What a sad state of affairs that this cover-up/protection spanned OVER TWENTY YEARS! A BIG THANK YOU to those courageous girls for their resolve and steadfastness during this whole ordeal. THANK YOU!
It is with great anticipation that the final G.R.A.C.E. report will not go lightly on ABWE and those responsible for the cover-up/protection of Donn Ketcham. Hopefully, the G.R.A.C.E. investigation and final report will demand each one involved in this reprehensible deed be dealt with appropriately and there will be closure (if possible) to this sad saga for the girl, her family and those others who were affected.
“For several years the University has knowingly and willingly allowed a man to be on the Board of Trustees that was, and still is part of a terrible, sinful situation that no one wants to address.”
~Susan D. Dohse MEd.
I am a 1973 graduate of Cedarville College, now Cedarville University. I remember so clearly traveling from Louisville, Kentucky with my parents to this unknown to us destination in Cedarville, Ohio. This was before GPS, or Map Quest, so my Dad located Cedarville on a map and off we went. My mother, bless her heart, exclaimed, after we had been traveling for a while on country roads, “Lordy, Lordy, Susan, is this place in the middle of a cornfield?” Well, back in the day, the answer was “Almost.”
Maddox was the new dormitory and I was privileged to be in one of the units. After unloading and settling into my room, my parents were to attend a parent’s only meeting with Cedarville’s president, Dr. James Jeremiah. I waited out by our car, taking in the college atmosphere, nervous, excited, and a little fearful. I had just turned 17 and now was attending college out of state. When the meeting was over my Dad stood before me and said, “I like that man. He is not going to put up with any shenanigans.” That was back in the day.
Back in the day when I attended Cedarville, the college was ever so careful who was on the Board, who was permitted to preach/teach in Chapel, and even what Christian groups would be allowed to come and minister in music to us students. The standard was to be not associated knowingly with any person or group that compromised the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Those words taken from the book of Revelation was the mission statement of Cedarville College, back in the day.
Unfortunately, not so today. It grieves my heart to write this next statement. But, friends, I am ashamed to be called a graduate of Cedarville College/ University. For several years the University has knowingly and willingly allowed a man to be on the Board of Trustees that was, and still is part of a terrible, sinful situation that no one wants to address. Dr. Loftis, once head of ABWE, was involved in the cover-up of criminal acts committed by Dr. Ketcham, missionary doctor to Bangladesh. Now Loftis is on the Board of Trustees, a sought after conference speaker, and speaks at retreats held at Baptist camps.
Where is the practice of Matthew 18? Where are the men, godly men, who should be confronting Dr. Loftis, breaking fellowship with him, separating from associating with him until he repents, and reconciles with those he had horribly offended? Instead, he is rewarded with a position as trustee, offered speaking engagements, and allowed to continue serving in the Christian community as though nothing is wrong. To Dr. Loftis, and to Cedarville University, I ask that you either live by the Word of God, and protect the testimony of Jesus Christ, or take down these words that are displayed on campus. Don’t display words that you do not plan on living by.
Back in the day, Dr. Jeremiah would not have tolerated these shenanigans, but, unfortunately, we are faced with today.
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” As a child and through the years, I remember hearing so many sermons on this subject. As I have read these blogs for over a year now, I have finally realized the issue that has been tugging at my heart. TIME! If only we could go back in time, if only different men had been in leadership and these girls could have back their childhood and the pain they have gone through all these years, but what I have just realized is the issue that tugs at my heart now is still TIME as in THIS IS THE TIME TO ACT!
How much more TIME has to be added to their pain, why won’t God’s people act now!
The days are evil! This blog would not even be necessary if that were not true. I realize the only reason ABWE still exists is because there are still God loving and God honoring missionaries, and possibly even staff members that love the Lord still associated with the org. And maybe, although knowing what they now know, I kind of am doubtful, but maybe even a board member or two that truly does love the Lord and hates sin, and realizes the importance of “redeeming the time.”
God wants no part of sin, you can not serve two masters, you either hate sin or you hate God.
This is a call to action to all those associated on any level with ABWE.
