Day Nine of the Thomas Chantry Trial

By | August 10, 2018

The court session picked up with the video of Dr. Deborah Davis, an expert witness on memory. We had about 2 hours 45 minutes left to watch, having started watching late in yesterday’s court session.

Dr. Davis was a witness for the Defense. As such, John Sears was utilizing her testimony in an attempt to undermine the testimony of the victims who have testified in this case. Dr. Davis talked of “Infantile Amnesia.” She is of the opinion that children generally are unable to remember anything prior to age 3 or 4. She further stated that as adults we generally are unable to remember anything before the age of 10.

When Susan Eazer cross-examined Dr. Davis she was able to restore some sanity to the conversation. The first thing Ms. Eazer did was to highlight the fact that Dr. Davis is a hired gun for defense attorneys. Dr. Davis has testified as an expert witness in approximately 150 cases. Of those 150 cases she has testified in, she has testified for the State a total of 1 time!  Ms. Eazer than asked Dr. Davis about her fee structure.  She charges $3,000 per day, $1,500 for a half day, or $300 per hour. Additionally, she charges $100 per hour while traveling, plus expenses. When asked how much she was charging John Sears for her services, she said $3,000.

In my opinion, Ms. Eazer did a good job of neutralizing the testimony of Dr. Davis. Her questions were direct and specific. When she asked a question that required a yes or no answer Dr. Davis would initially work to avoid the simple answer, preferring to get into a long-winded explanation. Ms. Eazer would shut her down saying that was not the question and then restate the question and ask for a yes or no answer. Dr. Davis was clearly frustrated by this, several times rolling her eyes. It was obvious it pained Dr. Davis to not be in control of the conversation.

Eazer quoted from Dr. Davis’ writings regarding trauma in child sexual abuse. Dr. Davis is of the opinion that unless there is violence or sexual penetration involved in the abuse it does not meet her clinical definition of traumatic. Eazer asked Dr. Davis asked how many sexually abused children she has interviewed. Her answer – zero! I thought this really damaged the credibility of Dr. Davis. My thoughts of her are that she is a scholar who has spent her entire 40-year career in the ivory tower of academia talking with like-minded peers, none of whom have any real-life experience with the working class.

Susan Eazer was able to get Dr. Davis to grudgingly admit that it’s possible that a 3-4-year-old child may be able to recall being sexually molested, that it was highly unlikely but possible. Likewise, she admitted that an adult who was sexually molested at 8-10 years of age could possibly remember that experience, but not with any great detail.

After listening to the three-plus hour interview with Dr. Davis my feeling is she had little impact on creating doubt about the credibility and validity of the testimony of the victims in this case.

I looked up student’s ratings of Dr. Davis and the one below accurately depicts my thoughts of her.

Next, the Defense called Pastor Don Lindblad to the witness stand. John Sears established the facts that Pastor Lindblad has been a pastor for 46 years, the last 25 he has been pastor of Trinity Reformed Baptist Church located in Kirkland, WA. His church was a founding member of the ARBCA in 1997, and he is one of the top leaders in ARBCA.

John Sears led Pastor Lindblad through a sanitized, obviously well-rehearsed recitation of his involvement with Tom Chantry which included the following:

The Chantry family asked Pastor Lindblad to attend the 2000 ARBCA investigation at Miller Valley Baptist Church as an advocate for Tom Chantry. As such, Pastor Lindblad sat in on all the meetings the 3-man investigative team conducted with Chantry.

Pastor Lindblad understood the purpose of the investigation was to bring about reconciliation between the Miller Valley Baptist Church and Tom Chantry by coming up with some recommendations to facilitate this.

In 2005 Tom Chantry contacted Pastor Lindblad concerning an email he had received from Victim 2. Lindblad contacted Victim 2 by email and eventually, a phone call was set up and took place on March 2, 2006. The phone call was a 3-way call between  Chantry, Lindblad and Victim 2. The call lasted approximately 20 minutes and Lindblad said nothing. Lindblad understood Victim 2 wanted an apology from Chantry. Chantry asked Victim 2 to forgive him for spanking him while tutoring him. Victim 2 thanked Chantry, Chantry wished him well in his future, bid him Godspeed and the phone call ended.

The Cross-Examination is where things began to fall apart for the ARBCA leader. Prosecutor Eazer came out with both guns blazing. She asked Lindblad series of rapid-fire questions about the purpose of the 2000 investigation, the 2006 phone call and then a 2009 email he received from Victim 2. Victim 2 felt the matter between he and Chantry had not been concluded in 2006 and wanted to speak with Chantry again. Lindblad responded to Victim 2 by saying Tom does not want to revisit the issue at this point in his life. Eazer asked him why, as a Christian, he would not want to speak with Victim 2? At this point, Judge Astrowsky stopped the proceeding and excused the jurors.

The Judge then admonished Pastor Lindblad saying he was intentionally evasive and non-responsive to Eazer’s questions. He told him if he did not understand a question he should state that, otherwise he needed to answer her questions. He then asked Lindblad to step down and leave the courtroom.

Judge Astrowsky then admonished Eazer for her question, “why, as a Christian…” He said bringing anyone’s religion into a question was inappropriate and he would be referring her conduct to the State Bar. He was also clearly upset with Pastor Lindblad’s conduct on the stand. He stated that if his evasive and non-responsive answers continue he would admonish him again and perhaps cite him for contempt of court and strike him as a witness! He said he would make this clear to Lindblad when he came back into the courtroom and John Sears said he would also speak to him.

Eazer told the Judge that her line of questioning was intended to impeach Lindblad for giving damaging, untruthful testimony.

Once court resumed Lindblad did marginally better answering Eazer’s questions. It was evident he was still not being truthful on several subjects, other times he grudgingly answered.

Eazer got him to admit that he knew the 2000 ARBCA investigation was about more than reconciling the two parties for some light spankings Chantry had administered during catechism class. He admitted that the ARBCA was investigating bare-bottom beatings administered to three boys with hand-crafted paddles, a boat oar and other instruments and Chantry then rubbing their bare butts.

Eazer stated to Lindblad that you were very well aware of what Victim 2 had said. Lindblad said “yes.” And you were aware that the allegations against Chantry were a bit more serious than administering a spanking during a catechism class. Lindblad said “correct.”

Eazer then introduced Exhibit 65, a letter Victim 2 had written to Lindblad. Eazer said, “You knew Tom had beaten [Victim 2] with his pants down and rubbed his bottom.” Lindblad said “yes.”

Eazer got Lindblad to admit that he strongly supported Tom bringing his church into the ARBCA and was not happy that Miller Valley Baptist Church was opposing it.

Eazer drilled Lindblad on a statement he had made in an interview with her where he said, “We (ARBCA) believe the charges were not true.” Eazer asked Lindblad if ARBCA would take that position today. Lindblad said “yes.”

Eazer then introduced Exhibit 76 and asked Lindblad if he went to other ARBCA churches to tell them “what was fact and fiction in the Chantry case.” Lindblad responded “no.” You don’t remember saying that? Lindblad said “no.” Eazer was looking for the place in the document where Lindblad said that and then the Judge brought the trial to a recess. I am sure she will confront him with the evidence once court resumes tomorrow.

Below is a comment from a reader of this blog that proves Lindblad did visit at least one church to spread the news that the ARBCA company line is that the criminal charges against Tom Chantry are not true. CRBC is Christ Reformed Baptist Church, the church formerly pastored by Tom Chantry.

After the jurors were excused for the day Judge Astrowsky said he was going to reconsider referring Eazer’s conduct to the State Bar. He said he appreciated her response given in defense of her line of questioning. My personal opinion is the continued evasiveness of Lindblad on the witness stand may have played a part in the Judge changing his mind.

I have really not done justice to the exchange between Eazer and Lindblad. She asked many questions which I have not recorded where Lindblad attempted to artfully dodge the truth. He is clearly not used to having his word questioned. He concocts what he thinks are clever answers which may fly in a meeting with his church members, but don’t cut it in a court of law. Once the trial is over I intend to get a transcript of this session to let the world see the behavior of this “man of God,” one of the ARBCA’s most respected leaders!

Friday’s trial will resume with Susan Eazer cross-examining Pastor Lindblad. That will be followed by Tom Chantry taking the stand.

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Readers now need to start calling his church and demand answers to his agregious behavior and still undying support of Chantry! What a disgusting human being!!!

Regarding bitterness, the book “Untwisting Scriptures” ( contains all the Biblical references to bitterness and distinguishes between sinful (poisonous) bitterness and nonsinful (grieving) bitterness, of course addressing the infamous “root of bitterness”passage in Hebrews and showing how it connects back with the Deuteronomy passage.

People who are grieving and traumatized are accused of sinful bitterness when the sinful bitterness is the problem of the one who did the traumatizing. Should be obvious, but to many people, it isn’t.

Yes, it also makes little logical sense for a rapist to say, “but you’re bitter about me raping you so now we’re even.” However, drumming such nonsense into people’s heads, from infancy, is not uncommon in some churches.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)


Amen to all of that, Rae! I, too, came to the conclusion that it was laziness, or perhaps the desire to not take personal responsibility, that leads so many to give their mind over to others, and let them, or him, dictate what they should think and believe.

I’m not trying to judge or be self righteous.; I am just tired of fighting for my God-given right to think, seek truth and look to his Spirit to lead me onto ever fuller understanding. But no, that is ‘rebelling against the divinely instituted authorities ‘. And we can’t have that, now can we?


There is a term called “passing the trash”-used by institutions with leaders with aberrant behavior that they won’t face or can’t face. I was in a church where the pastor had affairs in the two previous churches he was in. Then we got him. Our leadership did the same thing and passed him on, and he did it all over again in the next church. That church took action, but he was still able to find another pastorate!


If you wanted to supplement your income by becoming an expert witness and your expertise is on the subject of memory, where would the money be? Working for the desperate defense of accused child abusers and rapists. I mean, who else would be needing to hire such a witness? Her testimony is absurd just based on each of our own experiences of what we remember. Personally, I think she’s the Gaslighter in Chief.

Thanks Todd and JLC.
I am flabbergasted at Dr Davis’s testimony! She sounds like a complete idiot.

And Don Lindblad — I’m going to be very interested to read the transcript of him being interviewed by Eazer. I’m glad she held his feet to the fire.

I echo others who are wondering about who is paying for Chantry’s lawyer. I wonder it daddy Walt has deep pockets??

Marsh, if you go to and type BITTER into the search bar, you will find several posts which might help you disentangle all the nonsense about ‘bitterness’ that is taught in churches.

When the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain, when the kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us,” God holds them in derision:

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision. (Psalm 2:4)


I do no know if he is funding Chantrys’s defense, but Al Huber, Chantry’s father in law, is a very successful businessman. I suspect he is the money behind the defense.

Thanks, Barbara. I don’t think that this so called expert about the concept of memory seems very credible either.

Part of my reason for saying so is that she doesn’t seem to acknowledge that other experts in her field appear to legitimately disagree with each other about the concept of false memory and all its perceived nuances.

A serious academic would be concerned about that. A paid hack would not.

Plus, even if this woman was a world-renowned and respected expert in her field, her testimony would still just be one person’s opinion.

The experts in all fields of academia can make mistakes. The good ones are comfortable telling you that, in my experience. They don’t need to puff themselves up.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan,(blog team member)


Reminds me of how I’ve heard sermons warning against the “root of bitterness” mentioned in Hebrews. Usually as a warning for all of us to engage in morbid introspection and remove all anger over past wrongs from our minds and hearts.

Trouble is, the Hebrews reference is referring to a Deuteronomy passage in the context of idolatry–which Hebrews develops as abandoning Christ. Not exactly the same thing as being righteously angry at someone because they diddled you as a kid.

I think the most Biblical thing to do when someone wrongs you–and is unrepentant–is to recognize that that sin was ultimately against God, and He’s the one who’s going to judge it. Be angry, but give vengeance to God (and to the authorities), and don’t let the anger consume your life and rob you of your happiness and joy in Him. His vengeance is both far more just and far more horrible than anything we could ever come up with. (Deut. 32:35)

Van Helsing

Tom Chantry is a very sick man. He has NPD or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This disorder affects people in positions of power or authority – CEOs, politicians, lawyers, doctors (surgeons) and YES clergy. Recent research has suggested that as many as 1/3 of pastors now in active ministry may have NPD. It is my contention that men like Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Robert Tilton, Jim Baker, and Jimmy Swaggert have it or elements of it. These are the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” that Paul warned about. Much of Tom’s behavior appears to suggest that diagnosis – disordered love of self, lack of a conscience, superior to others, extreme arrogance, laws do not apply to him, blames others for his mistakes, irresponsible, shallow personality with few deep relationships, authoritarian, and mean spirited. I think that many of the men in ARBCA, besides JUST being arrogant and elitist, also have NPD or elements of it.

Van Helsing

BTW, people with with sickness of NPD will never be personally accountable for anything. This was most evident with reports of Chantry’s denial of all accusations against him and evidence staring him and the court in the face on the witness stand. To me, it is unbelievable that he was protected and shielded for years and casts doubt upon his salvation and that of his own father, who appeared to aid and abet his miscreant son for years.


While I agree completely with your description of NPD, I have a slightly different take on what so-called ‘disorders’ frequently are. It is, no doubt possible for a person who was traumatized themselves as a child to be so damaged that they become incapable of proper attachment and healthy relationships. This is tragic, and one of the reasons that child abuse must be carefully watched for and prevented, at all cost.

On the other hand, there are some children so traumatized who respond by determining to never hurt another person as they were hurt. They become more tender, more compassionate and more protective of the innocent. There are also individuals who have not been abused at all, but who are like the people described in Romans 1, who, by their wickedness, suppress the truth about who God is and what goodness and decency is. These people, by making deliberate choices to serve only their own passions and pleasure, grow increasingly wicked until they are, literally, sociopaths who have no consciences.

I only bring this up because of the tendency to presume that all child abusers, or NPD’s, were themselves abused by detached, narcissistic parents. Again, this may often be true, but not necessarily true. In the long run, each individual is responsible for the choices they make, whether or not to think of the well-being of others and whether or not to control their own fleshly desires in a reasonable, healthy manner.

In my opinion, there are no legitimate excuses for child abuse.

Van Helsing

Hi JHenry,
I am a Christian (first) and then a doctoral level counseling psychologist who has also been trained in Nouthetic Counseling – Jay Adams style. I know the defendant and his father. I know that it is difficult for PKs (Pastor’s Kids) to function in secular society (not necessarily a BAD thing if one is truly committed to Christ) after living in a very structured and sheltered environment while growing up. My heart goes out to PKs as they struggle to find a proper balance – if one can be found in adolescence and adulthood. Tom was a PK and his father was very prominent. I do not know how he was raised but I suspect discipline was inconsistent and Tom grew up believing that he was “better” than others and superior to them in most ways. He has a huge sense of entitlement and that is how he acted at the church. He would not be bothered by the issues of the people he supposedly shepherded. To me, that is a huge sign of a false shepherd – a simple hireling without love or care for his flock. I am astonished to think that such a person could ever be ordained, much less pastor a church. Those with NPD are very clever and manipulative. I had forgotten (or did not wish to recall) that Paul warned all of us that fierce wolves will rip the flock apart after his departure. ARBCA did nothing to protect their flocks from these predators but simply aided and abetted them.


Van Helsing wrote:
“He would not be bothered by the issues of the people he supposedly shepherded. To me, that is a huge sign of a false shepherd – a simple hireling without love or care for his flock. I am astonished to think that such a person could ever be ordained, much less pastor a church. Those with NPD are very clever and manipulative. I had forgotten (or did not wish to recall) that Paul warned all of us that fierce wolves will rip the flock apart after his departure.”

I have had the same sort of pastor, who while very intelligent, clever and adept at parsing scripture and debating his beloved Reformed Theology, had little love for anyone, including his own wife and children. This was the first and biggest clue to me that things were not right. But like so many believers, I sought to forbear, support and even nurture the young pastor who had been put in our care.

There were never, and I hope never will be, any allegations of sexual abuse, but it became increasingly clear to me that the authoritarian, perfectionist, controlling manipulation of the pastor was a form of spiritual abuse. The elders under him became simply yes-men, although he was so clever he was able to always get his way while convincing them it was their own ideas.