I am going to ask a very shocking question: HOW MUCH MORE TIME HAS TO PASS BEFORE YOU CUT ALL TIES WITH THIS ORGANIZATION? If you are a missionary, then you well know some of your support goes to ABWE. If you are a staff member than in some part you are part of this problem, every day you stand up and walk through the door of that building you are standing with evil, and certainly if you are a board member you have written the time that has passed. The org. you support on any level, continues to drain TIME etched in pain, from the lives of these brave ladies of the blog. Why won’t YOU take a stand!
REDEEM THE TIME! DEPART FROM EVIL! COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM!
If every God fearing missionary, staff member, and board member, walked away from this org.,/ ABWE today, TIME WOULD STAND STILL and SOMETHING would happen IMMEDIATELY!
Can you imagine a press release like this: Missionaries and Staff leave ABWE in support of victims! Do you know how many AMENS and PTL’s would be voiced around this nation!
Maybe you should choose to do it because it is the right thing to do. Read Psalms 1
It would speak volumes to GRACE! What are you waiting for, what is holding you back, you sing songs like “I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold” I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause, and “He’s all I need, He’s all I need, Jesus is all I need, really, or are those just words?
If the people that are carrying the water for this org. took a stand, and walked away, something would happen, and something would happen NOW!
There is work to do, souls need to be saved, the days are evil, but our loving Heavenly Father also knows that victims need to be healed, stop aiding the delay.
By your fruits ye shall know them, redeem the time!
Examine the alter call in your hearts, you have enabled this org., to take more TIME from these ladies lives by your lack of action. Redeem the time, the days are evil, and you either are part of the solution or part of the problem!
The TIME to act is NOW!
GRACE (Godly Response To Abuse In The Christian Environment), the organization investigating the “actions” of GARB (General Association of Regular Baptists) missionary Donn Ketcham issued an update (circa) yesterday. Ketcham was a missionary under the Association of Baptist for World Evangelism (ABWE) which is primarily sponsored by GARB. All in all, I found the report reasonable and hopeful. Though I am uncomfortable with GRACE’s softball language, I suppose I understand that they need to be brutally neutral in the situation. Sometimes the only hope we have is the hope of others in the situation, and that was the hope I was functioning on until this report.
I went to school to become a police officer, but even at a very young age, I faced up to the fact that I didn’t have the temperament for it and bailed. While attending Law Enforcement classes at Sinclair in the 70’s, I used to ask myself if I thought a child molester would make it to the police station while in my custody without some unfortunate accident occurring. Probably not, so I went into sales instead. You may preface this article with that information in tow. As Clint Eastwood used to say while portraying the character, Dirty Harry: “A man has to know his limitations.” Dirty Harry also exemplified the kind of righteous indignation that pastors used to have.
However, even with the softball language, GRACE revealed some information that adds oil to the lamp shining light on ABWE’s sleaziness. Sorry, good works, and even good people, does not fix sleaze—only genuine repentance or separation does. Christ said a little leaven leavens the whole lump; ABWE can’t have their sleaze and their good works both. And I may not know much, but even a child can see that ABWE’s responses thus far are full of our good works outweigh these “unfortunate circumstances” (i.e., the ABWE “flagpoles” press release).
Apparently, ABWE wanted to meet with various MKs prior to the final report by GRACE—GRACE deemed this idea “premature.” Ya, no kidding. GRACE also pointed out in the report that such meetings would be unwise because, in my interpretation of the lingo, the meetings would not be based on full disclosure. Some kind of supposed reconciliation based on partial information; that’s definitely not a good idea. Add the fact that GRACE somewhat committed to a timeline for wrapping up their investigation (18 months which I think is very reasonable compared to my 30 minute trip on the way to the police station), and hope is rising. Also, the fact that ABWE heeded GRACE’s “encourage[d]ment” to postpone such visits may indicate that the GRACE organization has some teeth in this matter.