Yet, I sought to believe in him, to convince myself that I was being too hard on him, creating the problems out of ‘bitterness’, as we are always charged. Finally seeking what I should have done all along, I had a serious conversation with him, and that is when my worst fears were realized. As he repeatedly spoke of ‘his’ church, ‘his ministry’ and ‘his’ promised success, I earnestly asked him, ‘Are you telling me that if leading one or two little ones, like my children, to know and love God is all that you ever do, that would not be enough?’

I rather think he regrets it, but he actually let his narcissism show. He implored me to understand that he was a post-mil, that he believed in God’s kingdom growing and triumphing, and that he was to be part of that ‘triumph’. His sermons were ‘too good’ to be only heard by our tiny flock. (Yes, he said that.) I cannot recall all of the exact words, but my head was spinning in shock and dismay. It was not my imagination that this man did not seem to have much concern for me, my family and the many others who had come through the doors (most of whom our family brought in). With almost childlike anger he insisted, ‘Why does EVERYONE leave the only true church around?’ Because, indeed, most people eventually discovered that they and their family were not being loved, fed and nurtured in God’s love, but were simply disposable people to add to his numbers.

Yet, a few remain. We were among the longest, but through God’s grace, my stubbornness and my children’s assistance, we finally escaped. My spouse remains loyal to the pastor, convinced it was all in my head. These NPD’s are very clever, and know exactly how to inspire loyalty and trust, how to prey upon the needs of their flock and feed their egos. Most of all, how to brainwash people into closing their own minds and rely instead upon him for all the answers. I could make excuses for a lot; but there simply is no help for a shepherd who does not truly love the sheep. If he is not be seeking to lay down his life for their well-being, but dreaming of his own promised ‘success’ in the ministry – whatever that is – he is in the wrong business.

It seems to me that many should have seen that Chantry was in the wrong business, whether or not he was ever charged with serious abuse.


“Because, indeed, most people eventually discovered that they and their family were not being loved, fed and nurtured in God’s love, but were simply disposable people to add to his numbers.”

Exactly – you matter to the narcissist only inasmuch as you add to the chorus of adulation, singing his or her high praises, instead of singing HIS high praises. And when you cease to become useful, when you’re “asking too many questions, stirring up strife,” then you have outlived your usefulness to the narcissist and will be cast aside.

In one of the churches our family attended (run by the narcissist in chief – whose immorality was eventually exposed, BTW), fellow members would always say, “Well, Pastor so and so says….” When I would say to people, “What does the Bible say?,” they would look at me with a perplexed look, as if to imply, “Why read the Bible when we have pastor to interpret it for us? And why are you questioning our beloved pastor?” I hate to put it this way, but it seems like spiritual laziness to me. He’s the pastor, so he’ll tell us what we need to hear – he’ll take care of our spiritual needs for us.

This is, in my view, totally contrary to biblical teaching. The Word tells us to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” NOT just take everything at face value that your pastor tells you. We are to ponder, weigh, discern if what we’re told seems true.
And let me just say here, if your pastor is threatened by questions – RUN! Our former ‘pastor” mentioned above, actually said to me once, when I asked a legitimate question, in a respectful manner, “How dare you question me?! Do you not realize that I was put here by Almighty God?” Alrighty then – guess that clears that up!

Before anyone misinterprets, I’m not, in any way, encouraging disrespect for one’s pastor, or insinuating that he/she does not have our best interests at heart and is working diligently on behalf of his/her congregation. That is, thankfully, more often than not, the case. What I am talking about is the danger in idolizing our leaders, abdicating one’s own duties to one’s salvation and relationship with God. We are to weigh everything for ourselves (I don’t mean relativism) and seek out our own relationship with God, hopefully with encouragement and direction from our leaders.

NO ONE ELSE is going to stand before God and answer for your spiritual condition, but you and you alone. We must take our own responsibility seriously.


A better way to counteract this pervasive phenomena is to raise children to only be sheep with Jesus Christ as their Shepherd.. Raise self governing, independent thinking, future adults who study on their own. The Shepherd/sheep metaphor is taken way out of context. The NPD does quite well in the “role” of Shepherd because the “sheep” have been trained to trust him, not question too directly and respect “spiritual authority”. NPD’s are attracted to the concept of instant authority, instant admiration, instant stage and instant followers who feel obligated to be tolerant and even obey. Churches are a perfect place for them. And can be dangerous for decent honest people.

artur smuthers

In the last several decades there has been a trend to classify as ‘sicknesses’ or ‘disease’ or ‘disorders’ by secular (and in some cases evangelical) society, behavior that was formerly considered as lack of discipline, criminal, and most importantly and foundationally, sinful.

I know you may have used the word ‘sick’ in a less technical manner than this but is it a good idea to use a word that can detract from personal responsibility for one’s actions. Almost like they are just the passive victim of outside forces. Judging from your post It doesn’t look that way. Sorry if this seems parsing at your words, I just don’t like the word ‘sick’. I would describe said allegations as sinful, criminal, and especially wicked, that is how I would describe them, which I’m pretty sure you would agree.

Everyone has a lot of negative experience thrown at them and one person can somehow overcome in God’s righteousness while another will turn it into an excuse for personal sin and many times taking in to a new level.


That is my belief as well. Let us not fall into the trap of viewing all sin as some sort of ‘sickness’ that the person somehow was helplessly afflicted with. When I choose to sin, it is my choice, my sin and my responsibility to face the consequences. Unfortunately, the theology that persuades these men that all things are determined by God alone allows them to be as sinful as they wish; after all, God does not ‘see’ the sins of his ‘elect’! That is the ‘sick’ and destructive concept that, in my opinion, leads many of these men into deep wickedness. It allowed the vaunted Calvin to torture and murder men, women and even children. They have eliminated all personal responsibility for their own actions, as long as they are done in pursuit of ‘the glory of God’, and that is what creates monsters.


“It seems that there is a general rule in the moral universe which may be formulated, ‘The higher, the more in danger’. The ‘average sensual man’ who is sometimes unfaithful to his wife, sometimes tipsy, always a little selfish, now and then (within the law) a trifle sharp in his deals, is certainly, by ordinary standards, a ‘lower’ type than the man whose soul is filled with some great Cause, to which he will subordinate his appetites, his fortune, and even his safety. But it is out of the second man that something really fiendish can be made; an Inquisitor, a Member of the Committee of Public Safety. It is great men, potential saints, not little men, who become merciless fanatics. Those who are readiest to die for a cause may easily become those who are readiest to kill for it. …For the supernatural, entering a human soul, opens to it new possibilities of both good and evil. From that point the road branches: one way to sanctity, love, humility, the other to spiritual pride, self-righteousness, persecuting zeal. And no way back to the mere humdrum virtues and vices of the un-awakened soul. If the Divine call does not make us better, it will make us very much worse. Of all bad men religious bad men are the worst. Of all created beings, the wickedest is one who originally stood in the immediate presence of God. There seems no way out of this. It gives a new application to Our Lord’s words about ‘counting the cost'”

-C.S. Lewis, from “Reflections on the Psalms”

Artur Smuthers

“Eazer then introduced Exhibit 65, a letter Victim 2 had written to Lindblad. Eazer said, “You knew Tom had beaten [Victim 2] with his pants down and rubbed his bottom.” Lindblad said “yes.””.

What kind of back-water practice is this; not only was he spanking other people’s kids; he was pulling their pants down and rubbing their bare bottoms (at a minimum, likely more). This is crazy. Is that even legal; legal or not it should have been made known to the whole congregation what this creep was doing, I’d never stand for it and any parent that would has brain problems. There is nothing in scripture that advocates non-parents spanking other people’s kids……….let alone pulling their pants down. Any creep that would take it upon himself to pull someone else’s kids pants down is capable of much more I’d say. Any association, and any man, that would have tolerated bare bottom spanking and not exposed Chantry, at that point, should be called to account. Are we trying to create an atmosphere for pedophilia here?

Going by pictures and things that they have said, Everybody that I have seen that is an advocate for Chantry seems to have a creepy aspect about them.


I’m afraid the answers to your questions may be even more sinister than perhaps you’ve considered. Suppose that these events weren’t “spankings” at all? Suppose they were planned assaults, planned long ahead of time by a conniving sociopath? Could it even be possible – that a once admired pastor could be such a monster? Could it also be possible that other “men of God” have known about this for years and have protected him? Each person will have to answer these questions for himself or herself. Just as the jury will soon be charged to do, I would submit to you and others reading this blog: follow the evidence and see where it leads you.


In my state, the first “spanking (beating) would have been considered assault (at the least) on a minor at least 35 years ago when I first began teaching. However, when you have an entire church culture that think it’s okay for a pastor to tutor a child alone in his office for hours on end, forgive him when he punches a child in the face in a picnic, and then move him to another congregation to take the heat off–all i can think is the entire church association, members, and leaders are whack-a-doodle. They are not living in a compound or a closed Amish community. They seem to have some contact with the outside world, but they sure don’t have any common sense. The first time should have been the LAST time.


‘Whack-a-doodle’ is a fairly accurate description of this entire escapade. No doubt there are layers upon layers of reasons people were persuaded to keep their mouths shut, but none are legitimate. I believe this is one of the primary goals of the many who run, follow and comment on abuse blogs: exposing the lies and myths that lead otherwise godly men and women to allow abuse to be covered up and potentially continued.

I might be persuaded to give some of these people some grace, as they were also abused by clever, persuasive manipulators. But we are getting past the point when such grace is permissible, as such things have been repeatedly brought to light. I realize that many have not even known of such abuse within the church, but thanks to blogs like this, and many others, the word is getting out. My prayer is that I, and others, do not allow ourselves to shrink back from talking about and exposing the ugly underbelly of abuse within the church, be it spiritual, emotional or sexual.

These are not things any of us like to even think about, let alone discuss, but it is necessary to make sure the behavior and tools of abusers become widely understood, so that naive people do not continue to fall victim to them. When my sister first discovered her child’s abuse by her own pastor/father-in-law, she begged me to tell everyone I knew. I was horrified, embarrassed and sickened at the thought of even speaking of it. When I consider how traumatizing it was to me, I cannot even imagine how horrific it must be to the victims and their families. I have apologized to her for taking so long to find my voice. I will be silent no more. Please pray, and speak out, with me.


Up until the late 1960s corporal punishment was a common and accepted practice in schools. I went to Guilford High School in Rockford Illinois and I clearly remember in 1969 the vice principal mr. Mangus who was in charge of discipline had a paddle in his office that he would SWAT kids with when they were brought to his office for a variety of discipline problems


I was reading my Bible today and came across this in my reading:

A fool’s lips enter into contention, And his mouth calls for blows. A fool’s mouth is his destruction, And his lips are the snare of his soul. The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:6-8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

At first I was thinking to myself, “Alright, boy this applies to Changtry and Linblad!

Then I was cut to the quick when I read the last part about the words of a tale bearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the innmost body.

My son came to me this morning and asked me not to talk about ARBCA, our old church, the Chantry trial etc. because with all the focus we have had on it, he said that he apparently brings it up frequently with his friends who really don’t have any interest or knowledge about it as the church we attend now is not part of that group. At Bible study his friends wondered if maybe he was becoming bitter and brooding on this stuff. Ouch.

So I have been thinking about that all day and then I come to this in my Bible reading. I guess I’m struggling with the need to know what is really going on in our old church association and the pastors our pastor keeps company with so I can better understand what happened to us. But I’m also struggling with when the news becomes a point of what shall I say, glee when I see them getting caught in lies of their own making. I’m wondering if this is sinful when maybe my attitude should be more one of sorrow and wishing for them to come clean and repent of their ways and fear for their souls?

That is just the struggle I’m having right now. I want justice done for the children. I want these men to be held accountable, but I’m having a hard time with my own attitude of rubbing my hands together in glee to see them beginning to shake in their boots and I’m not sure if this is the attitude I should have.

Hi Marsha:

First –

At Bible study his friends wondered if maybe he was becoming bitter and brooding on this stuff. Ouch.

Ouch, indeed. I humbly suggest moving him to a Bible study group in which child abuse is considered a necessary and important topic of conversation. Calling kids who discuss child abuse “bitter” is the biggest red flag I’ve seen to date.

When I first started doing advocacy work against child sexual abuse in churches, many years ago,I faced your general dilemma. Now I just focus on victims. There appear to be many other people willing to advocate for and feel sorry for what I call “pedophiles and the pastors who love them.”

Now I’m only concerned about people like the kid who was gang raped, at a church event, and was then told that God would hate him or her if he or she told his or her parents what happened. That situation has nothing to do with the Chantry case, by the way. People who deliberately cover up child physical and sexual abuse, for personal gain, are not Godly, in my view. They’re just demons in wolves clothing, who are not worthy of my limited time and energy on this planet.

Let people in prison ministries look after them once they’ve been held accountable for their actions. Many of them will not repent unless they hit rock bottom, in my view.

That’s my take on your understandable dilemma. People are welcome to tell me how wrong I am not to praying for those who prey on children mercilessly and distort God’s love in the process. In most cases, folks who say this have never even talked with a victim of sexual abuse in a church. Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)


You misunderstood me. I wasn’t clear. The child abuse issue is a big deal. The issue, however, with my son bringing up stuff frequently is that we as a family were mistreated at our ARBCA church and were barely to the point where we were getting past it when all this trial for Chantry started. It’s not that he is so much bringing up child abuse issues at Bible study as seeing how these ARBCA pastors are conducting themselves and how it opens the wounds back up as we are seeing where our former church pastor learned to be the way he is and how he treated us. That is where the possible bitterness comes in and then we struggle with how our attitudes should be with the whole ball of wax. His friends are not saying he might be bitter over the child abuse thing with Chantry, just that his dwelling on the overall church situation we left due to memories triggered by how these pastors are behaving regarding the Chantry diabolical is a problem. I know I have become a little more sarcastic and caustic regarding this. So I’m just trying to find a balance…righteous anger is warranted and I am angry about how these men are behaving. But I just want to be careful to not let my anger turn into bitterness. And that’s where he is at too.

Law Prof

I still don’t get the “bitterness” thing that’s taught in many toxic churches. I can think of no better tool that an evil person who’s hurt another could use to re-abuse them than to insist upon quick forgiveness (defined as letting them completely of the hook for the evil they’ve done), then making the victim the bad actor if they don’t give this unconditionally by claiming they’re “bitter”. It’s just another tactic to hurt a victim, another tool for the sadist–probably gives them a perverse pleasure to hurt a person, then turn it around on them and make themselves the victim and the victim the bad actor because the victim can’t screw their minds into a knot pretending it’s all OK. Marsha, it’s just evil, it’s diabolical. What you’ve been taught about bitterness does not sound like what Jesus taught, doesn’t seem to be biblical.

One issue you need to deal with is a toxic church doesn’t typically exit our system the moment we walk out the door. It can take years to get that poison out, the bad theology, the fears, the self-loathing, the feeling of being on tip toes, hoping you don’t offend an angry God because you let a bit of genuine human feeling (that cults call “bitterness”) creep into your mind. Cults will force you to deny your fundamental humanity, you’ll feel like you have to be happy all the time, any concern about anything must be in whispers, you’re a bit afraid all the time, never able to let your hair down–never able to be like a human being withe real feelings. The irony is Jesus had very real feelings: h=He said it’d be better for those who mislead little ones to be drowned, He called one of His closet friends “Satan”, He spoke openly of those who hurt others in the name of God, called them “Sons of hell”, “whitewashed tombs”, etc. He took out a whip, overturned their tables and went straight after them with that whip cracking when confronting those who were using the church for wealth gain. He did all this out in the open, to people’s faces, no slinking around, worrying about “bitterness”.

Further, your judgment is often terrible for a time after leaving a cult, you can walk headlong into another. I left one abusive church nine years ago and then walked straight into another…then a third! Three in a row–my family was reeling. It’s almost as if abusers can sense when someone is wounded and they’re drawn to you like flies, so they go have their shot at you as well.

I’d take a good, hard look at the church you’re in now, because if the young people in a Bible study tried to shut my kids down when they were relating how they’d been abused in a former church, rather than helping them and trying to understand where they were coming from, if they planted in my kids’ heads the idea that THEY might be the problem, they, the victims, I’d go straight to pastor, I’d tell him he better get a handle on his youth group and perhaps himself, and I’d hit the door in about five seconds flat and go find a healthy body of believers who actually don’t mind imitating Jesus a little. When a church makes you act less like Jesus, run, Marsha–run!