The apostle Paul said, in essence, that our actions are a letter describing our lives and hearts. ABWE’s heart in this matter is evident via the Dr. Michael Loftis letter. Shortly after becoming president of ABWE, Loftis and other ABWE leaders were confronted at a reunion with information about the pedophilia that took place on the ABWE mission field in Bangladesh:
Early 2002 – At “The Return” ABWE MK reunion at Messiah College a group of MKs, now grown women, tell Michael Loftis and ABWE employee Jess Eaton about the abuse they suffered from Donn Ketcham while children on the mission field–these specific women are promised an investigation (which did not happen until GRACE was hired in 2011); these specific women are promised payment for counseling (which did not happen until 2010, after a sibling insisted ABWE begin helping)–note: only a fraction of Donn Ketcham’s MK victims were even present at “The Return”
Loftis knew. And apparently, didn’t keep his word to the victims for a light starter. Nothing could be more obvious than the fact that zip was going to be done until the victims published their infosite on the internet in 2011, roughly nine years after informing Loftis. Nevertheless, when the gig was up, he wrote syrupy letters to supporting churches and ABWE missionaries that described his languishing and pining away at the fact that these precious missionary children were “estranged” from the ABWE Waltonesque family located in spiritual Mayberry RFD. And for the most part, the GARB flock of penguins bought into the motif hook, line, and sinker. As more and more information has surfaced, a denial mentality has reached biblical proportions in GARB circles. The looming GRACE report must now look like a horse dinosaur pill that is not going to be easily swallowed. I have come to believe, though grudgingly, that GRACE is not going to sugarcoat this thing.
Loftis knew, Loftis didn’t keep his word, and Loftis was disingenuous. And his actions may have also been criminal. Consider this recent news report:
Staffers at a charter school in La Marque are accused of taking almost three weeks to inform authorities that one of their students reported being sexually assaulted, Texas City police officials confirmed Monday.
The three employees at Mainland Preparatory Academy were each charged last week with failure to report child abuse. Police said the girl, 10, told the school officials that she had been assaulted in mid-December by a man identified by authorities as Derrick Wayne Reed, 29.
“It was not reported to (Child Protective Services) or a law enforcement agency until Jan. 4,” said Capt. Brian Goetschius.
State law mandates that school workers are required to report allegations of child abuse to the proper authorities within 48 hours.
Goetschius said the three school workers were questioned about what happened. Texas City police identified them as Diane Merchant, 58, Wilma Green, 67, and Rayshandra Ashthon, 29. They have since been released on bail and could not be reached for comment.
Notice that at least in Texas, it is the “allegation” that must be reported within 48 hours—nothing about when or where the allegation occurred. But even if Loftis’ response was not criminal, it is certain that other events surrounding what was reported to him were. It is what it is. At the very least, his actions were so egregious that it even prompted ABWE to deem him the most worthy of escape goats to be thrown under the bus. Even with that, ABWE made no mention of why there was a mutual agreement between him and the board that it was a good time to end his stellar service as president of ABWE. But everyone knew the timing was no accident.
But Loftis now serves as a letter that clearly shows the heart of ABWE and GARB in particular. Loftis is presently in high demand as a speaker/leader in GARB circles, and has been on the Board of Trustees at Cedarville University throughout the ABWE scandal, pre and post. Cedarville University is to GARB what Westminster Theological Seminary is to the Presbyterians. My wife Susan, an alumnus of Cedarville, is still working on her article that concerns Loftis’ position as Trustee at Cedarville.
As far as we know, Loftis has not made his 9-year boo-boo right with the MKs. Because apparently, he thinks like ABWE: our good works outweigh our boo-boos, even the big ones like pedophilia. But in all of this, there is hope in ABWE’s buffoonery: they fear GRACE more than they fear the counsel of the apostle Paul who said that he beat his body into subjection so that he wouldn’t be disqualified from preaching the gospel. Behold the arrogance of ABWE/Loftis: the apostle Paul could have been disqualified, but not them. Too many good works. And apparently, the apostle Paul was afraid that he couldn’t generate the good works that the spiritual behemoths of our day like Loftis can produce.
I know what you’re thinking: “They ought to beat the GRACE report to the punch. Have a no holds barred coming to Jesus blood bath. Let GRACE mediate it—they would come out of this looking like what everybody wants to believe about them.”