“One issue you need to deal with is a toxic church doesn’t typically exit our system the moment we walk out the door. It can take years to get that poison out, the bad theology, the fears, the self-loathing, the feeling of being on tip toes, hoping you don’t offend an angry God because you let a bit of genuine human feeling (that cults call “bitterness”) creep into your mind. Cults will force you to deny your fundamental humanity, you’ll feel like you have to be happy all the time, any concern about anything must be in whispers, you’re a bit afraid all the time, never able to let your hair down–never able to be like a human being withe real feelings. ?”

Absolutely-freakin spot on.

Thanks, Marsha. I trust your judgment and, of course, I do not presume to know everything about the dynamics in your church or family.

I am relieved that your son is not simply being told to quit sounding bitter when he brings up the subject of child abuse. Many kids are not so fortunate, which is why I reacted so strongly.

Some children are told that their bitterness makes them just as sinful as the person who molested them, which is why they need to shut up. I’m not making that up, Marsha, unfortunately.

While I rejoice when evil people who break the law are brought to justice, I am also very sad when this happens. I know that seems strange. However, a guilty verdict does not undo the terrible suffering that victims have endured.

I do believe, based on copious factual evidence in addition to a gut feeling, that Tom Chantry is a sadistic child abuser who deserves to be incarcerated for a long time.

However, seeing justice done will never undo the damage that he and his enablers have perpetrated under the guise of being good Christian leaders.

Once upon a time, I was bitter toward people who cover up abuse on the grounds that God hates kids who report it. After years of doing advocacy work, I now simply have so little respect for these individuals that there’s little to be bitter about.

So, I started out where you are and now don’t feel called to expend energy worrying about non repentant pedophilia enablers who often can me bitter.

However, if I ever see any of these pedophilia enablers express sincere regret and repentance, that may be a different story.

Of course, my personal decisions are just that. I just wanted to share where I’m coming from.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Mr. Jesperson

I appreciate your concern over bitterness in your own heart. It is a legitimate concern, for according to Jesus if we do not forgive we ourselves will not be forgiven. Hence the great importance that should be placed on understanding what forgiveness is and is not. Jesus was angry at the Pharisees. He was not bitter, but took out the biggest meanest words and smacked them repeatedly over the head with them because they were religious hypocrites who were destined to go to hell! Jesus was attempting a last ditch effort to save them in very real terms. Being like Jesus is our goal in life. If you or your son are having trouble sleeping at night, with thoughts of revenge like taking a baseball bat to your former pastors face, then I would say that you are clearly having a forgiveness issue. God reserves revenge for Himself. It is not our place. Doing this kind of thing will only destroy you as long as you do not actually act out the fantasy. If you are not doing that kind of thing than perhaps forgiveness is not what you are actually struggling with.

God will not let these people get away with these wicked acts. He warned the Pharisees about what would happen soon to their beloved temple. God sent the Roman army to judge the people and the corrupt leaders. It was vicious and cruel. So is the true justice of our God when His patience runs out, and it certainly does. Forgiveness is not treating criminal acts as if they were minor. Doing that is another sin in itself. Forgiveness is a process. You and your son have some very trouble emotions to deal with. God is patient in that process. God wants you to not be naive and to learn how to protect yourself and your child from the wolves that Jesus plainly warned us about. Staying silent about abuse is not forgiveness. For many it is giving into shame and sometimes cowardice. Once we confess, according to the scriptures, God takes away our shame. The first group thrown into the Lake of Fire are the cowards, so that is not a fruit of the Spirit, either.

Short summary is that life is very difficult. It is a very real war with very real casualties. God has grace for those who are legitimately trying their best to do the right thing. The righteous falls seven times but keeps getting up. We are told to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. The narcissistic leaders in this organization are disobedient to that last statement. They are not working out their salvation, nor do they have the slightest fear of God. They are destined for hell, just as Jesus plainly states. I have been there, experienced it for myself, and they have no idea how horrible their destination is. I do not stay angry for long at men like Tom because I know how terrible a thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God. The justice of God is much more severe than a baseball bat to the face or any other kind of revenge we humans can come up with. Romans 11:22, “Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.” This should be a sobering truth to all…


Dear Marsha,
I am so sorry for the trauma that you and your son suffered. May I encourage you to be gracious to yourself, and to your son? My abuse was at the hands of a controlling, narcissistic pastor, and while it was not physical, it nonetheless left deep wounds and scars. Four years later, I am sometimes caught off guard when a memory, song, place or something intangible sets off a new wave of pain, anger and anguish. I have come to see that this is PTSS, and that it is not something to be ashamed of.

My spouse, who is yet under the spell of and loyal to the offending pastor, uses these times as justification to berate me, and contend that the whole problem was in my head, and my enduring ‘bitterness’ proves it.

Even if no one says that to us, it is easy to think it ourselves. How many times have I wondered if I had done something to cause all of this pain, or to make it worse than it might have been? Perhaps so, and certainly I wish I had acknowledged and confronted the red flags much earlier. But as has been mentioned often here, and on other spiritual abuse sites, we have been well programmed to ‘forgive’ our abusers, even when there is no genuine confession, repentance or change of behavior. We are led to believe that the greatest ‘sin’ is our ‘bitterness’ rather than the inexcusable abuse that was perpetrated against us.

We must not allow twisted and misused scripture to produce guilt in us for being rightly angry at those who have deliberately, preyed upon us or others. That is a far different sin than those who, in ignorance or immaturity, hurt us unintentionally. The predator needs to be held accountable, period. I do not care how ‘sorry’ he claims to be. He can tell that to God, and we can trust God to judge rightly. But as for this world, the predators and abusers must be stopped, held accountable and kept from ever having the opportunity to deceive and abuse others.

I deeply appreciate your heart, and your desire to do what is right. I am always praying for forgiveness for invalid anger or inappropriate desires for revenge, but I encourage one and all to challenge inappropriate behavior, particularly from those who should most know better. A so-called servant shepherd who has neither a servant’s nor a shepherd’s heart has no business EVER being in a position of leadership over other sheep. And we all have the right to say so.

Law Prof

I’m rubbing my hands together in glee seeing justice done–I’m rubbing my head in wonderment that anyone such as you, who claims to be a follower of Christ, would have a problem with that. I worship this Jesus Who called for millstones and drownings for those who mislead or harm little ones, Who spoke of “secrets in the inner rooms” being “shouted from rooftops” . I worship this God Who inspired “Preserve justice and do what is right…plead the case of the orphan and widow”. What in the world do you worship?


Not really wanting to read the word “rubbing” anymore, tbh. Ever.


Law Prof, Forgive me for the lengthy post. I intended first to address it simply, but thought including a bit of my history might help. Marsha is wrestling with a serious personal and family struggle, trying to come to terms with and cope with certain abuses she has suffered, and to navigate the troubled waters of emotional turmoil, while upholding a proper desire for justice, the Christian duty of forgiveness, and the desire to order her life, thoughts, and emotions in a way that is faithful to Biblical teaching and standards. Is this really the time to challenge her on whether her Christianity is genuine (“that anyone such as you, who claims to be a follower of Christ, would have a problem with that”) and whether she is worshipping the God of Scripture (“What in the world do you worship?”). Maybe you didn’t intend to come across this way, but your comment doesn’t seem to take her struggle seriously. This is surprising as you also have repeatedly suffered abuse at the hands of others and are seeking to deal with this harsh reality as a faithful Christian. I’ve only recently come across this site and have read just about everything pertaining to the Chantry case (and ARBCA), and I have appreciated your contributions in the comments, so I don’t want you to think I’m coming at you, or seeking to defend anything indefensible. I also have been through a series of seriously problematic and abusive scenarios in 3 successive churches over the first 14 years of my Christian life. Particularly in the first and third of these (8yrs and 5 yrs. respectively), the problems developed and manifested gradually, until authoritarianism completely took over. In the first case, the organization had grown too large (100+ churches worldwide), was too tightly structured, and was too authoritarian for my eventual resistance to amount to anything. My family and I left just before my 2nd child was born. We were shunned, and lost all of our relationships with those who remained. The second was a spin-off of the first, and because my doctrine was not quite as exclusivist, legalistic, and elitist as theirs (I had begun the process of detoxing you rightly describe), I was quickly targeted. I took a principled stand and was ousted. One of the two men primarily opposed to me (a lawyer) soon thereafter left his wife for a younger woman. Don’t know what claim if any he makes to the Christian faith. Authoritarianism is rarely an isolated sin. The third was a small church, led by a zealous and gregarious man. As it grew it became apparent he was also an unstable man who became increasingly authoritarian. By this time, I was in a better position to try to influence things, however my friendly counsel and brotherly warnings quickly came to be regarded as disloyal attacks and divisiveness, and I became subjected to direct and extreme personal attacks, and thinly veiled and erroneous public denunciations. After it was apparent I could do little more, my family and I left shortly after my 3rd child was born. Lies were spread about me and the growth of authoritarianism accelerated. I’ve been in my current church for 17 years and we continue to see fallout from the abusive leadership in the 3rd church as people continue to leave there and come to us having suffered varying degrees of abuse by the leadership there. That Pastor was eventually (7 years ago?) accused by his daughters of abuse in the form of bare bottom spankings well into their teen years (the correlation between authoritarianism, physical and/or sexual abuse/sin seems more than coincidental). Those who were trained in leadership under him acknowledged certain sins but many of the sinful, authoritarian patterns they learned from him continue long after his departure – even though some of us in other local churches sough to help them through their time of trial and transition to implement a more balanced and biblical pattern of ministry. They eventually cut us off. Even in our current church, several years prior to this, I’ve seen, and withstood, the attempted authoritarian self-assertion of our former pastor over the other elders in an attempt to cover and continue an inappropriate relationship he was engaged in, which was close to being exposed. Some started to give way to him (not knowing what was going on behind the scenes), but thinks soon came to light. This eventuated in his excommunication and him leaving his wife. While I do rejoice in the justness of this outcome vis-a-vis his standing in the church, I do not rejoice in the state or condition of this man’s soul, and still hope for his repentance. I am extremely happy for the peace and purity of the church that was furthered by this outcome. Even so, we suffered significantly for some time as a result of this. And entirely unrelated to it, we have had our (sometimes significant) difficulties in our leadership in the 12+ years since then. The enemy doesn’t tire of attacking the church – too often at the level where it will do the most damage. This is a sobering reality. We all need to always be on our guard – and always pray – without becoming cynical, proud, hard-hearted or unmerciful. What you say about Jesus exposing what is done is secret is absolutely true! What Jesus said in His warnings to (not “calling for millstones and drownings”) those who would harm others (little ones – especially their faith), needs to be heard and heeded! And yes, we should work to preserve justice, we should actively pursue justice, we should advocate for and plead for justice for the orphan and widow. But we must also work for righteousness in the soul, not only justice in the courts. God will ultimately set things right even where the courts fail (and can never perfectly administer justice), but we pursue justice here and now anyway. Likewise, Christians will ultimately stand in… Read more »


A very long and very well thought out response. I too did a double take at Law Prof’s question, as I have found myself in much agreement with most of what he writes, here and over at the Wartburg. I found myself figuring I must have misunderstood who he was addressing, as indeed, it would be unseemly to discount the genuine desire to do what is right. Yet, many of us – including you it would seem – have seen how the concepts of forgiveness, bitterness, slander, etc. are used to bind and silence those who would otherwise stand up for what is right. I perceive that perhaps those with a pure heart simply want truth and justice to prevail, and for the well-meaning to stop being deceived and manipulated by those clever in speech but dark in heart.


Yes. It is deplorable how the well-intentioned and tender in heart are manipulated and controlled by the self-interested protectors of power and position. As our Lord admonished us, we are among wolves and so must study and pray to be both wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

Law Prof

I honestly wasn’t trying to make the post a big thing about saying she wasn’t a Christian–it was more about challenging her on what traditions she was following. I want her to take a good, hard look at herself and what the heck she’s thinking. Agreed, it was probably unwarranted to imply she’s not a Christian–though of course, I don’t know if she truly follows Jesus or not–but that really wasn’t necessarily the point I was trying to make. But I sure see how it can come across that way. I really meant to hammer her on what she’s apparently following: the made-up rules of men and their systems…or Jesus. Should’ve said “…what you follow…” rather than “…what you worship…”. So sorry for that.

I also wanted her to think about why in the world, at this point, having been abused and her child as well, she was letting snots at the Bible study try to plant ideas in her child’s head that he was messed up or bitter because he talked about his past experiences and was obviously trying to process them. Absolute nonsense–forget that! She should be momma bear in such circumstances and go clear matters up at that church she’s attending and blow the place up (metaphorically, of course) rather than curling up into a ball of self-loathing, as it appears she’s doing, and perhaps letting her child slide down there with her. This is why I made the point about the poison that gets in your system in a cult, why I was trying to tell her she can’t trust her judgment, she’s not in a position where she can assume she can tell right from left. As I’ve related, I’ve been there.

There is also the possibility that she could be toying with us. It’s very common on forums for members of places like ARBCA to set up a phony scenario where it looks like they’re agreeing with the general tenor of the forum, pretending to be the voice of reason, then use that as a Trojan horse to get in and beat people over the heads, accusing them of bitterness. Have seen it again and again, as if that tactic were written into some kind of instruction manual. Am not accusing her of this, in fact, I think it’s less likely than not, based on her general tenor–but not impossible.

One last thing: if, when I imply she’s worshiping the wrong things, I’m out of bounds, why do you get to imply my “religion is worthless” because I wrote strong words? And how is that not “self-righteousness” the way you define it?

Law Prof:

I think that you need to take several metaphorical steps backward. I believe that the commenter in question is genuine and your suggestion that she is not is way out of line and is chasing away other people whom I would love to see comment on this blog. Nor do you or anyone else have any business suggesting that she’s not a Christian.

The concerns you’ve expressed about the safety of her family have been addressed by others in a far kinder and more responsible way than your rants and insistence that your judgment is better than everyone else’s judgment.

Your most recent comment is not aligned with the spirit of the comment policies of this blog, Law Prof, in my view. While I appreciate your many great comments, I think that you need to develop some perspective right now. I humbly suggest that you take a few days off from commenting on this blog.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Hi Law Prof, I did not approve your last comment in which you just argued with me. Your attitude may be acceptable on some blogs and that’s great. In my view, it crossed the line into bullying on this blog.

I won’t be approving your comments for a few days. Todd supports this decision.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)


Law Prof,

Following Jannna’s comment, I certainly don’t want to provoke a response from you with what I say here. I just want to address a few things briefly. First, I appreciate your clarification, and acknowledge your intent. I understand the perspective you’re coming from and your disposition toward abusive leaders. I share that loathing. But, I don’t know near enough about Marsha or her situation to comment much beyond what I have. As much as is shared in common by those who have suffered under abusive leadership, circumstances and severity can vary greatly – not to mention the people themselves and how they process such things. I can imagine any number of scenarios which don’t rise to her needing to “blow up the church” (metaphorically).

What I wrote were, more or less, broad biblical guidelines for any who would seek to keep their heart pure when others have stomped on it, to keep a balanced perspective as they seek in all things to do what is right before God. I took the occasion of responding to you to make a broader appeal (reminder) to any, including Marsha, who might benefit from it. I know it did my heart good to work through it.

Finally, I was in no way intending to imply that your religion is worthless. That would indeed have been self-righteous and hypocritical. I suspect that you, like Marsha, myself, and others here, are trying to respond faithfully in the face of unjust suffering at the hands of others, and that all of us are well aware that we don’t always get it right. The reference from James 1:26-27 was relevant to the theme of the importance of being diligent to keep the heart pure, so that one’s life – their speech, their eyes, the paths of their feet – would remain uncorrupted. I offered this in support of Marsha’s desire to guard her heart and her speech. It was in no way directed at you. The larger context of James is instructive to us all. I’ve included it below.

Thanks for hearing me out. I wish you the best.

James 1:19-27 (ESV)
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.
24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.
25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.
27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Grace and Peace.

Thanks for great your comment. Law Prof’s comments will not be approved for a few days.