They aren’t that smart. Their utter stupidity and spiritual blindness adorned with Doctorate degrees precedes them.
We live in days when sarcasm becomes reality. I have often commented that there are two classes of Christians in our day: the enlightened ones, and the totally depraved Christian peasantry. We must depend on the enlightened ones to lead us safely through the minefield of sanctification to insure our entry into heaven. Getting us safely home despite our wicked, silly selves is very messy business, so we shouldn’t expect the enlightened ones to be perfect. Collateral damage should be expected and accepted. After all, we need the enlightened ones, and the stolen innocence of our children is a small price to pay for the souls of the many.
There is a Jewish proverb that says a person who saves one life saves the world. The proverb tells the truth: if one life is expendable, so is the world. Jesus told the disciples that a true shepherd values the one lamb as much as the whole flock. Where are such shepherds in our day?
Dr. Michael Loftis was recently fired as president of ABWE. Though ABWE didn’t say specifically why he was fired, everybody assumed it was because of the scandal surrounding the Bangladesh missionary children. For years, ABWE covered up the fact that one of their missionaries molested missionary children in Bangladesh, and the missionary was also a GARB (General Association of Regular Baptists) icon. Those in the know about the situation have assured me that Michael Loftis’ role in the cover-up was “huge.”
Obviously, this doesn’t say anything about Loftis’ character to anybody running the show at Cedarville University. Character? Children? Pedophilia? Protecting other children? Justice? Stolen childhoods? What’s your point? He is one of the enlightened ones.
This will be “Missionary Kids Week” at PPT. My wife Susan, a 1973 Cedarville Alumnus, and contributing author here at PPT, will be the first to write a series of articles concerning this new development. PPT is a 20 minute drive from Cedarville University, so other responses are being considered as well. We invite others to post articles in contribution to this week of protest here at PPT.
but I delight in your law.”
~ Psalm 119:69,70
Don’t mess with the world’s children. If you do, they don’t care who you are. Retribution and justice will be swift and severe. At Penn State University, they quickly dispensed of Joe Paterno, a Penn State icon/legend because he did the right thing, but didn’t follow-up. He reported a child rape to his superior that he did not witness and named the one who had reported it to him. But when his boss did nothing, Paterno didn’t call him on the carpet and threaten to go public. The university could have defended him based on the fact that he reported it, and then could have left the minority outcries to their eventual certain death. But instead, Paterno was unceremoniously fired and his long iconic life went down in flames. The university president was also fired for good measure. Once thought to be a leader’s leader, a reputation that took at least fifty years to earn, he was specifically fired for “failure of leadership.”
There is the secular world with the law of God written on their hearts, Christianity, and religion. Religion has always been a child’s worst nightmare—the monster in the closet going back to the days of Molech who burned children alive on the altar of bad theology. Nazism did the same to unproductive Jewish children while faithful Christians living in Germany never missed a Sunday. Discussions of rich worship and praise could be heard everywhere while Nazi atrocities were routinely published in the German press and presented as heroic.
The Penn State antithesis was projected in my mind as I sat in a church worship service two weeks ago. During a presentation by a ministry director, it was proudly announced that Dr. Michael Loftis would be the featured speaker at an upcoming conference sponsored by their ministry. Really? Loftis was recently let go by ABWE which is still dealing with the Donn Ketcham pedophile scandal. No formal reason was ever given for Loftis’ dismissal, but everybody knows the timing was no accident. This is different from Penn State who left nothing to the imagination and showed no pity. Paterno wasn’t asked to resign, they outright fired him. And if you put the secular persona scale next to the GARB persona scale—Loftis and Ketchum are no Joe Peternos. Not even close.
Loftis knew. He not only knew, he cooperated with the cover up. The results? Well, let me quote from the promotional material proudly issued by the ministry sponsoring the upcoming conference:
Speaker : Dr. Michael Loftis
Executive director of DNA Global Network & former director of The Association of Baptists for World Evangelism.
Where is the shame? In the Penn State incident, those who knew and didn’t speak up are facing criminal charges. Ok, so the fact that Loftis has an executive position is one thing, but mentioning that he was formally the director of ABWE clearly shows that the GARB church in general lacks remorse in this affair. Why in the world would this be added to his credentials? Obviously, his tenure there is not seen as tarnished in any way. But you might say: “Yes Paul, but he accomplished many good things there.” Right, and likewise, Paterno accomplished many good things. Bottom line: he didn’t mess with the ones who were messing with the children, and the secular world found that to be completely unacceptable. Loftis also knew of how ABWE reframed one of the incidents as an extra marital affair and invoked a confession from the fourteen year old victim. This is because the sex was supposedly consensual. Therefore, Ketcham was suspended from the mission field for misconduct rather than pedophilia. And, the proper authorities were not contacted in Michigan to boot.
What would the world say about that? Come now, must I recite all of the news accounts of public school teachers who have had truly consensual sex with under-aged students? They are in prison for rape. And they are done, they will never teach again. In fact, they will be forever on a national list that prevents them from coming within a thousand feet of a school that teaches children. My wife works with a secular company that supplies services for disabled children. If she fails to report abuse—it’s a criminal act, that is constantly made clear to those who are in her profession.
Clearly, worldly standards, not only for protecting children, but in general, are becoming higher than the bar set by Christians. Why is that? Basically, as Jesus and the apostles predicted, the last days will bring a focused devaluing of God’s law. Most lost people see law as a good thing (the apostle Paul said the law of God is written on the hearts of every living being and utilized by the conscience). But theologies that place law in another realm, and separate from God’s power imparted to us are becoming more and more prevalent in our day. Some of today’s premier evangelical teachers constantly advocate the supposed necessity of “separating law and gospel.” Yes, more and more, Christians are learning to “live by grace alone apart from the law.” Or, as the mantra so goes: “living by the gospel.” And on the other hand, the law is separate from the gospel. Is this a good thing?
I had a wonderful lunch with an author last week who I consider to be an authority on Reformation history. I posed a question to him: “If the works of the law are written on the hearts of all, can humanity really be “totally depraved.” His reply: “That’s a good question, isn’t it?” (I thought it was, but I am probably biased). I understand that we are not saved by the law, but in salvation, it would seem to me that the law of God that is already there should be set on fire and greatly expanded. We won’t keep it perfectly, but it will certainly be the direction of our changed heart and the standard for our lives. We are declared righteous apart from the law, but only truth sanctifies. The law is not only that which was written on tablets of stone, but “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
If the law is devalued among Christians for living life, it only makes sense that eventually the world will have more law than we do. And in the Bible, especially Psalms 119:70, lack of attention to the law leads to cold-heartedness. And that’s when the world has more compassion than us, and uses the law to protect the focus of that compassion. It is a day when the lost world has more law than we do.
And I contend that this is not “good news” for our children.
“Sometimes, confronting rather than forgiving is the most loving thing you can do.”
If you haven’t been vacationing on another planet, you have probably heard about the group that published a website in order to publicly confront ABWE for covering up the following: http://bangladeshmksspeak.com/
This bold move conjures up all kinds of opinions, but let me begin with the opinions that instigated this post (my second on the subject). My missionary son-in-law posted a 20/20 expose on his FB page about children who were sexually abused in IFB churches: http://www.hulu.com/watch/231215/abc-2020-fri-apr-8-2011?c
I watched the clip, and was struck by how one of the abused children who sought help was counseled by a pastor: “Real Christians forgive and forget, and move on with their lives.” Then, the other day, I visited the aforementioned site and observed this comment on another posted link regarding the Bangladesh children: “Donn Ketcham DID confess his sins a long time ago. Christ has forgiven him, so it’s time the rest of you did likewise!…Mark 11:25-26 states that if we do not forgive then neither will our Heavenly Father forgive US. There is an echo in my mind…’Get over it!’”