I would ask that we move on from this subject. Thanks! Janna L. Chan (blog team member)



Just a question about quoting Matthew 5. Do you think Jesus Christ showed love to the Pharisees by calling them horrible names? I believe the context of Matthew 5 is dealing with the Jews being occupied by Roman Pagans and how to deal with that oppressive situation that infuriated them. When it came to dealing with His Tribe-the Jewish leader abusers, He was pretty direct. Another aspect of this is I believe we are all now priests —as believers. Just a different way to look at the context.


Hi Lydia,

I believe that the context indicates that an aspect of God’s love for the world includes His kindness and common grace to all – including the evil and the unjust (His enemies). In like manner Jesus calls His people to love and pray for their enemies and persecutors. The purpose clause (“so that”) indicates the correlation between the Father’s love/mercy and His children’s love/mercy. I think the broadness of God’s common grace is to determine the scope of our love for our enemies. In other words, I don’t think it is restricted merely to governmental oppressors/enemies – foreign or domestic, but is to be as universal as God’s (“Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful”).

Paul tells us that God’s kindness is to lead us to repentance and that, where repentance is not the response, wrath is being stored up against them for the final judgment (Rom. 2:4-5).

When Jesus characterized the corrupt Jewish leaders with harsh terms and descriptions He was not being unloving (or inaccurate). He was warning them of the wrath to come because of their hardheartedness and lack of repentance in view of God’s mercies/kindness to them. The same is true of all men and women – Jew of Gentile, “good” or “evil” who are obstinate in unbelief. Hence, Christians are called to love all, and as priests, to pray for all. This does not preclude us from confronting, warning, and honestly characterizing those who persist in their sin as Jesus did. But we must love them as Jesus did.

Artur Smuthers

First let’s make abusers and a system that is enabling abuse accountable to the law of the land and primarily the law of God. The first priority is to protect the children then you can wring your hands over the souls of the abusers.

I do not think you would have what I would consider misplaced priorities if this had happened to your child. This is a form of murder of the psyche or soul of a person (at least temporarily and in piece) and should not be minimized. In this life I believe at least a little bit of that darkness stays till the end.

I think abusing kids like this is horrible and if glee means having them exposed and accountable, let the glee begin. If people would voluntarily come clean like King David and show true contrition that is a different story. I have compassion on them, not self empowered, self entitled , spoiled know-it-alls. It is hard to not believe this is not a case of coddling and spoiling. I have seen many a preachers kid and they can be very arrogant. If not guarded against, a “son of Eli” can result.

Check out the only youtube Video of Tom probably still online. It was put on youtube 3 years ago. He’s busting on Rick Warren (which I agree is off) but the way he does the parody seems most unbecoming a minister. The high pitched voice, the mannerisms, it’s just strange. Does not seem to reflect in any way the sobriety in which a minister should conduct himself. Seems really immature.

Van Helsing

Yes, child abuse in any form is “soul murder.” It is so utterly despicable that I want to vomit just thinking about it. I witnessed its hellish effects for over 30 years. It leaves most kids “spiritual zombies” and if it is sexual in nature – robs them of empathy so they become abusers in turn – as the cycle repeats itself.

artur smuthers

I wrote: “It is hard to not believe this is not a case of coddling and spoiling”

Take either not out and it’s correct; I negated myself; but I think it was understood


Marsha, I have to agree with Janna. Aside from the issue of justice that is just as important now as it will be in eternity, I will just add that knowing details of how this happens and is covered up is important to teach us to be vigilant. It is hard to wrap our heads around this but as adults, aren’t we also responsible for who we allow to teach or influence us? Yes, people deceive us but we are to be wise as servants and gentle as doves. It’s wise for us to think through how we were deceived in order to mature.

Mr. Jesperson

The defense sounds pretty slim to me. A self-proclaimed expert that is available for anyone to hire for $3,000, one and only one character witness and Tom himself testifying. Surely a good pastor would be able to find more than just one character witness. The lack of others speaks volumes. And putting Tom up on the stand is a big risk. The prosecutor will cross-examine him and that will likely be the highest drama coming right at the end of the trial. That is likely happening even now while I am still writing this out.


Now that I think of it, maybe folks who are members of ARBCA churches should be asking their leaders if any money from the local churches is being sent (or has been sent) to help with Chantry’s defense.

ARBCA Member

Close to what we are thinking of doing, but at the moment my wife and I are actually going to ask our pastor where he stands and why hasn’t he told the congregation anything regarding this case? He is part of the current AC (not saying who he is) so he does know more than others. Also we are currently thinking of leaving as of now since we have been aware of this case since January 2017 and heard different information before reading the evidence and the court summaries provided here.


Hopefully, you can get the answers you’re searching for. At the risk of sounding bossy, I wouldn’t stop asking questions until I was satisfied that I was getting honest answers. You and your wife and the other church members have every right to expect nothing less – not just from your particular church, but from ANY church or institution that you’ve supported and been a part of.

With respect to any financial support that may have been provided to Chantry’s defense, as the saying goes, “If you want to know the truth about something, just follow the money.” Enough said.

Van Helsing

We left our ARBCA church last week and have found much spiritual relief in another non-ARBCA affiliated RBC as we were suffering from MASSIVE spiritual distress as most remaining Kool-Aid drinking members were supportive of Chantry. One member even told me before we left that he was surprised that I could be “so objective” about the situation. I asked him if he heard what he said but he walked away before answering.


This is part of the problem when we forget that evil will nearly always mask itself in garments of light. My spouse once asked if I would even believe evil of my own mother, and I insisted that, if the evidence was strong enough, yes I would even believe the unbelievable about my own mother.

Sure, the first thing I would do would be to seek out what she has to say. I would want to believe it was a mistake, perhaps even a conspiracy against her, and would do everything in my power to see if this was the case, and why. However, if multiple witnesses, with no possible motive, accused her of abuse, I would have to ‘objectively’ conclude that even my sweet, beloved mother could secretly be a monster.

Doubtless ARBCA members have been told this is some sort of conspiracy of revenge, the ‘enemy’ persecuting the church. Were I one of them, I would seek out enough information for myself to see if this was possibly true.

However, even the most surface review of the evidence would reveal the fact that mulitple witnesses, who first spoke up as small children, have accused Chantry of serious abuse. Accusations that were backed up by physical bruises and other evidence of real physical assault. Add in Chantry’s slinking away in the dark of night, without refuting the charges or confessing to whatever it was he may have done wrong. Add in a council sent to investigate, and demand the right to read any and ALL of their apparently multiple reports.

I am neither unloving or foolish. I want to believe the best about people; especially my loved ones, be they my pastor, my mother or my own children. But I will not be stubbornly, blindly loyal in the face of incontrovertible evidence. That is not loyalty, that is willful ignorance. We must confront facts as they exist, not as we wish them to be. I wish that no one, ever, was dishonest, deceitful or wicked. I truly do. And, were it not for the danger that such naiveté in an adult responsible for protecting children presents, I could even be sympathetic to such Pollyanna hopefulness.

But this is the real world. And I am not going to cling to pie-in-the-sky beliefs that anyone who names the name of Jesus can be implicitly trusted. It just is not so, and if the endless stream of fallen so-called religious leaders does not teach us that, we are simply willfully ignorant.

My naive childhood is over. Actually, I didn’t have much of a naive childhood, as hard realities confronted me early on. Perhaps that is what makes me the questioning person that I have (mostly) always been. But even I was deceived, and that I will never forget. I am now an adult, some would even say old. It is my responsibility to take what I have learned, to teach and protect those who are young, innocent and inexperienced to be as wise as serpents as they protect themselves and their love ones from those who are cleverly disguised wolves.


Great question Rae!

Headless Unicorn Guy

Eazer got Lindblad to admit that he strongly supported Tom bringing his church into the ARBCA

Think of All Tho$e Tithe$…

Headless Unicorn Guy

John Sears led Pastor Lindblad through a sanitized, obviously well-rehearsed recitation of his involvement with Tom Chantry

Pastor unto Pastor o’er the world is Brother…

Like “Code of Blue” where Cop will always side with Cop against Not-Cop.

Headless Unicorn Guy

She is of the opinion that children generally are unable to remember anything prior to age 3 or 4. She further stated that as adults we generally are unable to remember anything before the age of 10.