Is this true? Are Christians, even those who have been sexually abused, biblically obligated to “forgive and forget”? Before I make my case, let me answer the question and qualify it. The answer is NO; but, that doesn’t mean revenge is in order either. Not forgiving doesn’t equal: revenge is ok. See Romans chapter 12 on that. We are to love those whom we are un-reconciled to (i.e., enemies), and we are to do good to them and bless them. And by the way, speaking from personal experience—that’s really easy to do if you don’t have to forgive them. I can’t explain that, but it’s probably due to the fact that God knows what He’s talking about. Hence, the Bangladesh children (now grown-up) do well: they are not partaking in unbiblcal forgiveness and they are loving those who have wronged them. Huh? That’s right. Sometimes, confronting rather than forgiving is the most loving thing you can do.
Now I’d better make my case. Let’s look at Matthew 18:15-17
“If your brother sins against you,go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”
Does ABWE qualify as “brother”? What about Ketcham? Of course they do. And by the way, Jesus doesn’t say “your brother in the local assembly.” A case for a strictly local application cannot be made here. Also note that Jesus says IF he listens to you (repents: see Luke 17:3), “you have won your brother over.” That’s “IF” he repents. If he doesn’t repent, other people are to be involved. If he still doesn’t repent, the church at large is to be told. If he still doesn’t listen: “treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Jesus didn’t say, “forgive him anyway.” And, “treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector” doesn’t sound like forgiveness to me.
Furthermore, Jesus had another opportunity to discuss no-fault forgiveness when His teaching prompted this question by the disciples: “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’” This is further elaborated on in Luke 17:3,4; “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” In the parable that immediately follows in Matthew’s account, a warning to those who refuse to forgive those who have asked for forgiveness is the issue. In fact, Bible verses that fall under this category (where a seeking to be forgiven is assumed) are usually the ones people cite to make a case for “forgive and forget” whether reconciliation has been sought or not. Notice how Christ emphasizes the necessity of repentance: “If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” It would seem that this would be a better opportunity for Christ to teach no-fault forgiveness even if somebody sins against you seven times in one day. To the contrary, He seems to use the seven times to illustrate the need for reconciliation / repentance instead, and the obligation to forgive accordingly.
Granted, petty offences should be covered with love (1Peter 4:8). And in the Matthew 18 process, if the offended party is being petty—the two witnesses should tell him—that’s the beauty of how the Holy Spirit designed the process (it’s doubtful that He didn’t see some kind of circumstance that isn’t covered). However, forgiving and forgetting serious offences, and thereby leaving the offender in a bad situation with God—is not how we love people. Matthew 5:23,24 states the following: “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Proverbs 28:13 says, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper,
but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” I realize there are many verses like Mark 11:25 that seem to call for blanket forgiveness, but I think these verses assume reconciliation has been sought, and there is also a sense in which we can not allow ourselves to dwell on offences that are un-reconciled (Philippians 4:8,9) which could lead to bitterness. But in all of this, the specific and clear language of Matthew 18 and Luke 17 must be considered.
Though I hesitate to use the gospel for a prism to interpret, one might consider that Ephesians 4:32 says to forgive others the way God has forgiven us, but we must remember that God doesn’t forgive us unless we repent (Acts 2:38). We must be “reconciled” to God (2Corinthians 5:18-21). Let me put this in some real-life context. I have an unsaved relative who has offended me on many occasions, but I have chosen to cover the incidents in love. However, he recently went too far. Though I have had the opportunity to help him after the fact and have done so, I am also making it clear to him that until he acknowledges his sin and commits to not repeating it—our relationship is hindered. “And by the way, God will not forgive you until you reconcile with him as well.” The incident offers more opportunity to present the gospel to him than in past memory. It begs the question: should we forgive in anyway unlike God forgives? Should we forgive in a way that God wouldn’t? Even in regard to Christians, if we do not ask for forgiveness, we are open to be chastised by God (1John 1:9).
What is Forgiveness?