At 62, I can attest that I CAN remember things down to age 3 or 4, but it’s fragmented. Single-scene memory “sanpshots”, not a continuous memory trace. (And some I’m not sure WHY I remember that. Like what had to be a dream from age 5; all I remember is Boris Badenov’s voice saying the phrase “Feet for Food”.)


I have many memories from under the age of 10. I even have a vague, shadowy memory of being terribly frightened when my crib had been moved to another room due, my mother reports, from my sister’s illness. I remember the strange shadows on the ceiling and reflections from the sideboard mirror, and crying for my mother. I must have been less than 2 years old. I can recall other incidents clearly, of which there are no photographic or video recordings, so I know that they are indeed coming from my own memory, such as memories from the day my sister, 14 months older than I, went to school and left me at home – we had been inseparable until then, and I was heartbroken. I clearly recall the day she took me to her kindergarten picnic (I was 4), getting ‘lost’ on the way home (it was a block away!) and the teacher rescuing us and giving us many books and other exciting goodies, as she was retiring. I also recall the exciting day of my own kindergarten picnic arriving, and my mother discovering, as she checked to see if I had scrubbed up properly, that I had a rash (chicken pox or measles?) and was not able to go. Oh the disappointment! Research suggests that strong emotion or trauma impresses events into our memory bank, even if they are ‘veiled’ to protect us from further trauma. Or perhaps we do not have the conceptual knowledge or vocabulary to process them correctly until we are older?

One of the things about academics is that, to flourish, one often has to establish a niche, a distinctive viewpoint that sets one apart from others. Then one must ‘publish’ articles and books to support one’s theories. There is such a very real possibility of a fabricated expert, who exists, and establishes academic ‘documentation’, to tell a desired story. If pastors can live a lie, do we think academics cannot as well?

Law Prof

I’ve been teaching for 15 years and have some familiarity with Rate My Professors. She rates very low, and also the comments get kind of pointed, as in what you see among professors who either are not particularly competent or who tend to be particularly full of themselves. Just a horseback opinion, but probably 19 out of 20 profs would rate higher than her on average.

Also, in my opinion, something is fishy about her recent ratings. A run of four recent ones given on the same exact day, 3/26/2018, and a fifth, given weeks later, which totally break with the pattern of low ratings established over the last several years. Suddenly, after 14 years of ratings, the vast majority of which are either “awful” or “poor”, just like that she “gets it” and runs off five straight “awesomes”. Folks, she got a total of five 5.0 reviews in 14 years, then now, in the last several months, has gotten five straight, four of them on the same day! Really? I don’t believe these are legitimate. Do. Not. I think some or all of those are fraudulent reviews, almost as if someone was trying to gussy things up a little. Not saying it was her, but am saying it looks fishy and illegitimate to me. That is my opinion, nothing more, nothing less. If I knew a little more about statistics and had a little more time, I could run a statistical analysis of the odds of this happening. I’ll bet you’d have chances in the fractions of a single percent. Bet you.


Todd, was Eazer able to bring either of the reports from 2000 into evidence as the result of Don Lindblad’s testimony?

Ted Kijeski

Oh, how I yearn to see those transcripts.


It’s one thing spending your life as a scribe, a Pharisee or a teacher of the law.
It’s another spending your life doing it as an incompetent.

Take these men out of their own self-protective, self-serving bubbles recycling other men’s words and they are truly nothing.
No character, no morals, no honesty.
Just the code of silence of a criminal gang.

And these are men who have presumed to sit in judgment on others…

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.”

Beware of the next generation.

Artur Smuthers


“recycling other men’s words”

They have the light of guys like A.W. Pink, Martyn Lloyd Jones, J.C. Ryle, Spurgeon, the whole Banner of Truth deposit, etc and etc. Many of us are familiar with these Authors. THESE Authors are great and gifted men with the commensurate character.

It is one thing to have read these Authors who illuminate so well the Scriptures; it is quite another to allow that same knowledge to practically transform our own character (like those of the Author’s we read). Otherwise it can be a form of spiritual hijacking.


Wow! That “expert” witness sounds like a joke. When my husband worked for the federal government , they had a saying that an “expert” was anyone more than 20 miles from home with a briefcase. Sounds about right! I think her student’s assessment of her is also telling – when he describes her demeanor as “pompous.” Seems like she would fit right in with this bunch. And her assertion that “as adults we generally are unable to remember anything before the age of 10” is completely asinine. Typical talking head that knows nothing about real life. Has she even studied the effect of trauma on young brains?!! Wow – just no words. She seems to know little to nothing about the subject – I hope she’s not doing counseling, cause she sounds woefully ignorant about trauma based therapy. Unbelievable.

On the subject of her fees, do we know who’s writing the checks for Chantry’s defense generally? Would be interesting to know – especially if it’s anyone from ARBCA (who knows – may be someone on his defense witness list!). Small circle of mendacious liars.

Headless Unicorn Guy

Expert Witnesses testify in support of whoever is paying them to testify.
Just Third World courts are more open about it.

Samuel Conner

I have clear memories of a n umber of places and events from age 3 onward. Perhaps many of the jurors will have similar. The events I recall tend to have either been really happy, or frightening/alarming in some way. I find it highly believable that a young child could recall traumatic events, especially as the fear of the perpetrator — whom these children were exposed to week after week — would tend to (not sure the right language here) reinforce the memory.

As a legal matter, if jurors’ own life experience contradict the “expert” witness, are they obliged to disregard their own experiences in favor of the “expert”?

As a legal matter, if jurors’ own life experience contradict the “expert” witness, are they obliged to disregard their own experiences in favor of the “expert”?

I’m not a lawyer. However, to my knowledge jurors are charged with determining, using their own minds and experience, whether or not someone is guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, of the crimes of which they’ve been charged.

If they had to believe everything that a so-called expert witness (who is often paid to testify for one side) said, then we’d essentially have a “trial by expert witness” legal system. That’s my take. Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)


Technically, perhaps. But, obviously, the goal in presenting ‘expert’ witnesses is to override the common sense of the listener (jurors, in this case) and compel them to trust the opinion of the so-called expert over their own judgement. Of course, they would not put it quite like that. 😉 It is actually, eerily similar to the same tactics used by many pastors to override the common sense of the listener by appealing to the ‘expert’ opinion of some revered man (Calvin), men (The Westminster Divines) or institutions (The Reformed Church, or ARBCA).

It is my less than expert opinion that this is how mind control takes place. If one can be convinced to ignore their own judgment and conscience, particularly as inspired by the indwelling Spirit of God, one becomes putty in an abuser’s hands as he replaces the authority of mind and judgment with ‘faith’ in him or whichever other authorities he appeals to.

Hence the first call of the abuser in the Church, be it pastor, elder or husband, is to bow to their ‘divinely instituted’ authority.

Thanks, I agree 100% with what you’ve said. I do think that forcing expert witnesses to disclose how much money they are being paid to testify, for one side, tells jurors that they aren’t getting an objective opinion. In many cases, both sides present expert witnesses saying contradictory things. Then jurors are completely free to believe or disbelieve whomever they want.

Per my earlier comment to Barbara, only presenting one expert opinion seems less than impressive given the nuanced nature of the subject matter, false memory, in this case. I doubt that people who seriously research the concept of false memory, or memory in general, want their work to be so casually used to undermine sexual abuse victims. That’s probably why other or better expert witnesses could not be found to testify.

I like reading about memory and consciousness, as those are interesting subjects. However, the defense team’s simplistic argument about failing memories seems silly to me. Of course memory is fallible; that’s why I write down a grocery list. However, that doesn’t mean that people, including children, can’t remember traumatic events in their life with a believable level of clarity. In fact, I think the person who brought up the issue we’re talking about mentioned traumatic events.

People suffering from post traumatic stress disorder are tormented by detailed memories they can’t escape. In their case, a memory’s natural tendency to fade does not seem to have occurred. I wonder what the so-called expert witness in this case thinks about that issue? Actually, I don’t. She’s no expert, in my view.

Thanks. Janna L. Chan (blog team member)

Law Prof

Good question. No, jurors are not required to believe anything an expert says. They can take it or leave it. They can completely discard it. Totally their call.