Like the motivation for forgiveness, love, forgiveness is not a feeling. Forgiveness is first a declaration (Isaiah 43:25, Jeremiah 31:34). If forgiveness was just a feeling experienced by the forgiver—we wouldn’t know that we were forgiven. Forgiveness is also active. Jay Adams wrote the following in regard to Isa. 43:25 and Jer. 31:34;
“Obviously, the omniscient God who created and sustains the universe does not forget, but He can not remember. You see, forgetting is passive and is something that we human beings, not being omniscient, do. Not remembering is active; it is a promise whereby one person (in this case, God) determines not to remember the sins of another against him. To not remember is simply a graphic way of saying, I will not bring up these matters to you or others in the future. I will bury them and not exhume the bones to beat you over the head with them. I will never use these sins against you.”
Even if you don’t agree with anything written here, Adams’ clarification above will aid you greatly, for if you believe in no-fault, blanket forgiveness, and you tell the offender accordingly, a vow is still a vow which God takes seriously (Psalm 15:4). It’s safe to assume that many Christians say they forgive others and then hope the right feeling of forgiveness will just happen somehow. Truly “forgetting” will certainly never happen if you talk about it. But let me inject another example at this point. Recently, I saw an interview with a missionary whose husband had been brutally murdered in another country. However, the missionaries belonged to what was a cult by anybody’s standard. I watched as she calmly spoke of how she had completely forgiven her husband’s murderers. Something made me very uneasy about the testimony and I truly doubt the world was impressed by it. Her forgiveness for the murderers may have been her own, but it certainly wasn’t God’s.
Should sexually abused children really “forgive and forget,” and thereby pave the way for (among many, many, other issues) a Christian organization to cover-up criminal activity?
Not only do I doubt that, I would contend that their confrontation is the most formable act of love perpetrated on ABWE and Donn Ketcham in the past thirty years.
Too many haven’t heard about the tragic scandal concerning ABWE (Association Of Baptist For World Evangelism). On a much, much larger scale, it reveals what I already knew about ABWE—they don’t care about the truth; specifically, biblical truth. In June of 2010, I wrote ABWE regarding one of their missionaries and false doctrine; a copy of the letter can be obtained by request: firstname.lastname@example.org . My letter was first ignored by the missionary in question, then totally ignored by Loftis and the ABWE board. In regard to a family that the particular doctrine harmed, a prominent leader within ABWE offered to get involved until he discovered that the sending church of the missionary was at fault—he then disassociated himself with the situation. This is the way the game is played at ABWE.
The victims of the scandal (not to be confused with my concerns in June of 2010) had to construct a website / blog to confront what ABWE has covered up for years. Trust me, Al Gore didn’t invent the World Wide Web, God did, and we thank Him for it. Here is a copy of the press release:
Press release concerning ABWE’s mishandling Abuse by Mission Doctor in Bangladesh
Does your church support a mission’s organization that protects a known pedophile? It just might…
Put yourself in her 14-year-old shoes. A 59-year-old physician and missionary, whom you trusted, emotionally manipulated you, then sexually abused you repeatedly. This man serves alongside your parents on the mission field in a remote jungle in Bangladesh. He controlled you, used you and abused you and has been doing so since you were 12. Once you finally found the courage to speak up, those you confided in, those from whom you sought help, isolated you and kept you away from your parents. Then, those two grown men –one a counselor and the other in a position of authority over you and your parents – forced you to sign a confession. You sought their help and now, humiliated and filled with shame, they force you to accept that pain as a sign of your guilt.
These are not the words of a 14-year-old-girl. These are the words of someone forced to bear the blame of her abuser’s sins.
Today, 22 years after the signing of that document, ABWE (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism), continues to handle the situation inappropriately.
ABWE still refuses to fully acknowledge their role in allowing Dr. Donn Ketcham, former Bangladesh missionary and known pedophile, to return to work in Allendale, Michigan as a family physician. Since returning he has seen countless patients, all unaware of the danger they were placed in.
What’s worse is this 14-year-old-girl was not the only girl abused by Dr. Donn Ketcham. This blog was created by another one of Ketcham’s victims. Yet her own story is held in comparison with the story of the unnamed 14-year-old-girl.
While ABWE has publicly responded to the blog, they have yet to fully assume responsibility for their gross mishandling and subsequent cover up. They admit to decades of awareness and complacency, yet continue to hide behind closed doors and a wall of anonymity after confessing decades of sexual abuse suffered by young daughters of missionaries in Bangladesh.
As an ABWE supporting church, we urge you to contact ABWE and demand a deadline be given. The MKs involved have not been given the names of those on the commission or a deadline for the commission’s decision, continuing ABWE’s history of secrecy. For all they know, the commission is made up of the same individuals who contributed to the cover up over the years. Ask them to let the moderators of the blog choose who will be the MKs on this “commission.” ABWE must be transparent in this matter!
Ask ABWE to hire GRACE. (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) GRACE has been contacted by ABWE but has still not been retained. GRACE has offered multiple times to be this third party for ABWE, but as of yet ABWE has not taken them up on this offer.
The victims, their families, and fellow missionaries want more than a confession. The enormity of the situation calls for a more thorough investigation.
ABWE must be held accountable for the knowledge of sexual abuse dating as far back as 1975 and the secrecy and cover up that continues to this day. Many innocent girls have been victimized and ABWE has repeatedly turned a deaf ear to their cries for help.
Write: email@example.com and address it to the ABWE Board of Directors [End of press release].
Of course, there is much need to focus on the victims here, but this all begins with ABWE’s indifference towards biblical truth / wisdom. In addition, all of the scrambling about regarding damage control is also unbiblical. The Scriptures are very clear; when such an act is substantiated (and it certainly was because of the written statement by the 14 year-old girl), God’s people are to gather in His name and excommunicate the individual:
“ 1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? 3 Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. 4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked man from among you’” (2Cor 5:1-12).
To begin with, ABWE’s effort to love the perpetrator was totally misguided and unbiblical. In demanding that his sending church join them in following 2Cor 5:1-12, they could have accomplished the following: “….hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful naturemay be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.” Also, they obviously don’t believe what Christ said about millstones and those who cause children to stumble.
Furthermore, this story now remains viable fodder for the likes of 20/20 and others to drag the name of Christ through the mud. But, “Oh ya, him: we excommunicated his sorry %@#& and reported him to the proper authorities whom God has not given the sword in vain,” is not much of a story—unless 20/20 wants to make the church look good.
Also, with all of the discussion concerning “prevention,” they could have taken 1Tim 5:19,20 seriously:
“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.”
How many children wouldn’t have been molested if ABWE had constructed a website / blog instead of the victims? How many sexual predators are going to signup with your organization if they know they could become the topic of a page on the WWW or a nationally publicized newsletter? Contrast that with having a reputation for covering up such behavior to supposedly salvage the reputation of the organization for monetary reasons.
And what shall we say of God’s people? For whatever reasons, we love these organizations way more than we love our children. Somehow, it is unthinkable that an organization like ABWE would be allowed to crash and burn even though the directors thereof think they’re smarter than the Holy Spirit. Why? Again, this is not biblical thinking. Even the apostle Paul recognized that he could disqualify himself from ministry because of misdeeds:
”No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1Cor 9:27).
Apparently, like GM, ABWE is just too big to fail; I protest, if the apostle Paul was not too big to fail, you can be sure ABWE isn’t either. And besides, I bet a whole bunch of missionary boards take a hard look in the mirror if ABWE burns. That’s a good thing. No, that’s a VERY good thing. But what about those 400 other “innocent” missionaries connected with ABWE who “didn’t know.”? Are we not past praying for the victims and saving the organizations? Let’s take care of the victims this time. And oh, those 400 missionaries? Well, let’s pray for them. At any rate, in their next association with a mission board, I would bet anything that this time around they will make it their business to know.
This isn’t rocket science. The unrepentant board members and Loftin need to resign. Their correspondence with the public and the victims refer to the child victims as “MK’s” (missionary KIDS). Last time I checked, that’s slang. Can’t you just hear Jesus referring to the “little children” as kids ? Where is the fear of God that really believes that their angels stand before God daily? Yes, they all need to resign so the others may fear.
I know, I know, the victims. But let us not forget that the victims are a symptom of unbelief on the part of the leaders that they trusted, and no thinking Christian should contribute one red penny to anybody who thinks they are smarter than God. If they do—they partake in their sin.